InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 10: Anomaly ❯ Pretend ( Chapter 31 )
There is no clean version of this chapter. You’ve been warned.
“It won’t wash out.”
Glancing up from the email from the contractor she’d hired to fix her apartment, only to do a classic double take, Madison blinked and stared as the words on her tongue simply died away.
‘Oh . . . O-O-O-Oh . . . my . . .’
Yes. Yes, that was pretty much what she was thinking, absolutely . . .
Standing at the base of the stairs with a thick white towel, wrapped securely around his hips, Mikio stood, looking entirely disgruntled—and hotter than hell with a side of freshly baked Satan . . . Why it was such a shock, she didn’t know. She’d spent the better part of the last few months, sleeping next to him every night. Yes, he tended to wear sweatpants or something like that and a tee-shirt, and she was fully aware of just how firm his body beneath was, but . . . He wasn’t quite as chiseled as his family members on a whole, but that didn’t mean a thing, as far as that went. In her estimation, it was the kind of difference that existed between professional body builders and the men who took care of themselves, but didn’t skip the slice of cake, either: definite muscle definition as far as the eye could see, right down to the absolutely delicious way his muscles converged just above that towel. She could definitely see his abs, even if they weren’t hard-cut, and he possessed a very lanky strength that didn’t lend itself to being overly bulky. She’d seen her fair share of men over the years, but Mikio . . . Even as he stood, arms crossed over his chest, she could still make out the lines, the planes, the tendons over muscle that lay, just beneath the surface, and she liked what she saw, damned if she didn’t . . .
In fact, she was so distracted by his body that the fact that his hair was still what could only be described as ‘pink’ didn’t even register to her, not yet—nor did she remember at the moment that she desperately needed to breathe . . . Maybe that’s why she suddenly felt light-headed.
‘Dear God, he’s devastating, isn’t he . . .?’
She really couldn’t have said it better herself . . . In fact, she’d be more than happy to sit and stare at him till the proverbial cows came home. ‘I want me some of that . . .’
‘Stick a fork in me; I’m done.’
‘You and me, both . . .’
‘Oh, my God, you sound like Evan . . .’
“Maddy . . .?”
‘Do you think he tastes as good as he looks?’
‘I don’t know, but I want to find out . . .’
‘Absolutely . . .’
She blinked, realizing a moment too late that she really was shamelessly ogling him, and, as she slowly lifted her eyes to meet his, she was amused to see a telling blush, staining his cheeks, extending down to the top of his chest. By rights, she ought to be blushing, too, she thought in a dazed sort of way. After all, she was the one who had completely and unabashedly just ignored proper etiquette by staring at him so deplorably . . . Even so, she couldn’t say she was sorry, either, not when the view was so freaking spectacular. She cleared her throat. “Sorry,” she said, knowing in the back of her mind that she really didn’t sound sorry in the least.
He shifted his weight from one foot to the other. “W—I—M-My hair,” he blurted, the color in his cheeks, deepening slightly. “It’s not washing out.”
‘It? Washing out? What?’
‘Who cares? Look at the treasure trail, will you?’
‘Stop it! Like I’m not having enough trouble concentrating already!’
‘Don’t you want to play with that hair instead?’
‘Yes. Yes, I do . . . but you’re not helping.’
Mikio’s left ear was twitching like mad, and he reached up to fidget with it. “Maddy, are you . . . okay?”
“What? Okay? Oh, yep, of course . . . So, um . . .”
He didn’t look like he quite believed her, but he also looked like he wasn’t really sure, what to think, either. “M-My hair,” he reminded her. Again.
“Oh, right,” she exclaimed, reaching for her bottle of water since her throat was suddenly entirely parched. She took a long swig before she trusted herself to speak. “Your hair. On your head. It’s pink.”
Her reply didn’t seem to amuse him, and he sighed. “I know,” he told her. “You said the color would wash out.”
Her amusement died down as she slowly stood up, crossing her arms over her chest before she reached out and grabbed something that she didn’t dare. “I left a bottle in the shower—temporary color remover shampoo. You didn’t use it?”
He blinked, frowned. “Uh, no,” he said. “I don’t mess with your things.”
“Well,” she drawled, ambling a few steps toward him, “I could . . . could help you . . . If you want . . .”
He stared at her for a long moment, and she wasn’t sure, just what went through his head, but he looked like he was caught somewhere between ridiculously-curious and deer-in-the-headlights.
