"No, no, I'm serious. They're tiny. Like fun-sized chocolate bars that are the same price as regular-sized ones. Or Udagawa-san."
Sayo's input buffered its way gradually into Rinko's brain. "... Small?"
"Yes," Sayo clarified. "Small. Ichigaya-san has small hands."
“How do you know this…?”
“We work next to her,” she reminded Rinko. “Haven’t you seen her hands before?”
Many, many times. T’was the curse of a lesbian suspended in a constant state of yearning.
“Yes, but… I never really noticed.”
Sayo said nothing. What was there to say? “Well, I figured that this information may be of importance to you.”
Rinko flexed her hand on the desk in front of her, careful not to disturb the paperwork, examining it thoroughly. Depending on how small Arisa’s hand was, there was a chance that…
“Hikawa-san…” she began. “What size are your hands… compared to Ichigaya-san’s?”
“A fair bit larger,” Sayo answered. “Potentially a fingernail longer at the middle finger? I can’t say for sure, I haven’t had the chance to compare them.”
“Then, in that case… may I measure my hands against yours?” Rinko dared to ask. “F-For practical purposes… since, hm, your hands are bigger... than Ichigaya-san’s hands…”
Outside of her eyes widening noticeably, Sayo contained her shock, trapping it within every muscle before it could be expressed. “I… can’t say I have a problem with that?”
“A-Are you sure? I don’t want… to make you uncomfortable…”
“No, I have no issues with that idea at all,” assured Sayo, with far more confidence this time. “In fact, I would be content if you were to use me as you require.”
… Fuck, that sounded weird.
“Ah… Thank you?” Rinko said in a quizzical tone. “Then…”
There was the faint clapping of air, of skin shyly meeting skin, and then there was the unmistakable feeling of home.
Sayo’s hands were coarse, Rinko soon realised. The aftermath of guitar, baking and likely more dishes washed than she could imagine.
“I apologise for the state of my hands,” Sayo broke the silence with, head forced away so that Rinko couldn’t see the tint on her face. “I am… very dedicated to Roselia. Ah, and eczema runs in our family.”
But those hands were warm.
And above all, they were Sayo’s.
“No… I don’t mind at all,” Rinko corrected. “Um… I use hand cream, if… you’d want a recommendation? I have eczema too…”
The second time, Sayo didn’t prepare to hide her surprise. “Really? I wouldn’t have guessed. Your hands aren’t as rough as I’d imagine for someone with a skin problem.”
“Mm, I do.” Rinko smiled without a clue what she was smiling at. “My parents… lessened my condition when I was a child… so I only have to put cream on… every now and then…”
And then it occurred to Rinko: her hand was against Sayo, and Sayo’s against hers. They were a simple motion away from actually holding hands. Would Sayo mind, if she were to bridge that gap? Could Rinko even swallow her worries and try that?
It also occurred to Rinko that there was no need for their hands to be touching in the first place; they simply could have placed them alongside each other. That option was far less appealing (intimate), though…
Finally, Rinko had her third and final revelation: she was supposed to be comparing her hands, in order to see if hers could shadow Arisa’s. That was the entire reason why they were doing this, after all.
Well, Rinko was nothing if not polyamorous, lesbian and eternally distracted.
“Ah… um, your hands are… larger than mine, too…”
“It would seem they are,” Sayo agreed. “How strange. Your hands aren’t small. Would that make mine big, then?”
“They don’t… seem too big. However…” Rinko gulped. Time to replace that anxiety with courage and digress into what could be either the best or worst tangent possible. “Your fingers are… quite long, Hikawa-san. They’re very feminine… I like them.”
Suddenly Rinko was very fascinated with the wood of the student council table. Meanwhile, Sayo uncovered some makeshift interest in the walls.
Even so, that interest was entirely artificial and Sayo’s cheeks exploded in pink, slightly deeper than the shade Rinko was wearing.
“T-Thank you… Shirokane-san,” Sayo mumbled sincerely. “That means a lot.”
Rinko didn’t answer. Her lips only tightened further as Sayo shifted her hand to one side lightly and laced her fingers with Rinko’s own.
Those lips weren’t stubborn enough to suppress the smile upon them, however. Rinko squeezed Sayo’s hand gently - reassurance.
The door clicked open.
Sayo hastily tugged their joint hands under the table to hide them, rather than just splitting them apart.
