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part I: fuguestate.deviantart.com/art/…
part II: fuguestate.deviantart.com/art/…


III.

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--

V!

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 agreed.  They'd shared this bed before, chastely, when he'd needed help battling his demons after her imprisonment.  But even as vulnerable as he was then, she never truly saw him - his persona had still been intact.  This was something different, deeper, and they both knew it.  

After a small moment of awkwardness she'd settled next to him with her quilt, above the bedclothes.  It was easy enough for both of them to say that it was to keep his still-healing wounds relatively safe, and not have to state aloud their mutual need for that scrap of separation.

This wasn't at all what he'd envisioned - how could it be?  Only a very, very few times had he ever permitted himself the foolishness of selfish dreams... and in them, there had always been time.   Time to explain, to prepare both her and himself... time that would let them set their own pace, and make their choices together.  What had occurred instead was a complete mockery of those dreams, taking all semblance of control away from him and throwing them both into a twisted intimacy they couldn't possibly have anticipated.

Cynically, he reflected there was a certain bitter justice to it - after all, he'd already seen her stripped of everything, both inside and out.  One couldn't do the things he'd done and not expect some sort of retribution.

Still, he wished...

Her movement pulled him away from those thoughts, and made him aware of just how fixedly he'd been staring at her.  He should look away, close his eyes, give her some privacy.  But he found himself watching her every move, committing her small sigh to memory and aching just a little inside as he felt the mattress shift with her movement.

Her sudden gasp startled him, leaving them staring wide-eyed at one another in the faint light spilling in from the hallway.  She blinked, her breath leaving her in a rush, and they just looked at one another for a moment.

Oh God, she hoped he didn't think she'd gasped because of him... not in that way.

But as she lay there, paralyzed by the renewed shock of remembering and the second-guessing voices in her mind, he reached for her.   Slowly - so very slowly - his hand traversed the distance between them to land feather-light at her cheek.

Swallowing tears, she gently covered his hand with her own and attempted a smile.

"Good morning."

He managed an answer to her greeting with a quirk of his mouth.  "It seems to be, so far."

It surprised a small laugh from her.  There had been times when he'd delighted in making her laugh, so long ago.  She reached out to him.  "I missed you..."

V's eyes flickered at the motion of her hand but he didn't stop her, or try to move away.  Very gently she lay the tips of her fingers at his temple in a brief caress.  His eyes closed and a breath shuddered out of him at the contact.  To touch his face like this, without the mask... she wanted to continue but could feel the tension thrumming all through him - he was letting her do this, but at a cost.  With another sigh, she released him.

His own hand eased back to the bed between them and he lay quietly.  His gaze was conflicted as it met hers.  

Evey touched his fingers briefly in reassurance.  "It's all right," she said to his expression, which only served to highlight the source of his consternation yet again.  But she was already moving, sitting up and offering to help him do the same.

He leaned back with a preoccupied frown, looking once more to the mask and his clothing on the dresser.  Evey followed his eyes to look as well, crestfallen when she understood the cause of his unease.

"'There is a face beneath this mask, but it isn't me...'"  V heard her voice his words and looked back to her in faint surprise.  She shook her head.  "I didn't forget."  Her eyes were sad.  "I never forgot."

V sighed, shaking his head to himself.   "You must understand, Evey:  I have not been - have not allowed myself to be as others are.  My purpose required me to be the embodiment of an idea, first and foremost.  Throughout history, we are told to remember the idea and not the man because a man can  fail.  He can be caught, he can be killed and forgotten.  But years, even centuries later, an idea can still change the world."  He looked at her, willing her to understand. "That has been the entirety of my existence, Evey.  It was not until I met you that that began to change, and I had to fight that change at every moment.  And now..." he trailed off, at a loss.  

She faced him, her legs tucked underneath her, weighing her response.  She knew what he meant, and what all of this had cost him.  Finally she dared to take his hands in hers and locked her eyes with his.

Her voice was low and calm, as soothing as it was insistent.  "I have witnessed first-hand the power of ideas. I have seen people kill in the name of them, and die defending them.  I have glimpsed what it means to hold that kind of power."  She thought of her family.  Of dear, gentle Gordon... of all the people gazing up to her from the streets below.  Her hands squeezed his briefly and her expression softened.  "But you cannot kiss an idea... you cannot touch it, or hold it."  She looked at his wounds - the ones she and Eric had treated as best they could.   "Ideas do not bleed.  They do not feel pain... and they do not love."

