InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Home ( Chapter 164 )

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


-Oo OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'Times have changed, and times are strange ...
'Here I come, but I ain't the same
'Mama, I'm coming home ...'

-'Mama, I'm Coming Home' by Ozzy Osbourne.


-Evan-


Evan dropped his suitcase on the floor just inside the door and let out a deep breath as he glanced up at the clock on the wall.  Nearly noon, which meant, if he hurried, he could grab a few things, hop in the car, and be in Maine by nine or ten tonight . . .

In fact, he had been a little undecided about what he would do once he got back.  At first, he'd considered waiting until tomorrow to drive up, but he'd discarded that idea pretty quickly.  Recalling the phone call from his parents, he couldn't help but feel that something was going on.  Maybe it was the strange tone underlying Cain's words.  Maybe it was the blatant order that Evan be there that did it.  True, he had heard that tone a few times before, but Cain had never actually ordered him to come home, either.  He'd just told Evan what he'd done wrong and that he expected better of him, et cetera, but . . . But the order had been entirely too formal, too . . . too 'tai-youkai' . . . and there was no mistaking it, either.  It was an order.

No, there was definitely something strange going on.

Jilli and Bas knew nothing.  Evan had already called both of them.  Bas said that, as far as he knew, everything was fine.  Jillian knew even less since she'd been summoned home from the ranch in Montana.

It just figured.  One thing was certain: there was no way in the world that Evan was going to wait.

Heaving a sigh, he grabbed the suitcase and headed for the stairs.  It didn't take him long to dump all the contents onto his bed, and he just grabbed a few pairs of jeans out of his closet along with a few shirts without bothering to pay any attention as to what, exactly, he was packing.  The only other thing that he took time to pack was the notebook that Garret had gotten out of Jack's room.  Jack had seemed surprised when Evan asked if he could take it with him, but he'd agreed to it.

"Hey, Roka, I . . . What are you doing?" Valerie demanded as she strode into the bedroom.  He hadn't heard her come into the house.

"It's nothing," he said, unsure why he was downplaying his concerns.  "Cain called me yesterday and said I needed to come home for some kind of family thing.  No big deal."

Valerie stared at him for several seconds, a thoughtful scowl drawing her eyebrows together.  "Is everything okay?" she finally asked.

Evan smiled, hoping that it was enough to appease her.  "Yeah, sure," he replied.  "Just said that he had something to tell us; that's all."

"But you're worried about it," she concluded gently.

He opened his mouth to gainsay her, but he heaved a sigh instead.  "I'm sure it's all right," he told her again.

"If you really thought that, then you wouldn't have that look on your face, now would you?  And don't think that I didn't notice how preoccupied you were on the flight home.  I'm not that unobservant."

"It's nothing for you to worry about," he tried to reassure her.

Valerie didn't look like she was buying.  If anything, she looked even more determined . . . "Do you have time to swing past my apartment?"

Evan blinked and stared at her.  "What for?"

She shrugged and smiled at him.  "Because I left my suitcase there," she said in a tone that bespoke her belief that he ought to have known as much.

"You . . . want to . . . go?" he asked slowly, hesitantly, as he snapped the locks on the suitcase closed.

Valerie made a face and put her hand on the handle before he could pick it up.  "Of course I do," she said.  "I can stay at a hotel or something if you want, but . . . Well, you went with me, didn't you?"

"Like hell, I'd hide you in some damn hotel," Evan scoffed belligerently then heaved a sigh, "and you don't owe me anything for that, V."

"I know," she replied simply.  "It's what friends do, right?"

He finally managed a little smile.  "Yeah, I guess you're right."


-Valerie-


'No doubt about it.  Something about this trip is really bugging him . . .'

Casting Evan a sidelong glance, Valerie frowned.  Unlike their last trip up here for Christmas, they hadn't stopped even once at any of the convenience stores dotting the highway, and Evan had barely said more than a couple words since they'd left New York City.  He wasn't even singing along with the songs on the radio, and that, more than anything, was enough to convince her that there really might be more to it than he was letting on.  It bothered her, damned if it didn't.  It bothered her in a big, big way, especially after he'd been so good to her during their trip to Kentucky.  Did he think that she had enough to dwell upon without having to be burdened with his troubles, too?  And if that really was the reason why he had yet to open up to her about it, could he honestly believe that she wouldn't care . . .?

