A/N: Wow, here we are. The final chapter It surprises me to no end that I've been working on this for about four months. That's 1/3 of an entire year! Not to mention, this is the first piece of writing that I have ever completed…hell, it's the first one that contained anything resembling plot that made it past the first chapter.
I would like to thank Atchika (if you've played The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, go read her fics) for pointing out a VERY stupid mistake on my part in the last chapter, allowing me to fix it and repost before any one else (I think) saw it.
I would also like to thank Luna-Kitsune-Blu (go read her Trigun fics, and Zelda ones if you've played Ocarina of Time) for pointing out that the divider thingies that I used to use did not appear in the last chapter, and therefore made it…messy. That problem is now fixed, too.
…I really need to reread my chapters before I post them. Posting rough-drafts is pretty lazy and childish on my part.
I hope you read and review, and possibly even enjoy this chapter!
Along Came A Spider
Chapter Thirteen: RELIEF
Sand. It was everywhere, moving before my eyes as we skimmed over it in the girls' car. Funny thing, it was. I lived on this god-forsaken world for over a hundred and thirty years, but never truly took in the planet. The desert was everywhere, covering every inch of this boiling world, Gunsmoke. Everything—the sky, the sand, the air, the people—seemed so dry, so parched. Thinking back, I really did not know how humans could have lived even remotely enjoyable lives on a world so desiccated, so parched.
The world was not unlike myself.
I let out a sigh, and thought back to a few hours before, back before the suns had risen.
I had stood before the newly filled in grave, a solemn look upon my face. The girls, whether they were still afraid of me or they did not wish to interrupt my grieving, were about fifteen yars behind me. I had glanced over my shoulder, and saw Meryl, still both arms crossed and an impatient look about her. Impatient to see my brother again, no doubt.
The larger of the two women, Millie, sat on a piece of metal that was on the ground and she used a longer piece to scribble lines into the sand. She was nervous about the whole situation, especially about what had occurred a few hours before. I did not blame her for her nervousness, it was logical.
Never thought I'd think of a human as logical…
It was the first evidence of a change that had taken place inside of me, a change that I could tell that would twist my life in a different direction. I turned my focus from the humans to the plot of earth at my feet. I knelt down.
"I'm sorry. Sorry, for everything. The pain that you went through during your time on this world; it was agonizing, wasn't it?" I smirked as I spoke to the grave. "Of course it was. The agonizing fury, ever consuming, ever excruciating; it is a pain like none other," I let out a short laugh and shook my head, "Funny how, despite the suffering, the one experiencing it is…blind to it.
"I went through that pain everyday of my life for one hundred and thirty one years.
"I, too, was blind to it. Ever so much worse was the fact that I was dull—numb—to the actions it led me to do. I was dead to everything outside of my own sphere of pain." I pushed around some sand as I thought for a moment. "Especially to," I clenched my hand, "My brother."
I let out another sigh, "It is difficult to realize your mistakes, and even more so to stand up to them. The pain I just now realized that I experienced will be nothing compared to what will occur in the future.
"I'm sorry for not allowing you to experience that change, despite the difficulty such a thing is for myself. Something like that was out of the question. I made you into something that you could not control, a power and a way of thinking that even I did not, and still do not, fully understand."
"I cannot begin to put into words the sorrow I feel for doing all this to you. Everything you experienced, everything you did, was a direct result of my own selfishness. Nothing I could have said or done would have helped."
I forced myself to swallow. "That is why I gave you the gift I did. Mercy. Funny, though, how sorry I feel for given such a gift. But, it was the only thing that could have possibly healed the self-consuming anguish and hate that you wallowed in, due to my own actions."
Standing up, I tossed the sand that I had clutched in my fist onto the fresh mound. "Again, I'm sorry. I wish I could have prevented all this from happening to you…my son."
We left shortly after the short eulogy I had given. Meryl, as far as I could tell, did not understand why I had taken the time to do something such as that, but she said nothing, and for that I silently thanked the human.
