This is dedicated to all of my wonderful fans who keep reminding me to finish this beautiful story. Enjoy!

V tried to concentrate through the fog. He continued to file his restraints against the metal chair. He had managed to free one of his hands if only he could break free of the IV. Just a little bit further… V froze. Footsteps were approaching. He quickly returned his free hand behind his chair and let the fauxian mask lull forward as if asleep. He was no one's prisoner.

V saw the door open and a pair of boots approach him hesitantly. This was his chance! Springing forward as soon as the guard was close enough, V yanked the unsuspecting victim down across his lap and pulled the chain still attached to his hand across the throat of the guard. Shock then elation filled V's heart when he found himself looking down into a very familiar pair of brown eyes.

"You know it's considered ill manners to choke your rescuer."

None other than Every herself in a guard's uniform was staring up at him.

"Evey!" V exclaimed, immediately releasing her and bringing her into a one-armed hug. "You never cease to surprise me, you brilliant woman…"

Evey felt V cling to her in a desperate way as if her presence was all he needed to feel at peace with the world. She felt a sigh of relief escape him, his breathing curiously labored as he held her. She had thought him dead when she first approached, so even the smallest signs of life were to her a great reassurance.

"How, might I ask, did you find me?" he asked quietly.

Pulling back, she wiggled the keys in her hand as she shifted to straddle him; the guards had been useful. "I had help. But we don't have much time. I'll explain later." Raising her eyebrow at his free hand she added, "And you will as well."

Evey reached around him to unlock his remaining hand from the metal encasing that secured the IV. She checked her watch. Damn, only 2 minutes left. Heading toward the door she was alarmed when she heard something crash behind her. V was clutching his side on the floor attempting once more to pull himself up on the chair.

"V!" Evey exclaimed, "How bad are you hurt?"
She rushed to help him up, throwing his arm over her shoulders. She couldn't help but notice he still hadn't let go of his side. With his mask just above her face, Evey found herself wishing for the millionth time that she could see beyond the mask; she needed to know how bad his injuries were. Breathing hard, he replied, "I could have sustained all of the injuries in the world... yet one look from you is enough to heal them all."

"To be London's most dangerous terrorist, you are quite the hopeless romantic," Evey said, kissing him on the cheek before helping him out the door.

"Love without hope is lost upon me and certainly not worth coming back to life for…" V grunted before tripping and almost taking them both down.

Evey clung to him, heart desperate as she looked at her watch and realized they were out of time. Hearing noise up ahead, Evey quickly pushed the elevator button and pushed V inside. This wasn't the way out but facing a group of highly trained guards in close quarters was the last thing she wanted to do. Randomly hitting a floor, Evey took a moment to assess V's injuries. He was doing his best to hold himself up on the elevator railing while clutching his side. He seemed to be having a hard time keeping his head up, though every chance he had he gazed at her. What had they done to him? Besides blood loss and whatever drugs they had pumped in his system, it was clear he also had sustained several broken ribs and if she was not mistaken, some serious damage to his right leg. How many men had he fought off because of her? Evey did her best to keep her eyes from brimming with tears.

"Isss not as bad as it looks, my dear," V proffered in way of support.

She had not noticed she was staring at him for so long. She let out a laugh at the irony of it all.

"We're not out of this yet, V."

The elevator doors opened and Evey was surprised to find herself in an elegant office. Checking the window to see that they were on the third floor of the house she'd seen earlier, she was surprised when V let himself through an adjoining room. Damnit, where was he off to now? Crossing the door's threshold she found herself in a grand bedroom. The window's streamed with the colors of early dawn. She hadn't realized so much time had passed… refocusing, she saw what held V's attention. A sickly woman was reclined in a king-sized four poster bed. She looked almost regal in her sleep with her arms splayed out before her on the white comforter. She was attached to numerous beeping machines, one in particular seemed to be…. Evey's heart stopped. Was she in the middle of a blood transfusion? Feeling anger ebb through her system, Evey finally realized why they had needed V. Yet another deluded fool trying to play God.

