InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Poet ( Chapter 172 )

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

-O oOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'Well, take it from the man ...
'Who's not afraid to come on strong
'When there's magic in the music
'It's the singer, not the song ...'

-'It's the Singer, Not the Song' by Survivor.


"Damn, I didn't know it was going to be that much work."

Evan glanced up as Garret dropped onto the sofa beside the door.  The crew had just finished setting Evan's stage that would be moved into the arena in a number of smaller pieces on the main set where the show was going to take place at midnight tonight.  Garret hadn't been too sure about what he was doing, but he'd been put directly under Kink McCray, the production manager, and Kink had taken the time to let Evan know that the kid had caught on damn fast.  He had a couple good things going for him.  First off, he was bright, and he was a quick study.  Secondly, and maybe more importantly, he wasn't afraid of asking questions instead of just assuming that he could figure something out on his own.  All in all, Garret was enthusiastic about what he was doing, and if he'd actually managed to impress someone as hard-nosed as Kink, then Evan figured he'd do just fine.

"Kink said you did pretty well," he remarked, hiding his amusement as he ducked his chin and looked down at the guitar he was holding.

"That guy's a slave driver," Garret said with a groan.  Then he sat up, looking just a little anxious.  "I mean, I learned a lot, though.  I'm not complaining."

"I didn't figure, and yeah, I've heard that before," Evan assured him with a grin.  "Where's your guitar?"

"Oh, I left it in my room.  I'll go get it."

Evan watched the kid hop up and hurry away.  So much for being tired, he supposed.  Mention music to the boy, and he was just fine, wasn't he?

There had been a little bit of a mix up in the reservations, and since Garret was a last minute addition to the plan, there wasn't enough hotel rooms reserved and no vacancies since there were a lot of people in town just for the show, Evan had suggested that Garret stay with him.  After all, he'd been given a penthouse suite for the duration, provided by the festival as a perk since he was headlining.

'Yeah, except you're forgetting one very crucial thing,' Evan's youkai-voice piped up.  'V's so gonna have your ass when she finds out about this.'

'Nah,' he argued, brushing off his youkai's concerns.  'Nothing bad's happened.'

'Keh!' his youkai snorted.  'What's that mean?  You popped the kid's cherry, for God's sake!'

Evan couldn't help the stupid little grin that surfaced on his face.  'I didn't,' he retorted.  'Bunni did . . . and it's not like Garret was bitching about that, either.'

'Ya think?  Of course he wasn't!  What sixteen year old kid would bitch about that?'

Which was true enough, as far as Evan figured.  After all, how many kids could say that they were well and truly taken advantage of by a woman like that?

It was actually rather amusing.  If Garret's blushing face hadn't given it away, no one would have known any different.  Well, the grin he wore for hours afterward might have done him in.  Still, he hadn't admitted anything, even though Evan had given in and teased him for a while after the fact, and as far as Evan was concerned, he still felt that it was the lesser of the two evils.  Considering Garret had disappeared for a few hours last night after Bone had spotted him not even twenty minutes after they'd checked into the hotel, talking to a couple groupies down in the lobby of the hotel, it wasn't like Evan had arranged a thing that wasn't bound to happen, anyway.

Objectively speaking, the kid was hot, and on top of that, he already had the look of a rockstar going—one of those pretty boys who would shine up the cover of any respectable industry magazine very nicely.  Mikey had commented that Garret was the kind of kid that talent hawks were always looking for to add to the next boy-band that they hoped to catapult to super-stardom.  Luckily, Garret wasn't the kind to take up a offer like that, anyway, but Evan also knew damn well that with a little more polish, Garret really would be able to stand on his own, even in the dog-eat-dog world of rock n' roll, if he wanted to, and Evan had very little doubt that Garret wanted to . . .

"I picked up some new strings at the store earlier," Garret said as he hurried back into the living room with the guitar Evan had given him in tow.  "It's that new synthetic kind that are supposed to last longer than the regular ones."

