Sorry for the delay, lovelies, but here is an update! Enjoy!
"Gordon, I'm speechless!"
Evey was beaming as she twirled in front of the mirror in her dressing room, admiring the beautiful garment that graced her slender figure.
"You like it?" Gordon asked, smiling broadly at making such an excellent choice in her wardrobe.
"I absolutely adore it, Gordon. Honestly." Evey twirled once more before she took a final look in the mirror. The dress was a deep, violet satin that glimmered softly in the light. It was strapless, and Evey was thankful that Gordon had selected a number that wasn't too revealing. The dress did flatter her though, accenting her more favorable features, while downplaying her flaws. The skirt flared out slightly, and fell right above her knees.
"Wonderful! I do pride myself in having good taste, but I was worried about you and your pickiness." Gordon winked. He rose from his seat then, and presented Evey with yet another box. He had been shoving them at her since the moment she arrived there at the BTN headquarters, showering her will all things needed to become a television star.
Evey rolled her eyes; another box? Evey wondered what else he had decided to box and wrap in a ribbon. Everything had been prepared in this fashion: the dress, her jewelry, a hair clip, even her shampoos and soaps. She sat down, and proceeded to unveil the newest surprise.
Of course. How could she have forgotten about the shoes?
"Gordon, you overestimate my coordination. How on earth am I going to walk in these?" Evey raised an eyebrow questioningly as she picked up one of the shoes that had been tucked neatly inside the box. The heel was far taller than she was used to wearing by almost an inch.
Gordon rolled his eyes at this. "All you have to do is walk the twenty feet out to the chair, and the twenty feet back. Really, Evey, I trust that even you can handle it." He offered Evey his seat so that she could put on the heels. He watched in amusement as Evey struggled, and laughed all the more as Evey stood wobbling like a new born foal.
"Perhaps I've misjudged your abilities to walk that short distance." Gordon laughed, and held out his arm to support Evey and prevent her from falling. She took a few more precarious steps while hanging on his arm, until finally she was able to take more confident strides without his assistance.
"Let's just hope I don't fall over myself while everyone in England is watching!" Evey let a nervous trill into her laugh, catching herself by surprise. With all of Gordon's distractions, she had been able to keep her mind off of the butterflies that had been slowly building in her stomach. Of course she was used to being on the tele, but this was very different. She was meant to be charming, funny, and beautiful; she had to fit the roll of "Princess of the Revolution" rather than V's fierce accomplice. While she was simply making an address, however, all she had to do was read her own speech with inflection in certain places. She never had to worry about laughing at a hosts' jokes, or interacting with a studio audience, or answering Gordon's questions.
The questions. Those were what really troubled her. The idea that she was going to sit on stage and be interrogated was unnerving. The personal questions she knew Gordon would be asking were hard for her to answer. But at the same time, they were the answers that she knew the people needed.
The butterflies were stirred to action once again when there was a sharp rapping on the doorway, and a small feminine voice called out, "We're on in five, Mr. Deitrich."
Evey shot a worried glance at Gordon, who only let out a soft chuckle.
"For someone as insanely brave as you are, you would think that a talk show interview would pose no problems." Gordon stepped forward and grabbed her shoulders. "Evey, you'll do great. You know the questions, and you've already prepared answers. Someone will come get you in a little while when it's time for you to come on, alright?"
At that point, the young woman returned and knocked once more before actually opening the door. "Mr. Deitrich?" She looked rather annoyed at having to retrieve him once again. Gordon dismissed her with a flippant wave of his hand before giving Evey one last smile and a gentle, fatherly kiss on the cheek.
He followed the assistant out then, leaving Evey alone in her dressing room. She plopped down into the more comfortable seat in her dressing room and sighed quite loudly. What was she getting herself in to?
"Good evening, London!"
V had heard this phrase, and even uttered it himself, many times since the start of the revolution. But he had never heard it said with such enthusiasm or charisma as when Gordon said it as he traipsed his way across the stage.
Although V considered Gordon to be a good man, and even a friend, he had never before watched his talk show since it had started again. This time of night, when he was not on the prowl for rebel activity, V was usually wrapped up in a book or in more recent nights, wrapped up with Evey. But tonight, Evey was the subject of Gordon's show, and V wouldn't have missed it for the world.
Gordon began the show by launching into his humorous opening monologue, looking dapper as ever in his fancy suit and clean shaven face. But V only partially listened; he was really only interested in Evey's interview, and anything else Gordon might have to say in regards to the revolution. But he knew that any matters of substance would come on later in the show, so for the moment, he was entertaining himself with his chess set.
