Also: Thank you very, very, very, very much to GoddessLaughs, ShadowCat, Zil and Naphatali Phoenix for reviewing my story. Without the reality that there were people actually reading this story that--for once--did not involve the romance between Evey Hammond and the terrorist V really made my day, and I believe compelled my to write more. Thank you so much for your words.
"Nails and boards are not, strictly speaking, means of a box. They are only materials for making it. Even the saw and hammer are means only when they are employed in some actual making. Otherwise, they are tools, or potential means."
--John Dewey, Habits and Will
V had once told me that a man is only as deep as his desperation. Naturally, I was confused by the statement and didn't--like many things V told me, riddle or not--understand it. But now, sitting across from the police chief of the New Scotland Yard, I realized what V had really meant. And in Finch's case...
The man was desperate. It was obvious in the way he moved, the way he leaned himself forward in the chair, and even the way he spoke. Finch was under an enormous (or uncomfortable) amount of stress, but he wasn't going to give it up easily.
"What do you know about this government?"
Finch gave a wan smile. "Then you're just like everyone else."
I cocked my head curiously. "And how is that?"
The smile vanished. "You're not willing to tell the truth."
Abruptly my feelings of curiosity were gone, replaced by something resembling anger. I leaned forward on the table and said quietly: "Look, I'm not here to be ridiculed. What do you want, Finch?"
Eric Finch blinked slowly at the soft menace in my voice, but seemed to not be taken aback by it, instead continuing to speak.
"There's dissent within the system. Norsefire isn't gone. Though your man chopped off the head, that head can still bite."
Finch moved forward, eyes suddenly grave. "Evey--they're wondering."
I shifted uncomfortably, unnerved by the gaze. "Wondering what?"
Finch focused on me intently. "If the rumors of a predessor to V exists. If it is true."
The detective leaned back, exhaling audibly. "Because if such a person exists, they present a liability."
At a confused glance from me, Finch's lips pinched shut in a somewhat exasperated look and he once again pushed himself forward, placing his hands on the table, palms down.
"His name was V", I interuptted defensively.
Finch dropped a shoulder, a signal of mild irritation, but complied.
"...V created an image. He created a figure that average people respected, and the government feared. You must understand, Evey, the importance of November the 5th."
Memory snapped like a projector in the back of my head. I pushed it away, trying to focus.
Finch tapped a finger on the table for emphasis, "Then you understand that never, ever, in the history of England--or maybe the world, for that matter--did such an enormous group of people assemble as peacefully as that night. Never. And the fact alone that they came together without weapons, banners or words means that they trusted V.
"That type of trust, Evey, is simply unheard of with people. They didn't put faith in a man they simply saw on television. Of course they didn't--you worked for the BTN--obviously it was a stage made by Sutler for a puppet show every night. But V had changed them. He made them question government without fear." Finchs eyes suddenly glittered faintly with something that appeared to be a grudging respect. I watched, fascinated, as he continued.
"To have a figure even resembling V, Evey, is dangerous." Finch raised his eyebrows as he looked at me before focusing down on his hand.
"For whom?" I asked, curious once again.
"For you," Finch replied, looking back up. "Even with Sutler, Creedy, Dascomb and the others gone, there are party sympathizers. And they're rich men, Ms. Hammond. Rich, poweful, angry men and women. They receive word of someone who contributed to their downfall, they'll want revenge." Finchs eyes grew still. "Do you understand what I am saying?"
Death. My death.
Wordlessly--slowly--I nodded. Under the table, though, I knew that my hands were shaking.
The detective once again moved in his chair, though this time it was to grab at tea cup and take a quick sip. The cup landed back on the table with a clink. Finch gave a curt jerk of his head as the waiter came with his soup--previously ordered--and a roll.
Finch gingerly tried a spoonful then, noticing that I had not ordered anything, raised his eyebrows.
"Did you order anything?"
I shook my head, and for the first that that morning gave a small--albeit polite--smile. "No."
At a somewhat pointed look from Finch--which I could only assume mean "you're bloody thin enough"--I explained.
"Had a scone this morning."
Finch bobbed his head in understanding. "Ah."
Silence ensued momentarily, but unlike earlier when it had been tense and anxious, we were obviously both more at ease. Finch turned his attention to his soup and I stared at my tea cup introspectively.
Finch's words, or, rather, warning, sat in the pit of my stomach, slowly uncoiling itself and banging against my rib cage.
Evey was dead.
...But did that mean Effie was soon to be as well?
My eyes flickered up, trying to snatch back at reality. Finch had rested the soup spoon inside the bowl and moved the meal to the right. Now braced again the table, his face was--once again--very grave. Finch waited, unmoving and making sure I was paying attention, before speaking again. Slowly. Delibrately.
"I have something I have to ask of you."
Instantly on guard, I watched the detective carefully.
Finch opened his mouth, closed it, then opened it again.
"There are possibilities of public trials..."
"For whom?" I questioned sharply, alarmed.
A nervous tic came at the corner of Finch's eyelid. It was almost imperceptible, but it was there.
He was lying. But why? And for whom?
"...For a variety of undesirables." The detective finished. It was a diplomatic answer, but I had to grip the table to control the urge not to bolt from my seat. I knew what Finch was asking, but the reality was I didnt think I was up for it.
"Evey... " Finch's face was stretched, "there's a possibility that you might be asked to the stand as a witness." His gaze--which had been averted--moved back, looking like something between desperation and uncertainty. "Are you willing to comply?"
Different emotions from all sides of the spectrum came together at once. Fear feebly scratched out at self-preservation, which, in a frenzy, bulled its way past common sense. Consience tried to stop all of them, but to no avail.
Confusion was the most evident, though. I could feel surprise and a deep feeling of misunderstanding boiling into one simple sentence.
"I...I don't know." I said, stuttering on the words as they choked their way out.
A part of me wanted to nod enthusiastically, to lean forward and say, "Of course! Of course!"
But the rest was uncertain. Unsure, nervous...displeased with the suddenness that the question had been dropped. I should've seen it coming, but for some reason had been to preoccupied to realize that it had been the entire purpose of this conversation in the first place.
Finch remained still, trying to guage for my reaction. He took a deep breath and looked as though ready to speak before we both jumped at the sound of a buzzer. The detective cursed, pulling away from the table and glancing down at what I assumed to be a pager. Another expletive, though uttered quietly. Without further ado, Finch bolted up from the table and threw eight pounds on the table. He gave an apologetic glance.
Still bewildered by the turn of events, I could only nod.
Finch looked somewhat relieved. "Thank you. I'll contact you later about this whole...mess."
I was partially out of my chair, skirting around the table and trying to catch up. He couldn't leave now. Not with all these questions bouncing their way through my skull. Raising my voice somewhat, I threw out a question, deperate for any type of answer. "When?"
Finch was already moving towards the door, but he noted the nervousness in my voice, and gave a look over his shoulder, stopping momentarily.
"...Soon." Finch finally said, after a beat of silence. "Please just consider what I told you."
...And he was gone.
Out the door.
Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am.
In a daze, I moved back to my seat, oblivious to the glances I was getting. The waiter--Pimple Boy--came by and noted the sudden absense of my companion, and frowned.
"Is that all for you, miss?"
My gaze was fixed on the door, but absent-mindedly I picked up my cup of tea and lifted it to the side.