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Title: Scattered Stars
Author/Artist: [personal profile] alley_skywalker
Fandom: War and Peace
Pairing/characters: Pierre/Helene, Dolokhov/Helene (background), Pierre/Natasha (implied)
Rating: PG
Warnings: off-screen canon character death, adultery
Word Count: 1,028
Summary: Pierre had once scattered his (and her) dreams like stars across a dark sky by marrying Helene. He wouldn't want to repeat that mistake.
Prompt/challenge you're answering: Pierre and Helene with the title: Scattered Stars

Pierre knew from the start that it was a mistake. After all, a man who had just proposed to a woman, who had just told her “je t’aime” should not have second thoughts before she has had time to leave the room. But he went along with it, feeling helpless and swept away in a huge wave of life that was so much bigger than him, so much more powerful. He felt small and inconsequential and unable to stop something that seemed to be fated for him.

After all, why should he feel cheated or disappointed? Helene was a beautiful woman, well dowered, well mannered. Many men would give much to be in his place. It seemed so logical to marry, and not at all unreasonable to marry Helene. But there was always a nagging feeling deep inside, from the very start, that they would not make each other happy. He did not love her and so, truly, it was silly for him to think that he ought to have a claim to her heart. Yet, he was faithful to her.

Perhaps that was the worst thing. He made the mistake of proposing yet she would have had to make the mistake of accepting. So why did he have to bear the burden of it all? He stayed faithful and attempted to make something of their marriage while she carried on with other men. Theodore Dolokhov, to be exact, or so the rumors had it. But it wasn’t just the rumors. He had seen the way to the two looked at each other, he had seen the way Anatole scurried between them, probably carrying messages of some sort from one guilty party to the other. He and Anatole had been friends once, but Pierre had pushed him away and Dolokhov had not. Not to mention that Anatole loved his sister passionate, and would not think twice about risking his friendship with Pierre if it meant her happiness.

Yet, no matter how self-righteously he defended himself in his mind, none of it ever felt right. The duel, his rage – any of it. In all of these moments – Dolokhov in the snow, which was slowly turning pink from the blood; Helene running from the room with tears streaming down her face, tears that were there before he had thrown the table top at her – he had felt helpless and useless and like he was going about it the wrong way.

“Count, I would like to apologize for any misunderstanding between us and any harm I may have done you in the past,” Dolokhov told him before Borodino. Pierre had stood there, blinking stupidly at the other man, at his former rival, and hadn’t known what to say. He wanted to ask, Did you really love her? or something else equality silly. Helene was the sort of woman who was practical enough, even without her father’s guidance, to not marry beneath her station. It was unlikely that she would have married Dolokhov, even if they were in love.

Yet, Pierre could never shake the feeling that everything that he had done with Helene had been wrong. Everything from proposing to her to how he had allowed his jealousy to get the better of him, to run rampant. He shouldn’t have proposed; he should have let her go. Instead, he scattered all his dreams and squashed as many of hers as he possibly could have. After all, clumsiness was something Pierre was good at. It would be strange to assume that this would be different.

When he returned to Petersburg after the war, he was informed that Helene had died in childbirth. “The boy can’t be mine,” he blurted out stupidly to Hippolyte Kuragin who merely eyed him with distaste. “I hadn’t…we hadn’t…Prince, you must understand—“

Hippolyte raised a hand. “Legally, the child is yours, Count. Helene never managed to get that divorce formally. But if you do not want him…Our family, his father…if you would sign the papers…”

“Where is his father?” Pierre picked up the infant from his cradle and the boy started to squirm and wiggle, making irritated gurgling sounds up at Pierre. He was five-six months old but it was already obvious just how much the child resembled his mother.

“Still at the front. He’s unlikely to come back for a few months.”

“An officer…” Those blue eyes. Not Helene’s but very familiar. “Did you name the boy? No—don’t tell me, I don’t wan to—“

“Helene named him Anatole. Before she died.”

Pierre looked down into the boy’s scrunched up face. He had always wanted a child, at least theoretically. Perhaps, if he did right by this boy he could at least assure himself that he did something right in regards to his marriage. “Who’s the father?”

“Theodore Dolokhov.”

Pierre could have laughed. Both at the irony that it should be Dolokhov of all people and at Prince Hippolyte’s uncharacteristically blunt answers. The death of his siblings had obviously changed him. Pierre wanted to ask if Dolokhov wanted the child. But even a single look around the Kuragin nursery told him that even if the boy’s father didn’t want him, his mother’s family was already all too willing to dote on him. So what if the right thing to do by the boy was letting him go?

“I’ll…I’ll sign the papers.”

When they were finally done with the paperwork, Pierre walked out into the cold early-spring night and looked up at the sky. The stars were scattered over the black canvas, lost white pinpricks in the darkness. Somewhere among those scattered stars there had to be his star of happiness. He had once thought it may be Helene – no he never really thought that, but he had hoped against hope – now he wondered if there is one for him at all.

Then he thought of Natasha and smiled. He’d scattered his dreams once by picking the wrong star to guide him. This is why he found it so easy to let Helene’s son go. The boy wasn’t his star either, no more that his mother had been. But perhaps, perhaps, he finally knew who was.
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