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Stained Glass

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[♫]

It began- as many things involving Diana do- in the library. She was tucked away in her favorite corner- past the fire gecko terrariums, behind the shelves on astronomy and far-seeing spells, right beneath the best window in the library. It looked out over the northern gardens, with their tall, crooked cloud-oaks and drooping willow-wisps. Diana’s table was bathed in the warm light of the waning afternoon, with the distant chatter of witches and would-be’s, the scratching of pens and quills on paper, and the muted twittering of the birds outside wrapping all around her.

She noticed none of this, of course. At the moment, Diana was entirely absorbed in her book- the faded title, “The Monoglyph: Runes & Ancient Languages,” clearly visible as the book hovered gently above the table. (Levitating her reading material upright in front of her had become a habit for her years ago, as it let her practice magic and avoid contorting her spine at the same time.)

Lost in her reading, Diana failed to notice the approaching footsteps- until warm arms wrapped themselves around her shoulders from behind, and a face nuzzled up against the side of her head. “Dianaaaaaa~” the perpetrator murmured into her ear, shameless in her affection as usual.

“Atsuko.” Diana couldn’t keep the soft little smile off of her face as she reached up to take hold of the small hand resting on her shoulder, content to be held for a moment. Inevitably, Akko shifted, releasing her hold on Diana’s shoulders to move around to the right and beam down at her girlfriend. Diana slowly turned to the right to gaze warmly back up at her, still holding her hand, treasuring that smile as she did every time she saw it.

With only her left hand still free, Akko bent down to retrieve something off the ground behind Diana’s chair. Conveniently, this brought her close enough to plant a little smooch on top of Diana’s head, eliciting an amused huff and 20% increase in smile. As Akko straightened back up, she lifted her arm to reveal a canvas bag stuffed full of little food containers. “Ta-da!” Akko exclaimed, brandishing the bag like a holy ward against hunger. “I didn’t know if you’d forgotten lunch again, with your nose in that book all day, so I brought you something!”

“You spoil me, Akko,” replied Diana, using her hold on Akko’s other hand to pull her down just far enough to leave a tender kiss on her cheek. “Thank you.”

Reducing the brunette to a blushing, stammering mess was merely one of the perks of doing so.

Still fighting off the red blooming on her cheeks, Akko plopped down in the chair opposite her girlfriend. Sprawling and stretching for a moment, she then retrieved her Magical Energy Theory textbook from her bag and attempted to dive in. (They were supposed to have read chapter seven by tomorrow… though Diana, naturally, had read most of the book before the first week of classes.)

The brunette’s determined attempts at focus, unfortunately, did not help Diana to do the same. Occasionally munching on one of the sandwiches Akko has brought her, Diana spent the next several minutes gazing fondly at her girlfriend. She was firmly distracted, and not at all upset about it.

With her chin propped up on one hand, Diana couldn’t help but think on all the little kindnesses Akko does for her, day in and day out. Bringing food when she’s been working too long, keeping her company when she’s frustrated, insisting she take naps when she hasn’t been getting enough sleep… it’s an indescribably warm feeling, to be known so well and cherished anyway. Even though Diana’s own social difficulties (and sometimes difficultness) make it hard... Akko stays. She understands, and indulges, and thinks no less of her for it.

Diana thought it only appropriate that she express her gratitude.

Slowly, carefully, Diana pushed her chair back and rose to a half-crouch, leaning forwards over the table. When it appeared that her machinations had gone unnoticed, and she was sufficiently close to her target, Diana cleared her throat to get her beloved’s attention. Just as Akko looked up, unsuspecting, Diana cupped the smaller girl’s chin in one hand and pulled her in to be thoroughly kissed.

Akko made a startled noise against Diana’s lips, eyes wide, before relaxing into her hold and savoring the sensation. The blonde made certain to lavish attention upon every part of Akko’s lips, very much enjoying the soft warmth and the little noises she made.

When Diana pulled back, she took a moment to revel in the slightly melted expression she had left on her girlfriend’s face. “Wh-what was that for?” Akko asked, wobbly smile betraying her complete lack of complaint.

“I’m just grateful to have such a wonderful girlfriend, that’s all,” Diana replied, absolutely not taking too much pleasure from the vibrant shade of red spreading across Akko’s adorable face.

“Dianaaaaa…” Akko whined, burying her face in her arms. “That’s not faiiir.” She tilted her head back up just enough for one accusing eye to become visible. “You can’t just start saying things like that out of nowhere.” Despite her face being largely hidden, Diana could feel the pout the brunette was projecting at her.

Diana settled back down into her chair, smirking across the table. “But it wasn’t out of nowhere. You asked, after all.” Akko’s only reply was barely audible grumbling. Abandoning the teasing for the moment, Diana let her expression soften, and said, “I really was just thinking about all the little things you do for me,” she gestured to the food, “and how much it means to me that you stick with me though all the nonsense that happens to us. Even though I can be… difficult, and…” Diana sighed, expression falling as she slumped and looked down at the table. “And snobbish. And mean, and anxious about everything…”

So abruptly had her mood fallen as she vocalized these things, that Diana failed to notice Akko had bounced up out of her chair and hurried around to Diana’s side of the table. That is, until a small figure crouched down next to her chair and wrapped her arms as far around Diana as they could go.

“Hey, hey…” Akko whispered to her downcast girlfriend. “I’m still here because I love all of you. Not just because you’re smart,” she tapped one finger on Diana’s head. “And pretty”, she continued, sliding her hand down to cup Diana’s face and tilt it up towards her. “And have a tongue sharper than a dragon claw. And,” she continued, looking into Diana’s now-focused crystal-blue eyes, “are a huge tease,” finally drawing a weak smile back out of the blonde.

“All of those things, and everything else that makes you Diana. And you do just as much for me, you know! Where would I be without your help in my classes? Finnelan probably would have murdered me by now! You-” Akko was cut off by Diana attempting to press another kiss to her lips. “No, I’m not done yet!” she scolded, leaning slightly away while trying not to smile. Diana nodded, biting her lower lip and looking off to the side.

Akko gently pulled Diana’s head back around to focus on her again. “You,” she emphasized with a poke to Diana’s forehead, “are the most beautiful person I’ve ever known. You’re like a stained-glass window…

“If everyone else can’t see past your bright colors and sharp edges, then that’s just their loss.”

Diana was speechless for a moment, staring into Akko’s burning, determined eyes. “I-If I am,” she started, then had to pause and swallow, water beginning to well up in her eyes.

“If I am, then you are the light that shines through me.”

Akko’s composure abruptly shattered, a startled expression quickly being replaced by a wobbling smile and fast-flowing tears. “Diana!” she cried, half-laughing, “You can’t keep doing thaaat!” She immediately pressed her lips to Diana’s, both of them trying to convey all their affection through that single point of contact.

“No, Akko, don’t cry!” begged Diana as they separated. “I’ll start crying too and then we’ll get thrown out again!” she said, tears already starting to spill down her cheeks. Within moments, the pair were reduced to a tearful pile of affection.

Eventually, they were noticed by one of the librarians. Fortunately, it was the little brunette assistant, who merely levitated a box of tissues over to them and left them to their emotions.

There, in their little corner of the library, behind the magical creature tanks and the sentient astrolabes, in the fading golden light of the garden window, they found their peace.