A/N: *Movieverse* After seeing V for Vendetta, I found myself utterly annoyed by the character of Evey. I started to wonder what the story could have been like if the woman V had met in that alley had been a little stronger and a lot more determined. This story is the product of that.
A/N 2: Chapter 1 has been edited & reuploaded.
Disclaimer: I own nothing...except Dara. She's all mine.
"So, I read that the former United States is so desperate for medical supplies that they have allegedly sent several containers filled with wheat and tobacco—a gesture, they said, of good will."
Dara glanced over at the television, brush pausing just above the crown of her head.
"You wanna know what I think? Well, you're listening to my show so I'll assume you do."
She rolled her eyes, the brush once again moving with long strokes through her hair. "We're listening to your show because we only get one bloody channel you great git."
"I think it's high time we let the colonies know what we really think of them. I think it's payback time for a little tea party they threw for us a few hundred years ago. I say we go down to the docks tonight and dump that crap where everything from the Ulcered Sphincter of Asserica belongs—who's with me? Who's bloody with me?"
She pulled her hair into a ponytail high on her head, not quite able to hold back her snort of disgust.
"Did you like that? USA —Ulcered Sphincter of Asserica. What else can you say? I mean, here was a country that had everything. And now, twenty years later, it's what? The world's biggest leper colony. Why?"
One boot was tugged on, laced.
"Godlessness—let me say that again—Godlessness. It wasn't the war they started…it wasn't the plague they created—it was judgment."
The second boot followed its mate.
"No one escapes their past. No one escapes judgment. You think he's not up there? You think he's not watching over this country? How else can you explain it? He tested us, and we came through. We did what we had to do."
She stood, bringing the belt that had been draped across the bed with her and clasping it round her waist, the black leather scabbard fixed to it bumping against her hip.
"I was there. I saw it all—immigrants, Muslims, homosexuals, terrorists—disease ridden degenerates. They had to go!"
"If only they'd taken you with them," she breathed as she adjusted, swinging the scabbard and the sword it housed into the proper position at her side.
"Strength though unity—unity through faith! I'm a God-fearing Englishman and I'm goddamned proud of it!"
She reached for the remote with a snort of disgust. "That's quite enough of that, thank you very much."
Blessed silence filled the void that was left after Lewis Prothero's vitriol died away, and Dara breathed a sigh of relief. The Voice of Britain indeed. He certainly was not the voice of her Britain.
Grabbing her coat from the hook behind her bedroom door, she eased into the supple, worn leather as she left the room, the length of it falling to her ankles and hiding her weapon from view.
Her flat was small but cozy, decorated with an eclectic eye and a haphazard hand—Chinese Silks hung beside Russian iconographic prints; French noir posters were tacked up next to American Indian sand paintings. That they were all blacklisted items was a source of some pride for her. In fact, from the art on her walls to the extensive collection of DVD's tucked neatly onto several racks beside the television, the majority of her apartment could easily have gotten her black-bagged should the Finger ever have reason to search it—which made it all just that much more precious to her.
Crossing the small living room in five strides, her hand was poised above the doorknob when the telephone rang.
"Bugger," she muttered, knowing instinctively who was calling and why. She suffered a long moment of internal debate, but eventually decided that she'd better answer. She had already ignored two calls that evening and even she wasn't sure she could talk her way out of the lecture that a third would earn her. Stalking back across the room, she lifted the receiver from the cradle and brought it to her ear.
"Where the bloody hell've you been? We've been calling you all bloody night!"
Wincing at the raw, paternal anger in Will's voice, she shifted the phone to her other ear. "Right, sorry 'bout that—got outta work a bit late."
"Nonsense," a second, feminine voice chimed in. "You didn't pick up because you didn't want to hear what we had to say."
"What am I, psychic?" Dara protested, despite the truth of the accusation. "How the hell am I supposed to know what you're gonna say?"
"Don't play stupid with us, my girl," Liz snapped, "It's both annoying and unbecoming. I wish there were time at present to give you the dressing down which you so richly deserve, but I'm afraid we haven't that luxury."
Dara tensed, recognizing the urgency of Liz's tone. "What's happened?"
"Nothing yet," Will said, the same resolved wariness in his voice. "And we're still meeting at the normal time and place…but you're to go straight there. No wandering tonight, Dara—and that's an order."
"You're making a lot of fuss over nothing. I had a hell of a day, so I wasn't planning on any wandering tonight anyway." The lie came out so easily that she almost felt guilty. It wasn't that she disliked lying in general-she was actually quite good at it, truth be told-but she absolutely hated lying to them.
"Don't give me that load of rubbish," Will snapped. "You'd walk the streets if you were on your last bloody legs, Dara Turner, and don't pretend otherwise! You're gonna hang up the phone and then do exactly as you please, as you always do. Don't know why we even bother trying to keep you in line!"
Irritation burned away the last of her patience and Dara let out a growl of frustration. "Keep me in line? What the hell do you mean, keep me in line? I'm not a child and I know this game! Been fighting this fight longer than just about anyone, haven't I?"
"We know that, Dara…"
"Do you really?" Dara cut in, quite thoroughly angry. "Because it sure doesn't seem like it! Fucking hell, you two…someone's gotta be out there keeping watch!"
"Have you been paying attention at all today, luv?" Will's voice was sharp. "Yellow Code tonight, which means that the Finger's gonna be out in droves once curfew's past, and it's just gone half nine."
"So?" She could feel the glare through the phone. "Christ, Dara…d'you want to get black bagged?"
"Yeah…I'd like to see them try," Dara scoffed, rolling her eyes.
"Well I wouldn't," Liz broke in, voice hard. "And talk like that makes me extraordinarily uncomfortable, Dara. You're getting overconfident, and that's dangerous. It doesn't matter how good you are or how strong you are—it could happen to any of us."
"You think I don't know that?" Dara snapped, "You really think I don't know that every night could be the last? Well let me assure you that I absolutely do. I know perfectly well that I could die out there tonight. But that doesn't change anything. It doesn't change what I do. And it certainly isn't gonna change the fact that I'll be out there tonight, doing what I do. I'm sorry if that's not what you wanna hear, but it's the way things are. So you can save your breath trying to convince me otherwise."
Neither Will nor Liz doubted her determination—the girl had a will of iron and the tenacity of a bulldog. But while they couldn't fault her for her dedication, neither could they embrace her recklessness nor her foolhardy obstinacy. Her stubborn refusal to comprehend the concept of strategic retreat had long ago proven to be her greatest weakness.
"Dara," Will deliberately pitched his voice low and soft, hoping that an appeal would work better than an order. "Luv…you've gotta understand—we need you safe. You're the best we've got, and we can't afford to have you taking unnecessary risks."
"Wouldn't be the best if I didn't take unnecessary risks," she retorted. "So unless you plan on coming over here and tying me down, Will, you're just gonna have to deal with it."
"It's not just because of the curfew that we want you to stay out of sight tonight, Dara," Liz interjected swiftly, suspecting that they were very close to being hung up on. "Something is going to happen tonight—something big. We've heard rumors…"
"I don't care if tonight just so happens to be the Second Coming of Christ," Dara cut in, impatient to be done with the conversation. "I'm wandering and that's the end of it. Quite frankly, all this conversation's doing is wasting my time. I'll see you soon…same time, same place."
"Goodbye," she said with unflinching finality, then pulled the phone from her ear and mashed the off button, severing the connection. She dropped the phone back onto its cradle then headed for the door. By the time the phone started ringing again, she was already half way to the lift down the hall.