A/N: FINALLY!!! My first fanfic! This one is dedicated to my little sister (Warrior of Destiny). HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIS!!! ^___^ It was inspired by Kuroneko-sama himself and the Stray Cats. =O.O= I used their song Stray Cat Strut, but the song itself not the main focus, so it's not exactly a songfic. This story just kept getting longer and longer until I just had to stop. It is also my first attempt at writing a story that wasn't for school, but go ahead and tell me exactly what you think. I don't mind flames at all, and besides, it'll help me grow as a writer. Many new characters and pairings. I hope you enjoy it!!! ~NB~

Disclaimer: Own Trigun, I do not. Stray Cat Strut belongs to the Stray Cats. Added characters are of my own doing, and therefore, belong to me. '-'


Stray Cat Strut

By: Neptune Butterfly

Three of the five moons shown brightly over a no-name town which seemed deserted except for one building near the square. Light flooded the open space from the saloon's door and windows while shouts of happiness and laughter mixed with music caused faint echoes in the cool night air.

A small black cat with one orange left ear and two impossibly large green orbs for eyes trotted out of a nearby alley to sit and stare at the entrance. He studied the mass of human bodies inside. An odd little smile formed on his face as he continued to watch. With a small 'Nyao' and a nod the cat wandered up to the porch. He hesitated for only a moment with one paw in the doorway while slightly lifting his head up to look at the crazy happy faces before he dashed in through the forest of human and wooden legs.

At the middle of the crowded counter of the bar stood the tall blond gunman in his trademark red coat acting like a goofball with a silly looking green and orange striped tie around his head. The cat went to sit by his feet to listen in on the conversation the blond was having with three of the townspeople, who were apparently congratulating him.

"Thanks for saving our town Mr. Vash!" One of them said with a huge smile on his face. He was wearing faded blue jeans, like many of the other guys in the room, along with dark brown boots, a tucked in off white button down shirt and a brown vest with a shiny Deputy star pinned on it. "I don't know what the sheriff and I could have done with out ya!" His blue eyes were slightly glazed over from already consuming a little too much alcohol, and he kept running his left hand through his sandy colored hair. It was a nervous habit of his, and it recently increased in frequency after the nerve-racking day he had, even though he was relieved that everything was ok now.

One of his friends standing beside him with tan pants and suspenders on had an equally large smile nodded his head in agreement, "Yeah. We were very lucky to have you in town when the Ruckus Boys came. Especially Donovan here." Jerking a thumb at the deputy with a free hand, a glass in the other.

"You really are an amazing gunman like they say!" The third man in similar dress added raising his mug of beer from the counter they were standing by.

"Aw, it was nothing really." Vash broke out in crazed laughter as he attempted to keep his already compromised balance and hold on to his drink. The other three joined in.

The deputy's friend put a hand on Vash's shoulder, "Don't be so modest. If not for you, our money would be gone, and our town would have gone under."

"Andy's right. Our town wouldn't have survived if you hadn't been here!" Donovan raised his drink encouraging the others to do the same. All four touched glasses in the air and cheered.

Vash noticed the cat as it jumped to the bar counter to get a better view. "Hey there!" He rubbed behind its orange ear. "Are ya lookin' for your little friend? I think I saw her near the insurance girls' table earlier."

"Nyaoo," he said. Vash looked over to where the girls were sitting but could not see the little brown fuzz ball underneath the table anymore.

"All well. Maybe she went to check out the stage."

The black feline considered it for a moment, then leapt to the floor to go check it out.

On the back wall of the saloon a wooden stage sat against it. A band of four was playing music that was a combination of swing and blues. They traveled from town to town playing all different types of music and occasionally would find a couple of local musicians to join them for a while. Tonight their choice of style reflected the easygoing mood; not very fast but upbeat enough for anyone who felt like they want to boogie. The lighting in the saloon was dimmer than normal due to the fact that a couple of the light bulbs were out. The dust in the air caused the room to look hazy, and it curled in places where the few smokers in the room were sitting, mostly from where a man in black and dark shades was sitting. A few couples were swing dancing on a cleared floor area in front of the stage.

