InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Brothers ( Chapter 168 )

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

- OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'Oh, Daniel my brother, you are older than me ...
'Do you still feel the pain of the scars that won't heal …?
'Your eyes have died, but you see more than I
'Daniel, you're a star in the face of the sky ...'

-'Daniel' by Elton John.


"You wanted to talk to me about something?"

Evan smashed his hand against the strings of the acoustic guitar to staunch the notes he'd just been strumming as Bas pulled the door closed behind him.  "Hey, Bubby," he said, setting the guitar aside and standing up to grab a couple beers out of the refrigerator.  "Want one?"

Bas took the bottle Evan offered him and twisted the cap off.  "Thanks," he said, tipping it to his lips.

Evan nodded and plopped down on the bed, eyeing his brother thoughtfully as Bas grabbed the desk chair and pulled it over.  "So?"

Evan let out a deep breath and set the bottle on the nightstand.  "I took V down to Kentucky.  She got to talk to her family and all that."

Bas didn't look surprised.  "Good."

"He's not doing too badly, her dad," Evan went on.  "I mean, he's not doing well, but he's better off than I was afraid of."


Leaning forward, Evan rested his elbows on his knees and scratched the back of his head.  "V got tested," he said.  "Unfortunately, her blood type's not even remotely compatible, so they didn't bother to check any further.  The whole family's been tested.  Not a damn one of them is a consideration for a transplant."

Bas considered that for a moment, and he nodded.  "It happens," he said.  "It's a damn shame, but there's not much you can do about it."

Evan shifted his gaze to the side and scowled at his brother.  "Maybe there is," he ventured rather noncommittally.  "I mean, you hear about it all the time, right?  Talk to the right person, grease the right wheels . . . people get put on the national waiting list or bumped higher . . ."

Bas sighed.  "I get what you're saying, Evan; I really do, but . . ."

Evan gritted his teeth.  He knew damn well what was going through Bas' head.  The same shit had been spinning around his own head for days, hadn't it?

"The people on the waiting list aren't there because of the choices that they made," Bas went on quietly.  He didn't sound like he was trying to argue with Evan, exactly.  No, it was as though he were actually arguing with himself . . . "Some of them have been on that list for years, waiting and hoping and praying . . ."

"I know that," Evan replied tersely, almost wearily.  "Thing is, I'd agree with you without a second thought if he was still the same guy that he was back when he did all this shit to himself.  For that matter, a part of me agrees with you even now.  It's just . . ."

Bas stared at him for several moments, then slowly nodded.  "It's just that he's Valerie's father," Bas supplied.

Letting out a deep breath, Evan rubbed his forehead, scowled at the floor.  "Well, yeah," he agreed with a little shrug.  "It's not just that, though . . . He could be anyone.  People make idiotic choices sometimes, and they don't stop to think that those decisions might come back to bite them in the ass, decades down the road.  Sure, they should, but hell . . . who does that?"  Shaking his head, Evan met Bas' steady gaze.  "He was dealt a shitty hand in life, and he tried to make it work, but it never really did for him, and I just keep thinking that maybe . . . maybe he does deserve a second chance—not for Valerie, but for himself."

"Evan, you're barking up the wrong tree," Bas said.  "I agree with you, but the rules are set for a reason, and you don't have a clue, whose ass you'd need to kiss in order to get him past the initial screening process."

"I know," Evan allowed, "but you will, won't you?"

Bas didn't look entirely surprised at the direction of Evan's thoughts.  "So that's the reason you wanted to talk to me," he concluded sagely.  "You want me to ask around for you."

"I figured you'd have more luck than I would," he admitted.  "I'll owe you one."

Bas barked out an incredulous little laugh as he slowly shook his head and slipped the beer in his hand.  "Don't worry about it," he finally said.  "If there was any way I could've helped Sydnie's dad, I would have."

Evan sighed and reached for the bottle he'd set on the nightstand, draining half of it before he bothered to speak again.  "I thought for sure that he'd be a bastard," Evan remarked at length.  "All that shit in those reports you gave me?  Everything she told me . . .? Of course I thought he was, right?   But he isn't.  He's always loved V, even when he was completely fucked up.  He just didn't figure it out until it was almost too late."

