InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Destination Unknown ( Chapter 146 )

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


''Cause I got a peaceful, easy feeling
'I know you won't let me down
''Cause I'm already standing
'On the ground …'

-'Peaceful Easy Feeling' by the Eagles.


The hum of the blow dryer soothed the edges of Valerie's nerves almost as well as the soothing feel of the brush being pulled through her hair, and she relaxed a little more, sinking down in the salon chair as Madison worked her brand of magic.

She'd given Madison a very droll look when she'd stopped by her office earlier and suggested that Valerie come by the salon.  Apparently, Madison thought that Valerie looked 'stressed out'.  True enough, Valerie supposed, but the idea of going there had somehow seemed odd, even if she wasn't sure why.  By the time she'd stepped out of the courtroom, however, she'd changed her mind.  Dealing with Helga Weimar's case was enough to frazzle anyone, she figured.  Helga seemed to think that the more drama, the better, and the theatrics she'd put on in the courtroom today were worthy of an Oscar, as far as Valerie was concerned.  Whether the judge believed her or not, though, remained to be seen, but he hadn't dropped the domestic abuse charges against her client, so Valerie had a feeling that the Honorable Jeffery Cornwell just wasn't buying . . .

"Now see that?  You look more relaxed already."

Valerie smiled wanly and opened her eyes as Madison straightened up the chair and peered at Valerie in the mirror.  "You know, this shade is nice," the hairdresser remarked thoughtfully, "but you look so much better in your natural color."

"I know, I know," Valerie replied, waving a hand dismissively since she'd been using the darker rinse on her hair ever since they'd gotten back from the Bahamas.  "Evan's said that, too.  I think he just has a thing for blondes."

Madison wrinkled her nose.  "I think he just has a thing for you," she pointed out bluntly.

Valerie snorted but didn't comment.

"There.  What do you think?"

Eyeing herself in the mirror critically, Valerie turned her head slightly to one side and nodded.  "Thanks for the trim, Maddy.  It looks great."

She leaned back, wrapping an arm over her stomach as she nodded.  "I swear, V, I get ladies who come in here all the time, wanting the hair that you were blessed with from birth.  Lucky girl."

Rolling her eyes, Valerie snorted again.  "So where's the beast?" she asked instead, opting to ignore the statement.

Madison looked around then nodded over toward the front desk. "Looks like he's done, too—are you sure you don't want me to take him home?"

Heaving a sigh as she hauled herself out of her chair, Valerie wrinkled her nose when she spotted the gangly mutt, lounging on the floor like he owned the place.  Evan had only been away for a day so far, and that creature had already decided that he liked her well enough to keep coming back a grand total of five times yesterday.  She had no idea just how he'd managed to get into her secured building, but he had—over and over and over again.  By the time she'd opened her door this morning, only to find him lying across the threshold just like the day before, she'd heaved an sigh, pointed to the floor by the dining table and told him to lie down there—and he'd stayed there until she'd gotten back from work, or so it would seem.  "Like it matters.  That monster keeps coming back, doesn't he?"

As if he realized that she was talking about him, Munchies lifted his head, his huge tail thumping on the floor.

"It must be true love," Madison remarked with a giggle.

"Ugh, I swear, that's absolutely obscene," Valerie grumbled, shaking her head as she tried not to see Munchies' testicles, squishing out behind his haunch as he kicked his legs once.  "Do they sell doggy diapers or something?"

"Hmm, yeah, those are some pretty prominent balls, huh?" Madison drawled, curling a finger over her lips as she stared at the dog in question.

"No one needs to see that," Valerie concluded with a shake of her head. "Why hasn't Evan had him fixed?  I mean, that is one ugly mutt . . ."

Madison giggled.  "That'd be like having his brother neutered," she replied.  "Anyway, that is a special dog, don't you know?  His mother is a direct descendent from the dog that Evan's dad first bought for Gin after they were married."

