Author's Notes:  My first Trigun fic!  The end of the anime was rather abrupt (not that that's a bad thing), and I wanted to write my version of what happened soon thereafter.  It's (mostly, if not all) in Knives' POV, and there are spoilers from tape six onward.  I don't know how big the spoilers will be, but you've been warned.  Oh, and by the way, I didn't intend this as twincest, even though it may be interpreted that way.

Trigun and its characters do not belong to me, but to Nightow Yasuhiro and anybody else holding copyrights to it.

It Was For You By Annie-chan

Pain…blood…sand…sun…

Everything seemed to blend together as he dropped like a rag-doll to the ground, pierced several times by bullets fired from the weapon of one of his own men.  His brother, his twin, held that weapon.  The reports of the shots faded away into nothingness, then…silence.

All he could hear was his own labored breathing and the beating of his heart in his chest.  His vision was a haze of bright light, no distinguishable shapes or colors anywhere.

A dark mass loomed into his field of vision, blocking out the mercilessly bright light of the twin suns hanging in the sky above his head.  He squinted to see what it was, and as his vision cleared, he became aware of the sound of someone else's breath, slightly shaky with threatening tears.

"Why?" the man before him asked.  "Why, Knives?"

It was Vash.  His twin stood over him, his gun pointed wearily between his eyes, the hand that held it trembling with the nearly overwhelming stress bestowed upon him in the past several months.

"Answer me, damn it!" Vash almost shouted.  "Why?"

That question could mean so many things.

"Why…what?" Knives managed to whisper, though he didn't know if it was loud enough for his obviously distraught brother to hear.

Vash seemed to falter.  "I-I don't know," he stuttered.  The gun dropped from his hands to the sand at his feet.  "S-so many th-things."  He dropped to his knees beside his collapsed twin, the tears overflowing.  He took up Knives' hand and pressed it to his tear-streaked cheek, closing his eyes as he did so.

It was the last thing Knives saw for quite some time.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

He awoke to something cool and damp caressing his face.  He was confused as to what it was before he realized it was someone bathing his face with a damp cloth.  He could feel he was in a bed, but he had no idea where he was.  The only thing familiar was the unmistakable sense that his brother was somewhere nearby, perhaps in the same building.

"I hope he wakes up soon," a high feminine voice said on the other side of the room.  "His brother is so worried about him.  It's making him sick."

"Well, all we can do is watch and wait," another female voice said beside the bed, apparently the one with the damp cloth.  She took the cloth away, and he could hear her put it down on a table by the bed and turn in her chair to the other woman.  "I wish he would wake up, too, but wishing him awake isn't going to make him wake up any faster."

He opened his eyes slightly, so as not to blind himself with the lamp hanging from the middle of the ceiling.  Beside him was a woman, half turned away from him.  He could discern a white shirt and dark-black hair.

Rem?! he thought, snapping his eyes all the way open, ignoring the sudden glare from the lamp.  No, the hair was much too short, and her voice wasn't the same.  It was the smaller of the two insurance girls always following Vash around.  Turning his head, he saw that the other one was sitting in a chair against the far wall.

"Oh!" the girl across the room said, jumping up.  "Meryl!  He's awake!"  She had bounded over to the bed before the girl by the bedside had even turned around.  "I'm Milly Thompson, and this is Meryl Stryfe!  We're your brother's friends!"

This girl is way too friendly, Knives thought, having no words to say.  He was less than happy to have woken up in the same room with two human females.

"Uh…yeah…what Milly said," the girl called Meryl said, looking a little annoyed.  It was like she wanted to say, "Don't talk to this guy like that, stupid."  She reached out to lay a hand on his forehead.  "Is the fever all gone now?"

He saw her hand coming toward him and immediately reached up to intercept it, even though his shoulder complained loudly at the sudden movement.  He caught her wrist before she could touch him, squeezing it hard enough to bruise.

"Don't touch me," he growled, murder in his eyes.  This was just another human bent on corrupting his brother to their pathetic society.  "Don't you dare touch me, you human slut!"

"Ouch! Let go!" Meryl shouted, wrenching her wrist free from his grasp.  She rubbed at it, trying to ease the pain, as she regarded the man before her.  Should she get mad at him like she would Vash?  Or should she give him some slack, considering who he was?  She, to Milly's surprise, chose the latter reaction.  "I'm sorry, but I need to see if the fever is gone.  You were burning up for the longest time."

"Do I look ill to you?" he demanded, his cold eyes burning into hers.

"Well…no, not really."

"Then, I don't need you human wenches hovering over me.  Leave me!"  He turned his head away, refusing to look at them again.

