A More Perfect Union
The sandsteamer was late again.
Not the usual sort of late, either - five minutes, a few hours, the kind of delay everyone on the planet was quite used to.
No, the steamer was nearly a day and a half late, and the small girl was approaching utter frenzy.
Granted, everything had gone wrong during the last few days. The aforementioned steamer was late, and the hotel they'd holed up in was filthy, with a perverted manager, to boot. As if this weren't enough, their finances had dipped so low that they'd been forced to wash dishes for the privilege of finishing other people's half-eaten meals.
Vash sighed, and leaned back in the worn old bench, gazing into the pale sky above. A while ago, the big girl had gone off to exchange the last of their money for water, leaving him in front of the station, alone, with an irate and possibly highly dangerous Meryl.
"Senpai's really upset, but I'm sure you can think of something, Vash-san!" she'd told him, a suspicious gleam in her eye. "After all, you know her better than anybody!" She couldn't have been more obvious if she'd thrown in a wink and a nudge... and it was taking her an awfully long time to get that water.
Probably because she could hear Meryl quite clearly, all the way down the block.
"I don't believe this! Can't anyone on this planet ever be on time?" She'd been pacing for a while, back and forth, stiff-legged with anger, at such a remarkably quick pace that her voice seemed to track along with her. By the time she was finished with her current stream of vitriol, it had met his left ear, then his right, and finally his left again. It reminded him somewhat of the "surround sound" movies that Knives had loved so much, when they were children. That, and the "doppler effect" that Rem had demonstrated, using those same speakers.
It was making him rather dizzy. "Insurance girl, sit still!"
She increased her pace. "How I can sit still? We've been doing nothing but sitting still for two whole days! I can't stand it anymore! When is this planet going to get some order?" That last was nearly shouted; Vash took desperate measures, before she could attract angry townspeople.
"Meryl!" he said loudly, bringing her to a halt.
"WHAT?" she snarled. Despite himself, he cringed, just a bit.
"Calm down, it's just a steamer," he said. "It'll be here eventually, and then we'll go. It's not like we have to be somewhere on time..."
She sighed. "It is not 'just a steamer', Vash. This entire world makes no sense. Nobody does anything they're supposed to. Everyone just runs around, doing" - here she snorted angrily - "things, and no one ever thinks of what's best for everyone. Why can't someone do something about this?" She gave one last angry huff, threw up her hands, and then hopped up beside him on the bench, her head hung in frustration.
Vash switched into Gallant Mode, driven by long experience in Meryl's anger patterns. Once she reached the "quietly seething" phase, immediate intervention was necessary, before she could proceed into the dreaded "you're not getting any" stage.
"Sweetie," he began.
He gulped. "Um... howcouldanyonefixit?" She glared, but seemed receptive, so he continued. "It's not like the Feds aren't doing everything they can-"
"The Feds!" she cried, her tone dripping with incredulity. "They're only interested in eating donuts and fighting amongst themselves for bounties. They don't do a thing!" Vash was busy drooling over the theoretical donuts, but he managed to regain the thread of conversation fast enough to dodge her wrath.
"Who else could do it? They're the only ones in charge of stuff like order, right?"
She frowned. "If they're not going to do it, then we need someone else. Somebody strong, who won't just cave under pressure." She paused, and Vash could almost see the gears turning behind her eyes. "Hey, I know! You can do it!"
He spluttered. "ME? What?" She grinned.
"You could! The Feds couldn't stand up to you, you could take over and make things better!"
"I couldn't... I mean, I..." He shook his head. "NO! I can't just go around conquering things!"
"I mean it," she said. "You could do it, you're Vash the Stampede! They can't beat you." He gulped, and glanced around for any panicking locals, but of course the street was empty. No sane person would ever sit outside in the heat of the day.
Which, of course, left him, and the woman who was currently looking at him with visions of imposed order floating in her starry eyes.
"We could conscript an army, and put up better buildings, and have rules, and the steamers would run on time! And we could have uniforms! White uniforms!" Vash blinked. Not the historical color choice, certainly, but then again, she'd always liked white.
"I just can't, Meryl. Even if it would work - which I don't think it would - that kind of thing is just bad. Earth history is full of that sort of thing, and you know how it is with Earth history. I'd mess it up for sure." She looked somewhat sad, but thoughtful.
"Besides," he added gently, "Are you sure you'd trust me with that?"
She blinked. "Vash, I'm sleeping with you," she said quietly. "Next to that, total government control is inconsequential."
His heart flopped over in his chest. "Meryl, I... what I mean is... you..."
"Yes?" she asked, leaning a little closer.
"Oh, Meryl!" he squealed, grabbing her up in a tight hug. "You may be a fascist, but you're MY little fascist!"
She squirmed. "H-hey! Who are you calling, 'little'?"
heh. I got to thinking about Meryl's somewhat utilitarian worldview, and the completely not-utilitarian world they live in, and suddenly Subtitled!Meryl was running in circles in my brain, holding her head and yelling, "IYA! SEKAI WA BARA BARA DESU YO... IYAAAA~!"
I had to write this, she gave me no choice ^__^