Kiyomisa: Hey every one! My second Trigun fic! Angsty Millie/Wolfwood and a little comedic Vash/Meryl on the side. It was supposed to be angsty, but I normally write fluff and comdey, so...anyways enjoy the fic!
Meryl watched Vash and Knives with a content smile. After the final battle, Knives had taken months to fully recover. Although his memories were foggy and patchy, he remembered enough to know that he'd caused Vash years of pain. Those memories were enough to give the man nightmares every night.
Right now Knives was playing a game of cards with Vash and Millie, while Meryl finished typing her latest report for the Bernadelli insurance agency.
"Man! You win again! How d'you do it Knives?" Vash said as he tossed down his hand. Knives shook his head and smiled.
"Luck of the draw I guess."
"Mmmmm…. nope!" Millie piped up after looking at Knive's hand. The brothers blinked and looked at her.
"What do you mean 'nope'?" Knives demanded
Millie revealed her hand with a flourish and a giggle. "I win!"
Vash started laughing. Knives blinked again and looked at Millie's smiling face. He groaned and let his head fall to the table.
"How? How did she get that hand?" Knives moaned.
"The one hand that could beat yours and she got it! How'd you do it Mil?" Vash asked.
Millie tilted her head to the side. "Y'know, I'm not sure. I was staring at the cards and something told me to trade in three of them. So I did."
It was Meryl's turn to laugh. "Millie was just letting you guys win before. I've never seen her lose that game in my life. She's as good at it as she is at chess."
Knives looked at her reproachfully. "You mean you were letting me win?"
Millie blinked. "I was? Gee, that doesn't sound like me."
"Here Millie, have some pudding," Vash said, sliding her the little plastic cup. Millie giggled in delight and became thoroughly entranced in the chocolate goodness.
* * *
Vash and Meryl went out to get groceries the next day, leaving Knives with Millie to learn another game.
"Y'know, I'm surprised Vash. You haven't tried to ditch us for six months now," Meryl commented teasingly.
Vash grinned "That's because Knives can't cook."
"He's learning quickly though," Meryl replied with a laugh.
Then his face became serious, green eyes darkening. "Besides, you guys are a good influence on him. The nightmares aren't as frequent any more."
Meryl glanced at him sympathetically and opened her mouth to reply when:
"Hey, c'mon! I won fair and square, you gotta give me free passage on the bus!"
The two companions almost broke their necks swiveling their heads to look at the speaker. A fairly young man with black hair that fell recklessly into his eyes, which were covered with sunglasses, was arguing with a traveling agent over a chessboard. He was wearing a white dress shirt with the top three buttons unbuttoned and the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, and dark blue dress pants.
"Wolfwood!!?" Meryl and Vash called out in disbelief. The young man turned to look at them.
"Hunh? Are you talking to me?"
"Wolfwood, you're alive!?" Vash demanded as he and Meryl rushed over to him. He took off his sunglasses and peered at them with his ocean-blue eyes.
"Well, I can't argue against the fact that I'm alive, but my name's Felix."
"Don't you recognize us? It's me, Vash! And Meryl," Vash continued. Meryl placed a gentle hand on his arm and Vash looked at her. She shook her head slightly with a sad look in her eyes. Vash's grimaced and stepped back. Meryl turned to Felix.
"I'm sorry. It's just that you look exactly like a friend of ours that died a few months ago. It's been…hard for us to adjust. "
Felix's eyes darkened. "I'm sorry," he paused, "If it's not too painful, how long ago did he die?"
"Eight months, I think. A lot has happened since then," Meryl replied, since tears had begun to fill Vash's eyes. The gunman had taken Wolfwood's death as hard as Millie had, and he'd never quite had time for a grieving period.
"Sorry for the inconvenience," Vash muttered. Felix shook his head.
"No inconvenience. Actually, you might be able to help me," he said in Wolfwood's husky voice. Meryl looked at him quizzically. "Y'see, I have amnesia-"
"Amnesia!" Vash breathed in sharply.
"-And you two knew someone who looked just like me, so I was wondering if maybe we could talk about him…" he trailed off and shrugged nervously.
Meryl and Vash glanced at each other. Then Vash nodded slowly. "All right. But I thought you were trying to get on a bus?"
Felix shrugged. "I wander. Don't have a family or job that I know of, so it's not like I have a schedule."
"Why don't you have dinner with us then," Meryl invited with a smile. Felix grinned, and she was struck by how much he looked like Wolfwood.
* * *
"You win again," Millie encouraged Knives. He hadn't quite caught on to the idea of BS yet, but he was still beating her hands-down. He smiled.
