Rainbow of HotGear

By: CrystallicSky

Disclaimer: I don't own Static Shock or any of its characters, and I make no profit from writing this.

Warnings: Language, homosexuality, that's pretty much it.

Red-

"I win!" Richie exclaimed from atop his lover's back, holding him to the bed.

The man in question scoffed lightly. "The hell you did. You know I could just totally get up right now and you'd fall off the bed, right?"

The blond scowled. "You do, and my ass if off-limits for a week minimum."

"…" Francis considered this deeply for a moment. "Staying here," he decided.

"You're damn right you are," the genius declared triumphantly.

"Well," the pyro announced, "if you're gonna be up there awhile, I'm gonna take a nap." The older male crossed his arms and settled his head upon them, fully-intending to stick to his word.

Richie, for his part, stretched his body more evenly over his boyfriend's. "Sounds like a good idea," he agreed. "I only got, like, three hours of sleep last night, anyways."

"Superheroing?" Francis assumed.

"Nah," the blond dismissed, "AP Bio exam on cell energetics. I mean, I'm a genius, but…fuck, that thing was hard."

The stronger metahuman snorted. "Glad I don't go anymore."

Richie simply made a noise of acknowledgment and nuzzled his cheek against the back of his lover's neck, intent on closing his eyes and sleeping when he noticed something odd. "You don't have any roots," he realized.

Hotstreak blinked his eyes open once more. "Meh?" he intelligently inquired.

The genius ruffled his pale fingers through the pyro's bright red locks in search of a trace of some other hair color, finding only the crimson shade aside from the areas that were streaked blond. "Did you just dye it or something?" he inquired. "How do you keep it this red?"

"By being born," Francis answered.

"Bullshit," Richie gaped. "That's natural?"

"Mostly," the redhead answered him. "I mean, I bleach the streaks, 'cause it looks cool as hell, but the rest is au naturale."

"Well," the blond stated in response. "That's just plain freaky."

Orange-

Richie shrieked an embarrassingly high-pitched shriek in his head, only just managing to keep it at a high-pitched whimper externally as flame; glowing orange, very hot flame incinerated his hoodie and left him nude from the neck down to his waist, just barely allowing his flesh to remain unsinged.

The blond was terrified: what was Francis doing?! They were together and here the man was, hitting on Frieda right in front of him and trying to turn him into some kind of flambé when he tried to interfere?!

The teen looked up almost pleadingly at the Bang Baby only to stop short as he realized that the pyro's eyes were heatedly scanning over his newly-revealed torso and when they came back to his eyes, he was given a quick, barely there wink.

Ohhh...right: the reputation thing.

Playing along, Richie whimpered again and ran off, allowing Francis to save his rep and look straight by flirting forcefully with Frieda.

It wasn't serious despite its convincing nature: I mean, how could Hotstreak be interested in her for real? If he really wanted her, she sure as hell wouldn't still have her shirt on!

Yellow-

Francis Stone rather enjoyed moments like these, quiet ones where he and his boyfriend could just be together and not have to worry about who might be looking or what law enforcement might be nearby.

Currently, that meant in lying on the ugly couch in Richie's living room like potatoes, watching mind-numbing TV while the teen's parents were off to Hawaii on a second honeymoon.

Naturally, the door was locked and the shades were down and Virgil had been convinced of a nasty cold that he certainly wouldn't want, meaning no interruptions for the two young men's first reunion in nearly two weeks.

Seriously, you set one little public park on fire, and the cops are on your tail like ugly on an ape!

"This show sucks," Richie abruptly decided, snatching up the remote and flicking off 'Aaron Stone,' changing it to Comedy Central. "Important Things with Demetri Martin is better."

The metahuman offered no protest to the action, having found the previous program the same as his lover had and already preferring this new show, which was funny in a 'meant to be funny and working' kind of way as opposed to the other show's 'so terrible its funny' way.

As the two new dads began bashing their baby carriages against each other's angrily in the skit upon the screen, the pyro's dark green eyes idly drifted to his boyfriend's head upon his chest. Without really thinking, one of his large hands came up to thread through soft, blond locks and he was unexpectedly frustrated to quickly run out of silky, almond shampoo-scented hair to curl around his fingers.

