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Evey Hammond awoke with a small gasp, her heart pounding.  Something was wrong.

Her first impression was one of softness and warmth that bordered on the otherworldly; such comfort shocked her terribly.  This was followed by an awareness of thick silence where once had been muffled cries and echoing shouts of anger.  She lay unmoving in this womb-like state, confused into immobility.  Only her eyes moved, reflecting her mind's racing as they darted back and forth with a curiosity that felt alien.  Gradually they took in the sand-colored stone curves of the vaulted ceiling sweeping gently above her in the soft light, and with a dull jolt she suddenly remembered everything.

The storm... It had been nighttime; the first connection she'd had with a real time of day in she-knew-not-how-long.  She remembered the feel of the raindrops on her skin, stinging deliciously and awakening her every nerve ending with their coolness.  She had felt so very alive, sobbing with the joy of drawing every breath in the open air.

She remembered...

He had imprisoned her.  Stripped, beaten, humiliated, tortured her.  And then given her this - this sweeping feeling that roared with the thunder and rode the winds buffeting the city.  As she stood in the rain, drawing strength from the force of life all around her, she had asked him again:  Why?

He had stepped near her, holding to the periphery of her vision.  For several moments he simply stood there, unmoving.  Then his answer - the real one, not the words he'd given her the first time - drifted to her as the rain mingled with the tears running down her face.

"Because I love you.  Because I want to set you free."

The words had clicked quietly into place in the way that only absolute truth can do, and drew her to squint up at him in the downpour.  She distantly noted his rain-soaked state; the rain had soaked through his wig, plastering strands of it onto the mask as he gazed down to her.  His doublet shone with the water it had absorbed, and rivulets ran down the mask's rosy cheeks in contradiction to the frozen smile.

She had stood, just looking at him, for some time.

Because I love you.

The echo of those words blended with the thunder, becoming a meaningless chant in her brain.  It had all been too much... her body was too weak, and her mind too tired... The only feeling she could muster the strength for was a dull, simple satisfaction at having gained a truly direct response from him for once.

She'd turned finally, returning to the lift with measured, careful steps.  It had been the only logical thing to do at the time, and she'd done it without qualm.  A part of her had known this calmness wasn't real, that she was simply functioning on autopilot, but she had been content to experience this numbness.  It was better than the fear she'd been living with for so long.

She didn't remember V entering the lift with her, but he must have; the lift doors had closed and it had shuddered into life once again.  She must have blacked out then; she didn't remember anything beyond watching the shadows shift on the wall as they descended.

Her thoughts returned to the present.  She was in her old room in the Shadow Gallery... his room, originally.  She remembered the first time she'd awoken here, how she'd looked around to find herself in a bed that had been rumpled by someone else...she'd always felt odd about the peculiar intimacy of that.  Now, this room bore the marks of her presence - small rearrangings and additions.  Still bore them, despite her absence...he had kept everything as she'd left it.

It brought to mind his words on the rooftop once more.  "I love you," he'd said. But what did that mean?  Even now, she couldn't truly process the myriad of potential meanings behind those words when wielded by a man such as V.  Just the idea of attempting to do so made her feel exhausted.

She turned her head on the pillow, looking toward the door.  It was open, just a crack - enough to reveal the hallway illuminated beyond.  Enough to silently assure her that she could leave this room, if she wished.  On a chair nearby lay a set of clothes; soft, light garments in muted colors.  Bringing her focus nearer once more, she finally noticed the tumbler of water on the nightstand.  A small glass, she noted - not too heavy.

Trifling details, all of them, but they spoke volumes.

Sitting up to reach for the water, she suddenly became aware of two things:  The crippling weakness of her limbs, and the sensation of the sheets on her flesh that told her she was unclothed beneath the blankets.  Of course he had undressed her, she thought to herself.  She'd been soaking wet and unconscious...and it wasn't as though he hadn't seen her body before, she realized with blunted shame.  That thought lit a tiny spark of anger inside her, giving her a brief surge of strength.  Casting her eyes to the barely-open door, she drew herself up once more and moved to pick up the glass.

