Whoo. Been a while. This chapter is a bit long, I'm afraid. I know it ends at a terrible spot, but I want to dedicate the next chapter to what ensues. Thanks for the reviews! Keeps me writing diligently.
- - - -
Its been three days, Dominic pondered. Three full days since Evey's planned raid on the Norsefire assembly in the pub. He wasn't worried, no. Dominic was part of the "clean up crew." He personally saw to it that he would oversee any operations dealing with Evey's late night excursions.
Having arrived at the scene mere hours after Evey had done the job, Dominic and his personal team were able to examine the evidence undisturbed. Nothing of Evey's had been left behind, and all evidence pointed towards a clean sweep. Well, all except for a fourth body. Evey rarely killed anybody but her prime targets, those whos crimes were irreperable and would find any way in which to elude the courts as well as coppers. Lackeys, gangsters, and passersby were peacefully subdued or discouraged. However, he had found a corpse not on her target list. Though he supposed it must have been in self defense, which was as understandable as it was possible. Three days. He knew Evey was unharmed, but it was quite unlike her to not contact him after a mission. He sighed as he tossed the pen he had been toying with down upon his desk. Women. He'd never understand them, much less a woman who took on the guise of a masked vigilante.
V let a sigh escape his lips during the silence in which nobody answered the door. Today would be the second day he waited outside for her. He was surprised initially to find the door to his home locked. Locked! A place of immense knowledge and wonder, closed off from the world. For he never locked it during his residency, it was just that man was not ready to find it. Only in rare occassions, such as Evey's initial arrival until her awakening, had he found it necessary to bolt the doors shut. Though at first a suprise, the locked door before him was steadily becoming a looming reality.
"Come in." Dominic called towards the visitor behind his office door. The knocking had surprised him, and he took a moment to gather himself as Finch entered the room. "Oh, Eric. You startled me for a minute there."
"I sure feel welcome." Finch muttered as he pulled up a chair next to his former colleague. "So what are you working on lad?" He inquired.
Dominic, not sure as to whether Finch's tone of voice hinted at exhaustion or restlessness, relaxed as he leant back in his chair. He nodded in the direction of a folder which was placed upon the desk before himself and Finch. "Same old clean up."
Finch leaned forward as he began to idly flip through the file. "Ah. All went well I suppose?"
Dominic quirked a brow at the curious behavior of his mentor. Since his retirement, Finch appeared unusually restless and quiet odd infact. Perhaps he had very little planned for his long awaited retirement. He often spent days in this manner, visiting the office and poking about the nooks and crannies. Sometimes he would regale the younger staff members with stories from his prime, their personal favorites being the events leading up to the revolution. "I guess you can say that, yeah. Its just I haven't heard from her yet."
"How longs it been?"
"Are you sure shes alright?" Finch tidied up the folder as he slunk backwards into his chair.
"Quite positive. I examined the scene and everything. There's no sign of anything otherwise."
"Checked the surveillance videos?" Finch eyed the young man. What would he do without me?
"Well. Actually.. No. I had quite forgotten about them, but the evidence I've gathered is rather definitive. I guess it couldn't hurt to pop the video in, just for a gander." Damn. The old man was always a step ahead. Why couldn't he learn to play golf or find a hobby? He'd much prefer it to being chastised at his own job. With a slight reluctance, he opened a nearby drawer and shuffled about through a file of sleeved CDs to one labeled for the night Evey had struck. Popping it into his drive, he awaited for the video to show up on the screen.
The angle of the camera was a wide view of the pub, facing directly towards the bar. Dominic instantly recognized three of the men seated and conversing in almost direct and center view of the camera. "Like sitting ducks." Dominic smirked.
"Fast forward it. I don't much care to watch Norsefire thugs chat."
The events of Evey's attack were quickly replayed in a matter of mere minutes as Dominic fast forwarded through the scene until Finch uttered a sharp noise- to which Dominic quickly paused the tape and looked towards Finch. "What is it?"
