Whatever gruesome thing that was happening on the TV screen was obscured as Akko screamed and covered herself in the blanket that had been laying by her side, accidentally kicking her mother in the process as she desperately tried to block out all sound and light. That night’s movie was one that Akko had first thought was fine, cute even, some kids playing together happily in the beginning, before it changed into a horror scene that left the seven year old nauseous and petrified. Her mother had said it would be fine for her. ‘Family friendly’, she said. ‘Don’t worry Akko, you’ll love it’, she said.
What a liar.
“Akko, honey, are you ok?” Her dad worriedly asked from her side. She heard him shuffle around a bit before pausing the movie and prodding her trembling form. “We can turn it off if you don’t like it.”
“Of course I don’t like it!” Akko sobbed, refusing to come out of her safe, blanket cocoon.
“I told you this would be too much for her,” he muttered, but the comment was directed towards his wife this time, who was sitting to the other side of Akko.
“Hey, I thought it would be ok! I loved this movie at her age,” her mother sighed back, but gently wrapped an arm around the form of her daughter. “Don’t worry Akko, none of it’s real anyway.”
None of it’s real anyway, Akko desperately thought to herself later that night, tucked under her covers as she stared at her clothes in the corner of the room as they seemed to move, shift and reform in the darkness.
She screwed her eyes shut and burrowed further into the blanket
Akko tossed and turned in the bed.
Ever since that one unassuming movie night long ago left her traumatized, Akko had been extremely scared of the dark, not being able to sleep properly without a night light or someone else in the room. She would’ve liked to say that it got better as she got older, and yeah it kind of did, but not by the amount she wanted it to.
It was something that she disliked the most about herself. Everyone else knew her as this fearless girl who jumped head first into danger without another thought, but here she was not having gotten over a scary movie she saw when she was seven.
The movie isn’t even that bad! Akko watched it out of spite once, and ok maybe in an attempt to get over as well, and it was all just rubbish acting and cheap Hollywood tricks. The blood is so fake it could have been ketchup, yet it still haunts her despite the fact that she actively watches, and enjoys, horror films now.
However, Akko refused to be scared shitless by something as pathetic as that, so throughout growing up she always had a way of combating the fear, even if it resulted in teasing from her peers. Any teasing about a night light was better than found crying in her bed.
Why was she thinking of this now anyway?
Probably to avoid looking at the pitch black corner of her room, with shadows cast from the moon shifting, melting and coming closer and closer every time she blinked.
She hated it. She wished she could do something.
Yet, Akko was almost completely paralysed in fear, hoping her rambling thoughts would distract her from the irrationally charged ones. The ones that told her there was definitely something else there with her, even if it had already been a day since Lotte, Sucy and basically everyone else left for the winter break.
She missed the familiar sound of Lotte turning the pages of one of her nightfall books during a late night read, or hell even Sucy tinkering with whatever malicious concoction she was working on and was definitely going to feed her during the night. Those things helped her calm down, realize there was nothing else but her two best friends in their shared dorm in Luna Nova.
Now, the creeping dread was overwhelming, so much so that Akko knew trying to sleep here any long would just leave her sick and nauseous. She had to leave, and after desperately searching her mind for a place, she knew just where to go.
Stealing her nerves and counting to ten, Akko bolted out of her bed, and in her mad rush to get away as quickly as possible she forgot to grab her wand, only realizing at the door.
Well it’s too late to go back, she panickedly reasoned to herself as she threw open the door. I totally can do this without a wand light anyway.
A bold lie.
And damn did this school get cold in the winter. It obviously wasn’t helping that Akko was only dressed in her signature short red shorts and white sleeping tee, but oh god was it colder in here than out there? You would think they’d have some semblance of a heating syst-
Something furry and squirming grazed Akko’s foot, and she leapt into the air with a high pitched shriek.
Not today Finnel- Satan.
