Vivified: a Verbose Vignette
Author's Note: The line concerning V and explosions later on in this chapter is a reference to a story that I absolutely adore: "Foxhole Family" by Jinxeh. They wrote such a wonderful world that truly captured my attention, and never let it go once I had began to read. Thank you so much for a version of "V for Vendetta" that took my breath away just as suddenly as the movie itself had. I fell in love with V twice over through your wonderful and accurate rendition of his dramatis personae.
Evey walked back into the Shadow Gallery and paused, feeling the atmosphere of the underground home before continuing on. From her first steps into the main living area, she knew that Finch was worried, and V was very silently furious and fuming. So she drew in a deep breath, relaxing herself completely, then walked around the corner as silently as the masked specter himself.
V was hardly the one to be fooled by his own tricks. The wigged-and-masked head spun to face her, but the black-clad body didn't move an inch. Finch looked harassed, and Evey smiled to him. "Thank you, Inspector. Mister Dascombe asked if he could impose upon your time . . . ?"
"I'll bet that it has to do with controlling our streets again," he muttered, picking his trench coat up and swinging it around his shoulders slowly, walking noisily to the lift. He truly did not want to be here when all hell broke loose between the two. Evey didn't look to be the one with a violent temper . . . but she was as stubborn as they got. V, however, would be raising merry hell. Thank God that they did not have neighbors.
Once both man and woman heard the lift begin its ascent, they looked back at each other. Evey didn't move from where she stood, waiting for his words. They came in a low tone. "You said too much."
"You did save me. Unless you wish to recant . . ."
"Dammit, woman!" V sighed explosively, looking away. His anger was irrational, and it was an odd sensation to be so unfocused. When he had managed to get his emotions back under his control, he said quietly, "I thought that we had made an agreement."
"We did, and if you recall my words to Dascombe, I kept my side of the agreement." Moving to sit upon the coffee table in front of the former terrorist, Evey reached out to take the leather-bound hand within her own. His right arm was still held immobile in a sling. "V, what's bothering you?"
He didn't answer, and the set of his shoulders indicated that he wasn't going to answer. But of course the woman knew almost all of his nuances, almost all of his emotional and mental hang-ups. Evey rested his hand down upon his leg again, and reached up to pull the mask off, leaving the wig. She looked into his eyes, whispering, "Was it that you wanted to keep how we met a secret?"
"Evey, of course . . ." V's voice was regretful, tired, hurt.
"I . . ."
Silence fell, and her hands gently rubbed at his worry-lines, careful of the still-healing bruises. Closing his eyes, V let her, letting her care for him. After a short while, she whispered, "You wanted us to remain in mystery, didn't you?" Not about to let him interrupt, she added on, "And you wanted to be my private and very romantic hero, going without recognition for that simple act."
"How can you understand me so well?"
"You, yourself, gave me the means. I love you, V, and I thank you for all you've been able to show me and do for me. Let me take care of you now."
Sighing, he just opened his eyes and looked up at Evey, reaching up with his left arm to hook his hand around her neck, pulling her forehead to rest against his. They stayed there for a time longer than either would be able to measure. It was only the sound of the lift returning that caused them to slowly move apart. Evey helped V put his mask back on, then shifted her jacket so that she could reach the revolver Finch had issued to her. Her face hardened, listening to the footfalls that had left the lift. Within a flash, she had gone up to a corner, gun raised to chest-level. V smirked behind his mask, knowing exactly what she was doing.
Finch rounded the corner, walking into the gun. He froze, shocked, then looked at Evey, who put her gun up and smirked lightly. "Never assume that it's who you think it is, Inspector Finch." Holstering her gun, she walked back to V and sat upon the couch, leaving him completely without a metaphorical leg to stand upon. After a moment, however, Evey waved him over to the lone chair in the living room.
He sat, then spoke slowly. "Turn the telly back on."
V reached over and pressed the button upon the remote. They caught the person mid-sentence. "–ief to see that someone so strong can help us rebuild England." The unfamiliar woman had been stopped upon the street, and in the background was the sound of Evey's interview being replayed.
