A/N: Hey all, this is my first Fanfic, so enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own V or Evey...they are the products of Moore, Lloyd, Vertigo and DC
Musings in the Shadows
It was November the Fifth, one year to the day since Evey had pulled that lever and sent that train to Parliament. One year, she thought longingly, sinking lower into the deep tub, letting the bubbles rise around her shoulders. One year and not a word…nothing…she thought bitterly. But what had she expected? For him to just pop up one day at her doorstep? She had seen the blood. It had taken two weeks to get the taste from her mouth and the smell from her hair. Why was she clinging so needlessly to his last words to her? I will see you again Evey, I promise… she had been confused, but not afraid as he had turned to go. Cape swirling in the darkness like a flower opening in the moonlight. She had watched him go then, heart sinking into the floor as he padded away in search of his quarry that night. She sighed. Why had she believed him?
Soft boots danced their way through the cobble-stoned streets of London. Finally after what had seemed like an eternity, he was home. How he had missed her, his Evey. Could he call her that? He wondered, stopping to stare at the star strewn sky. Slowly, he turned the dozen roses he was carrying in his hands. Was she still his? Had she waited for him after all this time?
He remembered one year ago, leaving her alone to face the gallery's mysteries. Their last moments together had ripped his heart out; dying for her had been his last great act as Guy Fawkes. One that he ultimately had to perform so that he might have a second chance at living. But without her, was it really living? His gait paused again. He didn't want to think about it.
He remembered what he had left for her. The note. He had kissed it before placing it on top of the basket in which purred a tiny kitten, so that she would have a living soul around to keep her company. He remembered tying the red ribbon around its tiny neck and softly requesting it to keep watch over his Evey while he was away. Promising it that he would be home again soon.
He stood now in front of the tunnel entrance to the underground world that had made up his life for over twenty years. He took a deep, steadying breath, feeling his body shudder with nerves. She was the only force that could bring him to his knees. Bloody hell, old man, focus. He pictured Evey's smile, her kind hands intertwined in his, his lips kissing her fingertips in greeting. He breathed again, feeling the flight of the birds in his stomach as he pulled open the heavy steel door and walked into the darkness.
A lot had happened since last year. Evey had used some of the funds that V had left her to build a museum above the Shadow Gallery. It was small, for now anyway. She had taken the multiple paintings and antiques and catalogued them all and with the help of Dominic, and started the museum.
She smiled, thinking of Dominic and how he had acted like a mother hen for the longest time after the fifth. How silly he had been, checking in on her every night after work, bringing dinner with him. Trying to coax her from her shadowy home.
The truth had been that she did not want to leave. In the early days after V's death, she would sit in a corner and read, waiting for him to return. She waited a day, then a week. After a month had passed, the black tendrils of dread had started to weave their way into her mind. He was dead. He had to be. When this realization had hit her, it had felt like a slap in the face. She broke then. Lying in his bed, she didn't move for hours at a time, like when she was locked in the cell. She was a prisoner in her own mind.
She had stayed that way for almost a week. But Dominic had been there then too. He had gotten her to eat, and read to her so she would sleep. He would leave her a warm pot of tea and muffins in the morning. They were nothing near what V had made, but they were still comforting.
Dominic was a wonderful friend, she thought, but at the moment, her heart belonged to another.
A smile curved her lips as she remembered when she found Dante. The basket V had so carefully placed the note explaining what he wanted done with the paintings and other valuables, was half way across the floor and the basket was turned upside-down. She had picked it up carefully, feeling the weight shift inside of it as the kitten scurried around its box. She remembered the purring and gentle lick she had received when she reached in and pulled it out of the wicker cage. Dante was her hope that he would come back. He was the one who would play with her hair as it lay sprayed across the pillow when she didn't want to leave his bed. It was Dante who chased the shadows away when they seemed to enclose her in their grip. He was her panther, her protector, in the form of a house cat.
She looked at his sleek black form, still wearing the scarlet ribbon around his neck that V had put there. Dante stalked around the edge of the tub, swatting at bubbles that floated his way. He looked at her, his luminous green eyes flashing, his tail flicking slowly back and forth. She wondered what he was thinking as her eyes started to close.
Today had been a long day. The museum had opened and there were hordes of people that had attended the great memorial museum. She had smiled at the veterans, the children and their parents, hoping that they would understand why these objects were so important. At eight o'clock when the doors finally closed, she was able to take refuge in her underground home. She had slowly slid the dress that she had been wearing off, lit some vanilla candles and settled in for a nice long bubble bath. She sighed, the thoughts swirling around her head starting to lose their sharpness as she sank into a vanilla scented haze of weariness. She heard Dante batting at the water and padding softly around the edge; and sighing again, she let the quiet finally settle around her like a warm blanket.
