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.

My thanks to firefly and Kamonra for the reviews!

My apologies for the wait. This chapter took much longer to hammer out than I anticipated.

Please be sure to read Authoress's Note #2 at the end of the chapter before you leave any nasty comments.

The day of the party arrived. Or rather, the day of the biggest party arrived. Smaller, more intimate, more uncomfortable parties for the higher ups at the BTN would follow, but this evening's party was for the lowest of the low – the go-fors, the interns, the janitors and the like. This was the party when everyone involved could drop the rigid politeness of the office and simply enjoy themselves for the evening. This was the party Evey was expected to attend.

Gordon sincerely hoped he wasn't being…well, creepy…about it, but he did hope that Evey would come as she had said she would. He also knew, almost for a fact, that he would be watched this evening, though he could not predict by whom.

Naturally, the party that Gordon cared the most about would be the one that had the most things go wrong before the guests even got there. He gladly assisted his cook in preparing the feast (for he was a fantastic cook himself), but both of them had seriously underestimated the amount of time it would take to cook all this food. As of right now, late afternoon, not one thing was finished save the applesauce, and that was because it had come from a jar. The poor turkey had been forgotten about, all by itself in the oven, and so had burned beyond all hope or recognition (and filled the kitchen with smoke and the house with an awful smell). Neither chef was sure they had time to start another, but decided to risk it with the hopes that if it didn't turn out quite in time it wouldn't be missed by the dinner guests. (Gordon had promised the cook that in that case, she could finish cooking it and take the entire thing home to her family.)

In addition to the kitchen debacle, Gordon was right in his estimate that the tree would not last the holidays without toppling over. It had done so at roughly three in the morning, falling with a spectacular CRASH! that jolted him from sleep to investigate, convinced he was about to be carried away by Fingermen that had just burst into his house. When he arrived downstairs, however, there were no Fingermen to be seen, just his beautiful tree on the floor, glass ornaments and lights smashed to bits. Their wicked shards littered the formal living room and hallway floors and he was forced to traipse upstairs for a pair of shoes before he began what would be a long clean-up job.

Evey wasn't sure if she was excited for this party or not. It was sure to be a lovely evening, but an evening was a long time to dig yourself into a hole when one of your superiors who could determine your fate, Gordon Deitrich, was watching. She didn't think he was the type to judge or destroy based on a Christmas party, but she had learned long ago not to put anything past those bastards at the BTN. They'd sell anyone out if they thought it would advance their position – and it usually did.

Sighing, Evey yanked a brush through her unruly locks (of all the days to have a bad hair day!) and growled when it got stuck on a particularly troublesome knot. After a few moments of tugging, it came free and she threw it across the room in frustration before stalking to her closet to decide what to wear. Mr. Deitrich could just deal with her half-done hair.

The party would have one guest who was, unfortunately, not invited and might destroy the evening. It was Eric Finch, complete with orders to observe the proceedings and report anything untoward, though how he chose to interpret those orders was entirely up to him. Because of this, he decided to give the showman a little privacy and park a car across the street from his house. This way, he could follow his orders but not disrupt the privacy of the affair.

V smiled at the gift currently gracing the middle of his living room. It was from Gordon, a thank-you for helping him acquire all the necessary foodstuffs and miscellaneous items for his party. It was a medieval knight's suit of armor, a reproduction of course, but still worthy of the masked man's presence. Gordon had even sent along a few swords for the inevitable battles to come. How his friend knew him well!

As Gordon stood on his front stoop, welcoming the last of the dinner guests to his home and thanking his lucky stars he had set his house aright in time, he couldn't help but notice the black car sitting rather conspicuously across the street. Shaking his head, Gordon couldn't help but pity the poor soul assigned to watch his every move tonight. It was bitterly cold and a light snow was falling, and the poor fellow didn't even have the car on to keep him warm – no doubt in an effort to not waste precious gasoline. As much as out of the goodness of his heart as in an attempt to curry a little favor, he would make the gentleman's job a little easier...

