"veritably, it is tragedies the poets pen"
Genre: Drama, Romance
Time Frame: Movie Verse
Summary: They had been so very much alike, she reflects now - words as masks, and scars unseen as they built castles in the other, only to be torn down again.
Notes: For the year of 2011 I am embarking on the terribly ambitious 50 Sentence Challenge - which involves writing for four sets of 50 prompts a month. This will inevitably slaughter the laws of grammar, and lead the muse into seldom written territory, but that is the whole fun of it, I suppose. You can track my progress on my profile page, if you are a curious type. If not - this set screamed V, and who was I to ignore such pointed inspiration for the muse? Exactly.
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, but for the words.
She meets a man in the streets who showed her 'music' in its truest form; and her own self at her basest level . . . someday when history told their tale, she was sure that there wasn't a poet alive who could properly channel the pain and epic beauty that her time with him – and in remembrance of him – truly was.
Their story had started simply – dirty streets free of mire, and yet immersed in them, with a girl dressed for an evening she'd never see and a man in a cloak and a mask with a talent for rhetoric and knives – in the end, she was not sure which was more dangerous.
His words are angry words, powerful words, words that would strike and barb and cause red to flow and black to fall as he implored the trembling citizens to act – to take back their own from the government's hands.
She knows right from wrong, has a sense of morals and ethics, and yet these things seem as fluid as ocean tides when she stepped behind the Detective, can of mace raised and her fate unwittingly sealed.
He sees her laying prostrate on the floor, her forehead blooming with an angry bruise and circles her once, remembering his own time under this government's control – the needles and the slate cell and all consuming flames and the nothingness of the memories before that – and he doesn't need to circle her twice before deciding to take her with him.
She has never felt claustrophobic until taking residence underground with V; his words – that she couldn't go, she had to stay, until the fifth at least, rang in her head until a nauseating mix of anger and suffocation rose in her; she was not his to take – he could not just veto her right to choose . . . just like they had.
She sleeps well, but she wishes she didn't; food here is a delicacy, but she wishes it wasn't; her host is oddly charming, and she wishes her lips would frown instead of smile when he was around.
She is amused at his use of other men's words, and he doesn't exactly tell her that after twenty years of only books for company, the words on their pages were the only company he has known – it seemed only natural to pass on their companionship in kind.
"When a government fails its people, it lies in the people to render that contract between state and citizen void – these are the oldest principles that humanity has built on and cycled over," he insists fervently, an excuse for his actions, if not the truly motivating force behind them.
Off of the main gallery, there was a case with antique weapons from the whole world over – when Evey chose an elegant set of twin blades (Okinawan sai, to be exact, circa 1581) he took the pair from the case for her, and smiled under his mask at her clumsy attempts at gracefully wielding the weapons.
"It is not mine," he whispers, voice low and his black garb slick with blood - his boots had tracked crimson on the stone floor behind him, staining her shaking hands a rusty shade of copper as she clumsily mopped it up.
She is fascinated by the art that he had saved from Sutler's 'blacklisted collections' and silently marveled at the fact that she could hold hands with Venus de Milo before turning to decode Mona Lisa's smile – and when David's depiction of Napoleon Bonaparte's coronation drew an actual laugh from her lips she could feel V's gaze on her – apparently she wasn't the only one to find the piece ironic, in more ways than one.
V is the main subject of the BTN's news feeds for full on a month, and still a popular subject for weeks after that, and when she went to turn the acidic and truly horrific stories they spun around him, he stayed her hand over the remote with a softly spoken, "There is value in knowing what is commonly known and expected to be taken as fact."
He falls asleep with his mask on once (head lolled back, and blueprints over his chest like a blanket), and while a part of her moved forward without thinking (surely he couldn't be comfortable with that hard plastic thing on as it cut into his skin) she was unable to make her hand connect with the ties in the end.
Sometimes, it was hard to equate her verbose and courteous host as the madman and terrorist that everyone was told to fear above . . . sometimes, she had to forcibly remind herself of just that.
Lewis Prothero is declared dead of natural causes; and yet, it takes only one question to the brutally honest and unashamed man at her side to know the truth.
Her new flat tries to be nothing more than it was – small and seedy, with few questions asked, and not even a glance at her shaven head – a new fad, she tells the landlord, who truly doesn't care.
He watches her as she furiously tries to smooth the fuzz of hair that remained over her scalp in front of one of the mirrors, and while he understood her ire, a small part of him had to fight away the urge to whisper that she still looked inconceivably lovely to his eyes, sure that his opinion would not be appreciated in that moment in the least.
He makes her pancakes her second morning in the Shadow Gallery – a delicacy she had not had since she was a child, and her family still alive and whole – and the added touch of vanilla sounds like an apology, as soft as it was.
He knows that if he broke down what was clumsily built, then what stood in its place when he was done would be stronger than any version of herself she has known before . . . and still, her sobs behind the door of the cell rock him to his core.
The Bishop's hands on her skin, as her warning and confession rolled off her tongue, and a part of her understood why V would strike today, even as she blanched under the knowledge that she was trying to save a dead man worthy of his fate.
She watches from her hiding place under the bed as Dietrich was taken – red staining his forehead in angry patters and an apology in his glazed eyes, and this time she forces herself to remain silent.
