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They’ve got ten minutes before Steve’s break is up and he has to go back to wishing for death with a smile.

It’s summer. It’s a Tuesday. Billy’s shown up for every one of his shifts.

Billy says he doesn’t drive all the way to the mall just for this the same way he says he doesn’t like Steve—at all—and, like, you don’t moan around a guy’s dick like Billy if you don’t like the guy the dick’s connected to just a little bit.

Steve takes it on the chin though. Billy says a lot of shit he doesn’t mean, like he totally didn't cry watching The Breakfast Club.

Billy’s a straight up asshole, but he’s not a downright monster. Steve would know.

So Steve rolls with it. Goes on his break with a quick salute to Robin, happy to not have to paste on a customer appropriate smile and wonder what the actual hell he’s doing with his life working here and maybe he should’ve taken a shot at college even if he is worthless when it comes to, you know, thinking and being smart and shit like that. It has to be better than singing the trademarked Scoops Ahoy thank you song every single time someone tips.

He wakes up in the middle of the night with that song in his head. Hell isn’t the Upside Down, it’s a sailor themed dead end job in the middle of Indiana.

Billy tells him to keep the hat on. I’ve always wanted to do it with a sailor, he says. Calls him matey. Likes to say I’m raising the mast right before he’s about to suck Steve down.

Steve hates the hat. It covers his amazing hair. Makes him feel like he’s twelve dressing up for a play in the fourth grade.

Sailor puns make him shrivel up inside, quicker than usual.

He keeps the hat on.

Billy’s wrapped around Steve, proving he definitely did come here just for this by the way he’s kissing Steve hard, whole body hot against him, warming Steve's ice-cream frozen self up, and rubbing at Steve’s crotch with genuine gusto.

They’re in the insides of the mall, the rooms customers aren’t allowed in where, from what Steve’s seen, no one really goes. It’s creepy. Quiet. The hairs on the back of Steve’s neck stand on end and make him paranoid and overthink everything, but it’s the only place they’ve found where they can do this without someone walking in.

It’s a small room. There are a bunch of folding chairs and folding tables and nothing else. Billy has Steve crowded against the only bare wall in the room—the closed door. It’s musty and there’s no vent or anything so the air just sits and Steve can actually smell the last time they had sex in here—yesterday. And the day before that. And the entire week and, and, and—and Billy definitely comes here just for this.

He can get in Steve’s face for telling a lie one time, but damn if the guy doesn’t just spew shit when he doesn’t have a dick in his mouth.

“Earth to Harrington.” Billy says and he’s pissed. Has that frown between his eyebrows that’s pretty cute. Steve’s going cross-eyed looking at him so close.

“Sorry.” Steve pecks his lips. They’re not in love. Steve doesn’t like Billy just like Billy doesn’t like him. Still, he kisses him sweetly. Feels dumb afterwards, but what’s new there?

Steve says, because Billy’s practically pouting and that should be harder to do when you got a hand wrapped around another guy’s hard on, “You’re wearing a new flavor.”

Billy glances away. Beige metal folding chairs are pretty interesting. Steve licks Billy’s bottom lip, sucks on it a little to feel Billy’s breath stutter out of him.

“Bubblegum?” Steve guesses.

Billy rolls his eyes. Takes his hand out of Steve’s shorts, which isn’t exactly ideal and not what Steve was going for, but Steve can work with it. He grabs Billy by the hips and brings him in close so they’re pressed tight together. Can feel Billy’s cock next to his.

Billy clicks his tongue. “Nope.”

Steve hums. Doesn’t care all that much about Billy’s new flavor of lipgloss. Brought it up because Billy has this awful habit of getting a little shy when Steve mentions it.

He kisses him again and Billy responds this time, bites at Steve with a nip that sends shivers all up his back.

“Raspberry?”

“You wish.”

Another kiss. Then another. Then Billy’s sucking on Steve’s tongue and Steve’s managed to get his hand down the back of Billy’s jeans to palm at his ass, squeeze it, makes Billy moan into his mouth, wrap his arms around Steve’s neck to get him closer—and Steve can so totally work with this.

There’s not a whole lot to be happy about in Steve’s life right now. A job with no future and no plans to change this. An ex-girlfriend he can't avoid because this is Hawkins and, like, twelve people live here. But there is Billy’s ass and Steve really loves Billy’s ass.

Like, on a scale of asses, Billy’s is top notch. Firm with all that muscle, but just a little bit of bounce to it that Steve can get two good, amazing, life affirming handfuls. If Steve was good with words at all, he’d be writing some Anne Murray type love ballads about that Hargrove backside.

Steve pulls back just enough to whisper against Billy’s lips, “Lime?”

Billy snorts. Mockingly says, “Lime? Do I look like a prude?”

“I guess you are pretty slutty.”

“Damn right.”

 

Chapter Text

It must say something about Steve as a person that he’s jizzed on Billy’s face before ever even thinking about kissing him.

He’s always been a romantic guy, even with the girls who gave it up before the first date was over. He likes the romance. Holding hands. Going on dates. Making her laugh. Picking her up and spinning her around. Being the first to say hey to her in the morning. Kissing.

Steve fucking loves kissing girls, maybe more than the actual sex. Though, the sex is pretty awesome.

With Billy, it’s just all so different. No dates. No holding hands. The only time Steve’s made Billy laugh was when he tripped over a root after one of their not-a-date meet-ups.

Steve’s not even sure if he likes Billy. At all.

The guy’s kind of, really, just super obnoxious. He gets under Steve’s skin and digs his demonic claws into every sore spot Steve doesn’t want the world to know he has. If it wasn’t for his abs and the way he sucks dick, Steve would’ve noped out weeks ago.

Now that he’s thought of it though—though—Steve can’t help wondering what it would be like to kiss Billy.

He’s seen how Billy kisses girls at school and the few parties Steve drags himself to these days and the thought of being on the receiving end of one of those slowing down time and with a lot of tongue kisses that seems to make every girl sigh and make these sweet, happy noises—

Steve can’t help but be curious. Obsessed. Like, every waking moment of his fantastically shit-filled life thinking about those lips and being tugged in by the waist and pressed against those abs.

Billy’s got some insane abs. And lips. And Steve’s fucked.

It’s just one of those really, annoying things you think about and can’t stop thinking about no matter how hard you try to just stop. Steve’s got Billy’s dick in his mouth and poking at the back of his throat and all he’s thinking is about kissing that wispy, dumb mustache.

He has to look children in the eye while serving them extra-big-going-against-company-regulation scoops of strawberry ice cream and he can’t, like, be daydreaming about Billy’s mouth when he’s doing that.

Billy’s going to drive him up the wall until he either takes another go at the pit of despair and kisses Billy or Billy punches him in the face for trying and, the horrible thing of it is, Billy isn’t even trying. This is all on Steve’s stupid brain being so, amazingly, stupid.

Billy made it clear where his boundaries were. He has two rules he made Steve literally repeat back to him with his hand down his pants and the threat of not getting him off if he didn’t agree:

No one knows.

No kissing.

Having sex practically daily is apparently not enough. No. Steve has to kiss the bastard too. He is the biggest moron, not just in Hawkins, in the entire country. Just. Wow. Sometime’s he’s surprised by how dumb he can be. Way to go, Steve. Really hitting it out of the park on this one. Mom and dad would be so proud. 

With Sunday off, Steve sets out on his plan to ruin a good thing.

He doesn’t want to look as desperate and as out of his mind as he actually is or like he’s trying so he grabs Dustin and Dustin gets the rest of his friends and Steve drives them all to the public pool.

There’s some convincing involved. Like, how he has his own pool and it’s not filled with a ton of other people crowding the water, and, okay, yeah, but this one is bigger and there are girls who are wearing bikinis and you can totally just wear your shirt in the pool, no one cares, dude, also, you know, his pool doesn’t come with a shirtless Billy Hargrove and a shirtless Billy Hargrove is the most important.

He doesn’t say that. Dustin and his little group of nerds wouldn’t get it. You don’t appreciate abs like Billy’s until puberty’s left it’s tire tracks all over you.

And Billy made it very clear what’ll happen to Steve if what they’re doing together gets out. Steve isn’t any more excited about getting murdered by Billy then he is about getting eaten by rabid monster-dogs.

Living’s not the greatest or anything right now, but dying doesn’t sound exactly fun either and at least when he’s alive he can catch new episodes of Magnum and have weird thoughts about Tom Selleck’s chest hair and Billy in Hawaiian shirts.

It’s an hour before Billy’s shift ends and he can swap with Heather and Steve can sneak off with him. Steve knows this like Billy knows his schedule, week to week, without them once talking about it. Ever.

Dustin ends up keeping his shirt on. Lucas tries to get him to take it off—Steve feels for the kid, really—they end up wrestling themselves into the deep end, making a scene that completely goes against the point to wearing a shirt in the first place with the amount of attention they get.

Billy blows his whistle at them.

Maybe it’s because they’re with Steve or he’s going soft or he kind of hopes they end up drowning, but Billy doesn’t throw them out or make them take a time-out either.

Steve spends the hour hanging out on one of the lounge chairs, keeping an eye on the kids’ shit and pointedly not staring at Billy or his abs or his arms. Refuses to make any eye contact whatsoever. Acknowledgment means death. He pretends Billy doesn’t exist and—

—lasts for all of ten minutes before he’s jumping in the pool and swimming his way to Billy. Lets Billy call him a pretty boy shitface as a way of saying hello and thinks Billy says it almost nicely, like they’re buddies, like he’s happy to see Steve, that he’d be totally, completely open to letting Steve kiss him.

Mostly, Steve just honestly hates how being called a pretty boy shitface gives him some sort of genuine pep in his life.

