InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Calm ( Chapter 47 )

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

-OoOoOoO oOoOoOoOoOoO-

'Dear God, sorry to disturb You, but
I feel that I should be heard loud and clear
We all need a big reduction in amount of tears
And the people that You made in Your image
See them fighting in the street
'Cause they can't make opinions meet
About God
I can't believe in You …'

-'Dear God' by XTC.


"I swear, that had to be the most cliché memorial service ever," Evan grumbled as he followed Madison into the mansion.  It was the first time that he had agreed to go home since the shooting, and Valerie had been more than a little relieved that the authorities had managed to get rid of the swarming press before they'd gotten there, and the police had even stationed a few patrol cars outside on the street to ensure that the paparazzi didn't come back.

"Like you'd know, Evan.  When have you ever been to one before?" Madison countered.

Evan snorted loudly, yanking the very tasteful, very expensive black tie around his neck loose.  "I've seen 'em on TV.  Pay attention, Maddy."

"I thought it was lovely," Valerie remarked as she closed the door and trailed them into the living room.  "What was that sculpture supposed to be?"

Evan glanced back at her and smiled faintly as he tossed his suit jacket in the general direction of a chair.  "Oh, that was the two fucking cats."

Valerie blinked and shook her head.  "Doing what?"

Madison giggled.  "Fucking."

Valerie snapped her mouth closed.  "I should have known," she muttered with a shake of her head.

"Miss looked a little pale, didn't she?" Evan suddenly asked.

Madison shot him a look.  "She hasn't been sleeping well, she said."

Evan didn't look impressed.

"She looked all right to me," Valerie interjected as she kicked off her shoes.

"I guess," Evan said, though he sounded dubious, at best.  "Shit . . ."

"What's the matter, Evvie?" Madison asked, reaching up to pull the bobby pins from her hair.

He shook his head, then frowned when the telephone rang.  "Hello?"

"You know, you've taken really good care of him," Madison ventured as she sidled up beside Valerie.

Valerie shot her a confused sort of glance and shook her head.  "What do you mean?"

Madison smiled and gave Valerie's shoulders a quick squeeze.  "Nothing bad, of course.  I just meant that I think you've been exactly what Evan needed right now."

"He's . . . a friend," she replied almost defensively.

Madison nodded, her smile faltering slightly as she stared at Evan's back.  "He doesn't have that many.  Friends, that is," she clarified when Valerie shot her a puzzled sort of look.  "He's got lots of acquaintances, sure, but friends?  Just a few.  Most people can't see past the Zel Roka façade."

"He doesn't make it easy," Valerie allowed.  "It's like he tries to hide who and what he is on purpose."

Madison laughed, though it held very little real amusement.  "He does," she said simply.  "He's worth the effort, though."

Valerie nodded.  He was, wasn't he?  A sad little smile surfaced on her face, and she shook her head.  Evan had said at the memorial service that he'd miss Dieter, and that was all, but it was enough, wasn't it?  There hadn't been a need for a long, drawn-out speech, and Evan had known that, too.  There had been an overwhelming stiffness to the entire affair that had struck her.  More than once, she'd had to wonder just what Dieter would have thought of the whole thing.  True enough, she didn't know him nearly as well as Evan or Miss or Madison.  Still, she'd known him well enough to think that it hadn't felt right; not at all . . .

To be fair, the service was lovely: demure, understated, tasteful.  People had spoken in hushed tones, some shedding tears, many looking shocked.  Even Daniel had sat quietly beside his mother, and even if he hadn't understood what was going on, he had been able to understand the gravity of the moment.  Miss had managed to paste on a polite little smile as she thanked people from coming and asked them to feel free to share their thoughts about Dieter.  Somehow, she'd looked so tiny, so diminished . . . and Valerie couldn't help but to feel a bit awkward when she'd stepped forward to squeeze Miss' hand, to tell her just how sorry she truly was for her loss . . .

