Of Scarlet and Trees and Rain
Author's Note: Spoilers for the movie. I sadly do not own any of the characters despite my deepest wishes. And I know that the original flowers are violet carsons, but in the movie they're scarlet, and I'm in a movie verse sort of mood. I guess this could fit in during their months together before she goes to Gordon's, but it's a little on the sweet side. The premise of this fic is during Finch's speech when he's talking about how he visited Larkhill and he saw "things to come". There is a split second scene of (I think) Evey with scarlet carsons and some guy sitting on her couch. If I got this wrong, I'm sorry, please consider it an original idea. And it's not all in present tense either, don't worry. Other than that—please enjoy!
Summery: "And things to come"--taken from the split second scene in the movie with Evey and the flowers. Five years later, Evey draws strength from the memories of one of her favorite nights with V. V has a tree waiting for him too.
It will rain tonight. I can smell it in the air.
Rain has never been a stranger to England during my lifetime and I am sure that it will continue to drench the land far beyond my years on this earth. Rain brings forth life—rain encourages growth and new beginnings. Rain is cleansing and awakening. Rain is pure.
God is in the rain.
And He is in the rain.
I turn back to the flowers I am rearranging from my former position of staring out the window at the darkened sky. The flowers rest in a large vase on a table on the side of my living room. They have been a permanent fixture in my life for the past five years, a constant reminder of His presence in my everyday life.
I move one of the flowers in full bloom from the back of the vase to a more prominent position at the front. They stand out against the cream and mahogany furniture, crisp and clean. The flowers are the only splash of color in an otherwise simple and elegant room. There are many words for the color scarlet, but none describe it as well as the color of vitality—the color of passion—the color of life.
And the color of Him.
I will remember Him every time I look at scarlet carsons. Other's know Him as an idea, or simply know only His symbol and what He stood for. They know Him as an event, as one of the most important figures in our nation's new history. But I will never forget the man. Never forget the—
I glance away from the flowers toward the other man in my world-
A man whom without His help I would never be strong enough to let into my life.
"Yes?" I respond quietly, looking at his reflection in the large mirror that hangs over our fireplace. He is sitting on the cream colored couch of our living room in our house, bottle of red wine in hand, watching the telly. Tall and slender with dark brown hair and dark brown eyes—my husband is as handsome as he is smart and successful. I am very much in love with him. But sometimes I wonder…..
What did He look like under that mask? Did He look anything like my husband?
I will never know.
The man reminds me of V in so many ways and despite my recognition of this subconscious fact, I can't help it. Certain mannerisms—certain movements. I see moments—glimmers of Him in almost everything my husband does. A flourish of his hand—a pause in his voice—a smile—a smile so much like that which I knew was hidden behind the confines of a Guy Fawkes mask. I will always inexplicably be drawn to things that remind of Him.
"Evey, love—c'mon over here and watch the telly with me." The man on the couch turns his head to watch me rearrange the flowers he knows I adore dearly. "Your favorite movie is on, Evey.—"
"The Count of Monte Cristo." I look up from my flowers out the window once more. We both had said the title at the same time.
And as I look up, I can hear the rumble of thunder in the distance.
The rain is near now.
"Yes, love. Watch it with me?" My husband says, taking a sip of his wine as he watches the black and white players upon the screen. I nod for an answer and move to sit next to him on the couch. He places his arm around me and I lean in toward his shoulder. I am comfortable. And yet-
A crack of lightening draws my attention away from the screen for a split second and my eyes graze the window and the almost black sky.
And in that smile—in that moment—there is a memory. A memory of a time and a place and a man.
A man. Not a mask, not a name, not a symbol.
Just a man.
And in those moments watching the movie that reminds me so much of Him, I am whisked from the comforts of my living room back to the Shadow Gallery five years ago.
My God. Five years. Has it really been that long?
I had found V sitting quietly, reading a small book on the black velvet chairs of what I called his reading room. Actually, all rooms were his reading room as he read quite often and the sight of it couldn't help but bring a smile to my face. The very thought of a masked man reading a book—a man who the world knew as murderer—a man who the world knew as a terrorist—being the same man who cared for classic literature was almost priceless. And yet it was one of the things that made him so……him...
