AN:  Ok here we are…the sequel to Checkmate: A spiders Beauty.

         First off, sorry about the short chapter. But this is more of a teaser than anything else. Not to mention that with this story I will have a Beta reader. Which if any one wants the job I'm accepting applications (so to speak).

And for anyone interested I'm also wanting someone to go over Checkmate a spiders beauty for me.

The reason you ask? Well…I haven't decided yet but if I'm allowed. (allowed as in copywrite laws and everything) I want to make Checkmate a real live book that I can sell. Of course I won't make any money off it. Just enough to cover the printing costs for people that buy it. I'm also thinking about drawing a comic based off the story.

If anyone knows if I can do this, please tell me. It'll save me research time.

There are some other things I would like to do. Such as set up my site again, and set up a paypal account from donations (*sheepish grin* hey I'm broke that's why I had to ditch the website in the first place)

As I've said I really don't know if any of this will fly. It depends on you guys.

But email me, goldwarriors@msn.com or review this story and tell me what you think?

Vash took a sip of his beer. It was a bitter brew. Not the strongest they had, but for him it was strong enough. Just enough alcohol to give him that happy fuzzy feeling, without worrying about puking his guts out in a few hours.

The bar was a tiny thing in Southern Westlien.

Nothing really great about it, it was actually a little dirty. But he didn't mind.

He liked places like this. He liked 'most' of the people that came to places like this.

Hard working people, that just needed a place to unwind.

Been a long time since I could unwind.

With a sigh Vash brushed back his medium length hair. It hung low in his eyes, and sometimes bothered him. No matter how many times he brushed it back, it always got in his eyes again.

Maybe I should cut it, or maybe…stick it up? Hmm I don't know. I would look silly with a spiky head

It was a good night to relax. He was in a town that had never seen him before. And he was in a bar with pretty girls. What more could a plant ask for.

Suddenly a meaty hand clapped down on his shoulder making him jump.

"Hey Vash."

I know that voice!!!

Smiling widely Vash swung around and with all the strength he had, grabbed his brother around the waist, lifting him up and swinging him.

"AHHHHHH!!!! It's you. My brother….it's my brother!!"

Vash yelled to a surprised bartender.

Finally Vash let his brother sit down beside him. Looking him up and down Vash nodded to himself. His brother looked good, the past 10 or so years hadn't changed him much. His skin was still the same color, nice even tan. His hair was shorter than Vash remembered. Looked like Knives had buzzed it not long ago, and then let it grow a little.

He was wearing a dark green coat that hung low, with black pants and boots. He wasn't wearing a gun although he did have a small knapsack.

Vash sat down again and after buying him a drink asked.

"How did you find me?"

Knives raised an eyebrow and he accepted his drink.

"I followed the damage."

Vash flinched.

"It wasn't my fault…really. I was just trying to help."

Knives laughed, finding more humor in that fact and in a way that Vash would

never understand.

My brother…no matter what time, what place? Disaster follows you…even without my help.

"Your help sucks. You should let the humans take care of their own."

Vash frowned slightly, he hated when Knives referred to people as humans. He hated being reminded he was something else. It was a terribly lonely feeling.

"What do you want?"

Knives took another sip.

"Do I need a reason to visit my wondering brother?"

"Yes. You hate…coming to places like this."

"Maybe…"

Knives said as he looked at all the humans around. Long years had taught him to tolerate them. In this life he had yet to kill a human. And he refused to start anytime soon.

He was afraid…if he started to kill them again. He would end up like he did last time.

I still remember. I know it was true. I remember killing, hating…and Millie.

He said that to himself…but he was confused. No matter how hard he told himself that. He still had his doubts.

The only thing keeping him focused…was the passing years. And the knowledge that with each passing year brought him closer to the truth.

If he found Millie, then he would know. If he never did…well then he was officially insane.

"I was just going to January."

"January?"

"Ya, I'm a business partner for a company there."

Vash turned in his seat.

"Since when, and what business?"

"Since 75 years ago, and its called Burnideli."

Now Vash was shocked, and that didn't happen often.

"The insurance place?"

"Ya, the insurance place…which I might add you are causing to go bankrupted. They would have years ago if it wasn't for me."

Vash blushed.

"Sorry, I really am."

Knives shrugged.

"Anyway I'm on business. You should come along."

Vash gestured for another drink.

"No thanks, I don't go large town anymore…especially after July."