V had adapted a grieving position beside the bed of the woman, gazing down at her in apparent sorrow.

"My poor woman… had I known what they were doing…

Before Evey could step forward to console him from self-imposed grief, they were both surprised when the door flew open and a man with a gun charged in.

"GET AWAY FROM HER!"

The man was practically frothing at the mouth as he held the gun in his shaking hand. From the looks of it, he seemed close to a near breakdown. Even as V raised his hands in silent acceptance of the man's misplaced wrath, Evey knew it wouldn't be enough. She leapt at the man even as his finger began to squeeze the trigger. She hit him with enough force to send them both flying. A gunshot went off in her ear as they crashed to the floor, and she made no attempt to see if it had reached its destination. Somewhere in her mind she recognized V's voice calling out to her, but all of her attention was consumed with the gun that had spun just out of reach. If living with V had taught her anything it was that being the best fighter in the world could not stop death from arriving at gunpoint.

Rich cursed when the infernal woman had crashed into him out of nowhere; all of his attention had been on the vigilante. He saw her making for the gun.

"Oh no you don't," he grunted before grabbing her leg and pulling her violently toward himself.

Evey felt him latch onto her and desperately twisted onto her back. She landed a solid kick to his chest that sent Rich reeling backwards. Scrambling to get to her feet, she once again lunged for the weapon. Fingers barely met metal when a strong pair of arms lifted Evey into the air and sent her body flying into the closest end table. Evey's side exploded with pain as wood fragments shattered around her; she desperately tried to regain her breath when Rich kneeled over her with a manic smile.

"You are feisty…" he said, holding her down. "Too bad I'm going to have to ruin that beautiful face." Shit, Evey braced herself as he reared back to punch her.

A black-clad arm reached out of nowhere and caught Rich's arm, spinning him away from her. V kneeled dangerously over the man with his hands clutching his throat.

"Swine! Impugn my honor and you may leave with a limp, but impugn the honor of a lady and I will have your head…"

Suddenly Rich punched V in his already damaged side and the vigilante was sent sprawling onto his side in the fetal position. His sharp intake of air was all Evey needed to hear to see red.

A gun was cocked. Rich, who had been seconds away from lifting V's mask away, froze. Laughing maniacally, Rich looked at her with glee.

"You know you want it removed as badly as I do. Let's have a little fun…"

"I don't need the mask removed to know who he is. Now move away!"

Rich shrugged and inched away on his knees with both hands in the air. Evey did not like the sense of confidence he still had and was trying to figure out its source when a thundering noise answered her question.
Five guards rushed into the room. By the time they came to a stop all guns were pointing at her. She did not drop her weapon even though she felt V's gaze boring into her. She would be damned before she surrendered; plus, it was Rich who controlled the triggers. Before anyone could speak, a gravelly yet powerful voice broke the silence.

"Frederich! Have I not told you sleep is vital? How dare you interrupt it!"

Rich's demeanor changed instantaneously from gleeful to absolute reverance.

"Yes, mother," he soothed as he stood and walked toward her placidly. "But I'm afraid we've had a slight disturbance."

"Slight!" she screeched. "I asked you for one thing and you've managed to bring the scoundrel right into my bedroom. How do you explain that? Just another detail that slipped through your fingers, eh? You are a fool!"
Evey 's mouth fell open; she was at a complete loss at the exchange. She would have said Rich displayed symptoms of lunacy from the beginning, but the display from the elderly woman was truly disturbing. The way Rich was ringing his hat in his hands was proof enough of who was calling the shots.

"I'm afraid it was Alexander again, he sabotaged the cameras… it's the only way they were able to get so far."

"How typical, blaming your son for your own misgivings! You're a failure Frederich, admit it! I handed you the family business on a silver platter from day one- inside contacts, black market channels, money launderers - but no! You couldn't manage the business without getting caught and you definitely don't have the balls to kill a man."

If Rich was affected by her words, he didn't show it as he gazed stoically at the floor. His head perked up suddenly as if he remembered something interesting. He looked at V, who at this point, was still sitting on the floor by Evey's feet.

