InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Dawn ( Chapter 40 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter Forty~~
~Dawn~


-OoOoOoOoOoOoO oOoOoO-

'My best friend gave me the best advice …
He said each day's a gift and not a given right …
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind …
And try to take the path less traveled by …
That first step you take is the longest stride …
'

-'If Today Was Your Last Day' by Nickelback.

-Valerie-


Vale rie cracked an eye open and pressed her lips together to keep from giggling out loud in the silence of the grayish-lit room.  Evan looked serious enough, sure, and she figured that he probably was.  Still, seeing him that way was a little disconcerting, at best.  At worst?

"Ah-oom," she hummed in a really bad affectation of spiritual chanting, unable to help herself but without moving out of Lotus position, "ah-oom . . ."

Evan didn't even flinch.

It was a little too much for Valerie as the first giggle escaped her.  'Zel Roka?  Meditating?  That's just too good . . . I mean, there's nothing at all 'rock' about that . . .'

"Focus, woman," he whispered, giving no other indication that he'd heard her otherwise.

For some reason, that only made her giggle harder: so much, in fact, that her cheeks puffed in and out as she struggled to contain her amusement.

Actually, she wasn't sure why she found it so funny now.  God only knew that she certainly hadn't this morning when the devil-ridden miscreant had showed up in her bedroom at the unearthly hour of five a.m.—he had, of course, crawled in through the bedroom window that she hadn't bothered to completely close—to coerce her into jogging with him.

"I thought rock stars were supposed to be night creatures," she fumed as she stomped out of her bedroom and down the hallway toward the bathroom with her running clothes in hand.  Why was it easier to go along with Evan's insanity than it was to argue with him?  She sighed.  Somehow, it just was . . .

"I'm a twenty-four-seven sideshow freak," he told her rather happily.

Valerie sighed and rolled her eyes as she smashed her hand over his face and shoved him out of the bathroom to keep him from following her.  "No.  No," she scolded in much the same fashion as one might use when chastising a dog.  "Sit.  Stay."

He chuckled, winking at her as she'd closed the door . . .

As much as she hated to admit it, she did feel pretty good.  The morning's exertions had left her feeling energized, marvelously so, and maybe it was the residual restlessness that was goading her current bad behavior.  "Ah-oom . . ."

Still nothing.

'Damn . . .'

Okay, so she did feel slightly guilty for interrupting his meditations—or she would if she really thought that he was being serious about the whole affair.  Zel Roka, the spiritualist?  Not in a million years . . .

Then again, Evan Zelig?  Maybe . . .

So, true, she probably ought to feel worse about picking on him while he was trying to concentrate.  She didn't, though she wasn't entirely sure why.  He was showing remarkable resilience against retaliation, but that didn't mean that he would for long . . .

Besides, he'd spent the last two hours driving her crazy—how the man could possibly jog backward was entirely beyond her, and if he'd made one more comment about how much bounce there was in her breasts as she ran, she'd probably have murdered him on the spot.  He could deal with a few minutes of her heckling, couldn't he?

'Oh, no, you wouldn't have killed him.  As indecent as he can be, you know you like the fact that he does actually appreciate the body you work to maintain,' her conscience pointed out in a completely accusatory tone.

She snorted inwardly.  'That's stupid,' she scoffed.  'As if I'd really appreciate that kind of degradation.'

Of course she didn't.  That really would be stupid—crazy, even—and she certainly wasn't stupid or crazy.  True, she did work hard to keep her body toned, but that was for her benefit, not for anyone else's . . . Sure, it was nice to know that someone appreciated her efforts, but she absolutely hadn't been fishing for Evan's backhanded compliments, and she'd really have to be out of her mind to think that he was being serious, anyway.  Well, that wasn't entirely true.  He might well be serious, but . . .

"Ah-oom," Valerie tried again.

Evan heaved a sigh and opened his eyes as he leaned back on his hands and pinned her with a very tolerant sort of look.  "All right," he said, obviously giving up on the task at hand.  "I take it you don't like meditating."

The very smallest twinge of guilt assailed her—not a big one, but it was noticeable.  She ignored it.  "You're the one who dragged me out of bed at five this morning.  Now I'm hungry.  I can't meditate when I'm hungry."

