Chapter 1: Technicalities and Formalities
“Wait, they seriously denied your visa application?” Amanda’s hands slapped onto the table in shock.
“Yeah! Apparently saving the whole country isn’t good enough, I gotta have proof of income,” Akko grumbled. “I already have like three shows lined up for the month after I graduate! The third one’s paying me five hundred pounds!” She slumped down onto the table with a huff. “So now I gotta cancel my income source cause I can’t prove I have an income source. Amazing.”
“That really sucks,” Lotte put an arm around Akko’s shoulder, who leaned into the hug even as Diana squeezed her hand. The rest of the group offered vaguely sympathetic pats or words of comfort. Even Sucy.
“Thanks guys,” Akko mumbled from under the impromptu pile of affection. “I just…” Akko squeezed Diana’s hand tighter, tears already starting to spill. “I was already gonna miss everyone so much, and now who knows how long it’ll be before I get to see you all again.”
Akko lifted her eyes, gazing into Diana’s through brimming tears. “And like, OK I hope none of the rest of you are too offended when I say this,” Akko sniffed once, then twice, before completely losing her battle against her already failing composure, her voice breaking into a sob as she buried her face in Diana’s shoulder. “I’m gonna miss you so damn much Diana.”
The group moved away as one as Diana brought her arm to wrap around Akko’s shoulder, pulling her closer and stroking her back gently. “We’ll get through this,” Diana whispered into Akko’s hair. “I know we will.”
Akko could feel her frustration surging. She knew everyone was awkwardly staring at each other while she cried into her girlfriend’s shoulder but it was just so unfair! And she didn’t know how she was gonna fix it!
“And, like, we were gonna live together when you went off to uni,” Akko choked through more sobs. “And I was really excited it was gonna be so sweet and I was gonna practice magic all day and wait for you to come home and then give you cuddles and kisses and then you could come see my shows on weekends when you weren’t too busy with studying and, and…” Akko was just bawling now, wasn’t she. “And we could go visit everyone together during the holidays and I was gonna be so. Damn. Happy.”
Diana was crying now too. Akko could feel the tears landing on her head. Could feel the way she squeezed Akko just a little tighter. Could feel the way her breathing came quicker, shallower, the way it did when she was really really angry.
“Alright,” Amanda said, “so we’re in agreement that this is complete bullshit, yeah?” So let’s put our heads together and figure out what we can do about it!”
Akko pulled her head away from Diana’s shoulder as her friends all perked up at once, united in their goal of helping her out. What had she ever done to deserve them?
“One of our families could adopt her?” Hannah suggested, gesturing between herself and Barbara. “Not sure Akko’s parents would appreciate, but that’s an option, right?”
Diana shook her head. “Not when she’s already eighteen, and especially not when she already has legal guardians as you said.”
“We could ask one of the professors if they could ‘hire’ Akko as an apprentice?” Lotte suggested. “I think Professor DuNord would do it, and it’d give her proof of income, right?”
“Need to be able to prove I’d be earning at least eighteen grand a year,” Akko said, offering a rueful smile. “I think we all know there’s no way this place pays Chariot enough for her to have that kinda money lying around.”
“You could just pay her back after?” Sucy said.
“Which would be fraud, and likely found out immediately,” Diana said with a sigh.
Find a job? Constanze wrote on her board.
“That’s the plan right now,” Akko said. “But it’ll take a while and there’s uh, still not that many good jobs when your only qualification is being a witch.”
“I’m sure there’s some PR or marketing companies who’d love to have the saviour of magic on board,” Barbara pointed out.
“Yeah, that’s an option I guess.” Akko sighed. “Selling out before my career’s even begun, gotta love capitalism.”
At least that one got a chuckle from the group. “Even still it’s kinda crap and means I’m stuck in the job cause if I lose it then I get deported, and my bosses all know that,” Akko grumbled. “Never mind how much of a mess it’ll be trying to apply for jobs in England when I’m still living in Japan and trying to find work and do shows there too y’know?”
The heavy atmosphere had returned. They’d come up with a plan, sure, but there was hardly a sense of relief to accompany it. She was well and truly screwed.
“What if…” Diana started, and Akko could already feel her beginning to tense. “This is, perhaps a bold idea, but… well…”
Nothing on this good Earth could have possibly prepared Akko for what came out of Diana’s mouth next.
“I could… try to get you a spousal visa?”
Akko’s brain ceased to function.
“Spouse???” Akko yelled.
“I… admit that I had wanted to wait a few more years at least before formally asking you to be my bride, Akko.” Diana was flushed crimson, struggling to meet Akko’s eyes as she spoke. “But if doing so now will help keep us together… then I do believe it would make me quite happy.”
Akko opened her mouth. A high pitched squeal came out. She closed her mouth again.
“If you would prefer, we could have this be a… small affair. Only with close friends and family, perhaps?” Diana was leaving pauses and stuttering and generally about as far removed from her usual calm demeanour as possible. “And we could save the, ah, actual bells-and-whistles wedding, as it were, for such a time as we both would have been more amenable to the idea of being married, yes?”
“I, uh, yeah?” Akko nodded and shrugged at the same time. “Yeah sounds good. Yep. Yep yep yep that sounds great and good and are you asking me to marry you!?”
“I… suppose that I am,” Diana said, her eyes widening as if only now realising the full implications. She suddenly shifted away from Akko, releasing her as she dropped to one knee. “Unfortunately I don’t have a ring at present, but needs must.”
Diana raised her eyes to Akko’s, gazing at her with the overwhelming intensity and care that Akko had come to love so well. “Atsuko Kagari, will you do me the honour of—”
“Why are you doing this in the cafeteria!?” Akko screamed.
As it turned out, there were slightly more formalities to the process of getting married than one’s bride-to-be kneeling on the floor of a school cafeteria.
Firstly, they had to find an officiant willing to marry them before the school term ended and Akko’s study visa expired.
Fortunately, there was one very willing candidate on hand.
“When and how did you even get ordained?” Akko demanded.
“You can do it online now,” Amanda shrugged. “They send you a certificate and everything, only cost me like forty pounds.”
“The wonders of the internet never cease to amaze,” Diana said, setting a tray with several cups of tea down on the Blue Dorm table. “Dare I ask why you decided to do so?”
“Thought it’d be funny,” Amanda said, to a chorus of chuckles around the table. “And figured maybe I could help out some gays in need sometime? So I reckon it all worked out for the best.”
“If I might request that you please dress at least somewhat respectably,” Diana asked, politely but firmly.
“If you think I would officiate my dear bro Akko’s wedding in anything other than the sharpest and freshest suit ever crafted by womankind, then you’ve officially lost it, Dish.” Amanda smirked.
“To be clear, if you refer to me as Dish at any point during the wedding I will, quite literally, curse you and your entire bloodline into oblivion,” Diana said evenly.
“See that just makes me want to do it even more, do you have any idea how much I hate my folks?” Amanda asked.
“I just think we need to stop talking about Amanda’s bloodline too much around those two.” Sucy shot a sharp grin towards Hannah and Barbara, who had both been biting their lips ever since the mention of Amanda’s suit.
Amanda very slowly turned their smirk around to Diana’s future bridesmaids. They raised a single eyebrow. “That so?”
