Author's Notes:  Okay, this'll take some explaining.  I know that Trigun and X make one hell of an odd couple, seeing as they're two totally different anime/manga genres.  On the other hand, that may make this story more fun.  Anyway, I got an idea for a Trigun fic in my head, and Kamui and Fûma just seemed to fit into the roles that I put them in.  Their roles in this fic are also just a little idea of mine about what happened to them after all the shit in 1999, which, by the time Trigun takes place, is several centuries back.

I should probably say that I'm not going to tell whether or not any of this fic reflects how I believe the Universe and the afterlife are governed.  I will say that I'm Christian, but that's all.  I'll let you all wonder about what I believe in and what I don't, if you care to speculate.  Also, I don't know if I got the definition of Purgatory quite right, so please bear with me if I got it wrong.

Trigun and X do not belong to me, but to Nightow Yasuhiro and CLAMP, respectively.  I'm not making any money off this, so please don't sue.

"Tenshi no awaremi" means "angel's pity."

Tenshi no Awaremi By Annie-chan

Fire…heat…burning…pain…agony…screaming…blood…

Legato Bluesummers lay on his back, staring up at the ceiling.  He was lying, literally, in the seventh circle of Hell, the deepest and most feared part of Satan's kingdom.  Around him were uncountable beings, the souls of the wicked receiving their eternal punishment for their sins in life.  Demons made their way through them, randomly choosing victims to torture for a time, then move on.  He was being left alone for the moment, giving him time to think.

So…I finally receive my eternal punishment, he thought.  It's no more than I deserve, being human.  I accept my fate.  He had no idea how long he had been here.  There were no suns, no moons, no way to tell time.  His best estimate was somewhere between two and four days.  He had heard—from a demon or one of the damned, he couldn't remember—that the spirits in Hell were rotated, somewhat regularly, between the seven circles.  There wasn't really much difference between them, so it really didn't matter where you were, unless you were down in the seventh.  And, sooner or later, everyone meets the Devil, and made to personally submit to his will.

Master, Legato thought, as if addressing the being of utter perfection he owed allegiance to, I will never submit to him!  I worship only You!

As if on cue, a horrendous noise arose, followed by the demons in the room they were in fleeing to one side.  The cacophony was their unearthly howls, made in respect and fear of the…thing…that had just entered.  Legato sat up, wincing at the lingering pain inflicted upon him a few minutes recently, and beheld the most hideous creature he had ever seen.  He had heard descriptions of this being, mostly from overhearing the two priests in the Gung-Ho Guns, and he saw similarities, but nothing had prepared him for this.  The creature's skin was pitch-black, as if scorched by the ever-present flames in his home.  His eyes were stark white, glowing fiercely, looking for all the world as two balls of white-hot fire, ready to burn you if he looked at you for too long.  Scraggly, filthy-looking black hair hung from his scalp, down to about his mid-back.  His teeth were sharp and jagged, colored an obscene shade of yellowish-brown.  Curved, filthy looking claws issued from his fingertips, just perfect for snaring unsuspecting flesh and tearing mercilessly.  He even had the characteristic horns, hooves, and tail so common in stories told to children.  Huge, misshapen wings stretched from his back, looking moth-eaten and scaly.

There was no doubt about who it was.  Satan, the Fallen Angel.

Legato smirked to himself.  That sounds like a Gung-Ho Gun name.

He was suddenly seized by two demons, their claws digging sharply into his arms as they hauled him to his feet and dragged him over toward the Devil with all the other "new arrivals."  They were going to be…introduced, as the demons had maliciously described.

"So," Satan said, smiling gruesomely.  "These are my new tenants, are they?"  His voice was like two metal cheese graters scraping against one another.  He pointed to Legato and the others brought forward.  "I am your master now!  Bow down before me, Slaves!"

So great was the terror in his appearance and his voice, that all before him immediately fell groveling to the ground, swearing to obey his every command.  All save one, that is.

Legato stood tall, as was his fashion, openly defying this monster.  Satan set his gaze on him.  "Why do you not bow, human trash?"

"I bow to no one," Legato growled through clenched teeth, "save my true master.  You cannot make me do otherwise."

Satan stepped closer to him.  "You will do as ordered."