Finch nearly jumped out of his seat at the polite tap tap tap on his window. He hadn't been paying one whit of attention to Deitrich or his dinner guests. He was baffled to see Deitrich himself standing there. Rolling down the window, he issued a terse, "Yes?"

Smiling a little, Deitrich handing him a tall, warm thermos full of…

"Coffee. Freshly made and still very hot, so be careful. Cream and sugar packets are in the cup that's screwed on to the bottom. No, I didn't poison it," he said. Pausing for a moment, he continued, "I don't like what you're doing and by the look on your face, you don't either. Still, there's no reason to stay out here if I can make your job easier. If you'll slip around to the back of the house, I've set up some outdoor heaters and it's quite toasty. You won't be easily noticed if you hide in the bushes. Be careful to stay in the shadows; it's bright with all those lights on." With a polite nod of his head and a (slightly annoying) half-smile, Deitrich turned away and headed back to his party.

And Finch headed to those shadowy bushes.

Evey was pleasantly surprised to be enjoying herself as much as she was. Nothing terrible had happened this evening, except a minor slip on the icy sidewalk, from which she recovered with her dress and dignity intact. She was even able to relax in the presence of her colleagues, finding Mr. Deitrich to be much more relaxed in person than he was at the office, a truth for everyone in the room. He was characteristically warm and hysterically funny, but also an excellent host, seeing to it that nobody's glass went empty at dinner, that there was enough food to go around, and that nobody was left out of the conversation.

Everyone was stunned by the amount and quality of gifts he gave after dinner, except for the intern Miranda. Mr. Deitrich had purchased a lovely button-down collared shirt with pink, grey and white stripes in just her size. Those in attendance could barely conceal their admiration for the article.

Miranda, on the other hand, had thrown the shirt and the box it came in across the room with a loud, "I don't need this, Mr. Deitrich!" and stormed out of the house, slamming the door behind her.

After a moment, he picked up the shirt, folded it neatly and inquired as to whether anyone else would like to have it. Evey responded with a quiet, "If you don't mind, I'll take it, Mr. Deitrich," and smiled when he handed to her with an overly theatrical bow.

"Well, then. Shall we continue?" he asked brightly, noticing a dark flash outside his patio door. It was Finch, waving him over. Discreetly, Gordon gestured for the man to wait a moment as he handed out the rest of the presents.

"Ladies and gentleman, I beg you to forgive my rudeness, but I'm finding myself wanting to admire the stars for a moment, so if you'll excuse me, I'm going to step outside. Don't wait for me – open your packages! I shan't force you to contain your excitement any longer than absolutely necessary," Gordon said, crossing to the beautiful French doors and closing them behind him with a soft click. He wandered over to where Finch was hiding, hands in his pockets and whistling a tune in an effort to appear as innocent as possible.

The look on Finch's face stopped him in his tracks.

"Send your guests home, Deitrich," Finch commanded in a low voice.

Worried, Gordon asked, "Why? What's wrong? What have I done?"

Finch shook his head. "You haven't done anything. Don't worry. But send your guests home, Deitrich. Now."

Authoress's Note #1: In case you missed it, the discarded shirt Evey takes is the one she wears in the movie when V takes her to his Gallery. V's suit of armor from Gordon is also the one in the Gallery. :-)

Authoress's Note #2: I realize that the idea that V and Gordon know each other is not entirely original, and I realize that previous stories from other authors have contained that premise. I promise you I did not steal that idea from the respective authors of said stories. I honestly do believe they knew each other, though I won't bother to write a story speculating how because I think authors more talented than I have done a sensational job of that. Here's why I think that: How else would V know Gordon had a Koran in his house? Why else would V have thought Gordon would be simply arrested and not executed? (My answer: because he didn't think the book would be found.) And why didn't V anticipate the Koran being found? Somehow he had to know about that secret room of Gordon's, how to get in it, and what Gordon had hidden there. I honestly think there is much more to either Gordon or V than we are told, and I think they hold the keys to many questions about the other.