Fate of Awakening Love
Disclaimer: I don't own Trigun. Life is that cruel.
A/N: Okay, real technical ending. Wow, its done...
Affections Across Time, Part II
Meryl and Knives avoided each other's looks. Knives watched as she sat down on the porch steps. He preferred to stand, and did so, leaning against the frame of the porch.
"I'm taking off."
Meryl's head snapped up. "What, why?"
"Why not? I'm not Vash, I won't and can't stay in the presence of humans. I had a goal I wanted to accomplish before I was brought here. I'm going to follow through with it."
"I see." Meryl looked down at her hands. "Can I know when our genocide is going to take place, so I can say my goodbyes to my family and friends?" She asked bitterly.
Knives looked down at the small woman. Feeling this, she looked up to meet his eyes. "I'm not going to extinguish your people."
"You just said,-"
"I know what I said." Knives interjected. "I meant I was going to follow through with Paradise. It won't be done anywhere near human terrain and therefore I must leave."
"Then... then you've changed your mind? You're not going to end all our lives?" Meryl asked surprised.
'At least not while you're alive.' Knives thought, but decided to keep that little bit to himself. He was ready to spare the race he hated strictly for Meryl's sake, but eventually her short human lifespan would run out and then his plans would continue as if they had never stopped.
'And when that happens, Vash won't stop me.'
He stopped his thoughts when he realized Meryl was staring at him. "What?"
"For letting us live, for allowing us to live out our lives as we try to make up for our past mistakes."
"I could care less about the other humans, I'm only stopping for you." Knives rolled his eyes to the sky when he realized what he had said. He noticed Meryl's eyes lit up and he darted his own to the side, the faintest coloring emerging from his cheeks.
"In any case," he cleared his already clear throat. "Vash made me come back to tell you in person I was leaving. So..." Knives erected himself and turned to the confused Insurance girl. "I'll be leaving."
Already walking off Meryl sat on the porch frozen in place. When he was already a good distance ahead she collected herself and ran after him. "Wait!"
Knives stopped to look at her, slight anger in his face. "What the hell are you doing? Go back to my brother."
"What?" Meryl exhaled. Knives had been farther ahead than she thought.
"After all," Knives continued as if he hadn't heard her. "He loves you."
Meryl swallowed a lump in her throat. "I know, he's already told me."
Knives gave a smirk. "Then you two ought to go galloping off into the sunsets, for a perfect human ending."
Beginning to get annoyed with the plants assumptions Meryl put her hands on her hips. "That's-"
"You've made some choice. My brother, the epitome of whining and complaints..." Knives groaned inwardly.
' She chose you and she loves you,' Vash's words echoed in Knives head, but he still could not believe them.
Knives gave a defeated sigh. "I suppose we both know I'm lying. Vash, for someone who has the intelligence of pebble is...good."
"I know. Vash has a good heart."
"He's a great brother." Knives thought a moment on what he had revealed to Meryl. "And if you are to ever tell him what I said about him I'll go back on what I said about not killing humans."
"I won't say anything." Meryl replied softly.
Watching as Knives plopped down on the sand she heard him mumble.
Questioning what had gotten to him, she said nothing but sat down beside him. He gave her a faintly irritated look, but such looks from Knives didn't perturb her in the least anymore. It's just how he was and she had learned to love him despite.
"What are you doing?" He asked her, once she had gotten comfortable on the cold sandy ground.
"Can't I sit here?"
Not taken aback, she didn't move. "Sorry you feel that way."
'She's turning me into some sort of...Vash. No one would have dared talk to me like this in the past, nor would I have let them.' Knives thought, eyeing her with a certain amount of disdain.
'Hm,' Meryl mused. 'The same night sky I looked at with Vash ages ago...' She released a sigh that Knives caught.
He began to study her even more closely.
'How am I going to do this? Knives is so hostile, so untrusting.'
Without getting the courage she needed, Meryl continued to look at the night sky, more than aware of light blue eyes boring into her side profile. "Yes?" She asked him.