How did he ever do all those awful things? Millie briefly wondered. He's so nice. More serious than Mr. Vash, but still nice.
"We're back!" Meryl's voice called out. Millie jumped up and rushed to greet them.
"Great! Did you get more puddi-" she halted at the sight of a ghost from her past. She stared as Knives came to join them.
"Oh yeah. Millie, Knives, this is Felix. He has amnesia…he's hoping we can help him," Vash said.
"Hiya. My, aren't you a big girl." Felix grinned warmly as he extended a hand to Millie. She didn't take it. Instead she turned and ran into her room, slamming the door shut.
"Please excuse her, she...cared deeply for Wolfwood," she heard Meryl say.
I loved him, Millie thought sorrowfully, as tears began to run down her cheeks. And he had to go and die the day after we... She shook her head. No. It wasn't right to blame him. Legato Bluesummers had been the one that had pulled the trigger, and he was dead now. And there was no sense in living in the past.
"I shouldn't have come. I'm sorry I talked you into this," Wolfwood, no, Felix, said. His voice sounded the same, and it washed over Millie like an electrical current.
"She'll be all right. Millie's strong," Knives replied.
"I'll go talk to her," Vash said, and Millie could hear his footsteps come closer to her door. He knocked softly.
"Yes, Mr. Vash?" Millie asked. She hated the quaver in her voice, and she tried desperately to stop crying.
"Can I come in?" he requested gently.
"Are you okay?"
Millie shook her head.
"You're upset because he looks like Wolfwood."
"Millie, Felix has amnesia. He's had it for seven months. He said he woke up in a bed with lots of bandages on him and no memory."
"He's not Mr. Wolfwood."
"No one said he was," Vash murmured as he drew Millie into a comforting hug.
"But you're going to. You'll say 'look at all of the coincidences. He has to be Mr. Wolfwood.' Just because he looks and sounds like him doesn't mean he is," Millie replied stubbornly.
Vash sighed and brushed her hair with gentle fingers. "Then you're not going to talk to him tonight?"
Millie shook her head. "I-I can't."
"All right. I'll see you tomorrow then," Vash kissed the top of her head affectionately and left.
Millie curled up on her bed and tried to go to sleep, but thoughts of Wolfwood ran through her head and she began crying again. The memory of the night before he died played over and over again in her mind. He'd confessed all of his sins to her; his tears had burned her soul. He'd kissed her; his lips had been as soft as velvet. He'd made love to her; his touch had been as gentle as fairy spun moon beams.
Millie eventually cried herself to sleep.
* * *
Felix was up early the next morning, drinking a cup of coffee. He had listened to Meryl and Vash talk about Wolfwood for most of the evening. Knives didn't say much about him; he'd said that he hadn't known the priest all that well.
Felix was amazed at the stories they'd told. Wolfwood sounded a lot like him, except for the guns. Felix had never used a gun that he knew of, and he shuddered at the idea of killing someone. He didn't think he had it in him. He was very fond of children though; he'd almost always played with the local kids in every town he stopped in.
Felix turned at the surprised sound to see the tall young woman who had run from the room the previous evening. She looked very surprised, but her expression quickly changed to one of wariness, almost anger.
"Good morning," he said cheerfully, raising his mug. She shifted uncomfortably and her eyes glanced at the coffeepot. "Want some coffee?" he offered, in hopes of getting her to lower her defenses. She bit her lip uncertainly, and his eyes were immediately drawn to her mouth. It was nicely formed mouth, with a full lower lip and it looked as if it were more used to smiling than frowning. After a moment of indecision, she nodded.
Felix grinned in a way that he hoped was disarming, and poured her a cup. "I don't think we were formally introduced. My name's Felix. What's yours?"
"Millie Thompson," was the mumbled reply.
"Millie…Has a nice ring to it." Felix took a swig of coffee. He watched as Millie sipped hers and made a bitter face.
"Oh, sorry. I don't add anything to mine. Here, let me get you some-"
"That's not necessary, Mr. Felix. I can get them myself," Millie cut in curtly and stood up to get cream and sugar. Felix looked into his mug with a grimace. Damn. She doesn't even want to get to know me. She was the closest one to Wolfwood too…what if I am Wolfwood? I won't know unless she opens up to me.
Millie sat back down in silence and drank her coffee. Her eyes kept shifting to the man sitting on the other side of the table. It wasn't fair. He looked exactly like Wolfwood. But he couldn't be Wolfwood. Wolfwood had died, and that had broken her heart. Millie didn't want to get her hopes up, just to have her heart broken again if those hopes were untrue. But how long could she go on avoiding him? And she didn't want him to think she was rude…although she was sorely tempted to be rude and not talk to him at all.
