Tune the Violin
Part Sixteen
by SarAdora

~~~~~~

Sleep took him swiftly, dreams crowding his mind. Wesley moaned softly. It was too much all at once.

"Memories, Sergei, many, many memories," the voice of his dreams was soothing. "Remember when...?"

1700s
Regency England

Sir Walter stood on his balcony enjoying the cool evening air, a nightly habit, regardless of the weather. He knew his mistress waited for him, but he was determined to smoke the sweet cheroot before bedding the demanding woman. 'Tis time I settled some funds on the wench and moved on, he decided. He made a mental note to inform his barrister to take care of the matter.

He replayed the events of the day as he savored the short cigar. His guests had been delighted with the little Russian violinist. Her performance had been masterful and he had been intrigued by her guileless manner, her sincere blushes at the well-deserved applause.

As a weekend guest at his country home, she was extended all the courtesies of a guest and not treated as a hired entertainer. After her performance, he had insisted she lay her violin aside and join him and the other guests for the remainder of the weekend's festivities.

Standing on his balcony, he thought about the lovely woman. She was witty and modest and talented and... "Beautiful," he murmured, remembering her dark brown silky hair, her golden brown eyes, her cleavage. And those lips... I want to taste those lips.

"My Lord," a sultry voice interrupted. "Will you not seek your bed?"

"Immediately," he grumbled, suddenly anxious to bed the wench one final time and send her on her way and out of his life.

~~~

Mid-1800s
The coach and four made good time over the rough roads. A day and a half into the journey, two of the three passengers were enjoying each other's company and were not yet travel worn. Sergei Alexi Skovetz discovered that Miss Katerina Orlovsky was a well-read woman, refined and not at all shy.

And beautiful, simply beautiful, he thought for the tenth time that afternoon.

The ancient man of the cloth that accompanied her on this trip had been asleep since they left Bitterroot.

Stopping for their evening meal, Sergei was solicitous of Katerina's welfare and comfort, ordering a fine meal for the two of them. The minister had excused himself earlier, insisting on retiring early.

Despite the dropping temperatures, Sergei invited Katerina to walk with him. Bundled up in a heavy cloak, he thought she looked like a Christmas present he'd like to unwrap. Katerina had similar thoughts, wondering what it would feel like to lean against the man and be snuggled into his warm embrace. She shivered when he kissed her hand as he bid her goodnight.

The morning brought a heavy snowstorm. When Sergei knocked on the old minister's door to wake him, he didn't answer. He quietly entered the room to find the old man had died in his sleep. Katerina was alone, in the middle of nowhere, with no one to insure her safety.

~~~

1908
New York City
Lower East Side

Captain Schyler couldn't understand why the owner of the sandwich shop couldn't spare Katerina for a few hours. He doesn't have to pay her for the time she's gone, he fumed. The lunch rush will be over. Think I'll have a chat with him.

The chat was unsatisfactory.

"I let her have the afternoon off, everybody wants an afternoon off. What? You think I'm operating a charity here? Business is business," the man grumbled. "That a crime, Captain?"

"The lady has a chance for a career in music, a chance to better herself. It's the New York Symphony, for Chrissakes!" Wesley snapped.

"She can go," the owner said. "And if she don't get that fancy job playing for the New York Fucking Symphony, she can go peddle her little ass somewhere else for a job. Should have told me she had such high aspirations *before* she came to work here with the common folk."

"You're afraid she's gonna get the job, aren't you?" Wesley sneered. "Then you'll have to hire somebody else to do her job, maybe somebody not so sweet, not so needy. You're a sorry son of a bitch," he growled, walking away before he acted on his anger, remembering he was armed and dangerous.

He plopped down at the counter, signaling for coffee without looking up. When a hot cup was placed in front of him, he automatically said thanks. Her quietly spoken "you're welcome" made him look up and he paused to look at her. Small, not much more than 5'2", he didn't think she weighed a hundred pounds. Beautiful dark brown hair, a few loose curls tucked behind her ears, and the prettiest shade of brown eyes - a deep golden brown.

He thought she looked edible. When she stepped away, he could see all of her and what he saw made him swallow hard. She had a heavy bosom, a tiny waist and nicely rounded hips. Her skin looked soft and her sudden smile caught him off-guard. He shifted in his seat, his pants suddenly tight.

~~~

The coffin was stark white, a contrast to the green liner covering the dirt in the open grave, the only other color the blood red petals of dozens of roses, all thorns removed. He thought it was the least he could do - give her roses without thorns.

She can't smell them, Sergei, the voice of his conscience rang in his ear. She's dead. Gone. Passed on. No more.

"I know," he said softly, wondering how there could be such an intense ache in his chest since his heart no longer existed. He had long since given it to Raisa, the woman he loved, the old woman about to be buried.

You're alone.

"I know."

She's dead - dead - dead.

"NO!" he shouted. "NO! NO! NO!"

"Sir!" Mahoney rapped on Wesley's bedroom door. "Sir, are you all right? I'm coming in," he said firmly, entering his boss' bedroom.

Wesley sat up in bed trying to focus on the man standing over him. The nightmare had shaken him badly. His heart was pounding and his body was wet with perspiration.

