The narrative then jumps ahead to January 27, 1944, the day the siege ends. Lev is on the rooftop of Sonya's building with her and some of her friends. He'd been in the army a year, working for the Red Star offices as a reporter. Lev states that his father would've hated it.
The ghost of Lev's father still haunts him, though Lev has given in to becoming what he once referred to as manufactured and fake. He's evidently disillusioned, but accepting that this is how he must live.
That night, Lev kisses Sonya on the mouth. Lev knows that they both are thinking of Kolya, and Lev believes that Kolya probably would've been delighted that Lev was kissing somebody. Lev and Sonya never kiss each other again.
It's possible that this is Lev's first kiss since Vika kissed him in the woods, but the tie to Kolya via Sonya makes it bittersweet rather than sexual or particularly pleasurable.
Lev tells the reader that a few days after he'd returned to Piter with the eggs, he learned that the Kirov didn't collapse immediately, giving the residents hours to evacuate the building. Vera earned a seat in the city's orchestra and kept it for thirty years, while Oleg and Grisha fought in the army and made it all the way to Berlin. Though Lev ran into all of them eventually, there wasn't much to say.
Lev's lack of relationship with his former best friends indicates just how much everyone grew up during the war. While Lev once lusted after Vera, the horrors they saw and the self-protection measures they all had to take drove a wedge between them, like the wedge between childhood and adulthood.
By the summer of 1945, Lev is living with two other journalists near the Moscow station. Evacuees had returned to the city, but the city is less crowded than it once was and people say the river still tastes like corpses.
Despite the fact that the war ended (and the Nazis lost), Leningrad is still haunted by the war and the siege, even though it's now turned into a story and history.
One night in August, Lev is home alone reading a story by Jack London. He finishes and starts again, not looking up when he hears a knock at the door. He explains that a boy who lives on the floor likes to run up and down the hallway knocking on doors, and anyone Lev knew would've let themselves in since the lock is broken. After three knocks, Lev gets up to scold the boy.
Lev remains fascinated with literature and storytelling even after the absurd story in which he found himself during the war. It remains a way to escape reality, even when reality isn't as bad as it once was.
Standing in the hallway is Vika, with her suitcase and a cardboard carton. She smiles at Lev and tells him he's still too skinny, and Lev replies that Vika has hair, and immediately feels stupid. Vika says she brought Lev a gift, and opens the carton to reveal a dozen eggs. Lev suggests they make an omelet. Vika picks up her suitcase and tells Lev that he needs to know that she doesn't cook.
Vika keeps her promise to find Lev, and we're reminded that while Lev has grown up and come of age, Vika is still intimidating and Lev is still inexperienced. The comment that Vika doesn't cook makes it abundantly clear that Lev and Vika do eventually marry and even have children—remember David's aside that his grandmother is famous for not cooking. Meanwhile, Vika’s gift of eggs both sets up the reveal about not cooking, connects this moment to Lev’s quest for eggs that caused him to end up meeting Vika, and also subtly hints at the promise of the future: this moment is a kind of “egg” from which everything after “hatches,” including David the narrator.