Okay guys, I'm in denial that I saw the closing credits. Vash has not come back yet, and Meryl's flipping out.


Routine report:

Vash the Stampede, the wanted outlaw with the bounty of $$60,000,000,000 on his head, is still missing. It has been two weeks since the gunman severed ties and walked into the desert, and Millie and I have been trying our hardest to reestablish contact. I know that his leaving was of the utmost importance, but I am not sure if he will return like he said he would. I don't know if I can go on knowing that he might be dead somewhere in the desert, especially with the knowledge that I haven't told him how I feel. I'm such a coward...

Meryl stared outside the window and let her thoughts drift for a moment before realizing she was supposed to be working. She had to send in a report or she and Millie wouldn't get paid. The problem was there wasn't very much to write about with Vash gone...and she kept zoning out when she wrote, hopeful that Vash would return, yet fearful of the possibility she would never see her goofy gunman again.

She turned back to the table and read over what she had written. "God, NOT AGAIN!" She tore the paper out of the typewriter and crumpled it into a little ball as she tossed it behind her to the overflowing wastebasket. This, unfortunately, was something Meryl had grown to expect out of herself. "Damnit, Meryl, CONCENTRATE. If you don't write, you don't get paid!" She was speaking harshly to herself.

She picked up the coffee cup filled with cold, stale brown water and walked to the sink to pour it out. She refilled the cup with hot coffee and held it in her hands. When she looked down at the reflective surface of the liquid, all she saw were floating thoughts of Vash.

After quite a while, she realized she was again holding another cup of cold coffee. She threw the liquid down the sink again in disgust. She poured another cup and vowed to drink this one. Returning to the table, she put in a clean sheet of paper. Her nails started tapping on the table with anxiety and built up tension. It had been two weeks since she last saw Vash and she had expected him to be back by now. Thoughts of his dead corpse baking under the two suns were plaguing her and all she wanted to do was go out in the direction that he went and find him and bring him back. She didn't care if he had succeeded or not. She just wanted him back in town with her. She just wanted him safe.

Then she remembered what had happened the last time she decided to follow him when he had told her to stay put. The horrible impact that Legato's death had on Vash was clearly her fault. If she hadn't been so rash, she wouldn't have followed him and he wouldn't have had to kill Legato.

She sighed, knowing deep in her heart that Legato would have forced Vash's hand whether or not she had been present. There was nothing she could have done to protect Vash at that moment in time.

She looked out the window again, hoping to catch a glimpse of that spiky-haired bafoon walking over the dunes toward the little house she and Millie were still renting.

"What if he's run out of water...What if he's lost in the desert somewhere..." She knew Vash the Stampede didn't get lost, but her anxiety was getting the best of her. After two weeks of frantic worry and no sleep, Meryl was just this side of losing it. "What if he just doesn't want to come back?"

She immediately pushed this thought out of her mind. Truth be told, she would rather him be dead than him not want to see her again. She gasped at her thought and looked down at the table.

She started talking to herself again. "Clearly, Meryl, this waiting game isn't working out for you...what are you going to do?"

She suddenly slammed her fist down on the table as if she were reaffirming her role in life. "This is what I'm going to do: I'm going to ride out into the desert on a Thomas and do some investigating. It's my job!" Ahh...the old excuse, like a well-worn security blanket.

Quickly, she pounded out some words on the typewriter in a daze before going around the house collecting canteens and travel gear. Millie would be home soon and Meryl would need her help.


When Millie got back home from work, she was greeted with a very agitated Meryl wearing her desert cloak on the front steps of the house. "What's wrong Meryl?"

"Millie, we've got to go look for Vash. I just can't wait here any longer. I can't sit here waiting with nothing to do but think of the horrible things that could have happened to him."

"But, Meryl, it's dangerous. He told us to stay here."

"I just want to ride out an hour or two and see if he's on his way back. I need this Millie." She looked at her friend, grabbed her hands, and pleaded. "Millie, I've got to know if something has happened to him." Sensing her friend was wavering, she decided to beg a little, which was very uncommon of Meryl. "PLEASE! We've got enough sunlight to make it out and back tonight. Please help me." She lowered her gaze.