He stared at her for a long moment, his eyes—such a rich, deep blue—a pure blue—sparkling in a mellow sort of way.  "You want me to cook for you, V?"

She thought about that.  "Nothing fatty, Roka," she warned.  "Do you have a grapefruit or something?"

He made a face.  "If I'm gonna cook, I'm gonna cook," he told her.  "How about a poached egg?"

She wrinkled her nose.  "If you don't have grapefruit, I'll just go home . . ."

"That's not a proper breakfast," he pointed out reasonably as he hopped up and held out a hand to help her to her feet.  She ignored it and pushed herself up, much to his amusement.  "If you don't have a good breakfast, you'll peter out by noon."

"I've yet to 'peter'," she pointed out coolly moments before her belly rumbled in protest.  "See?"

"Come on, Godzilla.  Let's see what we can do about that before you start rampaging Odo Island," Evan laughed and shook his head, grabbing her hand and dragging her out of the room.


-Evan-


"You could hang with me," Evan remarked, pushing his plate back on the table and trying to be subtle as he watched Valerie pick a fluffy buttermilk biscuit apart and nibble at it.

"Oh?  What's on the agenda today?"

Evan shrugged.  "Supposed to stop by and sign some shit for Wicked Soundsations and drop off my acknowledgements for the insert, probably have an argument with Ramón—that kind of bullshit."

She shifted her gaze to the side, but didn't change expression as she dipped a hunk of biscuit into the paltry bit of butter on her plate that she'd allowed herself this morning.  "What's his story, anyway?  I mean, why does he hate you so much?"

Evan blinked and tried not to grin since he figured that Valerie wasn't going to be too impressed if he told her the true story.  "Ramón?" he hedged.

She nodded as she popped the biscuit into her mouth.  "Yes."

"Eh . . . He walked into the john while his girlfriend was sucking my dick," he admitted.  Her eyebrows drew together as her gaze narrowed dangerously.  Evan held up his hands.  "I didn't know she was his girlfriend," he hurried on to say.  "Seriously . . . not like I asked her if she was seeing someone first, right?"

Valerie snorted and shook her head.  "So, what?  She just came up to you and asked if you wanted a blowjob?" she scoffed.

"Naw . . . more like she just kind of walked up to me, shot me this grin, you know?  The, 'Gee, you're hot; why don't we fuck?' sorta look.  Then she grabbed my boys, pulled me into the john, and went down on me like a goddamn submarine.  I was shooting my squirt when ol' Ramón walked in.  Been trying to get rid of me ever since."

Valerie heaved a sigh, dropping the rest of her food onto the plate in favor of rubbing her temple with both hands.  "I don't know if I should be more disgusted that you'd let her or that she'd be whore enough to do that, in the first place," she admitted.

Evan almost grinned.  Too bad he could kind of see Valerie's point.  "It was just a blowjob, V," he said instead.

The look she shot him could have smitten him on the spot.  "Is that really what you think, Evan?  Just a blowjob?  Just a good fuck?  It's all relative in your head, isn't it?  Is that what you mean?"

"No," he said slowly, shaking his head.  "V . . . what I meant was that something like that?  It's not like I gave two shits about her, right?  And she didn't give two shits about me, either.  She thought I was hot, and she wanted a piece of me.  That's it.  I can't be held responsible for everyone's consciences.  If I'd been with someone—seriously with someone—I would've stopped her.  Simple."

Valerie didn't look like she thought it was nearly as simple as Evan claimed.  Of course she didn't.  How could she when she really didn't know—didn't understand—the things about him: those things that he wanted to tell her but knew damn well that he just couldn't, at least, not yet.  "Simple," she repeated, irony thick in her tone.  Irony and maybe a little sadness, too . . . She snapped her fingers.  "Just like that."

He nodded slowly.  "Just like that," he agreed, despising his answer but unable to say more.

After considering that for a few moments, she suddenly pushed away from the table and got to her feet.  "Well, as much fun as it was to hang out with you, I've got to go to the office.  Be good, will you?"

He grimaced inwardly at the tight little smile that was entirely too thin on her features.  Perfunctory, at best and just a little horrifying, too . . . "Yeah, sure," he allowed, mostly to pacify her.