Evan chuckled and slowly nodded.  "They're supposed to," he agreed.  "They don't always, but they're supposed to."

Garret sat down, sticking a pick between his lips as he strummed the instrument a few times and paused to loosen a string.  "That kind of sucks," he muttered, pulling the pick out of his mouth and settling the guitar on his leg.  "Dude, I ran into Faren Sage in the elevator," he said suddenly, once more taking on the excited puppy kind of air.  "Oh, and Cruz Milbain, too . . ."

"I did, too," Evan remarked.  Faren Sage was the guitarist from an up and coming band, Bridled, and Cruz Milbain was a living legend in the funkotic movement.  Both were pretty cool guys, as far as Evan was concerned.  "Saw them right after sound check," he went on.  "They talk to you?"

Garret shook his head.  "Ah, uh, no," he mumbled.  "Faren was asking Cruz about some business stuff.  I just listened.  Figured maybe I'd learn something."

"Good plan," Evan told him with an approving nod.  "So did you?"

This time, Garret sighed.  "Not really," he admitted.  "I mean, I listened and all, but it didn't really make sense to me.  Maybe one day, if I can get a break . . ."

He had to admit, he liked the boy's outlook.  "All in good time, Garret.  Until then, just soak in what you can."

Garret nodded, then shrugged.  "I'm not in a big hurry . . . I'm having a lot of fun, as it is . . . You know, it's kind of funny . . ."

"What is?" Evan asked a little vaguely since he was concentrating on the riff that had been rolling around in his head.  It had taken root during sound-check earlier, and it was to the point that Evan knew it would drive him crazy if he didn't get it hammered out.

Garret frowned as he watched Evan's fingers.  "Well, this," he said, waving at the hotel room at large.  "I always figured you'd be out, doing shit everywhere you went.  Uh . . . not that I mind.  It's cool.  Getting to jam with Zel Roka?  That's just fucking cool . . ."

Evan grinned as Garret started strumming along with him.  The kid had a damn good ear, no doubt about it.  It had been a while since anyone had been able to keep up with Evan, let alone to be able to figure out exactly where he was going with something.  Whether Garret realized it or not, it was a big deal, absolutely.

He played a modified version of Evan's riff, and Evan stopped.  "Hold on," he said, reaching over to stop Garret.  The kid jerked back, blinking furiously, as though Evan had broken him out of some sort of trance. "S-Sorry."

Garret shook his head, a late grin surfacing fast.  "Nah, it's okay," he assured him.

"Play that riff again," Evan told him.

Garret looked confused for a second, then he nodded as he bent over his guitar again.  The slight variation was there again, and Evan picked it up without any trouble.  "I like that," Evan remarked.  "Mind if I use that?"

Garret looked genuinely surprised, and he quickly shook his head again.  "Wh . . . No way!  Really?"

"Yeah, really.  You've got a damn good ear, Garret."

For a moment, Evan had to wonder if Garret might cry or something, he looked so stunned at the offhanded compliment.  "Go ahead, man," he blurted, his cheeks pinking in unabashed happiness.

"If this song goes anywhere, I'll give you co-author rights."

"Uh . . . You sure?" Garret breathed.  "It's just a couple notes . . ."

"Yeah, but a couple notes can make or break a song.  That should be one of the first things you learned," Evan pointed out.  "I refuse to believe that your dad never told you that."

Garret laughed rather nervously.  "Oh, well, he did," he admitted.  "I remember, once he was playing that song—the one that you guys bought, right?  So he played it a little different, and it just sounded—I don't know . . . complete, I guess?"  He sighed and shook his head.  "That ain't exactly what I meant . . ."

"That right?" Evan pressed.  "Show me.  Can you?"

"Oh, uh, okay," Garret said as he stooped forward to play.  "This was the original version."

He played through the opening riff, and Evan heard what the kid was talking about.  The original version was good, but the few extra notes that had been added afterward had really made it, as far as he was concerned.  Garret, however, got caught up in the song easily enough, and Evan joined in, but it was the boy who started to sing.

