Evergreen
A "V for Vendetta" story by Tina Price.

Preview: Ah, the joys of the Holidays; Spending time with loved ones, visiting friends and comforting those who feel the years have passed them by... A huge holiday gala inspires several people to rethink the direction their lives are taking.

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

Author's notes: This story is rated NC-17, for adult content in later chapters. It takes place immediately after "The Meltdown" and is based upon my own continuation of the V for Vendetta storyline following the events of the movie (refer to my homepage for previous stories) As always, constructive criticism and advice are always appreciated!

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Evergreen: A Special Night Out

Days seemed to fly by, growing shorter as the nights lengthened and at least one man in London welcomed the prolonged darkness.

No, V didn't mind the dark; it gave him greater mobility and freedom. It provided places in which to hide while watching over those who innocently walked the dark alleyways in the mistaken belief that having the freedom these days to do so protected them like some magical cloak.

There were no fingermen lurking these days, but there were always those who preyed upon others. With the police force still attempting to expand in order to cover for the now defunct fingermen, there were many areas in the city where one was ill advised to walk at night.

V knew the worst ones; Deputy Commissioner Finch kept him up to date and he spent several nights a week putting fear into the hearts of the thugs, rapists and would-be murderers he encountered.

His brand of justice was swift, brutal and befitting the crime. Many a murderer drew their last breath staring into the vacant eyes of his bone white mask. Many a thief or would-be rapist found themselves in hospital for extended stays or perhaps unable ever again to pursue their nefarious ways.

And with each life saved, more of the population sang his praises; better yet, more of them began patrolling and policing their own neighborhoods.

People began to shake off the dull depression they'd adopted under the fascist state they'd lived in and began to care again; about themselves and about others.

As for V; he'd become both hero and boogie man.

"Take care what you do on darkened streets when you think you are unseen, for V could be anywhere; watching, waiting..." parents would tell their children. Those on the fringes of society used more colorful language to convey the same warning to each other.

In truth he was immune to it all, although the "V Lives!" graffiti often seen painted on buildings around town did amuse him. As far as he was concerned he was merely doing his part and the papers had printed that very quote only a week ago when Finch finally confirmed publicly that V was indeed alive and behind some of the more spectacular vigilante incidences.

Yes, V welcomed the lengthening nights for their cover, but more than that; these days he also associated them with cozy companionable evenings spent with the love of his life; Evey.

On this particular evening he would not be out stalking dark alleyways or meting out justice. On this particular evening he sat at his piano and played a lovely Christmas melody as snow fell heavily outside the window and accumulated on its panes.

He was dressed in black formal attire and wore his realistic facial appliances. No one outside his very small circle of friends would ever imagine that he was V, although in truth he still went by that moniker. A small smile played upon his face, showing itself briefly now and then as he thought ahead to the festivities he would soon share with his lady.

It was December twentieth and the British Museum was celebrating its first holiday season free from government censorship with a Holiday party to end them all. Those invited included many of the most important interim government officials, celebrities, archaeological experts, several foreign diplomats and of course, museum curators, contributors and their significant others.

From what Evey had seen of the preparations and decorations underway in the Museum's Great Court, it would be a party to remember.

To think that he would have an opportunity to attend such a public event with Evey; to simply be a man and enjoy a memorable event with his woman... to celebrate both the season and a new life... was enough to fill him with an exquisite sense of anticipation. And that was something, which in the past, he had rarely associated with anything other than imminent mayhem...

V smiled again as he tried to imagine himself taking the dance floor with his love and just simply being part of the celebration.

Then his fingers stilled upon the keyboard and he stared appreciatively as the woman in question entered the room.

She was wearing a red satin gown. Low cut in the front, it showed off her graceful neck and newly expanded cleavage. It was gathered in a line under her breasts and fell to the floor in yard upon yard of flowing crimson.

On her chest, over her heart rested the Guy Fawkes pendant he had crafted for her from the remains of the mask he'd worn the night parliament was destroyed.

He was on his feet in an instant and moving to greet her.

