InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ The Road to Ruin ( Chapter 74 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter Seventy-Four~~
~The Road to Ruin~


'< i>Breakin' rocks in the hot sun …
'I fought the law and the law won; I fought the law and the law won
'I needed money 'cause I had none
'I fought the law and the law won; I fought the law and the law won …'

-'I Fought the Law' by Sonny Curtis and the Crickets.


Valerie yawned as she stepped out of the small gas station with a bottle of juice in one hand and a bag of caramel rice cakes in the other.  She'd stolen one of his leather jackets because she'd said that it was too cold outside and was wearing it over a pair of faded jeans and a plain black tee-shirt that hugged her body in all the right places.  Pausing long enough to glance both ways in the parking lot, she wandered in his direction. Hell, she was even sporting the prerequisite oversized sunglasses, and with the way her gorgeous golden blonde hair blew in the breeze, she looked every bit the rock goddess that he'd teased her about before.

'Stop staring, stupid!  If you don't sneak those back on the bus, your whole evening's gonna be shot.'

He made a face.  True enough.  He'd spotted a sign about thirty miles ago that was old and faded but that had been compelling enough that Evan had insisted that they stop so that he could pick up a few things even though they were, for all intents and purposes, smack dab in the middle of nowhere.  As luck would have it, though, there was one very large hurdle to overcome . . . and Valerie just might be able to help him out with that . . .

She was closing in fast on his chosen hiding place, and as she started to head for the bus, he reached out and grabbed her arm, dragging her over behind the gas pumps where he'd been hunkering down for the last ten minutes.

"Good God!" she gasped, yanking her sunglasses off so that she could glare at him properly.  "What the hell are you doing?  Trying to give me a heart attack?"

"Shh!" he hissed, furiously pressing his finger to his lips.  "You're going to get me caught!"

Narrowing her eyes, she shook her head.  "All right.  I'll bite.  What are you up to now, Roka?" she asked with a weary sigh.

Evan grinned at her obvious reluctance and leaned back long enough to peer over at the busses—and the one person he was trying like hell to avoid.  "Well, V, see that little store over there?"

Slowly looking over her shoulder at the store she'd just left, she shrugged.  "So?"

"Yeah, see, there's a little room in the back that sells fireworks."

It didn't take her long to figure out exactly where the conversation was going, and she sighed.  "How many did you buy?"

He grinned and gestured at the two big bags on the ground beside him, both of them packed so tightly that the plastic was distended and misshapen in a number of places.  "Sweet, huh?"

Valerie grimaced and stifled a groan.  "If you had a brain, you'd be dangerous," she muttered.  "What do you need me for?"

Evan chuckled and rubbed his hands together.  "I need you to go over there and get him away from the bus so that I can sneak all this stuff on."

Drawing a deep breath then letting it out slowly, Valerie peeked around the gas pump and glanced at Evan before looking back once more.  "By 'him', you mean Mike, right?"

Evan nodded enthusiastically.

"And how am I supposed to get him to move?"  Shaking her head quickly, she waved a hand to stop him before he started to speak.  "I thought he never travels on the busses."

"Well, sometimes he does," Evan allowed.  "I swear to God, he only chose to do it this time to piss me off . . ."

Setting the juice aside, Valerie caught the edge of one of the bags with her finger and pulled it back.  "You're going to get arrested for this," she predicted.

"Nah . . . but if I do, I've got my attorney with me."

Heaving another sigh, she grabbed her juice and shook her head as she got to her feet again.

"V!" he hissed, careful not to raise his voice.

"Stay down, Roka, or it'll never work."

He chuckled and leaned to the side, peeking around the gas pump again to watch Valerie in action.

She strode over to Mike, who was leaning against the bus, talking on his cell phone.  Evan was too far away to hear the conversation, but after a moment, Mike hung up and slipped the phone into his pocket then crossed his arms over his chest and listened to whatever Valerie was telling him.  They exchanged a few words, and then she started back in the direction of the store, and to Evan's amusement, Mike followed her.

Once they'd disappeared in the building, he grabbed the bags and dashed for the bus.  He'd have to thank her properly later.  Maybe he could convince her to enjoy the fireworks display with him . . .