The lead guitarist Sean had soft brown eyes, short-cropped dark brown hair with a little gel in it and wore all black from his T-shirt to his pants to his belt and boots. He continued pluck away at his electric guitar and sang into his microphone as he watched the ongoing activity in the room. His band had specially made generators for all their electrical equipment, so they were able to create sounds that most people outside of the big cities rarely hear. It was a real treat for many townspeople in the outlying settlements to hear them play. Though they didn't make much money, they always managed to get by, and their love of music kept them going on this dry desert planet. Seeing others enjoy an evening with their music was what they lived for.

After the Ruckus Boys' attack on the town everybody including the children came to saloon for the celebration, so it felt more like one of those big bars in city. 'More specifically, one of those blues bars' Sean thought because of the atmosphere and the kind of music they were playing.

They just got finished with a song, and Sean turned to the others. "Alright. Take ten boys." Just as he stepped of the stage he looked down to a pair of green circles with slits in the middle of them staring straight at him. "Well, hello there."

"Nyaoooo," the owner of the green eyes said sounding a little disappointed.

He crouched down. "I'm sorry. I haven't seen her. Wasn't she with the two nice lookin' girls over there?" He pointed to a table close by the stage at the edge of the make shift dance floor.

"She left a few minutes ago." Sean looked up.

The short dark-haired girl in white at the table spoke again, "I think she was concerned and went back outside to look."

"Yes I think the poor girl thought you weren't coming. Maybe you could wait here with us Mr. Kuroneko." A tall brunette with kind blue eyes gave the cat one of her bright smiles she was well known for. Normally at a party like this she would be getting drunk, but the band drew her attention away from alcohol tonight.

Sean gave a small chuckle in response to her nickname for the wide-eyed black ball of fur as he turned back to the feline. "Milly has a good idea. Go wait over there with her and Meryl. I'm sure she'll come back."

Kuroneko looked over to their table and decided to come over and wait with them.

The guitarist got up and turned to the drummer who stepped up behind him during the conversation. "Hey Brian, I think our little pal will need some extra help. Wanna go outside to look for her?"

"Sure thing." He turned to the girls. "We'll be back in a few minutes."

"All right," Meryl answered as made their way through the crowed to the door on the other side of the room.

"Having trouble finding your girlfriend?" The man in black and shades carrying a large cross shape on his shoulder came up to the table smiling down at him.

"I'm afraid so, Mr. Wolfwood," Milly said to him.

"All well. I bet she'll be back soon." Wolfwood sat down beside Milly and took out cigarette.

The cat jumped up onto their table and sat itself down in front of Meryl. "I wonder where that broom-head is. He was supposed to join us fifteen minutes ago," she said in a voice mixed with irritation and worry. With a sigh her fingers on her left hand moved from the table to the soft black purring animal that laid in front of her while the other went up to the side of her head fingers in her short hair and elbow on the table.

"So, Big Girl, are ya havin' a good time?" The priest puffed on his newly lit cigarette.

"Oh yes, Mr. Priest! I'm having a very good time! A friend of mine at work told me about one of these bands. They're really amazing..."

Over the past two months since Meryl and Milly first met Vash, a loose friendship had formed between them which recently expanded to include Nicholas D. Wolfwood, a chain smoking, gun toting priest. In Mei City not long ago he took out a large group of gunmen hired to take him and Vash out. Luckily, no one was killed, but Meryl figured he held back out of respect for the Humanoid Typhoon. During the short time she and Milly followed Vash she realized how much respect he held for human life, even the lives of his enemies.

"...those Ruckus Boys never knew what hit them! Too bad you didn't get to see the look on their faces!"

"Gee, Mr. Vash must have scared them into thinking twice about what they did..."

There are times he acted like a complete idiot, not to mention the excessive lechering and terrible drinking habit combined with a low tolerance for alcohol. It made her worry when he steps in to help out not thinking about his own safety, but still, Vash had an amazing ability to get out of even the worst situations and manages to not to get anyone killed. She cared for him a great deal and found many qualities in him that weren't annoying at all. The way he plays with children as if he were one of them, how content he looks when he eats donuts, how he was not ashamed of showing his emotions, the determination and courage he displays during times when most people would run scared or quit...