The desert raced under us as we moved. A desert as dry and dead as myself…I sighed. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the larger human glance at me after I sighed. There was still something…strange about her mind. I still felt two minds in one place, which was impossible.
Unless…"Heh," I quietly let out a short laugh. It was so obvious now, that reason for the human's 'problem'. It was so simple that I found my earlier confusion amusing.
"Mr. Knives," Millie said, "Is there anything wrong?" From the tone of her voice, I knew she was still uncomfortable with talking to me. Hell, being near me was probably hard enough for the two of them to cope with.
"No, there is no problem," I answered, my eyes not leaving the window. A few moments after the girl turned back around and returned to her view of the desert out the front window, I said, "You should name him Nicholas."
Even without looking, I could tell Millie's eyes shot open. Meryl was the first to speak, though. "What the Hell are you talking about, Knives?" she watched me in the rear view mirror as she said it. Oh, so she hasn't told her best friend yet…
"The child, Millie's child, she should name him Nicholas when he is born."
I almost got whiplash from Meryl's sudden stop, and my eardrums threatened to burst as she shouted, "WHAT?!"
As we walked into Inepril after a few more hours of riding, Meryl continued to shoot words and questions left to right, "Why? Who? I'll kill him!! H-How did it happen?!"
"I'd hope that you do not really need that last question answered, considering your age," I said with a slight snort.
I received a glare from the short girl (now I know why Vash is always afraid of her), "Shut it, Knives. Who, Millie? Tell me!" then she added, "I'll kill him!" I flinched at that last sentence. Poor choice of words, human…not good at all, I thought to myself. Knowing that neither would enjoy having me in the conversation, I sped up my pace towards the apartment complex that Vash was still in and kept quiet.
I couldn't hear her, but from Meryl's "What'd you say?" Millie must have mumbled something. She mumbled again, but this time loud enough that I could hear it, although I could not make out what exactly it was that she said. Of course, I already knew the answer, so it did not matter to me. "What?" Meryl asked again.
"Mr. Wolfwood!" Millie shouted and from the sound, it sounded as if she was either angry, depressed, and confused. Maybe all three. I was still having difficulties sorting out human emotions.
Meryl placed her hand over her mouth. "Oh, Millie…I'm, sorry, I didn't mean what I said. If I had been thinking, I wouldn't have—"
"It's okay, Meryl," Millie said, and as far as I could tell, she was being sincere. The rest of the walk to the apartment was filled with silence. I led the way, keeping my distance from the humans. I knew that, despite how quiet they were around me, they did not enjoy my presence.
Truthfully, I couldn't blame them. It was weird, how I felt then. The happenings at July had changed me, and, although I was going along well, I was not sure if I could cope with it.
Finally, we made it. I opened the door and stumbled in. I suddenly realized how tired I was; all the things that had happened in July over the past night had really drained me.
"GIRLS!" I heard Vash's voice from the direction of the stairs. I couldn't see up the stairs from where I stood, but from the following 'wha-whoops!' and sequence of thumps and bangs, I didn't need to. After making my way around the corner to the stairs, there was Vash at the bottom, trying his best to untangle himself from his own limbs.
My brother finally got up, and shot past me. I had to slide to the side to avoid him inadvertently elbowing me in the chest. Vash the Stampede, Humanoid Typhoon, and, supposedly, the most dangerous man on all of planet Gunsmoke, ran to the front door, crying out of joy like a little child. Using his one remaining arm, he scooped the shorter human, who had made it to the door at that moment, into a crushing hug, which earned him a few interesting names from Meryl.
"Put me down!!" the insurance agent yelled, although even I could tell, through the scream, that she was very happy and a hint of laughter entered the command. "You're crushing me!"
"Oh, sorry Short Girl," Vash, with himself finally under control, set the woman back on her feet. She fixed her cloak and glared at Vash. "Um," he looked to Millie, "Hi, Millie!"
