Summary: "And then, one day, the already blurry line that Nancy and Frank had always walked fell out from under their feet." ND/FH

AN: This story does line up with the two other ND/HB stories I have written, but was designed to be a standalone fanfic. Thanks to Shelley for editing this.

This is something I wrote in a couple of hours tonight, so it's not perfect, but I'm happy with the overall feeling.

Disclaimer: I do not own Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys. If I did, things would be different…obviously.

Holding Hands

Nancy had never been that impressed by handholding. She didn't see any difference between holding a hand, or an arm, or having Ned slip his arm around her waist as they walked. Most of the time she liked to be roaming free anyway, and staying attached to Ned was akin to being placed on a leash.

In biology class, Nancy had learned that the hand was made for sensing; the fingertips held clusters of nerve endings that recognize heat and cold, rough and smooth.

"Hands," the teacher said, "help us interpret our environment. With the information they provide we can make split-second decisions about our surroundings."

She had nodded along with the teacher, remembering locks picked and bombs diffused. Nancy could close her eyes and feel the slightest variations of her surroundings with her fingers: every coarse strand of rope and bump of cement.

And yet, she could hardly recall the sensation of Ned's finger's slipping through hers, his rough thumb gently stroking her fingers.

Nancy had resigned herself to never swooning when Ned's hand held her own. She supposed that some girl's didn't have their breath taken away by such a simple act, especially if their lives were anything but simple.

Nancy didn't expect to feel anything when grasping a friend's hand, whether in greeting, running away from the latest 'bad guy', or being pulled up from a cliff edge. This was tested with every case she worked alongside Frank and Joe. The only things she ever felt were the thrill of solving a mystery and the appreciation of working with people who loved mysteries as much as she did.

And then, one day, the already blurry line that Nancy and Frank had always walked fell out from under their feet.

They had known each other for nearly a year. They had chased and fought and won many times.

That night was no different from the others spent escaping from a bad guy; just another near miss. And as Frank had done so many times before, he grabbed Nancy's hand as they ran, pulling her forward into safety.

But this time she lost her breath.

Her stomach dropped so far so fast that she thought she would fall too, that her legs would give out from beneath her.

A tingling warmth started at her fingers and spread until her entire body was filled.

As they turned a corner and slowed to catch their breath, Frank laced their fingers together as if this was the most natural action in the world. Nancy closed her eyes as his thumb traced soft circles on her hand.

She forgot that the motion was something Ned had done a hundred times.

Hearing Joe's voice, they both jumped and Frank released her.

She ached at the loss of heat and electricity.

Nancy tried to convince herself that it was the adrenaline, the heat-of-the-moment that produced such feelings…

…anything to explain away the impossible…

…anything to deny the split-second decision that had been made…