Hello all! Well, this is the first chapter to yet another Trigun fiction that I've had floating in my head for awhile. I was originally going to wait to start it, but then I received an invite to write a "Knives' Day" fiction from Kritikos, SiNicaLLY diSTuRbEd, and The Hellcat. (Thank you, for thinking of me by the way!) So, I thought, I have a good one I think and here it is! At least, I think it's a good one… very dark… kind of gruesome, with lots of twists and turns. Expect the unexpected. And, of course, it will have some other good variables in it, like romance (you know I'm a sucker for it), action/adventure, and maybe even a little humor.
This story ignores the ending credits of episode 26, when Vash walks back into town with Meryl and Milly waiting for him. Sigh… that means no kuroneko contently floating in the water with a beer can… oh well… And it will have Manga influences/characters… lots of them! The rating may go up, too. What else? Oh!
I will be using Gunsmoke's mode of measurement, which is as follows:
Feel equal feet
Yarz equal yard
Ile equal mile
"blah blah" : talking
"blah blah" : telepathic talking
blah blah : thinking and other misc. stuff.
And with that, enjoy!
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)
When Darkness Prevails:
Chapter One: It All Begins
Vash had won! The odds were overwhelmingly against him, but at the very last moment he managed to pull the proverbial "ace in the hole" out from the sandy depths before stealing the victory away. And that was something that sorely aggravated the loser, Millions Knives. He should have been the winner of the battle, after all. It was within his grasp! He could even taste it! However, something had altered the tide, turning it in his brother's favor. The irony of that singular variation was not lost on the Plant, for Wolfwood's Cross-punisher had been the item to start it all. His own minion's precious weapon! A disgusting human! It was enough to make the superior being sick to his stomach, even more so since he knew where his brother was taking him…
Back to the spider's web.
Back to where he had left the creatures that were following him. Those female Homo sapiens that wheedled their way into Vash's heart, unlike any of the others had done in the past. Their very presence so deeply rooted that he even took a life for them. Particularly the bitchy vertically challenged one. His brother actually thought himself in love with her. That was another thing that made the platinum blonde positively ill, especially all the things Vash wanted to do with her…
Just thinking about it made Knives internally cringe.
They were Plants, superior beings, and it was simply appalling that his own flesh and blood wanted taint himself by becoming intimate with such an infinitesimal creature. How could he even contemplate doing it? Knives odiously wondered. Couldn't Vash contain the baser urges that were running rampant in his system? It was simply mind over body. Besides, the human would eventually die leaving him decimated, like when that bitch perished. He still wasn't completely over Rem, and yet he was willing to go through the pain of loving one of them again! Didn't he learn from his mistakes? To the older twin, it just didn't seem worth it. Even if the feelings that Vash harbored for the small human were completely different from what they were for their "mother."
Then there was the fact that Vash actually thought he could keep those feelings for the parasite a secret. That was absolutely laughable to the maniacal Plant. Knives had known about them even before Vash did. They were twins, after all, bonded because of their higher origins – something that still gave Knives an advantage. He embraced his powers, learning how to use them to the fullest, while the golden blonde hadn't.
Oh yes, he knew what was going on in his brother's head, even what Vash had planned for him. How he was going to "save him." It would never work, though. He would never bend to that way of thinking. Never! The very idea went strictly against Knives' ideals. The breed deserved to suffer, like how their sisters were. And even if it took every nuance of his power, he would see that it was done. Because he too had a plan and was certain that Vash wouldn't hesitate to agree with it. Once he came around to the right way of thinking. Now all he needed to do was make sure that he played his own cards right. Perhaps, it was a good thing that he had an "ace in the hole" as well. One that he played without Vash even knowing about….
"Are you still sore that I beat you?"
Knives heard his brother's words, but simply refused to answer. How could the moron even ask such a question? Of course, he was angry. Only a fool would think that he wasn't. The only reason Vash won was because of luck, sheer unadulterated luck. Maybe, he should have sent Midvalley out to watch over his sibling, instead of that traitorous priest!
