The inventor slumped against the wall, staring at the wooden door. Nothing was behind it, no flying ribbons, no escaping doves, no smiling magician to burst out just as he opened the door. Nothing would fall on him, nothing would fly out at him, nothing would scare him. He knew that.
So why was he so afraid to open the door?
He stood and put his hand to the bronzed doorknob, then stared at his hand, and slumped back against the wall. Nothing to be afraid of. Nothing.
The magician had nothing dangerous; the worst that he could expect was ribbon. He knew that, the man was about threatening as a basket of kittens. Or at least, he had been. Now...
He put his hand to the doorknob again. Opening the door in three, two, one...
He slumped back down, letting his hand slide from the doorknob like water. No, no, he couldn't do this. He was afraid. Why? What was so different about now? He'd never known if the magician was here...
That was it. That was what was different. That was why he was afraid.
He knew the magician wasn't here.
And that scared him.
He didn't want to walk into the empty room knowing that it would never be filled again, he didn't want to know, to see with his own eyes, to test and to verify the magician's absence. He knew it, he'd seen the man fall, but somehow, somehow...
Somehow, maybe, if he didn't open that door, the magician would still be in there. Still laughing, still smiling, still quietly reading the little book with golden pages. Still feeding the doves, opening the windows, throwing ribbon everywhere. Still living, still laughing, still loving.
And he didn't want to know that he wasn't.
Oh, he was not crying. No. No. He was not crying. He was not going to cry about this. Not because the magician had gone and gotten himself shot, darnit, not because that stupid magician had gone and stood in the way of that stupid, stupid idiot conqueror and took thirteen stupid shots to the chest and gotten the stupid crap beaten out of him, darnit, not because said magician had wound up in the stupid hospital on a respirator with no magic left and probably going to die within a few days, maybe a few hours, a few stupid lonely hours, darnit, not because that stupid magician was dying, not because he was dying, not because he'd never wake up, not because he was... not because the magician was his friend, his good friend, maybe his only friend, and his friend was dying, darnit, not because he was too much of a stupid coward to go and see the only friend he had before he was dead, darnit, stupid dead, stupid death, stupid stupid stupid stupid! Darnit, he was not going to cry!
The inventor was crying.
I wasn't sure if I needed to introduce the character of the inventor before I showed his response to the magician's death, but I'm posting this anyway. I've written some other magician stuff involving this character, but I didn't like it so much as I liked this. Enjoy.