InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Firedancer ( Chapter 118 )

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

-< i>OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'Glory days – well, they'll pass you by
'Glory days – in the wink of a young girl's eye
'Glory days
'Glory days…'

-'Glory Days' by Bruce Springsteen.


" This has to be one of the strangest ideas you've ever had, Evan," Bas remarked as he idly tipped a bottle of beer to his lips.

Sydnie cuddled against Bas' chest, hidden under the copious folds of the thick down blanket that Gin and Cain had brought out earlier.  "I think it was fantastic," she said with a contented sigh.  That wasn't surprising since Sydnie, being a cat-youkai, loved all things 'fish' in deviation, and crustacean in any form were some of her favorites.  Add in a few mollusks, and she was in kitty heaven.

"Yeah, it was pretty good," Bas allowed, reaching back behind him to set the bottle down out of the way before pulling Sydnie  closer and kissing her forehead.

"Do you remember the time you two decided you wanted to have a weenie roast on New Year's Eve?" Gin reminded him.

Bas chuckled.  "I almost forgot about that . . . That was Evan's idea, too . . ."

"But you said it sounded good," Evan replied.

"I'm surprised you remember that . . ." Bas' grin widened.  "That was because you kept pouting at me," he retorted.  "You always pouted at me, come to think of it . . ."

"Yeah, but it worked, didn't it?" Evan muttered despite the good-natured smile on his face.

"If I recall, it was more Dad's fault than mine," Bas grumbled, his cheeks pinking slightly.  Reminders that he'd used to baby Evan a little always tended to make the big man feel uncomfortable.

"Daddy's fault?" Jillian echoed with a slight frown.  "Why's that?"

Bas snorted.  "Because he'd just ousted the little brat from their room at night, and Evan whined a lot at the time."

Cain rolled his eyes.  "Evan was five," he maintained stubbornly.  "It wasn't nearly as traumatic as you make it out to have been."

"Scarred me for life," Evan teased.

"Aww, my poor baby!" Gin crooned.  She made to get up, but Cain stayed her, tightening his arm around her waist.

"He's about as scarred as I am," Cain told her.


"He's fine," Bas insisted with a grin.  "Just twisted, that's all—little monkey."

Jillian giggled.  "Do you remember the time that Evan chased you and your friends all the way to Kyle's house on his tricycle?"

Bas sighed.  "Yeah, I remember," he muttered.  "I got in trouble for that."

"Kyle's house?" Sydnie asked, leaning away to look over her shoulder at her mate.

"Kyle was a friend," he explained.  "Lived down on the corner in that big brick house."

She looked surprised.  "That's pretty far, puppy.  You made poor Evan ride his little tricycle that far?"

Bas snorted.  "I didn't make poor little Evan do a damn thing.  Poor little Evan always followed me around."

"Which was why you should've known that he'd follow you then," Cain pointed out mildly.  "Had your mother scared silly."

"How was I supposed to know that?  He was sleeping on the floor with his ass in the air when I left.  I figured he'd never know," Bas retorted.

Gin frowned and shook her head.  "But they had just put fresh gravel down on the road, and he fell off his tricycle, remember Cain?"

"I remember," he replied in a rather humoring tone of voice.

Gin sighed, her frown deepening as she bit her lip, and for a moment, Evan wondered if she was going to burst into tears.  "He scraped his knee . . . It really bled, but he was so brave while I cleaned him up.  He didn't cry, but he had these two, fat tears in his eyes . . ." She sniffled but didn't cry.

Bas rolled his eyes.  "It was just a scrape, Mom," he went on.

"It was a deep scrape," Gin insisted.

"Yeah, but he seems like he's okay now," Bas pointed out.  "You sure he didn't hit his head when he wrecked his trike?"

"That would explain a lot," Cain mused.

"Cain!" Gin reprimanded.

Evan grinned as he wrapped his arms tighter around Valerie.  She was situated between his raised knees, leaning back against him with a sleeping Olivia resting snugly on her chest under the warmth of their down blanket.  He'd spread tarps over the ground after clearing away as much snow as he could from the area, and he'd built fires in thick metal braziers between each of the four logs that he'd placed around the perimeter to keep the chill further at bay.

"Well, it might have been strange idea, but it was damn good," Gavin said with a stretch and a yawn before he folded his arms around Jillian.

"Damn good," Bailey repeated absently and without looking up from the Rhistar portable video game player in his hands.  Gin huddled against Cain's shoulder and pulled their blanket up closer around them.  Bailey moved his arms to keep the blanket from covering the video game screen.

"Now that's not a very nice word, sweetie," Gin chided.

Bailey glanced up at her with a puzzled frown.  "What word?"

Gin opened and closed her mouth a few times.  "Damn," Cain repeated with a chuckle.