In his twenty years of solitude, V had never had an opponent to play chess with, and when Evey had first come to him, he wouldn't have dared to suggest that they play together. So, in order to keep up with one of his favorite hobbies, V had begun to play alone, trying to outsmart himself each and every move. This method had actually allowed him to become an incredibly proficient chess player. V was waiting for the perfect day to challenge Evey to a match, and see how good he really was.
Now, he was playing with the ebony set, moving his knight up and over as the rules dictated in order to protect the queen, which had fallen into a trap of his own design. He continued nonchalantly like this for several minutes, not taking a preference for either set, but letting the game play out as it may. V often resorted to this chess set when he had reached some mental block or obstacle in his planning. It forced him to think clearly, and also objectively.
V was in the process of checking the ivory king when he noticed that Gordon had returned from his commercial break, and was now beginning to introduce his first guest. V took the introduction as a chance to set the board aside and reset the pieces, so that he could start a new game after the show. Once the board was in its rightful place, V settled himself on the couch and began to watch.
"Our first guest this evening is someone that we all know. She has been in our homes, our offices, and our lives for the past year. She has led us in times of trouble, and will continue to do so as we prosper once again. She was once a wanted terrorist, but I'm happy to say that the charges have all been dropped. Please give a warm welcome to our very own Princess of the Revolution, Evey Hammond!" Gordon motioned over to the grand, golden curtains that were now drawing apart. The audience was going absolutely mad, cheering and clapping, and the frenzy only grew once the guest in question stepped out onto the stage.
V had to catch his breath when he first saw Evey walk out onto the stage. Her first few steps were rather unsteady and unsure, and her smile was rather timid. But once she had taken a few steps, she strode out confidently with a beaming smile. Her tight curls bounced as she walked rather precariously on a high set of heels. V followed the strappy shoes all the way up the long curves of Evey's legs before he reached the satin fabric that graced her figure. She was absolutely radiant in the dress that Gordon had chosen; V was certainly very appreciative of his choice. After Evey had waved a few times to the crowd and had given Gordon the obligatory hug and greeting, Gordon escorted her to a plush armchair, where she perched lightly.
It was obvious to V that Evey was quite nervous; but to the rest of London, he knew that her charade of confidence was fool proof. The little foibles that V had picked up on in his time with Evey were evident now; she was fidgeting with a bracelet that she wore, and her foot bounced up and down at an irregular beat. Her final tell was her constant biting of her cheek; it was slight, but V could easily pick up on it. But when she spoke, Evey kept her voice even and calm.
"Ms. Hammond, let me begin by telling you what an honor it is to have you here on the show!" Gordon said with a charming smile. Evey laughed softly, which V found quite endearing.
"Well it's an honor to be here."
"So, Evey, let's start from the beginning. We've all heard the rumors; you and V were childhood friends and conspired together. V kidnapped you and forced you into cooperation, or even the other way around. Or that V saved your life, and you both fell desperately in love and vowed to vanquish the government together. We know the speculations; but how did you really get dragged into all of this?" Gordon asked as his first question. V had to chuckle slightly at how close Gordon was with his last statement. V had saved Evey's life, and he had fallen in love. It took him longer to find out and actually accept that she had as well. Although the way Gordon described it was certainly more romantic than what had actually transpired.
Evey's reaction seemed to indicate that she too had noticed how close Gordon's final guess was to being correct. She raised her eyebrows slightly as he mentioned it, and a slight blush crawled up her neck. However, V doubted that anyone would notice that, as no one in London would be watching Evey as closely as he. And if they were, he might just have to pay that someone a visit.
"Some rumors have more merit to them than others. I can assure you that V and I were not childhood friends, and he didn't kidnap me and force me to cooperate. And I certainly didn't kidnap him." V had to laugh yet again as he listened to Evey respond. He was trying to picture how that situation would play out. "But V did save my life, the night he destroyed the Old Bailey. And after that, I saved his life. Of course, he turned around and returned the favor immediately. But after that meeting, he knew that I was a wanted terrorist. So he kept me hidden, and we struck up a close friendship."
"And when did you become a revolutionary?"
"I'll admit; it took me a while to figure out what I thought of the whole mess. I was scared, but V showed me a way past my fear so that I could do what I knew was right." V saw the tightness in Evey's face as she mentioned this; it was an incredibly generous way to describe the horrors he had inflicted upon her. He felt his own features twisting in a mixture of anger and pain. "My parents had also been revolutionaries before they died, so I suppose you could say I've had many influences in my life."
