Disclaimer: I do not own Nick nor Vash, nor any other part of Trigun. You can't sue me. :)

Warning! This fic contains slash/yaoi/shonen-ai gay romance. Nothing explicit, but if you have a problem with homosexuality, you'd better turn tail now and run like hell. I won't put up with flames. If this warning goes uheeded, I refuse to be held responsible for permanant trauma.

That said, enjoy :)

Innocent

He /really/ wasn't good at this. Nick stared across at the figure curled into a tight fetal position on the bed, trembling, and let out a low, silent breath, rubbing his face with one hand as he lit the cigarette he'd just placed in his mouth with the other.

The man on the bed hadn't noticed Wolfwood's presence yet: If he had, he would be sitting up and smiling, the tears and sobbing instantly wiped away, hidden behind that a veil of lightheartedness.

Nick didn't understand this at all. Actually, he didn't understand /Vash/ at all. He took a long draw off of his cigarette and walked slowly across the hotel room to Vash's side, standing over the crying man for a moment.

"Aww, damnit…" Nick sighs as Vash jumps slightly before going rigid. The blondes' back is still turned to the priest, and Vash doesn't say a word for a very long time. Wolfwood just waited. This had happened before, but never quite this bad, he reasoned. He'd found Vash curled and alone at least once a week since he'd met the man, but never sobbing hopelessly, turned away from the world.

Today was different, though…That bastard…Wolfwood felt himself bristle as the anger boiled up inside of him. Legato Bluesummers had come around before, tweaking with Vash's head, and worse, the lives of innocents, but each time he did so, it took a greater toll on Vash's psyche.

Of course, Nick knew already that that was the plan from the very beginning. In all honesty… Nick was supposed to be playing a part in this emotional torture.

"…Nick…"

No. Not anymore. Something in Vash had touched Nick's heart, almost from the moment they'd met. Almost. They'd taken a few rounds of trying to throttle each other first, but that was in the past, now…

Nick almost missed the hours of verbal sparring, especially over this. It was actually sort of fun, actually. And after a few smokes, several drinks and maybe some good food, the two were both pretty happy together.

The way that Vash has just whispered Nick's name suddenly sent shivers up his spine, and Nick snapped out of his reverie.

"I… aw shit…"

"Just…don't look, Nick… I'll be fine…" Vash still hasn't moved to face him. Wolfwood sighs, putting out his smoke before reaching out and touching Vash's shoulder carefully. Wolfwood was everything awkward. It was clear as day that every part of Vash-his voice, his posture the very air around him - cried out desperately for comfort, love…

Love…?

Nick shivered slightly, Vash still oblivious to all running through his head. Not for long, though. At Nick's touch, Vash rolls over slowly to look up at his fellow gunman. Vash' expressive eyes are watery, red and puffy, but also unnervingly searching.

"Nick, what… Are you alright?" Broken inside and out, and instantly the big, the bad, the horrible Vash The Stampede is concerned for someone else before himself. Nick feels his throat close.

"I'm more worried about you, Vash…" Nick says, startled at how low and soft his voice has become, of it's own accord.

"…I'm…I'm fine, Nick..really…I…Just…salt in the wounds, I guess…" Vash's voice cracks, and Nick knows that all of the dark words of doubt and hate planted into his mind are resurfacing. Nick can feel the after chill of Legato's power as well. It makes him feel all that more protective of Vash, even though God only knows that Vash can take care of himself.

"God damnit…" It pisses him off, it really, truly does. Giving in to his instincts, Nick moves to sit gingerly on the edge of the bed, hand still on Vash's shoulder. Blinking, Vash sits up slowly, looking over at Nick, aquamarine eyes batting in confusion and mild curiosity. Nick closes his eyes for a moment, trying to reel himself in. What is he doing! "Vash…" Vash gasps softly as Nick moves numbly, pulling the thinner frame against him and carefully wrapping his arms around Vash's shoulders.

"Nick, what…?"

"I…I don't want to see you hurt anymore, Vash…" What am I suggesting!Too late now. "It…just…it hurts…to see you like this…" He drops his chin to the top of Vash's head, mildly surprised to feel those blonde spikes give gently, soft as silk, under his touch. He can feel Vash's shoulders quivering under his hands, while this causes alarm bells to go off in Nick's head, he holds on, rocking gently as he pulls Vash a little closer. He only dares to look down when he hears a strained sound escape from Vash's throat. "Look, Vash…"

"Just…let…me…" Vash began voice strained and barely audible, "…breathe-!" Nick blinked, looking back down at Vash's now bluing face.

