InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Rage ( Chapter 45 )

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

-OoOoOoOo OoOoOoOoOoO-

'"Save your tears 'cause I'll come back"
I could hear that you whispered
As you walked through that door
But still I strove to hide the pain
When I turn back the pages …'

-'1000 Words' by Jade.



Evan didn't move, didn't even glance at Valerie as she sat beside him on the sofa.  Setting the steaming mug of coffee on the table, she sipped hers slowly, unsure exactly what to say to him.  The absolute defeat that seemed to surround him was a painful thing to see.  Still unable to quite wrap her mind around the idea that Dieter was dead, Valerie found herself at a loss when everything that she could say or do seemed so trite, so shallow, so meaningless . . .

Deep blue eyes, so shadowed by the ghosts that Valerie could neither see nor understand clouded Evan's gaze, an emptiness that some part of her understood, even if she couldn't even begin to comprehend the things he'd seen in the last twenty-four hours.  She'd talked him into taking a shower while she made coffee.  His skin had been covered in a strange sheen of grayish dust that didn't wipe away when she'd tried to clean it off with a tissue . . . But he'd washed the color out of his hair, had removed the dark contacts that had hidden his eyes from her, and somehow, the change left him just a little more vulnerable, a little quieter, a little further away . . .

"I . . . I offered to stay with her for awhile," he said, his voice weaker, raspier.  "She didn't want me to . . ."

"She just wants to be alone," Valerie commented with a slight nod.  "Of course she does."

"I-It should've been me," he whispered.  "It should have been me . . ."

"Why do you say that?" she asked softly.  His words bothered her, but the guilt that he wore so close to the surface was enough to keep her silent, to keep her from arguing with him.

Letting out a deep breath, Evan slowly shook his head.  "Deet saw him, right?  The bastard with the gun . . . and he . . . He shoved me out of the way."  Barking out a terse laugh that was as full of recrimination as it was wholly pathetic, Evan balled up his fist and smashed it against his forehead.  "Fucking stupid," he choked out.  "Deet's always been so . . . fucking . . . stupid . . ."

The trill of her cell phone was harsh in the otherwise silence.  Valerie started to reach for it.  Evan's hand shot out to stop her before she could grab it.  "If Mike or Bone calls, tell them you haven't seen me," he muttered.

"All right," she allowed, unsure why he wanted to avoid them, but figuring that it was, after all, his choice.  Glancing at the caller ID, she sighed.  "Valerie Denning."

"Hey, V.  Did Zel show up over there?"

Sparing a moment to glance at Evan, who had returned to his previous posture, leaning forward, staring at the floor with his elbows on his knees, his shaking hands dangling listlessly between them.  "No, he, uh, hasn't," she lied.  "Is he all right?"

"Oh, um, yeah.  His injuries . . . weren't that serious.  He snuck out of the hotel last night . . ."

"The hotel?" Valerie echoed.

Mike sighed.  "Yeah, yeah . . . We were trying to lay low, you know: waiting for the police to do their jobs . . ."

Valerie gritted her teeth for a moment, her irritation flaring all over again.  "Tell me . . . Is there a reason that I've been kept out of the loop?  You know, right?  Some news outlets are reporting that he's dead."

"It was for your own protection," Mike insisted though his tone sounded weary.  "We didn't know whether Zel was being targeted or if he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time—we didn't know anything."

"That sounds good, Mike," she retorted acerbically.  "I'm his attorney, aren't I?  I can't get answers from the police because I'm not his next of kin or anything, and you wouldn't be able to get it easily because you're just his manager—because you and Bone revoked my access to his mansion."

"Surely you understand—"

The temper, the emotions, that Valerie had somehow managed to keep in check last night boiled over, frothed up and outward like venom spreading through the blood stream.  "No, I don't understand," she shot back, cutting him off without preamble.  "You keep me in the dark for my own good?  And now you call me because you've, what?  Lost him?  He's a person, damn it, not a souvenir!"

Mike heaved a sigh.  "I'm sorry about that, V.  I'll call security right now, and I'll fax over the necessary documentation so that you'll be allowed to speak on Zel's behalf with the police.  Just give me a call if you hear from him, would you?  No one . . . No one knows where he is."

