Okay. x3 So basically I love V for Vendetta, and this is a fic based on kind of both the movie and the graphic novel. o-o; More the movie, I guess, because Finch didn't kill V and other things, like the line "God is in the rain", which only shows up in the movie (and WHY do I know this? xD). Anyway, this isn't one of those V-didn't-really-die fics. It takes place almost a year after his death, and is more about Evey than the new government, but it has a little about that too. ;D I hope you like it...
Evey awoke with a start, her head covered with a cold sweat. Gasping for air, she breathed in and out frantically until her panic subsided and she could breath normally again. She had been having the asthma attacks more recently now. It wasn't from fear, as it had been before. She no longer felt fear. It was from… well, she didn't know what, exactly. But she didn't want to think about it any longer than she had to. After all, she had other things on her mind. Things of far more importance.
She looked to the clock beside her bed to see that it was already 5:30. She might as well get up. Slowly rising into a sitting position, she shifted and hugged her knees to her chest for a moment, resting her chin on her kneecaps. She tried to live her life quickly these days, busily, with no time to think about anything else but work. After all, she was trying to help keep the country together. Trying to make a new country. And when she let other, more personal things in her head, they only got in the way.
It wasn't that she had forgotten the past – that wasn't it at all. It was more that she remembered, and couldn't forget a thing. She remembered every conversation she'd had, every day she'd spent, and every moment she'd passed with him. But she also remembered how important this was to him. And, as it was his dying wish, she had to make it happen. It was because she remembered that she had to do this. Because she remembered, and also because she loved. She would always remember, and would always love, the man who had taught her to do both. And that was why she had to work so hard.
She couldn't let personal thoughts interrupt her duty. And she wouldn't grieve because he was not sorry he had died, and so she couldn't be either. There were nights she awoke with tears in her eyes and desperation weighing heavily on her shoulders, nights she dreamt until she had nothing left to dream. And then there were the nights when her sleep was as uneventful and as silent as the sleep of the dead's.
But always, she reminded herself, she could not be sorry or sad he was dead. His life's works had been accomplished, at least the works of the life he could remember. And his death had not been in vain. He had died in her arms, and had told her what he needed to. And also done what needed to be done – then left the rest up to her to decide. And she had honored his wishes, along with her own. She knew he was right, and was no longer afraid to speak her mind. So she had sent the train loaded with explosives into Parliament, and thus began the explosion of a new political age. So she couldn't regret that he had died. She didn't regret his death, because she knew she couldn't. And, after all, it wasn't like he was truly dead anyway. Not as long as his idea lived on, and she would never let it die. And, of course, there was always his integrity. The only thing that, underneath everything, really mattered. That would always live on.
Yawning tiredly, she slipped out of the bed that still smelled like him and padded through the book-covered room. It had been his room, until he'd died. Then she hadn't dared stay away from it for a night. Sometimes when she woke up, it was like the old days, like he'd be already up, doing something mad like fighting a suit of armor or wearing a silly, frilly apron. Sometimes when she tried hard enough, she could forget any of it had happened and she could go back to the time when she didn't like the idea of staying with him for a year. Only a year? How could she have been so foolish as to be upset over that! If only now, she had a whole year with him… but no, she couldn't regret anything, she scolded herself.
When she had made her way into the kitchen of the Shadow Gallery, she found herself methodically cooking the same breakfast he had made for her before: eggs on toast. With butter, no less. Everyone had butter these days. There was chaos, there was a weak government, but there was butter, and that was enough for some people. For now.
Evey sat down to eat her breakfast and thought about what she was going to do. It wasn't as if she was the new leader or anything, but she was something that was around the same position as a vice president, or some kind of advisor. You couldn't force a government on people who had seen too much of oppression lately, even if you offered them democracy. That had been evident in the American war in Iraq, and the inevitable downfall of the great country. Now what of it? Nothing.
And so, was England to suffer the same fate? She had tried to come up with some sort of government that could work. She wanted to do something V approved of, something he wanted. But what was it?
Suddenly, her cell phone rang from the bedroom. She jumped up, rushed to get it, and answered it quickly. After all, it could be important.
"Evey Hammond," she answered.