His heart clenched at her gentle challenge.  He did love her; he always had.

She moved closer, touching her forehead to his while a single tear tracked unheeded down his cheek.

"It is not an idea that I've missed - it is a man."  She eased back to look at him once more, heart overflowing as she gazed on him.  "It is not an idea that I love," she whispered.  "I love you."

His breath caught on a sob, the movement lancing pain through his side.  He had no words for this; no way of articulating - much less stopping - this wonderful, terrifying feeling.  A feeling he didn't have to fight, if he didn't want to.

She risked reaching out to him, and he didn't stop her.  Carefully she inched closer, leaning into him, and he let her guide his head to the junction of her neck and shoulder.  Her arms wound around to hold him closer, one hand cupping behind his head as her chin ducked toward him.

The contact was still shocking to him.  Even now, despite his feelings and desires, he was trembling from the effort of not throwing off the arms surrounding him and seeking cover.  But her hold was gentle, offering a cover of its own.  He didn't have to fight it.   He let himself listen to this new voice, gradually beginning to relax.  

And just for a moment, he let himself dream.


~ Finis ~


[Much paraphrasing from the film intro by the Wachowski brothers.  My apologies to them, and a plea not to sue.]
Still working through this one. This chapter went all sentimentalist on me. >_< The next one (when it finally comes to me) won't be quite so "fluffy", I'm thinking...


Disclaimer: Neither this universe nor its occupants belong to me.
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:iconewigestudentin:
ewigestudentin Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I get it why you sort of labeled this part fluff, but it's so much more emotionally challenging. True, she tells him she loves him (eeee!!) while they are lying in bed (EEEEE!) but it all is so full of... uncertainty... that simple "fluff" can't even begin to cover it.
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:iconinsanejudgement:
Insanejudgement Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:) this is an awesome stroy. And on a side note, it's good to know that I'm not the only one who has to deal with the characters just deciding that they don't like how I'm writing the story and won't listen. EVEN though I'm the author... >.>;
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! :thanks: And believe me, I've always been aware that the characters are the ones who're really in control. :crazy:
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:iconinsanejudgement:
Insanejudgement Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome! And sometimes it turns out better when the characters are in control, sometimes....

Sometimes though they have no regaurd for the plot and instead decide to go out and pick up women...

...Or maybe that's just mine.....
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
LOL! :lol:
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:iconinsanejudgement:
Insanejudgement Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:shrug: my chars are weird...
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
The best ones usually are ;)
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:iconagent-elrohir:
Agent-Elrohir Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2008
<3
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
:thanks: :aww:
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:iconpiratephantom:
PiratePhantom Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2008  Student Writer
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww...
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
:aww:
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:iconprincess88alasse:
princess88alasse Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
not fluffy? pfft, I LOVE IT!!!!
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks, glad you enjoyed! :)
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:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2008  Student Writer
Hmm... maybe it's more of a show-don't-tell thing. Did you ever hear that phrase? I don't know if it's common or not. It kind of looks like it's from an omniscient narrator's POV, when it feels like it should be Evey's. Maybe that's what's weird about it.
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Hm, possibly. :confused: I shall have to mull it over some more (assuming I can drag Evey back there - she seems rather insistent on being at the *end* of this chapter right now... ;D )
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:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2008  Student Writer
OMG

I absolutely positively LOVE how you incorporated the beginning of the movie into this. It fits SO perfectly.

Oh, and I was squeeing inside by the end, of course. :)

The writing seems a bit awkward at the beginning, I don't know. It seems like the way I would write, and people tell me my sentences are too long and I use too many adverbs. But this is still different. I think it's like... too many small details, not enough of the big ones, you know?

But now that my writer's critique is over, I still have to say that I loved it. It was fantastical. I love your writing. And your other art. You're just amazing. :D
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you - I've been wanting to do that with the intro monologue for ages! :aww:

*glances up at beginning* Hm, yes - it is awkward. I was going for Evey's thoughts as she awoke; evidently she wasn't quite awake enough yet. :XD:

*tweaks it a bit* Better?

I've finally begun a new drawing, so hopefully my gallery will have some more visual art soon! ^^;

Thanks again! :)
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:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2008  Student Writer
Haha, apparently I forgot to click "reply"... my reply is up above :P
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:iconfuguestate:
FugueState Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Got it! :D
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