Author's note: I was in a rather sad mood after watching volume eight, and when I listened to "Tears in Heaven," this idea sort of popped up of its own volition... bear with me, as I have very little experience with writing fanfiction, and this is only my third story(my first written in anything other than roleplay style). The lyrics are from "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton. Send comments, flames, etc. to OujiVejita@aol.com. Ok... warnings. Bleah :P Slight twincest (Vash x Knives, for those of you who couldn't figure it out), yaoi, sappiness, death (not that bad! Really!), and maybe some OOC. Not that much of that, tho. Enjoy, although I heartily recommend listening to the song I used while reading... I think it adds something.
Would you know my name, if I saw you in Heaven?
I can't help thinking that you must still be out there somewhere. As I lay on my bed, watching the fan whirl lazily above me, my mind wanders freely, and I am powerless to stop it. The image of you haunts my thoughts, and no matter how I try I can't rid myself of it. How am I supposed to live without you? I stop at that thought. It seems to have become my pattern, becoming dependent on people just before I lose them. You're only one among five, Nicholas, but losing you has set me thinking about the rest, as well.
Would you hold my hand, if I saw you in Heaven?
Come to think of it, with everyone I've loved, things seemed too good to last. Rem... you were like a mother to me. Maybe even more than that, despite my young age at the time.  I can't help but think that I should have been with you longer, maybe as a lover rather than a son. You were perfect in every way, in my eyes at least. Your laugh, your sparkling eyes, the curves of your body, and the enthusiasm for life you shared with me have never left my thoughts. I can't help but wish that I'd been the man to have your body and soul for my own, to love and cherish. You are still the beacon that guides my way in this world, more than 100 years after your death. I miss you so very badly.
Knives, I don't know how I managed to do it, but I think I cared for you before you left me. Maybe I still do, in that way that siblings really always love one another. Where did we go wrong that things happened the way they did? It was hard to lose Rem, but it was even worse to know that you were responsible. I tried to kill you soon after, but Rem's words stopped me. I couldn't disregard her memory like that, and I knew that she would have wanted me to take care of you, anyhow, even if it was mostly you that took care of me for a long time. It was the hardest decision of my life when I decided to finally finish you in July. Had I succeeded, I wonder how long I would have survived before I died of self-neglect, alcohol poisoning,  or both. I see now that it was a mistake to try to kill you, and perhaps in doing it I had destroyed any chance of ever having you for my own once again. After all was said and done, I thought that we would have a life together after all, but I had hardly had you back three days when you got sick. How strange, for someone like you to die of a simple infection. I'm sorry that I could not find treatment for you more quickly after you were shot. I am willing to apologize for all I've done to you, Knives, if you are willing to do the same for me. Perhaps I will once again find comfort in your arms... someday.
Nicholas... my angel come to earth. Has it really been seventy years since I lost you? It has seemed so much longer than that without you. I was taken with you from the moment I laid eyes on you on the bus, a vision of skin tanned to dusky perfection and eyes like the sky before a storm. I'd thought that I was straight before that, but the longer I knew you, the more convinced I became that I had been mistaken. I could not help but wonder, did you love me too? Of course, that was answered soon enough. I shiver slightly, remembering our first time together. You were so gentle with me, and made sure that I was content before you let yourself go as well. It pleased me to know that I could give you such pleasure... before that, I'd really only caused people pain. Why didn't you tell me that you were hurt that day? The idea that I could have saved you has never left me. What could I have done differently to have you here with me today?
Last of all, the girls; Milly and Meryl. I've missed you these last ten years. Granted, you lasted the longest out of all my friends. It makes me just a little happier to know that someone at least survived my friendship. To think it all started with a pack of donuts... well... it's not really that surprising, I think to myself with a slight smile. Thank you for comforting me after my losses, and for everything. I don't think I would have lasted this long without you both.
Time can bring you down, time can bend your knee.
Why did you all have to leave me so soon? I really have lost everyone, at this point. After I lost them, I didn't really try to make new friends. No one would ever be able to take your places... and no one will. I feel like I must have you all, or my life is no longer worth living. I have saved the world from the only true danger it was in, and there is no purpose to me being here anymore... not really...
Beyond the door, there's peace I'm sure,
...And so I come to this, the end of my stay in this plane of existence. Though I used to disapprove of this, and I still do, it seems my only course of action. I can't help but laugh sadly as I retrieve my gun from the bedside table. It's strange, to not see any way out but this... normally, I've been the one to search for another solution, but now such thoughts seem futile. I turn the gun over in my hands several times, thinking of all of you, and all the memories attached to this, the present Knives gave me so many years ago. I take a second to check over the note I've left for whoever finds me, I suppose it will be the hotel manager. And so the legend of Vash the Stampede will end in this pitiful death. The note says all that need be said at this time, and will be my final legacy to the world. I have to be sure it is perfect, as I will have no time to revise it later. A single tear rolls down my cheek as I press the barrel to my right eye... soon I will join you all again. As I pull the trigger, my last thoughts before the world dissolves into blackness are of those I love.
