He realized it was love, after everything.
The pain stabbed the middle of his chest, sucking inward as an unpleasant heat spread throughout his lungs. He curled over, shoulders hunched, arms wrapped protectively around himself before he could stop. Something clawed at his throat from the inside. His eyes burned and stung, and a hard throbbing began between his brows.
Nothing had hurt like this, ever. Hatred wasn’t supposed to be painful.
Seeing him lying there, broken and bloody and dead, was a victory. He should feel celebratory, proud, and righteous, not this horrid agony rending his insides. His yell should be of triumph. Instead, a keening wail rising from his lips shattered the stunned stillness.
He pushed through the crowd then, who’d turned to stare at him at the sound. He shoved through the last barrier, into the empty space that circled the body – oh god, it hurts, make it stop, make it stop, makeitstop – and collapsed to his knees. Blood stained his expensively tailored suit as he gathered the limp form in his arms. The face that he’d known for so long was battered unrecognizable.
He held the broken body against his agony-filled chest and rocked. Hot tears fell unheeded as the wail turned into choked, harshly ground words. “Get up, alien. Wake up… You can’t do this to me… I’ll destroy the world if you don’t wake up… Wake up… I can’t be a legend alone….”