"V?" I watched him look up from the book and into my face as I approached him. He was dressed comfortably in a black long sleeved shirt with a matching vest in addition to his usual black pants and boots. I had recently taken to chiding him about the lack of color in his wardrobe and as a result, I noticed that he had taken to interspersing his daily manner of dress with a touch of grey here and there. It was a start, at least.
"Common Sense…" I said quietly reading the name of the book next to him "That was one of the first books banned by the Chancellor, wasn't it?"
"Yes." V said and carefully closed the book and set it down next to him "The words of Thomas Paine inspired one of the greatest revolutions in the world against British authority. Far be it from Sutler to have those same words inspire a second."
"True." I said pulling my sweatshirt closer to my body.
"Are you cold, Evey?" I could sense the concern in his voice.
"A little bit" I shivered slightly "But it's alright."
A pause. The silence seemed to reverberate against the stone walls of the Gallery. And then-
"Is there anything I can do for you, Evey?" V asked, politely.
"Um…well…" I was hesitant at first. I did have a specific reason for disturbing him out of his quiet study, although it wasn't anything pressing. He was always so careful around me—in his face I sensed genuine concern and worry at my well being in his home.
"I was just wondering, if you wouldn't mind—I would like to watch The Count of Monte Cristo again…. I mean—if you haven't seen it too many times already-"
"Evey, nothing would give me more pleasure." He gestured to the room of the Shadow Gallery where he kept the telly. I could hear the genuine smile in his voice from behind the mask and I could swear the corners of his mouth seemed to turn up just a little bit more than usual. Moments later, we sat on the couch again, as we had done during one of my first nights there. Despite the movie's action and adventure, it was getting late and I grew sleepier with every passing second. I was sliding—sliding toward sweet sleep—I could feel my eyes grow heavier and heavier—
Sometime later, I was stirred out of my slumber by strong arms resting me gently down in my bed. Covers were pulled around me and my pillow was adjusted. I was vaguely aware of his presence somewhere in the room for several moments until I felt the light go out and heard the click of boots upon the floor begin to recede quietly.
And somehow, in my hazy state—I remembered wanting to apologize to him.
"V?" I forced myself to open my eyes.
I watched as the man dressed in black paused in his exit and turned towards me. He held one arm drawn across his body, his hand ending in a fist, as he often did in these moments of chivalry. An apologetic expression played upon his mask and posture.
"I'm sorry, Evey—I didn't mean to wake you-"
"No—no. It's alright." I shifted and pulled the blanket closer around my body. "I just wanted to say that I'm sorry."
"Sorry? Sorry for what?" Amusement was in his voice. And confusion too.
"For…." My brain, fogged with the desire for sleep, could not quite form the thoughts I knew it was capable of. "For…falling asleep. I hope you know I wasn't bored—just tired." I ended with a yawn.
"It's alright, Evey." V laughed at my unintended punctuation to the sentence. "I understand."
He wasn't just talking about my lack of ability to stay awake. In that short phrase he acknowledged my apprehension toward my new life as well—he was amazing like that in the aspect that he had the ability to address so many circumstances with so few words.
"Thank you." I said.
"Goodnight, Evey." After a brief moment of consideration, I watched as V nodded and began to move away. "Sweet dreams."
I could feel my eyes begin to shut once more, but fighting against my desire to sleep, I suddenly reached out to him and caught his hand in my own before he could move much farther.
Looking back, I don't know exactly why I did it, but I did. It was one of those things in life that I would later characterize as a gut reaction, such as when I maced that detective in order to save his life. So much of our relationship would be based upon these reactions—these feelings. Raw and unaltered—not molded by societal conventions, we were simply free to be ourselves.
And that's who I was at the moment.
I watched as he froze in shock at my touch.
It had never crossed my mind before how long it had been since he had experienced human contact. Not contact as in fighting, which I knew he had done quite a bit of as of late, but as in genuine touch. As I held black gloved hand in mine, a million questions began to enter my exhausted mind. Did V have a wife before his accident? Did he have a girlfriend? Had he loved and been loved?
