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[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, he crept forward with his firearm at the ready.  He could see shapes moving on the station platform, and could discern a man's voice.  It sounded eerily familiar, albeit strained … and now a woman's voice could be heard, sounding breathless and high-pitched with distress.

Looking cautiously beyond the train, he realized he'd found what he'd been looking for. Codename V lay in a heap on the ground, apparently injured, and a woman the Inspector finally recognized as Evey Hammond crouched over him.  There was blood on the ground – a lot of it.

So, Finch reflected, that was likely the cause of the gunshots he'd heard.  Apparently Creedy had gained the upper hand against the terrorist after all.  But … if that were true, where was Creedy?  The place should have been swarming with operatives, and yet here these two sat alone.  The surreality of the whole situation was setting Finch more and more on edge.

Using the surrounding dimness and the pair's momentary distraction, the Inspector climbed onto the platform and crept into a darkened corner to observe his quarry.  He glanced to the train once again, and could see that it carried something within.  Lilies, he saw with some confusion … a small ocean of white lilies, stacks of wrapped bundles … and wires.  

Dear God, Finch thought with a chill, the train had been made into a giant rolling bomb.  This was Codename V's plan, then – he was indeed going to finish what his predecessor of four hundred years had begun, and destroy Parliament.

And if Creedy hadn't made it here to stop him, then it could actually happen.

It was up to him, now, he realized.  Even though Codename V looked finished, there was no telling what the Hammond girl would do.  He had to move quickly, while he still had something resembling an advantage.

Even as this thought passed through his brain, though, something held him in place.  Fear, curiosity, uncertainty … he couldn't have said which.  Small puzzle pieces of evidence and personal experience came together in his detective's mind to stay his hand, and he continued to observe them from the darkness.

The Hammond girl was speaking, pleading with the terrorist.  Her bloodstained hands fluttered over his wounds and she was weeping openly.  God, the Inspector thought to himself, it was worse than he'd initially thought; she wasn't just his accomplice, she was in love with this killer.

"V, listen to me, please," she was saying.  Her hand stroked along the side of his mask as though it were his actual face.  "You said a different world begins tonight, for different people to shape.  You gave me the choice to do as I will with what you gave me."  She cradled his head tenderly and shifted to look into the eyeholes of his mask.  Tears still tracked down her face.  "If this is my world to shape," she said through clenched teeth, "then I say there is a place for you in it if you want one."  Her demeanour softened, then, and her voice lowered.  "If you want me to let you go, I will, with all my love…"  She smoothed the strands of his wig at the side of his head, and Finch could hear her smile through her tears.  "I'll give you a Viking funeral that'll make the gods themselves take notice!  But if you want to stay," she continued, "I will fight those same gods with everything I am to keep you here."  Her back had straightened with these words, and Finch had no doubt she'd do exactly as she'd said.  The Inspector continued to watch as she took Codename V's hand in hers and clasped it to her.  "The choice is yours," she told him.

Finch watched the two of them, fighting the urge to look away from such an intimate scene.  Some part of him's human, he had told Dominic once of Codename V.  If the blood pooling on the ground wasn't proof enough, the raw emotion he was witnessing sure as hell was.  Not for the first time, he found himself asking more questions than he knew were prudent about the orders he'd been following.  The wars … Larkhill … Three Waters …  the man lying wounded on the ground was at the center of  all the information Finch had been gathering.  And that center had been drawing the Inspector closer and closer to a place in his psyche that he'd thought dead long ago.

Looking on the tableau before him, Finch couldn't help but wonder – if his own position were reversed with Codename V's, would Dominic show as much concern?  Would anyone?  What sort of world was he really trying to defend, that he could even ask himself that question?

Evey Hammond's words had been about a different world … one that the masked man was "giving" her, that apparently he hadn't expected to survive to see.  It was completely insane, but the tiny thought in Finch's mind kept circling … what if this destruction, all this madness, was actually the right course--?  

With new eyes, the Inspector returned his attention to his targets.  The figure in Evey Hammond's arms was silent for several moments, save for the sound of his laboured breathing.  Then, incredibly, he seemed to gather strength in spite of his injuries.  Finch looked on as Codename V shook from the effort of raising his head to face her.  "For where thou art, there is the world itself …" He paused, his fingers twitching closed around hers, "…and where thou art not, desolation."1

It was a quote, Finch realized, although he couldn't tell from where.  Regardless, it had a galvanizing effect on the Hammond woman, who was now holding true to her word.  The Inspector's training screamed that he had to act now, before the terrorist's plan could be completed.  

The young woman had laid Codename V's bulk back down on the concrete floor as she feverishly struggled with his blood-soaked clothing, and the masked man had his head turned away from the approaching Finch.  The woman herself was murmuring urgently to him, her attention completely absorbed in trying to stop the man's bleeding.  This was the best chance Finch was going to get.  

But instead of taking aim and firing, as all his years of duty had taught him he must, he moved forward, stepping out of the shadows.  He watched as Evey Hammond gasped at his sudden appearance, and then bristled at him with near-superhuman fierceness, her body moving to shield the masked figure beneath her.  With faint, mad amusement Finch watched her expression transform into confusion as he sank to his knees where Codename V lay.  Feeling the weight of decades lift, he spoke:

"How can I help?"

1. Shakespeare, Henry VI - Act III scene ii
This was initially intended to be a one-shot prequel of sorts to "Apotheosis". It ended up mutating on me!

Still merging the GN and the film into new and odd shapes.

Special thanks to :iconrenitaleandra: for beta-ing my ramblings once again! ^^

As always, I claim no ownership over V for Vendetta or any characters contained within. I just write these things so the plot-bunnies don't bore a hole into my head...

- All stories housed in order at my website.
Add a Comment:
ygolover222 Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2013
Wait a minute V didn't die? What happens next?!?!?! I MUST KNOW!!!
FugueState Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
That's covered in "Mending" I-IV. ;)
ygolover222 Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013
Kay thanks :D
ewigestudentin Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very nice! Gotta love your Finch and his thought process here. I think he's very similar to the very likable Movie!Finch, with the difference that the Movie!Finch didn't get there in time...
FugueState Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I admit, I like Movie!Finch a lot better. ^^; The poor guy just wanted to do the right thing; it was extremely gratifying to find a way for him to do it. :)
snurtz Featured By Owner May 5, 2008  Student Writer

I love Finch, and your characterization seems just so much like him. THUMBS UP :)

^is hyper.
FugueState Featured By Owner May 6, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! :thanks:
honour-huston Featured By Owner May 4, 2008
FugueState Featured By Owner May 5, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
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