InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ The Sound of Silence ( Chapter 182 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter One Hundred Eighty-Two~~
~The Sound of Silence~


-OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'Dreams last (for) so long ...
'Even after you're gone
'I know you love me
'And soon you will see
'You were meant for me
'And I was meant for you ...'

-'You were Meant for Me' by Jewel.


-Evan-


"How you doing back there?"

Valerie muttered something that was hidden beneath the prevalent sound of the falling rain.  Cold, wet, and uncomfortable, Evan had tried to talk her into finding shelter just after ten a.m. when the rain had first started to fall, but he'd also mentioned that they weren't far from Madrid, and Valerie, stubborn woman that she was, had insisted that she didn't want to stop until they reached the city.

Evan sighed.  True, in good conditions, they would likely reach Madrid within a few hours, probably before nightfall, if they could move faster, but the rain wasn't letting up, and judging from the clouds overhead, it wasn't going to, either.  No, he really needed to find some shelter where he could get her dried off and warmed up.  In the back of his mind, he couldn't ignore the sound of his youkai voice—the one that kept reminding him that she was human; she was delicate.  It'd be easy for her to get sick, especially in conditions like these . . .

Stopping abruptly, he turned to face Valerie with a scowl.  Her hair was plastered to her head despite the slicker she'd donned when the rain had started, and when she caught his gaze, she tried to smile, which only made his scowl darken, given that her lips were trembling.  "Let's find somewhere to wait this out," he said when she stepped in closer to him.  "C'mon, you're freezing, V."

He almost expected her to argue with him.  As feisty as she tended to be, it wouldn't have surprised him at all.  She must have realized that the rain wasn't about to stop any time soon, though, because she nodded instead, slipping her hand into his.  "If you can light a fire in all this, you'll be my hero forever," she murmured.

Chuckling softly, Evan let go of her hand long enough to tug the backpack off her, slinging it over his free arm before reaching for her once more.  "We'll get you dried off; I promise."

"Yeah, well, I guess it's not so bad," she allowed as they altered their course.  The highway shouldn't be that far away.  As far as Evan could estimate, he figured they ought to be able to reach it in an hour or so.  Even if they weren't able to find a better place, there were always a few small establishments along the way, right?  Besides, they weren't really in an area that offered much in the way of shelter, unfortunately . . .

"I love your optimism," he quipped, sparing a moment to wink at her.

She rolled her eyes but smiled.  "No, I just meant that I was thinking it'd be a little sad when we reach Madrid, anyway," she explained.

"Why's that?"

She shrugged offhandedly—he felt the slight tug on his hand.  "I've had a lot of fun, doing this," she admitted simply.  "More fun than I thought I'd have, to be honest . . ."

"You didn't think you'd have fun?" he couldn't help asking.

"No, no . . ." she quickly said.  "It wasn't that.  I knew it would be fun.  It's just been more fun than I'd thought; that's all . . ."

"Well, what'd you expect?  You're trekking all over Spain with a hell of a sexy guy—you said so yourself."

She heaved an audible sigh.  "I really never should have said that," she muttered under her breath.

"Yeah, but you did, and now you can't take it back."

That earned him a healthy snort.  "Just what you needed for your already monstrous ego," she complained.  "It would have been pretty bad if I had said that I didn't think you were, considering you'd already told them that we were married, you jerk."

He laughed.  He couldn't help it.  "Eh, does it matter?  I mean, hell . . . it's not like they're coming home with us, right?"

Rolling her eyes, she uttered another terse snort.  "You know, you're going to catch a cold," she suddenly said.  "You'll catch pneumonia, and they'll cancel your show, then Mike'll blame me for not stopping you from doing this, in the first place."

"I'll be fine," Evan insisted with a nonchalant shrug.  "I'm a big, strong rockstar, remember?"

