InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ The Fourth Day: Part II ( Chapter 35 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter Thirty-Five~~
~The Fourth Day: Part II~


-OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'Half the time the world is ending
Truth is I am done pretending
Too much time, too long defending
You and I are done pretending …'

-'Love Remains the Same' by Gavin Rossdale.

-Valerie-


"Bone!  Get your fucking ass in here.  Now!"

Valerie flinched and bit her lip, wondering what, exactly, had happened.  Yes, she was there.  Yes, maybe she ought to know what had set Evan off, but the truth was that she really didn't have a clue.  After all, he'd seemed happy enough after his gig, hadn't he?

It was easy to think that the threats made by the one security guard when he'd raised his bobby-stick at the crowd was the culprit, and yet she didn't really believe that, either.  The thing was, she wasn't entirely sure what was bothering him, though, and that was even worse, really.  Was he angry at her?  And if that were the case, why?  She hadn't done anything wrong—at least, she didn't think she had . . .

Against her better judgment, she followed him slowly, but stopped in the doorway that separated the kitchen from the living room.  Evan was literally prowling the length of the room, opening and closing his hands as though he were fighting desperately not to come completely unglued.  A moment later, she heard the front door open and close quietly seconds before Bone walked into view.

For once, the man wasn't smiling.  He stared at Valerie for a long minute, then nodded tersely, as though he understood something that she really, really didn't.

Evan didn't turn to look at his head of security, though he had to know that Bone was there.  Quickly, he strode over to the sliding French doors that led to the back yard, raising his arm, propping his elbow on the frame and leaning his temple against his forearm.  "Give me one fucking reason that I shouldn't rip you the hell apart," he finally said in a low, gravely tone.

Bone didn't even flinch.  Valerie did.

"I'm sorry, man," Bone said calmly and completely seriously.  He offered no excuses.

"Sorry doesn't cut it, Bone," Evan growled, his anger spiraling outward: thick and heavy and ugly.

"Look, it was an accident," Bone went on in a rather placating sort of tone.  "I didn't mean—"

Evan whipped around so fast that Valerie had to smother a gasp.  Eyes positively glowing, snapping with an anger that she didn't understand and hadn't realized that he was capable of, Evan looked like he was about two steps from snapping completely.  "I don't give a great goddamn what you meant to do, Bone!  What the fuck were you thinking?  You're there night after night!  You know damn well what could have happened!"

Bone's stance shifted as he crossed his arms over his chest, as his expression hardened.  "It was a mistake.  What do you want me to do about it now?"

"Damn it!" Evan exploded, slamming his fist back against the door.  Valerie couldn't help the strangled cry that slipped from her as the tempered sheet glass cracked with an insanely loud 'pop' and shattered, raining down on the marble floor with a deafening crash.  It didn't faze him.  The crunch of his boots on the shards of glass was like nails on a chalkboard.  Evan stomped across the room, pausing for a moment to glower at Bone before heading into the kitchen once more.  Valerie ducked back into the kitchen, smashing herself against the wall and making herself as unnoticeable as possible before he ran her down.  He stalked over to the cooler once more and retrieved another bottle of beer before returning to the living room in the same fashion as he had when he'd left it a minute before.  "What do I want you to do about it?" Evan repeated, but only after quaffing down nearly half the bottle in one go.

Bone didn't back down.  "Yeah, that's what I asked."

Evan snorted, draining the rest of the beer in another fluid gulp.  "I want you to start with swearing to God you'll do your fucking job the next time!"

"I did my fucking job," Bone countered mildly as Valerie dared to peer around the doorframe again.

"Oh, you did?" Evan challenged.

"Yeah, I did.  My job is to protect you."

"Keh!  Your job is to do what I tell you to fucking do!" Evan contended, "And I told you to stay with V!"

"And I didn't hear you," Bone went on with a shake of his head.

