Beginnings
by Grey

Pairings: Vash x Meryl

Note: This fic was written for a fanfic challenge, and was originally
posted at the Blissful Ignorance fanfic forums:
http://www.blissfulignorance.com/phpBB/index.php The challenge was for
600-800 word fics involving kissing and New Year's Eve, thus the word
count below. Please visit the BI forums - they're fun, and the Trigun
section could always use more discussion and fics ^___^

I'd like to say thanks to Blackrose for holding the challenge. Thanks also
to my beta reader, Jaina.

799 words, without title and notes:
"~/text/fics$ wc trigun_newyears.txt
97 799 4522 trigun_newyears.txt"

Vash raised his glass high, toasting the New Year. He'd seen many, but
this year was special. This year, he had someone to toast it with!
Of course, that someone was an extremely drunk, hyper-cheerful, six foot
tall Insurance Girl, and she was currently toasting into a bar
mirror... but then, Rem always said that beggars couldn't be choosers.

It was good to have friends. Though he'd often tried to scare them off,
the Insurance Girls had been stubborn. Especially the short one, he
mused. She was always looking after him, though she'd never admit it. At
first, he'd found her concern annoying. It had seemed too much like
pity, or martyred duty, and he hadn't asked for either.

Later, he'd realized he'd been wrong about her. When he'd thought about
it, he'd come to a surprising conclusion. She didn't think of him as
mere work, and she didn't pity him, except perhaps in an understandable
"I'm sorry random people are constantly shooting at you" sort of
way. She worried about him because he was her friend, and she wanted him
to be safe.

This epiphany had been a great relief. He had no need for empty hangers-on,
but the concern of a friend... he was grateful for that, even if he
rarely showed it.

After all, if he did, she'd probably use it to guilt him into things,
and she was enough of a guilt expert as it was. Still, it might be nice
if he got her a drink, since she was working while he and Milly were
celebrating and--

Damn, she *was* good at guilt. She was doing it to him when she
wasn't even there! He stood up, his legs wobbling a little. Yep, he'd
bring her a drink. A really nice one!

Emboldened, he bought one of those fancy umbrella drinks. About halfway
up the stairs, he noted that it didn't taste much better than whisky.
About three-quarters of the way up, he realized that he'd drank all of
Meryl's fancy umbrella drink. He shrugged drunkenly, and decided to
invite her downstairs instead.

He found her at her typewriter. Folders covered her desk, and a small
forest of rumpled-up papers had sprouted on the floor.

"You look like you could use a break," he said. She stood up.

"I probably could." Then she frowned. "No, I've got to have this done by
tomorrow."

"Just one drink?" he asked, moving closer. "They've got umbrella ones..."

"Vash-san, I don't drink. And when I do, I like vodka shots." Vash
blinked. Didn't all women like fancy umbrella drinks?

She sighed, and he panicked. Wasn't there something he could do?
Something nice, something that said, "Thanks, because you and
Milly are my friends and forget Milly because you're really
cute when you're working"?

...wait, cute? He blinked, casting away the alcohol-induced haze, and
checked again. Her face was smudged with ink, and her hair was mussed
from that habit she had of tangling her hands in it when she was
frustrated. On top of that, she had a bit of rag wrapped around an
paper cut on one finger, and no less than two pencils and a pen
were tucked behind her ears.

Damn, but she was *dangerously* cute.

And now she was looking at him curiously, probably trying to figure out
why he was staring at her. She was so close, and her eyes, the booze,
and his own palpitating heart made him do something he'd probably
regret.

He kissed her. She made a little "mmph" noise, but it was the sort of
mmph that one could translate as "I am surprised that you're kissing me,
but the experience isn't unpleasant", as opposed to "OH EW YUCK VASH
KISSES", so he continued. He brought his arms up, holding her gently,
and was surprised and pleased when one of her hands came to rest upon
the small of his back. She didn't kiss him back, at least not actively,
but her lips moved softly against his.

When he stopped, she looked shocked. Her eyes were wide, and one hand
slowly came up to rest upon her lips, as if asking for confirmation of
his touch.

An inner voice whispered, *You now have thirty seconds to run away
before she hits you.* He heeded it.

He stuck one hand behind his head, laughed, and stammered, "Happy
New Year, Insurance Girl! Don't work too hard!" Then he dashed out
the door and down the stairs. He was nearly at the bottom when he
realized that he still hadn't given her a drink. Fortunately, the
strange mix of elation and confusion playing in his heart made it easy
not to care.

Upstairs, Meryl's thoughts could be easily summarized.

"That man, Vash the Stampede... tastes like one of those fancy
umbrella drinks?"