InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Grand Inquiry ( Chapter 25 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter Twenty-Five~~
~Grand Inquiry~


'He drinks a whiskey drink
He drinks a vodka drink
He drinks a lager drink
He drinks a cider drink
He sings the songs that remind him of the good times
He sings the songs that remind him of the better times …'

-'Tubthumping' by Chumbawamba.


"Pleas e state your name."

"Zel Roka."

"Please be advised, Mr. Roka, that I am recording this meeting regarding the circumstances occurring on the night of March 18, 2073.  Could you please tell me what you were doing that night?"

He grinned at her and shrugged offhandedly.  "Hell, I don't remember.  Oh, wait . . . I was getting shitfaced with my buddies."

"Mr. Roka, could you please keep in mind that I'm conducting an inquiry here, and in the interests of your case, I'd appreciate it if you'd answer the questions as plainly and concisely as you can."

His grin widened as he slouched down a little lower.  "Damn, you're hella sexy when you're tryin' to be all strict," he drawled.

Valerie sighed and shook her head.  "Can you name everyone at your house on the night in question?"

His expression shifted into one of exaggerated thoughtfulness, and he shrugged.  "Well, lessee . . . I was there . . . Maddikins, of course . . . Bone, Dieter, Bitches—she and her main squeeze had a fight, I think—and Bugs.  Yeah, I think that was about it."

"Is that right?" she asked, making notes on the computer touchpad.  "Was anyone else there?"

"No one important."

She leaned back in her desk chair and slowly nodded.  "All right.  Tell me what all was going on, please."

"We were drinking beer and all that good shit . . . I smoked a couple-few joints . . . nothing major."

"And whose idea was it that you go out to acquire more beer?" she asked almost absently.

Evan shrugged again and tried to look duly attentive.  Still exhausted from the weekend before, he wasn't doing a very good job of it, judging from the look on Valerie's face.

She'd gone back to her regular brown hair rinse, much to Evan's chagrin, and when she'd called him earlier to ask him to stop by her office, he had to admit that he'd been hoping for something a little more interesting than the current line of questioning.  Still, he had to hand it to her.  She was a damn smart woman, and even if he didn't care what the hell the court really did to him, he could appreciate that she seemed to.  "I don't rightly remember," he said with a shake of his head.

"Okay, so you and Madison Cartham decided to go on a beer run; do I have that right?"


She scribbled something else down.  "And no one else was with you?"

He cocked an eyebrow at that, his grin returning in cheesy abundance.  "Nope."

She peered over the rim of her glasses and nodded slowly.  "But you did not cause the accident."

"So they say," he replied.

"But you were under the influence of both marijuana and alcohol."

"They say that, too."

"And you realize that because you were found to be under the influence, the accident is your fault."

"They say a helluva lot, don't they?"

She frowned at him, willing him to play it her way for once, and Evan nearly relented.  "Mr. Roka, do you understand the seriousness of the charges levied against you?"

Leaning forward, he steepled his fingertips together between his spread knees and nodded.  "Yes, Ms. Denning.  I understand completely."

She actually seemed a little taken aback by that.  Blinking her surprise away quickly enough, she pressed her lips together and sighed.  "Good . . . Now . . . Could you please tell me if you were injured in the collision?"

"Eh, a few scrapes; nothing big."

"And how did you incur those scrapes?"

He sat back and shrugged.  "Hit my head on the window, was all.  Didn't hurt the ol' moneymaker, if that's what you mean."

"The windshield or the side pane?"

Evan rolled his eyes and let out a deep breath, designed to let her know that he was rapidly tiring of her line of questioning.  "The side pane."

"And was your passenger injured?"

"Maddy?  Nope.  She was sleeping in the back seat."

Valerie wrote another note and nodded.  "All right, Mr. Roka.  That's all the questions I had for you at the present time.  I do, however, reserve the right to ask you to come back in, should I think of anything else."

"Right, right," he replied, slowly getting to his feet.  "Hey, V?  You still filming me?"

Valerie blinked but nodded.  "Yes, why?"

He grinned yet again.  "Good, good . . . Will you marry me?"

"When donkeys fly," she intoned smoothly and without as much as batting an eyelash.

Evan chuckled and headed for the door, wondering why it was that he thoroughly enjoyed hearing her refuse him—almost as much as he'd enjoy it if she were to suddenly agree to it.  That was all right, too, wasn't it?  After all, the best things in life were definitely worth waiting for, weren't they, and Valerie Denning?  Well . . . somehow he knew damn well that the wait would absolutely be worth it.

