Author's Note: As much as I'd like to twist this story- alas, I cannot. I said from the beginning that I would follow the film, and we all know how it ended. Thank you for all of the reviews, I appreciate each and every one- love to you all!Now this is finished, I'm going to write an original V story.
PS- in the film novel, it mentions that Evey's hair has grown back to about half the length is was when she and V first met; I don't know any woman alive that would shave their head by choice, so I'm changing that one tiny part to reflect what she'd done in the book. Also, I loved the dancing scene in the film, but would it have killed them to make Evey wear a bra? I'm changing her hair and her clothes!V
It won't be long now. I can feel it closing in on me, all the way down to my bones. Guy Fawkes will always smile, always be jolly and carefree, but all I can feel is the growing dread. I've dealt with them all- Rookwood, Prothero, Liliman, Surridge…I've turned party members against each other- that detective, Finch, and his sidekick Dominic, they know the real truth now.
Creedy was under surveillance when I offered my deal. The X is on his door, he's agreed to the bargain. He'll bring down Sutler, and he believes that he'll bring me down as well. I want him to go on believing that notion, and it may even be the truth. I know that Creedy won't come for me alone, he is no fool. He and his henchmen may kill me tonight- I am not afraid, I am ready to die, but I must take Creedy with me, for if he is allowed to live, as the only living party member, he will tear this country apart.
I've worked too long to fail so close to the end. Twenty years of building, studying, planning…it's all come down to this one night, this one November night…
She hasn't come back, my Evey.
Had her promise been made just to appease? Did she even intend on returning to this gilded cage? No dove would volunteer for clipped wings, why did I ask her to come back to me? I'm terrified that she's been captured- perhaps she'd only taken a few steps outside the Shadow Gallery before being taken.
After what I've done to her, I know that she could survive torture- but merely surviving is not good enough! I hadn't released her from fear only to have her survive, my efforts had been so that she could live!
I want my dove to fly, one lonely bird in an endless stormy sky!
Months have gone by, and while I've been gathering materials and planting yet more seeds of doubt and unrest in the public gardens, I have seen neither hide nor hair of my Evey. Perhaps I should not think of her so possessively- it's been months, she may have found someone. Someone who can give her the world more than I can. Someone for whom she holds only love, with no fear or mistrust. Someone that can hold her in the night, flesh to flesh…
Evey belongs to no one, least of all me. I created her, carving a new Evey from the old, but she will never belong to anyone. She may have found a lover, she may marry and someday grow heavy with child, but no one will ever hold the reigns on her soul.
Why hasn't she come back?
If she's not been caught, then there is nothing to hold her back from keeping her promise to me. There are no days left, only hours now, every minute drawing closer to the end of what once was.
I want her here with me, together we can dance on the balcony roof and watch my fireworks as Parliament burns. Together, we could watch a new country emerge- one free of tyranny and oppression. If I live, if she returns…
More hours pass by. The time to meet Creedy grows near- my heart feels heavy, I can feel a pressure tightening in my temples. My body shudders- it's just cold in her room, that's all, that's all it is…
I don't know why I'm sitting here, staring at the bed as if she might magically appear before me. I'm reminded yet again of watching her while she slept. I'd known true peace only through her. This room has been empty for so long. The books that she was able to read in her time with me are set before the Faustian mirror. I hadn't taken much notice of them before, but Evey isn't coming back, and I can at least gain an insight into what she'd read before leaving.
There are roughly twenty books set by the mirror. Frankenstein by Mary Shelly. The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkein. Harry Potter, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Utopia…
The last book is marked only about half-way through to the end. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. Interesting that she didn't finish it. Perhaps she found the parallels in the book to her first few weeks here to be too striking. More interesting how life imitates art. I can freely admit to myself that I love her now- there is no point in hiding the truth, not now in my last few hours.
It's unbelievable that now, after over twenty years of solitude and violence, I can be capable of such a fragile, pure emotion as love. Me, who has killed; me, who had poisoned; me, who has manipulated, lied and schemed…
After twenty years, Evey Hammond has captured me in only one. She's lied to me, betrayed me, and I've done much worse to her- a love born of mutual mistrust and fascination? Silly, really, that I would admit love to myself now, hours away from very possible death.
I've fought Fingermen before, but my main advantage was that of their surprise and fear of a strange masked man quoting some play or another. This is different. Undoubtedly, Creedy will bring in his top men- strong and hearty, excellent marksmen and soldiers. I will be outnumbered five to one at the very least- I expect that there will be ten men standing between Creedy and I, and every last one of them will be armed to the teeth.
