A timid, nervous smile flashed on his lips. There for just a moment and then gone, as if giving expression to the feeling would be too much. It was so delicate, just believing it was real might make it vanish.
His heart pattered quickly, and that ridiculous sense of anxiety trembled through his body, causing his lithe hands to quiver ever so slightly. Large eyes wide open, glossy. His breath came gently, yet quickly. If he couldn't focus, he'd ruin it, right now at the end. Ruin everything, so close to perfection.
But how could he control himself? His face flushed slightly as another smile played at the corner of his lips.
He was in love.
At least, that's what it felt like. He had never been in love before, never felt this crazy spring of exhilaration bursting up from deep inside him, flooding his senses. He wasn't Trueborn. He wasn't made for these feelings. It wasn't his purpose, but here he was anyways. He gripped the delicate instrument a little tighter, and tried to suppress... a giggle? A sigh?
What were you supposed to do when you felt this way? No one had told him. No one ever told him it could be like this.
His hands moved smoothly with perfect precision that not even the rush of breathtaking ecstasy could disrupt. It had taken endless years of practice, unfathomable frustration, and the searing anguish of failure after failure, but now he was finally here. He was just moments away from the pinnacle of what a mere mortal would call a lifetime of work.
If it was love, it was different than what must have been designed when first the word was spoken into being. This wasn't the feeling that one had for another. This was the love of craft. Of pouring one's self into one's work. Of perfecting the mind and the body, and training it to mirror that exact, divine nature into a material work of art.
How could he say he loved his work, when it was the holy made manifest in a merely vulgar world. The word may have matched the feeling, but it somehow seemed a pale shadow of what was happening here tonight.
The human, on the other hand, knew exactly what that meaning was. It was dangling in chains, suspended from the floor, little more than a carcass hanging from the metal hooks rammed through its flesh. It had given up screaming months ago, though it was still technically able, and it had given up what faint glimmer was left in its eyes nine days before this one. Its blood long ago replaced with life-giving toxins when it had bled entirely from the engraved human words. This really was the end. It would perish just as he finished.
With delicate movements of the tiny scalpel, he finished carving the entirety of the Codex Astartes into its flesh. One final breath, and it passed into death.
No, this wasn't love. This was pride.