Disclaimer: Isn't this always first? One way or another I'm going to have to find a way to permanently stick the 'disclaimer' to the beginning of each chapter I write . . . Damn things . . . *Sigh* I do not own Trigun. THERE!! I said it!! *Psychologists around the world cheer at the accomplishment*

But anyway. This is my third written Trigun fic. I dunno which is going up first. Eh, I might've already uploaded one; who knows.

In a nutshell this is what might happen if a woman who had Vash's speed used it all for stealing and decided to steal from him, while he's asleep nonetheless.

And this here is . . .

Chapter Eight: Reconciling

I woke slowly to the sound of soft breathing next to me. More tired than I could ever remember, I groaned as I turned, flipping over slowly and letting my head roll right. And there, as I'd expected him to be, was Vash the Stampede. He was sitting in the same chair he'd been sitting in the previous night, only now it was dusk and he was slumped, seemingly too tired to stay awake. He must've been awake all night, like I was, I realized, and my eyes filled. I sat up, smiling at him.

He was so incredibly selfless. And if what Nicholas said was true, then he probably loved me like he did everything else, and was worried about my health. I couldn't imagine the conversation that would come of my being pregnant. He'd probably assume that I'd been with somebody before my attempt at robbing the hotel. And wasn't it illegal to lock in guests at a hotel? I was sure I'd asked myself that before.

Oh, I could hardly wait to see his expression when I tell him that my past lover came back to give me a child. . .

A baby. . .

My eyes filled again, and this time I let them fall as my hand lifted to touch my lips. I could hardly believe it had happened, but then again, I couldn't be sure it had until a month or two from now, when I'd start showing. Still, it was getting harder for me to breath, and I choked on a breath as a grin split my face. With a deep sigh I let myself fall back into the bed, and as I'd expected, Vash stirred. Another moment passed and I heard his voice.

"Aluna. . ?" He blinked a few times and then looked at me, both worried and surprised that I was awake and crying. "Are you alright?" he asked in a rush. "Are you in pain?"

"I'm not in pain," I said with a shake of my head. "I just. . .had a very lovely dream," I explained. "These are happy tears."

"You're sure?" he asked, concern plain on his face. "Your head doesn't hurt? What about your back? And your ribs?" He continued to list them off, asking if something else hurt every time I shook my head. At last I laughed at him, and sat up, one arm holding my sheets to my chest.

"I'm perfectly fine, Vash. Never felt better. Really." I sighed deeply, the pleasant feeling remaining. "Really," I assured him again. And then, "Honestly." I said it with complete sincerity, looking directly into his green eyes. "I wouldn't lie to you, and you know it."

He sighed. "After what happened last I can't be too sure."

"I was depressed, Vash," I told him. "I thought that I was going to be locked up for the rest of my life, even if I chose to give everything back and choose a new career." I sat up straighter. "But everything's alright now. Promise. Hey," I added at his look and lifted my left hand, "I swear on my soul. If I'm lying I'll gladly gift-wrap myself and mail myself directly to Satan's lap."

He continued that searching look only a moment more before letting out a laugh. "In that case I hope you're not lying," he laughed.

"Me too," I laughed back. For a moment that was almost frozen in time, we were both laughing, and I let my left arm cover my womb. Oh, to have a baby, Nor's baby. . .With another sigh I fell back again, a contented smile along my lips. My eyes were closed but I knew that Vash was still looking at me. "You know," I said without opening my eyes, "that little tornado has a thing for you."

"Tornado?" he asked, surprise in his voice.

"Yeah, you know - black hair, grey eyes, short stature, fiery spirit and excellent aim. . ." I chuckled. "About fifty derringers. . ."

He was already laughing. "You're sure about that? I thought she just liked to torture me."

"That's a sign of love," I claimed, lifting my hand and pointing at the ceiling like I was making a point. But another laugh escaped my lips.

"Do you also swear that on your soul?" Vash teased. "And if you're lying you'll gift-wrap yourself and mail yourself to Satan's lap?"

"Hmm. . .Let me think about that one. . ." I laughed as Vash did, and opened my eyes. His laughter was actually of the seductive kind, but not the type that made you melt or stole your breath. It was such a light laugh, as though the world didn't matter, and just begged that you laugh along, even if you didn't know what the joke was. I'd never met anyone like that. But man, am I glad I met Vash.

