Hi guys!

Okay I know it has been an absolute age since I ended this story and yes it is completed, but I felt I had to add one last chapter. This one has been swimming about my brain for well over a year now, and I finally thought that this would be a good time to write it. I felt this story deserved one last chapter. As always, this is dedicated to my most amazing Yoda...I hope you enjoy it my love.

As you may well realise, the part with Evey writing is post November 5th, and the part with V is one year later. I really hope you enjoy my offering, do let me know what you think.

Chapter 21

One year later…

November 4th:

With her head in her hands and elbows resting on the table wearily, Evey knew this was possibly the most difficult letter she had ever written or was definitely the last one she would ever compose. The straight forward task of writing the letter had manifested itself into a struggle of gargantuan proportions. It seemed like she had a mountain to climb and she could see no way around it.

Where to begin?

She had so many words, so many things she wanted to say to V but she simply could not bring herself to say them to his face. She knew it was weak, a cowards option, but she no longer cared. She felt that if she tried to explain her feelings or the situation she now found herself in, that she would crack and give in. Crumple under his gaze and surrender her thoughts to him. Although Evey wanted this more than anything, she knew she had to do it with some dignity, and without the floods of tears that would accompany such words.

Yes. Writing this letter was extremely difficult.

After an hour or so just staring at a blank sheet of paper and a chilled glass of white wine, Evey felt a little more relaxed and ready to have another attempt at writing her letter. She decided that the best course of action would be to simply write exactly how she felt. No airs, no graces, no frills, no bows. Just her soul and her emotions laid bare in ink and on paper.

Evey picked up the heavy fountain pen and let it hover over the paper for a few seconds.

Just write what comes into your head, she told herself.

So she did. Pen connected with paper.

One year later:

It was only just beginning to rain as the chimes that rang forth from Big Ben heralded the arrival of November the sixth. His ominously loud gongs echoed around the whole of London as the first spots of water fell silently from the heavens. It was a crystal clear night, with hundreds of stars shining brilliantly from the black void above. The temperature had dropped considerably over the past few days, and the wind had begun to pick up.

But V didn't notice that. The cold didn't chill him, the rain didn't wet him and the wind didn't make him shiver. He noticed none of it. He simply stood and watched as the London he lived in carried on celebrating and dancing.

In the streets stories below where he stood, he could hear the laughter and merriment of a few rowdy revellers bouncing their way from pub to pub and undoubtedly towards their next pint. They were celebrating their first year of liberty, a new life, a new England. Their first year free from the oppression of Sutlers tyrannical regime. They were celebrating the banishment of the 9pm curfew, the Fingermen, the censored media and all the other enforced regulations that died in the underground with the aged man.

"Long live England!" One of the men cried heartily. The others all cheered with great approval.

"Long live V!" Another shouted loudly. More cheering followed.

"A fucking legend that man, a fucking legend he is!"

The revellers laughed and clapped with happy delight.

"Long live London, land of the free!" The first man cried again.

"I'll drink to that Kev!" Another roared.

"You don't have a drink Dave!" Kev replied with a laugh.

"Well we better hurry up and get to the next pub so you can buy me a pint to toast with!" V sensed that Dave had stumbled and fallen, his keen hearing affording him that which he could not see. A crescendo of laughter and cheering confirmed what he knew.

"I wish we could have V with us, I'd buy that guy a pint….fucking legend!" Kev said, hauling Dave's heavy frame back to his feet, both men laughing heartily.

The revellers disappeared down the road, arguing and bickering as to whose round it was, what drink they would each buy for V and if he really was a man at all; their voices trailing into the darkness and their happiness oh so apparent.

The first anniversary of the cessation of Sutlers dictatorship was being celebrated by thousands of grateful Londoners; all drinking and toasting gaily, singing and dancing with glee. Huge parties had been arranged, and many celebrations planned for months in advance so that the free might rejoice in their freedom. No expense had been spared by anyone. Black and red bunting hung from every shop, building and street light; the colours of London's saviour. The letter 'V' was plastered all over London, every window adorned with posters emblazoned with that red letter. The people of London remembered their hero by raising their glasses to him and letting the champagne flow copiously and the partying continue long into the dawn of November the sixth. The partying and revelry gave everyone a chance to show their delight, happiness and great appreciation for what V had done and for all he had accomplished just one short year ago.