I looked up into his face, trying to read the man behind the mask—trying to decipher what he was feeling at that moment. The ever-grinning visage was tilted down, he was looking at our hands. And I swear, although I could not see his face—although I could never see his face—I could feel what he was feeling at that moment. It was an electricity of neurons and axons firing—of sinews and muscles reacting. It was a whole mix of emotions. It was disbelief---it was doubt— and it was…despair…and yet…there was something else.
I know now that it was.
V remained silent but I saw the slightest shift in the mask reflecting the transfer of his eyes from our hands to my face. In that moment, that moment alive with a thousand emotions behind that mask, I saw one briefly that I knew scared him-
It was the first time that I had broken through to the man behind the mask—behind the chivalry and fancy words. Behind the gallant actions and Shakespearean sonnets. I realized then that I wasn't with V—the nameless, faceless enigma that had literally swept into my life with a sword, a rose, and a cape. I was with a man. A man who lived and breathed. A man with hopes, dreams, and plans. A man who needed companionship and touch, just as any other man on this earth. A man who behind the anger—behind the vendetta—behind the ever-grinning visage of the Guy Fawkes mask yearned for acceptance. And-dare I say it-?
How did I not know more about him? And why did I suddenly desire to know everything all at once?
"Evey, I-" He finally said.
"Please." I said softly. "Just for a moment. Stay."
Let me get to know the man behind the mask.
After what seemed like a lifetime, he moved closer, sitting on the edge of my bed. I didn't let go of his hand, instead, I opened it so that his palm was resting in mine. I gently began to massage the palm of his hand with my thumb. We didn't speak as he sat there. We didn't need to.
After several seconds, I heard him sigh slightly. I smiled at the sound as I knew it as contentment.
We let the silence speak for us for quite sometime.
"V…I'm sorry for everything" I said finally, looking away from his silhouette and back into his palm "I'm sorry I fell asleep…..I'm sorry for not thanking you for sharing everything with me…..I'm sorry for not trusting you at first….I'm sorry for not knowing more about you….I'm sorry they made you into Edmond Dantes. V—if there is any way--"
"No. No, Evey." He said quieter than normal as he exhaled. "Do not have pity for me because of what has been done. I have none for myself." His voice was different—it was less guarded than it had been with me, even in some of our most comfortable moments before. It was raw and unaltered. It was just….V.
"Because I believe that everything happens for a reason Evey. There is a reason why this was done to me as much as there is a reason why you're here right now." He looked up into my face and I sensed the gratitude in his voice. He had nothing to thank me for, however—I was the one who should have been thanking him. Thanking him for saving my life, thanking him for bringing me into his home, thanking him for enriching my world with his experiences—for beginning to let me think and act freely for one of the first times in my life. Little did I know how much of myself he still had to give me.
"No one deserves to be put through what you have, though..." I said as he covered my hand between both of his.
"No." There was a note of what I would have called self-pity in his voice, had I not known him better. "They don't. However life does go on, Evey. Fragile at first, and maybe slightly bitter, but it does."
"What is your reason then V—how do you keep going on?" I asked quietly. Slumber was beckoning me once more, and I struggled to keep my eyes open. I didn't want him to leave just yet—not after he had truly opened a part of himself up to me for the first time.
He laughed softly at my question and I felt him give my hand a slight squeeze.
"Evey—Evey—if you had asked me that a year ago—several months ago—I would have said hate."
I don't know exactly why I even asked the question. He didn't have to say the answer, I knew it as I had known it all along. Instead, he took his top hand off of mine and reached out to run the fingers of his gloved hand through my hair.
It was the first time V had touched me, save when necessary. Reverent and gentle, he was afraid of hurting me, I could tell. He was afraid of my reaction—I could tell that too.
He had nothing to fear.
I shut my eyes, his gentle touch relaxing and comforting. I don't know how long we spent there, but I know that neither of us spoke for quite some time. My brain, slowly fading into the darkness of sleep, began to wane in and out of the picture. My eyes were heavy—so heavy—
And yet there was still something I had to know about him. I had seen more of V than I believed he dared ever let anyone else see without ever even removing his mask. I had learned about him not through words, but through a language that I realized that both of us shared. It was a language that wove together certain souls—brought together certain people forever. It was a language that transcended the test of time and death.