She nodded and hurried out of the house.  Her departure moments later was punctuated by the click of the door and the inevitable sense of emptiness that always seemed to accompany her exit.


-Evan-


"'There's a feeling I get . . . when I look to the west . . . and my spirit is crying for leaving . . . In my thoughts I have seen . . . rings of smoke through the trees . . . and the voices of those who stand looking . . .'"

Pushing open the bathroom door after the hour-long shower he'd gotten into after arriving home shortly after the laughable meeting at Wicked Soundsations, Evan blinked when he came face to face with Dieter, who was sitting on the end of the bed, tapping his foot and looking entirely discomfited.  "Hey, Deet," he greeted.

Dieter jerked slightly, as though Evan had startled him.  Entirely likely since the man had an interesting habit of zoning out anything and everything when he was really deep in thought.  "Fucker!  Where the hell have you been?"

Evan grinned since his hair was dripping down his back, and he was still completely naked.  "Shower," he replied, knowing damn well that Dieter wasn't likely to figure it out on his own.  He wasn't stupid by any means, but he was a little absent minded . . . "So what's up?"

Shooting off the bed, Dieter dug his hands into his hair in a decidedly nervous sort of way—something that Evan hadn't seen him do since he'd gotten himself off smack.  "Dude . . . I had the weirdest thing happen . . ."

That wasn't entirely surprising.  Dieter had a way of constantly being caught in the center of the 'weirdest' shit . . . "Oh?"

Nodding rather vigorously, Dieter stalked across the floor and back again.  "You know how I told you that I had that idea for the sculpture the other day?"

"Uh, the cats fucking?"

Dieter nodded again.  "Yeah, that one . . ."

Evan opened the closet doors and stepped inside.  "Yep, I remember that."

"Well, I started that one, you know?  Got right into it, right?  And it was all good till I figured out that the lump I'd welded on was off a little.  So I got out the hacksaw, but that wasn't doing it.  Then I got out Bessie."

With a chuckle, Evan tugged on a ripped and frayed pair of Levi's.  Dieter named his favorite power tools.  Bessie was the Stihl chainsaw.  "Bessie, eh?"

"Yeah . . . Miss said that someone was gonna complain, but hell!  I was in the . . . the groove, y'know?"

Evan shook his head, knowing well enough that Dieter's neighbors really weren't the kind to complain.  He lived between two really old women who were a little hard of hearing and a lot fond of Daniel, though he couldn't say the same for their feelings regarding Dieter.  In fact, Evan figured that the one woman—Dieter normally referred to her as 'Dog-Lady'—probably hated the artist's guts since he'd witnessed, the royal cussing-out of said Dog-Lady in one of Dieter's more inspired moments.  "What time was it?" he had to ask.

Dieter blinked and shrugged off handedly, patting his pockets for a pack of smokes.  "Oh, uh, maybe four?"

"In the morning?"

Dieter nodded then scratched the side of his head, looking a little confused.  "Yeah, I think so . . . I mean, it was dark outside . . ."

Evan rolled his eyes.  Well, that made sense then.  His neighbors might be nice enough, but chainsaws at four a.m.?  Yeah, he could see the potential trouble there . . . "Complained, did she?"

"Who?  Miss?" Dieter asked, finally locating a rumpled pack of Camels and running one through his fingers to straighten it out.

"No, your neighbor."

"Cat-Lady didn't.  Hell, she can't get her fucking walker through the front door without help, but Dog-Lady did.  Came banging on the door, hollering that she was gonna sic Barkley on my balls—and that's a really stupid name for a dog, isn't it?"

Evan nodded, deciding to forego the shirt, at least for the moment.

Pausing long enough to strike a match to light his cigarette, Dieter shook out the match as he exhaled a long draft of smoke.  "Anyway, there she is, screaming in my face, pointing at my damn nuts when she finally realizes that I still had Bessie in my hands, so she starts clutching at her chest, yelling her fool head off that I was threatening to kill her . . . a-and she was all swelled up, y'know?  Like, huge . . . ugh!"  He affected a full body shudder as he wrapped one arm up over his shoulder as though to buffer himself from the memory while he dragged on the cigarette again.