She could feel her normal bad temper rising to the surface.  Don't do it, Meryl, she tried to calm herself.  That's just the way he is.  Don't let him get to you.  "We promised Vash we would look after you when he wasn't, and he's downstairs right now getting something to eat.  It's the first time he's really eaten anything in a week."

Does she not grasp my meaning?!  Is she that stupid, or that stubborn?!  "I SAID LEAVE ME, YOU BRAINLESS BITCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" he roared.  If that didn't get them to leave, he's have to return his brother's "friends" to him in little pieces.

Meryl jumped up, her eyes blazing, the chair falling over behind her.  "Fine, then!" she shouted, grabbing Milly and dragging her out the door.  "We try to be nice, and this is how you thank us?!"  The door slammed shut, leaving him alone.

He sighed mentally.  So, he was alone again.  Only he was left to get his brother to see the truth again.  The Gung-Ho Guns were all dead, and they were the only humans he had working for him.  He didn't want any others, for the Guns were more than he wanted in the first place.  He despised humans, and wanted as few working for him as possible that were able to complete their job without having to worry about a shortage of men.

Midvalley, Dominique, Zazie, Chapel, Raidei…all of them.  Shot, crushed, blown up…whatever.  They were all dead, regardless of how they died.  Even Legato, shot though the head, the only person Vash had been able to bring himself to kill willingly.  Legato's death was a victory, for it meant his brother finally realized that to save some, you must kill others.  On the other hand, he half wished that his brother had just let Legato kill those two worthless females.  Legato, human or not, was a valuable asset, and he was no good to Knives lying out in the desert with a bullet in his head.

No use crying over spilt milk, he thought, then scowled at his use of the human cliché.  He had heard Rem say it a few times back on the Seeds ship, and it had stuck itself in his memory permanently.  Damn that woman.  She had managed to influence even him in some way, no matter the smallness of a simple phrase.  Makes me glad she decided to stay behind.  I meant her to come along, if only because Vash liked her, but then she may have tainted my way of thinking just like she did Vash's.

A familiar presence suddenly broke through his thoughts.  He had been able to feel his brother's presence since he woke up, but his musings over the Guns and Rem had distracted him from noticing the presence was coming closer.  He was right outside the door, standing there, as if unsure if he really wanted to enter the room or not.  The doorknob turned almost silently, and the door swung slowly open.

There stood Vash, dressed in a simple blue shirt and black pants, staring straight into his twin's eyes.  His face was expressionless, but Knives could sense a combination of apprehension and curiosity stirring in his brother's soul.  He wanted answers, but was afraid to ask the questions.  It was safe to assume that Vash could sense Knives' anger over his recent thoughts and the two insurance girls, who were probably staying far away from the room at the moment.  That suited Knives just fine.  He had no desire to see them again any time soon.

He managed to sit himself up on the bed, ignoring the pain from the bullet wounds loudly ordering him to lie back down and stop moving.  Looking down, he realized he wore pants identical to those Vash was wearing, but nothing else.  The two men watched each other for a moment, neither of them making a sound, until Vash finally broke the silence.

"So," the blonder of the two said quietly, "you're awake."  His voice carried no hint of emotion.

"How long has it been?" Knives asked, his voice just as flat.

"About a week," Vash replied, slowly walking in the room and closing the door behind him.  He sat down in the chair by the bedside.  He sighed.  "You didn't need to scream at the girls like you did.  I could hear you all the way downstairs."

"Human harlots," Knives growled disdainfully.  "They deserve no better."

Vash seemed ready to bite out a reply, but stopped himself.  The last week had really taken its toll on him, even more than the previous months, and his normal kind self was wearing quickly away.  Still, there was no reason to snap at the person he wanted so much to reform.

"You've been feverish for most of the past week," he said instead, after a slight pause.  "We don't know why, because your injuries don't seem infected.  I guess its just one of those mysteries of the body."  After another pause, "The fever was very high for about three days.  I was scared to death that it would kill you."

Knives said nothing.  He merely stared at the wall beyond the foot of the bed.

Vash was silent as well for several minutes.  He just sat there, staring at the floor, fidgeting every few seconds.

I hate it when people fidget! Knives thought, and finally spoke.  "You asked me why out in the desert," he began, his voice seemingly cautious.  "Why what?"

"I don't know," Vash replied after a short hesitation.  "Like I said, so many things.  I guess one thing was, why did you want us to fight to the death out there?"

It was Knives' turn to sigh.  "If it would free you from those filthy humans, then I would gladly kill you.  It seemed like it was the only option left to me.  You've been so far corrupted, it's almost impossible to turn you back now.  And, if I was unable to kill you, then I should die by your hand."  His voice held nothing, if not total and unwavering conviction.  It was obvious that he believed what he was saying without the slightest doubt.

Vash only stared at him, his mouth hanging slightly open in disbelief.  "You…you really believe that?  I knew you hated the humans, but to think they've corrupted me?  I never thought you'd use so strong a word to describe it."

