InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity Redux: Fruition ❯ Security Breach ( Chapter 25 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter Twenty-Five~~
~ Security Breach~

~o~


Charity hung up the phone, scrolling through her text messages until she found the image her mother had just sent, and she laughed as she hurried out of the kitchen and into the living room to locate Ben, who was probably hibernating in his office.

"Mama just called," she said, drawing the man's attention away from the files he was looking through.

"Oh?" he said without shifting his gaze.

She wrinkled her nose.  "Yes . . . Gin-oba-chan had the babies this morning."

That got his attention quickly enough.  "She's not due for another four weeks or so, is she?" Ben asked.

Charity shrugged offhandedly.  "Yeah, but it's not uncommon for multiples to be born a little early, and Mama said that they're perfectly healthy.  A little on the tiny side, but nothing life-threatening."

"Is that right?" he asked, a smile surfacing on his face as he slowly stood up.  "Boys?  Girls?  Both?"

She made a face.  "Well . . . Two boys," she said as her grin widened.  "And a girl."

"Wha . . .? Triplets?"

She nodded happily, handing over the phone so that he could see the images of the newborns, too.  "Apparently, it was a surprise to everyone, including Isabelle, since she swore she only heard two heartbeats and only saw two babies in any of the ultrasounds.  Anyway, Mama said that Cain wanted you to call him . . ."

Ben handed the phone back and chuckled.  "Call Zelig," he said, settling back into his chair once more as he swiveled around to face the computer monitor.  It only rang twice when Cain picked up, and Charity hurried around to peer over Ben's shoulders, anxious to get another good look at the infants.

"Hey, Ben," Cain greeted, a tired but happy smile on his face.  He looked like he hadn't slept for the better portion of a month.  "Meet my babies."

He turned the phone, and it took a moment to focus, but the babies finally solidified on the screen, along with a very tired but happy Gin Zelig, who raised one hand just enough to wave but not enough to upset the sleeping infant cuddled to her chest.  "This is Hayden," she said, gently lifting a tiny baby fist to make him wave.  "And this is Connor."  Both of the boys had Zelig's bronze hair, reminding Ben of Bas as a newborn.

Cain chuckled and moved the camera to focus on the baby in his arms—an infant swaddled in a fluffy pink blanket. She yawned, then opened her eyes, and Ben blinked in surprise.  "We were going to name her Heather, but it doesn't sound just right," Cain went on with a soft laugh when the baby blinked slowly, staring at Ben on the phone with a frank sense of curiosity that seemed a bit advanced for a newborn.

"Where did she get that hair?" Evan asked, peering over his father's arm at his infant sister.  "And those eyes?  None of us have that . . . Unless Mama got it on with the milkman, that is . . ."

Cain heaved a sigh.  "Shut up, Evan," he grumbled.

Reddish brown hair, a little deeper than auburn, a little more vibrant than sorrel, and the palest lavender eyes, like lilacs blooming rampant in a summer field . . . Ben's breath hitched in his throat as another face, another time, flickered to life deep in the recess of his memory—a smile, a laugh, and the gentlest rain . . . Swallowing hard once, twice, swiping a finger over his eyes, Ben cleared his throat gruffly.  "She . . . She looks just like Daniella—Akinako—your . . . your mother, Zelig . . ."

"Daniella Akinako . . ." Gin repeated thoughtfully.  "I like that, Cain," she said.

Cain's voice was a little choked when he finally spoke again.  "D . . . Daniella," he rasped out.  "Yeah . . ."

"Hand her over, you giant lump of sad," InuYasha grumbled, taking the baby from Cain as the video feed bobbled and pointed at the floor.  "Blubbering all over her . . . What the fuck's the matter with you?  Birthing pups is supposed to be a good thing, baka."

"H-Hey!" Cain called after his father-in-law.  "Bring her back . . . Pfft!"

Gin giggled.  "He's just excited, Cain," she said.  "He just wants to show off his new grandbabies."

Cain heaved a sigh.  "What are the odds that he'll go home soon?  Like, tomorrow?"

Gin giggled again.

"Omedetou gozaimasu!" Charity exclaimed, waving at her gathered family.

"Thank you!  Oh, Charity!  Bring the twins up soon!" Gin exclaimed.  "We'll have a play date!"

"As nice as that sounds, wait awhile, will you?  Gin needs to recover before we're arranging play dates," Cain replied.

Ben smiled.  "In any case, you seem to have everything under control.  I'll call you later, Zelig."

"All right.  Thanks, Ben.  Bye, Charity," Cain said.  A moment later, the connection ended, and Ben chuckled as he slowly shook his head.

"Three babies . . . And I thought that two were a handful," he remarked.

"But entirely worth it," Charity reminded him.

"That goes without saying," he allowed with a smile.

