A/N: This is the prologue to the sequel of "Wanted", about a month early. What can I say? There isn't much else to do over summer vacation. I know it's not very interestingyet, but that should change around the fourth or fifth chapter. Please stick it out... I should also mention that this fic will be a KMV eventually.
Disclaimer: I don't own Trigun, or any of the characters.
Knives turned stiffly in the bed and propped himself up on one arm, his gaze wandering to the large window. Rich afternoon sunlight filtered through it, throwing an amber glow over the walls and floor. There was a single tree outside the window; Vash had put it there so Knives could see it. The window was Knives' only view of the outside world.
A hot wind rushed through the boughs of the tree, the rustling of the leaves like a susurrus on the breeze. In the kitchen, the Plant could hear sounds of chatter and laughter, and the milky, spiced smell of simmering chowder. Everything about the setting was tranquil. But Knives' blood was singing in his ears, and his chest ached with undying hatred for his brother. He turned his eyes from the window to his hand.
He flexed the fingers of his hand, tested the pain in his arm. Less. Everyday there was less pain. It was almost time. He would make Gunsmoke his Eden, and he alone would be its god.
Knives let himself fall back into the bed, grimacing as the movement jolted his bullet-riddled body. He heard a heavy footfall outside his door, and immediately twisted toward the wall. He couldn't face him yet: Vash. His twin.
The battered faux-wood door creaked open, the hinges groaning in protest. Every day, his twin visited him, and every day that damn hinge creaked. Knives' hand began to cramp, and he realized it had tightened involuntarily, his fingernails digging into the flesh of his palm. His breathing was coming hard and fast, sweat trembling at his brow.
"Knives," said Vash softly. Knives clenched his jaw until it ached and a metallic ring echoed in his ears. He welcomed the anger, allowed it fester in his soul.
Millions Knives felt the mattress depress as Vash settled on it. The two brothers sat in silence. Vash stared at Knives' tree. His twin's icy blue eyes were fixed in a hardened glare on the blank wall. Knives closed his eyes, fingers twitching as he resisted the urge to choke the life out of his pathetic twin.
"Knives...," Vash said again, even more gently. "Please." Knives' eyes never flickered, but inwardly he felt the faintest thread of surprise at the depth of the pain and longing in Vash's voice. He waited for Vash to continue, but the golden-haired man simply sighed and stood.
"I don't understand you, Knives." Vash said quietly before he left.
Knives listened to the hollow tread of his brother's foot, listened to the door squeak open, then shut gently as the gunman left. Gently; everything that human-loving son-of-a-bitch did was gentle. Knives hated the way his brother said his name. He hated the pain in Vash's voice when he begged him to eat. He hated the sound of his twin's sobs.
Knives sat up gingerly, swinging his feet to the ground. His nostrils flared with pain, but still he tenderly placed one foot on the tiled floor, gasping as pain shot up and down his entire body, making him go rigid. He waited a moment for the agony to subside. Two minutes quickly became five. Then ten, then twenty. At last, the burning faded enough for him to stand.
Heaving with effort, his brow creased in pain, Knives leaned against the wall and clutched his shoulder. Vash would suffer as he had suffered. Oh, yes, Vash would suffer. Consoling himself with this thought, he shuffled forward, rummaging around in the battered desk that had been shoved against the far wall. Where is it, dear brother? He wondered. His sibling–his gun. It wasn't in the desk or the closet. Vash didn't trust him still.
"Clever brother," he managed to grunt, his voice quivering with pain. "I'll have to...have to leave without it."
He staggered to the open window and his eyes softened for a moment as they lighted on the tree. Then he hoisted himself onto the windowsill, crying out from exertion. There was sudden silence in the kitchen, then the scrape of a chair against floor. He had to hurry now–not much time left. Knives ground his teeth together until the muscles in his neck bulged like steel cords. Then he threw himself from the windowsill.
Knives vision blacked out momentarily, then returned. He felt numb, as though he were swimming, and darkness hovered around the edges of his vision. The squeak of the hinges opening to his room sounded from above, then a choked cry of surprise. Millions Knives smiled, his icy eyes blue eyes deepening.
He couldn't finish his escape–he needed a place to hide for now. Knives cast about, his eyes settling on a well. He stumbled closer, clutching at the slick stone lip. He leaned over cautiously: moss-covered stone walls descended into darkness. He scooped up a fistful of sand and dropped it in, straining to hear. There was a quiet plink as the coarse sand hit water. It would have to do. He perched on the stone, heart thumping. This was going to hurt.
Behind him, he could hear a commotion as his brother flew haphazardly out of the house. Well, there was nothing for it. Knives flung himself forward, into the abyss. He landed in the icy cold water of the well, crashing below the surface. He was frozen in pain and shock, the light of sunset far above him. He tried to move his arm, and was met with a wave of agony. Knives felt his lungs burning with exertion. He was growing dizzy. His mind was screaming at him to breathe; he opened his mouth, sucked in only water. Choking, Knives was struck with the shocking realization that he was about to die.
Suddenly his eyes narrowed. He was not going to die. He needed to live–to make Vash suffer. Knives struggled, clawing forward feebly. He felt his feet brush the bottom of the well and kicked savagely, forcing himself up. He struggled, thrashing his arms and legs, slowly, slowly moving upward. He felt himself beginning to weaken and doubled his efforts. The image of his brother kept him moving despite the fatigue and anguish. There was a screaming in his ears; he wasn't going to make it. His arms flung out, grappling at nothing, his hands clutching spasmodically. Dimly, he felt his hand close around something and he pulled himself toward it. He broke the surface, coughing up water. He was clinging tightly to something–the well bucket. Knives paused for a moment, body racked with heaves, water dripping from his clammy skin. He willed his other arm to move, but it felt like lead. Painstakingly, Knives pulled his body–clothes doubly heavy with water–from the well and into the bucket. He lay there, listening to the drip, drip, drip of water from his soaked shirt into the pit below. His arms and legs dangled awkwardly from the pail. Overhead, he could hear the sounds of scuffling feet, shouts and cries. But he was safe...for now. The sky had darkened; eve was falling. The desert night dawned harsh and frigid. Bitter cold bit at Knives' wet skin. Miserable, frozen, and shaking, Knives stammered through blue lips: "I w-will crush you, Va-Vash. I'll crush you." Knives let his numb hand slacken around the bucket. His eyelids fluttered shut, and he dreamt.