“Why did I ever think that getting your assistance would be a good idea?” Diana asked to the room at large.
“We went to the circus, we got clowns,” Akko commiserated with her fiancée.
“As for the visa qualifications, there are still a few steps we have to take, aside from the… marriage… aspect,” Diana said, completely failing to hide the soft glow of her cheeks at a particular word in that sentence.
“Firstly, we still need to show a shared proof of income above the required threshold, which means I will need to ascend to family head at the next possible opportunity,” she explained. “Fortunately, the next Venusian eclipse is only a few months away, and in the meantime we should be able to use the savings I became entitled to on my eighteenth birthday to qualify, but it is a tentative position and one I hope we can rectify sooner rather than later.”
Akko nodded. “So we’ll already be married by then, right?”
Diana stilled. “Akko, I know this is all a formality but… would you be willing to accompany me to the succession ritual, as my wife?”
Oh, Akko was crying. Again. “Yeah. Yeah I think I’d like that a lot. Gotta meet the in-laws at some point, right?”
Diana laughed gently. “I expect that Beatrix will be delighted to see you again, darling.”
“I hope so,” Akko said, fidgeting a little. “Not gonna lie it was already nerve-wracking enough last time when I was just some interloper who had kinda maybe just developed a huge crush on you like five minutes before meeting your great-great-great-great-great-grandma.”
Diana snorted loudly. “Now I think back on it, the experience did feel rather similar to when I first met your parents.”
“Hey at least my family didn’t have a curse saying they’d kill you if I—” Akko stopped short. “Wait a sec. Wasn’t the whole deal that if a non-Cavendish messed with the ceremony then they’d get cursed? So why was I OK?”
Diana paused. “I suppose the obvious answer is that you were assisting, not interfering, but…” She raised her eyes to Akko’s, smiling at her gently. “I believe I prefer the interpretation that she was simply a few steps ahead of me in welcoming you to the family.”
“I think I like that idea a lot too,” Akko said quietly, leaning in for a soft kiss.
“Wait, I have to live at the Manor over the Summer!?” Akko wilted.
“Unfortunately, yes,” Diana said. “It was difficult enough managing to convince immigration control that our being at Luna Nova together for the last three years counted as cohabitation.”
“With how often Akko stayed in this dorm? Should’ve been a breeze.” Hannah commented with a knowing smirk.
“…Be that as it may,” Diana said with a gentle cough, “continuing to live together for the foreseeable future will likely aid with the visa checks.” She gave Akko a reassuring smile. “Hopefully we can move out well before my university term starts, but being as I don’t have my results yet I don’t know where I will—”
“Diana, we all know you’re gonna get the grades for literally any uni in the world,” Akko cut her off with a roll of her eyes.
Diana rolled her eyes back, a small smile forming on her face. “Once we know for sure where I’m going, we can try to find a flat nearby as soon as possible, alright dear?” She reached out, gently caressing Akko’s shoulder. “Believe me, I do not wish for either of us to spend any more time around Aunt Daryl than is strictly necessary.”
Akko nodded, leaning into Diana’s touch, resting her cheek against that soft, comforting hand. “Does she know about… all this?”
“Does she… approve?”
Diana was silent for a moment. “I made it clear that any comments on the matter would not be tolerated.”
“So she doesn’t,” Akko said.
“I don’t care,” Diana replied.
Akko sighed. “I do,” she said in a small voice. “I know it’s dumb, cause she’s awful and she’s awful to you and I love you but… I want your family to like me.”
“Can’t always get what you want, I guess,” Amanda said.
“I dunno,” Akko said, her smile returning, “I have got the world’s most amazing fiancée after all. Everything else just kinda feels like cherries on top after that.”
“It’s not too bad, right?” Akko asked, looking furtively between the gathered crowd.
Amanda swallowed thickly.
Hannah and Barbara looked to one another then back to Akko with wide eyes.
Lotte opened her mouth, then shut it again, flushing a little.
“I think what they wanna say is, yeah you look hot.” Sucy shrugged.
The rest of the group nodded as one.
“I think,” Hannah started, “that if you wear that dress on your wedding day, you will quite literally cause Diana to have a heart attack.”
Akko paled. “Ack! Is it too far? I can try a different one!”
“No!” Amanda said significantly too quickly. “No I, uh, I think it’s good.”
“Yeah shut up right now you look perfect what the hell,” Barbara said in disbelief.
“Alright,” Akko scratched the back of her neck, her movements feeling a little clumsy with the sheer amount of material she was wearing. “How… how much does it cost?”
“You don’t need to know,” Hannah said simply.
“Right.” Akko looked around again. “I mean, are you all sure this isn’t too much? It’s not a real wedding, right?”
“Are you telling me you don’t wanna see Diana in a wedding dress?” Amanda asked.
Akko paused. Her eyes widened. She stared into the distance for a moment. A long moment. She suddenly remembered to shut her mouth with a snap.
“Yeah. Oh.” Barbara smirked.
“Alright, first things first we do synthetic and synthetic only here,” said the goblin propped up at a tiny desk covered in papers and tools and boxes upon boxes of gemstones. “If you want blood diamonds, you can go some place else.”
“That’s why I’m here, David,” Akko said, a determined look to her eyes. “I know all about the exploitation of minotaurs—and human workers too—in the gem mining industry, and the same people who warned me about that recommended you.”
“Is that so?” David asked, a curious look forming on his face. “Not what I expected from the bride-to-be of the landed gentry, at any rate. So, Akko, any specifics or just ‘a nice ring?’”
“Um, I’d like the gems to be sapphires?” Akko said. “Blue’s her favourite colour. And, um, it suits her eyes…”
“Can do, can do,” he jotted that down. “Anything else?”
“Do you do engravings?” Akko asked.
“Did Davinci paint?” David grinned, showing teeth. “Did Michaelangelo sculpt? Did Gaudi design cathedrals!? Yes, Akko. I do bloody engravings.”
“OK, OK, I get it,” Akko laughed. “In that case uh, can I get the Big Dipper engraved on the outside?”
He chuckled. “Makes sense, should be no problem.”
“And for the inside…” Akko handed over a sheet, painstakingly inscribed with a few Japanese characters.
“What’s it say, if you don’t mind my asking?” David slipped the sheet inside his notebook.
Akko took a deep breath.
“My believing heart is yours.”
“We’re keeping our names, right?” Akko asked one evening, as the two of them snuggled together on the couch in the Blue Dorm, Hannah and Barbara not due back from Blytonbury for another hour or two at least.
“I had assumed so, yes,” Diana said, gently stroking her fingers through Akko’s hair in a way that made her want to just shut her eyes and enjoy this sensation for the rest of her life. “We can always change in future, of course. Perhaps as and when we do the real thing…”
Akko felt Diana’s fingers still in her hair, and twisted her head to look at her, gazing at her beloved through splayed fingers.
Naturally, Akko’s eyes couldn’t help but lock onto the engagement ring on Diana’s finger.
Diana closed her hand.
“Am I going too far?” Diana asked quietly.
“What d’you mean?” Akko asked, reaching up and lowering Diana’s hand to look towards her downcast eyes.