"I was thinking," she said, turning her attention out the windows behind him.  "I was kind of wanting to go up to Maine for the holidays.  What do you think?  Could you get away from the city that long?"

She missed the frown inspired by her words as she stared up at the overcast skies.  Ben heaved a sigh.  "I'm not sure I can," he said slowly, cautiously.

"But you could try, couldn't you?"  She giggled.  "Just think, we can show the girls how to make snowmen and go crazy, decorating for Christmas . . . It'd be fun, don't you think?"

"Well, we can still do all that stuff here," he maintained.

"I know," she said, her happiness abating slightly in the face of his pessimistic response.  "It's just that Mama and Papa were saying that they might stick around until after the holidays, and even though I know they'd come here, too, I hate to ask them to split their time . . ."

"We'll see," he replied in an entirely noncommittal sort of tone.

She frowned.  He sounded more like he was simply trying to humor her and not really interested in considering it, at all.  Sure, she knew that he tended to be busy, but even so, she felt like he was completely dismissing her . . . Letting out a deep breath, she pasted on a little smile and headed out of the office.  "You looked busy when I interrupted . . . I'm sorry," she said without stopping.  "I'll . . . I'll leave you alone . . ."


-==========-


Ben watched her go as his frown shifted into an outright scowl.

'She'll be okay . . . Even if we wanted to go along with her wishes, you know we can't.'

He snorted, shoving away from the desk and stalking over to the windows.  'That's why I said that,' he grumbled.  'If we knew where Hecht Unker was; what he's up to . . .'

That was the problem, wasn't it?  Despite having every available hunter assigned to the task of finding the man, no one had reported any luck, thus far.  They knew he was in Maine, and common logic would lead one to assume that he was somewhere in the vicinity of Bevelle, but as yet, not one of the seven hunters tasked with locating Unker had reported any luck at all.  It would be stupid to go there now, but Charity didn't know anything about it, and that, unfortunately, left Ben, having to assume the role of the bad guy, especially when her idea was a good one and entirely within the realm of feasibility at any other time.

The intrusion of Kyouhei's youki announced his brother's arrival before Ben actually heard him, distracting him from his musings, and he turned just in time to watch the younger man slip into one of the chairs by the desk.  Blue eyes clouded despite the otherwise blank expression on his face, he looked calm enough on the outside, anyway.

"He's gathered nearly a thousand," Kyouhei said without preamble.  "They're coming from all over, flocking to Tetsuo like they believe him to be the second coming of Christ on earth."

"Where'd you get the number?"

Kyouhei's sidelong glance spoke volumes—as full of irony as it was a fierce dread.  "Otou-san."

"Did he say where he got that number?" Ben asked.

Kyouhei stared at Ben long and hard, his gaze narrowing as he slowly licked his lips, as he seemed as though he were trying decide something.  He flinched, eyes deepening in color as he slowly shook his head—an almost imperceptible movement except for the glinting in his eyes that shifted with the motion.  "Otou-san . . . He's one of the coordinators behind the whole thing," he admitted.  "He's the one who has been trying to garner support from every jurisdiction there is."

And somehow, that just didn't surprise Ben, either, and he sighed.  "All right.  So, of that thousand, how many of them pose a real and credible threat?"

Kyouhei's chuckle was as devoid of humor as it was full of a darker emotion.  "They have sheer numbers on their side, Ben," he said with a shake of his head, his hair catching the gray light filtering through the windows.  "Otou-san seem to think that they would be best served to target those loyal to Sesshoumaru first," he went on with a shrug.  "It makes sense, strategy-wise, though I cannot guarantee exactly how well thought out the target list is."

"Do you know who's on that list?  Did chichiue say anything about that?"

Leaning to the side, curling his long fingers over his lips, Kyouhei gazed at his brother for a long moment.  "The hunters, of course.  The most notable one being Izayoi . . . Izayoi Ryomaru."

"Ryomaru," Ben repeated, gritting his teeth as a surge of anger shot through him.

"They say the easiest course is to make sure a hunt is issued for one of their numbers.  They can ambush him then, and, well . . ."

"That cannot happen," Ben growled.

Kyouhei shook his head.  "No," he agreed.  "It cannot."


-==========-


"Hello?"

"Hey, Ben, can you talk?"

Ben swung his legs off the bed and got up to step over far enough to look across the hallway.  Charity's light was out, and her door was closed, but just to be safe, Ben closed his door, too, before returning to the bed once more.  It was late—almost midnight—which was a good enough reason to set off the alarm bells in Ben's head.  "Yeah.  What's up?"

Cain sighed: a long, drawn out sound that lasted for a good five seconds.  "I'm serious, Ben . . . There's no way that Charity is going to overhear this?"

"No . . . Hold on."

Veering off course, Ben strode over to the balcony doors and slipped outside, ignoring the chill winds that carried the vaguest scent of snow.  "Okay, I'm sure," he said, quietly closing the door behind himself.