"So fucking what?  You should have known—"

"Should have known, what?" Bone countered.  "Look, man, you don't even know which way your ass is pointing, and yeah, maybe I should have known.  Everything happened so fast, and my instinct was to make sure that your ass didn't end up in a sling again because you didn't stop to think before you reacted."

The beer bottle that flew out of Evan's hand barely missed Bone as it whizzed past him, only to shatter when it hit the wall behind him hard.  A moment later, Evan advanced on the head of his security team, intent on some sort of physical mayhem, if the expression on his face meant anything at all.  It was an ugliness that Valerie hadn't realized that Evan actually possessed, and she didn't like it; not in the least.

And somehow, Valerie had seen enough.  Her feet didn't make a sound as she darted out of the kitchen.  She didn't stop to think things through as she dashed over, planting herself between Evan and Bone, placing her hands in the center of Evan's chest to stave him back—a silly notion, if she had stopped to consider it.  He could easily have pushed her aside if he'd wanted to . . .

But he blinked and suddenly glanced down, the anger—the rage—that she'd seen on his face dissipating fast, only to be replaced by something far worse in her estimation: something far more troubling . . .

Eyebrows drawing together as a trace sheen of moisture illuminated his gaze, he grasped her wrists, but didn't try to move them, his eyes roving over her face in a completely miserable sort of way as they came to rest on the bump on her cheek that was very likely starting to discolor just a little.  "Baby, I'm sorry," he whispered, the thick twinge of guilt lending a certain huskiness to his tone.

'He . . . He's mad about . . .?  But . . ."

Shaking her head, she tried to smile but failed, late relief making her knees feel weak as she tried in vain to reassure him.  "But I'm fine, you know?  And Bone . . . He was just doing his job, right?" she murmured.

Evan closed his eyes for a moment, shook his head almost sadly.  "Bone's job," he said just as quietly, "is to protect you when I can't."

"Evan—"

He shook his head stubbornly.  "Like tonight.  I'm used to that shit.  You're not, and . . . and you got hurt . . . because of me . . ."

Valerie didn't know what to say.  There was an underlying hint of something in his voice; something that she didn't understand; like he was trying to tell her more than what he was saying, but she couldn't quite grasp the meaning behind it.  Her confusion must have showed on her face, because he heaved a sigh and gently pulled her toward the sofa, sitting down and tugging on her hands until she relented and sat, too.

"Anything else?" Bone asked a little reluctantly.

Evan glanced at him, but his anger didn't return.  "Just make her your priority the next time," he said.

Bone nodded and turned to leave.

"Let me see," Evan remarked as the front door opened and closed once more.

Valerie rolled her eyes and opened her mouth to tell him again that she was fine.  The look on his face stopped her.  He really was feeling badly, wasn't he?  She sighed and let him inspect her wound.

Stupid, really.  In the madness of that moment and the rush and electricity of that crowd, Evan had let go of her so quickly that she'd stumbled—easy to do with so many feet so close to her.  She really hadn't been prepared for that magnitude of the masses, and she'd ended up bumping her cheek against one of the metal barriers.  The guard who had been facing the assembly, had though that she was crawling over it, she supposed, and he was trying to force her back behind it when Evan had caught her.  But the incident had stung, and only when they were in the car had she realized that she'd suffered a smallish scratch, and that scratch had bled a little bit, too.

"You know, I've been banged up worse than this when I was taking martial arts classes," she pointed out, tamping down the feeling that she was just a little girl having to explain how she'd gotten a bump or bruise to her teacher.

He touched the inflammation with gentle fingers.  She sucked in her breath in a sharp hiss, and he jerked his hand away with a flinch.  "Sorry," he murmured.

"Uh, no . . . I'm fine," she said once more.

Evan let out a deep breath and reached for his leather jacket.  She'd draped it over the back of the sofa after she'd followed him into the house.  Digging out his cell phone, he shot her a worried sort of glance.  "I'm going to call my mama," he told her as he dialed the phone and held it to his ear.  "She's got a recipe for a really good salve—a miracle salve, really . . ."

