Humility: A "V for Vendetta" vignette by Tina Price.

Preview: Evey couldn't help but wonder about the burn pattern on her lover's body. To ask or not to ask? That was the question. Which begged yet another question: would he be offended if she did?

Disclaimer: V for Vendetta and all characters therein are the property of Warner Brothers Entertainment Company and DC Comics.

Authors notes: This story is rated R for some mature content. It takes place during Second Chances. Criticism and advice are always appreciated!


Humility

Evey Hammond lay, curled against the side of a remarkable man, her head resting upon his shoulder. The sheets had long since been kicked or thrown to the foot of the bed, which was just fine, considering how hot they both felt.

She was lightly stroking her hand back and forth over his chest and belly, helping to dry the sweat that still beaded on the undamaged skin that had formed it. As she enjoyed running her fingers over him, she began to wonder at the pattern his burns made. The first time they had made love, she had realized that this damage was not the result of any torture that he had endured at Larkhill. The damage was just too extensive.

No, this was caused by something else entirely. Had it been fire? Scalding water? Steam? For a time she had thought that she could piece it together and make a good guess based upon the pattern of the burns. Yet, the more she thought about it, the stranger that pattern had seemed. Her curiosity over this had reached the point where she was seriously thinking about finally bringing it up and asking him. He had spoken very little of his time at Larkhill, indeed of any of his life in the years before they had met and when he did, he had always been the one to bring it up. She had never pressed him for anything that might bring back dark memories Still, in the past months they had been through so much together, yet still managed to forge a bond that seemed almost psychic at times. Surely he would not mind her asking?

After all, it would still be up to him whether or not to answer.

She began to feel chilled as her own perspiration finished drying and squirmed a little closer to him, throwing one thigh over his hip. He stirred and planted a drowsy kiss on her forehead as he gave her back a gentle rub.

"What keeps you awake, my love?" he asked. "If I haven't tired you out properly, then I soon will if you don't still your wandering hand"

Her sole reply was to slide her hand lower and begin running it over even more sensitive areas of his body.

"You're a demanding wench, Evey Hammond," he husked. "Bewitching as well. And may I also add beautiful?"

"Let me consult the lie detector," she replied, then finding that he was fully aroused, added, "Well now, looks like you're being truthful"

Looking up she shot him an evil grin and was rewarded with the faint gleam of his own in return.

He was, as was usual these days, without both mask and wig, although he still felt most comfortable when she allowed him some cover in the darkness. And so, the door was always left open, allowing light to enter from the front of their flat as well as through the bedroom's window curtains. This allowed her to see a good deal of him, despite the darkness; often revealing a brief glimpse of his entire face.

And she had to admit that his face had taken the worst damage. He had already allowed her to see him fully in the light, so she was well acquainted with the extentive damage:. The top of his head and forehead were covered in severe, contracted scar tissue, which pulled the skin of his brows up. That coupled with his missing eyebrows, gave him a permanent look of surprise. For some reason, the area around his eyes and over the bridge of his nose seemed relatively untouched, but the damage again became apparent from the tip of his nose on down. The end of his nose was gone as though it had been melted away and his nostrils also looked melted and drawn flat by the same scar tissue that pulled his face tightly over the bones beneath.

His upper lip was all but obliterated by the same scarring, but fortunately his lower lip was still full, plaint and able to compensate, despite the damage it too had sustained.

The tightly restrictive scars continued to his neck, pulling the tissue up sharply beneath his jaw. She knew by now that this did indeed cause him discomfort. Quite often he would awaken at night gasping for air, reach to this band of noose-like tissue and tug violently on it. After apparently loosening it he would be able to fall back to sleep.

He retained hair on the back of his head, near the base and she often ran her fingers through it, savoring the silky feel. It was something he particularly enjoyed, especially on those nights when he was manic and could not sleep.

Evey barely saw the damage to his face these days, even on those occasions when he bravely removed his mask for her in the light of day.

In her mind she had reconstructed him and that mental image, which synced up perfectly with the realistic mask he wore out in society these days, was what she saw when none of his masks were present.

To her he was a ruggedly handsome man, with wide set deep blue eyes, brown hair and a crooked, self-depreciating smile. If she ever ran across a photo of him from before Larkhill, she had no doubt that she would recognize him instantly.

"Whatever are you thinking, little one?" he asked. "You're staring a hole right through me and I swear that if I could still blush, I would be exceedingly red in the face right now"

Only then did she realize that she had held his gaze since their last exchange. In the dim light, those wide-set eyes gleamed and still managing to convey a degree of discomfort and concern.

"I like when you call me that," she said, trying to get her thoughts in order.

"What? Demanding wench or little one?" he teased.

She thumped him in the belly, causing him to tense and laugh. In the next moment she found herself lifted as though she weighed nothing and deposited directly atop him, then his hands grasped her upper arms and pulled her down to him for a sound kissing.

"There," he breathed, when they finally broke apart. He released her arms and wrapped his own about her. "Now tell me what has you so distracted"

As she lay there, her hand found its way up to his head and she began to play with the hair at the nape of his neck. "V... may I ask you something?"

"Of course."

"Even if it's about your burns?"

He sighed. "Evey, you may ask me anything at all." He squeezed her briefly. " Now what it it, hmmm?"

"How exactly did all this happen?" She gestured from his head to his feet. "Were you trapped in a burning building?"

