Hannah England was certain about her stance on most things- she had hard opinions on the politics her father involved himself in, and on the state of Luna Nova’s ‘potato issue’. She didn’t have to think twice before telling you whether or not that blouse made a person look fat, or if that color clashed with their skin tone. What she thought flew freely from her lips, and she rarely ever showed remorse for it; she knew what she was about, what she stood for. Yes, in that way, the whole world was entirely clear to her invasive eyes.
Except for Amanda O’Neill, and Sundays. Those two things still stunted her feelings like nothing else had ever dared- for each time she opened her mouth, she found herself at a loss for words.
It wasn’t that she didn’t like them; Sundays back home were always a treat, when her father would take Barbara and her out for ice cream before his daily meetings began. It reminded her of a simpler time, when her little wand would slowly develop its own personality as she made her father chuckle and clap at her magical ‘prowess’. She was older now, and though she couldn’t go get frozen desserts with him anymore, Sunday’s certainly weren’t intolerable.
Oh, and Amanda wasn’t that bad either.
A year ago, the younger Hannah that used to get two scoops of vanilla on a sugar cone would have scoffed at the idea of being twenty feet within the other witch’s vicinity. Looking back on it, their situation was rather amusing- The mere sight of Amanda O’Neill would make her face flush red (with disgust of course) and her entire body stiffen up (because she was so outraged she couldn’t breathe, obviously).
She wondered what freshman Hannah would think of her now, watching the taller witches' breaths rise and fall, face pressed into her pillow hard enough to leave faint scars. Would she scoff at the light, barely-there snoring, and gawk at the raspy tones of her voice when she spoke for the first time that morning? Absolutely.
A part of her wondered what had changed, and the other part already knew.
It was still dark enough outside to warrant another hour's rest, but bright enough for the room to be tinted in a bluish hue- the dawns brilliant yellow had yet to come up over the mountains, and even the birds hesitated before making a peep. It was peaceful, and far, far too early for anybody to be up on a weekend. If she had any say in it, Hannah would close her eyes again, joining the world in it’s well deserved, lazy slumber. However, despite the weariness that tugged at her eyelids, she found herself awake- it had gotten cold, last night, colder than she was expecting.
Though, that could have been avoided if she’d bothered to wear a shirt.
The young witches had all gotten rather comfortable with one another, laughably so; she’d witnessed curious looks come from their classmates when they saw their teams together. It was second nature to do things like eat with them, walk with them, change in front of them and share casual touches, yet another long list of things younger Hannah wouldn’t have dreamed of doing with anyone other than Barbara. Since her ‘other half’ had grown in her own ways, though, she knew she too had to progress in order to keep up- emotionally and socially. That meant taking scary, shaky legged steps into a world of new experiences, all alone. Hannah had resisted, at first, unsure and fearful of her sudden independent state, but over its course she learned to live as her own person, outside the constraints of another.
She’d successfully defeated herself, an accomplishment not everyone could preen about. The green team specifically had been her biggest challenge and her most dedicated teacher; Jasminka, who invited her to see and evolve, and Constanze, who was less forgiving, demanded she put in the work, to earn the person she was becoming. She supposed that made Amanda her reward, though she knew the firey haired girl wouldn’t be too pleased at the prospect of being compared to a trophy.
Back to the lack of clothing.
Hannah had discarded it at some point; if she turned, she knew she’d see it draped across the back of the single desk chair, in all its flimsy glory. She’d stayed over late, again, as she always did on Sundays- Diana liked to have the night alone to study, so she and Barbara had begun to clear themselves out. When the dark-haired girl crashed at the red team’s dorm to giggle with Lotte over books, Hannah ended up here, trying whatever new food Jasminka had managed to smuggle in, joining the green team for movie night.
Movie night ended just as it always did, with Constanze draping a blanket over a sleeping Jasminka before climbing down into her lab to get some work done. It’d left Hannah and Amanda in a rather awkward position, at first- where was she to sleep? What was left to do? A year and a half of doing this without fail, every week, quickly answered those questions.
Hannah was to share Amanda’s mattress, to talk and laugh in hushed tones until one or both of them fell asleep. Sometimes, it was Amanda who listened to Hannah talk about what had happened the day before, in town, and about the mundanes she’d seen milling about. On the better nights, Hannah lay there thoughtfully as she listened to Amanda recount tales of her youth with the same amusement and vigor she felt towards her own- all the little instances of Amanda flying too high on her broom, or getting into trouble with her grandmother after swiping a cookie too many, never failed to draw her in.
