Forgive and Forget...

Ixia

He started walking towards the parking lot, and I fell in step beside him. It felt strange to walk next to him again, after so long. But it was a nice kind of strange. "You still into banana splits?" he asked after a second. The question surprised me. I grinned and laughed. "No, I haven't changed." I thought back to all those times I stole bites when he wasn't looking. It made me smile.

He started talking again. "And maybe tomorrow..." He was cut off by a yell of "Hey, freak." We turned, the sound of snickering in our ears. Catching sight of the group, I grabbed Vash's arm and backed toward the street. 'Oh hell... here comes trouble' I thought to myself, tugging uselessly at his arm. He strode forward, despite my grip on his arm, loose as it was.

"What do you want, Reg?" he muttered grouchily. I glanced between him and the guy. Then I recognized him. He was the same idiot who had attacked Vash earlier in the hallway. 'Back for more already? You idiot.' I grimaced inwardly. This was not going to be pretty.

"You're tired of chasing other guys' girls? Where did you find this slut?" the guy commented, looking pointedly at me. I gasped then glared. 'How dare he say that about me? The little runt doesn't even know me!' I fumed to myself wanting to break his nose myself, as I could tell Vash also wanted to do.

"You should enunciate properly, Reg, that almost sounded insulting." Vash growled through gritted teeth. "Say it again, and this time it had better sound like "I'm sorry"." I watched, this, angry at this 'Reg' and a little worried for Vash. If Reg's buddies decided to join in, and there was a fight, I didn't know what I could do. Next thing I knew, Reg had lashed out angrily and caught Vash across the temple. Vash instantly fell, and I shouted.

"Hey! What the hell? Stop it!" I screamed at Reg, dropping onto my knees next to Vash. He blinked a few times then staggered to his feet, visibly gagging. I jumped to my feet as well, as Vash stumbled forward a foot or so then ducked at Reg swung again. I watched as Vash landed a well aimed shot to Reg's back and down he went, into a crouch, barely able to stay up. Vash circled him. "You wanna know why Rosetta chose me over you? She said you were <i>tiny </i>. Brain-wise or otherwise, I'm not sure." Vash said, a bit distastefully, and Reg's buddies who still stood in a group a little bit off to the side laughed. This further enraged the guy and he lunged at Vash, catching him offguard. Reg caught him in the stomach with a blow that knocked the wind out of Vash. I could tell, I could see the chords standing out on his neck as he strained to control his breathing, and his flared nostrils. Reg spat at his feet and walked off, calling back random expletives in Vash's direction.

Reg walked out of sight, around the corner of the building and simultaneously Vash collapsed. I rushed to his side, dropping to my knees at his side and leaned over him. "Strawberries," he murmured to me, obviously dazed. He looked around without really seeing. I touched the back of his head, and my hand came back bloody. 'Oh hell...'

"Did you just- no, never mind. Please, just look at me. Vash! Are you okay? You're bleeding. Stop laughing, you maniac." I said, slightly panicked. I shook him, he was still laughing. I touched his cheek, leaving a bloody print.

Then he kissed me. I drew back as if I had been bitten by a snake, shocked. I think he mistook it as disgust because he was suddenly angry. Very angry. He pulled himself up, and stood there, swaying. "You just can't let it go, can you?" he spat at me, having trouble focusing.

"I... I could have drowned. I'm sorry. It's not an easy thing to forget." I stuttered at first, then grew stronger as the pain from that memory reached me from so long ago and stirred my emotions.

"Well I've been drowning for ten bloody years!" he said furiously, then walked off, leaving me standing there. I was shocked. 'There's no way.... is there?'

"Vash!" I shouted, jumping up and racing after him. I reached him after a few paces and grabbed his arm, spinning him to look at me. He glared down at me, the bloody fingerprint of mine on his cheek glowing brightly against his pale skin. I waited maybe half a second before throwing my arms around his neck and hugging him tightly, burying my face in his neck. "Please, don't go. I've spent the last ten years without you and I don't want to spend any more. You're my best friend. Let's just forget about it, please." I said, my throat tight.

The End

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