Author's Note: Wolfwood is one of the few male characters I can write in the first person so it's from his point of view. Naturally, there's going to be some language (the main reason for the R rating). This story is set right before episode 23 of the anime and depicts the effects of Milly and Meryl's murders on poor Vash (I don't hate him really!). I don't have anything against the Insurance girls myself but that's just the way the story turned out. Sorry. Anyway, onto the story.
[Last edited on 8/12/15]
Disclaimer: I don't own Trigun, Yasuhiro Nightow does. *grumbles underneath her breath* So unfair...
"Tears and Rain"
He cries even when he's asleep. I haven't gotten any sleep for the last couple of nights because of this. Something about those tears makes me feel guilty. As if I were the one slowly destroying all he held dear. I'm no angel myself but just to be associated with such a band of killers who are liable for his pain…
I turn in the bed, coming face to face with the wall. In the darkness, I can see the shadow of Vash's body, a trembling dark figure. I can hear it. The low whimper that usually starts the nightly ritual. The steady breathing turns ragged, and a sob escapes his lips.
I flinch, balling my hands in the covers silently. It disturbs me to see him this way. Such a pitiful creature he has become since coming upon me. I bring about these tears. What am I supposed to do, Knives? You ordered me to guide and protect him! How do I stop these tears? This suffering?
But that's what you want, isn't it? For your own brother to suffer eternally? What has he done to earn this? Surely whatever he's done is no excuse to torment him. It couldn't be such a severe sin. His hands are clean. He's never taken a life. Unlike me, he has never seen any reason to put an end to someone's existence. All the Gung-ho Guns have been doing is ripping out his heart and stomping it to bits. Worse, they've been enjoying it.
Throwing the covers away, I sit up holding my head in my hands. I'm so sick of this game. This torture. I stand, striding across the floor to the lavatory. "I’ve got to get out of here," I mutter, pulling on my clothes quickly.
I pause in front of the bedroom door, glancing at the crying Vash. I slam the door as I exit, hoping he will wake up and stop making that horrid noise. There's only so much a man can stand.
The air is cool against my fevered skin, bringing a smile to my face. I sit on the motel porch, watching the darkness intently as if I excepted something to come out of it.
Lighting a cigarette without thought, I inhale, sighing contentedly as the taste lingers on my tongue. Vash has recently been trying to persuade me to stop smoking or at least not so much. It is not something he will succeed at. Smoking is my way of telling the world to fuck off. I'm going to die someday, and it's going to be on my own terms. Cancer, crossfire, whatever I choose.
The sky echoes the darkness surrounding me, storm clouds gathering slowly. I sit up, cigarette falling from my lips and onto the floor. It's going to rain. It is a rare event. I can vaguely remember once when I was barely six years old. My guardian had shut me in a closet, denying me the sight. I could only hear the drops as they landed on the roof, an alien sound that gave me a headache.
"I'll be damned," I say softly, leaning against the porch rail. The wood creaks under my weight but holds nonetheless. Footfalls approach and I straighten up, scolding myself for not bringing along the Cross Punisher. Just when you least expect trouble, it comes a-knockin'. The screen door opens, and a barely dressed Vash stumbles out, legs wobbly. "Tongari? Is something wrong?"
He settles in the chair behind me, dead eyes falling on my discarded cigarette. "If you're going to smoke, at least have the decency to put it out."
I shake my head, indicating the storm clouds behind me. "No need. The rain'll do it for me."
Vash stares, a small smile curling his lips. "It's been awhile since it rained."
"No kidding," I comment, turning back to look at the sky. We sit in silence for a few moments, and then the first raindrop falls. "You were crying again," I whisper quietly, eyes glued to the weeping sky.
The rustling of clothing is the only indication I received that he was listening. "Was I? I'm sorry, Wolfwood." The words are uttered softly like he was talking to himself.
"You're still mourning their deaths, aren't you?"
He takes offense, rising from the chair with lightning speed. Vash grabs me by the collar, shoving me against the railing roughly. "How can you be so cold? You traveled with them almost as long as me! How can you not shed tears?"
I avoid his eyes purposely, fearing he'll see me for what I really am. A killer in disguise. A monster, not so different from him. "Easy. I don't give a damn. Though I was growing fond of the big girl...but it doesn't matter. Life can be taken away as quickly as it is given."