“With… the wedding, and everything,” Diana whispered. “It’s… not real. Not supposed to be anyway. And yet despite that…” She turned her eyes towards the ring glinting on her finger. “Akko, do you feel pressured?”
“No, Diana,” Akko assured her, “not even slightly. I know it’s not real too.”
Why did her voice catch at that.
“Do you… want it to be?” Diana asked.
Akko paused. “I have no idea,” she whispered. “I know that I love you. I know that I wanna be with you for as long as you’ll have me. And I know that I’m actually pretty excited by the whole wedding dress and ring and living with you and getting to call you my wife and everything…”
Akko took a shallow breath, turning her gaze away. “But I dunno if I’m ready to get married.”
“I’m not sure either,” Diana admitted. “I am only nineteen.”
“I’m not getting cold feet or anything,” Akko said quickly. “I mean, we gotta do it for my visa anyway right?”
“Of course. But then… the dresses, and the plans, and… Akko I’m wearing my mother’s engagement ring,” Diana said, her eyes still locked on it. “It seemed so obvious at the time? I love you. And there’s no doubt in my mind that I love you every bit as much as my mother loved my father when she wore this ring, but it still feels… somehow excessive.”
“Oh yeah about that, you know my parents are demanding to pay for your ring?” Akko said. “The actual wedding ring I mean. Got pretty worked up about it. Said they had to at least contribute this much. And I know it wasn’t cheap, and I kinda didn’t think about it til afterwards but like… why? Why go to all that effort now and not for the real thing later, y’know?”
“That’s… what I’ve been struggling with too,” Diana acknowledged, turning her gaze back to Akko. “Darling, I feel like the two of us may have become a little caught up in the moment.”
“Yeah, I guess,” Akko said. She raised her head, a small grin breaking out on her face as she looked up at Diana. “Isn’t that just like us though?”
Diana laughed softly. “I suppose it is, my love.”
“And I mean, it is gonna be fun, right? And we can still do the proper wedding when we feel ready for it, y’know?” Akko said, taking Diana’s hand, running her fingers over the ring. “No reason we can’t just enjoy both, right?”
“Rather expensive entertainment, don’t you think?” Diana quirked an eyebrow.
“I’m not paying.” Akko shrugged. “In fact I distinctly remember you telling me that I would be getting a nice wedding dress—or suit if I preferred—and you would be paying for it, and there would be consequences if I tried to find any way around you paying for it.” Akko smirked up at her fiancée.
“Ah. Yes I… did say that, didn’t I?” Diana started fidgeting with her fingers, only for Akko to close her hand more tightly over Diana’s, leaning in for a firm kiss that lasted a little longer than it needed to.
“Diana, I’m not mad at you at all,” Akko said, her lips so close she could almost feel them ghosting over Diana’s as she spoke. “I got caught up in this thing too. And honestly? It’s been a blast. A blast, Diana. Just like everything else.” She gave Diana another kiss, because why not?
“Akko, these past two years have brought me happiness I had never expected to know again for as long as I lived.” Diana was so close that the tiny tears in her eyes were all Akko could see. “I would love nothing more than to spend so many more by your side, darling.”
Akko grinned. “Isn’t that just what marriage is, anyway?”
“You might be oversimplifying a little, dear,” Diana arched an eyebrow, before nuzzling her head against Akko’s with a soft smile. “Thank you.”
“Any time, oh darling fiancée of mine.” Akko shut her eyes, stroking Diana’s hand and allowing herself to be lost in the bliss of the moment.
“I’m still not entirely used to you calling me that,” Diana whispered.
“Well the good news is, you won’t have to get used to it,” Akko whispered back. “Cause as of next week, I won’t be calling you anything except my beloved wife for the rest of my life.”
“I… think I would like that quite a lot, my dear fiancée,” Diana responded.
Akko had to kiss her. It was the only way to hide the squeal that nearly came from her chest, after all.
Chapter 2: To Not Fake A Wedding
Sorry this one took a bit, next one's mostly written so should be out within the next week ayyyyyyy
“But we gotta.”
“For the last time, absolutely not.”
“I will ultimatum over this.”
“We both know which of us will win that particular battle of wills.”
“You willing to stake it all on that?”
“You wouldn’t have the nerve.”
Diana sighed, rubbing her temples and leaning back into an upright posture on the sofa. “Is it truly so important?”
“Not to me,” Amanda said, leaning in for emphasis. “To your fiancée. Your bride-to-be. The love of your li—”
“You’ve made the point,” Diana said with an unflinching stare, “and I remain unconvinced of the value of a hen night. You do understand that this kind of ridiculous excess is the exact type of thing we’ve been trying to avoid?”
“OK it won’t be that excessive.” Amanda leaned back and spread their arms genially.
Diana narrowed her eyes.
“Alright fine I’ll cancel the strippers.” Amanda sighed.
“Kidding, kidding.” Amanda raised their hands placatingly. “Look we’re probably just gonna find some dumb fun crap to do that you’d hate but Akko would love. Like, I dunno, go-karting? Laser-tag? One of those giant indoor play parks for adults?”
“With the level of maturity you’ve been showing, I’m not sure they’ll let you in,” Diana commented.
“Touché,” Amanda responded. “But yeah, after that we’d probably just go out for food then hit up a club or something. Nothing super crazy.”
“It’s that last part that has me concerned,” Diana said.
“Ah come on, Akko’s been out clubbing with me a bunch of times,” Amanda said with a wave of their hand.
“I seem to recall the last occasion ended up with Akko bursting into tears when she saw me at the end of the night because, quote, ‘You’re so beautiful and I think I love you but I already have a girlfriend and this feels like cheating I’m so sorry Diana,’” Diana rattled off in a deadpan tone.
“Look, it’s not my fault Akko’s a lightweight.”
“I’ve seen her drink you quite literally under the table.” Diana didn’t even bother to hide her smirk at that. She was allowed to be proud of her girl.
“She makes no sense OK?” Amanda leaned back onto the sofa in defeat. “Her tolerance just seems to be whatever she feels like it should be! I’ve seen her completely destroyed on like a single cocktail, and I’ve seen her throw back five vodka shots in one go like it was nothing.”
“You’ve seen her what?”
“Would you be more or less happy if I told you that was only the start—”
“Actually, I think my life would be better if I didn’t hear the rest of this story,” Diana said.
Amanda nodded in understanding. “Same deal for the bachelorette party then?”
Diana sighed. “Fine. But I have a few conditions.”
Amanda grinned from ear to ear. “Name ‘em.”
“Firstly, Lotte has full veto power on any suggestion you make,” Diana said.
Amanda’s grin faltered a bit, but they nodded. “Yeah that’s fair.”
Diana suddenly remembered that Sucy existed. “Actually, Lotte has full veto power over any suggestions.”
“Secondly, you are not to attempt to pester me into organising my own one of these bloody silly parties. Clear?” Diana said in a tone that brooked no argument.
Amanda’s grin returned in full force. Perhaps even wider, if that were possible. “Crystal.”
“But Diana! You gotta—”
“—have one too! You’re literally—”
Diana pinched the bridge of her nose. “I really need to get better at wording rules.”