"'Don't look at me with those eyes so bright . . .
'When I know the pain you're tryin' to fight . . .
'I never meant to make you cry . . .
'My mistakes, for you, I'd die . . .'"

The song was heavy, definitely metal, but the words sounded more like a ballad, yet it wasn't in the vein of the power ballads, either.  It was one of the things that had initially struck Evan.  It had the thick guitars, but the delivery of the lyrics . . . that was the thing that had worried Evan, to start with.  To find someone who could deliver the words and even dominate the powerful song . . . To Evan's surprise, there was a certain soulfulness in Garret's voice, a softness that fell upon the ears like a gentle rain, even while an underlying gruffness added a rich sound, a resonant timbre.  Evan had heard guys who had spent years taking vocal lessons who couldn't seem to grasp the innate quality that Garret seemed to possess naturally, and while he knew that Garret favored rock and roll, there wasn't a doubt in his head that he'd excel at singing the blues, if he really wanted to.

The song ended, and Evan grinned at Garret.  Garret blushed slightly, but he looked pleased as he broke into a wolfish grin, too.

"That was nice."

Evan glanced over at Mike, who was standing just inside the door.  "Hey, Mikey.  What's up?"

Mike smiled.  "Give me a second, Roka."

Evan stood up and strode over to Mike as Garret turned his attention back to the guitar again as he took up Evan's riff once more.  "Yeah?"

"I just wanted to remind you that we're flying to Paris in the morning," Mike said.  "We'll be cutting it close, though.  I just got off the phone with Tellingier, and he said that there's a press conference scheduled not too long after we land."

"Franco Tellingier is a dickwad," Evan snorted.  "If it had been up to him, I'd never be headlining this thing."

Mike nodded in agreement.  "Be that as it may, as the headliner, you need to be at that press conference, okay?"

Evan snorted again and rolled his eyes.  "Okay, okay . . ."

Mike relaxed just a little, his gaze shifting from Evan to Garret.  "You know," he said at length, looking more thoughtful than he rightfully ought to, "I think it's pointless to try to shop Jack's song around."

"I thought you said it was a good song," Evan said, narrowing his eyes on his manager.

Mike nodded slowly.  "I did," he allowed, "and it is."

"What are you thinking?" Evan asked suspiciously.

Mike chuckled and waved a hand at Garret, still bent over his guitar.  "Well, who better to accurately capture the meaning of that song than the kid of the guy who wrote it?"


"And you're an attorney?"

Valerie smiled politely and set the glass of wine on the table.  "Yes," she said, stifling the desire to sigh.  When Marvin had suggested dinner at the upscale restaurant, she'd been surprised.  She ought to have known that there was a reason for it.  Not five minutes after they'd arrived, so had the Intaras, a very wealthy couple that normally lived in the south of Spain, but were in the States on business.  They had lost a son to the type of cancer that Marvin was researching, and he hoped to procure some of the funding he needed from them.  They were friendly enough, Valerie supposed, but, like all of the glamorous people she'd met over time, they seemed to live in an entirely different universe than everyone else.

"She represents a lot of famous people," Marvin interjected.  "You've heard of Dominick Stella, right?  He's one of her current clients, right, Val?"

Valerie nodded.  "Yes," she replied.

Migara Tatum-Intara's eyes widened.  She was a Spanish beauty, once a world-famous model, who was still stubbornly clinging to the youth that was rapidly fading, she had already taken on the look of someone who had undergone numerous procedures in order to retain her appearance.  To be honest, Valerie had to wonder if the woman would've looked better, had she not succumbed to the desire to nip and tuck her body, just as she had to wonder if her obviously devoted as well as indulgent husband would love her any less if she hadn't.  "Is that right?" she asked, flicking her wrist to adjust her near-gaudy diamond bracelet.  "The actor?  Didn't we meet him once?  At the Black and White Ball last year?"