A public pool doesn’t have some nook or corner out of the way from the public where two guys can drop their swim trunks with each other. And, like, Steve’s graduated from public high school and has experienced what a boy’s locker room is like—he’s not jumping at any chance to drop to his knees on a public-anything-floor. That’s how you get an STD or a foot fungus on your balls. Steve likes his balls too much to do that to them.

He likes Billy’s balls too much to do that to him too.

So the car it is.

He tells Dustin he’ll be right back. Puts enough of an eyebrow wiggle in it for Dustin to think he might be hooking up with a girl, giving himself a little time before Dustin gets too curious for his own good or goes full worried-mom on him again.

Giving himself maybe twenty minutes. Plenty of time to be rejected for a kiss and give a quick apology handy—if Billy hasn’t knocked him out before that.

Steve waits sort of near the entrance. He’s hanging out in the shade by one of the trees out front, smoke in hand and going through the list of how many ways this can go wrong and how not even one of them outweighs the itch to just go for it and kiss Billy’s dumb face.

It takes a handful of minutes before Billy’s coming out the front, freshly showered and shirt on, spotting Steve with a quick, barely there nod. Their usual sign for it’s go-time and Steve’s already hard as a rock in his trunks. It’d be a little sad how eager he’s being except—no it’s just sad.

But Steve goes with it. They walk to Steve’s car with a few feet separating them, Steve leading the way and if someone were to look it’d be like Steve’s going one way and Billy another.

Steve mutters under his breath aren’t you hot, Hargrove?, as corny and lame as ever and loud enough for Billy to hear him, face going hot because of the sun and his own very personal feelings about the subject.

Billy laughs. Whips his shirt off right there and tucks it into the back of his trunks. Does that thing where he flexes and Steve bumps into the back end of a station wagon, getting another laugh out of Billy.

It’s sort of a miracle how no one’s caught on to what they’re doing. Not like Steve’s capable of being subtle. Somehow Billy’s even worse.

What kind of guy sticks their tongue out like that to another guy they’re not planning on fucking around with?

Steve planned ahead. It’s the only time he ever does. A career? Steve’s gonna wing it. Getting a blow job from Billy Hargrove? Steve’s gonna have blueprints and an itinerary his dad would be proud of. He’s thought of everything. Used his years of living in Hawkins to his advantage to find the perfect, out of the way and not suspicious parking spot.

It’s in the shade. The windows are already rolled down. Inside the car is still warm and Steve’s skin sticks to the leather anyways, but then the door shuts behind Billy and then Billy’s climbing on top of him and Steve doesn’t have a ton of time to set his real plan into action before his trunks are tugged down to his ankles, Billy’s hand is on Steve’s dick and Steve gets an eyeful of the top of Billy’s golden, chlorine frizzed hair as he lowers his head.

Billy’s breath hot on the head of his cock and Steve’s entire body twitches.

Steve’s not used to this. Before Billy he can count the number of times he’s had a blowjob on one hand. None of his girlfriends had known what they were doing. None of them had been this good or had taken him as deep. None of them really seemed to enjoy doing it all that much, not like Billy.

Steve slams his head into the car door when Billy hums, happy to have a hard cock in his mouth probably. Takes himself out of the wet heat of Billy’s mouth with the pain to remind himself that Billy sucking him off is one of the highlights of his Scoops Ahoy life, but not why he actually came here.

Billy’s good at everything except being a human person and he is an absolute kung fu master at taking Steve’s dick to heaven and having to stop that suction is difficult.

Awkward doesn’t begin to describe getting Billy’s attention. Steve clear his throat. Pokes at Billy’s shoulder, says, “hey, I wanna try something.”

Billy lifts off with a hard suck and a wet pop that shakes Steve’s entire belief system more than finding out about the Upside Down ever did.

He’s got one eyebrow up and one hand stroking Steve with long pulls that make his thighs twitch and every breath out of him a challenge.

Billy says, “oh, yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“And what’s that, pretty boy?”

Billy’s smile is mean and sharp and his hold on Steve tightens and somehow that look shoves him closer to shooting his load.

Steve’s brain has left his dick in charge and his dick is, like, the stupidest part of him.

“Um.”

“Come on, don’t be shy. Is it that dirty? You secretly a perv, Harrington?”

Yes, is the answer to that. Kissing is the least and the most of what Steve’s imagined doing with Billy in the last month since this started.

Saying what he wants to do will just make it a thousand times more lame than to just do it, so Steve does it.

He grabs Billy by the back of his neck and pulls himself closer, aim’s himself at Billy’s lips and pulls the trigger.

Billy jerks back.

“What the fuck? What the fuck, Harrington?”

“I—“

Billy’s off him. Plasters himself against the other door. The BMW has a big backseat, way bigger than the camaro, but not big enough for two dudes their size to not be touching with Steve sprawled out like this. Billy tries his best, though.

Eyes wide and cheeks gone red, not the kind of flush from the heat, but red. Billy’s not pissed. Steve has experienced Billy angry and this isn’t it.

This is new. This is the same expression Steve sees when it’s the middle of the night and he catches himself in the mirror.

Panicked.

And Steve’s imagined Billy in a lot of different ways, different scenarios, but he’s never once thought Billy was capable of being scared. It doesn’t fit into the person Steve thought he knew.

The words come out easier, now. Softer. “I wanna—”

“—No—”

“—I wanna kiss you.” Steve says again, finishing it.

Billy’s lip curls. The fright is wiped out.

“No, that’s gay.” Billy explains, slow, like Steve is that dumb.

Steve doesn’t believe him. Can’t. Isn’t gonna. He stares down Billy, waits for him to crack some asshole joke, but Billy doesn’t so Steve laughs for him. A little hysterical.

“You literally had my dick in your mouth two seconds ago.”

“That’s different.

“How?”

“It’s kissing. A dude.”

“You have some of my jizz on your lip, by the way,” quick, Billy wipes at his mouth. Steve says, “really? Really?”

Billy glares at him. “What are the rules, Harrington?”

“Our dicks have literally touched. That’s gay. Kissing is—okay, well, that’s gay too, I guess. But seriously, Hargrove?”

“Yeah, shithead. Seriously. I told you before we did anything—“

“No telling anyone and no kissing, yeah, okay, but—“

“—No fucking buts.”

Steve cracks a smile that only makes Billy roll his eyes and huff at him.

“Are you saying,” Steve reaches out, puts a hand on Billy’s arm, relieved when Billy doesn’t slap him away or shrug him off, “you’d rather kiss my dick than kiss me? Is that what you’re actually committing to right now?”

“Fuck you.” Billy spits out then his hand is on the door about to open it and Steve’s chances are getting tinier and tinier. He hooks his fingers into the front of Billy’s trunks, stopping him or, at least, slowing him down.

“Please?” Steve says, pleading. “One kiss. Just one. That’s all, okay? Then we can go back to strictly dick-on-dick action, yeah? Just one, super small, fast, whatever kiss.”

Billy goes still. Twists his lips. Sucks at his teeth. Grumbles about not knowing you were such a fucking pansy and Steve takes it, accepts it as the price he’s gotta pay for this. Doesn’t really care. He’s been called worse by people he loves and this is just Billy.

“Just one.” Steve promises, gives Billy’s trunks another tug.

Outside there are people laughing, kids shrieking as they cannonball into the pool, Heather blowing her whistle, car doors being slammed shut as Billy lets go of the door and moves towards Steve and Steve leans back till he’s sprawled out on the too-warm leather upholstery making him stick and Billy’s back on top of him, holding himself up on his elbows near Steve’s head so they’re not touching at all.

“One.” Billy says, his breath a warm puff on Steve’s face.

“One.” Steve agrees, nods his head keenly. He can do one. One is all he needs.

Billy’s a solid wall of muscle above him, unmoving and Steve would roll his eyes if he wasn’t holding his breath and pushing himself to be the one to lean up, just a few inches to close the space between them. His eyes slip shut and there’s the warm press of Billy’s soft lips and his very-male mustache tickling at his upper lip and—

A simple peck. Then Billy’s breathing hard, groaning like Steve’s never heard him before. Kissing him back. Pushing against him. Lowering himself down onto Steve till he’s a thick, sticky-sweat body, hot from hours in the sun, rubbing against Steve and then he can’t keep himself still. It’s impossible. He’s running his hands down Billy’s back and then tangling his fingers in all that blond hair.

Steve isn’t prepared for this, hadn’t thought this part through.

It’s a kick to his system when he notices the taste, can barely think passed Billy sliding alongside him, hard cock against his. Nearly comes right then at Billy slowly opening his eyes, dazed and pretty with his lips red, redder than they should be, and redder than they were by the pool.

“Is that,” Steve licks his lips to taste it again, “are you wearing lip gloss?”

There’s that awful look popping back up on Billy’s face saying he’s gonna run, so Steve reacts quick. Kicks one foot out of his trunks to wrap his thighs around Billy and keep him there.

“You are so fucking annoying, holy shit—“ Billy growls out and tries to tug at Steve’s arms around his neck then moves to try at his legs, but Steve’s got some muscle on him too and he’s not about to let this genuine asshole runaway from him.

Steve kisses him again. Gets just the corner of his mouth, but it makes Billy slow down and his grip on Steve’s thigh tightens and Steve likes it so he kisses Billy again and again, licks at Billy’s closed, frowning lips. Makes his own happy noise and says with Billy’s plush bottom lip right up against his, “is it bubblegum? It’s sweet like bubblegum.”

Billy somehow manages to get stiffer, turns his head away from Steve and his face—he’s blushing. Hand to his heart, Steve never thought he’d see Billy flustered and he especially never for a second thought he’d be the one to do it.

Adorable. This pain in the ass jerk. Fucking adorable little shit right here.