"Mom says that she's your mate," Bas ventured, pushing himself to his feet and held out his hand for Evan's now-empty bottle.

"Maybe," Evan drawled.

Bas chuckled as he set the empty bottles into the empty crate beside the fridge and grabbed a couple more beers.  "I don't know, Evan . . . She's a lot classier than you are."

Evan grinned and took the beer that his brother offered to him.  "Well, yeah," he allowed.  "That goes without saying."

"Pfft . . . You'd better do something about that ring on her finger," Bas went on mildly.  "I mean, I'm right in assuming that you didn't put that there, aren't I?"

Wrinkling his nose at his brother's blunt statement, Evan didn't respond immediately.

Bas wasn't done.  "Listen . . . I'm not going to give you the lecture about messing with another man's woman.  The fact is, she seems like she's good for you, and that's got to mean something, right?  So if you didn't put that ring on her finger, then it means that someone else did . . . She doesn't know how you feel about her, does she?"

"It's complicated," Evan said.  "She's coming around."

"Do us all a favor and convince her sooner than later," Bas said dryly despite the rueful little smile on his face.  "You're still my brother, even if you are a pain in my ass."

Evan chuckled.  "Hell, Bubby . . . I didn't know you cared."

"Yeah, well, Mom kind of likes you, and you're not always so bad . . ." Bas' smile faltered as he sat back down again.  "Does Valerie know what you're thinking about her dad?"

Bas' question was enough to sober Evan up fast.  "No," he admitted.  "I mean, she might not like the how of it, but she wants her father to live, too."

"Did she look into any of the legalities of it?" Bas went on.

"You kidding?  It's V, right?  I'm sure she thought it over.  There's just nothing she can do.  God only knows that she doesn't have enough money to get anyone's attention, and in this world, good intentions only get you so far."

Bas must've already come to the same conclusion because he didn't seem particularly surprised by Evan's matter-of-fact statement.  "I can put out some inquiries," he said.  "I'm not sure what'll come of it . . . Why didn't you ask Dad to do it, though?  Dad's got more clout than I do."

Evan shook his head.  "Maybe," he said with a shrug.  "He's got enough going on all the time, doesn't he?  Tai-youkai shit and whatnot . . ."

Bas didn't look like he completely bought into Evan's excuses, but he let it pass.  "I'll ask Gunnar to give me a hand," he finally decided.  "This kind of thing is closer to his area than mine.  Give me a couple weeks, and I'll let you know what's going on."

"All right.  Thanks."

"No problem . . ." Bas sighed and slowly shook his head.  "Mom said you were leaving tomorrow morning?  Is that right?"

Evan nodded.  He was cutting things a bit close, as it was, and, while Mike didn't come out and say it directly, Evan knew damn well that his manager was starting to get a little antsy.  Made sense, really, considering no arrangements had been made as yet to hire a bassist for the upcoming European dates . . . "Yeah, there are a few things I have to get done before we leave for Europe next month," he said.

"We?  Valerie's going with you?"

Evan stood up and paced the length of the room and back as he sipped his beer and considered Bas' question.  "Well, I haven't gotten around to asking her yet," he confessed with an offhanded shrug.  "I'll convince her, though."

Bas rolled his eyes at Evan's show of cockiness, but grinned just a little.  "Is it a full tour?"

"Nah," Evan replied.  "Just a handful of shows to kick off the Global Fray Festival.  Top spot."

"That's pretty big," Bas remarked.  "Isn't that one of the largest rock festivals in Europe?"

Evan's cheeky grin widened.  "Well, yeah," he said.  "But I've already done it for years."

"Not as the headliner," Bas corrected him.

"That's true," Evan admitted.  "Fucking wicked, right?"

Bas chuckled.  "Not bad," he allowed.  "Not bad at all."

Letting out a deep breath, Evan stared at Bas for a moment.  "She doesn't love him," he said quietly.  He wasn't sure why he was telling Bas anything of the sort, but for some reason, he almost felt compelled to do it.  "In fact, I don't think she's ever loved him.  She just thinks he's safe and all that."

It took a moment for Bas to figure out what Evan was talking about.  "Uh . . . You mean the guy that bought Valerie that ring?"

