This really doesn't merit a round of editing, so forgive if mistakes are galore. Or flame, and then point them out.
Just a spontaneous piece harping on the same fixation, aimless. Might continue, probably not. Anyhoo, thanks for all feedback. :)
Evey realizes V is in love with her two weeks after her release from her cell.
It is still during the time where she is in that state of clarity, everything crystal clear and each breath as vital as storm-water. She feels nothing and absorbs nothing and understands everything; simply put, she is in that very special kind of shock that only V can induce.
(Post-traumatic stress has nothing on her. She is past that. She doesn't flinch when he enters the room, doesn't take a step back, take another, when he moves too close, or forgets not to move without warning. Evey stares directly into the eye slits with her hawk-brown eyes when she speaks to him and they talk like equals, like each conversation is a trap camouflaged with the aesthetic idiosyncrasy of careful quotes, but that's probably leftover paranoia speaking.)
V doesn't come right out and say it of course; if nothing else, he has always been the perfect (psychotic) gentleman. If anything, he is probably trying not to believe it himself, she realizes distantly. Probably these two weeks of self-imposed house arrest nursing her back to health without really ever coming within one feet of her personal space would be passed off as 'polite obligations' in his mind, or whatnot. She doesn't really care what he thinks. This clarity is very useful, like that.
By the end of the second week, she is well on her way to being able to stomach decent-sized meals with decently solid ingredients again. She eats and goes to sleep and wakes up feeling like she'd just blinked several hours away by accident. Then she watches the news and listens to V being thoughtfully and quietly absent somewhere in the Gallery. Eats. Repeat.
(Occasionally, a random spike of (viciousness? sullenness?) whimsicality strikes her and she turns off the jukebox and tv, and goes to sleep on the sofa with the whole place blanketed down in underground stillness like the tomb it is. V can't stand the… the dead absolution of silence; she understands why now. It can make you part of it, if you aren't careful.)
In a strange twist of irony, it is colder out in the Gallery than in the cell. Her body is thinner than before and hypersensitive to the slightest twinge in her senses nowadays, as if making up for numbed time. Evey dons a thick sweater and long pants and socks, and would have put on gloves if it didn't make her look like a parody of V. God forbid she ever offend him.
'Winter is abroad,' V tells her when she mentions the temperature. 'I'm afraid Jack Frost reaches his fingers even here, but I shall see what I can do.'
He inclines his head towards her and takes a breath as if to speak, then looks at her for a long wordless heartbeat before turning back to the telly. The hard pragmatism of shock in the back of her mind informs her, indifferently, that even with the space of No Man's Land between them, V is a few words away from running away. From leaping from the couch and backing with hands raised, possibly with daggers in them because that is all he knows.
Oh, well. Not her fault her psychotic torturer of a bastard friend is suffering a crash course in love and the norms of your average morality. Evey didn't ask for anything either.
They watch the news end in a weather update ('Finally, some truth,' V had remarked and she made a soft sound of amusement) and watch the following entertainment program that has supplemented Gordon's show. It's mildly entertaining, if you bother to pay attention. Satire and cruel self-jibes peeking out of lines that had managed to escape the worst of the self-censorship. If they were actually paying attention.
Evey has been slipping down on the couch backing, too tired and comfortable to sit up. On the far end of the couch, far enough that it isn't even subtle, V sits as composed and unconsciously elegant as any master swordsman. The telly blares to some over-bright advertisement, and automatically, V turns the volume down.
(Once upon a time, in a faraway land, this was the cue for interesting and engaging topics to be traversed, unexplored quirks of inconsequential conversation to be charted. It was a very long time ago, when silence shared was still a companionable friend.)
The muted praises of a shampoo brand is backdrop to their sudden silence. V looks at her and she looks up at him. He is the first one to look away, which is oddly thrilling and disappointing at the same time.
She drops her gaze to her stomach, which is showing because of the bunched sweater from her half-sprawled position. Addresses it as she speaks. 'How cold do you think it's up there?'
The leather makes a sound as V shifts. 'Possibly five degrees, and five under during the night. Why do you ask?'
'No reason,' she shrugs, because there hadn't been. But his tone strikes something in her, and she can't help asking, 'How easy is it to get fake papers up there? IDs and such, I mean. I've never needed to know…'
Till now. They both hear it linger in the space between them.
'Nothing is impossible,' V says. His voice is subdued now, and so distinctly steady that he must be controlling his voice. 'The saving grace of our society is more prevalent now than ever.'
'The black market.' She is used enough to his wordplays to translate his many phrases and metaphors with their past conversations as her dictionary. Then, like prodding a scab to see how deep it goes, she continues, 'Good. Alright. I'm glad to hear that.'
V is very silent beside her. The adverts switch back to the show, but they're not pretending to watch anymore. Evey keeps her eyes fixed on her right hipbone peeking over the elastic rim of her pants and pretends not to notice the tension. It is the first time since the storm of her release that they've actually sat down together like this, and damned if she'll light this fuse.
'Do you need anything before you…' He trails off. Can't seem to finish. Said it low enough that she could pretend not to catch it, if she wanted to draw this out. Cat and mouse, their roles reversed. She wonders if this is what its like to be able to kill with words alone. But she is not angry enough (yet). Evey still can't feel anything, not properly (yet).
She lets it go. 'I don't understand,' she says, almost explanatorily. A little plaintive, because there's a truth in it, somewhere. V has never been one to skirt around topics when confrontation is his forte, but she doesn't think she will be leaving so soon.
V translates her tone, and seems to release a sigh without actually breathing. The fuse is dampened, for the moment. They can both pretend there was never anything more to this conversation than the surface. Evey almost says you love me, don't you, just another whim. The words, sweet and deliberate at the tip of her tongue. Just to see how he'll react. It will wound him in ways he can't defend, she knows.
Instead she pulls down the elastic at the side of her pants down, just a couple of inches. Enough so that her hipbone is fully exposed, just so. That the blue-black of it can be fully admired, like a disconnected art piece, a bruised flower blossoming in the white desert of her skin.
This was where V had tossed her back into the cell a couple of days before her epiphany, and she'd landed wrong. It had been a particularly bad day in physical terms, Evey remembers distantly. The hanging chains were always the worse.
She looks up to see him watching her. He is staring at her exposed stomach, no— the sly dip of her curve hinting down into the side of her thigh. Her bruise, his touch marking her. She finds she can't find the will to feel embarrassed; it feels like a lifetime that she's been down here and she is no longer a guest but a breathing part of the Gallery.
'You shouldn't be bothered,' she says neutrally, snapping the pants back over her waist and tugging her sweater down. Indifferent to the bone, her eyes unreadable and flat as she watches him. 'Considering you've already seen everything there is to see.'
V jerks back like she's slapped him, and it is when he is already out of the room that it occurs to Evey that that might have been the wrong thing to say. That V may be more familiar with her body than her at this point, but it is still hostile and alien territory. That it may also have been the perfect thing to say.
(Once upon a time, she would have been appropriately chagrined and would have ran after him to say appropriate things like I didn't mean it that way and are you upset? Don't be upset and other useless things, but that had been a long time ago and in a very different land altogether. Now, even little white lies tire her out. Perhaps in a week or two, when she gains back her strength to deal with the mess of emotions. Perhaps in a century or two, when the old Evey resurrects.)
Evey turns off the telly and curls up on the sofa with a sigh. Not ready yet, the both of us, she thinks hazily. It takes a while for her to fall asleep, and by the time she does, V has already turned the jukebox back on.