InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Shock ( Chapter 166 )

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


-Oo OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'With arms wide open – under the sunlight ...
'Welcome to this place, I'll show you everything
'With arms wide open – now everything has changed
'I'll show you love; I'll show you everything ...'

-'With Arms Wide Open' by Creed.


-Evan-


"Mom.  Dad.  Hey, baby," Bas said as he breezed into the dining room.  He nodded at his parents in turn, but made a beeline to his wife's side, stopping only to bend down and kiss her quickly.  "Pups good for you?"

Sydnie smiled.  "They were angels, of course!"

"Daddy!" Bailey exclaimed, hopping up on his knees in his chair as he very nearly fell over the back in an effort to reach his father.

Bas mussed his hair and grinned.  "Hey, Buddy.  Sit down and eat before you land on your head, okay?"

Olivia stretched her arms up from her seat in the cherry wood high chair sitting next to Sydnie.  "Daddy!" she half-whispered, half-giggled.

Bas leaned down and kissed her cheek soundly, then let her pull his face even closer to kiss him back between giggles.  "Miss me, Sweetness?"

Olivia tried to push at the tray holding her into place.  Bas released the locking mechanism and unbuckled her before finally slipping into the chair beside Cain.  "Jilli.  Gavin, how's the ranch?"

"Not too bad," Gavin said between bites of thick and creamy clam chowder.  "Hank said that there was a stampede over the weekend, but he and Dax have everything under control now."

"You lose any?"

Gavin shrugged.  "Eh, a couple head of cattle, but it could've been a helluva lot worse."

"Good," Bas said with a nod.  "Valerie.  Evan . . ." He trailed off for a second and slowly shook his head, very likely at the proclamation on Evan's shirt.  "Your drive up okay?" he finally asked, obviously deciding that it wasn't worth it to make a comment.

"Sure," Evan replied, shoving aside the irritation that kept plaguing him.  He'd managed to keep it at bay for most of the day as he'd waited for Bas to get back.  The more he'd thought about it, the more it had bothered him.  Bas had to have been told that their parents had this earth-shattering thing to tell them all, wasn't he?  And he'd still opted to take off, anyway.  Maybe his feelings were a little selfish, but then, so were Bas' actions, as far as he was concerned.  He knew about the fact that both he and Jillian were coming in, especially for this announcement, and he hadn't given it a second thought when he'd decided to go out of town. Of course, no one else would see it that way.  They never did when it came to Bas, did they?

"I'm glad you had a safe trip, Sebastian," Gin said, starting to stand up, likely to dish up a bowl of chowder for Bas.

"Me, too."  He shook his head.  "It's all right, Mom," he said quickly.  "I can get it."

Sydnie reached over and plucked Olivia off her father's lap so that he could get himself some food and eat in peace.  Olivia didn't look very happy, but she was appeased quickly enough when Sydnie tipped a glass of fresh from the farm milk to her lips carefully.

"Okay," Evan said, giving up the pretense of trying to sit through dinner.  "We're all here now, Cain.  So why don't you drop the formality and just tell us why the hell you summoned us home?"

Cain blinked, his spoon stopping midway between the bowl and his lips, looking entirely lost for all of thirty seconds before he resumed his task of feeding himself.  "After dinner," Cain said in a nonchalant, almost absent kind of way.

Evan ground his teeth together.  "Why wait?" he challenged, unwilling to drop it.  "Didn't you say it wasn't a big deal?"

"It won't take that long," Bas pointed out calmly.

Evan's gaze shifted to his brother.  "You already know what it is, Bubby?"

Bas didn't miss the blatant irritation in Evan's tone.  "No, I don't," he replied.

Evan wasn't entirely sure whether or not he believed his brother, but he turned his attention back to his food since he wasn't making any progress otherwise.  He could feel Valerie's gaze on him, but he stubbornly refused to look at her.

The silence that fell over the table felt dense and thick, entirely uncomfortable in the extreme.  Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Gin set her spoon down and wring her hands, and he sighed inwardly.  "You know, Mama," he said, hoping that he could at least lighten her mood a little, even if he wasn't really feeling it, "I used your recipe to make chowder a while back, and it just didn't taste the same.  You sure you aren't holding back on me?"

She smiled wanly.  "Of course not, Evan," she chided.  "Maybe it was your clams.  There's nothing better than the local ones."

Evan smiled, too.  "That must be it," he decided.

Cain pushed his bowl away and hefted Bailey onto his lap.  The boy had already decided that he was finished with dinner, but instead of bothering his father, who was still eating, he'd opted instead to go after his grandfather.  "Maybe your mother just wanted to have her children home together, under one roof again," he pointed out dryly.  "Did you ever stop to think about that, Evan?"

