InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity Redux: Vivication ❯ Nefarious ( Chapter 64 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter 64~~
~Nefarious~

~o~


“Morning, Fai.”

Casting Yerik a dark look as he stomped into the enclosed patio off the dining room, Fai said nothing until he’d filled a coffee mug and flopped down at the table.  His brother looked like he hadn’t slept yet, and he had to wonder just when he’d gotten home from a hunt near Leningrad for a renegade otter-youkai, known to be responsible for nearly a dozen human disappearances over the last five years.  Since he wasn’t able to see the man in the psych facility without documentation, Fai had sent Yerik orders for another hunt that he could take care of since he was already in that area.  “I guess you were waiting up for me?” Fai asked mildly as he lifted the coffee to his lips.

Yerik shrugged.  “Well, I just got back about half an hour ago, so I figured I might as well.  How’s Saori?”

“She’s . . . She’s all right,” he replied tightly, mostly because, when he’d woken up, it was to find that his phone was dying, but not before he spent a moment, staring at her sleeping face and trying to ignore the savage urge to ask her to fly home immediately.  It had been just over a week since he’d seen her face in person, and the separation was wearing on him, probably more than it was wearing on her.  The entire situation chafed at him—the need to secure her safety, especially after the things Sesshoumaru had said.  True, there was no real proof that anyone might have caused the electrical malfunction at the house in Sri Lanka, but . . . “She’s tired of being there.  If I had a choice in it . . .”

“She’s your mate—your responsibility,” Yerik reminded him.

“You heard the part about not having a choice, didn’t you?” Fai growled, his voice echoing in the confines of the coffee mug.  He slammed it down on the table.  “I didn’t want to, but until I deal with Evgeni, then she’s safer there with her grandfather.  Sesshoumaru’s house is about the safest place there is.”

Yerik didn’t argue with Fai, but he looked like he wanted to.  “Do you honestly think that Evgeni would be stupid enough to do something to her?”

Fai sighed, settling back, rubbing his forehead, willing away the headache that had started in shortly after he’d opened his eyes.  “At this point, I don’t put much past him.”  Uttering a terse growl as he abruptly stood, as he stomped over to grab the carafe of coffee, he shook his head.  “When he figures out that Saori and I got married—that we’re mates . . .”

Yerik refilled his cup after Fai plunked that down on the table.  “It’s dumb.  I don’t doubt what you’re saying, but honestly, just what does he hope to gain?  Not one bit of it makes any sense at all . . .”

“Do you expect that it should?” Fai challenged.

Yerik frowned.  “But what does he hope to gain?  What’s the point?  He’d never, ever be strong enough to be tai-youkai, anyway . . .”

“I don’t know,” Fai replied.  “I’m sure he has a plan.  I just . . . I don’t know what it is.”

“Your Grace, Master Konstantin is here.”

Fai glanced up in time to see Konstantin as he brushed past the butler and dropped a very large duffle bag on the floor.  “I am here to protect and to serve!” he announced loudly.  “Her Grace called me—Her Grace!—and so humbly asked that I . . . How did she say?  Watch your back!  So, I am here to watch your back!” he announced.

Fai didn’t miss the rather harried expression on the butler’s face as he retrieved Konstantin’s bag.  “I’ll take this to a guest room,” he said before slipping out of the room as quietly as he had come.

Crossing his arms over his chest, Fai slowly shook his head.  “Saori called you, did she?”

Konstantin seemed to puff up his chest.  “She did!  It is an honor—my honor!  My privilege!—to be bestowed such a duty by Her Grace!  I will not fail you or her!” he insisted, balling up a fist, thumping it against his chest to emphasize every word.  “Upon my life, I—”

“Have some coffee,” Yerik interrupted, pushing the carafe toward the big man.

“Coffee!” Konstantin exclaimed, striding over to retrieve a cup off the sideboard.  “So, what is the great evil that we are fighting?” he asked, dumping a lot of steaming coffee into his cup as he sat down so heavily that the chair creaked under his weight.

“I kind of don’t think he needs the coffee,” Fai muttered, shaking his head.

“You’re probably right,” Yerik muttered back.

“This evil?” Konstantin growled.

“Oh, right . . . Evgeni,” Yerik replied.

“Evgeni?  But he is no threat . . . I could pop his head between my palms like overripe melon—make his children weep . . .”

“Well, he has no children, so that won’t be a problem, and it’s not Fai that we’re worried about.  It’s Saori.”

