Author's Notes: Once upon a time I thought I had done the hardest challenge there really was to do. Then Runechibi and Ladybiggs started to plot. Rune said 'So...you go ahead and pick one character, I'll pick the other and we'll let LOTP suffer with it' and selected Hojo. LB responded with 'Hmmm... what goes well with Hojo... aside from Peanut Butter... Oh I know... Old Prof. Gast.' And together they gave LOTP her biggest Headache ever.
This is what came from that headache.
Is there any character I can't give a human side?
No one was left in the labs these days that knew just how to explain the odd ritual Hojo seemed to go through every year. After all, it happened every year for twenty-three straight years, and few lab assistants lasted more than three. So instead all there was these days was speculation. Maybe it was just coincidence that the same thing happened every year, but seeing as Hojo loathed the thing in question and avoided it for the rest of the year that wasn't likely. Reno had put his money on Hojo needing it for inspiration, or to mark days in his own insane little calendar. Some even suggested it was a holiday or something or a pagan ceremony.
Truth was that they didn't know the truth and weren't likely to guess. Still he woke up today and just like last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, and so on and so forth, Hojo went to his rarely used kitchen. Two pieces of bread were pulled out and laid on the counter. A butter knife bought just for this one day a year was taken from a drawer, and a small jar of peanut butter retrieved from some random cabinet. It was crunchy of course, always crunchy, just like it was always white bread.
When the sandwich was wrapped in plastic Hojo would head into work like normal. He'd drop the sandwich onto the perfect center of the desk, place a cup of coffee by it, and head out to do his work. Always menial work on that day, things that there were lab technicians and assistants for, not things the Head of Science Research should be doing. Things he used to do on this day twenty four years ago, and twenty five years ago, and so on and so forth.
At the end of the day the sandwich, left uneaten, and coffee, left untouched, were pushed into the nearest trash can and Hojo would go home early, just like he used to, as if he was not an executive that day. And for that day he really wasn't. No, he was just Hojo, underling to the mighty Professor Gast. A man he had admired, a man he had been a friend of. A man he had hated. A man he had replaced. A man he had killed. A man who always brought in a sandwich of white bread and crunchy peanut butter and coffee on his birthday but never really ate them as he helped Hojo do the lab work.
It was all that Hojo could offer to the memory of that man after all…