"Evey, it's Finch," came the voice of the detective. It was a voice that spoke clearly, slowly, as if trying to get all the facts into order before he spoke.
"Detective Finch!" she exclaimed, surprised. "I haven't heard from you in a long time."
"It has been awhile, hasn't it? Yes, well I've been… busy."
Evey's eyes narrowed a fraction. They had been closer after Parliament was destroyed, but slowly they'd grown further and further apart. He was the only other person who knew where the Shadow Gallery was, and she trusted him. But where had he been, so far from reach?
"I see." She didn't mean to sound as chilly as she did.
"I felt it important to call you, Evey. I… have some information you might find interesting."
"Information?" she repeated.
"Yes. About V."
She nearly dropped her phone. "W-what?"
He heaved a sigh. "I've been looking into Larkhill. There are… records. Records that had been hidden before Parliament happened."
She hated the way everyone referred to V's rebellion as 'Parliament'. It was so much more. And some understood that, like Finch, but still used it while speaking. She didn't care now, though. "I thought you told me they were all destroyed in the… fire."
"I believed so, but records are always backed up on some dusty old hard drive, you know. A master computer, with records of everyone who ever went to the camps, who they were, and why they were there. How they died. What they looked like."
Evey felt lightheaded. "Please, Finch, if you're lying to me – "
"I don't lie, Evey."
She knew that. But… was it really true? Perhaps she was still dreaming? She pinched her hand lightly. No, this was real. Real real real.
"Evey, are you there?"
"Yes," she managed to whisper, then raised her voice a little and tried again: "Yes."
"Good. Will you meet me at Larkhill?"
She frowned to herself. She had been there once, and didn't feel to need to return. The only time she ever wanted to go back was next November the Fifth, to try and start a new garden where V's had been. Finch had told her all he knew of Larkhill.
"Why Larkhill?" she questioned him.
He paused. "I don't know, exactly. But it seems right to start there if we're going to figure this out, doesn't it?"
She hesitated. "I don't have a car."
"I can pick you up," he offered.
It was raining heavily outside as Finch's car sped across the deserted road towards Larkhill. There weren't any headlights to be seen, no houses or buildings along the way to suggest they were still in civilization. Evey had realized most of the roads to the old camps were like this. After all, who wanted to live so close to a place like that? Who would live near Auschwitz?
The heater was on full blast as they drove across the lonely English countryside, but the radio was silent, and so were the passengers. They had exchanged pleasantries and objectives of the mission already, and had now fallen into a heavy silence that could only be defined as awkward, and nothing less. Evey watched the road in front of her numbly, dully, wondering if V had made this same trip before. What had he felt along this road? And who exactly had he been, before the drugs washed away everything he knew of himself?
Suddenly, Finch's gravelly voice broke through the silence: "About five kilos now."
Evey shifted in her seat, wrapping her scarf around her throat more tightly. She peered into the world and its watery oblivion, trying to see past raindrops to locate the site of Larkhill. She knew there were no longer any large buildings there; the explosion had destroyed most of them. But there were some smaller sheds, and wreckage from the fire.
Finally, the car pulled into the side road that would lead them to the gates of Larkhill. Still standing, though weathered and aged more than what they must have been like when V was there, the gates seemed to glare at Evey, forbidding her to enter.
Finch stopped the car and paused before getting out. Evey was already striding towards the half-opened gates, and slipped through as the sky pelted her with rainwater. Finch followed her, and they didn't speak until they stood before the site with the most damage done to it. Evey had assumed it was Room Five, or at least somewhere near it. After all, that's where the explosion had come from, as Delia had written.
A strange feeling came over her, as it had before, when she stood at this place. It was like she had gone back in time, in a way, and could picture, in her mind's eye, what the fire had been like. She saw V, standing there amongst the flames. And as she stood there in the same spot, in the rain, she was called to remember when she lost her fear and became free. Back before he was gone.
"Evey?" came Finch's voice. She looked over to him to see a bedraggled middle-aged man, not pleased in the least about the rain. But she didn't mind it. Even if she got sick later, she remembered the words of Valerie always, or at least her grandmother's: God is in the rain.
"Mr. Finch, why did we come here?" she asked.