"Aah.. OH!" Nick threw his arms away from Vash, letting the other man sit up properly. Vash takes a few slow breaths before smiling weakly.

"Thanks, Nick…"

"What? For nearly throttling you?" Nick didn't really want to admit to what he'd just done, or the fluttering feeling in his belly. Or the way his heart raced at that smile. Vash was not about to give up the game that easily, though, and only laughed softly before leaning back in, resting his head on Nick's shoulder.

"No…Just…," He nuzzled Nick's broad shoulder gently, settling his weight. "…For a few moments…of warmth…"

Wolfwood smiled. He was confused as hell about what he was feeling, but it felt good. It felt good to see Vash smile, even if it was only weakly, and it felt good not to get slapped stupid for going out on a limb. The brief brush of skin on skin as he pulled Vash closer, the Humanoid Typhoon's face brushing Nick's neck briefly felt good too. Nick swallowed. He was confused with himself, but he wasn't /that/ thick.

"Yeah… you're welcome." He stammered, letting his chin drop to Vash's head again. Soft wisps of gold caress his face gently and he smiles at the warmth and the comfort.

God, I'm getting sappy…

Vash shivered against Wolfwood's embrace.

This is so surreal…He had been agonizing, images if the freshly slain heaped at Legato's feet haunting his mind and tearing apart his soul, when he'd been discovered by the traveling priest. Vash was in no state to be discovered at all, let alone by one of his very few friends. He'd been aware of Wolfwood's discomfort with seeing him this way, and had vaguely heard what little the other man had to say, before Vash's world had come to a screeching stop as navy blue clad arms wrapped themselves firmly around him, pulling him up and to one side.

It was like a plug had been pulled for Vash. Everything disappeared from him. His world faded to the few points where Wolfwood's arm arms came in contact with his body. His pains and his sorrows melted away, a deep buzzing excitement and breathlessness taking their place. He may have said something, because Nick started to talk again, going on about how it hurt him to see Vash in pain… The words, the comforting embrace, it was all overwhelming for Vash. It didn't even sink in he was suffocating until his ears started to ring. He was released quickly enough, and he found himself missing Nick's warmth.

"Thanks, Nick…" He breathed.

"What? For nearly throttling you?" Nick countered. Vash smiled softly, internally laughing. He was starting to feel cold without Nick's touch, though, and Vash took the initiative to lean against the sturdier man again, unconsciously nuzzling the blue clad shoulder gently. He was rewarded with Nick pulling him up a little closer, and Vash allowed himself to melt into the other man. Nick might have said a few more things, but Vash didn't really hear it.

Nick didn't know how long he'd been sitting there on the bed with Vash curled up in his arms. The blond had stopped moving quite a while ago, and Nick had looked down to realize that Vash had fallen asleep, head nestled sweetly between his shoulder and jaw. His breathing was slow and even, though every now and again Vash would sigh, shifting in his sleep and snuggling in closer.

Shit…Every time Vash moved, sparks fluttered up through his nerves, more so with the occasional brush of bare skin.

"Mmm…" The soft moan that Vash sighed into the crook of his neck nearly sent Nick through the roof.

Shit shit shit shit shit…

"Mmph…N-Nick…?"

Oh man…Nick swallowed as Vash sat up to look him in the eye, their faces inches apart. Vash blinked at him sleepily, green eyes hazy with sleep, still puffy from his earlier breakdown.

"Vash…?" The gunman was still staring over at Wolfwood with hazy eyes, not speaking, not moving. Just…looking.

It was driving Nick up a wall.

"Hm?" Vash replied raising an eyebrow briefly.

"What…?"

"Just…thinking something over…" Vash answered softly.

"A half inch from my face?"

"Yep." Vash gave him a brief smile before going serious again, eyes searching.

"You're going to kiss me, aren't you?" Nick asked suddenly.

Vash blinked, sincerely stunned.

"Um…." He began, still taken aback. Nick arched an eyebrow, dark eyes serious. "Uh…" Vash just couldn't recover.

"Well…?" Nick pressed, almost sounding impatient.

"Um…" Vash had the brief, comical mental image of himself as a suffocating beached flounder. "Nick, I ah…"

"Hm?" Inwardly, Wolfwood couldn't believe he was doing this. "Just spit it out, Needlenoggin."