"Are you going to sit here all night?"
"... If you are. You know it's interesting Knives, how we both receive our information through Vash. Because he thinks you love me. Millie too."
"Who cares where your human companion is concerned. And Vash thinks a lot of things, many being false."
When Knives didn't answer Meryl continued. "I don't love Vash Knives, I did once, but it faded."
'She chose you and she loves you.'
'I won't love a human. I refuse to.' Knives stood abruptly, brushing off the sand that had started to gather on his clothing.
"Try again. If there is one thing my brother deserves, its you. Give my brother a goodbye for me will you?"
Meryl hastily stood, her anger staring to boil. "You're still going to leave! Just, stay Knives!"
Knives looked to his hands giving off a distracted look Meryl found to be intolerable. "Fine."
Her anger melted.
"Just give me a reason to stay and maybe I'll consider it."
Meryl paused. "No."
"You shouldn't need a reason from me to stay. If you want to stay it should be on your own accord not because I beg or bribe you too. That is something that won't be done. If you really want to go, then go. I wouldn't want to stop you if your Paradise calls out to you." With that Meryl turned on her heel and headed back to the inn where Vash and Millie were.
Knives watched her go, not the least bit surprised at her reaction. When she reached the door she turned to give the plant one last look. But he turned away and walked into the dark desert.
Both Meryl and Millie jumped when Meryl came in, slamming the door behind her. They watched as she ignored their presence and walked into the bedroom, slamming that as well. Giving each other confused looks, both Millie and Vash turned their heads to the front door, expecting Knives to come in, just as angry or at least annoyed. When moments passed and he didn't enter the room, Millie bit her lip.
"Maybe you should go talk to her?" Millie asked.
"Me? Don't you think in this sort of situation, the best friend would be preferred?"
"We're all best friends here Mr. Vash, besides I have to watch the soup. She may be hurting now but she'll only be furious if she doesn't have something to eat her sorrows away with later on." Millie let a little laugh fall from her lips. "Go on, Mr. Vash."
Vash got up grudgingly and knocked lightly on the door. "Meryl?" He called out to her. When she didn't respond he knocked again. "I'm going to come in all right?" Vash walked into the room slowly just in case Meryl was changing. When he opened the door fully he saw she was typing furiously on on her typewriter.
"Meryl what are you doing?" He asked confused at her actions. He had expected to find her fuming, maybe even crying a little but she looked completely... normal.
"Writing Bernadelli, we've ignored their order to return for too long. But now that everything is back to normal Millie and I will have to return, that is if we still have jobs. You're more than welcome to come along with us Vash."
"But, what about my brother? Where is he?"
Meryl stopped her typing to look up at Vash from where she was sitting at her desk. "He couldn't find a reason to stay. He did tell me to tell you he said goodbye though." For a moment, Vash saw the saddness that were on the edges of her eyes, but she turned back to face her work. Rereading all she had written.
"He actually left?" Vash asked more to himself.
"He actually left." Meryl repeated Vash's words, finding them to be the most appropriate
"...Well, what are you going to do?"
"I already told you Vash. Millie and I need to head back to the main office of Bernardelli."
"That isn't what I meant, I meant what are you going to do about Knives?"
"There isn't anything I can do." Meryl stopped going over her work. "He's the one that decided to leave." Meryl would have continued but was caught off guard when she felt strong arms wrap around her.
"It's okay to be sad Meryl. You don't have to pretend around me."
Meryl didn't say anything in response but allowed a few held back tears to drop down her cheeks. "I shouldn't have allowed myself to fall for someone like him. It's only natural it would end up like this. Don't you think so Vash?"
Vash tightened his grip around her before letting go. "You and Knives are exactly the same. Neither of you want to admit what you're feeling. Just say you miss him and that you'd wish he come back. He isn't around to hear it."
Not meeting Vash's careful gaze, Meryl looked out the window and Vash left, knowing she'd need some time alone.
