For Schermionie's 5, 10, 20, 50, 70, 100 Fandoms Challenge.
There's a girl and Dimitri can't help but notice that she's terribly pretty. She's got lovely brown curls and wide eyes that dance with laughter. She wears dresses with flowing skirts and, quite frankly, there isn't a thing about her that Dimitri isn't captivated by.
He watches her as he scurries around the palace. She's always chattering to her grandmama and her sisters. But that's not all she does. In fact, she hardly ever does only one thing at once. She draws. She's not very good at it, but she always looks happy doing it, so he's willing to let that slide. She sings. She dances. She's bursting with energy and Dimitri is sure that he's never seen anyone quite so brilliant.
It's all very well, him watching her from a distance and marvelling at her beauty. It becomes a problem when he starts to talk about her all the time. Anyone who sits down and speaks to him for just five minutes can see he's crazy about her. And that too would have been fine, had she not been the princess.
He's chastised time and time again for his obsession. The ladies in the kitchen warn him to keep his mouth shut and tell him that his time and admiration would be better spent on a girl of his own class.
"After all," they say, "princesses don't marry kitchen boys."
Dimitri isn't a complete idiot, despite what the staff have taken to saying about him, and he knows that the lovely Duchess Anastasia would never look twice (or even once, for that matter) at him. He's okay with that. Well, he's mostly okay with that. He can't deny that he'd like very much for her to fall madly in love with him, but again, he's not an idiot. He's well aware of that that, of all things, would never happen.
He's happy to watch her from her afar. He likes to think that that is more than enough. He spends more time than he'd care to admit (and much more time than the kitchen staff would advise) sneaking behind pillars and biting his lip as she twirls and giggles her life away.
And then Rasputin happens. All Dimitri can do is watch as fear takes over the palace...takes over her. It's not a look that suits her, he thinks.
Later, despite his best efforts, he finds out that she's most probably dead. He doesn't understand why it upsets him. She was just a pretty girl. It's not as if they'd ever spoken before that night. He shouldn't be curled up on the street corner more upset about his not-even-a-friend's death than the fact it feels like his toes are going to fall off at any moment.
It does bother him. He'll never see her again and even though he has no right, he can't deny that he still thinks about her all the time. He's harder to admit that when he closes his eyes in attempts to snatch what little sleep he can afford, all he sees is Anastasia, screaming and crying as he frantically ushers her through the hole in the wall.
He imagines it wouldn't be so bad if he could remember what she looked like when she smiled. And so, he tries to forget her. He figures that if all he's going to remember is that, he might as well not remember her at all.
Most importantly, Dimitri refuses to cry for her. They weren't even friends, he figures. She wouldn't miss him if it were he. There's no reason to cry, awful as her near-certain death may be. And so, he doesn't cry. He tries to convince himself that, really, there's no reason to cry.
"After all," he reminds himself, "kitchen boys don't care for princesses."