He'd just finished stashing the fireworks in the closet when Mike stepped through the doorway with Valerie close behind.  She leaned to the side, shot Evan an apologetic kind of grimace.  He winked at her, but turned his attention to Mike instead.  "You're not really going to hitch a ride in my bus, are you?" Evan asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Actually, no.  I just wanted to tell you I just got off the phone with the general manager at the Floel Civic Center.  They're having a problem with some of their electrical systems, so we're going to have to cancel the tomorrow night's gig."

"What about the one on Friday?"

"He swore that the problems would be fixed by then," Mike said.

Evan grunted.  "Hell . . ."

"Anyway, there were some security issues that Bone wanted to talk to me about, so behave yourself, will you?"

Evan didn't respond, but he did salute as Mike turned to leave.  "Damn," he muttered, plopping onto the sofa with a dejected air.  Of course he knew better than anyone that sometimes these things happened.  It didn't mean that he had to be happy about it, though, and since he was supposed to be doing a show, it also meant that he'd have nothing—absolutely nothing—to do tomorrow afternoon and evening.  That wouldn't be such a bad thing if he didn't already know damn well that there was no way that Mike was going to think it was okay for him to go out for a night on the town.

"A night off?" Valerie remarked with a half smile as she popped a mini rice cake into her mouth.  "What in the world will you do with yourself?"

"I'll think of something," he assured her.  "You could keep me occupied.  I was kind of thinking about you and me and a bottle of baby oil . . . Want to hear more?"

The bus lurched and started to move.  Valerie dug another rice cake out of the bag and whipped it at him.  He caught it in his mouth and grinned at her.  She arched an eyebrow and slowly shook her head.  "I think I'll pass," she said dryly.

"You sure?  It sounds like a good way to spend some time to me . . ."

Valerie dug a cardboard air freshener out of her pocket.  It was shaped like Oregon—the state they were currently passing through—and she turned it over to read the back of the package.

"Let me guess," Evan drawled, grinning rather obnoxiously at her, "souvenir for Manford?"

Lifting her eyes without moving her head, she stared at him blankly for a long minute. "Souvenir?"

"Sure . . . Okay, it's cheesy, but if it's from your heart I'm sure that he'll just love it . . ." he went on.

"This isn't for Marvin," she countered mildly.  "It's for you."

"For me?  You bought me an Oregon-shaped air freshener?"

"It's all they had," she explained.  "And yes, it's for you."

"Why would you buy me something like that?"

Valerie bit down on the edge of the plastic and ripped it open.  "Because you're the single most vile and disgusting person I've ever had the misfortune of sharing a bathroom with," she stated flatly.

He laughed as she headed for said-bathroom.  "Yeah, but what do you think a bathroom's for?" he called after her.

"Always knew you were full of shit," Valerie shot back without missing a step.  "At least this way, I won't have to smell it."

"No, you'll just have to deal with perfume-y shit," he said, tipping his head back to watch her as she pushed open the bathroom door and disappeared around the corner.

"Better 'Ye Olde Pine' than ass," she hollered.

"That's totally debatable," he insisted.  A minute later, she reappeared with the empty plastic wrapper.  "Ugh, I can smell it all the way out here."

"Like I said," she retorted, "you've got no one to blame but yourself."

"But I smell like flowers," Evan complained.

"No, you don't," she said, pulling off the leather jacket that was way too big for her and hanging it in the closet.  "You really, really don't."

"Yeah, Mama always said that I was the smelliest of her kids," he admitted.

"Not surprising," she muttered, settling down with a newspaper.  "Now be quiet.  I'm trying to read."

Letting out a deep breath, Evan hauled himself out of the sofa and ambled over to the closet where he'd stashed the fireworks.

Bottle rockets, a brick of firecrackers, cherry bombs.  He'd even bought a couple Roman candles and some others that he wasn't too familiar with but that looked like they packed a pretty good punch.  All in all, he figured that if he was going to get bitched out by Mike for it later, he might as well have some fun with it now, and with a stupid grin on his face, he glanced up, only to see Valerie, craning her neck so that she could peek over her shoulder to see what he was doing.

"So, V," he said, his grin widening by degrees, "you wanna go have some fun with me . . .?"


