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While explosions had become less common, the occasional mistake happened. Though of course, Diana wasn’t surprised when she turned around to find its source had been a black-faced brunette looking surprised that her potion had blown up on her face.

The teacher clapped her hands to get the class to focus back on their experiments while Lotte helped Akko with the cleanup.

“I don’t know why it blew up,” Akko complained after wiping her face. “I did everything as the instructions said! A touch of dragon-scale dust, an eggshell, two cyclops toenails…”

“Two cyclops big toenails,” Sucy corrected her.

“Ugh, what’s the difference? They’re all the same.”

“The difference,” Diana turned, crossing her arms in annoyance at Akko’s dismissal of the procedure, “is that big toenails are stronger than the others. By not using them, you destabilized your potion and caused it to blow up. If the instructions call for a specific ingredient, Akko, why is it so hard for you to use them?”

Akko frowned. “That’s none of your business,” she said, sticking her tongue out. The gesture was cute, but it irked Diana further.

“You have committed this error countless times at this point,” she said, stepping away from her desk. “Precise measurements are important.”

Akko’s eyes flared as she strongly stomped towards Diana. “Well this was not a matter of precision! I just mistook the ingredients!” she said, getting closer.

“You did not mistake them, you ignored the instructions, which are two completely different things,” Diana said.

“Well what do you care? It’s not that big a deal!” Akko all but yelled at her face.

She was close. Too close. Diana got distracted looking at those angry red eyes for a second. A small breath got caught in her throat, and she faked a little cough to break eye contact and regain her senses. “It happens to be a ‘big deal’ when you’re in a room full of people,” she said, pointing around them. “We work with mostly safe potions so that potential damage is always minimized, but have you ever considered what will happen when the class gets more complicated, when the consequences of those mistakes are not easily cleaned with a wet rag and a broom? Traditionally, only up to three witches work in the same room at a time, and it is not simply because of the existence of coven. ‘Mistakes’ like the ones you just made can be extremely dangerous, and keeping people away from those potential mistakes is important. Some of the most basic healing potions can have life-threatening side effects due to errors as simple as brewing them for fifteen seconds longer than needed. You claim to be putting effort into your studies, yet you keep repeating these actions over and over. How big of a deal does it have to be before you start taking instructions seriously?”

Akko opened her mouth to reply, but closed it again and clenched her fists in frustration. “Whatever, no-one got hurt so it’s ok!” she replied and turned to stomp away.

With a sigh, Diana went back to her own already finished potion. She didn’t enjoy lecturing the brunette nearly as much as Akko seemed to believe, but Diana knew she could do better when she wanted.

Or maybe that was a bit of a lie. Akko did have the strange habit of getting awfully close when they argued, and Diana found it a tad cute. Not that she started those discussions on purpose just to get Akko to do that, of course. She’d never stoop so low.

 

“Aaaah!” Akko shouted at no one in particular. “She’s so annoying!”

Sucy took a deep breath and hid behind her book. Lotte looked up from the homework she was doing at the room’s desk. The afternoon glow slipped through the window, tinting the bedroom orange. “Is this about the argument you had with Diana?”

“Yeah! She’s so… ugh,” Akko crossed her arms and puffed her cheeks. “She always goes on and on about the importance of this tradition or other and I can’t stand it! She should mind her own business.”

“You could try listening and learning from her, for once,” Sucy offered. It was tiring hearing Akko talk about how ‘annoying’ she found Diana at least once every couple days.

Lotte gave her the look she usually offered when she acted insensitive towards Akko before turning to the brunette. “She only wants you to do better, Akko.”

“Well she should try to make things shorter! I don’t even remember a word she said! If she wants me to actually listen she should keep her lectures short or shut up!”

Sucy, very slowly, lifted an eyebrow. “You say that, but you always look mesmerized at her for minutes at a time as she goes on and on.”

“I do not,” Akko said, looking away.

“And you always walk right up to her face,” Sucy continued. “There’s no need for that. Half the time it looks like you wanna kiss her,” she pointed out.

Akko froze. “I-I don’t want to kiss Diana! Why would you think that? She’s just annoying and I get close to her because, uhm…” she trailed off. “I can intimidate her! Yeah, that.”

She’s taller than you, and her stare could freeze hell over, Sucy thought, but figured pointing it out would just make Akko sulk more.

“I mean, kissing your rival is a good way to get them to shut up,” Lotte said, pushing her glasses up her nose.

Akko paused.

Sucy paused too, turning to look at Lotte, whose expression was unreadable.

“You know? That’s not wrong,” Akko said, eyes narrowed as she stroked her chin in thought. “I should try it next time we argue… No, in fact, I should try it right now!”

“I don’t think that’s what-” Sucy didn’t get to finish her phrase before Akko bolted off her bed and out the room, “-Lotte meant.”

Lotte’s expression started to shift. A small smile appeared on it. “Didn’t expect her to take it so seriously,” she explained.

“You have no idea what you just unleashed on Diana,” Sucy said rubbing her temple, feeling like she’d have to deal with the consequences of this one way or another.

Lotte turned to her. “Au contraire,” she said with a sweet smile. Too sweet, to the point where it kinda creeped Sucy off. “I know exactly what I just did.”

Spores. And I thought she was the sane one.

 

Akko had to walk around for a good fifteen minutes before she finally found her target, who was talking with another pair of girls, seemingly offering some advice.

“Diana!” Akko called.

The blonde turned to her and closed her eyes in a tired gesture before saying something to the other two and turning to Akko. “What now?”

