Steve has never thought of himself as some sort of masochist. Sure, he ran into danger headfirst as though he had no clue that the grim reaper had no issue with collecting souls from young people. So what if he pushed people’s limits like it was a game? Pushing and pulling at their edges like they were a rubber band until they snapped back at him. Maybe he did act a bit recklessly sometimes, and maybe he didn’t take great care of himself all the time, but none of that meant that he enjoyed being hurt.
That is, until his body was rammed into by Billy Hargrove during basketball practice. As his back hit the ground, he knew that, in reality, the fall knocked the wind out of him, but he was sure that it was Billy’s eyes’ that stole his breath away.
“Plant your feet... Draw a charge,” Steve’s head was swimming as Billy gripped his hand and sounded like he was trying to help him while also asserting dominance.
Steve should have been annoyed. He should have been pissed that this newbie came in and decided to play all rough and tough for no apparent reason. He really shouldn't have felt his neck and chest start to flush when Billy let go of his hand and his back hit the ground again.
He tried to ignore the way Billy made his skin crawl and his pants tighten, tried to ignore the way his heart beat faster whenever the other boy looked his way or talked to him. Steve isn’t stupid, he has heard all of the chicks talk about how “Billy’s ass ain’t the only godsend hiding in those jeans”, in a way that means at least one of them has already seen it. He knows that sucking Tommy’s dick, and letting the freckled dickhead rub one out for him isn't the same as what he wants from Hargrove. He also knows that his reactions could just be because Nancy left his heart busted wide open and he wants someone, anyone, to fix it for him.
Steve isn’t stupid, so he doesn’t do anything to make matters worse. He dismisses Billy’s taunts and sort-of-insults, and he mentally scolds himself every time he catches his eyes wandering in the showers. He dives into helping the kids kill monsters and puts his life on the line because it makes their eyes light up.
Everything was going fine until he heard the goddamn lion’s growl pull up outside of the Jonathan’s house.
“He’ll kill me. He’ll kill us.” Max said, sounding almost afraid of the car’s driver as she was with the demodog from the bus, and Steve threw his own safety to the wind just like he had done then.
He walked out to greet the intruder, his heart going a mile a minute behind his ribcage. He couldn't help the way his eyes traced Billy’s lips as he took a drag from his cigarette, going on about how he was looking for Max.
He aggressively tried not to look at the exposed skin of Billy’s chest as he lied through his teeth, his mind wandering lower than the undone buttons on Billy’s shirt. Was he out on a date before coming here? Did he take the girl out for dinner first or just go back to her place, using some cheap line like ‘Oh, honey, I was in the mood to eat something a little different instead-’? Did he fuck her before driving out here to the middle of nowhere and confronting Steve?
Billy’s tongue licked across his bottom lip and his eyes were glued to the movement. He lied and lied and smirked back until Billy called him out on all of his bullshit.
When his back hit the cold night’s ground, Steve knew that his night was spiralling out of control, and he felt a sick joy that it was Billy Hargrove that was invading his time. He stormed in to see Billy threatening Lucas and he grit his teeth together, marching toward him and ignoring the way his hands itched to be holding his bat.
He doesn’t remember much of the fight, loses time and reality after the plate crashing over his head. Steve really isn’t stupid, he knows he’s no good in a fist fight and he knew that this is probably where he was going to end up. He doesn’t remember Max stopping Billy. He doesn’t remember how the kids got him into Billy’s fucking car. He doesn’t remember getting cutesy band-aids put on his face. All that aside, he doesn’t think he is ever going to be able to forget how it felt being pinned under Billy's body as his head spun and white spots ruined his vision.
He has to admit that he might have a problem after that, which annoys him to no end.
He wants to say how he feels is absolutely normal and acceptable but it’s not. Steve should spend his days daydreaming about finding a wife and having kids. Instead, images of Billy smiling at his side, a soft look in his eye and holding his hand, and him calling Steve ‘pretty boy’ all haunt him like the best nightmare he’s ever had. He watches for Billy in the hallways even though he won't meet his eye anymore. He gets disappointed when his parents finally decided to show a little bit of care for him and not let him go to school after seeing the results of what the has been calling ‘The Incident’ in his head, even though he had already gone to school with the bruises for last two days.
He spent so much time, too much time probably, staring at the mess of his face in the mirror. He looked bad off, and his ears still had an underlying ring that hasn’t left, yet he still ran his fingertips over each bruise carefully, something akin to adoration in his eyes.
No matter how ‘bad off’ he might have been, Steve still laid in his big, bland bed and wrapped a hand around his cock thinking of the way Billy’s eyes looked as they stood feet apart in the cold. He thought about the way Billy’s tongue seemed to be outside of his mouth more than it was in, and tried to imagine the way he’d taste. He thought of all the times he had caught a glimpse of Billy in the shower, eyes closed, rinsing shampoo out of his hair, and clueless that Steve watched the water run down and down and down. He thought of how Billy sounded when he called him ‘pretty boy’ and how he sounded when he sneered out the word ‘bitch’. He imagined Billy pinning his wrists above his head and grinding down on him, grinding into him, telling Steve how ‘good he was for him’ that he was ‘his bitch’. He imagined Billy sucking marks into his skin and marking Steve with more bruises like the ones that littered his face, but where no one else would be able to see. Steve came so hard that the white spots behind his eyelids came back, and he let out a hysterical chuckle when they took five whole minutes to go away.
