Note – Ranma ½ is the creation of Rumiko Takahashi, and is used without permission.
Chapter 1 - Your Hand in Mine
They sat close together, closer than they ordinarily would, for they had the house to themselves tonight, and the memory of Ryugunzawa was still fresh. A Hong Kong kung fu film played out bombastically on the television, and Akane seemed absorbed by it, laughing now and then at how ridiculously serious the movie treated its over-the-top plot. Ranma paid it but superficial attention, the lion's share of his awareness focused on Akane – in particular on her hand on her lap. Her hand - small, soft yet strong - had felt so good in his when they hiked home from Ryugunzawa; they had not let go of each other until they reached the outskirts of Nerima. He had since discovered he regretted not saying to her then the thoughts that ran through his mind during their journey home. Perhaps it was a good thing he kept his peace. He had no proficiency with words; they almost always betrayed him. This rationalization provided no comfort. The regret remained.
Ranma glanced at Akane's hands out of the corner of his eye. He wanted to hold them again, the temptation to do so pulsing in his chest like a second heart. He tried to stifle it, but it refused to relent, springing back up stronger after each attempt. He shifted restlessly, turning his head away when Akane looked at him quizzically. He was afraid she would guess his thought and call him a pervert, but she said nothing and returned her attention to the movie.
He sneaked another peak at her hands and wondered if he should remove himself from temptation all together by retiring early. He did not want to, though. He liked spending time with Akane, especially when there was no one around to bother them. Maybe… maybe he could just give in to impulse? She had not minded holding hands before, so why should she object now? And what was the worst that could happen if she did not want to? She would whack him one, big deal. Almost everyone had taken a whack at him at one time or another. Pain was but a momentary inconvenience, to be endured as stoically as possible until it passed. Yet he cringed inwardly at the thought of Akane kicking him through the roof for daring to take her hand. Physical pain was nothing, but the other kind of pain such an action would engender in him he wanted no part of. He needed to get away from her for a minute so he could think clearly… "Do you want something to drink?"
"Yes please. Just a soda." Ranma gratefully retreated to the kitchen. He fetched two bottles of soda from the fridge, and then took a moment to center himself. It was enough to help him make a decision. He returned to the living room, sitting back down next to Akane and giving her a soda, which she accepted with thanks. As she took dainty sips from her drink Ranma struggled to keep his determination from faltering. He took a deep swallow from his soda and waited for her to put hers on the table. When she did, he slowly reached over and hesitantly covered her right hand with his left.
Akane blinked and looked down at her lap at Ranma's hand on hers, startled beyond measure. She looked up at her fiancé; he was staring straight ahead at the television, yet did not really seem to be watching it. His body was tensed up, as if he expected to need to move quickly on short notice. A slight blush, growing deeper with each passing moment, colored his face. Without looking he gave her hand a gentle pat.
Ranma waited for the explosion the pessimistic part of him kept saying was inevitable. It never came. Instead he felt Akane's hand turn under his, her slim fingers wrapping around his hand and giving it a soft squeeze. Ranma dared to look at her, and found her gazing up at him, her smile gentle and pleased. Ranma released the breath he had not realized he was holding, feeling nervous tension drain from his body. He smiled back at her and squeezed her hand in turn. Her smile grew a trifle larger, and she scooted closer to him, their shoulders almost touching.
They watched the remainder of the movie in silence, hands clasped, occasionally giving each other an affectionate squeeze, their thumbs in constant motion, tracing gentle patterns. All too soon the end credits played, and Akane gently, reluctantly, removed her hand from Ranma's. "Good night, Ranma," she murmured.
"Good night, Akane." They smiled at each other, and Akane leaned over to bump her shoulder gently against his before standing up to go to her bedroom. Ranma watched her go, then stepped out into the yard to sit on a rock by the koi pond, staring up at the stars, dimmed by the Tokyo lights but still discernible. He felt as if he could jump up and snatch them out of the sky, and he could not stop smiling.
Author's Notes: This is the first chapter of an open-ended series of romantic vignettes, exercises in sensuality, detailing Ranma and Akane growing closer after their adventure in Ryugunzawa.
Rhetorical Question of the Night: After reading this, can you believe that my favorite author is Robert E. Howard?
For whatever it is worth,