Once

Though there had been a thousand looks and lingering touches, Bruce had only broken one, just once, many years ago, more than he’d care to admit. Dick had been young and angry, blue eyes pleading. There wasn’t long left for them at that point, not as they were, not as they had always been. Even then, Bruce had known there would never be another one like Dick Grayson. Dick had gripped the front of Bruce’s shirt and yelled, and then Bruce had cupped his face, and he’d cried, and kissed him softly.

Only once. Bruce had only broken once, he’d only known that body once, but he’d seen it in his dreams a hundred times, and he’d seen it in Dick’s face hundreds more, in his pleading blue eyes and his soft voice when they were alone. Many years had passed now, and still there had never been another one like Dick Grayson, there could never be another one.

“I’m going to take him from you,” Damian told him, his fists clenched at his sides. “I’m going to take him because he’s mine.

Bruce didn’t say anything for a long moment. He had broken only once, but he’d cracked a thousand times, lined from head to toe with them, ready to collapse, intact past all sense, all reason, all logic. In his dreams he saw Dick’s young, lean body, and heard his voice, there will never be anyone else like you. He remembered, too, a small smile, not so long ago. You know, he has your eyes.

“I hope you do,” Bruce said, finally.

They both knew it was a lie.

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