That earned him a dour look.  "You're not invincible," she informed him brusquely as she scanned their surroundings, probably trying to find somewhere for them to take shelter.  "Sure, you're a rockstar.  Yes, you're healthy, but you're still human, and humans get sick."

"Aw, c'mon, woman!  I'm telling you it's not a big deal, and while I appreciate that you care, I guarantee that I—"

Dragging him under the comparative cover of a very large tree, Valerie didn't stop until she had him pinned between her and the trunk, and then she silenced him with a formidable scowl, her cheeks blossoming in color as she stubbornly shook her head.  "For once, Roka, you're going to shut the hell up and let me fuss over you, all right?"

The retort died on Evan's tongue as he stared at her, and if he'd ever seen anything quite as stunning as she was in that moment, he couldn't remember it.  Hair flat and clinging to her head, eyes flashing brighter than the occasional flash of lightning that split the otherwise pervasive grayness that surrounded them, nostrils flaring as her pinkened cheeks seemed to lend an ethereal glow to her skin, she looked just as beautiful in her soaked sweatshirt and jeans as she did in a designer dress, ready for a formal soiree.  "I'm not going to dry off here," he said, albeit gently as he reached up and carefully pushed a bedraggled lock of hair behind her ear.  "How about we worry about that when we find better shelter?"

"All right," she agreed with a weary sigh that was totally at odds with the fierceness still lingering in her gaze.  "Don't suppose you have any friends in this area, do you?"

He chuckled and pulled her into a quick hug before tugging the hood of her slicker a little more securely around her face.  "Unfortunately, no," he admitted.  "But we'll find something."

Valerie didn't look like she was buying it, but she did let him take her by the hand and drag her forward once more.


-Valerie-


"Do you think it's ever going to stop?"

Evan didn't turn to look at her where he stood, leaning casually against the cold metal support as he stared out of their makeshift shelter at the rain that still fell in the darkening night.  Far above, Valerie could hear the steady drone of cars passing overhead on the highway—it wasn't enough to constitute a traffic jam by any means, but there were more than enough, she supposed.  It struck her again, just how different he looked from his public persona.  After they'd stumbled upon the overpass, he'd changed out of his sopping-wet clothes and into a pair of black track pants and a gray University of Maine sweatshirt, which just didn't look at all like something that Zel Roka would wear.

"It has to," he replied almost absently and without turning to look at her, "and if it doesn't by morning, we'll just have to hitch a ride to Madrid."

She laughed and poured steaming coffee into the two tin cups before setting the kettle back in the ashes near the campfire.  "Yet something else for Mike to blame on me?  No way," she replied, picking up both cups and carefully walking over to him.  "Here, drink this."

He blinked and looked down almost in surprise as he took the cup she offered him.  "Oh, thank you," he said as he sipped the hot coffee.  "Damn, that's good . . ."

She rolled her eyes but smiled since she hadn't really done anything special, in her estimation.  "Yeah, we'll see if you're still saying that when you get your dinner," she warned.  The small stream that ran through the underpass didn't have any fish big enough to bother with, and so Valerie had resorted to throwing things together that they had in their backpacks—all things considered, not much.  Evan had a can of potted meat, a few packets of instant noodle soup, and a bag of beef jerky, and she'd had a couple energy bars, a few rice cakes, and some trail mix.  She'd dumped the chicken noodle soup packets into a small pan of water that she'd boiled some of the beef jerky with it for flavor, added the potted meat, and hoped that it wasn't the grossest thing in the world.

"It can't be that bad," he insisted.  "Anything tastes good when you're starving, right?"

She laughed despite the dark look she tried to give him.  "Oh, now that's good for my ego," she said, draining her coffee and holding out her hand for his empty cup.  "Anyway, dinner's as ready as it'll ever be."

Pushing himself away from the metal beam, he chuckled as he followed her back toward the fire.  He didn't say anything as she scooped his food into a bowl and handed it over, and she couldn't tell what, exactly, he was thinking as he stuck the first bite into his mouth.  Gnawing on her lip and bracing herself for whatever he was going to say about it, she waited.

