Tune the Violin
Part Eight
by SarAdora

~~~~~~

6:45 PM
He waited until he was sure Mahoney and Sanders had left for the day and then he went down to the basement to revisit the furnace room. Slipping inside, he leaned against the door and waited for it to kick on. It took a few minutes but he finally heard the distinctive hum he had heard when Mahoney dragged him in here a few days earlier. Or was it yesterday? Christ! Everything's happened so fast, I can't even remember what day things happened.

He was ready to leave. The hum of the furnace was nothing new. Disgusted with himself, he opened the door to leave and paused, hearing the distinctive sound of a bow caressing the bridge of... A violin? Am I really hearing a violin...? Or have I just gone off the deep end...? Again?

The music was distinct and he recognized it. It was the violin music of his dreams. It began softly but gradually built to a crescendo, startling him. Wesley leaned against the door, frozen to the spot, his hands covering his ears. His heart pounded in fear, certain he had definitely gone over the edge and it was just a matter of time before someone else discovered his crazed mental state.

Have to get out of here. Have to get home. Need a drink. Jesus! I think I need a friggin' shrink!

8:15 PM
He didn't take time to hang up his clothes. He stripped the minute he entered his bedroom and headed for the shower. He stood under it, reveling in the steam enfolding him, his body relaxing under the hot spray, his mind easing, the events of the last few days receding.

A frozen pizza nuked in the microwave and several beers later, he relaxed on the couch, the TV remote in hand, and happy the day was behind him. He felt rational - he knew he was sane - okay, as sane as anyone was who was crazy enough to work for the FBI. He knew he was just slightly crazier than most - he was a fucking AD, for Chrissakes!

Sighing into his beer, he couldn't help wondering what the next day would bring. He had met the daughter of Sergei Nicholai Skovetz this morning, a man he had just missed meeting in Vietnam. He was certain she was the Alexis who had left the note and the tiny violin at the Wall. He was also certain that coincidence had not played a part in meeting her. She could have been my daughter - maybe, she was my daughter in a parallel life... was her father one of my doubles? Christ Almighty, I'm starting to question some of this crap like it was real. Maybe I should just question my sanity instead. I hate puzzles like this. If anyone gets wind of any of this, I'll be locked up in a heartbeat.

He had revisited Raisa Orlov at mid-day just to make sure he hadn't imagined the woman or her story. He didn't even fight the feeling that Sinovia would haunt his dreams tonight. In fact, he welcomed her. He wanted to know more about whatever was happening to him. If he could just keep it together during the day...

~~~~~~

The fire burned brightly as he slowly became aware of his surroundings and Wesley felt its heat on his face. It felt good. It felt right. He immediately looked for the ancient woman and was disappointed she wasn't in her usual place.

"Now what?" he muttered, standing and walking a few steps away from the fire.

"Follow your heart," the voice inside his head urged. "Follow your heart, Sergei. You will find your history... and your destiny."

He remembered seeing a path into the forest the first time he had dreamed this dream and looked for it. The waxing moon lit the way and he hurried forward, eager to know where the path would lead him.

"We were in a beautiful place," Raisa's voice spoke in his memory.

"A beautiful place," Wesley murmured. "Where was this beautiful place?"

The pathway narrowed and the trees were thicker now. Wesley had to bend down to continue walking. When he was able to rise again, the moon seemed fuller - casting its glow on a clearing - covered in snow. "How can that be?" he wondered but walked faster toward the cozy looking cottage just ahead.

1838
Skovetsky Dacha
Foothills of the Urals

Sergei didn't fight them, keeping his thoughts to himself but his rage festered just below the surface of his sanity, kept in check only because Raisa Katerina was present. He knew full well he would make his friends pay for what they did. Mikhail and Stanislaus had roared with laughter when they hustled him into his father's dacha. Petrov had gently escorted Raisa into the cottage. She had been quite calm until the oaf had pushed the remaining servants out the door and it was just the two of them alone beside the fire.

He removed his coat and hers, hanging them on pegs and inventoried the room. He hadn't been here in many years. The walls were covered with the beautiful tapestries his mother made, the floors covered with bear skins. Outside, it was snowing again, so heavy, it came down in great drifts, but the room was very warm. His mother always insisted that the fire in the hearth never be extinguished no matter the weather.

Finally, he looked at his bride. She was more beautiful than he remembered and it was only his friends' presence on the day trip here that had kept him from speaking to her. He remembered the one time he had held her - on his horse and again in the barn - how soft she was - her skin so smooth - and he wanted to touch her again.

"You're mine, now," he said softly, walking toward her, cupping her chin and looking into her golden brown eyes. "For better or worse, you are mine, barushka."

"How soon will you leave me?" she asked, remembering his words that he would bed her and then leave her with his parents.

Sergei swallowed hard. He had not forgotten his rage over the marriage contracts, the obligation to his parents to wed and the need to produce a son who would carry on the family name. But when he looked at his tiny bride, her face flushed from the fire, her chin up, he knew she would readily accept her fate whatever he decreed. Her courage was unexpected and surprised him. She went up in his estimate ten-fold. They were stranded in the dacha for a month - this much he had learned from Petrov - an extended honeymoon, he said. He would make the best of it - it was the least he could do. As for Raisa Katerina, it wasn't her fault that they had married.

"Come," he pulled her toward the large room in the back of the dacha where food was stored and prepared. "Let us see if there is some nourishment. I think we're going to need it."

Raisa was unsure of what was expected of her and she remained frozen in place. Sergei was unaccustomed to having a woman fear him - he had never struck a female - but he was also an impatient man. When his bride didn't obey him, he simply picked her up and took her with him, settling her on a chair.