"What do you do, Mr. Felix?"
He glanced at her with wary eyes, and the cobalt blue orbs sent a tremor through her heart.
"Nothing and everything. I don't have a chosen profession, I just do little jobs here and there to get enough money to eat and head on to the next town."
"Wha-what do you remember?"
He shrugged. "I remember that I like motorcycles and I don't like bullies. Little things like that I remember, but I can't remember any actual events of my life. I didn't even know my name…that's why they called me Felix. They said it meant 'Fortunate' and that I was fortunate to live through what I had."
Millie bit her lip again, and Felix had a strange desire to kiss her uncertainty away.
"I'm sorry about Wolfwood, and I'm sorry that I remind you of him. I-I'm just trying to figure out who I used to be," he said softly.
Her sky-blue eyes turned into ice. "You're not Mr. Wolfwood," she said coldly, stood up and left hastily.
Felix cursed and ran his hand through his hair. That hadn't gone at all like he'd wanted it to.
"That was tactful," Knives said sarcastically from the other doorway. Felix looked at him with an irritated expression.
"Thanks for pointing out the obvious."
Knives sat down from across him and studied him. "You're going to have to learn to be tactful around Millie. She loved Wolfwood. She had barely gotten to know him when he died."
Felix took another drink, got the dregs and grimaced at the bitter taste. "Did Wolfwood love her?"
Knives tilted his head to the side. "I don't really know. I think he might have, but he wasn't very open with his true feelings. He left the others with some bad feelings between them. That's why my brother took it so hard. Meryl didn't know him as well…" Knives trailed off and seemed to be considering something. Felix didn't say anything.
"Hello. You two are up early," Meryl said cheerfully as she entered the room. She paused at the depressed air, then frowned.
"What's the matter with you two?"
"Our friend Felix had a small talk with Millie. It didn't go very well," Knives replied. Meryl groaned.
"I'll go talk to her-"
"No. It's all right. I should've been more gradual about it," Felix said. He pushed his chair back from the table and stood up.
"I'll be back later, if you don't want to kick me out," he said.
"Of course we're not going to kick you out. If we can help you remember…" Meryl stopped and pushed her hopes down.
Felix merely nodded and left through the back screen door.
* * *
Millie had left the house, intent on getting as far away from Felix as she possibly could. She headed for the ice-cream parlor. She should have enough money for a chocolate sunday.
It was closed for remodeling. Millie sat down on a bench dejectedly, with her chin in her hands. She blinked when a chocolate ice-cream cone was pressed into her hand, and she looked up to see Felix standing there, a vanilla-chocolate swirl in the other hand, not looking at her.
Millie took the ice-cream cone and stared at it.
"Isn't chocolate your favorite flavor?" Felix asked after a lick of his own ice cream. Millie glanced at him quickly, then turned her attention back to the ice-cream cone.
"How did you know that? Did Meryl, or Mr. Vash tell you?"
He shook his head and gave her an unreadable look. "No. I just knew. "
Millie shivered and started to eat her cone, as it was beginning to melt.
"So, how did you get involved with someone as dangerous as Vash the Stampede?" he asked conversationally.
"Meryl and I were assigned to assess the damage he caused for the Bernadelli Insurance Agency. He's really very nice, bad things just happen to him."
"So I noticed."
"But he always does his best to save anyone who gets caught in the middle. Like the people in the sky…they were attacked because he was there. Mr. Vash fought the bad guys off as best as he could…"
"But the plants exploded anyway. Those people weren't too friendly to outsiders." Felix finished his ice-cream cone with a crunch. Millie took a bite out of the cone's rim.
"Mr. Vash already told you about it?"
Felix frowned. "He must have, but I don't remember him talking about it."
Millie finished her ice-cream cone slowly while Felix waited patiently.
"C'mon. I'll walk ya home." He offered her his arm. After a moment of hesitation, Millie stood up and took it. Felix's expression became puzzled and he stood still for a moment.
"What is it, Mr. Felix?"
He shook his head and started walking. "Nothing. It's just that I had the strangest feeling that I've done this before…"
It does feel the same. Just like that time we helped that girl, Millie thought to herself. She leaned her head on his shoulder; she couldn't help it. It just felt right.
Felix glanced down at her in surprise but said nothing. As they were nearing the house, he noticed that she was crying quietly. He stopped and turned her towards him.
"It's just…you…I-" Millie shook her head. Felix tilted her head up and brushed some of the tears away with his thumb.
"Hey, it's all right. You can tell me, Big Girl."
