InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Disparate Paths ( Chapter 145 )

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


' But I would walk 500 miles
'And I would walk 500 more
'Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles
'To fall down at your door …'

-'I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)' by the Proclaimers.


Heaving a sigh as she stepped out of the shower, Valerie reached for a towel to dry her face.

She hadn't gotten much sleep last night.  Okay, that was an exaggeration, wasn't it?  She hadn't gotten a damn bit of it, actually.  Evan had suggested that she lay down for a while instead of going in to work when he'd dropped her off on his way to the airport.  She'd thought about that for all of thirty seconds before heading for the bathroom to take her shower instead.

"He's, uh . . . He's sick—really sick . . . He's suffering early stage renal failure, and the doctors . . . The doctors have him on dialysis, but he's also got problems with his liver . . ."

Scowling at her reflection in the mirror, Valerie yanked the towel around herself and tucked the end in to keep it from slipping.  She didn't care, and why should she?  They were the ones who didn't give a damn.  They were the ones who hadn't cared enough to try to get her back.  Hell, she'd told Evan last night that they hadn't even bothered to come see her for monthly visitation, right?  They'd made their choice, and it wasn't her.  More concerned with where they'd score the next hit or finding the money to get a case of beer, weren't they?

'If you don't care, then why couldn't you sleep last night?  Why did you ask Evan if you could stay with him?  If you didn't care, Valerie, why in the hell did you cry . . .?'

Slamming the door on those thoughts with the vindictive finality of an executioner, Valerie refused to let herself think about that any deeper.  No, she needed—needed—to remember that they didn't care, that they'd forgotten her about as soon as the squad car door had closed to take her away.  She had to . . .

Unfortunately, the sound of the blow dryer didn't drown out the memory.  Evan . . . He'd almost canceled his appearance at the Monsters of Rock festival in Germany, all because of her . . .

"Hey, Mikey . . . Yeah, I know what time it is . . . Listen, about the Germany thing . . . Cancel it, will you . . .? No, I'm not kidding . . . I don't really give a shit, who it pisses off . . . Something just came up, all right?  Just tell them—"

"Evan, no," she'd said, tugging on his arm to pull the phone away from his ear.  "You have to go.  It's your job, right?  Don't cancel your show just to babysit me."


"Absolutely not," she maintained stubbornly.  "You can't go around calling off shows."  Forcing a wan smile as she tamped down the irrational rise of panic that ripped through her, she shrugged.  "I'm fine; I swear it."

He didn't look like he believed her.  She gave his forearm a reassuring squeeze.  "I . . . I'll call you if I need you," she told him, willing her smile to brighten, praying that he didn't see the uncertainty in her eyes.

Valerie sighed, yanking the cord from the socket, jamming the hair dryer into the drawer beside the sink.  He hadn't wanted to leave her alone, but in the end, he had.  'He's only going to be gone for a few days,' she thought with a snort.  'It's not like he's never coming back.'  She caught her hair back with one hand as she scrubbed the hell out of her teeth.  'I'm not going to . . . to break if he's not here . . . That's just ridiculous . . .'

Completely ridiculous, right . . .?

Pushing out of the bathroom, Valerie headed toward the bedroom to get dressed for work though to be honest, the idea of going into the office just didn't appeal to her at all.  She'd decided that it was better, though.  The very last thing she needed was to sit around alone, to have too much time to think . . .

She missed him already, didn't she?  If he hadn't been there last night . . .

He'd hated to be the one to tell her; she knew he did.  As upset as she was, she was never actually angry at him.  She'd tried to be.  In those minutes, she'd tried to be mad at everyone in the world, but Evan had known . . .

Biting her lip as she tugged on a white cotton blouse, Valerie worked the buttons up the front without seeing them.

"He's, uh . . . He's sick—really sick . . . He's suffering early stage renal failure, and the doctors . . . The doctors have him on dialysis, but he's also got problems with his liver . . ."