Valerie wrinkled her nose.  "That doesn't really make him any cuter," she pointed out then sighed.  "Well, at least he doesn't stink anymore . . ."

Madison laughed and clapped her hands. "Munchies!  Come!"

The gangly dog rolled to his feet and trotted over, his freshly manicured claws clicking softly on the floor, the topknot on his head bouncing slightly, then nudged Madison's hand, looking for a treat.  

Shaking her head, Valerie snapped the leash onto his collar.  They were both pink, and they were both purchased before the sojourn to the salon since the great monster didn't have either when he showed up this morning.  It was perfect, as far as she was concerned.  The mud-colored mutt looked better wearing color.  Besides, they matched the pretty pink bow in his hair, too.  "You've known him a while, right?" she asked suddenly.

Madison blinked and shook her head.  "Evan or Munchies?"

Valerie shot her a droll sort of glance.  "Munchies."

"Oh, and yes on both counts," Madison replied.  "Why?"

"Is his hair normally this way?" she asked, waving a hand at Munchies' entire body.

"His short hair, you mean?"

Valerie nodded.  "Well, yeah.  I mean, Evan doesn't have him shaved or something, does he?"

"Nope, never."

Valerie didn't look convinced.  "Then why does he have that tuft of long hair on top of his head?"

"I don't know," Madison said with a giggle.  "Evan said maybe it was a birthmark or something.  I told him before that we could shave it so that it matches the rest of him, but he liked it.  Said it looked like a mohawk."

Valerie snorted.  "It might look better if it was all the same length," she mused as she eyed Munchies critically.  "Then again, he wouldn't be able to have that bow, now would he?"

Tapping her lips, Madison giggled.  "V, sweetie, why did you buy him pink stuff?"

Valerie straightened up and glanced at Madison.  "I like pink."

"Hmm, okay," she said with a laugh.  "Give me a call if you want me to come get the sissy-boy."

"All right," Valerie agreed.  "How much do I owe you?"

Madison waved a hand.  "Don't worry about it, V.  You can just buy my dinner the next time we have a girls' night."

"Okay.  Come, Munchies," she commanded.

The dog didn't even hesitate to fall into step beside her, and Valerie sighed.  "You're a pain, did you know?" she asked.  Munchies glanced up at her and wagged his tail.  "I don't like you.  I don't like dogs," she went on.  "I really don't, so don't take it personally.  You're stupid, you're ugly, you're smelly, and you need some pants."  Stepping out onto the sidewalk, she shrugged and turned to head back to her apartment.  "Come to think of it, you kind of remind me of Roka."

Munchies uttered a whiny-bark as the tail moved double time, and she heaved a sigh.  "Really, really stupid," she amended, "and don't you think for even a second that you're getting on my bed tonight, buster.  Got it?"

He barked and wagged again.  Valerie wasn't sure if that was his agreement to her terms or if he was trying to think of a good way to lull her into a false sense of security so that he could nibble on her feet . . .

Okay, so maybe Munchies wasn't as scary as she'd first thought.  In fact, she'd have to agree, at least grudgingly, that he was pretty well behaved, all things considered.  It had helped that Evan had told her the basic commands.  It helped even more that Munchies actually listened to her whenever she said anything at all.

'Or maybe you're just keeping him for Evan because he keeps you occupied so you don't have to think about anything else.'

That was absurd, wasn't it?  After all, she didn't have to think about anything else.  She wasn't avoiding anything because there was nothing to avoid, right? And even if she was doing that, who cared?  Nothing had changed, had it, regardless of what Evan had told her.  He'd said it himself, hadn't he?  He'd just passed along the information that he'd gotten.  What she did with it was up to her, and as far as she was concerned, there was no difference in her feelings, and why should there be?

'Except that you know that isn't true at all.  Maybe nothing should have changed, but it has, hasn't it?  It's just that you're scared to admit it . . .'

Biting her lip, Valerie tried to ignore that little voice; didn't want to hear anything else it had to say.  Scared?  That was ludicrous . . .

