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Story [War and Peace] Fragments of Our Lives [UDC5. Various characters. romance/angst/drama/etc)Week 20 up

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Alley_Skywalker, May 18, 2010.

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  1. Alley_Skywalker

    Alley_Skywalker Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 27, 2005
    Title: Fragments of Our Lives
    Author: Alley_Skywalker
    Fandom: War and Peace
    Characters: Sonya, Nicholas, Anatole, Theodore, Helene, Natasha, Pierre, others
    Genre: romance, angst, drama, hurt/comfort, family!fic, sibling!fic, dabbles of various others
    Summary/Notes: A collection of drabbles focused on the various characters of War and Peace. Each week will be dedicated to a character or a relationship between two or more characters. Written for the [link=]UDC5 Challenge[/link]



    The small dark-haired, dark-eyed girl stood in the shadow of the half-opened door, watching as the Count and his wife spoke with the doctor who had been attending her mother.

    ??there was nothing to be done. She was already half-gone.?

    The Count pinched the brim of his nose. ?The child??

    ?She was only six months along.?

    ?One less orphan in the world,? the Countess said quietly. ?All this because Alexander put a pistol in his mouth.?

    ?He was in debt.?

    ?Which we will be too if we take the girl.?

    ?Natalie, we must. We?re the only family Sonya has now.?


    For as long as Natasha could remember, Sonya had been her constant companion. It didn?t make sense that they weren?t really sisters. Sonya was older in both years and maturity even if Natasha was the more loved. Though, Sonya figured, that was best for both their sanities. This way she could keep an eye on the wild and unpredictable Rostov darling with a legitimate excuse.

    ?We have no secrets, do we, Sonya?? a ten-yea-old Natasha would ask.

    Twelve-year-old Sonya would nodd and smile. ?I sure hope not.? In her girlhood Sonya never feared of being cast aside by her companion.


    Nicholas has a habit of being quiet when he?s nervous. He?ll stand, leaning on the balcony rail, arms folded, staring out blankly in front of himself. He won?t say a world and there?s hardly any knowing what he?s thinking.

    Sonya stands in the doorway, the candlelight from the room softly framing her face and dark curls. ?What are you thinking?? Why won?t you looks at me??

    ?I?oh?it?s nothing. I?m fine, uh, it?s fine,? he stumbles and falls quiet again. She thinks she knows what he?s thinking. But for now she?ll wait for him to mull it over. They have time.


    Nicholas always puts space between them when the Countess is around. ?Mama does not need to know,? he tells Sonya repeatedly when she confronts him about it. ?Not yet.?

    ?But why must we hide? If you really intend to marry me? How do you expect me to feel when you say one thing but then go and sit on the other side of the room when Mama walks in and flirt with Julie Karagin??

    ?I do intend to marry you.? He closes the space between them and takes her hands in his. ?I?I just want to wait. Please??

    Sonya nods.


    ?I hate geometry,? Petya complained, perching next to Sonya on the windowsill. ?My tutor will ask me for the work tomorrow and there?s no one to help me. Vera?s busy with her beau and Nicholas is out somewhere and Natasha says she?s occupied though I know she?s not.?

    Sonya laughed softly at the petulant tone of her young cousin?s voice. ?Are you implying that I should help you??

    Petya nodded and eagerly shoved the notebook into her hands. ?Please? It?s just dimensions and things.?

    Sonya sighed. ?I can try but math?well they teach boys math.?

    Petya shrugged. ?Better than nothing.?

  2. Alley_Skywalker

    Alley_Skywalker Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 27, 2005


    They use to call it ?The Island.? It was a lump of grassy land in the middle of the lake they use to go to during their summer holidays, just several kilometers outside of Paris. Half a day?s drive would land them outside the bustling capital and into peaceful countryside where they would take rooms at the local inn and fill their days with sunshine-filled leisure. They would get a rowboat and Anatole?s valet would row them out to The Island where they would make picnic and sunbathe until the shadows lengthened. In those days, neither missed Petersburg very much.


    When Anatole came over that day, Pierre?s books were scattered all over the floor and the young Prince made a face at the evidence of intense intellectual processes. ?Goodness, what have you been studying??

    ?Philosophy.? Pierre said, putting aside one of the fat books and making his way to Anatole. ?It?s all about what a person needs to survive. The body, as we know, needs food and water? Perhaps shelter. But the soul, the survival of the soul requires something more?extraordinary.?

    Anatole smirked, holding up a bottle of finb]e red whine. ?And I have just what it needs right here.?


    Once a friendship is lost it?s hard to regain. Something so precious and delicate is hard to rebuild, to reconstruct because the pain caused by the shards of broken trust is too acute to be forgotten and forgiven. Sometimes, it is easier to forget and pretend like what had been was only a dream saturated in smiles and sunlight, in fine whine and useless talk. The truth is Petersburg, the reality is his loyalty and rekindled childhood bond with Theodore. Paris and Pierre were nothing but a delusion of adolescence, a torn and tarnished memory. Or so Anatole tells himself.


    Pierre had always felt like the social ?other.? An illegitimate son for one ? and therefore mostly disregarded by his mother who also died when he was young ? mostly penniless for another. He did not belong with intellectuals for, especially in his youth, he was bored by all the theory and lack of action, yet he never had the nerve of the bachelor lot who spent their night drinking and making love. Anatole had made him feel like he belonged but Andrei convinced him to ?leave that life? and Pierre found himself without the one source of belonging he?d ever had.


    They see each other at one social function or another rather often. Not surprising since they revolve in the same closed-off society. Sometimes they pretend to not see each other. Other times, they will stare each other down from opposite sides of the room, Pierre beside Andrei and Anatole faithfully at Theodore?s side. In these moments the ballroom or crowded drawing room will fade away and between them will pass a flash of brilliant summer sunlight and the taste of Champaign will be replaced by the phantom trace of expensive, Paris wine. But it?s only a single flash. Nothing more.
  3. Alley_Skywalker

    Alley_Skywalker Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 27, 2005


    Vasili Denisov and Theodore Dolokhov had known each other well in their childhood and even more so in their early youth when they joined the army together at the age of sixteen. But somewhere along the way they had parted ways and with that partition came an irreparable rift. When they met each other again, this time through Nicholas Rostov, there was little to salvage. They had grown too far apart in their understand of the world, in their held principles and ideals. They were so far from the people they had been?or perhaps, that?s what they wanted to believe.


