Ned rounded the corner of the room, glass of broken windows on the floor, people screaming and the all to well known noise of bullets flying trough the air was surronding him. And besides that, his eyes met the sight he had feared for, the sight he had been praying for not to see, not now, not ever.
Joes lifeless body, slumping against the bar, blood floating on the floor below him, his eyes closed shut and with his armour still on, but his helmet beside him on the floor. For one second, Ned was terrified, and in the next... he ran towards his best friend.
When he had reached Joe, he kneeled down beside him, not knowing what to do, not knowing what he could do. Joe slowly opened his eyes, they were dimmy, cloaded and he offered Ned just the smallest of smiles, which quickly turned into a grimace of pain.
" I-I knew that you would come Ned...I knew it " Ned nodded, smiling slighlty, although he was breaking down completely inside.
" Always Joe, always " Joe closed his redshoot eyes, coughing a little and then he sank lower down to the floor, not having the strength to hold up his wounded body any longer.
He was weakening and he paled for every second that went by.
" Don't you dare to leave me Joe, don't you dare! " Tears filled Neds eyes as he sat there, slumped down beside his best friend, clutching his hand firmly against Joes stomach, trying to stop the blood from pouring out. But there was nothing he could do, Joe was dying, right infront of him, and there was nothing he could do about it.
Joe reached out his hand towards Ned, shakily. Ned immediately grabbed it in his own, gently, he stroke his thumb over it. Joe opened his mouth, over and over again, trying to speak, but no words would come out.
The tears that had been threatened to fall from Neds eyes, now escaped, streaming freely down his cold cheeks.
" N-ned..." Joe finally managed to utter, but Ned shook his head. " Joe, don't try to speak, It's going to be alright, you're going to be okay, everything's going to be fine... " Joe tried to say something, but his lips stopped moving, his eyes stayed wide open and his breath was being caught in his throat.
Ned stared at him, he didn't quite know for how long, but his gaze broke when he felt how Joes hand slipped out from his own and he was watching as if it was in slowmotion when Joes hand fell numb to the hard floor.
" No...no..." Ned pleaded, more tears spilled from his stormy eyes as he wrapped his arms around his childhood friend's lifeless body, feeling how the warmth slowly left it.
For several hours did Ned Kelly hold his best friend Joseph Byrne in a tight embrace, his face buried in Joes neck, as he cried into it.
Joseph Byrne died at the age of 23 and he was known as the lieutenant in the Kelly Gang.