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Read the Room

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The car was conspicuously not in gear. Steve was staring at him; Dustin could feel the prickle of his eyes along his exposed skin. He kept his eyes firmly forward. For the hundredth time that night he really wished he had his hat. If he looked at Steve and saw any sort of sympathy in those big brown eyes, he might cry. He cleared his throat and tried for an easygoing, “Can we go?” The words came out tight and squeaky. 


Dustin felt a hot swell of shame rise behind his eyes and forced it down. If that was pity in Steve’s voice, he might actually cry. “What? It was fine. I came, I saw, I conquered, I left.” He made himself smile, not that he would turn his head to let Steve see it. 

“Did Stacey…did you and her…” 

Did he really have to make Dustin say it? “Nothing happened, okay?” Dustin said, voice rising in pitch. Shit. The cars parked in front of them were beginning to blur. This wasn’t happening. Dustin could not make a fool out of himself twice in one night. He blinked rapidly and folded his arms over his chest, his rented suit jacket squeezing tightly across his chest. “Can we go now?” 

Steve finally got the hint and started up the car. Dustin let himself sag back into the seat as they drove through the parking lot and away from the school. It was almost over. Soon he’d be home. Safe. Alone. He wanted to curl up in a ball on his bed so badly. He stared out the window they turned out of the lot onto the main road. Not much traffic. The streets of Hawkins were pathetically empty, even on a Saturday night. 

“So…” Steve broke the awkward silence. “What happened?” 

“Nothing.” Which was essentially the truth. 

“Did you ask her to dance?” 

Of course Steve wasn’t going to let it go. Dustin was clearly beyond nonchalant about the whole thing, so he tried for indifferent. “Duh.” 

“And she said – ”

Dustin thumped his head against the car seat. “She said no! Holy shit, Steve. Read the room.” 

“Alright, sorry! Sorry.” 

Steve was blessedly silent as they came to a four way stop. Dustin’s home was on the left. He was so ready to get in the shower, to wash off the four pounds of hair spray in his hair and the cologne-y stink of his shame. The look on Stacey’s face when he asked her dance kept popping up in his head. He felt hot tears pressing against the back of his eyes again and forced himself to blink hard. 

The McLarsen’s house passed by. They had already put up Christmas decorations. Wait, what? “Uh…my house is back that way.” 

“I know.” 

Dustin finally looked over. Steve was nodding along to the radio, turned down low. He looked good – he always did – exactly like he had when he’d dropped Dustin off a couple hours ago, except now with a jacket on. The wind through the half-open window was ruffling his hair, as though the weather in Indiana was nothing but an inconvenience. God, why had Dustin even asked him for a ride? “Uh…you’re going the wrong direction.” 

Steve flashed him an easy smile, something Dustin hadn’t seen in awhile, not since the whole…thing from a week ago. It made him feel very confused, more than usual for a stereotypically awkward teenage boy. “It’s the scenic route.” 

“…okay…” Dustin said slowly. This was possibly the worst time in the world for Steve to want to hang out with Dustin. Dustin wanted to feel happy, wanted to admit to himself that he very much wanted to spend more time than was probably normal with Steve, but now? Now? “Why?” 

“Relax, dude. What’re you going to do, sit at home?”

Yes. “No,” Dustin muttered, rolling his head to look out the window.

“What’s Sinclair and Wheeler and the gang doing?” 

“Obviously hanging out with their girlfriends.” Dustin poked the rubber lining along the window, bending it with his fingernail. They had been sympathetic to the total destruction happening in front of them. All the girls had tried to get him to dance with them and he was pretty sure Mike had to talk down Eleven from doing something awesome – probably very destructive and terrifying, but awesome – to cheer him up. But they didn’t need sad-sack Dustin bringing down a lovely evening, so he’d bailed, lied about hanging out with Steve when really he just planned to go home.

“Ah.” Steve sounded like he had belatedly realized that he should have known that. “Anyways, we don’t need ‘em.”

Dustin turned back to stare at him. He really didn’t know what was going on. Shouldn’t he be home by now, reliving his humiliation alone, in his pajamas? “We don’t?”



“Chill, would you?” 

“Why would I chill?! You’re being cryptic! I just wanna go home!” 


“Inscrutable. Obscure.” Steve didn’t look less confused. “Mysterious! Secretive!” 

“Ohhh.” Steve nodded his head, and then snorted. “We’re like five seconds away from the big reveal, so just hold your damn horses, okay? Jesus.” 