Valerie opened her mouth to argue then snapped it closed.  It wouldn't matter, would it?  That man was far too stubborn for his own good . . .

"Hey, Mama . . . It's nice to hear your voice, too . . . The benefit date?  It was fine; very nice . . ." He stood up and started to pace the floor.  He really couldn't sit still long, could he?  "Listen, Mama, I was wondering if you have the recipe for that salve?  The one you used to make up for Kurt after his training sessions . . .?  Yeah, that one . . . Oh, nothing big.  V got a little scrape, but I wanted to make sure that it doesn't scar . . . Right, right . . . Wicked!  Let me get a piece of paper . . ."

Valerie let out a deep breath and relaxed back against the sofa.  It was strange, just how comfortable the furniture really was, considering it was constructed out of solid steel.  Then again, the thin pad that covered it kept it warm enough, she supposed, so it didn't really feel like she was lying on metal . . .

She watched as he strode off toward the kitchen again, probably to mix up this 'miracle salve' of his mother's.  A wave of sleepiness crashed over her, and she stifled a yawn with the back of her hand.  In the wake of the day's excitement, she had managed to forget for a time that she was utterly exhausted, but her body was reminding her of that quite clearly.

'Three more days . . .' she thought with an inward grimace.  No, it wasn't that she was having a bad time with Evan: far from that, in reality.  Watching him put together the tracks for his new album was a fascinating process, she had to admit.  She'd never really stopped to consider exactly how much real work was involved, and she knew that, too.  She'd also like to know where Evan found his boundless stores of energy, as well.  It seemed to her that he never really got worn out the way she did . . .

Just yesterday, she'd watched, mesmerized, as he sat in the sound booth to re-record a section of guitar that he hadn't liked during the playback.  Situated between Mike and Buzz, she'd stared while he played the riff a time or two to 'get the feel of it' before nodding at the producer for the go-ahead.  Buzz had given his approval, and Evan had played it once more, only this time, it deviated at the end—easy enough, she supposed, to cut the part that they needed, but . . .

But in her estimation, it'd be a shame to do that when the rest of the five minute piece he played was harsh and cynical, yet completely poignant and beautiful, too; full of raw emotion that she might not have believed one could hear in the voice of a musical instrument.  Evan had proved her wrong.  She'd glanced at Mike about midway through it, only to find the manager sitting back with a completely relaxed sort of smile on his face: one that Valerie wasn't used to seeing from him.  When he caught her eye, his smile widened just a touch.  "He's improvising," Mike had remarked, leaning to the side and speaking softly, as though he were afraid that he'd interrupt a rare and wonderful thing if he spoke too loudly.

Valerie hadn't completely grasped that.  Sure, she knew what it meant to improvise, but there was a strange sense of utter contentment on Evan's face.  Eyes closed, head tilted just slightly to the side, he seemed to be in a trance or something; as though his music had the power to draw him away, ensconcing him in a realm where no one could touch him, no matter how hard they tried, and Valerie had suddenly felt a little sad, a little lost, and maybe even a little lonely.  It made no sense, did it?  After all, he was right there, and she . . .

Frowning as she sat up a little straighter, she bit her lip as she tried not to finish that thought in her head.  As though putting any sense of reason to it might make her feelings a little too hard to deal with, she stubbornly refused to do anything of the sort.

And still . . .

She really couldn't quite fathom just how one solitary person could possess that much emotion, could make others understand it and feel it, too, and she knew as surely as she'd ever known anything in her life that right or wrong, Evan Zelig was a rare being.

"Here, V," he said as he strode back into the room with a small plastic container of some really suspect-looking gray pasty stuff and an ice pack wrapped in a kitchen towel.

"What . . . is that?" she asked, trying not to wrinkle her nose when she caught a whiff of the concoction.  It smelled like feet . . . or death . . . maybe dead feet . . .

