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Remedy

"Unh!"

Evey awoke from her nightmare flailing, rolling off the sofa where she lay and startling V from his reading.

"Evey?"  He leaned toward her, setting his book aside.  Rather than move toward his motion, however, Evey recoiled from his ever-grinning countenance.  V noted this, and cautiously leaned back once again, watching her all the while.

Evey sat collapsed on the floor  in a half-tangle, her breath still coming in gasps as she recovered.  After some minutes her breathing slowed and she ran a shaky hand through her hair.  Her gaze flickered briefly to V.

"Are you all right?" he asked carefully.

"I—" she faltered, bowing her head into her hands.  "I…God…"

Unseen behind the mask, V's brow furrowed.  "Evey."  Gingerly he knelt near her on the floor, his hand pausing in mid-air as he debated whether or not his touch would be helpful.  He had never seen her so affected by a dream, not even after her imprisonment.  "What is it?  Please, tell me."

There was a long pause.

"…I failed you."  The voice that came from her huddled form was tiny,  laced with pain.

"Failed me?  Dearest, what happened?"

Evey's hands clenched briefly in her hair.  Slowly she released her grip and straightened, pulling in a breath.  For many moments her eyes stared into a bleak nothingness, still trapped in her vision.  When her gaze finally did meet his, her breath left her in a rush and she threw her arms around his neck.  V automatically held her close, feeling her shudder.

"shh…" he whispered softly, tamping down his bewilderment as she clung to him.  His arms flexed gently around her and he reached up to stroke her hair.  "You are here," he intoned quietly,  "With me."  Almost imperceptibly, he began to rock her as he tried to comfort her with his hushed assurances.  "We are safe.  And I love you."  

Evey sobbed, clutching him tighter.  They stayed like this for some time as V continued to murmur to her, willing his words and his touch to find her in whatever darkness had her in its grip and bring her back to him.

At last she subsided into a brief sniffle, burying her face in his neck.  "I'm sorry," she said softly as she drew back to face him.  Her haunted eyes searched for his and she reached to cup his masked face in her hands.  "I love you."

This was said so fervently, so urgently, it seemed  more a talisman than an endearment.  V pressed the mask's forehead to hers briefly in acknowledgement, then reached to touch her tear-stained cheek.  "As I love you."  Gently he wiped away the last of her tears and helped her to sit on the sofa once again before slowly seating himself next to her.  Clasping her hands in his, he asked,  "Can you tell me what happened?"

Evey closed her eyes briefly and took one more cleansing breath.  Her brow furrowed with effort as she struggled to begin.  "I—it was…"

His hands squeezed hers gently to ease her still-obvious distress.  "Gently now.   Just begin at the beginning."  His thumbs moved rhythmically over the back of her hands in a calming motion.

Her own hands gave his an answering squeeze and she tried again.  "We were talking – arguing - about you, and the mask."  He stilled, but did not let go of her hands. Her gaze was fixed on a neutral space between them.   "I wanted you to…remove it.  I said I wanted to show you that I loved you, and I wanted you to give me that chance."  Evey's eyes shut briefly as she gathered strength to continue.

"You didn't want to.  You tried again and again to tell me, and I wouldn't accept your answers.  I pushed for you to do it," she said guiltily.  "I could even see how much I was  hurting you, but I didn't stop.  Finally," she said heavily, "you agreed to do it.  You took off the mask, but I—"  She couldn't go on.

"…you recoiled from me."  His voice was quiet, without judgement.

Evey's head snapped up guiltily as new tears threatened.

"Shh--sh," he soothed, resuming the rhythm of his thumbs over her hands.  "It's all right.   Truly, Evey.   Please," he nodded for her to continue.

"I—" she looked helplessly up at him, "I wasn't ready…it happened so fast.  I knew it was still you, you still sounded the same, moved the same, you told me you loved me, I knew you did…" Her words spilled out in a rush as the dream captured her once again.  "But I couldn't…say anything, I couldn't form words, couldn't tell you I loved you, that it didn't make any difference, that I knew your appearance didn't have anything to do with who you are…I tried to step back, I just needed a moment… but all you had seen was my first reaction, and it…hurt you, so badly.  You kept…trying to come near me, but I needed to step back, I wouldn't let you."  Her head bowed.   "I was so ashamed.   I'd failed you, after everything--!"  She couldn't look at him.  "I just wanted to run and hide, I didn't deserve you and I was afraid of hurting you even more, and all I could think was to run until I couldn't hear myself think anymore."  She shuddered.  "You… chased me."