Evan snorted and shot his father a droll sort of look.  "That's a crock of shit if I ever smelled one," he scoffed.

"Well, I do love having you all here," Gin admitted rather sheepishly.

"Move to the city, Mama.  You can live with me," Evan offered.

Gin giggled.  "I'd miss your father," she said.  "I mean, who would I get to do that thing for me if I lived with you?"

"Oh, don't go there, Evan," Bas warned.

Evan grinned.  "Well, if I wasn't your son, I'd be more than happy to do that thing for you, Mama."

"Damn it," Bas muttered, setting down his spoon and pushing away the bowl.  "He went there, didn't he?"

Sydnie laughed.  "He certainly did, puppy."

Bas heaved a sigh.

"I was talking about your father helping me with that book I've been working on," Gin complained, blinking in obvious confusion.  "What did you think I meant?"

Cain sighed and slowly shook his head.  "You're fine, baby girl.  Your son is just a little pervert; that's all."

"As are you," Evan stated pleasantly.

"Never said I wasn't," Cain replied just as pleasantly.

"Wow," Valerie said, shifting her gaze between the two men.  "You really are just like your father."

"That's what I've said!" Gin exclaimed.

"The hell!" Cain scoffed.

"As fucking if!" Evan snorted.

Bas considered it for a moment, then nodded slowly.  "Now that you mention it . . ."

"Hmm, yeah, I can see it," Jillian decided.

"You really just figured it out?" Gavin added.

"It's true," Sydnie said.

"Uncle Evan's like Grandpa?" Bailey said, eyes round as he stared up at Cain.

Cain snorted indelicately and stood up.  "I'm going in the living room," he grumbled, carrying Bailey out of the dining room.  "Bunch of freaks, anyway . . ."


-Valerie-


Turning on the faucet, Valerie stuck her fingers under the running tap then adjusted the temperature accordingly.

Everyone else had followed Cain into the living room, but Valerie had hung back.  After all, she wasn't family, and it was obvious enough that whatever they were going to talk about was fairly important.  Even if the Zeligs had welcomed her warmly, she wasn't presumptuous enough to try to sit in on their family matters.  Instead, she'd figured she could clear the table and wash the dishes to occupy herself while they had their discussion.

In truth, it only took a couple minutes to load the dishwasher, anyway, and she was in the middle of searching the cupboards for a smaller container for the leftover chowder when Gin hurried into the kitchen.  "There you are!" she said brightly.  "I thought maybe you'd gone up to your room, but you weren't there . . ."

Valerie turned around and set the glass bowl on the counter beside the soup pot.  "Oh, uh, I just thought I'd take care of the leftovers," she said with a smile.  "You were all going to have your talk, right?"

Gin blinked and tilted her head to the side.  "Yes, so why are you hiding in here?  Besides, I can get those later."

For some reason, the idea that Gin seemed to believe that Valerie's presence at the family meeting was a foregone conclusion pleased her, even if she wasn't truly family.  Still, it seemed more than a little obtrusive, didn't it?  "I just thought you'd want to have your talk alone; that's all," she said, unable to mask the hesitation in her voice.  "I mean, I'm not—"

Gin giggled suddenly and grabbed Valerie's hand in hers.  "Don't be silly, Valerie!" Gin insisted, tugging her toward the doorway.  "I told you already, didn't I?  You're dear to Evan, aren't you?  That makes you family!"

She'd said it as though it was the most natural thing in the world, and though Valerie opened her mouth to protest, she didn't.

Even stranger, no one else seemed to be the least bit surprised by Valerie's sudden appearance, either, and as she slipped onto the sofa beside Evan, she had to wonder.  The Zelig family just wasn't normal, were they?  That wasn't a bad thing, at all, no.  Valerie had never met people like them before—people who asked her nothing, but welcomed her fully, even to the point of including her in a discussion like this . . . She'd felt completely at ease with them from the start, hadn't she?  She'd never actually felt that way before, not even when she'd first gone to live with the Dennings . . .

Glancing at Evan quickly, Valerie smiled to herself.  No, she supposed it wasn't really as surprising as she had first thought.  After all, Evan was just like that, too, wasn't he?  Bad behavior aside, he hadn't really tried to hide a thing from her, even at the beginning.  Maybe some things had taken longer for her to find out than others, but she couldn't say that she'd ever really felt as though he was hiding anything about himself, either.

Cain shifted his gaze around, like he was trying to decide whether or not everyone was there.  Before he could speak, however, the telephone rang, and he grabbed the receiver before speaking to them.  "Hello . . .? Oh, no, you're right on time . . . Yeah, but let me put you on speakerphone."