"Hmm…You never did explain how that happened?"

Vash didn't say anything, not that that surprised Knives any. He hadn't said anything since it happened, and that was almost 25 years ago now.

"So Does…this Burnideli thing does it have anything to do the drawing book?"

Knives stiffened.

"You got it on you don't you?"

Knives growled, as he glanced down at the small knapsack he had dropped beside his seat.

Yes he had it with him. He never went anywhere without it.

**

"Knives…what are you drawing?"

Small hands holding an even smaller pencil stopped.

For a moment Knives didn't answer. He just lifted his hand and stared at it.

It's been almost two months since the ships crashed again.

And while they had both grown, he was far from the man that he had been.

It still took him off guard, being a child again. Everything was different, everything was strange.

"A girl…"

He finally said as his brother continued to stare at him.

Vash instantly perked up.

"Did you meet her in town?"

Excited Vash turned the picture around so he could see it. His face twitched as he tried to hold in laughter.

"She's a little old for you."

With a growl Knives snatched the picture from his brother.

"NO I didn't meet her in town. You know I don't go there!"

Vash jumped slightly from his brother's tone.

"I've been meaning to ask why? Why can't we go to the orphanage…or find a place to stay. Why do we have to live out here?"

Knives sighed, trying to rain in his temper. It was so hard sometimes. To forget how the way things had been for so long. To start completely over.

"Because…one we are growing to fast. People would notice…and two. I don't like humans!"

Vash's lip trembled. He didn't understand his brother when he talked like this. But then again he had to agree about the growing thing. They were shooting up like there was no tomorrow. They had aged in two months, what normal children would take 3 years to do. They both looked like young teenagers now, around 13 or 14.

"Then…who's the girl?"

Knives looked down at the picture. It wasn't the best, he was still learning. He had never bothered to draw anything before, especially humans. However now, he planed to develop the skill. If only so he didn't forget what Millie looked like. A hundred years was an awfully long time.

"Someone…I know…No…I will know."

"What?"

Vash was giving him that confused look again.

"Never mind. Just…just give me time before we go to the humans."

Knives continued to stare at the picture.

I have to remember…I can never forget.

He was scared; terrified that he would lose himself. Or thing that his life before was a dream. Already he wondered a little. In a hundred years would he find Millie? Or was it a dream. Did he really cause the ships to crash in another life? Did he kill all those humans, did he kill Millie?

"Its so I won't forget."

"Forget what Knives?"

Knives rolled his eyes.

"Don't worry about it. Just know…that someday we will see her."

Vash shook his head, confused and worried for his brother.

**

He still had that book. He had kept it and then finally filled it with sketches he had drawn of Millie…Meryl and even one of Legato. It was his only link to his memories.

"Not your business."

Vash glanced at his brother. Somehow, to him keeping that damn sketch book for all these years and even carrying it with him was extremely unhealthy.

It worried him, the book and this woman he called Millie.

She was just a fantasy girl, not real. Yet his brother truly believed that he would meet her someday. Vash looked into his drink wondering about that.

His brother was so grounded, overly so if you asked him. He disliked humans to the point of being a recluse. Hell this was the first time that Vash was aware of, that Knives was actually around humans in over 50 years.

So why would he have a dream girl, that was by his own admittance, human?

It didn't make sense.

Well at least she was a looker, if I remember right. Been to long since I looked through the book.

"I know what you're thinking Vash…."

Knives paused collecting his thoughts.

"And soon, you might be proven right."

With that Knives stood up.

"It's been good seeing you again. You should visit more often."

"Ya, I should."

Vash turned in his seat looking up at his brother.

There's something off. He seems so tired; yet tense at the same time. Does this mind girl really have that much hold over him? Jesus…what will happen to him when she proves to be just that, just a dream?

And with that, Knives turned and left. Leaving behind a confused and very worried brother.

****

Meryl shifted from foot to foot as she waited for her boss to speak.

However the Chief wasn't making any motions that he would soon. He was just calmly looking through a large pile of claim forms.

Meryl didn't know what they were from, or why he had called her into his office. But she wouldn't speak first. She could wait him out.

Finally after a grueling 3 more minutes of waiting the Chief looked up.

Setting the papers down he slide them across the desk.

"Do you know what this is Miss Strife?"

Meryl frowned and picked up the papers.

"They're claim forms….all of them."

Her eyes got wider as she looked at the damage claims. The amount was astronomical.

