Title: To Live A Lie
Rating: R for language, citrus, Large Wolfwood Spoilers, possible violence, slash
Couplings: Wolfwood x Vash, light Wolfwood x Midvalley/Midvalley x Wolfwood, vague Knives x Vash and LegatoxMidvalley NCS implications, lightlightlight WolfwoodxMilly, one sided Meryl adoration, possibly some Legatocrushing later...Because I *like* this love septagon! S'fun!
Notes: Ah, the first decently long Trigun fic I've done in a long time... ^_^;; I tend to write short, bloody/fluffy one-shots, but this is actually going to have ~gasp~ chapters and a ~larger gasp~ plot! This takes place between episodes 18 and 23 of the anime timeline. I know, small gap there which I've shamelessly expanded a bit, bu-uuu-uuut they never say how much time goes by between those episodes! And being the rabid fangirl that I am, adding a few days here or there is an exusable offense if it means more ooshy-gooshy angsty romance...

Anyway. All of my WxV stuff tends to have Wolfwood already fallen for Vash...this one started out the same way, and then I decided I'd rather turn it into a longer story, centering around how Wolfwood falls for Vash rather than how he jumps in the sack with him. I think it'll be a bit darker than that, too...

Tomo: MASTER! I live to serve you~
Knives: Let me have Vash, then, you filthy human scum!
Tomo: Not now, this time it's Wolfwood's turn to get some. *pats Wolfwood on the head...not THAT one, that's Vash's job, you sicko!*
Wolfwood: ......Scooooooore....

~~~~~~

There are times when I'm just a shell
When I do not feel anything for anyone
All I feel is hollow and bruised
Used up and misused
Forced to be someone I don't want to be
[~ Darkest Days - Stabbing Westward]

~~~~~~

The dark haired priest stepped off the rickity bus with the attitude of a man more than aware that he had been consigned to several straight weeks of living hell. It wasn't that he really minded the swarms of terrified people that were currently offering the driver of the vehicle money to take them away (though he did shove past them with a little less grace than could be considered polite). In fact, his surroundings, which would have made most people turn and run or at least head back to more civilized portions of the planet, didn't really figure in his equation of what was or wasn't a decent assignment from the leader of the Gung-ho Guns. It wasn't even that he would be leaving the closest thing he'd ever had to a partner (As if that word could describe it!) behind...

These instructions didn't settle well with him - there was something inherently wrong in the assignment he had been stuck with. Why him? Why not Midvalley, or Dominique - both were a bit prettier than Wolfwood, a bit more likely to be pressed into the good graces of a gun-toting, peace-loving moron...

It wasn't that he was really scared of the legendary gunman, either. Or that he believed in what he was fighting for - hell, no! In fact, the only reason he was here was that Legato Bluesummers tended to make a point irresistable when he wanted something done. It was enough to make a grown man weep.

Well...there was that... and the little fact that Vash the Stampede, in general, made Nicholas D. Wolfwood one exceedingly uncomfortable God-loving hitman.

Explosions rattled the are as he hefted his cross punisher over one shoulder and started down the street, taking in the battered facades of the buildings in with a skeptically raised eyebrow. This was where Vash had been hiding for so long? Figures, the bum didn't even have the mental capacity to retire in style. Sighing, the dark haired man tried to shove the image of glittering amber eyes out of his brain, though the phantom of a memory hung there before his mind's eye like a wraith that would not be exorcised. -

- "The orders are in place once more. Find Vash the Stampede. Lead him here. You will play the traitorous pawn, and the children of December will stay safe, dear Chapel." -

How he hated that eerily familiar voice, ringing in his ears with superiority that was only humbled in the prescense of one being...Legato Bluesummers, terrifying monster of mental 'games' notorious for leaving the players dead or shattered beyond repair... The moment the lives of his precious children had been mentioned, Wolfwood had been ensnared with no way out - Legato spoke of spiders and butterflies, of crimes and punishment. He spoke with the assurence of one who's logic is skewed beyond all recall, a madman.

To hell with that.


~~~~~

Have I failed somehow or some way
Will the weight of today finally pull me down to drown
In the depths of despair
Where I am alone
Except for my rage...

~~~~~


The entire fucking situation made the priest a bit bitter, and he must have looked the part when he entered the first sleazy, run-down bar he came across - because in moments every weapon in a radius of twenty feet had been sighted on his heart.