As the summer months crept closer, it became harder and harder to just lay there, though- Amanda was a human heater, and Hannah was very sensitive to the local temperature. There’d never been that awkward transition of ‘is it alright for me to be this vulnerable’ between the two of them, and Amanda didn’t bat an eye when Hannah had unbuttoned her dress shirt the first time, leaving her in nothing but a form-fitting sports bra and sleep shorts. Hannah didn’t feel like prey underneath her gaze, either, and had casually complained about the blankets being too thick and the pillows being too invasive.
When she thought about it, it was rather strange, to lay yourself bare in front of another person. She’d done it in front of her teammates every morning, of course, and Barbara, since they were old enough to care about the existence of clothing on their bodies, but here it was… supposed to be different. Or at least, she thought it was. She didn’t rightly care if anybody saw- she didn’t consider herself a physically desirable girl, but she didn’t think that she was unattractive by any means. She didn’t mind that Jasminka looked at her ribs (she could hear the well-intentioned thoughts in the girl’s head, about eating more), and she didn’t care if Constanze knew what color the freckles on her shoulders were.
Amanda scrunched her nose a bit when she slept.
Hannah didn’t care if the whole world stared, now. She was hot, and now she was comfortable, and that’s all that mattered. The sensation of the warm, firm arm lazily draped across her waist was simply an added bonus, the heat of skin against skin proving to be much more tolerable than what she was suffering through the night prior.
It was cold now, though. Freezing, she reminded herself, as goosebumps ran along the length of her spine. She had half a mind to curl closer, though she didn’t want to disturb the sight sprawled out in front of her.
Amanda was not the prettiest sleeper, but it was one of the few times she seemed at all at ease. She wasn’t an uptight girl in any sense of the word- but she was always expressive, emotions etched into her face like it was illegal for them to be kept anywhere else. Hannah watched with a fond attentiveness she hadn’t felt in a long time, eyes flicking between the locks of hair mashed against Amanda’s shoulder, and the relaxed position her jaw was in. No, not very elegant at all.
It made everything so much more real. It was grounding- Hannah was here, on the top bunk, a thin sheet around her hips as she lay awake, patiently observing an opposing form clad in an old band tee and boxers with an unbearably tacky design on them. It was so vivid, so fresh, like the prick of a needle, and she craved it. Her life wasn’t a blur of memories- long gone were ice cream outings with her dad, and long gone was who Hannah used to be.
If Amanda were awake she’d make fun of her for getting so philosophical at this hour. Hannah reached, forgetting to stop herself, brushing a strand of hair from her sleeping face. Sleeping, as in past tense.
She bit the inside of her cheek, as mint chip colored eyes opened just a crack, before squeezing themselves shut. A displeased noise, quiet enough to not shatter the peace, was the only indicator of a vague consciousness.
“I can hear you thinkin’... you creep.”
Hannah let her touch be a little more weighted, allowing her fingers to drop from her cheek to the collar of her shirt, tracing the poorly sewn hem. The arm that had been encircling her, oh so gently, tightened it’s hold and dragged her up, closer, legs tangling with the bent heaviness of Amanda’s own. Her skin hummed at the introduction of more body heat- loathing the air that swallowed up the empty space left behind her. Amanda’s chin was jammed against her collarbones, and Hannah’s cheek was familiarizing itself with red, choppy bangs; an awkward, yet soothing mismatch of puzzle pieces that made her feel small in the best way.
“I can hear you snoring.” She whispers, nails lightly scratching at the short, recently buzzed hair on her nape. A much more agreeable noise was had, this time. “And yet, I’ve forgone making any complaints.”
“Quiet…” Amanda’s voice was like gravel, rough, and several octaves lower than it should have been. Hannah felt a content sigh wrack through her chest, and she smiled, letting her gaze melt until she too wore a tired, serene expression. She hummed as calloused fingers made themselves at home pressing into the tense spots between her shoulder blades. “S’ too early.”
Thoughts nipped at the edges of her mind. Thoughts about how intimate these moments were- about how she didn’t know what they meant or if it meant anything at all. She and Amanda weren’t just friends, she knew that to be fact- They didn’t have a label for it yet; didn’t have a label for the way Amanda waited for her outside her door to pick her up for breakfast, or draped her arm across the back of her seat in class. They didn’t have a title, and it didn’t always make sense, but right now she was warm, and she was touching her, and all was as it should have been.
Warm and imperfectly perfect.
She didn’t remember when she’d fallen asleep, but when she blinked herself awake, the sun had risen, and she could hear Constanze finally slipping under her covers- which meant it was almost nine, and breakfast was going to close soon. It would have been jarring, if it weren’t so familiar- she didn’t feel any more rested, and on a normal day it would have left her agitated and inconsolable.