"Stop it," she told herself sternly as she adjusted the collar and pushed a few skirts aside.  Enough was enough.  She'd told Evan that she was fine, right?  Well, she'd be damned if she'd let that be a lie.  She was fine.  She was just as fine today as she was yesterday when she'd woke up in the morning.  It was all the same.  Nothing in the world had changed.  It was logical, wasn't it, to be upset over her father's condition.  She'd just found out about it, so, of course, it had bothered her.

But in the bright light of day, the long and short of it was that it had nothing to do with her—nothing at all, and that had been his choice, not hers.  If he—If they—had wanted her to give a damn, then maybe they should have tried a little harder when it would have made a difference to her . . .

'It sounds good, doesn't it?' her conscience asked ruefully.  'I mean, it really does.  Nice and neat and all wrapped up in an ugly little package that you can toss out with the rest of the trash, right?'

Taking her time as she pulled on a pair of fawn colored wool slacks, Valerie made a face.  That wasn't what she was doing.  That wasn't it, at all.  How many times had she waited for them over the years?  How often had she sat on the porch in the summer, stood at the door in the winter?  How many times had she jumped when a particularly loud car drove by?

They had their chances, and they'd made their choice.

'But you know why Evan told you.  You know, even if you don't want to say.'

Carefully pulling the wool blazer that matched the slacks off the wooden hanger, Valerie closed the closed and dropped the jacket onto the bed.

Of course she knew.  She'd have to be stupid not to.  He'd told her because he wanted her to talk to him—her father; wanted her to confront him before it was too late.  He hadn't said it outright, no, but she knew.  Why else would he have told her?

And she could understand his sentiments, even if she didn't completely agree with him.  After all, he might well feel like an outcast in his own family, but he had to know deep down that he was loved.  If Gin had ever missed a single milestone in Evan's life, Valerie would never believe it.  He saw things differently than she did, and that was okay, too.

But there wasn't a question in her mind that she'd never go back, never demean herself by asking them a single thing.  She'd worked too hard to become the woman she was now, hadn't she?  To swallow her pride and confront them when she knew deep down that they'd somehow find a way to make excuses?

'And if it's so cut and dried, then why are you still thinking about it?  It's not, is it?  Things like this never, ever are . . .'

Her telephone rang, and Valerie sighed, reaching for the handset with a frown.  "Hello?"

"Hey, baby delicious.  You okay?"

She rolled her eyes but smiled wanly.  "I'm okay," she assured the errant rockstar.  "Aren't you supposed to be somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean right now?"

"Got held up," Evan replied.  "Mikey got into a little fender-bender on the way here.  Nothing big, he said.  Some guy smacked his door into Mikey's car while he was stopped at a light."

"But he's all right?"

Evan chuckled.  "Yeah . . . I was more concerned about you, to be honest.  You sure that you'll be okay?  If you need me—"

"I'm a big girl, Roka," she told him gently.  "I think I'll live through a few days without you."

"I don't know, V . . . I'm pretty addictive," he drawled.

She laughed despite herself, and he did, too.  His chuckle sounded relieved, as though he had been more worried about her than he'd wanted to let on.  "You're kind of a dork," she told him.  "You know that, right?"

His laughter grew a bit stronger.  "Yeah, I am," he agreed.  When he wound down, though, he sighed.  "Listen, V, I was thinking . . ."

"You are so not canceling your show," she insisted when he trailed off.

"N-No, not that," he said.  "I talked to Rodney, the guy who's doing security at the house while I'm gone, and I told him that if you want to stay there to let you in."

For some reason, his offer caught her by surprise.  "Why would I want to do that?" she asked, almost amused by his statement.

"Because you love my waterbed, duh."

"Well, yeah, there's that . . ."

"And my shower."

She laughed.  "Okay, that, too . . ."

He sighed.  "Mikey just got here, so I guess we're going to take off as soon as we're cleared, but if you need me, you know you can call me any time."

"I know," she replied, her smile taking on a slightly wavering edge.  "Have a safe trip . . . Evan?"


She grimaced.  "About last night . . ."

