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Light My Fire

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If there’s one thing these midwestern hicks in this boring ass town know how to do, it’s throw an absolute fucking rager. That’s all the teens of Hawkins ever do, considering there’s fuck all else to do around the place.

There’s no beach to swim or surf at. Closest thing they have to that are a few lakes that are small and full of brown water. There’s no skate part either, which pissed Max off the second she found out. No drive-in, just some boring little theater in the square, only one arcade, barely any shops that aren’t general stores. Seriously, where the hell do these people get their clothes?

Needless to say, Hawkins, Indiana is a boring, boring ass town. So what better way to spend your time than by partying nearly every damn night?

Since arriving in this shithole just a couple weeks ago, Billy’s made a point to show up to every single rager he hears about, eager to build a reputation for himself. If he’s gonna be trapped here until the second he’s legally allowed to hop in his car and drive away into the sunset, then he might as well make it a fun time.

Tonight’s kegger is being thrown by some cheerleader Billy can’t even put a face to. The house is fairly modest, located in a neighborhood not far from Billy’s own. It’s certainly not as extravagant as some of the houses he’s seen up in Loch Nora. The place is already decently full of drunk teenagers once Billy arrives, the living room packed with people dancing to Van Halen’s Jump playing on the stereo.

A few people cheer when he walks in, some boys from the basketball team, including Tommy, chanting “Bil-ly, Bil-ly, Bil-ly!” He revels in the attention, soaks it up like California soil soaks up a rare rain.

He isn’t there for any longer than ten minutes before Tommy’s dragging him to the backyard to do a kegstand. It’s become Billy’s signature. He’s done one at every party he’s been to, and every time, without fail, he manages to impress everyone there. It’s earned him the title of Keg King.

Billy finds himself a little disappointed with just how easy this town is. There’s no competition at all, he barely has to try in order to garner everyone’s attention. One small shift in his posture and suddenly all eyes are on him. It’s almost ridiculous.

Billy’s on the keg for a good forty-five seconds before he dismounts. Not his longest, at all, but it’s enough to bring the house down. Several people high five him or pat him on the back when he walks back inside the house. A few girls tug on him, say things in his ear that he barely hears. Some others try to stop him, but Billy’s not one for meaningless conversations, so he just heads straight for the kitchen, giving the occasional acknowledgement when someone calls his name.

Billy helps himself to a beer from the cooler on the table, then grabs some kids plate of nachos right from his hands because having nothing but beer in your stomach never bodes well. Tommy is still following him around, Billy notices when the guy says something to him about almost breaking someone’s record.

The two boys hang in the kitchen for a while, filling their faces stomachs with whatever they find on the designated snack table. Billy’s halfway through a second plate of nachos when, from the living room just outside, there’s a sudden uproar of cheers. Which is a bit surprising, since Billy was pretty sure he was the only interesting thing at this party.

“The hell is that about?” He asks Tommy, who’s busy stuffing his face with cheese balls he snagged from the pantry.

“Mayve they’re plaing thpin the botthle in there. Eiver that or thomeone puketh their guss ouw,” Tommy replies through a mouthful of cheese balls. Billy’s able to make out what’s probably “spin the bottle” and “puked their guts out” from Tommy’s muffled words.

Tommy says something else that makes bits of cheese balls go flying out from his mouth towards Billy, the latter only just able to dodge it. Billy’s face scrunches in disgust. “Don’t talk with your mouth full, man!”

“Thowwy, dude!”

Tommy ends up spitting more food out his mouth, but before Billy can ridicule him any further, the kitchen door flies open.

The guy who comes through is someone Billy’s never seen before. He knows, because he’s absolutely certain that someone like this would’ve caught his eye. The guy looks way different from all these other hicks. Sticks out like a sore thumb in his leather jacket, long slicked back brown hair, and smudged eyeliner.

He meets Billy’s eye almost immediately after entering the space. He holds his gaze, flicks it up and down Billy’s body with a curious little tilt to his head. His stare is intense, and Billy can feel his skin practically melting. Billy sharpens his own eyes, completes the look with a mean wag of his tongue. The guy has the audacity, the nerve to huff a laugh at Billy.

Billy hates him.

Their staring contest is cut short by Tommy giving a loud obnoxious whoop. The guy’s eyes leave Billy’s to look over at him, and Billy instantly feels colder, somehow. “Well look here! If it isn’t the return of the king!” Tommy yells, unmuffled this time. “Or should I say, the former king,” he throws an arm around Billy’s shoulders, giving him a shake. Billy has to stop himself from elbowing Tommy in the stomach.

The guy raises an eyebrow, challenging. “Oh, really,” he says as he walks to the cooler and grabs a beer bottle. “Someone took my title while I was gone?” The guy pops the bottle cap with his teeth and takes a long sip. He’s a show-off, then.

“Sure did,” Tommy replies. He goes on to brag about Billy to this guy like some proud mother. Billy tunes him out almost entirely, choosing instead to observe more of this supposed “king” clad in leather.