"Never," Legato asserted.  "I will never relinquish my allegiance.  My master is everything you aren't.  He is the essence of perfection.  He is ageless, beautiful, infinitely intelligent."  He gave the Devil an impudent smirk.  "After living my life for Him, do you think I'd really allow myself to serve something so unsightly as you?"

His neck was grabbed, and he found his face just inches away from the horrifying visage in front of him.  Tall as he was, he was almost small looking next to the Devil.  The monster's breath reeked foully, but Legato refused to show any physical reaction.

"You need to be taught some respect!" Satan roared, obviously greatly angered by such insolence.

"Oh, I know how to respect, all right," Legato answered, his tone mocking.  "And, my respect is all in the right place.  Certainly not with you."

He was flung away, sharp claws tearing through the flesh of his chest and abdomen.  He screamed, falling backward to hit the floor.  All the other spirits around coward back, still lying on their faces in the presence of their new master.

"Take him away!" the horrible voice thundered.  "Make him suffer!  Torture him most out of all the souls in Hell!  Don't stop until he swears loyalty to me!"  With that, the Devil was gone, disappearing in a suddenly appearing firestorm.  He obviously didn't like insubordination one bit.

Legato was seized from all sides.  Malevolent laughter filled his ears as dozens of clawed hands closed around his arms and legs, digging into the skin of his chest, abdomen, and back, tangling in and yanking at his hair.  He was borne away somewhere, the giggling imps delighting in their new task.  He was flung down on a hard stone surface, his head slamming down hard, making him dizzy.  He had no time to say or do anything before they fell upon him, agony flooding his mind and body, shutting out all else.

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

The Lord God sat on His throne, in thought.  It was from here that He watched the goings-on in the Universe.  It was here that disputes between the angels were brought to Him, and where He resolved those disputes in the fairest and most logical ways possible.  Being God, He couldn't be partial to anyone.

Now, He looked down upon two angels before His throne.  One was kneeling at His feet, his head down, his white wings lying limply at his sides, humbling himself completely before his lord.  The other was standing about twenty feet behind, his head bowed in respect for the deity in front of him.

They were the Twin Stars, two of the higher angels in the hierarchy.  Several centuries ago, God had chosen them, along with fifteen others, to decide the fate of Earth.  They were the Sky Dragons, the Land Dragons, and the Dreamseers.  He had picked randomly seventeen souls, bestowed upon them superhuman powers, and let them play out their destiny.  Humanity had hit a perfect middle ground.  God could not, in all His wisdom, decide one way or the other whether He should bring about Armageddon or not.  Thus, He created those seventeen, and left the battle up to fate.  If humanity deserved to continue existing in the Material Plane, the Sky Dragons would succeed, letting the humans stay where they were.  If humanity did not deserve to continue as they were, the Land Dragons would succeed, destroying the humans and taking them out of the Material Plane, splitting them up between Heaven and Hell, depending on what each individual deserved.

It had been a bitter fight, but the Sky Dragons had won, just barely.  When it was all over, God had seen all the pain and suffering that the fighting had inflicted on so many, especially to and by the Dragons and the Dreamseers, and He regretted it.  He had promised never to make a decision that way again.  He didn't want His earthly children to suffer so much again.  As a reward for enduring such hardship, he had taken all the souls of the Dreamseers and the Dragons that had died, cleansed the mind of the leader of the Land Dragons of his bloodlust, and made them regents of Heaven.  The Land Dragons and their Dreamseers—Fûma, Yûto, Satsuki, Nataku (whose emotions had been let loose now that his soul had been released from that asexual body), Kusanagi, Seishirô, Kakyô, and Kanoe—carried out what could be called the darker side of God's will.  Sometimes sacrifices must be made for the greater good, no matter how terrible those sacrifices were to God's children.  Those sacrifices came in the form of war, sickness, and the like.  The Sky Dragons and their Dreamseers were unwilling to do that.  They—Arashi, Sorata, Subaru, Seiichirô, Karen, Yuzuriha, Kotori, and Hinoto—dealt more with the lighter side of God's will.  They dealt with helping fixing problems.  They couldn't interfere too much, for God had forbidden them to meddle too much in mortals' lives, but they did what they could to relieve suffering in the world.  Miracles were what the humans called their work.  With Kamui's death many years after the conflict in 1999, he joined his comrades.