She didn't reply as she snapped the cell phone closed and tossed it onto the table once more, trying in vain to tamp down the irritation that Mike had inspired in her.

"I wanted to call you, but my cell phone got broken," Evan said quietly.  "I just . . . I wanted—no, I needed—to hear your voice . . . If I didn't . . ." Shaking his head, he winced as even more recrimination crept into his eyes.  "Shit . . . what a fucking mess . . ."

And just like that, the turbulence in her emotions seemed to melt away, and she smiled wanly, leaning toward him, resting her temple on his shoulder.  "You have no idea," she admitted, "how scared I was."

He shifted slightly.  "You mean, you care?"

She wrinkled her nose at the hint of rueful teasing in his tone.  "Of course I do," she chided gently.  "You're my friend, and—"

"Your friend?  Really?"

"Yes," she admitted, tilting her head back to stare up at him.  "You didn't know that?"

The wan smile on his face hesitated, faltered as his gaze tumbled away from her; as his face turned toward the windows.  "I don't . . . understand, V . . ." Shaking his head, he looked so sad, so lost.  "I know what it means, to die . . . but I . . . Jesus, I don't . . . Why?"

She didn't reply.  She didn't know what to say.

He uttered a terse laugh though there was precious little humor in the sound.  "When I was little . . . When my first dog died, I . . . I didn't get it, you know?  Sitting there beside him, I just thought that he was . . . was sleeping or something . . . Mama . . ." Reaching out with a quivering hand, he grasped the untouched cup of coffee and drained it in one long gulp.  "Mama said that he went to play with the other dogs that had gone before, and that maybe I'd see him again one day . . . and I believed her, right?  Hell, I was, like, five . . ."

"Maybe you will," Valerie ventured softly.

Evan shook his head, a pain brightening behind his gaze, so intense that she could almost feel it, too.  "It's the only time she ever lied to me," he whispered.  "She just . . . couldn't stand to tell me the truth."

She didn't know what to say to that, either, and despite the feeling that she was somehow failing him, she understood on some level that maybe it was all right.  Maybe he didn't expect her to give him the answers.  Maybe he simply needed to question everything.

"Why him?" Evan demanded in a harsh whisper.  "He's . . . He's got a mate . . . a pup . . . and I don't have shit, damn it!"

"That's not true," she said quietly, recoiling slightly at the vehemence in his tone.

"It is!" he spat, hunching forward, digging his hands into his hair as he squeezed his eyes closed.  "Daniel lost his daddy . . . He's going to lose his mama . . . and I'm still here, goddamn it!  It . . . it isn't fair!  I don't matter!  Not like he did!  If I died . . . Goddamn it!"

Shaking her head at the strangeness of his statement, she grabbed his hand when he started to shoot to his feet, tugging him back down again, forcibly pulling him to her, cradling his head against her chest.  "You matter," she argued gently, closing her eyes as though to block out the abrasiveness of his words.  "You matter, Evan!"

"No . . .No, no, no . . ." he half-moaned, his voice muffled by her oversized sweatshirt.  He tried to pull away for a moment but gave up without much of a fight.

"You do," she insisted, wondering absently just when her words had become true.  "You matter, Evan.  You . . . You matter to me."


"That was killer!  Those kids totally grooved on us!"

Evan chuckled as they followed Bone out of the Dominique Ray Center.  The unmistakable clatter of a myriad of cameras hissed from every conceivable direction.  "Damned vultures found out," he muttered under his breath despite the broadcast grin that surfaced on his features as he raised his hand to wave.

"I dig kids," Dieter went on enthusiastically.  "They get so excited, y'know?"

"You kind of are a kid," Evan pointed out, reaching for a pen that a girl shoved at him.  "What's your name, sweetheart?"

"Kendra!" she gushed, her cheeks reddening by degrees.  "I love you, Zel!"

"Oh, yeah?  I love you, too."  He chuckled as Kendra squealed happily, her eyes glossing over as though she were suspiciously close to tears and scrawled his name on the magazine that she'd thrust under his nose.

"Move it, Roka," Bone insisted, glancing around the growing crowd.  "This area's not secured."

Evan rolled his eyes and handed back the magazine before taking a slip of paper that looked like some sort of receipt from another girl.