"So you have no idea why they asked you to come home?" she finally asked, breaking the brooding silence that had surrounded them since they'd gotten into the car hours ago.

For a moment, she thought that he was going to ignore her.  After a minute, though, he sighed.  "None," he allowed.  "Cain didn't say anything other than that they'd be expecting me."

Biting her lip, Valerie frowned out the window.  "Maybe you're reading more into it than they intended for you to," she ventured.

"You don't get it, V.  They don't order me home, ever.  Mama might hint that she'd like for me to come home for a visit or something, but they don't tell me to come home; not like that, anyway."

"I see," she agreed, allowing in her own head that what he said made perfect sense.

Evan heaved another sigh.  "The last time," he went on, his expression growing more foreboding by the moment.  "The last time . . . my niece was missing.  She was missing for months, and no one knew where she was . . ."

"Is she . . .? But she's okay now?" Valerie asked hesitantly.

Evan nodded once, but he didn't look at all relieved.  "Yeah, she's fine, but . . ." Trailing off, he shook his head stubbornly.  "Cain never orders me home; not unless it's something big—no matter what he says."

Letting out a deep breath, Valerie grimaced inwardly.  If what he said was true, then he had every right to be worried.  After all, sometimes the not knowing was worse than hearing the truth, wasn't it?  And she knew that from personal experience . . . But it wouldn't do to let him sit and stew about things, either, as far as she was concerned.  He'd drive himself crazy if he kept it up.  "I still think you should try to be positive until you know for sure.  For all you know, it could be something entirely different."

He snorted indelicately.  "Like what?"

Valerie wrinkled her nose at the belligerence in his tone.  "Maybe they want to sell their house or something.  Maybe they want to ask you guys if you mind."

He snorted again.  "Keh!  They know damn well that we don't give a rat's ass about the house," he challenged.  "It's just a fucking house, isn't it?  'Home' is wherever Mama is."

Despite the irritation in his voice, Valerie couldn't help but to smile just a little at Evan's statement.  He really had no idea just how cute he could be sometimes, did he . . .? "Fine," she allowed calmly.  "Then maybe they want to convert your bedroom into a home gym?"

"If they wanted to do that, why would they have to talk to Jilli and Bubby about it?" he parried.  "Unless they were going to do that to Bubby's room . . . Jilli and I both slept in there often enough when we were pups . . ."

She rolled her eyes but laughed.  "You used to sleep with Bas?" she couldn't resist asking.

He glanced into the rear view mirror before shifting his gaze back onto the road ahead of them again.  "After Cain booted me out of their bed, yeah," he admitted.  "I stood at my door and cried at the top of my lungs until Bubby came and got me."

Somehow, in her mind, she could see that, and the image made her giggle so hard that she snorted.  Evan shook his head but finally broke into a wan smile.  "So you're admitting that you were a spoiled brat," she said when she'd finally wound down to a few little chortles.

"Of course I was," he said.  "Never said I wasn't."

"You're so needy," she pointed out.

Evan shrugged.  "Well, yeah," he muttered.  "Anyway, I—"

The trill of Evan's cell phone cut him off, and he glanced at the digital display in the center console.

"Maddy!" Valerie exclaimed softly, pushing the button that cut off the radio and switched the sound system I the car to the cell phone to connect the call before Evan could reach for it.  "Maddy, sweetie!  I've missed you!" she crooned.

Madison laughed.  "Answering Evan's phone now?  That's the first step toward serious commitment," she teased.

"No, he's driving right at the moment," Valerie said.  "So where have you been hiding?"

"Hiding?" she repeated, the amusement in her tone growing by the second.  "I haven't been hiding.  In fact, I'd say that you and Evan were the ones who disappeared for the last week.  Did the two of you have fun?"

"Of course, woman," Evan quipped.  "V wants me.  She can't get enough of me.  All week, all we did was—"

"Ignore him," Valerie interrupted with a giggle.  "He's delusional.  Anyway, what did you do while we were gone?"

"Not too much," Madison said.  "Had a visit from my parents."

"Oh?  I thought Mama-K hates New York City," Evan remarked.

"She still does," Madison assured him.

"So what was important enough to drag her out of Maine?"