Finch motioned towards the video. It took a moment to register, but Dominic quickly identified the silhoette standing opposite of Evey's. Her twin? No. The original? Couldn't be. "You don't think thats-"
"Can't be. He was dead.. And if he wasn't dead then, he surely died in the explosion.."
"Then who is it?"
"Don't know." Finch squirmed a bit in his seat, and his expression displayed a look of disbelief. "But whoever it is.." Finch reached up to hit the play button on the remote, which was still within his shocked partner's grip. The video played until its end, wherein the remaining scenes unraveled the events of the prior night. "..He's good."
Both men took a glance at one another before returning their eyes to the tape, where they caught the smaller of the two forms motioning angrily before turning about on her heels and fleeing through the direction from whence she came. Moments after Evey had cleared the scene, the second figure moved towards the bar. Rolling their shoulders back and forth, the figure lifted both arms before slamming their fists heavily upon the counter and quickly retreating as mysteriously as he had came.
"Suppose I should go check on her?" Dominic had already rose from his seat and slipped on his jacket by the time he mentioned the idea to Finch.
Finch, reclining lazily back into the chair glanced up towards his former apprentice. "..Need company?"
- - -
Creak, ricket, and squeak.
Dominic was always uneasy about the lift which lead down towards Evey's home. He anxiously tapped his foot as he lifted his wrist in order to view his watch. It was 4:00pm. In his other arm he cradled a brown paper bag, full of groceries. Eggs, butter, toast.. He figured he'd treat Evey to her favorite snack, Eggs-in-a-Basket. Perhaps he could manage to figure out of anything was amiss following her pub raid, or if he could possibly cheer her up.
The lift eventually landed its mark, and Dominic cautiously stepped forward and out of the blasted contraption. As soon as both feet had landed upon solid ground, he let out an annoyed sigh. "Perhaps I might take the stairs next time." He muttered below his breath, before making his way towards the Shadow Gallery entrance. He looked at his watch again, as the second hand ticked around the circle. It was 4:02pm now.
So entranced was he in his little habit, he hardly noticed the man before him as he stopped to enter the Shadow Gallery. Glancing up from his watch he was greeted by an eeriely close ivory mask, grinning blindly into his face no more than two inches between their noses. He would've bumped into the man had he not looked up. However, caught by suprise he quickly shuffled backwards; a misstep causing him to fall onto his rear as the grocery bag tumbled on the floor besides him. "Bollocks!" He grunted as he rubbed the small of his back with one hand, the other being used to prop himself up as he glanced upwards at the figure.
"What's the big deal Eve?"
From his vantage point on the floor, as well as being focused on the recovery of his scattered groceries, Dominic hardly realized that the figure before him was far more imposing than that of Evey's.
The masked figure only slightly tilted his head to the side, in observation of the man. He recognized him from Evey's shop, from the Jordan Tower. Yes, this was Finch's assistant. What was his name? Dominic. Ah, yes.
"I'm afraid you are mistaken. I am not Eve." V let his tone of voice curl on the pronunciation of Evey's name. Behind the mask, V quirked his brow at the 'nickname' this man had dubbed upon Evey. It was not pet name or term of endearment, but it was still a nickname nonetheless, and that signified atleast a slight closeness between the two.
"Bloody 'ell, Eve. Quit joking." Dominic had already risen to his feet with his back turned to the figure as he gathered the last of the groceries and hastily shoved them in the bag. One carton of eggs was still in hand as he turned about to, unknowingly, face V. "Take that bugger of a device of-"
V nodded slightly as Dominic reached the realization that the figure before him was not Evey, but of V. He recognized his voice, it was just like Evey's device. Dominic could not follow the man's gaze, but he would have never guessed that V was far more fixated upon the food article within his hand than himself. "Eggs? That makes for an awkward courting gift, don't you think?"