Gordon seemed to notice the tension in Evey's posture, as he quickly changed the subject.
"Many people expected you to take a more significant role in the new Government, like a political office. Why didn't you?"
V watched as Evey bit her cheek and looked up to the ceiling, thinking. "I wanted to lead, but I never really wanted to have such power or authority. I just felt that that was a job for someone else. V sent me down this path, and I wanted to send the people down their own path as well." She responded.
This brought a soft smile to V's true, mottled visage; he couldn't have been more pleased to hear Evey's words. It meant that she understood. She understood, but more importantly, she had accepted his own motivations.
"Speaking of leaders, do you have any news in regards to the upcoming elections?"
Evey nodded, "The elections are still set for the fifth, and the ballot is coming along. We'll actually be issuing some pamphlets in the coming weeks to give everyone the information they need to make an informed decision. So everyone, make sure you get out and vote! This is your government." Evey addressed the people directly.
"So I take it that we won't find your name on the ballot anytime soon?" Gordon chuckled.
Evey laughed right along, "That would be correct. I won't be accepting any political office, save for the semi-political office I have now."
"And that would be director of the English Cultural Department. A lot of people don't really know what you do, exactly. How have things been going there?"
"Things have been moving along really well. Essentially, my department is trying to get England back on its feet in the cultural sense. We want to return London to the cultural hotspot that it used to be. Many of you may have noticed the museums opening again, and the Norsefire propaganda being torn down. It's a slow process, but the department is responsible for all of these changes."
"Well you all have been doing a wonderful job, I must say. Are the rumors of a revolution museum true? Or is that classified information?" Gordon asked with a wink.
Without missing a beat, Evey gave Gordon a very serious look before responding, "If I told you that, Mr. Deitrich, I would have to kill you."
There was a roar of laughter and applause from the crowd, and the pair on stage smiled and laughed with them. It shouldn't have surprised V to see Evey coming alive on stage, nor should it have surprised him that the audience absolutely adored her. She was quite the renaissance woman, he thought with a smirk. Was it any wonder he was in love with her?
"But in all seriousness, we are currently working on the plans for the museum. We'll begin construction within the next few months, once the last of the designs have been approved. I'm very excited to share this project with everyone; this is by far my favorite project, and I'm very passionate about it."
"Would you be willing to give us a hint or two?" Gordon asked playfully. Evey laughed, causing another shiver to run down V's spine.
"All I'm going to say about it is that it really is something special. It has something for everyone, because it's everyone's revolution."
Gordon rolled his eyes dramatically, "Well if you aren't going to give us anything in regards to the museum, perhaps you'll indulge us in some more personal matters."
Now, V was certain that anyone watching the show could have picked up on how stiff Evey had become when Gordon mentioned that. Evey had told him that Gordon had given her a list of questions he would ask her; based on her current reaction, personal questions hadn't been on the list. V's own anxiety was starting to build. What could Gordon possibly ask her that would make her so uncomfortable?
But as quickly as the tension appeared, it vanished, Evey coughing slightly to cover up her small misstep before smiling at Gordon. "I suppose, although there really isn't much to tell."
"Nonsense, everyone has an interesting story to tell!" Gordon started. "Now I want to just get this question out of the way, because I know this is the one that everyone is dying to hear."
Once again, the tension was back in Evey's posture and try as she might to hide it, V could easily see the falseness behind her smile. She was back to fidgeting with her bracelet as well, and V wished that he could have intervened right then and there so as to remove her from this uncomfortable situation. Oh V knew that Evey would be able to hold her own in this conversation, but it was distressing to say the least as he watched her squirm, and have no way of assisting her.
"Go on," Evey stated stiffly.
"Are you seeing anyone? A charming, influential woman like yourself is bound to have many admirers."
"Are you asking for you, or for a friend?" Evey quipped, completely deflecting the question. This caused the audience to burst into laughter once again, Gordon laughing right along with them. But V saw through this clever retort as a way of buying herself more time to actually answer the question.
And what would she say? What could she say? 'Oh yes, Gordon, I'm currently seeing the terrorist V, whom everyone believes to be dead.' That certainly wouldn't be her response. But he saw the conflict in Evey's eyes. She didn't want to lie, but the truth would have devastating consequences.
Could V also admit that he was terrified that she was ashamed to be with him? And that would keep her silent? This was of course the dark, angry voice rattling around in his head again, but the voice was powerful. It bent him to its own will, leaving him powerless to defend himself from its vicious attacks. He was forced to listen to it constantly. He tried to shake this thought; after all, he knew the logical reason that Evey couldn't say anything.