    ?I don?t take prisoners,? Dolokhov bit out spitefully. Denisov flinched at the harshness of his tone. Not that Theodore hadn?t always been intense but something about the look in his eyes was so incredibly terrible ? not just cruelty but pain. Raw grief, in fact. ?No one asked them to come here. They chose to come, to plunder, murder?. They deserve every bullet, damn it.?

    Denisov raised a hand to stall his friend?s tirade. He glanced briefly at the boy, Petya, who is watching Dolokhov with wide-eyed wonder. ?Well, I do,? he said firmly, leaving no room for argument. ?Please. Enough.?


    When they had played war games as boys, Denisov had always wanted them to be peacekeepers or something of the sort. In fact, Denisov loved the adventure, the heroism, the inherent patriotism in the games. What he didn?t enjoy much was the violence. The truth, as Theodore saw it. So, because Denisov could only function properly under ?just war? assumptions, Theodore was stuck being the invader, the bandit time after time. If he had bothered to think about it, he would have realized that he didn?t much mind. It was certainly much more exciting, more REAL than being a ?peacekeeper.?


    ??and we?re here.? Theodore put an X on the map, indicating their location, just to the Southwest of the retreating French army. ?We should find another place where to make camp; we?re to close to the main road here. Deeper into the woods and then we can make expedition from there.?

    ?What about here?? Denisov leaned over the edge of the rough-made table and pointed at a blank spot on the map, just barely South of their location.

    Dolokhov?s eyebrows furrowed. ?That territory is uncharted for a reason most likely.?

    Denisov snorted. ?What are you? Scared??

    Theodore sneered back. ?Never.?


    The two ten year old boys stared in childish curiosity at the one flower stem that stood bare among its colorful and blooming fellows. It looked naked and cold, a weed, an abnormality among the beautiful field flowers. It was a step like any other flower would have but there was not even a hint at a flower there. ?I think that?s called a scape,? Theodore said after a moment of contemplation.

    ?A what?? Denisov asked; he seemed in awe of the bare stem.

    ?A scape. A stem that doesn?t bloom for one reason or another.?

    ?It looks?forlorn.?

    ?No. Strong.?
  4. Valiowk

    Valiowk Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Apr 23, 2000
    I usually don't stop by NSWFF, but just happened to do so today and saw that you were doing UDC5 based on War and Peace, and simply had to take a look at it. I wasn't disappointed at all! You've captured a lot of meaning in these little scenes and I can feel each of the characters very strongly even when your descriptions of them have to be limited because of the nature of a drabble.

    It was a little weird for me to process the names initially because I know some Russian and I always use the Russian version of the names and their diminutives when thinking of the characters, but I got the hang of it after some time and the drabbles flowed very well after that!

    Well done!
  5. Alley_Skywalker

    Alley_Skywalker Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 27, 2005
    Valiowk: Thank you so much for your review! I hop you come back for more. As for the names, I read the book the first time in Russian so I definitely think of the characters and their names in Russian a lot. I think the only two names I actually translated were Theodore (Fedor) and Nicholas (Nikolai).



    Helen was a smart woman. Perhaps not in the ?fresh-out-of-grammar-school-or-university? way that young men were but she was smart. Life smart, Anatole called it. She was practical and assertive, always pro-active and searching for ? and finding ? a solution to any situation. Much of her way was very feminine ? coquetry and games with men?s hearts mostly, but it got her where she needed to be. She knew little of business and didn?t care much for most politics. But she did know her society and how to get where she wanted in it. In that sense, she was a very smart woman.


    ?Count to a hundred.?

    Helene tipped her head to the side and looked at the young officer before her in slight amazement. ?Why??

    Theodore shook his head. ?Just?trust me. Close your eyes and count to 100.?

    ?That?s a very long ways to count, Monsieur Dolokhov. I demand to know why I must,? she insisted, making a face of displeasure at his secretiveness.

    He just smirked at her. ?I have another birthday present for you.?

    Helene sighed, closed her eyes, and began to count. She ? or his patience ? didn?t make it to 100. Theodore kissed her just as she reached 99.


    As a child, Anatole loved to play ?American Indians.? Especially with the older boys and strangely enough in the winter. So when Theodore Dolokhov was around, Anatole would beg him to come with his friends and play. Hippolyte would usually be chief of one tribe, Theodore of the other. Helene would stand mournfully on the front porch, not understanding why she wasn?t allowed to play with the boys. But her mother insisted she maintain ?proper? behavior. Helene watched and pouted. She would make as good a chief of snowball throwers as her older brother. If she could just play too.


    Helene had learned to identify the agents of various happenings, feelings and fortunes that would come upon her at an early age, back as a young girl, wearing short skirts. Her father?s frown and her mother?s slightly trembling hands were an agent of an oncoming quarrel. Hippolyte coming home later than usual meant a new lady introduced to the household.

    In her teenage years, at the ball where she met Theodore Dolokhov, she learned that butterflies in her stomach was the agent of romance.

    A letter from Anatole?s regiment coming a week later that expected became the agent of tragedy.


    Anatole watched his older sister pick out shoes to match with her newest ball gown. At twenty-one, Helene was at the perfect age to be married and all of her, and their father?s, efforts were thrown at securing a brilliant match.

    ?Why did you take me and not Mother?? Anatole complained.

    ?I?d think that after spending so many years in Paris you would make more fashion sense than Mother.?

    ?What of these?? He pointed to a pair. Helene shook her head. ?Those, then??

    ?How do you expect me to dance in those??

    Anatole sighed, shrugging. ?You should have brought Mother.?

  6. Alley_Skywalker

    Alley_Skywalker Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 27, 2005


    For the youngest child in the family there are always a lot of things to live up to. The older siblings and their achievements hang over the youngest as super-ideals and super-idols that must be lived up to.

    Petya Rostov had three siblings. Vera was the example of intelligence, elegance, virtue and propriety. Natasha was exemplary at keeping an optimistic mood and charming everyone who came to the house. Most important was his older brother, Nicholas. A university student, then an army officer who?d seen battle and a superior swordsman, was something Petya wanted to be and Nicholas already was.