Would you know my name, if I saw you in Heaven?
I don't know how long I have been asleep, but when I awake I cannot help but be surprised. I'm lying in a field on the side of one of many rolling hills. Flowers bloom everywhere and as I look around I notice that I'm not in an oasis, but in the middle of a place I remember well. It's just like the place where I used to eat lunch and play with Rem and Knives, a green paradise such as never existed on that miserable planet I called home for so long. A hand lights on my shoulder, and I spin around, only to find myself staring deep into crystal blue eyes as clear as the stream that flows nearby.
"Welcome home, my dear brother." I know that voice... Knives! As I throw my arms about him, I notice that we are not alone. Over his shoulder I notice four more, all of them familiar. The tallest of them seems jealous, taking a drag at the cigarette wedged firmly between his lips. "Nick..." I find myself at a loss for further words when I finally look to the last three. Milly is waving cheerily and giving me her bright smile. Meryl is looking at me in a more sedated expression of happiness than her companion, as she always did. I look to the fourth of them and my brain is paralyzed by a shock of pure happiness. Rem. Rem is here, too!
"Yes, Vash... we're all here for you," she said, smiling that same smile I'd come to love, "Welcome to eternity." I can find no suitable response through my tears of joy. Maybe I should have put more stock in that stuff Nick always said about Heaven and such. I can't imagine what other place this could be.
I spend the rest of the day learning all I could from everyone else and telling them about my life after they departed. Everything I could possibly want is here, but one thing still nags at me like a persistent hangnail. Knives. I never really got to talk to him, after that whole ordeal, and I want to make up for the time I've lost. When night finally falls, I find him sitting alone by a pond, skipping rocks across the mirror-like surface.
"Knives..." I start speaking, not really knowing what I want to say. He motions for me to sit down next to him, and I oblige happily. "It's been a long time," he states in a matter of fact way. An awkward pause follows, neither of us able to find the words we want. After a little while in silence, he slips his arms about me. "I've missed you, brother," he started, "Do you understand why I did what I did?" I shake my head. "I loved you, Vash, but I knew that I would always be second to Rem. So I became convinced that I could have you, if only I could remove the roadblocks between us. I realize that I was foolish, looking back on it now. I should have known I could never take her place in your heart." He sighs wistfully, resting his head on my shoulder. Why didn't you just tell me you felt that way, Knives? What were you afraid of? Of course. Rejection.
I pause after that, allowing it to sink in fully. "You did that because you thought it would do me good? Knives.... How could you think that? Of all people, you knew how I felt better than anyone else, even Rem. I never shared as much of myself with anyone as I did with you."
"I'm sorry, Vash. I don't really know why I put you through all of that. I suppose that at that point, I was willing to do anything to see you again. Even if it meant hurting you, and I saw no other surefire way to lead you back to me. Legato and his cronies were spiders of the worst sort, Vash, and you must understand that. It's good that they were removed from the world... Just think how many more butterflies will live without them."
"I know that, Knives, but I still wish..." He chuckles a bit at that.
"Even after all that, you still wish they hadn't died, don't you?"
He shakes his head that way he always did when he felt that he was talking down to me, like explaining something to a small child. "Vash. There was no other way. I knew that gestures of friendship would only make you suspicious, and not get me any closer to you. On the other hand, I knew the power of your anger. If I could get you to me that way, I would, and I was rewarded." He tightens his grip on me ever so slightly.
"Knives, you could have been with me forever to begin with. If you hadn't suddenly decided that all humans deserved to die, I would have stayed with you. You seem to get along with everyone else here, and they were humans, when they still lived."
"I know that, Vash. But I guess the rules here might be different. I mean, it was really hard for me at first, living here with them. Especially facing Rem... but I think I might almost understand what you saw in her now. Either that or the playing field has been leveled in this world. I have seen the flaws of my own soul in the time I've had to reflect on it all. Perhaps it is time I accept them and move on."
I cannot believe what I'm hearing. Is this the same brother I lost all those years ago? Would he have become this way, had he not died? I hope so, but now all that matters is that I have him back, and he lives once again. My thoughts are interrupted by his soft breath on my cheek, and our lips meet in a gentle kiss. After a few minutes, we finally break apart, for there are other things I need to do before I sleep. "Goodnight, Knives," I say, squeezing him a bit before taking leave of him. I went back to where the others were already starting to doze... there is one last thing I still need. Finding my target, I settle down beside Nicholas, and he takes me into his arms. I drift off to sleep there, feeling him against me once again. Life is good.