Disclaimer: I do not own V for Vendetta, it is the property of it's respective writer and illustrator, DC, Watchowsky Bros., etc.

Author's Note: So this story came out as I watched the movie again yesterday after having finished "Sonnet XLVIII". It flowed through my fingers and can be a stand-alone, or can be considered a prequel to "Sonnet". This is very angsty and I am a lover of fluffiness so I'm depressing myself writing this. But after reading this and then "Sonnet" it should perk you up a bit.

Please Read and Review!

Chapter 1

She came through the door, her mind shocked as was apparent in her thin face. Collapsed and on the floor in his arms at his urging she grappled and finally did grasp what she had felt at the realization of her freedom, what she held out for, not giving up her last inch.

"I felt-," she began as it became all so clear to her.

He leaned in, eager to glean the secrets of her heart, the truth, the feeling he couldn't name and it had him on edge as he nudged her mentally, 'Yes, what is it?'

And then the look on her face changed, she would not give it to him, it was hers and hers alone to know as she said, "I felt dizzy."

He felt cheated of the answer he knew she had, but he had no right to have it, understanding dawned on him bitterly.

He gathered her up against him, Evey's legs stabilized for the moment, but he was ready for them to buckle and to catch her in her malnourished and weakened state. He lead her to one of many doors in the Shadow Gallery he had, or will soon, unlock and took her to the lift.

The moisture in the air was palpable even before the masked vigilante, Evey's former prison guard and interrogator, opened the door to the rain. Her eyes eagerly absorbed the sight before her, what she had not seen in what felt like years. No walls and no ceilings, she stepped forward into the rain and away from the brush of the heavy cloak that had been ready to enclose her, against the chill and the wet. The overhang and the door and the cold stone wall fell away from her as she embraced the infinite dark skies and the warm precipitation that pelted and caressed her and she felt what Valerie's grandmother meant when she proclaimed that God was in the rain. She surrendered herself to the feeling, her arms out, taking it all in and weak gasp of sobs broke out.

V observed from within the doorway seeing all the parallels and the divergence in their reactions to their similar experiences. Where he had released himself from his cell and destroyed the Larkhill facility, walking out under his own power, bathed in fire and roared in freedom, pain, and threat to all who could hear for all he and others had endured, Evey had at first buckled under what she had felt was his betrayal and then on the roof she did not roar, strive for power and vengeance, she embraced her last inch and freedom and gave herself up to the feeling of being bathed in the gentle rain, barely able to sob in her weakened state even as the outside, being outside gave her the strength to stand and immerse herself in the glory of it all.

It had been quite a while, time was lost and V began worrying for his… for little Evey's health. He did not want to ruin her sense of freedom, but in the state she was in, 'The state I put her in,' he thought darkly, she would easily catch cold and any other number of illnesses caused by malnourishment, untreated wounds, and lack of sleep. He didn't have to hold himself back any longer, at first sign of her wobbling on her weakened legs he was at her side before she could properly collapse and scooped her up gently into his arms… bridal style, 'Was there not another way to name this?' he sighed mentally with disdain when the words to this particular way of carrying popped into his mind unbidden. It should have been the last thing to ever approach his mind after all he had done to her, she certainly would find him despicable, deplorable, and disgusting, and it was almost a wonder that she did not flinch at his touch as he hurriedly, but carefully, brought her inside. He was sure she was too drained to react to his unwanted touch anyway.

Evey was almost despondent, resigned, and allowed V to carry her away. Her body's ache and soreness were slightly numbed by the rain, but wounds stung where her weight rested on his arms. She was just too tired to do anything now. He had wrapped his cloak about her soaked form, her wet prisoner's tunic clung to her and began to feel cold. She was held against V's warm solid chest by strong, firm arms. The security of the hold was at odds with the knowledge of what those gloved hands had done to her, but God she was too tired to think anymore.

Her eyes opened to a sliver just as V was setting her down gently on her bed. Then he hesitated as he studied her, frozen. After all he put her through he still needed to do something, but now it would not be to see if she would break, now he needed to remove her wet, orange smock that did nothing to insulate her.

