The sound of Diana’s name floats somewhere in the back of her mind. It’s insistent, but the cozy warmth around her continues to drag her back to the depths of sleep time and time again.
“Diana,” she hears again. There’s no urgency to the voice calling her—just an odd bite that she’s not quite used to hearing.
She almost feels the images moving behind her eyelids fading into the depths of her subconscious, eyes fluttering as she tries to open them.
“Diana,” the voice calls one more time, and she becomes distantly aware that it’s Sucy’s voice.
Sucy? she wonders to herself.
Then, there’s a hand on her shoulder. A little shake. “Diana. Wake up.”
Finally, she manages to pry her eyes open, squinting against the light flowing in through the blinds on the windows. She stares at the girl in front of her, mind still working to catch up to the situation. Sucy stares back, unmoved.
“You need to go get changed, right?” Sucy asks her.
Diana’s mind turns the question over a few times, vaguely wondering what she might need to get changed for. While she’s wondering, she’s almost dragged back into the land of sleep by the warmth still enveloping her.
Changed… she wonders. Then, as her mind catches up, the adrenaline rush. Changed!
“Oh!” she gasps, the feeling of warmth and comfort melting away.
That’s right, she realizes. She’d stayed with Akko again.
Diana whips the covers aside, only realizing that it was inconsiderate when she feels Akko curl against her back. Her distress is mitigated by Sucy telling her that Akko needs to wake up anyway. She doesn’t stay to say good morning to the girl, though, needing to get back to her own dorm and get ready.
Professor Finneran was quite clear about the two of them being late again.
Again, Diana was mortified to walk the halls in her nightgown, but otherwise the morning passed without incident. She had managed to get ready for the day in a timely manner and made it to class with time to spare. Then Akko, true to form, had barreled in mere moments before class began.
It’s over lunch, when Diana is silently congratulating herself over her early morning poise, that the day takes an altogether unexpected turn.
Just as she’s wondering how she might find a way to have a restful and rejuvenating sleep on her own, she hears, “What are they staring at?” It’s Hannah making the complaint, though she seems more curious than upset. Either way, it’s enough to pique Diana’s curiosity, and she looks up from her lunch tray and glances about. When she meets Sucy’s unwavering stare almost immediately, her skin prickles for reasons she can’t quite fathom.
A closer look at the group reveals Lotte peeking at her from underneath her bangs, head ducked as though she might be reading the open book beside her.
And Akko, the lively thing, chatters endlessly as if she’s oblivious to where her teammates’ attentions are directed. But Diana doesn’t miss the handful of glances sent her way in the midst of all that chatter.
Diana is immediately covered in goosebumps and she discreetly rubs her arms for a moment to calm the sensation. She doesn’t stop watching the group, though, and eventually Sucy simply waves in her halfhearted way and turns back to Akko and her antics. Lotte seems to take that as some sort of signal and drops her eyes to her book once more.
But Akko continues to glance at her every now and again. A fact for which Diana finds that she is glad.
That night, she wakes in a cold sweat with nothing more than a gasp. She’s glad to have avoided waking her teammates for the first time in a while and quietly slips out of bed and to the door. She hesitates as she reaches for the knob, doubling back to grab her uniform from where it hangs on the bathroom door.
A short while later, she stands in front of the door to Akko’s dorm—this time greeted by Lotte—and shakes the hanger with her clothes. “I hope I’m not being presumptuous,” she whispers.
Lotte smiles—a warm and welcoming thing that puts Diana at ease—and says, “Not at all,” as she gestures her inside.