“Special order,” Arisa deadpanned, dropping another painful stack of paperwork onto their shared table and blocking Rinko’s view of her with it. “Courtesy of Okusawa-san’s favourite idiots from some special kind of hell.”
“Ah…” Rinko sighed. Sayo’s lips pursed with displeasure and words she was too respectable to say. “I’m sure it’s not Okusawa-san’s fault…”
“Never said it was,” replied Arisa, settling into the free seat beside Rinko. “You guys got one of the other sets done, right?”
Rinko couldn’t look to Sayo for aid; that would signal the truth loud and clearly.
“Shirokane-san and I got too caught up in a discussion about the traits of certain students of this school,” Sayo answered curtly. “I apologise for the delay. We’ll have cleared the last stack shortly.”
And just like that, Sayo’s hand slipped free, the warmth Rinko felt dissipating into the air with it.
“Agh, no! There’s no worry,” Arisa told her. “So, you mean like… troublemakers or gossip?”
“Um… Neither?” Rinko provided, unsure. Gossip made it sound too rude, and the only trouble Arisa caused was with Rinko’s heart (and sometimes her bandmates when she was frustrated with them, sure). “I-It’s really not important…”
“No way, you’ve got me curious now,” protested Arisa. “If it pulled Hikawa-san away from work, it’s gotta be something huge.”
“What was that?”
“We were talking about something small,” Sayo repeated.
“N-No… small,” Rinko joined in. “Tiny, even…”
Sayo squinted at Arisa’s hand, resting on a stray application. “I’m not so sure about them being tiny… But I would describe them as certainly being little, if you feel so inclined.”
“Yeah… I don’t get it,” Arisa groaned. “Come on. Just tell me what it is, will you?”
Giving a brief nod, Sayo cleared her throat. “Shirokane-san and I were discussing hand sizes.”
“... Huh.” Arisa’s mind was transported to stray Yuri mangas, posts originating from Rimi’s social media, prompt generators that had been visited several times too many until finally, she came out with, “That’s pretty gay, you know.”
“G-Gay?” Rinko stuttered. “How so?”
“You mean like… comparing hand sizes and stuff, right?” she clarified. “That’s a classic flirt right there. Sapphicism 101. Unless you didn’t pull that trick?”
Rinko could feel Sayo’s eyes inching towards her very, very slowly as the penny dropped.
Oh, come on. Was it really so surprising that Rinko could be bold every now and then?
“Anyway, it doesn’t have to be,” Arisa continued. “Hand-holding can be a perfectly platonic activity if you intend it as such.”
“Mm…” Rinko hummed in agreement. “Would you… read it as otherwise, if that… happened to you?”
“Probably, yeah,” said Arisa with a shrug.
“Ichigaya-san, would you like to compare hand sizes?”
“... Sorry, was that too sudden?” Sayo murmured apologetically. “I just thought that… Anyway, forget this happened and—”
“There’s no point.”
With an expression like a kicked dog, Sayo slumped back into her chair. “Oh.”
“I mean, that was smooth! But…” Arisa struggled to find her words. “Well, that’s not so much flirting than being dead obvious.”
“Ah. I see,” Sayo responded simply. “I will use the pick-up line as intended next time. I apologise for my impertinence, Ichigaya-san…”
“Hey, we’re not finished here!” Arisa complained. “I worded that pretty badly. I’m not turning you down, I’m just… I didn’t know what to say. I’m sorry.”
“You have no need to apologise,” corrected Sayo. “I’m in the wrong here.”
“I already told you to stop,” groaned Arisa. “It’s my fault. I’m really not rejecting you, I’m just so blunt when I’m shocked and like I said—”
“It’s neither of your faults,” Rinko proved firmly. “Please…”
Having run out of words, she trialled a final idea.
Rinko lifted Arisa’s hand away from the cluttered paperwork and gently unclenched Sayo’s fist from her dress, smoothening out the crumpled material and rubbing the nail marks in Sayo’s palm away with care.
At last, she helped both hands find each other.
“... Your hands are small, Ichigaya-san.”
“Y-Yeah. I know,” Arisa stumbled. “Yours are rough.”
“... Thank you?”
Rinko let a satisfied smile play out on her lips before returning to her work, leaving them both to it.
Arisa used her spare hand to fidget, clearly needing something to occupy it.
“Wanna… compare hand sizes with us?”
Sayo frowned. “You are very hypocritical, Ichigaya-san.”