Akko broke into a full on sprint, knowing that logically, it was probably just some small mouse looking for shelter from the cold brought on by winter but her fear fueled mind really wasn't helping her case. To Akko's scrambled brain, that could have been some demonic, other worldly beast hell bent on tasting her blood for all she knew.
You can never be sure!
A wrong turn and a high speed collision with a wall, that must have done some kind of brain damage, later, the distressed witch finally laid eyes on her target. The Blue Team's dorm.
With no regard for volume control or subtleness, Akko burst into the room, slamming the door behind her loud enough for the whole of Luna Nova to hear.
A loud thud was heard from the otherside of the room. From around the bookshelf corner, a blur of blonde and tea-green hair burst out, revealing a very on edge and freshly woken Diana Cavendish dressed in only a night robe, wand out and staring wide eyed at the noisy intruder.
"A-A… Akko?" She let out a tired sigh of relief. "Thank Nines, I thought I was being robbed."
The words died in her throat. What was she even doing? "Sorry Diana, but I’m so pathetic and scared that I can't sleep in the dark so I decided to disturb you instead" ? Akko could see Diana rubbing her eyes and yawning ever so slightly, as she walked towards her, probably adjusting to having just been woken up.
Her worries seemed childish now.
"Hey, are you ok?"
Akko didn't answer the question, chewing her cheek as she tried to think up an excuse for bursting in, ignoring Diana's concerned look.
"Akko, what's wrong, are you hurt?" Diana placed a hesitant hand on Akko's shoulder, snapping her out of her thoughts.
Akko coughed awkwardly. "Ah… it's um, nothing. I'm alright! Promise. I just thought I uh, left something here. That's all." She imitated looking around then shrugged, trying to turn around and leave, but felt the grip on her shoulder tighten a bit.
"You know, you're really bad at lying, right?" Diana chuckled slightly, but she gave Akko a sincere look nonetheless. "You can always tell me if something's wrong."
"I- It's alright Diana, thinking about it now seems silly."
Diana hummed softly, regarding Akko for a second and mulling over the answer before grabbing her wrist lightly and leading her to the otherside of the room. Akko raised an eyebrow as they rounded the bookshelf into Diana’s personal corner of the dorm, past a tidy table and towards the bed.
“Uh… Diana? What are you doing?” Akko asked nervously as the witch in question sat down on her bed and patted the space beside.
“As much as I want to help, Akko it's 2am and the floor's extremely cold,” Diana smiled in amusement. Now that Akko thought about it, her own feet were starting to feel kind of numb and the air felt colder once the adrenaline ebbed away. “Sit down?”
She hesitated for a moment, before nodding slightly. “Ok, yeah sure.”
With great caution and at the speed of a unsure slug, Akko slowly crossed over to the bed and sat down, tucking her legs to her chest and hugging them. She stared at Diana wide eyed.
"...Honestly Akko, I don't bite, promise."
"Urk-" Akko's eyes widened comically more, and she huffed in defiance. "I know that! It's just… awkward I guess?" The last part was mumbled out.
Diana sighed and shifted a bit on the bed, clearly not in her own comfort zone either. "Well, I'm not really the best at talking to others and cheering them up, but you seemed stressed back there." She bit her lip in thought. "And I just want to help, I won't judge you at all," she said with sincerity, giving Akko a soft smile.
A warmth flooded her cheeks and Akko screwed her eyes shut, taking a deep breath of courage.
"I- I'm. I'm uh," she stuttered, trying to force out the words and clenched her fists.
"I'm scared of the dark. Like, can’t sleep at night, panics when the lights are out, scared."
There was a silence, a pause where nothing was said as Akko started regretting ever confessing her fear, before she felt a pair of hands lay on her own. Akko glanced up at Diana, who had one brow raised and was clearly holding back a laugh.
"I um, yeah?"
Diana started laughing, Diana Cavendish was laughing at her !, and Akko felt the embarrassment return tenfold, her whole face going a deep shade of betrayed red.
