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Brother Dearest

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“Ivan, Ivan stay still, no! No don’t hit me- please, please brother, it’s alright. It’s alright.” He said, but Ivan didn’t hear him. Curled up on in a corner of the room, batting away any hand that approached him, he sat, eyes unseeing. On the couch sat Katerina, shoulders hunched and face downcast, the picture of defeat. Alyosha sighed and retreated, laying a hand on Katya’s, he focussed on her instead of his brother, hoping  he might be able to bring her some comfort at least. 


“Miss Katerina?” he asked softly, “Can I do anything else for you today?”


A empty smile greeted him when she looked up, and it took all of his willpower not to flinch. If only he could help them. She shook her head and patted his hand, and thanked him for trying to help with Ivan, and he knew for the day he had been dismissed. With a sigh he heaved himself off the couch and walked to the door, glancing back briefly to see Katerina kneeling down with his brother, gently wrapping him up in an embrace and calmly ignoring any hit that he landed. His heart broke for them.


Closing the door, he shrugged on his coat and stood, motionless, outside of the mansion for a moment, staring at the road ahead. He could go right, head home, to Lise, let go of the pain for a moment and allow himself a moment of peace and happiness-


But that would mean not going to see Grushenka. Grushenka who had been silent and pale since Mitya was taken away. About whom he worried every single day because she refused to stay with him and Lise, refused any help at all.


He sighed, Lise would wait for him, just as she always did. The patience of a saint, despite all appearances. That was why he loved her so very much.


Alyosha squared his shoulders, and went left.