"Oh come on Knives," Vash whined, while shifting the body lying over his right shoulder into a more comfortable position. "You know that I know you're awake. Your breathing pattern is telling me so."
"Piss off, Vash," Knives telepathically grunted, simply refusing to answer the asinine question.
"I'll take that as a 'yes' then," he replied internally, chuckling over his brother's caustic retort.
Vash knew that he just won an easy battle compared to what he had before him. The next was sure to be an uphill one with several hurdles. But with patience and perseverance, he knew that he would triumph. Even more so, since he was absolutely certain that the insurance girls would help in anyway they could. Milly would use her sweet and simplistic logic against Knives' barrier of absolute loathing to make it crack. While Meryl's unwavering resolve would pound against the facade until it shattered into a million pieces. After all, didn't they do the exact same thing to the impenetrable fortress that encircled his heart? Then they could be one big happy family, with Milly becoming a sister and Meryl a wife. At least he hoped that's how it played out. He deserved to finally follow his own motto of "Love and Peace."
"Come on, it won't be that bad, I promise. As a matter of fact, I bet that in time you will like being with people again," Vash added, trying to sound optimistic after his brother turned unnervingly silent again. It wasn't like he was expecting an in-depth conversation, anyway. Knives was quite perturbed over being vanquished, after all. It was just that the younger twin needed the connection to keep the last leg of the daunting trek from becoming completely unbearable.
Sand had found it's was into every possible place because of the missing scarlet duster, severely chafing his already scarred skin under the cumbersome body armor. He ached all over from his wounds and had also been carrying his brother for isles across the barren terrain without even taking a break. Not to mention that the twin suns' rays were unmercifully beating down on his worn-out form, making everything ten times worse. Oh what he would do for a dozen doughnuts and a little TLC from a certain petite insurance girl. Hell, he would even accept a scathing lecture, just as long as it was while she was tending to his injuries.
"Yeah… the girls are pretty amazing, Knives," he then continued out loud before the idle chatter began. "And good cooks, too. Just wait until you try short-girl's soups and homemade doughnuts. They're quite tasty! And I bet the big-girl will even share her pudding with you. Have you ever had pudding? Oh and she's an excellent chess player! I bet she would even give you a run for your money…."
The droning when on and on and the homicidal Plant was willing to do almost anything to make it stop. He was even prepared to break his impromptu snubbing by actually conversing with his twin. Then Vash said something about them becoming a family. All of them, including the spiders. That was it! He couldn't take anymore!
"You are a fool, dearest brother!" he spat, artic blue eyes snapping open as complete repulsion scorched the perfect crystalline orbs. (It was a good thing that the glare was set upon the ground below, instead of another being or it would have been deadly.) "How could you possibly believe that I would ever concede? Humans are garbage, not worthy enough to be considered our counterparts, our companions! We are Plants, Vash! Superior beings and it's about time you recognized that!"
"I know what I am, Knives," Vash quietly admitted, becoming pensive.
Living outside of time was quite a painful reminder. Experiencing the deaths of all of his acquaintances and the few friends he had through the years was devastating, especially lately. First Brad died. Then Wolfwood was gunned down, which made him decide to part ways with the girls. He thought it was best at the time, since Milly and Meryl were in danger by simply being near him. That didn't matter, however. They almost lost their lives, anyway. Only a bullet in between glittering saffron eyes prevented that from happening. And -oh God- if he had actually lost them. He knew that he would have gone hurtling over the edge into the darkness. At the time, he was teetering close enough to it as it was. The ladies were that important to him and always would be. He didn't even want to think about what would happen when they were taken away from him, even if it was sixty years from now.
"Then maybe you should start acting like it!" Knives retorted, instantly shaking the golden twin from his ponderings.
"You mean acting more like you?" Vash asked, instantly burying the morose thoughts as a Cheshire-like grin broke across his face.