"I ah… Yeah…no….well… I was thinking about it, yes…" Vash admitted awkwardly.

"And…?"

"Um… I…ahh…." Vash had never been at a loss for words before. Both men knew this, and Wolfwood's eyes smiled brightly, even as he sighed in exasperation.

"Don't tell me I have to do /everything/…!"

"What?" Vash blinked cutely, rattled. He'd been weighing in his mind the pros and cons of risking stealing a kiss from his friend, but he'd been completely thrown when Nick called him on it.

It hadn't occurred to Vash, until it was too late, that he'd been incredibly obvious.

Wolfwood gave a small, frustrated sound of resignation, before pulling Vash roughly to his chest, leaning him back and kissing him savagely.

Vash gasped into the kiss, startled not only by the fact that Nick was kissing /him, not the other way around, but by the sheer intensity of the kiss.

What Vash had had in mind had been little more than an innocent peck, merely testing the waters.

Nick was nearly eating him alive. It shook Vash up, turned him upside down and completely inverted his world, sight and sound crumbling away around him, leaving only heat and pressure and burning nerve endings. Nick paused only to let them both breathe for a split second, before pushing Vash back further and diving back into the kiss, though not as roughly this time. Vash could only gasp and moan softly, struggling to keep up.

Wolfwood had noticed almost instantly how overwhelmed he'd made Vash. The blond was arching under him, arms wrapped firmly around his shoulders, lips working against his in a blur of desperation. It was made sharply clear to him how innocent Vash was.

Has this man never been kissed before…?He slowed himself, startled at his own roughness, but not really caring, and tried to give Vash a few moments to catch up. Eventually, Vash fell into the rhythm of Wolfwood's near-frantic kisses and both men were able to relax, sinking back together onto the bed. Long after, both finally drew out one more lasting kiss, before pulling apart.

Vash's chest was heaving as he tried to catch his breath. His eyes were misted over and watering, his cheeks flushed, lips bruised and swollen. Nick didn't know this, but he didn't look much better to Vash.

"Wow…" Vash whispered breathily, smiling. "Nick…"

Wolfwood sat back, grinning crookedly down at Vash, before reaching out and running a hand through the blond spikes, now ruffled and going everywhere, smoothing them back some.

So innocent…Nick thought sadly. He doesn't deserve what Knives is doing to him…It was then and there that Nicholas D. Wolfwood made one of the biggest decisions of his life. Screw Knives…Screw Legato… Vash, I'll protect you from them… I promise you…If I have anything to do with it, they won't ever hurt you again…

"Vash…?"

"Yeah, Nick?" Vash's voice was so soft, so small after the onslaught of emotions that he'd been bombarded with today, it nearly broke Nick's heart. But that's why he would stay.

"No more disappearing into the sand… I'm gunna stick with you this time, alright?" He asked. Vash smiled sweetly.

"It'd break my heart if you didn't, Nick…" He sat up, wrapping his long arms around Woflwood's neck, leaning in to kiss him tenderly. Woflwood closed his eyes against the gentle touch, stunned that a man so feared by the rest of the world could in fact be the sweetest, gentlest being to walk the planet.

Even that big girl, Milly, Nick reflected, heart of gold that she has, isn't as tender as this…Nick smiled softly as he realized that Vash had sunk foreword, leaning against him, head drooping over his shoulder. Damn… The dummy must'a worn himself out pretty good…Smiling, he shifted, pulling Vash down into the bed with him, pulling the taller blond up against him, struggling only for a moment as he tried to pull the sheets out from under their bodies, covering both of them warmly. Vash curled against him instantly, not saying a word as he tucked his face against Wolfwood's chest, giving one satisfied sigh before practically passing out, asleep almost instantly.

The other bed in the room lay cold and untouched, completely un-needed.

OoOoOoOoO

AN: Wow, I haven't written anything for a while. This felt kind of forced, but all things considered, I think it might have turned out alright. I think this is the end, but you never know, I might get some increidble inspiration and run with this someday.

This is my frist /non/ FFVII fic I've ever written. (just look at my fics...FFVII...FFVII...FFVII... it goes on, there's twelve or thirteen of them up there right now . ) I figured I'd expand my horizons a little. Lol. :)

Wolfwood and Vash are so slashable. lol. :) I love those two.

Whups, no lemon. Sorry. I thought I'd keep this as clean as the title suggests. I imagine further writing in this fandom will result in our bois having a good romp later on.

R&R, people. Feed my muse, please:) :)

MRE