"You're Codename V aren't you?" He coughed slightly to get the tremble out of his voice. Was he afraid? Or was it shock and disbelief that made him feel so anxious?
"What do you plan to make with those?"
"Well.. Uh. Nothing. They're for my mum."
V titled his mask upwards as he inhaled lightly. "Certainly." He replied, with an overwhelming sarcasm in his voice.
"What are you doing here?"
"I, as you might see, am a man in a predicament. You see, I have invoked the wrath of quite the maiden. That, my good fellow, is never a good thing."
Dominic placed the carton back inside of the paper back as his free hand slowly trailed across the navy blue fabric of his coat and towards his standard issue glock.
"Ah, ah, ah." V warned by waving a single finger back and forth. "I can assure you I mean neither you or Evey any harm. I am merely here in order to clear up a misunderstanding, and have found myself at the mercy of her anger."
Dominic winced inwardly at his accusation.
"Perhaps, young man, you can be of assistance. I would like very much to speak to Evey, if just once, to quell any bad blood she may harbor against me. All I ask is for a moment of your time. Do not fret, for I am making no attempt to steal your companion away." V threw back his cape over his shoulder, and bringing his right arm bent at the elbow and across his waist, offered the man a bow of courtesy.
This accusation was even more embarassing than the last. It was one thing to be accused of not trusting somebody, but another to be accused of emotions of the private sort. Had he been interested in Evey? No, no. They were just "co-workers." He supplied, she delivered. That sort of thing. They strictly met on business, well, when they were not watching movies, cooking together, or enjoying a leisurely stroll. Okay, maybe he had to admit to himself, he liked her just a little. Maybe. Perhaps he enjoyed her company? Yes. He enjoyed her company, which by now he had been 3 full days without and had been brought to the brink of concern for her well being. Is that not normal for a platonic relationship? Oh, bollocks. I'll dwell on this later.
"Well?" V's voice suddenly shattered Dominic's chain of thoughts, and he was abruptly thrust back into his current situation. Codename V was asking him to help him.
"Well... Hm... You see..." Dominic fumbled over his words. He wasn't sure what to do. If there was anything he could imagine Evey wanting, it was for V to be alive. However, she must have had a reason for not opening the door, which is why V was in this very situation. Against his better judgement, he reluctantly offered his assistance. "Sure, I guess." Dominic knew that despite Evey's anger, the only way in which things could be resolved and gain any closure would be a meeting between the two. "Just promise not to upset her."
V only tilted his head slightly in a half acknowledging nod as Dominic shuffled towards the door, groceries in hand, and gave it three heavy knocks. "Evey?" He called toward the door, hoping that his voice would lure her closer. "Evey, its me, Dominic."
Moments later the unlatching of the double bolt locks resounded through the cavernous walls of the Shadow Gallery and the door swung wide open. "Oh Dominic, you wouldn't belie..." Evey's eyes and apparent relief faded as she noticed the darkened silhouette looming in the vicinity behind Dominic. Quickly relief shifted to apprehension as she returned her gaze angrily towards Dominic. "You're helping him? Isn't it obvious why I locked the door?"
Dominic stood speechless. He offered a confused gaze and a shrug as V moved to the forefront, staring down at Evey through the holes of his mask. "Barred entrance from my own home, I see." V turned his gaze onto Dominic, as if signaling it was time for him to take his leave.
Dominic thus shifted his gaze towards Evey. Did she want him to stay? Or go? 'Evey' he whispered inaudibly. Was it safe even? The V that Dominic knew was far different than the stories Evey had often regaled him with. He was a psychopathic terrorist. For Christ's sake, that very man knocked him out three years ago in the Jordan Tower. Had Evey not interfered, he would probably be dead- although this was a fact he didn't come to terms with until after the whole ordeal.
