InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Favors ( Chapter 101 )

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

-OoOoOoOoOoOoO oOoOoO-

'Here we stand
'Worlds apart, hearts broken in two, two, two
'Sleepless nights
'Losing ground, I'm reading for you, you, you…'

-'Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)' by Journey.


The incessant tapping on the bedroom door was enough to draw a low groan from Evan as he slowly sat up and rubbed his face in a weary sort of gesture that lasted all of ten seconds—long enough for his brain to kick in as he recognized the youki of his older brother.  "C'm in," he muttered, knowing well enough that Bas would hear him without any trouble.  Sure enough, the door slowly opened as the very large frame of the future North American tai-youkai peered into the room.  "Uncle Evan!" Bailey hollered, launching himself onto his bed.

Evan grunted when the boy landed square on the family jewels.  "Ouch . . . damn," he groaned, hooking Bailey under the arms and moving him aside, though not roughly.  It did take him a couple minutes to tamp down the urge to cup his nuts and cry like a girl . . .

"You okay?" Bas asked, hefting an eyebrow as Evan tried to remind himself that he sorely needed to breathe.

"Ah, yep, never better," Evan wheezed.  "It's fine."

"Be more careful, Bailey," Bas admonished, crossing his arms over his chest and shaking his head slowly, sternly at his son.  "You hurt your uncle."

"I'm sorry," Bailey said, his prior enthusiasm waning fast.  If he had the legendary hanyou ears, they would've been flattened, Evan figured.  "I'm sorry!"

Forcing a grin, Evan reached over and tugged the boy back onto the bed.  Bailey hadn't meant to hurt him, and he knew it.  The pain had settled into a dull ache, more or less, and Evan figured that he'd make it.  "Hey, Bailey," he finally managed, sounding more like himself than he'd have thought possible.  "Nice threads."

Bailey grinned, relieved to have been forgiven so quickly as he scampered to his feet atop the coverlet and held out his arms to his sides.  "It's my costume!" he exclaimed happily, pleased that Evan noticed it.  Of course, it'd be pretty hard not to have since the boy was wearing a full-body dog costume, complete with floppy ears and a faux fur tail that jiggled whenever he moved.

"So you wanted to be a puppy for Halloween?" Evan asked with a grin as he tugged one of Bailey's fake ears.

Bas rolled his eyes.  "Actually, no, but Sydnie talked him into it."

"And what did he want to be?" Evan couldn't resist asking.

Bas actually grinned.  "A fireman."

"Mommy said I'd get more candy in this costume," Bailey informed him in a matter-of-fact tone.

"Isn't it kind of early for trick-or-treating?" Evan asked dubiously.

Bas shot him a 'don't be stupid' kind of look and shook his head.  "He put it on this morning," he explained.

"Kind of early, aren't you?" Evan asked with an artfully lifted eyebrow.

Bailey shook his head happily.  "It's not too early for candy!"

Evan laughed.  "No, I don't suppose it is."

"Anyway, Bailey wanted to come with me to drop off your dogs," Bas went on.

"Yeah, thanks.  You guys going to go trick or treating later on?" Evan asked.  True, Halloween wasn't until tomorrow, but the city figured that it'd be better to have trick-or-treating tonight, instead.

"Well, we're going to the Halloween party at the children's hospital tonight," Bas explained.  "Mom and Dad were going to go, but some stuff came up, so Sydnie figured it'd be fun."

"What if he ruins his costume before the party then?" Evan teased.

"Oh?  So you forgot that you'd put your Halloween costume on a week before and wear it for days when you were a pup?" Bas replied mildly.

Evan grinned.  "I guess I did," he allowed with a shrug.  "Hey, Bailey, I think there's some cake down in the kitchen if you want some."

Bailey's eyes grew wide and round.  "I like cake," he said.  Suddenly, though, his cautious expression faded, only to be replaced by a thoughtful frown.  "Gramma didn't make it, did she?"

Laughing at the consternation on the boy's face, Evan shook his head.  "Nope, but it's still pretty good."

"Daddy?  Can I have some?" he asked, rounding on his father as he bounced on the balls of his feet in anticipation.

Bas laughed and gave his consent with a curt nod.  "I suppose," he allowed, trying to look stern and failing miserably, "but don't tell your mama or she'll have my hide for ruining your lunch."