Yes, he would admit that this thought was there inside his mind. But he would not bow to the thought; he would fight against it, and wait for Evey's answer.
Gordon's voice snapped him back to attention.
"Oh I have many friends who would love to know, my dear. But I just want to do my civic duty as a reporter of the news." Gordon fired back. Now, he was staring expectantly at Evey. Her face was still plagued with conflict, and finally she took a deep breath and began her answer.
"I gave you a misleading answer, earlier. I said that V and I struck up a close friendship, which was true. But it developed into so much more than that. I fell in love with V. Completely, irrevocably in love. And I didn't have the chance to tell him that before he died. So I won't ever be 'seeing anyone'. I wouldn't ever be able to."
Gordon knit his brows together. "Why is that, Evey?"
Then, Evey let her eyes flicker over to the camera, ever so slightly. It was just enough so that V's own eyes met with hers. She wasn't talking to Gordon anymore, this he knew. Now, she was personally addressing him.
"Because I gave my heart to V; and he took it with him. He'll always have it. It belongs to him, so it could never belong to another." Evey finished with a soft smile, and a few tears welled up in her eyes.
V had been waiting for his answer, and he certainly had one now. He wondered how many blows like that it would take to silence that wicked voice in his mind once and for all. Even Guy Fawkes' charming smile couldn't have come close to rivaling that of V's, and V actually had to remove the mask for a brief moment to wipe away the two, fat tears that had caught in the corner of his eyes.
The audience was now on its feet, and the applause was almost deafening. At this point, Gordon rose, taking Evey with him, and gave her a huge hug and a kiss on the cheek.
"Evey Hammond, everybody! We'll be right back after the break with our next guest!"
V watched as Evey smiled and waved at the crowd for a few seconds, before the screen flashed to a commercial break. Would he ever stop being proud of his incredible woman? Would there ever be a day where she didn't completely surprise him and make him fall even deeper in love? He hoped that he would never see that day.
V was never impulsive. It simply wasn't in his nature. He always carefully thought out and strategized his every move. But something inside of him made him forget every part of being logical. V quickly rose, shut off the tele, donned his hat and cape, and strode out of the Shadow Gallery and into the dark London night.
Once the cameramen had given the all clear, Evey and Gordon both walked backstage. And once there, Evey turned sharply on her heel and jabbed an accusatory finger at Gordon, anger seeping from her pores.
"What on earth was that?" Evey seethed. "I thought we were sticking to the questions you wrote out for me!"
Gordon held up his hands in defense, trying to look as innocent as possible. "Evey, what was I supposed to do?"
"Stick to the questions!" Evey shouted. She threw up her hands in exasperation and let out an angry groan. "Gordon, how was I supposed to answer that? Don't you think a little heads up would have been nice?"
"Evey you answered it exactly as you would have had I given you time to prepare. Of course, it was the truth wrapped up in a lie, but is that not the way you feel?"
Evey opened her mouth to fire off another biting retort, but found that she didn't have one. It was true; given the circumstances, that truly was the best answer she could have given and still have been truthful to herself and more importantly, to V. That didn't change the fact that she would have liked a little time to prepare, however. So with one last sneer in Gordon's general direction, Evey turned on her heel and stormed down the hallway towards her dressing room. She could hear Gordon laughing behind her as she went.
The first thing Evey did when she entered her dressing room was plop down in the nearest chair and yank the shoes off of her feet. This act was soon followed by throwing them across the room, in the general direction of the box they had come in. Once she was free of the shoes, she stood and retrieved a pair of jeans and a shirt. Evey quickly shed the constricting layer of purple satin and let it pool on the floor at her feet. Now that she had on some normal clothing, Evey's next move was to the bathroom to wash off the excessive makeup that had been plastered onto her face.
Evey felt much better once she had washed away all of the makeup, even after her moment of revulsion as she watched the water in the sink run with color. Although she had furiously refused more than her usual amount of makeup, Gordon was persistent; he explained that the lights used on the show were far brighter than in her address, and any flaw would be easily picked up on camera. He pleaded with her for a good five minutes before Evey had finally agreed to be painted up like a porcelain doll. If it would make Gordon happy, or at least pacify him, she would do it.
Evey was walking out of the bathroom when she finally noticed that something was amiss in her small room. It was a wonder she hadn't noticed it earlier. Sitting on the vanity was the most beautiful bouquet of violets, wrapped in a white ribbon. Evey could hardly contain the smile that erupted onto her face; there was only one person who would send her violets. Evey immediately located the small card that was tied on the ribbon.