"It's good stuff," he assured her with a half-hearted smile that she could see right through.  "Works wonders.  You'll see."

"Oh, no," she argued, pushing the container away when he held it under her nose for her inspection.  "It's just a little scrape.  It'll be fine."

"Come on.  Mama swears by this stuff.  Never leaves a scar, you know," he continued.

Valerie snorted, leaning away from him when he stuck the tip of his index finger into the jar and started to reach out toward her.  "Your mama can swear by it all she wants," Valerie asserted.  "It stinks!"

Evan rolled his eyes and tried again.  She avoided him, but he was persistent.  "Humor me."

"No way."

"Just a little?"

"Not even for your mother."

"Break my heart, why don't you?"

She snorted indelicately.  "Why's that?  Because I won't let you put that gunk on me?  Laying it on a little thick, aren't you, Roka?"

"I'm trying to," he agreed with a shrug.  "You won't let me."

"It smells like . . . like dirty armpits!" she complained then shook her head.  "No, wait.  That's just you. You absolutely need a shower, you know, but that stuff really does reek . . ."

"Not surprising, considering what's in it," he mused with a shake of his head.

Valerie narrowed her eyes suspiciously.  "What is in it?" she hesitated to ask but forced herself to, anyway.

He opened his mouth to tell her then snapped it closed and shrugged offhandedly.  "A . . . lot of stuff," he finally replied.

"Don't think I don't know that you were avoiding the question," she accused mildly.

Evan finally grinned, much to Valerie's relief.  "You really don't want to know, V," he admitted.  "Anyway, I'll take a shower after you let me put this on your cheek."

Valerie heaved a sigh designed to let him know how sorely put upon she felt, but she sat up straight and rolled her eyes to indicate that it was the most compliance he was likely to get from her.

His smile faded as he leaned in, carefully dabbing the nasty paste onto her cheek with the tip of his finger.  He winced when she sucked in a sharp breath and jerked involuntarily.  "It may sting a little," he apologized.  "Sorry."

'A little' didn't really cover it.  Whatever was in that salve was potent stuff, and it stung a lot, in her estimation.  To her own credit, though, she gritted her teeth and endured it.

"Here," he said, handing her the ice pack after wiping his hand on his tattered jeans.  "Put this on your cheek, too."

She waved him off and reached for his hand.  He shot her a quizzical glance that she summarily ignored as she inspected the fist that he'd smashed into the glass door.  There was just the smallest scratch traversing a jagged path down the side of his hand though the damage might have been a lot worse had the glass not been tempered.  Even still, she frowned at the disfiguring mark and, against her better judgment, she gingerly dipped her fingertips into the grayish goo.

He said nothing as she carefully applied the salve; just held still and allowed her to administer to his wound as though he understood her desire to make sure that he was all right, too.  Giving the abrasion a thorough once-over, she finally let go of his hand and sighed.  "You really shouldn't let your temper get the better of you," she pointed out rather acerbically.

He uttered a soft chuckle.  "Probably not," he agreed easily enough before sticking the ice pack under her nose.  "Now be a good girl and put this on your cheek, will you?"

For a split second, she considered arguing with him since she was never fond of putting anything cold anywhere on her person.  Then she sighed, figuring that she might as well save her breath.  For some reason, Evan seemed to think that her injury was his fault, and she knew well enough that he'd never listen if she tried to tell him otherwise.  So she gingerly pressed the pack against her cheek and leaned back.

Apparently satisfied that she'd keep it there while he ran off to take a quick shower, Evan nodded then pushed himself to his feet.  "I'll be back in a minute.  Just relax, all right?"

She watched him go with a resigned sort of expression on her face.  Easy for him to say that this stuff was good.  He wasn't the one who felt a little nauseous every time he smelled it, was he?