Kamui and Fûma, the Twin Stars, the leaders of their respective groups, were very powerful, and served their lord with utmost loyalty.  They were second in strength and ability only to the Archangels.  Many times, when God asked His angels for advice, Kamui and Fûma were the ones to speak loudest.  God had come to trust their judgment, though He made His own decision at the last, whether it followed their advice or not.  They were very different in how they formed opinions of things.  Where Kamui tended to let his passions rule his reason, Fûma usually spoke only in cold, sometimes painful, logic.  He was partial to no one, and didn't care much about what happened to who, just as long as it all ended up as God intended it to.  This sometimes put the Twin Stars at odds, but they usually managed to sort it out and tell God what they would think was best to see if He agreed.  About one hundred thirty years ago, Kamui had come to God almost in tears, begging permission to save the humans from inevitable disaster above a desert planet that the humans—having abandoned a nearly dead Earth—were about to crash into, thanks to a member of a second intelligent species the humans had managed to develop through science.  Fûma had argued that, if he saved all of them, the planet wouldn't be able to support them all, and most would die of starvation and exposure soon anyway.  Thus, God had assessed the situation, and allowed Kamui to personally go down and make sure the woman named Rem Saverem was able to activate the reverse thrusters in the flagship before it exploded, causing all of the fleet to follow suit.  Many humans had died on impact, which wasn't avoidable, due to the distance they had fallen already, but Kamui and Rem had managed to save quite a few.

Now, Kamui knelt before the throne of God, showing paramount submission as he begged forgiveness for questioning one of God's decisions.  No angel had done this since Lucifer's rebellion millennia ago, but his feelings about this were so great that he dared to question the Almighty.  Fûma stood behind, not saying a word.

"I see how important this is to you, Kamui," God said to the angel at His feet.  "Otherwise, I would not think you so bold as to question one of My decisions.  You know I do not change My mind easily once I have made the decision final.  And, when that happens, it is because I have changed My mind on my own, not because one of My angels is not happy with how things turn out."

"Yes, My Lord," Kamui said, his voice soft.

"What prompted you to take such daring action?  You know very well that you could be punished for this."

"Yes, My Lord," Kamui said again.  "I understand very well.  The reason I am doing this is because I believe he deserves a second chance.  My heart was moved to pity as I watched him go through his life."

"You know why I condemned him to Hell, do you not?" the Lord asked.  "He scorned me, declaring the Plant known as Millions Knives to be his god.  I have the compassion in My heart to not damn a person just because he or she does not believe in Me if they are an otherwise good person, but to curse My name is a sin that stands above all others."

"I understand, My Lord," Kamui answered.  "But, I have come to believe that none of it was his fault.  He had been brainwashed to worship this Knives.  When Knives found him, he was starved, desperate, alone.  He probably would have died on the streets if Knives never took him in.  Legato Bluesummers was sick in the head.  He did not know that what he was doing was wrong.  All he saw was the Plant's wishes."

"So, if I were to grant you your request for a second chance for him, what would you suggest I do, Kamui?"

"My Lord," Kamui began.  He thought a minute.  "I…I am not completely sure.  Purgatory comes to mind."

"No," God said.  "He does not merit Purgatory.  He would have gone there in the first place if I thought he did."

"Then…"  Kamui thought a moment more.  "Rebirth, My Lord."

"Rebirth?" the Lord questioned.  "You mean, to take a soul that has already lived as a mortal once and establish it in a baby about to be born, just as if it were a newly created spirit?"

"Yes, My Lord."

"I only do that in special cases, Kamui.  You know that.  Such as, if that particular spirit could benefit humanity greatly if it lived again as a mortal.  Or, if they left some task behind that they are the only human that could accomplish it just right, and it does not matter if the task waits the several years it will take them to grow up again."

"Yes, My Lord.  I understand."

"Tell Me why you believe this Legato Bluesummers deserves to be reborn."

"My Lord…"

"Lift up your eyes, so that I may see them."

Kamui complied, looking into the face of God.  He began to tremble slightly.  Looking into the eyes of God was quite a task, even for the greatest angel.  Such splendor and such greatness were hard to look upon for more than an instant.  Kamui held his ground, a signal to God that he was very sincere in what he was saying.  He continued speaking, his voice shaking a bit.  "I believe that someone like him, if they were turned in the right direction, could greatly help humanity.  Powers like his are very rare when not specifically bestowed by You.  Perhaps he could help turn the planet Gunsmoke green, like Rem Saverem dreamed of.  It is already happening, but very, very slowly.  He could perhaps speed it up to benefit the next generation or so.  The humans have lived long enough in that desolate place, I believe, and Legato Bluesummers may be able to help them.  He will of course go by a different name, but his abilities will be the same.  If he was reborn into a family that cared greatly about those around them, there stands a good chance of him using his powers to do all he can to make Gunsmoke a little more like Earth."

