*Spoilers for entire series are contained in this story.*


~~
Author's note:

I've always wondered how Nicholas D. Wolfwood could let himself fall in love with Vash the Stampede. After all, he was sent to destroy him, sent by people that are more disturbing than I care to imagine... I used to think Wolfwood was just a jerk, taking what he wanted without a thought for how Vash would feel when his duplicity was discovered, but the more I consider their relationship the more I think it was far deeper thing than that.

I think Wolfwood probably knew everything about Vash, and Vash probably knew everything about him...this story is set after the anime, a few years after Vash reclaims his twin. It's angsty, yaoi, and sad.

~Tomo


~~



I like the stars.

They spread out forever, pinpricks in the abyss, letting the light from beyond shine through- I wonder is heaven is past there? Perhaps the stars are tiny peepholes through which the angels watch humanity... Are you there, watching me?

Would you laugh?

Maybe I'm a bit of a masochist, standing out here at the end of everything and thinking of you when I could be back in bed, warm, dreaming of happier moments than this... In a way, I feel like I betray you in the dreams that follow me...loving you when you're gone, kissing the lips of the dead..Somehow my pleasure at seeing you again is dulled by the knowledge that yes, this is a dream, and you are a glowing ghost that will dissappear when the suns rise.

It's nice out here.

It's like standing at the edge of the world, here on the brink of everything- between night and day, life and death, love and hate. The cliff before me is huge, and the wind that licks my cheeks and flesh is cooler than it should be... It's almos tamusing to stand here, so close to release from this existance, unable to move that few steps forward that would send me into oblivion...

Definately a streak of masochism. I tilt up my head and let my eyes unfocus, let memories rush through me. Sometimes I can see he and I under the stars-

We weren't lovers for quite some time, even after we confessed our feelings in a moment of mutual trust. I'm not sure when I first knew I loved you, but I remember how you told me- the two of us on Angelina, speeding through the night. A gang had jumped us back at the ruins we had set up camp in, and you insisted on hitting the road for the rest of the evening. I had slipped my arms around your waist and pressed my face against the coarse cloth of your black suit, half-asleep as we fled beneath the stars-

At last we stopped, and you turned to me, staring wordlessly into my eyes. I remember how accepting I was as you removed the cigarette from between your lips and pressed them to mine... they tasted smoky and warm... they tasted like your smile.

I stared at you for a moment when we broke apart, a tad susprised at the moment you had chosen for our first kiss. The way you looked at me that night told me that you didn't need an answer- you knew I loved you. I knew it too. Those beautiful eyes held no questions, no insecurity, just an overwhelming appreciation of the touch he had just recieved...

You always knew, didn't you?

That night we stopped again, found a dark cave beneath the rocky outcropping of a cliff, and curled up together beneath the combined weight of blankets and our respective coats. You and I never needed sex to prove our love, the intimacy of physical oneness was something we only attempted once we had adjusted to the sensation of having someone be there at all times... It was a luxury in a world when a stray shot could steal everything away from you.

I know you loved me.

When we found the girls again, you were mildly protective, but never cruel to them, not even to the one who grated against your nerves at almost every second. I know the dark haired one- you never called her by name- was falling in love with me, but I couldn't stop her... You didn't want them to know about us, though you seemed to enjoy playing with my head when it came to the girls-

I remember how shamelessly you flirted with Milly, and yet with your next breath you would pin me against the wall with a passionate kiss while they were only a few steps in front of us- it was the hint of discovery, I think, that kept you so fascinated with me in all my capacities. On any thousand of occasions I recall turning and finding your gaze fixed to my face... It was a look that said "You are mine. I will never share you. I will never leave you. I am a part of you."

I loved your eyes.

They looked so peaceful when you smiled, promising and open... When you were angry, they became so thin and hard, furious. It was as if you were wearing a mask to cover yourself, to seperate you from the killing and death-

Nicholas...

I know you were bloodstained. I know the hands that haunt me now destroyed a thousand lives...somehow I could forget, as you let them flow across my chest...

The cliff really is tempting, tonight. I've never liked the thought of people killing themselves... Rem said life was precious, all of it. So isn't taking your own life like spitting in the face of God, destroying the most precious gift he gave you?

Yes, it is. I move closer to the edge, stare down into the canyon as the wind rushes through my hair. Rem liked the wind.


~

"Rem? What do you miss the most about your planet?"

Friendly eyes filled with thoughtfull compassion. "Well-"

"Other than flowers," Knives had said cheerfully, his chin resting in the palms of his hands while his long hair fell across his eyes. Back in the days when they were clear blue, without the madness that later made a home within them...

"The wind," Rem answered him with a soft smile, amused by the way he second guessed her intention.

"We have wind," my words were not quite a question, confusion in my tone. "The ventilation units provide us with it."