He has to feel it, like he had to kiss Billy, it’s just a must. To make sure he’s not making it up in his head. Steve reaches out and puts his hand to Billy’s cheek, shocked when Billy flinches.

He’s not seeing things.

In a rush of something he’s not going to say what or even think what it could be, Steve has to kiss him again, heart pounding out of his chest he does. Softly and with too much of something he will not be thinking about. Curls his hand around Billy’s nape and pinches his ear, soft and gentle and never, ever wanting to see that flinch again.

“It’s not—I’m not—I don’t—“ Billy says between the many-more-than-one kisses Steve plants on him. Steve hums.

He doesn’t care all that much, but Billy does. He shudders in Steve’s arms. Steve thinks in a blur of heat and hot skin and sweet-sugary-something on his lips, this is why Billy had that rule. There’s liking dick when you have a dick and then there’s this.

It’s interesting. Not what Steve ever expected with all those fantasies he’s had involving Billy’s mouth. A little weird, too, but Steve’s learned everything and everyone who ends up in Hawkins is a little weird. Just a fact. It’d be weird if Billy wasn’t wearing lip gloss.

“It tastes good.” Steve decides. Says it genuinely, not just to make Billy feel good like he’s done with girlfriends he’s trying to sweet talk into second base. He means it.

He gets a hand buried in Billy’s hair again and finally experiences the slow-making-girls-swoon-and-sigh kiss he’d seen so many times.

It’s as good as it looked.

Steve’s swooning. He’s sighing. He’s raking his nails down Billy’s back and getting a handful of his ass.

He’s definitely still going to be obsessing about kissing him, though. What that flavor could be. If the next time they meet up, will Billy taste like grapes or watermelon or strawberries.

It’s gonna be tough to look those kids in the eye.

Steve says, “seriously though, it is bubblegum flavor, right?”

“What am I, a Barbie?”

“I mean, you are blond and, like, tan and your lips are kinda girly—“

“—No.”

Steve gives Billy a quick peck, licks a short line across his bottom lip and Billy’s melting against him. “Strawberry. Gotta be strawberry. Am I right or am I super right?”

“You’re a super weird fucker, Harrington.” Billy tells him, looking at him like Steve’s an idiot, like Steve’s not real and maybe he imagines things too.

Steve gets that. Spent more than a year thinking the same thing, pretending everything was normal when it really, really wasn’t. Getting the first job outside of his dad’s company that came along, just so he could breathe doing something that didn’t matter. One scoop or two, no one’s dying over chocolate and vanilla.

And, well, weird isn’t so bad.

If Billy wants to wear something sweet on his lips, Steve gets it.

Billy’s nose is all scrunched up and his blond hair is falling in front of his face, collecting all the bits of sun spotting throughout the shade, shining bright around pretty blue eyes and a prettier mouth.

Steve puts his thumb on Billy’s lip and rubs, presses just a little inside to feel the tip of Billy’s tongue meet him and pulls back to see the pink that’s rubbed off on the pad of his thumb. His entire body throbs at the thought of his own lips being smeared with Billy’s sweet pink.

Chapter Text

Everyone at the party yells ahoy! at Steve when he shows up. Asks him what a TV star like you is doing at a party like this. Steve doesn’t have an answer other than Scoops is destroying me from the inside out daily so he keeps his mouth shut. Grins. Double fists the nearest two red cups he finds and starts chugging.

Going to a party in Hawkins means Steve gets high. He gets drunk. He gets laid. He gets to dance to loud music that makes it hard to hear for the rest of the night. He has fun with people who aren’t thirteen and don’t stammer around the word pussy and don’t talk about monsters.

With Nancy, he skipped out on most parties. She didn’t want to go. It wasn’t her scene because books. Steve wanted her to keep looking at him, so he never pushed. He got high on, like, love or some shit—whatever—it doesn’t matter anymore.

What matters right now is Steve spinning the empty beer bottle and it just barely landing on Chrissy Rogers. Unlike Nancy, she’s easy. She’s wearing cut offs and a thin white tank top withouta bra and giving him a look from across the circle.

She’s also sitting next to Billy and maybe it’s the pot or the beer or the heat, but their matching golden curls are doing a lot for Steve and his dick.

Steve lingers, stares outright at her chest. Her nipples are hard. She’s probably wet, Steve thinks. It’s been forever since he’s touched tits. Real tits.

And since Billy’s been shrugging him off for the last week Steve’s gonna take what he can get and that’s giggling Chrissy, her dirty blonde hair done up like Madonna and tied with a ribbon, pouty lips painted red to bring it all together.

He’s already hard. He’s been hard for a week. Jerking off just isn’t the same after Billy Hargrove.

It’s a mistake, a big one, to glance at Billy before crawling across the blue shag carpeting to Chrissy. It’s also impossible for him not to at least look at the guy who’s sitting right next to her, in her space and about to be in his. Billy’s stopped putting out. Steve doesn’t get it. It’s been the longest seven days of his life.

Fighting monsters and the end of the world is nothing compared to Billy zipping his lips and closing his legs. Like, Steve can barely think most days now.

Chrissy, though.

She’s got a dirty mouth. Isn’t obsessed with keeping her knees pinned together and what the other girls will think. Steve spent the first half of his freshman year fooling around with her. Got up to second base after they’d been paired together for a science project. They’d failed it, but Steve got to put his hand up a girl’s skirt for the first time, so, whatever.

She’s easy and from the way she’s crooking her finger for him to come over, hips shifting, thighs rubbing together, she’d put out if he asked nicely or just kind of rubbed up against her, really. She’s been into him ever since and Steve’s never really thought much more about her, but if she’s offering—unlike Billy—he’s not gonna say no.

Steve’s going to be an idiot all his life so he looks at Billy again—can’t help it, like he’s about to be bit—just a quick check and their eyes meet and Billy’s not letting anything slip behind his glacial blues except the I dare you Steve can hear clearly in his head. That’s where Billy is these days. In his head. His dreams. Sitting at Steve’s eleven o’clock, more sober than anyone else in the circle with his eyes set on Steve like Steve’s done something to piss him off.

Billy’s the one who’s been AWOL. It’s not like Steve forced him to sit in the circle and play. Like hell is Steve going to mope after the guy and beg for it.

Chrissy’s giggling when he’s half a foot away from her, which makes Steve start to giggle. I’m gonna fuck her, she’s gonna let me fuck her, Steve thinks through the haze of cheap beer and cheap weed. His right hand’s lost it’s touch ever since Billy’s been taking care of that and Steve hasn’t kissed a girl in, like, years it feels like.

He shouldn’t feel guilty or bad or weird, but he sort of does and that’s so dumb and right up his alley. Like Billy, who’s super dumb and is watching him and he’s right there next to Chrissy, next to him.

Chrissy grabs him by the front of his shirt and tucks in. Tongue first. Lips tasting like peaches. Maybe. A familiar flavor and Steve’s got an eye on Billy, wanting to see his reaction and then decides he really doesn’t and he also, you know, doesn’t care at all.

Chrissy’s not a bad kisser and she makes these little squeaks girls make when Steve grabs the reigns and shows how good a kisser he is. Her nails are long and scrape at his chest through his shirt.

She grabs one of his hands and puts it on her breast to whoops from everyone in the room and he doesn’t really care that there’s a whole group of people whistling and cheering them on, he squeezes and thinks, yeah, this is nice. Gets his other hand in her hair, curls sprayed tight like Billy’s and she makes a nice sound when he tugs a fistful of them. Undoes her ribbon. Giggles when she giggles. She’s got a sweet laugh.

That’s the whole point of getting to make out with Chrissy. She’s just easy and Steve is all for easy, especially when Billy decides to be a bitch and break the routine he’s got Steve set on and then get pissy like it’s Steve’s fault.

He can’t just get Steve off every day and then pretend he doesn’t exist. Billy’s not being fair, so Chrissy it is.

There’s not a ton to do in a town that’s surrounded by wheat and cows other than fuck around, smoke weed, and do meth and, like, Steve hasn’t had to go that far to get his rocks off, but he knows half of his graduating class definitely has, so there’s always a game of spin the bottle or seven minutes in heaven at any party in Hawkins.

Past ten, you can’t play pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey and expect to have fun anymore.

Nancy never went for any of the games, which meant Steve missed out on a year of getting an over-the-jeans-handy in front of his old classmates.

The game goes on for a while. Steve drinks more. Smokes whenever a joint comes within reach. He’s nowhere near sober enough to outright ignore Billy—isn’t good at it even when he is—so he ends up making eyes at him. Going from fuck you too to trying to ask if Billy wants to get out of here with his eyebrows. Bounces back and forth from being pissed off with him and wanting Billy to just tell him to get off his ass and suck his dick already.

Steve would do it in a heartbeat and he doesn’t know when that happened. He used to blink twice and hesitate and tell himself it wasn’t gay if Billy was the one sucking him off and all he did was let him. He used to have standards just like he used to fuck girls.

Billy ignores him though. He’s talking to Chrissy. Making her laugh. She keeps touching his knee and he keeps letting her. Doesn’t shrug her off. Doesn’t bat her hand away.

Steve’s too stuck on how similar they look to even get up enough energy to be jealous of either one of them. The same hair color. Same curls. Even the same too-tight white t-shirt. Thinking back on it, Steve’s sure they even have the same color nipples.

They could be twins. It’s a thought that sends Steve reeling and his blood pounding. He doesn’t try to hide the way his jeans are tenting. The only one who’ll remember in the morning is Billy and Billy’s wrapped up in Chrissy and set on not giving Steve an ounce of attention.

Steve ignores most of the game, catches the few sad moans whenever the bottle narrowly misses Billy. Loses a good chunk of time imagining Billy and Chrissy making out, Billy on top of her, Billy going down on her, how his arms would look if he fingered her. He has the tongue for it.

