InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Subterfuge ( Chapter 227 )
[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter Two Hundred Twenty-Seven~~
'Satisfied but lost in love …
'Situations change …
'You're never who you used to think you are …
'How strange …?'
-'Pretending' by Eric Clapton.
Unbuttoning his shirt as he wandered slowly around the bedroom, Evan had to admit that the quiet of the house was a welcome thing. He didn't bother to take it off completely, just let it hang open as he turned down the lights to an ambient glow. Now, on the other side of the wedding rush, he had to admit that, if he had to do it all over again, he seriously might have tried harder to talk Valerie into eloping. But she was happy, and really, that was all that mattered.
Stepping past the suitcases that were arrange by the door, ready to grab and go tomorrow after the wedding pictures were shot, Evan shuffled over to the window, absently rubbing the top of his head.
Somehow, he thought that he should feel at least a little different, all things considered. He didn't. There was only an overwhelming sense of contentment, but then, maybe it had yet to truly sink in, the idea that Valerie really had chosen him, that she had married him, that she . . . that she would be with him forever . . .
They'd even done the blood transfusion already, almost a week ago, just before many of the guests started to arrive. Evan had to be talked into that since he'd wanted to wait to do any of it until after the wedding—wanted everything done exactly right. But Kichiro, who had arrived just before that since he'd had to fly over to check on a young youkai girl in Chicago who needed a skin graft to repair some damage from burn scars she'd received when the car that her parents had wrecked caught fire, had told him that it was better to do it sooner than later. Not that he was superstitious, but still, if something happened to Valerie, wouldn't it be better to be safe rather than sorry?
So Evan had agreed while Valerie, true to form, had asked him if that was his way of trying to back out of getting married. She hadn't been too pleased with the whole process as it was explained to her, not that Evan could blame her. The idea of letting them drain away over half of her blood was a daunting prospect, at best, but in the end, she'd been a real trooper.
The soft click of the bathroom door behind him registered in his mind though he didn't turn to look. He was so attuned to her that he didn't have to look. The scent of dampness, of her skin, of her soaps and shampoos, the underlying smell of her nearly made him groan, and the effect was instant and damn near painful.
"Do you want to take a shower?" Valerie asked, oblivious to the inadvertent discomfort he was already feeling. "I still have no idea where you're taking me, but they'd better have state-of-the-art showers in the hotel . . ."
He chuckled and turned away from the window, leaning back, crossing his feet as he stuffed his hands into his pockets to keep himself from reaching for her immediately. He wasn't sure if she did it just to make matters worse or not, but the towel she had wrapped around herself just didn't do a damn thing to cover her from his perusal. "I assure you, V, nothing but the best."
She made a face, leaning her head to the side as she squeezed the length of her hair with another thick towel. "You could give me a hint, at least."
Shaking his head, he offered her a little shrug. "Patience. You'll love it, I promise," he said. "You know, I feel kind of bad, kicking your family out for the night . . ."
She laughed as she shook out the damp towel and carefully hung it over the wire-backed chair in front of her dressing table. "Are you kidding? You put them up in the nicest hotel in the area," she scoffed. "They'll probably go back there and order room service all night—and bill it to you, of course." Stopping suddenly, she straightened up, her expression taking on a very thoughtful scowl. "But I married you, which means that they'd technically be spending my money on room service, wouldn't it?"
He grinned. "That's my girl: always thinking about the bottom line."
Pausing as she ran her fingers through the length of her hair, she smiled. "Well, I guess it is for a good cause, after all . . ." Then she sighed, wrinkling her nose as she resumed her ministrations. "Then again, I guess you could call and tell them to come on back."
Evan raised an eyebrow. "Oh? Why's that?"
"I just . . . You just . . ." Shaking her head, she looked entirely exasperated, and she pinned Evan with a no-nonsense look, indicating that, whatever was bothering her, was most certainly his fault, indeed. Taking a deep breath, she crossed her arms over her chest and flicked him yet another 'how could you' look. "I really wish you hadn't cut your hair off," she finally said.
It wasn't exactly what Evan was expecting, but maybe he should have. But how the hell was he supposed to have known that she'd object that heartily to it? "I'm still me," he told her.