The car turned off the road and crept into one of Hawkins’ many woodsy spots, trees and darkness boxing them in on both sides. Dustin was only slightly worried about what might be lurking there in the shadows, but Steve and him were a pretty good team and Dustin was almost certain the bat had a permanent spot in the trunk of Steve’s car now. In front of them was open space. They were just high enough in elevation that they could see a few houses and streetlights dotted here and there.

“Uh…what are we doing here?” Against his better judgment Dustin was also kinda intrigued. 

Steve drummed his fingers across the steering wheel. “It’s my secret spot.” 

“Secret spot?” Dustin glanced at Steve. “For what?” 

“Well…” Steve looked at Dustin and then away. “Uh . Nevermind that. C’mon.” Steve shut the engine off, but kept the keys in so the radio kept playing and the headlights beamed out into the darkness. He opened his door and got out, so Dustin did too. 

The cold hit him immediately and he buttoned his suit jacket closed, jamming his hands in his pockets. He wandered past the front of the car to peer out into the night. As dark as it was there was still a soft glow reflecting from the clouds above, bathing everything in a warm pink. 

“Huh,” Dustin muttered. “I didn’t know this was here.” It was nice, but…kind of random. Dustin couldn’t make any sense of it. Which was par for the course for the last week. He didn’t know if he should say something to Steve, or wait for things to go back to normal, or maybe do something insane like ask him for another lesson. 

Two risky things in one night? He must be crazy. A strangled laugh tore out of his throat. 

“You okay over there?” Steve walked around the other side of the car and tossed Dustin something. 

Dustin grabbed it before it fell to the ground. A cold beer, condensation trickling down its side to wet his fingers. “Really!?” Steve was such a hardass about beer, of all things. 

“Yeah, why not?” Steve climbed onto the hood of his car and Dustin followed. 

He peered at the can – Schlitz – and thumbed open the tab. He took a drink and ugh. He made a face. 

Steve chuckled. “You don’t have to drink if you don’t want to.” 

“No.” Dustin pulled the beer closer to himself. “It’s fine.” His first beer with Steve, who was he to complain? Dustin held the beer in both hands, arms tight against himself to ward off the cold. His first beer with Steve. His first kiss – with Steve. He stared out into the night. Street lights and house lights and car lights flickered in and out of view. When was he going to mess this up? What if he already did, with that stupid kissing lesson that he couldn’t stop thinking about? 

He took another sip, folding himself forward, elbows on his knees. That shaky, overwhelming, pain-in-the-pit-of-his-stomach was coming back. He wanted to fold into himself, like paper. Again and again, until he disappeared. It was weird, though, because a piece of paper could only be folded so many times. The more folds, the thicker you got, until – 

“Hey.” Steve slid across the hood and bumped his shoulder. 

Dustin straightened up. Steve was way too close, his arm leaning against his, his knee bumping into Dustin’s knee. Dustin swallowed. “Yeah?” 

“What are you thinking about?” 

“Uh.” There was really no way to explain this without sounding weird. “Exponential growth?” 

Steve blinked. He pursed his lips and nodded. “Okay, cool. Can I ask…why?” 

“I don’t know.” Dustin sighed. “Forget it. It doesn’t even matter.” He took a big gulp of his gross beer. 

“No, I mean…” Steve looked down at his own beer. “Science can be…cool.” 

Dustin couldn’t believe his ears. “Steve, what the hell?”

“I mean, if that’s one of your interests, then I’m always open to hearing about it. Learning doesn’t end after school. You know?” 

Dustin stared. He had a tiny buzz going with the beer, but maybe he was worse off than he thought?

“I’m just saying!” Steve waved his free hand around, towards the barely-visible stars above them, appearing every now and then as the clouds moved across the sky. “You should…be you.” 

“Oh my god.” Dustin covered his face with his hand. He wanted his hat so bad right now. He wanted to be in bed. He wanted Steve to shut up. He wanted to kiss Steve. He wanted Steve to keep talking, just about anything other than this. 

“I just think you shouldn’t care so much about those girls. Remember what I told you? If you ignore them –” 

“That’s great,” Dustin said. “But I’m not you.” He noisily slurped his beer, which tasted worse by the minute, exacerbating the rawness in his throat rather than soothing it. “I mean, did you ever go to dance alone? Did anyone ever say no when you asked them to dance? Or – ” laugh, he nearly said, but couldn’t force the word out. 

