A/N: My first fanfic. Have pity on a pathetic authoress such as myself. Read and/or review if you want.
Disclaimer: I own Trigun and have Knives locked up in my basement. Right...
Chapter 1: Explanation
'How did I get myself talked into this?' Meryl Stryfe thought in despair. Her attention was directed at the scenery speeding by her window. The bus Meryl currently found herself sitting in was headed for the city of December. Once there she would again be taking up her old desk job at the Bernardelli head office.
Trying to look as casual as possible, she snuck a quick look to her left. Sitting across from her was another passenger on the bus. His short white-blonde hairs were spiked and his blue eyes, with their usual glare, were directed on the scenery just as hers had been.
'Yes' Meryl thought dryly, turning her attention back to the view outside, 'this is not one of my better decisions'. Here she was, sitting across from humanity's greatest enemy, a person who had attempted to wipe out the entire human race on more than one occasion. But that wasn't the worst part, no, the worst of it was that Meryl was taking him home with her! Yes, Knives Millions, the freeborn plant and murderer of millions, was coming to live with her in her small house.
She'd lived in the house before getting the job to track down the Humanoid Typhoon. When Vash had disappeared for two years after the Augusta incident Meryl had also lived there again. At this thought she again turned her attention back to her soon-to-be roommate.
At the moment you wouldn't think him capable of all the atrocities he'd committed. He looked just like a normal person. Knives was dressed in a blue trench coat similar to Vash's, with a white button-up shirt and faded blue jeans underneath. Completing the ensemble were a pair of high black boots.
Next to him on the seat was a bag that resembled the one Vash always carried around. Of course, the only reason he looked so normal was the fact that Vash had forced him to stop wearing the jumpsuit he'd originally had on when Vash had brought him back after their battle.
Thinking about that reminded Meryl of that fateful day when Vash had come back with the body of his brother slung over one shoulder.
Apprehensive hadn't even come close to describing Meryl's feelings that day when she'd seen whom it was Vash had been carrying on his back. Millie, on the other hand, had shown no fear at all. She'd just walked up to Vash and kindly offered to help him with his brother.
Meryl couldn't help but marvel at her co-worker. With Vash's permission, Meryl had told Millie all about him and Knives while he'd been gone. Yet, she still showed no signs of fear or anger toward the one who had hurt and killed so many. He'd also been responsible for Wolfwood's death, even if indirectly. That girl, with a heart of gold, would always offer help to those who needed it.
So, being Millie, she'd gently taken Vash's brother off of his back and calmly carried him the rest of the way to the small house that they had been living in for the past month or so. The girls had first lived in it with the injured Vash and then they had stayed there while waiting for his return. Vash followed behind Millie with Meryl trailing behind him, a nervous fear written on her face.
Millie had then taken him upstairs to one of the extra bedrooms and gently laid him down. The other bed in the room would belong to Vash, who would watch over his brother. After that the three of them gathered in the kitchen downstairs and sat down at the table. That's when Meryl decided to voice her thoughts. After all, how could she not say something? The genocidal maniac Knives Millions was currently sleeping in one of their spare bedrooms!
"Vash I hope that you're going to explain why your brother is currently upstairs in an unconscious state with bullet holes riddled throughout his entire body," she said through gritted teeth, trying to keep her anger in check.
Vash had laughed weakly under her glare and hunched in his chair. Then he'd gone into the whole story of what had happened between the two out in the desert.
When he had finished his story he added softly, "I hope you both understand that I'm going to try and turn him around. You know, try to make him see that humans aren't as bad as he thinks. That's why I brought him here, if anyone can show him that humans aren't all that bad it's you two." With that said he looked at them both with hope in his eyes, hope that maybe they would understand and help him.
Millie had her usual smile on her face as she answered him in a cheerful voice, "Of course we'll help Mr. Vash. Right, Meryl?" She turned to Meryl expectantly. Meryl with a sigh responded with a small smile and a nod of agreement.
After that everyone focused on helping Knives to recover. Being a plant, it hadn't taken him more than a few days to regain consciousness. Once awake though, the anti-human man had immediately begun to dish out rude comments to the girls. Even Vash hadn't escaped his poisonous tongue.
"You disgusting human, what do you think you're doing!" Had been the first charming words to come out of his mouth when he'd found Meryl doing his bandages. After that he had reverted to calling them names, like spider or parasite, every time they were in the room.
The months went by with Knives under the constant and tender care of the girls. Both Meryl and Millie would cook him his food, make sure he had clean bandages (Vash was the only one Knives allowed to put them on), and even attempted to engage in polite conversation with him.