And yet, the voice in the back of her mind had taunted her, too, whispering the truth that she had to admit to herself, even if she refused to say it out loud.  Did being thankful that Evan had lived mean that she had to be thankful that Dieter hadn't?  And if that were the case, just what the hell kind of monster did that make her, after all . . .?

"No, fuck you, Mike!  You're not fucking listening to me!  I don't—" Pacing the floor in that predatory sort of way that she'd noticed of late, Evan listened to whatever Mike was telling him.  "Then cancel it.  Whatever you have to do; I'm not ready to do fucking interviews when all they'll ask me is what the fuck it was like to get shot."

Biting her lip, Valerie had to reign in the urge to grab the receiver and tell Mike to shove it up his ass.  Evan wasn't ready to do interviews; anyone could see that.  Sure, she could understand that Mike thought that Evan would do well to get back into the swing of things, but it just wasn't something that could be rushed, especially when Evan was still struggling to deal with everything.

"Just remember who the hell you work for," Evan hissed.  "Bastard!"

Valerie wandered over to him and rubbed his arm as he slapped his new cell phone closed, his outrage a palpable thing.  He shot her a completely chagrined look then let out a deep breath.  The half-smile that surfaced was enough to calm her, and the one she returned was full of compassion.

"I'm going to get something to drink," Madison piped up, sauntering off toward the kitchen.

"You okay, Roka?" Valerie asked quietly.

Evan let out a deep breath and nodded once.  "Yeah," he said, slipping an arm around her waist, just needing to have that reassurance, she supposed.  "Yeah."


"It just feels unfinished," Evan remarked as he shook his head.

Madison leaned away from her place, cuddled against his left side, to cast him an owlish look.  "How you figure?"

Evan drained the beer in his hand and shrugged, leaning against the sofa.  "I don't know . . . It feels like I didn't get to really say goodbye, you know?  Unfinished . . ."

Curled against Evan's right side, Valerie hefted her half-full beer bottle and frowned at the contents.  "So how would you say goodbye to him, then?" she mused.

Evan took Valerie's bottle and drained it, too.  "I dunno," he drawled, thumping the bottle onto the table in front of him.  There were already about twenty empty bottles lined up.  Madison had finished off five of them, and Valerie had emptied three, not counting the one that Evan had just emptied.  The rest were his . . .

"I'll get the next round," Madison offered with a heavy sigh, grunting softly as she pushed herself to her feet.  Evan reached up, tugging on the hem of her short black dress to straighten it for her before she wandered away.

True enough, he should probably stop Valerie soon, knowing that the woman just didn't have a head for alcohol.  She seemed to be holding her own at the moment, however, and she wasn't too bad . . .

"Here you go," Madison half-sang as she handed out beers and set hers onto the coffee table.  "I'll be back—need to use the little girls' room."

"Thanks, Maddy," Valerie called after her.  "I'll kiss you when you come back . . . Why does this stuff look so pretty but taste like butt?"

Evan snorted, taking a good swig out of his bottle.  "It's not that bad, V.  Maybe more of an acquired taste . . ."

She nodded and tipped her beer, but made a face as she forced herself to swallow it.  "How would you do it?" she asked.

"Do what?" he questioned, frowning at the black dress pants he hadn't bothered to remove.  He'd get around to it eventually.  For now, though, it was nice to sit here with Valerie so close . . .

She rolled her eyes in a rather exaggerated sort of way, her cheeks blossoming in a rosy hue, lips stained crimson and without a trace of lipstick to enhance the color.  "Say goodbye to Dieter," she clarified.  "You didn't really say what you'd do."

He smiled because he knew that she wanted him to, but he wasn't surprised to feel himself closing in once more on the perilous edge of the blackest rage—a rage that had lingered entirely too close since the shooting.  "What do you suggest, counselor?"

Her eyebrows drew together as she considered his question.  It was that adorable expression that she tended to get whenever she was thinking heavily about something: the one that made her hazel eyes darken just a little; that invariably culminated in the slightly pouting lips that usually had the power to drive him to distraction.