"...Meryl, are you ok?" She snapped out of her thoughts and turned to the tall girl next to her. Milly and Wolfwood were looking at her with concern.

"Oh...uh, yeah I'm fine..." Meryl replied.

"Good, 'cause I think Needle Noggin over there is going to need some help gettin' his butt over here." Wolfwood pointed in the direction of the counter at the bar where Vash was flirting with a pretty girl with long red hair in a ponytail.

"Oh great. He can't walk three steps without finding a skirt to chase. THAT MORON!!" She yelled and jumped out of her seat, startling Kuroneko as she bumped the table, and stomped off in Vash's direction.

At the bar, Vash was sweet-talking a red headed waitress in a deep green dress that matched her eyes and a white frilly apron. "Aw, c'mon, please go out with me, Angela? A lovely..."

"VASH!!" Meryl cut him off. "We've been waiting for 20 MINUTES!!!"

"Whoa! You're SCARY insurance girl!" Vash put his hands up pretending to be terrified.

Angela giggled into her hand. "Uh, Oh. Looks like your girlfriend found you out!"

"Oh, she's not my girlfriend!" He said quickly putting his hand behind his head.

To avoid anyone noticing the red creeping up into her cheeks Meryl grabbed hold onto his tie around his head and yanked him across the room to a seat beside hers.

"WOW! Short girl is at it again!" Wolfwood smiled through the smoke of his cigarette. Those two were always entertaining to watch.

Meryl noticed his smile and glared. "And just WHAT do you think your SMILING at!?"

"Oh, I was just thinking how cute you two looked over there." His smile widened into a grin. Milly started giggling uncontrollably. He loved messing with her head, especially when it involved Vash.

"Hey, Wolfwood! Don't encourage her...PLEASE DON'T HIT ME!!" Vash raised his arms to block Meryl's fist, which was above her head ready to strike.

A Voice from behind them interrupted. "Hey guys! Look who's here!" They turned to see Sean holding a small brown meowing fur ball in his hands. He gently put her down on the table between Vash and Meryl.

Kuroneko immediately got up from his spot in the middle of the table to join her. "Nyaoo," they rubbed their heads together.

"Awwww! How sweet! Thank you for finding Little Charlotte, Mr. Sean!" Milly shined a smile at him.

"Actually, Brian and I were about give up on our search when we saw her coming up to the porch. See! I told you she would come back!" He gave Kuroneko a scratch on the ear.

Vash watched the two cats thinking how nice it would be to find a girl like Little Charlotte. Someone who cared about him and would not run away. 'And if she did go, I could trust her to come back instead of worrying about her abandoning me. Maybe if I just kept looking, I'll find her even though I had been looking for about 130 years now. I know nobody can replace Rem, and I know she didn't purposely abandon me, but it's hard being alone.' He smiled as he continued to think 'Maybe the one I've been looking for Is right in front of me, and I just don't know it.'

"...so do you think you could play that for us later?" Meryl's voice filtered into his head.

"Oh yes, please?" Milly chirped.

"Sure. As soon as our break's over, I'll tell the others." Answered Sean.

"Hey guys! Nice playing! I've heard one of your kind of bands before in December City back in..."

Vash looked over to check out Meryl conversing with the others. Donovan and his friend Andy had come over while he was lost in thought, but he didn't pay any attention to them. Lavender eyes. Not a very common trait. No matter how hard she tried to hide her feelings, those beautiful eyes betrayed her every time. It was obvious that Meryl worried about him, even cared for him, but he figured that her job to keep him under 24-hour surveillance kept her from openly expressing those feelings. Vash didn't treat her and Milly the same as other girls. True, he chased skirts like some hormone-crazed idiot, but he was never really serious about it. Vash was just a hopeless flirt.

Angela came up to their table. "What would you guys and gals like to drink?"

"Brian and I will have to pass. We'll be back on stage in a couple of minutes."

"I'll have some Wild Turkey. How 'bout you, Big Girl?"


