InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Isolated ( Chapter 149 )

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


-< i>OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'Oh, father of mine, tell me where did you go …?
'Yeah, you had the world inside your hand, but you did not seem to know
'Father of mine, tell me what do you see …?
'When you look back at your wasted life ...
'And you don't see me …'

-'Father of Mine' by Everclear.


-Valerie-


It was late.

She didn't know what time it was.  She'd lost track a long time ago.

Sipping the glass of wine in her hand, she stared at the picture of the smiling little boy.  He wasn't very old, maybe a year?  Maybe . . . Eyes so dark that she couldn't rightfully tell the color—they could have been sapphire blue—with a thick fringe of eyelashes . . . dimples carved deep into his chubby cheeks . . . a shock of white blonde hair—cornsilk, wasn't that what they called it . . .? Sitting in a blue plastic baby swing in a park, it looked like . . .

'He could be Evan's,' the voice in the back of her mind whispered.

She sighed.  She'd been staring at the image of this little boy for hours now, hadn't she?

"Aw, give it a rest, woman . . . I'm telling you that he's not mine, and that should damn well be good enough for you."

'But what if he is . . .?'

Valerie grimaced.  That little boy—Will, his name was . . . He didn't know how cruel the world could be, not yet.  Too young, too naïve, he could still run around the park, laugh with all his heart when he sat in the swing in that picture . . .

She was like that, too, once upon a time.  As screwed up as her childhood had been, there was a time when she hadn't realized that her life differed so much from that of the other children.  Before she'd learned that she was different; that she was somehow inferior to the everyone else, she'd laughed and played and all that, too . . .

Rubbing her forehead, Valerie tried not to think about it, tried not to remember things best left forgotten.  Those horrified glances from her teachers that she hadn't understood . . .  The strange looks at the 'new girl' . . . The curiosity of the other children who always wanted to know why she didn't live with her mom and dad, why she called her foster parents by their first names . . .

Maybe it wouldn't be that bad for him, for Will.  After all, he did still have his mother, and that had to count for something.  Wouldn't he wonder one day, though?  Wouldn't he want to know where his father was?  Wouldn't he ask questions that his mother couldn't answer?

When she'd gone over to Evan's house, and she supposed that she'd expected that he'd deny it all, at least on some level.  She might have even expected a joke or two, at least until he'd realized the severity of the situation.  But . . .

It was a simple blood test, wasn't it?  If he was so sure that the boy wasn't his, then why wouldn't he just let them draw his blood and be done with it?  Why did he have to say that he just wouldn't do it, no matter what?

Evan didn't realize, did he?  He didn't realize just how badly he could potentially hurt the boy.  If Will really was his son . . . If Evan really did refuse to have anything to do with him . . . The only one who would suffer then would be Will, right?  A sad, almost cynical smile twisted her lips, and she sighed.  The children were always the ones who paid the price for their parents' sins, their parents' greed . . .

'That's not really it, though.  The thing that's bothering you most is your own disappointment, isn't it?  Because he's not perfect?  Because you never thought that Evan would just turn his back on anyone so easily?'

Maybe there was that, too.  Maybe she'd thought that he would take responsibility, no questions asked, if the boy really was his son.  After all, he loved kids; she knew he did.

And maybe that was why she'd been so thrown, so confused by his reaction.  In fact, it went against everything that she knew about Evan, period.  Goofy?  Yes.  More likely to joke than to take anything seriously?  Sure.  Introspective and sometimes a complete enigma?  Of course.  Selfish and afraid to admit that maybe he'd made a huge mistake but a mistake nonetheless?  She hadn't thought so, had she?

The trill of her cell phone broke through her reverie.  She didn't have to look to know who it was.  Reaching over, she clicked the button to send the call to her voicemail.  When she'd first gotten home, she'd ignored his calls because she was still angry, but now?