God regarded him for a moment.  "I believe that what you just said may be true, Kamui.  But, there is another reason, is there not?"

Kamui almost smiled.  He, nor anyone else, could hide anything from the Supreme Being.  "Yes, My Lord, there is.  A personal one."  He paused, still under the thrall of his lord's gaze.  His voice continued to tremble slightly.  "I have watched him for many years, since just after Knives brought him under his care.  And, in that time, I have come to pity him greatly.  Many times, I have thought, 'If only he had gone the other way,' as I watched him.  I knew he could have been so much more than a slave to Knives' will, if only he had chosen a different path in life."

"And, what if I grant him another life, and he goes the exact same way?" the Lord asked.  "He could bring disaster to the human race, like he almost did in his last life.  All the blame will lay on your shoulders, Kamui."

"Yes, My Lord.  I understand," Kamui said, his voice shaking more.  He had a distinct feeling of dread that he wouldn't be successful in this.  He had half-expected it, and he couldn't do anything about it, but it would still sadden him terribly that the man known as Legato would not have the chance to fulfill his potential.  He was visibly trembling now.

"Lower your eyes, Kamui," the Lord told him.  "That is enough.  I do not want you to hurt yourself by forcing yourself to look into My eyes for too long."

Kamui complied, sighing softly in relief.

"Now, Kamui," God continued, "do you believe I have the compassion to do what you are asking?"

"Yes, My Lord," Kamui answered.  "I believe You have infinite compassion in Your heart, and that You hold grudges against no one, only giving people what they deserve."  The Sky Dragon spoke the complete truth, for it was stupid to try to lie to God.  He would know right away.

"So you believe I have the compassion to give this man a second chance, even though I did not before?"

"Yes, My Lord."

God looked down upon the angel at His feet, scrutinizing what had been said.  Soon, He looked up to the second angel before Him.  "Fûma."

Fûma immediately acknowledged that he was being called.  "Yes, My Lord?"

"I have heard what Kamui thinks.  What do you think of this situation?"

"My Lord," Fûma began, but he stopped.  He stood there for a minute, thinking.  "My Lord," he began again, "I believe Kamui may be right.  Legato Bluesummers had enormous potential for helping his people, but he chose the wrong path in life to fulfill that potential.  Rebirth may be a good idea, but it does have its risks.  As You said, Legato Bluesummers may go the exact same path if reborn."  He said no more, not giving an exact opinion either way.

The Lord looked down at Kamui again, who had not moved at all.  For many minutes, He looked at the bowing angel.  He could tell that Kamui was extremely anxious, and the angel's white feathers were quivering with his apprehension.  After countless minutes, the Lord made His decision.  "Very well, Kamui.  I will give Legato Bluesummers a second chance.  However, you will be personally responsible for him.  If he turns out as he did before, you will be held accountable, and be punished sufficiently."

Kamui's head snapped up, tears in his eyes.  "Thank you, My Lord!  I am eternally grateful!"  He bowed low again, showing his gratitude.

"Go, then," the Lord bade him.  "Make ready for a rebirth."

Kamui stood up and ran out of the room, joy radiating off of him.  Kamui was capable of bestowing rebirth, needing only God's permission to do so.

Fûma stayed behind, watching his Twin Star as he left.  He turned back around.  "My Lord, if You do not mind my asking," he began, "why did You agree?"

"I saw just how much this meant to Kamui," the Lord replied.  "He has served Me so well for so long, that I felt I needed to do something for him that meant a lot to him.  Besides, I am curious as to how he will handle being personally responsible for Legato Bluesummers."

"Yes, Lord," Fûma said through a smile.  "Now, may I leave?"

"Yes," the Lord said.  "I need you to go and retrieve the soul.  Do it soon."

"Yes, My Lord," Fûma said, bowing and leaving.  Being one of those in charge of wars and sickness and the like, he was one of those able to pay a visit to Hell.  Most other angels were unwilling to go to that accursed place.  He disappeared from Heaven.

