"Echo" - A Short Story"
By Tony-kun

Rated PG


       Happy Birthday Sempai. Hope you enjoy it.

* * *

        I'm tired. My body is exhausted from the fight I just had with the last of the Gun-ho-guns, Midvalley the Hornfreak. I can't say the last, since there is still one Gun-ho-gun left, there leader: Legato Bluesummers. It was Legato who had not only led a team that had no value for human life, but he had also trained them to have no value in their own lives. They were all gone now and only Legato remained. I could see him, standing at ledge looking down into the town I had just fought Midvalley in. I stumble toward him, still so weak. I want to lie down and sleep, but I can't. Not just yet.
        "This is the climax, Vash the Stampede" Legato calls out to me.
        I shoot. Once in the shoulder to shut him up and then four other shots in his arms and legs to weaken him. He stumbles back off balance, long enough for me to make my way close to him. So close that I am pointing my gun at his head. I'm breathing hard. It hurts. My battle with Midvalley has weakened me even more then I guessed.
        Legato looks at me with cold eyes as he says, "Do you hate me? I suppose you do. So many sad things happened to you because of me. Be it friend or foe. Everyone you meet dies."
        I can't catch my breath. I think that my rib, no at least two of them are broken. Tired, so tired. Need to find a way to beat him, stop him, so he doesn't hurt anyone else.
        "It's enough to dry up your tears forever," Legato says as coolly as ever.
        "SHUT UP!" I scream. I am sick of him and his mindless negative philosophy. No, not his: Knives'. Knives' worthless, "Human life is pointless" nonsense. I can't stand it anymore. It makes me sick just thinking about it.
        "But it isn't over yet. Did you think it would end this easily?" Legato continues to talk aimlessly looking at me with a very cold gaze.
        Fear. By just one look it course through my veins. But I knew that it was more than a look. It was a plan. He has something planned.
        "You are not human. I will teach you that as a courtesy." Legato says as he clenches his arm.
        I blink and the world changes totally. In that brief instant before I blink I am sure that I would be able to beat him. That I had some type of plan coming to me that would help me stop Legato. Then, this idea, this hope comes crashing down as the protective safety on my gun pops off and all hell breaks loose.
        I stare at the energy that is pouring out from the swirling cylinder in the barrel of my gun. I stutter as I can't turn my eyes away. "T-This light!"
        "It is the power you've always had," Legato says calmly as he stares into the light erupting from my gun. "Actually, you can say it is what you are."
        Pain! The extreme pain of my Angel Arm transforming pulses through my very being. The pain causes the memories to break free from the mental blocks I had put them behind. Memories of the towns of July and Augusta. Memories of mindless destruction, of death.
        "No!" I scream. I try my best to stop the gun from finishing its transformation. Suddenly, I am saved as pleasant memories come up to save me. Memories of the people who I have met in my travels such as Milly, Meryl, Wolfwood, Rem, and Lina. These memories are able to save me.
        "NO!!" I scream as I use the memories to concentrate on stopping the gun from fully transforming. I fall to my knees. I am once again exhausted from excreting myself so much.
        "Haven't you given up yet?" Legato says in his usual cold voice reminding me that I still have to fight with him. He continues to start at me, still so confident with the words of wisdom handed down to him from Knives. I won't give up. I still have a choice. I will stop him somehow.
        As if knowing that I will still try to stop him, Legato says, "That's annoying."
        Pain explodes through my arm. I don't take the time to guess what type of gun fired the shot based on the sound on the blast. All I do is look over and see a group of zombified humans under Legato's control, one of them holding a smoking shotgun.
        I stare at Legato, my eyes filled with anger. "Y-You…"
        Legato does not waver even for a second. "You had better fight back or you'll die."
        I look towards the people, beginning to make my plan of how to end this without death. My concentration is immediately broken as a shotgun shell nicks my face. Tired and desperate, I point the gun at Legato. I can still shoot him. Some where vital but not fatal. Just long enough to break the power he has over these people. That way no one dies.