I sighed and shook my head, No wonder she hits him all the time; it's the only way to get him to listen to her. I leaned against the wall and crossed my arms.
"Hi, Mr. Vash!" the tall woman smiled and waved. "Has Ms. Elizabeth been taking care of you?"
"What? No!" Vash slammed his fist into his chest and said, "I'm a man, I can take care of myself!" he then pouted and rubbed his chest from the self-inflicted bruise, "Ouch." I sighed and shook my head in pity of my dense brother, and Meryl covered her eyes and shook her head in exasperation.
"How 'bout you, Big Girl?" Vash asked. He then got serious, "Anything happen while you were gone?" It was obvious what he was asking about.
It seemed to take the tall woman a few moments to think of an answer, "No, nothing that Mr. Knives couldn't take care of." Vash turned to look at me. I snorted and scowled, and looked away.
"Oh, and," Millie added as if it was common knowledge now, "I'm pregnant."
I would have paid a million double dollars to have a picture of Vash's reaction. His eyes were huge, and he stared at the woman for a few moments. "Tha-that's great, Millie!" the gunman gleefully shouted. Vash began laughing like an idiot, "Yeah! Go Wolfwood! I knew he had it in him."
"What?!" Meryl shouted, "You knew?!"
"No," Vash answered, "Of course not. But it was pretty obvious, wasn't it?"
"Uh…yeah, of course it was. I knew it form the beginning, it was so obvious!"
"...You had no clue, did you?"
Later that night, after I had tossed the day away resting, I, as quietly as possible, got out of my bed, and stumbled out of the door of my room, and towards the door of the large apartment itself. Stopping before I grabbed the knob, I looked over my shoulders. No one was there. I was not completely sure if I should continue on, but I had to.
It was late, at least midnight. No one would be awake, especially he humans. After opening the door, I slid into the hallway, and shut it behind me. I made my way down the hall as silently as I could, but my leg hit something. I clenched my teeth to prevent myself from swearing at the jolt of pain.
As I felt around in front of me, I growled quietly, "Who the Hell puts a chair in a hallway?" I walked around the chair and made my way to the end of the hall. When I made it to the top of the stairs, I heard a thump.
I heard nothing else. Could there have been someone following me? A small black cat (one with oddly large green eyes, I might add) ran from the direction of the chair, and I sighed with relief. I continued the rest of the way down the stairs and out of the apartment building.
I looked back behind me, and then continued my way through the empty, grim streets.
"Ouch," Meryl said as she rubbed her knee. "Who the Hell puts a chair in a hallway?"
"Shh, Meryl, he's going to hear," Millie said.
"He already went down the stairs, he can't hear us. He may have heard the thump, but he probably thought it was that cat." The two women had been awake all night, waiting for Knives to do something, anything. When they had seen him come out of his room, they decided to follow him.
A few minutes later, they made their way down the stairs, but did not go out the door, and instead looked out the window. Even in the darkness of the night, the three full moons gave them enough light to see Knives wandering away from them.
"Do you think he's leaving?" Millie asked.
"I really don't know. But what's it matter?" Meryl said, "He may have saved us, but he's still Knives Millions, human hater and killer of millions. I think it may be for the best if he leaves."
"Maybe he'll change for good?"
"That's…a possibility, I suppose," Meryl didn't sound too reassuring, "But let's not jump to conclusions. I guess we should go to bed."
"Oh…okay, Meryl," Millie said. After both women looked out at the street one last time, and then returned to their rooms.
The next morning, Meryl groggily awoke. She left her room in search of her coffee. "Good morning, Meryl!" Millie said happily after running into her partner. Too happily as far as Meryl was concerned. The shorter woman raised her hand in an unenergetic wave and mumbled something along the lines of "Morning."
After successfully finding the kitchen, and pouring a cup of the brewing drink Millie had prepared, Meryl turned to go to the small room that was supposed to be their living area.
The sight before her pulled her out of her sleepy state, and made her completely awake. It also almost made her drop the coffee onto her large shirt she still wore. "Knives?!"