And she laughed.
Mikio groaned, long and low, eyes closed, as Madison gently, slowly massaged his scalp, working the color-removing shampoo, deep into his hair. He’d never really stopped to think about what a hairdresser actually did, but if this was any indication, then maybe he shouldn’t be surprised by how successful she really was . . .
She chuckled—a breathy sound that brushed over the back of his damp neck and elicited the rise of gooseflesh. “You’ll drown if you fall asleep in the bathtub,” she murmured, her voice unaccountably husky, almost more of a caress than actual words.
It took some effort for him to turn his head, to open his eyes, but the electric tinge in her very scent was entirely impossible to ignore. It was something that had taken him a few minutes to comprehend, and even now, he had to wonder, exactly what was happening, but it was in a vague sort of way—almost as though a fog had settled over his brain, dulling his thought processes, and Madison . . . Damned if she wasn’t entirely like some kind of drug . . .
She stared back at him, her emotions as clear to him as if she had stated them out loud. Her hands were trembling in a way that strangely seemed to match the uneven feel of the blood that thundered through his veins. Gaze, so smoky, so dark, despite the heightened sense of brightness that felt like a fire on his skin, those violet eyes had spoken to him in words that he felt, a whispered secret that he understood, and that promise was heady, frightening and beautiful, like the wildest dream, those things he had always thought existed, just beyond his grasp . . .
“Do you know?” she asked quietly—so quietly that he wondered if she even realized that she was speaking out loud. “Since that day I first saw you . . . I knew you were someone special . . .”
Her soft admission was somehow humbling to him, even if he couldn’t quite say why it was. Even so, there was something achingly familiar about it, too, as though a part of him had known the inevitability of the emotion. Maybe it wasn’t something entirely concrete, given that she was just a pup at the time, but still . . . “Did you?”
She nodded, her breath on his skin, stunted and unsteady, yet her gaze never left his. “It wasn’t anything I could explain . . . How could I when I was just a child?” She looked entirely bemused as she carefully worked the lather into his stained ears without actually getting it inside them, which was pretty impressive. Regardless, the contact with his extraordinarily sensitive ears sent a near-violent shiver, right down his spine, and he couldn’t help the way his ears flicked madly, as though they were trying to avoid her touch. As if she understood his plight, she laughed softly. “I could say that it was some kind of divine revelation, but I’m far too jaded to believe in stuff like that.”
“You don’t think that there’s just one person out there for you?” he asked, eyes slipping closed once more, unable to resist the curious mix of lethargy and an undeniable electricity that passed from her to him and back again.
“Sometimes, I think that there’s no one on earth who’d be able to tolerate me for that long,” she admitted. “Forever’s a very long time.”
He frowned, turned his head once more, far enough to look at her again. “I don’t think that’d be too tough,” he ventured quietly. “Maybe you’re selling yourself a little short.”
Her hands stilled for a moment, and when she resumed, her fingers were slower, more methodic, even more hypnotic as she languorously massaged his head. “So . . . What about you? How is it that you, of all people, don’t have a mate already?” Though her question was asked in a neutral enough tone, he could sense the underlying curiosity.
That was the million-dollar question, wasn’t it? And yet, even through the bemusement that he couldn’t shake off, he couldn’t quite help the grimace that surfaced on his features, either. Those same old doubts, fears, misgivings, borderline regrets . . . They had become such a part of him that they were somehow ingrained into his very being, and yet . . .
She sighed, and the smile that touched her face was so wan, so fragile, that it hurt him somewhere down deep—or maybe . . . Maybe it was the understated sense of understanding that did it . . . “You . . . You never want to find . . . her . . . do you?” she murmured; her whisper as dry as the cold fall breeze outside.
He flinched involuntarily at the deadly accuracy of her words. “I-It’s not . . . I just . . .” He sighed, too, feeling the familiarity of frustration as it nudged everything aside, and he started to sit up straighter, but she stopped him with her gentle hands on his shoulders.
“I see you, Mikio,” she said, leaning in close to his ear—so close that her breath stirred the thin and insanely sensitive hairs on the inside of the appendage—sending another violent surge, straight through him. “Everything you think you are, everything you think you’re not—everything you are to me.”
“Everything you think you are, everything you think you’re not—everything you are to me.”