"I don't want anything, but can you tell me your name again?"

"Donavan, what are you doing?"

"It's alright. My name is Angela."

"Nice to meet you. I hadn't seen you around before..."

There was something unique about Meryl. How she never backed down from a challenge. No wonder she took the job of following the infamous Humanoid Typhoon; it was the ultimate challenge. Her partner Milly, whom reminded Vash of a much more innocent version of him, was lucky to have Meryl as a friend. She always looked out for her, even with Wolfwood around. As of late, the insurance girls have become dear to him. Their company and rapidly growing friendship was a welcome change in his life. He had other friends, of course, but none of them could travel with him.

'I wonder if there could be more than friendship between Meryl and I,' Vash thought.

On second thought...

It probably would not be a good idea at this point. Aside from all the bounty hunters after him, his twin brother Knives was still missing. Humanity was in danger as long as he was on the loose. Vash knew good and well that his brother survived the destruction of July, and it was only a matter of time before they would meet again. The main reason Vash tried to ditch the two insurance girls when they first met was because he feared for their safety. After seeing how well they handled themselves in tight situations he decided to let them stay, since he didn't have to constantly look after them, not that wouldn't anyway. Vash cared too much about other people to not worry about them no matter how well they took care of themselves.

"Whoa, they did! I didn't know that!" He heard Angela's voice cut into his thoughts again.

"Yeah. Vash, Wolfwood, and I had to think of another way to get in, so we had to..."

Gangs and bounty hunters were one thing, but when it came time to meet his brother again he will have to get away from the girls again. It would be for their own good; they would not stand a chance against Knives. Vash realized that it would probably be much harder to do than before. He just hoped they will understand, and when it was over he will be able to find them again. He sighed. 'I'm sorry, Meryl,' he apologized silently, even though he hadn't done anything yet.

"...Vash, what would you like to drink?" He came back to reality and looked up at Angela who was holding her tray with a pad and pencil.

Meryl answered before Vash, "I don't think he can hold another drink, Miss Angela."

"Aw, I can too, insurance girl!" He whined, and he turned to the waitress, "Just get another beer for me, please, Miss?" Vash still felt a little tipsy but felt confident that he can handle one more without getting sick.

Meryl looked away crossing her arms and huffed, "Fine! Make yourself sick! I don't care!"

Vash put on another goofy grin. "Oh yes you do, and I have the bumps on my head to prove it," he teased her. As long as she was here Vash might as well have some fun. It was a party after all, not a time to worry about the future. Instead of bashing him in the head Meryl merely stared at the table in front of her arms still crossed while her face turned a deep shade that resembled the color of Vash's coat.

Everyone at the table was watching them, and Vash's suggestive comment earned some ooohs from them. It was loud enough that some people at a nearby table turned in their direction. Angela left to get the drinks giggling behind her tray.

"Okay, Brian. I think we need to find the others and tell them the break's over." Sean leaned over to give Kuroneko's head a quick scratch. The two lovebird kitties were still nuzzling each other on the table oblivious to everything that just happened in the last few minutes. The guitarist gave Meryl, who was still staring at the same spot as before, a small pat on the back before he left. 'They must really care for each other if they act like that all the time!' he thought smiling to himself.

Andy and Donovan stood up from their seats deciding it was time for them to leave as well. "I need to go find my wife, Laura. See ya later!" Andy took off to the other side of the room.

"Well, I'm gonna ask Angela for a dance. She's pretty cute!" Donovan ran his hand through his hair and shot off in the direction of the bar counter where he could see the waitress filling glasses behind it.

Vash watched him go ask the red head he was flirting with earlier and whined, "AW MAANN!!!"

Wolfwood tried to keep himself from laughing out. 'That guy is nothing but trouble!' he said to himself. He noticed Meryl was still put off by the scene she and Vash made a minute ago. "Don't worry about what he said, Short Girl. Vash is just pulling your chain."

If that was so, Meryl thought, he was pulling it with a truth she never wanted to admit to in front of all these people.