V's name was commemorated by the newly elected mayor of London, who had erected huge stone monuments and having all manor buildings named in his honour. The reproductions of that immortal mask he wore and the all important black cape had been sold by the thousands and children shrieked with glee as they wore them. A minute silence had been held earlier that day as a mark of respect for the champion that fell a year ago today. He had brought them so much, and their unending gratitude is what they would give back to him.

But V would not join in with the festivities and partying. Would not raise a toast or enjoy a glass of well aged champagne in his name. He refused to even acknowledge any of the celebrations and festivities of November the fifth. He watched with sombre eyes all the salutations and merriments being held in his hallowed name. Like sucking on a greasy coin, it all tasted like a bad lie in his mouth and it made him feel false in a sickening way that disturbed his very core. After all, it wasn't even he that was the cause of all this. Of course it was his idea. His dream. His life's work. Everything he had strived for.

But it wasn't him at all.

He didn't die in that tunnel. Didn't burst into the afterlife in an amazing display of resplendent fireworks. He hadn't sacrificed himself for the good of others

No. That was someone else.

Someone, he had come to understand, who was much more important than the cause.

Evey Hammond.

Evey.

His Evey.

He could scarcely think of her without wishing to weep. Even now, a whole year later, the emptiness her death had caused continued to consume him. The pain he felt to this day was still as strong as the moment he watched her disappear into that fateful tunnel on his Viking ship. Words failed to describe his loss, the tragic and heart-breaking death of his beautiful Evey.

The rain was falling heavier now and it dripped steadily from the wide brim of his black hat onto his lapels. With every drop that fell, he heard her name echoed in the reverberations of the droplets on contact. The rain sung her name as it fell and the moniker swept over V and filled him with the deepest type of sadness. Below him the revellers weren't letting the rain dampen their spirits, their distant cheers and hoots filled the night air. But for V, the rain just brought a new wave of pain and sadness that washed over him in stormy torrents.

V very rarely drank; it was just something that never overly took his fancy. He could access pretty much any drink he wanted but he seldom felt the urge or the compulsion. In fact he struggled to recollect the last time he had partaken in any form of alcoholic beverage. Casting his mind back he sought out the last memory of him drinking…and then it hit him.

Evey.

He had last drunk with Evey.

They shared a bottle of aged Montrachet a few days before his 'revolution' was due to take place. They toasted each other and their love with heart felt words and difficult tears. It ended with stolen embraces, salty kisses, a smashed glass and bare skin on skin.

Such happy memories.

As he remembered the moment with a sad smile, V felt strangely close to her tonight for some unknown reason; he couldn't put his finger on it. He always felt close to Evey for she was never far from his thoughts if out of them at all, but this night was different, he felt like she were here with him, next to him, beside him. It was like he could feel her eyes watching over him from the shadows and as if her breath upon him even now.

Gripping the sides of the kitchen counter a little harder than was comfortable, V felt the sudden urge to indulge in a drink. No, it wasn't an urge; it was a need, a desperate want and irrefusable desire. He didn't want to get drunk, he knew that only foolish men sought comfort in the bottom of a bottle, as rarely was it ever found there. But V just wanted to be warm again, to feel some sense of warmness deep within. Since the death of Evey, it had been as though all his body heat had drained from him, as if it had died with her. Normally he ignored the pangs of icy blasts that tormented him, but tonight they seemed to consume him worse than ever before. Reluctantly giving into his needs, V knew that only one drink could cure this level of coldness.

Wandering to the back of the kitchen, V sought out the one thing he knew would alleviate the chill that crept through him now. It was something that he had almost forgotten about, but had found again only recently after tearing the kitchen apart in search of pain relief and antiseptic. Opening the wooden cupboard door, he moved a few none vitals out of the way and finally found what he was looking for.

The unassuming whisky bottle sat very well in V's hand; that was what had tempted him to 'acquire' it in the first place. The subtle curvature of the gold lettering against the parchment like label had caught his eye and made something inside him dance with excitement. He knew the eye watering price of the drink (£24,000 a bottle), but this was not what had attracted him to it. It was something else, something he couldn't quite explain. The bottle had only been opened once before and without removing the top again, V could already smell the heady notes of the drink and knew it would suit his palate perfectly.