Next to her, her husband smiled indulgently.  "He was charming," Pelagro Intara intoned, his thick Spanish accent coloring his words.  "He found you to be . . . what is the word?"  He paused with an exaggerated scowl, opening and closing his hand as though he were grasping for the right word.  "Ah, yes!  Intriguing, no?"

Migara giggled prettily.  "I think he was just being kind, darling."

He laughed.  "He would be a fool if that was the case."

Migara patted his hand before turning her attention back to Valerie once more.  She looked entirely appalled, and she leaned toward Valerie, as though she wanted to tell Valerie some sort of secret.  "He was charged with drunk and disorderly conduct, wasn't he?  Outrageous, isn't it?  You'll prove that the accusations are ungrounded?"

Shifting slightly, Valerie's smile turned a bit taciturn.  "I'm not at liberty to discuss his case," she said.  "I hope you understand."

"Of course; of course," Migara insisted.  Then she leaned in toward Valerie again.  "They are ungrounded, right?"

"Now, my pet, you heard her.  She cannot discuss it," Pelagro interrupted with a wink at Valerie.  "If you were being charged with something, you would not want her to discuss it with other people, would you?"

Migara blinked as she turned her wide-eyed stare on her husband.  "Whatever would I be charged with, darling?"

Pelagro's tolerant smile broadened.  "Why, for stealing my heart."

Valerie very nearly rolled her eyes as the middle-aged woman cooed and leaned in to kiss her husband.  As it was, she had to bite down on the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing outright at the sickeningly sweet, cutesy display.

It couldn't be real, could it?  The over-the-top show had to be for show.  There was just no way in the world that it could possibly be genuine.  Glancing over at Marvin, however, Valerie had to stifle a snort.  He was watching the couple with a rather goofy smile on his face.

The soft chime of her cell phone was dulled by her purse, and Valerie shot Marvin an apologetic glance as she pulled the device out.  "Just a moment," she said, holding the phone under the table as she sent the call to voicemail and fired off a text to Evan.  'Out to dinner.  Will call you back.'

"Everything all right?" Marvin murmured, leaning toward Valerie.  He didn't really have to.  Pelagro and Migara were still too busy canodeling to pay any attention to them.

Valerie forced a wan smile.  "Yes, just fine," she assured him.  Then her phone rang again, and she frowned.  If Evan just wanted to say hi, he would have been content to wait till she called him back; she knew it.  If he was calling her again just after she'd sent that text, though . . .

She stifled a groan.  For reasons that Valerie didn't want to contemplate, visions of Evan, sitting in a foreign jail, claiming to anyone who ventured past that 'it' wasn't his fault, assailed her, and she slowly shook her head.

"Excuse me," she said, standing up and addressing the others at the table.  "I need to take this call.  I'll be right back."

"Hello?" she said, answering the call as she walked toward the ladies' room.

"Hey, V!  How's it going?"

Valerie stopped mid-stride, as though she'd just walked straight into an invisible wall.  "Garret?" she said, her voice registering her surprise upon hearing his voice.

"Yeah," he said, then laughed.  "Aw, it's so awesome!  You'll never believe it!  I mean, Mike said he'd talk to Dad about it, but holy shit!  Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit!"

Glancing over her shoulder, Valerie altered her path so that she could step outside instead.  "What's awesome?  Garret, why are you calling me from Evan's phone?"

Garret laughed again.  "I'm gonna record that song!" he told her.  "Dad's song!  It's un-fucking-believable, right?"

She shook her head as the doorman opened the door for her.  She nodded her thanks as she stepped outside and around the corner of the building, into the relative quiet of the opening of the alley.  "You are?"

"Yeah.  Mike came in yesterday while Zel and I were playing, and he said that he thinks I've got what it takes!  Can you believe that?"

"Uh, that's great," she told him, shaking her head in confusion.  To be honest, she had no idea just what was going on.  Garret?  He was going to record that song . . .? "Don't sign anything, and tell Dad not to sign anything until I look it over . . ."