"Kiss me, Zel!"

Grin broadening, he leaned in to oblige the next girl in line as the hands of his gathered fans touched his arms, his chest.  She did break down in tears.

"Let's go, loverboy," Bone said, grabbing Evan by the back of his shirt and hauling him away from the crowd.  

"Sorry, guys!" Evan called back with a broad wave as he headed toward the waiting car that someone had brought around just before they'd stepped outside.  "Take care!"

"Dude!  That fucker's got a gun . . ." Dieter muttered, slapping Evan's arm and pointing off to the other side.  "Looks real, y'know?"

Evan blinked and started to glance in the direction that Dieter was staring as Bone yanked open the rear passenger door of the Cadillac.  "Wha—?"

A sudden 'pop' that could be heard above the din of the assembled fans echoed in the street.  "Look the fuck out!" Dieter yelled.  "Motherfu—"

Evan gasped when Dieter shoved him, as a blinding burn singed his right arm.  A second shot rang out, but he was already falling, hitting the ground hard as a searing pain ignited in his upper chest, just below his left shoulder.  The dizzying pang nearly obliterated everything else from his mind, even as he grunted when Dieter's full weight fell on him moments later.

"Fuck!  Fuck!  No, goddamn it, no!" Bone thundered, grabbing Dieter with one hand and Evan with the other, hauling them both upright and shoving them into the car.  Absolute bedlam was erupting around them.  In the confusion, Evan slumped against the seat before Bone shoved his head down as he piled into the car behind them.

"C'mon!  C'mon!  We gotta get moving!  Now!" Kenny, the security detail who had brought the car around hollered.

"Get us the fuck outta here!" Bone growled as he yanked the door closed.  The tires screeched on the pavement.  Evan grimaced when Bone grabbed the front of his shirt and shredded it as easily as it would have if it had been made of nothing more than paper.  "Fuck, Roka . . . Did it go clear through?"

Evan shook his head, unable to grasp what Bone was asking.  The pain was staggering, and he wasn't entirely sure why he was struggling so hard to remain somewhat coherent.  Glancing down at his chest, Evan blinked and stared in perverse fascination.  The abrasion on his chest wasn't deep—the bullet had grazed across the surface of his skin.  Left behind was the rent flesh, torn open and already ringed in blackened bruising, raw nerve endings exposed, creating a pain that swelled larger and larger from a thousand tiny aches into a throbbing, almost overwhelming, mass . . .

"It's not too bad," Bone said, the relief in his voice unmistakable as he yanked a stack of sterile cotton pads out of the first aid kit that he kept stashed under the passenger side front seat.  "Hold these," he demanded, smashing Evan's hand over the pads as he moved to climb over him.  "Damn, Deet . . ."

Evan winced, gritting his teeth as a fresh bout of pain flashed before his eyes.  Out the window, he could see buildings flying past as they headed out of the city.  He didn't know how fast they were going, but they were making damn good time . . .

"I-I-I-It's bad, isn't it?" Dieter muttered, his voice oddly wet, his breathing harsh and shallow, punctuated by wheezing gurgles.

"Eh, what the fuck are you talking about?  This ain't nothing," Bone replied, groping behind himself for the first aid kit.  Evan stared at the huge, crimson handprint that stained the gray leather covering the back of the passenger seat.  "Ain't nothing, man . . ."

"I'm pulling over," Kenny called over his shoulder as he whipped into a gas station.  "Mike says he wants you to get Roka outta the city."

Bone glanced out the back window and grimaced as he carefully but quickly packed a handful of padding over the gaping wound in Dieter's chest.  Moments later, he was out the door and sliding in behind the steering wheel.  "Lock down the mansion," he hollered out the window at Kenny.  "Don't tell 'em shit!"

Evan blinked and gritted his teeth as he forced himself to sit up.  The pain in his chest was subsiding just a little as his body started to heal itself.  Slumped beside him, the sound of Dieter's labored breathing seemed to permeate every inch of the car.  "Hey, Deet," Evan muttered, shifting to look at him.  "You all right?"

Dieter tried to smile, his eyes having trouble focusing on anything at all.  "F-Fuck . . . hurts more than I thought, being shot . . ."