He fiddled with the phone for a minute, and then the television flickered to life.  "Hi, everyone!" the woman who Valerie recognized from their trip to Hawaii said.  "How are you all?"

"Not bad," Bas said with a somewhat bashful little smile.  "Everything okay there?"

"Just fine," she assured him.  "My goodness, Bastian . . . Did you grow some more?"

"Uh, n-no," Bas muttered, cheeks pinking slightly.

Bellaniece laughed as her gaze shifted to Jillian.  "Jilli, I swear, you get prettier and prettier, every time I see you."

"Nah, it's just because Gavvie makes me so happy; that's all," Jillian insisted.  'Gavvie' snorted and buried his nose deeper into an electronics magazine.

"Gin!  Is Daddy behaving himself?  If he is, I'd be more than happy to have Kichiro give him pointers on misbehaving . . ."

Gin giggled and fluttered a hand quickly.  "Oh, no, he's fine," she insisted.

Bellaniece laughed.  "If you're sure."

"Something's wrong with him, too," Cain grumbled, crossing his arms over his chest.

"Hi, Valerie!  Good to see you again," Bellaniece remarked pleasantly.

Valerie smiled a little self-consciously.  "Hi," she replied.  "You, too."

"Oh, I like that shirt, Evan," she remarked with a laugh.  "Much better than the dress you were wearing the last time I saw you."

"I liked that dress," Evan remarked with a wolfish grin.

"Dress?" Cain echoed, arching an eyebrow dubiously.

"He was very pretty," Valerie added dryly.

"Damn straight, I was," Evan insisted.

Cain sighed and slowly shook his head.  "Ass monkey," he muttered under his breath.

"Hey, Princess.  Who are you talking to?"

Valerie blinked but smiled as Kichiro leaned into view and kissed Bellaniece's cheek.

"Don't you remember, lover?  Daddy asked me to call . . . Say hi!"

Kichiro snorted and straightened up.  "I'd rather run a marathon barefoot on broken glass, Belle.  I'll be in my office if you need me."

She laughed and turned her head to watch him go.  "So, what's up, Daddy?" she finally asked but only after the sound of a closing door thumped in the background.

Cain seemed to think about the question, but he finally nodded.  "Well," he said, drawing a deep breath and glancing around almost nervously.  "Your mother and I thought that it'd be . . . best . . . to tell you all at the same time.  I mean, it's nothing to worry about, but, uh . . ." Trailing off for a moment, he glanced at Gin and tried to smile.  It looked more like a grimace, though, and then he sighed.  "Your mom—err, Gin . . . She's pregnant."

Dead silence filled the room.  Everyone looked just a little shocked.  Jillian was the first to recover, and she uttered an unearthly high-pitched squeal and darted over to hug Gin.  "Really?  That's so great!" she exclaimed.  "Congratulations, Mama!"

Gin giggled and hugged Jillian back.  "Thank you, sweetie!"

"That's what this was all about?" Evan blurted with a curious mix of chagrin and amusement on his face.  "Hey, pass Mama over here."

Gin's laughter escalated as Evan tugged her down into his lap.

"Don't manhandle your mother," Cain grumbled.

Bas stood up and stepped over to kiss his mother's forehead.  "Congratulations, Mom.  Just don't have another one like him."

"Or twins like me," Evan added with a grin.

"Or triplets like him," Jillian quipped happily.

"Oh, my God!  You're cursing them!" Bellaniece laughed.  "Congratulations, Gin!  Way to go, Daddy!  It's so nice to see that your penis still works as it should!"

Cain rolled his eyes but managed a wry smile despite the heightened color in his cheeks.  "Thanks, Belle," he replied.

Evan snorted.  "Aw, hell . . . Don't you remember what I said last night about parental sex?" he grouched.

"Parental sex?" Bas echoed dubiously.

"Well, of course they still have sex!" Jillian piped up.  "Didn't they prove that over Christmas?"

"Okay, conversation is veering off into the vastly uncomfortable zone," Bas remarked, raising his voice to be heard over his sisters' mad giggling.

Evan heaved a sigh.  "It's not that having sex is a bad thing," he reasoned.  "We just don't want the reminder, because reminders lead to mental images; that's all."

Cain grunted and narrowed his eyes on his children.  "Well, if you really wanted me to, I could tell you exactly how I got your mother pregnant."

Gin twittered loudly, waving a hand to fan her flaming cheeks.  "Now, Cain, I don't know that they need details . . ."

"If it'll disturb them, then it'd be worth it," he insisted, "and if they lost a night or two's worth of sleep, then that'd be even better."

Evan laughed.  "You're going to have to try harder than that, Cain," he countered.

"Speak for yourself, Evan," Bas muttered.  "I'm one more mental image away from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder."