Hannah and Barbara just grinned expectantly at her.
“There’s no arguing this point, is there?”
“Not even slightly.”
Diana sighed. “At least run your choice of venue past me first.”
Diana immediately regretted not clapping her hands over her ears to protect against the squeals of delight that accompanied her acquiescence.
“Don’t worry, you won’t—”
“—regret a thing. This is gonna be—
“—the best party—”
“—of your whole life.”
Diana’s phone rang.
She already hated the blasted thing enough at the best of times, and two in the morning was quite firmly not the best of times.
Plan: Obliterate phone with Murowa.
Pros: Feel really good. No more stupid phone. No getting called at two in the bloody morning.
Cons: Would make organising the wedding significantly harder. No more cute messages from Akko. Might accidentally set bed on fire in the process, and she couldn’t blame Akko this time.
With a sigh that came from deep in her soul, Diana answered the phone.
“Hey uh, Diana? Bad time?” Amanda’s voice came down the line.
“Explain right now why I shouldn’t fly to London and kill you myself.”
“Actually that would, uh, help quite a lot,” Amanda said. “Alright Imma level with you, we need you to turn on your video and talk to Akko. Like, right now.”
“O’Neill, what the hell happened?”
“Nothing crazy!” Amanda paused. “OK well nothing bad crazy.”
“Do I want to know?”
“So anyway, Akko just looked at her phone and she saw the picture of you on her lockscreen and she started crying cause you’re too perfect to be real,” Amanda explained.
Diana sighed. “How many drinks has she had?”
“Remember the whole thing about not wanting to know?”
“I will have my vengeance for this, O’Neill.”
“That’s fair. But yeah, video?”
“You’ll need to give me a moment to figure out how this infernal contraption works,” Diana said.
“And turn the light on?”
“Oh. Yes I should probably do that,” Diana acknowledged, reaching out in the dim glow from her phone to her bedside lamp.
After a minute or so that contained probably more swearing than the rest of Diana’s life combined, she was finally greeted with a video feed.
Of an extremely red-faced Akko.
Who immediately started wailing.
“Oh holy crap she’s looking at me!” Akko babbled. “Guys she’s so pretty she can’t look at me I’m gonna die. Amanda what’s this girl’s number I gotta ask her out.”
“Akko, you’re already—”
“She knows who I am! Yatta!” Akko punched the air in celebration, and promptly fell backwards off her chair.
“I’ve got her,” Lotte’s voice came down the line. A few moments later Akko slumped back into place in front of the screen.
“Hey.” Akko grinned lop-sided.
“Hello, dear.” Diana smiled.
“You’re so pretty.” Akko winked. With both eyes.
“You’re even prettier.” Diana winked back. Only with one eye, unfortunately.
“Nope!” Akko raised her hand, smacking Amanda’s phone and causing a moment of scuffled noise as Amanda struggled to maintain their grip. “Hey, pretty lady?”
“Wanna go out with me?” Akko grinned. “I can introduce you to Diana I’m sure you’d get along she’s really pretty like you and she’s so smart and so funny and, wait—”
Sensing a catastrophe on the horizon, Diana moved to avert it. “Yes, Akko, I’d love to go out with you.”
“Yayyy!” Akko cheered.
“Although I’m a little busy next weekend,” Diana said, hoping the tiny screen could convey the warmth of her tender smile.
“Me too! What are the chances?” Akko giggled. “OK, nice talking to you pretty lady! See you for our date!”
“Nice talking to you too, prettier lady,” Diana waved back.
Her screen was suddenly turned to reveal a clearly somewhat inebriated Amanda.
“Does this happen every time?” Diana asked disbelievingly.
“Pretty much, yeah,” Amanda said. “Don’t worry, it’s not like she freaks out over every pretty blonde she sees, it’s just yo—”
“Do I look worried?” Diana interrupted, still with that same tender smile.
Amanda barked a laugh. “Not really, nah. But also,” they took a deep breath, “gayyyyyyyyyy.”
“Well noticed,” Diana said with a yawn. “Do look after her for me, but I’ll be going back to bed now.”
“Will do. Cheers for the help, Diana,” Amanda said.
“That might just be the most genuine thing you’ve ever said to me, Amanda,” Diana noted.
“Ah shush, I’m drunk. I’ll just be twice as annoying tomorrow to make up for it.” Amanda grinned.
“I’m sure. Good night.”
Diana chucked her phone onto her bedside table. “Bloody nuisances, the lot of them.”
She drifted off to sleep with a smile.
“I gotta admit, I’m impressed.”
“Yeah who knew you three could out-chaos Akko’s party.”
“Hannah was involved, to be fair.”
“I’m not the one who started—”
“—the fire at the restaurant though.”
“Wait, that was Barb?”
“Holy crap Dish, I didn’t even know it was possible for me to have this much respect for you.”
“I hope you all understand that we are never speaking of this again.”
“Hey uh, Diana?” Akko asked.
“Yes, dear?” Diana smiled.
“So I just had a chat with James, who seems to be calling himself our head caterer?” Akko raised a single eyebrow. Wonderful to see the influence Diana had on her beloved fiancée.
“Ah, good, I’d been meaning to get him to ask you about your preference for the entrées,” Diana said, not even looking up from the mound of papers in front of her. “Make sure he passed it on to Verity, she’s the overall wedding planner.”
“You better be paying them.” Akko folded her arms.
“Of course I am. I looked up competitive rates for the roles and paid ten percent on top of that,” Diana said, jotting down a reminder to herself to get Barbara to send them both gift baskets after all was said and done. “We both know they’d do as good a job as any professionals, and they love you, so they’ll be even more diligent.”
“OK I appreciate that, but why did you hire a wedding planner?” Akko asked in disbelief.
Diana looked up from the papers. “Akko, you do see how much preparation work I’m having to do here, even with one, yes?” She gestured at the work on her desk. “Fortunately exams are over and my university applications were sent months ago so I’m able to devote most of my attention to—”
“Diana!” Akko threw her arms into the air. “You wouldn’t be doing all of this prep if we’d kept it small like we said in the first place.”
“This is small, Akko,” Diana said exasperatedly, before taking a quick breath. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t snap. Akko, we agreed early on that an actual venue wedding would help with maintaining the legitimate appearance of our union in a way that a quick signing at a registry office would not, yes?”
“So,” Diana said, “that means we need to organise catering, unless you want to starve on your own wedding day.”
Food, always the fastest way to Akko’s heart. Diana could be unsporting if she wanted to.
“Alright, I get it,” Akko sighed.
“We also need chairs for our guests to sit on, tables for the food, some decorations and nice tablecloths for those so they don’t look completely barren, unless you thought we were just going to drag out the cafeteria tables.” Diana raised an eyebrow.
“I mean, considering where you proposed—”
“Furthermore!” Diana very deliberately interrupted her. “We need cake, a photographer, flowers… Actually, did I tell you Daryl offered to pay for the flowers?” Diana asked.
Akko’s eyes widened. “Why?”
“I have no idea. A peace offering, perhaps?”
“Maybe she just likes flowers?” Akko shrugged.
