Holding hands is what they do best.

He always takes her right hand, the one without the ring. That is his hand, and it was even before the silver band went on to the left. He owned her this way first, and he holds on to that every time they touch. Her right hand was his before her left belonged to anybody.

Her skin is surprisingly soft against his for a woman with such hard edges; surprisingly warm for someone with so many cold, dark places he can't reach; surprisingly delicate for someone with such power over a viper. He can encompass her entire hand in his, and he does. He presses his palm against hers as tightly as it will go, so there is no space left between their life lines, their head lines, their heart lines, their Fate lines . . .

He wraps his fingertips around the inside of her wrist, feels her pulse beating a steady, fast rhythm against his thumb. He knows he can feel his own pulse pick up speed like it always does when she's near. He's never more alive than when she is beside him, and it has always been that way. Her fingers curl around the edge of his palm and for just a split second it is the same as having her body around him and she is his. He wraps himself in the feeling of being palm to palm, fingertip to fingertip, heart to heart with her. He sees her wrap herself in it too, and something inside him is vindicated.

He can measure their relationship in handshakes, and has been for years – the small ones that passed in an instant, and the larger ones that changed their lives. They shook hands when Zak first introduced them and it was a bolt of lightning that never stopped striking . . . They clapped their hands together when they beat Zak in pyramid games and it was the camaraderie of two people who were equal warriors . . . They brushed their fingers together at the funeral and it was the grief and guilt of those left behind . . . They reunited at end of the world with a never-ending handshake and it was the relief of not losing everything you ever held dear . . . They agreed to stand by each other with a warm hand gesture and it was the understanding that you do anything for the people you care about . . . They forgave each other with a their palms pressed together and it was the understanding that although their bodies have never intertwined like their hands, they belong to each other.

When they hold hands he understands that although he's never had her the way he wants, he is hers and she is his. Their hands say everything their words can't, and he knows this.

Holding hands is what they do best.