Silent Pretense

Disclaimer: Do I own Trigun? What a foolish question, of course I don't.

AN: Hello everyone! I'm back for a second Trigun story, you may have noticed that I haven't finished 'Fate of Awakening Love', but do not fret, I will finish that one, but at the moment it's not on my mind. I'm a little torn about where to go with that one. I have narrowed it down to about 5 different directions.

While we wait for the story update of that one, I present you this new fic, I thought of it while driving home from French class today. I was very hesitant to post this one since I only have an idea for one chapter. This may or may not be removed later on. It's rated PG-13 just to be safe.

-

Meryl mulled over her thoughts as she silently watched, from across the table as Knives ate. 'Knives isn't the same.'

She rested her chin on the palm of her hand, never once breaking her gaze from the silent creature. Her thoughts continued. 'He hasn't spoken a word to Vash, to anyone, he lets humans near him. In fact he doesn't seem to mind them at all. How can this be the same Knives that was once bent on destroying mankind? It isn't plausible.'

Knives drained the bowl of soup and held up the empty bowl to Meryl. A sign, that meant he wanted more. Rising from her chair, where she was sitting, Meryl took the bowl and refilled it, handing it back to the plant, making sure she made contact with his hand. Giving her an unreadable look he began eating.

'He didn't thank me, he didn't even tense at the touch of my hand.' She contemplated. 'He's supposed to loathe humans. I would have expected him to have been stark raving mad, when Vash returned with him. But no, Vash said as soon as he regained consciousness, he allowed him to wrap his wounds, and he followed him, without a verbal or physical fight.' She sat back down and recommenced her stare at Knives.

-

Knives was a slow eater and the fact that Meryl was gazing at him so hard didn't perturb him in the least. Every so often he would lock his eyes with Meryl, but then continue eating as of he hadn't really seen her. At one point when he had left Meryl's eyes to look back at his soup, he noticed something he hadn't noticed before. There was a bit of light green parsley in his soup. It was a very small piece, but it branched out, and it reminded him of trees.

He gently touched the parsley with his spoon and watched as the ripple caused by the utensil, swayed his parley from side to side, like a gust of wind blowing through branches and leaves.

-

When he had stopped eating to look at his soup intently, Meryl knew he was in his state of utter fascination. She imagined there was a scientifically correct name for it, but it wasn't a name she could think of. When Knives was in this state he became completely absorbed in whatever he was looking at. It was as if he had never seen the object before, and more so, to him it became the most incredible thing in the world.

These little fascinations could last hours if someone didn't jolt him out of it, and he only became this way with the simplest and dullest things around him. A certain grain of sand, a rock, the stitch pattern on a piece of fabric, those sorts of things.

"Knives." She said his name quietly but firmly. He lifted his eyes from the parsley to look at the owner of the firm voice, then immediately went back to eating, as if the fascination of something like an herb hadn't attracted his attention just seconds ago.

Meryl heard the door being fumbled with and turned her head to it just as Vash fell through the door. Her brow rose, as she took in the scene. Vash, a huge heap on the floor was on top of a brown bag that was obviously filled with donuts and other food they didn't need, and food had spilled in every which direction all over the floor.

"Vash, what did we agree on about food?" She suddenly asked brusquely.

Vash remained on the floor, but sat up, avoiding Meryl's fierce look. "Um... no unnecessary food?"

"Right and why did we decide that?"

"Because you're not made of money."

"And why aren't I made of money?" She continued.

"Because you spend all your time looking after Knives."

"Why, on Gunsmoke would I do that?" She asked in a slight sarcastic manner.

Vash's voice became smaller. "Because I asked you to."

"Now what's the lesson?"

Vash gave a small smile. "Simple pleasures are necessary to live a happy fulfilled life?"

Meryl shook her head, as she silently stood, and walked over to Vash. She gave him a menacing look.

"Uh, right... don't buy unnecessary food... but Meryl there was sale!" He started to whine in protest.

Meryl sighed and put out a hand to shush him. "I don't want to hear it." She crouched down next to him. "Now go clean yourself up. You're covered in food. I'll clean up this mess you made."

With a nod, Vash stood up and began walking towards the bathroom. He turned. "Where's Knives?"

"What are you talking about, he's at the table." Meryl curved her head around and saw that he was gone. His empty bowl in the sink, and his chair neatly pulled under the table. Meryl stood to look out the window that was next to the door. "He's in the tree."

"Oh." Vash headed into the bathroom and shut the door.

-

Knives' tree. One day it wasn't there, and the next it was. Full grown and lush green, it stood proudly at the side of the small house they all occupied together. Naturally when that tree grew over night there was much commotion in town as people gathered towards it. None of them had ever seen a tree in their lives, and to see one suddenly appear...

While it frightened them, they couldn't help, but be gravitated towards it until they noticed Knives sitting on one of the thicker branches, with an air of laze. He had propped one leg against his body while the other swung freely over the edge of the branch. The townspeople had called out to him, asking where this mysterious tree had come from.

Of course he didn't answer. Knives never spoke, but with a look that appeared nonchalant and unemotional on the outside, told them to stay away from this sacred piece of nature, internally. It wasn't that Knives had told them in their minds, but that everyone knew to not go near the tree. So it was avoided like the plague and no spoke of it after.