Millie began crying even harder and buried her face into his chest. "Why? Why do you have to be so much like him?" she wailed.
Felix was lost. He had no idea what to do, so he just held her close and made soothing noises. He had no answers for her. He wished to God that he had, but he didn't.
They stood like that until Millie finished crying. With a couple of sniffs she wiped her nose and stepped back.
Millie nodded slightly.
"Good. C'mon, let's see ya smile. You have such a pretty smile."
He got a wavering upturn of the lips. He tickled her side and she grinned widely as she laughed involuntarily and pulled away.
"There. That's much better." He thumped her nose and she blinked then shook her head like a cat. He laughed and led her inside.
* * *
One morning, two weeks later, Felix went into the kitchen to find Millie staring groggily at the coffee pot, watching the liquid straining through the grounds and Vash equally groggy just staring blankly into space.
"Hey Vash. What's goin' on in that Needle Noggin of yours?" Felix inquired cheerfully.
"Hunh? Whad'ij'ya call me?" Vash asked sleepily, trying to get his half-lidded eyes to focus on him.
"Needle Noggin. Because you spike your hair," he explained, sitting down at the table. No one seemed to notice that Vash was not yet awake enough to spike his hair, and it fell boyishly into his sleepy green eyes.
"Oh," Vash nodded and accepted his cup of coffee from Millie. She turned to him, now awake. "Coffe Mr. Felix?"
She emphasized his name slightly, and Felix quirked an eyebrow at her but nodded and took the cup.
A motorcycle drove by loudly and Vash winced, glaring out the window at the sound. "Stupid motorcycles," he muttered.
"Hey! Motorcycles aren't stupid, at least my Angelina wasn't," Felix protested.
"You had a bike named Angelina?" Knives said drolly, strolling in and pouring himself some coffee. Somehow, Felix had noticed, Knives was witty and sarcastic no matter what time of day it was. Mornings didn't seem to hang the man up like his twin.
"Yeah, what's wrong with the name Angelina?" Felix replied defensively. Knives and Vash both had a knack for pushing his buttons, though for the life of him he couldn't say why.
"Nothing," Knives replied innocently, unable to stop the small smirk forming on his lips.
"So where's your Angelina now?" Vash asked, holding his cup at an angle trying to get the last drop out, then wincing as the drop fell into his eye instead.
"Ah, I ran outta gas for her, and I didn't have any money to buy any more so I pawned her to pay for steamship faire."
"That must have been hard," Millie said softly into her mug.
Felix shurgged. "Yeah well, a motorcycle is just transportation. There's more important things in life. Like people."
Millie exchanged a look with Knives, who smiled slightly. Vash grinned happily and Felix looked back and forth between everyone with a slight confused expression. "What's with all you people?"
The twins shook their heads and smiled slightly. "Nothing," they said at the same time.
Felix raised an eyebrow and looked at them skeptically. "Ri-iiight. I'm…going to go for a walk now." And he left.
Millie watched him go for a moment, confusion apparent on her face. Vash yawned and stood up to stumble over to the coffee maker to prepare another pot. One cup was never enough to get him started.
Knives looked at the woman in concern. She had stopped acting cold towards their guest, but she was still uncomfortable in his presence. Every time she looked at him, her cornflower eyes clouded over in painful memories, and it hurt Knives. When he had first been recouperating, she'd accepted him with a smile readily, even when Vash still looked at him warily.
He had promised his brother that he'd never intentionally hurt someone else again. And he'd meant it.
Knives turned his gaze into his own coffee cup, and saw his waving reflection in the rippling brown liquid. His eyes seemed hard, and his hand tightened on the mug. If Felix hurt Millie, Knives would make him pay, promise or no promise.
* * *
"Wouldn't sage taste good in it?" Knives asked a week later as Meryl taught him how to cook spaghetti. Meryl glanced at the spice bottle he held in his hands and nodded thoughtfully.
"I've never used it before, but you know...I think you just may be right. How much do you think we should put in?"
Knives shrugged. "A light sprinkle over the top?" he suggested. Meryl nodded.
"Okay. Why don't you do that then. I'll check on the bread."
"Mmmmm! Smells good in here! When's dinner gonna be ready?" Vash asked with a hungry look in his eyes. Meryl rounded on him.
"When I come and tell you it's ready! Now out!"
"Out out out!" Meryl pushed him through the door and closed it.
"You don't want Vash in here?" Knives observed, a little surprised.
"Because he'll eat all the food before it's done cooking, and not leave any for the rest of us," she replied promptly. Too promptly. Knives put the sauce on simmer and studied his instructor for a moment or two. Her cheeks were flushed and she seemed to be moving quicker, as if to take her mind off of something.
