Without End

Summary: Companion piece to "At the End, a Beginning" from V's POV.

Rating: T

Disclaimer: I claim ownership of nothing from V for Vendatta. This is just for fun.

Simply put, I lived. Do I know why? No, I cannot claim clairvoyance. While I have lived too much and too long to fear an all mighty, all merciful God, there might be something to the notion of fate.

I wanted to die. I was prepared for it and viewed it as inevitable. I spent twenty years orchestrating it and yet all of my meticulous planning was ruined by a girl. Not just any girl, mind, but I should have known. In the end if the woman wills it so, so it shall be.

That is an interesting piece of conventional wisdom I have only recently discovered the veracity of. How is it her youthful vision should see farther than my well trained eye?

It has been a year. A very long, oddly confusing year. I've tried, I truly have, to stay away from her. I refused to clip the wings I gave her, but somehow she also become my wings. I don't know how it happened, but without her I am flightless.

What an impossible pair we are. She with her undiminished grief and I convinced that to fly she must be free of me. My bird has not flown. Instead she lingers in her cage refusing to pass through the open door to freedom beyond.

It started well. I admit, I was pleased to know she grieved for me. I never hoped for so much, but when days became weeks and weeks turned into months and she remained morose, I began to worry.

I convinced myself it was only a matter of time. Her wounds were small and they would heal. How much crying can really be done over someone you hardly knew? Do not remind me of Valerie, this is different.

When Evey told me she hated me I believed her. How could I not? I hate myself for what I have done. When she told me she loved me I thought that was fiction. A girl would say anything at a time like that.

I had nothing but hope for her. The future I intended for her was a bright one. I transferred all my dreams to her. She would have what I had not. She would be a star as she wanted, on a political stage, but a star none the less. Her endearing beauty and charming wit would help reshape a nation. She would have a normal life, above ground with a man who could love her openly, give all of himself to her, father her children and be her companion in daylight and darkness. She deserves better than anything I could offer her.

I, in turn, could not hope to aspire so high as to gain her love. Well, perhaps I did win it for a moment, but I could never keep it. At some point the mask would come off and that would be the end of that. To me, that would be a death far worse than any number of bullets could bring.

Is it any wonder I tried to stay away? If the end of the journey is both obvious and undesirable, why set out in the first place?

At times compulsion overtakes reason. I admit I checked on her as soon as I was able. Just to make sure she was unharmed by the chaos I knew would ensue when Norsefire fell.

She did as I had hoped and her face became very public. She had gone from hunted fugitive to celebrated revolutionary in the course of a single night. She looked stunning on telly. Her youthful face had been matured by her recent experiences. It was in the eyes and the way she held her shoulders. She radiated a quiet dignity I had only caught fleeting glimpses of before.

She carried the mantle as I intended, but I could see the Herculean nature of the effort. She fought through it, but the moment she could safely slip into a more obscure role she did.

It was when the news no longer gave me regular glimpses of her life that I became a stalker. It was the last thing I wanted to become but in the end I was powerless against the need to see her. She had seemed so sad, so lonely at her last appearance. Not like my Evey at all.

I fought it as long as I could but I went looking for her eventually. She wasn't difficult to find. She had taken up offices in a place I knew well. The Censors Bureau had been retooled into the Office of Cultural Restoration and was her new home. She spent all her time there buried in things similar to those I had shared with her. The symbolism was not lost on me.

She was thinner than I ever remembered her having been and there were deep circles under her eyes. She no longer seemed to care for her appearance. Her skin was gray, her clothes were gray, her very mood was colorless. She had become a ghost of herself.

She was only ever truly alive once, in my opinion. Just after…I tortured her, God I still hate myself for that, but just after, she blazed with life, no longer a spiritless mouse but a woman to be reckoned with. That is the fire I had hoped would survive me. Alas, it didn't. Her light has dimmed again. Not from fear this time, no. Grief has sucked the air right out of Evey Hammond.

I have seen what grief can do. I've watched people lose hope and stop fighting. I've watched them roll over and die because to live had become too painful.

I don't know if Evey could every become so hopeless as that. I doubt it, honestly, but she was suffering and once again it was my doing.

I have learned about myself that I can rationalize nearly anything. I've rationalized murder, bombing irreplaceable historical buildings and torturing the one person I would rather die than see hurt. The list is long, ugly, and in my opinion, necessary. I could, if I chose, continue to rationalize staying away from Evey. To protect myself, I could easily do it, but the hitch in my plan is that somewhere along the way my concept of self expanded to include her.