Chapter 1: Breakfast, Please
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.”
Amanda O’Neill wasn’t exactly sure what they were, but luckily, it didn’t bother her.
She wasn’t totally clear on when it had started, either. Maybe it was that time when Constanze had picked horror for the ‘Green Team + One’s move night’, and Hannah had laughed at the gruesome death of the blonde stupid enough to hide under the bed. Maybe it was when she and Hannah were stuck outside the community showers, waiting for Avery and her latest ‘fling’ to be ‘done’ before they entered, swapping stories of their own conquests to pass the prolonged minutes.
A small shred of her knew, though, that it must have been their first night together that’d gotten them- The way they’d laid back to back, waiting for the other to fall asleep, in some desperate attempt to hide how awkward it was. It’d been so long since then, Amanda had almost forgotten it. She woke up with a face full of auburn hair (she had rarely seen it out of that immaculate ponytail. Now she had the privilege of helping it fall from it’s ribben herself), and that was it.
Their first kiss wasn’t all that special; She’d mostly been joking, trying to dramatically woo her while they were on their way back from the snack run Jasminka had sent them on, far away in the abandoned halls of Luna Nova where she’d hid one of her many stashes. Hannah had humored her, and had pressed her lips rather roughly against her own- it was clumsy, and much less than calculated, but it wasn’t bad. Hannah even had the audacity to complain about her lips being chapped afterwards.
Amanda had taken offense to that, so she demanded they give it another try, after she’d used some lip balm. Luckily, Hannah always carried hers around in her blazer pocket- it was cherry, her favorite, and she held Amanda’s chin still as she applied it. The kiss that had ensued convinced them to share another, and well… They were rather late for movie night.
See, the thing about their relationship, whatever it was, was that it wasn’t awkward. Even after the impromptu makeout session before what had to be Amanda's least favorite action film, they fit together comfortablely. Hannah hadn’t been afraid to steal Amanda’s blanket without the faintest hint of remorse, or huff and smirk like a coy school girl at the thought of curling up next to her, moments later. It was almost as if those kisses hadn’t happened- but the faintest brush of Hannah’s hand when they both reached for the popcorn bowl aided in reminding her.
She didn't know what they were, but they were something. It’d taken them a short while before anything else had happened; weeks had gone by, before Amanda dare kiss her again. It was a spur of the moment decision, in the back of the library. Diana had shoed them away to grab a couple more books for her and Akko’s study session, and Hannah was just… too short to reach them. It was hilarious, and she’d gotten a nasty look after she’d poked some fun, but before she could realize what was happening, Hannah's hands were clutching the little tie around her shirt collar, and arms were curled around her waist. Yeah, much more memorable than their first- and much more exciting, in a place they could easily be caught.
It became a bit of a regular thing, her and Hannah. It wasn’t reserved for Sunday movie nights, either- at any moment, Hannah could drag her away for any length of time, and Amanda would revel in it. It began casually, and their comfort with one another only grew as the days passed. Amanda could throw her arm obnoxiously around Hannah’s shoulders, and the smaller witch wouldn’t so much as bat an eye. Simultaneously, Hannah could stuff her hands into Amanda’s pockets as often as she pleased, in search of some place warmer, and Amanda wound continue talking as if it were nothing.
Amanda insisted that was all it was. Just two people who found each other attractive, and didn’t mind indulging in basic, human urges. It was the rest of the world that had a problem with it.
Hannah had never said their relationship was meant to be exclusive- and so when Sarah slid up next to her during class, with those piercing eyes of hers, she didn’t deflect the blatant, obvious flirting, didn’t brush off the warmth of the hand on her thigh. The funny thing was, then she looked up to give her the good ole’ Amanda O’Neill smirk, something felt… off.
She’d asked Hannah about it later- and before she could get much out, it seemed the hazel eyed girl understood. She rolled her eyes and leaned back onto Jasminka’s pillows, flipping through her magazine.
“If you want to fool around, that’s fine. I’m not stopping you.”
It didn’t sound like a trap, and Amanda relaxed once Hannah cracked a smile.
“Just let me know if you mess with anyone who may not be clean; I’d like to keep myself free of STD’s if I ever decide to let you under my covers again.”
They’d laughed, and Amanda pushed Hannah’s legs away, in mock offense.