"You should grow your hair longer, Rich," he then decided.

Richie looked up at him, his eyes blinking owlishly from behind his glasses. "…I'm not a girl," he said at last.

Francis scoffed. "Not chick-long," he clarified, "just…longer than this."

"How long?" the genius warily inquired. "And why do you want me to?"

"Like…jaw-length or something…I don't know." The man once more looked over his lover's yellow hair, picturing it at the length he had specified and decided it appealing. "I think you'd look cute with longer hair."

The teen frowned lightly and lay back down upon the metahuman's firm, broad chest, turning back to the television as the equation of a popular girl in high school plus 20 years, minus a job and multiplied by a couch equaling fat was written out on a blackboard. "I'll think about it," he said.

Francis, knowing that with Richie, 'I'll think about it' meant 'I'll do it later', smirked to himself and returned his gaze to the TV as well as Demetri began to formulate an equation about pizza.

Green-

Richie could not figure out how the hell he did it for the life of him.

His lover and boyfriend of three years now (surprising when one considered Francis Stone and realized that he did not exactly seem the type for commitment) had this quality about him, something he could do with his eyes that simply baffled the blond genius to no end.

Francis could just look at him with a stunning emerald stare in just such a way that had him more or less paralyzed and made him highly suggestible, as if he were hypnotized or some sort of puppet that the older meta held the strings to.

Now Richie had tried to decode the phenomenon on his own, spending several hours of his free time researching anything that could possibly be behind this, but he'd had very little luck. The best he could come up with was that it was some side-effect of the Big Bang, but even that truly made little sense because throughout the victims of that event, there had never really been an occurrence of a 'double-power' so to speak. Every Bang Baby had one superhuman ability and that was all (barring Madelyn, who'd only had her power changed, not doubled, and even then, only after having her brain electrically fried), leaving the genius with no leads as to how his lover did what he did with his eyes.

Eventually, he'd become so desperate that he'd outright asked Hotstreak to ascertain the answer.

After the pyro had finished laughing at him, he'd snorted, "It's no super-power, Rich; I'm just dead-sexy."

The blond scowled at him. "Seriously," he insisted. "How the hell do you do it?"

Francis offered a smirk. "Fine," he conceded, "I'll go easy on you and let you in on my secret. It's real easy: I just look you right in the eye without saying nothing, and boom! You're mush."

"Oh, that's stupid!" Richie exclaimed. "That can't just be it, there's gotta be…" He abruptly trailed off at the intent stare he was receiving from the redhead, unable to look away from the glimmering pools of green that held his eyes captive. The blond tried again to speak, his tone more subdued, "There's gotta…" Again, his mouth stopped working as the man's gaze continued to rest on him, sucking him in deeper as if Hotstreak were an unfathomable, intriguing mystery that he couldn't tear himself away from. "There's…"

Francis grinned a crooked smile abruptly that made Richie's innards feel like jelly before mockingly crooning, "What's stupid, Foley?"

The genius snapped back into reality at that and stared at the pyro, aghast. "Jesus Christ, you're good…" he gasped.

Blue-

Richie moaned in despair and flopped onto his bed, burying his face in his pillow.

"S'wrong, Foley?"

He jumped at the unexpected voice and lifted his head to see Francis in his room, leaning casually against the wall with his arms crossed, as if he'd been waiting for him. He cocked an eyebrow, inquiring, "How'd you-"

The redhead gestured vaguely to the tree outside of the teen's window, informing, "I can climb."

The blond frowned, accusing, "Playground stalker," before pressing his face back into the pillow.

"I asked you what's wrong," the pyro firmly reiterated, leaving no room for question in his tone.

Richie sighed and sat up, crossing his legs upon the mattress and removing his glasses to glare hatefully at them with a slightly blurred stare. "I'm sick of these things," he said. "They make me look like a total dweeb and it's such a pain in the ass to keep them from getting broken with all the outfit-changing I do from me to Gear every damn day, so I decided to ask my dad if I could get contacts. He said, essentially, 'no way in hell.'"

