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"You should let yourself rest... you haven't slept in over a day."
Eric Finch looked with mild disapproval at the untouched sandwich on the dresser near Evey.  Her vigil over the fallen V hadn't ended since they'd returned from Evey's address - as V - to the people of London.  It had been hours.  
He regarded the young woman who'd talked him into treason, set loose the explosives that destroyed Parliament, and nearly single-handedly averted one of the worst riots London had ever known.  She looked so fragile and unraveled here in the half-light, still wearing the remnants of the vigilante's "uniform"; it was amazing she hadn't collapsed already.
Evey looked up into Finch's concerned expression.  Huge dark smudges lurked beneath her eyes and her already-ill-fitting clothes were even more rumpled from having been worn too long.  "He might wake up again."  She glanced over to V, lying motionless and silent once a
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- Halloween is for Masks -
'Halloween is for Masks'
"My shoe's untied!"
"Tommy's hitting me with his sword!"
"Hey, that's my candy bar!"
"My cape keeps falling off!"
Three pirates, a princess, two cowboys, a cat, a couple of ballerinas, a vampire and what was either a dog or a spider were gathered in a loose knot around Rorschach, who stared from one to the next with arms raised cautiously out of their reach while they grabbed at him for attention.
It had all seemed so simple just minutes ago - a small group of children, giddy with the late hour and the sense of adventure afforded by their costumes, had nearly stumbled out in front of a car. He reached them just in time, nearly getting hit himself before facing off with the careless motorist. The driver had been poised to deliver a stream of verbal abuse until he'd taken a good look at the shifting inkblot face and clenched fists before him, at which point he thought better of it.
After the vehicle slunk away, Rorschach considered his job done. He'
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It was 3am, and Evey was making her way back to bed.  Sleep for her was still an irregular companion since she'd emerged from her cell.  She'd had remarkably few nightmares, but more corporeal matters still interfered.  Her body seemed to be trying to make up for lost time since she'd been taking in more nourishment, and she frequently found herself awake from hunger.
Passing V's dressing area, she caught a glimpse of white floating in the darkness there.  She turned to look and, yes, there he was again.  His face was tilted up toward the Ophelia painting, arms slack and graceless at his side… just staring.  She could just make out that he was rocking slightly to and fro, as one in a trance – or about to collapse.
Carefully Evey moved forward into his field of vision.  He didn't move - there was no sign he'd noticed her at all.  She shuffled one foot, deliberately making a slig
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Forgive me.
There was no way to ask your permission, or to prepare you.  It wasn't something I wanted to do.  There was no other option.
I did understand what you were trying to tell me - please believe this.  I knew the face I was revealing would no more be the man I knew than the mask that covered it.  I only wish it could have been by your choice.
It's so strange.  We had to take away everything to get to your wounds... the mask, the wig - I never thought of it as a wig, did you know that? - the gauntlets that you so hastily put back on that first morning...
We had to peel away all of it, leaving behind a stranger in your place.  Someone silent and bleeding who looked more dead than alive, staining my sheets red.
This body I tend isn't you.  It's just something you've left in my care until you come back.  It's something of yours, so I cherish it.  I try to care for it the way I've
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I. The Show Must Go On
The doublet was still too loose on her, in spite of the padding.  There was no time to fix it; she'd just have to hope no one noticed.  The trousers were a bit easier to fix with the excess length disappearing down into the boots.  She'd hastily stuffed paper towels into the boots to take up the excess space, and to serve as a set of makeshift lifts to make her just a bit taller.  She was still far too short, but with luck her position would hide that.  The wig was next…she realized her hands were shaking as she raised it to her head.  Soft hair framed her face again for the first time in months.  Not honey-colored waves this time, but a midnight curtain – one whose scent brought memories of him that nearly drowned her.
No time for that. Minutes were slipping by, and she had to hurry.  No time to even properly appreciate what she was doing as she reached for the mask
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It was happening again, and V was getting desperate. It had everything to do with his "houseguest", Evey; he hadn't truly appreciated the new pressures - however subtle - she would be adding to his life.
He had thought he had it under control earlier. Everything was just fine… until he rounded a corner and spotted her curled up on the sofa with a book. Then, sure enough, his body developed its own ideas again. What was worse – he knew she had noticed.
She'd been glancing at him all evening, although she'd tried to be discreet about it. If not for the fact that his eyes were almost continually drawn to her, he might have missed it entirely.
Thanks to a few awkward moments in the first days of her stay, he'd learned to shift his head slightly to one side as he watched her so the mask would not seem to be "staring" at her. Using that little trick, he'd noticed her furtive scrutiny easily… which on this night, of course, didn't help matters at all.