"But you just said it!" Bailey pointed out.

Cain's grin widened as he smashed the boy's sock cap down on his head.  "I did, didn't I?" he deadpanned.  "Damn . . ."

"Zelig-sensei!" Gin said, shaking her head at his incorrigible behavior.

He laughed and pulled Gin closer against his side.

"Grandpa!" Bailey exclaimed suddenly.

Cain blinked.  "Hmm?"

Bailey turned to stare at Cain.  "I want a drink of that!"

Glancing at the bottle of beer in his hand, Cain did a double take with a thoughtful frown on his face.  When he started to move the bottle, though, Gin gasped.  "Cain!  You can't give him that!"

"It's just a sip," Cain replied.

Gin shook her head, pulling Bailey closer to her despite the boy's resistance as she wrinkled her nose and frowned at Cain.  "It's beer!  You don't know what that could do to a little boy!"

Cain shrugged offhandedly.  "I figured it'd help him sleep better tonight," he quipped.

"What if he got drunk?" she hissed.  The word 'drunk' had come out as a very loud whisper.

"Oh, it's just a little beer," Sydnie mused to Evan's surprise.  Sydnie might not despite Cain anymore, but she certainly wasn't one to blatantly take up his cause, either.  "If he wanted to get Bailey drunk, he should try something stronger . . . like whiskey.  That'd knock him right out."

"Kitty, I don't think that Bailey needs to get drunk again," Bas mused, scratching his chin.

Valerie reached over her shoulder and caught the front of Evan's shirt, tugging him forward slightly as she turned her head.  "Did he just say 'again'?" she murmured.

Evan chuckled.  "He did."

Bas sighed.  "It wasn't how it sounded," Bas said, having obviously overheard Valerie's question.  "When he was a baby, Sydnie gave Bailey whiskey when he was teething."

Sydnie rolled her eyes.  "You make it sound so terrible," she pouted.  "All I did was put some on a cloth to numb his gums."

"To hear Bubby tell it, you soaked the thing in a fifth, pussikins," Evan pointed out with a grin.

Bas snorted, probably because of the way he'd addressed Sydnie.  "She did."

Sydnie crossed her arms over her chest stubbornly and tilted her head to cast a baleful look at her mate.  "I only did what the book said," she pointed out haughtily.  "Anyway, he wasn't drunk; he just slept really well—and I didn't hear you complaining about that the next morning, puppy."

Bas nodded despite the heightened blush that rose to stain his cheeks.  "That's beside the point, kitty.  Thing was, that book was about two hundred years old, and it said to dab it on with the cloth, not soak the cloth and give it to the pup to suck on."

"Incidentals, puppy," Sydnie went on with a flick of her hand despite the heightened color that had blossomed in her cheeks.  "It didn't really hurt Bailey, and it's not like I intended to do that!  You think I'm a bad mother, don't you, Sebastian?"

Evan grimaced inwardly.  His brother was treading on dangerous ground . . .

"Of course not, Sydnie," he insisted calmly as he kissed her forehead and held her close.  "You're a wonderful mother.  You just shouldn't believe everything you read in that book. That's all."

To Evan's surprise, Sydnie seemed to be satisfied with Bas' answer.  At least she didn't dig her claws into his arm, and that was something, wasn't it . . .?

"I thought the clam bake was a great idea," Jillian said, casting Evan a very bright smile, very obviously deciding that a change in topic was in order since Bas actually seemed to be a step ahead of the game at the moment.

"Yeah, well, V said she'd never been to a real clam bake," he said with an offhanded shrug.  "I thought she needed to have one."

"Hmm, don't blame me for your weird ideas, Roka," Valerie said though she sounded more amused than anything.  Evan figured that had to be worth something.

"I prefer to think of them as moments of insular genius," Evan went on.

Bas snorted.  Gavin rolled his eyes.  Cain reached behind him for another beer but didn't bother to comment.

It was totally worth it, in his estimation.  After she'd gone upstairs to take a bath while she tried to hide her discomfort from her morning spent in the saddle, he'd gotten the bizarre idea to have a clam bake, so he'd driven down to the local fish market, but he hadn't found as many clams as he'd have liked, mostly because of the time of year, so he'd supplemented his purchase with some nice crabs, and he was fortunate enough to get a huge tub of seaweed too.  He'd actually had to sweet talk an old woman out of the seaweed.  He wasn't sure what she was going to do with four totes of seaweed, but he'd gotten enough of it to line the pit he'd lined with rocks.  Toss in a few ears of frozen corn on the cob—it would have been much better if it had been fresh—a couple cases of beer, and it was a done deal.

"You give me the best ideas," he replied, kissing the top of her head as he savored the warmth of her body, cuddled so close to his.