"It's not bad," he finally said, though the thoughtful expression on his face didn't wane.

She grimaced.  "It's awful, isn't it?"

He chuckled and stuffed another bite into his mouth.  "No, seriously, it's really not bad, I swear!"

She must not have looked like she believed him, because he laughed again and held out his spoon.  "Try it."

Hesitating for a moment, she finally leaned forward and sniffed.  It really didn't smell bad, no, she supposed, but still . . .

"Come on," he coaxed, waving the spoon just a little.  "Taste it."

She wasn't entirely sure that she thought he was above playing a mean trick on her, but she finally let him feed her a bite.  "It's not . . . terrible," she decided at length.

"Actually, I kind of like it," he ventured, scooping up another bite.  "Kind of reminds me of one of those chicken noodle dinner-things that I loved as a pup."

"Those things didn't have potted meat in them," she pointed out as she started to eat the portion she'd saved for herself.

He chuckled.  "They did if Cain made them," he told her.  "Well, not potted meat, but ol' Cain was known to toss cut-up hot dogs into it . . ."

She made a face since that didn't really sound too tasty to her.  "And how often did your father feed stuff like that to you?" she asked.

"Eh, not too often, but there were a few times if Mama had meetings or something, usually only when she was working with her editor on the children's books she writes."

The thought of Gin Zelig's children's books made her smile, especially since Valerie had seen the one that she'd been working on most recently over their visit on Christmas.  Though it didn't officially have a title yet, it was generally referred to as The Purple Pony with a Golden Horn, and, Valerie had been told, it was being written for Olivia.  Gin wrote and illustrated stories for all the children, and Evan had told Valerie that she had written the story, Ruff-Ruff's Rough Day for him.

"Your mom is so great," she ventured, setting her now-empty bowl aside.  "Like the kind of mom you read about or see on those corny old television shows . . ."

"Your mom's pretty cool," he reminded her though his smile bespoke his obvious pleasure that Valerie approved of his mama.

She let out a deep breath.  It wasn't a sigh, exactly.  "She was too young to be the kind of mom yours was," Valerie said simply, pragmatically.  "I think she did a better job with Garret and Kaci Lea."

"I'm pretty sure that Mama's the exception, not the norm," Evan told her very seriously—at least, until he broke into a shit-eating grin, anyway.  "I mean, no one on earth's as great as my mama."

Valerie laughed and slowly shook her head, mostly because it was pretty obvious that Evan wasn't about to take anything too seriously at the moment.  "Yeah?  Just so you know, it still baffles me, how she ended up with a rotten kid like you."

His grin widened.  "Eh, just lucky, I guess."

She laughed.  She couldn't help it.  The man was just incorrigible, no doubt about it.  Still giggling, she took his bowl and retrieved her own to wash them in the creek.

"Oh . . . That's not good . . ."

"Hmm?  What's that?" she asked without turning around to see what Evan was up to.

She heard him sigh as she shook off the bowls and set them aside.  "The tent's wet," he told her.  "Guess I didn't check to make sure the end of the bag was secured well enough before I tied it to my backpack."

Settling back on her haunches, Valerie lifted her head and gazed around the shelter.  "Well, we're pretty much out of the wind, so I guess it's not so bad," she finally said.

Evan grunted.  "Yeah . . . good thing we'll reach Madrid tomorrow.  Doesn't look like the rain's going to let up enough to dry this out overnight."

Pushing herself to her feet with the dishes, Valerie stepped back over to the fire and arranged them on a towel to dry.  "The blankets are still dry," she reminded him.  "We'll be fine."

"Says you," he retorted, sparing a moment to pin her with a lecherous grin.  "Don't blame me if I can't keep my hands to myself if I get cold."

"You will," she insisted, frowning at the ground, trying to decide on the best area to spread out a blanket.