Francis gave him a look, wondering, "Did you ask your old lady?"

"Yeah," the teen shrugged, "but she pretty much shot it down too with, 'what did your father say?'" He sighed and chucked his glasses to the foot of the bed, almost hoping they'd fall off and shatter on the floor just so he'd have an excuse not to wear them, even if it did leave his sight a little impaired.

He was surprised when the bigger male picked them back up and sat on the bed next to him, declaring, "I like you with glasses, Foley."

"Wh-what?" the genius sputtered dumbly.

A large pair of hands deftly placed the glasses back onto the bridge of his nose as Francis explained, "I mean, they do make you look like a dweeb a little, but mostly, they, like…I don't know, magnify your eyes, I guess. Not in a weird, bug-looking way or anything, but when you're wearing 'em you're eyes look…bluer, I guess. I like looking at your eyes with your glasses on."

"Y…yeah?" Richie inquired.

"Yeah," Hotstreak confirmed, leaning forward to take the younger male's lips in a heated kiss.

Well, the blond decided, maybe the glasses weren't so terrible…

Violet-

Richie stared blankly at the dark waters below the docks, feeling sick to his stomach.

Hotstreak…Francis was gone.

It had nearly killed him to see that last canister of gas mutate him so hideously, fusing him with Ebon until they both became a huge, brainless monster and it had hurt even more to have to be the one to fight him, or rather them, back.

When the ship they'd fought on had exploded and the two-headed monstrosity had sunk into the depths of Dakota Bay, Richie had very nearly dove in after it in the slim hope of being able to rescue it, save its life and somehow use his newly acquired genius to split it apart into Ebon and Hotstreak again.

But if he had, the mindless thing would have lashed out at him and killed him, or if not that, then at least dragged him down into the depths with it where he surely would have drowned.

So, he'd flown away with Virgil, pretending to feel victorious when he wanted nothing more than to break down and cry as he slowly began to realize that Francis, his boyfriend, the man who'd taken his first kiss, his virginity, and his heart (the guy was some thief!) was dead.

At least, he'd thought so until he'd chanced a look back at the stilling scene of the shipwreck and saw flame abruptly jut upwards through the water, minutes after the fire of the explosion had already faded.

It had to be Hotstreak's flame.

The moment he'd gotten free of his best friend's company, he'd rushed back to the docks, eagerly searching for any sign of the man, but it'd been at least an hour since then, and there was nothing. If the explosion hadn't killed him before, he'd definitely drowned by now.

The blond sighed and wrapped his jacket further around himself, slowly working up the will to force himself to leave.

The noise of something splashing sounded beneath the dock Richie sat upon, quickly followed by a deep inhalation of air and, barely daring to hope, the teen scrambled to the edge of the wooden platform to look beneath it.

"Oh my God," he breathed, "Frankie…"

The redhead looked terrible for a healthy young man, his tan complexion looking white as a ghost's in the moonlight and a violent trembling wracking his form as he tried to stay afloat, despite the fact that he looked ready to pass out any second.

Snapping back to reality, the blond more loudly spoke, "Frankie," to which the man looked up at him, green eyes hazy. "Grab my hand," he urged wanting to wince as Francis blindly obeyed the order and reached up shakily only to clamp a vice-like grip onto the genius' forearm.

If Richie didn't know better, he'd say it was a death-grip.

As it was, it was close to it and with his subpar strength and the redhead's weight (solid muscle, but it was no less heavy), it was a bit of a struggle to bring him up on the deck, but it was eventually managed.

Francis immediately clung tightly to his lover, coughing and hacking raggedly to rid the water from his throat and continuing to tremble like a leaf. Without a second thought, Richie removed his jacket and wrapped it around the man to protect him against the cool, night air, running his fingers through soaked, red locks as he murmured soothingly to the metahuman.

Only when the shaking and coughing had subsided did he address his lover. "Francis," he softly spoke, "are you okay?"

