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Final First Hug

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"I know now why you cry... but it's something I can never do."

"Trunks... from the time you were a little baby, I've never once hugged you because I always wanted to make you a tougher man. I'll hug you, now."
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Some characters (and some real people) consider the very natural act of a father showing his love for his children to be un-manly and anathema. They so habitually maintain their stoic badass attitudes they never tell their children they love them or hug them, not till their dying hour.

Heroes or antiheroes who enact this trope have lived their entire lives true to the notion that emotion is weakness, still loving their children but never even saying so.

Yet, at the moment of death, such a father might find that his pride seems immaterial and insignificant compared to the crying child before him. Deciding that it's not worth it to go to his grave honorably with regret for it, he dissolves into the long overdue personification of love for the first and last time before facing the final journey.

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The source of many Tear Jerker endings. Doing this means usually also to Go Out with a Smile. See also Last Kiss, Real Men Hate Affection, and Fond Memories That Could Have Been.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the Japanese version of Dragonball Z, Ryo Horikawa's finest performance as Vegeta was encapsulated in the scene where he must get his son Trunks to escape from the incoming demon Buu. The invariably proud Warrior Prince softens with sincerity, and says the page quote above, does so before giving his life to save his family's. (Of course, he also knocks him unconscious to prevent the boy from following.)
    • Christopher Sabat likewise did an outstanding job, leaving many in the English speaking audience crying Manly Tears that day hearing his performance, giving his son, Trunks his Final First Hug.
      • Same goes to René García earning the hearts of the Latin-American fans with his own performance.
      • Alberto Hidalgo made tears come out of the Spanish fans in that episode.
  • Ross Igorl and his estranged son Alan (also Laura, not strictly his child, but a war orphan the good guys have adopted) in Dancougar.
  • When Raoh of Fist of the North Star, broken-and-defeated by Kenshiro, holds the younger warrior's face for the first and final time like a big brother:
    Raoh: Come, let me see the face of the man who has defeated Raoh... You are magnificent, my little brother.
    Kenshiro: Big brother...
  • A friendly version in Fairy Tail, Jellal and Erza do this when they believe that they are about to be obliterated by Etherion, Jellal seeing the error of his ways and Erza refusing to abandon him like before. They don't die and Jellal still turns out to be evil, so...
  • Happens during the apocalyptic season 1 finale of Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Christina and Lichtendahl die in each other's arms when the Ptolemaios is destroyed.
  • Arika and her mother Lena do this in Mai-Otome. It's a Tear Jerker in that this is the first time they met since separated when Arika was only a baby. Tragic in that Arika had to Mercy Kill Lena to stop Schwartz and get the Otomes' powers back.
  • Teru's father in Ginga Densetsu Weed had just risked his life to save his son from the Doberman assassins and ends up dying from his wounds. But before he dies, he tells his son he was sorry for mistreating him and that he loves him.
  • Played with in a disturbing way in Soul Eater. Medusa is an Abusive Mom to Crona for the entirety of the series... until she suddenly becomes incredibly kind to Crona, hugging him/her for the first time and prompting Crona to freak out and kill her. Of course, this was all part of Medusa's plan, and she dies not only revealing her Thanatos Gambit to Crona, but saying that she loves him/her.
  • Dai no Daibouken: Baran dies after hugging his son Dai.
  • Fate gave one to Alicia (the dead girl she was cloned from) before escaping a Lotus-Eater Machine near the end of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's. It's one of only two times in the franchise that Fate cries, the other being when she realized that she was in said Lotus-Eater Machine and it was giving her everything she ever wanted but could never have.

