That day's sky was darker than usual. That is expected of December in Petersburg, of course, when the sun rises only for a short period of time in the day, then it sets. Eugene was surprised that it was light at this hour - after he had been called to a duel with his friend , should he put it like that? The man's tongue couldn't twist to call the eccentric boy his enemy. Vladimir had stupidly called him to a duel after the elder had flirted with his fiance. Eugene scoffed at the remembrance. How foolish, he had broken the bonds of their multi-year friendship simply to look after some girl he had met at a ball not even a month prior. Olga was beautiful, but that's all she was.
She will never know you like I do
In what way is that ditzy woman good for you?
Years will pass and you will understand that her soul does not align with yours
Eugene tapped his fingers on the windowsill as the carriage halted to a stop. Guillot, his young French butler, looked at him in concern. He hadn't seen the man act so focused on something. The Frenchman had known his master for a long time and he knew when he was frustrated, but this time, Eugene was on the break of lividness.
"Sir, it's not too late to cancel." He quietly spoke as he held the carriage door for his master.
The blonde gave him a disinterested gaze and fixed his coat, "My friend, in a world of aristocracy and fraudulent relations, one truly must know his place."
This phrase sent chills down the younger's spine. He nodded and turned his eyes to the ground.
"The other party must be already waiting. We've already made ourselves late." Eugene noted as he looked at his pocketwatch and the two advanced up a hill on the side of a windmill. When they reached the top of the hill, they were greeted by a glaring Vladimir and his assistant, Zaretsky. Eugene sneered at the old balding man. He was an active participant in aristocratic duels, and would never miss a chance to witness or even cause one. However, he also could mend the participants' relationship after the duel. Eugene simply hoped that he would upkeep that.
"Finally you've arrived! We've been waiting for you since half past seven!" Zaretsky exclaimed as his eyes lit up at the thought of what was to come.
"I apologize. Our horses got caught in a pile of snow." Eugene half-heartedly apologized, both parties knowing that this was a lie.
"What a shame. Nonetheless, your assistant and I are going to have to discuss the rules of this duel, please wait here." The man waved his hand at Guillot but the young man only looked at Eugene in fear. The blond nodded with a smile, hoping to ease the Frenchman's worries. He couldn't do that for himself, however. Once he was left alone with the boy now named his opponent, his enemy, Eugene felt rising dread in his chest. Vladimir leaned against the windmill, looking in the distance.
Probably thinking about that woman again. Not even when you're about to shoot at me are you thinking about our past together. You say I'm a traitor, Vladimir, but the real traitor here is you.
"Great weather today, don't you think?" Eugene suddenly asked, resting his head on the trunk of a tree.
"I'd say so. It reminds me of a scene in May Waltz." Vladimir scoffed. He might have been young, but he knew how to pull at the other's heartstrings far too well.
Eugene's eyes widened and a frown cast upon his face. May Waltz was a collection of Vladimir's poems that he had written on a whim during their first month of knowing each other. He could remember that the boy had done as much as take it to be pleated so it looked like a real book.
"Genya, are you even listening?" The bright voice of the dark-haired boy interrupted Eugene's internal thoughts.
"Yes, I am. And what would you like me to listen to?" The blond rest his face in his palm and looked at Vladimir, who held something in his hand. It wasn't visible, for the only illumination in the room happened to be a single candle that Eugene used to write at night with.
"You and I have gotten so close during the past month. I've never connected with anyone like I do with you. Believe me, I've looked for such a person in both Germany and Russia for eighteen years, and now I've found you. I think of our meeting as a blessing from God. We understand each other so well, it's almost as if we have the same mind. You inspire me to think, to create art. And I want you to have the product of that inspiration. I hope you like it." Vladimir placed a book in front of Eugene, who looked at him in shock. The boy began to worry that he said or did something wrong before a smile graced his face.
"This is an astonishingly pleasant surprise. You are beautifully talented in both mind and spirit." Although he didn't think that Vladimir's writing was anything out of the ordinary, simply because he wrote just like every other aristocrat, something like joy spread into his heart. This young man brought him joy just by existing near him. It was true that what they had between each other was one of a kind. In a long-forgotten village, Eugene had never hoped to find the person he considered a soulmate of his.
"You really think so? I just thought that what I wrote was nothing special, there are many good poets out there. And I thought you thought that too." A sad smile replaced excitement on Vladimir's face. Truthfully, he understood that Eugene liked him for his childlike innocence and naivety, but deep down he knew that the elder, despite sharing the same outlook on the world with him, didn't think of him as more than an overly imaginative child.
What the blond did next, surprised Vladimir. Eugene stood up in full height, book in one hand, and the other suddenly intertwined with the brunet's own.
"Your art is one of a kind. Remember my words when you get published in Petersburg, because that is going to happen one day. And know that I'll always support you in the choices you make, regarding art or just life in general."
Neither of them noticed the heat in their own cheeks, as they stood millimeters from each other, fingers laced together. Unsure of what to do in this situation, simply because he had never been in one like this before, Vladimir laughed awkwardly.
"Thank you. It means a lot."
"Sir! We've decided on the rules, it's time for the duel!" Zaretsky loud and, if compared to the soft memory prior, very unpleasant voice sounded in front of Eugene. He looked at the shorter man in dismay, but his expression changed to a deadpan one as he remember his current state.