"Well no thank you, Knives," Vash immediately replied with humor in his tone. Like he would ever become a sadistic stick-in-the-mud like that! "Quite frankly, you are way to boring! All you do is sit in that tin can called a ship, while planning the human's demise. And when you decide to do something, you send your cronies out to do it for you. And where does that leave you? Why sitting in that tin can, of course!"
"Vash…," Knives growled.
Of course, the golden blonde didn't heed the warning undertone in the snarl and just kept right on going. "When were you out in the sunshine last, anyway? I mean look at you! You're all pale and pasty, like the walking dead! Geeez… maybe I should have kicked your ass years ago, brother! Then we could have been out experiencing life to its fullest together!"
"Vash…," he warned again, but to no avail.
"Ahhh… yes, sampling succulent treats of confectionary perfection in the morning and then a glistening glass of the amber liquid in the evening! All while beautiful women fawn over our devilish good looks, perfect physiques, and charming wit!"
"That's enough, Vash!"
"Okay, okay, maybe that last part was a bit much!" Vash conceded with a laugh, although never wavering from the intent. His brother really did need to live a little. "Maybe, we could just live peacefully together, while learning from each other."
"What about your precious humans?"
"Well, they are part of the package, Knives. At least Meryl and Milly are for now," Vash advised before instantly adding, "You owe me that much."
"We shall see…," Knives, noncommittally responded. Hopefully, they would be a non-issue soon. Then before Vash could go on again about how "wonderful" the two insects were, he asked, "How much longer, brother, before I have to endure their presence?"
"It should only be another half hour before we reach the outskirts of town…."
The first thing Vash noticed was the smoke on the horizon. It wasn't billowing, like from a full blown raging inferno, which was nearly impossible on Gunsmoke. It was more like a series of curling wispy streams of charcoal that sharply contrasted against the seemingly infinite cerulean blue sky. It appeared to be stemming from a small outbreak of fires or, perhaps, the aftermath of a destroyed building. Its contents smoldering as the flammable wares, like furniture, burned to a cinder. Then as he topped the last incline and proceeded to trudge across the more flattened terrain at the tiny village's forefront, the breeze shifted and he smelled it….
The acrid scent of burning flesh.
"No…," the outlaw breathed as the realization of the smoke's origin hit home. It was coming from the tiny house where the insurance girls were staying. He was sure of it. The distance and direction of the slender plumes were right on target. And then that meant….
"Oh God," he desperately cried as the sickening awareness clenched at his heart. Without a moment to lose, he took off toward the town in the hopes that he was grievously wrong.
Unfortunately, he wasn't.
Vash just stood there and numbly stared at the gruesome scene before him. It was like a miniature war zone. Torn apart chunks of sandstone, splattered blood, and bodies – thirteen in all – littered the roadway before the crumbling mass that had once been his temporary home. While the smoke was more prevalent, completely reeking with death and destruction. The entire display was unbelievably surreal, as if he had awoken in the middle of a hellish nightmare. Since that was exactly what it seemed like.
It couldn't have been the truth, though. Completely impossible! He won, damn it! He defeated his brother and was finally free. Free to follow his own advice and live life the way he wanted to with the insurance girls – with Meryl by his side. But all of his logic, his superior intellect, was telling him otherwise. Another battle occurred while he was off fighting his own. And if the evidence before him rang true, then the smell of burnt flesh that permeated the air was from the two people who were the closest to him….
And the villagers were the cause of it all.
"Impossible," Vash whispered as his bottom lip started to tremble and tears fell in earnest down his grime covered cheeks, leaving wet tracks of pallid skin in their wake.
"What's happening, Vash?" Knives simply asked, unable to see since he was still lying over his twin's shoulder. "I smell death in the air."
"Oh God… Knives," he barely choked out, finally remembering that his brother was with him. "The girls…" was all he said before turning left on his heel and quickly heading over to the business across the street from the ruins. After stepping onto the covered porch, he gingerly removed Knives from his perch before leaning him against the bullet filled wall.
