InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Explosion ( Chapter 173 )

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


- OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'They say I'm just a stupid kid, just a crazy radical ...
'Rock and roll is dead, I probably should've stayed in school ...
'Another Generation X who somehow slipped up through the crack
'Oh, they'd love to see me fall but I'm already on my back ...'

-'In One Ear' by Cage the Elephant.


-Valerie-


"Lookin' good, V!"

Valerie shook her head and didn't even try to smile as Bone reached for her suitcase.  "Does he know I'm here?" she asked, ignoring Bone's greeting since she wasn't exactly in the mood for small-talk.

Bone grinned.  "Nope," he said, falling in step beside her as they headed for the exit of Paris International Airport.

"Good."

Bone chuckled, leaning toward her to buffer her against some of the thicker traffic near the entrance.  "Figured you'd want to surprise him," he explained with a careless shrug.  "Maybe not exactly the surprise he was hoping for, though, ya?"

"Just tell me he and Garret have been keeping out of trouble," Valerie said in a rather defeated tone of voice and a weary little sigh.

"Depends upon your definition of 'trouble'," Bone replied jovially.

Valerie heaved another sigh as he escorted her over to a black stretch limo waiting for them.  Bone helped her get in, then poured a glass of sparkling water for her before settling back on the seat across from her for the trip to the hotel where the entourage was staying.

She was exhausted—beyond exhausted, actually.  She hadn't really slept in closing in on twenty-four hours—not since she'd gotten that fateful phone call from Garret, anyway.  She'd booked the first international flight she could get, and, fortunately, it was bound for Paris, then she'd called Bone from the plane to ask him to meet her at the airport.

To be honest, she wasn't even sure what she'd packed, not that it mattered.  If she forgot anything, Evan could just pay for it, and considering she was reasonably sure that he'd dragged Garret along with him just because he knew that she'd fly over when she found out, she figured it would be a small price for him to pay.

At least Mike had assured her that so far, there had been no real problems stemming from Evan's uncanny ability to get into trouble.  She'd called him shortly after booking her flight to give him an earful about the entire situation.  Mike, however, had calmly told her that Jack had a signed and notarized affidavit, giving Evan temporary guardianship over Garret, should the kid end up needing any kind of medical attention, which really didn't do a thing to reassure Valerie.  All Jack had said when she called him was that, since she wasn't going, Evan had seemed like a good choice for the job.

All in all, she was fairly sure that the world was going crazy around her.  It had to be some weird, parallel universe in which anyone would willingly give Evan temporary guardianship over anything short of a lab rat . . .

She leaned back and closed her eyes for a moment.  No doubt about it, Evan just really couldn't help himself, could he?  He seriously lacked impulse control.  She could only hope that he hadn't encouraged Garret to do anything too terrible . . .

The limo stopped much sooner than Valerie liked, but she opened her eyes, only to find Bone grinning at her.  "Here," he said, handing Valerie a corded laminate.

She leaned forward and took it, only to stop and blink when she got a good look at the picture on the pass.  "Is that Evan's ass?" she asked blankly without looking up at the head of security.

Bone chuckled.  "Sure is," he told her.  "That's what he gets for mooning the photographer, don't you think?"

She made a face but dropped the cord over her head and pulled her hair free, then took Bone's hand to allow him to help her out of the limo.  The hiss of flashing cameras greeted her, and Bone quickly dropped his coat over her head and shoulders.  "Nothin' to see here," he remarked rather broadly as he hurried Valerie up the walk that had been cordoned off at some point or another.

From under the makeshift cover of Bone's coat, Valerie heard the muffled voices of reporters, firing off questions, both in English and French, but there were so many of them that they all seemed to blend together into one static sound without discernible words.  The screams and calls of the wash of fans who were pressing themselves against the barricades were much louder.

"Roka's got the penthouse, of course," he told her as he herded her toward the looming glass doors.  Motioning for the nearby concierge, Bone stopped.  "Have her luggage taken up to Zel Roka's suite, ya?  She'll be staying with him."

The diminutive man's polite little smile seemed to take on a rather stagnant, decidedly indulgent air as his gaze flicked coolly over Valerie.  He did seem momentarily surprised, but at last, he inclined his head, then motioned for one of the bellhops to come over.  "Absolutely, Mr. Brauerton."

Valerie forced a tepid, almost insincere smile back at him and took the key card that he held out to her.  "Thanks," she said as Bone started moving her toward the elevators.  That man thought that she was just another groupie, didn't he?  It was obvious on his face.  About the moment that Bone had said that she'd be staying in Evan's suite, he'd gotten that look on his face: the condescending kind of expression reserved for the women unfortunate enough to be relegated to the roles of the playthings of the rich and famous . . .