It was all good, then! Amanda could do as she pleased. Hannah wasn’t trying to tie her down.
Then why, when she had Abigails hands in her hair, did she still feel weird?
It was like… her mind wouldn’t ‘let go’. Wouldn’t react the way she wanted it to. When she felt fingers trailing down her jaw, she thought of Hannah. When she caught the scent of school issued shampoo, she thought about how nice the cinnamon apple kind Hannah smuggled in was. When she tasted skin, she thought about the way Hannah’s flushed a pleasant red when she worked at it enough- because Hannah always dared her to put the effort in. It was mildly annoying, especially when her new partner didn’t scratch at that one place behind her ears the way Hannah always knew to.
It paled in comparison, and it infuriated her.
So what, if these other girls didn’t do it for her? Maybe she just needed more experienced partners. She’d known Hannah had had her fair share of ‘dates’, men and women, most coming from the aristocratic families back home. Maybe that was it- she’d gotten used to someone who knew what they were doing.
So she tried Avery.
But Avery didn’t have that gravely, high pitched giggle that Hannah made when Amanda groaned about her hair being in the way of her neck. Didn’t have the two tiny, pointed teeth that made an appearance on her lower lip whenever she was amused. Avery wasn’t in the mood to talk to her, either, whenever they were together- Hannah was never afraid to yank on her ear and tell her to knock it off, or play with her short, choppy locks while telling her about something she saw in town, basking in the afterglow.
Hannah was intimate in ways the other women in her life couldn’t be.
She was a rotting sickness that festered in her lungs and gave her heart palpitations. She’d found her later, that same afternoon, and swept her up into the kiss of a lifetime- they hadn’t had one, the last few days, and it made Amanda behave like a starved animal, begging for scraps.
Hannahs nose had scrunched up, just like it always did, when they parted, giving her a confused, yet critical look. It was the sass she’d been longing for, and she memorized the slight creases with the familiarity and fondness of someone who’d spent years waiting to see them.
“You taste like Avery’s chapstick. She needs to pick a new flavor.”
Amanda kissed her again, and refused to move more than mere centimeters away.
“Help me get rid of it?”
Though they didn’t make up any rules for themselves, Amanda found herself turning other women down- she didn’t really have an excuse, other than that her interest had simply died off. Hannah wasn’t hers, and she wasn’t Hannah’s (which was a lie. She was totally, undeniably, wholly Hannah Englands and it was too late for her to escape her hold).
So, when she saw Hannah flirting with an Appleton boy at a Gala, she told herself it wasn’t her right to get jealous. She figured as long as she hid the ugly feeling, eventually, it’d fade away- it had to have been the kind of jealousy lions felt when another member of their pride stole the final kill. It was shallow, that was all.
But it wasn’t, and Hannah knew- one look was all it took, before the broody, crossed arms and nonchalant expression on Amanda’s face clued her in. She felt terribly proud, and maybe just a little feral- while she herself had felt the stirrings of jealousy once or twice in her life, she’d never felt the need with Amanda. She wasn’t quite sure why- perhaps it was the trust they’d built, or the knowledge that even though there had been other girls, Amanda still found herself at her door by night's end. Whatever it was, it didn’t matter, in that moment.
It wasn’t like Hannah hadn’t done her fair share of flirting with other people during Amanda’s experimental period. Though, she guessed, her conquests weren’t as notable- after all, she was more a fan of the chase than the prize she got at the end. The hunt was simply more satisfying, and she took visible, clear-as-day joy when she’d kissed that random guy and felt Amanda’s eyes roaming the length of her back.
She didn’t give him much more than that- and relished the time she spent with Amanda in the spare room afterwards, in ways he could have never hoped to earn.
In short, they were stuck on one another; but the word ‘girlfriend’ had yet to breach their vocabulary. The first time Hannah had taken her clothes, though, it’d been called into question.
“Whoa, Hannah- is that Amanda’s top?”
Akko had never been subtle, and unfortunately, drew quite a bit of attention.
“Yeah, what of it Kagari?” Amanda shot back, suddenly feeling a little exposed. She liked attention when she asked for it- but the pairs of eyes glancing over at her from nearby lunch tables made her go rigid. She felt the sensation of Hannah’s fingers brushing against the outside of her leg.
“No way! Are you two, you know- together? When did that happen??”