It was a connection. A spark. An inch. Something more than just friendship or sheer attraction.
I believed then, as I do even more now, that it was the beginnings of love.
But as for that night, there was still one question pressing on my mind:
"Do you really believe all of this will have a happy ending, V?" My tired voice broke the silence. "Do you believe in a tree for each of us like in the movie? I mean, one for you and me?"
It was several moments before he answered, but I could hear him mulling over the question in his brain as his fingers continued to trace patterns in my hair.
"I believe that there is a tree for you, Evey. " I could hear him say softly, his gloved fingers gently brushing across my face.
"And for you?" I murmured.
There was an even longer silence.
"Some people were not meant to have trees, Evey- "
"Shhhhhhh." It wasn't a command, nor an order. It was a plea.
I waited for his explanation in silence. My eyes were shut as I rested my cheek against the pillow, reveling in his careful touch.
Why V? Why do you believe that there isn't a tree for you?
Is it because you believe you are incapable of happiness? Of love? Is it because you believe you're too inhuman? Or is it because you believe that no one could ever love you?
Because they're wrong, V.
They're all wrong.
"Some people were not meant to have happy endings, Evey." His voice was at a whisper once he finally answered my question. "But when you find your tree, and I know you will, I will be there and I will be happy for you."
"How?" I asked into my pillow. I was so tired…so sleepy…
"When…." He paused, and I could feel as he shifted his weight slightly. He was looking up. Looking up at a memory—an image—the heavens themselves?
"When…it rains, my dear Evey…." His voice was quiet.
"I don't understand…." I said softly after several seconds.
I felt him look back down at me.
"You'll understand some day, Evey." I heard before sliding into blackness with the comforting presence V--not the enigma, but the man--right next to me. "I'll be there…..in the rain."
He stayed with me the entire night.
- "Find your own
And I am back.
Back in my home—present day. I feel my own lips mouthing the words along with the movie, but it is His voice that I hear still after all these years. My husband laughs at the sight of me quoting that line. He always does whenever we watch this movie together—I sincerely think it is one of the quirks he fell in love with me for. Did he know that it wasn't me he fell in love with? Did he know that it was a part of V as well?
"Great movie, isn't it?" He asks me, despite the fact that he already knows my answer.
"As always." I lean towards him and our lips meet in a kiss. But for a split second, it isn't my husband that I'm kissing. Nor is it Edmond Dantes. Nor is it V. It is a memory of a time, a place, and a man. As the credits begin to roll down the screen, I can hear the sound of slow patter of raindrops begins to hit the window.
I break away from my husband's lips and turn to look beyond the scarlet carsons out of the large bay window to see torrents falling from the heavens themselves.
I shut my eyes and smile at the sound. I know that my husband is watching me stare as he rises to turn off the telly.
"Evey? What are you thinking about?" I can hear his voice ask me.
Thinking about? How can I tell him? How could I ever sum up my world—the world that is and was V—the man behind the idea? The man behind the mask?. A man whom I owe my life to—a man who so freely gave me His and asked for nothing in return? A man who I shared a moment with—a moment that would change my life forever in ways that I never thought possible? A man who loved me.
And who I loved as well.
How can I sum Him up?
A letter? A number? Edmond Dantes? Guy Fawkes? An idea? You? Me?
For how can you sum up the most important person in the world to you in only a few sentences?
So instead, I simply say-
"I'm thinking of...scarlet….and trees…."
It is pouring now—the rain pounding the window—the grass—the trees—all of England. I can hear it. And I can still hear Him. Although I didn't understand His answer to my question about His tree then, I understood it now, as I did when He first took me out on the roof after I had been forever changed into the person who I am today.
Trees need rain to grow. Flowers need rain to grow. And I needed rain to grow as well.
For some, the rain is fire. For others, it was the explosion of Parliament. For me, it was a year spent with a man in a mask.
God is in the rain.
And He is too.
A/N: The end! Just a one shot viggie after I saw the movie for the third time this past weekend. Next up will be one of V's favorite moments from his POV. Hope you enjoyed—please, please, PLEASE review! I'd like to get better!