labingi: (riki)
[personal profile] labingi
It's been a while since I've written fic, and this one's been simmering for a while...

Fandom: Trigun (manga)
Title: “Fear”
Characters: Knives, Legato, OC
Rating/Warnings: R, violence, dark themes
Words: About 800
Summary: Knives and Legato find a baby Plant.
Spoilers: through volume 7, and this story won’t make sense without vol. 7.


“Fear”

Their first morning back after a week’s reconnaissance started in the ordinary way, Legato trailing behind while Knives marched purposefully to the Plant habitats. At the end of the hall, Knives knocked open the door: “While I’m checking life support status, you pack up—” He froze.

Legato followed his eyes to nearest Plant sphere. Something was moving at the bottom, some sort of animal? How did it get—?

No. It was a baby.

Knives took a step forward. “Stay back!” he barked as Legato moved to follow.

The room rang with his shout, and at the fire in his eye, Legato not only halted; he turned his head, dropped his gaze. He did all he could to disappear. For several minutes, he stood that way, listening to the steps and clanks of Knives climbing into the sphere. When Legato dared to move, he slunk out without a backward glance.

***

By when Knives had not emerged by the following morning, Legato ventured gingerly back to the Plant habitats. At the sound of door, Knives’s head snapped up. Legato flinched, but Knives made no other motion. He was sitting at a worktable, the baby cradled in one arm, while he fed her from some sort of makeshift bottle: a crude rubber nipple tied on to a can. He had her diapered in a rag; otherwise she was still naked. After a moment, Knives bent his head back to the baby.

This is how he began, Legato thought, as a little, human-looking thing like that. He wondered if the baby was Knives’s biological child. He thought Knives—maybe—sometimes had sex with them: it wasn't something he wanted to investigate too closely. And anyway, who was he to question how Plants did it? He only knew that new Plants were supposed to be grown in labs, but then, Plants weren’t supposed to walk around like humans, were they?

“Get a blanket from storage.” Knives’s voice was so soft that for a moment Legato assumed he must be talking to the baby. Then, he realized and turned to obey.

***

When Legato moved to hand Knives the blanket, Knives said quietly, “Stay back.” Legato stopped. “Just leave it on the edge of the table.”

Legato leaned over awkwardly and half-tossed the small, blue blanket the short distance to the table’s corner. Knives, with more grace, leaned over and claimed it.

At his movement, the baby started crying, a noise that flayed Legato’s nerves. It was like too many other children’s cries...

Or... his own?

Knives, however, seemed unperturbed. He wrapped her in the blanket and leaned her against his chest, rocking her gently, not crooning exactly, the way Legato had seen some parents in the market, but whispering as if telling her the secrets of the universe. Legato watched them, mesmerized. This was the way Plants were with each other. Not like humans.

He watched a long time, till the baby stopped crying, watched Knives sit on the edge of the table and hold her in the crook of his arm as she gazed up at him, gripping his finger in her tiny hand. He watched Knives set her down carefully on the table, arranging the blanket like a cradle around her. He watched him stroke her head and belly and whisper to her till her big eyes closed and she started to wheeze in her sleep.

Then, Knives stood up, staring down at her with a sudden, searing intensity. His shoulders rose and fell with quickened breaths. He stood like that a moment—and a moment more.

And then, the blade fell with a thwack.

***

Legato jumped in spite of himself. Blood spurted; the blanket bloomed red; the baby’s head lolled like a doll torn apart.

Knives, shaking, half turned away, then whipped back around at once. “Stay back,” he commanded Legato in a low, deadly voice though Legato had not moved. He bent and scooped the baby’s corpse up in the blanket, trembling so hard he almost dropped her.

He laid the bundle in the incinerator and, in one fierce gesture, dialed the heat to maximum. While the furnace roared, he pulled out rags and disinfectant and swiped the blood from the worktable in rapid swoops. When he'd finished, he tore off his blood-spattered shirt, bundled it with the rags, and burned them too. And when the fire was spent, he poked at the ashes till they were smooth. Then, he clanked the incinerator shut and made for the door.

Legato shrank back as Knives went past him.

“Now, she’s safe from them,” growled Knives as he slammed out.
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