Notes: You're back. You can't resist me! …hey hey, no need to be laughing. It's not funny.

Summery: The first fight is always the hardest. Or is that strangest? Richie has some problems, Virgil has problems with Richie's problems and it's all just…out of control.


Sometimes Richie was really jealous of Virgil and how…perfect his family seemed at times. Mr. Hawkins didn't care that his son was gay and could care less about the color of the guy he was dating. Sharon didn't care and only asked that they refrained from making out on the couch until she got it scotch guarded.

He was pretty sure she wasn't serious though. But…it was Sharon. So who knew?

Adam was okay with it well and even went so far as to run interference for them where Sharon was concerned. She had gone into embarrassing older sister mode and was trying to capture pictures of them together for later use. Blackmail no doubt. She was undercover evil like that.

Some of the people they faced could do with a few lessons from her.

So yeah. Sometimes he was envious, even though envy was a very stupid and often times destructive emotion that could ruin even the strongest of emotions. Sometimes, when his father was sneering in disgust at the latest news and those 'fruits, he cringed and wondered why he couldn't be more like Mr. Hawkins. And yes, his father was working on the racist thing but if he ever brought home a black girl, let alone a black boy (even if it was Virgil), there would be hell to pay.

His father wouldn't even pretend to play nice. He'd scream and he'd holler and things would be broken and his mother would give him that 'see what you're doing now' look of hers that she got whenever his father started to give her a headache and it was his fault.

It was usually his fault.

Little things, like suggesting that maybe he should just let people be who they are as long as they aren't bothering him or maybe letting it slip that he was interested in someone that wasn't white. It never took long for the anger to flare up.

He wondered sometimes why he did it. Maybe he liked frustration his father. Maybe he hoped each time that he'd say something different, that things would be different.

Even though he knew they wouldn't be.

Maybe he was just a masochist.

Last night had been no different. The subject of debate had been forgotten and he wasn't even sure which platform he'd enraged his father over this time. Just knew his dad had been really pissed off about it and that his mother had been popping Advil fifteen minutes into the argument.

Also knew he was kind of grounded forever and that his father never wanted to hear anything about him being like that (Gay or dating a black person he wasn't sure…) or else he'd find his ass out on the streets. His mother had shaken her head and, after her husband had slammed some doors and retreated to their bedroom, said that he didn't really mean those things.

But that maybe he should try to make him less angry from now on.

He was considering that when Virgil popped out of the crowd and flashed him a bright smile. He returned it tiredly. School was over for the week, thank whatever God there was for that one, and he'd be able to do something other than pretend to listen to his teachers drone on about stuff he'd long since figured out. And maybe he'd get a little time away from Virgil.

Don't get him wrong, he liked Virgil. A lot. ….A lot. Just so everything was clear. But lately he'd been seeing…a lot of Virgil. And not even in the fun nude way that he swore he wasn't thinking about most of the time, but in the 'we work together, go to school together, and spend most of our free time together' kind of way. He just couldn't believe it wasn't starting to grate on Virgil's nerves as well.

(Unbeknownst to Richie Virgil was about ready to go on an extended vacation and forget to tell his boyfriend. Because really…it was starting to get kind of annoying. He didn't know how people could get married… Just dating was starting to drive him bonkers.)

But maybe it was the fact that Virgil was so…open. Richie supposed he should have been flattered that Virgil was willing to risk other people for him but…well. He wasn't. He supposed he was kind of afraid it'd get back to his father or something like that. And you'd think, for all the provoking he did, that something like that wouldn't bother him.

But it did.

He didn't want his father to hate him. Be ticked off, sure but hate him…no. And he was pretty sure his father would indeed hate him. The way he talked and acted…somehow Richie doubted he'd just turn it off because his son happened to fall into one of those categories.

Richie smiled wryly as Virgil fell into step beside him. It was funny sometimes how he understood everything around him, could even analyze why he felt the way he did, but he couldn't really do anything about it. He knew why he was afraid to be out, knew that he wanted Virgil to be a little more discreet, and knew he could probably manage it without getting his friend mad at him and yet…he couldn't bring himself to do anything about any of it.

He had never thought himself a coward before but now he was kind of wondering about himself. He seemed to be doing that a lot lately actually. First about his sexuality, then his crush on his best friend and now this. Sometimes he thought way too much.

Virgil's hand touched his and, even though they were walking towards Virgil's house and no one seemed to be around for blocks (and even if they were why would they be paying attention to the two of them anyway) he jumped way. He knew the moment he'd done it that it was stupid and silly and that he had nothing to worry about and…

He did it anyway.

He could feel Virgil's eyes, questioning, but he just stared at the pavement and kept his mouth resolutely shut. Or at least until they were safely in the house and Virgil headed up the stairs without as much as a glance his way.