It had caught him very muc
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Mending, Part II
(part I is here: ( )
Evey whirled around at the sound of V's voice.
He was blinking slowly, staring up at the ceiling.  She experienced a moment's disorientation upon seeing him, having irrationally expected the masked man in black to go with the voice and instead seeing the damaged stranger she'd been tending.  Then he sighed, and the small sound re-established his identity for her, pulling her toward him.
"V?"  She stopped just short of touching him, uncertain of the new boundaries his wakefulness might cause. His eyes - so unfamiliar, and yet exactly as she'd imagined - drifted toward her.  
"Evey."  She watched in fascination as she actually saw him smile for the first time - a peaceful, happy shadow of the Fawkesian grin she'd known.  "There you are.  I found you..."  His hand reached up to touch her.
But upon seeing his own bared arm as
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"Good evening.
"We are here, all of us, to celebrate a day that once lived in infamy and has since become the anniversary of our rebirth as a people, and as a nation. Many of us remember the night our futures changed forever, the night of the Old Bailey … even if we didn't recognize it as such at the time. We remember the fall of Norsefire, and that terrible, wonderful moment when we realized that we are the only ones who can control our own destinies.
"Tonight, I want to introduce you to a person who made all of this possible for us. Without this person's courage, and determination, and love, our world would have been lost. It's taken a long time, but I think now you can finally meet one another …
" 'I don't know who you are. Please believe. There is no way I can convince you that this is not one of their tricks, but I don't care. I am me, and I don't know who you are, but I love you …' "
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Mending, part III
part I:
part II:
Evey sighed and shifted, waking slowly.  She'd slept longer than she'd expected. Eric must have decided to let her rest - he was always trying to do that.  It had been a while since she'd eaten, and she was hungry now.  There were still leftovers from yesterday, she mused... she could have that, and then they'd need to change V's banda--
The memory of his waking slammed into her at once and her eyes flew open in astonishment to meet his.
* * * * *
V was watching her from his side of the bed.  Having awakened some time ago, he'd been studying her as she slept.  In spite of his continued discomfort at being without his normal defenses, he couldn't deny that he wanted her near.  Sheltered by the dimness around them he'd asked her, haltingly, to stay, and she'd just as hesitantly
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The first time, Evey awoke to complete blackness and the foreboding sense of someone else in the room with her.  She froze, straining to hear past the thundering of her pulse, but the silence was absolute.
There had always been at least some light in the Shadow Gallery, somewhere - V always took care to ensure she would never be lost in the dark.   But now there wasn't a flicker of illumination to be seen.  The darkness thickened around her with each passing second, swallowing every sound and threatening to suffocate her.
A faint sigh broke the silence.  V, her mind said, and the uncontrollable shuddering that threatened her small frame subsided.  She clambered hopefully to a sitting position on the bed.
V?  What's happened?
But instead of approaching her, he retreated.  She could feel it in the expansion of the silence around her.  Her fear, alleviated somewhat by V's presence, returned with a
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"R--" He caught himself just in time and modulated his voice to a much quieter volume. "Why are you calling me?"
"Wanted to apologize. Phone idea wasn't stupid. Was not at optimum performance last patrol, let tension carry over into our conversation. My initial assessment was hastily formed."
"Well... thanks. But - why are you using this number and not, uh. Not my other one?" Dan cringed, wondering how many people around could hear his side of the conversation and assumed he was talking to a mistress. Rorschach would be livid at the association, he was certain.
"Tried. You didn't answer. Important."
"Well, I appreciate that..." A lot, really, considering apologies from Rorschach were about as rare as sightings of Halley's Comet.
Rorschach preempted his next question, sounding slightly impatient and... reluctant? "Apology was not only reason for call."
"Are you--" No, he didn't sound hurt, Dan realized, and figured he'd best just get to the point. "Wha
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"Really?  You think so?"
"I do, Mr. Finch, and by the sound of it, you do as well."
"It's not about what I think... this is the most popular toy of the season.   Possibly ever, to hear the news."
"Aw, I think it's cute.  What do you think, Evey?"
"Eve, that sound is most unbecoming of a lady."
"Spoilsport.  I have to say I'm with Dominic on this one."
"So you think this - " V held a small plastic figure aloft, "is cute?"
Evey's grin was positively Cheshirean.  "Absolutely."  She stepped forward, showing off the toy's features as enthusiastically as any commercial.  "Look at it - all that detail in the mask, and they even got the length of your knives correct."  
"And the fabric weave."
"You would notice that, Dom."  Finch's dour face almost cracked a smile.