Valerie rolled her eyes and slapped Evan's arm with the back of her hand.  "Stop that, will you?  You're completely ruining the beauty of the moment.  After all, your parents are going to have a baby, and that's something special, don't you think?"

"Of course, I do," Evan replied, his grin broadening.  "I think it's great that—" Cutting himself off abruptly, his smile disappeared, only to be replaced by a very suspicious frown that he turned on Cain.  "You were already pregnant last night when we got here, right?" he asked dubiously.

Cain blinked and shook his head, obviously not really understanding what Evan was trying to get at.  "W . . .?  Yeah . . ."

"How pregnant?" Evan pressed.

Cain snorted.  "Pfft!  What do you mean?"

Evan snorted, too.  "Keh!  I mean, you didn't just make that baby right before we got here, did you?"

"Don't be a jerk, Roka," Valerie interrupted.  "Besides, how would they know for sure that they'd made a baby if they'd just done it last night?"

He made a face.  "It's entirely possible, woman," he insisted haughtily.

Gin giggled.  "The baby was in there already," she told Evan.

Finally, he grinned, looking rather relieved, all things considered.  "Hell, this calls for a toast . . . where's that ass-old bottle of scotch you refuse to open, Cain?"

"Your mother can't have scotch," Sydnie pointed out with a censuring shake of her head.

That did little to curb Evan's enthusiasm as he strode over to the liquor cabinet.  "Yeah, but the rest of us can," he pointed out.  "Mama can have milk or something."

Bas shook his head since he didn't miss the wrinkling of his mother's nose at the mention of 'milk'.  "Hey, Dad . . . Didn't you have to bribe Mom when she was pregnant with Evan in order to get her to drink her milk?"

Cain sighed and nodded.  "She ate a hell of a lot of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups back then . . . Probably explains a lot . . ."

Gin giggled and hurried over to kiss Cain's cheek.  "It just made him extra-sweet."

Cain and Bas both snorted.  Evan was too busy, rummaging around in the liquor cabinet.

"Drink one for me, too, Daddy," Bellaniece said.  "I'm going to go tell Kichiro the good news!  Maybe it'll inspire him!"

"God forbid," Cain muttered under his breath.

"I'll come visit soon, Gin, and we can go baby shopping together . . . or are you coming here for the duration?"

Gin glanced up at Cain and smiled.  "No, I think we're okay to stay here for this one.  After all, I've already done this a couple times already . . ."

"Okay . . . kisses all around!  Kiss those babies for me, Sydnie!"

"Bye, Belle," Bas and Sydnie called.  Evan blew her a kiss, and Cain waved.  Bellaniece laughed and ended the connection.

"Just remember that you swore you'd be extra careful," Cain reminded Gin seriously.

Gin giggled again and gave her husband a reassuring squeeze around the waist.

Valerie stood up and wandered over to Evan.  "So, it wasn't as bad as you thought," she mused, a little smile toying with the corners of her lips.

Evan spared a moment to smile at her, but then he grimaced as he glanced over his shoulder at his parents.  "No, not bad," he ventured.

Valerie frowned at the strange undertone in his words.  "Upset because you're not going to be your mama's baby anymore?"

Evan snorted.  "Hell that . . . I'll always be Mama's baby . . . It ain't that . . ."

Valerie blinked.  Evan rarely used that particular word.  In fact, she didn't remember him actually having ever used it before.  It came off almost as a show of mock bravado . . . "Then what is it?" she asked gently.

Letting out a deep breath, he straighten his back, holding a bottle of very old scotch in his hands.  "I told you, didn't I?  Cain's first wife died in childbirth.  He gets worried—maybe stupidly so—or so I've heard.  Even then, I can't say I blame him.  Mama means more to him than his own life . . ."

She thought about that for a moment.  Sure, she could understand what Evan said, and it made sense that Cain was more than a little worried when it came right down to it.  Still, neither Gin nor Cain seemed to be the kind who would make a rash decision about something as important as this.  "But they wouldn't take such an unnecessary risk, would they?  I'm sure that they talked to doctors and stuff, don't you think?" she said.

Evan lifted his gaze, stared at her for a long moment.  Finally, however, he smiled.  "You're right," he said, the traces of worry vanishing fast.  "He'll just drive her crazy the whole time; that's all."

Valerie nodded and gave Evan's arm a little squeeze.  "It'll be fine; you'll see."

"It will be, won't it?"

Valerie's smile widened.  "Absolutely."


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A/N:
'With Arms Wide Open' by Creed originally appeared on the 1999 release, Human Clay.  Copyrighted to Scott Stapp, and Mark Tremonti.
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Final
Thought from Evan:
Waitpregnant …?
==========
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 165
Chapter 167
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