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

Legato lay on his back again, unimaginable pain flooding his senses.

"Do you give up yet?" an imp sneered, pulling the needle and thread away.

"Never," Legato hissed through his pain.  "I will never serve that hideous Satan!"

"Huh," the imp scoffed.  "You're a strong one.  I've never seen another with such solid resistance.  We'll break you soon enough, though."

The imp left, as did the others that were standing around, watching as the one that had spoken finished the job they had just done.  Legato had been slit open from collarbone to pelvis, his insides had been ripped out and played with, they had been reinstalled (rather worn) back in his body, and the imp that had spoken had sewed him back up again.  He had been conscious and responsive the entire time.  You could not pass out from too much pain in Hell.  That would make it too easy for you.

Legato's voice was raw from screaming, so he did not attempt to speak again.  He only looked up to the ceiling.  Master, he thought.  I will never abandon my faith in You.  I will endure every torture they can devise for me, but I will never forsake You.

He was alone.  They had apparently taken him somewhere designated for rebels, like himself.  No one else was there.  They hadn't had someone like him for quite some time.  For days, they had tortured him to no end, allowing him no rest.  Now, for some reason, they had stopped, perhaps to get replacements so they can go do something else.  He swallowed.  He would never give in to them, but he still felt terribly afraid.  What would they do next?  Would it be worse than what he had just experienced?

Before he could think anymore, a sudden flash of bright white light filled the room, making Legato close his eyes abruptly.  He couldn't bring his hand up to shade his eyes, as moving may cause more injury to his person.  The light faded, and someone was standing beside him, a few feet away.  He risked opening his eyes, and got quite a shock.

There, beside him, was a young man—or, at least what looked like a young man.  He was tall, slender, square-shouldered, and had an intense expression in his golden eyes.  Huge, white-feathered wings sprouted from his spine, contrasting darkly with the pitch-black clothes he wore, as well as his black hair.  Light seemed to radiate out from the wings, surrounding him in a halo of brightness.

"A…angel," Legato rasped, greatly surprised.  "Wh…what are you…doing here…?" he managed to moan through his agony.  The angel looked down at him, regarding him coolly.

"Legato Bluesummers, I presume?" he asked.

"Yes…" Legato replied faintly.  "What do you…want with…me?"  He suddenly had to turn his head to the side, violently hacking up blood.

The angel walked to his side and knelt down, wiping the blood away from his mouth and chin.  "Just a moment."  The angel then stood up and turned to the group of imps that had come rushing back in at the flash of light and surge of holy power as he materialized.  They had taken one look at him and cowered back against the wall, terrified.

Legato closed his eyes, unable in his weakened state to look at the angel's aura any longer.  He heard the angel take a few steps away and speak.  "Where is your master?" the angel demanded.

"G-g-go away!" one imp cried.  "You have no place here!"

"No, I don't," the angel replied, clearly annoyed with the defiance.  "But, I'm here anyway.  Now, where is your master, brats?!"

An awful noise filled the room, and the temperature went up about forty degrees.  The noise was Satan's infuriated roar, and the heat was the burst of fire that he appeared in.  He had a habit of doing that.

"How dare you come here?!" the Devil screamed at the angel as Legato opened his eyes again to see the confrontation.

"Orders from My Lord," the angel replied, putting on a face of condescendence.  "Why else would I come to this place?  For pleasure?  I think not."

"State your business and be gone!" Satan commanded.

"Sorry," the angel replied, "but I can't just 'state my business.'  I have to take something back with me.  Or, rather, someone."

"You'll do no such thing!" Satan roared.

"Oh?  And, are you going to stop me?" the angel said, his voice sounding like a challenge.

Satan said nothing, only lunged toward the angel, claws outstretched for the pale throat.  Legato blinked as the Devil suddenly stopped, his talons barely inches from their target.  The angel held a long shining sword in front of him, the point at the Devil's neck.  It had appeared faster than could be seen.

"Cooperate," the angel growled low in his throat.  "I don't want a confrontation right now.  Besides, if you manage to hurt me—there's no way you could kill me—there will be six others almost as powerful as me that will gladly come and wreak havoc here in retaliation.  We'd do it anyway, if the Lord hadn't given us orders to stay out of your affairs unless necessary."