I looked at the woman standing in the doorway. "Yes, what is it?" I was leaning back on the couch, had my hands behind my head, and my feet propped onto the small table.
"Oh, uh, it's nothing. Nothing at all!" The woman replied. Why is she so nervous? "I just didn't expect to see you."
My eyes turned to slits, "What's that supposed to mean?" Could she have known what I did? No, she can't. I made sure last night that no one followed me."
"Oh, uh, nothing, nothing at all!" she laughed nervously.
I gave her one last look over, "Nice shirt." I leaned back and closed my eyes again. Meryl looked down and remembered that she was only wearing (as far as I could tell, and I didn't care to know the truth) a large shirt that she must have used for sleeping. "Oh, I gotta go change!" she ran off.
A smirk crossed my face, and I could not help but let out a short laugh. "You ready, Knives?" Vash's voice awoke me from my thoughts and I opened my eyes. "May as well get this over with." I placed my feet from the table and onto the floor. I got up and walked towards the door. "We should do this outside, unless you want it to make a mess."
"Oh, okay," my brother said. He still wore his brown overalls, and white shirt, but they were spotlessly clean. His face was cleanly shaven and his hair was as pointy as ever. In his right hand was his left arm; his mechanical prosthetic left arm.
In the middle of the hallway as we were leaving, that female human, Elizabeth, the Plant engineer, was rushing in our direction. "We're saved!" she screamed. She hugged Vash.
"Whoa, did I miss something?" Vash said, and the woman let him go.
"We're saved! The Plant, it's all better!"
"Oh, that's wonderful!" Vash said, and shot me a look. I frowned and looked away.
The human smiled, and walked past Vash. She saw me, and her smile vanished. Nodding, Elizabeth said "Knives," and then ran past me, to the apartment, undoubtedly wanting to tell the insurance girls the news.
My brother and I returned to our walk. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see him with that giant obnoxious grin of his. "Shut up, moron."
He laughed, "I haven't said anything yet."
"I don't care, shut up."
Meryl returned to the kitchen, fully clothed, and with an empty mug. The shock of seeing Knives so soon had jolted her into full consciousness, but now she needed more coffee to calm her nerves, instead of waking them up. She had thought that Knives had left for good, or, at least, for a while.
He doesn't seem to be the type to go on a midnight stroll, Meryl thought to herself as she poured more brown liquid into her mug. Mille walked in, humming. Ever since everyone had learned about her little secret, she had seemed chipper, even for her. "Good morning, Meryl!"
"You already said that." Meryl looked around, "Where's Vash and where'd Knives go?"
"Oh, I think they went outside for some reason. I guess Knives probably got loony being all alone!"
"First, it's lonely," Meryl corrected, "Second, I really doubt he's the lonely type. If he wasn't leaving last night, then he must have gone somewhere. But I have not clue where he'd want to go for one night."
They heard the door open, and a moment later, an excited and ecstatic Elizabeth joined them. "We're saved!"
"That's great!" Millie said. "…saved from what?"
"The Plant, it's all better now! It's as if nothing was wrong to begin with!"
"That's wonderful!" Meryl said, "But how? I thought you and the other engineers had all but given up on that twisted Plant."
"We have no idea, to tell the truth," the engineer said. "It's as if someone just up and came in last night and fixed the entire thing, and left without saying anything." Meryl and Millie, both wide-eyed, stared at each other. Elizabeth laughed, "As if that happened, though! It was probably some sort of previously unseen Plant disease, and it just healed on its own."
"Yeah, that…that's probably it," Meryl said, unconvincingly. The two insurance girls just smiled at each other, knowing exactly what must have happened last nigh to that Plant.
On the outside of Inepril, atop a sand dune, I stood next to a table covered with assorted tools and parts that Vash had managed top borrow from Germane, the assistant head Plant engineer. My brother sat on a chair next to the table. His left arm, which had been torn off days before, was returned to its rightful place.