"Hasn't she always been a little plump?" Evan pointed out.

Dieter snorted.  "What the hell ever, fucker.  She was huge!"

"Well, that's not so weird," Evan surmised.  "You weren't threatening her, were you?"

"Not her, no . . . but I think I might have told her that if she sic-ed Barkley on my balls, I'd introduce him to Bessie . . ." The puzzled look dissipated fast as he waved his hands and gave a curt shake of his head.  "She went home, though.  Thought she was gonna call the fuzz, but she didn't . . ."

Evan tried not to chuckle.  He really did.  After all, Dieter looked entirely serious at the moment . . . "So was that the weird thing?  I mean, you arguing with Dog Lady isn't exactly breaking news."

Dieter shook his head stubbornly and paused in his pacing long enough to pin Evan with a completely chagrined sort of look.  "What?  No . . . No, the weird thing came later . . . this morning . . ."

Crooking his fingers as he headed out the door, Evan led Dieter down the hallway and stairs and into the living room.  "Okay, I'm game.  What happened?"

"Well, Daniel came in—Miss and I were in the bedroom—I was tryin' to get me some, and she kept saying that Daniel was up—and he said that something smelled bad.  I tried to get him to shut up since, y'know, Miss was cooking dinner, and it did smell pretty awful, but he kept saying it.  So I followed him to the living room where he'd been watching Captain Mega Cool on TV—I hate that show, dude.  I mean, I really hate it, y'know?"

Evan nodded since it wasn't the first time that Evan had heard that particular complaint.

Dieter snapped the seal on a bottle of water and drained half of it before he continued with his story.  "So I'm standing there, and I figure that I'll try to get him to stop watching that shit, right?  But then, I smell it, too . . . and it was really rank.  I mean, I don't think that it was strong enough for Miss to smell, but Daniel and me . . ." Dieter trailed off and rubbed his nose vigorously, as though he could still smell whatever it was that had offended him earlier.  "Then I heard a bunch of thumping around, right?  So I go out in the hallway, and Dog Lady's door's standing wide open, right?  And there's a bunch of people goin' in and outta there—cops and shit, just like on TV.  The stink was worse, too, and one of the cops tells me that I gotta go away because they're waiting for the coroner to check the scene.  I mean, she just dropped dead, y'know?  Just like that!"

Evan blinked then shook his head, supposing that it wasn't nearly as surprising as it could have been.  The old lady was pretty old, and humans died all the time, didn't they?  Still, judging from the freaked out look on Dieter's face, it was probably one of the first times that he'd ever been that close to something of that nature.  Eyes bulging slightly with a decidedly wild sort of glint lighting them, he looked completely wired, almost strung out—almost.  "She died?"

Dieter nodded.  "Yeah!  Hell, you know?  I just saw her, like, two days before that when she was threatening my balls, right?  And there she was, dead!  They had her in one of those black vinyl body bags—dude, I didn't know they really had those—on this, uh, gurney-thing—you know, right there!  A real, live dead person!"

It dawned on Evan that the wired expression on Dieter's face was due more to genuine excitement than fear, and he shook his head.  It just figured, didn't it?  Dieter had a propensity toward the macabre, so he probably had enjoyed the entire affair . . .

"So, y'know, I wanted to see her, right?  Her body?  But when I tried to unzip the bag—I mean, the gurney was right there beside the doorway—this fat old cop-bitch sorta slapped my hands and told me to go the fuck away.  Hell, I just wanted to see it . . ."

"Now, Deet, I don't think that it's a good idea to go around, peeking in body bags," Evan pointed out calmly.

Dieter snorted.  "Yeah, but she was just there, right?  Beating on my door with that fuckin' cane of hers, telling me to knock off my shit . . ." He trailed off as his thoughtful frown deepened.  "You know, though, she stank—I mean, really, really stank come to think of it . . . like death . . ."

"You're disparaging the dead," Evan pointed out.

Dieter's eyes bulged a little more as he swung around to stare at Evan.  "Du-u-ude . . . what if she was already dead when she came to bitch me out?"

"Come again?" Evan said.

Dieter waved the empty water bottle to shut him up.  "Maybe she's a zombie . . ."