Letting out a deep breath as he hit ‘send’ on the email he’d written to Bill Winehouse, requesting information regarding the servers used for the files in question. He figured he had about a twenty-five-percent chance of getting any kind of cooperation from him without any trouble, and it was worth the effort, even if he really wasn’t about to hold his breath on it.
‘Are we still pretending that the whole bathroom odyssey didn’t happen?’
Frowning as he clicked the emails that were heading straight to the trash, he didn’t respond right away.
‘You know, you can’t ignore what she said. She deserves that much consideration from you, at the very least.’
“Everything you think you are, everything you think you’re not—everything you are to me.”
‘She reads you better than you read yourself sometimes, and what she says . . . You can do a lot of things, but you must acknowledge her. Don’t be fool enough to think that it didn’t cost her on some level, to be that open, that honest, with you.’
He sighed. It wasn’t that; not really. He wasn’t trying to discount anything she’d said. If anything, it had just alarmed him that she had hit it so close to the mark. Between the things she had known and everything else that had happened since they’d gotten home from that party—maybe even the party itself . . . All of it was just a lot to process, and he’d be lying if he were to try to say that he wasn’t feeling entirely out of his depth, too . . .
He hadn’t stopped to think about it, had he? From the time they’d gotten back to the penthouse, she’d offered to let him take a shower first so that he could wash that color out of his hair, the makeup off his face where she’d applied the fake Kenshin scars. Then, he’d been too irritated to stop and think about it when he’d marched out of the bathroom and down the stairs because the stupid dye wouldn’t wash out, but Madison . . .
The simple memory of her reaction to seeing him in the towel was still enough to wrench a low groan from him. The change in her scent had been almost immediate—and intense, and yet, it had taken him a painfully long time to register, just what that meant, and when he did . . . The truth of it had hit him like a ton of bricks. She . . . She wanted him, and that understanding . . . Well, he still didn’t know exactly what to make of it. After all, as much as he might want to believe that, she’d also had quite a few drinks, too, and, while she didn’t act drunk really, that didn’t mean she wasn’t impaired at all . . .
‘If you honestly think that the booze had a thing to do with her reaction to you, think again, Mikio. For once in your life, don’t try to downplay this because this . . . It’s important, maybe more important than anything else up till now has been. Don’t just discount it because it’s easier to do than to try to believe that a woman like her might really want you.’
Mikio’s frown darkened. Why was it that everything seemed so mixed up and had been since the moment he’d tumbled down the Zelig stairs with her?
‘She’s special to us, you know. I . . . I don’t want you to push her away. You can’t push her away . . .’
No, he thought. No, he really didn’t want to do that, either. But . . .
‘Can’t you just . . . Just let it be all right this time? I . . . We . . . don’t want to go back to that emptiness.’
“That emptiness,” Mikio echoed quietly, thoughtfully. That emptiness that he hadn’t even realized existed at all, not till Madison filled it with her smiles, her laughter. She seemed to understand him in a way that no one else in his life ever really had, and that was both welcome, and yet, it scary as all hell, too.
Closing his laptop and stowing it back into the travel bag, he carefully set it on the floor against the nightstand and settled back against the headboard of the bed as he reached for his cell phone to pass some time until Madison finished up with her shower. He hadn’t actually checked it since before the party, and he wasn’t surprised to see a number of picture messages from everyone at Ben Philips’ Halloween party.
The first one was from his mother, and he frowned, tilting his head from one side to the other as he examined the picture of his father, wearing a strange, leather-looking pair of underpants or some such. ‘Tarzan’, Kagome had texted with it. Mikio blinked and slowly shook his head.
‘That . . . is something I’m never going to unsee.’
Mikio grimaced. No, he didn’t think he would, either . . .
‘That looks . . . uncomfortable,’ Mikio texted back. Considering InuYasha looked less-than-impressed? Well, it wasn’t surprising, and honestly, he wasn’t entirely sure, how his darling mama had talked his surly papa into that particular costume, in the first place . . .
At least the others didn’t really make him want to gouge his eyes out, not even the image of his mother, wearing what could only be described as a fur mini-dress.
‘Well, Evan’s costume comes close.’
Mikio grunted since the baka rockstar was dressed as a really warped prima ballerina. ‘It wasn’t that bad. Disturbing, sure, but hell . . . At least the tutu covered his crotch in the pictures.’
‘Ugh, yes . . . I don’t think anyone, including Valerie, really wants to see that in a pair of bloomers . . .’
