Author's Notes: Some of you might want to kill me for this. I started thinking about what would happen if things went differently back on the Seeds ship, and it got to the point where I had to write a fic on it. As to why some of you (or lots of you) would want to kill me…you'll probably figure it out once you read. I'm not going to tell you how things go differently. That will just spoil the story, now wouldn't it?
Trigun and everyone and everything therein do not belong to me, but to Nightow Yasuhiro and everyone else holding copyrights to it.For You, Brother By Annie-chan
Knives watched, impassively, as they took Steve away. His face was blank, but his thoughts were furious.
That…scum! he thought heatedly. What kind of creature would take advantage of one of his companions like that?! He looked toward Mary. Mary…no one deserves to be…attacked like that. His eyebrows arched downward just the slightest bit. Damn humans…only they would take advantage of each other like that. They rape, steal, murder…all for their own good. They're all at fault, no matter how good they think they are. Even…even her. His thoughts turned to Rem, the woman who was the closest thing to a mother the twins ever had. She thinks her ideals are so perfect. They sound so pretty…but there's nothing farthest from the truth! There's no way you can preserve all life! There's no way you can make everyone happy! For some people to be happy, others must be miserable! That's just how it is!
He looked toward his brother, and his thoughts lightened, a slight smile gracing his face. Brother…Vash…you so innocent, so pure in your emotions. You love unconditionally…so different from them. No matter how selfless they act, the only true motive humans have for "helping" each other is self-gain. Whether they know it or not. His thoughts darkened again. They're trying to destroy you…to bend you to their ways. I don't know about the others, but that woman almost has you pegged! You'd do anything she asked you, without even thinking! I can't believe she's got you so brainwashed!
Knives suddenly turned and walked quickly out of the room, toward his and Vash's bedroom. He heard Vash turn as well and follow him out, calling for him to stop. He ignored his twin, not looking back, not slowing down at all. He got almost to the door when two arms wrapped around his waist and halted his progress.
"Knives!" Vash said, sounding troubled. "What's wrong? You're so angry! Why?"
Knives sighed, taking a step forward and breaking his brother's hold on him. There was no point in keeping his anger from Vash. The twins could sense each other's emotions like reading a book. But, Vash probably wouldn't like the reason for Knives' anger, so there was nothing wrong with concealing that, if doing so spared Vash some anxiety.
"I'm just upset that Steve took advantage of Mary like that," Knives half-lied. "Nobody has the right to do that."
"Yeah," Vash agreed, sounding saddened. "I feel so sorry for her." He looked queerly at Knives. "You don't hate Steve, do you? Rem said that no one should hate anyone, no matter what has happened."
Knives felt a surge of rage at those words. He absolutely hated it when Vash started a sentence with "Rem said…"
"Knives?!" Vash asked, upset at the sudden rising of his brother's anger. "What is it?!"
Knives forced himself to calm down. "Nothing," he said quickly, then turned toward the door and went inside the room without another word. He crossed over to the bed he and Vash shared, and lay down on his side, facing the wall. It wasn't "nighttime," according to the ship's chronometers, but Knives felt like lying down at the moment.
He didn't say anything when he felt Vash get on the bed and lay down next to him. Knives turned over and looked at his twin.
"It's okay, Knives," Vash said quietly. "Don't be so angry. It scares me when you get like that. You're usually so calm. Anger just isn't like you, really."
Knives sighed again and closed his eyes. If only things could be as simple as Rem is trying to teach us. You don't know how much I dread bursting your bubble and showing you the truth. I'd do anything other than cause you such shock and pain, if it was avoidable. Sadly…it's not.
Knives stood, shaking, his eyes wide, the gun in his hand pointed straight at Captain Joey's forehead. First, Steve had raped Mary. Then, Rowan killed Steve…then Mary. Joey had just killed Rowan. Everything had just confirmed his beliefs. Humans were self-serving trash that were only out for their own gain. They didn't care what happened to others.
The human in front of him stood still, watching him. He seemed to understand that you didn't back someone with a gun pointed at you into a corner. It only agitated them, and made them more likely to shoot.