Evan pressed his lips together in a thin line, struggling valiantly to keep from laughing outright.  "That wasn't 'death'.  It was gingivitis," Evan quipped.

Letting out a deep breath, Dieter flopped onto the sofa and kicked his feet up onto the coffee table.  "That body bag was wicked," he went on with a shrug.  "I totally wanna do a painting of . . . of you in a body bag!  Like, The Death of a Rock Star, Part II!"

Evan couldn't help but grin at that idea.  There was something entirely morbid and yet wholly inviting about the notion, after all . . .  and it would bug the holy hell out of one particular attorney, he was sure, and that was always worth something . . . "I'm up for that," he allowed.

Dieter grinned, but just as quickly as the expression surfaced, it dulled then dissipated, leaving behind an unsettling confusion.  "You think she did everything she wanted to do?  Dog Lady, I mean?" he asked at length.

"What do you mean?   Like, did she die without regrets?" Evan asked.

Dieter nodded.  "Yeah.  I mean, hell, if I was gonna kick it tomorrow, I'd sure as hell wanna do a few things first, right?"

"Like what?"

Dieter thought that over.  "Aw, I dunno, something big . . . something to let Miss and Daniel know that I loved them, right?  Like . . . like buying Daniel the world's biggest fucking trampoline . . . I mean, Miss would let him keep it, y'know?  Because it'd be my last present for him . . ." He leaned forward and scratched his head thoughtfully.  "Then again, I'd probably have to get a bigger place.  I don't think the loft's big enough for the world's biggest trampoline . . ."

"You could always buy Dog Lady's apartment and knock down the wall," Evan suggested, only half-joking.

Dieter grinned.  "I could do that," he agreed.  "I got money, right?  And then I could off Cat Lady on the other side and have a fuckin' top-floor mansion!"

"Yeah, but if you offed Cat Lady, you'd get jailed for murder.  I'm pretty sure that it'd be grounds to revoke your parole."

Dieter sighed.  "Yeah.  Suppose I could just wait for her to keel over on her own.  Maybe if I threatened to toss one of her damn cats off the roof, she'd have a coronary . . ."

Evan waved a hand since he figured he'd do well to get Dieter off that train of thought before he tried it out.  Dieter was like that . . . "So what would you do for Miss?" he asked instead as he reached for the bottle of beer he'd left on the table before his shower.  It was warm, but he didn't care, and he downed the contents in one large glug.

"For Miss?"  He scratched his chin.  "I'd get her the biggest fucking rock, ever.  You know?  I never got her an engagement ring, not after she hurled that one into the Hudson Bay . . ."

"Then you should do that," Evan allowed, heading toward the kitchen to dump the bottle in the recycling bin.

"Sure . . . but if something happened to me, you'd watch out for them, wouldn't you?  Miss and Daniel?"

The conversation was turning a little too serious, as far as Evan was concerned.  He didn't mind having that kind of debate, maybe, but it was far too early in the day for something that deep . . . "Of course," he allowed with an offhanded shrug, hoping that his answer would be enough to pacify Dieter enough to change the subject.

It seemed to do the trick, and for that, Evan was quite relieved.  "Yeah . . . Hey, you're not busy, right?  Come with me, and I'll get her a new one now."

"Her what?  A new ring for Miss?"

Dieter nodded enthusiastically.  "Uh huh.  Like, the biggest one in all of New Yuck City!"

Evan considered that then shrugged as he reached for a somewhat clean looking t-shirt draped over the back of a chair.  "All right," he agreed slowly, figuring that it shouldn't take too long to do that, and maybe afterward, they'd find something else to do.  "I'm kinda bored, anyway . . ."


~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~ =~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
A/N:
'If Today Was Your Last Day' by Nickelback first appeared on their 2008 release, Dark Horse.  Song written by and copyrighted to Chad Kroeger, Mike Kroeger, Ryan Peake, and Daniel Adair.
'Stairway to Heaven' by Led Zeppelin first appeared on their 1971 release, Led Zeppelin IV.  Song written by and copyrighted to Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.
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Final
Thought from Dieter:
Zombies are cool
==========
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 39
Chapter 41
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