Disclaimer: As a student of copyright law, I am completely aware that it is
an act of infringement to prepare this derivative work involving the
concepts and characters of Trigun. However, I would also like to point out
that, as I have no intention of marketing this story for profit, to
prosecute me would be a great waste of time and money. My contributions can
only serve to increase the popularity of and demand for this already famous
Warnings: R for final chapter
Note from the author: Although I write quite a bit of fanfiction in my
head, I very rarely am motivated to transfer it to a fixed media. Hence,
this is my first Trigun story. It began as a vignette from Meryl's point of
view, and ended up as something of a novella. I felt the need to split it
into several parts in order to assist in reading. As of now these 'sequel'
titles are "Reap the Whirlwind" and "Inherit the Wind", should you actually
have any desire to continue after you're finished with this one.
Additionally, there's a couple of other story ideas in the works
tentatively entitled "Their Brothers' Keepers" and "Where Angels Fear to
Tread". We'll have to see if I ever bother making them.
Inspiration Soundtrack: Let My Love Open the Door- Pete Townshend, One
Night in Bangkok- Chess Soundtrack, Trigun end theme- Duh!
"Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it
enkindles the great."
Tame the Whirlwind
Needless to say, he had never returned.
He had walked off that day, a blurred shadow against the torturous sun, and
had never come back. And she hadn't said a word. She had tried to get it
out, to find the courage to speak what she'd been shouting silently for
weeks. But she had failed. Again. So much for her perfectionist track
She had, at first, been shocked by her own cowardice. She hadn't needed to
say anything, really. She could have hugged him or kissed him goodbye (near
strangers had done as much and more). Instead she had stayed leaning
nonchalantly by the doorway. Had opened her mouth to speak, and then
recounted. Too afraid her words would make him change his mind. More afraid
that they wouldn't. She and Millie had watched him amble off to who knows
where in silence.
After the initial shock of her failure she had attempted to comfort
herself. Surely he'd be back. Surely he couldn't stay away for long.
Perhaps tomorrow. Perhaps this evening. Perhaps she should make some extra
dinner just in case he materialized, limping, out of the sunset. But he
didn't come, and the food got cold, and each night she fell asleep curled
up on the porch rocking chair with a rough blanket wrapped around her
knees. And he didn't come. And, of course, it all lead to the eventual
conclusion of what she had known all along. Had known as she stood leaning
by the doorway so that she couldn't miss him as he left. Had known as she
blessed Millie inwardly for interrupting her just at the critical moment of
admittance. Had known as she watched him walk away, already consoling
herself with thoughts of his return. He was never coming back. He had never
intended to return. And she had never told him how she felt.
Not that it likely would have made any difference. It was, and this was a
thought that truly scared her, probable that he had already known. She had
been taught that men were usually blind to such things, that emotions and
all the baggage that accompanied them were as foreign to them as oceans
were to her. And nothing she had experienced in her youth had made her
think otherwise. Men were boorish, rude, inconsiderate, sex fiends. But
then, Vash wasn't like other men.
He certainly wasn't stupid. It had taken her while, but eventually she had
come to the conclusion that it took a real genius to get away with acting
that idiotic. And he wasn't unaware of people's feelings. Point in fact,
he'd shown considerable insight into emotions that others didn't even know
they had. He also certainly wasn't afraid to vent his own emotions.
Although she was pretty sure his crying like a baby at the slightest thing
was an act, she was certain she had seen him at times truly sad, and happy,
and, on one or two occasions, murderous. No, it was a good bet he had known
about her feelings for him all along, perhaps even before she herself did.
And it hadn't changed a thing.