"Why not?" Knives asked, looking over to his twin.  "It's perfectly true."

"No, Knives," Vash replied.  "It's not.  You're wrong."

"How am I wrong?!" Knives demanded, his voice betraying his defensiveness.

Vash seemed not to have an answer for a minute, then, "The humans aren't like that, Knives.  They aren't the energy-sucking scourge you think they are."  He, too, was getting defensive.

"What?!?!" Knives shouted, his hands balling into fists.  "How can you say that?!  They hold our brothers and sisters captive for eternity, only to fulfill their desire for dominance!  They keep them in glass cages, never letting them out, never showing them any care!  They do nothing with them but drain their energy dry, then they throw them out like trash and replace them with another one!  They care nothing for our kind!  If they had the chance, they'd do the exact same thing to us!  You should know that!  The 'kindness' they show you is nothing but a front!"

Vash just sat there as his brother raged, saying nothing, keeping perfectly still.  If one looked, they could see his teeth were clenched tight, that his eyebrows were drawing together, that he was descending into anger so very rare for him.

When Knives finally stopped, his breath was coming almost in gasps, and he was shaking visibly.  It was all he could do not to lash out at the spiky-haired fool sitting in the chair next to him.  The little idiot truly believed those parasites were worth caring about!  He almost faltered when the bullet wounds started protesting loudly again, due to his trembling and the thin layer of sweat that had broken out on his skin, but he managed not to show it.

Vash kept his eyes on his brother, trying to force down the fury that was slowly taking over.  He didn't need to assist in alienating them from one another any more than they were already.  After a few minutes, he finally trusted his voice enough to speak.

"I can't bring myself to believe that, Knives," he said through gritted teeth.  "I've spent over a century among them, and they've given me no reason to think the way you do about them.  They've proven themselves to me as a kind and loving race.  All peoples have flaws, Knives, ours included.  But, all you seem to think about is accomplishing that damn fool Paradise idea of yours!  All you want is to make your Eden!  You've been deaf and blind to everything else!"  His voice was rising steadily with every word, until he was nearly shouting as loud as Knives had been.

Knives had gone very still.  His trembling had ceased, and his breathing slowed, until it was almost undetectable.  The look of infinite anger was still in his eyes, but was mixed with something else.

"My Eden?" he whispered when Vash was through.  "My Eden?!  You think I wanted Paradise for me?!  You think I was thinking only for myself?!"  His eyes were starting to sting.  "You are deaf and blind, Vash!  You are the one only seeing what he wants!  You are the one refusing to believe the truth!"

"What are you saying?" Vash asked, his anger starting to slip.

"What I'm saying is, it was for you!  It was all for you!  I never would have crashed the Seeds ships if I didn't want to give you freedom!  I never would have set myself to destroy all humans if I didn't think they were ruining you!  I never would have done anything I have done if I didn't have you first and foremost is my thoughts!"  The anger in his eyes was gone.  In its place was desperation, a frantic plea to be heard, to be understood.  "I meant that damn woman to come with us, because I knew how much she meant to you!  I would have abandoned her in the first place if I didn't want you to be perfectly happy!  I never meant to leave her in the ship!"  Tears were sliding down his cheeks, the first he had cried since he was a little child, barely four months old on the Seeds ship.  He quickly swiped them away.  He had always hated crying.  "But, that woman ruined you.  She tainted you with those pathetic ideals of hers.  She made you think I meant her to die with the rest of her festering kind!  That I wanted them all dead just so I could have my way!"  He choked.  "She made you hate me!"

Vash could do nothing but stare.  His anger had long since drained away.  He watched in stunned amazement as his seemingly ice-cold brother poured his heart out to him.  Guilt began building inside of him.  He could feel in his brother's soul that everything he said was true, that his only reason to kill and destroy was to give his twin freedom and happiness, that the feeling of being hated and ignored was almost too much to bear.  God, Vash thought.  How could I have been so blind?!

His twin was now sitting curled up on the bed, his arms wrapped around himself, the tears falling freely, moaning over and over, "It was for you…it was all for you…"

Vash's heart was twisted by the sight, and he moved from the chair to the edge of the bed.  He sat down in front of his twin and wrapped his arms around him, pulling him to his chest.  Knives resisted for an instant, but then melted into his brother's embrace, clutching at his brother's shirt as he cried.

"I'm sorry," Vash whispered into Knives' pale hair.  "I'm so sorry, Brother.  I should have seen it before now.  Please, can you forgive me?"

Knives nodded weakly.  "How can I not?  I love you!"

"I love you, too, Brother," Vash said, a slight smile one his face.  "I always have."  He seemed hesitant to say what he wanted to next, but managed to get it out.  "You…you spoke when the fever was in you, Knives."