Steve opened his mouth, but hesitated. “Dustin…” His eyes were black in the night, mouth downturned but gentle, and Dustin could still see why so many girls had fallen in love with him. 

“Forget it, Steve,” Dustin said. He turned away and wrapped his arms around himself and shivered. Stupid thin jacket. Stupid cold weather. Stupid small town. “I guess the kissing lesson was pointless, huh?” 

Steve inhaled sharply next to him. 

Oh, god.

Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit

Steve’s sneakers made a squeaking noise as they slid back on the bumper of the car. Dustin didn’t dare look over at him. He swore to himself he wasn’t going to bring it up, going to make it worse than it already was, with Steve acting weird around him. He’d been shocked Steve’d agreed to take him to the dance, and now here he was, blowing it all because he wasn’t cool enough for Stacey to dance with and he wasn’t cool enough to tell Steve he liked – that he liked – 

Steve abruptly jumped off the hood. 

Of course. Dustin turned his head, watched Steve walk back around the driver’s side. He was gonna get in and tell Dustin to get off the hood, get in the car, drive home in silence. 

No, Steve was too nice. He’d tell Dustin sorry, but you’re mistaken, I’m just a friend. You’re a nice kid but you’re just a kid

Him and his stupid mouth. Dustin turned back around and stared blindly at the scenery. He raised the beer to his mouth but it was empty. Figured. 

The music got louder. Something with a saxophone was playing, something Dustin didn’t know the lyrics to. Dustin turned around, confused. Steve had reached through the open window and turned the radio up. 

Steve came back around the car and stopped in front of Dustin, wiping his palms on his jeans. The car headlights cast him in sharp relief: his jeans, his grey jacket, his pale face glowing in the harsh light. He held his hand out. 

Dustin looked at him, words coming slowly. “Huh?” 

“May I?” 


“Dance, dumbass,” Steve said. 

Dustin stared. The headlights made Steve stand out from the shadows, like he was on a separate plane from this dimension. He squinted past the glare, waiting for Dustin, who only had to take a step forward. 

“C’mon.” Steve waved to him, and when Dustin didn’t move he grabbed his hand and pulled. Dustin hurriedly put his empty beer down before taking the awkward long step down from the bumper to the ground, nearly stumbling onto Steve’s feet. 

They stood there for a second as Steve waited for Dustin to catch on. Dustin was having a hard time moving past one fact – Steve was holding his hand – but he was sure he was supposed to do something. His heart was pounding in his ears, and the hand clasped in Steve’s felt sweaty. Oh, right, his other hand. He knew how to do this. Theoretically. He tentatively reached his free hand up. Steve helpfully maneuvered it onto his shoulder and then grabbed onto his waist. 

“Here we go. Left.” He took a step to Dustin’s right and Dustin belatedly took a step the opposite direction. “Whoops, I meant my left.”

“Okay. ” 

“Now the other – ” 

“Wait, let me – ” 


“Sorry, I’m – ” 

“Okay, stop. Hold on. How about this.” Steve gave trying to make them waltz or whatever he had planned and moved Dustin’s hand onto his shoulder. Then he grabbed Dustin’s waist with both his hands instead. 

Now they were facing each other. Holy shit. Were they actually dancing? Steve started to sway, gently directing Dustin to follow with a gentle squeeze on his waist. Without thinking about it, Dustin began to sway too, feet shuffling through grass and uneven ground. When Steve drifted left, Dustin followed, until they were turning in a slow circle. INXS thumped through the air, a little too fast for a slow dance, but who, at this exact moment, cared? Definitely not Dustin. He hoped the song was long, long enough for the realization that he was dancing with Steve to sink in. 

Of course Dustin couldn’t go a moment without talking. Words poured out of him. “Why are you…why are we even…? I mean, not that I mind – except, you know, I – ”

Steve huffed a little laugh. “Dustin…relax. Night’s not over yet. So…let’s dance.” He squeezed Dustin’s waist and Dustin, embarrassingly, twitched in surprise. Jesus, he needed to calm down. 

Steve didn’t comment on his faux pas. That didn’t mean Dustin could relax, though. They were dancing. Dustin’s heart was pounding so hard that he was sure Steve could feel it. Even his arms were trembling. But he could probably blame that on the weather and his suit jacket, clearly not made for the outdoors. It was cold enough that a little shiver worked his way down his back. 

“Cold?” Steve murmured. The light was behind him, casting his face in shadows, but Dustin practically had his face memorized at this point. 