V was not impressed.  "When," he asked, "have I ever employed a 'karate chop' to dispatch my
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Turning Point
[Author's note:  This is a one-shot prequel of sorts to "Apotheosis".  'Twould be advisable to read that one first.  :) ]
Inspector Finch quickly shut off his torch and held still.  He could hear voices further down the tube tunnel.  
He frowned … There shouldn't be anyone else down here – at least, no one foolish enough to allow themselves to be heard.  Then again, this section of the tunnel shouldn't even be open.
Rounding a corner, he stopped in shock at the sight of an utter impossibility.  An underground train faced him at a platform some fifty metres distant – not the sleek steel-and-glass construct that had ruled down here for decades, but an elegant gold-filigreed confection from a century long-gone.  A shudder rocked him as his brain fought the initial instinct to leap clear of the mechanical behemoth – the train wasn't moving.  
Staying in the shadows, h
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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. 
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She stays in the Gallery.  She knows she could leave; he wouldn't stop her.  She could return to the world above, heal, perhaps live for a time, and die there.  She doesn't fear this inevitability, but she does recognize the uselessness of it.  There is nothing for her in that world.  There hasn't been for some time.  Here, she has herself – someone previously unknown whom she can nurture and discover in this in-between place.  There is nothing to fear here; she's been shown that.  This place will be whatever she makes of it.
And so she stays.
He wakes, rises, goes through the motions of his morning ablutions and is halfway to the dressing area before he remembers - she is free.  He doesn't have to do this anymore.
His hand flies to the wall to steady himself and he nearly weeps for joy.
She barely ever sees him.  The Gallery is silent except for her footsteps as she wand
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Male in front of chemist's shop at Regent and Beak.
One male one female, on foot at West entrance of New Hyde Park.
Emergency, assault at Spurgeon Street; three male subjects, armed, beating a male and female; notify nearest patrol unit.
Robbery in progress, residence 3368 Langton Gate; two subjects seen; notify nearest patrol unit.
Two females on foot near Southwark Bridge, South.
One male, green bicycle, Prince Albert Road near St. George statue.
Finch's back ached where he sat before the array of security monitors.  The dull throbbing had begun over an hour ago, and still he sat.  His eyes burned from the glare of the screens in the surrounding darkness and his tongue was beginning to stick to the roof of his mouth from thirst, but his vigil remained unbroken.
The Eye and Ear of Norsefire had been severed for some little time now, but that didn't mean the information stopped flowing.  Quite the contrary; in the Shadow Gallery everythin
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Turning Point, part 2
"Help him."
This was the imperative given to Chief Inspector Finch by a woman whom he'd considered, until moments ago, a dangerous and potentially violent fugitive.   She'd looked at him for a moment – more like through him – after his sudden offer of assistance, with eyes that were old beyond her years.  Their brown depths held him, reading him, until at last she blinked and returned him to the here-and-now.  Evidently she was satisfied with whatever she'd discerned, because those words were the only ones she spoke to him before turning back to her…lover?  Somehow Finch didn't think so, in spite of the obvious intimacy between this woman and the terrorist she now protected.  ("Terrorist"?  Could he use that term anymore, doing what he was doing?  What's in a name, his shell-shocked mind tittered at him.)
Miss Hammond, as his brain had finally settled on calling her, took the
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He leans down to the sofa, touching her shoulder.
She awakens violently. Her voice rips apart the silence, her arm winging in an arc that cracks against the side of his head.
The stinging impact brings her fully awake and she rises to see him hunched away from her, one hand raised between her and the mask. She sits, breathing, feeling the shout still in her throat. She watches him.
He moves, straightening from his awkward pose. He takes a step away to face her, murmuring distantly polite apology.
She watches him.
He takes his leave, sketching a small bow out of habit and disappearing down the corridor.
She looks down, seeing the blood on the floor where he stood. Her eyes follow the shining drops marking his departure on the flagstones.
She does not apologise.
...He never wanted her to.
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The children know his name, but they don't say it.  To say his name is to call him, and you only do that if you really mean it - if you really need him. Those are the rules.
(The adults didn't believe, not at first.  Their children had simply been lost, and afraid, and their imaginations ran away with them.  Only when enough bloodstains had been found, when enough parents caught their children conversing with shadows, did they begin to wonder.)
He only comes to children - to the lost, the endangered.    The ones who can't run to safety are found sound asleep wherever they were being held, small peaceful islands at the epicenter of absolute carnage.  They never wake until they're brought somewhere safe.
(The Sleepers, as they came to be nicknamed, were never quite the same afterward.  There was always something about them lying just under the surface of their young, somber faces.)