"Don't worry about it, V," he told her.  "Believe it or not, there are times when I don't want to be alone, too.  I'll call you when I get to Germany, probably after we check into the hotel."

"Okay," she said, tightening her grip on the receiver.  For some reason, the idea that he was about to hang up terrified her for a split second.  "Bye."


The connection went dead, and Valerie sighed, staring at the device for several long moments before setting it back on the stand once more.  Stay at Evan's house . . .?

Letting out a deep breath, she stood up and grabbed the jacket off the bed.  She was fine, and as nice as the offer was, she'd be all right here.

It didn't take long to slip on her boots and coat, and she was just pulling her attaché case off the table beside the door as she turned the knob, ignoring the file that Evan had given her—the information he'd gotten on her family . . .

A strange sound in the hallway made her blink and look down, and when she did, she gasped, taking a step back in retreat . . .


Closing the door behind himself, Evan let out a deep breath and rubbed his eyes.  International flights sucked, no way around that, and if there was one thing he disliked about his chosen profession, that was it, hands down.  Add to that the fact that he hadn't actually gotten much sleep last night, and, well . . .

He grinned a little wanly.  Just how 'rock' was it that he was eyeing the bed like it was heaven on earth instead of plotting his grand escape from the hotel . . .?

'Damn, I shouldn't have left her alone.'

Evan's youkai-voice sighed.  'Relax.  Like she said, it's only for a few days.  She'll be fine.'

He wasn't inclined to believe that, not after her upset the night before . . .

Shuffling over to the bed, he flopped across it without bothering to remove anything, not even his shoes, but he sat up a moment later when his cell phone vibrated in his pocket.

"Hey, V," he greeted, unable to help the little grin that surfaced on his face.  "I just got into the hotel.  Don't tell me that you want me to come home already."

"It's . . . staring at me . . ." she hissed, her voice no louder than a stage whisper.  "Tell it to go home!"

He blinked and shook his head.  "What's staring at you?"

She uttered a sound that was kind of a mix of a whine and a growl.  "That gargantuan beast you call a dog!"

"Whose dog?"

The sound tipped toward the growl side of things.  "Your dog!"

"My dog?"


"What's my dog doing there?"

Her growl grew a little louder.  The dog must've thought she was playing, though, because he uttered a rumble-y bark, and Valerie gasped.  "It's going to eat me!"

Rubbing his forehead, Evan winced.  After he'd dropped Valerie off, he'd run past the townhouse to ask Bas to keep an eye on her while he was gone.  Munchies had been sitting in the room at the time, and the idiot dog must've thought that Evan was talking to him, instead . . . "Let me call Bubby.  I'll have him come by and pick Munchies up, okay?"

She squeaked out a half-yelp.  "Don't you dare hang up on me, Evan Zelig!  He's been stalking me all day, and I'm telling you, he's trying to figure out how I'll taste with fava beans and a nice Chianti!"

He had to choke back a laugh since he didn't figure she'd appreciate it too much.  "Baby, I gotta hang up or I can't call Bubby to come get him."

She whined again and sounded suspiciously close to crying, and he grimaced.

"Come on, V.  Tell me you're not really scared of a big lump like Munchies," he coaxed, mostly to calm her down.

It did the trick, and she snorted.  "I'm not scared," she shot back haughtily.  "I just don't like dogs; that's all!"

"Okay," he said, purposefully inflicting enough of a patronizing tone that it should have left Valerie more irritated than scared, which was the ultimate goal at the moment.  "Just let me call Bubby, and I swear I'll call you right back . . ."

"Wait!  Just—Just put me on hold or something!  Don't hang up!" she hissed.

Evan wisely refrained from chuckling.  "Hold on."

He did laugh, however, when he put her on hold and dialed Bas' number.


"Bubby," he greeted.  "Where the hell's my dog?"

"Your—?  Oh, Gunnar had a break on a case up in Maine, so we're heading up there now.  Mimi and Momo are with us, but Munchies got all upset when we were trying to load him up, so I dropped him off at Madison's."