“Saori . . .?  Her Grace?”  The bear uttered an incensed kind of sound, low in his throat.  “What kind of bastard would threaten a woman, let alone a woman as good and kind and noble as Her Grace?” he bellowed.

“So, what’s your plan, Fai?” Yerik asked, ignoring the angry bear-youkai for the moment.

Fai let out a deep breath, raking his hands through his hair as he scowled at nothing in particular and everything in general.  “Evgeni’s still on vacation,” he allowed.  “I’ll call him in when he returns.”

Yerik nodded slowly.  “And then, what?  Will you have him arrested?  Executed?  Where are you going with this?”

That was the question, wasn’t it?  The burning question that Fai . . . He still wasn’t entirely sure, how to deal with it.  Certainly, the severity of the crimes against the tai-youkai warranted punishment—probably death.  The thing was, Fai still wanted to hear Evgeni’s reasons—if the griffon-vulture would actually give him any answers, that was . . . “I want to talk to him first,” Fai said.  “I want to know why—what he hoped to accomplish . . .”

“If he levied threats against Her Grace—” Konstantin growled.

Fai held up a hand to stop him before he went on another tirade.  “He hasn’t officially,” he said.  “Sending her to Japan was just a precaution.”

Konstantin snorted.  “Leave me alone in a room with the bastard for ten minutes.  I shall have every answer you’ve ever wanted from him . . .”

Fai shook his head but smiled wanly.  “I’m sure you would, Kostya.  If it comes to that, then I might take you up on it.”


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


Stepping outside of the small but exclusive shop, Saori stopped to check her phone, hoping that maybe Fai had sent her a message.  He had, just a quick message telling her to have a good day and that he missed her along with a picture of himself, sitting behind his desk, looking rather busy with his paperwork—probably a photo that Yerik had taken, which, she figured, was good enough, and she sent him back a quick selfie.

“He looks entirely too serious,” Kagura remarked, peeking over Saori’s shoulder.  “Reminds me of Sesshoumaru on a bad day.”

Saori smiled at her grandmother.  “He does work a lot,” she allowed.  “I know, it’s part of his job.  Sometimes, though, I think he’s a little too serious.”

“Of course, you do,” Kagura said, checking her phone when it buzzed in her purse.  She fired off a brief text and dropped it back into her purse once more.  “Anyway, I think it’s fair to tell you just what I told your mother when she complained that your father worked too hard and didn’t take enough time off to relax.”

“Oh?  And what’s that?”

Kagura smiled—a very lazy kind of smile, full of secrets that she was apparently prepared to impart her granddaughter.  “Men love breasts, Saori.  If you show him yours, your mate will not think twice about getting away from that desk.”

Despite the very becoming blush that stained her cheeks, Saori giggled.  “It works on ojii-chan?”

Kagura chuckled.  “Like a charm.”

Her phone rang, and Kagura sighed as she dug it out once more and shook her head.  “Just a second, dear,” she said, stepping away to take the call, probably from the school that she ran.

Checking her watch, Saori sighed.  They were supposed to meet Aiko for lunch at Twelve Till Noon, the small but very nice restaurant that featured neo-European cuisine that had opened up near Taishosoft headquarters, but they still had about an forty minutes to get there, and, even if they walked the whole way, they’d probably still end up there at least fifteen to twenty minutes early . . .

She sighed.  She’d planned so many things to do while she was here, and despite that, she was already running low on busywork.  She’d visited with the orphans who were now living with foster families and had spent the day yesterday, running them all over Tokyo, buying them things they needed, from clothes and school supplies and those sorts of things to computers, cell phones . . . All of it.  She’d paid for it all out of her private account, but, given that Fai was more than happy to support her—his words, not hers—then she hadn’t minded at all.  He’d said that he’d reimburse her, but she’d rolled her eyes and told him that he wouldn’t do any such thing.  She figured that they could consider everything personal gifts from her, and that was fine, too.  As it was, did it really matter?  She didn’t think it did.

She’d also been shopping to buy a few more clothing items for herself, a few things for Fai and a few things for Yerik—thing that weren’t as readily available in Russia, including hakama for Fai.  After all, there was nothing quite as comfortable as hakama to wear during training . . . Those things, she’d paid to have shipped directly to the castle.  She’d tell Fai to expect deliveries later when he called tonight . . .

Not to mention that something about a man, wearing hakama, is hot as hell . . .