Richie sighed. He was pissed. He seemed to be getting really good at pissing people off these days. Unfortunately he didn't want to be on Virgil's bad side, unlike with his father, so…

He was going to have to do something. Explain himself. Yes. Explain himself. That's exactly what he would do. Explain that there wasn't anything wrong, really, but that he just wasn't ready for the entire world to know. Daisy and Frieda finding out had almost given him a heart attack, surely Virgil could understand that.


He could jump to conclusions sometimes.

Sharon came out of the kitchen and shot him a confused look. "Where's my brother?"

"Uh. V's upstairs."

"And you're down here." She observed, eyebrow going up. "You two have got to be the weirdest teenage boys I've ever met. Tell Virg I'm going next door. Miss Rachel broke her ankle and needs a little help getting around."


She smiled slightly before grabbing her coat and walking past him. Richie couldn't help the slightly perverted thoughts that ran through his mind. Alone in a house with Virgil…

He ran up the steps, shaking the thoughts away. V was mad at him, he needed to explain, and Sharon was only just next door. Now wasn't the time for his mind to run away with itself, as it was oh-so fond of doing. Besides he hadn't been feeling half as bold as he had that time on the couch and so…nothing had really happened since the aforementioned couch thing.

He wasn't sure what that meant exactly, but he was just a little bit…disappointed. Just a little bit. …maybe a lot. But he couldn't be held responsible for that. At least…he didn't think he could be held responsible for it. His mind was like a gutter lately…

He peered into Virgil's room and found the other teen sitting on his bed, bouncing a tennis ball against the wall intently. Richie swallowed nervously then walked inside. He leaned against Virgil's desk and tried to decide if he wanted to start the conversation or wait for his friend to stop pouting and acknowledge him.

"You don't even want to sit next to me now?"

Choice taking from his hands he couldn't help but blush. That couldn't have been further from the truth. Richie didn't want to sit on the bed with him. There was a difference. At least there was one as far as he was concerned.

"Don't be stupid." He said finally. Regretted the words instantly. Virgil glared at him for a second before going back to the steady bouncing of the ball. Wall, floor, back to Virgil's hand, repeat the process until it made Richie want to throw the ball out of the fucking window.

He shuffled his feet for a moment. Why was talking so hard. "I don't…it's just…you…" fuck. This was going so well. Note the mental sarcasm. What was he supposed to say? 'You keep touching me, stop it!'? That was going to go over so well.

Where was his resolve? What had happened to all of that stuff he knew? Why was he having such a hard time getting it out now? All of that stuff about his father was on the tip of his tongue but it wasn't eager to come out.

"I'm sorry I'm not as smart as you are Rich, so if you would be so kind as to explain it all for the rest of us." Virgil wasn't really sarcastic by nature. It didn't suit him well, having his words dark and twisted. The way he said them it was almost like he was trying to spit them out before he had to taste them.

Or something. Richie had been known to get oddly poetic when he was stressed out. It didn't make sense, since he'd always sucked at poetry and interpreting verse and text. It hadn't been his strong suit before he became Gear, and it wasn't his greatest area now. Knowing everything didn't give you any insight into what a person meant when they compared a snake to the sea or explained why Dickinson liked short choppy lines.

He hated English class.

The point was being sarcastic wasn't Virgil's thing. It was Richie's thing. Never with Virgil of course, he'd never had a reason to be that way around him, but still.

"I'm just…you're so…you don't care what anyone else thinks about you and me and us and you do things that make me uncomfortable sometimes."

"Should I care what anyone else thinks?" Richie wasn't thinking about how cute his boyfriend could be when he looked confused. He wasn't. Really. Damn it.

"You don't have to care, but I care." This was actually going okay now that his mouth was working with his brain.

"So we're fine when we're alone but in front of other people you have a problem with…this?" Virgil's voice was eerily calm and considering. "You don't want anyone to know we're together. Is it just because I'm a guy, or is it because I'm black too?"

Richie's mouth dropped open. He took it back, this was not going well. This was going very very badly. He shook his head and moved away from the desk, closer to Virgil. The other teen laid a very cold look on him and he froze.

That was it, he was never speaking again. After this anyway.

"That's not it V and you know it. I don't care about that."

"You just said that you do care! This is so screwed up Rich."

It occurred to Richie that they may have been having a fight. He and Virgil didn't fight much period so it was always…surprising to realize that they were indeed fighting. Most of the time it was petty little arguments that were forgotten within minutes. The only one that really stood out in his mind was when his father had first met Virgil.

Thought that had been more of a one-sided fight. Richie kind of doubted that his friend had even been aware that he wasn't just upset at his father. He'd been mad at Virgil as well, mad that he would just accept it and…well, just accept it when all Richie wanted to do was yell and scream and rage and…

His father was good at causing rifts between the two of them. He probably had no idea he was doing it of course, but he'd be pretty proud of himself if he did. He was trying to change in a way…or at least do a better job at keeping his opinions to himself.