'Definitely worth it,' his youkai agreed

'Hell, yes . . .'

"So was Evan a good kid or a brat when he was little?" Valerie asked, ignoring Evan's attention completely.

"A brat," Bas said.

"Definitely a brat," Gavin stated.

"A huge brat," Cain added.

"He was a good boy," Gin insisted, slapping Cain in the center of his chest with the back of her hand.

"A very good boy," Jillian said with a wink.

"Depends on your definition of 'good'," Sydnie quipped.  "Of course, he was sixteen when I met him."

Evan chuckled.  "I haven't been little in decades," he leered, "and the womenfolk around here were glad of it."

"You're not really going to go there, are you?" Valerie asked, craning her neck to look up at him.

"I was trying to, yes," he said.

"It's true," Gin remarked, looking completely thoughtful.  "I mean, Evan outgrew me when he was . . . ten?  Eleven?"

"Not that it'd be hard to accomplish that," Bas added with a grin directed at his mother.

She wrinkled her nose and tossed a marshmallow at her son.  Bas caught it in his mouth easily as his grin widened unrepentantly.  Leave it to his mama to bring out the things to make s'mores—and she'd packed away more than anyone else had, too, which was also not surprising in the least.

"Well, as much fun as this has been," Sydnie said as she leaned forward and pushed herself to her hands and knees, "I think we'd better get the kittens inside before it gets dark, don't you?"

Bas nodded and stood up, offering Sydnie a hand to help her to her feet.  Sydnie shook out the blanket and gathered it up in her arms as he stepped over to carefully lift his sleeping daughter.  She whimpered softly when Valerie pushed the blanket away to allow Bas to take her.  He quickly pulled his coat around her to block her from the slowly rising wind coming off the ocean.  "Thanks, Evan," Bas remarked with a grin before he turned to go.  "Come on, Bailey."

"Aww, can I stay here with Grandma and Grandpa?"

"Grandma and Grandpa need to go back in, too," Cain said.

Gin stood while Cain scooped up the blanket, Bailey and all.  "Come on; let's go inside before your grandma freezes out here."

"It's not that cold, Cain," Evan remarked with a shrug.  "You're nice and warm, right, V?"

Valerie unconsciously leaned further into him, and he smiled to himself.  "It's not bad," she allowed.  "The wind is picking up though . . ."

"Come on, Gavvie," Jillian said as she got to her feet, too.  She leaned down and kissed Gavin on the top of the head with a giggle.

"Don't do that," Gavin grumbled, cheeks pinking as he got up and took the blanket that Jillian had retrieved.

"You used to let me kiss the top of your head all the time," she pointed out.

He snorted.  "I did not," he argued as his cheeks deepened in color.  "I was just too damn short to stop you."

"You were so cute," Jillian insisted.

Gavin heave a longsuffering sigh and grabbed his mate's hand before glancing at Evan and Valerie.  "You should've gotten more clams," he said.

Evan chuckled as those two made their way toward the stairway that led to the yard above.

Valerie sighed, staring at the fire that Evan and Bas had rebuilt in the empty cook pit after they'd pulled the clams and crab out of it.  The empty buckets that had contained all of the food were neatly stacked with the top ones containing the shells and garbage.  He'd throw it into his mother's compost heap later, but for now?

For now, sitting here, holding Valerie seemed like a much more worthwhile endeavor, now didn't it?

"So, what are you thinking about?" he asked quietly, savoring the warmth of her, the vibrancy of her, the stark contrast from the wind that was slowly growing bitterer.

Her soft exhalation was more of a feeling than a sound.  "Is it normal to have a clam bake in the middle of December?" she asked.

Tightening his arms around her, he smiled.  "Not really," he admitted.  "Then again, I guess that hadn't really occurred to me."

"Because you wanted me to experience one," she mused.

"Something like that," he said.  "You warm enough?  We can go inside if you're cold."

She shook her head, drawing the blanket up closer under her chin.  "You're really warm, you know," she ventured.  "Really, really warm . . ."

She almost sounded like she was starting to doze off.  Evan sighed.  It wouldn't be terrible if she did, he supposed, but he was worried that she'd catch a chill or get sick if he kept her out too long once the sun went down.  "That's good, then, isn't it?  You hate the cold."

"I do," she allowed in a rather distracted kind of tone.  "Your family . . . You guys seem really close."

"I don't know about that," he said.  "I mean, not really."

She shifted enough to lean her head back, to stare at him in an entirely unsettling kind of way.  He wasn't sure what she was thinking, but there was a gravity in her eyes, a solemn sense of questioning that he wasn't sure he wanted to question.  "Are you sure about that?" she challenged quietly.  "Are you really, really sure?"

Stifling a sigh, he shrugged indifferently.  "Trust me, V.  I've lived it all my life."

