InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Poker Night ( Chapter 124 )

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


-OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

' Games people play – you take it or you leave it
'Things that they say – honor bright
'If I promise you the moon and stars – would you believe it …?
'Games people play in the middle of the night …'

-'Games People Play' by The Alan Parsons Project.

-Valerie-


"So let me get this straight: you refused to get off the hopper-ball, so, you were kicked out of the toy store?" Bas asked dryly as he stared across the table at his ne'er-do-well brother.

Evan grinned unrepentantly.  "No, I was kicked out of the store because the manager didn't possess a sense of humor to speak of," he replied.

Bas blinked a few times without any change in his expression then sighed.  "Well, at least you weren't arrested," he muttered under his breath as he reached for the face-down cards before him and flicked a couple chips forward.

"For testing out something before I plunked down hard-earned money for it?  I think not," Evan scoffed haughtily.

"It was a hopper-ball," Gunnar Inutaisho interjected, staring at the cards in his hand before dropping a couple chips onto the table.  "Don't make it sound like you were test driving a car."

"It's the same idea," Evan insisted, waving a hand dismissively.  "I'm in," he said, tossing a couple red chips into the pot.

"Only you would compare the two and come to the conclusion that they're the same," Cain remarked, adding his chips to the slowly growing pile.

"Yeah, yeah," Evan scoffed.

Gavin shook his head as he carefully arranged the cards in his hand.  "Good thing Jilli didn't go with you, then," he remarked idly.  "She'd have wanted to do that, too."

"Those hopper balls are fantastic," Jillian insisted where she sat on the sofa beside Sydnie, fussing with Olivia's dress.  "Remember that hot pink one I had?"

Evan grinned.  "Mine was, like, snot green," he mused.  "Drove Cain nuts, bouncing all over the place, didn't we?"

"When didn't you drive Cain nuts?" Cain countered dryly, "and it's 'Dad', Evan—'Dad'."

"Give me two," Bas said, tossing a couple cards down on the table.  Gavin nodded and doled out the cards.

"Shouldn't the girls be playing, too?" Evan asked as he chucked three cards down.  Gavin dealt them without a word.

"No," about three male voices replied in unison.

Evan grinned.  "You don't think so?"

Bas snorted.  "Sydnie thinks it's sexist because the kings are over the queens," he grumbled.  "Besides, she doesn't know how to play poker."

"And you don't feel like teaching her?" Gunnar parried mildly.

Bas didn't answer, but he didn't deny it, either.

"I know how to play poker," Valerie ventured from where she sat near the girls, still looking through the massive photo albums.

"Of course you do, V," Evan intoned.

She blinked and looked up, frowning at the overly-tolerant tone in Evan's response.  "What's that supposed to mean?" she demanded.  "You're the one who taught me—and I beat you a few times, if memory serves."

Evan chuckled and shrugged offhandedly.  "It was strip poker, woman, and I didn't figure you'd like it if I had you bare-assed in a couple hands."

Valerie snorted very loudly at that.  "Give it up, Roka," she shot back.  "You just hate admitting that you lost, fair and square."

"Okay, baby," he replied in what could only be described as a humoring tone of voice.  "C'mon, Cain.  You gonna sit there all night or are you going to play?"

"'Here we come a-waffling among the leaves so green . . . looking for the perfect tree to tap for sap within . . . to make syrup just for you and for your waffles, too . . . May God bless you and send you more waffles for New Year's, may God send you waffles for New Year's . . .'"

Valerie blinked and glanced at Bailey, who had wandered in from the kitchen with a huge hunk of ham in one hand and a plain waffle in the other.  It was the song he was singing, however, that brought a smile to Valerie's lips.  "A-waffling?" she repeated with a raised eyebrow.

Sydnie giggled.  "Evan taught him that song last year or so," she explained.

Somehow, that didn't really surprise Valerie, and she figured at they should be grateful that he hadn't taught Bailey a more colorful version of it, instead.  But waffles . . .? "Why waffles?"

Gin smiled and handed Olivia a sippy cup of apple juice.  "Oh, Cain taught Evan that song when Evan was a baby," she said.

That wasn't what Valerie had expected to hear.  "He did?"

Gin nodded.  "Evan thought that the words were 'waffling', and he wanted Cain to teach him more of the words."

"You taught me that?" Evan said, casting a rather surprised glance at his father.

Cain blinked and looked rather blank.  In fact, it took him a minute to figure out what, exactly, Evan was talking about.  "Oh, uh, yeah," he said at length.  "I guess I did."

