A Mystery

Death and debris. It was all that ever followed him, even now, after two years of hiding, his past resurfaced. Vash bent his head into his arms and looked out over the field. Knives was back. It wasn't Vash hunting his brother now. Knives had sent two of his finest soldiers to get him this time. Time after time, these Gung-Ho Guns would surface, fight him, wasting their own lives for a god they worshipped, but knew nothing about... He was the devil; Knives had long ago ceased to be human. Vash knew that when he was forced to use whatever power existed in his own body to put the hole in the fifth moon.
Now he no longer wanted to search for Knives. He couldn't remember... Something made him want to continue looking, some forgotten promise to himself that was buried with July. He shuttered, tears rolling down his face. His brother was no longer the little boy he remembered, he was a monster now; and he was still alive. There was just so much he'd forgotten, it was taken away from him... Just like Rem.
Vash wiped the tears from his eyes and pushed the hair back from his face. The village was destroyed; his home on the SEEDS ship wasn't safe any more. He had stopped Leonof... Ninelives was destroyed, but the damage was done. Over half the people were dead. Vash knew there was nothing more he could do but leave. Those on the ship still murmured his name as he passed them by. Luida and the others of the older generation still trusted him; they had saved him from the desert so long ago, when he'd given up on finding Knives. But those like Brad were anxious to get rid of him. He knew why, they were afraid Knives would send others, and Vash knew he would.
Looking up at the tree where he sat, Vash could feel the slight breeze from the weather generators far above. It was cool today, but pleasant. Young children, too small to help bury the dead, were playing in the grass with a red ball. They laughed, running by, wide eyes at the stranger they'd never met but had all heard about. Maybe someday they would be the adults, taking over the affairs of the city. But Vash would never change. He would always look the same as he did, maybe with a few more scars, a bit more black hair, but forever the same.
"What's wrong?" A voice came from down the hill, and Vash lowered his eyes to see the little insurance girl. She reminded him of someone. But he couldn't place her. The memory was lost. So many memories lost in the wreckage of that city where he awoke in tears... She was smiling, violet eyes bright as she skirted the little children in their game of tag. "You look like you've seen a ghost."
"I'm fine. I was just thinking." Vash replied as she came to sit down next to him. "Where's Milly and Wolfwood?"
"Back in the infirmary. Luida wanted Milly to keep an eye on Mr. Wolfwood so he wouldn't get out of bed, or smoke for that matter. He's positive he's well enough to get up but he looked pretty pale." She smiled faintly, looking over the geoplant. "It's beautiful here. I can see why they keep it a secret."
Vash nodded in reply, his eyes on the city. It all looked peaceful now. But his brother was out there in the desert still, waiting for him. There were so many monsters left. They needed to be stopped, and Vash knew in his heart he needed to remember what happened before he could. He had to come to terms with what he was... What was it that Knives knew about him that he didn't? Some secret long buried in his memory... Buried in the sand.
"Thank you, by the way," Meryl said after a time. She seemed to enjoy the silence as much as he did, but the day's events still weighed heavy on her mind. "You saved Milly and I. I really appreciate it."
"It's the least I could have done, you did save me from that insurance guy," Vash replied. He smiled as Meryl looked at him shocked. "Oh yes, I knew it was you. Wanted to thank you then, but you left so suddenly..."
Meryl blushed, "Oh, well, I was on vacation at the time, and I knew I'd meet up with you again someday. At least I hoped so. It might be part of my job but..." She turned away from him and he chuckled. What did Rem say about women? That they were a mystery... He thought that was it, what else... "I'm glad we were able to find you again. I missed your dopey face."
And someday, Vash, you'll find a girl whose mystery you'll want to solve. Vash smiled and set a hand on Meryl's shoulder. "I missed you too, Insurance Girl." He grinned as she turned to look at him. Moments later she thunked him on the head. "Ow! Whatcha do that for?"
"Insurance Girl? I go through all of this and you still can't call me by my name?" Meryl got up from her seat and stormed off. Vash remained sitting there rubbing his head. He chuckled. A mystery indeed. Just like all of his life. But just like it, something he was bound and determined to solve. Someday, if he could remember what was forgotten -- whom he'd forgotten. Someday soon.

The majority of this story was based on the Trigun Maximum manga. Most of the details are my own take on what might have happened during gaps in the story. For instance, we don't really know what happened to Vash and Knives after the fall. There are a few short scenes that give us a couple details, but definitely nothing to say exactly where they were at what time, how many years they were together or what they did in the meantime. The details I used from the manga were mainly just flashback scenes. Mention of Vash learning how to shoot a gun and wounding a man when he was younger was taken from I believe Maximum #6. The epilogue was during Maximum #3 after Vash saved Milly and Meryl from Ninelives, immediately at the end of the book, but before Maximum #4 picks up.
Someone wondered whether or not the earring and gun references were from the manga. They aren't. I'm not sure where Vash got his earring or who he got his gun from. I have a feeling Marlon might have actually had something to do with his gun since he has another gun of similar make to Vash's where the barrel is placed at the bottom of the gun rather than at the top. Then again, perhaps the people on the SEEDS ship might have given it to him. At this point it hasn't been covered as far as I know from the translations I've read.
There are a few things I've wondered about that haven't been covered in the manga but considered putting into this story. The first being how Vash looses his left arm. The scene in the anime doesn't appear in the manga, and Vash still has his left arm in one scene after July. But there is a drawing of him with a fake arm in Maximum #3 which is a flashback to 70 years before - so I'm not sure when he lost it. I've always been curious about it. I wonder whether Knives took it or he lost it some other way. Another thing is how Bill Conrad could still be alive when he was on the ship that Rem and the boys were on. I tried to give my own explanation in this story – that the Cold Sleep Chamber survived impact, and that Conrad was still there. In my hypothesis, later on a group of people go out into the desert, find the ship, and wake the sleepers. Knives and Vash visit again at separate times to find the sleepers are all gone. And so that's when both go looking for Conrad.

POST NOTES: What Vash didn't remember:
Yes, if you guessed it, Meryl's ancestor was Marissa (at least in my story she was!) I didn't want to say it in so many words, just so you didn't think I was being too repetitive since I did something similar with Helen in "Finding Home". In my estimation, Vash has probably played a part in everyone's life on the planet at one time or another, so it would only make sense if he knew the insurance girl's ancestors. (I'm also tipping my hat to Thunk's story, "Two Plants and a Girl" – I loved the idea of having Meryl be in the cold sleep pod and the fact Knives likes her. So please don't say I'm taking someone else's ideas, this is merely my way of showing gratitude to a very good story that I just love! You know, sincerest form of flattery and all that...)
What I wanted to cover but didn't want to clutter the story with: After Vash takes off from the city, he went back to the supply ship to find Knives gone. He does wait for Knives for a time, but with the food replicator down he doesn't last very long. Vash goes back into town for Stephanie and Michael's wedding, and tells the city of the plant in the ship. The city retrieves it, and Vash takes off in search of Knives again, this time for good. He'll never return to the city.

Hoped you liked it! Thanks so much for reading!