"Sit," he said quietly. "I'll make tea and you will drink it."

Raisa nodded, still stunned at this turn of events. She had thought they would spend their wedding night at his father's house, then they would either move to Sergei's home or he would leave her with his parents. She had not expected to be left alone with him in another place and for an entire month.

He placed the glass of hot tea in front of her and sat next to her. "Drink Raisa Katerina. It is not the end of the world," he smiled, cupping her cheek, marveling again at the softness of her skin.

"Will you beat me?" she asked calmly, putting a lump of sugar between her teeth, picking up her glass, and taking a sip.

Sergei choked on his tea. "Beat you?" he coughed violently, the hot tea scalding his mouth. "What makes you think I would beat you?"

"The servants," she said quietly. "In my father's house, if the husband does not like his wife, he beats her."

"Did...? Does your father beat your mother?" He was clearly shocked at the prospect.

"No, but the servants - those who are newly married - on their wedding night, they..."

He understood. "You heard the bride scream on the wedding night?"

"Yes," Raisa answered. "Only on the wedding night. I guess they are beaten so badly the husband does not beat them again."

Sergei smiled and pulled her onto his lap. "I will make you scream, Raisa Katerina - tonight - but I will not beat you. I promise you that."

"I don't understand."

"You will, my beautiful barushka. You will," he promised. Sergei was tired. The wedding ceremony had been long, his family and friends overly tedious in their well wishing and the trip lengthy and tiresome. He knew Raisa must be near exhaustion. She seemed unafraid of him and relaxed in his arms even though she had been certain he would beat her. He couldn't resist cupping her cheek. Her skin was utterly soft, silky and fit his palm perfectly.

Raisa looked into his rich brown eyes wondering what would happen next. Sergei Nicholai was such a solid man - she had never seen shoulders so massive on anyone. He seemed so fierce when he scowled yet he had been very tender toward her, his hands gentle the few times he had touched her. Dare she hope for anything more?

"Do you want something to eat, Raisa Katerina? Or would you rather rest?" he asked, his hand smoothing her hair off her forehead, his finger sliding across her lips.

"Will you bed me tonight?" she asked bluntly. He arched a brow at her words and suddenly grinned, making him look younger than his years. "I need to know so I can prepare myself."

"How will you do that, barushka?" he asked softly, suppressing his laughter at her audacious words.

"I will take my clothes off and go lie on the bed. Isn't that what I should do?"

"Who told you that?" he asked gently, watching the color rise in her cheeks.

"My mother," Raisa lowered her eyes. "She said it would be easier if I just lie there and then when you were through with me, I..." She looked up at him. "I forgot what comes next," she said shyly.

Sergei couldn't help it. He burst out laughing and hugged her tightly. "You are adorable, barushka, utterly adorable."

"Did I say the wrong thing?" she asked, confused as to why he was laughing at her.

"No, my sweet poppet. You did not say anything wrong." He cupped her chin, holding her gaze. "You can say anything to me, Raisa Katerina, but only to me." He was still laughing.

"Come," he said standing and carrying her to the bed. "You are so nervous we will get this bedding over with, then we can enjoy our time together knowing what happens

between a man and a woman."

"I... think I should wash first. It has been a long day."

"I will help you," he said simply.

"But..."

"I am your husband," he said gently. "It is my right."

"Do I get to wash you, too?"

"Have you ever seen a naked man, barushka?"

"No, but I have seen horses."

He choked on his laughter. "Not quite the same, my sweet," he chuckled.

"You do not want me to wash you?"

"I didn't say that," he grinned, wondering what she would say next and knowing he was going to enjoy it, whatever it was.

The servants had left several large buckets of hot water by the fire, anticipating that their master and his bride would want to bathe after their long journey. Sergei filled a large bathing bowl and took it into the bedroom after he had settled Raisa on the bed. She was still sitting on the edge of the mattress when he came in with the bowl and several large drying cloths.

He removed his boots and all of his clothes except for his long shirt. He watched Raisa very closely as each item was tossed behind him. She was blushing furiously, making him chuckle.

"Not to worry, my pet, my body is still fully covered," he grinned.

"Not your legs," she pointed and then clapped a hand over her mouth making him chuckle.

"Your turn," he said, reaching for her and pulling her up into his arms for a gentle kiss.

"You want me to remove my clothes?" she asked quietly.

"No."

"You don't?"

"I will remove them for you," he said huskily.

Raisa was stymied. Her mother didn't tell her that part. But Sergei was her husband and perhaps, he knew more about this bedding thing than she did. "Do you know what comes next?" she asked, curiosity filling her face.

"What comes next?" he repeated, tilting his head down to look at her and not sure of her meaning.

"When the clothes come off - do you know what to do next?"

His shoulders shook with laughter and he hugged her tightly, enjoying her innocence in these matters, delighted she wasn't reluctant to share her feelings on the intricacies of intimacy.

"Yes, barushka," he said softly, kissing her brow and still chuckling. "I know what comes next. I know what to do."

"Good," she proclaimed, "because I certainly don't."

"And that is a good thing," he murmured. "A wife should learn these things from her husband."

"Who did you learn these things from?" she asked bluntly.

"That is a discussion for another time, Raisa Katerina." He swore his conscience snorted. "For now, let us get your clothes off."

He helped her remove her outer garments and when she was clothed only in a short shift and long pantalets, he lifted her in his arms and held her. "I'm going to take the rest of your clothes off, little one. Don't be frightened," he said softly. I'm not going to hurt you."

"I'm not afraid," she murmured against his chest.

"Good."

"I'm terrified."

~ End Part Eight ~

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