She sat yet again in the back of a black SUV, yet again leaving her life behind tinted glass. Perhaps the familiarity made the pain both greater and duller. Details of her soon to be life were contained in an unopened folder. She wasn't ready for it yet, couldn't care about it yet. She had hoped her mind would remain blank a bit longer but it was too agile to permit that.
Unbidden a tale she had first learned several lifetimes ago came to mind. It had been expected that she would be conversant with the hallmarks of the Classical World, at least in that long ago life. Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus the greatest poet and musician, golden tongued singer, who made the very rocks and trees dance to his tune and made the Gods of Olympus swoon. In another life she had used a gifted tongue to move hearts and minds in the name of justice. That had been in a life now lost.
Orpheus' power to move his audience moved within him as well. His love for Eurydice was extraordinary. But Eurydice, whose name meant 'She Whose Justice Extends Widely', died. His grief was also extraordinary. He descended to the Underworld, lulling the guardian with his lyre, moving the Lord therein with his song. He won her back, with only one condition. He must lead her on the path back to life, but he must not look back so long as they were in the Underworld. Orpheus crossed the threshold and glanced back too soon; she had not yet stepped into the light. Just a glimpse out of the corner of his eye and she was gone. Again.
She understood why this tale came to her. It resonated for her far more than it ever had before, more than when she heard it as a child as a tale of tragic love, more than as a college student where it was conjured in literature courses. It spoke of her own life that had been chopped into separate lives. The one where she had striven for justice in the courts of New York County, the one where she sought justice for Livia Sandoval, the one where she realized her hubris too late. The one she had only hours earlier revisited too briefly. She Whose Justice Extends Widely. She tasted the bitterness of irony, not for the first time. Eurydice died and died once again, just within sight of life and daylight. She understood that in a way her previous life would not let her.
She'd had a glimpse, earlier this same day, of life and light. She'd been back in her court room, still seeking as much justice as mortals could render. It was hollow at best, but still better than nothing. When the verdict had been read her handlers swept her out a side door, a deus ex machina that left her just enough time to glance over her shoulder for one last glimpse of Olivia before she was snatched away again. She understood Eurydice's multiple deaths. She understood Orpheus' need to look back, She had needed to look back. In Wisconsin she had needed look back. And wherever she was going, whoever she was going to be next, the Alex that persisted in all the pretense meant to keep her alive while it killed her would need to look back; at all that had happened, all that hadn't, at all the choices, for good and ill, that she'd made. No matter the cost. And hope to hang on long enough to make the mistakes right, hope that there would still be a life for the once and future Alexandra Cabot someday. She opened the folder to find which life would be next.