"... I miss you Knives, and I love you. I wish you would come back." She whispered to herself, not knowing Vash had heard every word. Smiling to himself he walked back into the living room, seeing that Millie had begun to set the table.
"How did it go?"
"Well, I think. Knives may have left but he'll be back, once he stops pretending he doesn't care, he'll be back."
"You seem happy."
"I am. Don't know why. Meryl was writing up a letter to your boss, saying you'd be coming back."
Millie nodded. "We had talked about returning eventually. We can't keep playing hooky for too long!" Millie grinned.
"She invited me along."
"Really? That's great Mr. Vash! You could maybe even join Bernardelli, well maybe not," she said when she saw Vash's face. "But at least you'd be with us!"
"Yeah..." Vash thought for a moment. "But I don't think I'll go along."
"Why not? It isn't because of Mr. Knives and Meryl is it?"
"No, but I've been wandering for so long, I don't know how content I'd be with stopping right now. No, I think I'd like to visit Marianne, and see Kite as well. Neil too."
"We have met a lot of people in the past months of traveling together." Millie murmured to herself. "I do wonder how some of them are doing. Especially Dr. Neil, he was so funny." Millie mused to herself.
"That's how I've been feeling, so I think I'll do that for awhile. Then maybe, if the offer still stands I'll come to Bernardelli?"
"Mr. Vash, that offer will never expire." Millie smiled, and Vash smiled back.
Meryl eventually came out of the bedroom and ate the stew alongside Millie and Vash, but she said very little and immediately went to sleep. The next morning they quickly packed up their belongings and headed in the direction of Bernardelli. Vash had decided to see them there before going on his own direction. They reached the main city of Gunsmoke within a few days and Meryl and Millie quickly resumed their roles as Claim Investigators, office style.
After a few weeks Vash decided that he ought to be on his way. He met up with the girls on their lunch break near the city's main fountain.
"I never thought I'd see the day when this would happen. A real goodbye." Meryl gave the former outlaw a hug, something she had gotten over after the first few awkward times.
"Not really goodbye, you'll see me again soon."
"We'd better Mr. Vash," Millie responded cheerfully, getting her own hug when Meryl and Vash parted.
None of them had talked of Knives' absence since the day Meryl and Vash had talked. Instead, they moved on, not wanting to mention him in front of Meryl. She was more or less back to her normal self, but there were still unexplained times when she seemed close to breaking down. Vash and Millie had taken to be more gentle with her than they ever thought they would need to be with the normally strong woman.
"Guess I'll see you insurance girls soon then!"
Both Millie and Meryl nodded at grinned at the name that Vash had ceased calling them months ago.
"Take care Vash," they said together.
Waving as he walked backwards, the girls waved back cheerfully watching their close friend depart.
"Tell Neil we said hello!" Meryl called out.
"And don't forget to let us know how you're doing every once in awhile!" Millie added loudly.
They could see Vash, in the distance laughing but nodding, just as they turned to go back inside they saw Vash stop next to a figure they couldn't quite make out.
"Who is that?" Meryl asked questioning Millie who shrugged. "Probably someone curious about Vash."
Meryl nodded in agreement and watched Millie walk inside, hesitantly wondering if she should follow. While in the main city, Vash wasn't nearly as feared as he was in the smaller towns. The bigger cities, such as this one, were more than aware of the false rumors that been about Vash. They had openly accepted the outlaw, more curious about how he could dodge bullets than of his former past as the Humanoid Typhoon.
Vash smiled at the faded images of the insurance girls. He'd come back, they knew he would. They were family now. Never would he feel that sense of loneliness again. If it ever threatened to consume him, he'd rush back to the girls to be sure he still had people who cared about his well being.
Walking past another man, Vash bumped into him hard. He turned to face the man, ready to apologize when his apology got stuck in his throat. "Knives?"
Vash's twin's eyes gave his brother a cold look. "Watch where you're going." He seethed out.