Now she just didn't feel up to talking to him.  Angry, no.  Disappointed, yes . . . and maybe a little hurt, too.  It didn't work to try to make excuses for him.  Maybe he didn't know just how awful it was to have felt like her entire family had abandoned her long ago.  She thought that he did.  Somehow, his reaction felt akin to a slap in the face, didn't it?  It felt like every moment when she had believed that he understood the things she was telling him were all just an act.  'Throw her a bone, right?  Tell her that you understand, then laugh when she's not looking . . .'

Wincing at the callousness of her own thoughts, Valerie sighed softly.  Was it really as bad as all that?

Draining the last of the wine from her glass, she pulled her legs up a little closer on the sofa cushion, tried to ignore the desolation that kept tugging at the edges of her psyche.  That was how it felt, wasn't it?  His reaction to this little boy . . .

'Aren't you being a little harsh?  He was as stunned as you were, don't you think?   Maybe he wasn't really trying to brush everything off as much as he just didn't know how to deal with it yet.  Can't you give him the benefit of the doubt this once?  Go back tomorrow; let him explain himself.  Don't let your expectations cloud your ability to be objective.'

But what was there to be objective about?  He'd summarily denied being the boy's father, and that was one thing.  His adamant refusal to submit to DNA testing, though . . . What was there to misconstrue about that?

Sure, he thought that his father didn't want him, but somehow, Valerie didn't agree with that, either.  She might have had she not met Cain Zelig, but she had, and the things he'd said about Evan?

No, it didn't matter what he said tonight, did it?  The fifteen or twenty phone calls she'd already sent to voicemail but hadn't had it in her to listen to the messages he'd left . . . And she didn't have it in her to try to be calm, to explain to him that he'd have to submit to the tests whether he wanted to or not.  Maybe it was selfish of her.  Maybe it made her a horrible person and a terrible friend, but . . .

Setting the empty wine glass on the table, Valerie heaved a sigh and closed the slimfile.

She'd try to deal with him tomorrow.  Tonight?  Well, maybe it was all right if she just put her head down and tried not to think about it anymore . . .


-Evan-


Dropping the phone onto the table with a dull clatter, Evan heaved a sigh and stomped over to the windows, staring out into the blackness without seeing.

Damned if he hadn't really done it this time, huh?  She was more upset with him now than she was after the huge fight they'd had on the island, but why?

'What do you mean, 'why'?  It's pretty obvious, isn't it?  You just acted like the world's biggest ass about this entire thing, and you wonder why she's pissed off at you?  Idiot!'

That wasn't what he was trying to do, damn it.  'I know that already,' he snapped back with a snort.  She'd left her car: the one he'd gotten for her birthday . . . Bone had called shortly after Valerie's unceremonious departure to let him know that he'd called a cab for the attorney, who refused to take the car—her car . . .

Unfortunately, he still wasn't entirely sure what to do about the whole situation, and what was worse?  There was a good chance that he really was going to have to submit to the blood test if it came down to it, if the court ordered it, and why wouldn't they?  Just saying that he wasn't the pup's father wouldn't be good enough, and he'd have to be dense not to realize that.

About the only thing he could do would be to find out why the girl seemed to think that he was the child's father, in the first place, and he figured that suggesting that he meet with her just wasn't going to fly with a certain attorney, no matter what.

'So do what Bitty suggested and call your damn father.'

He snorted and brushed off that idea before he even bothered to consider it.  Call Cain?  About this?  'Fat fucking chance.'

It was a nightmare, damned if it wasn't.  There wasn't a chance in hell that the boy was really his, and he knew that.  Anyone who knew what he was would know that, too.  Valerie, however, didn't know any of that, so it wasn't surprising that she didn't have any idea as to why he would just summarily dismiss the paternity of the child.  Maybe a part of him had forgotten that at the time.

'Damn it.'

He'd really looked like an ass, hadn't he?  No doubt about it, the more he considered his nonchalance, his complete disregard of the situation as a whole, it was no wonder she'd gotten upset with him, was it?  

'There's more to it than that, don't you think?  You're thinking about this in a far too narrow kind of way.'

Scowling out into the night, Evan shook his head.  'Narrow?  What's that supposed to mean?'

His youkai sighed.  'Okay, so you were an ass when it came to the question of being the kid's father, but think about it, will you?  What was it she said?  What was it . . .?'

