Laughter in the Rain

This story was written using a picture prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.  I’ll put a little warning that it deals with some touchy issues regarding character death.

**

Ivan Petrov was dead.  There was no doubt about it.  He hadn’t simply disappeared, only to reappear when they all least expected it.  Neither had he contracted an illness and left government work.  If that had been the case, they could report that he’d died when he’d really just been pushed into a hospital somewhere.

There could be no doubt of his death because it had been so public.  The president had been in the middle of a speech.  News agencies were filming it, to air later.  There, in the background, stood the main government building.  It had once been the royal palace, but when they’d overthrown the royals, they’d changed it into the headquarters for the government.

Just as the president had stepped forward – before he’d even greeted the gathered crowd – a body plunged from the roof of that building.  Members of the press had gasped in shock.  Some people had even screamed.

Taurys watched the film with a mixture of shock and some other feeling he couldn’t quite identify.  Then, he looked at Arthur.  “Petrov?” he said, his voice faint.  “They’re absolutely certain that was him?  It’s not some sort of trick?”

Arthur shook his head.  “Our sources have confirmed it,” he said.  “Ivan Petrov is dead from an apparent suicide.”

Nodding, Taurys moved to his feet.  “Thank you for letting me know,” he said.  He moved to the door of the office.  He was dimly aware of Arthur speaking – asking if he was all right.  He wasn’t even sure that he answered as he headed down the corridor and out of the Agency building known as the Castle.

When he stepped out into the pouring rain, he realized what the emotion was that was mingled with shock.  A laugh bubbled up and mixed with the tears that stood in his eyes.  A sound between a sob and a laugh escaped his lips.  “He’s dead,” he breathed.

Taurys-rain

He looked up at the clouds and held out his arms.  “He’s dead,” he screamed into the rain.  Ignoring the stunned looked he was drawing from passersby, he laughed and shook the rain from his hair.  “Thank you, God.  Petrov is finally dead!”

Someone called his name and he whirled around.  Gilbert was standing on the steps of the Castle, an umbrella clutched in his hands.  He was blinking at Taurys and frowning slightly.  “You’re… happy that he killed himself?” he said.  He flushed and then shrugged.

As Gilbert came down the steps to stand beside him, Taurys shook his head.  He couldn’t keep the smile off his lips.  “Petrov didn’t kill himself,” he said.  He chuckled and shook his head again.  “He’s not the sort.  That – that was an assassination – a bold assassination.  There, in full view of the press and the president and the rest of the government.”

“Who?” Gilbert breathed, his eyes widening in shock.  He shook his head.  “Who would do something like that, Taurys?”

Taurys ruffled his hands through his wet hair.  “We called him the Lynx, because he would strike quickly and without warning,” he said.  Then, he gave Gilbert a playful wink.  “You might know him as Nicholai.”

Gilbert blinked.  “How do you know it’s him?” he asked, shaking his head.

Shrugging, Taurys said, “That’s what he’d do, Gilbert.  He’d lure the target to a convenient rooftop and then knock them off.”  He stepped closer to Gilbert, so that he was shielded by the umbrella, although it hardly mattered.  He was already soaked to the skin.  “Let the director think it was suicide, though.  It’ll be easier on Nicholai that way.”

Nodding, Gilbert moved towards the door.  Taurys followed him as they stepped inside.  “Get changed into something dry,” he said.  He flashed a smile at Taurys.  “You can’t catch a cold, but it won’t do The Singer any good to be cold and wet for too long.”

“Right,” Taurys said.  He headed towards the locker room in the basement, whistling a happy tune.  A few years ago, he would never have believed that Petrov could be killed.  Wherever Nicholai was, Taurys hoped that he was well and safe.  He knew, with Petrov gone, that things would change in Veligrad.  It was only a matter of time.

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