.

Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I don't own anybody but Leonitka Seydinov. This one puts Dimitri to the test when a figure from his past gets involved in his future. One of my personal favorites. You will recognize the character from "Journey to a Different Past", if you've been reading. Takes place maybe three years after the movie. R & R & enjoy!

.

.

Four o'clock on a grey St. Petersburg afternoon, the local pub was more than making its daily share off its regulars. It was the kind of place where everyone knew everyone, by name, life story, and drink of choice.

So, naturally, it came as no surprise when, as the door swung open, the pub's inhabitants swiveled around on their stools to get a good look at the latest entry.

For just a moment, the room fell into silence. The man in the doorway walked toward the bar, and tossed a shock of hair out of his eyes. No one had expected him to come back here. No one.

He'd been a regular, of course---just like them---a long, long time ago. There'd been talk of where he'd been; what he'd done, what he'd lost and what he'd gained. Not a one of the rumors could be confirmed within that pub---'Vlad's boy' had simply faded into the folklore. And yet, here he stood, confirming little but the fact that he had changed.

The room buzzed back to life. All, that is, except for one man. He kept his gaze on the familiar newcomer. Finally, he stood from the barstool.

"Dimitri."

The newcomer stepped forward from out of the shadows. "Leonitka Seydinov. I thought I had the right place, should've known by the vodka cart..."

Seydinov winced. "Aah, full surnames; are we so old?"

"Maybe one of us is," Dimitri joked, pulling up the stool beside him as the two men sat. "How are you, Leo?"

"My glass is full, and business is good; the better question is, how are you?" Seydinov took a swallow of his vodka sour. "We've heard some pretty wild yarns about you, my boy."

"Yeah, well." Dimitri averted his glance from Seydinov's. "I haven't much stayed in Petersburg lately. You know me."

"I'd certainly like to think I do."

Dimitri sighed. "I won't get into this here, Leo. We've both done things we'll regret. I grew up, I moved on. And what about you? Still keeping an eye on the capital for Germany?"

"Of course not, Dimitri, I've learned the hard way just as much as you. I haven't spoken to Germany in four years, haven't stolen a peach, haven't counterfeited a kopek, a ruble, a dollar, a pound, a frank, a lira---will that be all, or do you want a resumè?"

Dimitri took a long drink from the glass that had been placed in front of him. "I want to beleive you."

"Then do, because I couldn't be more legit if I were the king of Spain."

"In that case, I need to call in on a favor." He paused to let the following sink in. "I need to be able to trust you on this."

Leo plunked his empty glass onto the counter. "Absolutely."

"My wife and I need a way to get to France by Saturday. We'll need your ship."

"The Valkyrie? My baby?"

"She's the fastest heap of tin from here to Asia."

"I'll be at the helm...it's a package deal...."

"That's fine."

"It's no problem at all."

"Excellent."

"On one condition."

Dimitri bristled immediately. Conditions were never good for him. "What?"

Leo eyed him suspiciously. "Tell me the truth; subside the rumors. This wife of yours...."

Dimitri hesitated. He wasn't even a hundred percent sure of Seydinov's loyalties, and yet he had to live up to his end of the bargain. "Is Anastasia Romanov," he finished. "Noon tomorrow at the pier?"

"Okay," Leo replied definitively.

"Okay," Dimitri echoed, and he chose to beleive it. He got up from the barstool and exited the pub the way he came.