"Go on down, and I'll be there in a few minutes," Evan said.  Bailey grinned and hopped off the bed, skittering out of the room as fast as he could go.

"I'll get it for him," Bas offered, turning to follow his son.

"Wait a minute," Evan called after him.  Bas slowly pivoted to face him again, his reluctance speaking volumes since he knew damn well that Evan favored sleeping naked.

Fortunately for Bas, however, Valerie had stayed the night last night, so he'd actually worn sweatpants to bed to accommodate her.  Unfortunately for him, though, she'd insisted upon leaving early this morning to go in to the office to work on his case, and despite his best efforts to keep her here, she'd insisted, which just figured.  It was a lost cause, and he'd told her as much.  She'd smiled sweetly at him and told him that she wasn't ready to give up on him just yet, damned stubborn woman . . . So he had gone back to bed, but he still hadn't bothered to remove the pants, either, which was why he was able to toss the blanket back carelessly and roll to his feet before indulging himself in a good stretch.  "You wore clothes to bed?" Bas asked baldly.

Evan yawned then grinned at his brother.  "Sure, I did," he agreed.  "Anyway, I wanted to ask you to do something for me."

That earned Evan a rather suspicious quirking of the eyebrow from the older Zelig brother since Evan wasn't usually given to asking for favors—at least, not from Bas . . . "What do you need?" Bas asked, taking care to keep his tone completely even.

Scowling at his brother's attempt to pretend that they were simply discussing something as simple as the weather, Evan draped his hands on his hips and stared at him.   "I, uh . . . I wanted to know if you could look into something for me."

Bas nodded slowly—he wasn't agreeing, just listening.  "What kind of 'something'?"

Letting out a deep breath, Evan tried to interpret the expression on Bas' face.  It seemed almost like a mix of curiosity and foreboding.  "Last name: Duyer from near Lexington, Kentucky—I'm not entirely sure where, exactly.  Had a daughter named Valene that was taken away by the welfare when she was in the first grade or so . . . she just turned twenty-eight yesterday."

Bas blinked then narrowed his eyes as he considered Evan's request.  "Valene?" he echoed with a shake of his head.

"That was V's name before she had it legally changed, yes," Evan supplied, unable to keep the clipped tone out of his voice as his jaw hardened, as a stoniness seeped into his gaze.

"So . . . You want me to investigate Valerie's parents?" Bas reiterated.

Evan nodded curtly.  "Yeah."

It took a moment for Bas to respond.  When he did, he refused to meet Evan's gaze.  "Can I ask you why?" he finally ventured in that carefully contrived tone of voice.

"They hurt her," Evan growled.  "Ain't that good enough reason?"

Slowly, thoughtfully, Bas nodded, but he sighed and rubbed his face in a weary sort of way.  "You sure know how to pick your favors," he mumbled ruefully.

Evan snorted.  "Keh!  It's what you do for a living, isn't it?  Isn't that what the youkai special crimes division is?  Just glorified private dics, right?"

Narrowing his gaze, Bas eyed Evan for a long moment.  "It's not something that should be exploited just because you want some information, Evan," he pointed out reasonably.

"Fuck!  Never mind!  I—" Evan exploded, stomping across the floor angrily.

"Calm down, Evan," Bas interrupted with a sigh and a shake of his head.  "I didn't say I wouldn't do it, did I?"

Stopping abruptly, Evan slowly turned to stare at Bas, who looked exasperated but not completely against the idea of looking into the situation.  "If you're afraid that it'll piss off ol' Cain, then don't worry about it," Evan grumbled.

That barb worked to irritate Bas, and the elder grunted as his eyebrows drew together in a marked scowl.  "Dad's got nothing to do with it, you little fucker, and you know it," he growled, pinning Evan with a fierce glower.  "What makes you think that your friend will appreciate your interference?"

 Letting out a deep breath, Evan yanked open a window and frowned at the weak and hazy daylight that filtered into the room.  "She won't," he allowed at length.  "I'm not doing it for her."


Evan shook his head, idly scratching his chest as he continued to stare outside.  "You got any idea what it's done to her through the years?  Of course not—neither do I.  After all, we were raised in Mama's house, and Mama loves everyone.  Thing is, V . . . She doesn't have the same kind of memories that we do, you know?  She doesn't have . . . She doesn't have shit . . ."