Before he could delve into that visual too far—thank kami—the door to the master bathroom opened, exposing a very fresh-looking Madison, complete with damp but shiny golden hair, wearing one of Mikio’s dress shirts—this one, a light blue Egyptian cotton that he had yet to wear. He couldn’t actually say that he minded, though. Seeing that incredible expanse of her legs from the high side cuts of the hem that barely brushed lower-hip, only to trail down longer in the front and back, the silhouette of her absolutely lush body, backlit by the light, spilling out of the bathroom as the sweet cloud of scented lotions, body washes, all combined in his head, he figured that he was on the plus side of the loss of the new shirt for the night, anyway.
She yawned, but didn’t seem that sleepy as she wandered over to the bed, letting herself down on her knee as she slid onto the duvet beside him. “Sorry it took longer than usual. Washing out the color,” she explained.
He shrugged. “I’m glad you got it out,” he said, reaching over, tugging a lock of her hair over her shoulder, rubbing it between his fingertips, savoring the silken feel of the strands. “You looked nice, but I prefer this.”
“Do you?” she asked in a rather breathless kind of way.
He nodded slowly. “You’re prettier as you are.”
“You think so?”
He opened his mouth, only to snap it shut again as he let go of her hair and shot her a rather droll look, instead. “Don’t tell me you don’t know that already,” he countered mildly.
She laughed. “Oh, come on, Mikio. Can’t a girl fish for compliments now and then?”
He rolled his eyes, but grinned. “I suppose.”
She let out a deep breath and shot him a sidelong glance, then nodded at him. “Interesting?” she asked, nodding at his phone that he held in his slack hand.
He snorted and held it out to her, and he wasn’t at all surprised when her lips twitched, moments before she chuckled softly. “He’s so weird,” she remarked, shaking her head slightly as she handed the device back. “I’m surprised V allowed him out of the house like that.”
Scratching his chin thoughtfully, Mikio set the phone aside and shot Madison a rather blank look. “Tell me again, why did she marry him?”
“For some reason,” she explained between giggles, “I think she loves him. I’m not sure why, but she does. I mean, I love him in a strange friend kind of way, bu-u-u-ut . . .”
Mikio shook his head since he still wasn’t entirely sure that Valerie Denning Zelig was completely sane, after all. She seemed like she was when she wasn’t with Evan, anyway . . .
She sighed as her amusement faded, but the smile didn’t completely disappear, either, even as she stared at him. “Are you okay?” she finally asked, and she sounded genuinely concerned.
“Yeah,” he replied, stretching out and rolling onto his side, propping his head on his hand. “Shouldn’t I be?”
She gave a little shrug. “You just looked a little pale; that’s all.”
He frowned, trying to ignore the misplaced feelings of déjà vu that she had no idea she’d just so neatly dragged up for him. A million moments that had all played out the same way: his mother, eyeing him in that overly concerned, borderline anxious way as she pressed her cool hand against his forehead to check for tell-tale signs of a fever that he never had just before suggesting that he go lay down a while . . .
“That’s not a good expression,” she mused quietly, biting her lip as she turned to face him more fully.
He sighed. “It’s nothing,” he lied. Well, it wasn’t exactly a lie: more of his way of just trying to change the subject since there wasn’t a damn thing good about the current direction of his thoughts. “I’m fine; I promise.”
She didn’t look entirely convinced, but he had a feeling that it had more to do with his own reactions than the idea that he wasn’t feeling well. The trouble was, she also looked like she might just launch into more questions, and he sighed again. “No, really. It’s just . . . Can we talk about something else?”
“Okay,” she agreed easily enough, bringing up her bent knees, wrapping her arms around her legs. “What do you want to talk about?”
The bluntness of her question, coupled with the rather wicked glint in her eyes, drew a bark of laughter from him. “I’m sorry . . . I didn’t mean—”
She laughed, too. “I know,” she cut in, flicking a hand without letting go of her legs. “I get the feeling that you’ve heard that particular question often enough in the past. I didn’t mean to bring it up.”
His amusement died down, but his mood remained. “Yeah, Mama asks me that, every time I turn around, or that’s how it feels,” he admitted. “It’s just a little too much sometimes.”
She nodded. “Especially when you feel fine, right?”
“Something like that.”