"Well," Madison drawled, "I'm going to be a sister."

Evan blinked and shot Valerie a raised-eyebrow-ed look.  "Is that right?"

Madison laughed.  "Yep . . . I asked Daddy if he knows what causes that."

With a chuckle, Evan shook his head.  "And what did ol' Cartham say?"

"Not much," she admitted.  "He just turned red and told me to stop sassing him."

"Well, tell them congratulations for me the next time you talk to them," Evan said.

"All right," Madison agreed.  "I told Mom that I was going to start baby shopping right away, but she said that I should wait until they find out whether they're having a boy or a girl."

"Maybe they'll have twins," Evan teased.

Madison giggled.  "Or triplets."

"Cartham'll have to get a part time job," Evan added.  "That'd be a hell of a lot of diapers.  So when's the happy arrival supposed to be?"

Madison let out a deep breath.  "Seven months," she replied.  "Apparently, the baby was a late Christmas present—that's what Mom said."

"That's awesome," Evan chuckled.

Madison giggled, then finally sighed.  "So . . . Why are you going back to Maine?"

"How do you know I am?"

"Bone told me when I stopped by earlier," she told him.

Drumming his fingers idly against the steering wheel, Evan grunted.  "Actually, I don't know," he said.  "Cain told me to get my ass home, so I figured, 'What the hell'?"

Valerie frowned.  Evan's nonchalant tone might well fool Madison, but Valerie could see the hint of tightness around his eyes, and the slight smile that just didn't reach them.

"Maybe it's like that time your mom kept thinking that you were in trouble," Madison remarked, apparently seeing through Evan's bravado.

"Nah," Evan replied.  "Anyway, I'm sure it's nothing big."

"Okay," she relented.  "Ugh, I have to go.  I've got a five o'clock with Raven Contas, and you know how much I love five o'clocks with her."

Evan finally did laugh at Madison's tone, and Valerie smiled, too.  She'd heard Madison's opinion of Raven Contas more than once over the years since she'd gotten to know Madison.  She didn't think very highly of the middle-aged Broadway star.  It had gotten to the point where Madison had to take care of the woman herself since she'd made more than one of Madison's girls cry, and if it weren't for the money that Raven had no problem dropping in Madison's lap every time she came in for services, Madison probably would have told her to go straight to hell long ago . . .

"Another seaweed wrap?" Evan asked quizzically.

Madison snorted.  "Yes.  She said that she's been so stressed out lately that it's starting to affect her face, but if you ask me, I'd say that it's just because her last round of plastic surgery didn't go so well."

"Then you'd better not keep her waiting," Evan said with a chuckle.

"Okay," Madison agreed.  "Bye bye . . . V, keep him in line, won't you?"

"Easier said than done," Valerie muttered despite the grin on her face.

The call ended, and the radio came back on.  Evan shook his head and heaved a sigh, but he still looked rather amused.  "I'll be damned," he murmured as he started to slow down to pull into a gas station.  "Mama-K's pregnant, huh?  Nice!"

"Yeah, but she's older, isn't she?" Valerie mused.

Evan glanced at her as he pulled the car to a stop in front of the gas pump.  "Aw, I'm sure everything will be fine," he said, understanding Valerie's concerns.  "Besides, my cousin is her doctor.  Isabelle's one of the best there is.  She'll take good care of her."

Valerie nodded as she reached for the door latch, welcoming the opportunity to stretch her legs.  Madison didn't sound too concerned.  Maybe Valerie was just worried about nothing.  After all, as long as her mother was under a doctor's care, it would surely be safe enough.

At least it seemed to have gotten Evan's mind off of his current worries.  Whistling under his breath as he started the gas pump, he appeared to be more like his normal self than he had been since they'd left the city, and that had to account for something . . .



-Evan-


Evan pulled the door closed as he stepped into the darkened foyer of the Zelig mansion with Valerie in tow.  The place was quiet, and for a moment, he wondered if everyone was in bed, but it was too early for that.  Munchies padded around the corner from the living room and beelined straight past Evan to greet Valerie, which just figured.  Evan chuckled.  "See how you are?" he complained half-heartedly.

Munchies wagged happily and continued to wave a paw at Valerie, who stooped down to grasp his face in both hands.  "Such a great beast of a dog," she said in a high-pitched tone.  "Hey . . . Where are your bloomers?"