"You said you wouldn't laugh," Akko yelled accusingly, jabbing her finger at her friend.
Diana's hands shot up to her mouth, doing a terrible job of keeping in the giggles spilling out as she muttered muffled apologies.
Akko grumbled angrily to herself, wanting to disappear as Diana calmed herself down.
"What, is it really that dumb?"
Diana waved her hand in front of her, shaking her head. "No no, it's not that. It’s just, Akko that's really normal? I don't get why you're so worried about sharing it."
"But, it's stupid Diana! I'm seventeen and still can't fall asleep without a nightlight on!" Akko looked down at her hands in shame. "Lotte and Sucy's presence help, but they're not here anymore."
Diana's brow furrowed in thought, tapping her chin. "Why don't you sleep here then?"
“...WHAT?” Akko yelled, louder than what was necessary, reeling back.
“Akko, please don’t yell.”
“You- You can’t just mention something like that so casually Diana!”
Diana raised her brow again, looking confused. “Why not? You said you can’t sleep, and I’m assuming that sleeping with people in the same room helps right? Like you said about Lotte and Sucy.”
“Well, yeah, but… won’t it be weird?”
“Um, why would it? We’re both girls right? There is no reason that we can’t.”
Gay people exist Diana, one's standing right infront of you. Akko bit her tongue to hold back the retort, begrudgingly realizing that Diana was right. She really didn’t want to go back to her own room in the red team’s dorm, the chance of actually getting decent sleep then was in the negatives. Sighing, she accepted her fate.
“Fine, do you have any spare blankets anywhere? Maybe a thin mattress as well.”
Diana stared at her. “Akko, why in nine's name do you need that?”
Akko rolled her eyes. “Diana, the floor’s really cold,” she stated matter of factly, as if Diana didn’t know that.
“...Akko you’re not sleeping on the floor,” Diana said pointedly, as if Akko were stupid for thinking so.
“Wha- Then where would I sleep?”
“On my bed of course, where else?”
She jolted off said bed in surprise.
“Akko please, it’s 2am…”
“You- I can’t sleep on your bed!” The embarrassed girl protested, her face turning rapidly more red. At this point she may as well be a beetroot. A tomato even. “It’s your bed!”
“Well, yes it is my bed, I’ll be sleeping on it as well.”
Akko felt like she was going to melt at the rate her body temperature was going.
“Dianaaa, that’s even worse!” She protested, gesturing wildly to the bed like it was on fire. “We can’t sleep in the same bed!”
“I see Hannah and Barbra share their bed all the time, and they’re good friends,” Diana shrugged nonchalantly.
Akko facepalmed on the inside. Yeah, you could even say really close gal pals Diana…
Diana shifted slightly, nervously eyeing the floor as a sad expression settled on her face. “Is… do you have a problem with me?”
Akko frowned, wondering what gaver her that impression, walking back over to the bed, sitting down gently next to the other girl.
“Hey now, why are you jumping to those conclusions?”
“Well, because you seem fine being close when it’s others, but with me you’re always jumpy and nervous, making excuses, and now you’re outright objecting to this idea,” Diana sighed. “Akko, I’m sorry if I make you uncomfortable or-”
The rest of her words were cut off as Akko raised her hand to Diana's lips.
“Nuh uh, none of that. Diana, you've been a really good friend to me and I promise you’re not making me feel weird or anything,” Akko said honestly. “Well, not in a bad way at least.”
“What was that?”
“B-But! I’ll gladly sleep here if you’re really okay with it. I think it would… be a lot of help to do so.”
Akko tucked a piece of stray hair out of her face, trying to fight off a blush as Diana smiled softly at her.
"If you think so, then it's your call not mine. I was merely offering."
"Then I shall take up that kind offer, M'lady," Akko said in a faux british accent, bowing exaggeratedly as much as she could sitting down.
Diana laughed, covering her mouth slightly and Akko joined in this time, laughing unashamedly along. There was a sense of understanding and playfulness that Akko loved about the blonde witch. Even when things get awkward, she still manages to balance it out, something Akko had rarely seen before but appreciated all the same.