-

Once Meryl was done cleaning up the foyer area, Vash had fallen on; she walked outside and glanced up to the tree where Knives sat. 'Oh, perfect.' She thought to herself.

Another thing that was completely wrong with Knives were these "episodes", he would have. It was when he would gaze at the air, as if he could see it. He was your average vegetable really. His eyes took on a soulless look and he couldn't be snapped out of it. They had tried everything from silently saying his name to give him a violent shake. He would have to come around on his own, that was usually days later.

Knives was leaning on the tree trunk in such a fashion that if the trunk wasn't there, you knew he'd fall right off, since he wasn't holding himself up.

'This is getting beyond ridiculous.' Meryl thought. Now she would have to climb up the tree during meal hours just so she could feed him. He wouldn't feed himself during the episodes, but he would eat. "In a scary soulless way." Meryl once commented to Millie and Vash.

Meryl thought back to the first time this had happened. It had frightened the hell out of them. They didn't know what to make of it, but by the time a doctor had been ready to see him, three days later, he was out of it and was normal again. 'But what IS normal with him?' She pondered.

This mute Knives was clearly not the real Knives, as Vash had noted, some time ago. All three of them, Vash, Millie, and Meryl herself, were at a loss about what to do with Knives. Vash figured the best thing to do would be to leave him alone. "I'm sure he'll snap out of it eventually." He had said.

'But so far, "eventually" is turning out to be longer than eight months.' She mused to herself. 'If we could only figure out what was wrong with him. It's got to be something to do with the fight he had with Vash, since he was supposedly his real normal insane self beforehand.'

"What's wrong Knives?" She asked, still looking up at the catatonic plant. She heard footsteps behind her and saw from the side as Millie approached her.

"I meant to pick you up from work today Millie. I'm sorry." Meryl said, her eyes still stuck on Knives.

"That's okay Meryl." Millie too, looked up at Knives. "He's having an episode?" She asked.

Meryl simply nodded.

-

The two of them eventually went back into the house, Meryl going back once to feed Knives dinner, and to put a blanket over his body. When he entered an episode in the tree, they concluded just to leave him in it. It wasn't as if anyone would do anything to him.

While the three of them put on a show of pleasantries during dinner, they all had the same thing bothering them. It was hard to act as if everything was okay, when Knives was the way he was.

"You know, it wouldn't bother me so much, if he showed at least a little emotion towards us. Even if it was hatred." Meryl said that night, abruptly breaking the conversation away from their previous talk.

"I agree Meryl. It's been such a long time and Mr. Knives' condition hasn't changed. If anything it's getting worse." Millie added.

"Well what can we do?" Vash asked. "We've tried everything, and decided it was best to leave him alone."

"Right. We decided, we left him alone, and nothing. I think its time we took a different approach." Meryl said firmly. Vash and Millie nodded in agreement, but none of them made a suggestion about what to do differently.

-

It was two days later, one morning when Meryl walked into the kitchen to find Knives sitting at the table. She jumped at seeing him, but relaxed when he turned to look at her. His episode had passed, for now.

"Good morning Knives, it's good to see you've gotten yourself out of that tree."

He said nothing.

"I suppose you want some breakfast?" She asked, not really to him, as she knew he wouldn't respond anyway. She just enjoyed talking out loud to him if she wasn't staring silently at him, trying to figure out what was going through his mute mind.

"Let's see..." She quickly searched the cupboards. "How about some pancakes? I think Vash finally got the right ingredients for me to make them." Without waiting for the lack of response from Knives, Meryl got to making the pancakes and handed Knives a glass of water for him to sip on, while he waited for them to cook.

When walking past Knives and the chair he sat on, Meryl accidentally spilled a little of the pancake batter on his shoulder with the bowl she was holding.

"Oh, oops, sorry Knives." She said, rushing to the counter to set the bowl down and grabbing a cloth to wipe up the batter. She wetted the cloth with the faucet till it was damp and carefully patted the batter on his shoulder, so as not to spread it. She looked over her handiwork and noticed that she had even gotten a bit on his cheek as well.

While quickly wiping his cheek, she glanced at his blue eyes and stepped back with a jerked motion. She caught herself against one of the other empty chairs before she fell.

'Did I see that right?' She demanded to herself, looking away. 'Did Knives actually give me a look of real, live annoyance?'

When she turned back to look at him, he was already looking away, and his eyes were as they were most of the time. Unreadable and not really looking at anything.

She shook her head. 'I just haven't had my daily dose of fresh morning air.' She thought as she opened the window that was parallel to the kitchen sink.

-

End of chapter 1

AN: You know, it's just occurred to me... did they have eggs on Gunsmoke? Milk? Vegetable oil? Anything like that? I never saw anything that could lay eggs in Trigun (except maybe the Thomas?) And there was nothing you could milk (except maybe Kuroneko-sama which would be slightly cruel and kind of creepy) and yet they had donuts and pudding. Both which require milk and eggs...hmm...

Bah. No point trying to figure this one out. Please read and review!

Yours truly,

Faery Goddyss