"Fuck no," the pyro immediately snarled at him. "You were there! You saw what happened; you saw what that sonuvabitch tried to-" He broke off into another series of ragged coughs and Richie's eyes widened before he rubbed the man's back until he once more calmed down. "He took me over," he breathed the moment he'd finished. "He tried to eat you just to get to me, and when that didn't work, he tried to absorb you, and-…and…I can't feel my left arm…"

Confused by the rapid, angry speech, the blond did not respond and moved the coat aside to look at the arm in question.

He wasn't surprised Francis couldn't feel it.

The arm was consumed completely in shadow, Ebon's shadow, a black and violet-lined darkness that was just plain unsettling to look at.

"Don't worry," the genius said. "I can fix it for you…now that I've got my brain back, at least. I'll…have to cure you to make it go away, but-"

"No," Hotstreak immediately hissed, "no! I can't-I won't get fixed!"

The metahuman had been after the last canister of Big Bang gas just like Ebon had, but unlike Ebon, who wanted it because he was nothing without his powers, Hotstreak wanted it because he truly couldn't live without his fire and he knew it. It was his familiar, his element, a part of him: Francis Stone would simply not be Francis Stone without his pyrokinetic abilities.

Richie knew and understood this, so he assured, "It'd only be temporary, babe, I promise." Tired green fixed on him in confusion, and he explained, "V and I…we decided that we're not gonna let ourselves be cured again. I'm going to make some more of the gas since I'm a genius again, and I can cure you to get rid of…" he looked uneasily to the unmoving, shadowy arm, "that, and then we could just stage a break-in and oh no! Hotstreak's got his powers back; sorry V, my bad. I really shoulda had it guarded better!"

Francis snorted and drooped against his lover. "I'm rubbing off on you," he said with a tiny grin. "That's some devious shit."

"Thanks," the blond smiled. His eyes fell a third time upon the man's limp left arm and…he understood what the pyro had earlier been ranting about. "Frankie…you were…the head on the right?"

"Uh-huh," the meta nodded. "Ebon was the left one…the one that tried to fuckin' eat and kill you. I don't know what happened to him when we split off 'cause we were too unstable to stay like that, but if he didn't drown, I hope my fire's burning the shit out of his arm right now…"

"So…you didn't try to hurt me," Richie realized, a note of relief in his voice.

"No…I never wanted to, but Ebon's a psychological Hercules or some shit; you don't wanna know what goes on in his sick head, but when we…got stuck together like that, he had more power than me. The most I could do was try to not go after you or Hawkins." The redhead looked up at his lover, smiling in a way that seemed almost too sentimental for someone like him. "You're alive, so I guess it worked."

The blond took one look into exhausted green eyes and bent to kiss the bigger, older man gently. "Come on," he encouraged softly, helping to drag the injured Hotstreak to his feet and offering himself as a crutch to keep him steady, "that was a really fucked up ordeal and I'm guessing a good night's sleep in a warm bed is sounding pretty good right now."

Francis actually moaned at the idea. "I hope it's your bed, babe," he sighed, almost with a hint of lust, but he severely doubted he could get it up tonight, much less actually fuck the blond teen.

Richie nonetheless grinned at him, teasing, "Well, I sure as hell hope so; if you intended to sleep in somebody else's bed, I'd have to drop you right here!"

The redhead chuckled quietly. "Your bed's the only bed for me, Rich," he promised. "Let's get to it before the damn sun comes up."

"Sure thing, Frankie," the genius brightly agreed, sincerely pleased to just be able to have this conversation with the severely not-dead thief of his heart.

Gold-

"What're you saying, Foley?" Hotstreak sternly demanded. "Are you saying you don't wanna see me anymore?"

"No!" the teen immediately promised, his voice elevating a pitch or two in shock. "No, that's not what I meant! I just…its just that sometimes I feel like… you don't care."

"And where the hell would you have gotten that dumbass idea from?!" the redhead snorted. "Is Hawkins talking shit again?!"

"Don't bring Virgil into this, Francis," Richie pleaded, "he's not involved. We already talked that issue out and he's cool with us. It's…it's me that I'm not sure is cool with us, now. I mean, you're never around, and when you are, everything's all secretive, and-…I guess I just don't think you're really all that interested in me…"

Francis scowled at him for a moment and for that moment, the blond was almost positive that because of what he'd just said, the pyro was about to go back on his promise never to torch him.