“Perhaps.” Diana’s eyes grew distant for a moment, before returning to reality. “We also need a DJ, for the, ah, dancing part. And don’t think I forgot about hiring a dancing coach for you.” Diana’s lips quirked into the tiniest smirk.
“I still think I could’ve just got Amanda to teach me.” Akko folded her arms with a huff. “They’re a broom dancer, right?”
“Ah yes, the most important part.” Diana cleared her throat with great gravitas. “Having a wedding planner means there is someone, not me, who can pull rank on Amanda and stop them from sabotaging our wedding with ridiculous suggestions like setting rainbow coloured fireworks after our vows.”
Akko burst out laughing. “You seriously hired one of the kitchen goblins to yell at Amanda for you?”
Diana didn’t flinch. “Obviously.”
Akko sat down on Diana’s bed, still giggling to herself. “You know most of their suggestions are a joke, right?”
“The fireworks weren’t.”
“Neither was the idea to hire a ‘queer femme anarcho-punk band’ to play for our first dance,” Diana said, hoping Akko could hear the air-quotes.
“I mean I wanted to do it to the theme song of that Shiny Chariot show that got cancelled after five episodes, but you vetoed that too.” Akko slumped back onto the bed.
“The show really wasn’t very good, dear,” Diana said, as if she hadn’t watched it on repeat for years.
“Don’t tell me you weren’t tempted.” Akko looked up with an impish grin.
“It’s on the playlist for the sillier section, later in the night,” Diana placated. “I believe that the more inebriated Daryl is when the barrage of J-Pop begins, the better.”
Akko sat up, very quickly. She reached out, clasping Diana’s hand with reverence. “You put J-Pop on our wedding playlist?”
“Akko, it’s our wedding, and half of that is you,” Diana said, a gentle smile on her lips. “There’s over an hour of your favourites, dear.”
“Marry me.” Akko blurted out. “Wait—”
Diana burst out laughing. A loud, genuine, thoroughly inelegant laugh that took no time at all to send Akko spiralling into a fit of giggles of her own.
Diana rested her arm against Akko’s shoulder for support, still quaking from her laughter. “I love you so much, Akko.”
“Love you more.” Akko leaned forwards, letting her forehead gently rest against Diana’s and rubbing their noses together.
Who’d known it was possible to feel so completely, utterly loved?
“Diana! Diana you gotta get over here, it’s an emergency!” Akko yelled, dragging Diana away from her conversation with Andrew.
“Thank you, darling.” Diana sighed with relief.
“What? Wait, no, this isn’t an excuse there’s actually an emergency!” Akko moved far quicker than was strictly polite across the grounds.
“Just how bad is it—” Diana started, before stopping completely still.
Daryl was talking to Mrs Kagari.
“…I thought we very specifically made several arrangements to prevent this from occurring,” Diana said in a clipped tone.
“I had to go greet Frank!” Akko wailed.
“And Lotte? Barbara? Hannah?” Diana demanded.
“Helping out the minotaurs with the marquee, arguing with the decorators, keeping Amanda out of trouble before the rehearsal,” Akko rattled off, counting on her fingers.
“Well. Bugger.” Diana said.
They both stared at the conversation with steadily mounting dread.
“Akko, is that your mother’s sarcastic fake-politeness smile that she used on that rude customer the second time I visited?” Diana commented drily.
“Yyyup,” Akko confirmed. “And that’s Daryl’s smile for when she’s talking down to you but thinks you’re too dumb to realise?”
“Exactly the one, yes dear,” Diana said.
“Yeah, I’m familiar.”
“Maybe your mother will slap her?”
“I could see it.”
“Amusing as it would be—”
“—we should probably—”
They tore their eyes away from the train wreck in motion to gaze at one another.
“Yes, oh wondrous fiancée of mine?”
“I have absolutely no idea how to interrupt this conversation in a way that doesn’t make it worse.”
“Oh yeah same, I kinda just assumed you had something we could work with.”
“I do not.”
They stared for a few seconds longer.
“Akko your father is heading right towards—”
“Yep! On it!” Akko made a beeline across the field, smoothly intercepting Mr Kagari before he could get involved, thank heaven.
Akko’s mother was capable of faking a smile. Akko’s father, on the other hand, was about as close to a clone of his daughter as it was possible to be while being a man in his mid forties.
Upside: perpetually smiling father-in-law (as of tomorrow) who loved Diana so much she still wasn’t really sure how to process it.
Downside: man with Akko’s temperament about to enter a conversation where Daryl Cavendish was being condescending to his wife.
And Diana had plenty of experience with how people with Akko’s temperament responded to Daryl being rude to their wi— fiancée.
For twenty-two hours more. And ten minutes. Give or take fifteen seconds or so.
Diana was allowed to be excited, she was getting married. To Akko.
…Although having the respective families still alive would probably help with that part. So with a deep sigh, Diana steeled her resolve, and strode towards the conversation.
“Hello again, Megumi! I see you’ve met my aunt Daryl. Lovely to see the two of you getting along!” Diana said, side-eyeing Daryl pointedly.
Daryl didn’t quite roll her eyes, but Diana was familiar enough to see gestures unmade and words unspoken.
“Yes, Ms Cavendish was just telling me how happy she is that Akko will be staying in your family manor over the summer.” Megumi said, with the widest, fakest smile Diana had ever seen. “Just don’t forget to come visit Japan! We love having the both of you to stay!”
“It’s the first thing on the agenda once the visa processing is complete, don’t worry Megumi,” Diana said with a small smile. Perhaps not the most elegant reminder of the real reason for everything but… If it would get them both to take it all a bit less seriously, that would be nice at least.
“I look forward to it!” Megumi smiled, genuinely this time, giving Diana’s shoulder a gentle squeeze before mercifully turning to speak to Yoh and Akko.
Only years of practice prevented Diana from heaving a sigh of relief. Well, that and the fact she was now stuck talking to Daryl.
“First name terms?” Daryl raised an eyebrow.
“They insisted,” Diana said simply.
The eyebrow stayed raised.
Diana continued to stare her down.
“Can you not for five seconds!?” Hannah’s exasperated voice drew closer.
Diana and Daryl’s heads swivelled as one towards the source of the interruption.
“Look, all I’m sayin’, Dish was really holding out by not telling the rest of us that her cousins are smokin’ ho—” Amanda was silenced by not one, but two patented Cavendish Death Glares at close range.
“Wanna have this conversation somewhere else?” Hannah suggested sweetly. “Or better yet, not at all?”
Amanda nodded quickly, backpedalling out of the conversation as swiftly as they’d entered, eyes flicking nervously between Diana and Daryl as if unsure which of the two was about to turn them to stone first.
“…I see the officiant is doing a wonderful job of getting to know the guests,” Daryl commented drily.
Diana just sighed. What else could she do?
Diana gazed out into the darkness. Somewhere out there, barely visible under the blanket of night, was a fully prepared wedding venue.
Fifteen hours, twenty-three minutes. And a few seconds for Diana to hopefully not get too choked up during her vows.
“I still think we should have rented somewhere out.” Hannah wrinkled her nose.
“And for whose benefit would that have been?” Diana turned from the window to arch an eyebrow at her, already knowing the exact answer.
“OK we don’t have to go super luxury or anything, but seriously, our dorm is not a bridal suite,” Hannah said.
