Tune the Violin
Part Nineteen
by SarAdora

~~~~~~

A few days alone with his memories were all he would allow himself to take, to grieve openly, a bottle of Scotch on the coffee table, his lost love alive in his mind. It hurt. Each and every memory of their time together danced in his head, her soft sweet body beneath him, her laughter and their love. It hurt so deep inside him... an ache he couldn't rub away, a wound that bled... and wouldn't stop bleeding, each drop of grief a fist in his gut... twisting...

"You can choose to be alone, make mistakes with someone else, or meet another me. Your choice, Sergei," her words a constant reminder that she was gone.

Grief would accompany him for a long time, but he had wallowed long enough in self-indulged pity. Time to grab whatever the rest of his life had to offer.

~~~~~~~

He made arrangements for a car and driver through the New Orleans field office. It would be easier to locate the school in Gretna if he didn't have to constantly check a map. He told Marta he'd be away two days max.

The car and driver picked him up at the airport and after the initial exchange of pleasantries, Wesley busied himself with paperwork until they arrived at the first parish school on his list. The priest's name was Michael. No clue there.

The second parish school had a larger cross on its roof than the first and the priest's name was Father Nicholai. Maybe. He asked if he could visit the classroom and smiled broadly when he was instantly greeted by a two dozen beautiful smiles. It was an all-girls school.

The next parish school on his list was a middle school. Scratch that one.

"Are there any schools in the parish that are not church schools?" he asked the driver.

"Just one."

"Show me."

It was a small school, with a small cross on the roof. "Why does a public school have a cross on its roof?" he wondered aloud.

"Used to be a church school till the state bought the building. Guess they never got around to removing the cross. Most folks here are Catholic, you know."

"I know," Wesley smiled. "Let's stop here."

He showed his I.D. and was ushered into the principal's office. "Yes, we have a priest teaching here," she said. "He's my brother. Come, I'll introduce you."

Wesley recognized him immediately. "Father Petrov?" he smiled at the cleric who bore an uncanny resemblance to his close friend from 1838 Russia, the Petrov who had driven the horses of the carriage that took him and Raisa to his father's dacha.

"Do I know you?" Father Petrov smiled, extending his hand in greeting. "You seem familiar."

"Sergei Schyler," Wesley replied. "Wesley Sergei Schyler."

"Sergei?" Father Petrov pursed his lips in thought.

"I have a feeling I know you... and yet, I don't. Nevertheless, what can I do for you, Mr. Schyler?"

"I would like to visit your primary classes. May I?"

"Of course. Follow me," he said, wondering what the FBI's interest could be in the primary class.

Wesley sat in a corner of the room, out of the teacher's way, Father Petrov at his side. His eyes scanned the room, searching the face of each child. They must be used to visitors, he thought as each child remained quiet and continued working.

Until...

"Alexi, leave Nicholas alone and go back to your seat, please," the teacher said quietly.

"No, ma'am," the five-year old boy said politely.

"And why not?"

"Nicholas took my black crayon. I want it back."

Aware there was a guest in the room, the teacher offered to give him a new black crayon.

"I want what is mine," the boy said determinedly, crossed his arms over his chest and glared at 5-year old Nicholas.

Wesley grinned. That's me! he thought happily and walked closer to the child. He leaned on a bookcase behind Alexi and spoke softly.

"What is your last name, Alexi?"

"What's yours?" Alexi asked politely, eyeing the stranger, thinking he looked familiar in some way.

"Schyler."

"Is it really?" the boy smiled.

"Really," Wesley smiled back into eyes as brown as his own. "What's yours?"

"What is your first name?"

"Wesley."

"Do you have a middle name?"

"Yes." he replied, amused that he was being interrogated by... Myself? At five years of age?

"Well, what is it?" Alexi's impatient words confirmed that he shared the A.D.'s disposition.

"Sergei," Wesley grinned.

"Wesley Sergei Schyler?" Alexi repeated. Wesley nodded.

"Truth?" the boy glared at the large man.

"Truth. Now what's your full name?" he asked again, folding his arms across his chest, a gesture that did not go unnoticed by the observant child.

"Sergei Alexi Orlov."

"Orlov?" Wesley arched a brow.

"My father's name is Skogi Nicholai Orlov," Alexi piped up, the child's curiosity overriding any suspicions about the stranger. "My mother's name is Anya Katerina Orlov. Her father's name was Sergei Schyler. Are you a family member?"

Sort of.

Wesley chuckled at the curious boy, drinking in the sight of a part of him in another body, wondering if the boy had any shared memory of... Of what? His soul that he shares with me? Our history?