    Petya sat on the wide windowsill, a drawing pad balanced evenly on his knees. A science book lay open before him. It was open to a page with a large diagram of a bat. The descriptions printed on the sides of the diagram seemed to discuss the wings of the bat. But Petya wasn?t reading them. Rather he was carefully copying the diagram, disregarding the internal structures of the creature and concentrating on the shape, and external details. Behind the bat he sketched the silhouette of clouds and a moon.

    Petya was, undoubtedly, the most artistic of the Rostov children.


    Petya stared up at Captain Theodore Dolokhov with a sense of overwhelming, boyish awe. He had heard so many great, wonderful things about this man, about his heroism and valor in battle.

    Captain Denisov stood between them with a dissatisfied frown. ?I won?t let you take the boy, Theodore. He?s young and inexperienced.?

    ?But I already said he could. Besides, why not? He?ll be with me and I?ve done this plenty of times.?

    Petya, unable to wait anymore, jumped to his feat. ?I?m going with you, sir!? he told Dolokhov enthusiastically, his eyes shinning feverishly. ?Either way, I?m with you.?


    Petya traced the hawk design on the pearly-white, silken handkerchief. At sixteen he was in such a place for the first time. Obalenski had said that before going to the front they had to experience what it was to be men. Petya had always thought the best way be a man was to fight, to serve.

    Now, fidgeting with the handkerchief of the young prostitute spread out on the bed before him, he felt scared, incompetent. Perhaps his father was right saying he wasn?t ready to fight, to be a man, if he couldn?t even make love to a girl.


    Petya sat on the edge of a cart, dangling his feet of the side, waiting patiently for his sword to be sharpened. After his excursion with Dolokhov into the enemy camp he had been in a state of exaltation. He felt completed and important, like he was making a different.

    In the distance, where Denisov was still holding council, a lantern hung of a hook and dangled in the cold winter breeze. It swayed languidly and Petya felt in tune with its peaceful pace. It lulled him into sleep where he dreamed of soft light and a wonderful, colorful universe.
  7. Alley_Skywalker

    Alley_Skywalker Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 27, 2005


    This was NOT happening.

    Helene held the letter written in Theodore Dolokhov?s hand ? My dear Helene, today I write to you with a heavy heart? ? in a crushing grip, crinkling the paper and sending creases through the sheet. This was not happening. She was dreaming or Theodore was wrong. But her baby brother was NOT dead. She attempted to pull herself together. Helene took a deep breath and began to re-read the letter but the words blurred in front of her eyes and they still didn?t make any sense. Borodino, casualties, Anatole wounded? dead.

    It HAD to be a mistake.


    ?Helene?I?m so sorry.?

    Theodore takes her into his arms as she meets him at the gate, already in mourning. He can?t look at her. She looks too much like her brother. The memory of Anatole?s face haunts him The boy looked almost like he had simply fallen asleep. Almost. Disregarding the creases at the corners of his mouth that spoke of the excruciating pain he?d suffered.

    Helene pulls back and looks into his eyes with such a heartbroken expression that Theodore begins to lose the fight against tears. ?Why him??

    He shakes his head and whispers brokenly, ?I don?t know.?


    God, he just wanted to forget. Why wasn?t getting drunk working?

    Theodore stared into the half empty bottle of Vodka, swirling the clear liquid around gloomily. As though he could actually glare a solution out of it. They had been so happy. Him, Helen, Anatole? Everything was just starting to work itself out. Then the war came and took? What? His youth, firstly. What sentiments he?d had left had been destroyed. Now Anatole was gone and so was Helene.

    ?Damn it! Why us?? He picked up an empty wine bottle and chucked it against the wall. The bottle hit. Shattered.


    Since the war, Hippolyte couldn?t get rid of the same horrible, nagging feeling. He knew what it was ? guilt ? but he could admit it to himself. Admit that all the excuses he had made to himself and to others were all false and fake. Cardboard walls that couldn?t keep him warm in the cold winter. He, as the older brother, should have been the one to fight. Not Anatole. Never that foolish, young boy who had no clue of anything beyond his socialite activities and parties. It was too late now. Anatole was gone and Hippolyte could never forgive himself.


    At some point, Anatole accepted that he was going to die. The pain was eating him alive, burning like fire through his vanes. He didn?t want to die but he thought it might be better than the agony he was suffering. He thought of home and all the friends he would never see. He thought of Helene. Where was Theodore? Would they see each other again? Anatole tried to accept that they wouldn?t. He could still hear the canonfire in the distance and Theodore was probably still out there. He would have to accept that dying alone was his fate.
  8. Valiowk

    Valiowk Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Apr 23, 2000
    It's wonderful to see an update from you! I especially liked the drabbles involving Helene, although I absolutely hated her in the novel - you've definitely made me understand how her character could be in large part due to the way she was brought up more than any intentional wickedness on her part. You do a great job showing how each of the characters could have evolved into the way they were in the novel.
  9. Alley_Skywalker

    Alley_Skywalker Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 27, 2005
    Valiowk: So awesome that you've come back to review :) I love writing the Kuragins and Dolokhov. I feel that despite their flaws there are good sides to them (some more than others; Vasili isn't my favorite person...erm character).I think Tolstoy deffinetely left a lot of gaps that can be filled and made the characters dynamic and deep enough to where they can be motivated and interpreted differently.



    The cool metal of the pistol felt almost comforting under his hands, hard and sure like nothing else in life. Nothing, except that he would not be taken advantage of, that he would never let anyone offend his pride. Certainly not a rich, snobbish, daddy?s boy like Bolkonski.

    ?Dolokhov, put the gun down and lets talk sensibly.? His second-to-be stood leaning against the doorframe and shifting uncomfortably. ?You don?t have to do this.?

    Theodore didn?t look up from his examination of the dueling pistol. ?Yes, I do.? He was sixteen and about to fight his fist duel. First of many.


    Pierre?s challenge came out of nowhere, like a slap in the face of a sudden downpour of freezing, autumn rain. Theodore wasn?t prepared for this; he hadn?t meant for it go so far. Who would have thought that Bezukhov was THAT immature. He regarded Pierre across the table with bemused curiosity. Had the silly boy ever HELD a gun? Did he even OWN one? And everyone said Anatole was the fool.