Evan snorted.  "Mama took them off him, I'm sure—or maybe Bubby did when he brought him up."

Valerie rolled her eyes.  "We'll have to buy you another pair, won't we, Munchies?"

The dog wuffed low in his throat, and Valerie giggled, careful not to raise her tone, lest Cain and Gin were already in bed.

They weren't.

Cain's office door was open, and the light was off, but a few seconds later, Gin hurried into the foyer with a happy little squeal as she threw her arms open wide to greet her youngest son.

"Evan, sweetie!  I'm so happy to see you!" she said as she rose up on tiptoe to hug him.

He bent down to help her, then scooped her off her feet to give her a healthy squeeze.  "Hey, pretty lady.  How's my best girl?"

"I could've sworn I've already told you about a million times not to manhandle your mother like that," Cain grumbled as he stalked into the foyer just after his wife.  He didn't stop, though, and he carefully plucked Gin away from Evan and set her on the floor beside him.  "Evening, Valerie.  Your trip up was okay?"

Valerie shot Evan a quick glance.  He could feel her gaze on him.  "It was fine," she replied, pasting on a smile.  "Thank you for inviting me back."

Cain waved a hand but finally managed a wry little grin.  To Evan, it looked a little contrived, like there was something else on his mind—something that he had yet to say—or maybe he was simply reading too much into it, all things considered . . .

Gin wiggled out from under Cain's possessive arm and hurried over to hug Valerie in welcome.  "I'm so glad that Evan brought you with him," she insisted, letting go of her but taking her hand instead.  "Let's go get you settled in . . . If you're hungry, I made chicken and dumplings for dinner—nothing fancy, but I'm sure it turned out well!"

"Oh, I don't want to be any trouble," Valerie said as Gin tugged her toward the stairs.

"Don't be silly!" Gin insisted.  "You're always welcome here!"

Evan watched the women disappear up the stairs before he finally turned his attention to his father.  Cain was also watching the stairwell, and the little scowl was back on his face again.  "So, Cain . . . you summoned me home.  How about we cut the crap, and you just tell me whatever it is you wanted to tell me?"

Cain blinked, looking as though he wasn't entirely sure what Evan was talking about.  "Talk to—?  Oh . . . Right . . ." Heaving a sigh, he draped his hands on his hips and shook his head.  "Jilli won't be here until tomorrow morning, and Bas had to go out of town to interview someone for the case he's working on, but he said he'll be back tomorrow night."

"Okay," he allowed, sticking his tongue into his cheek as he tried to contain his impatience.  "So, go ahead and tell me what this is all about now, and you can fill those two in tomorrow."

Cain finally chuckled.  "Sorry, Evan, but it's really something that we wanted to talk to all of you at about at the same time."  Turning on his heel, he started out of the foyer.  "Come on.  I'll get you some of that chicken."

Letting out a deep breath, Evan slowly shook his head but followed his father through the house.  He wasn't hungry on the trip up, no, but come to think about it, he hadn't actually had anything to eat all day.  In fact, the last thing they'd eaten was a pretty abysmal breakfast at a restaurant in the airport while they were waiting for their flight to be cleared for takeoff . . .

"So why were the two of you in Kentucky?" Cain asked as he pulled the casserole pan out of the refrigerator.

"She, uh . . . She wanted to visit her family," Evan replied, retrieving a couple plates out of the cupboard.  "Salt of the earth people—really nice."

Cain spared a moment to grin at Evan over his shoulder.  "That right?"

"Yep," Evan said.  Setting the plates onto the counter beside Cain, Evan sighed.  "Everything's all right, right?" he couldn't help asking.

Cain seemed surprised by Evan's question, but he nodded.  "Yeah.  Of course."

Evan stared at Cain for a few seconds.  "Are you going to turn my room into a home gym?" he asked, remembering the silly scenarios that Valerie had come up with during the drive to Maine.

Raising an eyebrow, Cain slowly shook his head.  "Firstly, do I look like a work-out buff?"

Evan snorted but didn't answer.

Cain nodded.  "Yeah, I don't think so, either.  Secondly, why would we do that to your room?  There's plenty of other rooms to do that—if we were going to, which we're not . . ." Cain grimaced.  "And don't mention it to your mother; got it?"

