Bond Over Loss
Rocket Raccoon didn't rejoice over Ronan's defeat with the rest of his new friends. To him, the price of their victory cost too much. Groot, his best friend, paid with his life. Rocket sat among the smoking wreckage, his dusty and battered body slumped in defeat. He clutched what remained of Groot in his little paws, unable to hold in his grief any longer. Tears welled in dull eyes that normally sparked with anger and battle lust. Rocket let the tears run down his face and his shoulders shake, not caring in the least if anyone saw him.
So this was what loss felt like. True loss. All his life, as a mercenary and thief, the only things he had ever lost were things he attempted and failed to steal. Nice trinkets and gadgets snatched away from his grasp either by authorities or the consequence of his own incompetence...sure, it sucked, but nothing could ever compare to the sheer pain and heartache that tormented him as he helplessly watched Groot sacrifice himself and die.
Rocket suddenly remembered what he had said to Drax back in Knowhere: "Oh boo hoo, my wife and child are dead!"
Rocket couldn't believe he actually had the nerve to say that. Now he understood the pain of Drax's loss, and he realized that he had been a real asshole. He wished he could turn time and take it all back. Rocket's ears pricked as his keen hearing picked up the sound of crunching gravel, Drax the Destroyer attempting to sit by his side. Rocket continued to sob and he turned away a little in shame. How could he meet his eyes after what he had said? Rocket hunched his shoulders and curled his tail, expecting to hear scorn from the vengeful warrior: "Now you know how I feel, you insensitive vermin," or "I was right to say that you have no respect."
In all honesty, he deserved it. Though he felt like he couldn't take anymore, Rocket braced himself for more emotional pain. What he felt next was something he did not expect at all.
Rocket felt a large, calloused hand envelop his head. For a moment he thought the warrior would crush him to a furry pulp, but Drax smoothed back Rocket's fur in an awkward stroking movement he clearly wasn't used to doing. Drax kept petting Rocket on the head anyway. The genetically engineered raccoon stiffened at first, then he lowered his head and held Groot to his chest. No words were uttered between them, but Rocket understood. It was a tender touch of unspoken sympathy and forgiveness, an act of exposure to a side of Drax that Rocket had never seen before. That is, until now.
Drax saw his comrade in pain, a pain he knew all too well when Ronan had mercilessly slaughtered his wife and daughter. He couldn't just stand by and let Rocket be consumed in his grief. Loneliness after the loss only made the pain all the more terrible. As he tried to console the sobbing raccoon, he couldn't think of anything to say. However, he took Rocket's own silence to be one of indefinite comfort and gratitude.
This bond over loss kindled the start of an unexpected, inseparable friendship that would last for years to come.
Drax petting a grieving Rocket on the head was a very touching and powerful scene to me. I tried to put in words what the movie portrayed. I loved the character development for both of them; Rocket learns what it's like to lose a loved one, and no doubt he must've felt terrible about being so insensitive to Drax's own loss. Drax, on the other hand, was hardened by the death of his family, but comes to find comfort in making new friends and in turn comforts one of them. One of the many reasons why I love this movie.