This story is based on a physical aspect of love that has absolutely nothing to do with sex or anything leading to sex. The pairing was basically pulled out of the mystical hat of pairings I find myself attracted to at random instances. For this pairing you can actually thank the author beartooth, creator of the most awesome story One Trick Pony.
Disclaimer: I do not own Ranma ½ or any characters in this fiction.
Ranma Saotome was engaged to twenty seven women, he was one of the best martial artists in the world, his father and mother were crazy as hell, and he was in love with one of the few women in the whole fucking world his pops hadn't engaged him to for the dowry.
He didn't know he was in love because the girl was beautiful. He didn't know he was in love because the girl was able to cook the finest meals he had ever tasted. He didn't know he was in love because the girl was so nice to him and everyone else except when the most extreme transgressions took place.
No, he knew he loved her because of her touch.
It happened one day when he was training in the dojo, trying to remove his mental self from the world at large. The eldest Tendo daughter was nearby, cleaning the large home as she usually would. Nabiki was taking photo's of him training to sell to Kodachi Kuno. Akane, Ranma was positive, was out somewhere plotting his demise with the other members of the Fiance Brigade.
And then he tried to perform a particularly difficult aerial maneuver. He over extended. When he landed he twisted his ankle.
Before he knew what was happening, Kasumi Tendo was before him, tending to his ankle. When her right hand touched the bare flesh of his ankle a jolt worked it's way through him.
That single jolt, triggered by Kasumi's touch, invoked a feeling an uncountable multiplicity better than any fight he had ever won. It felt better than any form of contact he'd had with any of the other girls. It made him feel like a child on Christmas morning after opening the very last gift and finding that he'd gotten the one thing he wanted more than anything in his whole life.
And then she left to call Dr. Tofu.
The absence of her touch left Ranma cold, unfulfilled, and wanting.
The touch in itself was in no way sensual or perverted, and no matter how Akane tried to twist it it could not be misinterpreted as such.
For a while after that Ranma was quiet. He would occasionally try to digest what happened, but he was sure that even god couldn't accurately describe it. He analyzed the feeling that came with any skin to skin contact that he had with the other girls, but they just felt like ordinary touches nothing special except maybe a heightened danger sense.
He decided to consult someone wise, though not necessarily sane.
"Hey, Old cr- Um... Cologne," he decided to try and be as foot out of mouth as possible.
"Yes, son in law?" The old amazon asked.
"I have a question to ask..." He scratched his head as he thought about how to word his question, "A few days ago I hurt myself training. Kasumi checked my ankle to see if it was bad n' stuff. When she touched my bare skin it... it felt... It was like... Hell, I can't describe it, but it was good. Do you know what that was? Was it some kind of calming technique?"
Cologne knew what this was and gave a depressed sigh.
"S-... no, I can no longer call you that. Ranma, I know very much what that was, and you are blessed. But I'm afraid simply telling you will not let you know. You must discover it for yourself. Shampoo will not bother you anymore." And the ancient amazon hopped away.
Ranma was now even more confused than ever.
He decided to ask someone who, if he was in his right mind, would never ask, but somehow he felt that he would know more than anyone else on this.
"Tatewaki Kuno, I challenge you to a duel," Ranma said.
"What spoils go to the victor?" Kuno asked.
"Info, whatever the winner wants to know the loser must answer to their best ability," Ranma said while staring Kuno in the eyes.
"Ah... If I win I may inquire more about the tree-born kettle-girl. I accept," Kuno held his Bokken before him in a ready stance.
Ranma, goal in mind, didn't toy with Kuno as he normally might. He just kicked him into the nearby concrete wall... with enough force to kill an elephant.
Kuno was beat.
"What is it you wish to know, Vile Cur?"
Ranma explained the situation to Kuno, leaving out names, then asked what it meant.
"I am surprised," Kuno said, "I did not know the heartless were capable of love."
"What are to talking about?" Ranma demanded.
"I mean to say the the girl that triggered such a feeling of elation in you is the one who was destined to hold your heart. As I said, I did not know the heartless could feel true love. Tell me, who is it that triggered this?" Kuno asked.
"Not Akane, not the pig tailed girl," Ranma said simply and walked away.