He only snaps out of it when it’s Chrissy’s turn—again—to spin and the bottle lands on Billy.

Finally something in Steve’s life is going right and he’s biting his lip, twitching in his pants. Eager like it’s the first time he’s ever seen a porno. This is Billy and Billy takes every opportunity he can to show off.

But all Billy does is tenderly kiss Chrissy on the cheek, like they’re married and it’s their fiftieth anniversary and Billy’s got a bouquet of roses behind his back.

She falls in love with him then, Steve can see it and feels jealousy take root in the bottom of his stomach.

Tender. Steve’s never had tender Billy.

Chrissy kisses Billy on the cheek. He laughs. Gets up and leaves.

Steve ditches the game. Doesn’t wait long enough after Billy leaves the room. He’s chasing after the guy and it’s obvious and Steve doesn’t care and his balls don’t and neither does his dick and everything inside of him is throbbing. He wants. That’s the thing. He wants.

But Chrissy comes after him. Crowds him into a corner and rubs two fingers down his fly. It’s easy to kiss her and let her knead him through his jeans

Chrissy’s a sure thing, but she’s no Billy and Steve’s lost it when he turns her down as nicely as a guy with a week old hard-on can.

Billy’s upstairs in the bathroom. The door’s not locked so Steve lets himself in. Locks the door behind himself, he remembers that at least. Manages to dodge the toilet paper roll Billy lobs at his head. Steve picks it up. Tosses it in the air to be cool and completely misses catching it.

Billy’s sipping from a red cup while he’s pissing, belt unbuckled and jeans flayed open, and it’s a little gross. Billy’s gross, though, and so is Steve and the things he would let Billy do to him right now if Billy stopped being the King of Mixed Signals.

“You’re gross.” Steve tells him and all he gets is Billy nodding, burping, and saying without looking up from his dick, word, man, word.

Gross. Nasty. Steve’s so into it, shit.

Steve stays chill. Very cool. He’s the coolest guy in Hawkins. Has been since he was a kid. That’s what everyone says. Maybe it’s because his parents are loaded or maybe he really is cool. He didn’t always feel like he was cool. With Nancy it hadn’t mattered. A lot of things stopped mattering with her and a lot of things started to matter too.

Right now, in this bathroom with the rose patterned wallpaper and the sound of Bon Jovi blasting through the walls, Steve is determined to be the coolest he’s ever been.

It all goes out the window though because his dick isn’t cool, his dick is lame and gross and has some weird thing for Billy.

Steve comes up behind Billy and wraps his arms around him, presses his entire self to Billy’s back, puts his hands over Billy’s navel. Hooks his chin over Billy’s shoulder and sniffs at his cologne and hairspray. Squeezes Billy’s hips, gets his thumbs up under his shirt to touch the bare skin of his stomach—he’s always running hot like the California sun is still inside of him. Makes fucking him a dream.

Billy doesn’t push him off. Doesn’t react more than to pat his head and Steve’s a sad sack who’s going to take what he can get and kisses Billy’s neck, thanking him for the slice of attention.

“What about the blonde bimbo?” Billy says.

“Chrissy? Nah.”

“What, she turn you down, King Steve?”

Steve kisses at his neck. Stays there, right where he should’ve been days ago. “Didn’t bring a rubber.”

“And she doesn’t have a mouth?”

Billy says it mean, spits it out. He’s not jealous. Steve can’t for a second think he is, so he won’t. He ignores it.

Steve rubs at Billy’s stomach, his abs twitch from the firm touches so Steve keeps going, lingers around the light hairs there. Tugging at them softly. He grinds against Billy’s backside, small circles with his hips that Billy leans back into and don’t show an ounce of how bad he just wants to bury himself inside Billy and pound and all Billy does is hum along with the music from downstairs. Doesn’t push him away like the other times. Doesn’t tell him to hurry the fuck up either.

Steve reaches down and manages to stroke him once before Billy’s got a grip on his wrist, stopping him. He sets his red cup on the vanity and grabs Steve’s hands, shoves them up, under his shirt, over his chest. Steve gets the idea. Squeezes. Works Billy’s already perky dark nipples hard. No girl in the entire world likes their tits groped more than Billy. Rubs and pinches and scratches Billy back into someone who wants him.

Steve’s going to come like this, he can feel it happening. He’s going to cream his pants and Billy’s too sober to forget it and not throw it in Steve’s face. When he tries to get Billy off too, Billy stops him, doesn’t let Steve’s fingers reach passed the soft tuft of blonde curls.

Steve whines. Hates himself for it. Whines some more.

“Come on, don’t be like that.” Steve says. Billy huffs.

“Step off, Harrington.”

“Baby.” Steve says into Billy’s ear. Feels his entire body shake. Says it all again, smooths his hands up and down his chest to his hips. Pours how much he wants to fuck Billy and suck his dick into it. “Baby, baby, baby. Let me, come on.”

Billy’s easy. Real easy if you know which buttons to push. He melts when Steve’s sweet with him so Steve saves it up. Goes nuclear only when Billy’s stuck on being difficult.

Billy wants to be complimented. Treated like he’s special, like Steve hasn’t been through all this a million times before with every girl he’s fooled around with.

“There’s no one better at taking my dick than you, sweetheart.” Steve croons into Billy’s ear. Feels him shiver. Happy with being sweet talked.

Steve never pulls out the baby’s or the sweetheart’s too often, doesn’t want to seem like he means it. Billy’s no sweetheart and he’s not Steve’s anything, but if it gets Billy’s defenses down and opens him up for Steve, then fuck it, Billy’s his babe and his sugar-bear and the love of his life.

Steve tries it again, tries to reach for him, is so sure he’s got Billy rearing to go, but Billy’s shaking his head, yanks his hand away, shoves Steve away too.

Steve’s back hits the wall. The towel rack digs into his spine and he winces

“Jesus, can’t you take a hint, Harrington? Not there.” Billy spits out. Shoulders bunched together. Zips himself up. Flushes the toilet, the sound final.

Billy whips around to glare at him. Eyes setting out to burn him alive.

Steve’s still hard. Harder, actually, with Billy looking like he hates him. Billy’s fucked him up. The Upside Down’s fucked him up. Scoops Ahoy has demolished him. Steve’s just fucked.

“Okay. Shit.” Steve says, not understanding. Billy’s erection is a hard line, straining against Billy’s tight jeans, looking painful and in need of Steve’s mouth. He licks his lips without thinking. He’s turned into a cocksucker.

He laughs and it’s the wrong thing to do. He grabs Billy’s wrist before he reaches the door. Stops him. Turns him around. There’s a snarl on his lips.

Steve’s not completely gone. He doesn’t want to fight Billy right now. He wants to kiss him so he does. Tentative. Moves slowly. Sucks on his bottom lip, sweet and slow, their tongues meet somewhere in between and this is a good kiss. A really good one. Steve’s the one melting and making noises now.

Like peaches, Steve thinks and for just this once, sloshed and ready to tear through denim prick first, keeps it to himself.

“Okay.” Steve tells him again. Calm and reeling himself in the best he can. Rubs the dip in Billy’s back through his shirt, relieved when Billy reaches out and touches and squeezes his hip.

Billy’s lashes are thick and dark when he looks up at Steve through them, pissed off and unsure and Steve’s never known what to think when Billy looks at him like that.

“Sweetheart,” Steve sighs, soft. Nudges him backwards, towards the vanity. Billy doesn’t fight him. Steve pats the counter. Gives his best sad and sweet and in need of a belly rub look.

Billy jumps up on the vanity, hands curled around the edge of the marble, and Steve pushes at his knees, makes room for himself and doesn’t try to rub him through his pants like he usually would. Hands above the waist is the new rule. Billy’s got a habit of throwing new ones at him and just as quickly tossing them away after he’s wrung Steve dry of patience and jizz.

He probably gets off on it. Steve definitely does. They’re both assholes.

Someone bangs on the door. Steve’s not about to let the only room with a lock go, so he yells out occupied. Billy’s tensed up. A wall of solid muscle that’s not about to give an inch.

“Everyone’s wasted.” Steve reassures him. “No one knows we’re in here.”

“Whatever.” Billy chews at his thumbnail. Nervous.

Steve eyes his rings and bracelets—he’s wearing more than usual. Probably dressed up for the party. Steve kisses the biggest ring and when that catches Billy off guard, eyes wide and his cheeks going pink, Steve leans in and kisses him again before Billy can tell him to fuck off.

It’s easy enough to get Billy to melt again. He can freeze up as many times as he wants, Steve’s got a week’s worth of tension with Billy’s name on it.

He’s got an idea now, where Billy wants this to go and how he can work within the new rules to get what he wants, the lines that he can’t cross but can maybe bend a little.

He lifts Billy’s shirt up, grabs the hem and shoves the thin fabric up to Billy’s neck. Dark nipples already hard and swollen. It’s nice to look at them. Be face to face with the results of all his hard work. Steve’s proud of those puffy, pinched-sore nipples.

Steve catches Billy biting his bottom lip before he dives in, kisses one, chaste, and starts to finger the other. Grins when Billy makes a noise, breath hitching.

Billy’s hands wind up in his hair, keeping Steve hunched over and close, sucking and scraping his teeth at his nipples, working them into fat, swollen red things that turn Billy into a quivering, shaking pain in Steve’s ass.

No one’s ever been this sensitive, not any girl Steve’s been with and Steve sure as hell doesn’t get much out of having his own touched. Steve’s certain there must have been a mix-up somewhere and Billy’s got himself a pair of real tits on him.

Steve sucks and licks thick and wet, up and down, twirls the point of his tongue, pinches and rubs and rubs and rubs, gets Billy’s nipples hard and soaked and so sensitive his hips jerk and lift off the counter to push up into the air.