"I'm not sure anymore."
She sighed, looking back to the ruins of Larkhill. "I want to find the records, Finch. I want to know who he was."
"Then come with me," he said, and returned briskly to the car. She surveyed the area one last time, then followed him.
Back in the car, Finch spoke. "The largest camp around was where they kept all their files. After what happened at Larkhill, it became even more oppressive and harsh. But unlike Larkhill, the prisoners were not used as lab rats."
"What was it called?" she asked.
"It was simply the Norsefire Resettlement Camp. Nothing more. It was designed only to be a library of sorts, with archives of every camp."
"A library that acts secondarily as a concentration camp," Evey spat.
"Right. But this camp, still standing though obviously abandoned, has the answers we need. Think of it, Evey. Nobody deleted them, and nobody knows they're there except for members of the ex-Party. I didn't even remember them until a day or so ago, when I recalled Sutler mentioning them off-handedly."
"Wait, wasn't there an entry in Delia's journal that talked about 'the Norsefire'? At the time, I thought she meant the regime, but it did seem odd that it seemed to be referring to a place."
Finch nodded, and started the car's engine. "I regret that the thought slipped my head when I read it as well. But the Norsefire isn't far from here. Won't take us long. After all, Larkhill's along the way to the Norsefire."
Evey leaned back in her seat. "How long?"
"About two hours. It took me less when I drove there a few days ago."
"You've been already?" she asked, surprised.
"I had to see it first, make sure everything was in order before I could get your hopes up," he said logically.
As they drove, Evey drifted in and out of consciousness. Her thoughts were all of V, and a thousand questions seemed to push themselves into her head. Who was he, and why was he forced to go to Larkhill? What did he look like? What was his name? How old was he? Was he somehow related to Gordon Deitrich – a suspicion she'd had for awhile now? Was he related to anyone, anything at all? Or was he just a "regular undesirable", black-bagged by Creedy because he'd upset the Chancellor's poor little lapdog?
There were too many thoughts and too many strange answers to make sense of. She tried picturing his face in her mind, but it wouldn't work. Somehow, she could only see the grinning face of his Guy Fawkes' mask. And she couldn't imagine what he was like before she'd met him, either. The only V she knew was the loveable, vaudevillian, slightly insane V. The V who would read her stories from a book one day, then commit some wonderful act of high treason and terrorism the next. He was too varying, volatile, and vacillating to be tied down to one kind of description. Yet he managed to be all three, alike but different, in a decisive way. He knew what he was doing, even if nobody else did.
She wondered what his name could be. Was it something like Vincent Vargas? Or something much less appealing and/or fitting like Joe Earwig? What if he was related to Finch, or Gordon, or even Sutler? No, she decided firmly, he couldn't be related to Sutler. It was impossible for them to have the same blood in their veins, even if she didn't believe in the word 'impossible' – she had seen impossible things happen before, after all. Then, another thought: what if, under some horrible circumstance, his surname happened to be Hammond? She would much prefer him to be Joe Earwig than Joe Hammond by all means! But she ultimately decided he couldn't be related to her either. He wasn't her father, and no other male family member had been thrown into a camp. Well, if he wasn't Sutler, Hammond, or Earwig, where did that leave him?
What had his job been before he lost his memories? Was he an actor, or possibly a writer, or someone who designed weapons? Perhaps he was a scientist: he knew enough about explosives, after all. Had all of that knowledge been acquired after he shed his old self and became V? Or did he even shed his old self at all? Maybe he'd always been how she'd known him and he just didn't remember it. But that didn't seem very likely.
What had he done to get into the camp? Was he Jewish? Muslim? Gay? No, she thought, that didn't seem likely either. After all, it wasn't as if people could choose to be gay or not – and V had told her he had fallen in love with her. As far as she knew (and hoped) she wasn't a man. Why was he there, then? Had he always been a political activist? Had he known her parents, and possibly her?
Most importantly, why was her brain asking so many questions? She supposed she couldn't help but wonder, but it wasn't as if she had any answers right now. And she wouldn't, until she had read his file. She wanted badly to be there already, and she chewed on her nails with anticipation. She wanted to know him, wanted to know who he was. It was taking far too long to get there, even though she had napped for a little bit before. What was taking so long? Why was Finch driving so slowly?