A sudden lurch of her arm dragged Valerie out of her bleak thoughts.  With a sharp gasp, she nearly fell as Munchies suddenly veered to the right, dragging her with him by the leash hooked around her wrist.

"Munchies!  Stop!" she demanded, catching herself before she wiped out.  "Sit!  Uh, heel!  Stop!"

The dog ignored her, and Valerie squeaked out a harsh little cry as the dog barreled straight toward the glass doors of a small shop.  Somehow, she managed to yank the leash off her wrist just before she smacked into them.  The crazy monster didn't stop, smashing straight into a swinging Plexiglas dog door, the leash flopping behind him like a banner.

It took her a moment to catch her breath.  When she did, she was finally able to read the printing on the door.  'Bev's Dog Bistro', it read.

"Well, that just figures," she muttered, grasping the door handle and pulling.

"Hey, Munchies!  Don't you look, err, pretty?" the woman behind the counter said.  She was looking down, and Valerie couldn't see the dog in question.  "Where's Evan?"

"He's out of town on business," Valerie said, wandering closer as she gaped at the row of glass enclosed display cases stacked with all manner of gourmet dog treats.

"Oh, hello," the woman greeted with a smile as she held up her hand with what looked like a cookie.  "You want it, Munchies?  Yeah?"

Munchies barked, and Valerie heard his claws clicking crazily on the floor like he was dancing or something.

"Such a good boy!" The woman laughed and fed him the treat before turning her smile on Valerie.  "Nice to meet you.  I'm Bev."

"Valerie Denning," she replied, leaning across the counter to shake Bev's hand.  "This place is all for dogs?" she asked, still rather surprised by the vast assortment of treats that all looked homemade.

Bev gave a deep belly laugh that seemed absolutely perfect with her warm smile and handshake.  "I trained in the best restaurants all across Europe, then came back here and decided to open a dog bistro.  Go figure, right?"

Smiling despite herself, Valerie shook her head in wonder.  "And you make all of this stuff every day?"

"Well, not every day," she confessed.  "Some of the things will last a couple days before I'll make more, but they tend to sell out so quickly that I don't usually have scrap.  Back when I first opened, I took the leftovers to the local shelters but these days?"  She sighed then shrugged.  "I do make extras to take there, though."  Her already bright smile widened a little more as she grabbed a carob chip cookie out of the case and held it out to Valerie.  "People like them, too," she said with a wink.

Valerie wasn't entirely sure if she ought to sample the cookie or if it was some kind of weird joke.  The woman looked serious enough, and since she didn't want to offend Bev, she hesitantly nibbled off one side.

It was good—really good.  It tasted like a regular chocolate chip cookie with less sugar and more texture—oatmeal or something, she supposed.  "Wow," she said, blinking in surprise and trying not to think about the idea that she was eating a dog treat.

Bev positively beamed.  "They're good, right?"

Valerie nodded.  "Absolutely . . . These are for dogs?"

She laughed.  "Yeah, though some dogs do share with their people."

Munchies skittered around the counter and plopped his rear end down on the floor in front of Valerie as his front paws tapped out an impatient sort of dance.  She broke the rest of the cookie in half and fed him the parts, one at a time.  "Are these his favorites?"

"Munchies loves them all, don't you, sweetie?" Bev crooned.  "But yes, Evan usually buys him those and a few others, then the tiny ones for Mimi and Momo."

"I don't have the other two," Valerie remarked slowly, staring at Munchies, who was doing a full-body wag-wiggle-shake as he tried his level-best to sit still and wait.  "Could you just package up whatever he usually likes?"

Bev smiled.  "You want to pay for these or add them to Evan's tab?"

Valerie snorted.  "He has a tab here?"

"Sure.  Sometimes he sends Thaddeus to pick up treats, so it isn't a big deal."

Valerie didn't recognize the name, but that was irrelevant at the moment.  She thought it over for a few moments then shook her head.  "I can pay for them."

