Professor Adams' letter has got me rattled. It felt a lot like when I was a kid, and my Dad would tell me, "Stay with your mother." That kind of tone to it.
Ah, screw it. May I come over? Please.
At Night, in St. Patrick's Cemetery - 092098
Seth entered the gates of St. Patrick's Cemetery quietly Monday evening and spent about ten minutes walking around the place before he saw the light from a torch and found Isodora. He was still dressed in the wizarding equivalent of business clothes, having flooed over from the Greyfalcon Inn after the first day of the potions conference. Isodora was reading aloud from a book, to Seth's surprise. He joined her on the stone bench where she sat and kept silent, listening to her read.
"...To feel a thousand tears inside and not be able to cry them is a very bad feeling indeed. But if you're a human being there are things you can do instead. You can whistle, dance a jig, fly a kite, dig a flowerbed, and whistling or jigging, or flying or digging, as long as you do it hard enough, you won't think of your tears. Then a very fine day will come when you'll discover they've escaped without you noticing and not a tear is left inside." She marked the page and - not turning to face him - said "Hello." She was wearing a sweater and a skirt. A coat was draped on one end of the bench were Seth sat.
"Hello," Seth said as he gave her a brief glance. "That was beautiful. What's it from?"
"Lark's Castle. I found it in what used to be Alexander's bedroom." She didn't turn around. "Do you mind if I just finish this chapter?"
"Go right ahead," Seth told her. "I'd like to hear more of it."
She bowed her head, shifted the torchlight, and read on about Lark being left in the fireplace, a fat evil witch dancing on the chimney pots, a drunk old goose that the witch used for transport and how Lark - a wooden doll forgotten by everyone - found the witch's Lifestone and came alive.
"Like an exploding star the Lifestone paled, paler and paler it grew, until it seemed no more than a rather pretty cloudy pebble such as you might find on any beach." She sighed and closed the book, turning off the torchlight and finally turning to face Seth.
"You don't have to stop reading, just because I'm here," Seth said.
"No. I'm done. I've been here for hours." She stood up, brushing herself off and sitting beside Seth on the bench. "Quite a nice headstone, isn't it? When I first came I thought it would be some dingy grey thing."
"It is nice," Seth agreed. "It's good to know someone thought enough of them to put a decent one up."
Isodora looked at the book in her lap. "It was Lukas."
Seth looked back at her and sort of smiled. "I'm not surprised. I can imagine my father doing the exact same thing."
She tried to smile and failed. She wasn't upset. She didn't know what it was she was feeling. "How are you? You sounded rather off in your note."
"I'm worried about Piotr. And I'm feeling...afraid. That letter from Adams--it sounded like something worse was going on than I thought--as if it's more than just Piotr running away. As if there's something dangerous involved," Seth said. "I always knew when Dad was leaving to go to a DE meeting. He would be...really quiet at dinner, and...he'd either leave without saying a word, or he'd tell me something that I'm sure he meant to be reassuring, but it never did. I guess...I don't know what Piotr's gotten himself into, and it's tying me up in knots because I'm being reminded of other times when I was afraid."
"What kinds of things did your father say?" she asked. She very desperately wanted a cigarette, but she felt it wouldn't be very Claire-like to sit in a cemetery smoking. It wasn't very Izzy-like either. It was rather a moot point anyway - she didn't have any cigarettes with her, and there weren't any in the car.
Seth sighed. "Things like, 'Stay with your mother.' or 'I'll be back later tonight,' or 'Mind your grandmother.' It was never 'I love you;' that would've been too final. I think he was afraid to say that."
Isodora nodded. She remembered the note Piotr had left. She didn't want to remember it. "I spoke to Sergei, before they left."
"What did you talk about?" Seth asked.
"Me letting them go." She sighed, looking up at the night sky. "He did something, made me see what it was like to grow up under Alexei Varvara. Mind manipulation, I suppose. Nothing new there."
"Oh shit...Letting them go...as in emotionally, or letting them go to Russia?" Seth asked. He flicked a glance at Thomas and Alexander Brannigans' headstone for a moment.
"Russia. Though Sergei did admit that he was trying to drive people away so that he could have Piotr all to himself." She smiled bitterly. "I hope he's happy now."
"Damn. I'm sorry, Izzy. He shouldn't have forced you to see that." Seth shook his head. "Sergei's a kid. He thinks and acts like a kid, but he's in the body of an eighteen year-old werewolf who's been...tinkered with." Seth grimaced. "Any idea what he wants to do in Russia?"
She shrugged. "Get splinched, I guess. He wants to get out of Piotr's body, and they both think that the Ministry there might have the key."
"Get out of his body?" Seth stared at Isodora. "And go where? His real body is...is dead. What does he want them to do--clone one? That'd take eighteen years. Take over someone else's body? Not exactly legal--thought those bastards in the Russian Ministry don't seem very concerned with legalities."
"I don't know. I don't care." She looked down, a single tear falling onto the book in her lap before she stopped herself from feeling once more. "I just want him back."
Seth let out a breath and slipped a hand around Isodora's. "So do I, Izzy, so do I."
She pulled her hand away, wiping furiously at her eye. "But I just want him, I don't want that horrible brother of his."
"Could you have accepted him if he were really part of Piotr, and not just his brother?" Seth countered. "What if it's never possible to separate them, Izzy?" He frowned. "You know, it's crazy. On one hand, I know exactly what you're talking about, and I'd agree. Piotr with Sergei is too much to deal with. A girlfriend shouldn't have to ride herd on her boyfriend all the time. With Sergei in there, that's what you'd have to do--the same thing that Adams is having to do. On the other hand, I know you love Piotr, and I'd hate to see that die because of Sergei."