Millie looked down at her desperate friend. "I'll only go if you PROMISE me that we will only ride out for an hour or two, and that if we do find him, you'll tell him how you feel." She smiled a little at herself.

Meryl swallowed a lump in her throat as her friend's words hit her, but she realized it was a small price to pay to have the piece of mind she needed. She looked down at her shoes. "I promise. I will tell him when I find him."

Millie jumped, clapping her hands together. "YAY! Okay let me get my canteen and I'll be right out."

Meryl sighed, relieved that her friend wasn't trying to stop her. She brought the thomases around to the front and loaded her equipment and water bottles onto the beast. Soon both insurance girls were mounted on their thomases like old times and were making their way out of town in the direction Vash had gone.


Vash was walking through the desert with his injured brother on his shoulder. He knew he was going to get into town soon, but would probably not make it in today. He started searching for a suitable place to make camp for the night. In the morning, he could start out again and make it into town by nightfall. Then he would have a chance to see Millie and he would take the opportunity to have a very important discussion with Meryl...

In the distance, he could just make out two travelers on thomasback. They were riding in his direction. This was fortunate. Perhaps he could purchase some water from them.

As they rode closer, he saw that their sizes resembled two very nosy insurance girls he had grown to care about over the past few years, but with their travel gear on, he couldn't make out what they actually looked like. All he could see was a giant rider and a tiny one, and he was instantly reminded of old times.

As they rode even closer, he saw that they were riding towards him. He didn't have his gun, so he felt a little vulnerable, but he figured everything would be ok. He shouted out "HELLO!!!" very loudly and friendly and waved his free arm. The voice that returned his greeting was very familiar...unsettlingly familiar. Was that...Millie?

The speeding thomases slowed to a halt right in front of Vash and his brother. "Hello Mr. Vash! We were so worried about you! It's good to see you're ok. Who is that? Oh my! He's injured!" Millie hopped off her Thomas and ran towards Vash. "Let me help you! We can put him on my thomas and I can ride him into town. You ride with Meryl." Despite Vash's half-hearted attempts at a protest, Millie successfully lifted Knives off of Vash's shoulder and put him over the thomas. "See you back at the house, Mr. Vash!" she said as she rode off towards town.

Vash was a little dumbstruck at the sudden turn of events. He looked at the small woman who had removed the hood from her traveling cloak. "Meryl..." he breathed, then suddenly got frustrated. "Meryl! What did I tell you?! Stay in town, where it's safe! I told you I was coming back!" He ran a hand through his hair and then let it drop out of frustration. "What if something had happened to you! I would never forgive myself!" He recoiled as the small woman slid off her thomas and made her way towards the gunman.

"Vash, you pompous ass! Did you really expect me to be able to stay in town and WAIT to find out if you were dead or not?" He suddenly realized how exhausted she looked. "I was worried sick about you! I thought maybe you had died...maybe that you didn't want to come back..." She looked down at her feet. "I thought that I would never see you again..."

Vash automatically took a step closer to her. He wanted to put his arms around her, but a sudden excruciating cramp in his right shoulder caused him to crumple in pain. Meryl looked up. "Vash! What's wrong!"

"I'm...okay..." Vash sucked air through his teeth. "I just have some injuries from the fight."

"Oh, oh, of course." She walked to her thomas and pulled out a bottle of pills and a water canteen. She counted out a few pills and forced them on Vash. "Here, take these. They will help with the pain."

He took the pills and completely drained the canteen. He was almost completely refreshed after drinking the water. "Thanks," he said as he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "I needed that." He was smiling at her, and she was smiling at him.

Suddenly Meryl realized what was going on and straightened herself. "We should be going back. I'll have to help Millie with caring for your brother. Come on." She walked towards the thomas. Before she knew it, Vash was mounted and he was lifting her up to sit in front of him. She blushed furiously, but was grateful that her back was to Vash.

"Okay, let's go home," Vash said quietly as he pulled his arms around her.