"My brother makes you nervous," he remarked. Meryl turned to him with wide eyes and the flush on her cheeks brightened and slowly spread out.
"He does not! Just because he's a walking disaster-"
"That's not why he makes you nervous."
Meryl shifted under the bachelor-button-blue gaze and began stirring the noodles to avoid looking at him. "Why do you say that?"
"You blush whenever he gets close to you," Knives pointed out.
"I do not!"
"You jump on him for any little discrepancy," Knives continued.
"If he would only-"
"And you're blushing right now, just talking about it," he concluded as if she hadn't spoken.
Meryl blushed even more and went back to the noodles. "And what if he does make me nervous? What of it?"
"Have you ever thought of his feelings for you?"
"What?" Meryl's dark indigo eyes were wide and she blinked in a fluster.
"It's easier for me to analyze things, since I'm on the outside, but my brother is a bit more sensitive to people's actions. I don't think he understands what he's doing to annoy you so much. " Knives tasted the sauce gingerly. "I think it's done. Why don't I take care of getting it all set up? You look as if you need some rest," he informed her avuncularly as he led her gently from the kitchen by the elbow.
* * *
Dinner was pleasant, everyone enjoyed the food, and polite banter kept everyone smiling. Then desert was served.
"So Felix, have you remembered anything new?" Vash inquired curiously. Millie's spoon paused, then lowered until it once more rested on the dish. Felix noticed, but he didn't let the others know, in case they hadn't.
"Nothing concrete, but I have been getting dozens of déjà vu feelings."
"I suppose you could call that progress," Meryl said cheerily. Vash gave her a strange look with apple-green eyes and she blushed slightly, turning her attention back to her desert immediately.
"How long have you guys lived here?" Felix asked.
"Umm…almost nine months I guess," Meryl replied. Vash jumped.
"We've been here that long already?" he asked, eyes wide and child-like.
"Yes, we have. It took Knives nearly three months just to wake up," Meryl replied.
Vash blinked. "Oh. Well, who's up for some brandy?"
Felix nodded, as did Meryl. Knives shook his head with a smile and Millie said, "No thanks."
Vash and Knives looked at each other with identical puzzled expressions.
"Are you sure Millie? You've never turned it down befo-" Vash began, "OW!" as Knives kicked his shin under the table.
Millie shook her head emphatically, remembering what Meryl had once told her.
"It's hard keeping clothes on you with booze in you."
She glanced at Felix and felt her face flame. "Thanks for the offer Mr. Vash, but I don't feel like it right now."
Vash shrugged amiably and poured the drinks.
1 hour later…
Vash was singing a very old drinking song with raunchy lyrics, the yellow and green stripped tie waving wildly from his forehead. Much to Millie's surprise, Meryl not only knew the words, but was also singing it as loudly as she could right along side Vash. Millie supposed that if she had accepted the offer, she would be singing right along with them, minus a shirt or two. She blushed to hear the lyrics and soon excused herself from the table to go stand on the small balcony.
A moment later, someone joined her. A light breeze picked up and she could smell him. Dark, spicy…dangerous. Over the past few weeks, it was getting harder and harder to avoid him, and more pleasant to spend time with him. It was unnerving her. Every time she looked at him, he would do the littlest thing that reminded her of Wolfwood, but there was a way that he carried himself that set him worlds apart from the dark priest. His eyes smiled when he did, and he looked as if he'd never had to worry much about anything. He seemed younger than Wolfwood that way.
"Hey, you feeling ok?" he asked after a while, sipping a little of his brandy.
"Yes, it was just getting warm in there, that's all."
Felix glanced back inside to see Meryl dump the rest of a bottle on top of Vash's head. "I think she just cooled him off." Vash began snuggling up to Meryl with a very pleased grin on his face. "Then again, maybe not."
Millie laughed lightly.
"Hey, I got her to laugh. That's great!"
Millie shook her head and looked up at the moons.
"So…" Felix began.
"Wolfwood was a great man," she said softly.
"He sounds like one. How can I ever hope to compare," Felix replied with a tinge of bitterness.
Millie turned to look at him in surprise. "What?"
Felix shook his head. "Nothing. Never mind. If you don't mind me asking, just what did you see in the guy?"
Millie looked away uncertainly. "He was very kind, and cheerful and… sad at the same time. He knew what the world was like and didn't try to dress it up. He was…lonely."
"He didn't let himself get close to people, it was too painful for him. He didn't have a very good childhood…"
Millie's voice was drowned out in Felix's mind as images and sounds flooded through.