Evan nodded.  "They're engaged," he allowed with a sigh.  "They're engaged, but do you think she even mentioned going to reconcile with her parents to the little douche-bag?  Because she didn't . . . She doesn't tell him anything, which is fine with me.  Whatever.  He's never around, anyway . . ."

He could tell from the expression on Bas' face that his brother was caught somewhere between disgust at what Evan had told him and the older-brother desire to point out that messing with someone else's woman was just not a good thing to do.  "Sounds like he doesn't have his priorities quite right," Bas grumbled.  "Damn, Evan . . ."

"I know," Evan cut in before Bas could get started.  "If I had thought for even a second that she might really love him, I swear to God I wouldn't have messed with her, but . . ." Trailing off, he took his time, draining the rest of his beer bottle.  "She doesn't . . . and I don't think she's ever really wanted to."

Bas scowled at him for several seconds, just like he used to when they were younger and Evan pestered him to play.  More often than not, Bas gave in back in those days . . . "Be careful, Evan," Bas finally said.  "I mean, you know . . ." Evan blinked when Bas' cheeks reddened slightly, as he watched his older brother scratch the back of his neck almost nervously.  "I've only got one little brother."

For some reason, Bas' muttered statement gave Evan pause, and he grinned.  "Eh, it's not like you'd get rid of me that easily," he assured him.  "I'm tough—you know—like Mama."

Bas uttered a curt laugh and shook his head.  "Can you believe she's pregnant?  Well, that's not surprising.  I just didn't realize she and Dad were even considering it again."

Evan laughed, too.  "I don't know.  I think it's pretty damn cool."

"Yeah," Bas agreed with a grin.  "Me, too . . . me, too . . ."


"You have the strangest family I've ever met," Valerie said as the outline of New York City loomed closer on the horizon.  "Nice as can be, but strange."

Evan grinned.  "Oh?  Why's that?"

She wrinkled her nose.  "What do you mean, why?  Your mother kept calling Kagome 'Mama', for starters . . ."

Chuckling as he fiddled with the car's temperature control, he winced inwardly.  Even though she'd realized that trying to explain the family tree to Valerie would be a little tricky, given that Valerie knew nothing at all about youkai, she'd still slipped a number of times.  Still, the one time she'd remembered and had called InuYasha by his given name had been simply priceless.  Not only had Gin turned about ten shades of red, but InuYasha himself had looked fit to be tied.  Of course Valerie had been too smart to miss the entire thing, but he supposed it could have been worse.  Maybe.

"It's a family joke," Evan lied, figuring that trying to change the subject would only lead to more suspicion.

"Isn't that a weird thing to joke about?" Valerie pressed.

Evan shrugged.  "I suppose," he agreed.  "Then again, you did say that I have a strange family, right?"

"I've heard a lot of joking in my time, Roka, but I've never heard a sister call her brother, 'dad'."

"It's an inside joke, V," he said.  "Anyway, she's done it for years, so . . ."

She snorted, digging a tube of lip balm out of her purse.  "Well, then that'd make more sense as to why your niece and nephew called them 'Grandma' and 'Grandpa' . . ." she finally muttered, flipping down the sun visor and popping open the mirror affixed to the back of it.  "But it's still strange."

"You've met me, and you're asking about strange?" Evan quipped.

She considered that then rolled her eyes, and while she still looked dubious, she also seemed like she might be ready to let it drop.  "You know, I thought your mom was going to cry when you were saying goodbye to her."

"I know it," he said, his grin widening.  "Should've seen it when I was younger and would go to Japan for the summer.  She always tried not to cry, but the harder she tried, the harder she cried . . . Hey, that rhymed . . ."

Valerie snorted but giggled as she pushed the visor back up and dropped the lip balm into her purse again.  "There's something so wrong with you . . ."

He shot her another grin but didn't argue with her.  She fell silent, too, and when he glanced at her a moment later, he frowned at the concentration on her features.  She was thinking about something awfully hard, wasn't she?  "What's on your mind, V?" he asked gently.

Valerie blinked, her cheeks pinking, and she shot him a quick glance before purposefully looking straight ahead once more.  "Uh, it's nothing," she said.