"Evey, I know you are very tired and I agree that sleep would do you the most good right now, but," and he paused helplessly as he tipped his face down, "we must remove your wet prison garb."

Perhaps it was the fact that she dead tired, sore, mentally exhausted by the events of the day and all that had happened to her, and probably it was all of that combined with the fact that she had not had time to come to terms with the fact that V had been her tormentor for so long and she felt her wounds throbbing in memory, but whatever it was her words lashed out without pause or consideration with a weak, humorless laugh that nevertheless sounded sharp to V's ears, "Why are you asking now? You did it without concern for my feelings so many times already."

The words savagely bit into his mind and he was silent, yes, he deserved that and much more. She did not resist as he carefully and almost tenderly unwrapped her from the now soaked cloak and brought her up so that he could remove the sopping, stink of a mess that was the smock. He would burn it for sure as soon as he could attend to it. As soon as he pulled it from her she was immediately wrapped in a warm, fluffy towel that had seemed to appear out of nowhere when in truth it had been sitting beside the bed in preparation for this as well as loose bed clothes.

He grimly set about patting her dry as efficiently as possible to try and spare her further humiliation, bruised and otherwise marred skin his punishment when they peeped out from the moving towel. All through this Evey sat unmoving, eyes slowly blinking, each time they closed for a little bit longer. He finished and then leaving the large towel around her he reached for a clean, oversized shirt that would cover her to just above her knees, plenty more modest than the prison smock. He dared not try to dress her in her underwear, which he left neatly folded and visible on top of her other equally neat clothing so that if she chose to later she could dress herself. He pulled the cloak out from under her and tucked her into bed among the towering books and quickly left the room, closing the door softly, under her staring sleep deprived eyes.

The battered woman almost wanted to feel some guilt and pity for the masked man. Almost.

V sank into the cushioned stool before his makeup mirror and rested his masked face into his leather encased palms, shoulders slumped. He wanted to cry out in the pain he had caused to his one true love. She would never look at him that way he knew, not especially after all that he had put her through and for a split moment wondered if it would have been better to have left her alone that first night, but as soon as it entered his mind he let it parish. No, he could not have left her to be mauled by those that were less than animal scat called Fingermen.

It was because he had come to love her so much, so deeply, that he let the Devil claim his already blackened soul so that he could fulfill her wish, to not be afraid anymore. It had cost him so greatly to shave her lovely head, to kick her when she was down, to bring her close to drowning during the staged interrogations. He made himself sick at the thought of all that he did to her, the vile, humiliating things that no one should suffer, but so many, including himself, had. But he had spared her from rape. It was the one thing he could not bring himself to do, though he saw her fear of it in the beginning when it had sunk into her that, at the time, her incarceration was real and he had done so many other unspeakable things to her that she concluded it would happen sooner or later. Perhaps the threat of it was one of the things that kept her up at night.

He knew what she did almost every minute of her stay in the prison he had created. When he was not suiting up into the various characters to play from guard to interrogator, he sat in the cold cell, his cell, next to her, listening to her sobs and moans and hated himself.

His chest hurt as it hadn't before he had met Evey Hammond. It felt like his knives were slicing just the thinnest piece from his heart, and carving excruciating bit by bit the inside of his rib cage. He knew, without a doubt, that as soon as she was able she would leave him. 'And why not?' he asked himself with a sneer in self-disgust, 'Who would stay with someone who has abused them, held them against their will, trapped underground like some poor, neglected animal?'

Evey awoke to the smell of something cooking and automatically her mouth watered. Her stomach painfully reminded her that it was quite famished. Even after she had finally broke and eaten the horrid stuff they fed her- no, V fed her, it was not enough to be filling, just barely enough to sustain her weakening body for curling up and shuddering on the floor. The hunger pangs worsened, feeling very much like a cramp. She opened her eyes to the dark room, her body hurt aside from her hunger, but the bed relieved some of the pain of sleeping on a stone floor where her thin body, having become emaciated, had not any fat to cushion hips and shoulders against the cell floor. But she also had to re-accustom herself to sleeping in a soft bed with a pillow under her head. It sadly felt ridiculously luxurious.