    ?I?ll be your second!? Nicholas Rostov offered enthusiastically. Dolokhov looked over at the boy, regarding him appraisingly. He seemed alright, this Rostov boy.

    ?Well, why not, if you want.?


    The stadion is a Greek measurement of about 200 meters. This was the length of the stadium that hosted the Olympic games of ancient Greece. The ?games? consisted of one even ? a sprint the length of the stadium?

    ??and then she drops her hankerchief and gives me this look, obviously wanting me to pick it up. So I? Theodore, what are you doing??

    ?Reading, Anatole. Something you rarely do.? Dolokhov held up the book on ancient Greece.

    ?So you WEREN?T listening to me!?


    ?Go to hell!?

    ?I love you too.?

    Anatole muttered something unintelligible and rang for more wine.


    ?I hate the bureaucracy,? Nicholas Rostov complains rather passionately.

    Theodore scoffs, taking another sip of tea. ?Who doesn?t??

    ?Well some people love the government work.?

    Theodore shrugs, looking rather indifferent though Nicholas doesn?t seem to notice. ?Well, think about it. If you could make a career of it, become chair of some big department, imagine the influence you could have. Not just on politics but on people. Everyone would know they need to go to you to get things done. Good way to make money on the side as well.?

    Nicholas looks scandalized. Theodore laughs inwardly at the boy?s naïveté.


    The Kuragins brought a new French chef to the house around Christmas. Anatole spent too much time in the kitchens finding out what sweets would be served for dessert and practicing his French, which, at his eleven, wasn?t as perfect as his father wanted.

    Theodore stood at the door waiting until Anatole would finish talking circles around the baffled chef who was both annoyed and enchanted by the boy. The conversation was mostly going over Dolokhov?s head. At sixteen, his French was even worse than Anatole?s. Embarrassed of this, he hang back until he could be back in safer territory.

  10. Alley_Skywalker

    Alley_Skywalker Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 27, 2005


    ?Daddy, look!? The strawberry-blonde boy of six tossed another bit of bread into the lake, watching with delight as the ducks swam forth to fight over the morsel. ?They like it!?

    The boy?s father took a step forward through the tall grass of the meadow and placed a hand on the boy?s shoulder. ?Yes, Anatole, they do.?

    Anatole Dolokhov gave his father a brilliant smile and turned back to the lake and the ducks. Theodore watched the boy with a tearing sense of nostalgia for his own youth and the company of Anatole?s uncle in whose honor he was named.


    Money wasn?t as much of a problem for the Dolokhovs as it had been in Theodore?s youth. His mother?s death and sister?s marriage probably had something to do with it, but more significant were the money Vasili Kuragin had left as inheritance to his grandson ? illegitimate though he may be ? and the business deals Theodore had successfully made himself.

    The new, relative, abundance of money allowed Theodore to acquire a small but picturesque country estate where he chose to live with his son. Away from society was a nice change ? no more pompous pretences. He was hardly leaving anyone behind.



    ?Yes, Anatole??

    ?You never talk about my uncle. Why? You?ve told me about Mother but never him.?

    Theodore looks up from the papers he has been reading and regards his son, now nine ? already nine ? thoughtfully. Anatole is standing in the doorway to his study, fidgeting with the cuff of his linen shirt and he looks every bit the Kuragin. ?What would you like to know??

    Anatole shrugs. ?Anything. You were friends, right??

    Theodore beckons the boy over and he runs to sit on his father?s knee, beautiful blue eyes ? the only Dolokhov thing about him ? overflowing with curiosity.


    Teaching Anatole to ride was something Theodore had looked forward to. Now that the boy had turned six, he figured it was about time to put him on a pony independently. Anatole watched with great curiosity as ?his horsey? was saddled. The boy looked around at the different equipment with a state of newfound interest. He picked up a hoof pick and examined it carefully. ?Daddy, what is this thingy for??

    ?That is called a hoof pick. It is used for cleaning the horse?s hooves so that they stay clean and healthy.?

    Anatole nodded seriously, committing the information to memory.


    Anatole loved being read to. He would curl up in bed, pull the blanket up to his chin and listen to his father read some story book to him. For Theodore, putting Anatole to bed was probably the most peaceful time of day, the most gratifying and satisfying. He would read until the boy fell asleep, drifting off into a realm of dreams where he didn?t need a book to create adventures for himself. After the boy fell asleep, Theodore would sit for some time longer, watching his son and vowing that he would never let the child slip away.

  11. Valiowk

    Valiowk Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Apr 23, 2000
    Loved the contrast between a young and an old Dolokhov in the last two posts - one certainly would not expect, from Dolokhov's attitude during his youth, that he would be contented with such a retirement! And great contrast between Dolokhov's youth and young Anatole Dolokhov's childhood - I guess it reflects a lot on what the elder Dolokhov learnt from his life experiences.
  12. Alley_Skywalker

    Alley_Skywalker Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 27, 2005
    Valiowk:I think Dolokhov always had the potential to be a family man; he just never got the chance. Though, yea, I think ideally he?d imagine himself in the city as some socially important figure, not living a secluded life in the countryside. But then, nothing went his way. The war came and took both his lover and his best friend. I think that would leave a mark. Then he was left (according to my personal fanon :p) with his son, Helene?s son. The boy who wears the namesake of his fallen best friend? I think the war was traumatic enough that he just wanted to hide in the corner with his son, his little keepsake from when things were better, and forget about society, which, I think, he always hated a little either way.



    The duel with Dolokhov was a horrible affair, as far as Pierre was concerned. Terribly silly, terribly useless. He really had no need to murder Theodore ? Pierre saw dueling as nothing more than glorified murder ? but it couldn?t be helped once he?d challenged the man. But there was no need. He blamed his wife. Yes, it was Helene?s fault. She was so beautiful, how could he blame any man for wanting her. But she, she should have never allowed this to happen. So when Helene screamed at him that he?d killed a much better man than himself, something snapped inside.