There’s a house full of people outside the door. A few more knocks happen, someone wanting to come in and Billy always starts, jumps, almost knocking Steve’s nose in, but Steve stays steady, gets a crick in his neck and feels himself developing scoliosis from being bent over, but it’s worth it.

Billy’s thighs twitch around his waist, wanting to rub together, pull Steve in. Can feel Billy opening up, like he’s got a real cunt down there getting wet for him.

Mutters you got the nicest tits, gets a handful and squeezes and Billy’s moaning, actually moaning Steve’s name, actually calls him Steve and all of Steve throbs. Billy pushes out his chest, fists Steve’s hair and drags Steve up to kiss him and he’s definitely, without a doubt wearing the same flavor as Chrissy. Steve’s not imagining it. It has to be peach. Maybe they really are twins too.

Steve doesn’t stop playing with Billy’s chest, pinching at one nipple, flicking at it, using his nail and liking how Billy squirms and claws at his back, how his neck goes pink too along with his cheeks, how red his lips get when Steve turns him on.

He’s prettier than Chrissy. Prettier than any girl in Hawkins.

Steve kisses his neck, grinds his dick into the rounded edge of the vanity, driving himself fast to doing exactly what he’d been trying not to do and not giving one shit. He wants to come with Billy panting in his ear, making these barely there sounds Steve’s only heard when he’s had two fingers rubbing the wet patch on a chick’s panties.

Billy gasps in his ear when he rubs just the pad of his thumb light on the peak of his nipple. The air’s full of honey, sweet and thick and sticking Steve to the heat between Billy’s legs.

Steve says, “you wanna be my girl, Hargrove?”

Billy stiffens and Steve thinks someone’s knocked on the door again. A small bump in the road. Nothing he can’t fix.

Then Billy grabs his red cup, pulls Steve’s belt and dumps his beer down Steve’s pants.

It’s cold. Steve jumps back. Yelps, “what the shit!

Billy hops down from the vanity. Turns to the mirror to fix his shirt. His hair. Ignores Steve standing there, right behind him, angry and bewildered and cold, until he turns around. Pats Steve’s crotch over the wet spot.

“Have fun with the bimbo.” Billy says with a bright smile that doesn’t reach his eyes and slams the door behind him.

Chapter Text

Tommy’s basement is stifling. There’s no AC, only a fan that rotates left and right with a backdoor that’s left wide-open for the hotter night-air outside to come in.

Cutoffs riding up, Billy’s ass is sticking to the leather of the sofa. The weed is, like most things in Hawkins, a let down. A porno from the seventies is playing on the twenty-four inch television—two women in nursing costumes and it’s a little redundant and not exactly doing anything for him and it’s probably Tommy’s only porno and he probably got it from his dad’s stash.

It’s been four days since the party and Chrissy Rogers and the beer move that wasn’t the smartest thing Billy’s ever done. He doesn’t really regret it. Mostly he’s just pissed at Steve and when he isn’t pissed at Steve, he’s left to be annoyed with himself.

Tommy hasn’t stopped talking since Billy got here. Billy tunes him out, caught up in the way Steve kissed Chrissy Rogers and if that’s how he and Steve look from the outside. It’s not. That’s the part making Billy bite at his nail till his thumb is bleeding. Four days of avoiding each other—Billy doesn’t go to the mall and Steve hasn’t come by the pool.

They’re done. Probably. Billy doesn’t care. It was going to happen anyways. By the end of the summer or now, it’s better for whatever to be done and over with sooner than in a few weeks when Billy’s back at school and Steve’s—who the hell knows where.

Billy’s practical, he knows he’s made up of pieces that don’t fit, aren’t even part of the same puzzle, and he could always recognize Steve and him just don’t work together and were never meant to.

Billy slumps down into the couch. Takes another hit. He’s tired of his head and of Steve and of Hawkins and mostly, with all the honestly he can stand, Billy’s just tired of himself and his own bullshit. He wants out. He’d really appreciate an out. Any out, really. Literally, anything to get him out of this mess.

Tommy keeps chittering. Laughing at his own joke. Nudging Billy’s side with his elbow. Billy hears him say Steve’s name and all his attention zooms back into the leather and wood paneled basement with two women banging each other on a fuzzy screen.

There’s no one who’s got the lowdown on everything Steve Harrington related like Tommy H. and it’s why Billy doesn’t mind the elbow jabs or the hand on his thigh that keeps trying to walk its way up his shorts. Tommy has all the stories on Steve that Steve’s not about to tell Billy and Billy’s let people fuck him for less and it’s not like Tommy’s ugly.

He’s not his type. He’s not Steve, either.

Tommy giggles in between coughing when he tells Billy, with a huge proud of my bro grin on his face, that according to Carol who’s besties with Jessica B. who works the counter at Orange Julius next to Scoops Ahoy that Steve and Robin finally sealed the deal after so many months of will they won’t they tension.

They went on a date.

“Steve definitely fucked her.” Tommy says as happy for Steve as if Tommy was the one to get laid.

For Tommy, it’s just a fact. Steve fucked the ice-cream chick. That’s what Steve Harrington did before Nancy Wheeler and that’s what he does after Nancy Wheeler. He fucks whoever catches his eye. Billy wasn’t special. He’s just different.

Billy takes the news as well as any guy who hears their fuck-buddy has moved on.

He grunts when he feels that strangled knot in his throat.

He takes the joint when he wants to punch every freckle off Tommy’s face for telling him this—it’s not like he asked or wanted to know what ole Stevie’s been up to and now he just knows this.

He slaps the back of Tommy’s sticky-with-sweat neck and grips him when all he really wants to do is drive over to Steve’s and climb through his window.

Except he can’t do that. That’s admitting he did something wrong and Billy isn’t about to say something as sappy as I’m sorry. Apologies are a waste. They don’t mean shit.

Billy pulls Tommy down and Tommy goes with a laugh, his nose presses against the denim of Billy’s shorts. Billy just wants to come and feel better for a few minutes. Wipe his head clear of Steve and Robin.

If he’d known brushing Steve off meant Steve finally going after that ice-cream bitch’s tail—Billy would’ve said fuck it and thrown his legs up onto Steve’s shoulders and let him shove his whole damn arm up his ass at the party. The regret stings and it’s bitter when it’s combined with the anger that begins to roil inside him, new and mean.

It’s too late for that. Billy’s not decent. He’s got rage in his veins for how stupid Steve can be and how goddamn dumb it is he can’t just get his own wreck of a self together and just take one for the Billy Hargrove team.

He let’s Tommy blow him and there’s too much teeth and he doesn’t take him all that deep either and Billy’s itching out of his skin the entire time. There’s no closing his eyes and pretending on this one. He pictures Steve in his little sailor uniform, shorts shucked, Robin wrapped around him on the counter at scoops.

Billy comes and feels a hundred times worse. Tommy goes in for a kiss and Billy’s out the back door, a mumbled out excuse thrown over his shoulder before it lands.

He circles round the side of Tommy’s house towards where he parked the camaro, but stops to press his forehead against the siding and punch, once, really hard. Another dumb thing to do. His entire hand throbs, vibrates in pain up to his elbow. He digs his knuckles into the siding, bites his trembling lip to get it to stop and refuses to feel one more thing for that asshole Steve Harrington.

It’s two minutes before ten when Billy pulls up to the Wheeler’s to pick up Max. Steve’s BMW is parked just outside.

Billy stares at it for at least a solid minute. It doesn’t move. It doesn’t try to explain Steve to him. There’s no one inside and there’s no chance he can walk by it without doing something.

The decision is made quick. First, he keys the driver’s side of the BMW, front door to back. A wobbly line that’s a little too straight, so he does the same thing to the other side, this time going for more of a zig-zag.

Billy twirls his keys around his finger afterwards, feeling good for the first time since the party—since before the party, maybe since the first time Steve kissed between Billy’s legs and smiled up at him with Billy’s lipgloss smeared glittery pink on his lips.

Karen Wheeler invites him inside and Billy smiles and says thanks, miss all nice and sweet and respectful like his daddy taught him to be and then Karen Wheeler dotes on him. She offers him a plate of snickerdoodle cookies she baked herself, still warm from the oven and cooling under how hard she’s batting her eyelashes at him. She asks about his summer plans, what he’s going to do when he graduates next year. She giggles a lot. Puts her hand on his arm and plays with her hair.

When Billy looks Karen Wheeler up and down, he doesn’t see someone he wants to have sex with. Girls are nice and all, but they aren’t guys. They don’t do it for him. What he sees is manicured nails and a blowout freshly sprayed and gets a noseful of some pretty scent she’s showered herself in just for him. All this adds up to is a vague memory of the woman his mom used to be and who Billy can never hope to be either.

He keeps the smile up, though. Doesn’t let her get a good look at his red, scuffed knuckles or get a hint of how bad he just wants to go home and put a hole in the drywall of his room.

She tells him the party’s happening downstairs, that Steve is here too if he wants to stay and that she’ll go get Max for him, but she stays where she is, half in love with him, leaning closer like Billy’s going to put an arm around her waist and take off with her.

The idea pops into his head then and it’s not like a good idea or anything, but still, he goes with it. He’s already screwed up so much, he might as well just really go for it.

It’s easy to get himself upstairs with an excuse for the bathroom. He wants an entire floor separating him from Steve and the brats and the ex when he pokes around the room of the one girl who had Steve Harrington and threw him away for a paper bag of a guy.

Between the navy blue room and the peach striped room and the ancient, floral Jessica Fletcher in New York room, it’s an easy guess which is Wheeler’s.

Billy eases the door closed behind him.

Pink, pink, and even more pink.

Tom Cruise catches his eye first. Framed and to the right of the bed—Wheeler definitely fingers herself to Risky Business. Christ knows Billy has more times than he can count.