That's another thing! Knives thought heatedly. Rem, you idiot! You'd probably be dead now, too, if Joey didn't send Rowan out the airlock! Another thing he absolutely loathed humans for was their almost insane level of stupidity.
Still, he hated humans so much…why couldn't he bring himself to pull the trigger? All he could do was stand there, the laser sights focused on the captain's forehead. He looked past Joey and saw the screen on which could be seen Rem and Vash still in the room where Rowan had shot Mary to death. Rem was curled into a ball against the wall, crying, and Vash was trying to comfort her.
It's because you don't want Vash to hate you, a voice said in his head. If Vash found out you killed with your own hands, he may very well hate you.
Shut up! Knives thought back, gripping the gun tighter. Vash would never hate me! We're too close to hate each other! Besides, this is for his own good!
Vash may not see it that way, the voice said. And, if he didn't hate you, he would at least be very wary of you, and wouldn't allow you to get so close to him anymore.
Knives squeezed his eyes shut. He didn't want that. He wouldn't be able to bear Vash pushing him away. He'd rather die than have that happen. He floundered for a moment. Part of him wanted so much to wipe out the accursed human race from existence, but the other part didn't want to risk alienating his brother like that.
He suddenly fell to his knees, the gun dropping to the floor. "What do I do? What do I do?" he sobbed to himself. The two conflicting desires were both so deep, they were almost literally waging war in his mind. He wanted to…he wanted to…
What did he want?
He felt a hand on his shoulder, causing him to jump. Joey had come forward, and seemed to be trying to comfort the boy.
Knives skidded backward, stumbling to his feet. "Don't touch me!" he practically screamed, and ran out of the room without another word.
He ran through the ship's halls, not looking were he was going. He merely ran, turning corners at random, hoping he ended up somewhere where he could straighten out his thoughts. He ended up in the room that housed Plant Two. All he could do was stand in the doorway, looking up at the Plant's huge clear bulb. She was so beautiful, surrounded by the radiant light like she was. He walked up to her, climbing up to where he could touch the bulb, and leaned his forehead against the glasslike substance.
"Why can't I think straight?" he asked himself. "My intentions were so clear before. Now, I can't decide what I even want right now."
Child, a voice whispered into his mind.
Knives startled and almost fell over backwards. He looked up at the Plant, who had just made mental contact with him.
You… he sent back. It was you talking to me, wasn't it? He was greatly surprised. He had thought it was his conscience talking to him, not one of the other Plants.
Yes, she answered. It was I.
Have you been spying on my thoughts?! Knives demanded, suddenly feeling defensive.
No, little one, she replied. But, you're emotions were so high, I do believe every Plant on board felt them. Your brother probably didn't come running like he normally does, because of his confusion over recent events, and his own emotions. He said himself he was scared of you when you were so angry, did he not?
Yes, Knives admitted, wondering how the Plant knew so much if she was stuck here. Then again, there were video and audio sensors all over the place. She probably had as much access to what they recorded as anyone else.
Come inside, she suddenly suggested. Knives hesitated, feeling a little afraid. She seemed to smile at him. Don't worry. The stuff inside here is only dangerous to humans. You don't think they would stick Plants in it if it was dangerous to us, do you?
No, Knives replied, feeling a little dense for not thinking of that. He started toward the hatch that was used to take the Plants in and out of the bulbs, if they needed to be moved, but she stopped him.
Take your clothes off first, she said. They'd only disintegrate in here. No point in ruining good clothes.
Knives hesitated again, but then shrugged it off. The Plants didn't really have any qualms over nudity. They didn't make any effort to hide themselves from the eyes of others, no matter who was looking at them, and they didn't wear a stitch on their bodies. He and Vash didn't seem as shy as the humans about it, either. He quickly stripped, dropping his clothes on the floor. He shivered a bit, the cold air of the Plant chamber suddenly biting into his small, slim body. He walked up to the hatch, opened it, and felt himself fairly pulled inside, the hatch closing after him.