Akko let out a yawn.
"Shut up it's-" yawn, "-2am." Akko rubbed her eyes, fighting to keep them open.
Diana nudged her shoulder. "Hey, that's my line," she chuckled, standing up and quickly grabbing an extra pillow from Hannah’s bed, and shuffled to the otherside of the bed and got under the covers.
Akko followed her lead, somewhat hesitantly, and slowly sank into the soft mattress and blankets. It was extremely comfy, and even though Akko had grown to like the red dorm's beds, she wouldn't be opposed to having this one instead.
"Light on or off?"
Turning to the side, she saw Diana facing her as well, eyes on the verge of closing yet she held up her wand and defiantly squinted at the other girl. Akko grinned inwardly to herself, it was kind of cute.
Akko quickly cleared her throat, hoping Diana was too tired to see the blush settling on her cheeks.
"Uh, off is ok for me."
Diana gave a slight nod, with a flick of her wand turning off the lamp and plunging them into darkness save for the glint of moonlight from the window. If she was alone, Akko would have started to panic and flail around for a light source, but Diana's presence was relaxing. The only complaint she had was how small the bed seemed now, there was barely any space between them and she could feel every movement and breath Diana made. Though, it wasn't necessarily unpleasant.
"Hey, Diana?" She whispered, just barely making out the blonde's figure as her eyes adjusted to the darkness.
"Hmmm?" Came the sleepy reply.
"This is kind of like a sleep over, don't ya think?"
"I wouldn’t know, I've never had a sleepover before."
"WHA-mfh?" A finger on her lips silenced her.
"Honestly, how many times do I have to say it's 2am?"
Diana smiled slightly and removed her finger. “But yes, I have never had a sleepover before. Unless you count me living here with Hannah and Barbra.”
“That doesn’t count! You live together,” Akko nodded to herself. “So, this technically means this is your first sleepover!”
“Guess it is.”
Akko held her chin in thought. “We should totally do some sleepover things.”
“Uhhh, telling each other one’s deepest and darkest secrets? That’s a classic.”
Diana shifted to face Akko on the bed, head propped up on one hand as she looked at her, and scoffed slightly. “...Telling each other personal information that only the bearer knows and that could spread unwillingly is a normal occurrence in a sleepover?”
“Well, when you say it like that it sounds all dramatic and big,” Akko huffs, rearranging herself to mimic Diana, resting her chin on her pillow. “I promise it’s nothing that deep, just like, crushes and stupid things you’ve done.” She held the blonde’s gaze, before turning away slightly, coughing. “You know… If you want to…”
In the darkness it was hard to make out Diana’s expression, but Akko could feel her shifting under the blankets, and her breath would occasionally blow over Akko, stirring her hair slightly and reminding her of their current proximity. The slight moonlight coming in from the window just about highlighted her features as well, and Akko definitely caught herself staring at the silhouette of her friend.
“Well, I have a secret I would like to share, if that’s okay,” Diana whispers, scooching closer.
“That’s always ok!” Akko exclaimed a little too loudly, causing Diana to flinch back, before covering her mouth and sheepishly whispering back, “Whoops, sorry. But spill.” Her eyes sparkled in excitement and suspense, leaning closer.
A laugh escaped Diana’s mouth. “Alright, alright. Thing is… I’m also really scared of the dark.”
Akko stared at Diana processing the information, eyes widening in surprise at the information. No way Diana shared the same fear as her. The same stupid fear that had been haunting her for years.
“Wait whaaaat? You’re also scared of the dark?” Akko gasped, almost not believing the words that came out of Diana’s mouth.
“Yes I am,” Diana nodded, reaffirming the truth. “Do you think that’s silly of me?”
Akko reached out an arm and nudged her friend's shoulder slightly, trying to reassure her. “Of course I don’t! Actually, it’s reassuring to know someone else feels like this, especially you of all people.”
