[Disclaimer: Cowboy Bebop was created by, and is copyrighted by Yadate Hajime in association with the legal entities Sunrise and Bandai. The characters are used without permission but no material profit of any kind is being made from the following work. Sunrise and Bandai reserve all rights to Cowboy Bebop material, but all of the situations unique to this work of fan fiction are property of the writer.  Bang.  Or hiss, in this case.]

[Note: He's just so… incomprehensible.  Here's one of endless possibilities.  The title is probably the best part to this one.  Triangulation is a method of finding something (like a freaking heart!), but I thought it also makes a great word play on love triangle and strangulation.  Rucky!]

Triangulation

He sucked in deep on the cigarette, breathing in only on the burning fag for the moment.  The orange tip of the white cylinder glowed bright as it burned down an impressive distance based on his strong intake.  Its orange light lit his alabaster face with deceptive warmth under the death shroud of colorless hair. 

His was a face carved of stone and equally warm; any and all human warmth or emotion was little more than a reflection on his prematurely weary face.  He was a man struck down in his youth by the cruelty of necessity in a dog-eat-dog world.  In reply to the unforgiving death waiting at the heels of everyone vomited onto Mars' hard streets, he had made himself into the thing that survived best there: a heartless beast. 

Mars was a dog-eat-dog world, certainly, appropriately named after the Roman god of war.  To survive you had to eat your opponents before they ate you.  No wonder he was called a snake behind his back; Vicious had learned the only way to eat something bigger than one's self started with dislocating one's jaw.

Spike often complained that Vicious bit off more for them than he could chew, but they were both still alive.  More or less.  Spike more, himself less, or vice versa, depending on how one looked at it. 

Spike was a mystery Vicious silently observed and sometimes pondered how to unravel.  He was just as much a survivor, came from a comparably unkind background, but somehow he sparkled.  Somehow Spike was alive despite the foolishness of his warmth. 

He would never admit it, but it was Spike who made it possible to wonder if survival and living weren't actually two different things.  It was his partner's spark of life that made it possible for Vicious to pick up a vice. 

Julia was every good boy's mother's worst nightmare, come to claim their sons' souls and drag them uncomplaining into Hell.  For bad boys, one look at an angel of death only excited their sense of rebellion and camaraderie, because that's what their mothers had looked like once.

She'd been the first to tell him not to trust her and that double-edged honesty had worked like Spike's charm.  He didn't know why it took so very little time for them to fall into a heated relationship, but he couldn't deny the intense satisfaction he took from it.  There were very few women in the syndicates who looked like they were born in leather and left an aftertaste like gunpowder.  Fewer still that looked like the picture of a domestic housewife when they weren't working.

The first time he'd been self-indulgent enough to stay in her bed one morning until after she'd showered, he'd been surprised to find her drape her perfect figure in modest, 'I'm nobody', clothes.  His emotion did not show, but he'd found it difficult to comprehend.  In fact, he never did.

She was an oddity, but like Spike, she was his oddity.  There was a common life in the two of them that he unconsciously longed for.

In retrospect, he thought sourly, blowing the smoke out his nose in a long stream reminiscent of an impatient dragon, it was probably that very thing that drew them together and apart from him.  Though, what he really thought it was better to blame it on was domesticity.

Domesticity.  The word made him snarl.  With little to take his ire out on, his cigarette was martyred on the fire escape rusted railing.  If one was to be domesticated, then there was no longer a place on the streets.  Domestic life was for those in love with the vice of weakness, the jaded lust for soft luxury, gilded cages, collars, tags.  Probably even breeding papers.  Marriage certificates. 

The worst thing, he decided, gripping the pack of cigarettes Spike had left at the bar the night before, was that they had hypnotized him.  He had trusted his life to Spike and his body to Julia, had felt things for them both.  One of a snake's many powers was that of hypnosis, but the weakness, that of sight, had fooled him.

It was Spike who had said Vicious needn't be as cold as a snake.  It was Vicious who replied it was the only way to avoid blindness.

"A snake only sees heat," he'd murmured in a smoky room, over whiskey.  "If he should warm up, perhaps he will become blind with his own heat."

"And then he'll bite everything, including himself?"

Vicious shook the pack and tapped one out, only to take it in his teeth to withdraw it.  He tossed the pack over the rail and lit the stick with the same hand, to accommodate the grip on his katana.  A couple strong pulls brought the cigarette to life, once again throwing temporary light on a menacing face. 

"That would be a dangerous snake," he clothed the words in sound and smoke, "wouldn't it, Spike?"

Of course it would.  And the most fucked up part of the whole thing, was that the snake had enjoyed being blinded by the mongoose and the ferret.  Now it only lived to kill and be killed by them, because it was blind and jaded.

Spike and Julia had proved one thing to him; survival wasn't living and if they weren't going to let him live, then neither would he let them.  At the end of the hunt there would be poison, strangulation, or crushing death.  Once a snake found its prey, it had many options.