Instead, the man dug in his pocket, flicking something small and gold at his lover which was caught as he muttered, "How's that for interest, Foley?"

The teen opened his hands to see what had been thrown at him and his eyes went wide as dinner plates as he saw what it was. After all, he was a genius, and how could a genius not immediately know what a little gold ring like this meant?

"No way," he breathed, looking back up to his boyfriend. "An engagement ring…?"

Francis refused to look at him, but he answered, "I know we can't actually…but I figured…you might like it anyway…"

Richie's eyes softened and he approached the man with a hug. "I'm sorry, Frankie," he apologized. "I had no idea you were this serious…"

Quietly, Hotstreak demanded, "You still gonna leave me?"

"Hell no," the blond promised, slipping on the ring in plain view of his boyfriend. "I'm staying."

Silver-

"You know, you've got some issues, Rich."

The blond rolled his eyes and continued to tinker with Back-Pack, fiddling around with the circuitry while the shining, silver contraption was inactive and charging. "I don't have issues," he said, "and I'm not crazy. Back-Pack is pretty much sentient; he likes to have his nuts and bolts tightened every once in awhile."

"He's a robot, Foley," the redhead stressed. "It doesn't like anything."

"He's almost human!" Richie insisted. "He's like a pet; he might as well be a dog or something!"

Abruptly, Francis stood and grabbed his lover by the arm, causing him to drop his wrench as he was dragged out the door. "C'mon," the pyro ordered, "we're getting you a dog just so you can see what an actual pet's like. A real dog, too, not some Chihuahua that can fit in a chick's purse; the kinda dog that could actually save your life if you got mugged in an alley: a dog."

Richie allowed himself to be dragged; just hoping Back-Pack wouldn't get jealous of the new pet when they brought it home.

Pink-

"Holy crap, you blushed."

Green eyes went wide and Hotstreak averted his face immediately, assuring, "No I didn't."

"Yeah, you did," gaped Riche, staring at the redhead as if he were a scientific marvel. "I didn't think it was even possible, but you totally did!"

"Shut the fuck up," Francis demanded.

"No, it's cute," the blond grinned, mildly disappointed that the soft pink shade of his boyfriend's cheeks was already reverting back to its normal dusky tan. "Who knew you'd be so shy about having your ass grabbed in public?"

Lavender-

"What was it like?" Richie idly wondered. "The Big Bang, I mean?"

Hotstreak frowned slightly at the recollection. "Fucked up," he eventually settled on as an adjective. "Everybody was there for a fight, to kill; nobody was looking to get all mutated."

"I mean," the blond clarified, "what'd it feel like to be there? I only mutated because of remnants of the gas on clothing, and I didn't even know what was happening to me until V pointed it out. What was it like for you?"

"Still fucked up," Francis replied. "I was just there, kicking some guy's ass, and then everybody started flipping out and screaming. That purple gas just rolled in-"

"Lavender."

"…what?"

"Lavender," Richie repeated. "The gas is more lavender than purple."

"O…kay…that's a faggy word, so I'm not gonna say it. The purple gas," the man stressed, "was everywhere. I mean, you could try not to breathe it in, but it was either breathe it or suffocate, and nobody there was ready to die."

"What was it like with so much of it?" the blond inquired. "I never even got to register what it smelled like before I turned into a super-brain."

"That shit's fuckin' toxic," the pyro informed. "You're lucky you weren't there, Rich: all that gas would've burned your throat, made your insides hurt, and make you feel like somebody was taking a fuckin' jackhammer to your head."

"That sucks," was Richie's only reply. "It was that bad?"

"Worse. A lot of people didn't mutate; weren't cut out for it or something. There would've been guys all around you melting, exploding, falling into the bay and not coming back up, and you'd have just been laying there coughing and dizzy and shit wondering if you were next." Before the teen could attempt to offer any words of condolence, Francis assured, "I'm okay now, Rich. It was hell when it happened, but it's over. I'm stronger than I've ever been and I'm alive."

The genius smiled and snuggled up closer to his lover. "I'm glad," he said.

