"I Love You Too"

It was a phrase he’d always hated, even before this Sano thing had started, back when he’d thought he had no use for love. Tokio’s sweetheart would say, “I love you,” and Tokio would reply, “I love you too,” and Saitou would get annoyed. Of course they were women, and women said incomprehensible and irritating things, but this one bothered him more than many.

“I love you too.” It was something people said like a greeting, a polite reply that was expected of them, and after time it started to come out as thoughtlessly and as much by default as the quick positive response to “How are you?” It was a second-place phrase, an admission made only by those who couldn’t get to “I love you” first. It was a pressured phrase, one that was demanded by “I love you,” however sincere it might or might not be. How could the first speaker ever believe it? How could anyone ever be sure that “I love you too” was anything more than a meaningless, automatic answer — forced out, tossed out, rendering the “I love you” less significant?

Nevertheless it was a phrase Saitou found himself using more and more frequently lately, because the alternative was to let Sano think he didn’t love him, which thought he couldn’t stand. Or to come up with something more meaningful (and consequently more romantic), which he didn’t think he was capable of. Or… to somehow get “I love you” out first. Which he was working on.

There was a rigmarole of thought involved in this effort that was almost as bad as leaving it at “I love you too.” For instance, Sano only mentioned love about once a week (on average), and Saitou didn’t want to bring it up too soon after Sano had. But wait too long and Sano would say it again. Then, it was usually after sex when Sano said it, and Saitou spent far too much time wondering whether or not to uphold this tradition. Would it seem strange if he didn’t? He wasn’t afraid of the fact that their relationship was becoming this serious, but did he really want to be declaring love at any old moment? But if he said it after sex, might it not seem he was implying that his love was based mostly on sexual attraction? Not that he believed that was what Sano was implying…

It was irritating to be thinking so much about this. Yes, Sano was important enough to him that he wanted at least once to make the statement on his own terms in a way he would consider meaningful… but why did that require so much attendant deliberation?? Saitou generally wasn’t the type to overthink things; it was a rare occasion when he didn’t immediately know exactly how to behave. But being annoyed with Sano for effecting this change was just a little counterproductive.

Eventually he decided to do things by the book (as it were), and took to waiting for the opportunity to arise. But days were passing, and always some circumstance unfitted the moment for his purpose, and he came gradually to realize that the overthinking might be a defense mechanism, or at least a way to soften a trial that was really incredibly hard for him. Scorning “I love you too” for being too easy didn’t make “I love you” any less difficult.

But that it was such a struggle made it all the more important to him that he manage it, and, of course, finally, he did. One night with Sano in his arms, their pulses calming as they settled in for sleep in perfect warmth and contentment, Saitou took a deep breath and said it before he could find an excuse not to: “I love you.”

Sano would never know how much work had gone into this, or how much more it meant to Saitou than their usual exchange, and Saitou wasn’t sure he wanted him to. As Sano snuggled more thoroughly into his arms and replied, oblivious, complacent, “I love you too,” Saitou was satisfied to note that hearing it wasn’t so bad.



I’ve rated this story . What do you think of it?

This story is included in the Saitou/Sano Collection 1 ebook.

4 Replies to “"I Love You Too"”

  1. I haven’t read this before and I’m trying to ration the fics I read so I won’t run out too soon. Anyway, I really enjoyed reading this. It’s something I could understand Saitou being worried and irritated about. I totally relate. Personally, I don’t like “I love you, too,” because it does feel like it’s forced and almost obligatory.

    I loved this line, Scorning “I love you too” for being too easy didn’t make “I love you” any less difficult.

    1. I’m glad you liked it! I agree that Saitou could be the type of person that has problems with getting “I love you” out, to the point where it’s going to be a sort of running theme throughout the second part of Aku Soku Zan(za).

      I’m glad you liked that line; I was rather pleased with it myself! Thanks very much for your comments, as always ^__^

  2. *opens mouth to scream “I LOVE THIS STORY” and starts thinking about how I’ve yelled that at least 20 times so far…….* …irony, given the subject matter. lol But at the risk of my constant declarations of adoration for your writing seeming empty…I LOVED THIS!!!

    Saito totally isn’t the kind of guy who’s gonna say that so freely, without all this crazy rationalization over and over. It totally is a defense mechanism. And the fact that he pumped himself up so much and for so long to say those words makes it even more meaningful when he actually does. Then, deciding “I love you too” wasn’t as vacant-sounding as he previously thought…ahhHHHh *melts into a puddle!*

    You know what else is cool about this. Saito’s not openly declaring love is also so believable because he’s Japanese. I’m not trying to speak for all Japanese people or say that things aren’t changing now because they are. But with my experience having a Japanese partner, the constant bold declarations of feeling just isn’t part of the whole thing. Personally, I prefer it that way, for the same reasons Saito had in this story.

    Great work, as always!! ^_^ I really (really, really, i’m always serious when I say that lol) loved this one. Thank you!!

  3. :D Once again, I am very happy you loved it screamingly much! Your enthusiasm is consistently touching and encouraging, and I would never complain about repetition.

    And, yes! Saitou is (or can, I believe, be interpreted as) the type of guy to have difficulties with this serious declaration. We’re going to get back to this concept in ASZz eventually too! Something so serious and important to him, because it is so serious and important, can never be taken lightly. Sano doesn’t know how well off he really is :D

    And you make an interesting point about this being a peculiarly Japanese characteristic. I have only known a handful of Japanese people, and none of them particularly well, so I have to learn about these things through others and through Japanese pop culture (the latter of which, like any pop culture, always has to be taken with a grain of salt, heh). So thanks for the insight! And also thanks for reading!

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