She nodded and set about bagging up the treats: a little deli box of a dozen carob chip cookies, another bag with a few different pastry-looking ones . . . Munchies seemed to know that they were for him, and he settled down to a manic tail-thumping as he watched the woman work.

"Come on, you big lump," Valerie said after paying for the treats and taking the cute little paper bag with raffia handles from Bev and retrieving the end of the leash before herding the dog toward the doors.  "You got what you wanted.  Now we're going to get what I want."

Munchies trotted along beside her, perfectly behaved once more since he'd gotten his treats.


"Afternoon, Mr. Roka.  I'm Jens Heinritch from the Frankfurt Press.  How do you think this year's Monster of Rock festival measures up against the years past?"

Leaning forward on the utilitarian table in the conference room, Evan scratched at the couple days' worth of whiskers on his chin, pausing for effect as he considered the question.  Ten minutes into the shooting match, and he was already sick of the questions . . . "Turn out's bigger this year," he remarked then shot them one of his lazy, lopsided grins, "and you know what they say about 'bigger' . . ."

The assembled reporters offered the perfunctory laugh as Evan flicked a finger at another reporter.  "Go ahead."

"Guten Tag, Herr Roka.  Alexander Kampf from Crank It Up magazine, and my question is the one thing that everyone wants to know: is there a real 'V'?"

His grin was genuine this time, and he chuckled.  "A real V?  Hell, yeah, there is—and she's just as hot as the woman on the cover of the CD . . . You there.  What's your question, baby?"

The woman stood up, sparing a moment to adjust the low-cut, scoop-necked black leather dress.  He didn't have a doubt in his mind that she was sent in the hopes that he'd pay a little extra attention to her—personal attention—and once upon a time not so long ago, he probably would have done exactly that . . .

She smiled and shifted her legs to give Evan a better view of what she had to offer.  'Not bad,' he had to allow.  Too bad he wasn't the least bit interested . . . "Good afternoon, Mr. Roka. Selene Vogel here from Mannheimer Morgen.  My question is: since the death of Philansoclantes' bassist, Dieter Reichhardt last summer, there have been rumors that you refuse to work with anyone else in a permanent capacity.  Is there any truth to this?"

Frowning at the question, Evan tried to affect his usual nonchalant air.  "The band needs to make sure that the person they choose is a good fit, don't you think?  I mean, some pussies might be one size fits all, but not all bassists are."  He'd catch hell for that remark later from Mikey, he was sure, but fuck, what did he care?  Catching a glimpse of the man in question, who was standing off to the side and indicating that Evan should wrap up the press conference soon, Evan snorted inwardly and lifted a finger to let Mike know that he understood, then pushed himself to his feet.  "Sorry, guys.  Gotta go."

The crowd of reporters broke out in a low rumble as he strode over to Mike, who led the way out of the press room.  "You know, if you were going to cut in, you should've done it before they started asking stupid questions about Deet," Evan muttered just loudly enough for Mike to hear him.

Mike snorted.  "Did you have to make the pussy comment?" he grouched.

"Press conferences suck ass," Evan retorted.  "What the hell's the point, anyway?  They always ask the same damn shit, and none of it was worth answering the first fucking time."

"Yeah, well, it's time for rehearsal."

"All right," Evan replied, stretching his arms out to the sides.  "I'll be there in a few.  Just need to make a phone call first."

Mike nodded and kept walking.  Evan pulled out his phone and dialed Valerie's number.


He grinned, enjoying the sleepy sound of her voice.  "Hey, V.  How's it going?"

She yawned.  "Mm, it'll be fine in about five minutes."

"Five minutes?"


His grin widened.  "Why five minutes?"

"Because," she replied, "I plan on being asleep again then."

"What time is it there?" he asked, ducking into a small storage closest for some privacy.

"Early," she replied then uttered a yawning sound.  "Or late . . . dunno . . . I'm not opening my eyes to find out."