Brown-

"Babe," Hotstreak began, straddling his lover's waist while the teen lay nude beneath him, practically dripping with chocolate sauce, "you're a kinky nerd." Nonetheless, he bent to lick the rich, brown liquid off with the rough growl of, "I like it…"

Puce-

"Puce?" Francis inquired. "What the hell is 'puce'?"

Richie could no longer bear to watch his mom from the window and pointed at her, mortified, as she entered her car to leave for work. "Her dress," he specified, "is puce."

The pyro looked at the mousy, redheaded and bespectacled woman and declared, "Oh, puce, my ass! That's ugly pink!"

Similarly inclined, the genius' fingers moved behind his glasses to massage his eyes, hoping to free them of the remembrance of the hideous outfit his immediate relative was wearing into public. "Yeah, it is ugly pink," he readily agreed.

Cyan-

"You disgusting little faggot," the accented, feminine voice hissed at him, "how dare you try to make him some kinda sicko like you?! You're lucky he didn't fry you after you were all up on him like that!" The watery, cyan-colored woman glared at him fiercely, her hair rising behind her like a tidal wave. "You're not lucky that I'm about to drown you for it!"

Richie's eye went wide and he turned to run from the enraged and jealous female, only to be given pause by a powerful arm around his waist, stopping him in his tracks and pulling him behind a extremely warm body he'd hadn't even known was here.

"Maria," Francis Stone warned with a glare hot enough to melt the fires of Hell itself. "Back. Off."

"What're you talking about?!" the woman shrieked. "You should be madder than me, Hotstreak! I saw what he did to you! He kissed you! He kissed you like you were some-"

"Fag?" the pyro challenged. "So what if I am? What's it matter to you?"

Aquamaria gaped dumbly at the man for a long moment before screeching, "You're gay?!"

The blond was in a similar state of shock as the female Bang Baby was: Francis had told him, explicitly, that nobody could ever know he was gay, that it would ruin his whole reputation.

What was the hell could he be thinking now?!

"Yeah, I'm gay," Hotstreak sneered at Maria. "And I'm not gonna let you touch my bitch, bitch."

The woman glared hard at the pyro, her liquid fists clenched so hard at her sides that they shook before she screamed in fury and unsolidified herself to melt away into the sewer.

"Are you crazy?!" Richie demanded the moment she was gone. "What if she tells somebody-"

"Of course she's gonna tell somebody," Francis assured him. "She's gonna tell everybody; everybody she can find and manage to talk to for longer than two seconds is gonna know I'm a fag."

"B-b-but, what about you rep?!" the teen sputtered. "Nobody's gonna take you seriously once they find out: you said it yourself!"

"I don't care anymore," Hotstreak spoke seriously, turning to face him with a hard expression. "I'm sick of having to hide…this." He bent and kissed his lover fiercely, no longer caring that they were right in the middle of the street where anyone who happened to be walking by (at 3:00 AM, doubtfully anyone, but still) could see. "I'm sick," he breathed, "of having to keep you a secret."

The blond was quite honestly touched. "Wow," he murmured, "you gave up your whole street-standing for me…"

"Sorta," the man corrected. "I mean, I bet I'll have it back once people start figuring out a fag can still punch as hard as a straight guy, but…so long as we don't have to sneak around anymore, I'm fine with it."

"Fine with me, too," Richie agreed, reaching up to press his mouth to his boyfriend's again. "Ohmigod, we can actually go on dates together, now!"

Hotstreak frowned at him. "Don't push it, Foley," he advised.

Black-

When Richie awoke, he was surrounded by complete and utter blackness.

Unlike most people, however, he did not panic at the total darkness, even when he realized he was not in his own bed and there was somebody with him wherever he was.

"You gotta stop kidnapping me like this," he said with a yawn. "Somebody's bound to get suspicious."

"Whatever," Francis spoke from behind the teen, lips pressed to the blond's neck. "I missed you, so I went and got you."

"What time is it and are we anywhere remotely near Dakota Union High?"

"2:45 AM and in an apartment about a twenty-minute drive away," the redhead informed him after a brief glance at the clock on the bedside table. "I figured I could just give you a ride in the morning."