That didn't seem to reassure her, and he grimaced inwardly when her shoulders slumped just a little. "I know," she replied, her expression growing more disgruntled by the second, but whether she was more irritated with herself or with him, he couldn't rightfully say. "I know that! It's just . . . I happen to like your long hair, Roka, and you just seem . . . different—I don't know, maybe less approachable? And I . . . I don't like that feeling . . ."
"But I'm not different," he insisted reasonably. "I'm the same guy you met that night."
"Day," she corrected almost absently, stepping over to pour herself a glass of champagne. Evan wasn't sure who did it, but someone had come by the house before they got there and had put a few things out, like the champagne and a very nice array of cheeses and crackers and soft breads.
'That's right, Roka. She doesn't remember that night,' his youkai-voice remarked.
That gave him pause. He'd actually forgotten . . . "No, it was night," he said slowly, thoughtfully.
Spinning on her heel, she stared at him over the rim of the champagne flute, casually sipping the drink as she pondered his claim. "It was day," she finally argued, lowering the glass, idly swirling the champagne, watching as the bubbles rose and misted.
He chuckled again, pushing himself away from the window frame as he wandered toward Valerie and gently took the flute from her hand. "It was night," he stated once more, setting the glass aside as he pulled her close, as he folded his arms around her, and in the quiet of the room, he danced with her, and he sang.
"'The still of the night brings you to me,
"'The whisper of angels and a promise to be . . .
"'If I traveled the world to find a woman like you,
"'I'd keep searching time over if you just asked me to . . .'"
She leaned away to look up at him, her eyes darkened with silent questions, and then her soft gasp resounded in the quiet. "That was . . . That was . . . you . . .? That party . . .? I thought I'd imagined you or something. I thought . . ."
He couldn't help the laugh that escaped him as he pulled her even closer into a warm hug. "I made that song up on the spot, you know. I knew that night that you were my mate. I just didn't know how to find you. You should be sorry, V. We could have been happy like this for a hell of a lot longer if you hadn't run away that night."
"I can't believe that was you!" she blurted, completely ignoring the last part of Evan's claim. "I can't believe—" Cutting herself off abruptly, she narrowed her eyes on him. "Just how long have you known that it was me that night?"
"For awhile. I figured it out on the mini-tour."
She snorted and slapped his shoulder. "And you didn't think to tell me?"
He grinned and drew her back against his chest once more. "As if you'd have listened to me back then," he scoffed. "Too busy thinking that you actually were going to marry Murvis . . ."
"You realize, I'm not going to marry him anymore, so you really could start using his real name," she prodded.
He grunted. "Keh! Mignish will do nicely, thanks."
"Mig—That's not even a proper name!" she countered. The sternness of her tone was undermined entirely, though, when she giggled. "I love you," she said, slipping her arms around his neck as she smiled up at him. "I still don't know why, but I do."
"That's easy," he quipped. "It's 'cause I'm hung like a damn—Well, I was going to say horse, but that's Bubby. I'm hung like a dog!"
She sighed, sinking her fingers into his hair and giving a slight tug. He could tell that it had already grown back out quite a bit, but it wasn't nearly as long as it would be come morning, either.
"I think it's time I claimed my mate," he said, letting all traces of amusement fall away.
"Is it?" she asked, her tone taking on a bemused sort of huskiness as she stared at his lips.
"Definitely," he replied, leaning down, nuzzling her neck, inhaling the scent of her.
She exhaled softly, her body collapsing against his. "Make love to me, Evan," she murmured.
He groaned. "I can't."
She froze for a few moments before pushing against him until he let his arms drop. Crossing her arms over her chest, she raised an eyebrow in silent challenge. "What do you mean, you can't?"
He grinned. "I'm a dog-youkai," he told her.
She nodded rather impatiently. "So you've said."
"Which means, I can't make love to you. 'Making love' doesn't work, you know. I have to fuck you—like a dog. Get it?"
Valerie's mouth fell open in dumbfounded shock, and she shook her head. "What?"
Evan nodded quickly. "Yep. In order for the whole thing to work, it has to be done the natural way—the dog kind of way."