Naturally, Creedy will have some serious firepower of his own as well. By all accounts, this will not be a fight that I can win. The certainty of death does not bother me so much as the uncertainty of Creedy's. If he lives, he will be in full control of the country, a new king with a lust for punishing the peasants. I may die tonight, but I cannot allow him to live.
I wish Evey was here- what is that?
My jukebox is playing that song again- could it be...?
I leave the small room and follow the sultry music, only to find the object of my affection, desire and fascination waiting for me. Her hair has grown back, only just to the midline of her neck, colored a smooth chocolate brown. I miss the caramel curlsof her former self, but the striking new color matches the inner strength and peace in her eyes.
She's dressed simply, a white skirt and rose blouse; her smile for me is small but lovely. I feel…
"I wasn't sure you'd come," I started.
Evey's tender grin did not waver. "I said I would."My last night, I wouldn't be anywhere other than here and now…
I am speechless, and strangely shy. Evey has returned to me, changed and even more beautiful than before; there is a pang of shame lancing through my chest that, because of what I am, I cannot change for her- no matter how hard I try.
"You look well," I offered her lamely.
"Thank you." She is moving forward now.
"You've had no difficulties?"
"A fake I.D. works better than a Guy Fawkes mask,"
"I admit that I worried for you whenever I would hear a siren," I tell her.
She says nothing, but continues forward until she is standing before me. What I wouldn't give to be able to reach out and…
"I have a gift for you, Evey. It's the reason I wanted to see you again. But…before I give it to you, I was hoping you might like to dance." I ask. It had taken surprisingly little courage to make the request of her. She had seemed to be waiting for me to take her hand.
The tender smile again. "Now? On the eve of your revolution?"
I shrug, and tilt my head at her in a recognized plea for her indulgence. "A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having."
The corner of one lip quirks at that. "I'd love to."
So it goes- I select a song. Not a particularly special one, but it is slow and steady, fitting to the circumstance. I set the song to play, and we take the dancer's positions. Our hands entwine; Evey's free hand rests lightly on my shoulder, my own settles contentedly on the curve of her waist.
We turn and sway to the music, silent at first, but Evey comments, "You've been busy. They're very scared right now. I heard that Sutler is going to make a public statement tonight."
I nod, and my heart grows heavier still. "It's almost over."
"The masks were ingenious, it was very strange to suddenly see your face everywhere."
I felt compelled to make a statement of my own, Evey must understand that she's made an impact on me, that she means something- everything- to me! " 'Conceal me what I am; and be my aid for such disguise as haply shall become the form of my intent.' "
"Twelfth Night!" Her smile lights the room, but my dread is settling in ever deeper. Evey knows nothing of my bargain with Creedy- she assumes that tonight will be another rooftop concert; a flick of my wrist, and Parliament will be blown apart just as the Old Bailey from last year.
"Viola." I state. I can hear the warm heartache in my voice.I want to stay…I want to stay…I want to stay, but how can I? Tonight a new world will be created, a world will have no need of me- Evey will have no need of me…
We were quiet for a bit after that sweet exchange. Swaying, rocking…our bodies were held apart, but my grip on her waist tightened fractionally. I want Evey so much, but she must remain beyond my reach. My only, selfish hope is that when the fifth passes, Evey will remember me.
"I don't understand it," she says eventually.
"How you can be one of the most important things that has happened to me, and I still don't know anything about you. I don't know where you were born, who your parents were…"
I know where she is going with this.
"…I don't even know what you really look like."
Her small hands pull from the dancing pose, and reach for the lower edge of my mask. I take her hands in my own- gently enfolding them; only firm enough to stop her from revealing me. "Evey please, there is a face beneath this mask, but it isn't me. I'm no more that face than I am the muscles beneath it, or the bones under them…"
I don't want to ruin what has taken a year to build between us by revealing my face to her. I have no doubt of her reaction- thinly veiled disgust combined with pity. I would no longer be V to her; I would be the scarred, destroyed face beneath this mask. I would prefer her to remember my face only as smiling Guy Fawkes- the mask is more handsome than I could ever hope to be.
"I understand," she said at length.
"Thank you," I reply quietly.
"I found a copy of the Count of Monte Cristo, I think of you every time I watch it. It's funny though, now I never feel as sorry for Mercedes as I do for the Count." Her words are not lost on me, and it is the final confirmation that she cares.