    Life was such a mystery to Pierre. There were so many unanswered questions, so many things to deal with and to be resolved. He didn?t understand how Anatole, and other friends of his youth, could look at it in such a simplified, materialistic way. Pierre longed to understand life and its mysteries, longed to answer its questions. Perhaps that is why he listened to Andrei in the end and broke with the friends of his early youth ? because Andrei made sense, seemed to be searching for the answers to the same questions. So Pierre followed his advice almost unquestioningly. Almost.


    Pierre had to admit to himself that he was no writer. He would have loved to write down all his ideas, theories, thoughts, discoveries and inspirations. But every time he sat down to write it all came out wrong. So how was he supposed to write to Natasha. How was he supposed to tell a girl like her just what he wanted to say, that he loved her. He remembered how scornful she?d been of Andrei?s cut-and-dry letters. But there were so many things he wanted to say. She was right for him, he knew. But how to tell her?


    When Pierre married Natasha he knew that they would be living in Petersburg for some time. He knew he wouldn?t be able to escape a government position any longer. He didn?t mind since the future of the country interested him. But his vision was of later, when he was done with his duties. He and Natasha would move to the country and live in one of his estates with their children. She would be happy too, Pierre knew, since Natasha had lost interest in society since the end of the war and their wedding. All would be perfect and peaceful.


    The children?s new governess was a very pretty woman. She was graceful and elegant and obviously intelligent. Her dignity and confidence were entrancing; Pierre couldn?t help but have the utmost respect for her. He also reckoned that feeling attracted to her was only natural. He tried to hide his admiration for her from Natasha, though. Natasha got terribly jealous over the smallest thing ? she?d always been like that ? and Pierre didn?t want her to worry over nothing. He was never going to trade his family for any woman, no matter how lovely. Natasha had no reason to know his weaknesses.

  13. Valiowk

    Valiowk Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Apr 23, 2000
    I'm really in awe of how you manage to write drabbles about so many different characters in War and Peace - I think I would have a lot of difficulty writing anything from the perspective of a fictional character whom I couldn't really identify with. Pierre is one of the characters whom I never particularly liked, although he was kind-hearted and generally meant well. I don't think this dislike is entirely because of Pierre's constant lack of direction - Yuri Zhivago is awfully irresolute and hesitant in some parts of Doctor Zhivago, and there are a few characters in some other books who aren't the most decisive, but whom I like anyway - I think to a certain extent it's also the fact that he doesn't seem to care about the moral implications of what he's doing at times, whereas Zhivago never quite loses sight of his principles and ideals.

    Nevertheless, not liking Pierre very much didn't stop me from enjoying this set of drabbles a lot! Great exploration of his character and weaknesses here!
  14. Alley_Skywalker

    Alley_Skywalker Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 27, 2005
    Valiowk: There are characters I would have an incredibly hard time writing because I couldn't identify with them or really dislike them. That being mainly Andrei Bolkonski, though I would struggle with Maria Bolkonski as well and Bolkonski Sr. As for Pierre, I don't think he ever really sight of his morals. In fact I think, he sometimes lets himself be carried away with his morals, refusing to look beyond them even as he hopes to understand his life and himself.
    I don't remember if I ever asked, who is your favorite character? I'm sure mine is fairly obvious.


    (A/N: the third definition for ?mechanic? reads thus: ?Slang . a person skilled in the dishonest handling of cards, dice, or other objects used in games of chance.? I shall use this definition.)


    The positions that Theodore Dolokhov managed to acquire in the army were always given to him for either exemplary conduct and a status of ?due for promotion? or for great valor in battle. He would rise and fall from the title of Captain not once or even twice throughout his career but he hardly ever regretted the reasons for his demotions. As long as he could rise back to an officer?s rank, he saw a need to stifle himself too greatly merely to avoid demotion. And he?d hardly be granted a rank of real importance. Society?s favor was beyond him.


    The Generals were still demanding that they join with the main forces. Of course, that wasn?t happening. Both Dolokhov and Denisov had no desire to be put back under the yoke of Headquarters which was often slow if not incompetent. Out in the woods with their Cossacks they were quite free to do as they pleased. And harassing the retreating French column was what they pleased. Here, Dolokhov got the full command he was never able to attain in the main army and he clung to it. Every mission was his. His plan, his people, his victory. Solely his lead.


    Theodore was surprised how easily being a cardsharp came to him. He learned a lot of the tricks in his adolescence. By the time he was seventeen, he hardly ever lost a game of cards he chose to play. If there had been any guilt initially it was swept away by the thought that his family ? his mother and sister ? needed him, needed the money he brought in after his nights of gambling. Dishonorable? Perhaps. But was it really more honorable to sit by and watch as two endlessly dear women in his life suffered in economic deficiency and humiliation?


    It was true that many, if not most, of Theodore?s motives were mercenary. Money was of high interest and importance to him, had been since his father was killed in a duel when he was thirteen. But how could it not be for a poor but very proud boy of the gentry who saw that, despite all his brilliance and natural talents, other people always got the bigger, better piece of the pie simply because they had money and the connections that come with money and power. Money became an ambition, a goal, a cause and a reason.


    There was something almost magical about the countryside in the autumn. The leaves that drifted down to carpet the ground in bright colors and float on the tranquil waters of the lake, the stillness of the air ? no longer populated by insects ? and the steady drizzle of the first rains. The only disturbance to nature?s serenity might be a galloping troika, bearing with it an equipage and kicking up dust and mud off the country road. Theodore liked to take walks arm-in-arm with his sister at these times. She allowed him the emotional peace he rarely felt with anyone else.
  15. Alley_Skywalker

    Alley_Skywalker Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 27, 2005


    Pierre had never needed to spend very much time in his study before his father died. Sometimes he did ? at the university, when he attempted to get some serious reading or writing done, at some points of serious consideration. But he rarely actually needed to be there. However, after he became Count Bezuhov in his own right, there became a necessity for long hours at his desk signing papers, transactions, petitions, agreements and other various nonsense that he knew very little of. Sometimes, Pierre realized with unease that if it wasn?t for Prince Vasili he would be utterly lost altogether.


    Of all the transactions that Pierre had to handle in his new position as a very wealthy man with large and various properties and numerous surfs, the ones that had to do with the sale and acquisition of peasants bothered him the most. He would have left it to his bailiffs and Prince Vasili but something within him felt that he owed the surfs he traded, bought and sold like coats and boots at least the respect of being personally aware of their fate. As normal as these transactions with human property were, they bothered Pierre to a terrible extent.