Lifting his hands in a universal symbol of surrender, Wolfwood edged into the smoke-infested safe haven and found a stool to perch on, leaning his heavy cross against the polished wooden surface and calling to the man passing out drinks. He ordered a shot or two and a small sandwhich, the kind that never tasted decent but would negate the need to find another spot to eat lunch in, and traced his coarse fingertip over the deep scratches of the wooden surface while his meal was prepared.

Legato had promised Vash would be here, and one did not question a psychopath like that - Wolfwood sighed and slipped his hand down against the smooth black coat he always wore, probing about beneath the collar for one of the cigarettes he always kept handy - yet his hand brushed something else, and the preacher winced visibly. There against his chest was the warm sensation of metal licking his skin - the silver gun he had discovered sitting amongst the ruins of Augusta, have buried in soot and rubble, but glittering under the twin suns none the less.

Had it really been two years?

He made idle talk with the bar tender about the state of the town - unneccessary, since he already knew everything that was going on, but it made him look a good deal less suspicious to the others in the room. Gradually the tense atmosphere that had settled when the priest entered the bar lifted, men in the corners returning to their conversations and poker games, like they were meant to do. Like Wolfwood would have done, if he weren't waiting uneasily for his target to enter the room.

As the bartender spoke on in a long, bored drawl, the black-clad priest ate, nodding along with the man's frivolous descriptions of 'Vash the Stampede', the outlaw said to be attacking their town. How foolish. He had met the legendary gunman and while Wolfwood had been impressed, it was not all together in the manner he had expected. In fact, his three-time aquaintence had figured largely in his dreams for the last two years, and he wasn't quite sure why. Sure, it was nice meeting a legend, but really....

Wolfwood liked women. Always had....almost. The dreams were probably something Legato had arranged to tamper with his self confidence. The bastard.

Another being burst into the bar - a tall blonde with hair that tickled his shoulders and a pair of steel-rimmed glasses perched on his nose that seemed dangerously close to slipping off and crunchig underfoot. Wolfwood sensed the man's identity before he even turned around, the aura of sheer idioy that followed Vash the Stampede like a cloud tickled the hairs on the back of his neck - how could anything so blatently stupid wield such power? As the blonde made his way across the bar with a young thing on his arm, a girl with wide innocent eyes, Wolfwood concentrated on working through the lunch that had been set before him, recalling the last few times he had crossed paths with Vash the Stampede.

There was that time on the bus, when Vash had ever so kindly noticed the light glittering off Wolfwood's buckles.... Caine had been right on when he guessed the angle of the suns and the timing of the bus's route. That wasn't a talent Wolfwood had ever envied (he was not a long-distance killer by any means...it seemed sneaky to shoot people down when they couldn't see the whites of your eyes), but his preciseness had been impressive. Then there was the tournament, when they had fought one another - completely rigged, of course. Planned perfectly, like each hotel room Vash would stay in for the next year or two, like every pitstop and game. However long it took - and that scope of his orders terrified the priest. How long was he supposed to chase after this immortal gunman, anyway?

The one chance occasion where their paths had crossed had undermined a bit of Wolfwood's confidence. Seeing Vash shoot down two innocents had surprised him - and his mind had made the obvious connection. Rubber bullets. How quaint! *Still.* Was there some sort of connection, some reason Wolfwood had not *really* been surprised when Vash had shown his face as his opponent?

He liked to think not.

When the proverbial shit hit the fan and the bar errupted into chaos, Nicholas D. Wolfwood wrapped an arm around the child's trembling shoulders and took in Vash's scarred, writhing body from over the black rims of his sunglasses without batting an eye. When the affair ended in predictable gunshots and the soft spattering of liquid blood over the sandy street, he followed Lina - that was the girl's name - to the hospital and waited (somewhat) patiently for Vash to be released from the operating room.

And at last, when waiting grew a bit to old, Nicholas D. Wolfwood took a deep breath and threw himself into his mission with all the whole-heartedness he could muster.

~~~~~

My rage
My pain
I hate my darkest days
My rage
My pain
I hate my darkest days
My rage
My pain
I hate my darkest days
My rage
My pain
I hate my darkest days
My darkest days

~~~~~