This was way too romantic for Dustin. He was going to die. “A little,” he said, voice coming out rusty, like he’d been smoking for years. Wait, but then Steve was going to think he wanted to stop! “I’m fine though! It’s fine. Let’s just…” He couldn’t say keep going, couldn’t be that obvious. “It’s fine,” Dustin repeated after a moment. 

Another huff of laughter from Steve. “Alright, cool.” He flexed his fingers, and it felt like he was guiding Dustin slightly closer to him. That had to be Dustin’s imagination. Right? He risked a quick glance down, trying to measure the distance between their bodies. Now he was just staring at their crotches, which was extra weird, so he quickly looked back up. At Steve’s chin. Definitely not his lips. 


It’s not like Dustin was trying to pull him closer, either. He didn’t dare. They were on awkward ground as it was – figuratively and literally, as their feet trod the grassy earth underneath them. It’s fine, they’re not drifting closer to each other, Dustin’s not thinking of their bodies pressing together or anything! One amazing kiss from Steve doesn’t mean anything else is ever going to happen. Dustin will remind himself a billion times if he has to. 

Over and over and over again, until he believes it. 

Steve’s just being Steve. Right? Being way too nice to Dustin out of…pity, probably. If he was being honest with himself, Dustin’s sad face had probably guilted him into doing this, like Dustin had practically begged him to kiss him. Dustin felt his face getting hot, again. Again! Couldn’t he just not have feelings for a minute? 

“Hey,” Steve said, a note of concern in his voice. He was trying to bend down to see Dustin’s face. There wasn’t much distance separating them, and Dustin didn’t have his hat to hide behind. “Hey, man. You okay?” 

“Yeah,” Dustin said, voice sounding shaky, obviously not okay. The common denominator of this sucky evening was clearly him. 

“Dustin.” Steve’s voice got softer. He stopped moving, so Dustin did too. “Hey man, look at me.” 

“Nah, s’fine.” Dustin ducked his head down, forehead brushing against Steve’s shoulder. He really would get over this, if Steve would just stop talking.

For some reason Steve was now whispering. “Are you crying?”

Dustin was not crying. He just needed a minute. “Why are you doing this?” Please god, don’t let it be pity. Dustin couldn’t handle it. Let Steve be doing this for any number of reasons, but not because he felt Dustin was pathetic. 

“What do you mean?” 

Dustin shrugged. “Doing this. After…you know.” 

“Dude, what?” 

“Do you think I’m some dumb little kid?” Dustin jerked his head back, fingers clamping into Steve’s jacket. 

Steve frowned, eyes searching Dustin’s face. “I never said that. Have I ever said that?” 

“All the time. Like when me and Lucas and Mike went down the tunnel when Eleven –” 

“That’s because you’re dumbasses!” Steve shook him a little. “I mean jesus, it’s like you’re trying to give me grey hairs on purpose.” He took a breath. “But’s that…that. This is…it’s just a dance,” he said. He sighed. “I know you think I’m some sort of sex god, but I’ve been rejected too, you know. It sucks.” 

This was news to Dustin, almost more unbelievable than any of the previous events of the evening. He’d seen Steve do dumb things, namely against killer inter-dimensional beings, but he seemed to have an inexplicable appeal just about any human on the planet, especially women. “You have?” 

“Yeah, duh.” Steve blew out a breath. “I’ve had girlfriends, dates…people crap out on me.” A muscle twitched in his jaw. “It sucks.” 

Dustin couldn’t imagine that happening to Steve, couldn’t imagine anyone not being there for Steve and staying with him. But sometimes he forgot people were stupid and shitty, mostly because Dustin liked to think most people weren’t all stupid and shitty. 

And then there were times like tonight. 

“It does suck,” he agreed quietly. The hot feelings were fading away, leaving more confusion in its wake. This night had been hell on his ego. He stared at the zipper on Steve’s jacket, watched it rise and fall with Steve’s breath. 

“Yeah.” Steve shifted, adjusting his stance, but didn’t pull away. 

“Sorry. For being…I don’t know. I shouldn’t have gotten upset with you, though.” 

“It’s alright. I get it. You gotta get it out, man.” 

“Yeah, and everyone’s busy, or got a girl, or whatever, so the gang’s great but they’re not always…available, I guess? And you…” Dustin shrugged. 

They weren’t really moving anymore, just standing in the field, the headlights of Steve’s car casting shadows around their legs. Dustin made himself look up at Steve, after he said that, prepared himself for the inevitable let down. He took a deep breath. 