But it was Sunday, so she accepted it with a grace shown only by people who knew they didn’t need it. She’d be napping again, soon enough, out in the sun or curled up in bed again, and if her friends knew what was good for them, they’d let it happen and join her.
By the nine, she needed a coffee.
She shifted onto her back, a small pop encouraging her to stretch. The fine arch of her body was a welcome sensation, though the cold was bleeding into her bones. Lifting her arms above her head, she groaned- just in time for a resounding growl to make a muffled rumble in the pillow beside her. Amanda didn’t appreciate being left all alone to her own devices.
“Come on, I’m hungry. I don’t want to wait until lunch.” She mumbled, sitting up enough on her elbows to look down at the disgruntled face that’d been so cruelly torn from its comfortable home against her neck.
Amanda made no attempt to protest, however. Long ago, she learned it wouldn’t get her anywhere- especially on Sundays. Begrudgingly, she let Hannah slip from her grasp, slide out from under the half folded, mussed up blanket to hop down off the side of the bed.
The floorboards were like ice against her feet, and it was times like this that made her seriously wish the blue dorms carpets were a more widely used commodity. A long, harsh shiver wracked her body, and she grit her teeth- she was going to convince Jasminka to let her buy them a rug, eventually.
Stepping lightly, avoiding the particular boards she knew creaked, she made her way over to the green team’s dresser, where her savior lie in wait, tucked away in Amanda’s claimed drawer. Well, she and Amanda’s drawer. Her extra toothbrush and stray hair ribbons had made the far right corner of it their home, though they weren’t what she was looking for at the moment. Pulling it open, she leaned against the aging mahogany, hand reaching in to brush against different fabrics- most of the space contained school-issued uniform bits, but beneath them were items deemed by the school board as ‘inappropriate for weekday learning’.
Hannah yearned for them. Delight sprung to life in her chest as she found what she was looking for, the cloth of her favorite hoodie stuck just where she’d folded it the last time she’d worn it.
Technically, it was Amanda’s, though due to how often she had it on, the title of ownership was up for debate. She quickly picked it up and shook it loose- it was a dark, forest green, with a black logo from some American state she still wasn’t sure how to pronounce. Unimportant details, she remembered, moving to pull it over her head and let it cover pale, creamy skin.
Like that, it was warm again, and she pulled her hair free from the collar, fixing the hood with a languid tug. It wasn’t too much larger than one she’d buy on her own- but it was a few inches longer, to accommodate Amanda’s height, and threatened to hide her shorts from the untrained eye. She fiddled with the strings, to get it tightened to her size, the straps of her bra still prominent over exposed shoulders that refused to stay hidden.
Now this, this was her favorite part about Sunday mornings.
She could hear Amanda’s footsteps, steady until they stopped. Her yawn was that of a bear’s, loud and wide, fine, white teeth catching Hannah’s gaze as she turned to meet her.
“You joining me?”
Hands slipped themselves into her newly adorned pockets, and she outright purred at the half awake fumble of a kiss against her temple. Amanda's palms were warm, pressing against her abdomen through the fabric.
“Gimme my sweatshirt.”
Hannah tilted her head to the side as lips lingered around the curve of her jaw, never applying enough pressure to achieve much more than the occasional sweep, a ghostly sensation. A grumpy noise came from Jasminka’s bed- she’d never been a disagrabale girl, but that didn’t mean she enjoyed having her morning interrupted.
“Later,” She giggled, hooking her finger around the ties on Amanda’s shorts and pulling, gently. “Let’s go, before we cause your teammates any trouble~”
Groggy, the redhead scrunched up her nose again, straightening up and blinking the heaviness away. Amanda was usually very food driven, the first in line to get the drivel the school fed them. She was an athlete, who’s body craved any bit of fuel it could find, even if it meant surviving off a steady diet of potato based meals for months on end. On any other day, she would have been up three hours ago. But, it wasn’t a weekday, and she was supposed to be lounging around their room, playing with Hannah’s hair and listening to her talk with Jasminka about who they thought was going to win this season of Top Chef.
Surely, Hannah getting hungry at this hour was some sort of sick, twisted punishment.
“I want coffee.” She grunted, “And bacon.”
Dragging her towards the door, hand on the handle, Hannah smiled.
“You’ll be getting hash browns, and maybe some ketchup, with any luck.”