"I think I'd do something special: something that only the two of you ever did . . ." she drawled at length.

"Something special, eh?" he echoed with a smile that better resembled a grimace.

"You mean like your annual ritual?" Madison quipped as she sank down beside Evan again.  He slung an arm over her shoulder and pulled her closer against his side.  She sighed and sat up to kiss his cheek before nestling her cheek against him.

"Annual ritual?" Valerie murmured, clearly puzzled by the concept.

"All those fucking people . . . and not a damn one of them really knew Deet—at least, not like we did," Evan grumbled.

"They wanted to be there," Madison pointed out rather philosophically.  "You can't fault them for that, can you?"

Evan scowled since he could and did—damned posers.  Guys from bands down on the strip who had met Dieter maybe once or twice over the years, and most of them were a little scared of Dieter's constant and disturbing obsession with all things dead or dying . . . They'd come out because of the paparazzi that was tacky enough to camp out in front of the New York Civic Hall, where the memorial had been held . . . "Anything to get their fucking picture taken," he growled, flexing the claws on his free hand in a blatant show of irritation.  "That bastard, Hellums . . . Did you hear him blowing his shit about how he and Deet used to hang out all the fucking time before Deet hit it big?  Deet might've looked at him one time in passing . . . lousy little shit . . ."

"And it doesn't do any good to get all upset over it," Madison remarked with a shrug.  "Come on, Evan.  Let it go."

"Annual ritual?" Valerie said again, this time a little louder.

"If I run into him in a darkened alley, I'll beat the living shit outta him," Evan warned, squeezing Madison a little closer as he brought the bottle of beer to his lips and slugged back a healthy gulp.

Madison heaved a sigh.  "You know what I think was weird?  The flowers."

"Why were those weird?" Evan asked.

"Annual ritual?" Valerie repeated yet again.

Madison laughed softly.  "Think about it.  Pretty, sure, but they're already dead, right?  So that's kind of fitting for a memorial—but maybe not for Dieter's . . ."

"Nah . . . Dieter would have wanted to be a zombie or something," Evan said.

"A zombie?  He would," Madison muttered, her face registering her obvious disgust with that particular idea.  "He was a little bent . . ."

"Hey!" Valerie interrupted before Evan could respond.  "You two . . . What's the annual ritual?" she demanded with a shake of her head, leaning forward to peer at Madison.

Evan smiled sadly and shook his head.  "The annual ritual . . . Fuck . . ." He scowled.  "We . . . We didn't . . . didn't do that this year . . . Maybe . . ." Trailing off with a grimace, he gritted his teeth hard.  "Maybe that's why everything got fucked up," he finished quietly.

"You could ask Bone to go with you," Madison suggested cautiously.  She knew well enough that Evan was still irked with the head of security, and with good reason, as far as he was concerned.  Bone's insistence that they keep moving, his perceived callousness was just a little more than Evan could stand.  Add to that the fact that Bone had stood solidly beside Mike in refusing to let Evan do anything, including calling Valerie in those crazy hours just after the shooting, and, well . . .

"The fuck I will," Evan shot back sourly.

Madison shook her head, looking a little sad.  "Their first concern was for your safety," she pointed out.  "Your father—your mother—asked them for that."

"Keh!" Evan snorted loudly, pinning Madison with a warning stare.  She intercepted the look and interpreted it correctly, but she still gave an almost imperceptible glance at Valerie and frowned.  "I don't give a great goddamn what Cain wants, and don't you dare drag my mama into it!"

"Maddy's got a point," Valerie suddenly piped up.  Evan shot her a quelling glance, then blinked at the thoroughly serious expression on her face.  "You should do it, right?  To say goodbye to Dieter . . ."

"Okay," Madison stated, rising on her knees and holding up her beer, offering a makeshift toast, of sorts.  "If you don't want to take Bone with you, then I'll go," she decided.