A large man with an oily mustache. "Useless little brat! I should sell you!"
A tall man with glasses and a cross. "The second shot needs to be higher. That is the killing blow. God no longer judges man, so it is up to us to do the judging. "
A dark shadow in the corner of a room. "Come here boy. I've paid to use you, and I'm not going to wait around all day to do it."
"Mr. Felix? Mr. Felix!" The voice was faint, but it sounded very worried.
Felix dragged himself back to reality, shaking his head and breathing heavily.
"Are you all right?" Millie demanded.
"Y-yeah. I'm fine."
"It was like, I was remembering some things…but they were…unpleasant."
Millie bit her lip before asking, "what were they?" quietly.
Felix shook his head and looked out to the horizon, leaning on the railing. "I'd rather not talk about it."
"O-okay." Millie stood next to him, looking out at the starry sky.
* * *
Meryl awoke the next morning with a slight headache, but not too bad. Meryl never really got hangovers. As morning light sifted through her closed eyelid, she groaned and buried her face further into her pillow in an attempt to escape. She thought it a little odd when her pillow groaned back, in a slightly deeper voice, and it rose as if it were taking a deep breath. Groggily she lifted a hand to feel it, and it encountered thin cotton cloth covering an object entirely too firm to be a pillow.
Then her blanket shifted and hugged her closer to her pillow.
Oh no, she thought. Carefully she opened one grey eye and looked about. She discovered that she was half-sprawled on top of Vash, who was holding her like a large teddy bear. She should have leapt up and yelled at Vash for taking advantage of her, but Meryl was much too comfortable where she was, the warmth and slight hangover making her feel extremely lethargic. Besides, it was partly her fault, from what she could remember of the previous night.
"Oh, you're awake. Good," Vash's voice was sleepy and light; it sounded like a young boy's instead of a man's. He yawned.
Meryl could feel the heat in her cheeks rise. "Good…morning. " They lay in silence for a moment or two. Meryl cleared her throat. "Are you, hungry?"
"Mmm? Sure." His eyes were still closed, and he seemed perfectly content to continue laying there.
"I-I'll go make breakfast then," she said and levered herself up. Vash let his arm linger around her waist for a brief second before letting her get away.
As soon as Meryl was in the kitchen, Vash dashed for the bathroom. He felt awful, and once again, he vowed to never drink so much again. This throwing up thing had to go.
"You shouldn't drink so much, Vash," Meryl berated him gently as he shuffled into the kitchen. He blinked and looked at her with wide eyes.
"But you drank more than I did," he pointed out innocently.
"Idiot," Meryl muttered, flicking his ear lightly. "That's because I can hold my liquor. You can't. You've never been able to. Here, three teaspoons of sugar and two teaspoons of cream," she rattled off handing him a steaming cup of coffee.
Vash blinked as he humbly accepted it. "You know how I like my coffee?"
"Well, after fixing it for you so many times in the past seven months, it's not hard to remember," Meryl replied with a flippant wave of her hand. She got out the chocolate milk powder and dumped a spoonful into her own coffee before stirring it rapidly.
Vash sipped his coffee, then stared at it. "It tastes different. What did you do to it?"
"I just added a touch of cinnamon. If you don't like it, Millie'll drink it," Meryl replied without looking at him.
He noticed her cheeks reddening and he hastened to assure her that it tasted good. "Just different."
They drank their coffee, neither saying a word, but it was a comfortable silence.
"Vash, what do you think of Felix?" Meryl inquired quietly after a while.
He stared out the window for moment before answering. "He feels like Wolfwood. I mean, he looks and sounds like him too, but-"
"I know what you mean. But he also feels…happier in a way. Do, do you think we should stop trying to get him to remember?" Meryl asked uncertainly, biting her lower lip.
"I don't know. " Vash began tracing the outline of his cup, swirling his finger in circles.
Knives smiled to himself from the back porch were he had been looking in through the screen door. It was about time those two sat down comfortably with each other. But just in case they returned to their old ways, he had taken pictures of them curled up together on the couch, for insurance. Let my brother try and deny it later, he thought smugly.
Then he noticed Felix shuffling around from the side of the house, his hair rumpled and circles under his eyes. The man didn't seem to notice Knives at all.
"You look like you need a shower," Knives called out to him with a smirk.
Felix jumped, startled, before glaring at the tall blonde. "And you look like you had a bad run in with a sheep shear," he replied irately.
Knives narrowed his eyes. He happened to like his haircut. "I thought Wolfwood could drink anyone under the table, but obviously not if you're feeling this grouchy after only three glasses."