V stood upon the threshold of the Shadow Gallery, his heart hammering. He could see the flickering of lights, so she must be in there. How to make the entrance? He could just see himself stepping thought the door, yelling, 'Honey, I'm home,' Evey would come from some room and greet him by throwing her arms around him, placing a chaste kiss on his lips. He frowned, that wouldn't do at all. He could recite a sonnet…he grimaced, no, that wouldn't do either. He sighed, and placed his ungloved hand on the door, praying that the right words would come when he needed them.
His feet led him through the gallery. He looked everywhere; she wasn't in the kitchen, sitting room, or her bedroom. There was only one other place and he swallowed in apprehension—his room. He paused as he came to his door, it was open and there was steam floating across the floor. He breathed, this wasn't what he had pictured, but the idea of seeing her…no, don't think like that…he shook his head violently, trying to clear the images of a naked Evey out of his mind…not yet anyway, he smiled hopefully.
He tread carefully around the room trying to peak into the bathroom without seeming as though he were some peeping tom. He saw her hand over the edge of the tub, okay she was in there, now what? He looked closer: her back was to him, her body relaxed as she breathed quietly. She was angelic, her wet hair clinging to her shoulders, the gold tendrils having grown back in a year. He reached out, wanting to touch them, they looked so soft. He stepped forward, considering several possibilities about how to approach this situation.
The tiny kitten he had left in his stead, was now making his way to him. He was a fine feline, slinking toward him, sizing him up, deciding if he were friend or foe. The cat jumped into his arms purring loudly. It was then that he heard her stir in the water and before he could hide, Evey had started to scream.
Evey's eyes finally drifted closed and the weight of the world had lifted off of her shoulders. Her breathing calm she let her mind wander into the foggy realm of not quite asleep and not quite awake. She saw herself, lying in the tub, stretching languidly as she got up and toweled off. Wrapping the towel around her, she turned to see a silhouette in the doorway. It was him. V.
Her knees buckled. He wasn't dead. He hadn't lied. He had come back. She walked cautiously to him, fingers caressing the mask. Slowly he reached behind his head and unclipped it. Pulling it away from his face, he let it fall to the floor with a thud. He motioned for her to follow him, speechless, she did. Listening to the sharp clicking of the boots that he wore.
Click. Click. Thud.
Her eyes shot open. The feeling that she was not alone spread to the pit of her stomach. She sank lower into the tub and covered her chest with an arm. Turning slowly, she looked to the doorway and screamed.
"Who are you? Get out!" The man started to run, she threw her robe on and ran after him, picking up one of V's knives that lay on her dresser. "What the fuck do you think you are doing in my home?" She screamed as she chased him to the sitting room. She had him cornered, "What do you want?" Her breath came in gasps. She waited for his answer. Muscles tense. Eyes wide.
He was handsome, on the taller side of six feet and well built. He had a full head of black hair, cut to about his cheeks and soft chocolate eyes. She paused at his eyes, they seemed familiar somehow. Tightening her grip on the knife, she chased the thought away from her mind, and raised the knife higher. His skin was smooth and clean, but very pale as if he had not spent much time in the sun. He wore black leather pants and boots, a white silk shirt and a long black leather coat. Smiling up at her from his left lapel was the Guy Fawkes pin made just for the museum's grand opening. She felt a chill crawl up her spine, he had stalked her…
Before her mouth could accuse him of anything, the man bowed low and started to speak in a full, Shakespearian tone. "Voila!" he paused for effect. Whatever Evey had expected, it hadn't been this. She felt her hand start to lower, and then corrected it, no slip-ups, there isn't anyone to save you this time, she thought.
"In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate." Evey was shaking, the knife falling to the floor with a clatter as she started to back away, tears filling her eyes. This had to be someone's idea of a sick joke. This couldn't be real.
The man continued, calmly stepping towards her. "This visage, no mere veneer of vanity is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished; a vital voice once venerated, now vilified. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation now stands vivified, and has fulfilled his vow to you, Evey Hammond." The man smiled and bowed again, taking her hand and kissing it gently. He swallowed as he brought himself to his full height, and continued to speak. "Yet verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it is my very great honor to meet you, again, and you may call me V."
Evey felt the room spin. This wasn't real. Her body shook and her vision blurred with tears.
"I have come back, Evey." He reached for her. His eyes were soft with concern. The eyes…they couldn't be…he couldn't be…he was dead! Her thoughts were fragmented, her reality spun around her, shattered and contorted.
"Get out!" She screamed, turning to pickup the knife, losing her balance and falling to a very real wood floor. Tendrils of inky blackness started to cloud her vision as the man bent down and started to pick her up. "Get…." She felt his gentle touch, "…out…," felt the couch he placed her on. Then she remembered no more.