    Fan Works 
    Film 
  • The Terminator may not be able to cry, but his love for his "adoptive son" John was more than affirmed with his one and only embrace for him in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
  • Perhaps not a hug, but the tone of this trope is certainly there in Return of the Jedi when Darth Vader asks Luke to remove his helmet so he can look at his son through his own eyes 'just one time'. Since they'd been enemies on the opposite sides of the war and all, and Luke's father was in the process of showing us that Redemption Equals Death, it's understandable why this was the first and final display of affection.
  • Near the end of Rogue One, Jyn and Cassian embrace each other for the first time near moments before the explosion caused by the Death Star kills them off.
  • In the 2007 Beowulf movie, it is revealed the the dragon Beowulf fights to the mutual death is actually his own son, by way of the same creature that was mother to Grendel. After the climax of the movie, wherein the dragon has mortally wounded Beowulf, and he has torn out the dragon's heart, they both crashland on the beach. There, the dragon's form melts away into the waves, revealing a shiny, golden humanoid. It's not quite a hug, but Beowulf looks his son in the eyes and lays a hand on his shoulder before his corpse washes away.
  • TRON: Legacy: The reintegration between Flynn and Clu looks a lot like this, with Flynn wrapping his arms around his "wayward son" even as Clu is being absorbed back into his body.
  • The Man from Nowhere has Cha Tae-Sik hug So-Mi at the very end. Subverted, however, because while Cha Tae-Sik isn't dying or in any danger, he still has to leave So-Mi to spend time in jail, possibly for a long time.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Yondu rescues Peter as Ego's planet collapses due to Ego's death. Sadly, there is only one spare spacesuit left, which Yondu uses to protect Peter from the vacuum of space, leaving him exposed. Peter is horrified and tearfully screams in denial while desperately trying to tear off the spacesuit so he can save Yondu, having only realized at that moment that Yondu was the dad he had always wanted. Yondu spends his final moments reassuringly patting his son's head, his first and last open display of paternal affection.
    • In Avengers: Infinity War: Tony Stark largely keeps himself emotionally distant from Peter Parker notably rebuffing a hug from him in Spider-Man: Homecoming, although they've still nurtured a strong mentor/protege bond creeping on Parental Substitute over the course of the films. When Thanos's Badass Fingersnap culls half the universe's population at the end of the movie, Peter is one of the victims, and all Tony can do is hold the terrified, crying boy as tight as he can as he disintegrates.
    • Finally, in Avengers: Endgame, once Peter has been restored, Tony, holding in the Manly Tears, embraces him before they take part in the Big Badass Battle Sequence. (It's worth mentioning that, as is the case for everyone who's been brought back in the Mass Resurrection, Peter doesn't clearly recall his actual dying moments.) The battle ends with Tony making a Heroic Sacrifice.
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    Literature 
  • In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Lucy thinks Reepicheep (a talking mouse) looks very cuddly, but she knows it would be a dreadful insult for her to treat him like a cute little pet. She finally gives him a hug at the end when he sails off to Aslan's country.

    Live Action TV 
  • Sam and Dean in Supernatural would die for each other, have killed for each other, would sell their soul for each other but when do the fans finally get to see them hug? When Sam's just been stabbed in the back and dies in Dean's arms. Oh Kripke, you Magnificent bastard! I watched your show!
  • The X-Files:
    • In episode "Anasazi", Mulder visits his estranged father, who gives him a big hug shortly before he is killed in his own bathroom. Earlier in the season, he had noticeably declined to hug his son. Probably not the first hug ever, but likely the first in a long while.
    • In season 8, Mulder only gets to see his son William for two days before having to leave to go into hiding. Originally intending just to be a long absence, this turns out to be the only time he ever got to see William.
  • On Lost, Jack's father is hard on him believing this will mold Jack into a great doctor. Their "final first hug" occurs in the finale, after they are both dead.

    Video Game 
  • Big Boss of Metal Gear Solid 4 hugs his cloned son for the first and final time as he dies in front of the grave of The Boss, his adoptive mother and teacher. Notable since Solid Snake and Big Boss were enemies in the original Metal Gear games.
  • It's not exactly the trope, but after the final battle of MOTHER 3, after Claus kills himself with his own lightning, he stumbles towards his twin brother Lucas and hugs him for the last time.
  • It's pretty safe to assume that Jecht hasn't praised Tidus once, at least not that Tidus can recall. So after the party defeats Sin/Jecht and Jecht collapses, dying For Real, it means a lot that Tidus rushes to his dad's side and that Jecht doesn't push him away.
  • In Halo 4 In a variation, the first time that Cortana manages to physically touch John-117 (by making a Hard Light body for herself following the detonation of the Havok nuke) is what is assumed to be the final time they see each other ever again.
  • Undertale has a non-fatal example of it - the player character gets a hug from Toriel, the friendly creature that saved their life and was acting like a mother to them, if she is still alive after the battle with her. However, she told the player character not to return, explaining why this is a last hug. They can meet again later on, subverting the trope, but she is not expecting this at the time.
    • Finally, there is the moment with Asriel, whom the player can hug after defeating him in the True Final Boss battle. This comes with one extreme Tearjerker line... "I don't want to let go." because he'll revert back to a flower form and be alone again.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied a bit in the South Park episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft". Within the game, Stan's father's character is killed in combat, and the two avatars play out a tearful Final First Hug. Meanwhile, Stan and his father are both alive and well in front of separate computers. (Not to mention that Death Is Cheap in the video game, and Randy can revive his character with only minor inconvenience.)
  • One the American Dad! episode "Pulling Double Booty", Stan reveals that withholds from telling Hayley "I love you" specifically to invoke this should she ever be on her deathbed.
  • In Adventure Time "The Light Cloud", Finn hugs his mother Minerva in virtual reality (she only exists as a Virtual Ghost uploaded into Founders' Island's computer network). Sadly, he is doing this as he is sailing away from the Island, and Minerva's signal can't go too far from it. As the signal fades and his virtual mother vanishes in his arms, Finn whispers "Goodbye" and sheds a Single Tear.

    Real Life 
  • David Vetter, due to not having an immune system, spent his entire life isolated in a plastic bubble (yes, this is the original Bubble Boy). His parents were only able to hold him as he lay dying.
  • On Diagnosis: Dead or Alive, there was a man named David's wife, Bonnie, who had some terminal motor neuron disease, throwing her left arm around him (which she wasn't able to do since nearing that stage of her illness), and pulled him into something of a hug before passing away the next day.

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