A/N: Thank you to all the people who have left me such kind reviews and/or favorited my stories! I always smile when I get an email telling me that, and I hope you'll continue to enjoy my writing!
Disclaimer: The characters don't belong to me; I just borrow them for fanfiction purposes.
Grayson has certain phrases he'll say a lot. Not including his horrifically bad puns.
One of these is "I love you."
He says it all the time, in many different ways.
There's the casual "Love you!" he throws out on lighthearted occasions, when he puts an arm over your shoulder and grins. (Damian tries to hit him.)
There's the automatic but sincere "Good night, I love you!" that is heard every evening. (Damian ignores him.)
There's the serious "I love you" before a particularly hard job, usually preceded by "be careful" or "take care of yourself." (Damian is always thrown off balance by this one, and intends to blame Grayson if he is ever injured due to this distraction.)
And then there's the quiet, meaningful "I love you"s that only come when one of them has had a bad day or they've been fighting. For Grayson, they're a comforting set of words and a reassuring hug is never far behind. (Damian endures these and comes close to appreciating them on occasion.)
Damian won't return the words and, contrary to his usual attitude, it isn't because he finds Grayson to be hopelessly sentimental and the feelings ridiculous. No. He just can't say those words, can't feel those words in the way Grayson does. His would be inadequate, improper to say to someone like Grayson who can speak them so easily, so fluidly, not having to worry about the weakness it exposes or the risks that come with it.
Damian won't say it back. He can't.
Grayson seems disappointed by this, though he's careful not to show that in front of Damian. It's still obvious it bothers him though, in the way the corner of his smile twitches and falters as he turns away, or the slight moistening of his eyes—he doesn't cry, just looks incredibly sad for a moment.
He's the kind of person who needs to hear people say "I love you" back to him, Damian realizes.
That's still not enough to make him feel like he could say it.
Staying by Grayson's side will have to be enough for both of them.
Those words are for those with no blood on their hands.