"I thought we were past all that crap," he told her.  "You can tell me stuff; it's fine."

Letting out a deep breath, Valerie slowly shook her head.  "It's not that," she finally said.  "I was just thinking . . ."

"About . . .?" he prompted when she trailed off.

Forcing a little smile, she shrugged.  "It's not important really," she insisted, flicking a hand as though the gesture could help to substantiate her claim.

"Okay," he allowed.  "Then tell me."

"It's fine," she insisted.  "Really."

"It's not if it's bothering you," he pointed out.  "Out with it, woman."

She shook her head.  "I . . . I just can't help worrying about your mom," she admitted quietly.  "I mean, I'm sure that they talked to their doctor and all that . . ."

"Cain wouldn't let her take that big a risk, just like you said," Evan told her.  "Besides, Mama's a lot tougher than she looks.  Trust me."

"I know," she said.  "I know . . . But there's so much stuff out there.  You hear about it on the news all the time—and you were worried, too.  I know you were."

Evan sighed, rubbing his forehead.  "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't," he said.  "Of course, I am.  It'll be fine."

He could feel her eyes on him, could feel the intensity in her gaze.  It was as though she were trying to see inside his head.  Maybe she was.  "You're right," she finally said, the hint of a smile quirking her lips.

"I'm always right," he replied airily.

She settled back with a sigh.  "I guess I should go in to work tomorrow," she mused.  "It'll be a miracle if they haven't given my office to someone else."

"Are you kidding?  You're the best damn attorney in that firm," Evan insisted.  "Besides, you were off on official Roka-control, right?"

She snorted.  "Technically speaking, I was on vacation," she reminded him.  "Personal leave."

Evan chuckled.  "Speaking of Roka-control . . . you're coming with me to Europe, right?"

Again, he could feel the intensity of her stare.  "Europe?" she echoed, sounding just a little breathless.

"Eh, one date in England, two in France, and I forgot what comes after that . . . about three weeks."

"France . . .?"

He nodded.  "That's right: France."

"O-O-Oh," she breathed.

"I could give ol' Xavier a call.  I bet he'd be more than happy to give you the time off," he suggested.

For a moment, Evan thought that she was going to agree.  He should have known better.  "I can't," she said, although she sounded entirely remorseful.  "I'd love to go to Europe . . . one day . . ."

"Why wait?" Evan countered.  "C'mon, V, just think about it . . . You . . . me . . . the City of Lo-o-o-o-ove . . ."

She snorted again and rolled her eyes but did break into a wan little smile.  "As wonderful as that sounds," she said, somehow managing to make the entire thing sound like torture, "I'll have to pass."

"Why?" he demanded, only half-whining.

This time, she giggled.  "Because some of us have to work sometimes," she reminded him.  "Now stop it before I get mad."

"Mad?  Why would you get mad?"

That earned him a droll look. "Because I want to go, Roka," she reminded him, "but I can't—and don't you dare ask Xavier, either."

He heaved a long-suffering sign designed to let her know exactly what he thought of that.  "Fine," he muttered, slowly shaking his head.  "Just make me go alone, why don't you?  Alone . . .  with Mikey . . . in Paris . . . with Mikey . . ."

"You could always ask Bugs to go along," she suggested dryly.  "I'll bet he'd jump at the chance to spend time with you—alone—in the City of Love."

"No, thanks," Evan said, the pouting tone of his voice dissipating fast.  "I'm good."

She laughed.  "Maybe next time."

Evan sighed again despite the smile that still lingered on his lips.  "Yeah," he agreed.  "Definitely next time."

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'Daniel< /b>' by Elton John originally appeared on the 1973 release, Don't Shoot Me, I'm Just the Piano Player.  Copyrighted to Elton John and Bernie Taupin.
== == == == == == == == == ==
rachainu ------ RubyJewel ------ iheartinuyasha426 ------ theablackthorn ------ Tueske (Yes, a couple of them.)
cutechick18 ------ amohip ------ HisEveryThing ------ BobbyJustGotSheared ------ indigorrain ----- reina q ------ lianned88 ------ kmackie21 ------ GoodyKags
Thought from Evan:
Oh, she'll go, all right
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.