Snow and Sand

note: I don't know whether this is at all true, but I read somewhere that the recreation deck on the ship was similar to a holodeck. If it's not sorry, I still haven't seen Rem Saverem. I doubt this fits into the time line, so it's probably a "what if". No real point, just saccharine fluff inspired by the first real snowstorm of the year (read: only) which I am pathetically happy about (I live in New Mexico) and wrote this during.

Snow and Sand

The snowy scene wasn't at all accurate. The simulation of their usually green and beautiful park blanketed in white was missing something, just as the spring version always was. Rem always noticed, always wondered how man could create something so achingly false. It was a substitute, nothing more, but that realization never prevented the wistful sigh from escaping; it never stopped her from wishing they could experience the real thing.

But the boys enjoyed it, and she enjoyed watching them and all their awe at things they'd never had the chance to see in person.

For the past ten minutes, the two had done nothing more than examine the park, visibly cataloguing every difference in the familiar setting. Quietly, although possibly carrying on some inner dialogue that Rem was not privy to, they peered over rocks and under branches, heads tilted slightly whenever they encountered something unexpected. Undoubtedly, their sharp mind would quickly reassess their assumption, or maybe compare the finding to some passage in a book (God knew they'd already devoured half of the library). And then their heads would straighten, their sweet faces clear, as they adjusted to the new information.

They didn't know that the simulation wasn't exact, couldn't dream in their mathematically perfect heads, that someone wouldn't be able to make it exact. They couldn't imagine someone who'd make mistakes, who wasn't perfect.

But that was okay.

They didn't know that snow crunched under foot. They didn't know it's solid, but almost slippery feel underneath a boot.

Smiling to herself, watching Vash and Knives, so perfect and yet so wrong in everything they were doing in the park, Rem waited until their backs were turned, each studying something dusted with warm snow.

Good.

Although Rem had never successfully snuck up upon either of her boys in the past, not too difficult when one doesn't actively try, she was convinced she could if they were sufficiently distracted. And hovering under an ice-laden tree, on tip-toes and apparently in silent conference over the whereabouts of the birds whose frosted nest rested precariously (using physics that were impossible, yet seemingly acceptable to the pair) on the branch above them was as distracted as they were ever going to get.

Knives never even knew what hit him.

He stood there for several moments, as Vash turned to examine her with curious aqua eyes, trying to comprehend the circular mark of snow on his back. Slowed by shock, he spun just in time to witness the exact form of Rem's assault, as a blur of white struck Vash squarely in the chest. Nothing moved in the imitation winter as the twins stared dumbly at the insane woman.

Rem's laughter was cut off abruptly as she witnessed a sly sidelong glance between the boys. Vash shrugged.

With a scream of glee, not to mention fear, Rem raised ineffective arms against the two very accurate snowballs headed in her direction.

The giggling, dark-haired woman met the mischievous eyes of her twins.

The battle was joined.

Brushing snow off a coat that wasn't strictly necessary, Rem quickly dashed behind a nearby shrubbery. Fingers packing together snow which stuck together just a little too perfectly, into balls which were just a little too round, amber eyes peeked out from behind barren twigs of branches. She suppressed a motherly sigh at the sight of her enemies.

Knives was methodically, and somewhat obsessively to Rem's fond eyes, patting together larger and larger snowballs in exactly the same spot she'd left him in. Vash, however, was taking a different tact. Rem bit her lip and tried to focus on snowball making: hugging one's foes in the midst of battle was bad strategy. Especially, when one wanted to see how it played out. Vash had gathered into his small arms a ridiculously tall pile of snow, around which he was having trouble seeing, and was slowly sneaking up on his brother.

A surprisingly high-pitched squawk, and some one that sounded suspiciously like "Betrayal!", cut the still air as Knives was buried in snow, Rem revealed her position for a quick strike against Vash, and all descended into chaos.

It was ten minutes later, breathless from laughter and the most recent pelting of her favorite blondies, that Rem found herself lying on a carpet of incredibly disturbed, nowhere near pristine, snow, staring up into the eyes of an offer.

Vash sniffled slightly for effect and swiped a fisted hand in a stretched blue sleeve past a reddening nose. Rem considered carefully, he sure does learn fast. The little boy fidgeted again. Her eyes narrowed, "But I'm winning."

He sniffled again, and his eyes watered suspiciously, "I want to have fun, too."

"You're not having fun?" she asked, all distrust evaporating to be replaced by concern.

"No, but . . ." he dug a foot into loose snow before raising his earnest eyes to hers, "it'd be more fun with you."

Rem melted, puddling at the feet of one of her angels. She rolled onto her stomach, for the less upside-down view, and gazed up at Vash. He grinned at her and fell to his knees, joining her carelessly.

A muted thud escaped the young woman's attention as she grabbed her son and devoted her concentration on tickling him. The wood snapped precisely, and several branched worth of white, not at all cold, fluff whooshed downward onto the pair in a great cloud.

Sputtering, and a little pinned down, Rem caught sight of her other sweetheart, grinning wildly. She tried to muster a glare, but could only giggle.

Slightly to her side, she heard an indignant Vash, "That wasn't the plan!"

"It was my plan," replied Knives swiftly. Rem would have identified the emotion in his voice as sass, but she wasn't sure he knew that particular one yet.

The only possible recourse for Vash, quite obviously, was revenge. He sprang up from the drift with unnatural speed, made doubly so by his affronted dignity (Rem snickered at the very thought), and tackled his brother. The two wrestled, cheerfully smearing the ersatz-snow into faces and down shirts. Rem shifted the majority of snow off of her back before settling down to watch. The simulation was obviously better than she'd thought.

Her boys were having fun.

***

Thunk

Rubbing his head, and attempting to shake whatever it was clinging to his hair - sand? - out, Wolfwood didn't even spare a thought wondering why the object had been thrown. Instead, he wondered, "Just what in God's name was that, Tongari?"

Vash sighed with completely faked agitation and ill-concealed delight, "Haven't you ever had a sandball fight before?"

The priest turned, forcing Vash to swiftly hide his new projectile behind his back, and pulled his sunglasses down to stare at his friend uncomprehendingly, "What are you talking about?"

"Sandball fights. For fun," elaborated the red-clad man unhelpfully.

Wolfwood blinked.

Vash pulled his "weapon" from its hiding place and started gesturing enthusiastically, "You take a handful of sand, and some water . . . although hair gel really works better . . ."

"But that's much to precious to waste . . ."

"Hey!"

Wolfwood raised an eyebrow.

"Okay, you have a point, but . . . still! It's not nice," he whimpered.

Vash's grief was short lived as he abruptly returned to his exuberant explanation, " . . . and you use the water to glue the sand together into a ball and then you throw."

The blonde tossed the strange glob of sand at his skeptical companion, who caught it deftly and raised it to his eyes for study.

Wolfwood's expression was the type of innocent that only made Vash warier than usual of the dark haired man, "Like this?"

Thwack

The ball split against Vash's coat, leaving short streaks of grainy mud, "Ow! Not so hard!"

Wolfwood laughed and shook his head, "Honestly, Tongari, I have no idea what goes on in that spikey head of yours. Sandballs?"

Vash shrugged deliberately, keeping any wistfulness from his voice, "Actually, it was supposed to be a sandball fight."

His friend looked at him askance, shades still perched low on his prominent nose, "Nice try."

Vash shrugged again.

They were silent a beat.

Then two flashes of color, one red and one black, dove in different directions, seeking cover behind the dunes.

The battle was joined.


Trigun is copyright (c) Yasuhiro Nightow and Young King Ours.