The truly ironic thing was, as far as Valerie could figure, that the people who gave those looks tended to be completely oblivious to it, too.  They honestly didn't realize that their thoughts were that transparent—or they didn't realize that the person on the receiving end of it would be smart enough to accurately interpret it.  Those were the same people who waited until you turned your back to run off and whisper in the shadows, making jokes to their cohorts about the flavor of the week, looking down on those women with the snide commentary that she might last a week, maybe two, before she was tossed out for the next one.  While it was true that Valerie hadn't gotten too many of those looks while out with Evan on his mini-tour, she had to wonder if that wasn't because he was standing beside her most of the time.

Pushing away those unwelcome thoughts, Valerie glanced over her shoulder at the kids camped outside the hotel.  The glass wall at the front of the building was nothing but bodies, squashed shoulder to shoulder; a myriad of blurred faces as they stood, watching, waiting to catch a glimpse of Evan, she supposed.  She'd seen this kind of thing before, but it wasn't any less daunting, and somehow, she had the feeling that it wouldn't matter how many times she saw that particular scene play out, she'd never, ever get used to it . . .

Off to the right near the doors that led to a small, cozy little bar, she caught the calculated stares of the women gathered there.  They weren't ordinary groupies.  Dressed in much more expensive clothing with impeccable makeup and very polished demeanors, Valerie wasn't sure who they were, but it was obvious to her, just what they were thinking.   After all, they'd overheard Bone telling the concierge that she was there with Zel Roka; they'd seen her being handed a key to his suite.  Those women thought that she was the same as them, didn't they?

"Ignore them, ya?"

Valerie blinked and glanced up at Bone, who was staring lazily at the closed elevator doors.  The walkie-talkie strapped to his belt beeped at him, and he pulled it out of the small leather holster.  "Bone here," he said.

"Hey, Bone.  Zel's in here, by the pool," the voice on the other end said.  "He said that he wanted to talk to you."

"All right," he said, dropping the device into the holster again before taking Valerie's hand and pulling her down the hallway that  curved around the huge marble staircase in the middle of the hotel foyer.  "Anyway, those girls been trying to wheedle their way upstairs since we got here," he went on quietly.  "I think it pissed 'em off that they weren't invited to the pool party."

Lifting her chin a notch, Valerie willed herself not to look back as she fell into step beside Bone.  "Pool party?"

Bone grinned.  "Suffice it to say that Zel got a little antsy last night," he replied mysteriously.

For some reason, his cryptic answer did little to reassure Valerie.

She stopped short as the two stepped out of the long hallway and into another, brighter hallway—it made perfect sense, she supposed, since the whole wall seemed to be fashioned completely of glass.  From where she stood, she could see security guards flanking every door leading outside.  In the courtyard that was completely enclosed by the hotel, rising up around it, was the pool, but that wasn't what had brought her up short.  Oh, no, absolutely not.  It was the sight of the huge, white cloth that stopped about ten feet over the center of the pool and extended up higher than she could see that did it—and the heart-dropping sight of Garret, wearing what looked to be a pair of black shorts—flying down that cloth, only to drop off of it with a whoop of laughter, abruptly cut short by the huge splash of water, followed in very quick succession by two very top-heavy looking girls.  The geyser shot up a good fifteen feet in the air, and with a strangled cry, Valerie dashed forward, grabbing the doors and giving them a vicious yank in her effort to get outside.  The security people stationed on either side of the door started to move in to stop her, and while she'd like to think that her glare was enough to put them off, it probably had more to do with the security laminate hanging around her neck—and Bone's presence, too.

There had to be at least fifty people relaxing around the pool, most of them doing things that shouldn't have been done in polite company.  None of them seemed to care, however, that they could be seen by anyone coming or going from their rooms.  Some of them were smoking things that Valerie was quite sure weren't cigarettes, many of them were faces that she recognized from different rockstar publications . . . Girls who didn't possess an ounce of shame, who willingly gave up their self respect in order to brag to her friends that she'd fucked a rockstar . . . It struck her once more, just how askew Evan's world really was—a world that didn't even bat an eye at excess, that balanced on the very precipice between what should and should not be acceptable.  Things that ordinary people would get busted for, no questions asked, was all right for them, wasn't it?  But it wasn't okay, not to her . . .