She stared at him for another long moment, as though she were trying to make up her mind. Then she snorted. Loudly. "My ass," she countered, her chin lowering as her gaze took on an even more dubious glint.
"Honest to God!" he insisted. "Everyone knows that!"
She stared at him for another long moment before striding out of the bedroom.
'Where the hell did you come up with that line of bullshit?'
Evan's grin widened. 'Aww, c'mon! Did you see the look on her face?'
'Yeah, and if we end up not getting any tonight? That'd be your fault, dumbass.'
A moment later, Valerie stalked back into the room with her phone plastered to the side of her head. "Hi, Maddy? Yes, everything's fine . . . Well, Evan said something, and I wanted to know if he's telling the truth or just blowing out his ass . . ." She narrowed her eyes at Evan as the latter broke into a coughing, chortling fit. "He says that in order for us to really become mates, we have to do it, you know, doggy style."
The chortling escalated to wheezing when those magnificent hazel eyes narrowed dangerously. "I thought so. Thanks, Maddy. Bye bye."
Dropping her phone onto the table, she crossed her arms over her chest and did her best lawyer-during-cross-examination-pivot on her heel. "You're such a damn liar," she accused.
Evan fell back on the bed, clutching his stomach as the force of his amusement took over. "Aww, I figured she'd go with it," he managed to say between bouts of laughter. "Damn, damn, damn . . ."
Grabbing a small pillow off the easy chair near the table, Valerie tossed it at Evan, which only made him laugh harder. In fact, it took a good five minutes for his amusement to subside enough that he could push himself up on his elbows and breathe again. "Sorry, V," he finally said. Too bad he didn't sound sorry, at all. "I couldn't help myself!"
Valerie rolled her eyes and yanked the belt of her bathrobe tight. She'd put it on while Evan was deep in the throes of laughter. "A huge jerk," she grumbled as she crossed her arms over her chest and leveled a thoroughly exasperated, if not somewhat amused, look at him. "And you completely ruined the mood, just so you know."
His response was a shit-eating grin. "You'd have said the same thing if you were me," he insisted.
She wrinkled her nose, tucking a long strand of still-damp hair behind her ear, as though she were opting to ignore him for the duration.
"Aw, c'mon, baby," he coaxed, flopping back on the bed once more.
"I don't know why I bother," she remarked with a shake of her head. But she shuffled over after retrieving a bottle of moisturizer and sat rather primly on the edge of the bed. Bending a knee so that her leg peeked out of the front of her robe, she pumped a few squirts of the cream into her hands and briskly rubbed them together before smoothing it onto her skin. "Oh yeah, I meant to ask you what your mom said to you right before we left?"
That got his attention, and he sat up straight, snapping his fingers as the conversation flashed to life. The only real excuse he had for forgetting to tell Valerie about it sooner was because of the anticipation of their wedding night. "Damn, I can't believe I forgot to tell you!"
She shot him a cursory glance as she reloaded her hands. "What?"
His grin widened, but this time, it was a normal expression. "Would you believe it if I told you that Mama's having twins?"
She stopped, mid-rub, as her head snapped to the side to stare at him, mouth agape, eyes widening. "Are you serious?"
He nodded. "Guess she just told Cain about it at the reception . . . I wondered why he suddenly started hovering over her again."
Valerie rolled her eyes and laughed. "I would hardly call it 'hovering', and I think your parents are absolutely adorable, for the record."
Evan made a series of fake retching noises, but stopped when Valerie shot him a playful narrowing-of-the-eyes. "I just hope he has enough sense to not drive her insane for the rest of the pregnancy. Cain's got a bad habit of being overbearing when she's pregnant, anyway—or so I've been told."
"He's just worried about her, and that's normal."
Evan rolled off the bed and strode over to fill two champagne glasses before returning. "Well, his first wife died in childbirth," he said with a shrug as he handed a glass to Valerie. "It was, um, pretty traumatic, I guess. He was there when she died. He . . . He had to cut Bella out of her stomach—there was a hurricane, see—and it was really hard for him to take, and that's why . . ." Holding out his hands in an apologetic sort of way, Evan shrugged. "Anyway, that's why he kind of freaks out over Mama."