Later, when life had returned to a semblance of normalcy, her mind would
wander back to the time they had spent together and wonder where on earth
she had gotten the idea that he would even care. She was not sure exactly
when she had come to the realization that there was room in their clutter
of a friendship for more, but as soon as she did she had found herself
unaccountably hopeful that their relationship would change. Hopeful against
any logic or sense of understanding. Her memory of those times was
painfully clear. How she would try to talk to him, maybe draw him into a
conversation that didn't involve the weather, or their destination, or
death and destruction. How he would look at her with open eyes that didn't
judge her when she found herself unable to speak and had to mumble
"nothing" and turn away. Those tense moments had seemed like hours to her,
short as they had been in actual time. How short for him who had been young
when the ships first fell out of the sky? How insignificant the sharp, fast
beating of her heart to him who had held the love of so many? How stupid
and petty were her hopes and dreams and desires to one who had seen the
dreams of millions burnt to dust in the atmosphere, who had given hope to
those with no more reason to live, who watched people's lives like the
unreal, two dimensional scenes on a movie screen? What had she expected in
those brief breathless moments? Did she even know herself? He was older
than her, way older. Did she think he had never had a woman before? That he
had never known girls smarter than her, or prettier? What, in those
instants of conceited stupidity had she ever thought she could offer to
And then she would laugh. A high pitched false sounding laugh that would
cause everyone in the crowded office to look up with alarm. And when she
stopped her fierce giggling before it could turn into sobs, they would
shake their heads and turn respectfully away from the poor girl whose
brains had clearly been addled by the scorching sun of the outer
There was, of course, the possibility that he had been killed. In fact, the
idea was not all that farfetched considering the circumstances. But during
their time together she had come to find that he was extremely resilient,
and, after she had learned a little more about his past, had found herself
questioning whether he really could be killed at all. The most telling
factor for her, though, was that she just felt, deep down in her soul, that
he was alive. She knew she was being a foolish girl for thinking, like the
heroine in some fairy tale, that if he had died she would "just know". But
then, it wasn't the most foolish thing she'd done because of Vash. And
besides, if there were anyone who was a knight straight out of a children's
story, he was it.
And so that was her life. She had had her legendary tale, her taste of
adventure, her chance for the castle and the white horse and the happily
ever after, and she had missed it. She had been the proverbial little girl
who has just found out that magic was real, but that monsters were real
too, and fearing the latter rejected both for the warm comforts of home and
a stable, normal, life. And in the way of all logical adults, she found
reassurance in the world of bankbooks and deadlines, and eventually could
forget what her life in the wilds had been like.
That was, most of the time.
Millie had eventually gotten married. The groom was stoic and sarcastic
with dark hair and Meryl had politely refrained from mentioning who he
reminded her of. And when Millie's whole family came and made such a fuss
over their favorite little sister, she couldn't help but be happy for her
friend. Within the year Millie was producing a brood of her own. The first
had been a little girl named Meryl. "After her godmother," Millie had said,
smiling. And not two years later, a dark haired little boy named for his
dad. His father was so pleased and proud, he didn't mind at all that, to
avoid confusion, his son went commonly by his middle name. Around the house
he was Nicholas, Nicky for short, and Meryl politely never commented about
that either. Both grew up spoiled by their "aunt" who would tell them
stories about how, when she and their mother had been younger, they had
gone on adventures and known the famous outlaw, Vash the Stampede.
Not unsurprisingly, Millie's husband never believed the stories. It was
beyond comprehension to him that his sweet little naïve bride had ever been
the acquaintance of outlaws. He laughed at the stories and even went so far
once as to question whether or not they were appropriate material for
children of impressionable age. But it was always those stories that they
asked for when she was over. "Please, Aunt Meryl, please tell the one about
the little boy and the sand steamer." "Tell us the one about you and mommy
and the typhoon." And so she would lift each one to a knee and tell them,
leaving out the gory parts and the sad parts and making their eyes sparkle
with all the crystal belief of childhood. And every time she would cry
inside thinking, 'He would have loved this.'
It was after just one of these visits that Meryl found herself in one of
the worst sections of town, with absolutely no idea how she'd gotten there.
Well, that's not entirely true, she thought to herself, obviously I walked
here. Obviously I left Millie's after helping with the dishes and wasn't
paying attention to where I was going. Obviously, I was thinking of
something else entirely and my feet kept moving and I just made a wrong
turn and ended up here. Meryl sighed. Obviously she had been thinking about
him. The kids had brought it out of her with their questions until all the
memories welled up inside her against her will. Until she had almost
drowned in them. And, in a haze, caught somewhere between now and 10 years
ago, she had let her legs take her wherever the sidewalk lead.
Apparently, it lead to the 'Outlands Bar'.
Light streamed through the doorway into the trash filled street (when did
it get so dark out?). The windows were dirty but she could hear the sounds
of revelers within. Someone was singing (already? little early for that
isn't it?), badly, and someone else was apparently angry at how a card game
had come out. It was probably too much to ask that they had a working phone
inside but, glancing up and down the empty street, it didn't look as if she
had much of a choice. Meryl slipped her hand surreptitiously into her
pocket and wrapped her fingers around the little Deringer she always kept
"just in case". It felt strangely warm against her palm and suddenly, she
really was back 10 years ago, outside just another rowdy bar in another law
starved territory town.