“Yeah, your bride-to-be has one,” Barbara reasoned. “There’s a really cute cottage on the edge of town we could have got…”
“Girls, she’s staying in a hotel room next door to her parents, I’m not sure how much that qualifies,” Diana said drily. “And more to the point, it’s helpful for us to be on-site, just in case something comes up that needs our attention.”
“Like what?” they asked simultaneously.
“The marquee could collapse. There could be a hold up with the food deliveries, or there could be some sort of malfunction in the kitchen preventing them from preparing it.” Diana wrung her hands. “There could be a fire, or an earthquake, or a terrible flood—”
“Diana.” Hannah put her hands on Diana’s shoulder. “There isn’t going to be a terrible flood. It’s June.”
“To be fair, this is England.” Barbara chuckled.
Hannah rolled her eyes. “Diana, it might rain a little. You’ll survive. It’s all gonna be fine, OK?”
“But what if it isn’t?” Diana clenched her hands again. “And what if Akko’s upset and I make her cry on her wedding day and—” Diana took a deep, shaky breath. “I want her to be happy. And I feel selfish because this wedding is supposed to be about enabling her to live the life she wants to, and yet…”
Diana glanced between her two closest friends. “Girls, I feel so happy. I feel positively giddy with excitement about the idea of marrying Akko tomorrow, but I can’t escape the nagging voice at the back of my mind that demands to know if she feels as excited as I do.”
“You could just ask her,” Barbara said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“It would be awfully presumptuous of me to—”
Hannah clapped her hands to the sides of Diana’s face. “OK, Diana, I want you to listen closely, because you’re the dumbest genius I have ever met in my entire life.”
Diana nodded, feeling her cheeks being smushed by Hannah’s hands.
“Akko. Loves. You.” Hannah clapped her hands against Diana’s cheeks again to emphasise each word. “She’s been walking around giggling and grinning and telling everyone within two hundred miles about her ‘cute sweet lovely precious fiancée Diana’ since the day you proposed. Stop. Panicking. And go to bed.”
Barbara nodded. “Yeah. That.”
Diana shook her head free of Hannah’s hands. “Alright, I admit that I… may have let the stress get to me a little. Thank you, girls.”
“—now how about—”
“—you go to sleep—”
“—you sappy, lovestruck dummy.”
As it turned out, there was no fire, or earthquake, nor did anything go wrong with the food preparation. (Diana would later learn that the pre-ceremony hors d'oeuvres were delayed fifteen minutes or so due to an issue with one of the ovens, but Verity and James went to significant effort making sure Diana did not find out this fact until after her wedding day).
This being England, it did rain a little, but strangely, that fact never stuck in Diana’s memory.
How could it compare?
How could anything compare to the sight of Akko Kagari wearing the most impossibly beautiful dress to ever exist? How could anything compare to the feeling of walking side by side with her down the aisle?
Even Amanda couldn’t hide their bright, genuine smile upon seeing the two of them reach the altar before them.
Diana did choke up a bit during her vows.
And making Akko cry on her wedding day wasn’t the disaster she’d feared it would be, as she fully burst into tears during both Diana’s vows and her own.
It was the small details like those that stuck in Diana’s mind. The memories that returned to her time and time again, lighting a lingering warmth in her chest for years and years to come.
But one memory triumphed above all others.
After all, how could anything compare to that moment. The moment where she became Akko’s, and Akko became hers.
Something was wrong.
There was no Akko in her bed.
That simply would not do.
Despite how bleary she was from the excitement of the previous day, there was no force on Earth that could impede Diana Cavendish in her quest to find out why her wife was absent from bed on the first day of the rest of their life together.
Diana pulled on her robe, a surprisingly impressive feat while running on four hours of sleep, and strode—definitely not stumbled, strode— into the kitchen-slash-main room of their honeymoon cottage.
To see her beloved wife, Akko Kagari. And a midair pancake.
“Oh hi Dian-ACK!” Akko spluttered as the pancake landed on the edge of the pan and half sheared off directly onto the floor.
“Noooo!” Akko wailed, dropping to her knees in despair. “The pancake! It was too pure for this world…”
“…Darling, what are you doing?” Diana asked, too tired to even attempt to parse why Akko was up at the crack of dawn making pancakes.
Akko mumbled something, still looking at the half-pancake on the floor with a defeated quivering of her lip.
“I was… making you breakfast in bed…” Akko said, glancing up at Diana with tears starting to form in her eyes. “But I forgot to practice making pancakes and, um, well… I’m sorry!”
Diana’s gaze tracked over to the table, where she saw a small stack of misshapen and torn pancakes. A couple of them looked like they’d got folded on top of themselves during the flip and glued together. One had somehow disintegrated into five pieces.
Diana crossed the room in a few swift steps, wrapped her arms around Akko, and kissed her as deeply as she could.
“You are so perfect, you know that?” Diana said reverently.
Akko sniffled, setting the pan down and clutching onto Diana, nestling into her shoulder. “Sorry we get to start out married life together with me being a crybaby,” Akko mumbled.
“It’s quite alright, and I truly appreciate the gesture, Akko.” Diana swayed gently, pressing soft kisses to the top of Akko’s head.
“And I was gonna, gonna like, do a whole bunch of cute wifey stuff for you,” Akko babbled. “Then I realised we don’t even have an iron here, and none of your shirts are even wrinkly cause, y’know, you kinda spent all day yesterday in the most beautiful dress to ever exist.”
“Except the part where you—”
“Except that part, yeah.” Akko said far too quickly, shuddering in Diana’s arms.
Diana tried very hard to distract the part of her brain that was very keen to relive those memories. Or make new ones.
“Akko, dear, why would you even think to iron my shirts. Do I look like the kind of lady who expects you to perform some kind of ridiculous ‘wifely duties’ or other such nonse—”
“It would have been really funny!” Akko practically yelled into Diana’s chest.
Diana burst out laughing, revelling in the feeling of Akko descending into giggles herself in her arms. How was it that this woman was always able to bring so much joy to her life?
“And like, it would’ve been super cute too, right?” Akko tilted her head back to grin up at her.
“As if you could ever be otherwise.” Diana pressed a kiss to Akko’s forehead.
“But yeah, uh, that was the plan for this morning. Breakfast in bed, ironing your shirts, waking you with kisses, all the cute wifey stuff,” Akko said, her trepidation gone now. “Just I, uh, kinda messed up every part of it.”
“I beg to differ, darling,” Diana said. “You did make us, ” she stressed the word, “what I’m sure is a lovely breakfast, presentation aside.”
Akko snickered at that.
“And, more to the point…” Diana brought a hand up to thread through Akko’s hair, letting it gently fall through her fingers. “You will always be the cutest wife in the entire world. No matter what.”
Akko giggled, shutting her eyes and leaning up for another kiss.
And who was Diana to deny her wife what she requested?
Unfortunately, the pancakes went cold.
Neither of them cared all that much.
They move into a flat in St. Andrew’s a full two months before Diana’s term is actually due to start. Amanda only makes three jokes about Diana finally coming to appreciate Andrew’s charming personality, but Diana wasn’t about to let a bloody name stop her from going to a university that offered her carte blanche to specialise in medical applications of magic once she finished her undergrad.