"Myrna just called," he said without preamble.  "She heard from your, uh, friend—Manami?"

"Yeah, all right," Ben muttered.  "Has she found out anything?"

"She managed to make contact with Jeet Unker," Cain allowed.  Ben's scowl darkened at the foreboding in the tai-youkai's voice.  "During their talk, I guess the subject of the twins came up, and, according to Manami, he asked her how much she'd be willing to pay for them."

Ben stopped stone-still as his eyes flared wide.  ". . . What?"

Cain barked out an incredulous laugh—a harsh and grating sound that possessed absolutely no amusement at all.  "He's setting up a bidding war, of sorts: people who aren't interested in going through official channels for the privilege of adopting the twins."

"Yeah, well, that won't be happening," Ben growled, forcing himself to loosen his grip on the phone when it groaned out a warning at his too-tight hold.  "Damn it . . ."

"No, it won't be," Cain agreed.  "Listen, Ben, given that we've still had no luck in locating Hecht, Toga and I were talking, and we think maybe it'd be best if you take Charity and the babies and get out of the city.  I'm pretty sure that there's no way he'd know where the twins are, but just in case, it might be better to be safe rather than sorry—at least, until we find Hecht and detain him."

"What about Jeet?" Ben gritted out.  "Do you have probable cause to do anything about him?"

"Not yet," Cain replied, the irritation unmistakable in his tone.  "Right now, we thought it might be best to fund Manami so that she can put a bid in.  Maybe we can flush them out."

Drawing a deep breath to try to calm his rapidly fraying nerves, Ben dug his claws into the wooden railing that ran the perimeter of the balcony.  "So, where do you suggest I take Charity and the twins?"

"Can you get them out of the country?  It might slow them down, and I can get a rush in on passports for the girls."

Heaving a sigh, Ben rubbed his forehead, glaring up at the full moon, hanging so low in the night sky.  "All right," he agreed, hating the feeling that he was, in effect, running away, but understanding the base necessity of it all.

"What a damn mess," Cain muttered.  "I'll also see what I can do about getting a rush in on the adoption hearing, even if we have to change judges."

"Yeah," Ben agreed as a thin pounding in his head commenced.

"Give me a call tomorrow, and I'll see what I can arrange for you. Any destination in mind?"

"I've got a place in Mexico," Ben reminded him.  "That should be safe enough."

"Okay," Cain said.  "What are you going to tell Charity?"

"I'll think of something," Ben replied.  "But there's something else I need to tell you.  Is Toga there with you?"

"Uh, yeah, he is . . . Do you want to talk to him?"

Ben made a face.  "No, just make sure I'm on speaker.  It'll be easier that way."

A few moments of rustling around, and the sudden sense that the line had opened up, announcing the transfer of the call.  "Is something up?" Toga asked without preamble.

"I've, uh, heard some things, Toga," he said, considering his words carefully.  "Do you know anything about an inu-youkai named Tetsuo?"

"Tetsuo?  That crazy old mutt that calls himself tai-youkai?"

"Yeah, him."

Toga snorted.  "He's been a pain the ass for years, demanding meetings every few months, insisting that we keep him in the loop, even though he's been told a ridiculous number of times that we're not obligated to and won't tell him squat . . . Yeah, I know him."

"My brother showed up a few days ago, and he says that Tetsuo is plotting to overthrow Sesshoumaru."

Toga didn't answer right away, and then he choked out a terse laugh.  "I'm sorry.  I thought you just said that the old bastard thinks he can overthrow tou-san."

"I did," Ben stated.  "He's amassing support from other dissidents, and . . . At the moment, he's got roughly a thousand, ready to back him up, and there's reason to believe that their first target is Ryomaru."

"Ryomaru?" Toga echoed.  "The hell you say . . ."

"According to Kyouhei, they're planning on pulling some stunt to get someone on the hunted list so that you'll send Ryomaru, and they can ambush him."

Toga grunted.  "No offense intended, but just how reliable is your brother?  Can I talk to him?"

Ben sighed, pacing the length of the balcony and back.  "He's sleeping now, I think, but I can have him call you in the morning.  For the record, I believe him."

"Okay," Toga said.  "Damn . . ."

"Does he have any other information?" Cain asked.

Ben sped up his pace, grimacing as he forced himself to speak.  "One of the co-conspirators," he said.  "He's my . . . my father."


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A/N:
I feel like only a few people are reading this, and that's fine, but it just makes me sad because I really am enjoying the writing of this story … Feel free to leave a review … It would be very much appreciated
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Reviewers
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MMorg
Silent Reader
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AO3
Athena_Evarinya
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Forum
lianned88 ——— lovethedogs
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Final Thought from Charity:
But I wanted snow!
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Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Fruition):  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~

Chapter 24
Chapter 26
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