As her hand closed about it, her eyes fell upon the small, nondescript roll of paper set to one side.  Valerie's letter, her mind supplied.  The last words of the woman who'd saved Evey with her story, and her love.  The woman who didn't exist, Evey now realized with a crushing grief, because nothing had been real in that prison.  Nothing except her own fear, and her pain, and the fact that a man who said he loved her had inflicted both.

But then she noticed - beneath Valerie's letter lay what looked like an old-style lobby card for a movie theater.  Reading it, Evey's heart leapt into her throat.

"The Salt Flats - starring Valerie Page and Ruth Fowler"

Water forgotten; fatigue, pain, shame all forgotten - Evey's trembling hand reached for the small poster.  Beneath it lay a file folder.

Page, Valerie Susan

Inside were documents, detailing a life:  Date of birth, address... race, religion, height, weight... associations, date of processing, dates of interrogation.... date of death.


Real.


She had been real.


Evey's heart pounded in her ears as she reeled from this new knowledge.  Question upon question flooded in upon her, crashing into one another and shattering into countless more.  She let them come, riding it out, unable to do more than let her thoughts sprint ahead while her weakened body held her in place.  After some minutes, she regained some equilibrium and stirred once more.  A new purpose defined her movements and she began the painstaking process of dressing herself.  As she slipped into the clothing, all the fragments of revelation and deduction began coalescing, forming new shapes in her mind.  Drawing in a much-needed breath, she smoothed her new clothes into place with hands that almost didn't shake.  She paused to take a sip of water and then made her way to the door to find V.
One of several plot-bunnies that bit me recently. No title yet, one-shot (I think); a merging of GN-verse and movie-verse. Apologies for any lack of coherence.

Disclaimer: I know the characters aren't mine. I'm only borrowing them. Suing me would be an exercise in futility, as the Federal Student Loan Program has first dibs. :P

- All stories housed in order at my website.
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:iconewigestudentin:
ewigestudentin Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't know whether it makes any sense to point out my absolute favorite bits in your stories all these years later... So I will just say that I am very impressed by the level of detail in this story and by your perceptiveness in general. Your descrptions make my skin crawl.
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Aw, thank you! Even though it's been a while, it's still wonderful to know that a story retains its impact. :)
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:iconewigestudentin:
ewigestudentin Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Words will always retain their power, huh? ;)
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Indeed! :D
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:iconannadracula2010:
AnnaDracula2010 Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2010   Writer
This is a wonderfully written piece, but I absolutely love your Disclaimer. By far the best one I've ever read for a fanfiction.
Reply
:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Hee... well, sad as it is, it does have the merit of being true! ^^;
Reply
:iconannadracula2010:
AnnaDracula2010 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2010   Writer
As sad as it is, it's still by far the greatest.
Reply
:iconwibskelds9:
WibSkelDS9 Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
wow, great stuff :) I really felt the emotion here
Reply
:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm very glad - thank you! :)
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:iconalexspooky:
AlexSpooky Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
again, perfect precision. not a single unnecessary word.
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Many thanks! :thanks:
Reply
:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2008  Student Writer
wowwwwwwwww. Love it. Not one awkward sentence, and for that--I love you. :P
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Aw - thank you! :hug:

This one came in the midst of some 12-hr work days, so I'm glad it seems to have turned out all right. :phew:
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:icontamarack1pines:
tamarack1pines Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You are as eloquent with the written word as you are with the strokes of art. You have taken my breath away Fugue! :clap: :faint:
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
:blushes:*blushes like mad*:blushes:

Thank you! :)
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:icona-chemical-vendetta:
a-chemical-vendetta Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2008
only one word can describ it...brovo
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much! :thanks:
Reply
:icontamira-shine:
tamira-shine Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2008
I find it great
there isn't lack of coherence at all

<3
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
:phew: That's a relief - glad you enjoyed it! :)
Reply
:iconprincess88alasse:
princess88alasse Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
more? :flirty:
Reply
:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
There may be, I'm not yet certain; I've heard whispers, so I have to see if they become anything coherent. I'm very glad you liked it! :thanks:
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