"Yeah," Bas added without looking up from the cards he'd just gotten to replace the ones he'd discarded, "Dad used to make up a few songs, mostly when Evan asked him to."

"So you're saying that Evan takes after Cain," Gavin mused.

"What?" Evan exclaimed sharply.

"Hardly," Cain grumbled.

Gavin shot Bas a knowing glance.  Bas shook his head in disgust.

"Evan's always been just like his father," Gin maintained as she wandered over with a try of chips and various dips.  "Ooh, since you have three of those, then that's good, right, Gunnar?" she asked, leaning over his shoulder as she stared at his cards.

Gunnar smiled just a little at his aunt as Bas snorted and dropped his cards in the center of the table.  "I'm out," he stated.

"Three of a kind?  Fuck," Evan grouched, dropping his hand, too.

"Depends on what three they are," Gavin surmised, frowning at his hand.

Gin giggled, apparently not realizing that she shouldn't be telling everyone what cards Gunnar had in his hand.  "They're kings," she said with an innocent blink.

"And I'm out," Gavin muttered, letting his cards drop, too.

"Baby girl, you really shouldn't be telling everyone what is in someone's hand," Cain pointed out rather philosophically.

Gin's eyes widened.  "Oh, I didn't even think of that!" she blurted.

Cain chuckled as he tossed his cards down, too.  "But it's all right if you just want to tell me, of course."

Gin giggled and hurried around the table to kiss his cheek.

"Hey, Mom, did you make any of those stuffed mushrooms?" Bas asked as he shuffled the cards a few times.

"Oh, yeah!" she exclaimed.  "I'll be right back!"

Bas smiled as she hurried away.  Gunnar rolled his eyes.  "You did that on purpose," he remarked.

Taking his time as he dealt the next hand, Bas didn't confirm or deny the charge, but the smile on his face did widen just a little.

"Daddy, can I open a present now?" Bailey asked, tugging on the sleeve of Bas' dark blue flannel shirt.

Bas glanced at him and grinned.  "It's not Christmas yet, Bailey," he pointed out reasonably.

Bailey frowned.  "But I'm bored," he complained.

Jillian laughed.  "Come here, Bailey," she called, holding out her arm toward the boy.  "It's almost time for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

"They still show that?" Evan asked with a grin as Jillian turned on the television.

"Of course they do!  It's a classic!" Jillian insisted.

Evan chuckled.  "Not as classic as A Power Puppy Christmas."

Bas snorted and rolled his eyes despite the grin on his face.  "Hardly a classic," he maintained.

"Shows what you know, you uncultured swine," Evan shot back.

Valerie blinked as she stared at the television.  "Speaking of uncultured," she muttered under her breath as the screen went black.  'A public service announcement from Zel Roka' appeared on the screen, and Valerie couldn't help the rise of trepidation that rippled up her spine.

True, she hadn't seen this, even though she knew that he'd been ordered to do one as per the court's dictate, but . . . But it was Evan she was talking about, and Evan . . .?

"Aww, it's my baby!" Gin gushed as she hurried into the room with a tray of finger foods.  She stopped abruptly.  Valerie could hear her sharply indrawn breath.  "Oh!  He's—"

"Oh . . . my . . ." Sydnie remarked, her tone near a purr as she stared at the television, too.  Valerie smothered a low groan.  Jillian giggled and covered Olivia's eyes.

"Uncle Evan's naked!" Bailey announced, his little face contorting into a marked grimace as he slowly shook his head in disgust.

All talking at the table ceased as every male head in the room turned—every one except for the errant rock star, anyway—who was busy messing with his cards with a really idiotic grin on his face.

Valerie sighed and slowly shook her head, too.

He was naked, all right, but at least he'd been filmed from the side.  The parts of him that were considered 'too graphic' were hidden well in shadows.  The entire thing was done against a black screen, and the lighting was artfully arranged to illuminate his face, even though the rest of him could be discerned.  Why, oh why, didn't it surprise her?  Glancing at Evan, she made a face.  He thought it was a riot, twisted little monkey that he was . . .

"English overcoats, straight jackets, hazmat suits, battle helmets, safety tools, sheaths, monster slayers, bulletproof vests, wetsuits, raincoats, Venus shirts, hoodies, cock socks, Johnny bags, love gloves, willie warmers, Jimmies, prophylactics, dragon slayers, preservatives, dingers, scumbags, the tour guide, rubbers . . . Who cares what you call 'em as long as you use 'em?"  He paused in his speech long enough to grin.  "Keep sex fun."