    Money was not something that Pierre had ever been very aware of. His youth had gone by in a flurry of university and Petersburg bachelorhood. He was hardly bothered by statuses so his constant lack of money was not something that pervaded his thoughts very often as he always had the very necessary things. Then, just as he was growing into a young man where responsibility would be of the essence, his large inheritance once again relieved him of the need to take his finances very serious and he was always very liberal in his attention to the accounting books.


    After Helene?s infidelity came out and the scandalous duel, Pierre took a strange sort of pleasure from managing his estates. He seemed to seek comfort in his own reforms and in the sense that he was doing something good for the people he was responsible for. It was almost a self-righteous comfort in which he sought, though subconsciously, to reaffirm his moral superiority over his wife and her lover. Not that he wouldn?t have been employing these reforms if Helene had been faithful and Dolokhov more trustworthy, but in the present circumstances, there was a special pleasure in his doings.


    While he had been courting her, Pierre had been constantly consumed by the nagging and discomforting feeling that Helene?s pleasant and attentive, if not loving, attitude toward him was a temporary thing, a transitory illusion. He felt as if he was there mostly for her and her father?s disposal. He knew that all of society was watching their courtship, guessing at what would happen. His future was to be decided by the outcome of this courtship ? a halfhearted and not really intentional one at that ? on many levels and they all treated it like a seasonal entertainment. It was disheartening.

  16. Valiowk

    Valiowk Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Apr 23, 2000
    Oh, I'm one of those boring people whose favourite character is Andrei Bolkonsky. :p Vyacheslav Tikhonov's performance in the movie really settled it for me, though. :)

    I love the contrast between Theodore Dolokhov and Pierre Bezukhov in these two sets of drabbles, even if it was unintentional. :) I might not agree with Dolokhov's morals, but I can at least respect the fact that he's very clear about what he wants his life to be like and he goes about living life in that way, whereas Pierre always seems to lack that firmness, even after all the events that occur to him...

    Great job writing about them in a manner that I feel does them justice!
  17. Alley_Skywalker

    Alley_Skywalker Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 27, 2005
    Valiowk: Sadly, I have a strong dislike for Bolkonski. He comes off as a terribly self-righteous snob and I can't stand people like that.
    Once again, thanks for reviewing :)


    (AN: Maria is a canon character, the oldest daughter of Pierre and Natasha, introduced in the epilogue. Obviously, Nicholas Bolkonski is obviously canon as well. Eugene is supposedly Eugene Onegin, therefore constituting a slight cross-over for this set. The rest are OCs -- children of canon characters).


    They would become known as the Decembrists but at that moment they were simply rebels and traitors. Nicholas Bolkonski watched the situation unfold and unravel with a terribly sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. He was young and Uncle Pierre had made sure he wasn?t directly involved with anything. But he knew why they did what they did and he also knew that their cause was noble and deserved to be praised not punished by exile or death. He spent that night burning letters and papers as his aunt prayed in the next room. Shamefully, he was scared.


    The time to take exams for the University was fast approaching and Anatole felt as if he was being buried under large quantities of books. His friends hardly understood why he was so worried. ?You are smart enough,? his cousin, Alexander Kuragin, would say with a slightly disdainful edge. Eugene would just smirk. But Anatole felt like he owed it to his father to make University. There was also the intense desire to go to Petersburg which he had only been to a handful of times in his life. His father always seemed terribly uncomfortable and miserable on those trips?


    ?Where did you even learn this game?? Alexander asked, sorting a deck of cards for Euchre.

    ?From his father,? Eugene smirked. ?Where else.?

    ?Leave Papa out of this,? Anatole demanded good-naturedly. ?I learned it from a German fellow and his American fiancé who were here a few weeks ago.?

    ?Who?d ever heard of a card game where Jacks are so terribly important,? Alexander persisted, as he began to deal.

    ?Just deal, Sasha.?

    The cards were dealt and the top card of the kitty turned over. Lisov, Alexander?s partner, looked between Eugene and Anatole carefully. ?I?m watching you two this time.?


    ?No, Maria, that?s final.?

    The young Countess Bezukhov burst into tears. ?Why can?t I marry whom ever I choose, Papa??

    Pierre looked down at his oldest daughter sternly as she glared back defiantly at him. He could hear Natasha?s continuing hysteric in the other room. ?Maria, this man? is not a match for you.?

    ?I love Anatole!?


    ?I will marry him! No matter what you do!? She ran from the room before Pierre could hold her back. He hoped, desperately, that the girl had more sense than her mother at her age and would not try to elope.


    Twenty-four hours until his engagement would be announced. Anatole could hardly believe it. Why had he given into his father? His cousin, Annette Kuragin, was a lovely girl ? he could clearly picture her golden curls and pretty little hat ? but he didn?t want to marry her. Not that his father didn?t make sense. All of his arguments were sensible and maybe Anatole would be dishonoring the family in a way, but Maria? Anatole played absentmindedly with a quill, longing to at least write to her, but he wasn?t aloud. She would hardly have him after tomorrow anyway. It was over.

  18. Valiowk

    Valiowk Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Apr 23, 2000
    Oh, all the scrapes this generation gets into... :) The funny thing is that the incidents they get themselves involved in are really no worse than those their parents got themselves into, but the way some of it is described just makes you shake your head and chuckle... :D

    Out of curiosity, was the somewhat rambling manner in "Terrorists" and "Deadline" intentional? I noticed that the style of those two is somewhat different from the steady style of most of your other drabbles.

    And Eugene there any chance we'll be seeing Tatyana too? ;)
  19. Alley_Skywalker

    Alley_Skywalker Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 27, 2005
    Valiowk: Hmm. Maybe "Terrorists" was rushed intentionally but I don't think I meant to do that with "Deadline." As for Tatiana... I doubt it. In my crossover head-canon, Eugene is young Anatole's BFF and Theodore's godson but that's the limit on that crossover. Also, I was never very interested in the Larin sisters. The Onegin/Lensky dynamic was what always interested me the most in that fandom :p


    (A/N: 5th definition of Federation: "a union of several parties, groups, etc." This is the one I will use.)