He headed back into the main part of the kitchen and set the bottle of The Macallan Fine and Rare 1926, onto the counter top. Pausing for a moment to appreciate the bottle in all its splendour, he then reached into the cabinet before him and took out a crystal tumbler. He could have used glass, but crystal was the only material that seemed worth enough to hold such a splendid beverage.

Removing the stopper and placing it on the counter, V very slowly poured himself a very generous dram of the laburnum coloured liquid. He took the tumbler in his hand and swilled the whisky around steadily, watching as the heavy liquid left trails down the inside of the glass. Raising it to his now unmasked nose, he inhaled and smelt woody spices, treacle, toffee, raisins and dates; a wonderful collection of amazing fragrances. V smiled a half smile as he thought of the angels taking their very expensive share of this wonderful drink, and how the makers must curse them. Whisky evaporated into the ether and savoured by some much appreciative seraphs.

As he took a cautious sip from the glass, he felt the natural strength of the cask warm him as the liquid passed down his throat. He felt it warm him instantly and deeply, it chased away the November chill nicely. It didn't burn like he imagined it might, instead it soothed him and afforded him an exquisite afterglow to bask temporarily in. V inhaled deeply and exhaled loudly as he took a moment to collect himself. It had been a long day; nay a long year and he found that his grief and sorrow drained him, both physically and mentally. His head swirled with a thousand and one memories and images of Evey, and although he never grew tired of remembering her, it did exhaust him from time to time.

After a minute or so, he took the bottle and tumbler in hand and padded off to the television room where he could sit and relax. Deftly he placed the two onto the heavy wooden coffee table in front of him, but not before taking another sip of the nectar like whisky. He reclined back into the couch as once again his medicine worked its magic, his muscles finally relaxing. The peacefulness of the moment over took V and he closed his eyes as he sunk deeper into his seat. As soon as his lids touched together, images of Evey flashed before him. In some she was crying, in some she was dancing, in some she was smiling. She whirled about in her cornflower blue sundress, spinning and dancing to songs from the Wurlizter, the material riding high in the swirling breeze she was creating. Her light and lithe feet padded and danced gracefully as in his memory her movements slowed to a crawl. She was smiling at him, beckoning him to her with her finger curled over. She was giggling and laughing, smiling and grinning at him...he could not resist her.

Although it seemed a lot longer, they must have been closed for only a minute or so when he reopened his eyes gradually, peeling his lids back so that the low light of The Gallery invaded his sight once more. Nothing out of the ordinary, all was as it should be. His painting still smiled, his statues held still and his books remained where he had dropped them earlier. But as he readjusted his focus and he allowed his gaze to fall upon the coffee table, something came into view that he had not noticed previously.

Now sitting forward and bolt upright, V stared at the small white envelope that lay before him. Tilting his head to the right in confusion, V glared intently at the humble item before him. His eyes poured over the unmistakable letter that adorned that front of the envelope. A rather messy letter 'V' in black ball point ink was scribbled hastily into the white paper. He turned his head to the left and to the right several times, checking if he could immediately see anyone. His keen hearing could hear nothing, no light steps nor held breath. There was no one in The Gallery, he knew this as instinctively as he knew his own blood type, and there had been no breach in his security. His minds whirred with the possibilities of who the letter had reached him. He knew he wasn't so insane to believe that his own Evey had some how left it for him, that would be an absolute impossibility, but it still didn't stop him from hoping. Shaking the absurd thought from his head, V could not fathom how the letter had appeared and he wondered if he really wanted to know.

After what seemed like the longest time, V afforded himself enough will to reach out and take the envelope from the table. As he brought the article closer to him for greater inspection, a distinctive and unmistakable wave of scent coursed over him. Sweet and sweeter still, it was her scent, Eveys scent. A subtle mix of jasmine, orchid and vanilla that swathed over him, leaving him reeling and desperate. It was instantly recognisable, he knew it was her fragrance, he could never forget it. He carried a red ribbon that she had once worn in her hair, in his pocket. He took it out every now and again to secretly inhale the intoxicating scent; it helped him feel closer to her even though the fragrance was beginning to fade.

V tore at the flimsy envelope like a madman, frantic to know the content. He ranked the piece of paper from the envelope and tossed it to one side carelessly. He knew it was a letter of some descript, he could make out the tops of T's and L's through the thin paper. Unfolding the letter anxiously, V's eyes fell upon the arrangement of vowel and syntax and he inhaled sharply.