"Well, damn, they cut down my speech," Evan complained as the PSA ended.  "I had about fifty more names, easy."

Valerie heaved a sigh and pinched the bridge of her nose between her thumb and index finger.  "What the hell is wrong with you, Roka?" she demanded, fighting to keep her cheeks from pinking.

"Never been normal," Bas muttered.

"I don't know," Sydnie chimed in.  "I thought he looked rather . . . impressive."

"Wh—Kitty!" Bas complained.

Sydnie blinked innocently.  "Yes, puppy?"

He snorted.  "Forget it."

"Well, it didn't show anything too bad," Gin went on thoughtfully.

"Should've neutered that one at birth," Gunnar muttered.

Cain just sighed, looking like he wasn't entirely sure exactly what to say.

"I thought it was pretty damn wicked," Evan remarked.  "Besides, one should never be afraid of one's body, right Cain?"

"There's a huge difference between being afraid of one's body and having no shame whatsoever," Cain pointed out.

Gin giggled and slipped onto Evan's lap to feed him a stuffed mushroom.  "Evan's a very good-looking man, Zelig-sensei," she insisted.  "Just like his father!"

That comment earned a number of snorts from all around the table.

"What?  Was it something I said?" Gin asked, looking entirely perplexed.

"Damn, Bubby," Evan grumbled as he stared at the cards in his hand, "you suck at dealing; did you know?"

"But you have two of those ace cards," Gin said, poking a finger at them.  "I mean, that's good, right?"

Chuckling softly, Evan gave his mother a quick squeeze.  "Why don't you give me some sugar for luck?" he teased.

Gin giggled but kissed the cheek he offered her.  "You'd teach me how to play cards, wouldn't you, Evan?"

"Well, sure," Evan drawled, crooking a finger at his brother.  "Deal Mama in, will you?"

Bas looked like he'd rather do anything but deal Gin in, but in the end, he slipped her five cards.  "She doesn't have any chips, Evan," Bas reminded him.

"That's okay," he assured his brother as he pushed half of his white chips toward his mother.  "Here, Mama.  I'll float you a loan."

"He gave her about fifty bucks," Gunnar pointed out, arching a black eyebrow at Cain.  "Is that all right with you?"

Cain shrugged, appearing to be concentrating on his cards.  "I'll take it out of her allowance," he deadpanned.

Gin giggled again.  "I don't get an allowance," she said.  "Maybe I should . . ."

"Pfft."  Aptly put, considering Valerie had a feeling that Gin Zelig didn't exactly need an allowance.  After all, Cain seemed to be perfectly content in making sure that his wife had everything she could possibly ever want.

"Oh, we're not playing for real money," Gin scoffed.

"Well, actually, we are," Gunnar added.

"Then where's the money?" she questioned, her expression rather puzzled as she stared at the poker chips.

"The white ones are worth a buck, the red ones are worth five.  The green ones are worth twenty-five, and the black ones are worth a hundred," Evan explained patiently.

"A hundred?  Those black ones are worth a hundred?  Dollars?" she echoed.

"That's right, Mama."

She blinked a few times as she slowly looked around the table.  "Your father's got a few black ones," she pointed out.

"Not for long, Mom," Bas muttered.

"Evan?"

"Hmm?"

Biting her lip, Gin smiled.  "Can I have one of your black chips?"

Evan grinned at his mother and gave her half of his stack of black chips—five hundred dollars' worth.

"What do I do now?" Gin whispered loudly.

Evan's grinned widened.  "If you think you have a good hand, you put some of your chips into the pot," he explained.

She considered that.  "Do I have a good hand?"

He peeked.  "Yep, pretty good."

She looked quite pleased as she pushed her entire stack of black chips into the middle of the table.

Cain seemed vaguely amused as he discarded two cards and then matched Gin's bet.  "Okay, baby girl.  Let's see what you've got."

"In a second," she muttered, fiddling with her cards.  "Do I add more chips now?"

Evan laughed.  "Only if you've got good cards," he told her.

"Are these good cards?" she asked, leaning forward and turning enough so that she could better see Evan's face.

Evan leaned to the side to get a better look at his mother's cards.  "Holy shit, Mama," he exclaimed.  "Bubby dealt you all the good cards."

"Really?" she intoned as her smile widened.   "But none of them match."

Evan chuckled.  "They don't have to match when you're dealt a royal straight flush."

"Damn," Bas grumbled, tossing his hand into the middle of the table.

Gunnar followed suit.  Gavin slowly shook his head and dropped his hand, too.  "Talk about beginner's luck," he muttered.

