Steve tells Nancy and Jonathan he loves them every single day. He loves saying it, and he’ll take every opportunity he can get, whether it’s light-hearted or sad or apologetic or just out of the blue. The other two know this, and they love hearing it, but they rarely say it back. They’ll say it occasionally, but they don’t want it to lose its meaning. So instead, they like starting banter with him, or coming back with “I know” or “I love me too” or other dorky responses, and it’s a comfortable loving thing between all of them.
One day, they’re in the middle of a hunting job when things go wrong. Really wrong. They’re not prepared, they don’t know what to do, and it’s a mess. Nancy has a broken arm, Jonathan gets terrible burns down his legs, and Steve.
Steve doesn’t make it out.
Nothing’s the same after that. About a month afterwards, Nancy wakes up from a nightmare sobbing and she wakes Jonathan up and just starts mumbling “I love you, I love you, I love you,” over and over again and Jonathan doesn’t know what to do but she can’t stop because “fuck Jonathan we didn’t tell him, we didn’t tell him enough, he told us every single day and we didn’t say it back, why didn’t we say it back?? and what if he didn’t know, what if we didn’t say it enough and he didn’t get it, and now I can’t say it to him, what if he didn’t know? I should’ve said it every single day, I should’ve never stopped…” until eventually she falls asleep
Things never go back to the way they were, but they learn to smile again with time, and from then on, they never ever let a day go by that they don’t say it.