    The snow fell hard that morning, covering the ground and gathered on tree branches. Nicholas stood next to Theodore as Denisov and Pierre?s second measured out the paces. He glanced nervously at his new friend and shifted from one foot to the other. This was the first duel he was ever involved in and for all his excitement he saw plainly its dangers. And over what? A misunderstanding? ?Listen,? Nicholas started slowly, looking over at Dolokhov. ?This whole affair ? is it worth it??

    Dolokhov looked back at Nicholas with a determination that amazed the younger boy. ?No apologies. None whatsoever.?


    For all Nicholas knew, Sonya was the most beautiful, perfect girl in the world. The world, stars and galaxy ? she outshone everything and everyone. She was his angel and when he held her in the shadows of the evening, in the garden under an apple tree with the warm, spring breeze rippling the skirt of her simple dress, there was nowhere he would rather be. Of course, as Nicholas got older, there were other women ? half of these he saw under the influence of his bachelor friends ? but there was no woman he took as seriously as he took Sonya.


    ?I don?t see why we are bothering with the Polish,? Nicholas complained as Denisov lip up a cigar and Dolokhov, refilling their glasses from the Vodka bottle he?d procured earlier, began to deal the deck of cards in front of him.

    ?Does it matter to you,? Theodore asked, hardly looking up from the cards he was dealing.

    ?Of course it matters!? Nicholas continued indignantly. ?An alliance with them would only hold us back! We need to have freedom of movement of tactic, if we?re going to defeat Napoleon.?

    Theodore glanced over at Denisov, smirking. ?They?re so idealistic at his age.?


    The next game he?ll win, Nicholas tells himself for the tenth time that night. The next round, the next hand. He has to hope for the best. He?d already lost so much money ? he has to keep trying to win it back. Luck had to turn his way eventually. How was it that he was here? What had he done to deserve this slow death, this humiliation. He looks across the table at Theodore, but his friend is too busy dealing the next hand to notice. Or maybe he simply chooses to not notice. Somehow Nicholas knows: this is revenge.


    Nicholas watched his two sons fencing on an open patch of grass. Andrew took a little more after his mother in looks that Dmitri and, if Nicholas thought about it, in character as well. Their two sisters Natasha and Anastasia ? stood to the side, picking apart daisies and giggling quietly, not paying their brothers much attention. Despite the generation gap between him and his children, Nicholas thought that there really wasn?t that much difference between their interests, behaviors and desires and those of him and his friends and siblings in their childhood. It?s comforting ? knowing he can relate to them.
  20. Valiowk

    Valiowk Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Apr 23, 2000
    After reading the first four drabbles, I really liked the fifth one. Indeed, the best type of parent is one who remembers that he/she too was once young and who tries to relate to what his/her children are going through. Good that all these characters, after all the escapades they have been through, have grown wiser and are showing to be good parents.

    As for Tatiana not appearing, that's fine. To be honest, she doesn't interest me that much either... [face_blush]

  21. Alley_Skywalker

    Alley_Skywalker Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 27, 2005
    Valiowk: Ah sorry I haven't been posting for so long! School and other obligations have kicking my butt :( But I'm back :D And yes, it is nice to think that reckless little boys like Niki finally grow up to be good daddys :p



    ?Don?t get mad, Nicholas, but I know you won?t marry her.?

    ?Now you don?t know that.?

    ?No, I know, I don?t know how, but I know.? When Natasha had told her brother that she was going by a simple feeling. It was intuition or something else. She couldn?t know, of course, but she felt it was true. Even if she didn?t want Sonya marrying Dolokhov.

    When Nicholas brought Marya Bolkonski into their lives, she didn?t remember her words right away. But Nicholas seemed to remembered because he had looked at her with a sheepish, surrendering smile. She had been right.


    Natasha knew that spying and eavesdropping wasn?t polite or honest. She also knew that craning her neck to peek over Sonya?s or Nicholas? shoulder to see what one or the other was writing was rude. But she couldn?t help it. She knew her brother and her cousin were madly in love with each other; that wasn?t difficult to see. But she liked finding the evidence for it. Re-discovering their romance was a great pleasure every time.

    It was much less pleasant when those same detective skills revealed that Nicholas? new officer friend, Dolokhov, was also madly in love with Sonya.


    Natasha could have never suspected anything false about Anatole and his motives. That was, perhaps, because there was nothing false about them to begin with, He was in love and ready to whisk her away. The little thought he gave to the consequences of such impulsiveness were more due to carelessness that wickedness of any sort. Regardless, finding out he was married was heartbreaking. She watched the world spin nauseatingly around her, not understand how such a thing could be. All their love, all his words, all the feelings that she?d put so much stake in, suddenly became worthless, empty.


    When Natasha realized just what the nature of her feelings for Pierre was, it scared her. She wasn?t sure when this realization came exactly ? after Andrei died and she was suddenly alone, empty. Or, perhaps, it had been before the evacuation of Moscow when Pierre told her he was staying behind and she had feared for his life. All she knew was that when Pierre re-entered her life she suddenly saw him in a new light. A feeling much brighter than anything she had felt for Andrei but more steadfast than the wild passion she had once felt for Anatole.


    It had been a stupid idea ? suicide. But in that instant, Natasha had seen her life as irrevocable over, useless. She was ashamed and frightened of the fate that had almost befallen her and her family, of the hurt she had caused Prince Andrei who had been so kind to her. But even beyond that, she was simply heartbroken. She could still see Anatole?s beautiful grey eyes when she closed hers, hear his voice in her head and feel his lips on hers. She had never felt that way before and the rat poison would insure she never would again.
  22. Salacious_Drabb

    Salacious_Drabb Jedi Knight star 3

    Sep 24, 2007
    Welcome back. Hope school is going well (butt-kicking aside). Good to see you're back at this. I'm really pulling for ya.
  23. Valiowk

    Valiowk Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Apr 23, 2000
    Thanks for the PM, Alley! The other stories I was following in NSWFF have been completed, so I haven't been popping in here so regularly and it would probably have taken me quite a bit longer to realise that Fragments of Our Lives had been updated without your PM. :)

    I like your portrayal of Natasha very much - a girl with a good heart, admittedly somewhat naïve and susceptible to being tricked initially (yet having moments of insight at times - isn't that how it frequently is with youths? :p ), who eventually recovers from being cheated, and is strong and wiser for it. :)

    You know my opinion of Pierre. ;) But Natasha and Pierre make a better match than Natasha and Andrei - the lattering pairing just wasn't right. Somehow, things did work out right eventually. :)
  24. Alley_Skywalker

    Alley_Skywalker Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 27, 2005
    Salacious_Drabb: Thank you! I really want to finish this set as I really love this fandom.