It was warm in here. Bright, too, but not so bright as to make him have to squint. He could see the Plant quite clearly, now. She was tall and slender, floating freely in the strange substance that filled the bulb. She was relatively young, he observed. Her wings were not so big as those he had seen on the some of the other Plants on the ship. The ship's database had said that, at about the age of ten years, Plants started growing wings, making them look similar to angels. The wings sprouted suddenly, then grew slowly for about fifty years. At about the age of sixty, they stopped, no matter how big or small they were. Before and after that period of wing growth, age could only be told by looking at the Plant's statistics in the computer. This Plant, though, had relatively small wings, making her look about fifteen years old, or so. Knives and Vash had always wondered if they would start growing wings at ten years old, of if their living like humans would prevent it, considering the fact that they were not living like other Plants at all.
He floated up toward her, not really sure if his forward momentum was due to some action of his, or something else. Soon, he was right in front of her, less than three feet away. He closed that small distance and lightly touched her face, his own eyes wide. He had never been so close to another of his kind, save his brother.
It is an honor to meet you, young Knives, the Plant sent to him, smiling. You and your brother…you look just like your father.
Knives drew back automatically, caught completely off guard by that statement. Our fa-father?! he repeated.
Yes, the Plant said, sounding a little amused. I suppose I should have told you this right up front. Plant Three is your father, young one, and I am your mother.
Knives could only stare. Our…our mother?! B-but…why didn't they tell us?!
I don't know, his mother replied. But, don't question it. You know now, that's all that matters. She smiled again at her son's speechlessness. Do you know how Plants reproduce, seeing as they're usually alone in these bulbs?
Knives shook his head dumbly. He had never looked that up, and had never asked.
When a new Plant is needed, she explained, the humans put a male and a female together in a special chamber outside of these bulbs, and hope the female gets pregnant. I do believe that's how it's been done for—
Barbaric! Knives mentally spat. That's how they breed animals!
That's how things are done, she replied. There's no other way.
Knives pushed down his indignity for the moment, not really wanting to cause a scene in here. So, he asked instead, why aren't Vash and I in bulbs like this one, if Plants are bred when a new one is needed?
It turned out that you weren't needed after all, she told him. The Plant that showed signs of dying suddenly improved greatly, but I had already conceived you two. They couldn't very well end the pregnancy without endangering my life. Abortions on Plants are much more risky than abortions on humans, for some reason. Oh! And, you two were the first twins born to a Plant. It was unheard of before. You two are also the first Plants to live as humans, period.
Knives was silent, taking all this in.
Now, for the reason I was speaking in your head and why I brought you in here, she continued. You couldn't bring yourself to kill, because you don't want to risk Vash's hatred. You know very well that the knowledge of you killing would devastate him, and you don't want that.
N-no, Knives admitted. But, I need to rid him of the humans! All they do is take advantage of others, and they're trying to do that with Vash! I can't let that happen!
Knives, his mother said, that's not how the humans are. Take Rem Saverem. She cares about you two like you are her own sons. Surely you see that.
A front! he insisted. She cares for no one but herself, just like the other humans.
That's not true, Knives, and I think you know that, she said, looking straight into his eyes.
She's not the only one that's at fault! he mentally cried, his anger rising. All humans are like that! They do horrible things to others at the drop of a hat! They lie, cheat, steal, rape, murder…
That is just human nature, his mother explained. All peoples have flaws, and those are the humans' flaws. They were like that when they were just barely evolved from apes, and they will be like that for the rest of time. Besides, that description does not represent the majority at all. Most humans have a kind and generous heart. They're actions may not convey that all the time, but it is true.
If they're so kind and loving, Knives sent snidely, then why are they enslaving our people, forcing them into a life of servitude, stuck in these enclosed chambers until the day they die?!
That is our purpose, Knives, his mother sent back. We were created to provide energy to the humans. You and your brother are fortunate to have the opportunity to do something else, but the rest of us are content with our role in life. I am, your father is, all the Plants are. We take satisfaction in helping the humans live prosperous lives. If you were living the normal life of a Plant, you would be content as well, I'm sure.