I reached into the mechanical arm, reattaching wires and placing gears and various other parts. Oil and other liquids covered the ground around us, which was why I dragged Vash out of the apartment. As for going outside the city limits, I did not want an audience as I operated on my own brother's prosthetic limb.
We had been silent since the incident with the human in the hallway, until Vash spoke up. "Thank you, Knives."
I snorted, "Don't thank me for this. I know in under a week, once you started walking around, you'd start complaining about having one arm. You'd probably say something about not being able to stuff donuts into that mouth of yours as quickly as you use to."
"No, that's not it," Vash seemed strangely serious, and this time it made me uncomfortable. "I want to thank you for…the girls, for, you know…"
"I just didn't need to hear your whining if they died…and you tearing my head off in grief and anger did not seem to interest me." A stream of oil squirted from the arm and sprayed my suit. I swore and cleaned it off the best I could.
"I also want to thank you for…" Vash did not finish. I looked up, and followed his eyes to what he was looking at; the Plant.
"I told you to shut up about that."
"I just wanted to thank you for it. It means a lot to me, really, it does."
"And I wanted you to shut up about it."
After many more minutes of silence, Vash was the one to break it again, "They are good girls, aren't they?"
"I suppose," I answered, trying to act distracted so that Vash would drop the topic and leave me to my work.
"There are many more like them. Nice people, kind generous, caring. Brave, and smart. I'm glad that you finally realized that. I-I, I'm very, very happy that you have; it's what I've been waiting so long for." He seemed to be choking up and he wiped one of his eyes.
"Shut up about it, Vash."
"Please, at least tell me if you've changed your mind or your opinion about them," he said, staring at me with a look of sincerity and yearning.
I sighed, "Fine. I still think that most of the humans are selfish, arrogant, cruel, barbaric creatures that live for the sole purpose of consuming and collecting for themselves, willing to destroy anything in their path to do so.
"But," I added, "I have come to one conclusion about how I was to go about fixing that, and what to do with the ones that do not deserve to be grouped with the others."
"And that is?" Vash pried when I did not answer right off.
"It's difficult to explain. But, I think of it like this: I'd like to think that, if there is a field of weeds, but in the center, there is a flower, it is not worth destroying that one piece of good in the name of eradicating the weeds. That is what I feel that the Plant in Augusta was trying to explain to me before she died."
"I'm so happy, Knives."
"Shut up, idiot." Vash sat in silence for a few more moments as I finished completing his arm.
Vash let out a laugh, "Maybe now you'll be able to find your own 'flower', Mr. Butterfly."
"Shut up, Vash, I mean it," I said at him. He was really wearing my patience thin. "Besides, considering what I have done, it would be best if, for the rest of my life, no matter how many millennia that may be, I…was alone. It will my divine punishment to be alone forever. That is the way I want it."
Vash placed the hand of his newly reattached arm onto my shoulder, "You won't be alone. I'll always be there with you, Brother."
"Like I said, punishment."
"That's so cold."
A/N: Well, there it is. My first completed story!! Woohoo! It feels good to finish this.
I would like to thank everyone that has read and reviewed this story, and to say sorry about the horribly untimely updates and the lack of editing in the last 5 or so chapters. It did take quite a bit of planning to get this fic from start to finish, which, all took about four months. Wow, it feels like I just started this last week…
Oh, and I was thinking about writing and epilogue, but I started it and it was bad. This chapter had everything that the epilogue would, and then some. So, yeah, this is it.
I'll probably be leaving the Trigun section for a while. I had to get into Knives's mind to write this, and trust me, that's not a place I want to go back to anytime soon. Very messy and very scary. But, I will inevitably come back with something new; probably a sequel, if I can get the idea I have into something more than a skeleton of a concept. Anyways…
Again, I would like to thank all the readers for reading and reviewing!
Time to review the final chapter of 'Along Came A Spider'! Please, if you haven't already done so in previous reviews, please tell me anything and everything you liked about the fic…plus anything you didn't, of course.