Hands

Everybody sees it. Well, everybody except, possibly, them. Maybe they do; maybe they don't; nobody can really tell, because, at this point, it just comes naturally to them. They're almost extensions of each other, and so from fights to nights out, from walks home to riding on Soul's bike, and all those other little moments in between, they just can't keep their hands off each other.

By now, everyone knows it's not derogatory—not meant to be PDA, because a lot of these times, it's just not possible.

Sometimes, it's to save a life.

It's the middle of a battle on a bridge. She's exhausted and injured and he doesn't know how much longer they can hold out, and then, she takes the full force of a blow. He goes spinning from her hand, roughly in her same direction. He's back in human form before anyone can blink, and they're both skidding to the edge of the bridge, but just before Maka goes over, he digs in with a blade arm and grabs the back of her jacket with the other, just barely stopping the both of them. It's then that backup arrives, and he just holds her until she wakes up, barely relinquishing medical duty to others. He lies down by her bed that night, holding her hand, and wakes to her squeezing it gently. Still weak, she can barely turn to smile at him, but smile she does, and he squeezes her hand right back.

Sometimes, it's to show who's boss.

You'd think it'd be just Soul putting his brand on Maka. Often enough, it is. Some guy—age doesn't matter—leers at her, and it's almost automatic now: his hand immediately goes to the small of her back. On occasion, it's her butt, and the only reason she doesn't take his hand off for it is because she knows it means nothing. (At least, that's what she tells everyone. But, considering the hand's still there long after the creep is gone, sometimes long after they're back in private, maybe it means a little more than she'll ever say.)

But sometimes, it's Maka's turn. She was unsure at first, but an arm casually slung around Soul's waist generally does the trick. They're so used to holding hands now that his hand usually finds hers and he just pulls her closer. Though, again, later in private, her hands tend to wander where they will, and he's perfectly content to let them.

Sometimes, it's tender.

If her day's been hard, if, for whatever reason, she's had a bad day, it's clear. She'll never say it, though, which makes it even worse. He's learned not to ask by now. Instead, he sits at her side and puts an arm around her shoulders. If she turns away, he pulls her even closer, and reaches the other hand around to cup her cheek, to turn her towards him again. He knows she doesn't want him seeing the worst of her, but he's her partner, and he'll be damned if he lets a bad day come between them.

But it's not just Soul. Maka shares that bond, and she knows when he's had a rough day. Usually, he'll just sit at the piano and stare, hands almost poised to play, but not quite. Those times, she'll wander over quietly, drape her arms around his shoulders and neck, and rest her head on his shoulder, not saying a word, but almost nuzzling him. He'll reach up with one hand to hold both of hers, and, sometimes, he'll pull her down onto the bench beside him, his forehead leaning against hers until she tilts her head just a little to press a soft kiss to his cheek or forehead, and then he'll pull her into a hug like he'll never let go, one hand knotted in her hair, the other clutching her shirt for dear life, and they remain like that for however long he needs.

Sometimes, it's simply lust.

Well, not "simply"—it goes much deeper than that, and everyone knows it. It's more than just a physical yearning, more than hands scrabbling at jackets and shirts and fumbling with pants and socks and caressing and exploring and pulling each other as close as physically possible. A lot of the time, that's a lot of what it is, but how else to express what words can't say in those moments?

Most of the time, though, there really is no rhyme or reason.

It's something they just do, as natural as breathing or walking or a number of other things. What they have is special, and while it's not exactly a conscious thought to show the world what they have, it's still plain as day. She grabs his hand on a walk home, he rumples her hair, they smile and laugh and the world keeps turning. And that, they figure, is just how it should be.

A/N: This is one of those things I've really noticed about these two: they're really hands-on. Not necessarily in a sexual way, though I can definitely see that happening (or I wouldn't have included that bit… :P), but it's just a part of their partnership, as much as trust. Personally, I think it's adorable.

Also, this isn't a pair I've written often or ever published here, so let me know how I can improve upon writing them.