Even if she did double check to make sure he’d taken the offer at Oxford before she confirmed her place.
Akko, of course, immediately decorates their flat to within an inch of its life. A tapestry of posters covers nearly every wall. Mostly of Shiny Chariot, of course, but pride of place over the dinner table goes to one of the two of them on the Shooting Star that they’d happened to find in a street market in Paris which Akko had immediately purchased and nearly given the poor vendor a heart attack in the process.
She was a big fan, apparently.
Aside from that, there’s a smattering of tickets and promotional bills for the handful of shows Akko had already performed, alongside Akko’s own Shiny Chariot Tokyo 2007 ticket, of course. Diana had never been sure where hers had gone, probably binned by Carter after the show, but that was OK, her Little Witch Akko Blytonbury 2019 and 2020 tickets matter a lot more anyway.
“Darling, what’s the plan for when we have Little Witch Akko St. Andrew’s 2020 tickets and promotions to put up?”
“They’ll fit somewhere, don’t worry about it Diana.”
So she doesn’t.
But even aside from the tickets and posters and bills, nothing can compare to the sheer number of photo frames attached to every surface of the flat. It’s remarkably like Akko’s home back in Chiba, and so wonderfully novel to Diana—whose concept of “photos around the house” largely consisted of centuries-old portraits of her ancestors—that she can’t help but light up in a contented smile nearly every time her attention drifts onto a photo of Akko making a silly face while Diana smiles softly at her.
Of which there are many, many examples.
But what makes their flat different to Akko’s family home is in the small details, the fine touches. Diana’s weekly schedule finds itself stuck to the fridge door long before term was even due to start.
“I appreciate the gesture, dear, but I’m quite capable of remembering my own timetable.”
“Nah, that’s for me. So I know when you’re free and I can come in and see you! And then if you have enough time we can go to that little ice cream shop near the old castle ruins! And maybe take a walk around them and—”
“That sounds lovely, Akko.”
And of course, Akko immediately replaces their perfectly serviceable sofa with a foldout sofa-bed, “just in case” any of their friends come to visit them. Which, of course, they do. Several times. Akko never even says “I told you so,” but Diana loses count of how many times she drifts off to sleep for a 9 am lecture the next morning to the sounds of soft chatter between Akko and Lotte, or Sucy, or Jasminka, or whoever else had taken the time and the leyline trip just to crash on a sofa in their living room.
Diana could get used to this.
In fact, before she realises it, she does.
Directly in front of the door, there’s a double handprint, one in red, one in blue. Akko swears blind the blue one is slightly larger. Diana can’t tell. Sucy almost vomits upon seeing it.
“I didn’t know it was even possible for you two to be any more basic than you already were.”
“That a challenge? I’m sure we can get a Live, Laugh, Love thing from Lotte.”
“Actually, I’d really rather we didn’t, dear.”
They don’t. Instead, Akko draws a big heart around their handprints. It’s messy, misshapen, and so utterly, utterly Akko that Diana can’t help but love it.
“Hey, have you met my wife Diana?”
“You don’t need to wave your ring in their faces when you say that, dear.”
“As if you don’t.”
“I assure you I do not.”
“You lifted your hand and smiled at it just there when I called you my wife, Diana. You’re not fooling anyone.”
“Hey new person! I’m Diana’s wife!”
“Miss Clary has been assisting me with my research project, Akko. I believe I’ve mentioned her?”
“Oh yeah! You’re a witch too, right? That’s cool! I’m Diana’s wife, by the way.”
“A pleasure to meet you! It’s been a true privilege to work with Mrs Cavendish on this project.”
“You flatter me, Audrey. And might I say I’ve never met a witch quite so enthusiastic as you with regards to the medical applications of spellcraft.”
“Not a word I spoke was false! You blaze a new trail with each publication, and your wealth of knowledge on the topic is unrivalled, perhaps even on a global sca—”
“Yeah, Diana’s amazing! Have I mentioned that I’m her wife???”
“Ahahaha! I must introduce you to my girlfriend some day. Something tells me the two of you will get along quite well.”
“Marion, have you met my ex-girlfriend Diana?”
“Must you really do this routine every time, dear?”
“Oh, but I must.”
“Marion, I’m her wife.”
“Hey look I even got you to do the thing with the ring!”
“You guys are, to borrow a phrase, adorable.”
After a few seconds patting around her bed, Akko rationalised that Diana wasn’t there, probably at a lecture or something, and allowed herself a truly luxurious stretch, before settling back into a haphazard mess of blankets and pillows with a happy burbling noise.
It was Sunday.
Diana didn’t have lectures on Sunday mornings.
Akko cracked an eye open. 7:31 am.
…If that no good wife of hers had been up studying from the night before, again, Akko would be having words.
Akko stomped out of their bedroom towards the kitchen, barely dressed but also very willing to use this fact as a bargaining chip to negotiate Diana into at least a couple hours of sleep, when she smelled…
Akko rounded the corner to see Diana, fresh and lively, humming to herself as she slid a spatula beneath a half-cooked pancake, lifting and flipping it with ease before she settled it back onto the pan.
“No fair! That’s the cheat method!” Akko declared with a pout, crossing the room to wrap her arms around Diana’s back and press a kiss to the side of her neck anyway.
Diana chuckled. “Morning, my love.” With a brief glance to make sure the pancake was settled and still cooking, she tilted her head round to peck Akko’s lips gently. “It’s a little early, I know, but there’s three on the table already if you’d like to get started.”
For the first and only time in Akko’s life, she refused the offer of food. “No. They were cheated too. Do one the real way, then we can eat,” she declared with a giggle.
“Very well.” Diana sighed, sliding the pancake onto the stack of identically perfect pancakes.
Akko watched Diana like a hawk as she poured what remained of the batter onto the sizzling pan. Akko grabbed the spatula from her hand. “Removing temptation.” She grinned impishly.
Diana rolled her eyes. “You do realise they taste exactly the same.”
Akko shook her head. “Nuh uh. The real ones taste way worse cause half of them end up on the floor.”
Diana snorted, almost sending the pan jittering as giggles wracked her. Akko descended into laughter beside her, still with her arms wrapped around her wife’s waist. “Is this cute and wifey enough for you?” Diana asked as the batter began to solidify.
“Always.” Akko gave her another kiss. “Alright, I’ll stand back.”
Akko set down the spatula, before doing the most obnoxious drumroll she could manage on her thighs as Diana slid the pan back and forth, loosening the base of the pancake for the flip.
Diana flipped the pancake.
It soared into the air.
The entire thing landed on the ground with a splat.
The pair of them looked at the deceased pancake for a moment, before looking back at each other and laughing for a long, long time.
Rain pattered gently against the window. A chill had pervaded their flat, not so bitter as to necessitate a heating spell, but enough that Akko had wrapped a blanket around her lower half as she snuggled against Diana’s lap. That was April in Scotland for you.
Diana’s fingers threaded through Akko’s hair, drawing lazy trails against her scalp that made her want to just turn off her phone, allow her eyes to drift shut, and drown herself completely in the sensation of home.
So she did.
