Disclaimer: Don't own Batman or any related characters, and anyone who tells you I do is lying, unfortunately.

Damian was a tough kid, or at least that's what he wanted everyone to think. Deep down, he was still just a boy who wanted to be loved.

Nightwing knew this, but he hadn't been able to break through the steel exterior as of yet.

You see, Damian was raised to be the perfect assassin; an emotionless weapon. But his mother, Talia Al Ghul, forgot one thing: you cannot program the human soul. To her, Damian was a failure, who fell short of her greatest expectations; an object not worthy of her affection. All Damian ever received from her was icy tolerance, devoid of love. Which sent questions running through Nightwing's mind: Did Talia even have a heart? What kind of a mother didn't love her own son now matter how he turned out?

Nightwing shook his head and sighed. He would get through to the kid. Someone had to.

The giant hand of the clock tower struck eleven on another gloomy Gotham night.

Nightwing and Robin were standing on a rooftop in a back alley on the west side of the city. Standing across from them, cloaked in shadow, was Batman. The Dynamic Duo were in the middle of a heated discussion, and Nightwing was playing referee.

"I believe I have earned the same level of respect as Drake," Robin snorted.

"Robin, you're only ten," Batman retorted.

"What difference does my age make?" Robin challenged.

"We've already been over this a dozen times," Batman responded angrily.

Robin took a step toward the Dark Knight. "Explain it to me again," Robin stated, crossing his arms.

Batman glared at him murderously.

Nightwing stepped between the two of them. "All right Robin, that's enough."

Ignoring Nightwing, Robin asked pointedly, "Well, Father?"

Shoving Nightwing aside, Batman walked to the edge of the roof, away from Robin. He shot off a line, then, without out turning back, said "I don't have time for this, Damian." Jumping off the roof, he vanished into the night.

"You never have time for me!" Robin shouted into the night air.

Nightwing walked over to Robin and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Let's go, Robin."

Robin angrily shrugged the hand off his shoulder and stalked to the other end of the roof.

"Why does he always do that to me?" He screamed.

"Robin…" Nightwing started.

"No!" Robin cut him off. "It's not fair. He doesn't treat you or Drake this way. Only me. I do everything he asks and he still ignores me! Why? What does he want from me?" He exploded. "Mother wanted a mindless errand boy, who would follow her every instruction. What does my father want from me? I am not Jason Todd or Timothy Drake. Why can't he see that?"

Nightwing was taken aback at this sudden outburst of emotion. Before he could respond, though, Robin walked to the edge of the roof; the same one just vacated by Batman.

There was a moment of silence, and then Nightwing walked over to stand next to his companion. Minutes passed. Robin turned to gaze at the man standing beside him and spoke, his voice choked with emotion. "Why won't anyone love me?" he sobbed. Nightwing knelt down beside the boy and removed his mask. He grabbed Robin gently by the shoulders, turned him toward himself. Dick then reached up and removed Robin's mask, and gazed deep into his eyes. "I love you, Damian," he said firmly. Damian's eyes filled with tears as Dick embraced him. He cried softly into Dick's shoulder and held onto him like he would never let go. And Dick hoped he never would. So he knelt there, letting the moment go on.

Hours later, a weary Alfred Pennyworth walked purposefully up the stairs of Wayne Manor. As he walked past Dick Grayson's room he noticed the bedroom door was half open. He paused, intending to close the door, and gazed in. What he saw warmed his heart and brought a soft smile to his face. Curled up on the queen-sized bed was Damian sleeping peacefully. Dick was lying beside the boy with his arm wrapped protectively over his small form. The old butler smiled fondly at the two slumbering forms. He snatched a blanket off a nearby chair and draped it gently over the two boys. "Well done, Master Dick," he whispered into the elder boy's ear. "Thanks Alfie," Dick murmured sleepily. Alfred watched as Damian snuggled closer to his older brother, then walked quietly from the room, shutting the door behind him.

FIN