Pairing: At the moment none, but will later become Sephiroth/Vincent

Requested by: Alzilur
Warnings: Violence, child abuse, later male x male.
AN: Well, this was a pairing I had never considered before, but it was requested and I thought I would give it a go. Unfortunately, I won't be able to update it for a long time as I am going to China for two weeks, but this will be the second story (after Crimson Raindrops) that I update when I return. This is set when Sephiroth was a child, so around 24 years before Final Fantasy 7.

Vincent lay still in the claustrophobic box, body aching from Hojo's earlier treatment. The voices in his head were louder than usual, and he longed again for death. It was what he had wished for since the day he had been shot. Since then every moment had been pain. His eyes fogged with tears of agony and frustration. He had tried to do more than wish for death. He had grabbed a scalpel, plunged it deep into his left arm, dragged it along to let the blood pool up.

He'd been curled up on the floor, screaming in frustration and hatred at the way his arm healed almost as soon as he made the cut, when Hojo had found him. He'd been dragged to his feet, buckled down on the experiment table and his blood had been forced to boil as caustic injections bubbled through his veins. Hojo had stood back, admiring and making notes, uncaring about his subject's agony. After what felt like years but was really only a few horrific hours, Hojo was finished, curiosity sated, mind satisfied and body exhausted. He permitted Vincent to return to the coffin, carrying him over there and slamming the wooden lid on.

Vincent had no way of knowing how long passed. It could be hours, it could be days, maybe even years. The longest he had stayed trapped in this box so far was 5 months, during which time the pain ebbed, his hair grew, and he had been almost relieved that his only problem was the noise of his constant companions, the demons who detested him almost as much as he detested himself.

He gasped slightly as a faint glimmer of light filtered through a gap in the wood as the lid was lifted, making him screw his eyes up tightly as he was nearly blinded. As it continued to get lighter he forced himself to lay completely limp. He pretended to himself that if he lay totally still and played dead, Hojo would get bored more quickly. He didn't know if it actually worked, as Hojo often decided that such a protest merely required further torture to ensure a reaction. But he needed to believe he had some power over his life.

A pair of hands touched his shoulder, and his teeth bit down into his lip, dropping a few beads of blood into his mouth. This was surprisingly recent after last time for Hojo, he normally gave Vincent at least an hour to recover, but from Vincent's estimate he had left only half an hour ago. He focussed on slowing his pulse as much as possible. His mind suddenly cleared. These weren't Hojo's hands. The fingers were too slender, too delicate, and the touch wasn't painful enough.

A slight smile graced his lips as he allowed himself to imagine it was her. To truly think that Lucrecia was standing over him, and would pull him up, kiss him gently on the cheek and giggle that infectious laugh of hers, grabbing him and leading him off from the labs, towards safety and human kindness. His heart skipped a beat. He allowed himself to indulge in this fantasy for almost an entire second, before opening his eyes. He knew she was long dead. He couldn't blame her for that any more; he had tried to die by his own hand as well.

He relaxed slightly as he saw who it was standing above him, allowing himself to focus on someone else other than himself, and it helped the voices silence. The nervous, almost feline, eyes of a child were fixed on his rubies, and the mid-chest length cascade of silver hair enclosed the two of them, stroking against his cheek and allowing them a moment of communication. Not audible conversation, that could be overheard, but one based solely on the eyes and facial features. It was something that most of the experiments had learnt, but the two of them had developed it to such a level that the lack of language hardly hindered them.

Vincent started, staring up at the six-year-olds pale face. There was a bruise over his left eye, and a cut below it, on which a few beads of blood had formed. The normally immaculate hair was marred by congealed blood, and he felt a shudder of pity. Regardless of if it was from the boy, or from someone the boy was ordered to fight, the child still hated his hair being dirty. He managed a slight reassuring smile at the boy. 'It's alright, don't be afraid.'

A very slight inclination of the head, a momentary crease of the forehead, nothing that would be noticeable if you didn't know where to look. 'I have to be afraid.' Vincent sighed slightly, tilting his eyes away from the boy and towards where he knew the exit to the laboratory would be.

'Is he there?' The boy's eyes closed, answering in affirmative. Vincent shuddered slightly. They would probably be forced to fight again, and he knew the boy didn't like causing him pain. He was the closest the child had to a friend, and the boy hated hurting him.

Vincent stuck his tongue out briefly, acting far more childlike than normal. 'It's alright, we're friends.' The faintest glimmer of a smile showed on the boy's face. 'Thank you. I'm sorry.'

"SEPHIROTH!" Hojo's voice rang out, and the boy jumped away, a guilty expression across his face. He knew he wasn't meant to waste time like that. As he stepped away, Vincent saw that the boy was dressed in a mock-SOLDIER outfit, of the kind that some tailors made for small children with big dreams. This boy had no choice in the matter, he didn't want to be a fighter, but he had no choice. He was made for it, in the same way that in Hojo's mind, Vincent was made to be an experiment. Vincent sat up in the coffin, to try and spare the boy from further pain or punishment.