"'By heaven, that thou art fair, is most infallible; true, that thou art beauteous; truth itself, that thou art lovely. More fairer than fair, beautiful than beauteous, truer than truth itself, have commiseration on thy heroical vassal!'" he quoted most sincerely, bringing her hand up to his lips for a kiss before gathering her in his arms. He turned her gently so that her back was to his chest and with his hands upon her shoulders, bent to nibble up and down the side of her neck under her ear.

Evey squirmed and moaned; music to his ears.

"I have something for you," he whispered as he teased her ear with his teeth.

She shuddered deliciously and pressed herself more firmly against him. "So I see…"

He smiled against her skin. "Something besides myself; something for you to unwrap now."

"Oh?"

Reaching a hand into his jacket, he produced a box, which he brought around in front of her.

She opened it and gasped, "Oh, V! It's beautiful!"

Carefully, he removed the Fawkes pendant from around her neck. "You always remember to wear it," he breathed. "But, for tonight let me be Guy's guardian." So saying, he placed it about his own neck, tucking Fawkes carefully away beneath his shirt. Deftly, he plucked the gold filigree and garnet necklace from the box and fastened it around her neck.

"Thank-you," she murmured, turning and wrapping her arms around his neck, then kissing him soundly.

"It pleases me to surprise you now and then," he husked against her mouth. "I love how you thank me."

She snuggled her face under the line of his jaw, a spot she seemed to favor when they embraced. "How did you know that your gift would compliment my dress?" she asked suspiciously.

"I honored your request not to peek at the dress, my dear," he soothed. "However, I did find your wrap hidden in the coat closet. It was a simple matter to phone Martha, present my evidence and ask her if it matched your dress."

She laughed at that. "You figured that I would tell her, did you?"

"I've heard all about this mysterious girl talk you females like to indulge in," he teased, making her giggle even more. Then he grasped a handful of her dress at her knee level and lifted it, revealing her matching red satin pumps. "Mmmm," he hummed. "Very nice."

"You'll have to wait until we leave the party before you get to see what else I'm wearing... and it isn't anything you've seen me in before, I might add."

His heart literally skipped a beat and he had to clear his throat before he could trust his voice. "Woman, now I shall spend the rest of the night undressing you with my eyes. How's a man to dance when he can barely walk? How am I to comport myself like a gentleman when the wolf in me wants nothing better than to stalk you until you accept me?"

She gave him a look so full of longing that his heart swelled within him. How had he, of all people, suddenly become so fortunate, so blessed?

"Look who's talking," she whispered. "When you speak of such desire, and all for me, how can I ever resist you?"

He laughed, pressing his cheek against hers. "Love, you're not supposed to."

"Ah, but then we will never get anywhere on time. Speaking of which; it's getting late. We'd best be going; that is, if you think you can walk now?"

"Anything to please you." He gave her another quick kiss and then guided her towards the coat closet, from which he produced her wrap and his own matching red scarf.

"You look very handsome," she said, once he'd finished helping her with her wrap and then draped his scarf over his shoulders. "I'll be fighting off rivals all night."

He froze, stunned by her words. "I disagree. It is I who shall spend the evening fending off rivals, for you, my beauty, have no rival."

She cupped his face with her hand and he quickly trapped it with his own, holding it steady so that he might press his cheek more firmly against her palm.

"You underestimate yourself and the magnetism you exude," she said softly, staring into his eyes. "I do trust you, but that does not mean that other women won't try to turn your head; capture you for their own."

"I'm all amazement that you would think so," he breathed, but then could not help but tease her, "Nevertheless, perhaps you'll do me the honor of staying by my side so that you might protect me from... wanton women."

She laughed heartily then. "You just want to see a cat fight break out over you, don't you?" Before he could respond, she continued, "There's nothing I'd like better than to defend your honor; I find it deliciously ironic to think that the deadly V might require protection from female admirers."

"I don't think they had daggers in mind when they coined the phrase, 'Slay the ladies'."

At his amused snort, she continued, "I must admit that the main reason I will do as you suggest is not to save you from temptation, but because I shall find it very entertaining to hear people unknowingly speaking of your exploits right to your face."

"Hmmm, I'd already eagerly thought ahead to such conversations. They will no doubt prove quite amusing… as well as enlightening ." Kissing her palm, he released her wrist and guided her towards the stairs.