My Dearest Evey,
Your performance tonight was magnificent, and you looked positively radiant. I thought the violets would be fitting for my own dear Viola, as you know the connotation roses carry for me. Congratulations on a wonderful show.
Might I also add that violet is a wonderful color on you, love?
That was all, as anything further could have given away his true identity. Evey couldn't stop the small tears of happiness that now slid down her cheek. She pressed a soft kiss into the paper, having to make do with that until she could present the mask with one. Then, she quickly slipped the paper into her pocket, grabbed the fragrant bouquet and made her way out of the dressing room.
It was a challenge to maneuver through the congested production area, as interns and assistants buzzed about constantly, all moving full speed ahead, shouting orders, and never slowing down. One young man was so focused on his current task that he nearly knocked Evey over. Evey had to perform some incredible acrobatic feats to steer out of his way, and keep the flowers safe.
Finally out of the madhouse, Evey was welcomed by the brisk, London air. She only paused for a moment to enjoy it, however. Evey had somewhere she would rather be.
It took her a moment to transfer the vase to her other hand and search her purse for her car keys, and try and open the door. After nearly dropping the vase, and successfully dropping the keys, Evey was able to rather un-gracefully squirm her way into her small car and get the flowers situated on the passenger seat. Evey was finally on her way home, and to the person who mattered most.
It was hardly a shock to find V lounging nonchalantly on her small sofa, reading a book; in fact, Evey had been expecting it. But it was still bizarre, seeing V in her small flat. He didn't quite fit in; Evey was so used to seeing him surrounded by either the cityscape or the wonderful treasures of the Shadow Gallery. Yet somehow, the fact that V seemed so out of place seemed to make the moment all the more wonderful.
V remained silent, watching, as Evey quickly placed the bouquet he had brought her on the kitchen counter and dropped her purse next to it. Her eyes only left his when she had entered the kitchen; she had completely entranced him with her commanding stare.
Evey situated herself next to V on the couch, who welcomed her into his embrace without a second's hesitation or even a flinch, which Evey took great note of. Once she had curled comfortably into his arms, she stared up at him with a smile.
He chuckled at the simplicity of her statement. So many things could have been said, and she seemed to say it all in those two words. "Hello Evey."
"Thank you for the flowers, V. They're gorgeous."
"They paled in comparison to you, love. You wear the color even better than they do." V offered, being entirely truthful.
"So I take it that Orsino was pleased?" Evey smiled wistfully, alluding to the note that was attached to the violets. Behind the mask, V's smile matched that of Evey's.
"Oh he wasn't nearly as pleased as I, and if so, perhaps I should have a word with the Duke himself." V quipped. Evey laughed softly, something that always sent V's heart racing.
V found himself absent mindedly stroking Evey's short, curly hair, something that he delighted in doing. Had he gotten so attuned to this show of affection that it was becoming subconscious? Instinctual?
Whatever the reason, Evey certainly wasn't complaining. V watched in delight as Evey's eyes fluttered closed and she let out a contented sigh as she buried her face into his chest. He should like to see that damned voice of his challenge him now!
"You really liked the show?" Evey questioned, her voice softening.
"Of course, Evey. It was absolutely wonderful. I recorded it down in the Gallery, in case we wanted to watch it again later." V replied.
Evey laughed at that, "I've already lived through the nerves, I don't think I need to watch myself going through that again!"
"Nonsense. You were completely stunning. The audience was completely enthralled. One might go so far as to suggest you have a future in show business."
V both felt and heard the large sigh that erupted from Evey's petite frame. Her muscles were tense; however, he could feel them beginning to loosen up as Evey grew more tired with each passing second.
"Evey, you must be tired." V began. Instantly, the tension in Evey's muscles rose, and she let out a huge groan.
"Why do I get the feeling that you're trying to get rid of me whenever you say that?" Evey grumbled into his chest.
"Or perhaps, my dear, I only wish to prevent you from passing out due to exhaustion." V reasoned. At this point, Evey sat up and stared directly into his black eye screens. V let out a very audible sigh; yes, he knew that she was going to be difficult about this, as she always was.
"Well, then you know my condition." She stated defiantly.
V's eyes widened, and he was glad that Evey couldn't see it. Now, he could feel his darker voice rattling around in its cage, awakening from its slumber. He knew what Evey was asking. She wanted him to stay. He had done it once before. It wasn't that he didn't want to; because he desperately did. But it was incredibly nerve-wracking, especially when it was at Evey's flat, which left him vulnerable.
