Final Edit. Spoilers possible... Set around Trigun Maximum #6 after the chapter "Double Team". Thanks to everyone for reading! Stay tuned for Part 3 of 3 in the "Feathers and Gunsmoke Trilogy"!


Vash stopped walking as he crested the hill. Meryl, Milly and Wolfwood came to stand beside him as he looked down into the valley before them. He knew this valley somehow... It had slipped his mind as so many other memories had after the July City incident. Now, as he looked at the remaining pieces of a broken ship surrounding two perfectly intact plants and the city that had now grown up around it, he remembered everything. A shiver went down his spine.
"Oh my! Will you look at that?" Aqua eyes turned to the insurance girl that stood at his side. Milly clasped her hands in front of her and then looked down at Meryl. "Can you believe it, Meryl? It's the town where I grew up!" The tall insurance girl giggled and pointed towards the town. "There's the plant, and there, there's my house!"
"I didn't know we were near New Orlando," Meryl said as she turned to look up at Vash before fishing in her bag for a map. "That must mean we've gotten lost... Mr. Vash, do you suppose we can stop here for the night? I'm sure Milly's family would be willing to have us for the night." She opened the map and stuck her nose into, undoubtedly trying to figure out where they had made a wrong turn.
Milly bounced on her toes, grabbing Vash's arm and then Wolfwood's. "Please? Mr. Vash? Mr. Priest?"
Wolfwood took his cigarette out of his mouth as the tall girl's jumping jarred him. "I'd say we probably should stop, Needlenoggin."
A frown furrowed Vash's brows behind his sunglasses. So many years had passed now. Everyone he had known was dead. All of the past had been forgotten... Except he had not forgotten, he promised himself he never would. If his memory had not been lost after July City... Vash promised not to forget again.
He looked over at Milly, Meryl and Wolfwood. They knew what he was now. Even Meryl... She had been within the fray, in danger, but here she was, still beside him, still following him. They had all been in danger and had made it out alive. They had seen him at his worse moments as his plant side took over and enveloped him. But they accepted him.
Vash looked back at the town, "I suppose we can stop for the night."
Milly jumped up and down, "Yay!" She grabbed Meryl who suddenly found her map ripped away from her and shoved in her bag unfolded.
"Milly... The map, it's the only one I have..." She tried to pull it out to fix it but found Milly pulling her down the hill. "Milly...." Her voice trailed off. "Milly Thompson, you slow down this instant... I know it's been over a year since you were home but..."
"Mom will make her famous pudding!" Milly exclaimed as their voices faded into the distance. "She got the recipe from my great great great great grandmother Helen..."
Wolfwood looked over at Vash, putting the cigarette back into his mouth. "Are you okay?"
Vash smiled, knowing that it wouldn't fool his friend, but he couldn't help it. The smile came to his face unasked now. "I'm fine. This place just stirred up some memories I thought I'd forgotten."
"Must have been quite a memory."
The gunman nodded, "Yes, it was." Vash looked at Wolfwood and pulled his bag off his shoulder. His attention turned to the city's graveyard in the distance. "I have a promise to keep." He said, setting the bag on the ground. "You go ahead. I'll stay here for the night."
Wolfwood looked at him under dark brows. With a sigh he shook his head, knowing that he didn't want to argue with his friend. "Well, I have no such promise, and pudding awaits." He smiled darkly and with his cross punisher securely on his back he followed after the insurance girls.
Vash watched after them. At least he had fulfilled one promise. Helen had made a new home, hadn't she? He snorted; trying not to laugh at himself. He hadn't even noticed that one of her children had been following him all this time. Vash closed his eyes, No wonder I keep the Insurance girls around. At least until I find Knives... He nodded. And then I'll find us a home just like Helen did.