She got a growl as it clicked open, pushing against the wood and taking measures to be extra quiet as she stepped out into the carpeted hall. A few rooms away, she saw an equally bare, casually clothed Barbara, with Lotte and Sucy in tow. Though she didn’t mind what people thought about her ‘skimpy’ morning outfit, it did make her feel more in place when she caught wind of dark hair tied in a loose bun, with no shoes to speak of.
When Barbara saw her, she rocked back and forth on her heels, waving them over.
“Hey hot stuff~”
Hannah kissed her cheek, bumping into her best friend's side and finding solace in the warm arm that encircled her shoulders, yanking her close.
“Good morning. How was your night?”
“Oh, it was alright. Me and Lotte read for a few hours, until Sucy roped us into playing around with her ‘chemistry’ set.”
Sucy huffed, rubbing her eye with an exhausted hand. She wasn’t looking like she was in any better shape than Amanda was, the both of them standing at a bit of a tilt.
“Don’t mock my work. I made you hot chocolate in those beakers”
“Where’s Akko?” Amanda mumbled, running her hand through her har, pushing it back. “I want to beat her up.” As penance. If Amanda couldn’t cuddle, she was going to make sure her rival couldn’t breathe.
Lotte smiled, a genuine, well put together grin. Then again, she was the only one out of all of them that looked remotely happy to be walking among the living. Barbara took the spare hair tie from around her wrist, and gathered Hannah’s hair up into her fist so she could properly slip it into a ponytail.
“Oh, didn’t you hear? Akko Kagari spent the night with Diana~”
At that, the light was finally brought back to Amanda’s tanned face, more perked up than she had been in years.
“Oh shit, really? Dang, she bagged and tagged her just before midterms? Didn’t think Cavendish got wet for-” She could feel Hannah’s glare, and displeased expression, not daring to look in her direction. To provoke the devil on such a pleasant day would be madness. “Ehem, uh- Didn’t think she’d be up for a sleepover.”
Cough and cover- an excellent damage control strategy. Barbara encouraged herself not to laugh. Still, she was in the mood for a good tease, stealing Hannah away to get their crew on the move, towards the cafeteria, taking extra measures to be especially clingy.
“You know Amanda, the same could be said about you. After all, we all know what happens to the girls you let into your bed~ What are your intentions with my dear Hannah?” Barbara let her hand slide up against the auburn haired witches back, beneath her clothes, dragging her nails across the skin. “Letting her wander around with your jacket on, like she’s yours. Got something to tell us?~”
Hannah felt heat curl in her gut, a light flush creeping up her skin as she crossed her arms, covering her chest to keep the fluttery feeling there under control. A smug grin painted her features, though, and she took the bait with knowing pride- she and Barbara had always been on the same page- If Barbara was going to start picking on her, she might as well join in on the fun. It had taken many years for her to become comfortable with being the butt of the joke; and now that she was well adjusted, she understood that she could trust her friends with her reputation.
“Oh, she tried to get me out of it. I had to turn her down- a lady simply must preserve her modesty, especially in this day and age. How else am I ever going to be pure enough for marriage?~”
Amanda huffed, picking up the pace enough to walk beside them. Sucy groaned under her breath; not the incessant flirting again. If she had to see that cheesy, bastardized smile or hear the sweet tones of their voices as they verbally destroyed one another, she was going to puke. Lotte gave her an understanding glance- though she took much more joy in watching her friends interact. Their ‘not so ambiguous’ relationship (they were married, in Lottes book- married in every way but title) was a constant source of entertainment.
And writing material.
“As if- you love climbin’ into my lap whenever you get th’ chance!”
Hannah gasped, covering her mouth in faux shock.
“How crude- Amanda!”
Strong, tanned arms scooped the small, lithe frame of Hannah England up as if she were a bale of hay- lightweight, roughly, and held bridal style as she did her best to cause a fuss. Amanda didn’t seem at all fazed at the struggle, keeping her hoisted up and close to her chest as she began to dash and spin around the hall, ignoring her squeals and cries of protest.
In Barbara’s mind, it was like watching a large, untrained dog play with a hissing kitten.
“Lotte, you getting this?”
Lotte already had her notepad out.
“Way ahead of you.”
The cafeteria was still decently filled, though a steady stream had begun cleaning up their trays by the time they got in line. As they pushed through, they got the bottom of the metal bins- but to a group of starved teenagers, ready to get back to bed, it was like laying eyes on the holy grail. Akko and Diana were waiting for them, just across the floor, at their usual table as predicted, and with the way the brunette was going at her toast, they must have been just as hungry.
“You look like shit Kagari- gimme your juice cup.”
“No way! This was the last plum one!”