'Game on, V . . . game on . . .'


"Please state your name."

"Madison Cartham."

"Please be advised, Ms. Cartham, that I am recording this meeting regarding the circumstances occurring on the night of March 18, 2073.  Could you please tell me what you were doing that night?"

Madison chewed her bottom lip thoughtfully as she considered the question.  "March eighteenth?  Hmm . . . I was hanging out with Zel Roka."

"And could you define 'hanging out', please?"

Madison smiled.  "Oh, you know . . . Just relaxing and having a good time."

Valerie nodded slowly, tapping the end of the stylus pen between her teeth as she pondered her next question.  "Who all was there?"

"Well, I was . . . Zel was, of course . . . Hmm, let me think . . ." She tapped a long, tapered claw against her cheek and considered the question as Valerie jotted a few notes on the computer touchpad.  "Bone was—he's always at the house.  Head of security, you know.  Umm . . . Bitches was there, looking fabulous, as always . . . Dieter was there . . . He'd just gotten out of the big house a week or so before, and if I remember right, we were celebrating his parole . . . Oh!  And Bugsy.  Yeah, I think that was all of us . . . I mean, there might have been a couple girls there, but no one that I'd remember . . ."

"So it was just a small gathering, then," Valerie intoned, frowning at her notes.

Madison nodded slowly.  "Yes, that sounds about right."

"Hmm . . . Okay . . . Ms. Cartham, do you recall whose idea it was to go on the beer run?"

Leaning to the side in the comfortable chair across from Valerie, Madison mulled over the question.  "Whose idea was it . . .? I don't recall exactly whose idea it was, but Dieter was the one who mentioned that Zel was out of beer."

"I see . . . Dieter . . . all right."

"Is that important?"

Valerie shrugged in a slightly offhanded sort of way.  "Everything's important.  Did you accompany Zel Roka to the liquor store to buy beer?"

Madison smiled.  "Yes, I did."

"Did anyone else go with the two of you?"

Shifting slightly, Madison took a moment to examine her well manicured nails.  "I don't recall.  I fell asleep in the back seat of the car."

"But you walked out to the car of your own volition, yes?"

She nodded.  "Yes, that's right."

"But you can't recall whether or not anyone else was with you?"

"Yes, that's right, too."

Valerie scowled but nodded, taking a moment to write down a few more things.  "Thank you, Ms. Cartham.  You've been quite helpful."

Madison stood up and winked at Valerie.  "No problem, sweetie."


"Please state your name."


Valerie blinked and pressed her lips together in a thin line.  "Your legal name, please."

"I changed my name to Bitches about four years ago, all legal and whatnot."

"Please be advised, Ms . . . Bitches, that I am recording this meeting regarding the circumstances occurring on the night of March 18, 2073.  Could you please tell me what you were doing that night?"

"We-e-e-ell . . . If memory serves, I spent that evening at Zel Roka's house."

"And how do you know Mr. Roka?"

Bitches giggled and fluttered a hand at the attorney.  "Zel and I go way back," she replied almost evasively.

"How far back?" Valerie asked.

"Oh . . . ten years?  More?  We met just after he moved to the city.  Such a sweetie, but such an outrageous flirt."

The attorney seemed to grit her teeth, but it might have just been her imagination, too.  "I see.  It's my understanding that aside from you and Mr. Roka, Bone, Bugs, Madison, and Dieter were there, as well. Does that sound right to you?"

"Yes, it does—Madison had the most delicious boots on—said she got them on sale at Cavenaughs on Fifth Avenue."

"Is that so?"

Bitches giggled.  "That's right."

Valerie nodded slowly.  "Were you privy to the conversation about Zel having run out of beer?"

"Hmm," she intoned, shifting her eyes toward the ceiling.  "No, can't say that I was."

"And why weren't you?"

"Well, I was playing strip poker with Bone."

"Is that right?"

She nodded.  "Yes."

Valerie made a few notes and sat back, frowning in concentration as she watched Bitches closely.  "And do you remember who all left to go get more beer?"

"You know, that completely slipped my mind," she replied smoothly.

The woman narrowed her eyes as Bitches blinked innocently.  "Really."

"Sorry," she apologized with a bright smile.

Valerie didn't look as though she believed Bitches' story.  "You're telling me that you cannot remember who all left to go get beer, but you can remember the shoes that Madison Cartham was wearing?"