But he was still the same way he'd always been at heart. He didn't like being around 'those people' even if he made exceptions for the Hawkins and Adam, and he didn't approve of him hanging out with Daisy and…well. It was all very screwed up.

"You don't understand."

"Obviously." Came the muttered reply. "I don't get it at all. You don't mind me being close to you in private but you even jump away if I touch you in front of Frieda and Daisy."

Richie sighed. No, he really didn't understand. Was it so hard to realize what his father would do to him if he ever found out about it? If Virgil could come to the (albeit wrong) conclusion that him being black had something to do with the way he was acting that why couldn't he make the connection between that and his father?

"If you don't want to be seen together maybe we just shouldn't…you know."

This wasn't the way he'd wanted this conversation to even kind of be going. "It's not my fault you can't get it, it's pretty damn obvious!"

He didn't mean to yell but he had and the sound of his own frustration echoed in the suddenly dead silent house. Maybe because no one else was around and all he could hear beyond his voice was the sound of his own heart drumming in his chest.

He wanted to apologize and start this whole thing over. Virgil was less inclined.

"Go away."

He blinked. "What?"

"Go. Away. I have homework."

He hesitated only a moment then did as he was told. He was pretty sure he wasn't supposed to just walk away like this but he didn't want to be there anymore anyway.

He ended up at home, much to his mother's surprise. He heard her calling his name as he ran up to his room but ignored it. He didn't want to talk to her anymore than he wanted to talk to Virgil. He shut and locked the door before collapsing onto his bed.

Maybe if he got some sleep this would make more sense. It had to because it didn't make much sense right now so it wasn't like it couldn't possibly make any less sense. So yes. Sleeping.

Before he could manage to even start dozing something started beeping. He blinked and turned, looking down at his backpack (the one for school). It took a moment before he dimly realized that backpack (the robotic one) must have picked up something on the police scanners. He reached over for the bag, managing to not tumble out, and opened it.

Was it wrong that he didn't feel like saving anybody right now? Probably. He sighed again. He needed some sleep.

Part of what made Static and Gear such a good team was the fact that they were great friends. They knew each other well enough to be able to guess at the other's intentions without saying them out loud. Today however they were off.

They slunk back into The Gas Station of Solitude victorious but a little more battered that usual. Static was sporting a painful looking burn on his arm and Gear was pretty sure he had a nasty bruise forming on his right leg.

He sat on the ragged couch with a wince and pulled off his helmet, tossing it somewhere. He trusted backpack to locate it and put it away for later use. He fumbled around, temporarily blind, then gave up and slumped over. He really needed some sleep and was more than content to get it right now, right there if need be.

He didn't think he could manage to trudge home at this point.

"You okay?"

"Yes bro' I'm fine. I'm not the one who nearly got burnt to a crisp."

"Mmm." Virgil muttered something about bank robbers and flame throwers before falling into a nearby chair. He'd grabbed the burn gel from the First Aid kit and was putting it on with a frown. Richie blinked over at him then shut his eyes. Hopefully by the time the other teen was done he'd have enough energy to make it home.

Instead he found himself opening his eyes and peering into fuzzy darkness. The lights were off and the sun was done. He was still on the couch only now he had been covered with something. He picked up a corner and squinted. Then smiled ruefully.

Static's coat. Even when he was pissed he was looking out for him.

"You're up."

"It's late. My dad's gonna be mad."

He heard Virgil shuffling around. "No. I told him you were staying at my place. Told Pops we were staying here tonight."

"And he said okay?" Why was Virgil's dad so cool anyway? It wasn't fair. What had Richie done in a past life to get the short end of the stick this time around?

"Uh. Sure." That meant no. He could make out a figure moving around and finally coming a halt in front of him. Glasses were pushed into his hand and he took them gratefully. He sat up, ignoring the pain in his leg, and pushed his glasses on.

It was still dark but at least he could see now. Virgil was sitting about a foot away, in the chair he'd been in earlier.

"So what'd he really say?"

"Be home by eleven or he's grounding me forever." Virgil smiled mildly. Then he leaned forward. "Are you getting the feeling this is not working?" Richie didn't want to talk about it. Still he nodded slowly. "Damn. I was hoping it was just me."

"We almost got beat up by two idiots with flamethrowers. Not even super powered idiots, just your run of the mill kind." Richie pointed out even as his gaze darted over to Virgil's arm. The burn was quite effectively hidden beneath gauze.

Virgil followed his eyes and shrugged slightly. "I'm fine. Pretty mild compared to Hotstreak on a bad day."

"What should we do?"

"What any mature guys who have to balance saving the city on a bi-daily basis with school, family, and friends should do."

