A/N: Hey guys! This is my first story so please read and review! Love you all and enjoy!
I walked out from the train station and went to the rooftop where V and I first met, last November. I watched Parliament and Big Ben erupt in a majestic spray of fire. My head pounded with the 1812 Overture blasting throughout the city and the voices of thousands of cheering civilians. A lone tear streaked down my cheek despite the joy of freedom surrounding me. I slowly sunk to the ground, and watched.
It may have been seconds or hours that passed before the cheering crowds left the square to continue their celebrations elsewhere. The silence was broken by the sound of footsteps behind me, slow and cautious, but purposefully heading in my direction. I rose from my position on the gravel, dusted myself off, and turned to face the stranger.
It was a woman in her mid forties, with large sad eyes and proud smile on her face as she looked at the remnants of the clock tower. She then fixed her gaze at me, and spoke.
"It's beautiful, isn't it? But so sad as well," she said quietly.
"Yes," I whispered. I was slightly annoyed at the interruption of my peace. I wanted to be alone to mourn, and to savor his triumph.
"He would have been so proud. But of course, I doubt he would have stuck around, even if he was still alive." My eyes widened at this last statement. It almost sounded like she was talking about...him. "I'm assuming he's dead. I'm right, aren't I?"
"I don't know who you are referring to," I responded cautiously. The woman sighed.
"You and I both know who am I talking about: V." I gasped softly at hearing his name. I looked down as I replied.
"Yes, he's...he's dead." The woman's eyes filled with tears and she shook her head sadly.
"Just when I had hoped I would see him again, he-" She stopped and swallowed, her eyes fixed on the gravel beneath her feet.
"You...you knew him?"
"Yes, I did. Quite a long time ago. We grew up together."
"You must be mistaken. There is no way to know if V was the boy you knew."
"I would recognize him anywhere. The moment I heard his voice, I knew. Despite all these years, there was still something left in him of the man I knew. That unquenchable, indestructible fire, the way he mesmerized you with his words. There's no one else it could be."
"Who are you?" I asked.
"My name is Sandra. He probably never mentioned me."
"How did you know I knew him?"
"I have walked the streets of London tonight, and you are the only one not celebrating. You are mourning, and I highly doubted you were upset about the overthrow of the government." There was a pause. The we both sat down, facing the view of the city and watched together. After a few moments of silence, Sandra spoke.
"I don't think he could live after all this. What would he do? Running the country isn't his style. His revenge would be exacted to the final degree, he would have hidden away for the rest of his life. And what kind of life would that be, especially for him?"
"I'll still miss him," I whispered, looking down at my hands and trying to stem the flow of tears still streaming down my face.
"I know. I've missed him for nearly twenty years."
"Does the pain ever stop?" Sandra paused.
"Not really." The two women looked at each other with identical sad expressions. After a few moments of silence, I asked,
"What was he like? You know, before Larkhill." Sandra sighed.
"Rather ordinary to the naked eye. Not someone you'd remember if you passed him on the street. He had two normal parents, normal friends, and later, a normal adult life. But inside, he was always special. We talked quite a lot and during those talks I'd see how incredible he really was. And he used to dance, sometimes with others, other times by himself. Just dance, all alone, to beautiful classical music." Sandra's eyes glazed over as she reminisced.
"How did he end up in Larkhill then?"
"He was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. You see, I was friends with an aspiring actress named Valerie. We met in secondary school, and when we parted, we kept in touch. We, that is to say, V, my fiancee, and I, moved to the city where she happened to be living. We were going to meet for tea at her apartment. Her partner had been taken by the police and we I was desperate to cheer her up and convince her to leave the city. I was running late as usual, so I sent V to go on ahead and keep her company until my fiancee and I arrived. He and I arrived just as the police arrested the two of them. There was nothing we could do except watch. We heard rumors that they had been sent to Larkhill and assumed that they had both died.
Now, nearly seventeen guilt-ridden years later, I found out he was alive. And that he suffered so much. I came as soon as I could, to apologize for my mistake, a mistake that cost him his life, but it took me awhile. My husband was not keen on me coming and tried to stop me. But after nearly a month's arguing, I left in the night. And now, its too late. I missed him by mere hours." She began crying again, and I gently rubbed her back soothingly until she calmed down.
"So he was different now, then the man you grew up with?"
"Yes and no. The man he turned into was always there, but hidden. During one of our many talks, I had told him that in another life, he could have been great. It took quite an experience to change him, but I was right. He got another life, and did just that." There was silence for a little while, as I took in all the new information, things I had resigned herself to never finding out.
"It hasn't sunk in yet that he's dead," I said slowly. "I keep expecting him to come back, with a dramatic entrance and an speech with an extraordinary amount of Vs." The two women chuckled.
"So what will you do now?" Sandra asked.
"I don't really know. I'm not leaving Britain though. I'm curious to see what happens. Its a whole new world out there." I raised my arm and gestured to the city, some parts of which were still smoking. "V left me everything he owned, some of which must be kept safe, for when people are ready for them. But I don't think I can go back to his lair yet, its too soon. Too many fresh memories." Sandra nodded, reached one of her delicate hands into a pocket of her tan coat, and produced a folded piece of paper and a key, which she handed to me.
"Well, you'll always have a place to stay with me, until you're ready. This is my home address and phone number, as well as the address for my currently empty apartment in the city, if you want it. I never could let it go." Then she gave me a quick hug and walked away without a glance back. I realized then that I never told her my name: Evey.