"These…just came in from a small town called Southern Wesleyan."
Meryl flipped through the pages. They all had the same date.

"Was there an earth quake? Or…did the sky fall on them?"

The chief snorted and Meryl instantly regretted the smart-ass remark.

"More like a Stampede. A Mr. Vash the Stampede."

"The Humanoid Typhoon?"

"The very one."

With that the chief took back the papers.

"So far he's down over 600 million double dollars worth of damage."

Meryl's jaw dropped.

"And that's not including the damage done to July 23 years ago."

"Sir,"

Meryl said after a long moment.

"Why are you telling me this?"

The chief looked down, and calmly folded his hands.

"You're a good field agent. I've sent you to dangerous place after dangerous place. The first time…I have to admit I was really worried for you. But each time you've proven you can take care of yourself."

"Thank you sir."

The chief held up a hand.

"Don't thank me yet…at least until you hear what I want you to do."

A few moments later Meryl slowly walked out of the chief's office.

Quietly she sat down at her desk.

Millie looked up over her papers. Her eyes darted back from the Chief's office back to Meryl.

"Pssshhh….Meryl."

Meryl didn't seem to hear her. But that was silly. They weren't even 3 feet from each other. As partners, they're desks had been pulled to that the fronts were together. That way they could talk business…or whatever when they had to.

"Meryl!….Hey Meryl What did they chief want?"

Using her exceptional arm reach Millie poked Meryl's arm with a pencil.

That seemed to get her attention as Meryl glared at Millie's childish behavior.

"We've gotten a new field assignment."

Millie's face brightened. She just loved field assignments. No set business hours, no coming in late, and all the sunshine and outdoors she could handle.

"That's wonderful, what's the assignment?"

Meryl didn't say anything for a moment.

What is the chief thinking? Sending us after that monster. He's destroyed a city for Christ's sake. He's the most dangerous outlaw on the planet. Killing whom ever he wants, men, children…women.

Meryl took a deep breath. She was not a fragile and easily frightened woman.

Yet even she had to stop and think about this assignment. She could easily tell the chief no and he would understand.

Vash the Stampede. I wonder what he looks like. What his story is.

In her mind…a picture formed in her mind.

And for some reason she couldn't fathom that minds eye picture made her smile.

All right, we'll do it.

Turning to Millie, Meryl gave her, her brightest bravest smile.

"We're going after VASH the stampede."

Millie blinked then smiled as well.

"Why?"

Meryl nearly face faulted.

"Because MILLIE, Vash has caused so much insurance damage. Its our job to watch him and make sure he doesn't cause further damage."

Millie nodded.

"Ohhh so we get to baby sit him?"
Meryl sighed. There was no helping that girl sometimes.

"Well we better get packed. We have to get to Santa Cornel as soon as possible."

"Santa Cornel? Why are we going there first? I thought Vash was last seen in Southern Wesleyan."

Now it was Meryl's turn to blink. How in the world had Millie known that?

Shaking her head Meryl let it drop. Millie was mysterious in ways that frankly Meryl didn't want to know about.

"We're picking up another agent assigned to this case. A Mr. Neal"

Squealing in delight Millie quiet literally jumped in the air.

"Neal, as in Alex Neal?"

"Yes?"

Meryl said totally not understanding what Millie was getting at.

"He's my brother in LAW."

With a happy twirl Millie then sat back down again.

"Big Big sister and Alex just got married last year. Oh it was such a beautiful wedding with lots of pretty flowers, and there was singing and dancing…and pudding."

"Millie!"

Meryl shouted.

"That doesn't matter. What does matter, is he any good with a gun? I need to know, can we rely on him if things get bad."
Millie nodded.

"Ya, he's scary good with a gun. In fact that's how he and Big Big met. He had been shot and my sister was his nurse."

Millie smiled looking up at the ceiling.

"I got them a rubber duck for a wedding present. It was so cute."

"Err…Millie. We have more important things to worry about. Mostly about a 60 billion double dollar bounty man, and the fact that he is the most dangerous and wanted outlaw on the planet."

"Well Meryl…maybe it was an accident?"

"What?"

Millie looked at Meryl seriously, deep in thought.

"Well maybe Mr. Vash doesn't mean to do all those terrible things. Maybe they are all accidents."

With a sigh of frustration Meryl stood up.

"No Millie. You do not destroy a city by accident. Come on, we got to go pack."