The field reporter turned to the next person, a man in his mid-thirties. "And you?"
"I feel that she's telling the truth about V. He wanted to change England from what it had turned into, just like the rest of us. The only problem for us was that we didn't have any idea how to organize ourselves, and he did."
"Do you look forward to seeing him again?"
"I'm not sure."
The man smiled sadly. "I lost my daughter in the last few months. She was twelve, wearing his mask, spraypainting his sign upon the Unity posters. If V is going to reappear and cause more trouble, then no, I don't want to see him come back. But this is the era he helped bring around."
"So you're saying that if he comes back and supports what he's started, then you'll support his reappearance?"
"Nasty circle you've painted, but yes."
The next five minutes were of other various bystanders. All but one said that they were looking forward to seeing Evey on the air again. All said that they wanted to see V.
"Damn." V stood and limp-stalked to his dressing room alcove. Finch frowned, but Evey stood, holding her hand up to forestall any questions as she moved to follow the man she loved. Finch nodded, and turned the volume up a few notches, not wanting to intrude upon what could only end up being a private conversation.
Evey found V staring at the bullet-sprayed mask that Evey had hidden in this room. He didn't look up as she walked up beside him, her hand upon the small of his back. His voice was
soft. "Why did you hide this?"
"How did you know I had hidden it?"
"Because when I woke up the morning after . . . it was a fresh mask. Only you could know where I had kept them, and where this one could be hidden."
"Yes, I hid it."
Evey willed herself not to cry, but it didn't stop the tears. "Because I didn't want to look upon it. Seeing the result of what you had done, seeing you so hurt that you weren't able to even take care of your own needs . . . It has been the worst thing that has happened to me since I had met you."
The mask slowly turned to Evey, and his voice was soft. "Gordon . . . ?"
"Including his death."
"Even . . . when . . ."
"Even when you had simulated Lark Hill."
Placing the pockmarked mask down upon his dresser table, V pulled Evey into a careful embrace, his left arm around her small shoulders, his right hand carefully upon her arm as she cried silently into his chest. "V, never ever get yourself that hurt again . . . because if you do, I'll finish you off myself."
"What a pleasure that would be," he teased, murmuring against her hair, his mask pushed up over his forehead. "Although it would have to be one I would have to forego." Kissing her forehead, he whispered, "It will be all right, I promise you."
But Evey took her time in drying her tears, leaning against the still-healing chest softly. And then V smiled and pulled his mask completely off, kissing her forehead, her nose, and then whispered, "I might be able to . . . mm . . ."
"No. Not until You're back to fencing against the suit of armor and not losing too much of your breath," came the soft reply.
"Does blowing things up in my study count?"
Evey laughed lightly, then shook her head. "No, it doesn't." She kissed him lightly, then replaced his mask with a smile. "Go rest. I'll have dinner waiting for you."
"One last thing," came V's voice, muffled by the steel barrier between himself and the world.
"By all means."
"The next interview will have me beside you."
"I'm not going to be intimidated by you sitting there glowering."
"I intend not to make the same mistake that I made this evening."
He began walking away, but said over his shoulder, "Assuming that you would answer things as I would."
"What do you feel should be addressed during this interview?" Dascombe asked, his voice at its most polite form. He was terrified of the man sitting in front of him, one arm held stiffly against his torso.
V's head tilted slightly, and Evey moved, catching his attention. She was sending him a
glare, daring him to say something mean and uncalled for. He grinned behind his mask, then muttered, "Oh, the usual blarney, to be sure. Politics and the like."
"Sorry, Evey, but I had to."
She just sighed again and shook her head. "Stop being so difficult."
"Ah, we are going to be doing the interview live."
"As I well know, Mister Dascombe." V's mask tilted very slightly to one side, and his left hand turned palm-upward in the slightest of shrugs. "I fear that you will ask me all the questions that I do not wish to answer. Nevertheless, I will indeed go through with this interview. Might I ask one question?"