Knives stared at her, incredulous, his mouth slightly open. C…content?! You don't mean—
None of us, to my knowledge, wish to change our situation in life, Knives, she gently cut him off, as he was struggling for words. You are the only one, and you have never experienced it.
But…but, a creature should be free! he stammered.
It is not our purpose, she patiently explained. We are satisfied with our place, as I have said, my son. I have also said that you and your brother are fortunate to be able to follow a different path, but it does not change the intended fate of all the others.
Knives felt like he was going to cry. B-but…I only wanted to—
Learn to accept the humans, Knives, she replied, touching his cheek. You will see they are so much more than what you think of them now. Do it for Vash, if no one else.
Vash, Knives mused quietly, so quietly his mother could barely hear him. Is he truly happy with his life? Are all the other Plants truly happy? He sounded subdued, like he was surrendering after a long, hard struggle. He face was twisted the same way it was before he shed tears, though that was not too often.
You know it is true, she sent, cupping his chin and making him meet her eyes. It's impossible to lie through mental communication. I wouldn't be able to lie to you, even if I wanted to.
His lower lip was visibly trembling, and even his thoughts sounded choked. And…I almost destroyed his happiness, didn't I? I almost…I didn't mean to! I…I wanted to preserve his happiness! Not destroy it!
Oh, Knives, she soothed, pulling him to her and holding him gently. It's all right. You stopped yourself in time. Shh. Don't cry, my son.
The young boy had wrapped his arms around her neck, crying silently against the crook where the shoulder and neck converged. His tears disappeared in the Plant substance, separating into individual molecules and mixing with the overall composition. He had not let someone hold him like this when he cried for many months. Not even Vash could easily touch him when he was upset enough to cry.
After a while, his crying slowed, then ceased altogether. He pulled away from his mother, absentmindedly wiping tears away, though there were no tears left on his face to speak of. He looked about ready curl in on himself for a moment, but suddenly raised his head and smiled almost shyly.
I…guess I should say…thank you, Mother, he sent finally. I…I never realized just how much I'd hurt Vash if I went through with my plans concerning humans. I…I'll try to like them…at least, I'll get along with them, for his sake. But…I don't know if I can. Uncertainty settled in his eyes.
His mother returned his smile, only more warmly than his. You can. I know you can, Knives. You are one that can accomplish anything, if you only set your mind to it.
Knives nodded, but he still had a shadow of doubt in his thoughts.
Knives! A third consciousness suddenly broke into their awarenesses. Where are you?! I can't find you anywhere! Answer me! Vash was searching almost frantically for his brother. Knives had exited the airlock room quite a while ago, and had not been seen by anybody but the captain since.
Go to him, Knives, his mother told him. No sense making them all worry any more than they already are.
Yeah, he replied, descending to the hatch. He exited the bulb and quickly redressed. It was cold indeed in the Plant room. Before he ran out, he looked back up to the now faint outline of his mother. Once again…thank you.
He sped through the halls, back to where the others were. I can do this, he thought to himself. I can do this. I can do this. I will do this…for you, Brother.
Vash and Knives lay in the grass in the recreation room, staring aimlessly at the "clouds." They were about two feet apart, their heads level with each other, their feet pointed in opposite directions. They only had to turn their heads toward each other to look into each other's faces and speak.
It had been a year and a half since the near-disaster. The twins were full-grown now—they had been for about a year—and were easily head-and-shoulders above Rem. They were taller than every one of the crewmembers, actually.
Rem and Joey were the only original crewmembers still working, as the other three had been killed. Those three had been replaced by backup crewmembers, who had been awakened from cold-sleep the day following their deaths. They had all taken a liking to the twins, unlike their predecessors, and Vash had immediately attached to them. Knives, as well, came to like them, though not so enthusiastically as his brother, thanks to the fact that they didn't look upon him and Vash as little monsters, fit only to be kicked around and otherwise ignored. Knives had more than once wondered why these particular people weren't put on duty at first. Things would have been so much easier, and three people wouldn't have lost their lives like they did.