She smiled to herself.  That, she supposed, was an added bonus . . .

“Sorry about that, Saori.  Sometimes I wonder about the people there at the school . . . I swear, there are moments when you just have to wonder . . . Anyway, shall we walk to the restaurant?” Kagura asked.

They started down the busy street, enjoying the hustle and bustle of the city.

“I remember when this was just a tiny village,” Kagura mused as they stopped at a crosswalk.  “Such a small place, and we watched it grow—watched over it, really . . . Your ojii-chan never said as much, but I had the feeling that he watched over it because a part of him . . . Well, I don’t know that you could say he missed InuYasha, but . . . But it was a part of InuYasha’s domain, and Sesshoumaru . . .”

Saori glanced at her grandmother.  It wasn’t often that she was wont to speak about those days long past.  She never knew why, exactly, but on the rare occasions that she did speak of them—her days in Sengoku Jidai—it always seemed to Saori that Kagura appeared to be a little sad.  She’d never asked why.  Something about it felt as though it wasn’t really any of her business.  Now, however, she didn’t seem sad, at all . . .

“It was . . . quite a while after InuYasha had gone after Kagome.  I don’t pretend that I know what he was thinking back then.  It must have been a little lonely, though.  I mean, they were never close, but there’s something about knowing that you have family . . . Sesshoumaru lost that for a long time, and the way everything was . . .” Suddenly, she gave herself a little shake, like she hadn’t realized that she’d been speaking out loud.  Then she smiled.  “It was a long time ago.”

Saori frowned.  “But . . . But ojii-chan had you.”

Her smile turned a little enigmatic, and she chuckled softly.  “Well, he did . . . and he didn’t . . .”

“Sounds mysterious,” Saori teased.

To her surprise, Kagura blushed.  “It’s our story, Saori-chan.  I’m sure that there are stories that you share with Fai that you won’t tell me about . . . It’s fine; did you know?  There are certain things that are meant to stay between lovers.”

She blushed, too, as she considered Kagura’s words, and she laughed.  “True enough . . . But, obaa-chan . . . Will you tell me?  How did you know?  When did you know?”

“Know?” Kagura echoed.

Saori nodded.  “How did you know ojii-chan was your mate?”

She laughed.  “Well, if you asked him, he’d say it was when he told me he was, but . . .” Her laughter died away, but her smile didn’t diminish completely as she slowly shook her head.  “I don’t think that it was something I really wondered about . . . I . . . I belonged with him, even when I . . .” Laughing again suddenly, she quickly shook her head, as though she were chiding herself for her own thoughts.  “Being with him . . . It felt . . . It felt like home . . .”

“You mean, you didn’t have a moment when you just knew?”

“Oh, I wouldn’t say that.  It wasn’t a huge epiphany or anything.  It was more of a . . . a whispering that I felt more than realized.  The wind . . . It was always warmer when I was with him . . .”

Saori considered that, a smile surfacing on her face—the kind of smile that came from deep within, from feeling a sense of well-being so deep, so encompassing, that it couldn’t be helped.  “I hope that Fai and I are as happy together as you and ojii-chan are,” she ventured.

Kagura chuckled.  “Oh, we have our disagreements, Saori.  Don’t doubt that.  However, he can still give me a look, and I’ll know what he’s thinking—what he’s feeling . . . Your ojii-chan . . . He’s a very sweet man.  He just has a hard time showing it sometimes; that’s all.”


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


“Seiji said that he was considering, flying back to Russia to keep an eye on Fai.”

Choking on the sip of tea she’d just taken, Saori quickly set the cup aside and reached for a napkin, instead.  “He did?”

Aiko nodded.  “He’s worried about him,” she replied.  “He said that Fai-sama has a good head on his shoulders, but that it isn’t all right, that he’s there with no one else to watch out for him, too . . .”

Saori sighed, slowly shook her head.  “I’m glad tou-chan cares,” she said, “but I don’t know if it’s a good idea for him to go.  Fai . . . He can handle things.”

“It’s not about handling things, Saori.  Just because someone can handle things doesn’t mean that they couldn’t use someone to back them up.  Didn’t you say that his brother is out on a hunt?”

“He was, but he’s back now, I think,” she replied.

“Fai-sama realizes, doesn’t he, that asking for help sometimes isn’t really a show of weakness?” Kagura added.  “In fact, if you ask me, sometimes it’s a show of strength . . .”