"Yeah," he drawled, scratching his chin.  "I guess I will—for now."


-Evan-


'I don't think that there's anything else in the world that I want right now . . .'

Evan's youkai-voice sighed in an almost contented sort of way.  'For now.'

'Yeah, for now,' he allowed, wrapping his arms a little tighter around Valerie.  Sitting with his knees bent, slouching slightly against the cold concrete wall with her cuddled on his lap, her cheek resting against his heart, he figured that it was just about perfect while the dull sound of the falling rain droned on in his ears, interrupted now and then by vehicles rumbling high overhead.  She hadn't spoken in a while, and Evan was almost convinced that she was sleeping.

"No, I just meant that I was thinking it'd be a little sad when we reach Madrid, anyway . . . I've had a lot of fun, doing this.  More fun than I thought I'd have, to be honest . . ."

He'd take that, he supposed.  Breaking into a wan smile as he savored the feel of her, he breathed in the smell of her, let himself get lost in the calm of her aura.  Maybe she didn't know it yet, but she would.  All she had to do was listen to her heart, right?  Then she'd know how it should be . . . Just a little longer, and then . . .

"What are you thinking about, Roka?"

Evan blinked and glanced down at Valerie.  She hadn't moved, and she must've been awake the whole time, and he smiled.  "Trying to think of a good way to get into your pants," he said, unable to resist teasing her.

"You just had to go there, didn't you?" she replied, completely nonplussed.   "Be serious?"

"I assure you, woman, I'm being totally serious," he assured her.  "Getting into your pants is very serious to me."

She tugged playfully on the lock of hair she'd been holding.  "I'm not used to you being so quiet," she pointed out.  "So what's on your mind?"

He sighed and kissed her on the forehead.  "This is nice, isn't it?  You're warm enough, right?"

"Mhmm," she drawled, unconsciously snuggling a little closer.  "It is nice . . . well, except for the noisy neighbors upstairs.  Why don't you go tell them to be a bit quieter?  Some of us are trying to sleep."

He chuckled since the neighbors she was referring to were the vehicles on the overpass.  "I'll do that," he murmured, resting his cheek on her hair.

She giggled.  "Never mind me . . . Are you warm enough?"

Her concern brought a certain tenderness to his smile, and he sighed.  "Don't worry about me, V.  I'm fine."

"You wouldn't tell me if you were cold, would you?" she asked, a hint of accusation in her tone.

"Probably not," he agreed easily enough, "but I'm fine, really."

She sighed, too.  "You'd do anything for someone else," she said slowly, "but you don't ask anyone for anything you need, do you?  Why?"

"Aww, c'mon, V.  I'm a lot more selfish than you give me credit for," he told her.

She laughed softly.  "But you're not . . . You're like your mother that way, aren't you?"

"Mama . . ." Evan mused, his smile fading just a little as he considered Valerie's observation.  Though he might not think so, was that really how she saw him?  To be compared to Gin in such a way . . .?  Was he really that selfless?  He winced inwardly.  No, not really.  He really wasn't . . . "You know, back when Mama and Cain got married, she refused to tell him that she wanted pups, you know?  Because Cain's first wife died having Belle, so Mama thought it'd be selfish to ask him to go through that again."

"But obviously they did have children," Valerie pointed out reasonably.

"Yeah, they did, but I know damn well Mama would've loved to have a houseful of little ones.  Too bad Cain gets really worried when she's pregnant.  Guess I can't blame him for that, huh?"

"She's pregnant now," Valerie mused.

Evan nodded.  "She is . . . She'll be fine, but I don't doubt for a second that Cain's a nervous wreck."

Valerie snorted when Evan chuckled at the idea of his father acting like a nervous wreck.  "I'm sure she will be fine—and so will your father."

"Anyway, it's not like I'm being selfless or anything," he went on with a philosophical shrug.  "I told you, right?  All of this is just a ploy to get into your pretty little panties."