"Sir," Mahoney said in a softer tone. "Are you all right? You had a nightmare."

"What are you doing here, Mahoney?" Wesley asked, wondering where the hell his agent had come from.

"You were shouting in your sleep," Mahoney explained. "And..."

"I remember now," Wesley shook his head, trying to clear his sleep fogged brain. "You came over earlier... sleeping on the couch... promised breakfast..." he murmured, falling back to the pillow, suddenly exhausted. He closed his eyes and was asleep before Mahoney closed the bedroom door behind him.

7:00 A.M.
"How do you like your eggs, sir?" Mahoney asked when Wesley came into the kitchen, dressed for work.

Wesley pursed his lips and stared at the agent he had suspended. "Any coffee?"

"Coffee coming right up," Mahoney grinned, opening cabinets searching for ingredients.

"Move over, Mahoney. I'll do it," Wesley said with exasperation. "You know how to make coffee?"

"Yes, sir."

"When was the last time?"

"Uh... don't exactly remember," he grinned sheepishly.

"You don't drink coffee in the morning?"

"Yeah, but there's a coffee shop near my place - I get it there. Buy a few cups and put them in the refrigerator for when I need a caffeine fix."

Wesley stared at his brilliant albeit eccentric agent. "In the refrigerator?"

Mahoney nodded.

"Do you have dishes, Agent Mahoney?"

"Yes, sir."

"Furniture? Linens?"

"Yes, sir," Mahoney grinned.

"How the hell does Sanders put up with you?" he muttered, shaking his head in disgust and turning the coffee maker on.

"She makes the coffee, sir."

Wesley snorted. "Do you know how to make eggs?"

"Yes, sir, and toast, too."

"Let me know when it's ready," he said, going to his front door in search of the morning paper.

As usual, the newspaper delivery service had placed the Washington Post in front of the wrong door and Wesley walked across the hall to retrieve it. His neighbor had no qualms about absconding with it, and reading it at his leisure, giving it back when he damn well felt like it. "I pay extra for front door delivery," Wesley muttered. "You'd think they'd get it right once or twice a month."

Finally settled into his large leather chair, he skimmed the front page several times until he realized he couldn't concentrate. All he could see was the white coffin holding the body of his beloved. "Could have sworn they only used white coffins for children," he murmured to himself.

"They are also used for souls moving on to the next life cycle."

"The undertaker wouldn't know that," he argued quietly. "The color of the actual coffin is immaterial; it's what *your* soul saw that matters. Your soul saw white."

He sighed softly - another complexity to ponder.

"Raisa is going to die soon, Sergei," the voice of his dreams murmured softly.

"I know."

"Remember her," it whispered. "Remember her silky hair when it was dark brown - not gray. Remember her soft brown eyes when they were golden brown. Remember the way she loved you... loved you... loved you..."

"Mahoney! Are those damn eggs ready yet?" he shouted, trying to focus on his irascible agent and not his aching heart.

"About 30 seconds more," Mahoney yelled back. "Come and get it."

"Remember her... remember her... remember her..."

He brushed an unexpected tear out of his eye and coughed to cover the action. Filling his coffee mug, he sat at the kitchen table, his perpetual scowl firmly in place.

Mahoney's discerning eyes took it all in. Something was definitely going on with his boss, raising his curiosity to an all-time high. He filled their plates with eggs, toast and jam and took a seat beside the surly man. Casually, he asked him how he had slept.

"You get enough sleep last night, sir? You look a little tired."

"I'm fine, Mahoney. How was the couch?" he asked, forking the eggs into his mouth, smearing jam on the toast.

"Very comfortable. Wouldn't mind getting one like that for my place. So, how's Raisa? You seen her lately?" he asked as casually as he could, his profiler's voice calm and steady.

"Why are you asking me, Mahoney?" Wesley asked, lifting his coffee mug.

"'Cause I got this feeling you know how she is, sir," his agent replied, taking note of the fact that his boss wouldn't look him in the eye.

"You're weird, Mahoney, you know that?" Wesley scowled.

"I hear that a lot, sir."

"Not as often as I do," his boss snorted.

"Can I come back to the office today?"

"No! You're still on suspension."

"Tomorrow?"

"Try me next week. And get your stuff out of here," Wesley snapped, gulping the rest of the meal and putting his dishes in the sink. "Don't wake me in the middle of the night again... unless it's an emergency. Go home, Mahoney. Now!" he rumbled, pushing the man toward the front door, slamming it shut behind them.

He knew Mahoney was following him. You'd think an FBI agent would know how to tail someone without being so damn obvious, he snorted, pulling onto a side street. He slowed down, waited until Mahoney caught up with him and rolled down his window. "Go home NOW!"

"Yes, sir," Mahoney grinned and drove to the Hoover to see if his boss actually showed up.

He did. Mahoney saw his boss enter the garage. However, he didn't see the man exchange his car for an official car and exit from the other side of the garage.

Wesley had to get to the hospital. The dream had been unsettling; he had to see Raisa again, make sure she was all right. He knew she was going to die soon. Please, God, not yet.

She might have died in her sleep, last night, his conscience murmured.

"NO!"

~ End Part Sixteen ~

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