Diana must have noticed, because Akko could feel the soft chuckle vibrate through her body. Akko would swear she could feel Diana’s laughter transferring through those gentle fingers, her love flowing directly into Akko’s mind and body from her touch.
“You really love it when I play with your hair, don’t you?” Diana said with an amused lilt to her voice.
“Mmm.” Akko curled up a little closer to Diana, as if she could become one with that radiant beacon of love if she tried hard enough.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” Diana continued without missing a beat. Akko was vaguely aware that she’d set her own phone down. Probably distracting her from some scientific journal or other. Diana had adapted to that one aspect of modern technology surprisingly quickly when she had learned that it enabled one-handed reading. Which, very importantly, left one hand free for Akko! And Akko’s hair!
And maybe Akko was feeling a little self-satisfied at having been so cute that Diana wasn’t even using her phone at all right now. Take that, British Medical Journal! Akko 1 - Science 0.
“I’ve been thinking,” Diana said, lifting a hand off Akko’s head for a moment and allowing a few locks of hair to drift through her fingers.
After a moment’s pause, Diana returned to her ministrations. “Surprised you didn’t say ‘always dangerous,’ or something similarly pithy.”
“Was tempted. Love you too much right now.” Akko said, preening under Diana’s touch.
“So you don’t all the other times?” Diana was probably doing that smirk where she raised her eyebrow just a little bit.
“Hey, I didn’t take the low-hanging fruit,” Akko defended, opening one eye to give Diana a faux-hurt look.
Diana chuckled. “True. Perhaps you’ve taught me too well.”
“My life’s work is complete.” Akko shot Diana a cheeky smile, before shutting her eyes contentedly once more. “So. Thinking?”
“Ah yes. So I was thinking… Remember when we moved in here, and I told you not to be so ridiculous with the decorations since we would likely only be here for a short while,” Diana was waffling. She did that when she had something big to say and had rehearsed it over and over and then promptly forgotten all of it when she started talking.
That only happened around Akko. Akko noticed these things about her wife. Because she was adorable.
“Mhm?” Akko kept her eyes closed, indicating for Diana to continue.
“…Do we need to?” Diana asked, far too quickly after the pause. “Move out, I mean,” she clarified immediately, fingers stilling in Akko’s hair.
Akko cracked her eyes open, smiling up at Diana as she began to babble.
“It’s only that, well we’ve been here for a few years already, and we both quite like the place, and I suppose we will have to move back to the manor at some point in the future but I still have at least five more years of study to complete before I need to leave St. Andrews. Seven, most likely. Depending on the workload of my—”
“Diana,” Akko interrupted her, gazing up at the silly woman she loved so much. “That was rambly even for me.”
Diana flushed. “Sorry, darling. I… What I mean to say is…” Diana took a deep breath. “I had always imagined us moving in somewhere new after we did our… second wedding. The proper one. The one we’d said we would do to make up for the first one not being at the right time and—”
“Yeah, I know the thing you mean.” Akko sat up, reaching her hands out for Diana’s, gazing into her eyes. “Diana, are you saying you wanna—”
“I— Akko, I will be truthful with you. I had been intending to, well, re-propose after I completed the current year. But…”
“But?” Akko asked, squeezing Diana’s hands to reassure her. “I mean I can tell you my answer now, if it’ll help. Pretty sure you already know it though.” She smiled gently.
Diana’s eyes flickered, dancing away from Akko for a moment. “Akko…” she began, before returning her gaze to Akko, “doesn’t it already feel a little like we’re married anyway?”
“The wedding rings didn’t give it away?” Akko shot her a cheeky grin.
“You know exactly what I mean!” Diana snapped, blushing furiously.
Akko burst out laughing. “I do, I do! And I mean, yeah, I do.” Akko emphasised that statement by leaning in for a quick, tender kiss, squeezing Diana’s hands again as their lips made contact. “I meant it when I said it, Diana. I meant the vows too. Maybe I wasn’t ready for everything it meant then, but… I am now.” Akko took a deep breath.
“Diana, I love you. I love you even more now than I did on that day, and I honestly, truly believed that wouldn’t even be possible. But I do. I love you so much and sometimes I just see my ring and I get this feeling in my chest that’s so overwhelming that I almost tear up knowing how much you love me too.” Akko knew her eyes were brimming with tears right now. She didn’t care. “If you wanna do the whole re-marriage thing, I’d love to. Any opportunity to show the world how much I love my wonderful wife, y’know?”
Diana giggled. “…But?”
Akko giggled back. “I didn’t say that.”
“You didn’t need to.”
“See how well you know me? I mean, yeah, that’s my point. See how well you know me? How much you love me? How much I love you?” Akko nestled her forehead against Diana’s, shutting her eyes one more time. “Diana. We’re kinda married already.”
This time it was Diana’s turn to burst out laughing, leaning in to press kiss after soft kiss to Akko’s lips even through her mirth. “Akko, darling, I think that wedding might have been just a bit more real than either of us thought.”
Akko giggled back, meeting Diana’s lips in a kiss that was meant to be longer but was interrupted by the fact neither of them could stop laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation. “How bloody like us.”
“Isn’t it just?”
“Seriously, who else would get pretend married but for real?”
“Well, my darling wife Akko, might I say that these four years I have spent as your wife have been the happiest of my life.” Diana raised Akko’s hand to her cheek, before meeting it with her lips.
Akko stroked the side of Diana’s face gently. “Couldn’t agree more, my lovely wife Diana.”
“Even if you ironed all my shirts for our last anniversary.”
“In my defence, it was exactly as funny as I thought it would be.”
Diana was still shaking, her laughter subsiding against Akko’s soft fingers. “Darling, would it ruin the mood if I were to say that I’m particularly glad I don’t have to do all of that wedding planning nonsense again?”
“No that’s pretty fair.”
A moment passed.
“Also I had no idea how I was gonna find something even sappier than ‘my believing heart is yours’ so honestly I’m kinda glad too,” Akko said quickly.
“I’m sure you would have found a way,” Diana said. “Or should I say, I believe,” she smirked, “in your ability to find something to say that’s almost as adorable as you are.”
“I could try, but then it could never live up to how sweet you are.” Akko grinned, before closing her eyes once again, drifting forwards to capture Diana’s lips. She pulled away for the briefest moment. “My wonderful wife.”
True to Akko’s claims, more space was found for new posters, new tickets, new souvenirs. Full sized posters of Little Witch Akko at Hampden Park and Little Witch Akko at Wembley flanked the poster of the pair of them on the Shooting Star. Akko’s ticket for Shiny Chariot at the Tokyo Dome 2007 was accompanied by Diana’s ticket for Little Witch Akko at the Tokyo Dome 2022. Adorable plushies of Little Witch Akko and Shiny Diana held hands on the corner of Diana’s desk in their bedroom. The wall behind that desk was covered in printouts of each time Diana got published, with pride of place going to the first one (when she was still an undergrad, the show-off (putting up the printouts was Akko’s idea anyway (because she’s very very proud of her super genius doctor-researcher wife))).
A tiny purple handprint joined the larger red and blue ones. Right in the middle.
So I ended up publishing this on my actual anniversary LOL kinda fitting I guess love you dear.