She shook her head again.  “I don’t think that’s what he’s thinking about,” she ventured.  “I think . . . I think he’s still struggling with what, exactly, he should do with Evgeni-san . . .”

“Do you think he wouldn’t punish him for his part in the whole deception?  I mean, it’s really appearing as though he was the mastermind behind the entire thing . . .?”

She frowned, struggling to figure out exactly how to convey her feelings on the matter.  “I don’t think it’s that,” she said slowly, carefully, measuring her words.  “I think . . . I don’t think it’s his resolve.  I think, more than anything, he wants answers—why he would do such things, to start with.  I think he wants to know the real scope of what he chose to do so that the punishment fits the crime, as it were.”

Kagura nodded.  “He’s a good tai-youkai, then.”

She shrugged.  “I think it weighs upon him that Evgeni-san’s mate is a good woman, too.  If he has to kill him, then that would leave her . . .”

Aiko sighed.  “That . . . That weighs on nii-chan, too,” she admitted, talking about Toga.  “He’s said before that the hardest choices are the ones that indirectly involve family.  It’s not fair, and yet, it all boils down to the idea that these ones who commit crimes really should have considered their families before they chose to do what they’ve done, too.”

“Even ojii-chan has had issues with making those kinds of choices,” Kagura added.  “I remember, there was one time . . . Rin had befriended this young lady—an eel-youkai—a really, really pretty girl . . . She’d just found her mate; they had only been together a few months, when it came to light that he had completely demolished a small village nearby.  When questioned, he admitted that he’d done it simply to see if he was strong enough to do it . . . It was in the early days after the edict that protected humans, and Sesshoumaru . . . It wasn’t that he wanted to make an example of him or anything, but the reason behind the massacre . . . And in the days before then, he might well have just turned a blind eye because that was his nature, but . . . But he understood that, at that time, what he did or did not do would have far-reaching impact.  He issued that order, and when the girl died a couple months later, Rin . . . Rin understood, but there was a certain distance between her and Sesshoumaru for a long time—a distance that was exceedingly hard to close again . . .”

Saori frowned.  She hadn’t known that; had never heard that particular tale.  “But they’re so close now . . .”

Kagura nodded.  “They are . . . But they aren’t—not like they used to be.  For a while, I wondered myself if Sesshoumaru cared for her more than he cared for me.  Maybe he just didn’t know it, or maybe he simply didn’t want it to be so.  It was one of the reasons . . .” Trailing off, she suddenly shook herself, her smile returning as her vision slowly cleared, as her memory faded into the past once more.  “It was a long time ago.”

“Don’t look like that, Saori,” Aiko chided gently.  “Every relationship undergoes changes over time, and that’s not bad.  It’s really how it ought to be.”

She understood what Aiko was saying, of course.  Even so, something about Kagura’s words . . . made her sad, too.  Rin, with her smiling ebullience, her youthful joy . . . And yet, she knew, too, that the same oba-chan had dealt with more than her fair share of heartache, especially in her very young life . . . “But ojii-chan adopted her, right?  I mean, you both did . . .”

Kagura shrugged, reaching for her tea.  “Well, it was more Sesshoumaru . . . He’d adopted her long before I was in the picture.  Maybe not formally, but it was recognized by all that she was his child.  Rin and I . . . Well, we started out more as friends than parent-child . . .”

“But she calls you okaa-san,” Aiko reminded her.

Kagura smiled, chuckled.  “She does, and I love her as much as I love you and Toga.”

Saori’s phone buzzed, and she glanced at it, only to see that Fai had sent her a picture.  She giggled at the poor Asian tai-youkai, sitting at his desk, cheek propped on his balled-up fist, looking entirely bored, with the words, ‘Miss you’ . . . She sent him back a crying emoji and dropped her phone into her purse once more.

“If that was a picture of your mate, I want to see,” Aiko remarked.  “Well, unless he was naked or something . . .”

Saori laughed and dug her phone out to hand it over.  Aiko giggled and rolled her eyes.  “Laying it on a little thick, isn’t he?” she asked as she gave Kagura the phone.

“A very good-looking man,” she decided.  “The two of you will make beautiful babies.”

Blushing profusely as she stowed the phone away again, Saori giggled.  “Eventually,” she allowed.  “He said he’d like to get things a little more under control before we start a family, and I agree . . . I want babies, but we have a long time together . . .”