He shook his head. "Close, but not quite. The worst of it happened when I was caught in an explosion. The rest when I picked my way out of the burning medical facility."

She sat up and stared at him. "My God! How did it happen?"

"I blew up the building, along with several others," he explained. "It was a culmination of many months hard work aimed at making quite certain that the genetic experiments they were pursuing were completely destroyed. I had also hoped to wipe out much of their records from the medical experimentations, but alas, enough survived."

"I don't understand. What genetic experiments? What data survived?"

He sighed. "Those are tales to be told another time. Your question was about my burns. Yes, I blew it all up, determined to escape or die trying. Unfortunately, there was no good way for me to stay completely out of the way when I detonated it."

Evey felt herself starting to shake. "Dear lord... "

Reaching up, he ran his fingers over her scalp, as he loved to do. She had continued to keep it short, though still fashionably styled.

"It's alright, little one," he soothed. "I did survive; I escaped and I did cost them much of their research."

She leaned down and kissed him. "You shouldn't be comforting me over your own tragedy," she whispered.

"I beg to differ. What happened to me happened a lifetime ago. I accept it and require no comfort save the assurance you give me that you do not find me repulsive."

She interrupted him. "You could never be anything other than attractive to me. You KNOW that!"

He kissed her again. "Yes, dearling, I do. Now don't interrupt..." he mock chastised. "What I was saying is that, with my telling of this history, to you it seems as though these events just occurred. Of course you have strong feelings over it and of course you do require comforting."

She smirked at him then and started to slide down him, licking and kissing as she went. "But if you do feel the need to lend your support..." he gasped. "Then by all means..." he let out another gasp as she nipped his belly. "...feel free to cheer me up..." another gasp, followed by a sigh as she found him with her mouth.
She licked and sucked at him avidly, completely taken with the fact that she could reduce this dangerous genius of a man to a stammering, quivering one hundred eighty-eight centimeter tall writhing mass.

Quite a while later, he rolled them over, tucked her beneath him, and proceeded to kiss her soundly and nibble at her neck.

"Good God, woman!" he exclaimed. "Are you trying to kill me? I thought you wanted me to live?"

"Oh hush," she admonished, though she smiled at his teasing. "This from the man who quite often keeps me awake half the night."

Again he kissed her. "I do so adore you..."

"And I you." They lay there in each other's arms a moment as V again seemed about to drift off to sleep. Evey stirred. "V?"

"Hmmm?" came his groggy acknowledgment.

"Why is it that the area around your eyes and a huge area in front, from your waist to mid thigh level are not badly burned?"

He stiffened, raised himself on his elbows to look at her and then rolled off her, pulling her along with him.

"You don't have to answer that," she relented.

He hugged her. "I will answer your question. It's only that I find this somewhat embarrassing," he confessed.

Now she sat up, completely surprised by his statement. "What could be embarrassing about not being burnt in those key areas?" she asked.

He cleared his throat. "The explanation for my eyes having escaped severe injury is quite simple: At the moment of the explosion, I threw my arm up over them. That is why my left arm is the more badly burned of the two."

She nodded. "I guess I should have figured that out. And what about the rest?"

He hesitated.

"Oh come on now," she chided. "It can't be that embarrassing. We're talking about you avoiding some really devastating burns..." Suddenly it dawned on her...

I see you may have grasped it," he said, his eyes searching her face in the gloom. "The fact is that only seconds before the explosion, I realized just how close I really was to ground zero. An oversight on my part, to be sure." He sighed. "After all, it was my first time blowing anything up. And although I no longer feared death, the thought of being rendered into many little pieces was enough to cause nature to take over."

"You wet yourself," she filled in, trying desperately not to laugh.

"Yes, my dear. It was completely beyond my control and something that had never happened to me before, regardless of the gruesome tortures I endured. Yet at that moment, I truly had no control over what happened next. I completely hosed down the entire front of the orange sack that was Larkhill's idea of detainee clothing."

"So when the explosion occurred..."

"Yes, that portion of the cloth did not go up in flames. And although I got steamed pretty good under it, I was fortunate, in the end, that nature had stepped in."

They were quiet for a time and then she spoke again. "V?"

"Yes?"

"I'm sorry if I embarrassed you."

"The worst humiliation is only someone else's momentary entertainment," he quoted. "Karen Crockett."

"I didn't look on it as entertainment!" she protested.

"The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is," he also quoted. "George Bernard Shaw."

"Then you ought to be very respectable, indeed!" she jibed, earning herself a terrible tickling.

After several minutes of mock wrestling, in which she had absolutely no chance of a win, they kissed and then settled down. In the dark of the room, he found the blankets and covered them up as once again she curled up against his side, her head upon his shoulder.

"V?"

"Yesss?" this time his acknowledgment was edged with exasperation.

"I'm very glad that your choice parts escaped serious injury." As proof, she began playing with him again.

"Bloody hell, woman!" he laughed. "Go to sleep!"

He rubbed his knuckes brutally over her scalp, making her squeal, then kissed her and tucked her against his side.

They both were soon fast asleep.

FIN


Higher rated version available on my home page.

I also have an interesting article posted about the loss of memory and it's effect on people. Please read and drop me a line with your insight into how this would have affected V.

The next story, Second Chances will be posting in just a day or two. Thank-you for all your support!