“I’ve been – ” 

“You’re not – ” 

They both spoke at the same time. 

“Sorry – ” 

“No, you go ahead.” Steve urged him. 

“Okay.” Dustin’s grip had loosened. He played with the edge of the collar on Steve’s jacket, staring mindlessly at it. “I just thought you might be mad. Or something.” 

“Why…” Steve seemed to be carefully selecting his words. “Why would you think that?” 

“Well.” Dustin looked past his arms, into the dark woods around them. He might actually be okay with a demodog coming out at this very instance. “You’ve been avoiding me. Right?” He said, slowly. 

Steve twitched. “What?” 

“After I…asked you…to kiss me.” The last part was mumbled. For all his bravey, Dustin couldn’t look him in the eye. That gross beer hadn’t given him any liquid courage. 

“No! Not…exactly.” Steve’s hands tightened around him, this time he really was pulling Dustin closer, almost – but not quite – into a hug. “Of course I’m not mad, I’m –” He stopped, started to draw back from Dustin. “It’s nothing. I shouldn’t have – ” He laughed, a little too loudly, and Dustin glanced up, confused. 

Steve had a line between his eyebrows, but a tight smile on his face. “It’s fine. You know I’m always here for you, bud.” His hands lifted to Dustin’s shoulders, squeezed all friendly-like. 

Dustin frowned. “Right. Right.” Steve was here for him. Of course. Not out of pity but because Steve was…Steve. That’s why there were out in the woods, and Steve was dancing with him. Had asked him to dance. Was smiling like his jaw hurt. “Okay.” 

“Okay.” Steve’s smile looked slightly less pained. He dropped his hands from Dustin’s shoulders, and stepped back. One curl had fallen over his eyebrow. He looked good. He always looked good. 

“So…”Dustin lowered his hands. He didn’t know what to do. Or say. He was pretty sure he was more confused now than before. He tucked his hands in his pants pockets and looked around, like something in the woods might clarify things. 


Dustin jerked his head up. “What for?” Steve was frowning, clearly uncomfortable with Dustin, but somehow apologetic. 

“Not what you expected, is it? The dance,” Steve explained. 

“Oh. No, it’s fine – it’s all good! I mean. Thank you.” Dustin wasn’t sure why Steve would apologize for this – Dustin didn’t deserve this. Didn’t deserve Steve. He twisted his hands in his pockets. Probably stretching them out, so he couldn’t get the deposit back. Shit. He was an idiot. 

And not just about the pants. 

“Not as good as Stacey, huh?” Steve joked. He swung his hand forward and lightly tapped Dustin on the arm, like they were buddy-buddy. He was rather squinty-eyed, but that could be from the brightness of the car headlights. 

“Huh?” Dustin had forgotten about Stacey. “Oh. Yeah. I guess.” He really didn’t like her that much anymore. He definitely didn’t want to think about her ever again. His heart felt constricted in his chest. The cold was stinging his skin, making his nose numb. They’d been outside for a long time now. He shuddered. 

“Cold? We should get into the – ” 

“Why are you sorry?” 

Steve paused, halfway turned to the car. “Huh?” 

Dustin searched his face. He just – he really didn’t like to leave things halfway. “I don’t get it. Why would you be sorry?” 

Steve blinked. His eyes darted to the right, and then back again. “Uh. Well. I.” He shoved a hand through his hair. “I don’t know.” He shrugged helplessly. Stared at Dustin with a look Dustin couldn’t quite decipher. “For not being Stacey?” He suggested. “You went to that dance just for her. This isn’t exactly how you planned your evening to end.” 

For a brief second Dustin thought he’d misheard him. Then he realized this was the dumbest thing he’d ever heard Steve say. 

“Steve,” Dustin said, but then he started laughing. “Hold on, I…” he covered his mouth with his hand. 

Steve folded his arms across his chest, shuffled his feet. “What?” 

Dustin pulled himself together. Took a step forward. “Steve.”


“I don’t give a shit about Stacey.”

Steve raised a suspicious eyebrow. “Bullshit. You went to the dance specifically to get with her.” He pointed a finger at Dustin. “You asked me last week to kiss you, specifically to – ” 

“Steve. Steve!” Dustin took another step forward, past Steve’s judgmental finger. His hands landed on Steve’s arms. 

Steve stopped, eyes going wide. 

“Shut up,” Dustin said, breathlessly, and maybe he really was crazy, because – risky thing of the evening number three. 