"I didn't know that," Valerie said softly. "Well, I knew that your oldest sister isn't your mom's but . . ." She trailed off with a wince as she pondered Evan's statement. "That's terrible."
"I don't know about terrible," Evan replied philosophically. "Okay, yeah, it's kind of a horror story, but I mean, if she hadn't died—maybe not that traumatically, but if she'd lived—then would he have even met Mama?" Draining half of his glass, he leaned against the thick pillows, levering off his shoes, one at a time, and letting them thump onto the floor. "She wasn't his mate," he finally said. "His first wife, that is."
"But he married her?"
Evan shrugged. "Lust can be a powerful thing," he told her. "Mama said that he told her that he just didn't get it at the time, that he didn't realize that he wasn't in love with her—at least, not in the right way. Cain's parents died when he was still a pup, so he was raised by Sesshoumaru, and I venture to say that you've realized by now that my uncle isn't exactly what you could call a 'people person'. He didn't really explain stuff like that to Cain, anyway."
Valerie digested that in silence for a long moment as she set the bottle of moisturizer aside on the nightstand. "That might be, but I have no doubt whatsoever that your dad is great, twins or no twins."
He opened his mouth to gainsay her, just out of general habit. A million memories flashed through his head, though, and he smiled: memories of Cain, wandering along the forest paths as Evan ran on ahead, jabbering a million miles a second, of his father, dropping everything to stretch out on the floor to play cars with him . . . All those things that he hadn't thought much of over the years flooding back to him once more. "Yeah," he allowed, "I guess he is."
"Wait, did you honestly just say that Cain's a good dad?"
"I did," he admitted with a smile. "Of course, I'll deny it if you ever tell him I said so."
She drew up her legs, turned to face Evan. "You'll be a great dad, too."
For a moment, Evan thought that maybe his ears had stopped working. He wasn't entirely sure that he had actually heard her correctly. It almost sounded as though . . . 'But . . .'
"I, uh . . . I thought you didn't want pups," he said, struggling to sound more nonchalant than he thought he did.
Drawing a deep breath, Valerie scrunched up her shoulders, and, while the expression on her face was pensive, there was something beneath that, too—a certain cautious hope—at least, if Evan wasn't reading more into it than there was, simply because he wanted it to be so. "I didn't," she admitted slowly, staring at the glass of champagne she still held. She turned and set it aside, but her gaze fell to her now-empty hands and stayed there. "I thought that having a career meant that I couldn't have children, and even then, what do I know about being a mom? I mean, what if I suck at it, right? And it wouldn't be fair to screw up kids like that, either . . . but you're so good with them . . . and even if I do suck at it, you . . ." Finally, her gaze lifted to lock with his as a nervous kind of smile lit her eyes. "You're so good with kids. Maybe you could help me?"
For one dizzying moment, Evan couldn't breathe. He couldn't think, he couldn't speak, he couldn't do a damn thing but stare at her. She was biting her lower lip, her smile still trembling, like she was worried about what he was going to say. Sure, he understood her reasons. He'd heard them before, and with as screwed up as her childhood had been, he could absolutely relate, even if he hadn't liked it, even if he had wished that she thought differently, and here she was . . . "Do . . . you . . .?" He grimaced. "V, if you're saying you want to have pups, then that's awesome, but only if it's really something you want, and not just something you think I do."
She considered that for a moment, her smile widening just a little. "Alone, never," she said, "and it's not like I ever thought that Marvin's research wasn't important, but he . . ." She made a face. "It would have been like having a child alone. With you, it'd be different, better. You'd be there to help me. I mean, I know you're busy a lot, but—"
Evan reached over, grasped Valerie's hands in his. "Baby, you're thinking about this whole thing wrong."
He nodded. "Yeah, your childhood was messed up, and okay, so you spent a lot of time feeling lost and lonely, but that's okay, you know? Because you know from personal experience what not to ever do to your own pups."
His words surprised her, but as she considered what he'd said, she smiled. "Is it that simple?"