Her body just barely cooperated as she attempted to sit up, her body protesting all the way and made her cry out in pain as she pushed away the heavy covers that had begun smothering her in her movements.

The door flew open, light streaming in around V's body as he zeroed in to her struggle.

"Are you all right?" he asked as he swiftly made it to her bedside after turning on lights that felt blinding to Evey. He reached to help her with her covers and to sit up but that was quickly put to a stop.

"Don't touch me!" she gasped out, seeming to attempt to sink into the bed and away from him. His hovering hand dropped to his side as he straightened up, chastened by Evey's command. It hurt him to no end and he couldn't do anything about it other than to abide by her wishes. Her face had composed itself into the cold mask that had told him how she'd rather die behind the chemical sheds. His shoulders drooped in misery, he couldn't even attempt to hide it from her.

"I have made some broth for you to consume if you feel up to it," he said slowly, he knew even if she didn't want it, her body would make her, "I would give you anything you would possibly want to eat within my power, but I think anything other than broth would make you quite sick at this moment."

Her cool stare bore into him as she finally gave him a slight nod. It was all he needed to escape and he did it with all due haste. In his absence she managed to sit up, pushed pillows behind herself and made herself comfortable. He reappeared in the open doorway carrying a tray with a steaming bowl of broth, a glass of water, and a spoon. He seemed to pause as if in askance as to her approval and allowance of him entering her room. He found no objections from her and walked in, setting the tray on the bedside table, carefully avoiding contact with her.

He left her presence, gently closing the door behind him.

She looked at the tray, her mouth watering again at the aroma, even if it was just broth. She wanted to forgo the spoon, but as she eyed the bowl she was certain she wouldn't be able to hold it up for long and would most likely spill its contents over herself. Odd how weak she felt when just the day before she had stood and walked, but that had been through pure will and used the last of her reserves.

Evey took a firm grip of the spoon and began to consume the broth V had prepared for her, finding it ironic that he who put her into such a state would also be the one to mend her.

The third day V gave her solid food. When she smelled and saw that it was the egg in buttered toast her face softened slightly, giving V hope, however small, that things may turn out all right. The almost wistful look on her face had the quiet man wondering what she was thinking about.

The previous day Evey had a thorough bath. She cleaned herself up for the most part, winced at scabs and small wounds that softened up in the hot bath water and all the marks that covered her. V had to help her clean her back. She came to the horrible conclusion that she could not reach it because of wounds that would stretch and the stiffness. She stared down into the waters, arms crossed over her small chest in shame as V helped wash her back. His hands were covered in latex and cleaned her gently, holding one shoulder to keep her stationary as he did so.

How had she not noticed his hands while being "detained"? Though it wasn't too difficult considering the circumstances, she had only seen his hands ungloved once, he probably used something from his makeup kit to make his hands appear unscarred when he shaved her head and other such things, and the fact that she wouldn't have been looking for those hands on that of her captors. These hands had been so brutal, but since she left her imprisonment they had been nothing but kind and soft and tender.

V looked upon her back with remorse, carefully cleaned out wounds and all traces of grime on her. He quietly spoke, "After you have dried off we will need to put some antiseptic cream on those wounds."

She nodded her head, acknowledging him. He debated whether this was better than being ignored as he had been off and on at her whimsy. He covered her with a towel and pulled her up and out of the bathtub, he sat her down on the toilet and patted her down while keeping a portion of the large towel on her to keep her modesty. He draped a bathrobe over her, it was his, she was sure, she was practically swimming in the material. Her back to him the robe was lowered as he dabbed the ointment on parts of her back. He left the rest up to her as he finished and brought the robe up to cover her back once again.

She stared at her half eaten breakfast as she recalled all this. He had truly believed he was helping her, and she was starting to accept it, she no longer feared death, it would no longer get in her way of what she would have to do to survive in this world, to do what her parents had been able to do, what V was doing and what too many in England couldn't do. But because she was accepting it didn't mean she could stay with V in his Shadow Gallery. She needed to get away from him and his vendetta, to breathe the air topside and to clear her head.