"Honey, a woman never forgets a pair of Vaz Gordon patent leather thigh boots."

A completely chagrined sort of expression filtered over Valerie Denning's features.  "I see.  Thank you," she remarked.  "If I have more questions, I'll call you."

Bitches stood up and winked at Valerie.  "You know, darling, I could work wonders in here," she said as she glanced around the entirely too-businesslike office.  "Open your Zen right up."

Valerie smiled rather tolerantly and slowly shook her head.  "I think my Zen's just fine, Bitches."

She smiled then laughed and let herself out of the office . . .


"Please state your name."

"Burney Bugstaff, but everyone calls me 'Bugs'."

"Please be advised, Mr. Bugstaff, that I am recording this meeting regarding the circumstances occurring on the night of March 18, 2073.  Could you please tell me what you were doing that night?"

"Hmm, oh, ah . . . let me see . . . I have such a busy schedule, you know . . ." he drawled, waving his hands in an airy gesture.  "March eighteenth?  Was that the night that my Zelicious got into that dreadful accident?"

"Yes," Valerie clarified.  "That's the one."

"Yay for me!" Bugs gushed, clapping his hands quite happily.  "That's easy, hon.  I was at Zel's house, of course!"

"Was Mr. Roka throwing a party?"

Bugs leveled a no-nonsense look at her.  "Honey, ain't no party a party without me."

"What do you remember about the party, Mr. Bugstaff?"

Bugs rolled his eyes and scrunched up his nose.  "The party . . . the party . . . Well . . . hmm . . . Oh-Oh-Oh!  I remember that Bone and Bitches were playing strip poker—and I remember that she was winning, more's the pity . . ."

She blinked but didn't smile.  "That's a pity?"

Bugs giggled, waving a hand in front of his heavily makeup-ed face.  "Listen, V, if you'd ever seen the man naked, you'd know why he's called 'Bone'."

She stared at him for a moment, and Bugs had to wonder exactly what a man like Zel Roka could possibly see in such a cold fish.  "I see.  Did you overhear the discussion regarding Mr. Roka running out of beer?"

"Hmm," he intoned, pouting just a little as he thought about the question.  "Oh, yes!  Dieter said that Zel was out of beer, and Maddy said that he had wine, so Dieter said that wine was for pussies, and Zel said something about pussies making good wine goblets or something—you know, I so don't get that!  I mean, who doesn't like wine?"

For the barest of moments, the attorney's lips twitched, but she didn't smile despite the idea that Bugs figured that she might.  In the end, though, she cleared her throat and slowly shook her head.  "And did you see who, exactly left the house?"

Bugs sat back and held his hands up at his sides.  "Sorry, honey.  I just . . . can't really remember."

Valerie stared at him for another moment then slowly nodded.  "You don't remember," she repeated.


"Okay, I see.  Thank you for your time, Mr. Bugstaff.  I'll call you if I have any more questions."


"Please state your name."

"Dieter Reichardt."

"Please be advised, Mr. Reichardt, that I am recording this meeting regarding the circumstances occurring on the night of March 18, 2073.  Could you please tell me what you were doing that night?"

"Don't 'member," he muttered, slumping a little lower in his chair.

"But you were at the party that Zel Roka was throwing that night, weren't you?"

"Guess so."

"Do you recall the discussion in which you informed Mr. Roka that he was out of beer?"

Dieter scratched the back of his neck and scowled at the desk.  "Yeah."

"Could you elaborate on it, please?"

He shrugged.  "I said, 'You're out of beer'," he replied almost sullenly.  He hated lawyers' offices.  He hated them with a passion, almost as much as he hated courtrooms and police stations . . .

Valerie stared at him for several seconds before jotting some notes down.  "How's your son?" she asked without looking up.  "Daniel, isn't it?"

He blinked and broke into a wide grin.  "Aw, he's the best!" he replied.  "His birthday's coming up, you know?  So I wanted to get him one of those Jeep things that runs on a battery?  But Miss—she's my girl—she said that they're too dangerous, so we're going to get him an indoor swing set, instead."

She smiled at him and nodded.  "Sounds very nice."

Dieter grinned and leaned forward a little.  "You know, I bet I could build one better than those ones you can buy."

"You probably could," she agreed.  "So about the night in question—is there anything else you remember?  Anything at all?"

He considered that then nodded.  "Yeah . . . Bitches had a fight with her girl, I guess.  I just remember because she was crying.  It was scary."