"Evey…" V began to protest, but was cut off.
"V, you know that you have nothing to be nervous or worried about. I want to be with you, V. And if you're worried about being here, we could just walk to the Gallery. I don't have anywhere to be tomorrow, so we could just stay in and watch a movie or something. I could even be persuaded to watch my performance from this evening, if it meant I could spend that time with you." Evey concluded her argument by placing her hand gently on Guy Fawkes' cheek and drawing V close. Her final statement wasn't a verbal argument; it was a soft peck on the forehead of the mask, and a meaningful stare.
How could V ever go against her infallible argument?
"If that is what you wish, Evey." V acquiesced with a large sigh, although he wasn't too terribly upset. How could he be? It was getting to the point where Evey was constantly arguing to stay with him. Why was he even putting up a fight against her? He should want her to argue for that; and he should want her to win that argument every time.
Evey rose, yawning as she did so. "I'll be just a minute, V." Evey wanted to fetch a few articles of clothing from her room before they headed down to the Gallery for the evening. But before she did, she made a point to turn and give V a victorious smirk. That earned her V's rolling eyes, although she would never know.
It was no accident that Evey selected V's old shirt for her pajamas that night. She hardly ever slept without it, and although she would have the actual man keeping her company that night, she still wanted to have it with her. After rummaging around her drawers for a few minutes, Evey was able to find a shirt and a pair of pants for the next day. She threw the clothes together in a small bag and then went to meet V in the living room.
"Do you have everything you need, Evey?" V asked politely, standing with his cape and hat on, ready to leave. Evey nodded in response.
Because it was simply impractical for a dead man to walk right through the building where he could easily be spotted, they decided to take the fire escape. V had suggested that Evey leave through the main entrance, which was met with the rolling of her hazel eyes. She said that this would be just as easy, and would waste less time. V had already lost an argument to her that night, and was not prepared to start another with her, so he simply let the matter rest.
V helped Evey carefully out of her window, which he closed firmly after them. V did go first; that was something that he would not argue about. The fire escape itself was in good repair, but V would have preferred to go first should anything be waiting at the bottom.
The pair decided that it was late enough that they could take the nearest tube station, as there would be little chance of detection. They started off at a brisk walk, although V had to slow his stride considerably to compensate for Evey's smaller steps.
It didn't take long for Evey to start up the careful dance of brushing her hand against his; however, this time, V was prepared, as he knew what the desired end result was. After Evey's first "accidental" brushing of hands, V simply took her hand in his, ending any unnecessary delay. V was able to cast a secretive glance to his side to catch the wide grin on Evey's face, which brought an even wider one to his.
The walk to the station was short and uneventful; the couple hadn't run into single living soul, save for a stray cat they saw foraging in a trash can. The entrance into the tunnels appeared to be blocked off and boarded up, with several "caution", "danger", and "no trespassing" signs. There were even several posters that still carried the old Party's slogan:
STRENGTH THROUGH UNITY, UNITY THROUGH FAITH.
Seeing the posters sent a small shiver down Evey's spine. It was not out of fear, but out of revulsion that caused this reaction inside of her. V sensed this, and could sympathize with it. However, he kept the posters there to keep up the illusion of the tunnels being both unsafe and inaccessible.
The boards that hid the entrance actually formed a false door, with a latch hidden underneath one of them. It was another ingenious setup of V's own design; he had rigged most of the entrances like this, so that only he could get in. Of course, he had also shown Evey these tricks.
Once they stepped into the tunnels, the couple was enveloped in darkness. For his own part, V had no trouble seeing in the dark thanks to his heightened senses. However, it would take Evey's eyes longer to adjust. He felt her draw closer to his side as she transferred her grip on his hand to a steadier grip on his arm.
V concluded that installing some light fixtures in this area of the tunnels would be in order. He had never stopped to consider that walking through these dark tunnels alone would be unnerving to Evey; after all, he had done so for twenty years without a second thought. Of course, V had become used to seeing her as the strong, confident woman of his own design. But Evey relaxed once they reached the portion of the tunnels that had motion sensor lights installed, and returned her hand to V's. V was struck by how natural the gesture seemed to be for her.
Once the pair had entered the service tunnel that led up to the Shadow Gallery's entrance, Evey seemed to release the last bit of her nerves and tension. V released Evey's hand only once, so that he could better maneuver the secret latch that opened the door to the Gallery. Once the wide door swung open, V gestured with a flourish towards the inside. Rolling her eyes slightly in amusement, Evey led the way inside.
