Rae-chan's note: Okay, well, here we go with some more MxV moosh. ::grin:: Well, about as mooshy as Meryl can reasonably get, I suppose. No real spoilers, but this is a companion piece to my other fanfic, "Wait for Me," so if you haven't read that, go take a look! (two-for-one plug, hee hee.) It takes place as Meryl and Vash are sitting on the hill outside of town in episode 19, Hang Fire. I don't own any of these characters - Nightow and company do, yadda yadda, you know the drill. Please do not fold, spindle, mutilate or copy without permission. Now, on with the sap! ^_^


by Rachael Haring


What in the world is wrong with you?

It's not normal, you know, to act like this. What possesses you to do such foolhardy, risky things? Why do you say such naively stupid bits of nonsense? Why do you look at everything with such pointless optimism? Do you have any idea just how frustrating it all is?

Sigh. Big, heavy, exasperated sigh.

There was a time...not so long ago, actually...when I had control over my life. I knew where I was going, what I was doing, what I wanted. Study hard, Meryl. Learn all you can, get a steady job, work your way through the ranks. Fight on, always trying, always striving towards independence and a nice, peaceful, organized world...

That time of control and assurance and normality has passed.

I blame you.

I hate...I hate being helpless. I loathe it, more than anything else in the world. And you...you just keep showing me how little I know. You confuse me. You complicate me. You mess with my life in ways I have never allowed.

Therefore, I should hate being with you. I should hate the quirks of your personality and the singular way of your words. I should hate your goofy jokes and your voice and your ideals. I should hate the way you make me feel.

But I don't.

Quite the opposite, actually. And this confuses me even more.

You sit silently beside me, holding my kerchief to your wounds. A new collection of purplish bruises and cuts mar your pale and flawless skin, and you nurse them gingerly. The marks are evidence of yet another stupidly heroic deed, of your reckless na´vetÚ, of your childlike sense of justice. A small hiss of pain comes from your lips, and it's everything I can do to resist reaching out to you.

I've never been good at expressing my feelings. Yelling in anger, yes. Lecturing with authority, definitely. But confessing innermost emotions...like admiration...or sympathy...or...or fondness...well, let's just say that the words don't come easily. Even now, just sitting here beside you, my tongue feels dry and warm and fuzzy, and my head is swimming with nameless anxiety. It makes no sense. No sense at all. I want to look at you, but I can't. It hurts. Inexplicably. Completely.

And so I stare at my fingers, watching as they idly scoop up a bit of sand and let the grains cascade between the gaps. It's a distraction from your nearness, from my own desires. It keeps my hands from doing what they truly want to do.

Because, if they had their way...if I had my way...instead of golden sand, it would be your golden hair sliding between my fingers right now. It would be your cheek under my fingertips, and your eyes locked on mine. I'd kiss your wounds, taste your tears on my lips, hold you against me. I'd snuggle into your embrace and breathe your musky, masculine scents deep into my lungs. I'd murmur my comfort into your ear and convince you that there is no such thing as loneliness.

But...even if I did manage to touch you, hold you, feel your fingers on my skin, I'd still feel as if I were holding an illusion. A beautiful front. A calculated image designed not to hurt me, not to demand anything or tax my mind.

I wonder if you'll ever let me in.

I continually get the feeling...and it's creepy, really...that you've seen more than I can possibly fathom. And those secrets, those years, those unspoken thoughts behind your eyes scare me. I'm not stupid; I see them all. I see the hidden implications in your words, double-sided translations your expressions, and immeasurable experience behind your blue, blue eyes. There's always more than you let on. There's always something else. You're a sandstorm, full of wind and bluster and obscurities, all centered around some calm and dark eye.

So many ciphers, so many riddles and emotions! The silence of this desert stifles me, suffocates me. I want to yell out, to sob all of the tightness from my chest, to rage and rant until everything is drained from my heart. You need to know how I feel. You need to understand, before everything goes to hell and the future separates us. What if everything falls through? Those secrets will be lost, and we will be lost, and...

Damn it, Vash. You silly, senseless, difficult man! Why are you hiding from me? Why do you always hide from me? Haven't I shown that I can be trustworthy? Haven't I proved how strong I am? I would never turn away from you. I would never do anything to hurt you. Never. I'd rather lose my job, or my possessions, or my...

Or...or my life.

There. I've said it, at least in my thoughts. I'd give my life for you.

Isn't that stupid? After all of the times you've pushed me away, made it clear that I was not needed, not necessary, not in the slightest? You've run away, time and again. You've told me to leave you. And still...pathetically...helplessly...I want to give you more. Why?

Because you are worth it. You are worth my life.

I can't believe I'm saying this. It's foolhardy and over-emotional and crazy. Do you see what you've done? You've made me crazy, with your cackling and gadding about and lofty ideals. Absolutely stark, raving crazy! I've never thought things like this. I've never felt things like this. I've never allowed myself to indulge in such worthless emotions.

But...even knowing this...

Of all the women you've met...all of the people you've seen...all of the experiences you've had and the places you've lived...I want to be the best and truest of them all. I want to know your soul as well as mine, hear your heartbeat in my ears and your voice in my heart. I need to know about every nuance of your past, every bit of the hidden sadness behind your eyes. No matter how dark or unpleasant your tales may be, I want to take them all inside and hold them, because they are part of you. There won't be any more hiding or mincing words. I will be your strength, and you will be my courage.

Is it possible? Could you...could you care for me? Ever? Or is that something beyond you? Am I reading you wrong? Am I imagining your kindness, misattributing it, molding it into something false, just so I can cling to that tiny little solitary hope...that longing...that someday, eventually, you'll be free enough to want me?

Well...in the end...I suppose it doesn't matter. My feelings do not depend on yours, and even the coldest words from you couldn't erase them. I couldn't say that I cared about you and then try to force your hand. And I want nothing from you that you cannot freely give. I will be here for you, regardless. I hope you know that.

I may not know where this struggle is going, but I'll fight by your side. I'll stay strong and dependable, as always. I'll go where you go. Your enemies are mine. Please don't worry about me. This is what I want. This is all I want.

Because...as strange as it sounds...

I love you, Vash the Stampede.


© 2001 Rachael M. Haring