Tune the Violin
Part Eighteen
by SarAdora

~~~~~~

Quietly, he closed the door behind him and counted the number of hours until he could return to her side. He was in the garage when he remembered Kat was waiting for him and turned back toward the elevator. She wasn't on the fifth floor and he didn't have time to look for her. The nurse at the desk promised to deliver his message. He left his home and office phone numbers.

"Another Raisa Katerina, Sergei," the voice of his dreams whispered in his ear as he drove out of the hospital parking garage.

How can that be? Wesley shook his head, confused all over again.

"Raisa's soul in another form. She is now. She is in the Kat of your youth. She is about to be born somewhere else for another turn in the cycle of lifetimes. So are you..."

There's another...? there's another me somewhere? Right now? Here? In DC? The thought excited him, a feeling of sheer terror following close behind.

"I see you, Wesley Sergei Schyler," the voice chanted. "I see you now. I see you in the young schoolboy learning letters in another place. I see the elder you of this cycle has just crossed to the other side. I see you in the babe that will be born as your grandchild."

He didn't know what to say and blurted out the first words that sprang to his mind. "Can I...? Is it possible to...? I'm going to have grandchildren? I... I want to meet another me."

Soft laughter filled his ears. "Go to New Orleans. In the outskirts, there is a place called Gretna. The school has a cross on its roof. The parish priest teaches there. You will know him by his name. The boy is there."

"What's his name?" he asked, suddenly hungry for every piece of information he could get.

"You will know him by his name," the voice answered, each word softer than the one before, until it faded completely.

I'll know him by his name, he mused. I'll know him by his name. The priest... or the child? he wondered. Both, he thought, suddenly sure both names would be familiar to him. The priest *and* the boy.

He pulled into the Hoover's garage, knowing a visit to New Orleans would have to wait for the time being. He had more pressing matters to deal with, matters that couldn't wait. He'd look for the child when he had the luxury of time. I'll go when things are a little more settled, after...

"After you've buried Raisa," the voice in his head murmured.

It was sheer reflex that saved him from crashing into a concrete column. He jerked the steering wheel, the car swerving just in time to miss the column and then he braked hard, and missed side swiping a line of parked sedans by mere inches. Switching the ignition off, he dropped his head to his hands, perspiration covering his face and neck.

That's where Mahoney found him a few minutes later.

"Sir, are you all right?" Mahoney yelled, trying to open the car door. "Sir, sir," he tapped on the window. "Open the door. Can you open the door?"

"Please tell me I'm hallucinating," Wesley said aloud, refusing to look at Mahoney. "Beam me up, Scotty. This is your cue," he pleaded, poking his fingers under his glasses to rub his eyes. "If there's a god," he yelled at the inside roof of the car. "You'll render him speechless before..." Yanking open the car door, he decked the startled agent.

Looking up at his boss, Mahoney rubbed his jaw. "That's a mean left hook, sir. If you had used your right, I could have ducked."

Wesley extended his hand, helping the suspended agent to his feet. "You're pissing me off, Agent Mahoney. I told you to go home."

"You didn't like my eggs," Mahoney grimaced, still rubbing his jaw.

"What are you doing here?"

"Needed something out of my desk," Mahoney fabricated.

"You're not a very good liar. Go home."

"You need help, sir. Let me help you."

"You don't know what you're talking about," Wesley fumed. "You want to help me. Here," he growled, throwing the car keys at him. "Park the car in a regular parking space." Turning his back, he stormed toward the elevator.

The remainder of the day dragged, each hour slower than the previous one. Despite the many phone calls he fielded, the pile of paperwork that demanded his attention, agitation churned his stomach, anxiety kept his temper raw. All who came in contact with him felt the sharpness of the knife's edge, cutting, biting, stinging and painful. Even the deputy director that was known to be a mean SOB, avoided him.

~~~~~~~

"Divide the lock of hair into two parts," she said softly when he arrived at her bedside. "Put one part in a safe place - a place near you - where you can look at it once in a while... when you have a need to do so." She paused, her eyes filled and her breath escaped in shallow gasps, each one shorter than the one that came before.

"Raisa..." Wesley fought to maintain his composure but it was a losing battle. "Rest, we'll talk later," he assured her. "I'll stay right here. I won't leave your side. Later, my love, we'll talk more later."

"No, Sergei. My time is close."

"No!"

No! No! No! No!

"Sergei... please."

Reluctantly, he nodded his head, unable to speak past the lump in his throat and his hands holding one of hers to his lips.

"With the other lock," she rasped, her breath harsher now. "Burn it and cast the few ashes upon the waters of one of the great oceans - the Atlantic or the Pacific - either one will do."

"Raisa..." he said, his words halted, her face changing before his eyes. She was young again, his virgin bride, and he blinked at the firmness of her flesh, the dark brown hair filled with red highlights as if reflecting the light of the fire in their honeymoon dacha. His mind returned to that time and his eyes filled; he knew she was dying... taking her last breaths... and there was nothing he could do to change that. When he blinked again, she was older once more.

"Do this, Sergei and I will return to you in the next cycle. We will fulfill our destiny again. I love you Sergei Nicholai. I love you," she vowed, her breath escaping, leaving a soft rattle in its place, her eyes closed, her hand limp in his grasp and her heart that loved him... stilled.

He bowed his head and wept.

Wesley Sergei Schyler, assistant director of the FBI, a man both feared and respected, wept for a woman he believed he had loved and shared a life with 163 years in the past. It no longer mattered if it was true; he believed.

"Come back to me, barushka," he cried when he could speak. "Come back to me, my love."

~~~~~~~

The wind had a taste of the ages, old, sweet and familiar. It surrounded him... the chill damp wind of Russia's winters seeping through his clothing, touching that place in his heart that had remained hidden from today's reality. The light falling mist obscuring his tears completed the scene; a film of moisture covered his face... her coffin. Wesley Sergei Schyler did not exist... The grieving man was Sergei Nicholai Skovetsky, a man no one knew... not in this lifetime. And he was in pain... acute pain as they lowered her coffin into the ground. "Come back to me, barushka." His eyes overflowed, the tears spilled unerringly from the depths of his soul down his face. "Come back to me, my love."

The soft murmur of her voice remained in his ear, the words anchored in his ancient soul.

"Now, you can choose to be alone... make mistakes along the way... or perhaps, meet another me. The choice is yours, Sergei."

~~~~~~~

"Why did you do this to me?" he railed at Sinovia when long-needed sleep finally embraced him. "I should not have had to bury her. I should have had her in my life years ago, kept her with me longer, had a chance to relive our love..."

Gently, she turned toward him, the fire's glow at her back, embers sparkling in the soft breeze. "Would you rather not have known the great love that was yours, Sergei Nicholai Skovetsky?"

"I would have rather..." he protested, at a loss for words, caught between the deep grief of losing Raisa and his rage that she was gone before they had a chance to...

"Why...?" he asked again but the ancient woman was already fading from his sight.

"I am your past, Sergei. I am your beginning. And I am your future life."

"How...? When will I...?" his words were rushed as he tried to learn more. "Will I be with Raisa again? Will I...?"

"I am who I am," she replied with an enigmatic smile, her words fading along with the sweet notes of a violin. "I am who you want me to be. I was a part of what you were. I will be what you would want me to be."

"Sinovia," he heard himself beg. "Please," he whispered softly as he woke from a troubled sleep, his face wet with tears.

~ End Part Eighteen ~

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