She heard him exhale sharply at that, although he continued to cradle her hands in his own as though she were made of the finest porcelain.  

"We were running through the tunnels," she resumed, tensing as she continued.  "I couldn't stop crying, I could barely see, but I had to keep running!"  Her eyes were clenched shut and her grip on his hands was growing fiercer by the moment.  "There were stairs, leading up…I had to stop on the landing,  I couldn't breathe….  You were right behind me.  I turned to look at you… it was like I was there, but I was watching it from outside myself too… you pulled out a knife…"  

The air between them grew thick with tension as V fought to remain still and calm.  She needed to get this out.  He knew this, and knew he had to hold his reactions in check so she could work through her nightmare unhindered.  The slightest faltering on his part could prove disastrous.   

Their silence drew out for several moments, until Evey hesitatingly looked to V once more.  He  nodded once, slowly.

"I was watching…us…in the dream," she continued, her breath growing shaky.  "You moved toward me with the knife, I didn't know what you were going to do, but you….oh, God, V, you were crying, you wanted—"  Evey gulped down a sob, "you said you wanted to…be free… of your face…you wanted me to—"  Another sob broke loose and her hands clenched on his.  She gasped in a breath, trying to draw strength to finish.  "I couldn't do it," she managed.  "I tried to get away, but you had me cornered, you wouldn't listen to me.  I watched….We struggled, you still had the knife, we were shouting, screaming.  And…we fell….You—I…you didn’t mean to…"  Another breath.   "I watched myself fall, and you screamed…   And then you were back here, in the Gallery, and I watched you… "  Tears were falling unheeded from her eyes, and his, though she couldn't see them.  "…You destroyed everything," she whispered, shaking her head.  "All the paintings, your piano, your books…you were tearing things apart with your bare hands, and then y-you...t—"  She faltered, gasping in pain.  Her voice was the barest whisper.  "You reached up and tore your own face…you were tearing yourself apart!  And I couldn't stop you!" Her expression crumpled.  "I couldn't move!"

Her hands slipped free of his to grip his arms as she shook with the effort of re-living this horror.  She leaned forward under its weight.  "I couldn't move," she repeated emphatically, only beginning to come back to herself when she felt his answering grip on her own arms. "That… was when I woke up."

"Evey…" His head bowed over hers in empathy and protectiveness.  Swallowing past the lump in his throat he slid his hands down her arms to reclaim her hands in his own.  "You are here," he said once again, catching her eye. "With me."  He stroked his hands slowly down her hair, and she closed her eyes.  "We are safe."  He touched his forehead to hers as he cradled her head.  "And I love you."  

A shaky sigh left her as she felt his heartfelt incantation take hold, pulling her toward him once again.  He leaned back so she could rest against him, enfolding her in his arms while she curled into his warmth.  

For some time they lay like that.  His heartbeat was strong beneath her ear, and his quiet strength surrounded her while she recovered.  The nightmare still lurked nearby in her mind, but it had lost some of its power over her.

V stirred, stroking her hair absently.  "Ah, Evey," he sighed,  "there will come a time, I know, when you must see what lies behind this mask.  No," he said to her frown up at him, "It won't do to go on like this indefinitely.  I promised you truth, and I stand by that promise."  He leaned his head back against the sofa.  "The world has changed," he mused, "largely as I'd hoped.  V is an Idea that reminded the people of this country what it means to be the captain of one's own soul."  He looked down to meet her eyes and tucked a stray curl behind her ear.  "But V is also a man…one who has been given far more than he ever expected…or quite probably deserved."  Evey's arms went about him in silent response and his head settled back once again.  "Someday," he continued, "the two must reach an understanding."  

He sighed briefly as he contemplated.  "I confess, I have behaved selfishly by not striving harder toward that particular goal.  I have no doubt, you see," he said heavily, "that when the time comes, you will indeed recoil… although I would never, ever blame you for it.  You know what was done to me, and what I did to escape it.  But please, Evey – believe me when I say I do not for one instant doubt your love for me; I simply know that "knowing" a thing and facing it directly are very, very different.  And human beings are prone to stumbling, even when at their best."

Evey had remained silent through this speech, choosing instead to tighten her grip around him as if to will the strength of her love into him.  She reached up to lay her hand over the heartbeat that had helped call her back from those depths of her nightmare.  "I promise," she began softly, "I promise, V, that I will not be the person I was in that dream.  Your face is your own to show me when you choose." She looked him in the eye.   "Not mine to hold as a bargaining chip.  And I will do my best not to stumble…not when you've done so very much for me."  She reached up and tenderly kissed the lips of his mask.