He rolled his eyes.  'She said a lot of shit, didn't she?  And okay, she had a right.  She's my attorney, isn't she?'

'It had nothing to do with that, rockstar.  Think about it.  What she said . . . the look on her face . . .'

Evan sighed.  What she'd said?  What she'd said . . .

"Do you have any idea—any idea at all—what it feels like to grow up knowing that your parents—your father—didn't care about you?  That your father just didn't want to be a father, so to hell with you?    Do you know what it's like when someone asks you where your parents are, why you're not living with them, and you don't know why . . .? I thought you were different, Evan.  I thought that you, of all people, would take this seriously.  I thought you'd understand just how . . . how hurtful that can be . . . If that child is yours . . . If he is . . . don't you dare . . . don't you dare turn your back on him.  It's not his fault.  He . . . He's just a kid . . ."

"F . . . Fuck . . ." he muttered, raking a hand over his face as he let out a deep breath, as he started to realize just how big of an impact his careless thoughts and actions had made on her.  Somehow in her head, she'd made the connection between her childhood and this little boy, hadn't she?  And he . . .

Damned if he hadn't just inadvertently tossed it all back at her—every insecurity, every painful memory—every tear she'd ever cried . . . that she had grown up without the parents she'd so desperately wanted, even if those parents weren't worth the time of day, and his denial that the boy was his?  In her mind, he'd just condemned the boy to a lifetime of the same emotions, hadn't he?  Another broken child from another broken home . . .

That wasn't what he was trying to do.  That wasn't what he'd meant.  The boy wasn't his.  If he was, Evan would make damn sure that the boy had everything, including a father, but . . .

But that's not what he'd said to Valerie, was it?  He'd somehow managed to forget that she didn't know how he could be positive that the child wasn't his.  He'd forgotten that, as well as Valerie might know him, she couldn't read his mind any better than he could read hers.

"I thought you were different, Evan.  I thought that you, of all people, would take this seriously.  I thought you'd understand just how . . . how hurtful that can be . . ."

No doubt about it; he'd really dropped the ball on this one, hadn't he?  Caught off guard, certainly, but was that really an excuse?  The very last thing he'd meant to do was to hurt Valerie, especially after having told her about her father's failing health, and sorry just wasn't going to cut it this time, was it?  Just how many chances was she going to give him when he did nothing but fuck everything up, time and again, anyway?

"I tried to tell myself for years that they tried their best, you know? I tried . . . tried to make excuses for all the times that I'd get ready to see them—put on my prettiest dress and fix my hair and wash my face . . . and they rarely showed up . . . maybe once every six months or so . . . Do you . . .? Do you think that they even know what today was? Do you . . .? Do you suppose that they stopped at some point today and . . . and remembered?"

Damned if he didn't know better.  He'd been too quick to discount her concerns, too fast to listen to her when she tried to tell him anything.  He might have known, but she certainly didn't . . . Trying to blow off the idea of being the father of that little boy . . . just how many of those awful memories had he brought back to vivid life in her mind?


-Valerie-


"How long are you gonna stand there?  They ain't coming . . ."

Ignoring the taunts of her younger foster brother, Drake, she stood patiently at the glass door, staring outside.  It was a beautiful spring day with the smell of cut grass fresh on the air that billowed through the open windows—the first of the season.  She didn't notice any of it as she continued her silent vigil, as she waited for the rusty, faded old truck to come puttering around the corner.

"They never come," Drake jeered, sprawled on the tired old sofa and idly tossing a beaten-up Nerf football in the air.  "You've been waiting for hours already."

"Leave her alone, Drake," Mother-Jane said as she hurried through the room with a stack of laundry in her arms.  "I'm sure they'll be here this time."

She nodded slowly, silently, without taking her eyes off the far corner.

Mother-Jane let out a deep breath and moved on with her burden.

"Coming through!" Billy yelled, barreling straight toward the door.  She stepped aside as two of the boys ran outside.  "Why don't you come play with us?"

She didn't say a word as she shook her head.