Of course, Akko was the last of their group to know. It was hard to keep the secret from Amanda’s own team, since they were subject to plenty of casual touches every Sunday night- and Barbara, who knew of everything and anything that was within a ten mile radius of Hannah’s body at all times. None of them had questioned it, though- they’d kept their opinions to themselves, and let Amanda and Hannah find solace in one another without scrutiny.
Amanda had almost forgotten how thankful she was for that- people staying out of her business, and letting her figure out everything on her own terms.
Before she could get worked up about it, Hannah replied for her.
“Right after I bedded your mother, I think. Or was it before? I can’t remember.”
“Hey! Don’t bring my Okaasan into this, you rat!”
It caused a different kind of spat- a verbal take down of the ages, where they continued to insult one anothers various family members until eventually it circled right back around to being friendly and competitive; the distraction they needed.
The next time Hannah’s choice in wardrobe was questioned, Diana quickly changed the conversation to Akko’s grades, which had the brunette running. It seemed everyone else had picked up on it, and Amanda watched as Akko was trained to not bring it up. Whatever it was dawned on her, too, for within a couple of weeks it became as natural to see Hannah with something of Amanda’s on her than not. Akko began to think it was weird to see her go without.
As time passed, Akko’s increasingly gentle prodding (under the surveillance of Lotte and Barbara, who seemed hellbent on protecting her and Hannah’s ‘privacy’) caused increasingly mushy thoughts to stirr in Amanda’s brain.
Something she discovered was that Hannah was very soft. Physically, she didn’t have too many curves- the gentle swells of where what little excess body fat hid were nice, but her softness applied more towards her aura. She was soft, because her eyes were soft; not just for anyone, though. Only for her- and maybe Barbara, but really, she didn’t count. Barbara was the exception to all things (hell, they could probably have sex and Amanda would remain unfazed, like it were the most normal occurrence on the planet).
She was soft in the way she moved, too, a fluidity when casting spells that rivaled Diana’s, with the confidence to match. Watching her became a favorite hobby of Amanda’s, whether to be the way she turned pointedly on her heel, or put her hands on her hips while she was scolding somebody in that harsh, angelic tone she had. Her voice was like sweet molasse when they were together- a sugary honey that begged Amanda to lean closer for a better taste, a better listen. Even when she was telling her that her uniform needed fixing, or teasing her about how brutish her strength was, or shouting at Akko for being an idiot, it never failed to make Amanda’s train of thought to go that much slower.
She swore she was spending more time just being with her, rather than touching her, which was not Amanda’s M.O.
The ‘sleepless nights shrouded in passion’ had actually gotten less frequent, but honetly, she hadn’t noticed right away. The intimacy was still there, and grew with each passing moment, and for once in her life it felt like enough for her. The days where she knew she needed physical assurance still came and went, but Hannah managed to sate her in ways the girls from the past never could- a quick sweep of her palm brushing back Amanda’s bangs was all she needed to feel grounded, at peace.
Amanda didn’t have a hard stance on things, but she knew for certain that Hannah was who she wanted to be with.
Maybe it was time to say it?
“I hope I don’t get syrup on this sweatshirt- it’s my favorite.”
She was excited to get back to bed, so she could hold her.
“You mean my sweatshirt? The one I bought in Utah.”
Hannah gave her a look that made Amanda want to pull her into her lap and take her back to the dorms, far away from prying eyes that dare fall upon her. She was wearing jeans for the first time in forever- jeans and Amanda’s clothes, and nines, she looked good.
“What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine. Really, I thought Barbara would have let you know by now that I’m not the type to share.”
Hannah punctuated her straight forwardness with a bite of her waffles, carefully cut into pieces rather than the mess of a club sandwich that littered Amanda’s plate. They’d had this conversation before, and it’s playfulness never ceased to entertain either of them.
It was always like this- they worked in sync, something Amanda never imagined she could ever achieve with anyone, let alone someone with as big a personality as Hannah. They didn’t just work around each other, they worked with each other; Hannah had her back, and Amanda had hers- and she’d protect it so fiercely, no one could dare breathe a bad word about her partner without her doing something about it.