He considers trying to find her diary. She’s the type to have one. He’s talked to her only once and it wasn’t exactly a long conversation or one where either of them were trying to play nice, but it was enough to know she still has enough of a thing for Steve to dislike Billy for being within ten feet of him and that she—without a doubt—writes all her very sad sob stories into something frilly with flowers.

If he happens to find it, he’ll take a look, but if he doesn’t—there’s plenty else to look at.

He goes and opens the trunk under the window. Old keepsake shit is inside it. A cabbage patch doll, a teddy bear with mismatched eyes, an old musty quilt her sweet, caring grandma probably made for her. Nothing interesting. He closes it silently.

On her bedside table is a small box. There’s clearly a false bottom and inside that are a stash of condoms. He tries to picture her and Paper Bag Byers fucking and can only imagine it as the most boring sex that’s over in two minutes.

Billy pockets the condoms. Cockblocking Wheeler is definitely a thing he has to do.

He goes through her books next, stacked up sloppily on top of each other in her cute wicker bookshelf. Everything in Wheeler’s room is cute. Her bedspread. The flowers all over her walls—all over her lamps. The dumb cat statue. The clothes in her closet.

He rubs the soft cotton fabric of one of her pink tops. It’s something she’d wear under her sweaters or in summer. Billy clicks his tongue, forcing himself to move on before he goes off the deep end.

The pictures pinned to the cork board aren’t interesting. Just Wheeler and some redheaded girl and the kids too. A lot of them are with Paper Bag Byers. Only one of the photos has Steve. They’re both smiling. Steve’s happy and in love. He wonders if Steve has ever made that kind of expression with Billy and maybe he just missed it or was looking away when he did.

Or maybe Billy’s being goddamn dumb again.

There are scrunchies and brushes and makeup huddled together on one corner of her desk. She doesn’t have much variation when it comes to what she puts on her lips. Less than Billy has hidden away in his camaro.

He pokes around her lipstick and lip gloss and finds a shade he doesn’t own and that doesn’t make him yawn—a light pink that reminds him of the one and only barbie doll Max ever owned.

She left it back in California.

He unscrews the top and puts it on using the mirror over the dresser. Smacks his lips together. The shade is nice. Lighter than his natural color. It glistens. He won’t have to wipe it off now that it’s dark. Max won’t notice and the only one who’ll be awake by the time they get to the house will be Susan.

Looking at his reflection he touches up his hair as much as he can without any of his product. Fluffs up the back. Twirls that one curl hanging over his forehead tightly around one finger and lets go. It holds it’s shape a little better.

Billy smiles at his reflection. Bats his eyelashes. Winks half-heartedly, not really feeling it. Thinks about shaving his mustache when he gets home.

The dresser is too tempting to pass up. Maybe he just wants the sting of Robin to hurt more.

He cracks the top drawer open slow and then yanks when it’s too stuffed to open gently. Wheeler’s panties are piled together in a mess. Nothing catches his eye.

Pausing, he listens for anyone coming up the stairs. There’s the sound of laughing from the basement, distant. No one’s coming.

He pokes through the drawer with one finger thinking the pair she lost her v-card in will start to glow or jump out to him. Tommy and half the school said it had been with Steve. She’s lucky.

He’d lost his virginity in a pair of yellow swim trunks underneath the pier just blocks away from home. He’d gotten sand in his nose and a pointy seashell had cut up his elbow, leaving a scar. The guy had been rough and Billy hadn’t cared. Rough was the usual, then.

He’d had the trunks on around one ankle the entire time. He left those back in California.

All of the underwear blend together. Most of them are pairs he’s seen in Sears catalogues. All of them are cute in that way everything girly is cute.

He looks at the reflection of the bed. At the new pink on his lips. At his hair that he hasn’t cut since before he moved to Hawkins, curling around his shoulders, over his eyes.

If Billy had been born just a little differently he’d get Steve to knock him up and they’d have a shotgun wedding, drive out of town with tin-cans tied to the camaro’s bumper, telling the world Steve was his and neither one of them would look back and he wouldn’t be doing this on a Monday night in July.

But this is who Billy is stuck being. There is no zipper on his skin he can just pull down, change the wrapping and hang it up in the closet for the next time he’s feeling it. He’s no Chrissy or Robin. He can’t be Wheeler with her tits and cunt and her natural born ability to wear high heels and a cute skirt without getting a pissed off Neil in her face, raging about respect for the family means not being a trussed up faggot. He doesn’t get to be the person who has Steve and keeps him.

Billy is sick to his stomach with envy for Nancy Wheeler.

He spots the baby blue pair with a bow on the front towards the bottom. Cute. Pretty. The kind of blue Billy loves and elastic enough to fit someone his size. He wraps his fist around them, tightly like they’ll disappear, and stuffs them into his pocket.

On his way out he swipes a scrunchie off her desk. It’s the red one. He slides it onto his wrist and thinks, fuck you, Neil.

Downstairs, Karen Wheeler tells Billy Max will be up soon. They’re in the middle of their little story and Billy only has it in himself to let Karen Wheeler moon over him for another few seconds before he needs to leave and smoke a pack and readjust his plans to hightail it out of Hawkins. Sooner is always better.

Steve is coming up from the basement. He’s in the hallway, a mouthful of snickerdoodle, staring at Billy dumbstruck, handsome, the nerdy kid with the hat behind him—Henderson—Billy reminds himself. One of Max’s stalkers.

Punching him ties with letting the moron take him out back and sticking his dick inside him as a way of saying my bad since words can’t really capture how much Billy’s missed this country bumpkin idiot and the backseat of his beemer.

Neither of those can happen. Not when Billy’s looking at the actual Steve.

He says a quick bye to Karen Wheeler, turns on his heel and exits the scene with Steve following after him.

Hawkins is so quiet at night. Back in San Diego there was the sound of the ocean, the traffic from the freeway, hundreds and thousands of people squished together, so much white noise Billy hadn’t noticed until it was all gone and he was stuck in Indiana where there was only silence. The woods soaked any noise up. The people here went into lock down at nine.

Out on this nice and respectable street passed ten—Billy can hear the way Steve walks behind him, how he’s breathing hard, when he wipes his hands on his jeans, when he goes to say something and shuts his mouth. Billy can hear everything in this quiet.

They get to the curb, near Steve’s car, when Steve mutters to himself, what the fuck?. Billy pulls out a cigarette and lights up, gets one very nice inhale in when Steve grabs his arm, turns him around.

“You say something?” Billy says. Smiles up at Steve who’s come in close, wide eyed and lost with that beginning wrinkle between his eyebrows that says he’s angry and getting angrier the more Billy smiles. And he’s still hot. Really hot with that crop top and tight jeans combo he only got a peak at before he turned tail.

Billy doesn’t run from his problems, but he will when it comes to cute guys like Steve.

Billy takes another puff and blows smoke in Steve’s face, but Steve doesn’t let go of him, he fists the front of Billy’s shirt, jerking him forward. Rips the cigarette from Billy’s mouth and tosses it to the ground. Smashes it with the toe of his sneaker. A waste of money, right there.

“Did you key my car?” Steve grits out.

“I wasn’t done with that yet.” Billy tells him. Stays chill despite being giddy. He wants Steve to hit him. Hitting is easier. Physical pain is something Billy knows inside and out.

All Steve does is stare at him. It’s dark and the light from the streetlamp and the Wheeler house can only do so much to fight off the swallowed whole sensation that comes with Hawkins at night. Billy would put his right hand on the camaro and swear he can see Steve’s jaw clench.

But he doesn’t hit him. He stands there, clutching at Billy, anger being kept just under the surface, in control. Billy can see all the signs and Steve still isn’t reacting how any other guy should.

So Billy nudges at his chest, just two fingers that say I dare you, a little push that barely makes him sway on his feet.

“Do it.” Billy tells him.

“Fuck you, no.”

Steve looks him up and down, hair loose. Product sweated off throughout the day, probably. Billy used to tug that hair with both hands to get Steve to make these little choked off noises.

He doesn’t move away. He doesn’t let go of Billy’s shirt and Billy keeps his fingers pressed to his chest. Can feel the soft cotton of his shirt. The summer heat of his body. The distant thump-thumpof his heart just to the right.

They stand there, staring each other down and it would have lasted for hours and maybe the tension would never have broken if Steve valued the build up or found the crack of knuckles on another person’s body more comforting than a hug, but the moment gets cut off at the knees when Steve does a double take on Billy’s wrist and stumbles.

“You have a scrunchie.” Steve says. His grip goes lax. Eyes glued to the red scrunchie around Billy’s wrist, Steve plucks at it and swallows. “Why do you have a—a scrunchie?

Billy tenses. Steve’s never laughed at this, but he still clenches up, ready for the worst. A habit born out of self-preservation.

Billy shoves Steve’s hand away. Steps back. Puts some space between them.

“None of your business.”

“Only girls who get dumped key cars.” Steve tells him slowly. Steve’s an idiot. Billy’s a bigger one.

“Your shit car get keyed a lot, Harrington?”

“You know what I mean.”

“We’d have to be a couple to break up.” Billy says. “And I didn’t key your daddy’s car.”

Steve sucks on his teeth, lips going pursed and pretty—he’s got these pouty lips that look obscene whether they’re fucked red or barely lit up by cheap Indiana lightbulbs. Papa Harrington’s a dick, not as bad as Neil, just bad enough for Steve to talk shit about him and mean it.

Billy goes to sit on the hood of his camaro. Steve follows him after a few seconds of pussy-footing, shuffling his feet and unclenching his hands a few times, leans against the drivers side door. Billy stares at the toe of his left boot, at the cracked asphalt, refusing to look at Steve. Waiting him out. Steve has better things to do, kids to baby and a real girlfriend to get sappy over.

