Disclaimer: Hmmm… I own my kids (Because I made them) I own my husband, (Because the Marriage License says so) and I own a REALLY big mortgage. (Because I'm stupid and signed on the dotted line) However I don't own Trigun. (Because if I did, I wouldn't have said mortgage)
A Late Night Promise
With a protesting groan, the bedroom door closed separating the orphaned children and insurance girls from the smiling outlaw in red and stoic preacher in black. However, once a soft click signaled the end of the barrier's forward momentum, the blonde outlaw instantly turned pensive as his eyes of aqua showed extreme unease. There was something definitely wrong with the entire situation. After all, who would let small children fend for themselves in an abandoned home? And what about their missing parents? Unfortunately, he knew who exactly was behind the whole thing and that it was most definitely a ploy to rile him up. However, he couldn't let that happen. There were just too many lives, young lives, at stake if he became unfocused.
Standing slightly behind and to the right, the obsidian-haired man had an unobstructed of the entire exchange. With his cool titanium gaze locked on the blonde's face, he watched as the cheerful façade melted away, turning into a full out brood. The enormity of the situation was definitely bothering the tall blonde. It was bothering him, too. But, it was late and there wasn't anything they could do about it, at least not until morning. However, before the preacher could voice his opinion, the outlaw finished his thoughts out loud…
"… we can't just leave these kids."
"Quit being so serious and cheer up," the man in black admonished before suggesting, "Come on lets go have a drink."
"Cough…. Cough…. Cough…."
"Damn Needle-noggin, you really don't know how to respect the booze do you?" Wolfwood exclaimed as he grabbed the bottle from Vash and took a swig of the amber liquid. "Ahhhhhhhh… Hooch's brand name! There really is nothing quite like it!" he then stated with a big smile before deciding to tease the outlaw, "Ya' know, with all of the drinking you do, one would think that you would have built up a tolerance by now."
"Yeah… one would think. I guess that it just doesn't react to my system very well," Vash replied gloomily, unable to keep his thoughts from the kids. Then after a few minutes of uncomfortable silence, the blond outlaw quietly began to talk again. "Hey, Wolfwood?"
"Maybe, we should make the rounds one more time. Just to see if this place is still secure."
"Why not. Then I think we should hit the hay. After all, I'm sure that with you around we will have a long day ahead of us," the traveling priest retorted with a big smile on his face. "I'll check outside, that way I can have a smoke. The big-girl won't let me do it in here with the kids."
"Okie dokie. I'll check out everything inside and make sure the kids and the insurance girls are all right."
Once outside of the dilapidated compound, the pensive preacher deeply inhaled the cool desert air through his nose before lighting the cigarette that hung from his lips. Shivering slightly, Wolfwood took a drag from the ever-crumpled smoke while mumbling out, "All is nice and quiet. Well… for now at least." He wondered how much longer the reprieve would last. Another couple of days would have been nice. But, somehow he doubted that they would have that long, especially with Vash's luck.
"Oh hell… that guy never gets a break," he said to the sky. The only time that he probably ever had any peace was when he disguised himself as 'Eriks' and hid with the little girl and her grandma. At least that was what Wolfwood assumed. Vash did say that he really liked living with them, but he wondered if that was truly the case. It was pretty easy to get him to leave, after all. It almost seemed like he was waiting for an excuse to move on, the preacher realized before flicking the butt of his cigarette out into the sandy wasteland.
"Besides, I bet he was too busy thinking about a certain petite and very feisty insurance girl to stay too much longer," the pondering man said with a smile before lighting another cigarette. She was the first thing he had asked about once they reached Kasted City's outskirts. Of course, the priest immediately caught the Freudian slip when Vash asked, 'so, have you heard from my insurance girl, preacher man' and asked to whom he was referring to, Meryl or Milly. Wolfwood laughed out loud as he recalled Vash's expression at being caught when he referred to Meryl as being 'his insurance girl.' "Hah… the look on his face was classic!"
Who would have thought that the Humanoid Typhoon, a man known to be a notorious rake, would actually be a harmless flirt? And to someone he truly cared for, he would hide behind one of his many fronts. But, Vash did care for the short-girl and Nicholas knew exactly why he didn't make his feelings known. He didn't want her to get too close and for obvious reasons. Being Vash the Stampede's woman could be quite hazardous to her health, even if she was 'Derringer Meryl.'
Actually, he used them to keep everyone from getting too close, the priest then thought. But, didn't Vash get it though? He could see right through the ace gunman and he bet that both Meryl and Milly did, too. Although, he didn't think short stuff saw all of what was there. Milly did, however. She watched the both of them with knowing eyes.
"Ahhh… the big-girl, now she is really something…" Nicholas softly murmured. And she was! She made living on the barren wasteland seem not so impossible. And he hoped, that when all of it was over, he could make her his on a more permanent level. That is, if she would have him. Especially, after she found out about all of the things that he had done in the past. Flicking the ashes from his cigarette, the man in black silently vowed that he would tell her everything once the whole thing was finished.
"Milly as a preacher's wife, now that would really be something," Wolfwood said out loud as a smile graced his lips. Then the smile turned into a deviant grin as he added, "Of course, I am no ordinary preacher and she would be no ordinary preacher's wife!"