He didn't see the way Bas bit his lip, didn't see the slight wince that his frank and quiet assessment had garnered.  If he had, he would have known that Bas was very likely thinking about his mate and her own version of a hellish childhood . . . As it was, however, Evan didn't rightfully care because the only person on his mind was Valerie . . .

Truth of it was, if Valerie hadn't been so upset, he wouldn't be asking Bas anything of the sort, but she was, and he wanted answers.  He wasn't entirely sure what he would do once he had those answers in hand, but he'd figure that out when the time came, too.  The only thing he did know was that the heartache on her face, the pain that she fought so hard to hide . . . He couldn't stand that, could he, and even if her parents never fully appreciated the anguish they'd caused her over the years, he just couldn't let it go; not this time.  She meant too much to him to just leave it alone.  She deserved answers even if she wasn't exactly ready to ask the questions.

"All right," Bas said quietly.  "I'll see what I can do, but it might take a bit," he went on as though to warn his brother.  "I'm knee deep in a few other things, too."

Evan turned away from the window, leaning on the sill, grasping the bottom of the frame in his hands.  "Thanks," he said.  "I owe you one."

"You don't owe me a thing, Evan," Bas muttered, swinging around to head out the door to follow his son down to the kitchen.  "You never have."


Valerie bumped the rim of her glasses back into place with her knuckle without glancing up from the notes she was jotting in the margins of the forensic report on Evan's car.  She still had quite a way to go as she muddled through it, but she was making progress, and that was good.  The man she'd hired to go over the vehicle was meticulous in his inspection, starting at the bottom of the car and working his way up, and there was more technical jargon based on the mechanics than she would have thought possible.

She sighed.  She'd woken up this morning with a fresh resolve to find out exactly what had happened that night.  Maybe it was just because Evan had managed to give her the single best birthday in the history of birthdays that was spurring her on, but she couldn't quite shake the feeling that she was running out of time, either.  The real problem was that she wasn't certain if there really was more to the story that no one was telling her or if he just wanted there to be.  Worst of all was the idea that she knew—knew—that she was slowly losing her objectivity when it came to that particular man.  If she lost too much of it, it could be disastrous for Evan, especially if it clouded her judgment when it came to him . . .

Then again, she'd had the feeling from the start, hadn't she?  Back when she'd first interviewed everyone who had been at Evan's house that night, she'd gotten the feeling that there was something going on that she didn't know about, that they were all seeking to keep from her.  She hadn't been influenced by Evan, had she?  If anything, she'd been ready to talk him into pleading guilty and seeing what she could do about getting him minimal punishment.

But . . .

It didn't make sense, did it?  Why would Evan's friends all be willing to go along with his story if it was just a story?  They all understood that there was a good chance that Evan was going to end up in jail for his efforts.  They didn't want him to end up there, and she knew it.  So why . . .?

She didn't know, and no matter how many times she pondered it, she wasn't any closer to figuring any of it out than she was months ago when she'd conducted the first round of inquiries, and she knew damn well that it wouldn't make a bit of difference if she tried again.  His friends were protecting him—or something like that, anyway.

If she could get Evan to talk, it'd be a lot easier, of course.  Too bad he was as stubborn as they came, and for some reason, he seemed unconcerned with the idea that he really would be spending some time in the big house.  She might have thought that he was twisted enough to think that garnering a prison stint would add to the mystique that was Zel Roka, but she didn't think that was it, really.  The trouble was, she really had no idea what he was thinking when it came down to it.

Letting out a deep breath, Valerie blinked when the intercom on her phone beeped.  "Yes?"

"Sorry to interrupt, but there's a delivery guy here with a package for you," her secretary said in lieu of a greeting.

Valerie frowned since she wasn't expecting a delivery, but she pulled her glasses off and dropped them onto the report with a dull thump.  "Okay," she said, letting go of the button and pushing her chair back so that she could get to her feet.

A few moments later, the secretary hurried into the office with a very large box before casting Valerie a puzzled frown and slipping out of the room once more.

She slowly, hesitantly reached for the box.  There was a white envelope affixed to the package, and she grabbed that first.

'Hey, V, you took off too quick this morning so I didn't get a chance to ask you if you wanted to go to a little Halloween party with me tonight.  Took the liberty of sending over a costume for you, so come by around six, and we'll go together.  Oh, yeah, might want to grab some candy before you come by, too.'