There’s a big, ugly part of him chomping away at his insides that wants him to tell Steve his dick is small. He’s terrible at sex. Tommy H. is better at making him come than Steve ever was. Robin will dump him too just like Wheeler did. Girls are awful and Billy, for once, isn’t an exception.

He’s working himself up. Knows it. Can feel his stomach twisting into even more of these painful knots that’ll take weeks to untangle. Billy crosses his arms and digs his nails into his biceps to keep from chewing them.

There’s a clicking to his left. Steve has his lighter out. Is flicking it open and closed. Billy watches him. Over and over again. It’s the only sound on the entire street. Click-click. Click-click. Click-click.

Steve’s trying to work out the situation in his head.

Billy checks his watch. In the summer, Neil’s curfew is sort of lenient. Max is still pushing it.

There’s a final click and then Steve is turning towards him, shirt riding up and from the corner of his eye he sees Steve’s flat stomach stretch out. Billy wishes he was annoyed at how comfortable Steve is with his camaro. He’s making himself at home and the camaro has only ever been Billy’s to call home.

Steve starts drumming his fingers on the roof. Billy turns so he’s got an arm across the camaro’s top too, hand lying flat, just short of Steve’s. The vibrations have a rhythm. It could be a song. Probably Billy Joel, Steve’s got this weird thing for Billy Joel.

Billy bites his lip—he likes seeing Steve like this with the camaro.

The quiet gets to him eventually. It pricks just behind the ear. Maybe three minutes have passed and Billy has thought of a thousand things he could say and not one of them is nice. Steve needs to go back inside before Billy says any of them. Billy needs to leave, but he can’t.

He wants Steve to stay outside of the cramped Cliched American Home with him. He hopes Max will come charging out the front door of the Wheeler’s and he hopes she’ll keep taking her sweet time, like she always does since it’s not her ass on the line, just to give him a few more minutes.

Billy gives in. The tension’s snapped him in two. He bites at his thumbnail.

“Fuck.” Billy spits out, done with being inside his head. “Sorry. Okay? I’m fucking sorry.

There’s no looking at Steve or his bug-eyed, doe-eyed, soft-eyed self for any longer than it takes to say the word.

“What?” Steve says.

“You heard me.”

“Just—you’re sorry? Are you—were you talking to me?”

Billy glares at him through narrowed eyes. “We’re the only ones out here, genius.”

“But, like, you never say sorry and—are you apologizing for my car?”

“For what-the-fuck-ever—“ Billy’s face goes warm and he hates Steve for every inch of Steve’s giant dick. “Where the hell is Max? Jesus fucking Christ, that kid.”

“Um.”

“What?”

“Well.”

“Say it, you pussy-ass motherfucker.”

“Well, asshole, she told me to tell you she’s sleeping over since Jane’s here too and—and yeah. Don’t be pissed at her.”

“I’ll be whatever I want with her.”

“Yeah, okay.” Steve says slowly again. “But, also, don’t be mad at her. I was gonna tell you when I came upstairs, but then you sort of just, you know, ran out the door and—“ He wiggles all ten of his fingers.

“Shut up, Harrington.”

Steve sighs and the silence is back, sits its fat ass down right between them and Billy’s left wanting to kick himself and then Max and then Steve for being such a goodie-two-shoes-fuck.

Steve clears his throat. “Does Mrs. Wheeler always do that?”

“Give me cookies?”

“Make eyes at you.”

Billy smiles. “How’d your date go with the ice-cream chick?”

“Fine. I get it. Whatever.”

“Good.”

Yeah.” Steve taps his fingers hectically. Starts flicking his lighter again. “So, since you’re saying sorry, I guess—sorry. I’m sorry. About that night, at the party.” Doing this in the middle of a badly lit street’s a good enough reason to not have to make eye contact, but Steve still searches for Billy in the dark and finds him. “It was a dumb thing to say and I wasn’t exactly thinking with my head and I was a dick and sort of drunk and—you know.”

Steve’s constant flicking of his lighter stutters, misses a few beats.

The apology surprises Billy. No one really apologies to him and means it.

“Didn’t know you could do that.”

“Shut up.” Steve eyes the scrunchie again. Billy doesn’t shy away, letting Steve get as much of an eyeful as he wants to—and the fact that he wants to—maybe blue balls and cold beer down a guy’s pants isn’t so bad. “Where’d you get the scrunchie anyways?”

“Like it?”

“It’s cute. Suits you.”

Billy glows. How he isn’t lighting up the entire street right now.

“Got it from some chick I fucked.” Billy says.

Steve’s nose scrunches up. Cute. Billy looks back at the Wheeler house. No one’s coming out. No one’s looking through the windows. Hawkins is the most boring place in the world. All it has going for it is country cock and milkshakes.

“But you don’t—“ Steve stops.

“What don’t I do?”

Girls.” Steve says and Billy knows for a fact Steve’s blushing even if he can’t quite tell with the scraps of yellow light.

“Maybe I got a taste for it.” Billy shrugs. Knocks on the camaro’s top twice. “You fuck the scoops bitch?”

Steve huffs, mutters she’s not a bitch, which is the biggest lie, but Steve has the worst taste in girls and guys. He starts drumming his fingers again. Inching his way towards Billy’s on the warm metal of the camaro.

“Gimme a smoke.” Billy tells him, holds out his hand and at Steve’s disbelieving look, he says, “you owe me a smoke.”

“I owe you a beer down your pants and a scratched camaro.”

“You do that and I’ll slash your tires too.”

Steve snaps his fingers and points to him. King Steve is long gone, just the Dork King remains. Billy wants to laugh.

“So you did fuck up my paint.”

“It was probably one of your brats. Always up to some shenanigan or tomfoolery.”

Steve cracks a smile, like he’s fighting it and has given up. “How are you this exhausting?”

“‘Cause I’m pretty.”

The sound and the way Steve laughs—like he’s happy, like Billy can make him happy—has Billy going hot under his collar. Steve’s smile hangs around, stoking the warmth in Billy’s chest, untying the knots in his stomach one by one, until there’s something big and heated left in their place.

Steve pulls out a smoke for Billy, lights it for him by sticking it in his mouth first and getting the first drag before handing it over, his eyes catching on the scrunchie. Their fingers touch—warm on warm. Familiar. No one’s ever been familiar in a good way.

Steve’s hand is back on the camaro and this time there are no inches between them. He touches the edge of Billy’s fingers with his own. Lightly. From knuckle to his nails. His pinky first. Goes from finger to finger. Brushes at Billy’s rings. Steve strokes down the length of Billy’s thumb, sending shock waves of tingles through his entire hand, up his arm, to every nook of his entire body.

And then Steve lays his hand over Billy’s.

A lot of what Steve does surprises him. There’s no rough in him. He’s just Steve.

Billy moves in closer, pulled in by the soft weight of Steve’s hand on his. The Wheeler house disappears. The entire block is empty of any house, any car. It’s just the two of them. Hawkins drifts off. Billy’s chest is tight. He shies away from looking at Steve too long. Pretends all his attention is on the cigarette in his other hand and not the heat of Steve’s body.

He really did miss Steve. As much as someone who’s never had anyone can.

The sentiment makes mush of his brain. Grabs him by the throat and squeezes till the anger is gone. Robin is gone. Wheeler is gone. The mess of needing someone and wanting someone who’s too good for his bullshit underneath overflows.

“I really didn’t.” Steve tell him quietly, he may as well have whispered it into Billy’s ear from how Billy shivers. “Robin just—we kissed. Got a little handsy in the theater. That’s it, I swear.”

“Handsy, huh?” Billy says.

He pictures Robin with her pretty nails scratching at Steve’s back, clutching at his hair while he sticks his hand down the front of her pants and rubs her while Kevin Kline plays cowboy on the big screen.

Billy flicks Steve’s belt buckle.

“Do it.” He tells him.

Steve plays dumb just as good as anyone in Hollywood.

“Do what?”

“Jerk off.” Billy says. “I wanna watch.”

Steve checks the street. The Wheeler’s. The house across from them.

“Here? Now?”

“Yep.” Billy takes a drag, blows the smoke up and away from them.

Steve’s hand is still on his—it twitches. He puts his other on his hip.

“But you literally—you don’t even let me walk next to you and now you want me to get my dick out?”

Billy nods. It’s simple. It cannot be more simple. He wants to see Steve get off. It’s one of his favorite things to do in this town, one of the only things to do at all. I like the face you make when you come, Billy thinks. He might tell Steve that if he has to.

“So,” Steve drags the o out for years. His hands finally move to perch on his belt. He’s becoming jittery, eyes skating all over to land back on Billy. “Are you gonna do it too or—“

Nope.

Steve stops asking questions. He gets to it and that’s one of the things Billy likes about him. He’ll act pissy and like he doesn’t enjoy Billy bossing him around, but he gets this flush on his skin that goes down his chest and to the head of his dick that makes him look soft and makes Billy want to kiss him and tell him to do all kinds of awful things.

Hesitating for only a second and for one last check, Steve undoes his buckle. Unzips. Shuffles his jeans down just enough to pull every inch of him out and he’s hard, leaking and just as wet as Billy is.

Billy wonders what did it for him. If it was the scrunchie or just seeing Billy again or the prospect of jerking off where anyone who’s known him since he was a toddler could drive by and see just who he’s grown up to be.

Steve leans his back against the camaro. Gives Billy a good sideview of his dick and Billy’s body clenches, remembering every time he’s had Steve inside him and how good it had felt to be so full.

On the first stroke Steve hisses out fuck, head tilting back to show his long neck, his Adam’s apple, his eyes slipping closed as he gets into it. Finds a good rhythm that isn’t too fast or slow. He’s taking his time.