The music has stopped, but I hold her to me a bit longer. I see the clock on the wall, "There isn't much time left," I say, "and I have something that I must give you."
I donned my cloak and fedora hat before leading her down, far lower than she'd been before. "The Underground? I thought they'd closed it all down."
"They did. It took ten years to clear the tracks, lay some of my own."
I showed her the inside of the train, every spare inch packed with enough flammable chemicals that it could- and God willing, would- destroy England's corrupt Houses of Parliament.
"It's really happening tonight, isn't it?" She asked. Her voice was both excited and nervous; her voice matched the way I felt.
"It will, if you want it to."
"This is my gift to you, Evey. Everything I have: my home, my books, the Gallery, this train…I'm leaving them to you, to do with what you will."
She didn't understand at first, and demanded that I explain myself fully. "The time has come for me to meet my maker, and repay him in kind for all the he has done."
Understanding dawns on her- I may not return to finish our dance, I may not return at all.
I turn to leave, and the girl begs for me to wait. "V, please, you don't have to do this. You could let it go, we could still leave here, together…"
She steps closer and closer, her eyes wide and pleading. God help me, I am tempted. As she moves closer, images flood my mind of endless dancing, a kiss, making mad love in the dark, living together in the Gallery- reading, talking, laughing…I am tempted, I would love nothing more than to leave behind the killing and violence…but all that I've worked for has been for her, for myself. To destroy the party as it had destroyed poor Valerie and the man I'd once been. If I stop now, Creedy and Sutler will execute so many innocent people that Larkhill won't even register for comparison.
Death, destruction, violence, vengeance…for so long there's been nothing else…now there never will be. The world my death will create is for Evey, beautiful Evey, to love and enjoy.
"Evey…I know there is no tree waiting for me…" I struggle to make her understand.
"V, please…" There are tears in her dark eyes, and inwardly I pray that I will return, if only for long enough to tell her that I love her, God how I love her!
My heart speeds in my chest, tightening and swelling- I feel lightheaded and the dread is so strong now that I can feel my hands shaking.
Evey reaches for me, her delicate hands resting on my arms. Her plea moves me, and for one instant, I forget. I forget the plan, I forget Creedy and Sutler, the train, everything. Evey is standing before me, her eyes full of love just before they slip shut and she brings her lips to mine.
Before I am even aware of myself, I've done the same. My eyes slip closed in anticipation and desire, I lean in…
I wait a moment, then two, and several. I open my eyes, only to find that Evey has kissed the mask, the only face of mine that she will ever know. I am denied once again, though this time I am in a prison of my own making. Guy Fawkes has trapped me behind his laughing eyes, his cool, immobile lips.
My hands had reached out to bring Evey closer to me, both of them resting high on her waist, just below her breasts. I take her hands in mine, and give her a falsely reassuring squeeze.
I don't know what to say, only the most simple answer- "I can't."
I move from her then, and start off down the tunnel, ignoring her cries after me.
It isn't a long way to the tube station lobby where I'd agreed to meet Creedy, when I arrive, I see that I was not mistaken. Several armed men are waiting for me, with Creedy in the middle.
I ask is he's kept his side of our bargain, and he orders his men to bring Sutler down- the once all-powerful leader of Norsefire, trembling and crying in terror. "At last we finally meet. I have something for you Chancellor. A farewell gift for all the things you've done, for the things you might have done, and for the only thing you have left."
I slip a rose into his jacket, ignoring his pleas- Creedy shoots Sutler in the forehead, summing up my own feelings entirely. "Disgusting!"
Sutler falls to the side, his face frozen in panic. Creedy doesn't waste time before turning to me. "Now that's done with, it's time to have a look at your face. Take off your mask."
You fool, the only thing you would find beneath this mask is the creature that you and Sutler created…
"Defiant to the end, eh? You won't cry like him, will you? You're not afraid of death, you're like me." Creedy says with a smile.
"The only thing that you and I have in common, Mr. Creedy, is that we're both about to die." I retort.
"Is that so? And how do you imagine that will happen?"
"With my hands around your neck."
Creedy doesn't believe a word I've said, that alone gives me a powerful advantage. He taunts me a bit more, and I taunt him right back. The men open fire…
I've been shot before, but never with such powerful weapons, and never so many guns. The protective shield holds fast, but I can feel the burning sting of bullets tear through me. I struggle to stay on my feet, the end is too near to give up now…
The air had exploded with the gunfire, but as quickly as it had begun, the fire stopped. I am still standing, pausing only to take a labored breath. "My turn," Ideclare, mildly surprised to hear the raggedness in my voice.