Without a word, he proceeded to make his way over to the closest body. The man was obviously dead, shot through the heart by a lower caliber bullet, one probably used in a derringer. They must have been desperate, Vash bleakly thought before firming his resolve and walking toward the remains of the house. However, before he climbed over the threshold, he noticed something glinting in the sunlight at his feet. Bending over, the unnerved Plant picked the item up before tucking it into the belt that kept the body armor around his thighs secure.
Then he entered the collapsed building. The first things he noticed that it was still hot, very much so, and then all of the glass. It streaked over and off some of the intact pieces of the walls, like twisted and dripping spikes. The blast was white-hot he surmised, rising well over nine hundred degrees Celsius, liquefying the layers until the glass was formed. Vash knew that no one could have survived such an extreme heat, since it would have literally eaten everything off a person's body, down to the bone. If not completely cremating them, if they were exposed to the conditions long enough. He only prayed that the girls had somehow escaped before dying such a horrible death, and the smell in the air was from someone else. However, once he stepped back into the next room, his worst fears came true.
Two charred and still partially burning skeletons were lying on the floor, one quite lengthy, while the other was unmistakably petite….
Knives not only watched the entire scene with fanatical interest, but also monitored his brother's state of mind with zealous glee. Vash was rapidly moving to the breaking point. The amount grief and anger flowing through his veins was that immense. And the older Plant knew that he almost had his sibling right were he wanted him. All he needed was a little push. So, he decided to give him one. Entering his brother's prone subconscious, he sent subtle suggestions, masking them as Vash's own thoughts about the whole ordeal. It was quite easy really, especially since the golden twin had absolutely no clue that he was even in there.
Then Vash entered the building and after a few short minutes, gut wrenching cries erupted from the rubble.
He must have found their remains, Knives morbidly thought as his ice-blue eyes triumphantly gleamed. His "ace in the hole" worked far better then her ever anticipated. Now it was time to go in for the kill. "Vash, do you understand now? These creatures can't be trusted! Not ever! Just look at what they did to what you held most dear. And they were even from their own species."
"No, Knives, you are wrong…."
"Am I Vash?" the platinum blonde telepathically persisted. He could already feel is brother wavering. "Just look around – at the remains before you. And tell me, what do you see?"
"I-I can't, it's too unbearable…," Vash mentally choked out. If he told him what he saw, then it would be accepting the truth. "What do I do, Knives… what do I do?"
"Feel, Vash. Feel what their betrayal is doing to you. And remember that the women are gone and you won't ever see them again…," Knives answered, going against his rigid ethics before elaborating on his twin's lost opportunity. Even he could show compassion for such a vile creature, if it meant gaining Vash's loyalty. "Nor will you ever get the chance to express your love to the smaller one. And she loved you, too. I could sense it all throughout her."
"Noooo…," he muttered in despair. It was all hopeless now. "It's so unfair."
"You are right, it is unfair, but do not give up hope just yet, dearest brother. I am here for you, like I had always been."
"But, you tried to have me killed, Knives, several times!"
"You are wrong, that was never my intent," Knives explained with conviction lacing every word. "I only wanted you to see just how imperfect the breed really was, how shallow. They would go after anybody, if the price was right or if their pride was wounded. Case in point is smoldering right in front of you."
"I don't – I don't know…"
"Yes you do, Vash," the maniacal Plant pointed out. "Your own conscience is telling you that these creatures are evil and they deserve to be punished. Just listen yourself and feel the hatred taking root. Then decide. I am positive that you will make the right choice!"
So, Vash listened to his twin, focusing all of his energies on what was happening inside of his body.
And he realized that Knives was right!