The scent of blood was enough to choke Evan, so heavy, so thick that he couldn't escape it.  Dieter coughed, spitting up some gooey blackened ooze—a mixture of blood and other brackish things.  Evan had to bite down hard to keep himself from gagging.  "You're . . . o-okay, right?" Dieter asked, his gaze clearing slightly as he stared at Evan.

"Who?  Me?  Damn, Deet . . . I'll be fine," Evan insisted.  Glancing out the rear window, he frowned and shook his head.  The car was moving even faster now, weaving through traffic at a dizzying speed.  Bone must've enabled a barrier over the vehicle—one that kept it from being detected by human eyes—thank Evan's nephew-in-law, Kurt for that . . .

"Fu . . . Fucker," Dieter gasped out, hands fluttering around, as though he weren't sure if he wanted to clutch his chest or pretend that nothing was wrong.  "Can't . . . breathe . . ."

The first strands of a very real panic surged through Evan as he stared at Dieter.  Sweating profusely despite the pallor of his skin, dark purple splotches under his eyes, he seemed to be growing gaunter with every moment that passed, and Evan shook his head as he reached out, cutting through the rent fabric of Dieter's shirt.  Dieter's body was trying to heal itself.  Evan could see the flesh as it tried to mend itself, to weave itself back together to staunch the flow of blood.  Wet, gurgling hisses escaped as air was forced out of one of Dieter's torn lungs.  The thin membrane erupted in a rise of tiny bubbles that made the pooling blood shiver and groan.  "That better?" Evan heard himself asking, knowing damn well that it probably wasn't.

"Uh . . . Yeah," Dieter said as the wheezing grew worse.  The gaping hole—roughly four inches in diameter—in his chest was full of blood and a blackened mass of congealed gunk—blood, tissue, torn muscle . . .  How close to his heart was it?  Gritting his teeth, Evan forced himself not to look away.  "Hey . . ."

"Bone, move it," Evan growled.  "Deet's in trouble . . ."

Dieter waved a hand, finally grasping Evan's arm to gain his attention.  "If I don't make it, tell Miss . . ."

Evan shook his head stubbornly.  He didn't want to listen, didn't want to hear . . . Didn't want . . . "Don't you die, goddamn it!  Don't you fucking die!"

"Tell her . . . Tell Miss . . ." Between the rasping wetness of his labored breathing, Dieter coughed weakly, a thin string of congealed blood coursing from the corner of his lips.  "I don't . . . I don't hate her meatloaf . . ."

"God . . . God, God, goddamn it, Dieter!"

Dieter choked out a hollow laugh.  "Death of an artist, eh?  That . . . That's cool . . ."

"Think of Miss!" Evan insisted, grasping Dieter's shoulders, dragging him over to lean against him.  "Think of her . . . You can't leave her!  And Daniel . . . Don't forget Daniel . . .!"

Dieter grimaced, a ragged groan slipping from him, brought on by the movement, by the unavoidable jarring of the vehicle.  "Daniel . . . He'll be . . . okay . . . You'll . . . you'll look out for him, right . . .?"


Another rattling cough that sprayed a fine sheen of blood from Dieter's mouth . . . "A-And don't piss V off too much . . . She's . . . scary . . ."

"Bone!  Goddamn it!" Evan bellowed, the edges of hysteria rising in his voice.

Bone gunned the engine as an enigmatic little smile surfaced on Dieter's face.

A startling flash of light, a blast of air so cold—too cold . . . a moment of shock, of disbelief as the car skidded off the road just outside of the city; just away from the suburbs . . .


"I see.  Thank you."

Clicking off the cell phone, Valerie let out a deep breath and set the device aside while sparing a glance at the man sleeping soundly on the sofa.

He'd fallen asleep, huddled against her chest, the darkened half-moons under his eyes a silent testimony to the horrors he'd seen—things that she couldn't even begin to comprehend.  To have watched as one of his best friends died . . .?  What could that do to him, mentally?

She'd never felt quite so useless before.  As she'd sat there with her arms wrapped around him, unable to do a thing to chase away the dreams that brought an unconscious frown to his face, that made his body tense, she'd wondered if there really was anything she could do for him; anything at all.  To say that she understood was a lie.  To be honest, she didn't want to understand that much.  She could tell that he was still trapped in a lull of shock, but maybe that was all right, too . . .