So what if I blew my chance at thievery, got badly injured by eight over-muscled thugs, got lost in a sandstorm, cracked my skull and lost the one man I'd ever loved for good? I was still happy I met him.

"Vash," I said, catching his attention as my voice became serious. "Were you really nuts with worry during that storm?"

He glanced away a moment and his cheeks went red as he nodded.

"Well, thank you," I said, working on propping up my pillows while keeping my left arm across my chest. I really should have remembered to get dressed before I fell asleep last night, but it was too late to cry about it now. When I turned back to him, leaning against the pillows, the look on his face made my breath catch in my throat.

He's not going to - is he? He can't be serious. . . The thoughts might have been in my head, but they didn't seem to touch home.

"Aluna," he said, sounding as breathless as I was, "can I ask you something?"

"Just about anything," I replied, hoping it would deter what I was scared of him asking.

"Can I kiss you?" The look in his eyes was doing all the pleading, and his voice was just asking permission formally.

"That's one of those things you can't ask me," I told him. "You know I hate to have to break your heart, so don't hand it over, okay? Alright?"

He wasn't seeing me anymore. His eyes were on me, still holding mine, but he couldn't see me anymore. I recognized that faraway look, one I had more than once over my lifetime and always once more than I wished. And then he blinked and sat back, shaking his head and glancing around, as though he'd forgotten where he was for a moment.

And then he met eyes with me again, and it was all I could do to smile at him. "You drifted off for a minute there. Are you back in the world of the living again?"

"I hope so," he laughed, smiling as well. But that was mask; he wasn't really happy at all. I could see through it easily, but god only knows what would happen if I let him know that I could see through his mask.

Deciding not to risk it, I looked away, at the door. "Would you leave for a minute so I could get dressed, Vash?" I asked, hoping that by using his name he'd do it. I glanced at him as he got up and left, and sighed as the door shut. There was more behind my request for him to leave than just to get dressed. I had some thinking to do, and soon, I'd have a baby to take care of - I hope and pray.

It was the only thing on my mind as I got dressed again, and all that I could think of as I opened the window. I don't want to run away, but there's no way I could properly eat and take care of myself while in a jail cell. I paused, though, and turned around to write a note. Knowing Vash, he'd know the instant my feet touched the dirt outside the window. I wrote the note carefully, choosing only the best words for such a thing, and left it on the pillow after making up the bed.

And then I was at the window, my pack strapped across my chest, and my left hand holding my womb as my right held the paneling. With a deep breath and a practiced judge of distances, I leapt, falling three stories before landing on a cloth overhand and sliding down it, and then another two stories of a fall. I took the landing hard, harder than I'd like to admit, and looked down at my left thigh in surprise. I hadn't known I'd hurt it, but the sharp, tearing pain proved that I had. Nonetheless I got up, rubbing the aching thigh - probably a torn muscle - and began to half-run, half-limp towards the bus.

As I did so, I lifted my hand and touched my Blaze Heart, hanging from a necklace I made during some time last night. I took it off as I neared the bus, which was - luckily - just boarding, and stuffed it into my pack after wrapping it. I glanced behind me just once, and caught a lone figure watching me run from the window of my room. I paused, wanting to go back and make him feel better about this, but instead I waved and then delved into my pocket, pulling out the necessary amount of money and handed it over to the driver.

I really hoped I didn't break his heart.

~*~ Six Years Later ~*~

Aluna stood silently, smiling, watching a very certain group of strangers come into town. She recognized them, all of them but one grown man and a child, and she knew very well where they were headed. She waved as they drew nearer, and went down the steps outside her home to meet them. A small boy with white hair trailed behind her, shy and wary of the new people. But Aluna went straight up to the blonde man she remembered, the one with clear green eyes and a sharp gaze. With a grin splitting her face she wrapped her arms around his neck and he hugged her back, glad to have met again.

"I knew you'd find me," she told him. She released him and stepped back, and her eyes skimmed over their group. "Let's see if my memory is correct. Milly, Meryl, Vash. So who's this, and the kid?" she asked, gesturing at the man and child.

Meryl grinned at her. "This is Nikki, Vash and my little girl. Named after Nicholas, since he died a while ago." In her arms, the girl laughed and reached for Aluna.