With a scowl, she reached for the container that he'd set on the table before he'd headed upstairs to take a shower.  No doubt about it, the paste was truly gross.  It even looked gross.  The grayish paste was speckled with tiny greenish-brownish speckles with a very strong odor of something fermented, and miracle cure or not, she really wasn't sure why she'd even let him put that stuff on her, in the first place.

Heaving a sigh, she dropped the ice pack onto the table and slowly shook her head before reaching for her purse and rummaging around for the small compact that she kept inside.

The damage wasn't that bad; not really.  Okay, so there was a little swelling where she'd slipped against the barrier.  Her cheek was slightly discolored, and the scratch was quite visible, but she had to admit, all in all, that it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been.  Evan was overreacting, of course.  Still . . .

A small smile quirked the corner of her lips, followed in short order by a slight wince since the contortion only served to twinge just a little.  He'd just felt responsible for it because she was under his care, so to speak, and that she could understand.  It made sense, didn't it?  She was at his gig because of that bet she'd made with him, so it stood to reason that his feelings had a lot to do with that, right?

'Right.'

And yet the absolute rage that she'd witnessed . . . The memory of the shattering window was enough to send a cold chill straight down her spine as surely as it had when she'd seen it happen.  It replayed over and over again in her head—the shiver of the surface just before it gave, followed by the spindly lines akin to spider webs that spread from the central impact of his fist . . . The groaning crack that sounded more like a wail than it did like something shattering . . . Impossible to ignore, wasn't it?  The entire thing, and the seething sense of the vilest emotions . . . and she honestly hadn't realized that a man like Evan Zelig was even capable of such things . . .

Snapping the compact closed, she let out a deep breath as she dropped it into her purse once more.  Her head hurt, likely from trying to think too much though she didn't doubt for a moment that it was partially due to the ache that had lingered in the back of her head for the last few days, brought on by the lack of sleep, she was certain.

She'd spent the bulk of the day, feeling as though she'd been trapped inside a strange sort of dream where her senses were always two steps behind, and had it not to been for the bit of a nap that Evan had allotted her earlier in the afternoon, she'd been in a sorry, sad state now, she was sure.  Over the years, Valerie had discovered that she simply wasn't one of those people who could operate well on very little sleep, so the toll the week was taking on her was higher than she suspected it might be for someone else.  If she didn't get at least seven hours of sleep a night, she felt out of sorts for weeks afterward, and she could only imagine exactly how badly this last week would impact her overall schedule.  With her luck, it'd take her six months to readjust herself.

Well, that would be rectified soon enough, too—just as soon as she managed to string together more than a few hours' sleep at a time, that was . . .

And with that thought in mind, Valerie curled up on the sofa with her hands tucked under her good cheek and let her eyes drift closed.


-Evan-


"But I'm fine, you know?  And Bone . . . He was just doing his job, right?"

Evan shut off the shower taps and shook himself vigorously, sending a fine spray of water droplets all over the bathroom.  Sure, he'd tried the traditional 'toweling off' method when he was younger.  He had also found that it just didn't do as good a job of shedding unwanted moisture as a good, hard shake.

Still, the sound of Valerie's words still echoed in his head.  Making excuses for Bone, was she?  He sighed and slowly shook his head.  Of course she was.  That particular woman might not feel any qualms about jumping all over him when he stepped out of line, but she really hated it if she perceived that she was the cause of any real contention.  She was kind of like his mother that way, wasn't she?  And while that thought might normally have made him smile, in this case . . .

But every time he saw that cut on her cheek, every time he thought of how much worse it really could have been, it was enough to make him panic inside.  He'd heard stories now and again about tragedies caused by overwrought crowds waiting to see their favorite celebrities, and he'd always been proud of the fact that he'd never had any such things happen at any of his shows or appearances.  That Valerie might have been the one injured, in any capacity at all . . . Well, it was enough to make him sick to his stomach quite literally . . .

