The answer? Mr. Knightley!!! which was guessed by crown_celestial. And in talking about this I went way over the "write a sentence" threshhold so. New post about Jane Austen and fandom pairings, yay! :D :D :D :D
Mr. Knightley is my favorite Austen hero. He is my favorite favorite favorite favorite oh my god talking about Emma/Knightley makes me so happy. Dude, he waits for Emma for years. He believes in the person he knows she is deep inside, and his faith in her leads her to blunder her way into adulthood while maintaining a modicum of grace. Mr. Knightley is sort of my lifelong romantic fantasy - someone who can yell at me when I need it and set me right and love me for my flaws and quirks and believe in me and my potential despite every one of them.
Could this remotely sound like Akira waiting for Hikaru and believing in the person (okay, two people) he knows he is deep inside? :D Or, oh, I don't know, like TEZUKA? *__*
A lot of my truly epic, most-loved romantic ships spring directly from the Darcy/Elizabeth dynamic, where two characters grow and have to overcome fundamental prejudices in order to gain maturity together (like Harry/Draco, of course). But most of them tend to be rooted directly in the Emma/Knightley dynamic: where one character acts as an anchor and a maturing force for the other, who's sort of over here, running around, wildly trying to plant their feet firmly on the ground and become the person they're meant to be - and the other character's unshakable, unwavering faith in them is ultimately the key to helping them accomplish this. Oh my god, that just seriously transforms my heart into pulp. "I cannot make speeches, Emma."GAME OVER, I SURRENDER.
The Philadelphia Story, my favorite movie ever, holds this same kind of magic for me in the Tracy/Dexter relationship. I really believe this movie was more or less directly based on Emma, because its exploration of class is quite similar, and because its main character - Tracy, who is pretty much my favorite heroine of all time - goes through all the changes and experiences all the revelations about human nature, and herself, that Emma does, over the course of three days.
And it's funny because actually, in terms of temperament and her judgmental personality, Tracy is much closer to being Mr. Knightley, while Dexter is MUCH closer to being Emma - and even when the lessons to be learnt about human understanding are reversed, the dynamic put in place still functions as it does originally, and it proves if anything almost more compelling when it's the moralizing character who's learning to be human, to be gentle with people. And when she's ready, her childhood friend is still there waiting on her to become the girl (not the goddess) she's meant to be. Ahhhh. LOVE.
And Tezuka/Ryoma, as i've said. Tezuka echoes and amplifies all the things I love about Mr. Knightley, oh my heart. :( :( :( :( IF HE LOVED YOU LESS, RYOMA, HE MIGHT BE ABLE TO TALK ABOUT IT MORE *CRIES.* I mean. Seriously. The bitchslap is the virtual equivalent of "Badly done" and every sacrifice Tezuka makes for Ryoma ever is the virtual equivalent of Jeremy Northam riding through the rain. :( :( :( God I can't talk about these two, I can't even. *futile hand-waving*
And Akira/Hikaru, which definitely has elements of the love/hate dynamic we all adore, has, I think, much much more of that aspect of Emma/Knightley, with Akira waiting on Hikaru for years ("it's been two years and four months - not that I've been counting or anything, because I'm not totally willing to actually propose marriage to you right here and now, this is just nerves, can't you tell how deeply in love with you, I mean nervous? I am?"), believing in him steadfastly, sending him telepathic messages through go lolol, and SCREAMING AT HIM WHEN HE NEEDS TO BE SCREAMED AT. ♥
And it's not all 100% one-way, this transformative element. Emma brings liveliness to Knightley's overbearing nature, the same way Tracy complements Dexter's Ryoma and Hikaru complement their insane game-obsessed boyfriends. askdfjklads;. They teach the other to be laughed at, to be lol pro-social, to be free, just as Darcy teaches Elizabeth - and they gentle the dynamic, they equalize it, because if all Emma did was let Mr. Knightley scold her for her faults, it would hardly be anything like romance. Instead, she accepts his role as a guiding force in her life, but she betters herself on her own terms, not his. And when she does, he praises her more highly than anyone, because he's totally in love with her omg. :( And Dexter builds Tracy a boat and lets her know that she's always yar, ahhhhhh. I need to stop talking about this. TOO MUCH META BEFORE BREAKFAST.
In short, when John Donne wrote,
"Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th' other foot, obliquely run,"
he was actually talking about shipping, okay. Specifically, he was writing about how Emma/Tracy/Ryoma/Hikaru is one foot of the compass, one half of the OTP, off over here, wildly spiraling in circles, directionless, until -
"Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun."
- until the other foot, Knightley/Dexter/Tezuka/Touya, anchors them, grounds them, and draws their circle home to a close, giving them a route to follow, purpose, and completion.
Stick a fork in me, I am done.