Tune the Violin
Sitting on the side of the bed, exhausted but wired, he wondered if he'd get any sleep. Knowing his body needed rest, he forced himself to lie back against the pillows. He stretched, tensing the muscles in his arms and legs, then relaxed. He was surprised when he felt the first hint of sleepiness and yawned. Turning on his side, he was sure it was just a fluke.
"I am your past, Sergei," the soft voice murmured. "I am your beginning. And I am your future life."
"Damn dream," he growled.
"Close your eyes, Sergei. Dream of me," it coaxed.
"Don't want to dream of you. Don't want to dream. Want sleep," he slurred as sleep overtook him.
The fire had died down, the few remaining embers providing the only light in the pre-dawn sky. Wesley sat on a boulder and listened for the sound of a violin. The night remained silent as he watched the occasional spark flare when a soft breeze energized what was left of the charred wood.
He sat there for a while and then realized she had been sitting across from him in her usual place. He lifted his gaze from the fire and looked at her intently. She was old again and fragile, the years of her youth lost in the lines and parchment quality of her skin. Her long, silver-gray hair was coiled and hung over one shoulder to her waist. He was drawn again to her golden eyes.
"Who are you?" he asked, his voice a mixture of awe and respect.
"I am who I am," she replied 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 barely refrained from lashing out at her, his temper flaring. Her words puzzled him and he was in no mood for puzzles. "I have little patience, old woman." His words pierced the air with barely concealed contempt. "Speak your mind or leave me alone!"
"You have learned much, Sergei. I am proud of you," she smiled, her magnificent eyes lighting with delight. "There was a time when you would have trounced me on the spot, backhanded me or ordered me from your sight. You have come a long way."
Trounced? He stared at her. Who says trounced in this day and age?
"Who are you?" he asked again, this time in a softer tone. "Do I know you? Have we ever met? What do you want from me?"
"I am who I am," she answered patiently. "You have always known me, but you have not always recognized me when we've met. Yes," she continued, watching his face fill with suspicion and a hint of curiosity, "we've met many times, but I do not ask anything of you."
"Then why are you here?"
"I'm here for you, Sergei. I have always been here for you. I always will be."
"Explain yourself," he said with exasperation, his arms instantly crossing over his chest, still the AD even in this dream world.
"In due time," she smiled at him. "In due time."
"NOW!" he bellowed so loudly he woke himself. Wesley sat up and looked around. Blinking, he recognized his bedroom. With a heavy sigh, he fell back on the pillow. "Goddamned dream!"
A bottle of Scotch accompanied him to bed for the next three nights. It kept the dreams away, but his alcohol-induced brain was foggy and wouldn't clear until long after he showered. Wesley thought an atrophied prune looked better than he did the third morning he stayed in the shower for twenty-five minutes trying to clear his head. It wasn't hard to stand under the warm spray. He leaned on the tiled wall, remembering details of the dreams, pondering their meaning, and considered seeing a shrink.
A civilian shrink. Not a Bureau "report-to-the-Director" shrink.
He swung his chair around when he heard his office door open, and nodded to Marta when she placed a carafe of coffee on his desk, along with a clean mug.
"Sorry I was late this morning, sir." His efficient assistant tried to look apologetic, but a giggle escaped and ruined the effect.
Wesley laughed. "New boyfriend working out, is he?"
"Yes, sir," she blushed. "He is."
He dismissed her with a smile and a wave of his hand. Filling his mug with coffee, he took a healthy swig before turning his attention back to the view from his window. He wasn't ready to tackle the large stack of files demanding his attention.
"Tonight, Sergei, tonight," the voice whispered behind him.
"What?" he snapped, turning and spilling coffee on his desk. He expected to see someone in his office. It was empty.
He shook his head, irritated. "Jesus! I'm hearing things."
Finally, he settled back against the chair and eyed the paperwork. Now or never, Wesley. Get your ass in gear. It's not going to disappear on its own.
Several hours later, he was making a dent in the paperwork. The "out" box was almost as high as the "in" box. He was pleased and rose to stand behind his desk, stretching the kinks out of his back.
"Tonight, Sergei, tonight," the voice murmured in his head.
"That's it!" he snarled. "There's got to be a hidden speaker somewhere in this office. Someone is trying to drive me wacko. Can't be any other explanation."
He started looking for it. Based on the low amplification, the speaker had to be somewhere in or around his desk. He searched everywhere - pulling drawers out, dumping the contents and searching under the desk. He turned his chair upside down, removed every object on his desktop, and took the lamp and phone apart. Agents Mahoney and Sanders arrived just as he was poking the carpet near the base of the windows.
"Uh, sir? Did you lose something?" Mahoney asked, one brow arched, his profiler's antennae twitching. He surveyed the chaos that had been Schyler's orderly workspace. Watching the AD's actions, he dissected and analyzed them, concluded and reaffirmed that the man was one weird, tight-ass son-of-a...
"Can we help you find something, sir?" Sanders inquired, her tone neutral, the voice she used when she interrogated suspected felons.
His face flushed from his exertions, Wesley rose to his feet and started putting things back where they belonged. "Did we have an appointment, Agents?"
"Uh, no sir. We didn't," Mahoney replied, "but we were wondering if you'd like to have lunch with us."
"Lunch?" Wesley stopped what he was doing, folded his arms across his chest, and looked at them. Now, what?
"You know... lunch, food. People eat every day, sir."
Mahoney's attempt at humor got no reaction from their boss. Not a brow rose, not a lip pursed, and not even a hint of a smile. Mahoney sighed. This wasn't going well.
"I know it's early, sir," Sanders jumped in, elbowing her gauche partner out of the way. "But we thought you might be free to have lunch with us... at... uh, lunch time," she finished lamely.
Wesley looked at his watch. 11:20 - too early for lunch.
"What's up? Are you two in trouble? Tell me now," he sighed. "I don't want to have to hear it from the Deputy Director."
"No trouble, sir," Mahoney squeaked. "Honest."
Wesley arched a brow.
"Are you free for lunch, sir?" Sanders asked. "One o'clock?"
Against his better judgement, he agreed. "I'll meet you in your office at one, Agent Sanders." He nodded to her and to Mahoney and then pointed toward the door.
It didn't take long to put everything back in order. When everything was where it was supposed to be, he sat back in his chair and thought about lunch with his two spookiest agents. He mentally raced through a number of possible scenarios, none of which included warm fuzzies. "Christ Almighty! Now what?"
"Tonight, Sergei, tonight," the voice was soft, but so clear he could almost feel its breath on his neck.
"Damnation! I'm certifiable!"
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