“There’s nothing wrong with waiting,” Kagura told her.  A vague sense of sadness seemed to flicker to life on her features, but it was gone as fast as it had come, too . . . “We waited a long time before we decided to start ours, and for much the same reason, although Sesshoumaru also wanted to wait . . . Well, there were a few other reasons, too, but . . . I . . . I wanted to wait, too . . . Anyway, that’s another story, entirely . . . He wanted family, I think . . . He wanted to wait until closer to time for InuYasha to arrive through the well.”

“Whether you have children right away or not is entirely up to the both of you, however, I look forward to being obaa-chan,” Aiko remarked.  “In your own time, of course.”

“Okay, so, now that we’re done eating, what else were we going to do this afternoon?” Kagura asked, scanning her cell phone at the tableside payment reader.

“Seiji insisted that I take the rest of the day off,” Aiko replied.  “He apparently thinks I work too hard . . . And he did mention that he might have called to make reservations at Kawaii . . .”

“Really?” Saori giggled and picked up her purse.  Kawaii was one of the nicest spas in the area with a price tag to boot.  “What did tou-chan pay for?”

Aiko laughed.  “I think he said that he told them to bill him.”

“Oh, well, then . . .” Kagura drawled, reaching for her purse.

“I’m going to go call Fai really quickly,” Saori said as she got to her feet.  “No hurry . . . Thanks, obaa-chan.”

She hurried away from the table, changing her shoes before she stepped outside to seek a quiet corner where she could call Fai in at least a modicum of privacy.  He’d emailed her some of the pictures he’d taken at a couple of the property showings that he’d gone on for her.  There were a couple that weren’t suited for what they wanted, but a two of them looked fairly promising.  He’d told the realtor that she would be making the final decision when she returned, so she wanted to thank him for going out of his way to do that for her, though, to be honest, she really just wanted to hear his voice.

Choosing a little alcove just outside the restaurant, she pulled out her phone and was about to dial when the arm slipped around her waist, claws digging into her hip just enough to be taken as a warning.  “Don’t scream, Your Grace,” the man said in thick Russian.

She dropped the phone back into her purse and slowly shifted her eyes around.  Nothing seemed amiss, so she was pretty sure it was just this man.  She had no idea who he was, though . . . “What do you want?” she asked, careful to keep her voice down.

He chuckled.  “Well, I’ve been asked to escort you back to Russia,” he told her in a pleasant enough tone.

“And who wants me back there?” she parried calmly.

“Ah-ah . . . Now, come along.  Don’t want to cause a scene, now do you?”

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” she replied just as pleasantly, willing her heart to stop racing.  “I’m not in the habit of taking off with strange men.”

“Hmm, well, how about you pretend that we’re friends?  Then you can come along with me, no problem, right?”

“I’m pretty picky about who I call a friend,” she told him dubiously.  “After all, you won’t tell me a thing, so I figure you’re either here to hurt me or to force me to do something I’m not sure I want to do . . .”

“Well, as much fun as this whole thing has been, how about we cut the chatter and get a move on, hmm?  After all, I’ve spent far too long today, trailing you all over Tokyo.  What say we just skip this cute banter and get going?”

She let him hustle her toward a waiting cab.  Peering back over her shoulder just in time to see her grandmother and mother step out of the restaurant, she shook her head at them when Kagura started to reach into her purse for her fans.  “It’s fine,” she called back as the man opened the taxi door and started to herd her into it.  “I’m going back to Russia!”

The man shoved her into the cab and hopped in after her, closing the door and barking at the driver to go, even as Kagura and Aiko hurried over to the vehicle.  “One would think you’d be better protected than just a couple of women,” he scoffed, going so far as to wave at them as the cab pulled away from the curb.

Saori rolled her eyes, reaching over to dig her claws into the man’s hand, the hiss of his breath, warring with the sizzle as she purposefully injected just enough poison into his hand to make her point.  “Since I don’t know you, I guess I should tell you that you’re going to be dead in about an hour,” she murmured so that only he would hear.  “Now, would you be nice enough to tell me who sent you?”

“You!” he growled, cradling his hand against his chest, wincing as some of the poison oozed out of the puncture wounds.  “But there aren’t any poison-youkai outside of—”

“My ojii-chan’s family?  You’re right,” she replied pleasantly enough.  “Well, other than vipers, but their venom is nothing in comparison.  So, either you cooperate with me—or you die.  It’s your choice.”


~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~ =~
A/N:

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Final Thought from Taras:
Dammit
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Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Vivication):  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 63
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