"Yeah well maybe I'm not the glorious Wolfwood," Felix snarled back.
Knives blinked at the venom in the brunette's voice as he continued.
"I mean I don't go around guns blazing, saving everyone and I don't have Mi-" he blinked, then scowled and ran a hand through his already mussed hair, cutting his tirade off.
Knives' eyes narrowed even further. "You're in love with her," he said in a low voice.
Felix snorted. "In love with who?" he demanded sulkily, almost petulantly.
Knives snorted himself. "Don't play games with me, Felix. You've fallen for Millie haven't you?"
"And what if I have? She's in love with a ghost," he replied bitterly.
"Oh this is rich. You're jealous over yourself."
The look Felix sent Knives was almost enough to make him regret his words. He'd never seen a pair of eyes look so icy and burning at the same time. Knives strode up to the man until their noses were almost touching. "Look Felix, I won't even pretend to know what's going on in Millie's head right now, but if you hurt her in anyway, you'll have to figure out how to live without your major organs," he hissed.
Felix resisted the urge to shudder under that serious, callous blue gaze and stared back defiantly. "Hurting Millie is the last thing I want to do," he replied with a gravelly voice.
Knives backed up a little. "You've been warned," was all he said before striding into the house.
* * *
"Felix, could you go grocery shopping with Vash today? We're out of some stuff," Meryl called as she and Millie left for their part-time jobs.
"Me? Why not Knives?"
"'Cause he doesn't like going out," she replied with a wave as they disappeared through the door. Felix glared at Knives who was smirking slightly on the couch as he read a book.
"Spoiled," Felix muttered.
Knives just chuckled and continued to read.
Felix sighed and went to find Vash, who was napping in the hammock in the backyard.
"Oi, Needle Noggin!" Felix called out , nudging the slightly swaying gunman.
Vash mumbled sleepily, threw an arm across his eyes and proceeded to ignore the other man.
Felix tapped his foot impatiently, and tried nudging him again. No response. Then an idea popped into his head and a wolfish grin appeared on his face. "Va-aash. This is the last time I'm gonna ask nicely," he warned gleefully.
Vash only gave him a muffled snort.
Felix shrugged. "I warned ya," he said and flipped the hammock over, dumping the humanoid typhoon out.
"Waah! Nick!" Vash yelled irately, still half asleep. Felix ignored the slip and watched in amusement as Vash tried to disentangle himself; his legs were now tangled in the hammock.
"Need some help, Needle Noggin?"
"No I don't need any help," Vash muttered, glaring up at his friend. Then he scowled at the hammock and dislodged himself and stood up, stoically brushing the dust off.
"Do you have a good reason for interrupting my catnap?"
"Yeah, Meryl wants us to go grocery shopping."
Vash grumbled, then brightened considerably as an idea popped into his head. "Do we have enough to get donuts too?"
Felix laughed and shook his head. "What is it with you people and favorite deserts? I swear, if someone walked in with a bag of donuts and pudding you and Millie would run 'em over before they had a chance to blink."
Vash just grinned and flashed him a victory sign before figuring out if they had enough money for donuts.
* * *
"Millie! Watch where you're going!" Meryl snapped, holding her tray high above her head to avoid dropping it. Millie blinked and looked down at her partner, her own tray some how surviving the near fiasco.
"I'm sorry Meryl."
Meryl sighed. "It's okay, just…pay a little more attention," Meryl replied, regretting her burst of anger. Millie had become quiet, since Felix arrived. Meryl had never seen her so thoughtful before.
Millie delivered her food, smiling brightly and chatting happily with the customers.
Meryl winced inwardly. How often had Millie put up that face, and Meryl had just assumed she was okay? This must be hard for her, especially with how nice Felix acts towards everyone, well, except for Knives occassionally. I hope she accepts him soon. If not as Wolfwood, then Felix.
* * *
Millie headed back to the house by herself; Meryl's shift had ended long before. The sun had set a while ago, and the day was just beginning to get dark. She heard lots of laughter as she approached the house, and she saw a group of children screaming delightedly and hopping and climbing all over something.
As she got closer, she realized it was Felix.
Felix caught sight of her and grinned before sending her wink. Millie felt her heart flutter, before guilt for feeling such a way consumed her.
Forcing herself to smile back at him, she passed the group and went inside.
There was a cluttering and klanging in the kitchen and Knives popped his head out. He smiled softly at the sight of her. "Hey Mil. You're just in time for dinner. It's your favorite, Mac n' cheese."
Millie could feel her false smile faltering. "Thanks Mr. Knives, but I'm not very hungry. I'm going to go lie down for a while."