Satan looked absolutely livid, even compared to how he normally looked.  He lowered his hands, and the angel lowered his sword a minute later.  "Good," the angel said, a smile on his face.  The smile held no affection, understandably.

The angel walked toward Legato, the sword disappearing into thin air, and was about to kneel down to him again when he suddenly pitched forward, gasping in surprise.  Across the back of one of his wings were three long claw marks.  Satan had hurt the angel after all.  The Devil disappeared an instant later, not risking immediate retaliation.

Legato could only watch as the angel stood up slowly, gingerly bringing his wing around.  He could just barely bend it enough to get to the wound easily.  Bright red blood—angels indeed had blood, so they wouldn't seem out of place if hurt when they for some reason were in the Material Plane masquerading as humans; they just can't die from too much bleeding—stained the pure whiteness of the feathers.  The angel muttered a few words, and the wound slowly disappeared.  The blood remained.  "I'll have to wash that off," he murmured to himself as he walked to Legato.

"Who are you?" Legato managed to grate out.  "Wh-what are you?"

The angel smiled.  "I knew you'd ask that," he said.  "I am a Land Dragon, an angel of God.  Just call me Fûma."

"What do you want with me?" Legato asked as they suddenly faded into pitch-blackness.  Nothing else could be seen around them.  "What's happening?!"

"We're, I guess you could say, between dimensions, for lack of a better term," Fûma replied.  "You were damned to Hell for what you did in life, but you are being given a second chance.  One of God's other angels managed to convince the Lord to let you be reincarnated.  You will have no memory of your past life, or of the afterlife.  The point is for you to start all over.  My Twin Star is to make sure you choose the right path this time.  This is a special case, because all others that are reborn are on their own.  The thing is, the Lord wants less of a risk of you going the way you went before."

"The right path?" Legato questioned weakly.  "What was wrong with the path I chose?"  As he posed the question, Fûma began slowly moving his hand over him a couple inches above his skin.  Wherever he moved his hand over immediately stopped aching, and he felt himself growing stronger.  He was completely naked, his clothes long since torn off, but Fûma didn't seem to mind at all.  He didn't even seem to notice.

"The Plant species is not holy, Legato," Fûma replied.  "None of them are to be worshipped as gods, like you worshipped the one called Millions Knives.  The Plants were created by humans, and all they are is another intelligent species.  Okay, so they have many traits that are superior to humans, but that means nothing.  You chose to follow one like you would follow a deity, and scorned the Lord's name.  That is the worst sin on the books.  Not the not following God part, but the scorning the Lord's name part."

Legato's eyes widened, his strength returned quite a bit now.  "My master…I'll never stop serving Him!  Don't you dare try to make me!"

Fûma sighed.  "Sorry, but you'll have no choice.  Without your memories, you won't remember anything about Knives.  You may meet him in your next life, but he'll just be another stranger."

Legato's eyes flashed.  "Never!  I'll never forget Him!  He is divine compared to the filthy humans!  He is my master!  I live only for Him!"  He sat up, and was about to say more when a sharp slap was laid upon his face.

"This is the attitude that got you into Hell in the first place, you idiot!" Fûma almost yelled, clearly not happy.  "You have no choice in the matter!  You are to be reborn, you are to grow up in a normal family, and you are to use your powers to help instead of harm other humans!  My Twin Star is to make sure of it!"  He sighed again as Legato stared back at him, shaking with rage.  "Believe me, it won't be so bad as you think.  Anyway, while we're waiting for the preparations to reincarnate you to finish, I might as well let you in on as to why you didn't see any of your men in Hell with you."

"Why?" Legato asked, calming a bit.  "I thought it was because I was mostly alone with those…things."  He shuddered involuntarily as he remembered the torment he had gone through.

"None of them are there," Fûma explained.  "They're in Purgatory, or Afterlife Reform School, as we angels affectionately refer to it."  There was a smile on his face as he said it.  "Purgatory is for souls that are not good enough for Heaven, but not bad enough for Hell, either.  There, they atone for their sins until they can ascend to Heaven, however long that takes (some cases take years).  Sometimes, very rarely, a soul refuses to be reformed—and, I think, you would be one of them—and they descend to Hell.  The reason the Gung-Ho Guns are there is, though they all did things that would send them straight to Hell, most were forced into doing what they did, and would not have done so otherwise, though they wouldn't have led exactly virtuous lives either.  Those that were not forced were tricked into thinking what they were doing was right.  So, the Lord thought they merited Purgatory, and is giving them a chance to make up for what they did.  The reason the Lord decided to have you reborn instead of sent there is, like I said, you would probably refuse to do as you were supposed to.  Remember, the Lord's first decision for you was damnation."