She considered it for a moment. “I’m not going to tell you that you shouldn’t be upset because they love you, that they only fuss over you because they’re concerned because that would be entirely patronizing, wouldn’t it? And you already know that.” She paused, narrowing her eyes just a little as she gazed at him, and whatever conclusion she came to a moment later, she gave a barely perceptible nod. “And no matter how . . . claustrophobic it makes you feel, you also can’t tell them that it bothers you because you love them just as much.”
He blinked, unable to keep the understated wonder out of his expression as he stared at her. Somehow, she’d managed to entirely summarize everything he’d ever thought and felt at those times, and somehow, too, coming from her, it didn’t sound nearly as stupid as he always thought that it was . . .
She uttered a rueful kind of laugh, tinged with a sense of melancholy that lingered somewhere between sadness and resignation—a sound that he might well make, but from her . . . It was poignant, painful, and it felt like someone had stabbed him down deep, far below the surface where a cut couldn’t truly heal. She reached out, ran the back of her knuckles down his cheek as the laugh gave way to a weak and wry sort of smile. “You know, what I said to you earlier? That I can see you? I . . . I meant that.”
Something about her simple touch held him, spellbound, and without a second thought, he caught her hand, gave her a little tug. His action caught her off guard, and she fell forward, landing on his chest as he rolled onto his back, as he slipped a hand around her neck, pulled her in closer.
And the feel of her lips on his was like an electric current that shot through him, reverberated out from the very center of him. The very essence of her aura permeated every last corner of his brain, of his emotions, a magic kind of sensation that banished the shadows that tried to cling to him, as though she were the sunshine, and he drank her in. It didn’t matter to her that he had to be clumsy, wasn’t well-versed in the subtleties of kissing. Her lips seemed to flow into his, melding together in such a perfectly stunning way that it didn’t matter, and yet, she sighed softly, her fingers, sinking deep in his hair, massaging his scalp in the same gentle way as she’d been when she had washed the color out earlier . . .
He could hear her heartbeat, erratic and yet complimentary to his own stuttering pulse, as the rise of passion grew, doubling itself time and again, a beautiful ache, an unspoken cry, but something about her calmed him, too. It was a strange combination, but it also somehow fit her perfectly. Everything she was seemed to amplify in him, filling in the parts of himself that were missing, lacking, and the sense of completion was stunning. Holding her because it was all that he could do, he groaned, but the sound of it was captured by her, and she shivered in response as she rolled onto him, as her legs fell open, her knees, tucked neatly on either side of him. The heat of her skin permeated the thin material of the shirt she wore, burning against him, setting him on fire . . .
Over and over again, the flow of her lips broke him, the absolute sense of discovery, amplified by the tenderness that she afforded him, so alive, so brilliant, so beautiful . . . She stripped him bare, only to wrap him in her own kind of magic, and when she parted her lips, he uttered a terse kind of growl, rising up, rolling over until he had her pinned against the mattress, instinctively grinding his hips against hers as his tongue delved into her mouth, tasting her as her entire body met his—frenzied undulations, the stroke of her tongue against his . . .
The throbbing in his body was shocking, painful, far more intense than anything he’d ever felt before, culminating in the sharpened edges of a primal need, a mind-boggling tightness in his balls. Her hand slipped down his shoulder, his chest, the prick of her claws, poking through the thin fabric of his tee-shirt, setting off a rampant fire that shot straight to his already straining groin, and she slipped her hand between them, grasping him through his sweatpants, squeezing him, stroking him, creating a chafing kind of friction and heat that was both delicious as well as agonizing by turns, and he tore his mouth away from hers, throwing his head back as he uttered a ragged cry, as his body stiffened in raw reaction, as his orgasm surged, hot and damning and unstoppable . . .
STORY STILL ON HIATUS … Really on hiatus this time … Gotta finish Cacophony before moving on. Enjoy, and feel free to leave me some love. It’s been a long week so far.
== == == == == == == == == ==
Danielleleebee ——— oblivion-bringr
TheWonderfulShoe ——— Lovethedogs ——— Cutechick18 ——— minthegreen ——— Liz80 ——— Liad88 ——— rpf5029 ——— GoodyKags ——— Reverie19
Final Thought from Madison:
Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Anomaly): I do not claim any rights to InuYasha or the characters associated with the anime/manga. Those rights belong to Rumiko Takahashi, et al. I do offer my thanks to her for creating such vivid characters for me to terrorize.