She rested her head against the cool glass of the window, and watched as raindrops slid down it, being swept to the back of the car by the inertia. The country passed by in a blur as she tried, and failed, to focus on anything permanent. It all sped by so quickly, as everything was: temporary. But it didn't go quickly enough for Evey, impatient and wondering and worried and anticipating. She wanted answers, as she had for such a long time.
After years and years of driving, it seemed, Finch started to slow the car, and Evey sat up straighter, looking around. It seemed they were still in the middle of nowhere, but of course that was where the camps were. They were secretive, and isolated, and guilty of anything but having the happy-go-lucky atmosphere that set children's summer camps aside from 'resettlement' camps. She still couldn't see anything, though her vision was partially obstructed by the downpour.
Finch was leaned forward too, his nose nearly pressed against the windowpane as he scanned the road ahead of him. "We're almost there," he said. Evey didn't ask, nor would she ever ask him how he knew these things. She knew him well enough to be familiar with his 'feelings' – ideas that always seemed to be eerily right.
"There," he said abruptly, his voice full of… well, nothing. Completely emotionless. A quick glance at his face to see that it gave away nothing as well. The only thing Evey could tell was that he was not overly pleased about the whole affair, though he did seem to be anxious as well.
"Mr. Finch, you didn't read his file, did you?"
She didn't know why she asked. She knew before she inquired that he hadn't, and wouldn't, until she had. That was the way of him. Despite his occupation as a detective, he respected the wishes of others. And he was a good friend to Evey. He knew that she should be the first to read the files, and if he read them, it would be with her permission. It had been the same with her reading Delia's diary. She wouldn't have read it if he hadn't asked her to.
"There, ahead of us," he said.
Evey saw the looming building in front of them as soon as he'd said it, in between the rain and windshield wipers. It was a modern monstrosity, with the kind of detail and eerie silence she'd seen in old movies, or on ancient Victorian-style buildings. Gloomy though painted a pristine white, it boasted the kind of impersonality that hospitals seemed to have in abundance. It was sleek and professional, box-like and sprawling, with a clear lack of adequate windows. And of course there was a gate in front of it. The Norsefire was in much better shape than Larkhill had been, since it was only closed down less than a year ago. After Sutler's fascist government had fallen.
Finch still carried with him in his car the remote control gate-opener that all Party members had been given. He fumbled with it now, clicking the button, and the gate slowly, methodically, slid open without so much as a creak. Finch pulled the car into the lot in front, and parked the car closest to the main door, an ornate-yet-sensible piece of extravagance.
"Ready?" he asked. She nodded, and left the car, heading to the door. She stood in the tiny alcove as Finch pulled out the card key-to-the-city he'd obtained from Sutler's possessions. Inserting it into the tiny slot on the door, he punched in the Party access code and waited as the door unlocked. He pushed it open, then held it for Evey to enter.
As she did, she felt a sense of heaviness rest on her shoulders. In the gloom of the ultra-modern lobby, she couldn't help but imagine the people who had been here. People that were so much like V, her parents, and Valerie. The only consolation she felt was that as long as she was around, and the idea that V expressed, it wouldn't happen again. And she would do whatever she could to make sure that history didn't repeat itself as it so often annoyingly did.
Finch seemed to feel what she did as well. "Christ," he murmured, even though he'd been there only a few days before. Evey had never even set foot inside a real camp, besides inside the gates of Larkhill, which didn't count now that it was nothing more than a pile of bricks that had long ago stopped smoldering.
Rather than think about all the people who had so unjustly been killed and tortured here, she turned to Finch. "Where're the archives?" she asked, businesslike. She didn't want to let on that the place reminded her so much of the one that V had recreated in the Shadow Gallery. She knew all the camps were designed in the same style, though she was almost certain that V's representation had been based on Larkhill. Even if the two buildings were slightly different in their look, they shared an atmosphere, and shared their pasts.
"This way," he said, and began walking. She followed, though she couldn't for the life of her have remembered which way she walked to get there. She was too lost in her thoughts. The camp had reminded her of what V wanted her to learn and know and feel. It was so much like the place where she'd lost her fear, and her innocence. And it was so much like the place where he'd been enlightened, too.