Of course, they always gave up the conversations when all he gave them were death glares or threats issuing from his mouth in a constant stream. To Meryl it seemed like nothing they tried helped to curb his hatred toward humanity.
While the girls were trying their best to show Knives the goodness in humans, Vash was also making an effort to bring him around. Every night, after Meryl and Millie had gone to bed, he would stay up and talk with his brother. He told him about how most of humanity wasn't like Steve, the man who had beaten them as children. Most of them, he argued, were good people who only wanted to make a living out of this dry, dust-ball of a planet.
Knives, for his part, stubbornly ignored Vash most of the time. Only interrupting him every now and then to point out the faults that he saw in humans.
On one certain night, about four months after Vash's return, the brothers were having their worst argument to date.
"Knives!" Vash shouted, finally losing all his patience with his stubborn sibling. "There is no way that the entire human race can be shown in a single person. There are many different types of people out there, if only you'd open your eyes and see!"
"I see perfectly Vash!" Knives shouted in return. "I see the atrocities that are being inflicted on the plants by the humans you love so much! You're the one who's gone blind! You don't see their blatant disregard for each other and the world around them. They deserve to be wiped out before their infestation spreads any further!"
Vash took a long look at his upset twin. He could practically see the hate for humanity bleeding off his body in waves. Apparently nothing he'd said thus far had had any impact on Knives whatsoever. At this point he had only one tactic left, and if it didn't work . . .
"How about a little proposition, brother?" he asked in a deceptively quiet tone.
Knives narrowed his eyes in suspicion. He knew Vash was up to something. Over the past month or so his brother had been trying to get him to see the goodness in humanity he said existed, but Knives had resisted his efforts with ease. But now what was Vash planning?
"What kind of proposition did you have in mind, little brother?" He answered in the same calm manner Vash had taken.
"The deal I'd like to propose is that you find me proof." Vash said, keeping his face impassive.
"Proof?" The older twin asked almost hesitantly, not liking Vash's new demeanor.
"Yes. I want you to show me irrevocable proof that what you say is true, that all of humanity deserves the fate you have planned for it." Vash said, still using the same tone.
"And how, pray tell, do you expect me to find this proof?" Knives' voice almost came out in a growl. He really wasn't liking where this conversation was headed.
At this Vash's face broke out in his usual goofy grin. "Why, by observing humans up close and personal, brother."
Knives openly gaped at his annoying sibling, his features showing the shock and horror he felt at what Vash had suggested. He actually expected him to willingly spend time around those inferior creatures!
"Have you lost what little sense you had Vash!?" Knives yelled, losing control of his composure. "Why would I need to find this proof when I already know it exists!?" His face was back into its usual scowl.
"Because if you do" Vash argued, "I'll no longer try and stop you from eliminating the people on this planet."
Knives' eyebrows rose straight to his hairline in surprise. Was his pacifistic, and human loving brother, actually saying he would sit by and watch him destroy the human garbage? It sounded too good to be true. All he had to do was find evidence that the filth needed to be exterminated and he would be able to fulfill his plans? Knives didn't believe that the proof would be hard to come by, he only needed to make sure Vash's remarks were not in jest.
"How will you guarantee to me that you will not interfere if I find this truth about humanity?" Knives inquired of his brother, eyeing him suspiciously.
Vash thought this over for a moment before standing up and quietly slipping out of the room. Knives waited, his curiosity aroused by Vash's abrupt exit of the room. He didn't have long to wait. Not more than a minute later Vash reentered the room caring something wrapped in cloth. As he sat down Knives took a good look at the package, trying to figure out its contents.
"Now, before I give you this," Vash whispered, apparently afraid someone would hear him. "I want you to promise me something." Never taking his eyes off the package, Knives nodded slowly. "As you observe humans, you are under no circumstances to kill any one of them."
Knives' head shot up at Vash's last statement. "If you expect me to become a living target for those parasites . . . " He trailed off when his brother lifted a hand to silence him.
"I never counted on you doing any such thing, Knives. As a matter of fact, I'd prefer it if you stayed out of trouble, but seeing as how you and guns have never gotten along..." Vash smiled as his brother growled at him. "I'll give you this to protect yourself." With that said Vash took the cloth off the object, revealing a black gun Knives recognized as his own.
As Knives reached out for it, Vash drew it away. "What's the matter, brother, still don't trust me with a weapon?" He mocked him.
"Just wanted to remind you that you are not to shoot humans. You can defend yourself if necessary by injuring them, but no fatal shots. Understand?" Vash looked at the other Plant expectantly.