Hannah settles in at Amanda’s side, fork held between her teeth as she tries to balance Barbara’s tray in the other hand, taking a relieved breath once it touches down against the table. Diana welcomes her with a carefully crafted smile, offering her a napkin.
“Good Morning. Did you sleep well last night?”
Sweeping her shorts benether her legs, a reflex (she was usually wearing a skirt, of course), she made sure to turn enough to catch Amanda’s silverware before it fell, setting it back within the taller witches peripheral vision. Hannah felt calloused fingers gently brush against her knee in thanks.
“Oh, well enough. The drop in temperature this morning was unexpected, though.”
Barbara returned from the bathroom just in time to slip in; a sly, confident look on her face as she tucked her hair back into place.
“Of course, it couldn’t have affected you too much Han- what with your built in, human heater at your side.”
Said human heater was currently arm wrestling another idiot for a juicebox. Adulthood never ceased to amaze and inspire. Hannah poked at a delicately sliced potato wedge, smothered in breakfast seasoning in an attempt to add some diversity to her palette.
“Speaking of human heaters, Diana, how did your night with Akko go?”
Suddenly, Diana was in a similar state- picking at her food. If her aunt were there, she’d scold her for such poor table manners. If she were more awake, perhaps she would scold herself.
“We covered chapters three and four from our Magicks Linguistics textbook. She’s been making outstanding progress since we taught her Latin- she’s been digesting it rather quickly, if I’m to speak honestly.”
Barbara scowled, crossing her arms.
“Diana, you did not spend the entire night studying, did you? What did I say about the waste of an opportunity?”
Hannah leaned against her arm, chin against her fist.
“Tell us, you at the very least shared the bed? I couldn’t imagine Akko wanting to make herself comfortable on either of ours.”
Diana flushed a brilliant red, much to her own disdain.
“Nonsense, of course she- I’m-”
Amanda pretended not to hear, picking up Akko’s drink and taking a swig. She also pretended not to notice the clear pout on Akko’s face, as she crossed her arms and watched Amanda parade about her victory.
“So.” She grumbled, “What movie did you guys watch last night?”
“It was Hannah’s turn to pick- something where the main couple made out for like a solid 15 minutes in the end.”
Akkos pout broke into a cheesy grin, her eyes squinting mischievously. Normally, Amanda liked that glint in her gaze, but not when it was directed at herself.
“Sure that wasn’t you two?~”
“Shut up, shrimp. I bet you had your hand up Diana’s shirt for the better part of the-”
“W-Well at least she’s not running around in my clothes! Why don’t ya just get her a collar that says ‘Property of-’ Ack!”
Amanda tried her best to strangle her, but unfortunately Akko was rather slippery this morning. She leapt from the breakfast table, trying to scramble away, but Amanda got a lucky grab on the back of her shorts.
“Get back here you little fucker-”
A pair of warm lips on her shoulder stopped her from murdering the little rat in her grasp.
“Quit it, you two. Comere~”
Turning her head, Amanda was met by a soft kiss on the cheek, and then another just below her chin. Amanda’s focus was broken in less than a second, her entire being solely drawn to the warmth of Hannah’s body tucked into her side. Akko nearly vomited.
“Oh god, please kill me- kill me- watching you make out with Hannah is a fate worse than death! Diana, say something!”
Diana went from flushed to strict, ridged in the way she scrunched up her nose. She didn’t want to watch either- she’d been one of the poor, unfortunate souls who’d accidentally walked in on them in the Blue Dorm. She’d learned the hard way what the ribbon on the door handle meant.
“Hannah… Remember the rules about PDA in populated areas.”
“Oh Diana, let them have their fun. It’s a Sunday.” Barbara teased, running her fingers down Hannah’s arm. “A couple of kisses never hurt anyone- I mean, it’s not like they’re shagging in the hallway~”
Amanda’s thumb brushed against Hannah’s bottom lip, keeping their faces close.
“Maybe we should go find that hallway.” She huffed, letting their noses bump- Hannah giggled, hands coming up to trace the band name on Amanda’s shirt. Smoke and Skulls suited her.
“Alright- get out of here, you fiends, before you ruin Diana’s purity.” Sucy growled. “I could eat a thousand poisonous herbs, but the only thing more sickening than a dragon's breath mushroom is looking at them trying to eat each other. Are you trying to make me hurl?”
“Let’s dip and get pancakes, Baby. Please? We can go get dressed, and I’ll take you to that diner in town?”
Hannah gave her one more kiss.
“With those waffles I like?”
“Yeah, the waffles.”
Akko covered her ears.
“Is waffles an innuendo?”
“Akko, you have three seconds to run before I kick your ass.”