He is not infallible.
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[sequel to "Awaken".  See comments for link.]
She rounded the corner into the main room and saw him sitting in a chair, in profile to her.  He looked the same as she'd seen him countless times before.
"Before"… Never in her life had one word been so charged.  
He stirred slightly at her approach.  Rising, he turned to face her, tilting his head in solemn greeting.  
She was unprepared for the intensity of emotion that hit when his familiar smiling visage faced her directly.  Waves of loathing, even rage, warred with simple hurt at what he'd done to her.  She felt her lips pull back from her teeth as she looked at him and conjured an image of simply tearing him to pieces with her bare hands.  
The feel of paper crinkling in her hand made her look down.  She didn't remember having picked up Valerie's letter when leaving her room.  The thought of nearly having damaged it dissipa
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Restitution - epilogue
"Do you dream?"
The question is asked casually, with the weight of a thousand others behind it.  He looks over at her, the mask's ink swirling into shape after shape.
They sit on the swings in an empty playground, Blaire's parents and Nite Owl standing within view but far enough away to afford some privacy.  He's dressed as she remembers him, in his trademark suit but without the trench coat.  Even though the one he has now is new, he keeps it folded off to one side for this.
"Do you dream about when you found me?"
Her shoes scuff in the dirt, barely touching as she drifts back and forth.  A breeze makes her hair flutter, the faint sodium light from the streetlamps giving her a ghostly cast.  He shudders at that thought.
She's looking at him, but he finds himself keeping his gaze fixed at his own feet where they hold him in place.  He rocks slowly to and fro, his hands clenching on the chains at either s
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*thudthudthud*  "C'mon you guys, other people need the Danger Room too!"
WHAM! ("Missed!")
"Are they in there again?"
"Again?  Try still."
takatakatakatakatakaBOOMMMM!  ("Have to do better than that, mon ami!"  "Ha! 'I will show you that there are better men left in England than ever went thieving to France.'")
"What'd he say?"
"I dunno.  He does that."
"Afternoon, all!  I... oh dear - are they still in there?"
"Yep.  Gambit's got a new favorite playmate, it looks like."
BRAP-BRAP-BRAP-WHUNK! ("Oof!  Almost!")
"I don't care if he's the Professor's guest; I'm about to kick his ass back across the pond..."
"Oh shut up, Wolverine, you're just miffed 'cos they didn't ask you along."
"Girls, girls, you're both pretty and you're both goin
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[Ten challenge fic drabbles, multiple fandoms.]
I. Guise
A double-breasted suit straight out of the 1940s, made to measure.  Suspenders and a stubbornly white dress shirt.  Scarf at the throat, always in a knot.  Always.  Brown leather gloves scarred at knuckles and fingertips.  Brown fedora, drawn low over invisible eyes.  Trench coat with seemingly bottomless pockets.  Old but well-pedigreed boots showing miles upon miles of walking (and climbing, and fighting) underneath their careful polish – they've been re-soled at least twice.   The mask, the only truly alien aspect, covering everything in shifting black and white shapes that only appear unreadable.
And only Dan is allowed past any of it.
II. Ill-Met
"You should never have kissed me, Red.  Hee!"
"It wasn't on p-purpose, you idiot c-c-clown.   How was I to know you'd b-be here tkkxxnt-too?
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'Tis the Season
There'd been no argument from either Rorschach or Nite Owl about patrolling on Christmas Eve; they both knew how petty criminals and scam artists loved to victimize the harried shoppers and moon-eyed tourists who flooded the streets at this time of year.  They'd even started before the sun was fully set, taking Archie up to wheel slowly over the busier districts.  Against his usual modus operandi, Rorschach suggested heading toward the more metropolitan areas with their upscale shops and glittering displays.  Much as he hated the rampant waste and hypocrisy that pervaded those places during the holiday season, he knew they'd be their best hunting grounds.  
"It really is too bad," Nite Owl sighed wistfully as they banked toward another cluster of multicolored illumination.
Rorschach turned his gaze away from the streets.  "What is?"
His partner shrugged, a bit self-conscious.  "It's just so pretty down there - and every
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Killjoy97x Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Man, your gallery is simply stunning, I specially adore the drawings, you're a master at setting the atmosphere :o (Eek) 
Rockmantic2227 Featured By Owner May 27, 2012
I love your pictures about V.
I love V. he is Unique.
FugueState Featured By Owner May 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! :)
wobblydaddy Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh my god your V pictures are making me melt into a puddle
FugueState Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Aw, thanks! :)
Deidara1fan Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I love you 'V' pictures ^^
FugueState Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! :aww:
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