Fandom: V for Vendetta
Word count: 1078
Notes: This is a birthday gift for liminalliz, and I really enjoyed writing it. The title is from Richard III. Yes, yes, I'm an enormous dork.
Enjoy, my dear Lizzen :)
the lights burn blue
A great while ago the world begun
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain
– Twelfth Night
Of the eight hundred and forty-two songs she will allow herself only one per day. It will take her precisely two years, three months and twenty-two days to get through all of them, and by then she thinks her heart will have stopped hurting. In every note of every song she listens for the reason why he might have loved it; she wanders the Shadow Gallery letting her fingers roam across the artworks, and she remembers. This is all she allows herself. This single song, every night, her vespertine ritual.
On this particular evening she is not thinking as she presses the numbers, and her fist slams down onto the jukebox before the first few bars have played out. The lights flicker but the song never falters, and for a moment her hand remembers the leather of his glove and her feet remember how to dance. And then her legs give way and she slides to the floor, sitting there with her cheek pressed against the glowing plastic.
Now you say you're lonely
You cried the long night through
And she does.
One morning she drinks real orange juice and does not ask him where he got it and they talk about countries, about traveling, about vagabonds and vehicles.
– Where would you go? she asks him. If you could go anywhere.
– Venice, he says. And then the mask tilts towards her and he continues: Vienna, Vietnam, Venezuela, his voice making art out of the geography, but she hears the truth hidden in his fluid alliterative lies.
Her hair is growing, and growing in curls. She had forgotten what it felt like to tuck it back behind her ears, and to have it plastered against her neck in the rain. It still rains, of course; it is still England, and nothing could stop the rain, but at least now there is nobody to deny that the rain exists and to raise the price of water in the most gloriously water-logged country in the world.
With every fraction of an inch of wispy brown hair she feels more like Evey Hammond, normal girl and government worker, and less like Evey Hammond, dangerous terrorist, or Evey Hammond, friend of the people’s champion. She can feel herself unwinding, but she is unsure if she wants to be unwound. She is still without fear, but one day she catches herself with a nervous hand halfway through her hair and realises that she is afraid of becoming afraid once more.
She looks at her face in the mirror and whispers I see what you are: you are too proud.
The next day she shaves it all off again.
– Do you only watch black and white films?
– When the world has no colour, a picture is not worth a thousand words. A hundred at the very most. It is the words dwelling in people’s mouths that become important.
– Is that so?
He presses a hand to his chest, a grand and offended gesture.
– Have I ever been anything but veriloquent, Evey?
She smiles, and switches off the television, and does not answer.
– Do you think this bill will get through?
– While Martins is still opposing? Are you insane?
She doesn’t say anything for almost a minute. Suzie is shaking her head.
– That wasn’t meant to be difficult, Evey. Rhetorical question.
But it’s a question without an answer, and that bothers her, so she thinks Finch might be rubbing off on her a bit. Two o’clock the next morning and she’s lying awake because she still doesn’t know. She calls up V’s voice, amused, telling her about virtue and veracity and verity and verily, Evey, and she realises that the problem is not in her but in the world and in the word. Insane. They’re taking back the lexicon, revamping the vernacular, but not everything has been redefined yet.
Voila, she thinks, and sleeps.
She dresses slowly, carefully, avoiding bruises and relishing the feel of something that is not thin orange cotton against her skin. It takes a little while for her to get the hang of her fingers again; she has been holding a metal fork and unrolling rough scrolls of toiler paper for the past few weeks, but nothing more complex than that.
For a moment she stands on the verge, split through the vertical, holding the strap of her bag and wondering if she has the nerve to put the bag down and admit that she wants to stay. She is without fear. This does not mean she has suddenly been granted courage.
But she remembers him granting her her freedom, and she would not throw away a gift of his for the world.
Tourism lurches into existence again, and Evey goes to Venice.
She sits in a gondola and lets someone guide her through ballrooms half-flooded and she looks down into the water and up at the frescoes.
She walks into a shop with walls covered in masks and examines herself carefully for weakness, for a single hairline fracture, but (thanks to him) she is stronger even than their Venetian glass and she will not break.
So many months. She had forgotten the beautiful lines of some of the statues, and so she spends a little while walking through the rooms and trying to prepare herself for the sight of him. The music helps, a little.
– I did not think you would come, he says.
Her back is to him. She closes her eyes and thinks: so much for veriloquence.
They both knew that she would come, and that it would be this night, and this song.
On the anniversary of the day the world began – their world, the world they shaped – there are no explosions on the ground, but there are fireworks over London. Great spirals of golden rain, and a single gorgeous ubiquitous V in a red too vibrant and sparkling to be bloody. Violet shimmering rainfall and tongues of blue flame.
The speakers dance and crackle and sing victory, victory. Evey stands on the roof with the wind stroking her cheeks and first she taps her foot – dadadadadadada duh duh duh – and then her fingers where they lie on the grey stone, and then she can’t help it; she lifts her arms and brings in the brass.