Title: Forgiveness
Author: Dubird
Pairings: I guess a bit of MerylXVash, but it's not the focus of the story.
Rating: PG-13 for some swearing
Standard Disclaimer: I don't own Trigun. This is just one of the many fan spawned writings of another crazy person. I also go to college and have lots of loans to pay off, so if you're looking for money, you've come to the wrong place!

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Vash leaned against the outside wall of their little rented cottage, feeling the warmth of the stones seep through his shirt. He closed his eyes against the glare of the double suns, trying to capture a moment of peace. Before he had to go back inside and face him again. It was becoming harder to talk to Knives every day, trying to get him to open up and just listen for a change. Knives had hardly spoken since he had woken up, and most of the time he seemed to just tune the world out. Vash slid down the wall to sit on the still-cold ground, drawing his knees up in front of him and resting his forehead on them. 'If only he would talk to me,' he thought, wondering again what had happened to his brother.

"Vash?" Meryl's voice floated out of the heat and he looked up, seeing her framed in the doorway. She paused as she spotted his newly acquired black eye. "What happened?"

Vash shrugged, a little embarrassed. "Nothing much. Knives tried to climb out the back window last night. I'm not sure why."

"And he hit you?"

"Well, yeah. But I think that was my fault. When I grabbed his arm, he lost his balance and fell out of the window." Vash rubbed the back of his neck in a familiar gesture, trying for lightness of mood to keep her from worrying.

Meryl just shook her head. "How long are you going to keep this up, anyways?"

"What are you talking about?"

"This...keeping your brother up there. You're just going to keep him locked up for the rest of his life?"

"Of course not!" Vash paused a moment, trying to find a good answer. "But I can't let him hurt anyone. And besides, you don't have to stay here."

"Oh yes I do!" Meryl glared down at him, putting her hands on her hips. "Someone has to look after you. You seem to get into more trouble than anyone I know, and without even trying!"

"I know. It's a real drag, isn't it?"

"This isn't a laughing matter, Vash!" She knelt down next to him and placed her hand over one of his. "You can't keep this up. Sooner or later, something bad will happen and you'll be right back where you started. You'll kill yourself at this rate, and for what? For someone that used to be your brother?"

Vash stood up, shaking off her hand. "You just don't understand. I can't let this alone, and don't ask me why I didn't just kill him. I can't. I won't."

Meryl stood up as well, her gray eyes flashing with anger. "Maybe I understand better than you think. But you can't go on like this. It's making you miserable, and eventually he's going to get you killed. Think about that for a while!" She stormed back into the cottage, slamming the door behind her.

Vash watched her go, a little startled by the intensity in her voice. She had spent half their acquaintance yelling at him, but this was different. 'What if she's right?' a small voice inside whispered to him. He leaned back against the wall again, closing his eyes. 'But what else can I do, Rem? What else should I do?'