"All?" Legato asked.  He had heard of Purgatory, again from overhearing the two priests talk, but didn't really know what it was.  "All of my men are there?"

"No, not all of them!" Fûma said, sounding amused.  "Only ten.  Gray the Ninelives was just a robot, therefore having no soul, and Nicholas D. Wolfwood didn't need to go to Purgatory.  His hands were bloodied, but his soul was clean.  He's really the only one of the Guns that I can say that about."  He scratched the back of his head, as if about to say something touchy.  "Um…your master is on the same path to Hell as you were.  But," he hastily added as Legato's head snapped up, fury in his eyes.  "But, he'll be turned around.  I was let in on the secret that, sometime in the future, he'll agree to let his brother teach him how to live—don't ask me to explain how that happens, as I don't know that part—and, if he keeps going in the direction that he'll start out on, he should eventually reform enough to be considered good again.  You know, he and his brother started out believing in the same thing, except that Knives kinda got a screw knocked loose at an early age, thus making him drift away."

"Mm," Legato murmured, letting it all sink in.  He still wasn't happy about this 'rebirth' stuff, and having to follow a different path, but he didn't see any way out.  His powers had been blocked since he died, and this angel didn't look like one to be messed with, judging by the look in his eyes when he had slapped him and started yelling at him.  He grudgingly submitted to this twist in fate, though he was not happy about it in the slightest.

"Ready!"

Legato jumped.  That exclamation had come out of nowhere.  He followed Fûma's gaze and beheld another angel, the newcomer having suddenly appeared behind him.  This one was much smaller than Fûma, with violet eyes and slightly longer hair.  He dressed much the same, only in slightly lighter shades, and his sleeves were short instead of long.

"Ah, Kamui," Fûma said, smiling.  "You took your time."  He turned to Legato.  "This is Kamui, my Twin Star, a Sky Dragon.  He going to be your…ah…I guess you could say Guardian Angel."

"I won't be controlling you," Kamui said down to Legato, who was still sitting on the invisible floor.  "I'll just be behind the scenes, guiding you through your subconscious."  He knelt down to Legato's level.  "It's very rare that the Lord has an angel do this.  He usual leaves mortals on their own.  But, He doesn't want a repeat incidence of your first life.  I've never done this before, myself."  He suddenly stood up and grinned.  "Anyway, we ought to get this over with!"

With a flash of light, they were all surrounded by light instead of dark, and Legato suddenly felt himself surrounded in some kind of all-encompassing warmth.  He gasped and reflexively struggled, but he could not make himself move at all.

"Just relax," Kamui's soothing voice spoke into his mind.  "You're soul is going to be established in a baby just about to be born.  You will be cleansed of your memories, and come into the world again as innocent as you began the first time."

Legato felt arms embrace him, soft, feathery wings wrapping around him.  He tensed up.

"Shh," Kamui breathed into his ear.  "I'm going to…um…cast the spell, if you could call it that, and I need to be in direct contact with you to do so.  Holding you like this, instead of just touching you, makes it a little more comfortable for you.  Just relax, and this will be over quickly."  With that, he murmured something resembling a chant in some strange language that Legato did not understand.  It had the effect of a lullaby with a child, and he felt overwhelmingly sleepy.  He barely registered the fact that he seemed to be growing smaller and smaller in the angel's arms, and that Kamui's voice was rising in speed and volume.

A sudden rush of power flooded his being, and everything went white.

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

Twelve years later…

Knives sat on a bench in the middle of some random town he and Vash had come to, leaning forward a bit.  The younger twin was currently on the other side of the square, twisted like a pretzel in the dust as about six youngsters crawled all over him.  Knives made no move to help him.  Prying children off when they were doing this was just like pulling hen's teeth (whatever a "hen" was):  impossible.

"Look out!"

Knives turned his head toward the cry, and was just able to suddenly lean back enough to avoid getting a soccer ball in the skull.  He instinctively raised his hands as well, and managed to catch the ball.

"Gee, I'm sorry, Sir," a young boy's voice said, sounding genuinely sorry.  "I didn't mean to kick it that hard."