"This has to be the weirdest thing I've ever done," Valerie mused as she sat on the Astroturf that covered the top of the bus.  Sure, she'd noticed that there was a ladder leading up to a hatch just behind the driver's seat on the bus.  She'd figured that it was in case they wanted to attach luggage or something to the roof.  It wasn't.  Nope.  It was because there was an actual putting green up there.  Huddling against the two foot high wind guard, she slowly shook her head.  The roof had an eight inch ledge all the way around the perimeter for safety, she supposed, although it wasn't nearly big enough to actually stop someone from falling.  Then again, how often did people actually think about getting in some putting practice on top of a bus, anyway?

Evan chuckled and stuffed a foot long piece of pre-singed PVC pipe into the golf cup, and Valerie narrowed her eyes.  "Wow," she muttered, completely nonplussed, "you've done this before."

He didn't deny it.  In fact, he winked at her instead.  "You want to do the honors?" he asked, raising his voice to be heard over the wind created by the moving vehicle.

"No, thanks," she said, huddling a little deeper in the jacket that Evan had slung over her shoulders before he'd hustled her up the ladder.  "I'm cold enough as it is."

"I'll warm you up later, baby," he promised with a rather wicked chuckle.

"I'll pass," she muttered despite the infusion of color that filtered into her cheeks.

"Okay!" he announced, jamming a bottle rocket into the length of PVC pipe.  "I figure I can get away with some of these before Mikey figures out what's going on."  Lighting the fuse, he leaned back on his haunches, laughing like a lunatic when it launched out of the pipe and whizzed into the air.

Valerie shook her head but smiled.  "If you know that Mike's going to gripe at you about this, why are you doing it?"

"Mikey's problem is that he thinks like a manager," Evan replied, dropping another bottle rocket into the makeshift launcher.  "I think he might have had a sense of humor at one time or another, but after a year or two of doing what he does, it kind of disappears."

"Is that how it works?  Are you sure it doesn't have more to do with common sense?" she asked, pulling a huge brick of explosives out of the nearest bag and frowning at it.  'Twenty-four rapid fire reports,' she read.  Somehow, that didn't really sound like something they should be launching off the top of a moving bus . . .

Evan lit the bottle rocket and stuck another one into the shaft in quick succession.  He'd fired off six or seven of them when the next bright idea came to him, and Valerie's mouth fell open, a million scenarios running through her head—none of them positive—as he jammed about six of them into the opening after tangling about a hundred firecrackers to the stems and twisted the fuses together, uttering a strange and unsettling twittering sound not unlike a mad scientist the entire time.

"Oh, that has 'fail' written all over it," she muttered, shaking her head and watching for the impending doom that the vision foretold.

He shot her a triumphant grin just before slouching over it to light the super-wick.

"Did you see that?  Did you see that?  Did you fucking see that?" he hollered as the six rockets shot up and in every conceivable direction.  Valerie yelped and jerked the collar of the leather jacket over her head when one of them exploded directly above.  "Woo!" he screamed, standing on his knees with his face tipped up to the sky, "That was wicked!  I'm a god!"

"A god, my ass!  You're a damn moron!" she yelled back, still hidden in the relative safety of the jacket.

He didn't seem to notice that he'd nearly blown her up.  "Gimme another one!" he demanded, waving a hand in her general direction.

She snorted loudly—he didn't hear that, either—but plunked the twenty-four-report brick out of the bag and shoving it toward him with her foot.

"You want to light this one, V?" he asked suddenly, glancing over his shoulder at her.

Opening her mouth to tell him that she wasn't about to perpetuate his deviant behavior, she blinked in surprise when she heard herself say, "Okay."

His grin widened as she scooted toward him. "With that?" she asked, gesturing at the smoking stick that looked like incense in his hand.

"Here," he said, carefully handing it to her.  "Don't burn yourself."

That earned him a scathing look since he'd just gotten done trying to blow her up.  His grin widened, and she wrinkled her nose, gathering her hair in her free hand to keep it from flying all over the place.  She lit the fuse and scooted back.  "Oof," Evan grunted when she propelled herself straight into his chest.  Locking his arms around her, he chuckled.