Every once in a while, no matter where they were in the ship, the twins would strike up a casual conversation with their parents. The conversations never got very serious or deep, for they didn't want to distract the Plants from their job of powering the ship. The conversation Plant Two had had with Knives a year and a half ago almost caused a blackout in the part of the ship she powered until she returned her concentration to her work.
"Knives?" Vash said, breaking into Knives' half-conscious state. Knives had been almost asleep in the grass, and he awoke with a physical jolt. "Aw…I'm sorry," Vash apologized.
"Forget it," Knives replied, closing his eyes again, but taking care not to start to slide again. "What do you want?"
"Do you think we'll find a planet good to colonize soon?"
"Hmm…I really don't know." Knives opened his eyes and sat up, and Vash followed suit. "We could be in space like this for another week, another month, another year, who knows? Or, we could set down tomorrow. The only sure thing is, that we'll find someplace sometime, no matter how long it takes."
Vash sighed. "I wish we knew. It's so much better to look forward to something if you at least know when it'll be."
Knives ran a hand through his hair. Vash's hair was about the same length as it had been after Rem gave him his first haircut a year and a half ago, but Knives had let his hair grow a bit, and it had been about the same length as Vash's for several months. Only, he let it hang down, still making them relatively easy to distinguish from each other.
"Boys!" they heard Rem call from the door, which wasn't too far off. "Get back to your room! It's about time for lights out, and you know how the captain is if anyone is out of their rooms after that!"
Vash sighed and Knives rolled his eyes. Joey didn't care how late you stayed up after lights out, as long as you did it in your room. But, it was against rules to be outside your room afterwards, and the captain had made that quite clear. Some, including Vash, had to learn that the hard way, by getting caught sneaking out for some reason or another. Neither twin really wanted to break rules, and this one was a sensible one, but they thought the captain could be a little nicer if someone happened to infringe upon it.
As they walked through the door, Vash a few paces in front of Knives, Rem was waiting for them to bid them goodnight. Vash responded in kind with a smile, and continued on his way, but Rem put a hand on Knives' arm, stopping him. He looked down at her, a question in his eyes. He didn't hate this woman like he used to, but he still had a dislike for her ideals and ways for dealing with things.
"Knives," she began, "I've noticed that, for about the past eighteen months, you've been so different than you were the first year of your life. You're so much more at ease with people, and not so standoffish. You're still much more reserved than your brother, but not nearly as much as you used to be." Knives stayed silent, letting her speak without interruptions. She looked directly at him. "I just want to say thank you. Vash seems so much happier now. He doesn't have the perpetual apprehension about you that he used to have."
"Mm," Knives replied, nodding once. Rem and the other humans didn't know about the twins' communications with Plants Two and Three, and there really was no reason to tell them now. It was the twins' shared secret. He said nothing else, merely continuing after his brother, who was now about halfway to their room. He raised a hand as a reply to Rem's goodnight, but stayed silent. His mind was on other things than a goodnight.
I did it, he thought to himself. I've accepted them. I still dislike them a bit, but I don't hate them anymore. I actually did it…for you, Brother.Owari
Author's Notes: Yes, I know this story totally nullifies Trigun, and that may make some of you wish to kill me, and I'm truly sorry about that. I know it means Legato, Midvalley, Milly, Meryl, Nicholas, and all the other characters will be very different than in the anime/manga (some or all may not even end up existing O_o), and I'm sorry for that, too. I just wanted to tell what would have happened, in my opinion, if Knives had never brought the fleet down. Plus, I'm a sucker for giving angsty characters a break every now and then, and Vash certainly qualifies as an angsty character. This way, he's spared all the pain that was caused by Knives' actions. I hope I didn't make the fact that Plants Two and Three are the twins' parents too farfetched. Did I? Oh, and this story may be interpreted as having hints of twincest, and, though I didn't intend it that way, I don't care how you see it. Please leave a review, or let me know how you like this story at firstname.lastname@example.org, onegai shimasu!