And the truth of it was that Bone, being who he was and, more importantly, what he was, should have realized that Valerie's safety was the most important thing to Evan, too.  Sure, Bone was Evan's head of security—a post that Bone had always taken very seriously—but Bone also knew well enough that Evan really didn't need protection.  After all, he was youkai, and even then, he was the son of the North American tai-youkai, even if he didn't need or want that particular reminder.  He knew damn well how to protect himself.  Years of training had taught him as much.  Valerie, however . . .

She was human.  She was fragile.  She was very, very breakable, whether she believed it or not.  Bone should have known that, and even if he hadn't, he should have realized how much Evan cared about her wellbeing.  Bone had always been pretty good at reading Evan, after all.  He had to have understood that much.

To be blunt, Valerie's safety was more important than anything else in the world, and had Bone stopped to think about it, he would have realized that, too.

No, there simply was no excuse.  Bone knew the chaos that followed Evan around, especially whenever he appeared somewhere as Zel Roka.  He ought to have known damn well that Evan would want to make sure that Valerie was protected from things like that what had happened tonight.

With a sigh, he grabbed a pair of black hakama out of the small closet where he kept the clothes he normally wore after his shower and made quick work of tying them around his waist.  The pants, however, were more of a modified style, more in line with his infamous grandfather's fire rat hakama that were bound at the ankles instead of hanging loose.  They were the design he tended to favor whenever he was meditating or practicing—both of which he'd been neglecting a little bit of late.  He could feel it, too, those things he'd overlooked.  He knew well enough that he tended to feel a little restless whenever he skipped them.  If there was one drawback to recording, that was it.  He never had enough time for everything he normally did when he spent hours upon hours there . . .

But, considering Valerie's unnatural aversion to letting him run around naked, he didn't really have much of a choice, did he, and in it was his considered opinion that the hakama were almost as good as being naked, anyway.

At least his mood was somewhat improved as he headed out of the bathroom and through the master bedroom, down the hallway toward the stairs.  The anger that he'd carried around with him for the last while was finally loosening its hold on him, which very likely had more to do with Valerie than it did with Bone's half-assed apology.  There was just something about that woman that kept him from being able to hold onto his anger, anyway, though God forbid that she ever figured that one out . . .

It just wasn't good to let one person control one's emotions, or so he'd always thought.  Well, sort of.  He wasn't nearly as jaded as his cousin, Gunnar who seemed to believe that letting a woman get that close was some sort of weakness.  Evan had never discounted the idea of eventually finding his mate.  In fact, he'd always wondered what that would be like, and he'd rather looked forward to it, too, but then, he'd never imagined that he'd ever find someone quite like Valerie, either, and while a part of him wished that she'd just wake up and realize that they really were meant to be, he couldn't help but wonder about how much fun it might be to see what else lay in store before they reached that end—or beginning, depending on how he wanted to look at it.  In any case, he couldn't complain.  She was just way too entertaining to ignore, wasn't she?

He stopped short in the living room, a tender little smile tugging on his lips as he stood back, crossing his arms over his chest and watched the sleeping woman.  Hair tangled and mussed, spilling around her, she lay, curled on her side with her hands tucked under her cheek.  It was a little disconcerting, just how much he enjoyed watching her as she slept.  Then again, maybe that was one of those simple things in life that he'd just never taken the time to notice before . . .

Expelling a deep breath, he let his arms drop as he wandered toward her.  He seriously doubted that she'd wake up if he moved her, and sleeping on that sofa all night just couldn't be comfortable.  Glancing at the clock, he grimaced.  Nearly midnight now, and he'd planned on going into the studio in the morning for a few hours before his nine o'clock meeting with Wicked Soundsations . . .

He started to reach for his cell phone to call Mike and tell him that he wasn't going to make it to the studio, but he stopped.  No, as much as he hated to do it, he really had to get Valerie to agree to go on the mini-tour with him, and the only way to do that was to stop deviating from his set schedule, even if it did bother him to put her through so much.  She'd get a few hours' sleep, and that'd have to be good.  Besides, he wasn't entirely sure that she was going to cave in.  If anyone had said at the start of the week that Valerie would still be holding on now, he would have thought they were insane, but holding on, she was, and doing a damn fine job of it, too.