"Scary?  How so?"

He shrugged.  "Well, Bitches never cries, and . . ." He grimaced and slowly shook his head.  "I don't like it when women cry."

Valerie nodded.  "No, I don't suppose you do.  Mr. Reichardt, did you see who all left with Mr. Roka when he went on his beer run?"

He frowned and shifted his gaze to the floor once more.  "I . . . I don't remember."

Somehow, Valerie didn't seem surprised at all by his answer.  "Right.  Okay, you can go.  I'll call you if I have any other questions."

He nodded and started to stand up, striding quickly toward the door, but he stopped with his hand poised on the knob.  "Uh, Ms. Denning?"

"Yes, Dieter?" she replied in an absent tone of voice.  She was writing on that tablet again . . .

He clenched his jaw for a moment then cleared his throat.  "Zel . . . you can keep him out of jail, right?"

She paused.  He could hear the slight scratch of the stylus pen stop.  "I doubt it," she replied quietly.  "But I can see if I can get him a reduced sentence."

Dieter nodded slowly.  "He . . . He shouldn't have to do time," he said.  "I mean, it was just an accident."

She hesitated before responding.  "Of course it was."

Dieter nodded once more and let himself out of the office.


"Please state your name."


"Is that your legal name?" Valerie asked, not willing to assume anything after her questioning of Bitches.

"That's all you need to know," he drawled, settling back in the chair and casting her a very wide grin.

She stuck her tongue in her cheek and shook her head, figuring that she might as well get the deposition over with before she figured out whether or not Bone should be asked to take the stand.  "Please be advised, Bone, that I am recording this meeting regarding the circumstances occurring on the night of March 18, 2073.  Could you please tell me what you were doing that night?"

"Aw, you know: a little bit of this, a little bit of that . . ."

"Anything in specific?"

He shrugged.  "Nothing that was legal."

"You work for Mr. Roka; am I correct?"


"In what capacity?"

"Head of security."

She nodded.  "And as head of security, you have to pay attention to details a lot, don't you?"

"Guess so."

"And on the night in question?  Were you working or were you enjoying a night off?"

He chuckled.  "I enjoy my work," he replied simply.

"Okay . . ." She took a moment, scanning through her notes.  "What do you remember about that night?'

Settling back in his seat, Bone shrugged offhandedly, crossing his ankle over his knee and shaking his foot in a release of nervous energy.  "What do I remember?  Hmm . . ." He suddenly grinned.  "I remember seeing Bitches' bitches."

"Her breasts, you mean?"

He nodded.  "Hell, any red-blooded man would remember seeing those," he remarked.

She didn't look entirely amused by his assertion.  "Were you privy to the discussion about Mr. Roka running out of beer?"

Bone shook his head.  "That?  Nope."

"And did you see who all left the residence to go for beer?"

He thought that over, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.  "Leavin' . . .? Nope, can't say that I did."

For the briefest of seconds, she honestly looked like she might well explode.  He couldn't rightfully blame her for that.  He had a feeling that she hadn't gotten far with that particular line of questioning with anyone . . . "Sorry, V," he said with an unrepentant sort of shrug.  "That it?"

The woman let out a deep breath, her expression completely dubious.  "You know, I find it incredibly ironic that all of you can remember the majority of the night in question with so much clarity, yet not one of you can remember seeing who left with Zel Roka, either.  Tell me, why do I get the feeling that you're keeping something from me?"

Bone forced a grin and shrugged candidly.  "Dunno."

"You do realize, right?  Mr. Roka is going to go to prison for his carelessness that night.  Covering for him won't really help him."

Bone nodded slowly and then pushed himself to his feet.  "An' you're forgetting that Zel's a big boy now.  Ain't no one can change his mind once it's made up . . . Leastawise, not none of us.  Now you have a nice day, Ms. Denning."

He tipped his hat to her and let himself out of the office.


Valerie rubbed her temples as she stared at the notes she'd jotted during the meetings she'd held with each of Evan's closest friends, as well as with the errant rock star, himself.

'Just what the hell did I think I was going to prove here?' she fumed.  'Just what did I think I was going to find out?'

She sighed.  She thought she could get some answers, hadn't she—something to explain exactly what had happened that night.

That was what she'd hoped, wasn't it?

And maybe she'd hoped to gain a better perspective of it all.  Sure, people made stupid mistakes all the time, but . . .

