Hi, I'm Akai and this is my first serious story so I'll try my best to stay in character. Hope you enjoy!

# # #

"This is the only way to do it!" Nicholas D Wolfwood coughs. "Bandage me, Tongari!" Lying on the floor, he hacks up more blood through his mouth and nose. "Yurgh-" Nicholas crumples into a ball and waits silently for Vash to help him.

Vash sighs and rolls his friend over, searching for the shots, hoping upon hope there are exit wounds. He finds two bloody lesions: one bullet went through the skin of Wolfwood's left arm; the other remains somewhere buried within his left shoulder. "There's nothing to clean it with," Vash frowns. "I'll staunch the bleeding, but you need to get back to the girls for help."

"No." Nicholas tries to sit up and only manages to prop himself slightly with his right hand. "Just tie something on and get going. I'll get it fixed-You need to go deal with Chapel and Cain. Legato's here somewhere, too."

"I'm not going to leave you!" Vash exclaims. He tears off a few pieces of his shirt and deftly ties them around Nicholas's upper torso. "This should help, but you need to get back."

Sure enough of his returning strength, Nicholas now manages to get up higher and punch Vash weakly. "They need to think I'm dead or this won't end. I need to get out of here and you need to go deal with Knives."

"How do you-"

"I can't tell you that right now," Nicholas characteristically dodges the question as he flexes and raises his left arm and hand a few times and finds them barely usable but still mobile. "Help me up."

Vash gets behind the priest and lifts his midsection to get Nicholas into a standing position. A folded paper is shoved in his face. "Take this," Nicholas tells him, wiping blood off his face. Vash raises an eyebrow. "Open it after it's done. It says where to find me. Make sure Milly gets the information." Nicholas looks away quickly and his eyes rest on his Punisher. "Take that with you. You'll need it. I can't carry it anymore, anyways."

Nicholas takes a few wobbly steps away from Vash. "We both have unfinished business. You need to go. Now. I'm dead to all of you; remember that." He shakes his head to clear it. The blood loss has had an obvious drag on his vigor. "I'll get away under cover of the fight."

Vash stares curiously at the paper, but quickly turns to admonish the other man once more. "That's-" It is too late. Nicholas is already gone.