Richie bit his lip and looked down at his hands. Logically it seemed to make sense. If they couldn't keep the whole hero thing from being affected by the boyfriend thing something had to give. Most likely not the hero thing.

"I don't want to break up." The words came out without any permission from his brain. He felt himself blushing. But…still. He didn't want to. "I'm sorry about before."

"Your dad." Virgil said then smiled sheepishly. "I figured it out while you were asleep. I'm an idiot and I'm…you know. Sorry. And stuff. He probably wouldn't jump for joy about this and I can understand you not wanting him to find out."

"It's okay." It wasn't like he'd done much better. He should have said something before now anyway, not waited until Virgil was ready to strangle him. "I'm sorry too."

"As you should be." Virgil smiled slightly. "I thought…well. It's just different for us. I don't have a reason to keep quiet, not really. I've just…I never thought I'd be hiding it when I found someone I really liked."

Him either. But they were used to keeping secrets by now anyway. But…still. "It's not like its forever."

"So we're good?"

Richie nodded. "I think so. Except…maybe…we should not be around each other so much? I mean-"

"You've been resisting the urge to beat my head in with a blunt object."

Richie stared. "No! God you're violent. You should talk to someone about that."

"It's only a problem when I get caught electrocuting small animals."

Richie just blinked slowly. Sometimes Virgil was really weird. He sighed and started to stand up. He wasn't sure what time it was but, in the interest of keeping his friend from being grounded it was probably best they get going now.

"Wait a sec." Virgil caught him by the arm and, tugging him forward, kissed him. A glance at his watch showed it to be a little before nine.

He sat back down, pulling Virgil with him. Virgil hesitated for a moment then straddled his legs while wrapping his arms around his neck. It seemed strange to just…be sitting there so he wound his arms around Virgil's waist. Then smiled slightly.

"This is interesting."

Virgil rolled his eyes. "We're making up. Talk less."

Of course. He hadn't known making up consisted of making out but…they had time.

Hikari: I like writing people confused and out of their element. It's more fun this way and that's why I kind of love this story. Kind of. As in a lot. And yes, of course it's all out of no where. And you're right, that is the point. Things kind of happen, kind of fall together in a way that make sense, and you kind of work them out. Such is life. And Daisy was really good about it, I'd like to think. I was kind of going 'Damn, I write such fluffy scenes!' at the time. (The handholding.) And hey, Sharon knows now…

Cherre: Caught in the cookie jar sucks. But it makes for good fiction.

Chibi: Lovely…well. I can swing lovely I suppose.

Mechante: …do you have creepy psychic powers? Because if you do and you're using them to look ahead in the plot that's cheating. Shame. Screamed did you? I think reading that made my day. Weird isn't it?

Makkura: Thanks for the nice words. I wanted to write Daisy and Frieda but I didn't want to make them two-dimensional. …which, really, I did to Frieda anyway…

Valkyrie: You don't hate me…I'm so cuddly. At the moment anyway. Awkward teen is fun to write…more people should do it so I can read some. I think this is a great fandom for it. Cute and hot…I was just going for cute and funny, so hot is an addition I am more than willing to take on. …on a purely non-conceited and ego stroking level of course. Oh, and sorry about the soda. Maybe I should put a spit-take warning on…

Ginger: Noo… crazy is laughing (or cursing.) while writing and drawing the attention of…your sister or boyfriend for example. However I find saying 'The voice in my head made a joke' is a great way to make people go away.

Leev: Well, Daisy kind of had her heart broken so it's okay to feel bad. Sucks to be her right now.

Billie: It's not Sharon's fault her brother and his boyfriend scarred her for life. You should give her a biscuit. At least she didn't tell on them.

Mystery: Yeah. Virgil was having one of those weird 'look my brain has gone on vacation please do that again' moments. And I'd imagine being with your best friend would be weird and strange territory. I mean, we spend so much time putting people in certain places and then move them has to be headache causing. And yes, that was a crappy way to find out. Poor girl.

Frankie: And there we have proof that I can't hold a thought for more than ten minutes at a time… I may take you up on your offer, should my computer ever…run again. (I'm kind of bribing people to let me use theirs are the moment.) At the moment I'm just trying to not leave everyone hanging for weeks at a time. Stupid computer… Oh, and I sense the selflessness of it all.

Athena: Richie had to make the first move in my mind. Virgil strikes me as the more likely to blink and stammer of the two. Not that Richie doesn't blink and stammer too…

MeLaiya: The couch scene was a pain. I kept chanting 'Pg-13 Pg-13 Pg-13' over and over.

Lotus: I didn't expect it to be this real either. I cringed during the talk, as I recalled the talk my mother gave me. Bad memories.

Tashi: I agree it has to be tiresome. No matter how you cut it, being with someone all the damn time is annoying.