Kuno, though sour over his loss at the hands of the evil Saotome, was joyous that it was neither Akane nor the tree-born kettle-girl that evoked such feelings in the foul sorcerer.
Ranma sat on the roof that night, thinking to himself. 'Could it be true? Could I really love Kasumi?'
For the next month, when his attention was not focused on something else entirely ( his fights with Ryoga, trying to prove his honor to his mother and father, avoiding anyone in the Fiance Brigade), his thoughts revolved around the eldest Tendo sister.
He thought of the touch, the feeling it invoked, then the loss of warmth when he no longer had her skin against his. He longed for in such a way that were he to voice his desire it could so easily be misconstrued that he was sure he'd be placed permanently in Lower Earth Orbit.
Ranma desperately tried to word the desire the he felt inside his own mind, but even there it did not sound right. He just couldn't understand it.
Then it happened again.
Ranma asked if he could help with the dishes, ignoring his father and mother both saying it was unmanly to do dishes. Kasumi gratefully accepted his offer and stood to the left, rinsing off the remaining soap. Exchanging another plate their hands brushed.
Ranma felt it again, that pure bliss, that ultimate ecstasy that he knew would become addicted to if he was not careful.
"Oh my," Kasumi gasped out, slowly removing her hand from Ranma's, almost as if she didn't want to remove her hand.
"Kasumi, did you-"
"Well, that's the last dish. I better start on the stove," she turned away from him and began to spray cleaning fluid on the stove top.
Ranma visibly slumped. He nodded as he turned away, mumbling to himself, "Yeah, I thought so."
Kasumi was in debate with herself. She, unlike Ranma, knew what the feeling behind those touches meant. But she couldn't act on them, not without feeling guilty. Ranma was Akane's fiance, among others, and she had made sure of that. It would be wrong of her to just decide she changed her mind and wanted to be with him.
She turned to look over her shoulder briefly. What she saw broke her heart. The dejection prevalent in his form. Then she heard his words.
"Yeah, I thought so." That sentence, while appearing to be of no profound importance, was filled with such sorrow that she could practically hear the words as if I'd be lucky enough for you to feel it. It had been glaringly obvious that Ranma had not had a single relationship with another person on this earth that had been at all beneficial for him. And now, in what she could tell was probably the most crucial point in his life, the point where he discovered what love truly was or he became closed off to the world in such a way that no one, not even Kasumi, could teach him to love, she had dealt the final blow that would break him.
But he was still in the kitchen! Perhaps there was still time!
"Ranma, wait!" Kasumi said, almost loudly. When Ranma turned to her she could almost see his heart dying in his eyes.
"Yeah," He tried to sound as if everything was fine, but it only made Kasumi more determined to do this. It didn't matter anymore who he was engaged to or why. All that mattered to Kasumi at that moment was him.
Before Ranma, or Kasumi for that matter, could understand what happened Kasumi was infront of Ranma, her lips pressed gently against his.
Ranma's world, a place that had just been at the door to darkness, was lit anew with such radiance that Ranma himself was set alight. The feel of her lips on his was everything. It was what was, what is, and what would be. The warmth in it lit a fire in him that he never knew he was capable of having.
Slowly, reluctantly, Kasumi pulled away from the innocent kiss, almost as regretful as when she nearly broke him.
"Ranma," she breathed out, her hands resting on his shoulders.
"Yeah," he asked, his own hands resting on her slim waist.
"I did," what she said, like Ranma's words before, held no profound meaning . It was what she didn't say, but was still conveyed, that meant the world to Ranma.
His eyes lit up and he pulled her into a hug. Kasumi hugged him back and whispered those same two words over and over again.
Then Ranma said three words that would seal it, three words that with all the other girls he could never bring himself to say yet now he did not hesitate.
"I love you."
"And I you..." Kasumi paused and gave a slightly mischievous smile, "Airen."
Ranma chuckled and kissed the eldest Tendo's once more, no longer caring if he became addicted to her touch, least of all her lips.
--- End ---+
A/N: Yep, I'm a total sap. I'm actually surprised I don't read those uber sappy romance novels my sister did when we were younger. Hope you enjoyed it though.