Sure, Hannah wasn’t always the most pleasant. She could get… Akko called it being ‘prickly’. She could get prickly, but unlike the rest of her poor victims, Amanda knew how to divert it, and Hannah had certainly put the effort in towards change. Hannah had many enemies, but then again, so did she, albeit for other reasons. So long as they had each other, though, Amanda figured their lives would turn out alright.
Hannah caught her staring.
“Something on my face?”
Amanda blinked, and rolled a complimentary toothpick between her thumb and pointer finger. The shorter witch was captivating, even without the usually care she put into her appearance- her cheeks were a little more flushed, when not hidden by foundation, and her hair ribbon was ever so slightly off balance, and it all made Amanda feel like the locals didn’t deserve to look at her at all. She was a secret, meant only for Amanda’s eyes, and that deep, dark, possessive part of her threatened to trip her up.
“Nah. Just lookin’ at ya.”
Hannah grinned, reaching for her tea.
“Who’s the creep now?”
Moments like these, Amanda was glad they chose to sit at the bar. She couldn’t very well savor the feeling of their shoulders brushing if Hannah were sitting across a table.
“Oh, still you, by far. At least I stare while my helpless captive is conscious. How do you think I felt waking up to two eyes, boring holes in my skull? A stalker, is what you are, Hannah England, and I’ve got half a mind to press charges.”
Instead of another snappy one-liner, Amanda got a chaste kiss that tasted like black tea with one and a half packets of sugar, no cream. When they disconnected, Amanda blinked at her, owlishly.
“We should walk a little ways, before we get on our brooms to head back to Luna Nova. The weathers nice- I could use some sun.”
Hannah was close enough that Amanda could smell the detergent on her clothes, and something distinctly them. She felt the urge to have her be closer, so that she could bury her face in it, but behaving appropriately in public was something, sadly, that Hannah valued.
Sometimes, Amanda felt like she was wrapped tightly around Hannah’s little finger, and she couldn’t find it within herself to mind. If Hannah wanted sun, Amanda would fly right up into space to get it for her.
She seriously thought about it, when she opened the door to the outside. She heard birds chirping as the morning leaked into lunchtime, and the wind had stopped in its tracks before it could displace a single hair on Hannah’s head, as if Amanda’s gaze had been enough to threaten it into submission.
Amanda let her take the lead, as their shoes hit cobblestone streets, lazily allowing herself to stretch her arms out, savoring the light pull that caused her muscles to strain. She saved her usual runs for early, early mornings with Akko, just before daybreak, sprinting around campus as if something were chasing them. The lack of prepping and the ‘late’ start caused her to get a little stiff.
Maybe Hannah would rub her shoulders later, if she used her puppy dog eyes effectively. It was terribly domestic, the entire mood- Hannah had grasped her hand and didn’t seem too keen on letting go (not that Amanda wanted her to).
Hannah England had dreamed about going on strolls like this with her ‘future husband’ quite often, when she was a child. All those frilly, victorian books she, Diana, and Barbara shared told tales of romantic, pond side walks with lacy white umbrellas and an upstanding gentleman in a suit in tie, enthusiastically waiting to take her as swans floated by.
Sure, ‘the man of her dreams’ happened to be Amanda in a tux, but the fluttery feeling was exactly as it had been described- even as they passed by wide shop windows and dirty street puddles. The world wasn’t washed in a romantic, shining glow, but it was blissful in it’s own way.
The heat had quickly picked up from where it’d left off the day before. Hannah was beginning to regret wearing the sweatshirt, and only the sweatshirt, just a little bit- the skin that lay beneath it threatened to grow clammy, the thin, dark fabric of her bra not covering enough to allow her to slip it off.
She wondered if, once they got to the edges of the forest, they should take the liberty of exploring farther into the woods. If there was a sunny spot, Hannah would very much like to lay in it, without the prying eyes of humankind trained on her. She pulled lightly at her collar, biting the inside of her cheek.
Maybe then, when they were alone, she’d take it off.
Hannah occupied her fingers with the hoodie stringers, rolling the cold, metal tips against between them.
“Can we… go on a date?”
[haha hey losers ANYWAYS here's some more. Next time, the spicy will be STRONG so beware!!!! The rating will be changed to explicit to accompany it!!!!]
Going from an open relationship built from physical need to a slow, homegrown partnership built on trust, comfort, and a genuine love for one another is my JAM.
While I love me some angst there will be NONE of that here, only softness,,,,,