She was about to tell him to let go of her when the first chamber fired with a horrendous screech and more smoke than Valerie had anticipated.

"Ni-ice," Evan said.

Valerie giggled, forgetting that she meant to protest as the second report shot into the air.

The small explosions high overhead were beautiful—small blasts of hundreds of glittering spots.  The last one was bigger than the others—sparkles that rained down only to explode like the ones before it.

"Is that one finished?" she asked, her ears popping from the monstrous noises.  All twenty four of the chambers had unleashed the most ungodly screeches which, in her opinion, was the best part of the whole thing.

"Think so," he said.  "You want to pick the next—?"

The trill of his cell phone cut him off, and he heaved a sigh as the bus beneath them started to slow down.

"You're busted, Roka," she said pleasantly.

Evan snorted and shook his head but let go of her so that he could dig the phone out of his pocket.

Grabbing another firework out of the bag, Valerie scooted away to set it up.  Somewhere in the commotion, she'd tossed away the lighting stick, but she figured that didn't matter since the bus was pulling over, anyway, which also meant that the wind was dying down, as well.

"Something wrong, Mikey?" Evan asked innocently.

Valerie giggled to herself.  She wasn't sure exactly what kind of explosive this one was, but the canister was roughly six inches across and at least a good foot tall on a wide plastic base and a the thickest fuse she'd ever seen.  Basically, it promised to be pretty spectacular, she figured, and, grabbing Evan's lighter off the Astroturf beside her, she leaned down to block the slight breeze that persisted and lit the fuse.

It shot off with a high pitched squeal that shot right through her, and she covered her ears as the first explosion rattled like thunder high over the bus.

"Oh, damn!" Evan said, dropping his phone and standing up quickly.  Valerie grasped his hand to haul herself to her feet, too, staring in awe as the bright white flash exploded into a thousand streaming lights that belled out from the center, streaming streaks of glittering purple light that slowly fizzled out and died away.

"That one was really pretty," she said, tugging on Evan's forearm to gain his attention.  "Did you get more of those?"

"That was the only one they had," Evan told her without lowering his gaze.  "Figures, damn it . . ."

"Roka!  Get down here, goddamn it!" Mike yelled, standing on the road beside the bus with his hands on his hips and looking completely unimpressed.

"Is he going to yell at me, too?" Valerie whispered, rising up on her toes to get closer to Evan's ear.

"No-o-o-o," he drawled then shrugged offhandedly.  "Maybe."

"But I didn't buy those; you did."

Evan grinned and opened the hatch in the roof.   "Don't worry.  I won't tell him that you were helping me out."

Valerie didn't know whether or not she believed him, but she followed him down the ladder and off the bus, anyway.


"Okay, okay, party's over.  That was all of them, right, Roka?"

Evan grinned and puckered his lips at Mike in an entirely mocking sort of way.  "Yeah, that was it."

"Good.  Then can we get going?"

"Sure, sure . . ." Evan drawled.  "Keep your pants on, Mikey."

Mike sighed and shook his head then waved a hand to indicate that everyone should get back on his perspective bus so that they could move out again.

Valerie wrinkled her nose, her eyes still shining softly when Evan took her hand and headed back to the vehicle.  "That wasn't so bad," she said, giving a tug to free herself.  It didn't work, but it was a good effort.

"What?  You mean the bitching?"

She nodded.  "I figured he'd let you have it."

"Maybe he got laid."

"And he did let you set off the rest of the fireworks," she added thoughtfully, like she was trying to decide whether she had read Mike wrong or not.

"That wasn't nearly as magnanimous as you think," he remarked with a saucy grin.  Letting go of her hand, he stripped off his jacket and tossed it carelessly over the back of a chair.

"Slob," she said, snatching up the offending garment and striding over to the closet.  "And why do you say that, anyway?"

He snorted.  "Keh!  He just wanted to make sure that I didn't have any left when we get to the hotel."

She laughed.  She hadn't thought of that.  "That's ridiculous!  It's not like you can set them off in the hotel," she scoffed.

Evan chuckled, but there must have been something in the sound of it that gave her pause because she slowly pivoted to give him 'the look'.  "Oh, my God . . . You've done that before, haven't you?"