Evey let out a contented sigh once she was inside the main rooms of the Gallery. Being here in this space that was so intrinsically "V" always brought about a sense of ease and calm for Evey, despite some of the more distressing memories this place also held. The atmosphere was always warm and welcoming, as if all the fine works of literature and busts of long lost philosophers were calling out a friendly greeting to her whenever she walked in. Even V's suit of armor seemed to embrace her willingly into the Gallery.
Of course, none were more eager in their welcoming than the resident of the gallery himself. V graciously helped Evey out of her jacket and took her things to her room, where she could retrieve them when she retired for the evening. When V returned to the main room, he found Evey leaning up against the Wurlitzer. She was biting her lip, something V knew she did when she was deep in thought or concentration. V positively adored this small quirk of hers, even from Evey's first days in the Gallery.
"Can I get you anything, Evey?" V asked politely. This stirred Evey from her concentration, and she turned her head to the side just enough so that she could look V in the eye.
"No thank you, V." She replied with a smile. And with that, she returned to flipping through the juke boxes 872 songs.
V could see the exhaustion playing on Evey's features; however, he could also see the very familiar glint in Evey's eyes. Oh no, she would not be heading to bed anytime soon if she had any say in the matter. Deciding that it would be no use in trying to coerce her into retiring, V offered another idea.
"Perhaps I could interest you in a dance?" V asked, suave as ever. He took a few slow steps toward Evey, who turned her gaze back onto his enamel visage, a mischievous smile alighting on her angular face. With a determined push of a button, Evey turned all the way around to face V as her selection began to play.
Billie Holiday's voice crooned out of the Wurlitzer, as V wrapped Evey into his strong arms. The corner's of V's mouth turned up into a smile at Evey's choice. 'All of Me' had always been one of his favorites, though he never thought it truly applied to his life. He was certain that this choice had to do with Evey's earlier declaration on Gordon's talk show.
"An excellent selection, love." V purred as he and Evey twirled and swayed to the music. Evey hummed in agreement. She rested her head on V's chest, perfectly content to rest in his protective arms.
V recalled the last time he had danced with Evey; the circumstances were certainly different. Then, on the eve of the Fifth, hours away from completing his vendetta, the dance the two had shared was both a goodbye, and a cruel reminder to V that he would always be alone. He had never dreamed that he would have the chance to hold Evey in his arms. He was glad that she had allowed him that, before he went off to die.
But now, V had the opportunity once more, and he was very glad that the reasons behind the dance were far different now.
The couple danced together until the song slowly faded out, and then Evey dropped her hands from V's shoulders and wrapped them tightly around his waist, burying her face into his chest. Now, after prolonging the inevitable, Evey's exhaustion was finally catching up with her. She was beginning to slump, rather than support her own weight.
"Evey, you need to sleep." V began.
"V…" Evey began to protest, but V would not have any of it. He had already lost enough arguments to her that evening over the matters of rest.
"Evey, you have delayed sleep long enough. Look, you can barely hold yourself up! Come, I'll escort you to your room so that you can get ready." V released his hold on Evey's waist, although Evey didn't waver in her tenacious grip on V. Rolling his eyes at how childish Evey could be when it came to bedtime, V simply scooped Evey up into his arms. This normally would have resulted in a string of protests, but Evey just let out a groan that sounded suspiciously like "V".
Once inside her room, Evey requested to be let down so that she could get ready for bed. V acquiesced, setting her gently on her feet and supporting her shoulders in case her balance was still precarious. Once V was certain that Evey wouldn't simply topple over, he left her to her own devices.
Once V left, Evey quickly changed into the pajamas she had brought and grabbed her toiletries before making her way to the bathroom. There, Evey inspected her reflection in the mirror. She had actually missed a good portion of the studio makeup left over from the show, which she carefully scrubbed off. After she was sure that she had completely removed any traces of makeup, Evey brushed her teeth and quickly ran her brush through her short hair. With a final glance in the mirror, Evey exited the bathroom and made her way back to the main room of the gallery.
She found V lounging casually on the chaise, reading a book, although she didn't recognize it. She stood silently in the doorway for a few moments. Of course V knew she was there; his impeccable hearing was no match for even her lightest of footsteps. But neither of them made a move. Evey was engrossed in observing this man, silently reading as if he were no more than a statue.
For V's part, he felt suddenly uncomfortable under the intensity of Evey's unwavering gaze. He knew that there was no ill will behind her stare, but the feeling of eyes roaming over him had never been something V liked. But he was paralyzed, and so he waited, squirming, for Evey to make the first move.