She'd gotten up, though, when the fax machine had buzzed to life.  True to his word, Mike had sent over the documentation she needed to make the authorities tell them what they knew.  She'd just gotten off the phone with the chief of police.  He'd promised to keep her posted as soon as anything came to light . . .

Evan's soft groan interrupted her, and she hurried over to the sofa.  He'd called out a couple of times already.  She'd smoothed his forehead until he'd calmed down again, but he'd yet to wake up, and that was fine, too, she supposed.

He swung a fist this time, nothing directed at her, more of an unconscious reaction meant to drive away the demons that existed only in his mind.  He was even more agitated than he had been.  She dodged his arm easily enough as she leaned in, touched his cheek.  "Evan?  It's okay," she said, gently rubbing his cheek.  "It's all right . . ."

He moaned a little louder, his brow furrowing in abject pain.  Grimacing as she glanced down at the gauze wrap that covered his chest, she bit her lip, wondering absently if he shouldn't be in a hospital instead of sleeping on her sofa.

"Evan?  Shh . . . You're okay. . ." she tried to soothe him.

With a start, his eyes popped open, a completely frantic expression in his gaze—one that nearly broke her heart.  Choking back a gasp, he smashed his hands over his face, as though he were too ashamed to allow her to look at him.

Reaching for a glass of water that Valerie had set on the table awhile before, she rubbed his shoulder with her free hand.  "Here.  Drink this," she offered gently.

She didn't think that he was going to listen to her.  Unmoving, as though he were simply being stubborn, Evan drew a few stunted breaths before grunting quietly as he rolled to the side, pushing himself upright and ignoring her offer to help him.

"How long was I asleep?" he finally asked, breaking the companionable silence that had fallen between them as he drank a few gulps of the water.

"Not too long," she said.  "A couple hours, maybe three?"

He sighed.  "Feels like . . . forever . . ."

Perched on the edge of the coffee table, Valerie leaned forward, brushed Evan's long bangs out of his face.  "I talked to the chief of police.  He said that he'd send over extra security to get rid of the reporters hanging out by your place."

Evan shook his head, tried to smile.  It failed.  "I . . . I can't go home yet," he said.  "I mean, I should go see Miss . . . Make sure she's all right . . ."

"What about that?" she asked, brushing her fingertips over the padding taped to Evan's chest.  "Do you need to go have that looked at?"

He waved off her concern as he stood up and reached for his jacket.

"Evan," she began, uneasy with the idea of him leaving.  "You . . . You want me to go with you?"

He almost smiled at the contrived casualness in her voice.  "No, it's fine," he told her as he shrugged on the jacket.

She shook her head.  "I do have a front door, Evan," she pointed out.

He made a face.  "I don't wanna deal with them—the press."

She frowned.  "Why would they be here?"

Evan snorted—a completely cynical sort of sound.  "You kidding?  They know you're my attorney, V.  The bastards are camping out there."

She scowled at him as she hurried over to the window then winced.  True enough, there had to be at least twenty camera crews out there on the sidewalk.

"Just leave the window open, could you?"

Valerie let out a deep breath, pivoting on her heel to stare at him.  That saddened expression was still on his face, and he shrugged half-heartedly.  "Okay," she said.

"Thanks, V," he murmured.  "I, uh . . . I won't be gone long."

~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~ =~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
'1000 Words' by Jade first appeared on the 2003 soundtrack for Final Fantasy X-2.  Song written by and copyrighted to Kazushige Nojima and Daisuke Watanabe.
== == == == == == == == == ==
Meru —— Inusbabe —— AtamaHitoride —— DonthatemecuzImbeautiful —— oblivion-bringr —— harmony__echo —— theblackthorn —— indigorrain —— darkangel05 —— CandyEars —— Sesshomaru4Kagura4ever —— sunshine161820 —— Ryo5492 —— OROsan0677 —— Sovereignty —— monkeyseemonkeynodo —— Dark Inuu Fan —— lilswtheart9811 —— malitiadixie —— WhisperingWolf
cutechick18 —— Mangaluva —— OROsan0677
Thought from Valerie:
Oh, Evan
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.