Knives looked down at the boy, and was about to say something about being careful next time, when he froze.  This boy…it couldn't be…it had to be coincidence!

The child standing in front of him was thin but not skinny, had dusty blue-black hair and hazel-brown eyes.  It wasn't a total resemblance, but…

"Hey, Sir?" the boy asked.  "Are you okay?"

"Y-yeah," Knives said, shaking his head.  "Sorry.  You remind me of someone I used to know."  He handed the soccer ball back to the child.  "What's your name, Kid?"

"Mick, Sir," the boy replied.  With that, he turned and ran off, answering to the calls of his friends a little ways away.  He turned and yelled a goodbye to Knives.

Knives sighed, somewhat relieved that the boy's name wasn't what he half-expected.  Still, that feeling would not leave him alone.  The fact that he had sensed great psychic power within the boy's soul didn't help matters.  Practically dying with curiosity, he reached out to the boy, brushing his consciousness, just enough to not let the boy know he was being probed.  Light as the touch was, Knives found something infinitely familiar.

Oh, God, Knives thought, shocked.  It's him!

"Knives?" Vash said from behind him, having been able to escape the children for a moment.  "You look like you've seen a ghost."

"I have," Knives said, getting a confused sound from his twin.  He pointed over to Mick.  "See that boy over there?  It's Legato.  He's back somehow."

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Vash look at him sharply.  "Don't play games, Knives," he warned.

"I'm not," Knives insisted, looking up at Vash.  "I swear…I felt it.  That boy named Mick is Legato somehow returned from the dead."  He heard Vash curse nastily under his breath, and almost laughed.  Vash usually wasn't that vulgar.  "Don't worry, Brother.  He seemed like a normal boy.  When I brushed his mind to confirm what I thought, I didn't feel any madness within him.  Believe me, insanity is very easily detected."

"Huh," Vash said, watching Mick play with his friends.  "I guess…he's been reborn, or something to that effect.  I guess he gets a second chance at a normal life."  He looked back down to Knives.  "Don't you dare mess with him," he growled, sounding threatening.

Knives leaned back.  "Don't worry, Brother.  I won't."  He averted his eyes, turning his gaze back to the impromptu soccer game.  "I don't want to drive you away again."

Vash smiled and laid his hand on his twin's shoulder.  "I'm glad you've changed for the better, Knives.  You don't know how much it means to me."

Knives grunted.  "Don't get all sentimental, Vash.  We're in the town square, in case you haven't noticed.  You tend to draw attention anyway, and I don't want some scene due to your being such a milksop."

Vash took his hand away.  "Smart-ass," he muttered as he walked away.

Knives ignored the comment and turned his head toward Mick and his friends.  Mick…Legato…looked so happy, playing there like that.  In his first life, Legato had been cynical, pessimistic, and sour at that age.  The only one he showed respect to had been Knives.  Knives had to admit that he liked the change.

Live life fully, kid, he thought.  Don't let people like me get in your way.  I understand now just how bad I really was for you.  Be happy without me.  For several years now, he had been deeply sorry about what he had done in the past.  Seeing Mick now was a tremendous relief to his spirit that he hadn't completely destroyed the super-psychic.

"AAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Knives—as well as everyone around—was rudely snapped out of his thoughts.  Knives looked over toward his brother and couldn't help but sigh in exasperation.  The spiky-haired outlaw was once again being pulled in six or seven different ways by a group of rough-and-tumble children.

"Knives!  Help meeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Knives sighed again and stood up, walking over and making ready to start pulling children loose.  "Vash, you capital idiot."

Owari

Author's Notes:  There you have it.  I hope it turned out okay.  It took a long time to write, and I'd be very disappointed if nobody liked it.  I ought to say that I meant Kamui and Fûma's speech to be pretty formal when they're talking to God, for obvious reasons.  I mean, if you were standing in front of God, you'd talk as formal as you know how, wouldn't you?  I would.  I'm sorry if some characters seem OOC (I really don't know for sure).  Kamui and Fûma have been in God's service for centuries now, so their personalities and speech patterns may have changed.  As for Legato, Knives, and Vash…ah…just bear with me if they seem a little off, okay?  I also apologize if you think it's too wordy in some parts.  Some descriptions took on lives of their own.  Please let me know what you think (no flames, please) in a review or at mangareader@hotmail.com, onegai shimasu!