The script on the paper perfectly matched the letter V on the front of the envelope. That same messy scrawled hand writing that he loved so much was now glaring back at him. He knew, in that instant he knew beyond all reasonable doubt who the letter was written by and who it was from.

Evey.

He knew not how it had come to be in front of him, he had sat in the same place a hundred times in the past year and he had never seen the letter before. Swinging his head from left to right and back again, V still could see nor sense anyone that may have left this for him. He felt a twinge of cold creep up his spine but he dismissed it angrily and turned his attentions back to the letter in his hands.

His eyes scanned the letter painfully slowly, taking in each word, each syllable, each full stop. As he read further he felt a great surge of unbelievable sadness take over him. The words he read pierced him deeper than any bullet or knife ever could or would. The beautiful and untidy script began to burn onto his brain, forcefully memorising the words as they appeared before his eyes. Wounds that were trying in vain to heal were ripped open once more and from them poured the blood of sheer pain and torment. Anguish and torment consumed V as he read, raging through him with wanton and disregard. The grief he felt was magnified a thousand times as tears began to course down his charred face for the first time since Evey had passed. He had not previously allowed himself to cry, instead just suffering silently and with dry eyes. But now, as he read he could no longer keep his composure, he broke down and howled a deep and guttural cry. If he had felt any signs of his grief letting up, they had well and truly been destroyed and V felt himself crashing back to square one all over again.

V threw his head into his hands and sobbed like no man had ever done before him. He wailed and cried with all the fury and sadness of a man that had lost his mind. V let go of the piece of white paper, the letter fluttered lightly to the floor, and V continued to cry.

My dearest V

If you are reading this letter, then my plan has succeeded and you are alive and well. Unfortunately, it also means that I did not survive, much as I predicted, but this matters not as you are safe. Your life has a far higher value than my own.

I know that words will not comfort you in your grief and that there is nothing I can write that will alleviate you from your sadness. It pains me to know that I am the cause of all your sorrow, that I brought this terrible mourning upon you. I hate to imagine you in any form of distress or suffering, and that truly was never my intention. You are the last person I should ever have wished to hurt, and I am sorry that it has not been the case that I could spare you such pain.

I have written this letter to you as there are things that I was not strong enough to say to you. I would have died beneath your gaze and would never have had chance to say what I truly needed to say.

Before I met you, my life was empty. My days filled with fear and my time spent hiding in the shadow of life. Dread and trepidation were all too real to me, and I lived with a constant feeling of panic and dismay hanging over me. I was leading a tenth of a life, cowering from those I had never met and avoiding the ones I had. My life was meaningless, hollow and insignificant.

But then I met you. My knight in shining armour. You rescued me.

From that day on you showed me what a life could and should be. How it should be lived and enjoyed, not squandered in shadow. You taught me to live without fear and to not be afraid any more, that life could be good and was to be enjoyed without terror. You introduced music, laughter, happiness and love into my life, things I had never dreamed even dreamed of. You taught me to dance, smile, sing and love. My life became filled with all the things I had once long since forgotten, and I can never thank you enough for giving me such wonderful things.

But most importantly you gave me the gift of you and your love. I feel honoured to have known you and to have had you in my life. Your love has meant more to me than anything I have ever known before. And although I am no longer with you V, you must try and take solace in the knowledge that wherever I am I am thinking of you every moment of every day. I shall always remember how you smiled at me when we stood in the pouring rain together. How closely you held me as we danced on warm balmy evenings. How you kissed me so deeply I felt my body begin to melt! But above all and most importantly, I shall remember how you loved me. If all else ends and my memory finally fails me, I shall never forget the love that you had for me and how you made me feel.

I shall not say do not weep, for not all tears are an evil. And do not think that I have abandoned you, I have just gone somewhere where you cannot follow me. Do not fear my love, for I shall see you again. I am waiting for you and I shall continue to wait until the day I see your face again.

Go now and live your life, do as you must for London needs you now as much as she ever did. Do not let grief and sorrow become your sole companions, you must live strong and continue on. Try not to think too much about how I died, try to remember how WE lived.

Thank you for loving me.

Everlastingly yours,

Evey xxx