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WARNING: If you haven't read the warning on the index page, go back and read it. If you don't, and you don't like what you find here, don't come crying to me.

Title:Marksmanship

Author: Eleanor K.

Fandom: Trigun

Pairing: Vash/Wolfwood

Raiting: PG-13

Notes: Thanks to Chrissy for the beta.

For Renet, who provided the following line as a starting place:
"What...exactly is that doing on your head?"

..___..

The apple on Vash's head is as red as his coat and nearly as shiny. Spikes of hair curve up around it as if it's a bird, nesting there. Wolfwood blinks at it for a second and then lets his sunglasses slide down his nose so he can meet Vash's eyes.

"What...exactly is that doing on your head?"

Vash shrugs and nearly dislodges the apple. His arms and legs flail for a moment, body contorting and head bobbing as he fights to keep it in place without touching it. When it's steady again, he grins sheepishly, rubbing the side of his face. He points behind him.

"They wanted a target."

Three scruffy boys and one younger child of indeterminate sex are clustered together a few yards off, one of them brandishing a toy gun of the sort that shoots suction cups.

Wolfwood lets Vash walk away and doesn't say a word about his brand of lunatic heroism, about his stubborn refusal to change his beacon-red coat for normal clothes, about the thousand everyday ways he puts himself in the way of people who don't have the courtesy to shoot suction cups. Vash has never needed an apple to be a target.

Vash stands stock-still as the suns sink lower. His coat looks less red by comparison as the larger sun touches the horizon and stains everything the color of blood. Or apples.

The children take turns with their toy gun. Wolfwood doesn't flinch when the suction cups hit Vash's coat and stick there, quivering. He tells himself he wouldn't flinch if they were bullets. He doesn't have that much feeling left in him for anyone. Still, as the first sun passes the curve of the horizon and the darkness becomes that much darker, he finds he can't watch this anymore.

There are times he doesn't like how simple it is to draw his gun, how smoothly it clears the holster at his side. It's the ease of use and oil, gun oil and leather oil and this same action repeated a thousand times before. More than a thousand. Maybe a million. Like the Goddamn stars in the sky.

Vash is standing so still that Wolfwood doesn't even have to aim. He just has to raise his gun and look and squeeze the trigger. The apple disintegrates in an expanding cloud of red and white.

The kids stop running, stop shouting, and stare. Vash stares.

"Playtime's over," Wolfwood says. "Time to go inside."

Vash nods cheerfully and sends his friends home. He follows Wolfwood up the stairs and makes no protest when Wolfwood shoves him up against the door and brings their mouths together with too much force and too little skill.

Wolfwood's lip catches on Vash's teeth, and it's such a small pain, so simple and clean, that it almost feels good.

It's Vash who gentles the kiss, winds his hand into Wolfwood's hair and unbuttons his own coat with the other. Wolfwood feels calm enough, by the time all the buttons, buckles, and snaps are undone, to slide it gently off Vash's shoulders.

It falls to the floor, and Wolfwood pulls Vash onto the bed. Vash nibbles at his neck while Wolfwood picks bits of apple out of blond hair. He kisses Vash's forehead and finds the sweet, crisp taste of apple juice.

Vash smiles up at him, and his eyes are exactly that sweet and clear. The look goes through Wolfwood's heart like it does every time. He has to smile back, has to return every bit of silent warmth and mean it, even if he doesn't want to. Even if he knows how this will end. He thinks he may as well paint a bull's eye on his suit or wear an apple on his head. He's just as bad as Vash.

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