He leaned up on his toes and kissed him. 

Compared to last time, it was not a good kiss. Too much pressure. Dustin was a little worried Steve would pull away, so he rushed it, lips ending up smashed against Steve’s without any hint of softness. 

Just as quickly as he had leaned forward, Dustin rocked back on his heels. “Uh. Sorry,” he muttered after a long moment of silence. Not that he was really sorry, but in case he was wrong. But he didn’t think he was. Or hoped. Definitely hoped. He’d just kissed Steve. Shit. No, it was fine. No, it wasn’t. He stepped back, not sure that – 

Steve’s arms landed on his waist. Dustin barely had time to do more than look up, mouth parting in disbelief before Steve was kissing him. 

Steve. Kissing. Him. And it was good, too, so much better than that last awkward mash of lips. Dustin’s mouth was already open, and Steve just sort of slid in, pulled his bottom lip into his mouth, a thrilling shock of heat after all that time in the cold outside. It only took Dustin a second to fumble his jacket into a tight grip and kiss back hard. 

He tried, anyways. The tone of this kiss was flat-out different than the practice one, nothing gentle or careful or sweet. Steve’s fingers gripped his waist, and he angled his head so he could slide his tongue into Dustin’s mouth. Things were progressing at much faster pace than anticipated. Dustin tentatively slide his tongue out too. Steve tasted a little sharp, the trace of the beer they’d been drinking, but it was more the heat that got Dustin. Everything narrowed down into this one intimacy they were sharing, and its sudden loss shocked almost as much as the cold when Steve pulled back. 

Dustin opened his eyes. He had to blink Steve back into focus. Steve’s lips, wet and shiny, curled in a half smile. “What is it?” Dustin said. His breath was coming a little fast. He’d almost forgotten to breathe. He really wanted to keep making out, but when he pressed forward, Steve leaned back, though he kept his hands on Dustin’s hips. 

“Nothing, I…” Steve’s hands tightened. “You’re good?” 

Dustin had never been so certain of anything in his life. “I’m so good. One hundred percent. One thousand. Absolutely, positively, good.” 

Steve snorted. “Alright, Romeo.” Steve leaned in a little closer to him, slowly, head tilting down as Dustin’s raised upward. They were both breathing a little heavily. Dustin rested his hands on Steve’s chest, though that felt silly to him. He wiggled them upward and tentatively wrapped them around Steve’s neck. 

“So…” Steve’s hands slid around his hips, curling against the small of his back, pulling Dustin closer. 

Dustin took it back – this was too romantic. He was gonna die.

“Want to try again?” Steve smiled playfully. “That was kinda crap, what you did before. Cute, but. Crap.” He grinned, eyes shining in the glare of the car headlights. “I thought I taught you b–” 

“Okay, shut up,” Dustin said, feeling a blush crawl up his neck. “Dick.” He wiggled his arms upward and tentatively wrapped them around Steve’s neck. They were pressed together from chest to waist. Holy shit. He was so hyperaware of the heat between them that the cold air around them felt artic. He shivered. 

Steve frowned. “Wait, you’re cold.” 

“Yeah, but, I don’t care.” Dustin really really didn’t want to stop. They’d barely got started! 

Steve snorted again, stepping back and releasing him. “C’mon, let’s get in the car and warm you up.” 

Steve probably didn’t mean that the way Dustin interpreted. Dustin followed Steve without thinking, then remembered he’d left his beer can and ran back to grab it. He hurried to catch up with Steve, and they ended up both standing next to the driver’s side door.

Steve looked at him, then the car, then him again. “You wanna sit in the back?” 

Dustin couldn’t really embarrass himself any more than was possible that evening. “Uh…yeah. Sit. In the back.”

Steve’s eyebrows shot up. He shook his head, but he was smiling. “Alright, get in, horndog. I’ll get a blanket.” He leaned through the car window and turned the radio down.

Dustin crawled into the back of the car, dropping the beer can on the floor on the way in, and scooted all the way over, leaving the door open. Now that he wasn’t pressed up against Steve he was aware of just how much energy was thrumming through his body. Nervous energy, excitement, and admittedly more than a little horny. He’d kissed Steve and Steve had kissed back. Unbelievable. He wanted to do so much with Steve. Things he’d only heard second hand from the guys. 

Holy shit what if he lost his virginity tonight.