A hand intertwined with her, and Diana smiled back at her slight shock.
“That’s exactly what I felt when you admitted your fear.” Their faces were barely inches apart, and the moonlight reflected Diana’s amused smile as Akko’s eyebrows scrunched in thought.
“You know, that makes a whole lot of sense now.” She grinned, squeezing the hand in hers. Always count on Diana to make her feel better.
Diana’s smile only widened as the two gazed at each other, and Akko swore she was leaning closer, faces inching together before Diana pulled back slightly. She gave what sounded like a cross of an awkward laugh and a cough, as she started to gently untangle their fingers. Akko tightened her grip.
“Hey, if we’re being all open and stuff now, can I… request something silly?” She mumbled, rubbing her thumb up and down the soft hand in hers.
Diana’s grip tightened slightly. “You can always request something silly, Akko. I think we established that.”
Akko bit her lip, forcing her eyes to meet Diana’s as she stared at her best friend. God, Lotte was right, I’m head over heels aren’t I...
“Can I have a hug?”
The room was silent as Diana raised her brows in surprise. Ohhhh no, I overstepped her boundaries didn’t I? Ahhhh, I need to back track quickly, oh god this is s-
“...That’s it?” Diana’s face is stoic and unreadable as she seemingly stares into Akko’s soul. Akko could feel her judging everything stupid thing she’d ever done, and she contemplated if death was better than the inveitable consequences of her actions.
“Y-Yeah… But! I mean, we don’t have to if uh…” Akko stumbled, trying to wave everything off as a joke. Why did she ask Diana that? Diana’s not a touchy feely person! Have they even hugged before?!? Christ…
A shaky chuckle brought her out of spiralling thoughts, and she watched in surprise as the normally collected witch burst out into laughter for the third time that night.
“Oh Akko,” Diana giggled, wiping a tear. “You’re being awfully funny tonight, making everything seem so serious. Of course you can have a hug. That is a… friend thing, yes?” She hummed in amusement.
It was like a weight was lifted off Akko’s shoulders from those words alone. She beamed, Diana wanted to be friends just as much as she did. And yeah, maybe Akko wanted to be a little more than just friends, maybe she wanted a little more than a hug, but right now she was content with the way things were if Diana was.
Akko didn’t want to lose her.
So instead, she gladly wrapped her arms around Diana and pulled her into a tight hug. “Thanks a lot.”
“No problem.” Diana returned the hug, stifling a yawn into Akko’s shoulder.
They stayed like that for a bit, and Akko could feel herself falling asleep where she sat. It wasn’t her fault Diana’s embrace was so cozy. Or that she smelled good. Or that her hair felt so soft…
“...Okay maybe we should sleep, it’s probably already three at this point,” Akko mumbled, tapping Diana lightly and trying to ignore the wandering thoughts in her head.
But Diana didn’t reply. The other girl had buried her face in the crook Akko’s neck and had seemingly fallen asleep, much to Akko’s poor heart's panic as her face turned multiple shades of red. She shook the girl slightly, tried to talk her awake, but all she got was a gentle snore and arms tightening around her waist. Diana was out like a light.
Well, this is how I die I guess, self combusting as a pretty girl holds me whilst she sleeps. Admittedly not the worst way to go.
Instead of dying on the spot however, Akko took a couple of deep breaths, trying and failing to collect herself and dispel the blush off her cheeks as she laid herself and Diana down on the bed. Akko gently lifted the blanket over the both of them, and settled down on the pillow.
She turned to Diana, and watched the girl she definitely had a crush on sleep, with hair splayed everywhere and a peaceful expression on her face that Akko hoped she would wear more. It suited her.
Akko slowly eased, the tension leaving her shoulders as sleep slowly took a hold of her. She buried her own face into Diana’s nape, surrounding and immersing herself in the sensation of comfort that came from being held by Diana, slipping into a deep and fear free slumber.