"Aww, give up, Billy," Drake said as he pushed himself off the sofa to follow the others outside.  "It's visitation day."

Billy glanced at her then shorted loudly, his bright red hair seeming to glow in the bright light of the sun behind him.  "But they never show up," he stated.

She ignored the boys as they ran off to play.

The never did come . . .

She was standing in a stale old building that reeked of dust and old urine . . . Hanging back in the half-shadows, counting the money she'd stolen out of her foster mother's purse . . . Thirty-three dollars wasn't enough to get her back to Durkes, was it . . .?

A man in a rumpled pair of faded jeans and a blue flannel shirt wandered into the station.

"Can I help you, sir?"

He stepped over to the ticket booth—the one illuminated area in the stinky old place.  "When's your next bus leaving for Nashville?"

The woman snapped her gum.  "There's not one till seven tonight.  Sixty-four-fifty if you want to buy your ticket now."

The man nodded and dug into his pants pocket for the money.  With a creak of the high stool that the woman was sitting on, she turned around to retrieve the ticket.  "The ticket's not refundable," she informed him as she took his money and dropped his change into the metal drawer then slid it back out to him with the ticket.

"Thanks," he said, taking the ticket and stashing the money back into his pocket again.

She watched him as he shuffled toward the exit, and she followed him.  "M-Mister . . ."

He stopped on the sagging steps that led down to the sidewalk and turned to look at her.  She didn't say anything else as she slowly lifted her hand, as she held it out, palm up, as she forced herself to slowly meet his gaze.

He blinked and stared at her open hand, shifting his gaze to her face just once then back again.  "What do you need money for, little one?"

She could feel the blood rushing to her cheeks, shuffled her scuffed tennis shoes as she scrunched up her shoulders and tried not to be afraid.  "I want to go home," she said in a whisper.  "Mommy and Daddy live in Durkes."

"Then how'd you get here?" he asked, tugging on the legs of his jeans and kneeling down beside her.

"I walked," she whispered.

He smiled kindly and shook his head.  "No, I mean, if your parents live in Durkes, how come you're here in Carter?"

She shrugged again since she didn't completely understand his question.  "My foster parents live here," she said.

He nodded slowly, as though what she'd said made perfect sense to him.  "And who are your foster parents?" he asked gently.

"Kari and Tim Hodges."

He considered that for a moment then nodded again.  "I know them," he said at last.  "Live over on Cherry Street behind the school, right?"

She gave a small shrug and bit her lip.

The kind little smile on his face turned a little sad.  She didn't know why.  "I tell you what," he said at length, rubbing his jaw as he turned his gaze up toward the clear sky above.  "How about I give you a ride?"

She shot him a surprised kind of look as her chest erupted in a million little butterflies of excitement.  "O-Okay," she agreed, managing a timid little smile.

For some reason, his own smile faltered as he pushed himself to his feet, as he held out his hand for her.

She didn't take it, but she did follow him down to the shiny blue sedan parked on the street.  He held the door open for her and closed it after she'd climbed inside . . .

Valerie groaned and awoke with a start.  She wasn't sure what had interrupted her sleep, but she sat up slowly, rubbing her eyes.  The dream still lingered in her mind.  She hadn't thought about that day in ages.

The man at the bus station was a deputy at the local sheriff's office in Carter, and he'd given her a ride, all right—right back to that house on Cherry Street where Kari Hodges had spent a good hour apologizing profusely for Valerie's behavior.  After he'd left, she'd asked Valerie why she'd wanted to go back to Durkes, but why did she think?  Was she really that dense?

"Your parents can't take care of you right now, Valene," Mother-Kari had explained in an overly-sweet tone.  "That's why you're here—so they can take the time to get their lives together so they can give you a good home, like the one you have here."

Always the same thing, the same excuses.  It was what the adults had always told her when she said that she wanted to go home, and they'd all used that same tone of voice, too, hadn't they?  It was always the same—always the same . . .

Sitting up on the sofa where she'd fallen asleep, she heaved a sigh and rubbed a weary hand over her face.

Why now?  Why was she remembering those things now . . .?