Steve popped the trunk of his car and shut it, coming back with a blanket. He tossed it to Dustin before getting in, shutting the door behind him. Then he looked over at Dustin and looked concerned, eyebrows furrowing together. “Hey…you know we don’t have to do anything.” He turned in the seat, facing Dustin. “There’s no rush.” 

Dustin caught the blanket and tried to get his face under control. “I’m not!” He did feel a little shaky, but maybe that was just the cold. “I mean. I’m just. I don’t know. What to do.” His voice dropped as he spoke, into a whisper. He unfolded the blanket and spread it over his legs. 

“We don’t have to do anything. We can head home, watch a movie or something.” 

Dustin lifted his head. Took a deep breath. “I want to do something, Steve.” 

Steve had his head tilted, resting on the headrest. He lifted his eyebrow, glanced at Dustin’s crotch. “Hey, I get it, man, you don’t have to explain.” 

“I’m not! This isn’t about!” Being a teenage boy, Dustin wanted to scream. Kinda, yes, it was, it would be amazing to do anything with Steve, would feel good no matter what, he was certain. But also – it’d be good, just to be with him. That was super lame, though. He thumped his head on the back of the seat. “Gimme me a break.” 

“Sorry.” Steve’s hand landed on top of his and squeezed tightly. Dustin squeezed back. “Still,” Steve said quietly, “we can definitely – ”

“I. Am. Sure.”

Steve ducked his head, clearly trying not to laugh.

“Steve, I might literally die if you don’t k – ” Dustin stumbled over the word. “Kiss me,” he said, forced out.

Steve slid forward on the seat, towards Dustin. “I’m pretty sure you won’t, but just in case,” he said. He tugged on Dustin’s hand, turning him towards him, and they both leaned forward. 

It was much less rushed than outside the car. There was intent behind the kiss, and whatever hesitations Steve had seemed to have dissipated. Dustin immediately opened his mouth, not thinking about lessons, or a slow flirtation, or that he was anything other than really into this. The best part was Steve’s tongue on his, something that Dustin was finding he really enjoyed. Like, who would have ever thought that exchanging saliva could be this sexy? He got his hands back on Steve’s shoulders, wrapped them behind his neck and pulled him closer. 

Steve leaned forward, hand squeezed between his waist and the seat, the other on Dustin’s thigh, over the top of the blanket. His palm was warm, burning a circle of heat through the blanket. His lips were really soft, but that was about all that was similar to the last time they’d kissed in Steve’s car. Now he was more assertive, pushing in, sliding out, changing angles, throwing Dustin into a dizzying loop.

Dustin was having a hard time catching his breath. He could feel all the blood rushing out of his head south, leaving the echo of his heartbeat pounding in his ears. His fingers twisted and clenched into Steve’s jacket. Steve’s hand rubbed soothingly along his thigh. Shit, Steve was a good kisser.

Steve pressed forward and Dustin, mouth open and panting, followed his lead. He slid – inched down awkwardly, anyways – onto his back, kicking the blanket off in the process, so that Steve leaned over him, one knee on the seat between Dustin’s legs.

He thought Steve might protest, or stop to ask him yet again if he was doing okay, but he went along with it, following Dustin’s mouth down and pressed a kiss to his jaw, to the side of his neck, past the stiff dress collar. Then he settled his whole body on Dustin’s and holy shit. If Dustin wasn’t hard before he certainly was now. Steve’s hips and chest pressed against his, Dustin’s fingers tangling into the long hair at the back of his neck.

And more importantly, wow. Dustin’s breath stuttered out of his mouth. Steve was hard too. Dustin could feel it through his jeans, feel the button on his Levi’s rubbing the wrong way on his dick, but he could definitely look past that. His own suit jacket was impossible, though – rucked up behind his back and stretched awkwardly across the shoulders. He wiggled a hand between their bodies and managed to unbutton it. He managed to spare a very brief thought for how wrinkled it was getting before Steve kissed him again.

Their kisses got sloppier, especially when Dustin forgot what he was doing, or what he was supposed to be doing, but Steve didn’t seem to care. Steve moved back to his neck, folding down his dress shirt, sucked a hickey into the soft skin there, making Dustin shudder and say “Oh, shit,” which made Steve do it again, and harder. He wriggled under Steve, which didn’t seem to help. 

“Steve,” Dustin managed.

“Hmm?” Steve was busy. One hand was running down the side of Dustin’s thigh and back up again. He lifted his head. His hair was a mess, losing its volume and falling into his eyes. “Uh. Too fast?” 

“Not fast enough,” Dustin said. 