"Well, yeah, I figured.  That's what Mike said, too—that you'd want to look over everything," Garret said, as though he thought it was already a given.  "But the best part is that Zel's going to play backup for me!  I mean, I told him that just seemed wrong, you know?  I mean, he's Zel-fucking-Roka, right?  But he says that he wants to, and—"

"Garret," she cut in, rubbing her forehead since his babbling was leading her straight back to square one.  "Why are you with Zel?"

Her question gave him pause, and he let out a breath like a balloon losing air.  "Oh, well, because he invited me.  I'm spending spring break working on Zel's road crew."


He laughed.  "I know!  Awesome, right?"

"But you—no-o-o-o . . ." she half-groaned, half-moaned as Evan's seemingly-innocent question echoed in her head.

"Know anything about who I'd contact for a rushed passport?"

"Hey, Garret.  We're boarding now," someone said in the background.  She was pretty sure that it was Bone.

"O-Okay," he called back.  "Hey, listen, V, I've gotta go.  We're heading to Paris now.  Cool, right?  Fucking Paris!"

"Wait, Garret!  How are you—Ah-h-h-h," she sighed as the line went dead.  Immediately, she dialed Evan's number back, growling under her breath as the call was routed directly to his voicemail.

Collapsing against the dingy stone wall behind her, completely unmindful of the expensive black dress she was wearing, not to mention the chill in the air, Valerie covered her eyes with a hand and tried to think.  Evan had taken Garret with him to Europe?  Why on earth would he have done that?  Sure, she knew that Evan had taken a liking to the boy while they were down in Kentucky, but to drag him halfway around the world . . .?

Worse than that, Garret was only sixteen.  Just who was responsible for him while he was off, traipsing all over Europe with Evan?  She groaned and winced.  Why, oh why, did she think that this had 'disaster' written all over it . . .?

Garret was going to record that song?  But why . . .? When was that decided?  She'd never heard Garret sing, no, and she hadn't actually realized that he could, to be honest.  Still, the idea . . . It thrilled Garret, sure, and why wouldn't it?  But Valerie couldn't help her concern.  After all, if the song did well, just what would that mean to Garret's schooling?

He wanted to be a rockstar, just like Evan.  She didn't have to be brilliant to know that.  At sixteen, however, it'd be too much, too soon . . . Surely Evan knew that.  He shouldn't be encouraging Garret to do it, should he . . .?

Letting out a deep breath as she wearily rubbed her face, Valerie shook her head.  No, he probably didn't realize that.  The world of rock and roll had been kind to him all along, and maybe he just assumed that it would be the same for Garret.  Even still, Evan's family had made him finish school.  They'd insisted that he go to college before he took up music, full time, so it made no sense that he was so willing to go along with everything . . .

Looking at her phone again, Valerie dialed Evan's number, just to make sure that it was really shut off.  It was, and she sighed again.

"Know anything about who I'd contact for a rushed passport?"

She groaned.  She really ought to have known that he was up to something, but no, so convinced that he was just trying to mastermind a way to get her to go with him, she hadn't even considered that maybe he'd decide that dragging her brother around Europe would be just as good.  She really ought to have known . . .

One thing was certain, though.  Evan and Garret, alone in Paris . . .?  Somehow, that just didn't sound like a good idea; not in the least . . .

~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~= ~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
'It's the Singer, Not the Song' by Survivor originally appeared on the 1984 release, Vital Signs.  Copyrighted to Jim Peterik and Franky Sulllivan.
== == == == == == == == == ==
AdamantFan ------ AtamaHitoride ------ sutlesarcasm ------ ji-an ------ lilbaybee ------ Cray ------ theablackthorn ------ xSerenityx020 ------ tashwampa ------ Tueske
Zero ------ cutechick18 ------ BlkbltVette ------ indigorrain ------ KendallHearts ------ amohip ------ sydniepaige
Thought from Valerie:
Just what does he think he's doing …?
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.