"V!" Evan exclaimed, hauling himself out of the pool with a huge grin on his face as he sauntered over to intercept her.  Cut off jeans that hugged his hips just a little too well, and didn't that just figure?  All the same, she couldn't quite help the dizzying way her belly flopped over as she watched him.  There was an absolutely perfect symmetry in his body, an undeniable beauty in the sinfully animalistic way that he moved . . . The jeans shorts barely clung to his hips.  She could discern the vale of muscles in his lower abdomen—the ones that narrowed as they descended.  If his shorts were any lower-riding, she had little doubt that she'd be able to see the base of his penis, and for some bizarre reason, she kind of wished that they were.  Zel Roka, caught in public in something as simple as swimming trunks?  Of course not, and she made a face when he hauled her into a tight hug, conveniently forgetting the fact that he was still dripping wet.  "I thought you said you couldn't make it."

"Can it, Roka," she said, wiggling her arms up between them and giving him a good shove that didn't do anything at all to move him.  "What the hell is going on?"

He planted a noisy kiss on her cheek and laughed.  "We're having a pool party," he said in a tone that indicated that she should be able to figure out as much.  "Did you bring your bikini?  That red one, maybe?"

Valerie snorted and shoved at him again, ignoring the hopefulness in his voice that he didn't even try to hide.  "No, I didn't," she grumbled, giving him another shove.  "Is that what you're calling it these days?  A pool party?" she asked, arching an eyebrow as she stared past him at a couple—she thought that maybe the guy was Frankie, but she couldn't rightfully see his face since some big-boobed bimbo in what one might laughingly refer to as a bikini was trying to suck it off at the moment.    He had his hand on her breast while she had hers on his crotch, kneading the area like a contented cat.  They weren't the worst ones, either.  Across the misshapen pool, she saw a couple girls, kneeling on the ground in front of Tay, who was reclining rather comfortably with his head back and his eyes closed, very obviously enjoying a blow job.  Scowling as she shifted her gaze around the pool, only to discover that those two were not the only ones either getting or giving sexual favors, it was all she could do to keep from finding her brother to get the hell out of there.  "Where's Garret?  So help me God, Roka, if you've done anything to pervert my brother, I swear, I'll—"

"V!  Hey!" Garret said as he climbed out of the pool and strode toward her.  For a moment, she thought that he might just try to grab and hug her, too, but he didn't.  Instead, he just grinned kind of dorkily at her.  "Wow, Zel . . . you were right!"

"Right about what?" she countered.

Garret's grin widened.  "Well, he said that you'd fly over as soon as you found out that I was here, and you did!  Knows you pretty well, doesn't he?"

She sorted indelicately to let Garret know in no uncertain terms, just what she thought of that statement, then Valerie turned to glower at the rock star just in time to see him make a slicing motion across his throat with his prone hand.  When she raised an eyebrow, he chuckled.  "What are you doing here, Garret?" she demanded with what should have been a formidable scowl.

Garret laughed.  "Well, we were a little bored," he began.

Her sigh was audible as she rubbed her forehead.  "Not that," she muttered, wondering absently if she was too late to do anything about Evan's negative influence on her brother.  "I want to know why you're here—in Paris—with him," she finished, waving a hand at Evan to emphasize her words.

"Oh, well, I work for him now," he told her proudly.  "I'm part of the road crew."

"Oh, my God," she moaned, feeling as though the walls were closing in around her.  "This has got to be a bad dream . . ."

"Are you going to try out the slide?"

Valerie blinked and stared at Garret in confusion.  "The slide?"

Garret laughed and pointed upward.

It was only then that Valerie realized just what she really ought to have noticed before.

The cloth 'slide' that she'd watched Garret fly off of to drop into the pool.  It extended up—way up—and seemed  to be affixed to the safety railing around a balcony on the top floor, very likely Evan's room.  There were staircases leading up to the decks of the different floors all the way around the enclosure, and as she looked around, she realized that the building itself was built on a subtle angle, likely to allow maximum sunshine to fall on the pool.  From her vantage point, she could see something else that she hadn't before, either: the slide seemed to be fashioned out of bedsheets sewed end to end . . .

And as she watched, a couple more people that she didn't recognize vaulted over the top of the railing to land on the slide.  The cloth buckled under their weight, creating a kind of tube around their descending bodies.

"You want to try it out?" Garret asked again, breaking through Valerie's almost dumbfounded stupor.  "It's wicked-awesome!"

She snorted and leveled a no-nonsense scowl on her brother.  "Absolutely not—and neither are you!"

To her unabashed chagrin, Garret laughed at her.  "It's solid," he assured her as he headed toward the doors that led back into the hotel.  "Roka figured all that out last night.  Just watch.  I'll show you!"

"Garret!" she hissed, her scowl darkening as the Barbie twins hurried after her brother.  "Oh, I don't think—"

"Aww, relax, V," Evan drawled, wrapping his arms around her from behind to keep her from running after Garret.  "He's fine—and he's having the time of his life."