'Lord, I wish she were here right now. I would really like to hold her close while gazing up at the stars together. And it's such a beautiful night, too,' the preacher thought, while looking up at the twinkling night. There must have been more stars out then what he had ever seen before. Or, perhaps, it was because it was the first time that he had ever really looked at them. Nicholas was more inclined to believe that it was the latter.
"It's funny what love does to you…" Wolfwood whimsically muttered as he put out the rest of his cigarette. Then with a sigh, he changed his thoughts and said, "Well shit… I suppose I should get back in there. I kind of feel like razzing Vash a little about the short-girl. Besides, if I stay out here any longer I think my head will explode from all of the thinking I've done."
'Who would have thought that someone with so much spunk would sleep like an Angel,' Vash thought, while tenderly gazing down at the sleeping form below him. As a true smile formed on the outlaw's lips, he knelt down and lightly caressed the cheek of the shorter insurance girl. She was just so damn beautiful, he thought before dreamily whispering, "Oh, Meryl…"
"Women really are a marvel," exclaimed the priest from the doorway after he had witnessed only the fourth true smile escape from the blonde.
"Yeah… she really is," Vash replied in his still wistful state.
"Come on Tongari, it is time to hit the hay," Wolfwood then said, while heading out of the doorway and back to their original resting place.
Vash immediately rose and began to follow the priest, but stopped when he reached the doorway to look again at sleeping woman that held his heart in the palm of her hand. "Good night and sleep tight," he whispered prior to turning on his heel to join Wolfwood in the once living room of the abandoned home. As Vash entered the all but empty room, he noticed that Wolfwood had already commandeered the only piece of furniture left, a white bench. Whining out, Vash asked, "Awwwwwwww… man, why do you get the bench and where am I supposed to sleep, preacher-man?"
While thinking of a retort to the gunman's cry, the reclining Wolfwood decided to roll over on his back and place his hands behind his head to use as a pillow. "Well… I see it like this Needle-noggin," Wolfwood began, while glancing up at Vash, noticing the over-exaggerated pout. Then with a smirk, he added, "Since you decided not to follow me right away, you lost any claim that you might have had on this here bench. Therefore, finders keepers losers weepers. Oh… and you get to sleep on the floor!"
"Man… that's so cold!" Vash cried, seemingly very put out over the whole idea.
"Besides Vash, what took you so long?" Wolfwood provokingly asked, while the gunman tried to find a comfortable spot on the floor.
"Oh… urmmm… ummm… nothing," the blushing blonde stumbled over the reply, suddenly becoming nervous over the simple question.
"Yeah… okay, whatever you say, but why is your face the same color as your coat?" Wolfwood asked unable to hold back a chuckle.
Vash decided to not only forgo answering the preacher, but also to sleeping on the very uncomfortable floor. So, he ended up leaning against the wall opposite the windows with his left knee raised to give him support. 'I suppose it could be worse, I could be out in the middle of the desert and alone,' Vash realized, raising his prosthetic arm up and resting it on his knee. Then with an internal smile, he continued his thoughts, 'I could always go and cuddle up next to my little insurance girl. I bet that she's nice and comfy! I don't know if the concussion that I would probably get in the morning would be worth it, though. Well... just maybe it is!'
After minutes of silence had past, Wolfwood deemed it was time and began the interrogation. "So, just how long have you had the hots for her?"
"Oh… I don't know…" A half conscious Vash mumbled. Then upon realizing his almost mistake, he jolted himself to 'fully alert mode' and immediately tried to cover his slip up. "What! I don't know what you are talking about, preacher-man!"
"Yeah right, Tongari," Wolfwood snorted. "You can try to bullshit me all you want, but I can see right through you!"
"Oh yeah… and just what do you see?"
"Do you want the Meryl portion or the whole thing?"
"Just the… uhhh… Meryl portion, it's getting late and we don't have all night!" the defensive gunman rushed out.
"Alrighty then," Wolfwood said with a grunt as he sat up to face Vash. "Ya' know… its funny, I have seen you use that 'real smile' of yours what, four times now? And two of those four were because of that little firecracker sleeping in the other room with Milly and the children. So, how many times have you smiled at her like that and I haven't been around to see… hmmm? Oh… I bet quite a bit!"
"But how could you have…" Vash sputtered, only to be cut off by the preacher.
"Now you wait Needle-noggin until I'm done. Anyway, when we left from Lina and her grandma's, who was the first person that you asked about? It was the short-girl, remember?" the priest continued before using his best Vash imitation and repeating what was said back then: 'So, have you heard from my insurance girl, preacher-man?' Then with a gleam in his silvery gaze, he continued, "There are also several occasions where I have noticed you just gazing at her for no apparent reason. Let's see for example… hmmm… Oh! In May City while we were drinking the present from Neal's mom. She for the most part kept staring at the table while trying to look pissed off. But you, on the other hand, decided to wear your gold tinted glasses so you could watch her without anyone noticing. Or so you thought! Well… guess what? I did and so did the big-girl!"