If his mini-tour didn't depend upon it . . .

He shook his head and gently lifted her off the sofa.  She didn't stir, though she did cuddle against his chest, letting out a contented little sigh as she buried her face against his bare skin.  Evan sighed, too, though his was caused more by her proximity than anything else, and he turned and headed toward the stairs again.

And she didn't wake up as he carried her up to his bedroom and shoved the blankets back with his knee.  She uttered a little moan of protest when he laid her down, probably because the bed was a little cooler than she'd like it to be.  He took his time adjusting the temperature control on her side then secured the house and turned off the lights from the terminal beside the door before he stepped over to the bed.

'She . . . she feels 'right' here, doesn't she?'

'Hmm . . . Yeah.  Yeah, she does.'

'. . . Do you think . . . You suppose she realizes it yet?'

His youkai snorted.  'If she realized it, would we really be having this conversation?'

Evan sighed.  'Yeah, I guess not . . .'

'But . . . she did enjoy the show, you know?  I mean, she really dug it.'

That thought made him grin.  Like a fool, come to think about it.  His youkai was right.  She really had enjoyed herself immensely, which pleased him more than he cared to think about.

But that smile faded when his gaze came to rest on that damned scratch.  Okay, so it wasn't very big, maybe a half inch long, if that, and it really was more of a scrape than a real cut.  Still, it bothered him more than he cared to think about.  That she was in any kind of pain was absolutely intolerable, and the sooner that mark was gone, the happier Evan would be.  The salve would help, of course.  Gin's remedies—recipes she'd learned in her youth from her mother, Kagome—were absolutely the best things around, and on the rare occasion that Evan had hurt himself when he was younger, this was the one she'd used on him.

Of course, he was youkai, and that made a huge difference.  If he had been the one scratched, it'd probably be gone by now.  But Valerie . . . She was human, and therein lay the crux of Evan's concern.  After all, the last thing he wanted was for her to experience any kind of discomfort, and humans on a whole took forever to heal, or so it had always seemed to him . . .

It wasn't even a concrete thought, really.  No, it was more of a sudden and overwhelming instinct.  Leaning down carefully, he lowered his lips over the injury and flicked out the tip of his tongue, bathing the area to soothe it, to clean it, ignoring the bitter taste of the herbal salve he'd just applied.  The smooth warmth of her skin blocked out every other conscious thought in his mind, and he closed his eyes, savoring the feel of her as she snuggled a little closer to him in her sleep.

Only then did Evan lie down.  Only then did he feel the first loosening of the unsettling emotions that had plagued him since the concert had ended start to subside, and only then did he start to feel the first waves of utter exhaustion filtering into his body and mind.

'V . . .' he thought as he pulled her nearer.  'You'll be just . . . fine . . .'


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A/N:
'Love Remains the Same' originally appeared on Gavin Rossdale's 2008 release, WANDERlust.  Song written by and copyrighted to Gavin Rossdale and Martin H. Frederiksen.
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MMorg
malitiadixie —— oblivion-bringr —— OROsan0677 —— vayne (reuploaded; thanks!  If you need referencing for Evan's crests/tattoos/piercings, please refer to Melzilla's fanart of him hosted on her page on my website.) —— Meru —— sexxiigurl0204 —— Dark Inuu Fan —— Sovereignty —— theblackthorn —— CandyEars —— monkeyseemonkeynodo
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Forums
OROsan0677 —— MouF —— Amerise —— free_freeme_free —— cutechick18 —— laura.beth
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Final
Thought from Evan:
As if I could be sweet ALL the timeKeh!
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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.
~Sue~
Chapter 34
Chapter 36
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