Disclaimer: It's Square-Enix's.

Snowfall – Vincent and Hojo share a moment in the snow and a lot more than Vincent is willing to give. One-sided Hojo x Vincent.

This story has no justification for existing except my boredom. I accept full responsibility.

There's also some Vincent x Lucrecia here, I believe,but mostly agreat deal of incoherency in my humble opinion.

"Are you sure about this, professor? You remember what happened the last time you–" the bartender's words abruptly cut off when the second most feared man in all of Nibelheim gave him a look that was clearly contemplating the aesthetic quality of splicing him with a chocobo. And considering the influence the man had in Shinra, it wasn't just an unfounded fear of waking up with chicken legs that caused him to immediately shut up.

"I didn't ask you for a stroll down memory lane, did I?" Hojo snapped peevishly as he pointed at the bottle of vodka. "Now give me that and get out of my sight."

The bottle was practically thrown at his head, but much to the professor's dismay, there was no impact when a hand reached out to intervene, catching it easily and causing Hojo to groan mentally.

"What are you doing here, Valentine? Don't you have some innocent person to kill?" he growled, refusing to look up from the fascinating woodwork even as the taller man sat down next to him.

"And don't you have some victim to mutilate?" was the equally cold reply. "Professor Gast is looking for you, Hojo."

"That's Professor Hojo, Turk," he sneered as he finally turned to look at the man sitting next to him, his very own bodyguard. Although considering Mr. Vincent Valentine's unbearably arrogant attitude, it was hard to tell exactly who the employee was. "And since when have you become Gast's lapdog?"

Reddish-brown eyes – almost the color of dried blood, he mused whimsically – caught his, a tiny flicker of anger within them but so little else.

"Lucrecia asked me to."

Hojo could not help but laugh at that, "Lucrecia, Lucrecia, Lucrecia. How droll. Tell me, if Lucrecia asked you to jump off a cliff, would you?"

Vincent looked at him quietly, "You're drunk, aren't you?"

He ignored that, as any fool would have known that. But if Vincent Valentine said it, then it had to be something amazing didn't it? Everyone thought Vincent was amazing except for Hojo, who knew he was nothing more than a cold-blooded killer with a pretty face. So he continued, "On second thought, if I told you to jump off a cliff to save her, would you?"

Vincent's expression did not change, "You are drunk, Hojo."

A snub. That continued snub, and was it any wonder that he lost his temper, especially when faced with such blatant arrogance. He grabbed the trademark blue jacket, viciously pulling Vincent close as he yelled, "It's professor! Professor Hojo, you common murderer! And you will address me by my proper station, or I'll have you sent back to Midgar for common guard duty!"

By this point the bartender and other customers had carefully edged away, leaving an empty ring around the two. This wasn't the first time they had confronted each other in such a manner and it wouldn't be the last. In fact, everyone knew that it would only be a matter of time before Vincent's seemingly endless supply of patience ran out and he revealed exactly why the Turk was the most dangerous man in this backwater town.

But it seemed that day had not yet arrived as Vincent calmly released himself from Hojo's grasp and said, "Professor Gast is waiting."

It was snowing outside.

Which kind of sucked since he had left his coat in the lab, and his thin shirt was really no protection against the icy wind.

Upon his tenth sneeze, Vincent turned to look at him sharply, "Are you cold, Hojo?"

He was too frozen to make any bitter remarks on the Turk's continued lack of respect and his apparent inability to speak anything besides the obvious. As he wondered for what had to be the millionth time that week exactly why everyone was so impressed with the man, he asked dryly, "What do you think, Valentine?"

Even as he spoke he kept walking, looking down at his feet as it made tracks through the newly fallen snow. So he wasn't in any position to defend himself when the Turk jacket that he had been grabbing only minutes before was dropped onto his shoulders, giving him more warmth than just simple fabric could.

Vincent said nothing, not even pausing to give Hojo any explanation. Not that any was needed – the Turk wasn't doing this out of any good will. Vincent had no good will to anybody except his precious Lucrecia, and everything beyond that was duty. Looking for Hojo, pulling him out of the bar before he could get completely drunk, walking him home, taking care of him… those were all duties, as if he was a little pet dog that Vincent had to take care of. He might have laughed if it wasn't so ironic. All this time he had thought of the Turk as a dog to Shinra and the company's whims, and now he was the one being taken care of like a little dog. It was so pathetic that a part of him wanted to cry, but Professor Hojo was not the type of person who cried. So he laughed instead, even though it wasn't very funny.