"Oh, dear," Jillian said despite the smile on her face.

Cain sighed.  "Are you serious?"

Gin carefully laid her cards down on the table.  "Did I beat you, Zelig-sensei?"

Clearing his throat, Cain folded his hand.  "Yes, you did, Gin," he replied.

"I like this game!" Gin declared as she leaned forward to scoop the pile of chips toward her.

Gunnar frowned.  Bas shook his head.  Gavin sighed.  Cain looked mildly amused.  Evan laughed outright as he reached for the cards to shuffle . . .




-Evan-


"Yes!  A full house!  I win again!  In your face, Zelig-sensei!"

"Nice, Evan.  You've created a monster," Bas mumbled, leaning toward Evan as the two watched their mother's rather silly 'victory dance'.  Half in her seat, half out of it, her index fingers pointed toward the sky as she jabbed one into the air and lowered the other alternately, she was too busy gloating to notice as her mate heaved a longsuffering sigh.

"She's won, what?  Two?  Three grand off of him?" Gavin mused, leaning back in his chair and emptying the beer he'd been sipping all evening.  "Damn."

"Don't think I don't know that you've been changing her cards all evening," Gunnar remarked.

"He has been?" Bas interjected, pinning his brother with a formidable scowl.

Evan grinned.  "Yeah, but it's worth it.  Look at ol' Cain's face, will you?"

True enough.  'Ol' Cain' looked entirely fit to be tied, and why not?  Evan figured that if he'd just lost that much money to a novice player, he'd probably look rather irked, too.

"Last hand, Gin," he remarked, reaching for the cards and giving them a good shuffle.

"Last one?  But this is so much fun!" she argued.  "If you're running low on money, I could loan you some of my chips," she offered.

Pressing his lips together, lest he should laugh out loud, Evan wisely remained silent as Cain cocked an eyebrow at his mate.  "Here," he said, setting the cards on the table in front of her.  "It's your deal."

"Your father looks a little miffed," Valerie commented as she slipped into the chair beside Evan.

"Eh, it's good for him to lose every now and then," Evan maintained with a wink.

"He's not going to be mad at your mother, is he?" she asked.

"Cain?  Hell, he never stays mad at Mama. Actually, I don't think he's ever really been mad at Mama before."

She didn't look entirely convinced as she leaned in closer to peek at Evan's cards.  "There's a first time for everything, Evan," she pointed out.

"There is," he allowed, pulling three cards out of his hand and tossing them onto the table, "just not tonight."

Gin slid three cards across the table to Evan.  "How about it, Cain?  You in or out?"

Tapping the edges of his cards against the table, Cain seemed to be considering his options,  Gin must've figured that he was about to fold, because she giggled.  "You're not really going to chicken out, are you Zelig-sensei?" she asked innocently.

Staring at her for a long minute, Cain finally shrugged and pulled a couple cards out of his hand.  "Give me two," he replied, ignoring her commentary.

Satisfied that she'd gotten him to stay in the game, Gin very happily dealt him two cards and then gave herself one.

Beside him, Valerie raised an eyebrow.  "Did you just slip that card onto the top of the stack?" she whispered.

Evan shot her a grin and tossed his cards into the center of the table.  "Now would I do that?" he parried.

Valerie sighed and slowly shook her head as Gunnar let his cards fall, too.  "I'm out."

"Me, too," Bas stated, picking up his empty beer bottle and heading for the wet bar.  "Want one, Gunnar?"

"No, thank you," Gunnar replied, crossing his arms over his chest as he settled back to watch the rest of the game.

"How about it, Cain?" Gin prodded.

Cain stared thoughtfully at his cards.  "I'm out, too," he said.

"You can't quit!" Gin insisted.  "Aren't you going to try to win back your money?  Unless you really are chicken . . . You're not, are you?"

"Of course not," he replied with a marked scowl.  "Gin—"

"My papa would never quit," she went on.  "But if you really don't have the guts to stay in, then I guess you'll just have to admit defeat."

"Okay," he agreed evenly.  "You've got me beat."

"Oh, come on, Zelig-sense!  Double or nothing!" she goaded.

Cain heaved a sigh but picked up his cards once more.  "All right, baby girl," he allowed slowly as he pushed the rest of his chips into the pot.  "Don't say I didn't warn you, though."

She giggled.  "Four of a kind!" she gloated, fanning her cards, face up on the table.  "Read 'em and weep!"

Cain blinked and stared for a long moment, then heaved a sigh and chucked his cards into the center of the table.  "Damn it."