He shrugged. "It could be," he said. "Then again, I could be full of shit, too . . ."
She snorted. "Gee, thanks, Roka."
With a chuckle, he leaned forward, let his forehead fall against hers. "It's okay, baby," he assured her. "There's no hurry, anyway. We've got a long, long time to figure things out."
She reached up, rested her hand on his cheek, her fingertips idly touching him. "We do," she allowed, and then she smiled. "It's as easy for you as just, what? Deciding you want to have a baby?"
He nodded. "Yeah, that's what they tell me."
"Just like that? Are you sure?"
"Well, it's not like I've tried it out before or anything, but yes, that's the general principle."
She looked like she wasn't entirely sure she believed him, so he crossed his index finger over his heart then held up his hand like he was taking an oath. "If I'm lyin', I'm dyin'."
She pondered that for a minute. Evan sat up and tugged off his shirt, tossing it toward the small chair on the other side of his nightstand. "Okay," she said suddenly.
Evan blinked and shot her a quizzical glance over his shoulder. "Okay?" he echoed.
She nodded. "Let's do it," she clarified. "Let's make a baby."
She nodded again, this time with far more urgency. "Yes, I mean it."
". . . You're serious."
Letting out a deep breath, she rolled her eyes in a decidedly over exaggerated way. "Yes, Roka, I'm serious! A cute little girl that looks like you and acts like . . . not you . . . or a cute little boy that looks like you and acts . . . well, not like you, either . . ."
"Oh, I dunno . . . Might be kind of funny if we had a girl who acted like me."
"Bite your tongue, Evan," she scolded, sounding properly horrified.
He chuckled. "Bad idea?"
She just nodded once. "Very."
"You sure about this?"
With a grimace, she shook her head. "No, I'm not," she admitted. "But I . . . I want to be. I want to have your baby."
Evan stood up and strode the length of the bedroom and back again. Sure, he wanted to have a pup with her, and most of him wanted nothing more than to go do the deed before she could possibly change her mind. But part of him also had to wonder, had to worry, that this was all coming out of the blue. "It's a huge decision, V," he finally said. "Are you . . .? I mean, we can't undo this later . . ."
"I know," she said softly. "I . . . I want to."
"Seriously? This is great! I never—" Cutting himself off abruptly, Evan pivoted on his heel and crossed his arms over his chest. "But we really do have to do it doggy-style."
Valerie stared at him, unblinking, for a few seconds. "Not that again, Roka," she scoffed.
Evan shook his head, waving his hands in front of his chest in a vain effort to stave off her arguments. "No, really," he insisted, striding over to grab her phone off the table. "I'm not kidding! This is totally different! This is about making a pup!"
"No, Evan! Babies shouldn't be . . . be bred like some animals," she argued. "They should be conceived out of love."
"Well, they still would be," he argued. "I mean, strictly speaking? Fucking you like a dog would be pretty damn awesome, if you ask me . . ."
She made a face. "I want to look at you. I want to hold you. I want to feel like it's the beautiful act it's supposed to be. That's how you conceive a child."
He opened and closed his mouth a few times before breaking into a wolfish grin. "We have mirrors?"
She snorted, letting him know just what she thought in no uncertain terms.
"All right; all right," he relented, handing over her phone. "If you don't believe me . . ."
She picked up her phone when he dropped it onto her lap. "What? You think I should call Madison again? No way! She probably thinks she owes you for the last time," she pointed out. "She'd go along with it because she'd think it's funny. She's just as twisted as you sometimes."
Evan chuckled. "All right, then, if you really don't want to have that baby . . ."
"You're so lying!" she countered. "There's no way you're telling me the truth about this."
"I'm not lying, not this time," he insisted. "Don't believe me? Call anyone! Go ahead!"
'We're going to hell for this . . .'
'Yeah, but it'll be totally worth the trip . . .!'
He honestly didn't think that she was buying it. Of course she wasn't. Valerie wasn't stupid, after all. So he was caught off guard when she dialed a number and turned on the speakerphone so Evan could hear it, too.
"Hi, Bas. It's Valerie."
'Bubby? Aw, crap. I was hoping to at least get her to believe it for a few minutes, anyway . . .'
