This is a story I started about a year ago and have recently returned to working on. If there's enough interest, I'll keep posting chapters.

I wanted to play with writing Trigun's main character, so here you have: Behind Glowing Eyes.

Behind These Glowing Eyes

Chapter One: Sweet Intoxication

WARRENS CITY

The girl sat in a dark doorway across from the Saloon. She was use to being alone, but the joy and laughter that emanated from the brightly lit bar cut her deeply. She gazed at the silhouettes of the merry townsfolk with tear-filled eyes. But she wouldn't cry, she wouldn't give them the satisfaction of knowing they had hurt her.

She had always been the oddball in the town, the one who didn't quite fit in. But she was okay with that. She was glad she had been born and raised to have a keen eye and be very perceptive. She was grateful to have had parents who taught her to look for the good in everyone, and to be herself, no matter what others thought.

But that didn't mean she liked being the laughingstock of the town.

So her short, bleach-blonde hair usually had an inch of brown roots showing, so what? Why was that something they should mock her for? She was always kind to them, always helpful when they brought things into her shop for her to fix. She didn't charge exorbitant prices for her goods or services like others in the town did, just because they had no competition.

But the people of Warrens City didn't seem to care about that. Even now two women laughed openly at her as they entered the Saloon. She snorted in disgust.

"You may laugh at me," she whispered, "but I know the only happiness you find is in the bottom of a bottle."

She bit her lip and ducked her head to hide the few tears that leaked from her ice blue eyes. She didn't know why she cried for them, but it made her immensely sad to see people that miserable.

Clearing her throat, she wiped her eyes and brushed the tears from her leather pants, and went back to watching the shadows on the wall of the bar.

In a few moments, she heard a raucous, drunken laughter. She actually smiled at the sound, hearing in it the first sounds of true joy she had heard in eons. And her smile grew wider as she caught sight of the man the voice belonged to.

He was dressed in red from neck to foot, with a black sleeve on his left arm. His blonde hair was spiked straight up, and a pair of yellow sunglasses rested on his forehead. His gorgeous green eyes were slightly bloodshot, and he stumbled out of the double doors laughing until he landed on his rump in the middle of the street.

The girl snickered at that, hiding her face behind her hand as the man again tried to rise, only to stumble and fall again, laughing merrily all the while. She closed her eyes and shook with silent laughter.

Until something landed heavily in her lap.

With a gasp she opened her eyes to find herself staring into those of the man in red.

"Well, hello there," he said cheerily, smiling up at her.

"Um… Hi." She frowned, unsure what to do. The man had landed so that his head was in her lap while the rest of his body sprawled down the stairs of her shop's stoop.

He let out a loud laugh, his breath smelling terrible of alcohol. "Is that the best you can do? Hi?"

"Sir, I do believe you are drunk." She fanned the air in front of her nose to get rid of the smell.

"What do you mean?" He grinned foolishly as he moved off her lap and propped himself up on one elbow beside her.

She smiled as his casual manner. "I mean, I think you've had too much to drink, sir."

"What's with calling me 'sir'?" He winked and then lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. "A pretty lady like you can just call me Vash."

It was her turn to laugh at him. "Like the Stampede?"

He gazed at her a moment, his green eyes clearing slightly. "Can you keep a secret?"

"Sure." She replied. Who would she tell? She had no friends in this town, and this man wasn't a local. She'd never seen him around before.

"I am Vash the Stampede."

She burst into laughter.

The man frowned. "No, ma'am. I'm serious."

His tone caught her off guard. He certainly sounded serious. She flushed crimson.

"I'm – I'm so sorry I laughed at you, sir." She turned her head away. How foolish of her to have laughed at him. How could she have treated him the way others treated her?

He reached a gentle hand up to turn her head back toward him. "Hey, it's okay."

The gentleness of his touch and his tone touched her greatly. She sniffed back tears as she gazed into his eyes.

"You've been laughed at before," he stated, his tone part empathetic, part angered.

"Everyday. But that's not your problem, Mr. Vash." She offered him a smile she didn't quite feel.

"Is that why you weren't inside, celebrating with the rest of the town?"

She nodded, reaching up and taking the gloved hand he still had on her cheek.

"I heard that Frank Marlin had come out of retirement, and that he and some stranger had saved the town."

The man called Vash grinned up her. "I guess I'm guilty as charged."

Her eyes widened. "You?! You were the one who stood up to those bandits?"

He nodded so fiercely his glasses fell back into place on his nose, then slid to the end, almost falling off.

Before she could stop herself she leaned down and kissed the stranger soundly. She felt him tense at her sudden action, but he quickly relaxed and returned the gesture. He tasted of cheap whiskey and smelled nearly as bad, but she didn't care.

"What was that for?" he asked quietly when she pulled away from him.

She swallowed hard, blushing furiously. "I – Um, well, you see…. My parents. They were killed in a bandit raid a while back."

Sadness filled the strange man's eyes as he saw her for the strong young woman she was.

"Thank you for saving the town, Mr. Vash," she whispered. "I would have hated for another child to have their parents taken from them as I did."

"You're very welcome." He reached up and gently stroked her cheek. "I hate to see pain." Like I see in your eyes.

"As do I," she replied.

"It's awful late for a woman to be out alone. Can I walk you home?" Vash asked, perking up suddenly, trying to lift their spirits.

"Actually, it wouldn't be far to walk. This is my shop. I live just up the stairs," she laughed. "Where are you staying, Mr. Vash? In your current state I don't think I should let you walk home alone."

"I – I'm – Um…" He rubbed the back of his neck nervously and looked embarrassed. "I'm not staying anywhere, actually."

The girl stood and reached down to help him to his feet.

"Well, the least I can offer our town's savior is my spare room." She smiled. "So long as you promise to behave yourself."

He laughed. "I promise. After all that booze all I want to do is sleep anyway," Vash said, taking her hand and allowing her to help him steady himself. "What did you say your name was again?"

"I didn't," she replied.

"Well, then, what is it?"

"Ren."

Vash instantly sobered. "What?!"

"I said my name was Ren. It means water lily." She smiled, ignoring his outburst.

"Oh. Ren… I though you said – Nevermind." He frowned in thought.

"Come on, you silly man. I think you had way too much tonight."

He laughed with her as she lead him up to her spare room and then departed to her own bed.