Akko walked up to her as usual, pausing for a single moment upon remembering Sucy’s words. She wasn’t ‘mesmerized’, that was stupid. Even if Diana’s smooth face and beautiful eyes could be distracting at times… Was that a hint of red in Diana’s cheeks? “I’ve come to argue with you!”

Diana blinked, crossing her arms and leaning slightly. “About what, exactly?”

The question threw Akko off. “Uhm…” she realized she hadn’t had a plan. She’d just wanted to put Lotte’s idea to the test. “About… Your… arguing?” Akko said, completely unsure of what was even going on. Why, again, was she so eager to do this? They were so close now. Diana had such long eyelashes…

The girls behind Diana chuckled at her confusion.

“Akko, I am a very busy person,” Diana said with a sigh and a shake of her head. “If you’re still upset about earlier I apologize, but I will not stop my duties simply because you are unhappy with-”

Akko instantly recognized Diana’s tone. Her lecture tone. Almost instinctively, she bridged the small gap between their faces by going on her tiptoes and placed her lips against Diana’s.

It certainly worked to shut her up.

But, Akko realized, it impeded her from speaking too.

Diana’s eyes widened, and Akko completely forgot what she was so upset about. Instead, spark of electricity seemed to travel from the point of contact, a surge of energy that left her mind blank.

The pair of girls made a soft gasping sound.

Diana broke the kiss by taking a step back. Her face was beet red. “What was that for?!” she asked in an unusually embarrassed tone, reaching for her lips with a pair of fingers.

Akko’s brain took a moment to process the question. Her heart was pumping with strength she didn’t think she’d ever felt before, and her cheeks were flushed too. “To shut you up,” she said in a small voice, still feeling in a strange daze.

“What?!” Diana exclaimed.

Akko stepped closer again, feeling drawn to the blonde in a way similar to that of when they argued, yet so different too. “To shut you up,” Akko repeated, now with a bit more confidence.

“Are you serious?” Diana said, shaking her head. “You can’t just go around kissing anyone who disagrees with you. It’s a matter of basic-” Again, she got interrupted by Akko’s lips.

But this time, Akko reached with her hand too, taking Diana’s into hers. Despite her pretense, Akko noticed Diana wasn’t pulling away this time.

Diana’s lips were soft and warm, and Akko pressed herself a bit harder against her, feeling awfully light. “I wouldn’t kiss just anyone,” she realized. “I only do this because you’re my rival.”

Diana stared into Akko’s eyes, her face still as red as a tomato. “How is that even a thing? I’m at a serious loss for words,” she admitted in a soft voice.

“Then shut up,” Akko leaned again.

This time, Diana met her mid-way.

The girls Diana had been talking to had to settle for whatever she’d said before, because the blonde wasn’t able to say a single extra word for the next ten minutes.

 

Amanda laughed her ass off when Akko explained her story at dinner.

“What’s so funny?” Akko asked, annoyed.

“Really now? Because she’s your ‘rival’?” She asked with a smile from ear to ear.

“Well duh, why else?”

Amanda laughed again and looked at Lotte, who was very much enjoying the exchange. “Get a load of this idiot!”

“Hey, who are you calling an idiot?!” Akko slammed the table.

“Please don’t ruin my meal,” Sucy said, giving Lotte a ‘this is your fault’ look.

Lotte knew it was her fault, and she was all too proud of it. “I think what Amanda means is that, maybe, just maybe, your relationship runs a bit deeper than rivalry,” Lotte suggested.

The bustle of conversations around them was surprisingly good at keeping conversations like these private, as no-one paid too much attention to them. Though it was true that Diana was suspiciously absent from the cafeteria. “Pfft, that’s stupid. What else could we be?”

Amanda’s face just kept getting more and more amused with each passing second. “Girlfriends, Akko. You’ve got a massive crush on her!”

Red crept from Akko’s neck to her ears. “W-what? No, of course not!”

A little stanbot climbed behind Akko’s chair holding a small heart sign. Constanze was controlling it with a smirk.

Amanda rolled her eyes. “Just admit it. If you do, you’ll get to kiss Diana a lot more times.”

The idea gave Akko some pause. She meekly looked down and started fidgeting with her silverware. “You really think so? What if she doesn’t like me back…?”

Lotte had to hold back a chuckle. Sucy pinched the bridge of her nose, exasperated. “She kissed you for ten minutes straight. I’m fairly certain she’s about as much in love with you as you’re in love with her,” she said in an annoyed tone.

“I agree,” Lotte added. “But if you’re still unsure, why not ask her?”

Akko stopped with her fidgeting and her face slowly got more and more determined. “Yeah, no, you’re right. I should ask!”

Sucy looked at her. “Please don’t-” she didn’t get to finish before Akko jumped up and sprinted towards the cafeteria’s door, making the table rattle and half the drinks on it topple. “-do that,” Sucy finished with a sigh. She turned to Lotte with narrowed eyes. “You need to stop giving her ideas.”

Lotte smiled. “But look at her! Come on, she’s so happy. Plus, now she’ll stop arguing with Diana every day. They’ll kiss instead.”

“I think I’d prefer them arguing,” Sucy said in a grumble.

Amanda nodded approvingly, patting Lotte’s shoulder. “You did good, Lotte. If I ever need a wingwoman, I’ll be sure to give you a call.”

“Thank you,” Lotte said. “I’ll be sure to set you up with Hannah as soon as you’re ready.”

Amanda paused. “W-what? That’s stupid, I don’t like Hannah, I find her insufferable.” Next to her, the little stanbot with the heart sign pointed at Amanda. “You shut up, Constanze.”

Lotte chuckled. Seemed like she had another couple to help out next.