He chuckled.  "You doing okay?" he asked, his tone casual despite the lingering worry that nagged at him.

"Not bad," she admitted.  "Maddy trimmed up my hair yesterday—and gave your nasty dog a bath, too."

"Good . . . Maddy gave Munchies a bath?"

"One of her girls did," Valerie said.  "At least he doesn't stink anymore."

Evan snorted but smiled just a little.  "He didn't stink before, did he?"

"Oh, he stank, all right.  He smelled like a dog."

Coughing delicately, Evan chuckled.  "He is a dog, V."

"Yes, well, he doesn't have to smell like one," she insisted.  "Your five minutes are almost up."

"All right," he agreed.  "Give me a call if you need anything."

"Mm . . . bye."

"Bye, baby," he said.  Ending the connection with a sigh, Evan frowned.  Damn, he'd never actually been this anxious to get back home in his life.  True enough, he loved doing the shows, but something told him that he'd enjoy this one more if a certain attorney were here instead of back home in New York City . . .

Mike had asked if Evan wanted him to start trying to schedule the next world tour to coincide with the release of his next album that he wouldn't start recording for another good nine months, at least.  The thing was, Evan wasn't entirely sure that he wanted to be gone for months and months on end.  Sure, he still loved the thrill of the live shows, but somehow, the idea of being so far away from Valerie?  The thought of leaving her alone for that long at a time?  It was completely out of the question, but if he couldn't talk her into traveling with him for that length of time, well . . .

Of course, he was getting a little ahead of himself.  First, he had to convince her that she wanted to be with him, and while he was relatively sure that he could win her over in the end, he wasn't quite so confident when he thought that he'd rather that it was sooner than later.

Besides, there were far more pressing things on the slate at the moment, weren't there?  Things like whether or not she really wanted to confront her father before it was too late or if she really could put him out of her mind and leave it all alone.

He sighed, pushing out of the closet and heading down the hallway toward the practice stage.  Would she be ready to talk about it again when he got back home?  With Valerie, it was hard to tell.  On the one hand, she could easily decide that she didn't need to talk to him ever again, and rightfully so, he couldn't say that he would be able to blame her if she really felt that way.  On the other hand, she could decide that it was literally now or never, couldn't she?  She was stubborn to a fault, sure, but knowing that he didn't really have that much time left . . .? He wasn't entirely sure that even she could overlook that . . .

All he really could do would be to support whatever choice she made and hope that it was the right one.  The trouble was, he wasn't sure which would be better for her in the long run.  Sure, some people spouted crap about 'closure' and confronting people who hurt you, but the question remained: was there anything even remotely good that could come of it?  Even if her parents told her that they'd made one huge mistake after another, it wouldn't go far to erase the memories that hurt Valerie.

'One thing at a time, Roka,' his youkai-voice reminded him.  'Just put one foot in front of the other.  It's about all you can do, right?'

Letting out a deep breath, Evan scowled.  As true as that might be, he wasn't very good at waiting, was he?  This time, however, he'd have to take a crash course and hope for the best.  Right now—right now—the most important thing was Valerie, what she needed.

And right now, what she needed desperately was a friend . . .

~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~= ~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
'Peaceful Easy Feeling' first appeared on the Eagles' 1972 release, Eagles.  Song written by and copyrighted to Jack Tempchin.
== == == == == == == == == ==
Lennex ——— xbitternessx ——— puppypal27 ——— Lynzi18 ——— jessie6491 ——— kamackie21 (Mackie!!) ——— Inusbabe ——— smallflower ——— KittyBoBo ——— IldikoChan ——— Tarzan14 ——— AtamaHitoride ——— KaloBagh ——— Galcier_Tako ——— sprsnc20 ——— Cricket42
lianned88 ——— Hiratsuka ——— tinywingedthing ——— Mangaluva ——— sueroxmysox ——— cutechick18 ——— sydniepaige
Thought from Valerie:
Stupid dog!
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.