"Yes, yes of course."
"Did you advertise that I was going to be appearing in the show today?"
Blinking once, the reporter's lips quirked up on one side, and his voice was lowered to a chuckle. "Of course not. I have film crews all over the city to watch the rushes towards all the public television sets."
"And for what reason did you do that?"
"Documentary purposes of the change of the era, as well as to report upon the impact of your person upon all of England."
There was a knock upon the door. "Mister Dascombe! Miss Hammond! The studio is ready!"
The sharp click of heels walked off, causing Evey to look at their host sharply. "Did you tell anyone that V was appearing upon the interview today?"
"Well . . . no."
After a moment of silence between them, Evey spluttered, laughing, while V allowed himself a good long chuckle while he stood carefully. Dascombe also stood, and he left the room while V held his hand out to Evey, helping her to her feet. With a smile, she moved to take her hand back, but the masked man tucked her hand within his elbow, escorting her to the door. Pausing before opening it, he stared at the handle for one moment. Evey whispered, "Are you sure about this?"
"No, but I need to face this at some point. It is . . . very different between now and the time before Norsefire had been brought down." He reached out and touched the handle before gripping it and turning it, startling a young reporter upon the other side as he walked out, Evey upon his arm. The woman stared for a moment while the couple stood very still in surprise, having not heard anyone in the hallway.
But then a bright smile split her face, and she straightened almost to a military stance, holding a hand out. "Please follow me to the studio. Mister Dascombe had me wait for you just in case you didn't remember how to find it."
"Oh, I remember it well, I assure you," V replied, but he allowed her to show them the way without complaint. Everyone that they passed stopped at seeing the stately black-clad man, seeing the slight limp and the stiff arm, but they also saw the set shoulders and the way the mask moved. These were the people who watched and rewatched the footage that V had left on that disk. They knew his movements while he appeared in public, and in seeing the actual man before them, the media lowered all cameras in respect and honor of the man who had brought them freedom. They had been planning to take a few publicity pictures of the young woman.
They hadn't expected this, and weren't going to tempt fate.
Walking into the studio, V caused all motion to stop. There were a few who had seen him in
this same room but under different circumstances. One stepped forward with a hand fisted, but another cameraman grabbed his arm. V bowed his head, one hand sweeping out lightly to include everyone in the room. "I feel I owe a few of you an apology for previous behavior."
"But we're free," someone whispered in the back. Murmurs affirmed that statement, and Evey gave a slight tug upon the arm of the former terrorist, barely enough to be seen and only hard enough to be felt. He nodded his head before proudly walking up to the set, securing Evey in her seat before he stood behind her.
"If you wish, sir, you can indeed take the other chair," Dascombe said as gently and respectfully as possible.
"I heartily thank you for your offer, however, I must decline for the moment." The taller man made a small gesture to Evey. "My dear Evey is allowed to be relaxed and at ease. She has been here before and the public know her, and more about her than they do about me. Allow me my quirks, Mister Dascombe."
With a smile, the younger man nodded, and turned to deal with a few things with an assistant that had come up with a checklist that he had to look over. It gave Evey the opportunity to turn and look up at V, hissing, "You will sit down before we're halfway through with the interview, or you will pass out."
"I assure you, I will do nothing of either sort."
"V . . ." her voice was a dark warning.
Sighing, he gave a small tip of his head to one side, then straightened from his bow to hear what she had been saying. "Very well. After the first commercial, I shall sit."
"Hsst! Rolling!" a young voice said, but it went ignored by those who were still on set. The lead cameraman looked around, then motioned to the soundmen to catch what was being said between the two former conspirators.
"You always worry about me, Evey."
"Someone has to."
"I am becoming painfully aware of that fact."
Dascombe looked up and around, then yelped, "Bugger! We're on air!"
The duo looked at him and blinked. ". . . what?"
And yet outside, the sounds of cheers were echoing down the streets at the sight and sound of the catalyst of their revolution was seen.