As Aluna caught her, she noticed the kid's weight. "My goodness! How old is she, and how heavy?"

"She's two and a half," Vash filled her in. Her ruffled the girl's black hair, held up in the typical two ponytails and she looked up at her father, her eyes matching his. "And this is Knives, the guy I told you about," he finished, gesturing at Knives.

"He doesn't look quite so homicidal as you made him out to be," Aluna observed.

"There's a reason behind that," Vash said, laughing.

"Who's this?" Milly asked, hands on knees as she smiled down at Aluna's little boy.

"Nor," Aluna told her. "This is Nor." She knelt down and let Nikki sit on her knee, and Nor took a tentative step forward. He stared wide-eyed at the child in her arms, but only for as long as it took for Nikki to laugh and decide that she liked Nor.

Nikki pushed at Aluna and stood up, and promptly toddled over to Nor and hugged the five-year-old boy who was turning out to be just like his father. Nor's face turned red, but he hugged her back, smiling.

"Awww," Aluna said. Nor looked up at her, still smiling.

"She's little," he observed.

"That's only because she's so young. You used to be that size," she told him.

Nikki straightened up and began pointing, as though she was introducing everyone. "Mommy! Daddy! Aunty Milly! Uncie Knives!" SHe grinned at Nor. "What's your name?" she asked, sweetly.

"N-Nor," Nor stuttered at her. Then he straightened up and announced, proudly, "Nor William Craven the second!"

Everyone present laughed at the way he spoke, and Nikki matched him. "Nichole Rem Saverem!" she proclaimed. "I'm gonna grow up to be just as tall as my daddy, as strong-willed as my mommy, as smart as my daddy and as tough as my mommy!" she went on, trying to outdo Nor.

"Ha!" Nor told her, and crossed his arms. "I'm gonna grow up to be just like my daddy, but as fast and sneaky as my mommy!" Once said, he blushed and tried again. "I mean, my Dad, and my Mom!"

Once everyone was done laughing, Aluna stood up and took Nor's hand. "Why don't you all come in? Six years is a long time to be apart. You have to tell me everything."

~*~ Epilogue ~*~

Nor really did grow up to be the equivalent of his father, as smart and agile with mechanics and electronics as he was with his body. Nikki grew up to be right in between her parents, height-wise. She had long black hair that touched her hips and was usually braided, and had two long streaks of blonde. She and Nor fell in love after being together for two weeks and married as soon as Nikki became eighteen and now had three children, all with Nor's eyes.

Vash and Meryl had four more children, the last two being twins girls. Their second child, Richard after Meryl's father, was their only son. All four were married and had a total of seven children between them.

Knives, under the influence of Vash, became much more good-hearted than he used to be, but still had a temper to be challenged. He and Milly found a likeness between them, and later, that blossomed into quite a love story. That had three children, all boys, and all with blonde hair and blue eyes.

Martin returned with a paper declaring that Aluna had to do time in jail, but somewhere between "You're coming with me" and the next few days of living with her, he ripped up the paper and sent back a letter that said he never found her. Aluna got him to quit smoking, and soon thereafter, Martin proposed to her. After a few years she agreed and lived happily with him, often times working with him on a case or catching somebody particularly hard to catch.

Aluna never again regretted the way she lived her life. While she still mourned after Nor and wished he was still with her, she tried her best to not obsess over it. In the end, Nor had given her the best gift she could think of - himself.

She was forever thankful of that, and of the friends she gained in the hearts of Vash, Meryl, Milly and Knives, the nine children and ten grand children made between them. She knew them all by name, by heart, and cried often at the thought of them all loving her, even if she was just "Auntie Aluna" or "Gramma".

She paid her respects yearly at the grave of Nor and Bunny, thanking them for a wonderful life. It had started rough, with a somewhat psycho mother and the explosion of her home, but it had ended as the perfect life with the perfect friends and even better family. Instead of crying herself to sleep, she smiled as she drifted away, knowing now more than ever that she loved, that she was loved, and that this was her home - right here, in the company of her family and smiling faces of her friends.

She couldn't have wished for a better ending to such a harsh life.

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Boy, it's sad when the ending comes, isn't it? Be happy, people. This is the only story I've ever finished. And I have to admit, it's a pretty heartfelt one. Love the ending, hate the ending, do whatever you want; just review for me, okay?

See ya! And love ya!