His grin widened.

She sighed and rubbed her face, looking like she couldn't decide whether she ought to be stern—or laugh outright.  She opted for the 'stern'.  "What did you do?"

He chuckled again, sitting at the table with a bottle of beer and a booklet that someone had handed him earlier.  'The Heaven: Zel Roka, an Unofficial Biography'.  Should be good for a laugh, at least . . . "It was just firecrackers, V, nothing big."

She stared at him for a long moment before turning to hang her coat in the closet.  "You set off fireworks in a hotel?  Are you serious?"

"Yup . . . I swear to God, Dieter was a genius.  See, he figure out how to put a really long fuse on a brick of them, and—"

"A brick of them?" she echoed, shaking her head incredulously.  "You've got to be kidding."

"Nope.  Anyway, we borrowed a metal pot from the hotel and hid it in Mike's room . . . ran the fuse under the door—we stayed at a lot cheaper places back then—and set it off when he was in bed."  He laughed, leaning back in the chair.  "I don't think I've ever seen Mikey move so fast before—or since . . ."

Still shaking her head, she made a face as she sat across from him.  "How is it that you're still alive?" she asked, looking properly horrified over what he'd told her.

Evan shrugged and grinned.  "The lid of the pot got embedded in the ceiling."

She looked even less impressed by that.

"Well, I told you, right?  Sometimes you get bored . . ."

"You got beat up a lot as a kid, didn't you?" she pressed.

Evan laughed.  "Nah," he insisted.  "Everyone loved me."

She didn't look like she bought that completely, but she heaved a sigh and leaned forward to pull the booklet out of his hand.  "An unofficial biography?  Is it accurate?"

Shrugging, he swigged the beer and tossed the cap into the trashcan.  "Eh, stuff like that is printed all the time.  Besides, it's not like anyone really knows the real story, so it's all good."

Flipping through the pages, Valerie frowned.  "You were born in Chicago to a crack-house whore who died when you were five?"

"Ah, yeah, that . . ." he mused, rubbing his chin.

"But I've met your mom," she said thoughtfully, disapprovingly.  "Does she know you said that?"

"Better a lie than the truth," he replied.  "I don't want my family to get caught up in my life; not like that, anyway."

"Still . . ."

Rolling his eyes, he set the beer on the table and snorted.  "It doesn't matter," he said.  "The people who matter to me know the truth.  Mike knew I wanted to keep my family out of everything, so he made up some stuff.  That's all."

Her frown deepened into an outright scowl as she continued to read.  "You were raised in foster homes?" she muttered.  "You think that's all right?"

"Well, that does happen, doesn't it?" he pointed out.  "Besides, it does say 'unauthorized', right?"

Tossing the booklet down on the table, Valerie stood up suddenly and headed toward the bathroom.  Without another word, she closed the door behind herself, and a moment later, he heard the click of the lock being secured.

Evan watched her go, scratching his head thoughtfully.  True enough, Evan wasn't too happy about the lies that Mike had encouraged and, to some extent, helped to perpetuate, but he understood why it was important to do that.  Covering up who he really was . . . It was important to him to protect his family from the insanity that came with being related to a rock star.  He didn't want to hear stories about reporters, camping out on his parents' lawn or following them around, hounding them for a story.  It was to protect their privacy, and even then, it wasn't like the subject came up very often anymore.  Those lies had been out there for so long that Evan didn't really think about them.

That they obviously bugged Valerie was apparent, but he didn't doubt that she'd realize eventually that it was all for the best because as much as it bothered him, too, the alternative was unacceptable in his estimation.

~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~ =~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
'I Fought the Law' by Sonny Curtis and the Crickets first appeared on their 1958 single release.  Song written by and copyrighted to Sonny Curtis.
== == == == == == == == == ==
fanfic7inu ------ theblackthorn ------ indigorrain ------ darkangel05 ------ Nozome ------ monkeyseemonkeynodo ------ Usagiseren05 ------ JKD1989 ------ CatLover260 ------ Dark Inu Fan
cutechick18 ------ indigorrain ------ malitiadixie ------ Shiratsuki ------ madhatter
Thought from Evan:
I like big booms
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.

Chapter 73
Chapter 75
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