"Okay, then," the blond casually accepted. "You grabbed my school stuff and a change of clothes, right?"

Hotstreak snorted behind him. "What, you think this is the first time we've done this?" he challenged.

"True; wake me up around seven," he requested, nestling his head back against the unfamiliar pillow stuffed with down, "and next time you wanna do this, warn me so I can give my folks an excuse."

The man held him tighter burying his nose in the teen's hair. "No promises," he muttered.

Grey-

"Ugh," the blond bitched, "I hate it when it rains! Everything's all wet and gross and it sucks even worse in the summer 'cause the humidity goes up like crazy, and do you have any idea how annoying it is to have to take off my glasses to get the moisture off, like, every ten seconds? It's bullshit!"

It was only after he'd finished his tirade that he realized his boyfriend was no longer beside him and he stopped walking and looked back to see the man a few feet away, motionlessly staring into an alleyway with a frown.

The teen backtracked to the pyro's side, wondering, "What's wrong, Frankie? Why'd you…" He trailed off as he followed the green-eyed gaze and saw just what had his lover frowning.

In the alley, amongst several cardboard boxes soaked by the recent rain was a kitten, huddled in on itself with its drenched fur outlining how skinny the tiny thing was. It was at the very back of a small box that looked to have offered very little protection from the rain, quivering and mewling pitifully.

"Aww," he cooed in sympathy, "poor thing. What d'you think he's doing out here all alone?"

"Some asshole probably ditched him," Francis concluded, still frowning at the scrawny creature. "This is why you fucking neuter animals, Rich: this is what happens when pets just go around fucking and nobody can afford to take care of the kids."

Before he could even ask, 'what are you doing?' the man was again gone from his side, deftly plucking the wet kitten up in one, large hand.

The little thing yowled, confused and frightened as he was held against something big and hard, wriggling to get free when something began to press along his body with an almost uncomfortable firmness. When he slowly began to realize that he was not being hurt, however, and that whatever was rubbing at him was warm and was drying his chilly, wet fur very quickly, he relaxed and tentatively began purring, pressing himself up against the thing that held him.

Richie's jaw dropped as, within seconds, the kitten was entirely dry by Hotstreak's hand and purring loud enough to rattle bones against his chest, the man somehow managing to maintain his tough look while cuddling the adorable little thing. "Why'd you…"

"I like cats," the pyro shrugged, idly allowing the now-fluffy grey kitten to paw at his finger. "I hate it when I see one of 'em out here like this. It's not right."

"You've done this before?" the blond wondered.

"Yeah," the redhead replied, eyes still on the small feline as its tail began to flick back and forth playfully. "I usually just drop 'em off at an animal shelter, but I haven't been able to for awhile since that one on First and MacKenzie got closed down. None of the other places are big enough, and they always 'already have their hands full.'"

Blue eyes glanced over the older metahuman and the cute kitten he held in his arms. "Maybe…maybe I could take him," Richie offered.

"Would you?" Francis blinked at him.

"I would," he said hesitantly, "but I don't know if I can."

"Your folks?"

"Me." At the man's baffled look, the genius explained, "I'm not good with animals. My whole life, they're either scared of me or hate me, and I have no idea why. If he wants to go with me, I'll take him; my mom's always wanted a cat, but…that's a pretty big 'if.'"

Without preamble, Francis dumped the kitten into Richie's arms.

The cat yowled once more, frightened by the sudden movement and he began thrashing about to free himself of the new thing holding him. He stopped when the previous thing made its presence known again by grabbing the new thing by the hips and holding it close, trapping him in the middle of them. Confused, he looked up to the good thing and saw it with its mouth pressed to the new thing's.

Given pause by this, the kitten turned his head back to the new thing and more carefully inspected it. The material it was wrapped in was colored lighter than the other thing's, and with an investigative press of his paw, he realized it was softer in that it was both fuzzier and less firm than the good thing was.

Well, the grey feline decided, it did seem nice, and the first thing seemed to like it, so this was probably okay…

Richie at last tore his mouth away from his boyfriend's and looked down to see the kitten curling up against his stomach, pawing a few times at his pale blue hoodie to get the fabric where he wanted it before once more beginning to purr.