"It's not... Wind is different than that, it's everywhere, is feels like the touch of the person you love most against your cheeks. It holds the birds up, kisses the flowers, plays with the stars...you would like the wind, my boys..."

~


Wind. Could it lift me to you, Nicholas D. Wolfwood?

Nicholas D...

Once you asked me what my full name was. It was on *that* day... I told you that it was something you didn't need to know, and you accepted that. Probably because of our unspoken agreement- I would not tell you my name because you never told me yours.

What did they call you in the Gung-ho Guns? Nicholas the...the what? Did they give you a new name when you were sent to round me up and destroy me? Or... no. I think Nicholas was your true name... Your eyes never darkened when I called that name in ecstacy, and if you had lied about that, I would have been able to tell. Your passion undid all the careful bindings on the secrets you tried to keep from me. I read it in your eyes.

You would never hurt me after that. It was the first night I slept with you- I really hate the expression 'made love', you know that, Nicholas? Our love was made by nothing but the two of us together, because sex really isn't anything... When I think of you now, all these years later, I don't recall your passionate words and kisses. I think of little things- the awkward, unfamilier way you held a wineglass that spoke of a lifetime of cheap, brandless liquor. The habitual manner in which you wrapped your weapon after a battle, the care with which you oiled each gun and replaced it lovingly into your symbol of God... I remember your scent and your body language more than your carresses, and I always will.

The night I first slept with you was when both of the girls had found us and were secure in a room a few doors down from us. You and I were on the deck of our room, watching as the moons set- it was late at night, well past the mark of midnight and into the early morning. So late that my thoughts were already blurred by sleep and both of us had abandoned the idea of getting thoughtlessly drunk to escape the pressing matters at hand-

I looked at you, pulling my head away from your neck and gazing thoughtfully into your slate colored eyes. There was an unspoken plea in your gaze as I opened my mouth and kissed you softly, then curled back against you, secure in your arms and at last ready to tell you everything.

I'm sure I told you nothing you didn't already know. I'm sure Knives and the Gung-ho Guns already enlightened you about Rem and Project Seeds, about my left arm, about July... But you listened, because in baring my past to you, I was making myself yours in more ways than you could ever comprehend. When I began to cry, you tightened you arms around my shoulders and kissed the nape of my neck so gently, and I had fallen into your kisses in the same way I could fall, now, over the precipice before me. You lifted me so carefully, touched me so curiously, watched me so intently that I would have died just to complete you on that evening.

....Wolfwood....

You never told me about the Gung-ho Guns, it was something better left unsaid. Even when that day came and you identified our attackers without even thinking, you didn't offer to tell me why or how... And I remember how at last I simply *had* to hear you say that you were a traitor- I looked back up and asked "Wolfwood, how do you know that?"

You were already gone.

The sun is rising, Nicholas, and the stares are disappearing one by one like fireflies winking out of existance. If you were watching me through them from a land beyond, the show is over and the curtain closes for another span of burning, superheated misery-

The sky is the color of your eyes.

I look down at watch as the suns rise, their glory reflecting across the tiny shards of crystal sand all down the side of my cliff. At the base I can see him, Knives, coming closer and climbing upwards- I wonder why he chose today to wake up? I come out here every morning, to stand here and contemplate the escape that lies a simple step before me, and he never stirs from his spot beside me.

A bit of land crumbles beneath my feet and I'm forced to adjust my balence lest I fall- Were you afraid of death, Nicholas? I don't think you were- I'm not scared by the thought, so how could you possibly be? You were always so much stronger than I... No, I won't jump, not this morning. I'll wait for Knives and allow him to pull me back to a breakfast of hotcakes and the black coffee you treated like a gift from God.

Knives loves me, Wolfwood. Knives kisses me. Knives holds me and promises everything will be fine as long as we're together, just like you used to do. It's hard to explain how I feel about this- because I love him in a different way than I loved you... It's not betrayal if they don't fill the hole that you left within me, right? You were my lover, my soulmate. He is an extension of myself disguised in another body, filled with turmoil and madness, and yet he soothes me to no end. Where you were my understanding, he is my escape. Where you were my glimpse of heaven, he is my reminder of the past and the future.

I suppose I love him too.

"Oi, Vashu!"

Turn, glance him over, smile weakly. He notices how very close I am to the precipice, how I'm leaning into the wind, how the taste of freedom is tempting me so completely... Something flickers in his gaze as Knives catches my wrist in his own and pulls me against him, away from the fall and into his heated embrace.

"Vash..."

I sigh and turn as the slate-blue sky lightens until it's not your color at all, and the moment between you and I is gone. Knives is pulling me down, but I know that tomorrow morning I will be here again, the way I have been here for so many years since you were taken from me.

It seems like I am and always will be standing at the edge.