It starts out good. It has been good for a while, really. Sometimes Steve laughs when Billy pinches his sides, even though Billy can always feel his ribs and doesn’t know what to think about that. Back in October, he wasn’t that thin. Billy doesn’t dare call their little thing with each other anything else but exactly that: A thing. An abstract and dubious agreement of sorts, a recent development that just happens to steal his breath sometimes. They’ll meet tonight, again. They do most nights, for some reason. It’s just a great way to get off, Billy has to admit, it’s convenient and easy and much less stressful than looking for a new girl every few weeks - finding one has gotten harder and harder since some kind of fucked up sisterhood thing had come into play and the girls seemed to actually communicate with each other. Warned others not to get their hearts broken. As if they wouldn’t be over stuff like that after some drinks. Right?
Billy reaches up into his curls, fluffs them up, checks his wrist for enough cologne while he’s at it. Saint Mary glints on his chest, a golden wink of comfort. Comfort for whom? He turns up the volume extra high as his Camaro screeches out of the driveway. His dad’s miles away, he won’t hear a thing.
Harrington’s already there. Leaning on his BMW like the fucking prep he is, and Billy almost grins when he sees the cigarette dangling from the corner of his lips - that one’s only there for him. It’s like Billy’s pressed a fingerprint onto King Steve’s shiny facade, and it tastes of smoke. The grin dies on his face before it had the chance to show when he hears the music blasting out of the other boy’s car. Not as loud as his own, nothing could ever dare to be, but still creeping up into his ear, all sticky and wrong.
“Hey”, Harrington smiles.
There’s always this fucking smile in his voice when he says that and it changes the appropriate speech verb into something that isn’t even a goddamn speech verb.
“What the fuck is this shit, Harrington, huh?“ The smile fades. “What do you suddenly think you’re doing, waiting up on me with sappy crap like this playing? ”
“I.. it’s just music, Billy. Just the radi-”
“Shut the fuck up, that ain’t the radio Harrington, I can tell the quality of a fucking record.”
Billy hates the timidity that he can watch growing and growing in startled doe-eyes, watch it grow till it’s huge enough to suffocate. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. He doesn’t know how to stop.
“So what is it that you want to say with this, hm? That you’re not content getting fucked anymore but wanna have your face stroked real gentle? Wanna be told you’re pretty? Guess fucking is off the table - it’s love making now, right?”
The thing is, Billy has enough empathy to read people’s faces. Just not enough to care what he finds there. He can see struggle now, how a snarky answer tries to fight its way out of Harrington’s mouth and fails. What’s left is shock and hurt and the remembering of things Billy doesn’t know about. Something with that Wheeler bitch, probably. He doesn’t like the pattern of pain on this particular boy’s features. He better break it, then.
“Bet there’s a soft blanket on your back seat, maybe some candles in the trunk? Goddamnit, princess - learn how to take an insult without integrating it into your personality. Just cause you lose a crown doesn’t mean you have to go straight for the tiara.”
That almost does the job - he’s only ever said ‘princess’ between teasing kisses, in the softest voice he was able to. Harrington’s always seemed to enjoy it. Now there are tears in his eyes - yeah, on his cheeks too.
“Fuck Billy, what.. why..”
“No princess, cut the bullshit.”
Harrington’s openly sobbing now - not in the shockingly small and ashamed way Billy’s found him in the shower that one time when the other boy thought he was all alone - but wide awake with horror, unable to look away from the source of his heartbreak. Billy wonders why, of all things, it's that little word that seems to finally break him.
“Listen, it’s not my fault you go all faggot on me. We ain’t gonna do this again, you’ve ruined it. Don’t even know what I wanted from you in the first place.“
Billy’s speaking loudly now, then shouting. Harrington’s leaving. Fumbling for his keys with shaking hands, getting into his car on even shakier legs. Finally turning down that music - god, it’s been playing the entire time like in some fucking soap opera, and the brunette’s sobs sound so much louder now and Billy’s thoughts do, too. It’s the fear, he realizes, there’s so much fear in his gut, in his chest and in the space behind his eyes. It’s the fear that makes him say these words. It’s a very silent realization, and it drowns in the noise of screeching tires and flying gravel. Very silent, and very late.
There has been a night, some weeks ago, maybe months, in which Billy lay stretched out on his bed, big blue bruise round his eye, and whispered a promise into the air that sometimes almost felt holy when he just pressed his mother’s pendant tightly enough in his fist. A promise to never harm Steve Harrington again, to never repeat any of the things that Billy has already done to him - or that Neil does to Billy. It’s been one of those overly sentimental nights. Guess he broke that promise just now. There’s a cigarette in the dust by his boots that has once been a fingerprint. As Billy looks down on it, he catches Saint Mary glinting on his chest. Steve is gone now. Her golden wink is no comfort - for no one.