Dedicated to Dwellin for her immense support in writing these stories! This little "gun barrel" story is something I wrote in a letter this evening. There are a lot of these stories just bouncing around in my head – I got the idea for what to call them while watching "Paradise" this afternoon – looking through the gun barrel at Wolfwood... The following stories are just me looking down the gun barrel at some of our favorite characters from Trigun. I hope you like them.

The Storm

Vash looked out into the desert. "It's so dry here, Rem. Everything is dry here, even people's hearts." He sunk down onto the windowsill and sighed. Every night he had the same dream, sitting in the geoplant talking to Rem. Oh how he missed her! Years passed him by like raindrops, forever whizzing by and he never aged, never changed, trying to keep away from Knives. 'Knives.' Vash glanced behind him at the two guns which lay on the table. One black, one silver. 'I made them. This one's yours.' He shivered, remembering how he'd felt after shooting Knives, running away, disappearing from his brother's radar for years. How many was it now? So many... Ten, twenty? What were these years to someone who couldn't age, couldn't change?
"Rem..." Vash went to the guns. "Why haven't I thrown these away? Buried them in the desert? Why am I holding onto them." A voice came to his head, 'Take care of Knives.' Vash nodded to himself, 'yes, that's what Rem had wanted. With these guns I will take care of him - somehow. The power that came from them is somehow impossible, but it's something...' A sound broke Vash from his thoughts. A knock came to the door.
"Who is it?"
"It's me, Max," came a voice. It was his neighbor in the little apartment building where Vash stayed from time to time waiting for the SEEDS ship to pass overhead.
"It's open," Vash called back, taking the guns and covering them with a newspaper he'd discarded. A young man came in and slammed down a trophy on the table.
"Look what I did Vash! First place!" He glowed with pride. "Well, what do you say to that?"
Vash smiled, "Real nice Max. I don't know how you can ride those things..."
"Just because you can fall off a chair just looking at a thomas doesn't mean they can't be ridden." He sat down at the table and polished his trophy with a sleeve. He grabbed the newspaper from the table and started flipping through it, "So, am I in here?"
"Uh, don't know..." He started to grab for the guns when Max put the paper down and looked at them. Max was careful not to reach for them, just eyed them. Vash knew his friend knew what they were, he was the only man on the planet who knew about the SEEDS ship that flew up above, about the plants, about Knives.
"Wanna talk about it?" Max asked, placing his hands on the table.
Vash shook his head, "Nothing to talk about really."
"You sure?" The young man continued. "You don't bring those old relics out except when you're reliving old memories. Why don't you just destroy them?"
The gunman shook his head, "I can't."
"Sure sure," Max tapped the table. "You can't, or you won't? You can't let Knives haunt you like this. You haven't seen him in years. He could be dead..."
Vash slammed his hands on the table, "NO!"
Max backed up, "Woah there... I didn't mean anything by that. I guess you would be the first to know, being twins and all..." He slumped in his chair, "I know that's a sore spot with you... I'm just saying maybe you should live a little."
"Live?" Vash sunk down into his chair by the window and leaned on the windowsill again. "How can anyone live here? It doesn't even rain."
With a shrug, the young man returned to polishing his trophy. "We do okay you know. I mean, I chose to leave the ship because I know eventually that old technology will fail us. Rather keep my feet on the ground if you know what I mean. People live, they die, they don't know what rain is and that's how they live."
Vash sulked on the windowsill, half of his face buried in his arms. "The geoplants could have made it happen. We could have been living on a planet with green trees and flowers like Rem wanted... But Knives couldn't let that happen. The two of us could survive after everyone else was long gone..." He breathed a long sigh. "I remember the first time I saw rain."
"In the geoplant?" Max asked, now flipping through the newspaper.
Nodding, Vash continued, "Yeah. Did I tell you this story?"
"No," the young man replied. "Tell me, I've got all night."
Aqua eyes looked out the window. "Rem usually kept the geoplant sunny and bright, she never told me that it had to rain in order to keep the plants alive. There was a cycle, a few days a week at night it would rain. Nasty storm too... But she never told me that." He smiled to himself thinking about it. "I couldn't sleep one night so I wandered there, thinking I'd get an apple or maybe just sit under the tree in the shade... When I walked in I couldn't see a thing, and I got lost in the storm. Couldn't get out again. There was thunder and wind and lightning that made my hair stand on end."
Max chuckled behind him, "You mean, more than usual?"
Vash rolled his eyes, "Yes, more than usual." He chuckled, "I'd never seen anything like it and I was scared and enthralled with it at the same time. The storm had this feel to it... As if it were waiting for something. Holding there in the sky, rumbling, but not quite ready to move on... And then the lightning struck our favorite tree, and immediately the rain came down. It poured down my face and hands, soaked into my clothes and covered every inch of my body until I shivered with the wet. I stood there the entire time until it stopped and the storm was still there... Waiting. I looked up at that sky for the longest time, waiting for it to do what it wanted to do."
"Well, did it?"
"Kind of," Vash answered. "The lightning moved on, the thunder died out, but the air hung heavy all around me. I could feel it pressing in on me as if the whole sky would fall now and crush me into the ground. Then the storm was over and the clouds moved by overhead, and sky was clear again. I was drenched to the bone. Everything was wet. But... I never felt more alive. Scared, wet, alone, and wanting to experience it again. I wanted to *live* that again... But I never did. I caught a cold and Rem never let me back into the geoplant at night."
Max set his head on his hand, "So is there a moral to this story?" He smiled as Vash turned to look at him. The gunman's eyes sparkled as he turned the chair to the table and picked up the guns lying there.
"Knives is that storm. These, his lightning. I can't explain it more than that. I know that when he is gone I will feel alive like after that storm. But as long as he's out there I feel the pressure pushing down on me. I can't move, can't speak, can't think. Only want to call out to Rem and ask her to get me out... But she's gone now. Everything connected to her is gone." He stood up and wandered over to his bag and carefully wrapped the guns up and put them away. When he turned, Max was watching him.
"Not everything," he said after a moment. His eyes turned to his trophy again and he bit his lip, "The Doc told me not to say anything, but he's found one of Rem's relatives, still alive."
Vash was suddenly at the table, looking down at Max. "What?! Who? Where?"
Max held up his hands, "Woah woah there. I told you I wasn't supposed to say anything... But he's a guy named Revenant Vasquez. He lives in July City." He grabbed his trophy and held it in his hands, "But don't tell the Doc I told you because he'd kill me." After a second, Max stood and went to the door. "Go see him Vash. Maybe this storm of yours will be lifted if you do."
"Thank you," Vash said with a small smile.
The young man nodded. "Good luck." He left the room and Vash was alone again. He turned, the sudden news bringing him a shock he'd never expected to hear. 'Someone related to Rem is still alive! I can talk to him, tell him what happened!' His smile sobered.
"But why do I feel that the storm is only beginning?"