I draw two daggers and throw, nailing the two men on either side of Creedy. I draw more daggers, and use the "fancy karate gimmicks" Creedy had described. Slashing, kicking, hurling daggers, plunging them into the chest of one man, the throat of another…
I exploded in violence just as I had so many times before. The effort is monumental with my injuries, but I forge ahead, and do not stop until I have Creedy alone. He shoots me, point bank into the chest, emptying his chamber. The expression he makes is one of incomprehension.
"Why won't you die?"
"Beneath this mask there is more than flesh, beneath this mask, there is an idea Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof!" I grab him then, lift him off his feet. His struggle is short, the bones of his neck snap apart beneath my hands, just as I'd promised.
I am alone, and very much alive now. I've been hit, I can feel the bullets lodged inside of me. The shield is no longer needed, I toss it on the ground, ruefully counting over seven pierced, bloody holes in the metal sheet.
The adrenaline of the fight is the only thing that allowed me to manage back to the station beneath my home. Every step is a grand task, and there is so much pain…
I stumble in, losing my hat in the process, but I hear Evey call my name. I land in a heap on the floor, the girl holding me. "I was hoping you'd still be here." I manage.
She touches me, her hand coming away bloody. "We have to stop your bleeding!"
No, no, Evey, it's better this way, can't you see? I'll die with you, I couldn't ask for more…
"Please don't…I'm finished, and glad for it…"
"Don't say that,"
"I told you, only truth." I remind her. I can taste the coppery tang of blood in the back of my throat. It won't be long now…
"V, I don't want you to die…"
"That is the most beautiful thing you could have ever given me." I say. "For twenty years I saw only this moment, nothing else existed, until I saw you…I fell in love with you Evey, like I no longer thought I could…"
Evey's hands grow tighter as she grips me, her voice more hysterical as she sobs my name- she cries harder than she ever has before.I'm sorry, Evey, I'm so sorry…
I love you so much, I'm sorry for causing you the pain I have, I'm sorry for everything, but I want you to live in this new world free of your old life, please don't cry over me…
You've given me more than I could have ever hoped for, Evey, because I will be remembered with love, I will not have died alone…
V shuddered in my arms, and slipped away, taking so much of me with him. He is gone, and I never told him that I loved him…
We could've run away together, leaving all this behind…!
V would never have run, he'd done too much to abandon the people now. He was a symbol of hope and strength, lying limply in my arms before his train of explosives.
He won't get to see the end…
I put him in the train, among his roses and chemicals. It will be a grand funeral- one remembered for years to come. A pang hit me hard when I realize that we have known each other for exactly one year. The only man who'd walked me home without expecting anything more than a promise to stay safe, the only man who offered knowledge, beauty and art…the only man I'd betrayed, the only man who'd used such brutal tactics in trying to set me free.
V, what will I do without you?
His death grieves me, my heart has never felt so swollen or painful…Finch shows up out of nowhere, and threatens me with his gun. I could already tell by the look in his eyes that he wouldn't shoot. His voice was tired, lacking in conviction…he looked ragged, exhausted from stress and too many sleepless nights.
I set the lever, watching as V- the only true man I've ever known- was carted away in his beautiful train of death. The carts disappear down a curve in the tunnel, and I bring Finch in through the Shadow Gallery. He pockets the gun and cannot help his shocked reaction to all of V's treasures.
I stop him from touching the jukebox. That was V's, and no one will touch it but me. I lead him up to the balcony, where the opening notes of the 1812 overture begin. The song reaches a crescendo, and together, Mr. Finch and I watch as the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben are blown apart in time with the music. V always did have a strong sense for the theatrical…
Finch asks the question that had eluded me for so long, and Ireturn with what is now the most obviousanswer in the world.
"So, who was he?"
"He was Edmund Dantes, and he was my father, my mother, my brother, my friend, " I can feel my throat constrict, the lump threatens to rise, tears fill my eyes.
"He was you, and me. He was all of us."
The fireworks shot off, exploding in the air with whistling sound and bright color as Parliament is blasted apart below. It's a violent, beautiful sight. Twin spears fire off through a circle, forming V's symbol.
It's V's one last, final farewell, a V for Victory…my only regret is that he is not here to see it.