Meryl shook the disturbing feeling of being in two places at once from her
head. 'Stop letting your imagination get away with you,' she scolded.
Raising her chin and setting her head in what she hoped looked like a
confident manner, she pushed through the half doors and into the bright
Inside the eerie sense of familiarity continued. The patrons, as a whole,
were unkempt. The bartender was plump, aproned, and surly looking. Balls
clinked from a pool table in the corner and the waitresses appeared to have
been hired neither for their serving abilities nor their stimulating
conversation. Most of the customers didn't even bother looking up to see
who had come in, let alone show any interest. Meryl breathed a slight sigh
of relief. Dodging a sashaying waitress, she made her way to the bar.
"Excuse me," she asked the bartender. His attention was focused on the card
game argument so she raised her voice and stood on tiptoe to make herself
more visible over the tall bar. "Excuse me, do you have a phone I could
"Pay phone in the back," he grunted, jerking his head to indicate
direction. Meryl mentally went over the contents of her pockets.
"Umm.would it be possible to get some change?"
"Yeah, if you buy something." Meryl despaired momentarily for the loss of
chivalry then upbraided herself. She should just be happy she had found a
real working phone in this place. Tossing a bill upon the counter, she
watched as the bartender plunked down her change and a sweating bottle in
front of her without taking his eyes off of the vociferous card game.
Picking up both she strode around to the back and found a decrepit black
pay phone with chewing gum plugging the return slot.
She deposited her coins and then paused, one hand poised over the numbers.
Who could she call? Millie was likely in bed already and her other friends
from work..oh, right.what other friends? None good enough to trust to
coming down here this late in the evening. No, she had a better idea.
Flipping through the torn phone book, she found a reputable looking cab
company and dialed them. Thirty minutes, they said. That was fine. She hung
up and returned to the common room. Perching herself on a barstool, she
raised the cool bottle to her lips, determined to enjoy her unwanted beer.
While she had been in the back, the card game had apparently come to blows
and the bouncer slumped languorously against the doorframe had eagerly
introduced two of the players to the pavement. However, it didn't take long
for the room to return to it's previous decibel level. Meryl let her
eyelids slide closed momentarily and allowed the familiar sounds to wash
over her. The singer was at it again, his friends egging him on and making
laughing requests. The card players had switched games and were muttering
angrily under their breaths in between silent, surreptitious glances
towards the bouncer. Someone shouted a lewd comment at a serving girl and
she gave a tittering laugh in return. The half doors squeaked as another
patron strolled in.
Meryl smiled despite herself. This place was coarse. It was dirty. It was a
little bit dangerous. It was everything she had loved about the territories
but would never have admitted, even to herself. Opening her eyes she saw
the bartender glancing suspiciously at her, his hands mechanically dry
washing a bar glass. It occurred to her that women probably didn't usually
spend this much time enjoying a drink in his establishment. She wondered,
vaguely, if the proprietor thought that her phone call had been regarding
"business" with one of his patrons. It was the only reason she could come
up with for the disagreeable look he was giving her. She almost laughed
aloud at the idea. As if she had the clothes, or the body for that matter.
But all the same, it made her feel younger and prettier. Glancing at her
watch she saw that 10 minutes had passed since her phone call and was
almost disappointed that there wasn't a lot of time left. She had to admit
it, she had missed the atmosphere.
Behind her the singer had thankfully abated and been replaced by one of his
cohorts telling a long joke involving a duck with a gun. One of the pool
players gave a short shout of triumph.
"Hey sweet thing," a waitress drawled somewhat seductively to the newcomer,
"Can I get you anything."
A chair scraped against the floor as one of the card players rose to use
the restroom. His chips clinked as he gathered them. Meryl lowered her half
empty beer bottle from her lips and gazed at fat droplet sliding down its
"Scotch whiskey, straight."
The droplet froze. Time froze. Or rather, time merged. Past and present,
then and now. A space between heartbeats which lasted forever. And, in that
moment, had black become white and up down Meryl would not have been in the
least surprised, for the impossible became possible.
She knew that voice.
'Ten years. Ten years, Meryl,' she thought to herself. 'Ten years and you
still think you'd recognize his voice. Pick him out of a rowdy crowd of
conversation, just like that. Silly girl, getting yourself all worked up
over nothing.' She blushed with embarrassment as well as determination.