"C'mon, Meryl," Milly said leaning into her speaking in a low voice, "don't be so upset. Besides, what he said was true, wasn't it?"

"He didn't have to say it in front everyone." Meryl replied barely above a whisper.

Angela returned with their drinks with a big smile on her face. "Gee, you look happy Miss Angela. Did Mr. Donovan ask you to dance with him?" Milly asked.

"Yep, he did." Her green eyes were shining as the light freckles on her face darkened from the blush.

"Oh, that's wonderful!" Milly clapped her hands together.

"Say, Angela. After you're done with Donovan, do want to dance with me?"

Angela smiled at Vash, "We'll see, but what about your girlfriend?" She looked over at Meryl.

"I'm not his girlfriend, and I don't feel like dancing." Meryl said now staring at her glass. She didn't want to be mean to Angela, but she wasn't in the mood for anymore teasing, even if it was friendly. She also figured that the red headed waitress was just trying to set them up.

Then Vash asked, "Are you sure insurance girl? I wouldn't mind at all." Meryl lifted up her head to meet his eyes. There was a softness to them, and she noticed a gentle smile form on his lips. It's amazing how he can suddenly act sober after a night of drinking.

"C'mon, Meryl. Mr. Wolfwood and I are going to." Milly chucked down her drink. Wolfwood's cigarette fell out of his mouth as he stared at her in disbelief and burned his leg. He jumped out of his seat with a small yelp. "Aren't we, Mr. Wolfwood?"

"Well...u-uh-h...yeah, sure!" 'Oh man!' It wasn't that he didn't like her, he just didn't want to get dragged into this. Now he'll have to dance with Milly just to get Meryl to lighten up. He wasn't much of a dancer either.

"I'd hate to see you sittin' at this table all by yourself." Vash continued to smile at Meryl.

"Okay, everybody!" The whole room turned towards Sean's voice coming from the stage. "Time for some more fun. You fellas out there find a girl come to the dance floor. We've got a special song for inspired by everybody's favorite local feline. Hope yall enjoy!"

"Let's go, Mr. Wolfwood!" Milly grabbed his hand and dragged him away.

Angela and Donovan were already on the floor and Andy went by them with his wife to another open spot. Wolfwood managed to get his glasses off as Milly tugged him behind her.

Vash chugged his beer down. "Alright!" He set his class down hard and took Meryl's hand. "Let's go!"

Meryl looked down at her hand in his and looked back up still red in the face, "I didn't say yes yet."

"Aw...c'mon, please?" Vash made puppy dog eyes.

"Okay," she sighed. Meryl got up and pat Little Charlotte and Kuroneko on the head.

"Nyaoo," they encouraged her. She gave them a smile.

Sean saw that Vash and Meryl were coming to the floor and turned away from the mic to his band, "Ready Brian?" The drummer nodded.

Oo-oo-oo-ooh, oo-oo-oo-ooh

Oo-oo-oo-ooh, oo-oo-oo-ooh

Meryl recognized it as the song she requested earlier. It came to her mind when she watched the two cats greet each other with so much affection for each other. 'I wonder why they chose to play it now?' Meryl fell into step with Vash as she remembered how to swing dance.

The guitarist knew she would recognize the song and hoped that she'd lighten up and enjoy herself. Sean leaned into the mic and began to sing.

Black and orange stray cat sittin' on a fence

Ain't got enough dough to pay the rent

"Hey, Meryl!" Turning at the sound of her name, she saw Angela waving and returned it.

I'm flat broke but I don't care

I strut right by with my tail in the air

"Wanna try turning?" Vash asked.

"Okay." Meryl replied a bit sheepishly. She let him lead her through the turns remembering to at least step out with the right foot after each twirl in case she lost her step.

Stray cat strut, I'm a ladies' cat

I'm a feline Casanova, hey, man, that's that

Meryl could feel the blonde's tall frame against her petite one each time he turned her in towards him. They did a combination of twirls, and somehow Meryl managed to turn Vash despite his height.

Get shoes thrown at me from a mean old man

Get my dinner from a garbage can

'That kinda sounds like Vash. Always getting the shoe thrown at him.' They were done twirling around. Meryl looked up at Vash face flushed.