He could see it all so clearly now – his brother's point. The humans were the cause of his pain, his suffering! They were a hateful, malicious, and would turn on one another at the drop of a hat. In his 130 odd years of life there was only a handful of them that he found that were truly honest and worth saving, most of them children. Then perhaps the Doc, Milly, and Wolfwood – no, shouldn't he be considered as one of the conniving cheats and liars? He did betray Knives, didn't he? Also, he couldn't forget that it was the humans' fault that he lost the only two women that he had ever loved. Rem because of all hateful things that happened on the ship, and Meryl – well the proof lay brutally before him….
But then why did something in his gut tell him to read between the lines? Never before had he witnessed anything so plain and simple before. It was as if something was "suggesting" that it was so. However, he couldn't sense anything to tell him otherwise, not even a whisper.
And why now?
Why was it now, of all times, that he was finally seeing their true nature? Was it because he just lost his beloved insurance girls and the blinders were finally removed from his eyes or was there something else at play? It was all so confusing. Almost like the revulsion he felt was being forced into every pore, fighting with any optimistic feeling that he held for their kind. And those mixed emotions were churning, mutating into a volatile, unrestrained hate for the very species that he championed up until a short time ago.
Then it was too late to even care.
The emerging abhorrence and the need to dominate took over, changing him into something darker, something stronger. He could feel it happening and there wasn't anything he could do to stop it. Malevolence was overpowering him, taking over as a chain reaction occurred. Every cell in his body started to shimmer, come alive, while jolts of electricity coursed from head to foot, increasing in intensity with every moment. Until the very air around him crackled as intermittent sparks shot all along his aura. Then, at the definitive moment, a great surge of negative energy shot through him blackening his very soul, making him vehemently cry out over the sheer power of it all.
Knives felt the diabolic force coursing though his twin right before a deafening roar erupted into the air, shaking the foundation of the building he was leaning against. Something significant happened in that moment. Vash had tapped into an unknown variable that was, quite literally, tainting his blood with odium. Right then and there the elder brother knew that Vash had finally seen the truth and was going to join him in the quest for total domination.
With his eyes positively glowing, Knives watched as the golden blonde finally emerged from the debris. Something had definitely changed in the younger sibling, or maybe it would have been more precise to say everything had changed. He wasn't the same Plant that the platinum blonde had just fought. The unbridled power running through his twin told him as much. This Vash was someone far more dangerous….
"I have decided, Knives," the hardened voice of el Diablo himself called out, the suns hovering just overhead as he strode over to his twin.
Brilliant rays of light were streaking all around tainted Plant, silhouetting his outline and making it difficult for Knives to see if anything physical had changed on his brother. Then once Vash reached the porch, he immediately sank to his knees with his eyes tightly shut and head downcast. The older sibling still didn't see anything remarkable. But with the way he dropped to the ground, it appeared as if he was in some sort of pain or was trying to control the power that he recently tapped into.
"And what have you decided, Vash?"
"You are right," Vash coldly rasped, his body slightly quivering. "They are parasites and they deserve to be punished."
"That is excellent news, brother! I knew you would conform once you saw irrefutable proof of their heinous crimes," Knives declared as a sadistic grin formed on his face. "And they shall be punished as I have the perfect plan to do so! Instead of annihilating the putrid creatures, like how I originally intended, we are going to rule them. Show them what it is like to be in the bonds of slavery, like our sisters. Besides, we will need minions to create our Eden!"
"Yes… we will, won't we," Vash the Stampede viciously agreed, right before the light tremors stopped and his body became as still as stone. Then in the very next instant, he slowly lifted his head before opening his eyes and pinning them on his brother. Knives' own eyes widened in astonishment at what was revealed to him….
Violent red – the color of blood – was seeping into the normally serene aqua-blue of Vash's irises.
Then Knives was ecstatic, for he knew that darkness prevailed and the demon had awoken.
Well, there you have it! And yes, they'll be a Dark Vash in this here tale! I just couldn't help it! Like I said before, expect the unexpected! Oh and this is the unedited version. So, once my awesome beta, Dwellin, finds all my mistakes, I'll post the corrected one. Let me know what you think!