'But I do know that voice. I do.'
'Nonsense,' said Sensible Meryl, 'It's just this bar and those pesky
memories. Everything's been weirdly familiar tonight, that should go for
voices as well. Listen, listen again, you'll see. It's just some guy, some
random patron, come to drink his own memories away for a while'
The waitress leaned up against the bar, pressing her ample bosom against
the top, and repeated what the customer had said. The bartender set down
his now well buffed glass and proceeded to fill it with a rich amber
liquid. He placed the glass on the girl's tray and she flounced back to the
table behind her.
"Here you go sweet thing."
Meryl held her breath.
It had to be! No. Yes. Come on, after 10 years he's just going to show up
in a bar on the one random night you wander into it. Why not? He's done
crazier things. That's not the point, you haven't even looked around to
make sure. Oh, and someone who sounds exactly like Vash but isn't him
showing up at the bar I randomly wander into isn't crazy? Just humor me
with a casual glance around the room. I'm not sure I can make it look
Meryl set her bottle firmly down on the bar and turned around in her seat,
looking as nonchalant as was humanly possible with her torso twisted 180
degrees from the front. Then calmly turned back and laid her hands flat,
fingers spread wide, on either side of her beer bottle. It was a trick she
had learned in grade school. It kept them from shaking.
It was him.
Sensible Meryl tried to raise her voice, tried in vain to be heard over the
excited ramblings of Emotional Meryl, and was summarily knocked off the
barstool. 'What should I do? Should I go up to him? What should I say?
Didn't he see me when he came in? It's not like him to be so inattentive.
What if I've changed so much he doesn't recognize me?' That thought made
her grimace. She knew she wasn't ugly, but time had touched her in the last
10 years just as it touched everyone else. Well, except him apparently.
'What if he's not interested in me now? What if he never was in the first
'Well, it's about time you found out.'
Nodding her head in silent assent she gripped her beer tightly and slipped
carefully off of the barstool. She turned and faced the table behind her.
His red coat had disappeared, replaced with one of brown leather, but
equally long. As always his blonde hair spiked up above him, making him
look even taller than he was, except for one unruly strand falling over his
eyes. Those were staring at his drink, now, not looking her way at all. His
hands, gloved and not, gripped the glass before him, dark and light fingers
interlaced. Taking a deep breath, she sidled up to him and set her drink
down next to his. The sound of glass hitting the table seemed to break his
reverie and he glanced up at her.
She wasn't sure what she had intended to do after walking over to him.
Embracing him and kissing him within an inch of his life had come to mind
(causing her to blush even more furiously than she already was). Also,
smacking him about the head and demanding to know where the hell he'd been
for the last 10 years. That option sounded more attractive, but she wasn't
sure it would achieve the response she was hoping for. And there was
another problem. She stood there, shivering, in the hot, smoky barroom and
everything she had thought of saying to him over the past decade flew out
of her head like dandelion seeds after a swift puff of air. As if ten years
had never passed, as if all the time she had spent forgetting about him and
moving on with her "real" life had never happened, she found herself
drowning in his eyes.
"Huh-hi," she managed to stutter out. 'Oh, great, Meryl, dazzle him with
your wit why don't you! It's been 10 years, can't you think of anything
better to say?'
"Insurance girl," he replied, with a wry smile. "Long time, no see."
"Yeah," Meryl sighed, "Real long." And suddenly, without her control, she
was smiling too. She blushed again and tried to duck her face away, but
couldn't quite manage to break the gaze he now held her with. With the toe
of his boot he pushed the chair next to him out from the table.
"Sit," he offered, and she obliged. For a moment the raucous bar seemed to
go silent. The chair creaked beneath her. The buxom waitress glared a
haughty challenge from across the bar, hands on her hips. The bouncer
shifted his weight making the floorboards moan.
"So, where have you been the last 10 years?"
She stared at him in open-mouthed shock. Where had SHE been?!? And then she
noticed the crinkles at the edges of his eyes, eyes that had turned a light
and friendly sky blue. She recognized his look, he was teasing her. Then he
was laughing openly at her, his head thrown back. In that moment, Meryl
laughed too. She laughed at herself and at him. She laughed at all of the
things she'd been doing since he had walked out of her life. She laughed
without worrying what the other patrons would think, or the flouncing
waitress, or the unpleasant bartender. She laughed, and it was neither high
nor strained. And for the first time in a long time, it was real.