She wasn't buying it; he could see it on her face.  A change in plans was in order, wasn't it?  He had no desire to stay on the current course of the conversation, but if he didn't distract her fast . . .

So, to that end, he stood up, untangling his legs while trying to keep from letting too much cold air under the thick blanket.  Occupying himself with gathering up the last of the wood that he'd gathered, he dropped it on the fire then moved off to fold up the tarps.

Sitting up, hunching forward, Valerie hooked her hands around her legs under the blanket.  Her eyes were intense, boring into his skull even while he avoided her gaze.  She didn't speak while he worked, and then she stood up, taking her time in folding the comforter that she'd just been snuggled under.  The silence that grew between the two of them was as vast as the ocean, as encompassing as the sea.

"You hide things almost as well as I do," she ventured at last, "just not for the same reasons."

Dropping the last tarp on the stack of them, he shrugged.  For a moment, just for a moment, he opened his mouth to change the topic, to laugh it off, to make her forget.  The expression on her face stopped him, though, even as her words came back to him.

"I've told you things, you know, because I never thought that you'd judge me: because I trust you . . . I would have thought that maybe . . . Maybe you'd trust me, too."

She was right, wasn't she?  All he ever did was hide from the things that he just didn't want to talk about, and Valerie . . . How would he convince her that he was her mate if he never talked to her, if he didn't do anything but laugh everything away?

Plopping down on the nearest log, Evan rubbed his face, closed his eyes as he pinched the bridge of his nose, feeling infinitely weary yet restless, all at the same time.  "It's . . . It's everything, V," he said, unable to stop himself from faltering.  The eternal poet, the master of the song, and yet he struggled?  "And it's . . . It's nothing."

He wasn't sure what she'd heard in his tone, in the words that he hadn't been able to find.  The log that he was sitting on moved slightly, a moment later, Valerie grasped his hand and pulled it away from his face.  The emotion in her eyes, though . . .

A hint of compassion tinged by an overwhelming sense of understanding . . . A very slight, just the hint of a smile that was somehow sad . . . "You don't really understand it any better than I understand what . . . what happened with me," she said quietly, knowingly.  "You spend your whole life making other people happy, don't you, Roka?  But . . ." Her eyes slipped away, slipped off over the horizon, the unending expanse of the ocean . . . "But you never ask for anyone to do that for you."

"That's not—"

She stood up suddenly, grasping his free hand, tugging till he rose to his feet.  Eyes lifting to meet his as her smile widened, she shook her head.  "So . . . Come on."

That smile of hers . . . He'd follow her anywhere, wouldn't he, just to see that smile . . . "Where are we going?" he asked.

"Dance with me," she demanded.

He blinked and stared at her rather stupidly.  "Dance with you?" he echoed.

She nodded, her arms stretching out further as she took a step back.  "Yes," she stated matter-of-factly.  "Dance with me."

Shifting his eyes back and forth, he finally broke into a small smile.  "There's no music, V," he pointed out.

Rolling her eyes, she snorted.  "Aren't you the man who always has a song to sing?" she scoffed.  "Are you trying to tell me that you can't think of one now?"

"Is that right?"

Nodding again, she let him tug her closer, drawing her into his arms as he swayed her gently back and forth.

"Where's my song, Roka?"

Chuckling quietly, he let his lips linger against the softness of her hair.


"'If I could save time in a bottle . . .
'The first thing that I'd like to do . . .
'Is to save every day . . .
'Till eternity passes away . . .
'Just to spend them with you . . .'"

"'If I could make days last forever . . .
'If words could make wishes come true . . .
'I'd save every day . . .
'Like a treasure and then . . .
'Again I would spend them with you . . .'"

"'But there never seems to be enough time . . .
'To do the things you want to do . . .
'I've looked around enough to know . . .
'That you're the one I want to go . . .
'Through time with . . .'

"'If I had a box just for wishes . . .
'And dreams that had never come true . . .
'The box would be empty . . .
'Except for the mem'ry . . .
'Of how they were answered by you . . .'"


And even after the song had ended, the two kept dancing in the sand on the beach surrounded by snow and flickering flames to a song that only they could hear . . .

~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~ =~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
'Glory< /b> Days' originally appeared on Bruce Springsteen's 1984 release, Born in the USA.  Song written by and copyrighted to Bruce Springsteen.

'Time in a Bottle' originally appeared on Jim Croce's 1972 release, You Don't Mess Around with Jim.  Song written by and copyrighted to Jim Croce.
== == == == == == == == == ==
monkeyseemonkeynodo ------ Dark Inu Fan ------ theablackthorn ------ darkangel05 ------- CatLover260 ------ Titiana
cutechick18 ------ CarmMeldoll ------ Shiratsuki
Thought from 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.

Chapter 117
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