"Are you coming, V?" Evey asked when she finally broke the silence. It was a soft, quiet question that was rhetorical more than anything. Evey had already made it clear that that was her one condition that evening for actually going to sleep. She had even ventured all the way down into the Gallery to make V more comfortable. He wasn't about to weasel his way out of it.
V sighed, although not loud enough for Evey to hear. Yes, he would go, as he had promised her he would. He was a man of his word, if anything else. And he knew that he would feel more comfortable now that he was sure that they were safe, here in the confines of the Gallery. But it still never failed to completely unnerve him. He had hoped to have a few moments alone with a book to soothe his frayed nerves.
"Yes, Evey. I'll be there in just a few moments. I want to finish this chapter." V responded, hoping he didn't sound too nervous, but also hoping that Evey would continue to be understanding.
Evey pursed her lips. It would have been easy for V to send her off, and let her fall asleep and never keep his promise. She was about to argue this point, but then she heard the strain in V's voice. Evey berated herself for being so insensitive, and for not believing in V. Of course he would come to her; he had promised, and Evey knew that V would not lie to her. So she simply let the matter drop.
"Alright," Evey said softly before padding down the hallway. Once she entered her room, Evey cracked the door slightly before climbing into bed and crawling under the covers, trying to keep the chill of the Gallery at bay. Once she was situated, Evey let out a huff, and began her wait.
V doubted that he would actually be able to finish the chapter he was currently reading, so instead V gently placed the book down and rested for a few minutes. Before the sinister voice in the back of his mind could even rattle the bars of its cage, V began to think back on all of the moments that would prove it wrong, so as to give him strength against his own demons. He thought of their first dance, and their most recent. He thought of all the kisses that had been presented to the mask, and more that would follow. He thought of Evey's beautiful letter; he mentally recited it, already having memorized it. But most importantly, he thought of every time that Evey had said those three little words, "I love you."
After several minutes of those positive thoughts, V rose from his seat. Now would be as good a time as any, he reasoned. V walked quietly down the hall, not wanting to wake Evey should she already be asleep. When V gently pushed the door open, Evey really did appear to be asleep. She always looked so peaceful when she slept; V always thought that she was gorgeous while she slept. No worries plagued her beautiful features.
V walked slowly to the opposite side of the bed, where he tentatively sat down in order to remove his boots. How easy it would have been, in that moment, to just walk away. To give into his fears and worries and just walk back out to the main rooms of the Gallery and lose himself in a book. But V knew he couldn't do that; and he wouldn't do that. Not to Evey.
V eased himself onto the bed, and quickly situated himself under only the duvet cover, not the sheets. V rested on his back, staring up through black eye screens at the ceiling. Although there was nowhere in the world V would have rather been, he was still horribly uncomfortable.
However, that all changed when Evey stirred next to him. She flipped onto her opposite side, so that now she was facing V rather than the door. Her eyes were still closed, but V now recognized the charade of sleep that she had put on. Evey squirmed the last few inches onto V's side of the bed, where she was welcomed into V's waiting arms. V heard her sigh of contentment, and replied with one of his own. With a final glance at the wonderful woman at his side, V was finally able to close his eyes.
They immediately fluttered open an instant later, as V felt the familiar electric shock pass through the mask. Evey had pressed a soft, gentle kiss onto his enamel cheek, sending a jolt through the mask and his entire body. V glanced down at Evey, who was now resting just as peacefully as she was seconds ago. V watched for a few moments as a soft smile grew on Evey's face. And one grew onto his own as Evey whispered:
"You'll always have my heart, V."
That definitely ran away with me a little bit, I was not anticipating such a long chapter but I'm glad it was as long as it was. (My chapters are slowly getting longer, even if not a lot is going on. Pretty awesome, if you ask me.) Also, I wanted to send some HUGE shout outs to the following: Sarahthepirate98, Luxor-destroyerofworlds, and especially Krytial and Miss E for your incredibly sweet reviews. (And EVERYONE, thanks for reviewing, its not that I don't appreciate all of you guys but I really wanted to send a few special shout outs for reviews that really made my day. I love all of you, mmmkay? 3)
The next update is honestly gonna take me a while, because I'm anticipating a huge chapter. A lot is happening, as we actually get a little plot development rather than the fluff that has been taking place as of late. I'm super excited, it should be a good one! Also, I'm gonna try and post updates about my updates on my profile. So if you're wondering about the latest, check it out there and I'll have some news! R&R but mostly enjoy :)