Billy takes a long, long drag of his smoke, eyes going half-lidded as he watches. He leans closer and closer till his arm on the camaro’s roof is behind Steve’s back, over his shoulders. He can see the beads of sweat on the back of Steve’s neck, his hair sticking wet to his skin. How his chest is already starting to heave out breaths. There’s the slick slide of Steve’s hand on his cock, spreading all that pre-come that’s dripping steadily to the asphalt on the downstroke.

Steve’s face is pinched, his mouth hangs open and in the dim light Billy can almost see the pink of his tongue.

Billy moves to kiss him, but stops barely an inch away. Steve leaks more and more onto the street and Billy licks his lips. He takes another drag and blows the smoke out his nose.

“Thinking about your date?” Billy says into Steve’s ear. Lips just brushing the rim. Steve shakes his head no. “What the hell does handsy even mean out here? Is that like second base for hicks?”

Steve keeps his eyes closed when he nods. Fist going a little faster now.

A dog barks and then even more start to. Billy glances at the Wheeler house. To his left. His right. Still no one.

Steve’s eyes are closed, still, caught up in his own hand.

“You finger her?” Steve nods. Billy hates him. He sucks harder on the cigarette. He licks at Steve’s ear and when Steve shakes and his knees buckle, he says, “did you make her wet?”

Steve bites his lip.

“She got a tight pussy on her, Stevie?” Billy doesn’t wait for an answer. He runs one finger down Steve’s chest, down his twitching stomach to his dark curls and says sweetly, “tighter than mine?”

“Fucking fuck, Billy.” Steve says, eyes snapping open to stare at him.

Billy flicks his smoke to the ground and lays his hand flat on Steve’s lower stomach, scratches at the thin skin there.

“What’s with you and clamming up on me, pretty boy?”

Steve’s biting his lip fat and says, annoyed, “you’ll think it’s dumb.”

“Probably.”

“I was. Just. Your—your scrunchie. I was thinking about you and the damn scrunchie and then you had to say that.”

“What?”

Steve’s eyes have gone so dark they’re nearly pitch black and it’s Billy who’s left quaking while Steve’s hips jerk up, his fist flying as he strips his cock when he hisses out, “your pussy.

There’s no decent part left to Billy, but this, having Steve hard and dripping in front of him out where anyone could see, Billy knows to his bones he wants to make Steve feel good, to make him come as many times as Steve will let him.

Billy moves, stands in front of Steve, caging him in with the camaro. Like this he has a good view of the Wheeler’s house. If someone drives by they’ll just look like they’re arguing, about to fight.

He pushes Steve’s hand out of the way and the first touch to Steve’s dick—wet and sticky and hot—makes Steve hunch in on himself, twitch and twitch and twitch in Billy’s hand.

Steve stays curled over like that, watching Billy jerk him off with the scrunchie on his wrist. He reaches out slowly—carefully—and touches Billy’s hips, grips him hard when Billy doesn’t bat his hands away. His thumbs press into the bare skin of Billy’s sides, just over his shorts and Billy stutters in jacking Steve off, soaking up every little touch Steve gives him.

Big and hot in his hand, drenched in his own pre-come, Billy doesn’t have to spit into his palm or anything, but he does it anyways. He likes the mess. The filthy quality to it. Steve does too because he tenses, his entire body freezing up as thick jizz shoots out, coating his busted knuckles, the scrunchie, and all the way up to Billy’s elbow. Ropes of come covering everything. Billy wants to kiss Steve’s balls for being so damn generous.

Billy strokes him through it and keeps going after every drop has been pulled out of him. Steve’s making this noise. A whine that sounds so loud. Billy should cover his mouth. He wants to hear him, though. If they get caught, he wants to be able to replay that whine in his head while Neil chews him out later.

Steve’s twitching all over with his dick still hard when Billy pries his hand off. He wipes the mess off on the underside of his shirt and admires how Steve is sagging, boneless, against the camaro.

Panting, Steve puts himself away, wincing when he touches his dick.

“Goddamnit.” Steve says, looking down at his shorts—jizz on the denim and down his leg. “Well, this is gonna be awkward.”

“What? You think those brats haven’t jerked off before?”

“Oh my god,” Steve makes a face then a gagging noise, “I don’t wanna think about—why did you make me think about that? So much ew.”

“They’re like fourteen, that’s literally all they do.”

“You are the biggest asshole.”

“And you’re a giant bitch.” Billy says and then crouches, steadying himself on Steve’s hips as he’s going down. Looks up at him from under his eyelashes, licks his lips. Steve stands stock still, hands held limp in the air, waiting to see what he does. He’s not even breathing. Billy can just make out the outline of his hard dick in his shorts, twitching and ready for Billy to get his mouth on him.

He settles, gets a good balance on his heels and winks up at Steve, grips his thighs. Steve’s got nice thick thighs. Long legs. Every time they had practice, Billy could barely keep his eyes off them.

Billy licks up the spunk on Steve’s shorts, sucks it off the fabric till his spit has soaked through. Above him, Steve moans. His thighs twitch under his hands so Billy smiles, sucks even harder. He uses his finger to gather up the spunk on Steve’s leg and feeds it to himself, moans deep in his chest as he licks his finger clean.

Robin wouldn’t do this. Wheeler with her pink room wouldn’t do this either. No one but Billy Hargrove could ever take Steve’s load so nicely.

Steve grabs Billy under his arms, hauls him up and into a hurried kiss, their noses smash together before smoothing out into an open mouthed kiss that’s slick and wet, both his hands clutching at Billy’s jaw, Billy grasping at Steve’s waist, his tongue touching Billy’s, tasting himself, licking whatever spunk he can from Billy.

And Billy melts. Really melts. Everything that’s wrong with him swirls and mixes with the good he’s sucked up from Steve into a puddle on the street.

“I knew it.” Steve says. They’re panting into each other’s mouths. “You’re wearing lipstick. You taste like lipstick, baby.”

Baby. Billy’s heart stutters, skips a beat right outside of his chest when Steve sighs it like that.

Steve’s hands smooth down his neck, his shoulders, his arms, leaving goosebumps. Steve holds him by his hips to turn them around and presses Billy’s back to the side of the camaro and this time Billy doesn’t put up a fight. He lets Steve move him wherever he wants. He wraps his arms around Steve’s neck, aching, throbbing in his shorts. He wants to get off and to feel good. Two weeks of ignoring it or grinding against a pillow just doesn’t cut it.

Steve kisses his neck with light drops of closed pressed lips. Thumbs rub circles into his hip bones. The nails of his fingers bite into his back.

Steve presses his knee between Billy’s legs and Billy thinks for the first time in weeks that yes he can do this.

Steve nuzzles at Billy’s nape with his nose, Billy’s hands are tangled up in his hair and there’s no way anyone who gets a look at Steve won’t know he’s just gotten off with someone. Steve’s hands pause on the waistband of his shorts. One finger plays with the button of Billy’s fly.

“I really wanna touch you.” Steve says softly. He’s the first guy to ever say it without sounding ashamed or angry about it and Billy can hardly breathe. “Like, a lot,” Steve’s grip tightens, “ like a whole fucking lot, but I don’t wanna piss you off or—get beer down my shorts again, so can you just tell me what to do to make you feel good, please?”

Steve means it and it’s a rope around Billy’s neck, choking him, his throat tightens and he tries to swallow the knot lodged inside.

Billy doesn’t know what to say.

He’s got vague ideas. Fantasies he would never put into words. Magazines in the trunk of his camaro he pulls out sometimes when he’s desperate and feeling like there’s no ground to stand on.

And it’s silly. It feels silly. Billy’s just flat out ridiculous and he knows it’s weird and that Steve doesn’t get it, but Steve hasn’t once looked at him like he’s as silly and ridiculous and weird as he feels. He hasn’t called him a freak.

Billy wonders what he looks like right now, if he measures up to Steve’s girlfriends, if Steve even thinks of him like that—Billy’s unsure if he wants him to.

Billy takes Steve’s right hand and places it between his legs before he can lose the nerve or that anger gets out first.

Says, with a confidence he doesn’t think he’ll ever really have, “like this,” and moves Steve’s hand so he’s cupping him through his shorts, rubbing him up and down, pushing at the heel of Steve’s hand.

“Yeah?” Steve says. Breathy and moving on his own, Billy hums out a yes, wraps his arms around Steve’s neck, eyes slipping closed as his toes curl.

Steve kisses under his jaw, his ear. Tugs at Billy’s earring with his teeth and Billy’s gone. He’s always been gone when it comes Steve Harrington. The steady rhythm. The constant pressure of his hand that’s not rough, just firm and there and careful. Billy whimpers and bites his tongue to stop.

Steve wraps him up close, pushes him up against the camaro to tug at Billy’s hair while Steve keeps rubbing him gently, keeps him tucked in so close, Steve’s breath in his ear, Steve’s body pressing against all of him. Billy’s in his own world where there really isn’t anything other than Steve and the heat between them.

“If I hadn’t been joking that night—“ Steve says, breathless, “would you be cool with that kind of thing?”

you wanna be my girl, Hargrove?

It’s mean for Steve to bring it up now and get Billy’s hopes up like that. He’s refused to think about it since Steve said it, but the words have always been there in the quiet.

if you hadn’t been joking is just another thing Billy can’t admit to because wanting dumb preps is his thing these days and it’s better to keep what’ll hurt the most to himself.

Except Steve’s soft. He’s decent. He’s not Neil. He’s not the guy at the pier.

Billy comes hard, thighs squeezing Steve’s hand and Steve presses more and more, doesn’t let up until Billy’s clawing at his back, hissing in his ear, shaking into pieces outside the Wheeler house.

When Steve pulls his hand away, Billy’s trembling. His shorts are soaked through. There’s no way he’s going to be able to hide it.