'We're going to die.'
Bas paused for a moment before answering. "You're not already regretting getting married to Evan, are you?"
Narrowing her eyes on Evan, she shrugged, not that Bas could see it. "No—not yet, anyway. But I do have a question."
She sighed, her cheeks pinking slightly as she drew in a deep breath, as she gathered her resolve to actually ask him. "Evan says that if we wanted to have a baby, that we'd have to do it . . . umm . . . doggy-style."
Bas choked out a terse laugh. "He said—?" Then he coughed. "Oh, uh, yeah. Yeah, that's, uh, true."
"Oh, my God!" Evan exclaimed before he could stop himself. "Oh, my God, oh, my God, oh-my-God! I fucking love my bubby!"
This time, Bas heaved a sigh. "Evan, you're an idiot," Bas grumbled. "Try to help you out, and you totally ruin it." A moment later, the connection went dead, and Evan sank to his knees as laughter overtook him once more.
Valerie uttered a sound suspiciously like a growl and threw her phone at him. It hit him in the middle of his chest and fell harmlessly to the carpeted floor. "You're such a doofus!" she said, raising her voice to be heard over his obnoxiously loud laughter. "I can't believe I nearly fell for it—again!"
Evan crawled over to the bed, unable to get to his feet since he was still in the midst of his amusement. "Sor—ry," he gasped out, wiping tears from his eyes since they were rolling down his cheeks. "Hot damn, I love Bas!"
After a moment, Valerie giggled despite herself. "Idiot," she muttered, rolling her eyes.
He collapsed against the bed, draping his arms over his raised knees, letting his head fall back against the side of the mattress. "I couldn't help it," he said.
Grasping a handful of hair and giving it a good tug, Valerie sighed, though the smile on her face had yet to fade. "So all that stuff about having to do it like a dog—That was all your idea of joking, right?"
Evan chuckled again then sighed. "Yeah, it was," he admitted.
He caught her hand and tugged her knuckles to press against his lips. "I love you, V."
She shivered slightly as the warmth of his kiss shot straight to her brain. "I love you, too, Evan. You . . ." She scooted so that she could stretch out on her stomach, sideways across the bed, resting her cheek on his shoulder as he continued to caress her knuckles. "I don't know how, but you became my best friend."
"Well, that was accidental," he assured her. "I just wanted to get in your panties."
"You have the worst habit of ruining the mood," she told him again.
"It's a gift."
She rolled her eyes and kissed him on the cheek. "Anyway, I was thinking, you know, before the wedding."
"Keh! You weren't considering running back to that little wiener, were you?"
"No," she stated flatly.
"Okay, then sure, what were you thinking before the wedding?"
"I was thinking about how different my life would have been if I hadn't met you; how . . . how sad and lonely. I think . . ." She trailed off, drawing a deep, fortifying breath before continuing. "I think that I taught myself how to hide everything that I hated about myself. I thought that I did such a great job in covering it all up. But you . . ." she smiled, closing her eyes as she rubbed her cheek against his. "You saw through all that, didn't you?"
"We were both pretty good at that shit," he admitted with a shrug. "I tell you what."
He turned his head, kissed her cheek. "I promise I'll never give you a reason to do that again."
She scooted forward, shifted her body so that she could press her lips against his. "And I won't give you a reason to, either," she whispered.
Evan groaned softly as the warmth, the sweetness of Valerie's mouth wrapped around his senses, dulled everything but the moment, everything but the culmination of a lifetime of subterfuge. Whether it was his or hers, he didn't know, and honestly, it didn't matter. Step by step, they'd broken through it all, and they'd done it together, and the only thing left was a lifetime: one that they would spend together, and that lifetime would start now.
'Pretending' by Eric Clapton originally appeared on the 1989 release, Journeyman. Copyrighted to Jerry Lynn Williams.
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Lennex ——— smallflower ——— oblivion-bringr ——— Cricket42 ——— Tuesky ——— m84dani ——— Tashwampa
Archive of our Own
Mariea ——— lovethedogs
Final Thought from Evan:
Now for the 'happily ever after' shit …
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.