"Such a jerk," she replied without any real rancor.  Actually, it kind of sounded more like an endearment than anything, and that made him laugh.  "All right, all right . . . so tell me something else?"

"Okay."

"Where do you see yourself in ten years?"

For some reason, her question caught him off guard, but he grinned, anyway, unable to ignore the obvious answer—at least, his obvious answer, anyway.  "Between your legs, woman.  Where the hell else would I be?"

She heaved a sigh, but he could feel her smiling.  "I should have known," she muttered, more to herself than to him.  "A jerk and a pervert."

"You think I'm joking, but I'm not.  I'm going to convince you that you want to be with me, and then I'm going to spend the rest of my life making sure that you're happy, that you have everything you've ever wanted, and in return for all of that, I'm going to insist that you put out at least once a day—more often, if I get my way."

She pushed against his chest, leaning away so she could see his face.  She was trying to look stern, wasn't she?  Too bad he could tell that she was about two seconds away from laughing outright.  "Okay, that aside, what else do you see yourself doing in ten years?"

He chuckled then sighed, figuring that she really did want a serious answer, and that just figured.  "Ten years?  Well, depending, I could still be out on the road . . . or I could move to Vegas and become a lounge singer."

"Sequins and satin?"

"Oh, yeah."

She wrinkled her nose but smiled.  "That's so tacky . . ."

"I know," he agreed.  "Totally tacky in a really fan-fucking-tastic way."

"Would you really do that?  Settle for being a lounge singer instead of just letting Zel Roka retire?  It's not like you'd need the money, you know," she ventured as she settled against him once more.

"To tell the truth, I always figured Zel Roka's go out with a bang, you know?   Something loud and flashy and totally rock.  Then I'll go back to just being boring ol' Evan Zelig."

He could sense her smile.  "I rather like boring ol' Evan Zelig."

For some reason, her answer pleased him more than he wanted to admit.  "Good . . . So tell me what you're planning on doing in ten years?"

She shrugged.  "Me?  Oh, that's easy.  I'll be partners at the law firm with my name on the door instead of just a removable plaque, and I can give the cases I don't want to the grunts and never have to deal with the overinflated ego of certain rockstars."

Her tongue-in-cheek answer made him smile, but something she'd said before whispered in the back of his mind.  "But no pups?" he asked, careful to keep his tone casual.

"I don't have time for children," she replied.  "Kids deserve to have parents who devote themselves to them, and I can't really do that.  Besides . . . I just don't think I'm the mommy type.  Do you?"

"I think you are," he said slowly, thoughtfully.  "In fact, I think you'd be a damn good mom."

"How do you figure that?" she countered dryly.

Evan gave her a gentle squeeze and shifted his weight slightly.   "Because you know what not to do, right?  So you'd be more careful to make sure you don't screw them up."

"Can't say I've ever had the desire to have them," she admitted simply.  "I don't know if that means I'm a terrible person or not, but it's true.  I never was any good at playing house, anyway.  Besides, haven't we already been over this before?"

"Yeah, but I thought maybe you'd changed your mind," he mused, frowning into the darkness over her head.  "Maybe you'll still change your mind."

"Maybe," she allowed, but he could tell from her tone of voice that she was just humoring him.  Then she laughed.  "What's that old saying?  May bees don't fly in September?"

Evan offered a half-hearted chuckle.  He'd never known a time when he hadn't just assumed that he'd have pups of his own, did he?  But Valerie was so convinced that she didn't want them . . .

Then again, what did it really matter?  Being with Valerie was the only thing he wanted.  The rest of it?  Well, it was pretty irrelevant, all things considered . . .


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A/N:
'You were Meant for Me' by Jewel originally appeared on the 1996 release, Pieces of You.  Copyrighted to Jewel Kilcher and Steve Poltz.
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Final
Thought from Valerie:
Silly man
==========
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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