"What are you laughing at?"

He glanced up, took one look at Vincent's suspicious expression, and continued to laugh. Those reddish-brown eyes weren't so brown anymore – they looked pure red in anger, except weren't Turks supposed to have some control of their emotions? But without that blue jacket, Vincent didn't really look like a Turk anymore, and he certainly didn't look nearly as impressive. Strange that a single garment could change so much, but right now Vincent just looked like an ordinary man with an amazing amount of sex appeal. It might have been endearing if he didn't hate the man.

"You know, Valentine, you don't look nearly as impressive as you usually do when you don't have the jacket on," Hojo smiled dryly. "I guess it's true when they say the clothes makes the man… with the right touch, you could even turn an ordinary person into a monster, couldn't you?"

No response. Was Vincent going to take the high road then? Or was it because they were quickly approaching the Shinra mansion, and soon they could go back to pretending that each other didn't exist as they went about their daily lives?

Except Hojo found it impossible to pretend that Vincent didn't exist. The combination of hatred and a horrific fascination with the Turk kept him bound, as if he wanted to be around every moment to catch all the reactions and expressions. Vincent kept so much to himself, and he wanted to be able to see all of it one day – every emotion that was kept hidden, every desire, every fear. Perhaps that was why he tolerated this arrogance, perhaps this was why he had yet to bribe someone to kill the man.

Those eyes – so cold, so empty. Like the snow falling around them, containing nothing but ice. Hojo strained to get a better look, and noted with satisfaction that Vincent looked slightly uncomfortable with the abrupt shift in attitude. Or perhaps he, like everyone else, believed that Hojo really was mad. It wasn't really anything to believe – he knew that already. Better to be mad and have power than to be sane and have nothing, wasn't it? At least that way, you could change things to match your madness… make everyone around you the same exact way should you choose. He hadn't yet, perhaps he didn't have enough power to do so… but once he got Gast out of the way, he would. And then things would change.

"Have you ever kissed anyone before, Valentine?"

Snow fell into the raven-black hair, as if trying to turn it white. Silver.

Thin lips pursed slightly and Vincent turned to walk away. He had to run slightly to catch up, and even though he stumbled, he didn't care as he fell into step next to the other man.

"Come now, Valentine. It's not that difficult a question is it? You're a handsome man… must have the ladies swarming you all the time, hmm? And then there's that matter with Lucrecia. Have you kissed Lucrecia before? Hmm? Have you?"

He already knew the answer to that, of course. He worked in the same laboratory as the woman did, and it wasn't difficult to eavesdrop when she giggled to the other lab assistants about how Vincent wouldn't kiss her yet, about how he was saving it for something special. His first time, and he wanted it to be special for both of them. Such arrogance, such a waste!

He knew the answers to all the questions, but that never stopped him from asking regardless.

It was fun to watch people squirm.

"That is none of your business."

They were passing through the gates, and he could hear the voices from the mansion. Could see the soft lights and the outlines of people through the window. The inviting warmth. But despite that, a part of him wanted to stay out here, in the cold.

He remembered a time when he was a child. His first snow. How he had jumped out there even as his mother yelled at him to come back, and how he had let the cold fall onto him like a comforting blanket. He'd never been allowed to indulge in himself like that since then – his mother had always believed he was a delicate creature who should be kept indoors with books and nothing else – and when he had come to Nibelheim, the falling snow had ignited that age-old memory inside him again. The snow… so cold, so beautiful.

And delicate.

He remembered this too, later. Remembered how he had grabbed the collar of Vincent's white shirt, pulling him down and pressing their lips together. How the cold ceased to be cold as it melted into the soft warmth of Vincent's skin, and how those cold red eyes had lit up in righteous fury.

It didn't last long before Vincent had shoved him away, but it had lasted long enough. A second would have been enough. Half a second. A moment, and it was over, but it would never be the same for either of them.

"No need to be so rude now," he smiled cruelly as Vincent practically fled to the mansion door, leaving behind Hojo, the blue Turk jacket, and a first time. "Certainly no need to be rude, hmm? Especially after what we just shared, Valentine."

And he would remember the taste of strawberries. Not yet ripe so they were more sour than sweet, but really, there were just some things that you could never hide.

Like I said. This story has no reason for existence except one messed up mind. Unfortunately, that mind was mine and I apologize for that….


May 9, 2005