She could feel his eyes on her as she went down the hall to her room.
Millie closed the door and let her things drop to the floor. She glanced at the window and caught sight of the beautiful moonrise. Smiling a little to herself, she sat down on her bed and watched the moonrise. The moons always made her think of Wolfwood. A being living in the dark of the night, shining with its own soft light.
Her thoughts on her beloved, Millie drifted into slumber.
* * *
Millie was in the orphanage, making breakfast for the children. Wolfwood was out in the yard, playing with the children; she could hear their laughter. She hummed as she worked.
Someone came in through the door and she looked up to see Felix.
"Come away with me," he said and held out his hand.
Millie placed her hand in his and he led her away from Wolfwood and the orphanage, their laughter dying in the distance.
Someone came in through the door and she looked up to see Felix.
"Come away with me," he said and held out his hand.
Millie placed her hand in his and he led her away from Wolfwood and the orphanage, their laughter dying in the distance.
Millie woke up languidly, the dream rerunning through her head. She felt a fist of guilt settle in her stomach. The dream worried her. Not so much because of what happened, but because of how she acted. She'd willingly left Wolfwood for Felix.
She lay in bed gnawing painfully over the dream until Meryl knocked softly on her door to announce breakfast.
* * *
Millie avoided Felix for most of the day, until late in the evening, when he caught up to her in the garden.
"Millie, why have you been avoiding me?" he inquired lowly.
Millie turned away from him and fiddled with a lock of her hair. "Because…I…" she tried to think of a reason. She couldn't possibly tell the wanderer that it was because she was afraid of falling for him, and betraying her love to Wolfwood.
"Do you still love him so much?" His voice was soft and filled with agonized wonder.
"Yes! Yes I do!" she burst out. "And then Mr. Wolfwood died, right after we confessed our love for each other. I went on with my life, to make sure that Meryl didn't loose Mr. Vash, and because I didn't think he wanted to see me sad. But…I still miss him, very, very much," Millie explained brokenly, rubbing at the hot tears with her large hands.
Felix gathered her into his arms and hugged her gently. "Millie, I'm sorry. I…I have to admit, I think the guy had good taste when he fell for you, and I know I'm falling for you too…but… you're not ready for someone new yet. I'm sorry. I'll leave you alone," he murmured before releasing her. He turned to start walking back to the house.
Millie looked after him and for a moment, she didn't see Felix, but Wolfwood, leaving their room that fateful morning, and the image was too much. She'd lost Wolfwood; she didn't want to loose Felix.
"Wait!" she called out, running after him. The wanderer turned to look at her in surprise, only to get knocked back as Millie threw her arms around his waist.
"Please don't go. I don't want to loose you too," she whispered harshly, her face buried in his chest.
With a small smile, Felix wrapped his arms around her comfortingly. "You won't lose me. I won't go, I promise."
With a rush, images flashed through his mind before they settled on one scene.
He was standing in the doorway, Millie was sitting on the bed wearing her loose, pale yellow pajamas, her hair fetchingly mussed and framing her face.
"Hey Big Girl, would you do something for me? Stay here until I come back?"
Her eyes drooped sadly as if she knew that he wasn't coming back. He could feel it too.
"I promise that I'll return to you," he swore, smiling reassuringly. Millie tried to smile back, but tears welled in her eyes.
"Don't cry Big Girl, I'll be back."
The scene faded in his mind and he hugged Mille tighter to him. She was still crying into his chest. "Don't cry Big Girl," he murmured. "I told you I'd come back."
Millie gasped and stared up at him. "Y-you…Wolfwood?" she stuttered, almost not wanting to believe.
"I remember Millie." Tears formed in his own eyes and he choked. "I remember everything."
With a small cry of happiness, Millie threw her arms so tightly around his neck that he almost couldn't breathe and the enthusiasm sent them tumbling onto the ground.
"You came back!" she cried over and over. Wolfwood laughed and held her tightly to him under the moonlight.
On the balcony, Vash had dragged Meryl and Knives out to see why their friends were laughing so loudly.
Knives smiled quietly and leaned back against the wall, happy for his closest friend and mentor. Meryl was smiling as wide as she could, tears forming in her eyes as she grasped Vash's arm happily. "He's back!"
"I knew he was Wolfwood!" Vash crowed triumphantly, lifting Meryl up in a victory hug, causing her to shriek with laughter.
Nicholas D. Wolfwood had returned.
Kiyoimsa: You didn't really expect me to put Millie with anyone else, didja? ^-^. Well, that's the story! If you wanna review, go ahead! I'll be anxiously awaiting!