"Okay, I admit that I think Meryl is a beautiful, courageous, woman and I have a great deal of respect for her. But, that… uhhh... hardly constitutes that I am in love with her!" the blonde gunman argued.
"Did I say anything about love Tongari? Noooo… but you did, huh? And since you mentioned it, I think that you are in love with that beautiful, courageous, woman that you do have a great deal of respect for." Wolfwood chimed in before 'innocently' adding, "I just don't understand why you won't admit it?"
"Well…. it isn't as easy as just admitting it. Not that I am saying that I am or anything," Vash quickly pointed out. "But, I just can't… I-I mean, I could put Meryl's in life in even more danger and I'm already risking too much by letting her stay this close to me because of her job," the blonde then admitted, while raising his arms to motion quotations as he said the word 'job.' "People who get close to me end up dying and if he were to find out about my feelings for her…"
"Vash, Meryl has a right to know about your feelings, regardless of who ever he is. It's only fair to her… and you for that matter. Besides, you do know that she is following you for more than just her job, right?" added the dark haired priest while mimicking Vash's hand gestures for the word 'job.'
"Yeah I know… at least I have a pretty good feeling about it," sighed the blonde. "I just wish I could get her to pack up her things and head back to Bernardelli headquarters. But at the same time, I don't want to let her go. I mean… I just want to keep her safe from harm. Although, right now I don't think I can do that effectively. I-I guess I'm just being selfish," the outlaw the added, turning grim. He really didn't know what to do about the 'Meryl situation.' He let a moment of silence pass between them before he thought of something, deciding that it was time to turn the tables a bit on the comfortable priest…
"So, what about Milly preacher-man?"
"What about her?"
"Well… you do like her don't, ya?" Vash prodded.
"Ahhh… Milly…" Wolfwood smiled as he lay back down on the bench and turned his head toward Vash. "She is very special. And I know that I do not deserve someone as wholesome as her. But, if the good Lord decides to bless me with her love, then I will try to live the rest of my life the best that I can with her by my side." Turing his head to the ceiling, he softly sighed out before adding, "Who knows maybe we all could live together someday. We could create our own little place… with the women we love and our children, lots and lots of children."
"That would be nice…" Vash softly agreed, closing his aqua eyes to dream about a not so dreary future.
However, after a few more minutes of silence, Wolfwood decided to repeat the question that started it all. "So Tongari, you never answered my question. Just how long have you had the hots for her?"
"Well…If you really must know, I have always thought that she was beautiful, a little bitchy, but very beautiful! I would say that it started in Inepril City, a little before we met you. You see… I stopped one of their Plants from exploding and the city decided to have a celebration in my honor. Well, after about my… heh heh… seventeenth drink, I noticed a guy sitting with the girls and since Milly had pasted out…"
"That's my big-girl for ya!" interrupted the priest.
"Sure is," the outlaw agreed with a smile. "Well… anyway, since she was out for the count, that meant that he had been sitting there with Meryl and I didn't like that very much."
"Ahhh… A little jealous, huh Vash," Wolfwood muttered, stating the obvious.
"Exactly! Though, I didn't realize what it was at the time."
"So, what did you do?"
"Well, I did the most idiotic thing that I could think of…"
"I grabbed Meryl and made her dance with me. Of course, it wasn't a slow dance, it had been a fast one and I just whipped her around the entire saloon like there was no tomorrow!" Vash told the priest before sheepishly admitting, "Well… she ended up hitting me over the head with a beer mug and proceeded to storm out of the saloon."
"Lord, I'm surprised that you got off that easy Needle-noggin!"
"Yeah, I know! Besides, what I did next would have made a beating ten times worse well worth it!" Vash exclaimed with a toothy grin. "I decided to go over to that guy after Meryl left and gently suggested that he would want to leave the short-girl alone."
"Errrr… well… I kind of picked him up by his collar and told him that if he ever hit on her again that he would have the Humanoid Typhoon all over him," the gunman admitted, starting to chuckle over the memory. "I think I scared him so bad that he wet himself!"
"Oh… that is just way too much, Tongari," guffawed Wolfwood. "I can't believe that he wet himself!"
"It was classic!"
"I'm sure it was! I just wish I could have seen it!" Wolfwood stated, still laughing.
As the laughs died down, both men started to feel the drain of the strenuous day. Silence engulfed the tiny room but the preacher in black knew that he needed to make sure that his point was made before they retired for the night. After all, he didn't know of anyone who deserved to be happy more than Vash the Stampede.
"Could you do me a favor?"
"Sure, what it is?"
"When this is over, will you please tell her how you feel?"
"Promise me that you will! You deserve a little happiness Tongari," the preacher persisted.
Vash thought about the request for a moment before sincerely replying, "I will Nicholas, I promise I will!"
"I'm glad," the priest replied, while closing his eyes to finally succumb to sleep. However, before he could drift off and dream about Eden, he murmured, "Good night, Vash"
"Good night, Wolfwood"
Oh and if you have seen all of Trigun that we all know that Wolfwood knows who 'he' is… wink
7/18/2006… Yes, I finally got off my lazy arse and edited this! Though, knowing me, I still have typos… oh well…