"But that's not safe!" she insisted, struggling against Evan's grasp.  "Let go of me, you oaf!"  Damn him for being so strong, anyway . . . "And who the hell are those hussies?"

Evan's chuckle was like a caress on the back of her neck.  "He likes them," Evan went on, wrapping his arms more securely around her, "and they like him—a lot.  As for the slide?  It's plenty safe."

That only served to wring a growl out of Valerie as she watched her brother hurry up the stairs with the girls in tow.  One of them grabbed Garret's arm, and he leaned down, but shook his head at whatever she'd whispered to him.  "Where the hell did you get that slide, anyway?" she demanded, tamping down the urge to stomp on the man's foot since he still refused to let go of her.

"We made it," he told her simply.

She blinked, craning her neck as she struggled to get a good look at his face.  "You what?"

He grinned.  "We made it," he stated once more.

Pivoting on her heel when he finally let his arms drop away from her, Valerie ducked her chin and glowered up at him though her eyelashes.  "I am so going to regret asking this," she predicted in a completely nonplussed kind of way, "but . . . how did you make it?"

If he knew that she was irritated, he didn't show it.  Breaking into a wide grin, he shrugged.  "Well, see, we got to talking—Did you know that Garret got an A-plus in home economics?  He said that the teacher was impressed with his sewing skills."

She stifled a groan.  If it were anyone else, she would think that he was just trying to avoid answering her question, but it was Evan, and because it was Evan, she knew damn well that he really was getting around to the how of it . . .

"Anyway, I got this idea, you know, when I was looking at the sheets, right?  I mean, I figured that if took enough sets of sheets, we could make a damn fine slide—and we totally did!"

Rubbing her temples in small circles, Valerie counted to twenty before she trusted herself to speak.  "You got that—" she said, pointing at the fabric slide, "—out of Garret getting an A-plus in home economics?"

"Did you know that I got an A-plus in home economics?" Evan went on, completely missing her point.

"I don't care," she hissed, ready to find something to beat him over the head.  "Just because you got an A-plus in home ec doesn't mean—"

"Don't sweat it, V," he insisted, his grin widening.  "I took some engineering-type courses in college, too."

"Hey!  V!  Watch!"

Valerie gritted her teeth as her chin snapped up, as she watched in stunned silence as Garret vaulted over the railing where the sheet-slide was anchored.  With a loud whoop, he fairly flew down the path, and Valerie's only real consolation was that they'd obviously sewed the longest sides of the sheets together, so Garret's weight pulled it down enough to create a makeshift tube.  She grimaced as he flew off the end of the slide, only to crash down in the center of the pool seconds later.

Evan chuckled.  Valerie sighed.  Garret laughed as he surfaced in the pool.  The girls hit the water behind Garret with happy shrieks.  She started to step forward, ready to tell Garret that they were going back to the States right now.  Evan caught her arm before she could take more than a couple steps, though.  "Aw, V . . . He's having the time of his life," Evan murmured behind her.

"That is so dangerous, Roka," she told him with a stubborn shake of her head.  "How would you feel if those sheets ripped?  If someone were to fall off there, you'd be responsible for it!"

He stared at her for several moments, his expression almost serious, definitely inscrutable.  "I like your brother," he said at length.  "I like him a lot . . . and I swear to God, I wouldn't let him do something that I thought was really dangerous."

She opened her mouth and waved a hand at the makeshift slide.  "I know you wouldn't do anything on purpose," she told him with an exasperated shake of her head.  "But you know as well as I do that accidents do happen."

"Okay, V," he said, a hint of a smile quirking his lips.

She blinked.  Something about what she'd just said to him . . . pleased him . . .? But why . . .? "Okay?  What's okay?"

He chuckled and ambled past her, heading toward the side of the pool.  "Hey!  Tay!  Frankie!  Get the girls off your faces and get moving!  It's about time for sound-check, anyway.  Bone, can you yank down the slide?" he tossed over his shoulder.

"Not a problem," Bone allowed.

Evan held up a hand to indicate that he'd heard Bone.  "Hey, Garret!"

Garret's head turned at the sound of Evan's voice, and he hurriedly swam over to the side of the pool.

"You want to hang out onstage during sound-check?"

Garret hauled himself out of the pool, a huge grin on his face.  "Yeah?"

"Yeah," Evan said, swiping up a towel off a nearby chair and tossing it at him.  "C'mon.  It'll be cool."


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A/N:
'In One Ear' by Cage the Elephant originally appeared on the 2008 release, Cage the Elephant.  Copyrighted to Cage the Elephant.
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Final
Thought from Valerie:
An A-plus in home ec …?
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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~

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