"Well now, that was fun!" He said. She looked back down to hide her growing smile.


Yeah, don't cross my path!

Sean stepped back from the mic for a moment and continued to play. He spotted Milly and Wolfwood trying not to step on each other feet while holding together laughing at their silly mistakes. Andy called out to them to watch out for another couple, but it was too late. All four collided and landed on the floor. Vash and Meryl looked like they were about to begin another twirling session while Donovan and Angela were finishing up one. The guitarist stepped back up again.

I don't bother chasin' mice around

I slink down the alley, lookin' for a fight

Howlin' to the moonlight on a hot summer night

'I wonder where Vash learned how to dance like this?' Meryl thought as she finished their last turn. They were starting to sweat from the intense activity.

Singin' the blues while the lady cats cry

Wow, stray cat, you're a real gone guy

Wolfwood finally got himself and his partner back up. Milly was being very apologetic to the other couple they bumped into.

I wish I could be as carefree and wild

But I got cat class and I got cat style

'Needle Noggin probably thinks of himself the same way.' Wolfwood laughed to himself. He tried to concentrate on Milly's feet to ignore the pain in his legs. Sean had stepped back again and kept his attention on his fingers.

"Hey! Are you guys ok?" A random couple asked.

"Oh yes, we're fine now. Mr. Wolfwood, can we try that twirly thing everybody's doing now?"

"Uu-uh...um...you sure about this?"

"Please, Mr. Priest?"

"Okay..." He had a feeling she was going to be the death of him...

I don't bother chasin' mice around

I slink down the alley, lookin' for a fight

Howlin' to the moonlight on a hot summer night

"Alright, one more time, insurance girl." Vash began one last twirl session with Meryl. He suddenly felt a little queasy from watching her turn and being turned.

Singin' the blues while the lady cats cry

Wow, stray cat, you're a real gone guy

Wolfwood prayed, 'Oh Lord, let this be over soon..."

I wish I could be as carefree and wild

But I got cat class and I got cat style

As the band wrapped up the song, Vash finished the last twirl and dipped Meryl towards the floor.

Some of the dancers walked back to their tables when the song ended. Milly was half-carrying Wolfwood back to their table while Donovan and Angela walked over the bar counter. Andy stayed for another dance with his wife.

"Vash, are you ok?" Meryl asked after she noticed him swaying a bit when he let go of her.

Vash gave a reassuring look, "Don't worry about me, I'm fine. I had a lot of fun dancing with you."

"Really? Oh, uh, thanks...I-I had fun too." Her face heated up again.

The tall blond leaned forward so his face was level with Meryl's. "I think you're a wonderful dancer." His voice was low and gentle, as well as genuine.

Surprised by the complement, all that Meryl could do while she thought about what to say was look into his eyes and smile sweetly. "Thank you." Was all that came out.

The band started up again. "Say, are you up for another dance, Mer-" Vash's stomach twisted and it's contents had the sudden urge to leap out. He clamped his hands over his mouth.

"Uuuh, Vash?" Meryl was left standing alone in the middle of the dance floor as the gunman disappeared into the bathroom beside the stage. Was it just her, or did she just her Vash almost say her name? "I TOLD him he couldn't handle another drink."

"Nyaooo" She looked down. Kuroneko and Little Charlotte sat at her feet staring up at her.

Meryl sighed, "C'mon, you two. Lets go sit down and wait for him."


A/N: I took the liberty of replacing one word in the lyrics from 'Meow' to 'Nyaoooo' for Kuroneko-sama's sake. Whenever I listen to this song it makes me think of swing dancing, which is a lot of fun once you get the hang of it. I took some quick lessons last year at a dance my dorm at college was holding. I got to dance with this REALLY tall guy. Compared to him, I was as big as Meryl was compared to Vash, and he really knew how to twirl!! ^.^ So, did you like it, hate it, or just don't care? If I get enough reviews I'm thinking about doing another one for Valentine's Day!!!

P.S. Has anyone heard this song before? You ought to go listen to it. IT'S REALLY COOL!!! ~NB~