Authoress's Note: Merry Christmas/Happy holidays/insert your phrase of choice here to all! Here is my gift to you, so I hope you like it. The title of this story is taken from an image – you can find it by typing in "Merry Crisis and Happy New Fear" into the search engine of your choice. Doing so will also bring up the history of the phrase, should you be interested. The inspiration for the story comes from the title, my desire to write a holiday tale and my obsession with dystopian fiction.
Disclaimer: The authoress does not own V for Vendetta or any of its characters, nor does she own anything that is the creation and/or property of someone else. The authoress is in no way profiting monetarily from the creation of this story. This story is the work of the authoress's own mind; any similarity to any other story on any other site is pure coincidence. Please contact the authoress should an issue arise. No copyright infringement of any kind is intended.
The holidays in Sutler's England were nothing to envy, at least not as far as Evey was concerned. It was only the second year for Christmas and it seemed as though nobody quite knew what to do with it. Before now, Christmas had been forbidden as one of the many things Sutler and his cronies deemed a "threat to national security," though nobody knew exactly how. For years there had been no Christmas – no delicious feasts, no pretty cards, no highly-anticipated presents, no cheesy wrapping paper, no colorful bows, no trees with twinkling lights and sparkling decorations. Christmas, instead, had been one more dark, dreary, fear-filled day in the lives of Londoners. A few brave souls had always attempted their own celebrations, but were always caught and harshly punished. Or disappeared.
Until last year. Last year, one of Sutler's cronies had suggested (either very courageously or very stupidly) reviving Christmas as a way to stimulate the failing economy. He had suggested that perhaps encouraging the purchasing of feasts and cards and presents and wrapping paper and bows and trees and lights and decorations could throw some much-needed money into the markets, thereby boosting sales and, it was hoped, public morale. (What the poor man had failed to recognize was that public morale was as dead as public hope in change and a better life.)
Still, Sutler had cautiously agreed to the plan against all predictions and stores had carried a limited supply of Christmas goodies. Not everyone had participated in the holiday; many believed it to be a trap for which they would be charged with treason and punished. When they saw how their neighbors escaped unscathed, they cautiously resolved to participate the following year.
Which is how Evey had ended up in this line at the store, tinsel and Christmas ornament in hand. The line was long, but there was only one checkstand open, and people were only buying one or two small things to decorate their homes with. She still was not confident that this was not a colossal joke Sutler was playing on the masses (and apparently nobody else was, either), though she could not pass up an opportunity to bring a little sparkle to her gloomy apartment. Why not? If she was to be punished for the holiday, at least she could enjoy it.
Nobody had predicted how popular Christmas would prove to be. It was nowhere close to the near-hysteria levels in other parts of the world, but it had done what Sutler and his team had set out to do – pump their citizens' hard-earned money into a weak economy, which had experienced a respectable boost after the holiday last year. It was hoped that this year that boost would go from "respectable" to "earth-shattering," though Evey doubted that would be the case. Citizens, despite their joy, still looked over their shoulders in the streets and hushed those who outwardly displayed too much excitement. There was simply no telling when this occasion would go from state-encouraged to state enemy. Best to keep your head down and hurry along as usual.
Scurrying back to her apartment, Evey tried to remember the last time she had enjoyed Christmas. It must have been when she was a little girl, before…before…before a time that she could not bear to think of. It was too painful to think of the past, and she was sure many Londoners shared the same opinions, though no one dared say so aloud for fear of seeming like they were criticizing the government and being black-bagged. You can be black-bagged for almost anything anymore, Evey thought gloomily.
Reaching her apartment, Evey hurried in out of the cold and dropped her loot on the counter. This place really was depressing, but it was all she could afford. The BTN hadn't paid well this year – Sutler hadn't thought they were doing a good enough job reporting the "news" and so their salaries had been slashed to shreds. She took a long look around before deciding to wrap one of her garland strands around her headboard and the other over the door. The ornament would receive a place of honor on her vanity in a little stand she had bought for it earlier in the week. Briefly, Evey wondered if she should fetch more decorations. She really felt it would lift her spirits, but she simply could not afford it. Her landlady had been kind enough to delay the due date for her rent one week, and decorations were nothing if she had no place to put them.
Still, maybe one more garland wouldn't hurt…
Authoress's Note Part 2: Evey and V do NOT know each other at this point in the story. No word from the Muses on whether that will change or not. Also, this story is not set at any particular point in either the movieverse or the novelverse.
So, what do you think? Would you like to read more?