"She does have a point, good fellow. Why are you still alive? Guards!"
"Stop!" Evey yelled as all guns switched to point at V. "Don't think I won't shoot."
Evey's hands were trembling as she aimed at Rich, who had fixed her with a calm stare. Could she kill him? The sounds of sirens split the silence. Shocked, Rich stepped to the window to see police cars rolling into the estate.

"How the hell…?"
Alexander stepped calmly into the room, a phone hanging loosely from his hand. His eyes met his father's. But the woman's laugh overtook all in the absurdity.

"Well done, Alexander! You have always had the backbone your father lacked. All of those years of listening to your mother paid off, that is, before she ran off and..."

"Don't talk about my mother," the boy snapped, tears brimming in his eyes. "It's about time your madness was brought to an end."

If the woman was disturbed by the thought of the police in her front yard, she showed no signs of distress. In fact, she looked overjoyed. Rich was far from being settled, he barked orders for the guards to head off the police at the front door as he began to scramble by grabbing things and shoving them into a briefcase. By this point, Evey had stooped to help V into a sitting chair; she was worried by his silent lack of resistance. She knelt in front of him as his head drooped with a hand on his knee and shoulder to keep him from falling.

The woman laughed at the man as he made flight preparations.

"Run, run Frederich! You know I'll tell them this whole thing was your plan all along and me your helpless victim," she glanced over to where V and Evey were huddled. "Oh, and I wouldn't waste your hopes on a terrorist and his bitch. No admission, no guilt!"

Evey had to restrain V as he tried to stand. He pointed his finger in her direction and growled,

"The words of a fool have no place in the presence of beauty… you will regret your words."

Frederich donned his hat and shoved past Alexander toward the door.

"Out of my way, boy!"

Even as the door slammed, Evey focused on V. She let her hand rest lightly over his which still clutched his side.

"Are you ok?"
V's gloved hand reached up to cup her face tenderly.

"I am now," he whispered.

Their attention was diverted when gunshots and a scuffle were heard just outside the door. Alexander took a few steps back in apprehension and the old lady just smiled before closing her eyes.

"Oi! Oh no you don't."

Frederich was sent reeling back inside the room and landed roughly on the floor, the contents of his briefcase were sent flying onto the carpet. Finch strode into the room, sporting a cut on his eye but looking in control nevertheless. His eyes immediately found Evey, assessing her for injuries, before returning his attention to the man in the floor.

"You are under arrest, Mr. Benson, for the illegal sale of pharmaceuticals, one count of kidnapping, illegal use of weapons, and countless other charges I have no doubt will be added to your lengthy record. Cuff em, boys."

Two officers strode in and handcuffed the struggling man. Even as the room of observers watched him being taken away, he jerked free and pointed at the woman who was still faking sleep.

"I hope you're happy with your transfusion, mother," Rich laughed, "I'm so sorry it couldn't be completed."

The officers wrestled him out the door as he enjoyed his joke. His mother, however, opened her eyes and frantically looked at the IV. Her eyes bulged in terror when she saw the tube was cut in two. It appeared the bullet had found its mark.

"Noooo! You good for nothing, spineless bastard!"

Her threats continued even after Finch and one of his officers struggled to calm her down. Wheeling her out of the room, Finch gave directions.

"I'll need to see you two down at the office ASAP. Make sure he sees medical; the team I brought will be discreet. Oh and Evey - it's good to see you. Alive."

Evey smiled, knowing her decision not to loop him in was forgiven.

"Thank you, Inspector," V said, for once at ease with the man's presence.

Finch nodded curtly before taking off, Alexander in tow. Once the room was clear, Evey gazed up at V with adoration, for once able to give him all of her attention.

"Let's say we get you checked out, huh?"
"I can only think of one nurse I trust with my life," V responded, holding her gaze meaningfully.

"Fine, I will gladly check you out," Evey added playfully before helping him out of the chair and ultimately toward some peace and privacy. They deserved that much.