"Masks, cloaks, tricks, a flair for murder and kidnapping young girls – and still dementedly charming," she lists off the similarities on her fingers, a copy of Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera in her lap, while V understandably defended that there was a moral view that he and Erik held differently (all the while wondering what she would say if he said that there was more still that he and the fictional character held in common).
He shows her The Count of Monte Cristo, and he doesn't bother to stop himself from quoting the whole film aloud – at least she smiled, however slightly, when his voice changed pitch for every character – especially when Count de Morcerf's voice was an exaggeratedly unmanly squeak on his lips.
Fifty days exactly after she was freed from V's make believe cell, she watches the BTN newsfeed, and keeps it on for the whole of the program through, and she feels a rage echo alongside the certainty she now carries within her . . . she is no longer afraid; she is righteously indignant.
She stands by the piano, her fingers dancing across the ivory keys as if she were trying to remember a forgotten memory (before, that is what she dubs the time of her life not scalded by Sutler's reign), and her playing remained clumsy until he stepped beside her, his own fingers teaching her how to play once more.
If she could feel nothing, then she could feel no pain; if she could fear nothing, then they no longer had any hold on her . . .
The same black bags that had taken her parents – erased them from memory and her life – fell over her, and she let herself scream and scream and scream . . . but no one heard but for her captor, holding her arms in a crushing grip.
"I'm Evey," she whispered, and his mind snapped at him – E, fifth letter from the start of the alphabet, just as V was the fifth from the last; fifth, like the V of a roman numeral that had named his cell, the only name known to him . . . he is not a man who believes in omens, but in symbols he knows never to turn a blind eye.
She sees him as he is tying the mask once, and catches only a glimpse of skin, raw and angry and so, so red, before her view was obscured.
There is a scrap of orange cloth in the bottom of his closet, still stained with blood and reeking with the scent of human perspiration, and he takes it out to quell the rise of feeling in him, unwanted and unwarranted, that he couldn't quite shake . . .
She, like every other person in London, receives a parcel with a cloak and a mask within, and her fingers shook as she caressed the familiar hard lines and faux smile of the Guy Fawkes persona, a pang as tangible as missing inside of her as she looked at the calender and noticed it was only five days until the fifth.
She plays twenty questions with him to pass the time – and while there are some questions he won't answer (can't answer, he tells her regrettably, honest as always) he is able to state his top fifty favorite books of all time when she merely asks for one.
Their hands on her . . . their eyes on her, heavier than touch as they took her dignity, the clothes off her back and even her hair and threatened to take her life as well . . .
She holds her hands out, and screams against the ruptured sky above, her voice a fearsome thing that the storms themselves couldn't quite match . . . and in that moment pride and empathy erupted through him as he felt the whole of her echo in his own veins.
He reads to her often (Virgil, Voltaire, Vernes, Verlaine, and Valejo – when he picks; mostly Shakespeare when she does) and when she teasingly said that if she could judge a person's appearance from their voice alone, then he'd was handsome to her mind's eye, he went very, very still before carrying on Viola and Orsino's final lines.
She finds a bottle of vodka when riffling for the cabinets, and her teasing words on it were cut coldly short when V shrugs and says, "It seals and cleans wounds more efficiently than most solvents I have experimented with."
For her brother, for her mother and father, for Valerie and the man he no longer remembered being himself, for the thousands like him who had perished, and the millions who now lived in fear . . . for her; it is for them his vengeance lives and breathes.
Sometimes he remembers it; the flames chasing over his skin and the rage that fueling him like hell's own fire, when he does he reflects that ocean waters had caressed over him now, leaving stone, cool and fortified in their wake.
She is shopping on her scant funds in an unsavory part of town when she finds herself picking out things he would like – a pair of jeans that she was sure he'd never wear, and a clown's mask – and it takes her the whole of her walk home to realize that she was no longer angry . . . there were too many other things to feel for that emotion to survive for too long . . .
But that didn't mean she would ever forget . .
She comes to him late in the evening on November the forth, and he waits with baited breath to see some flicker of emotion from her, waiting to see if she had forgiven him, if she had missed him as tangibly as he had felt her absence these last few months . . .
The knowledge that those precious few months were wasted, them apart with angry things between them, was something that would haunt her until the very end of her.
"V . . . please, right now, don't quote them – I want to hear what you have to say; you."
Her hands rested uncertainly on the ties to his mask, and his hands over hers (like a plea) trembled ever so slightly (like burnt paper on the wind); and yet, she can't remove her hands until he does his.
She paces outside of the train, waiting for him to return, her pulse hammering in her throat and her tears a dark and burning thing on her face as she let herself show a weakness . . . he always was one to her as much as he had called a strength in her.
He had once told her that killing was only a means to an end, and he struggles to remember that as blood spilled (his and theirs) and last breathes sang on the air (theirs now, his later) . . . to feel anything else would mean to become just like them.
He had not counted on falling in love when he embarked on his Vendetta, but it is that unplanned phenomenon that keeps his aim steady and his faltering step strong enough to make it back to her . . . even if it was just for his final moments.
Her hand is still on the train's lever; she doesn't shake or falter . . . but she felt only numb inside as she sent V on his final journey, away from her, to be reclaimed by the flames he had been created by . . . this time, she hoped the fires would cleanse and renew the man they turned to cinders in their wake.
She watches London rejoice as the buildings of Parliament fall . . . but she could only close her eyes and remember the man behind the idea that now united them, and miss him more with more fervency than any revolution could ever inspire.