"You'll go," Evan repeated with a shake of his head.

"Me, too," Valerie chimed in.

Evan snorted again.  "I don't know, Maddy . . ."

She waved off his doubt with a flick of her wrist.  "Don't be silly!  The more that I think about it, the better it sounds!  It's the perfect way to say goodbye, don't you think?"

"Yeah, but we always sat up there and got shitfaced afterward," Evan pointed out calmly.

"Fine, but no wine.  Wine's for pussies, remember?" Madison said, her lips twitching as her gaze brightened.  "Besides, V's already shitfaced."

"I am not," Valerie slurred haughtily, indignant color rising in her cheeks.  "I don't get shitfaced off of beer."

"Of course you don't," Evan added with a gentle smile as he squeezed her shoulders reassuringly.

"Don't you patronize me, Zel Roka," she insisted.  "Now tell me about this ritual."

Evan grimaced and shot Madison a quick glance before turning to eye Valerie again.  "See, it started the year we came here," he admitted with a shrug.  "Come to think of it, I guess it was a little stupid . . ."

Valerie's eyes suddenly flared wide open.  "Was this the thing that you and he were going to do before?  The thing that I . . ." She trailed off, grimacing before she went on with whatever she was about to say.  "That I stopped the two of you from doing . . .?"

"Yeah, but we got to free the fishies," Evan quipped.  "Don't worry about it."

"What's that?" Madison interrupted.

Evan chuckled softly.  "Well, they weren't fish; not really.  I guess they were, what?  Lobsters?"

"Mm," Valerie agreed, her voice muffled by the bottle of beer.

Madison shook her head slowly.  "You freed the lobsters?"

"Yes," Valerie insisted happily then snapped her fingers.  "And I wasn't shitfaced then, either."

Evan coughed indelicately.  Valerie jabbed him in the ribs with her elbow.

Madison raised an eyebrow.  "What the hell?  I'm game," she stated.

"Yeah, but you're a chick," Evan pointed out as he stood up.  "Dieter always said that it wasn't a chick-thing."

"You can bite this chick," Madison countered.  "I'm going."

"Me, too," Valerie stated, holding her hands up, fluttering her fingers at Evan.

Evan chuckled softly as he reached down to pull her to her feet.  "I dunno, V," he drawled with a shake of his head.  "I mean, this isn't exactly something that someone like you'd get off on . . ."

"Why?  Because I'm a 'chick'?" she countered.

He stared at her for a moment then sighed.  "No . . . because you're a lawyer."

She snorted and waved a hand.  "What does that mean?  That I don't like to get out and do stuff because I'm boring?  Because I'm too serious?"

"No, V."

"Then why?"

He crossed his arms over his chest and grimaced.  "Because it's somewhat . . . illegal."

"It's only illegal if you get caught," Valerie scoffed airily—something she probably wouldn't have said if she weren't just a little tipsy already.

"Is that so, Nixon?" he countered.

"Absolutely!"  Whipping around, she caught herself on his forearm before she stumbled, and after righting her stance, she jammed her index finger into the center of his chest.  "Okay, so I didn't know Dieter as well as you two did, but I'd like to say goodbye properly, too."

Madison slipped an arm around Valerie's shoulders and led her toward the door.  "That's a fabulous reason," she insisted.  "I don't think that Dieter would mind if you took both of us along, Evan."

Evan watched them as they headed toward the foyer, the smile still toying at his lips thinning slightly, taking on a hint of sadness that he simply couldn't shake.  The annual ritual . . .

Would it really help him?  Coming to terms with the things that he just couldn't change—the loss of one of his very best friends . . . and the empty sense of melancholy that housed the guilt that wouldn't go away . . .

Could anything ever really help him?

~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~ =~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
'Dear God' by XTC first appeared on their 1986 release, Skylarking.  Song written by and copyrighted to Andy Partridge.
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Thought from Madison:
Now this … should be interesting
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.