But Zel Roka—Evan Zelig . . .  He wasn't nearly that stupid, now was he?

She'd come to a strange sort of understanding about the man—he wasn't nearly as dumb or as uncaring as she'd wanted to think, to start with.  His treatment of her was proof enough of that, wasn't it?  After all was said and done, he really had been sorry, and she knew it.  She knew it.

'A stupid mistake . . .'

There was more to it, and maybe she didn't have proof, but she did have a feeling.  Still, if there really was more to the story than he was telling, why was he hiding it?  Why didn't he just say so?

Tapping the end of the stylus pen against the touchpad, she let out another deep breath.

'Or maybe . . . maybe you're letting your own feelings cloud the facts . . .'

With a frown, she slowly shook her head.  No, that wasn't it, at all.  Granted, it was entirely unsettling, waking up in the man's bed last evening after such a long 'nap', and the distorted sense of reality had been hard to comprehend at the time.  She wasn't sure what had woke her up, though she suspected it was the marked lack of warmth that had lulled her to sleep, in the first place.  He wasn't in the bed with her, and she'd discerned his voice slowly fading away as he moved off down the hallway, so she had a feeling that might have been what had initially woke her up, to start with.

Still, she wasn't sure what to make of it; not really.  It was easier to berate herself for her lapse once she was well rested.  How she'd ever let him talk her into napping with him was completely beyond her, and yet . . . and yet more disturbing than that was the very thought, however unwelcome, that she hadn't really minded it nearly as much as she probably should have.

And fast on that was the sense of guilt; guilt that she'd allowed herself to give in so easily, knowing somewhere deep down that it had been entirely too welcome.  After all, what about Marvin?

'But . . . Marvin's the reason I'd said 'anything', wasn't he?'

She frowned.  It occurred to her that she sounded like she was trying to absolve herself from any sense of guilt that she was feeling.

That wasn't it; not at all.  Marvin and she . . . They understood one another.  Both of them were driven—working on their careers before anything else, putting their own goals in the forefront, and that was what they both wanted.  Marvin had his research, and Valerie had her ambitions to become a junior partner, then partner, and finally to have her name on the letterhead at her firm.  It was something that had always been understood—neither of them 'needed' the other to feel a sense of fulfillment, and they really did enjoy each other's company.  Maybe that wasn't something that was easily understood—God only knew that Madison never had—but for her, their relationship gave her a sense of stability—something she'd always lacked in her life.

With a frustrated sort of sigh, she shoved those thoughts aside and tried to focus her attention on the notes she'd taken during the interviews.  'Maybe I'm reading too much into this,' she thought suddenly.  'Maybe that's really all there is . . .'

All there was . . . A stupid mistake on one insular night . . . and if that's all there was . . .

She frowned, staring dully at the latest offer faxed over by the DA's office earlier.  It wasn't really any better than the first one, and the attached letter stated that it would be the final one Evan would be offered before the case went to trial.  Too bad she knew damn well that he wouldn't even consider it.  The man was entirely too stubborn for his own good, wasn't he . . .?

~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~ =~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
'Tubthumpin g' by Chumbawamba first appeared on the 1997 release, Tubthumper.  Song written by and copyrighted to Chumbawamba.
== == == == == == == == == ==
jack2jokester ------ Meru ------ xfalsetruth06x ------ Sesshomaru4Kagura4ever ------ lilswtheart9811 ------ sutlesarcasm ------ malitiadixie ------ xcori (As stated in my story summaries, unsolicited critiques posted as reviews are always removed to keep the reviewer from being flamed by other readers.) ------ ThisIsMeSmiling ------ Dark Inu Fan ------ darkangel05 ------ OROsan0677 ------ Migoto ------ Jester08 ------ monkeyseemonkeynodo ------- Sovereignty ------ missmary (I was there before!  I spent my senior year in high school in Mannheim, but I arrived in Frankfurt.) ------ theblackthorn ------ vayne ------ oblivion-bringr (He doesn't sound like anyone else.  That's why he's popular.) ------ beckyducky ------ Titiana ------ lemonera (Thank you very much; more than you'll ever know. Reviews like yours are the reminders to me as to why I still share my work. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.) ------ Death-by-Minnow
Mangaluva ------ malitiadixie ------ PikaMoon ------ Proforce ------ psyco_chick32 ------ Katterrina ------ sidelines ------ Denyell
Thought from Valerie:
Just what the hell is going on …?
Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Subterfuge):  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.

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