    Valiowk: I figured, so I dropped you the PM :) I'm glad Natasha come off well. I don't like her one bit but that doesn't make her evil or anything. And admittedly, I empathize with her quite a bit during the part in the book where she was in love with Anatole. I'm not surprised that they fell for each other, they're very much alike. As for Andrei...I'm afraid the same thing would have happened as with Lise. His initial passion would go away and he would be annoyed by her clinginess as he was by Lise's and Natasha would be left baffled as to why her husband suddenly turned cold toward her.



    The warm summer sun shines brightly, bathing the world in a yellow glow. They run through the tall grass, flushed and content, laughing and carefree in a game of tag. Theodore catches Anatole from behind, arms wrapping around the younger boy?s waist as they go down among the wildflowers. Anatole throws his head back and laughs until he can hardly breathe and Theodore watches him with tender eyes and an amused smile. Anatole swipes soft, silky strands of strawberry-blonde hair out of his face and looks up at his older friend, grinning, eyes bright, delighted. ?Can we do that again??


    The sky broods and darkens, rainclouds floating ominously overhead in deep shades of stone-grey. Somewhere in the distance, thunder rumbles and growls, accompanied by sporadic flashes of lightning. Paris is murky and unpleasantly chilly, pregnant with a storm. Anatole moves closer to the fire and wraps himself in a blanket. He bites down on the top of quill he?s been twirling and begins his first letter back home to Theodore, carefully drawing out each sentence, taking care to be neither too childish, nor too dull. The result is rather comical and awkward but Anatole doesn?t notice and Theodore doesn?t care.


    The past days had been rainy and morose, a fine match for Theodore?s mood. He?s short on money again with no foreseeable opportunity to fix the matter. He sits fidgeting with a deck of cards as Anatole paces wine glass in hand, stealing nervous glances at his friend. ?Teddy?? Anatole ventures finally, going to sit by Dolokhov. ?If you need money so badly, I could loan you??

    ?I don?t need your money,? Theodore cuts off tonelessly. Anatole sighs and reaches out to grab his hand until Theodore looks up.

    ?You don?t have to be quite so brave around me.?


    The snow seems dangerous. The large drifts might swallow one if he were to wonder too far alone, the cold freeze any unwary traveler. Just days ago it seemed the very opposite ? a virginal blanket covering Anatole?s hat and shoulders, a clean slate on which to draw snow angels, a bright essence of happiness, an almost magical beauty. Theodore drinks his brandy and watches Anatole pack. ?Don?t go, Anatole; it?s dangerous. I helped you, but I must tell you the truth. This ? this kidnapping ? isn?t no joke.? Anatole tells him to go to hell and Theodore pretends he doesn?t care.


    The wind comes in cold wisps and howls, strangely icy after the hot day. Theodore finds himself without his cloak ? he has wrapped Anatole in it for warmth and comfort. The boy lies in his arms, head against his shoulder, as Theodore strokes damp strands of hair from his face. Anatole hardly comes to consciousness anymore and Theodore, resigned to watching him die, has stopped hoping. There?s little he can do to provide comfort, only hold Anatole close and gently force him to swallow down gulps of water when he comes to occasionally. In the Borodino aftermath, time has stopped.
  25. Alley_Skywalker

    Alley_Skywalker Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 27, 2005

    (A/N: I will use the second definition of Acrobat: ?a person who readily changes viewpoints or opinions.?)


    Scouting had never been a favorite exercise of Nicholas?. He thought he would like the adventure of it, but patrols turned up to be horribly dull, as Denisov had warned him actually. Patrolling, however, was worth it if he got to serve instead of attending the university. The scholarly life had never been for him; he felt his calling to be that of an army man. His parents didn?t like the idea but they would change their mind once he became a renowned hero. He would. The patrols were just a side-step, an inconvenient detour on his way to glory.


    ?Why are you sitting? Don?t you see the tsar?s health is being toasted?? Nicholas shouts at a morose Pierre who sites across from Nicholas and his friends at the long table. Pierre, baffled, mumbles something about not having recognized him but Nicholas is too busy shouting ?hurrah!?

    ?Why don?t you renew the friendship?? Dolokhov asks with a smirk.

    Nicholas tosses his head, flippantly cavalier, glancing between himself and his officer friends, then to civilian-Pierre with some disdain. ?Forget him,; he?s a fool.?

    Dolokhov smirks approvingly, despite his comment about obliging husbands of pretty women. Nicholas knows he?s doing everything right.


    As a child, Nicholas had once stolen a piece of pie from the kitchen because Vera had dared him. Of course, he?d found out which led to a punishment and Mother?s disappointed. His father had given him a stern lecture on how stealing was bad and unworthy. Nicholas had tried to defend himself by saying that he had not wanted to look like he was scared and his father explained that people would always try to goad him into doing dishonorable things. Years later, accepting Dolokhov?s silent dare at cards, he wondered if he was falling into the same trap.


    Nicholas had never meant things to turn out so painfully for Sonya. He never meant to stop loving her. It wasn?t even that he had stopped loving her, she was still as beautiful and perfect to him as always. Nicholas hated the thought that he had married Maria for money. She was such a nice woman, and he cared for her so much. He could not have possibly given into such a dishonorable urge as to marry for profit? Perhaps it was better to not compare his feelings for the two women, to not linger in the possibilities and reasons.


    It took a lot of self-control for Nicholas not to charge the rebelling peasants straight with his sword drawn. That would make him just a step closer to them and he did not want anything to do with those ungrateful savages who would dare rebel against such a refined and elegant woman as Princess Bolkonski. What was her name? Yes, Maria. She looked up at him with large, doe eyes, perhaps the most attractive feature of her entire face, and Nicholas felt a tingling in his stomach that made him wish to protect her far beyond what duty called for.
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