“Me too,” Steve said nonsensically. His hand lifted Dustin’s leg up against his chest so his hips settled more firmly, pressing their dicks together. Dustin huffed out a very mangled groan. He definitely needed to work on flexibility. Invest in some Jane Fonda videos. Learn to touch his toes. 

Steve rocked forward, and Dustin closed his eyes. His hips jerked in unwitting response. Dustin tried to think of his current science project. All the steps of protein synthesis. Step one – 

Steve rocked his hips again.

“Steve! I’m serious. I’m going to – ” He bit his lip. 

Steve pulled back, lifting his weight off Dustin. “Sorry,” he said, sounding not very apologetic at all, but Dustin forgave him when his hand moved from the back of Dustin’s thigh to the button on his pants. 

“Oh my god please,” Dustin wheezed, and Steve snorted a laugh. He managed to undo Dustin’s pants with one hand – that was interesting – and slide his fingers down the waist band of his underwear. 

Dustin felt like he might be hyperventilating as Steve touched his dick.

“Oh my god,” Dustin said, when Steve’s hand wrapped the whole way around it. He dug his fingers into Steve’s back. “Shit,” he whispered between shuddering breaths.

“I haven’t done anything yet,” Steve murmured.

“Shut up,” Dustin groaned, and Steve laughed. He sat all the way up, head bent to avoid hitting the roof of the car, releasing Dustin’s dick in the process, making Dustin very sad, and then unzipped his jeans, making Dustin very happy. 

There wasn’t any fanfare when Steve pulled his dick out. It was hard, Dustin was overjoyed to see, but he didn’t have much time to get more than a brief look before Steve leaned back down to kiss him, lifting Dustin’s hand off his shoulder and onto his dick. 

Dustin made a pleased sound. He was touching Steve’s dick. It was warm, hard, like his own dick but also, you know, not. He was touching Steve’s dick. He squeezed it, moved his hand down and up again, trying to feel every inch of it. 

Steve’s kisses were especially sloppy now. He pulled Dustin’s lower lip into his mouth, played with the edge of it with his tongue. For his own part Dustin was barely able to kiss and jerk Steve off at the same time. Doing both must be a skill you picked up in the next level. Or a bonus, like a rare item. 

Steve moved his hand back onto Dustin’s dick and Dustin almost completely lost it. 

This was impossible. Steve was twisting his hand up and down, jerking him off, biting Dustin’s lip at the same time. Not a sex god was a obviously a lie. Dustin was just laying there, hand loose around Steve’s dick, trying to breathe. All he could focus on was Steve’s mouth, his hand. No. Dustin was not a quitter. He gathered up his few remaining brain cells and started moving his hand, the other grasping Steve’s jacket, trying to hold on. 

He wasn’t going to last long. Not with Steve arched over him, sloppily kissing him, hand moving quickly and efficiently, glimpses of his dark eyelashes across his cheek between his strands of his hair. 

Dustin made some weird noise when he came, he was sure of it, hips moving a little higher, like he could keep Steve’s touch on him a little longer. He totally forgot to keep his hand moving on Steve’s dick. “Shit,” he said, a few moments later, when the pulsing high had gone down and the warm afterglow was infusing his body. 

“S’fine,” Steve said, though he wrapped a hand around Dustin’s on his dick and encouraged him to move. Dustin did, though he felt a little fuzzy around the edges, all of his energy and nervousness that had carried him through the evening finally wearing off. He bent his head as far down as he could and watched his hand move. Even though he was here, now, there was still something surreal about the situation. 

He darted a look at Steve, too, to see how he was doing. Steve had his eyes closed, hand digging and flexing on Dustin’s thigh. The other was shoved between Dustin and the car seat holding himself up so he didn’t crush Dustin. His lips were red, a little swollen, probably as hot and used as Dustin’s felt. His hand dug into Dustin’s thigh, and he ignored the ache in his wrist and gave it everything he had. 

Steve leaned as he came, some of it ending up on Dustin’s hand, most of it on his shirt. 

His rented shirt. Which was kind of a wreck, and probably the jacket too. Dustin might be going home in only his pants at this point. 

Steve sat back on the seat, back resting against the door, catching his breath. 

Dustin raised himself back up, so he was sitting facing Steve, his legs protesting as they stretched out. He tucked himself back into his underwear and winced at all the stains he could see.

Steve wiped a hand across his forehead. “Shit, it’s hot,” he said.

They’d steamed up the car.