He drew her close, resting the mask's cheek on the top of her head. "Thank you, my love.  I will try not to keep you waiting."
Author's note: I don't normally write - it's not my "home". This was written because a friend was being plagued by a rather hellish image that wouldn't leave her alone. There are some whispers from 'Out There' that have a certain potency; this was one of them. I did my best to include every detail of the initial image within the nightmare, in order to properly disarm it.


- All stories housed in order at my website.
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:iconewigestudentin:
ewigestudentin Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Loved this story to bits. Words fail me at the moment... but both V and Evey are so well-written here, it's amazing.
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Aw, thank you! Like the description says, this one was a sort of exorcism for a really, really horrible nightmare that a friend had. I'm glad it still works as a story unto itself. :)
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:iconchocolateisracist:
ChocolateIsRacist Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2010
A gorgeous fic.
Reply
:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! :thanks:
Reply
:iconbrookeechan:
brookeechan Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2010  Hobbyist Artist
........oh.....my....GOD!!!!!!! i love your stories so much they are sooooo inspiring!!
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you :)
Reply
:iconlet-there-be-ink:
let-there-be-ink Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2008
I'm choking on something after reading that I think they are tears. It was beautiful absolutley beautiful I hope you write more to this. PLEASE!!!!!!
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Aw, thank you! *hands you a tissue*

This was actually never intended to be more than a one-shot - I have no idea how I'd continue it! :blushes: If they ever decide to tell me, though, I'll be sure to write it. :)
Reply
:iconlet-there-be-ink:
let-there-be-ink Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2008
Oh no problem. I loved V4V! And the as you call "plot bunnies" nested in my head as well, the only problem is I have no idea how to put them on paper. But that is the single most beautiful thing I have ever read! I honestly had tears swelling my eyes and my stomach was in knots but in the good way. I hope you have more soon, I really look forward to reading more of it! And the good thing is that because it is already after the end scene where V dies (though you fixed that! and I loved how you did it!) you can add anything on about the time they spend together down there! I'm sure you will do great things with your ideas and I eagerly await reading it!
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
*blushes*:blushes: Thank you so much! :hug:

(and yes, plot bunnies are tricky little things. The only way I've found to deal with them is to pretend to ignore them until they get all jealous and pounce on you... ;) )
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:iconlet-there-be-ink:
let-there-be-ink Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2008
Haha your very welcome!
Reply
:iconzombiesandwich:
ZombieSandwich Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
you are a great writer, dear.
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Many thanks! :thanks:
Reply
:iconwingedraven:
wingedraven Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I cried when I read this. Poignient and relevent.. I just love how V understands humanity and human nature. I would very much like to read your vision on how the actual reveal would go. Excellent. Truly.
Reply
:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much :thanks: I'm glad it had such an effect. :)

I've no idea if They'll ever tell/show me what happens next in that universe, but I'll be keeping my ears and eyes open!
Reply
:iconselfish-eden:
Selfish-Eden Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2008
Poor, poor Evey. OMG... :cries: I felt so horrible for both of them!
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm... glad?... to have affected you that way. *hands you tissue*
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:iconselfish-eden:
Selfish-Eden Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2008
:giggle: It's a good reaction!
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
:phew:
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:iconselfish-eden:
Selfish-Eden Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2008
:D
Reply
:icontamarack1pines:
tamarack1pines Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is an exquisite gem of a story....a rare beauty to say the least. Bravo! :clap: I am officially blown away by this FugueState! :D

Sin, tamarack1pines :phae:
Reply
:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you - the only solution I could see to the problem was wrapping it up into a nightmare. Still horrible, but at least the two of them could get some good out of it!
Reply
:iconalexspooky:
AlexSpooky Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
oh, lovely ! Im fond of V/Evey fanfics and i adore this one ! Great job !
Reply
:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much! I wanted to make sure that particular demon was vanquished. :ninjabattle:
Reply
:iconprincess88alasse:
princess88alasse Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
omfg, I LOVE IT! I'm teary-eyed from reading it! so emotional and sweet! I want more :paranoid:
Reply
:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you :thanks: These two mean a lot to me!
Reply
:iconprincess88alasse:
princess88alasse Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
aye, i can understand that seeing as they mean a lot to me too! i should do a one shot, but i have so many projects it probably will never get done without motivation or a partner XD
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