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.