'A Halloween party?' she thought with a scowl as she stared at the harmless looking box.  For some reason, she didn't think that it was nearly as 'harmless' as it might look.  Oh, sure, it sounded okay, this Halloween party, but knowing Evan . . . Well, that's what she was worried about.

Drawing a deep breath before she grabbed the box and yanked it open before she could talk herself out of it, she blinked at the rather plain looking pink-and-white-striped blouse that lay inside.  'Donnegan's Dogs' was embroidered over the left breast pocket of the button-down shirt, and there was a silly plastic name tag with 'V' written on it, too.  A pair of white jeans, white canvas shoes, white bobby socks, a pink scarf, and a cute little paper white and pink service cap were included in the box, and Valerie wrinkled her nose as she slowly shook her head.

Okay, so he'd definitely surprised her this time.  Considering how horrible the man really could be, he'd chosen to dress her up like a carhop or something?  How . . . "Bizarre," she mumbled under her breath as she reached for her cell phone.

Evan answered after two rings.  "Hey, baby," he greeted happily.  "You get the costume yet?"

"What are you up to, Roka?" she demanded rather dryly.

He chuckled, and even over the phone, the breathy quality of the sound sent a rather nice shiver straight up her spine.  "Just figured you'd want to go to the party with me, is all," he insisted.  He sounded like he had a grin on his face . . .

"I meant, what's with this costume," she reiterated, wrinkling her nose yet again at the rather silly outfit in the box.  "You're kidding, right?"

"Nah, and it's for the kids, you know.  Couldn't really send over some hoochie mama costume, now could I?  Well, not that you'd look bad as a hoochie, but c'mon, V . . . You'd totally destroy some little girl's self-esteem, don't you think?"

"There's something wrong with you, isn't there, Roka?" she countered, rolling her eyes as she slowly shook her head.  "Anyway, that's fine, but why do I have to look like a cafeteria server?"

"Correction: a smokin' cafeteria server," he parried.  "So you'll go with me?"

"You know, I could probably pick up another costume before the party," she ventured since she still wasn't entirely sold on the idea of the one he'd picked out for her.

"Nah, you're a busy woman, aren't you?  Like you've got time to run around, looking for a costume when I sent one over for you."

She snorted.  "You're up to something," she stated.  "I know you are."

"I have no idea what you're talking about, my V-ness," he countered.  "Anyway, I gotta go.  Have to go meet with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe before the party."

Giggling despite herself at the silly statement, she cleared her throat.  "And who is He-Man?"

"Mike likes to think that he is," Evan replied.

"You're not in trouble again, are you?"

He grunted.  "Nope.  They want to know what the plan is for the next video shoot."

"There's a plan?" she challenged mildly.

"There's always a plan, woman."

"Fine, then, I'll see you at six," she told him as she caught the receiver between her ear and her shoulder to free up her hands so she could replace the lid on the box once more.

"Later, baby," he said, hanging up promptly before she could chastise him for his use of the endearment.

Valerie sighed and dropped the phone back into the cradle once more before turning her attention on the closed box thoughtfully.  Okay, so she wasn't that impressed with his idea of a costume for her, but he was right.  She really had too much to do to worry about running around to find another one on such short notice.  It only served to remind her yet again, just how far behind she was in her efforts to get Evan out of trouble.

If only it really was that easy.

'A kids' Halloween party . . .?' she mused with a sigh as she sank down into the chair behind the desk once more.  Why didn't that surprise her, either?

Still, she couldn't help the little smile that quirked her lips as she pushed the box back far enough to pull the report toward her once more.  Somehow the irony of the situation didn't escape her, either.  Who'd have thought that the world's biggest rock star on the planet would want to spend Halloween with a bunch of children, anyway . . .?

~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~ =~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
'Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)' originally appeared on Journey's 1983 release, Frontiers.  Song written by and copyrighted to Jonathan Cain and Steve Perry.
== == == == == == == == == ==
Nozome ------ mynera ------ sexxiigurrll0204 ------ monkeyseemonkeynodo ------ Tashwampa ------ Dark Inu Fan ------ theblackthorn ------ fanfic7inu ------ MirrorDarkling
Midcat ------ cutechick18 ------ Blkbltvette ------ Zero
Thought from Valerie:
Food service worker …?
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 100
Chapter 102
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