Shooting out of her chair, Gin let out a high pitched squeal and proceeded to do a silly variation of her victory dance.  "I beat you; I beat you!  I won; you lost!  Loser!" she crowed, making an 'L' out of her thumb and index finger and holding it up to her forehead.  "Zelig-sensei is a loser!"

"Gin," Cain began in a mild tone.

"Gin is the best!  Cain is a loser!  I kicked your heinie!"

Evan cleared his throat but couldn't quite contain the amused smile that surfaced on his features.

"Gin," Cain said once more.

Gin ignored him.  "Loser, loser, loser!  Zelig-sensei is a loser!"

Cain heaved a sigh, leaning back in his chair, crossing his arms over his chest.  "Gin."

She finally seemed to have heard him.  Stopping mid-dance, she blinked.  "Hmm?"

He stared at her for several seconds, and the smile that finally lit on his face was almost scary—almost.  "Gin?"

"Y-Yes?" she said, apparently realizing that maybe she'd pushed it a little too far.

The scary smile widened by degrees.  "One."

"Huh?" she said.

"Shit," Bas growled, slamming the bottle of beer he'd been drinking down on the bar and striding over to grab Bailey off the floor.  "Come on, Sydnie.  Time to go."

Sydnie giggled but quickly stood up, whisking Olivia off the sofa where she'd been drowsing and despite the child's protests.

"Two."

"Let's go, Jilli," Gavin barked, shooting to his feet and grabbing his mate's hand.

Gunnar didn't comment, but he did heave a sigh as he hurried after Bas out of the living room.

"Three."

"But Cain!  You can't do that now!" Gin insisted.

"What?" Valerie exclaimed as Evan dragged her out of the room, too.  "What's going on?"

"No time to explain," Evan tossed over his shoulder without stopping.  He didn't even pause by the front door that was already standing wide open since Bas and the others had already made their hasty escapes into the starry night.

"Evan, it's cold out here!" she complained, wrapping her arms around herself and scrunching her shoulders up in an effort to keep warm.

"Better cold out here than warm in there," Evan insisted, but he did wrap his arms around her, too.  "Damn Cain, anyway."

"How do you figure?" she shot back.

He rolled his eyes.  "Remember when I told you before about how Cain 'punishes' Mama?"

Valerie blinked, still looking confused.  "Yeah?  So?"

He snorted.  "Well, that's what he's doing now," he went on, "and there's no one alive who needs to see that."

"I saw it once," Bas admitted reluctantly.  "Scarred for life."

"If I had a dime for every time I've seen Cain's ass, I'd be rich," Evan added, making a face to show exactly what he thought of that.

"I don't know.  It's kind of cute," Jillian remarked with a little smile.

"The hell it is," Gunnar argued dryly.  Suddenly, though, his eyes widened, and a moment later, he sighed. "Damn it."

"What?" Bas asked.

Gunnar shot him a glower.  "I left my keys on the table," he said.

Bas's features blanked, too.  "Shit," he growled, patting his pockets and coming up empty.  "Mine are inside, too . . . Evan?"

"On my night stand, right where I left 'em," he remarked without bothering to check since he knew well enough that he didn't have his keys.

"So go back in and get them," Gavin suggested as though it was the simplest thing in the world.

That earned him a number of irritated scowls.  "I'd rather freeze," Bas muttered.

"Maybe, but you children wouldn't," Sydnie reminded him, doing her best to hold Olivia close.

"Don't worry," Gavin said, digging his keys out of his pocket.  "Thank God I went to town earlier."

"Oh, I'll have to give you extra hero-points!" Jillian insisted as Gavin loped down the steps and strode over to start his car.

Evan shook his head.  "Why don't we go over to your house, Bubby?  It's closest."

Bas snorted and scowled at his brother.  "What part of 'I left my keys in the house' did you not get, Evan?"

"We need those keys," Gunnar finally said.  "We can't all fit into Gavin's car."

Bas and Evan grimaced since neither of them actually wanted to go back inside.   Gunnar snorted and rolled his eyes, but stuck out his vertical fist.  "Fine," he muttered, waiting for Evan and Bas to do the same.  "Loser has to go get the keys."


~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~= ~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
A/N:
'Games People Play' originally appeared on The Alan Parsons Project's 1980 release, The Turn of a Friendly Card.  Song written by and copyrighted to Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson.
== == == == == == == == == ==
Final
Thought from Gin:
I won!
==========
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.
~Sue~
Chapter 123
Chapter 125
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