"What did…what did I say?" Knives asked softly, his tears beginning to taper down.

"You kept saying how much you love me," Vash replied, tears of his own threatening to fall.  "That you never meant things to happen as they did.  That you only wanted the best for me, and all you needed was my approval to be happy yourself."  He had to stop for a second, but continued when he had the steadiness to speak again.  "I didn't know if I should have believed it.  They say never to believe what is said in a fever-dream.  You…you don't know how much I hoped it was true, but at the same time hoped it wasn't.  I wanted so much to believe you still loved me, but couldn't bear the thought of you holding so much pain inside."  He buried his face in his twin's flaxen hair, crying openly.  "I'm so sorry, Knives!"

They remained like that for several minutes, until Knives finally spoke again.

"That short girl…Meryl, was it?"  He made eye contact again, both of them finally having been able to stop their tears.  "You've fallen in love with her, haven't you?"

Vash's eyes widened.  His face quickly took on a guarded look, as if afraid of saying too much.  Still, there was no way to hide something like that from his brother.  "Yes," he said finally.  He hadn't even admitted it to the girl in question.

"You have to know she looks exactly like a short version of Rem," Knives said, averting his eyes.  "Are you still so far under that woman's shadow that you've fallen for her mere image?"  His voice was again laced with long-hidden pain.

"No, Knives," Vash answered after a moment.  "I didn't realize she looked like Rem until long after I began loving her.  You don't know how surprised I was when I saw the resemblance."

Knives was silent.  Vash looked down at the pale head that was still resting against his chest.  He listened to his twin's even breathing for a while, before he spoke again.

"Will you let me teach you, Knives?"  He waited, but got no answer.  He was afraid his brother had fallen back asleep and was about to ask again when Knives answered in a small, almost timid voice.

"Teach me what?"

"Teach you to live.  Teach you to make the best of the things you have."  He hesitated before he added, "Teach you to love the humans for what they are."

Knives jerked his head up, staring wide-eyed into Vash's eyes.  There was no anger, only confusion and a bit of fear.  "Ho-how can you teach me that?!" he asked, incredulous.  "I've hated them for so long, it's impossible to change my mind!  And, I'm—"  He broke off, automatically stopping himself from saying it.  Still, he had already revealed weakness to his brother; there was no point in hiding any more.  "I'm afraid to try."

"Why are you afraid?" Vash question gently.

"I…I'm afraid of them.  I'm afraid they'll twist and contort my thoughts, as well.  I'm afraid they'll make me just like them."

Vash sighed.  "Knives, they aren't as bad as you believe them to be.  I can show you different.  They can't make you just like them.  I've been around them for almost one hundred twenty years, and they've yet to make me something I wasn't meant to be in the first place."  He looked deep into his twin's eyes, trying to show how sincere he was.  "I can show you everything there is to love about them, Brother.  You just need to give me a chance.  You have to give them a chance."

Knives said nothing, only looked away and refused to answer.

Vash sighed again, and cupped his brother's chin in his hand, turning his face around to look into his eyes again.  "Please, Knives.  I'm doing this for your sake.  I want you to be happy, just like you want me to be happy.  I truly believe this may be the answer, that you can learn to be happy among the humans, just like I have."

Knives still couldn't bring himself to speak.  He felt helpless and confused.  So many years of hating the humans and everything about them would be a huge task to overcome, but he so much wanted to accept his brother's offer.  He finally bowed his head and nodded.

Vash broke into a grin, though Knives did not see it.  "Thank you, Knives!  You don't know what this means to me!"

Knives still remained silent, but a tiny smile had found its way to his face.  It would be hard, and it would be long, but he had faith in his brother.  He shoved down his fear and resigned himself to this new twist of fate.  Perhaps he may be able to overcome his past hatred.  Perhaps Vash really could reshape him, teach him to live among the humans in near complete harmony.

Well, I don't know about the harmony part if Vash continues his Humanoid Typhoon lifestyle, Knives thought wryly.

Still, one thing was certain.  He and his brother were finally together again.  Together, and at peace.

Owari

Author's Notes:  Well, there you are.  I know Knives is totally OOC, but, then again, this isn't a normal day for him.  I just wanted to convey my thoughts on why he did what he did in the past.  I hope the ending didn't sound cliché.  Maybe it did.  Damn it.  Again, this isn't a twincest fic (I may write one in the future, though), but a demonstration for the deep-running bond twins have with each other.  Anyway, what do you all think?  Good?  Bad?  Somewhere in between?  Please send any comments to mangareader@hotmail.com, onegai shimasu!  If you're just going to send a flame, though, please don't.  I don't take kindly to them.  I'd really prefer constructive criticism to destructive criticism.