Work Header

He went away

Work Text:

"Madame has a guest," the chambermaid rushes to say, and the general frowns at her; he does not like her expression at this moment.

He sees a man in the parlour, but Tanya is nowhere to be seen. The man stands with his back to him, immovable and rigid, but he seems familiar.

"Onegin," the general says, coming closer; somehow he's not quite surprised to see this distant cousin of his standing alone in his parlour…

… looking shell-shocked, he thinks when Onegin turns to him, his face pale. Onegin does not seem to really see him.

"Onegin, my friend, have you already–" He intends to ask whether Onegin has already dined — his instincts tell him to go slowly and not to scare the man off. However, it has been a vain effort — Onegin rushes out, still without having looked him in the face.

The general stands in the empty room and thinks — almost inconsequentially — that he hasn't taken his spurs off. And that he should probably do this now. Then he shrugs and goes to look for his wife.

Tanya is in her boudoir, sitting in an armchair with a book open — a book she is not reading. She looks distant and immovable, and a bit like Onegin in her posture, which troubles him.

"Tanechka," he says quietly. "I'm home."

And she lifts her head, and smiles welcomingly, and puts her book away, and comes to greet him as usual.

No, he thinks. It won't do. He remembers too well the hidden wounded look on the face of the girl he married back then in Moscow. He never planned to see it again, on the face of the woman he had always known she'd become.

He takes her hand. "Tanechka," he says, "he went away."

And even as he says it, he is adding things together as if guessing an enemy's location from reconnaissance data: Onegin's travels. Tanya coming to Moscow. Onegin saying they were neighbours.

"He went away," he repeats, slowly stroking Tanya's hand. And, as his wife hides her face in his shoulder, not quite crying, the general hopes that he will never return.