With a small snort and a nod of his head, Knives gave his acknowledgment. Vash handed him his gun and continued. "Also, no using any mind tricks."
The white-blonde haired man took a long look at him before speaking. "Unlike you brother, I choose to accept what I am. I won't pretend to be something I'm not."
Vash gave his brother a sad look, something that was out of place on his usually happy face. "I know that we're different, not human. I've accepted that fact. But that doesn't make us superior, just different."
Knives gritted his teeth in response. Sometimes his brother was a complete idiot.
"Look Knives, I'm tired and It's getting late. Just promise me you won't manipulate people. To be the winner of our deal, you need to be an observer."
Knives was becoming sleepy and was in no mood to argue further, but there was still a question he needed to ask. "And what about reading their minds, Vash? Are you going to ban me from doing that also?"
Vash had already taught the girls how to shut him out of their minds. All they really needed to do was keep any strong emotional thoughts in check and Knives couldn't read them. But when Knives went to a city . . . The jolly smile appeared on his face again. "Would you actually consider respecting people's privacy?"
A smile crossed Knives' features as well. "No."
The blonde haired gunman shrugged. "Then I'll have to be happy with your other promises." That done both boys finally ended their discussion and went to bed.
Meryl had heard all of this from hers and Millie's bedroom next door. Their shouting had awakened her, but Millie in the bed next to hers had slept through it. Sometimes Meryl thought Millie could sleep through a typhoon.
After they had stopped talking, she had laid in bed for a while before falling asleep, with a silent promise to herself that she would prove Vash right.
After the brothers' agreement, Knives' attitude toward the girls improved, not much, but still, it was better than before. He ate their food without a fuss and even allowed Meryl to change his bandages instead of Vash. He spoke to them on occasion, trying to distinguish any faulty human traits in them. Unfortunately, to his distress, they were the type of humans Vash said existed. Of course they didn't count for the entire population of humans. So Knives quickly dismissed their attempts to show themselves as the models for humanity.
During this time, Meryl had been going over her feelings for Vash since he'd left and found that having his friendship was enough for her. It didn't seem like there needed to be more to their relationship than that. For his part, Vash felt the same way.
Millie, on the other hand, was an entirely different story. He'd found that he loved her upbeat attitude and constant smile. Vash was always hovering around her and making sure that he was there if she needed any help. The tall girl seemed to enjoy the attention that he gave her. Meryl had caught the two of them more than once as they gave each other shy glances. She only smiled to herself at the obvious affection her two friends had toward each other.
Once Knives was mobile enough to start joining them at the dinner table, he had also noticed the exchanged looks. Meryl could tell that he was disgusted with his brother. She had a feeling that Knives had confronted his brother about his displays of affection, but counting on Vash he'd probably ignored his brother's attempts to sway his emotions.
Then, one day, not too long after the brothers agreement, a letter came in the mail for the two girls. It was from the Bernardelli head office. It simply stated that Vash the Stampede was no longer considered a threat. He would also no longer need to be kept under twenty-four hour surveillance. Therefore, Millie and Meryl were commanded to return to the office or risk losing their jobs.
The news hit everyone hard, except Knives, of course. He wouldn't have minded the insurance girls leaving. The rest of them had gotten used to living together in their small house. Now a plan needed to be formed on what they would do next.
Vash proposed that he and Knives go with Millie to visit her family. The tall insurance girl had decided to return home to her family for a couple months before going back to work. With his idea, Vash could be around Millie and still keep an eye on his brother.
The plan only had one hitch. The second Knives heard that the rest of her family was like Millie, he said no. A flat out, nonnegotiable no.
The only other option open to Knives was to go with Meryl. Meryl was returning to December in only a couple of days by bus. He would have said no to that alternative as well, but Vash pointed out that December would be the perfect place to find the faults of humanity. The city was one of the largest on the planet, just brimming with all sorts of people. After Knives had given this some thought, he had reluctantly agreed to go.
In this case Meryl was the one who refused to take the psychotic Plant with her. She had inquired as to why he had to come with her. Vash had answered casually that maybe she would have a positive influence on the evil plant. She wasn't so sure herself, but eventually agreed to have Knives come with her. Vash also lent Meryl the pen that went along with his earing. That way she could contact him immediately if needed. A few days later Meryl had said goodbye to her two friends and climbed onto the bus, taking the genocidal maniac with her.
So here she found herself, as Meryl stepped off the bus in the busy city of December. The morning was just beginning and people were moving along the street, going to their workplaces. Taking care to make sure Knives followed her, she led the way to her small house. She had a feeling that her time with Knives as a house guest, would be the most trying days of her life . . .