        A cold smile as he watches how I am concentrating on finding a way to get out of this situation without anyone dieing. "Go ahead. It won't bother me. An egotistical being like myself can't be allowed to live. Give me nothingness. Give me death. He is waiting. He is looking forward to your visit."
        Knives. After this is over, there will be no more middlemen. No more people die because of you, Knives. After I stop Legato, I will come after you and I will find someway to stop you.
        Legato continues to talk down to me knowing that I am suffering. "I put on your left arm because you aren't by his side."
        Another blast from the shotgun and the pain breaks my train of thought again. The shell hit my leg, nicked my tendon. He's not trying to kill me. He's mocking me.
        "Shoot me," Legato says as he stares at me.
        "I can't," I stutter. I can't kill him. I can't take a life. I can't stop him that way. I can't stop him at all.
        "Shoot me," Legato insists.
        "I CAN'T!" I scream.
        I hear a cry. A woman's cry. I turn my head to see Milly fall to the ground. Meryl is standing over her worried. Another second later she is also knocked to the ground. I see the two of them and immediately know what that twisted bastard has planned. "Stop!" I scream. Make them stop!"
        A blast is shot into the ground next to Milly and Meryl's heads. They both yelp in terror. I begin to lose control. I know that. I know how severe things are. I know what Legato will do. I need to make sure that he doesn't kill them.
        "MAKE THEM STOP!!" I scream hoping that he will give up and stop listening to Knives.
        Legato closes his eyes as if he is sighing and says, "Then shoot me!" Legato gives me a weird look. My gun begins to lift so it now points at his head. He is using his power. The power of telekinesis that he got from my arm.
        I begin to shake. I need a plan something well thought out and calculated as always. I can't think. The pain of Midvalley's attacks and the shotgun shells. The screams of Milly and Meryl. I don't know, I can't drown out all the distractions. I don't know what to do.
        Legato looks down the gun that he is causing to point straight at his face. "Shoot me. All you have to do is pull the trigger. If you kill me it will all end."
        I'm shaking harder now. I can't think. How can I stop him? I could pull the trigger. But from the angle the gun is pointed it won't wound at this range. It will kill him.
        "Come now choose of your own free will." Legato says softly knowing that I am running out of action.
        I turn away. I don't want to take a life. I can't kill a person! I try my best to persuade him. "Stop it…Don't make me fire!"
        The screams of the insurance girls get my attention. The people under Legato's control move closer. If I don't do something. They will..
        Legato's taunts continue. "Your faith in humanity is as obstinate as it gets to embrace every worthless ideal that woman taught you."
        Shock and anger fill me. He's talking about Rem.
        "Maybe its only reasonable since you have lived for over 100 years but that, your way of life is nothing outside of comical." Legato says as coolly as ever. "Rem Saverem, a woman who could only pretend her logic made sense. A worthless human being just like me but unlike you."
        "SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I scream, the anger that has been building inside explodes. I can't take it anymore. I am on my feet. I need to think but I can't. Instead the voices of Wolfwood and Rem fill my head, haunting me. Rem's sweet voice telling me how life is so precious and must be treasured, while Wolfwood's strong voice seems to push me on, concerned that I will end up dead by embracing Rem's philosophy. But instead of helping they are instead impairing me even more from thinking of a way to stop Legato. Pain erupts in my body as another shotgun blast rips through my shoulder. I can't think. I can't think.
        Meryl and Milly scream "No" in unison afraid that the encircling crowd will kill them and something inside of me snaps. An image of Rem with her hair blowing in the wind appears in my mind and fades just as quickly. A tear rolls down my face as I squeeze the trigger of the gun, which was pointed directly at Legato Bluesummer's head.

* * *

        The echo of the gun shot that spread through the canyon walls lasted only a minute, but would echo in Vash's heart forever.

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