Glancing at the clock, she sighed again.  It was almost six in the morning, but she knew damn well that she wouldn't be able to get back to sleep now, and even if she could, she had to go into work in three hours, anyway, so what was the point?

Rubbing her face again, Valerie opened her eyes and frowned when her gaze fell to the coffee table—and the keys to her car.  She'd given those keys to Bone before she'd gotten into the cab that he'd called for her.  "Tell Evan thanks, but . . . I don't want it anymore," she had said, and how proud had she been that she'd managed to keep her emotions in check?

Pushing off the blanket that she hadn't covered up with before she'd fallen asleep, Valerie bit her lip.  He was here, wasn't he?  He wasn't now, no, but he had been.  He'd brought back the car, he'd covered her up, and her frown deepened when she realized that she could smell a fresh pot of coffee, too . . .

Back to being the Evan she knew, was he?

For some reason, the things he'd done—making coffee for her, covering her up while she slept, even bringing back the car . . .

Why did those things make her feel even sadder, even more isolated, than she had ever felt before . . .?


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A/N:
'Father< /b> of Mine' first appeared on Everclear's 1997 release, So Much for the Afterglow.  Song written by and copyrighted to Art Alexakis and Everclear.
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Reviewers
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lilswtheart9811
:Because I have supported you for what 5 years? Wrote countless reviews, stuck up for you, and have always been one of your biggest fans. I wrote that review to you to try and make you feel better about the Valerie situation. Credit is not usually something I care about, but when you have replied personally to many many reader's reviews and not mine...it really hurts my feelings. Not once in the time I have started reading your stories have you ever personally said anything to me and as far as I know I've never offended you, I don't know it just doesn't seem right (and yes I saw that you thanked everyone in general, but it's not really the same.) Sorry for writing this all out in the open, I'm just not sure how else to contact you so feel free to delete this. Anywho have a happy valentine's day, I hope it's enjoyable for you and the hubby! I feel that the time for Evan to unveil his secret is getting ever closer and I'm excited!!

I apologize if you think that I haven't heard you.  I have.  If you've emailed me through Mediaminer, I may or may not have gotten that, depending.  Those emails are all sent to the beta account, and they don't always get to check it every day.  Only the review notifications are forwarded automatically to me, so I apologize if you sent me a message that way.  Here's what I've figured out, and maybe it makes sense?  I think there was one time during Vendetta that I did respond to your review via email through Mediaminer, just as I did this last time before I posted the last chapter as I wanted to speak with you directly instead of in the reviews as to why you felt that I'd hurt you.  I'm going to ask if your email listed with your Mediaminer account is working or correct because I don't think you got any emails.  I don't know what the address is; Mediaminer does not show people that when sending a message to another member, so please do consider updating your associated email (everyone) so that I CAN email people back when they say something that I don't necessarily address in the A/N (and yes, I do email people back when they say things in reviews that make me feel better).  However, I want to state here that I wasn't trying to slight or ignore ANYONE.  That was never my intention at all.  Most often, I answer questions, and it isn't necessarily the reviews that mean "more" to me than another that I respond to because they all mean a lot to me.  To me, it means that people are reading.  However, I think it would be wise to also state that the EASIEST way to get a response from me as well as to get to know me better as a person is to join the forum and talk to me.  Lol, those guys … I never answer their questions in A/N!  Anyway, please accept my apology for the slight.  It really was not intentional.  I really do appreciate everyone who takes the time to leave a review.  This "extra" chapter is for you.  I hope you enjoy and have a GREAT Valentine's Day, too!  
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MMorg
Dark Inu Fan ------ sutlesarcasm ------ inugurl338 ------ GalacticFire ------ Nate Grey ------ badgirl03 ------ theablackthorn ------- lilbaybee ------ iloveanimecartoons ------ Tashwampa
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Forums
sydniepaige ------ indigorrain ------ reina q ------ lianned88 ------ cutechick18 ------ amohip ------ sueroxmysox ------ CarmMelDoll
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Final
Thought from Valerie:
What is he thinking …?
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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 148
Chapter 150
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