"Well?" Alexi folded his arms again. "Are you?"

"Am I what, son?" Wesley asked, briefly touching the boy's arm.

Alexi's mouth dropped open. The half-second contact had been electric. "You..." he exclaimed quietly, pointing to Wesley. "You are the voice in my dream. You are the..." He smiled broadly and gestured for Wesley to lean down so he could whisper in his ear. "You are the guide to my future," he whispered. "I knew you would come to see me. No one understands... I don't talk about you any more. But I promise to study hard and to..."

Both the teacher and Father Petrov noticed the uncanny resemblance between Alexi and the FBI director. Both noticed that Alexi, a normally reserved child, seemed comfortable and talkative with him as well. They were not alarmed that the man was interested in talking to the child and wondered if the two were related in some way.

Wesley extended his hand to Alexi, eager to touch the child that shared his soul and when he did, a flash memory of Sinovia filled his mind's eye. She smiled at him and that smile was full of promise for his future. Raisa would be his once again. In a heartbeat, his soul was at peace.

~~~~~~~

Weeks later, at the end of a long hard time, he put clean laundry into his dresser, and spied a small velvet box at the back of the drawer. He couldn't remember what it contained and opened it.

A lock of hair? he mused, wondering where it came from. Don't understand why I have... A memory... tapped his shoulder... making him look up.

"You can choose to be alone, make mistakes with someone else, or meet another me. Your choice, Sergei."

"What?" he asked as if someone were in the room with him. Shaking his head, he couldn't quite catch the memory... so elusive... making him wonder who spoke in his head. He put the velvet box back in the drawer, something about it nagging him... like a treasure he should cherish. He'd think about it another time.

~~~

Falling into bed, the dream came to him again. The fire was dead... there was no music... no violin. Echoes of a past bounced back and forth... bits and pieces of people and places... memories.

~~~

1700s
Regency England

Sir Walter stood on his balcony enjoying the last few moments of a warm summer's eve. His bride awaited within, the lovely Russian violinist he had wed mere days ago. He planned to keep her to himself for weeks on end and was certain they would never be content to part.

~~~

Mid-1800s
Sergei Alexi Skovetz took Katerina's hand in his... and declared his love. "Will you marry me, Katerina? Will you take my name from this day forth?"

Katerina Orlovsky looked at the handsome man who had come to her rescue in the snow swept journey from Bitterroot to Chicago and knew her life was his to hold, to love, and to cherish.

"I will."

~~~

1908
New York City
Lower East Side

Captain Schyler dried Katerina's tears with a gentle hand. "I will help you get another job if the audition doesn't work out in your favor," he promised.

She gave him a tremulous smile. "Thank you, but..."

"But nothing," he said sternly. "You must audition for the New York Symphony. If you do not, you will regret it for the rest of your life."

"And if I am accepted into the Symphony?" she asked with a shy smile. "What then? Will you still look out for me? What if I fail to be accepted?"

"I would take care of you whether you play in the Symphony or not. Will you let me into your life, Katerina?"

"You are in my life now," she replied as she looked into his eyes... her soul recognizing his... their destiny unfolding.

~~~

"The memories will fade," a voice whispered in the night. "You will forget this time with me; you will begin anew. Those around you who know these times remember them with vague interest... as if they dreamed them and their memories are fading now."

"I'll come to you again, Sergei. In some other time - some other life - I will come to you and tell you of the great love of your many lives. You'll be astounded and disbelieving yet again and then you will learn of you and Raisa. You will make your choices. I will leave and the cycle will begin again."

"For how long?" he asked the inevitable question.

"For as long as it takes," Sinovia answered in his mind. "For as long as it takes for the two of you to remember who you are and return to where it all began."

"In Atlantis?" Wesley asked, unsure.

He felt her smile. "You are beginning to understand Wesley Sergei Schyler, you are beginning to understand."

He turned toward the fire that had died and noticing one faint ember... wondered how he got there, feeling as though he had just had a conversation with someone or something. Elusive... he shook his head, certain he was dreaming... then not so sure of anything. When he woke, there was an echo of her voice in his ear and a vague picture of her in his mind.

"I am who I am," she murmured with an enigmatic smile. "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."

Wesley shook his head, wondering where that dream came from, certain he had heard the haunting notes of a fading violin. No matter, he thought. I have to call Kat, see if we're still on for dinner.

She's a beauty, a vaguely familiar voice in his head spoke. Her name is Raisa Katerina, it reminded him.

Wesley nodded in agreement. "She *is* a beauty," the Katerina of his youth... uppermost in his mind. "She's a keeper."

~ End Part Nineteen ~

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