After a few days of being trapped in his normally empty house with his mother and father, who couldn’t even spare the time to bring him a new ice pack during their stay, he was allowed to go back to school. All that was physically left of that night were a few healing bruises, and a ringing in his ear that was more of a comfort than anything. After walking back into the highschool, Steve found himself looking for Billy everywhere, everywhere is where he found him, as usual. In the hallways, a few seats away in class, in the locker room, in practice, even as they walked to their respective cars that were parked so close and yet so far apart. Steve waited, and longed for another confrontation of any kind. He waited for Billy’s eyes to rake over the mess he made of Steve’s face and smirk, completely unaware that he had made a mess of Steve’s mind as well. He waited, and waited but nothing came. Billy hadn’t so much as looked in his direction for more than a few seconds for days after Steve had come back to school.
So Steve burned quietly, kept his thought inside his head and watched Billy Hargrove from afar. It was like he had jumped off a cliff, but was trapped in the sensation of hitting the water below. His stomach was in knots, anticipation and dread mixing together into a high that almost felt good, as the crash that he wanted stayed just out of reach.
He had spent night upon night sacrificing chunks of his heart to the tumor that had grown there labelled ‘Hargrove’, when, finally, Billy apologized to him. It was a week or two after ‘The Incident’, but it had felt like years since Steve had received Billy’s attention.
He was fresh out of the empty locker room showers, towel around his waist and Farrah Fawcett calling his name from his bag. He was walking towards his locker when he heard the door open and in walked a fully clothed Billy, staring at the ground. Steve bit his lip and shut his locker. Whether it was to confront the other boy or hide the hairspray from him, he wasn’t sure, but nonetheless he turned to face him.
“Sorry about your face or whatever.” he had mumbled, his voice so low that Steve wouldn’t have been able to hear him over his ears’ hum if Billy had done this a few days before.
Steve stared at Billy’s hair for a bit trying to think through the white noise in his head, “It’s no problem,” he tried to sound nonchalant but even he could tell that his voice was too shaky, too soft. “Nice idea with the plate, by the way.”
Billy let out a snort that had the corners of Steve’s lips turning up and his heart clenching right on the edge of too tight. Billy looked up and finally, finally, met Steve’s eyes.
Steve’s hands gripped the edge of his towel tightly, trying to slow his breathing. Billy looked confused, amused and almost intrigued and it was the possibility of Billy being interested in him at all that had Steve swallowing down air as his mouth dried. It was like the calm before the storm was skipped all together, like he was standing a foot in front of a fucking tidal wave and he had no plans to move. What a way to go? Basking in the gaze of Billy Hargrove, the boy who stole away all of his oxygen again and again.
“You gotta quit fuckin’ lookin’ at me like that, Harrington.” Billy’s voice was deep, and he wasn’t looking away.
Steve had to fight the urge to just bare his throat then and there. “Maybe I don’t want to. Maybe I like fuckin’ lookin’ at you like this,” he said, sounding much more confident then he felt.
Steve’s heart was pounding in his ears and it reminded him of what water sounds like as it crashed down on land. It felt like he was finally crashing down into the ocean that he dived into so, so long ago.
Billy stepped closer, not touching Steve but close enough that he could feel Billy's “Oh, is that it?” caress his lips.
His lips parted and he let allowed the chill running down his spine to make him shudder. “Hell yeah. ‘S that a problem, Billy?”
Billy was leaning closer still and Steve could feel every one of his exhales enter his mouth through the part in his lips, like he was taking Steve’s breath away this whole time just to replace it with his own. “No problem here, darlin’.”
Steve choked down a whimper and took a step back, “Meet me at the quarry tonight at 8, sharp.” His voice was shaking and Billy was smirking and, God, if the tension before was just him looking at a tidal wave then he wanted nothing more than to drown in Billy.
They didn’t kiss in the locker room. They didn’t even kiss after Billy had pinned Steve to the backseat of his own car and told Steve how long he had waited to do this before grinding himself against Steve in the way he himself has thought about time and time again. Steve had already made a wet spot in his jeans, and remnants of Billy’s release in his mouth when he was dragged up by the hair and kissed soundly. He whined into Billy’s mouth when his thumb rubbed over one of the yellowing bruises on his cheekbone, and gripped the hair at the back of Billy’s hair tight.
They kissed until Steve was sure he was high off of it, his lips swollen and his chest moving with every breath as he rested his forehead against Billy’s. His eyes were shut when he felt Billy drag his lips from Steve’s mouth to the bruise. “I hurt you.” he whispered into his skin as though it was going to absorb his words and lock them away
“It’s okay.” Steve still sounded breathless as he replied and his eyes remained shut.
“Why?” Billy’s lips pushed into the bruise a bit harder as he pressed a kiss onto his skin.
Steve’s eyes opened and he looked directly into Billy’s, the closeness of their proximity almost making him cross-eyed. He expected to be drowning by now. He expected to be suffocating and slipping away to never be saved. Instead, it hit him that it was like he was breathing easily for the first time in months, like replacing his oxygen with Billy’s made him better, made him stronger.
“You’re the only one allowed to.” Steve’s voice was airy, and he hoped his eyes conveyed just how much saying that out loud meant to him.
Billy’s eyes widened and he tucked Steve’s face into his neck. Steve took a deep breath in and shuddered as his eyes started to water. He pressed his lips to Billy’s skin and felt his hand reach into his hair gently. He felt his words against his lips at the the same time they entered his ears, “I’ll kill anyone else that does, Steve, I swear.”
“I know,” Steve practically mouthed against Billy’s neck and gasped at the way Billy’s hand tightened in his hair. “‘M yours, Hargrove.”
Billy tugged at Steve’s head until they were facing each other again, and peppered kisses all over his face. His face was warm and it stung when Billy kissed harder on the faded bruises than anywhere else. When he finally made his way back down to his lips, Steve was smiling into the kiss as Billy muttered, “Yeah, you're mine, Harrington.”