Suddenly, they rounded a corner, and Finch unlocked the door to another room. This one was a room with a group of at least a hundred computers in it. Evey stared in awe at the rows and rows of machines, and then stepped forward, sitting down lightly at the closest one. Finch remained by the door, giving her space. He said one last thing: "You'll have to login as Sutler. He's the only one who has access to the camp archives."
Evey turned the computer on and it booted up, slowly at first, but gradually growing faster. When the login screen came up, she typed in Sutler's name and password, useful information she'd gained from Finch awhile ago. This opened to a desktop that contained only two folders. One read 'Applications', the other read 'Archives'. She clicked on the latter, and a list of camps popped up. Evey scrolled down until she reached Larkhill, and then she clicked on that one too.
Now there were more folders and lists: 'Employees', 'Finances', and then, what she wanted, 'Residents'. Inside was one more list. It wasn't of names, as she had thought, but instead the prisoners as listed by rooms. She stared for a long time at 'Residents of Room V', as if she was trying to make sense of a language she couldn't speak. Once she clicked on this, she'd finally have her mystery solved. All the questions she'd asked for nearly two years would be answered. She would finally see his face. She would finally know who he was.
And suddenly, she frowned. Was this right? Did she want to know everything? Maybe there was a reason he was such a mystery, a reason why he didn't even know who he was. He'd never gone searching for answers. He could have gotten in here, if he'd wanted. He was sure to have known about it, as he knew about everything else. Was it because he didn't want to find out?
No, maybe not. Maybe the answer was that he knew exactly who he was – and didn't need records written by strangers to tell him. Didn't she know who he was as well?
She bit her lip. She couldn't click on this. It was like taking off his mask. She didn't do that for a reason. So why would she do this? Even given the opportunity to find out something, anything, she knew she couldn't. She may not like it at the time, but it was the thing V would have wanted. Something that he trusted her to do. She didn't need to read about who he was, either. Because she knew, as he had.
She clicked on 'Residents of Room V', but only to highlight it. Then she pressed 'Delete', and emptied the trashcan. Sitting back, she felt free. She had erased the file completely from the computer, and so therefore from all of Sutler's files, and so therefore from everything. Nobody would be able to look up V and find answers that were never meant to be known.
She looked up to Finch and smiled. He blinked. "Did you find it?"
"Was it… who was he?"
"Mr. Finch," she said. "I remember you asked me that the night I met you."
He nodded, a little confused.
"He hasn't changed since then. He's still the same person as he was before. He was all of us, but he was an individual."
"So you won't tell me what you read, then?"
"I didn't read anything," she said, smiling wider now. "I deleted it."
He paused, taking it all in. "You deleted it?"
"I didn't have to read it, Mr. Finch. I already know exactly who he is."
"He's V, of course!"
Finch didn't look satisfied.
"Who he was before doesn't matter now. All that matters is that I loved him – love him, and he made a difference. He changed everything for us. Both you and I learned to open our eyes, learned the truth about everything. He taught us that. And… he taught us how to be free. Taught us how to live, Mr. Finch. Through what he taught us, we can see who he is. What he did is who he is. And what he believed, and taught us to believe. He was a man, but he was so much more. He was an idea too. He changed the world. It doesn't matter who he was before if you know who he became, and who he helped us to become."
Finch nodded slowly. "I think I understand what you're saying."
"He was V, and he still is, and that's all. That's all we need to know."
He wasn't dead, not as long as his ideas lived on. And his ideas were what made him V. She knew exactly who he was, and she loved him for it. Would always love him. And nothing could change that, as long as she remembered him.
Yay xD. Please review or I'll kill you:o Even if you thought it was crap and want to behead me because I got stuff wrong. And yes, I did make up the thing about the archives, but that's why it's called a fanFIC. xD
Plus, how do we know Sutler didn't know who V was:o He seemed to know more about him in the graphic novel, though in that he was a bit less evil-leader and more dammit-why-won't-she-love-me-back, talking of course about England.
Okaaayyyy anyway. xD REVIEW, in case you forgot after all my dreadful rambling.