"Whatever; whatever . . . I didn't figure you were," Evan allowed.  "Are you going to sell the house?"

"What house?"

Evan snorted.  "This one."

"Of course not," Cain scoffed.  "Actually, we were thinking about buying some more land."

"Oh, yeah?"

Cain shrugged as he heaped chicken and fluffy white dumplings onto a plate.  "Well, either I'll buy it or Bas might.  Haven't really decided yet."

"Bubby?  Why would he want to buy more land?"

"Well, he doesn't; not really, but it's kind of closer to him than it is to us."

"Where?" Evan asked, taking the first plate and stepping over to the microwave oven.

"That old lighthouse," Cain replied.  "They finally decided to sell it.  Bas heard that they were going to demolish it next month, and then they're going to sell.  Since it's between Bas' land and ours, we figured we'd probably buy it just to keep it in the family."

"The old lighthouse?" Evan echoed, more than a little surprised.  If Cain noticed, however, he didn't remark upon it.  "Really . . .?"

"Mm," Cain intoned absently.  "Uh, is this too much for Valerie?"

It took a moment for Evan's mind to process the abrupt change in topics, and he blinked as he looked at the plate that Cain had dished up.  It was easily a Bas or Evan sized serving, and he chuckled.  "Yeah, she might eat a quarter of that," he said.  "Maybe . . ."

Cain stared at the plate again, but instead of pushing most of it back into the casserole dish, he grabbed another plate, instead.  "I'll let you serve her, then, since I'd probably give her too much."

"All right," Evan said.

Pulling open the silverware drawer, Cain retrieved the utensils and dropped two forks onto the counter, keeping one of them in his hand.

"Hungry?" Evan asked, raising an eyebrow as Cain picked up the abundantly full plate and started shoveling food into his mouth without bothering to reheat it.

Cain stopped, mid-bite, and glanced at Evan.  "A little," he admitted around a mouthful of chicken.

Evan chuckled again and slowly shook his head.  It wasn't the first time that he'd seen his father eat leftovers cold.  Cain tended to be a little absent-minded, and there was a good chance that he didn't even really notice—or care.

Gin hurried into the kitchen and paused long enough to kiss Cain then Evan on the cheek before grabbing a plate of her own, too.  "Oh, I'm starving!" she announced as Evan took his plate out of the microwave and stuck Valerie's into it.  "Valerie will be down in a minute.  She said she wanted to freshen up a little first."

"Didn't you two eat dinner?" Evan challenged, leaning against the counter while balancing a plate in one hand.  Come to think of it, the casserole hadn't actually been cut into when Cain had gotten it out of the refrigerator, had it . . .?

Gin shot Cain a rather telling glance.  The tai-youkai grinned wolfishly just as Gin's cheeks pinked, and she quickly looked away.  Evan groaned.  "Forget I asked," he muttered, jamming a forkful of dumpling into his mouth.

"We're married.  It's allowed," Cain pointed out.

"Sure," Evan remarked as Gin swatted his hip to move him away from the silverware drawer that he was blocking, "and I'm so glad that the two of you still have sex, but you're my parents, and I figure that I should object on principle."

Cain snorted and rolled his eyes as he opened the fridge and grabbed two bottles of beer with one hand.   "Well, if everyone's going to eat, might as well do it at the table," he said, heading around the island and toward the breakfast nook.

Evan followed him and set down his plate just before Cain shoved a beer across the table to him.

Everything seemed normal enough, didn't it?  For the first time since that weird phone call, he finally started to relax just a little.  After all, maybe it was like Valerie had said.  Maybe he was simply reading too much into it . . .


~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~= ~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
A/N:
'Mama, I'm Coming Home' by Ozzy Osbourne originally appeared on the 1991 release, No More Tears.  Copyrighted to Ozzy Osbourne, Zakk Wylde, and Lemmy Kilmister.
== == == == == == == == == ==
Reviewers
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MMorg
theablackthorn ------ rachainu ------ Dark Inu Fan ------ monkeyseemonkeynodo ------ matsuri
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Forums
MouF ------ reina q ------ lianned88 ------ cutechick18 ------ Zero ------ CarmMelDoll ------ amohip ------ GoodyKags
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Final
Thought from Evan:
Parental sex.  Just . . . why . . .?
==========
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~

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