He throws me aside, gripping the rail with anger. "All life is precious! How can you say that? You're a priest for goodness sake. You didn't even perform their death rites!"
I glare at him, stabbing a finger against his chest. "I'm not that kind of priest, dammit! You know that as well as I do, Vash." I turn away angrily, crossing arms to prevent myself from striking him. "You're one to talk. You hold to your beliefs so desperately, blind to all rational thought and advice. I'm beginning to see why Knive-"
I freeze, holding a hand to my mouth tightly. Shit. That's all you need, Nicholas, to blow your cover. I'm having trouble keeping myself in check around him anyway. Vash's eyes narrow, and he grabs my shoulder, fingers digging in like claws. "Wolfwood!"
He shakes me a few times, and I strike before I know what I am doing. Vash recoils, rubbing his cheek lightly. "Who the hell are you?" he demands, shoulders shaking with the effort to restrain himself. "Did my brother send you? Answer me, Wolfwood!"
I reach into my shirt for a cigarette and put it to my lips. Exhaling a moment later, I lean against the now shaky rail. "Well, I guess them's the brakes. Me and my damn mouth. Do you want the truth, Vash? Can you even handle the fact that I'm part of the very group that murdered Meryl and Milly?"
He gasps, eyes growing wide in shock or pain. Maybe both, I can't tell. "Accept it. My name is Nicholas D. Wolfwood, also known as Chapel the Evergreen of the Gung-ho Guns. I was sent by your brother to guide and protect you. Eventually bringing you to Knives alive. My fellow comrades' assignment is to make you suffer. I don’t know their plans any more than you do. That's why I was so surprised when they attacked that night. You remember, don't you?
"The smell of the gunpowder as the rocket crashed into the motel. Aimed at the Insurance girls' bedroom. Their tormented screams as they burned aliv-" His fist slams into my face, and I am thrown against the porch railing. It cracks and breaks with the impact, leaving me out in the rain. Blood drips from my nose and onto on my chest.
"You heartless bastard!" Vash howls, grabbing me by the collar and baring a fist.
"That's right! Come on. If you want something to hit, hit me. Hit me all you fucking want, Vash. I feel guilty for those girls' deaths as much as you do. Come on!"
Vash stares at me, some emotion holding his rage back. Rain continues to soak us to the bone, and I shiver, voice coming out hoarsely as I yell, "Do it already! If you'll do the same when you confront Knives, I'll gladly allow it."
He laughs, a desperate attempt at relieving the sudden tension between us. It turns sour, twisting into heart-wrenching sobs. "It just can't get any worse, can it?" he says between breaths.
"Vash," I whisper softly. He stands above me, barely able to conceal the pain on his face.
"I only have one question, Wolfwood. If given the chance, would you kill me now?"
I stare, running the thought over and over in my mind. There is not much thought required. "You've suffered enough in my opinion, Tongari. I wouldn't touch a hair on your head even in Knives' presence."
He smiles bitterly. "If only the rest of the Gung-ho Guns thought the same as you."
The rain continues to fall, providing a sullen background to our conversation. "If I didn't have such hardcore beliefs, you'd be dead by now, Wolfwood. Think about that when you're packing to leave in the morning."
"Wait just a goddamned minute, Vash! Just because my cover's blown doesn't mean I'm going to just up and leave. I still have a job to do, you know. Even if it means killing some of my fellow comrades."
"You'd stay by my side even though I know who you truly are, Chapel?"
I nod, wiping the red-colored water from my face. "I'm not like the others, Vash. Would you like to know the reason why I accepted this job?"
Vash offers no reply. "Knives took the kids from my orphanage captive. If I don't follow through on my part, they're all dead meat. Nothing is more sacred than children."
He offers me a hand, and I stand, straightening my wet clothes helplessly. "I'm beginning to understand you, Wolfwood. I'll accept your help in defeating the Gung-ho Guns. However, I do ask you to try not to kill them. They, like you, are human beings."
Running a hand through his wet blond hair, Vash walks through the motel entrance, door bouncing shut behind him.
I look up at the weeping sky for a moment and wonder if the sky if mourning for us poor humans, or forever laughing at our antics. Chuckling, I retake my place on the porch and light an amazingly dry cigarette. "The latter, most definitely."