Evey reluctantly gave Dominic the okay by a slight smile tugging at her lips and a sad affection in her eyes. It was okay, she told him.As much as Evey hated to admit it, she wanted to see V just as much as she wanted to refuse him. She wanted to fight him just as much as she longed to succumb to his will.
Dominic was cautious in his movements as he handed the grocery bag to Evey, who set it on the floor beside her.
"I'll talk to you later, Eve. Just, check in once and a while, okay?" He felt nervous next to V, now more than ever. He nervously straightened his coat as his gaze shifted between the two. "Guess I'll be off then."
"I'll call you later. Okay? I'm fine." She soothed.
"Alright." He offered a hand up as a stiff wave and was on his way back towards the damned lift and out of their view.
V and Evey were left standing on opposite sides of the doorway, and V watched her eyes trail after Dominic as he left. What was that look in her eyes? Did she want to avoid his gaze or linger on that silly man? "Evey." V outstretched both hands.
"I hate you!" Evey spat.
V was quickly caught off guard as Evey's door was being swung shut on him. Quickly, and with all his strength he pushed his weight against the door, keeping it ajar. Forcing his figure through he thrust the door inwards with enough force to repel Evey a few steps back, where she caught her balance on a small table fixed against the wall. V, seizing upon his opportunity threw himself over her form, grabbing both of her wrists and forcing them behind her back. He quickly circled one hand about both of her wrists, and lifted his free one onto her shoulder in an attempt to quell her struggling. "Evey, please. Calm down." He held her back against the wall, his own form mere inches from hers.
"Let me go!" She hissed.
"Not until you calm down." Hands still enclosed about her wrists and upon her shoulder, he pulled Evey off of the wall and spun her about, so he was behind her, guiding her as he forced her to walk. "I'll tell you why, I'll tell you everything. In good time, I promise Evey."
Evey frustrated and angry, began to whimper. "Why didn't you come back? You knew how much I wanted you to live."
"Till beauty came to snap all ties. The maid, abolishing the past." Oh, how could he tell her? They could never love one another. How could she love a man who's face she could not know? Who's touch she could not feel? She was beautiful. She had opportunities. He couldn't rob her of her youth. He had hoped, even against his own feelings, for her to move from their past together- to find a man worthy of loving her.
"Damnit, V. No more quotations! I want to talk to you." She cried, her squirming and struggling renewed as he moved her through the Shadow Gallery. "Where are we going?"
"To the only place in this Sanctuary that has its privacy intact.. I hope. I do not wish to have any guests intrude upon our conversation. I must admit, I do not know how many other men have access to your abode." Men. In the place of "people" or "others" he had chosen to say "men." He felt a little bitter as he did so, and gritted his teeth lightly as the words escaped his mouth.
Evey, the keen specimen of a woman she was, instantly picked up on his choice of words. Despite her rage at his abandonment of her, she let a coy little smile escape the corner of her lips. Of course, V couldn't see because he had her back turned to him, but he had a lingering feeling that she had picked up on his phrasing. Blasted women. Could they all figure these things out so slyly? He only hoped he had not given himself away. "Just the ones who's company I enjoy, seeing as how I was left utterly, utterly alone." Was her smug reply.
His grip tightened momentarily, causing her to wince. Regretting his actions, he let out a light sigh. That is, in a sense, what he was working towards, wasn't it? For her to forget the daydreams of running away with her masked hero. To settle down in a pleasant and safe life in this emerging new world.
And so, they arrived upon the door to his room. Lifting his hand from her shoulder, he pushed the door open and forced her to walk before him by slightly tightening his grip and pushing her forward. Reluctantly, Evey stumbled into his room. A backwards kick of the boot sent the door slamming shut. Loosening his grip, he allowed her to wrench herself free of his grasp as he turned about to lock the door. Quickly, stumbling, Evey found herself leaning against one of the sturdy posts of his bed, rubbing her left wrist soothingly with her hand.
There she found herself, trembling against the bed post of the greatest man she ever knew.