"Hmph." Vash smiled, reveling in the fact that even in Meryl's case Knives didn't change that much. Which he preferred actually. It was who his brother was and he had learned to accept him the way he was. Arrogant and all.
"She's in the large building ahead, and actually...," Vash peered back over in the direction he had left. "I think she's still standing outside. She must recognize you, even from this far away."
Knives didn't say anything, and Vash could feel his internal clock telling him to pick up his pace.
"Well, be good to her."
"Don't lecture me."
"I'm serious Knives. You may have her now, but I'll always be in your shadow, waiting for the moment you screw up so I can move in on the woman we both love."
Knives gave his brother an astounded look, clearly taken aback by Vash's demure. "That sounded like something I would say."
"We're more alike than either of us took credit for. Anyway, see you Knives." Knives watched for a moment as his brother took off, only faintly curious of where he was off to. He had more pressing matters on his hands. Like that of a certain petit raven haired woman who was still peering curiously in his direction.
Meryl knew it before she saw him. It was Knives. She'd recognize that walk of superiority anywhere. She met the plant halfway.
"Knives." She stated the obvious not exactly knowing what to say, as her heart did a small flip.
Knives raised his arm and gave the back of his neck a slight rub. "...yeah. Nice outfit."
Meryl finally got a hold of her emotions and looked down at her skirt and blouse, the Bernardelli uniform. "What are you doing back here? We hadn't heard from you in weeks."
"I told you I was going off to create the Eden I had always longed for, weren't you listening?" Knives asked clearly annoyed.
"Don't give me that attitude Knives I was just asking, trying to make polite conversation!" Meryl snapped.
Knives looked down, a bit of hatred blazing through his eyes. But while the hatred burned there was still the soft light in his eyes. A sort of iridescent glow that Meryl know he had shown no one but herself. But refusing to be the first one to back down, Meryl glared back at the tall plant.
'The highest form of evil, the one I love, has only a soft spot for me.' She couldn't help thinking.
"Say it out loud." Knives suddenly said.
Meryl looked at him appalled that he would read her thoughts during such a moment. 'No morals.' She thought, hoping he had read that thought.
"I won't believe it unless I hear it come from your voice." Knives told her, his voice holding a slight amount of gentleness.
Meryl turned away embarrassed. 'I want to,' she thought. 'But I won't be ordered to do so.' Noticing a slight shift in Knives' eyes Meryl looked back to the fallen plant angel and felt herself being drawn to his iridescent glow that burned brighter than his look of hate. The light in his eyes were hypnotic and she only felt a feeble urge to resist.
Her small lips came in contact with that of Knives'. The kiss warmed her body considerably and Knives felt a melting in his own plant anatomy, but the alien emotion caused him to break away from Meryl abruptly.
Meryl looked up at him, gauging his reaction. Knives didn't seem to know what to make of the situation and Meryl realized she didn't either.
But he quickly examined her and confirmed what she felt, what she wouldn't say. That she did in fact love him. 'Fine then, I don't have to hear it right now,' he thought to himself. And as he was doing this Meryl did the same. Examining what she knew about Knives and coming up to the conclusion that he loved her as well.
They both knew what the other felt, it was inevitable they figure it out eventually, but given their personalities it was probably best left unsaid for the time being. Meryl refused to say it as Knives expected it of her, and Knives couldn't see himself admitting such a thing.
Millie looked down the windows from the upper story that she was on. She smiled to herself as she witnessed Knives' and Meryl's kiss. From the altitude she was at she could still make out the faint outline of Vash and he too seemed to have seen the moment shared between his brother and Meryl. Millie laughed happily to herself and returned to her desk while Vash nodded his approval, continuing his journey into the desert sands of Gunsmoke.
Things were finally as they should be.
A/N: I thought long and hard about how I wanted Knives' final personality to be like. Most of all no matter how much I thought Knives loves Meryl I think he hates the human race even more, so I couldn't stop him from committing his dream and passion. A world without humans! But even though I kinda wanted Knives and Meryl to be all over each other, I thought better of it. Thanks for all the reviews!