"Damn," the blond murmured, "I guess I'm keeping the little guy." He looked back up to the redhead and wondered, "What should his name be? If he doesn't get one now, mom'll call him Mr. Floofypants or something equally stupid."

Francis thought for a moment before deciding, "Max is good; you like that, Max?" If the loud purring was any indication, he did. The pyro reached out a hand and lightly scratched the kitten behind the ear before once more beginning to walk down the sidewalk, Richie trailing along behind him and marveling at the way a living animal was snuggled up to him and liking it.

"C'mon, Foley," the man encouraged, "he looks hungry."

While he was surprised at the fact that Hotstreak apparently had a soft side, the teen nonetheless hurried up.

White-

"Holy crap, he's your brother?" Richie inquired, stunned.

"Half-brother," the pyro verified. "My dad's a man-whore; I'm really just surprised there aren't more of us."

"No way," the blond snorted, shaking his head in disbelief at the photograph, "he can't be related to you! He's just so…white…"

"He's the gothy, geek-type," Francis shrugged. "He doesn't really do outside."

"Well, he does have the same hair," the teen mused. "How old is he?"

"Like fifteen," the man informed. "Its kinda shocking that he's the guy I share the most DNA with in the whole world. We're really nothing like each other…well, the voice and the hair, yeah, but other than that – nothing in common."

"So he's smart?" Richie teased.

"Yea-hey!" Francis smacked the blond in the arm for the quip. "I'm not dumb, Foley; but yeah, the kid's smart. Claims he's a genius, makes robots in his basement, has some plan about taking over the world."

"Oh, so he's a genius, huh?" the blond grinned knowingly, patronizingly inquiring, "What's his IQ?"

"187."

"Damn," the teen gaped, having expected a much lower number "the kid's smarter than me! And he doesn't even have superpowers!"

Richie grabbed the photograph from his boyfriend and inspected it carefully, looking at the young, pale redhead dressed all in black smirking haughtily at the camera. "Hey…" he began upon noticing something else, "who's that guy all ninja in the background?"

"Huh?" Francis took the photo back and looked where his lover had indicated, now easily spotting the figure amongst the shadows. "Oh, that's Chase; he's the guy who Jack's fucking."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait: Jack's gay, too?"

The pyro gave him a look that said, 'duh, did you not see him?'

"Oh my God," Richie laughed, "its genetic, then! Your dad's out spreading the gay-gene throughout the globe with every skank he knocks up!"

Francis laughed along with him, joking, "Let's just hope the guy doesn't get a time machine and starting fucking barbarian queens or some shit!"

A/N: Well, here's my third HotGear-centric fic, the second if we're only counting the ones done in this prompt style. ._.

Again, I'm only going to make a note of the ones I feel are significant enough to be noted or have something I specifically need to say for.

Orange- CANON INFORMATION TIME! In the second episode of the whole show, right after Hotstreak got his powers, he was flirting with Frieda and when Richie tried to stop him, he burned his sweater and shirt off. Can somebody say 'ulterior motives'? XD

Violet- MORE CANON INFORMATION TIME! In the final episode of the whole show, Ebon and Hotstreak fought over the very last canister of Big Bang gas after a cure was forcefully circulated throughout the city (violation of rights, in my opinion; not cool) and it went off, fusing them into a giant, two-headed flame-shadow monster that Static and Gear ended up knocking into the bay. There actually was that flame coming up from the water in the episode, and I didn't see any shadow, so I think they were trying to give up hope that at least Hotstreak had survived. .

Grey- I like that tough, really powerful guys always seem to dig cats: Chase Young, Hellboy, and now Hotstreak! :D

White- FUCK YOU AGAIN, FOURTH WALL! Haha, I am once more triumphant over your desire to keep fictional media with the same voice-actors separate from one another! XD And yes, that was a reference to Dave the Barbarian at the end, who is also voiced by Danny Cooksey and is a very blatantly gay character. The only quality he lacks is redheadedness. .

And that's the Rainbow of HotGear: I hope you has tasted and enjoyed it. .