femslash february 2021 prompt 15: rest day. azumanga daioh was the first manga i ever read back when i was in elementary school, but i've never written anything about it until now. kagura/sakaki was a really cute pairing to me when i was a kid. i was originally going to go with tomo/yomi with the same premise, but i thought it suited kagura and sakaki better.

Lean on Me

They duked it out in all manners of competitions. Softball, track, swimming, there wasn't an event in which Kagura didn't face Sakaki. In those events, they were neck and neck. One narrowly defeated the other with an extra home run or by split seconds when they dashed over the finish line.

Kagura remembered the sweat beading on her brow. She was left breathless each time, chest heaving and heart racing. She put all of her strength into her endeavors, but her rival rarely exposed what she felt. Sakaki smiled at their friends when they congratulated her and patted the heads of their shorter classmates when they came dead last. To Kagura, when Sakaki defeated her in a competition, any trace of pride vanished. She merely nodded, offered a small smile at times, and seemed to not have a care in the world about her victory.

It incensed Kagura to work harder. While she knew tests were not in her favor, studying for entrance exams was a fight as well. It was the biggest challenge in their young lives. Winning meant acceptance to the universities of their dreams. But despite her efforts and vow to beat Sakaki, Kagura had trouble remembering linguistics and dreaded the upcoming English section on her next assessment.

She looked at her textbook and scowled at the English letters. Vowels overlapped. Tenses seemed to switch at random. She scratched her scalp and gritted her teeth, despising prepositions with all her might.

But when she glanced at Sakaki, her friend's expression was neutral. Her lips were a straight line, and her eyes scanned her textbook. Occasionally, she would jot a sentence down in her notebook, but overall, she was as still as a statue in front of a shrine.

The scent of tea calmed Kagura's nerves. Chiyo sauntered inside her living room with a platter of drinks and goodies. They had been studying for nearly two hours, and Tomo jumped at the chance to throw her papers over her shoulder. Osaka followed suit, dropping her notebook and accepting a flaky croissant. Yomi sighed, scolding them as she took a butter cookie off the tray and grimacing when Tomo stuffed three chocolate scones into her mouth.

Kagura thanked Chiyo when she came over and grabbed a mug. It warmed her hands, the smell of cinnamon and apples wafting from the tea. She breathed in deeply, her shoulders rising slightly. Closing her eyes, she pressed the rim to her lips and drank. A hint of honey ran over her tongue, and she sighed in delight, setting the cup on the corner of the table.

She peered over at Sakaki, but to her surprise, Sakaki declined. Worry crossed Chiyo's features, but she consented to Sakaki's request. Setting the tray on the center of the table, Chiyo took a spot next to Osaka and enjoyed her home cooking.

Idle chatter filled the room. The voices of their friends bounced off the walls. From Tomo's bombastic laughter to Yomi's sharp reprimands, everyone spoke as if entrance exams weren't looming over their heads.

Sakaki remained silent. She traced her finger under a sentence in her textbook, writing the same words in her notes. Pushing a lock of hair over her shoulder, Sakaki hunched forward, her spine arching awkwardly by her neck.

It was the position of someone pushing herself too far. Kagura had been in that situation several times before. On nights when she crammed before a test, her body contorted to that same pose. She'd often awake with a crick in her neck when she fell asleep at her desk, the muscles twisted and agonized.

Kagura pointed out her observations to Sakaki, who quickly straightened her back. Sakaki thanked her and resumed studying. Kagura resisted the urge to roll her eyes. She felt like she was about to be the pot calling the kettle black. But upon closer inspection, hints of faint, dark purple circles under Sakaki's eyes jumped out to Kagura, cementing what she needed to do.

Kagura snatched Sakaki's shoulders and yanked her down into her lap. She pressed her head to her thigh, her jeans lightly rubbing into Sakaki's cheek. Kagura threaded her fingers through Sakaki's long, silky hair and urged her to rest, smirking. Sakaki opened her mouth to protest, but Kagura pressed her finger to the taller girl's lips. Heat colored Sakaki's cheeks a shade of deep red that often appeared after giving her all during a race, and Kagura grinned, rubbing Sakaki's head.

The other girls paid them no mind. They were engrossed in their treats and conversation. Kagura simply listened and patted Sakaki's toned arm. Glancing down at Sakaki, she watched the slow rise and fall of her chest and how her eyelids fluttered. Her heart skipped a beat at the gentleness softening her expression, and Kagura pressed her palm to Sakaki's back, steadying her.

Sakaki dozed off in her lap, and Kagura pushed aside their competition, marveling at the girl who challenged her to push past her limits.