Evan sighed.  Well, that answered his question, didn't it?  Madison loved the dogs, and they loved her, too, but she didn't always keep them confined, either, and if Munchies acted like he wanted out, she'd have opened the door and let him go, taking it for granted that he'd be back when he was good and ready to.  "All right," he said.  "You going to be back next week?"

"I'm not sure.  If not, I'll bring the dogs down when I can."

"All right," Evan said.  "Thanks."  It only took him a moment to reconnect Valerie's call.  "Hey, V, I'm back."

"He keeps stalking around me," she growled from between clenched teeth.

"Where are you?"

She snorted.  "I'm on the counter in the kitchen!" she replied as though it was the most natural thing in the world.  "When's Bas going to get here?"

Evan winced.  "Well, uh . . . He's not," he admitted, bracing himself for the Wrath of V.

"Wh . . . What do you mean, he's not?" she asked.  It was worse than wrath.  She honestly sounded like she was going to faint . . .

"Bubby got called back to Maine, so he left Munchies with Maddy.  I'm guessing that he didn't want to stay with her, and that's why he's there with you."

Dead silence for about five seconds followed.  Evan squeezed one eye closed and scratched his head.  "V?"

"Are you trying to tell me that even if she comes to get him, he'll just come right back?" she demanded.

'Oh, hell . . . We didn't think of that one, did we?'

'Shut up if you're not going to say anything helpful,' Evan grouched.  "I'll talk to Maddy."


He sighed.  "V, I swear to God, he's harmless, really.  He'd never hurt a fly."

"That's nice," she retorted, "but I'm not a fly—I'm a person, and he's eyeing me like he wants to take a bite of my leg or worse!"

"You want me to come home and save you?  'Course, you'll have to spend another ten?  Twelve hours on the counter . . ."

She sniffled.  "You're not funny," she accused.

He grimaced again.  "Okay, try this.  Look at him calmly and in a firm tone, tell him the word 'away'."

He could hear her breathing.  Maybe she was garnering her courage.  A moment later, she cleared her throat.  "Away," she said, inflicting as much authority as she could into the single word.

"Did that work?" he asked.

She sighed.  "He . . . He did it.  He backed away from the counter."

"Good," he said, breaking into a small smile.  "Now point to where you want him, and tell him 'down'."

"Down," she ordered a lot quicker than when she'd issued the 'away' command.

He could hear an audible sigh of relief from her.  "That's better," she muttered.

"He knows a lot of commands," he told her, "and he'll stay there till you tell him he can get up, so why don't you get off the counter now?"

"Are you going to call Maddy to come and get him?" she asked, finally sounding like herself again.

"I can do that," he agreed.  "Just remember, he'll listen to you as long as you're not scared of him, okay?"
"Okay," she replied though she still sounded rather dubious.

"Maybe you should keep him there with you," he suggested offhandedly.

"Why would I do that?"

He chuckled.  "Because he'll listen to you—and he loves to go jogging."

She snorted indelicately.  "Just call Maddy, Roka," she told him.

His laughter died, but the smile on his face didn't.  "Okay, V," he allowed.  "But if you change your mind . . ."

Again, she snorted.  "As if, Roka," she grumbled.  "As if . . ."

~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~ =~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
Valerie's Chianti and fava beans line is a reference to The Silence of the Lambs, copyright 1991 MGM Studios.

'I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)' first appeared on The Proclaimers' 1988 release, Sunshine on Leith.  Song written by and copyrighted to Craig and Charlie Reid.
== == == == == == == == == ==
puppypal27 ------ lilswtheart9811 ------ monkeyseemonkeynodo ------ Inusbabe ------ inugurl338 ------ Tashwampa ------ GalacticFire ------ Ryo5492 ------ Nate Grey
indigorrain ------ talkstoangels77 ------- Claire ------ omgitzkye ------ sarai ------ Mangaluva ------ CarmMelDoll ------ GoodyKags ------ lianned88 ------ angie27 ------ cutechick18 ------ BlkbltVette ------ reina q
Thought from Evan:
He'll eat her liver ...
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 144
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