All characters used belong to TriStar/Sony or whoever.  No money was made in
the publication of this little ditty, nor were the characters irreparably
harmed in any way.

This takes place shortly after the events of Ashes to Ashes and LK.

Turning Back Again
Copyright 1998
by Cousin Jules

     He could feel the heat.

     Even as the breezes wafted through the palazzo's many bedrooms, he could
hear the cries; hear *her* cry from a thousand miles and an ocean away.

     Standing at the window, he looked eastward, towards the ancient hills,
ignoring the noise of the cars and tourists scurrying through Napoli's rapidly
darkening streets.  He'd arrived that morning, barely making it indoors before
the sun rose high enough to turn him to ash.  Ash.  He'd nearly been covered
in it, found his eternal resting place under it and left an empty shell for
posterity to fill with plaster and gawk at in pity.

     He barely managed getting to the other side of the suite's door in those
morning hours before the emotional overload of the preceding days and weeks
hit him full force, taking him to his knees.  He bowed low, fists and forehead
pressed against the cool marble of the floor, and wept.  Of course, he had
felt it coming from the first moments that wretched child of his had looked
into his eyes, asked for release and handed him the wooden staff.

       It would have been easier if Nicholas had just asked him
to remove his own, barely beating heart.  Even so, he had raised the staff and
brought it down - within inches of the intended target.    He'd
plunged the wood through a lung, listened to his son scream in agony as it
went in and as he'd had to pull it out of the torn flesh.  

     And then there was that very annoying Dr. Lambert just *laying there.*

     He'd looked back at Nicholas, feeling detached, numb.   he
thought as a crimson tear escaped his eye.  

     He wanted to stay with his son, hold him to his chest, nourish him,
*know* him, convey to him all the things he hadn't been able to say for over a
hundred years.  It had been so long since...But then that damn coroner would
probably die, and his wayward child would be lost.  Forever.

     Leaving Nicholas with enough blood to see him back on his feet, he'd
flown the good doctor to the nearest hospital and put her into the care of the
best physician on duty, then returned to the Raven for his things.  He would
not go back to the loft.  He would not stay in Toronto a minute longer than
necessary.  Something more powerful than his own philosophy drove him back to
the land which had borne him, nurtured him, beaten him into submission and,
finally, rewarded and reveled in him.


     He turned his head away from the window and frowned.  That voice haunted
him in his dreams.  


     "NO!" he shouted at the memory, as though that would actually help.  He
leaned against a large tapestry that decorated one of the room's walls and
closed his eyes.   It was time.

     Taking the final draught from his goblet, he launched into the night sky,
far too quickly to ever be seen by mortal eyes from below.  He saw the hills,
the lights of the small cities round about, smelled the ancient scents mixed
with the new and was reminded of the past he had thought put behind him long

     He saw his destination finally, and landed some hundred feet from the
volcano's very edge.  He contemplated the sight for a few minutes before
proceeding closer, as he felt the numbness creep through him once again.
Silently, he bent down on one knee, closed his eyes, and lifted his hands,
palms facing towards the sky, praying the ancient words to long neglected
gods.  He wondered if this would be enough, or whether a sacrifice would serve
even better.

     He could feel the heat.