"Right. Forgive me, I'm simply tired." The blond shook his head as a thought crossed his mind: Vladimir loved him so dearly, yet he threw that aside once he caught sight of a girl, who, in the thoughts of Eugene, was simply a copy of another copy, she didn't deserve him. Is that what he considered their relationship? A mere pastime until the first girl who was of some interest to him came along? Eugene treasured the relationship he had with Vladimir, and considered him a friend, an example, and he wouldn't dare not say that he didn't think of the boy as a lover of some strange type. And that's what it come to? Instead of apologizing to him, Vladimir jumped to the defense of that girl like nothing ever happened between the two of them?
This made Eugene furious, he knew that Vladimir had to learn a lesson from all this. He eagerly took the pistol from Guillot's hands, while Zaretsky handed a pistol to the brunet.
They had been standing fifteen feet apart when Zaretsky booming voice told them to begin. The first thought that crossed Eugene's mind was to cut off as much contact as he could with the man after this: if he had to listen to the man any more he would durey go insane. The blond scoffed under his breath - he had to focus on the current duel. He had gone through so many of them before that his body acted on its own accord. As he walked ever so closer to Vladimir, he lifted the pistol and kept going forward, not even aiming, he didn't need to. And only when Vladimir himself began aiming, the sound of a shot erupted through the dead of the forest. With a twitching brow, Eugene fired.
But the exact next second, he regretted that he ever did so.
Vladimir's sky blue eyes widened as he dropped his pistol and lifted his hand to his chest. Mid-process, his knees gave in and the boy fell onto the snow, crimson staining white.
Eugene was frozen in shock. His hands suddenly became cotton and he also dropped his gun. As soon as it hit the ground, the blond rushed over to his opponent.
"Volodya! How deep is the wound? Did it hit anything vital?" Eugene carefully placed the boy on his lap, holding him with both hands, "Why aren't you saying anything? Look at me! I'm here! Say something, god damn it!"
Golden eyes flooded with tears as he gently held the body of the boy he once loved. He never meant to hurt Vladimir in any way, only wanting to scrape his arm at the most so that the duel teaches something. But not this, no, never this.
"Well, as it is my duty as an assistant, I now proclaim Vladimir Lensky dead." Zaretsky stated, looking menacingly at his pocketwatch. The way he said those words made something curl up and die somewhere deep inside Eugene's heart. Like it was something expected, something casual.
"No, your job as an assistant is to call a bloody doctor! They'll inspect the wound, and everything will be fine." At the time, the blond barely grasped the idea of how naive he sounded, "What are you waiting for? Do it!"
Zaretsky frowned, watching a fearless aristocrat turn to a sobbing mess of a young man in mere seconds, "Sir Onegin, I hope you understand-"
"I don't understand! And I don't want to! Leave me be or you'll be the next to get shot." Zaretsky merely shrugged his shoulders and made his way to his carriage, saying something to Guillot, who nodded, despite shaking out of fear of the situation.
Eugene didn't notice the man leave. In a blur of vision, he only saw the body of his supposed soulmate, the one whose spirit shone so bright, it managed to capture the attention, and later, heart of the Petersburg dandy himself. And in a matter of seconds, Eugene stole that from him. He stole his happiness, and he stole the life of a talented, energetic boy of only eighteen years of age. At this point, all Eugene wanted was for Vladimir to open his bright blue eyes, maybe say something. He didn't care if the brunet never wanted to see him again - there was a good reason for that. If he chose to be with Olga, so be it. Eugene just wanted Vladimir to be alive.
But alas, that would not be the case.
Once his sobs died down, Eugene turned to his butler.
"My friend, I'm sorry you got caught in the middle of this. Please call a carriage." He mumbled, burying his face in the other's curls one last time, hoping for a miracle to happen.
The Frenchman quickly nodded and went to complete the task, while Eugene stayed in the same spot for over an hour. Holding the younger's now cold hand, running his fingers through his dark chestnut locks, He had never been the one to believe in God, but in the heat of the situation, he recited a prayer his old nanny taught him when he was young. Who knows how long he would've stayed like that if the carriage for the body hadn't arrived.
With dulled eyes, Eugene watched them take his beloved friend. He knew it was the last time he would see the boy in such a natural state. Despite existing now only as a corpse, he sad some sort of taunting melancholy, one that would cause the fall of Eugene.
The funeral was awfully simple. With only friends and family attending, Olga had been one of them. She cried, but Eugene knew her tears were not sincere. How could she cry about someone she never knew. It was on that day that the blond decided that he would leave this village. He didn't know where he would go, but he had to leave that house, that bastardous family who caused all of this, and him behind.
It was heavily snowing that day. In his mansion, Eugene sat alone in the living room, thinking over his possible destinations. He had ruled out Petersburg and Moscow, those cities were too much for him to handle. He wouldn't be welcomed in any other village, and it's not like he had any money to buy himself more property. He rest his head on the recliner in despair when something caught his eye. A silver pistol, one that was gifted to him by an acquaintance back in Petersburg.
A thought crossed his mind: if I had treated my soulmate such, why can't I do the same for myself? He had began hoping that an afterlife existed and he would be reunited with the one he loved as he loaded the gun, but at the moment, he was content with just putting himself out of the misery which had haunted him for weeks on end.
Quickly, he scribbled off all of his belongings to Guillot and whoever he may marry, and held the gun first to his chest, but then moved it higher, to his head.
If it was your heart that killed you, it will be my mind that killed me.
With one last sad smile, Eugene pulled the trigger.