The jacket he wears is covered in patches and pins. On the front, Billy spots that iconic triangle with a rainbow shooting out of it. Next to it is a white brick patterned pin with the words “The Wall” on it in red. Underneath that is a pig, and on the other side there’s pink swirly words that read “Pink Floyd”. Clearly the guy is a Pink Floyd fan. Among other things, Billy sees, as there’s several Mötley Crüe patches, a few AC/DC ones, some for Queen and some for KISS, and when the guy turns around just slightly, he sees one large patch for the band Heart across the shoulders.

Billy has to admit, Pink— he chooses to refer to the guy as “Pink” since it seems the most fitting, also because he doesn’t really care to learn his name— has a good taste in music.

“Really?” Pink is saying when Billy zones back in.

Pink looks directly at him with those dark lined eyes, and Billy realizes that he missed more than half of the conversation. He’s not going to admit that obviously, so he plays along, replies with “That’s right,” and adds a mean smirk to seal the deal.

Pink hums, looking somewhat amused. He approaches Billy slowly, all cocky-like, like he’s already got it ingrained in his head that he’s better than Billy, even though he’s only known him for roughly a minute. It makes Billy seethe, makes him want to wipe that dumb smug look right off his pretty little face.

Pink stops when he’s a few feet in front of Billy. “Where you from, Big Guy?”

“California,” Billy answers simply, stepping forward a foot himself. He can play this little intimidation game, too. He can growl deeper, bark louder, if he wants. But for now, he’s just testing the waters.

“California, huh? They know how to party over there?”

“Better than any of you hicks can, that’s for sure.” Billy hopes the insult gets to Pink’s head. If it does, Pink doesn’t show it, instead he smiles and bites his bottom lip. Then he tilts his head again, as if considering something.

“What was your time again?” He asks.

“Forty five.” Billy narrows his eyes, steps even closer until their faces are only half a foot apart. He revels in the fact that it makes Pink shuffle back just a bit. “Why,” Billy continues, “you think you can beat my time, Pretty Boy? Bet you wouldn’t even last half that.”

“Oh, yeah, California? Wanna try me?” It’s infuriating, just how sure of himself he sounds.

Any further conversation is once again cut off by Tommy’s annoying self. “Hell yeah, looks like we got ourselves a competition here! A rivalry in the making!” He looks between the two of them, overexcited and practically bouncing. “You guys have to face off on the keg now, I think I’ll die if I don’t see it!”

Billy looks Pink up and down, drags his tongue across his teeth, then raises his chin. “I’m up for a challenge.”

It only takes Tommy about a minute to gather a crowd outside in the backyard, nearly everyone at the party surrounding the two kegs. Across from Billy, he sees Pink fucking stretching like he’s about to do a high jump for the Olympics. The spotter next to him is talking, probably hyping him up like Tommy is doing to Billy right now.

“You’ve got this man. Now, he’s pretty good with kegstands. Really good, actually. Actually, he’s amazing–”

“Some fucking pep talk, Freckles.”

“Right, sorry. He’s good, but you can beat him. I have faith in you man!”

Some guy with a megaphone counts them down before shouting, “Go!” Tommy quickly catches and holds Billy’s legs when he kicks them up, Pink’s spotter doing the same. The valve is released and cold beer fills Billy’s mouth.

The crowd around them cheers, simultaneously counting out the seconds. Billy is vaguely aware of what number they’re on, but at some point he knows that they’re past forty five. Blood is rushing to Billy’s head and his arms are just barely beginning to shake. He wants to go longer, but he can feel himself browning out, and Tommy is getting tired holding his legs up for so long. Billy lets out a grunt loud enough for Tommy to hear, signaling for him to drop his legs. Some of the crowd cheers for him as he dismounts, some letting out sounds of disappointment, which confuses Billy until he sees.

Pink is still on the keg. “Fifty seven! Fifty eight! Fifty nine!” The audience is chanting, and when Pink finally dismounts at sixty seconds, they scream for him. Pink shakes his head like a wet dog, his long hair coming loose from it’s slicked back style and falling forward on his face. He rakes the strands back into position with his hands, grinning triumphantly as he does it. And then, with both hands still in his hair, Pink looks up to meet Billy’s eye for the nth time tonight. And his smile gets cockier, somehow. And he sticks his tongue out. And he fucking winks at Billy.

“Don’t worry, bud, you’ll get him next time,” Billy hears Tommy saying as he pats him on the back.

“Whatever,” Billy replies quickly. Feeling the sudden urge to get the hell out of there, Billy shakes Tommy’s hand off him before walking right through the house, weaving through the few people who chose to remain inside, until he’s standing on the front porch.

No one else is there, thankfully. Billy finds and sits on a swing at the end of the porch, rocking it with a leg on the ground. He breathes in and out, heavy, just once, before he pulls out a cigarette from his pocket and lights it. The noise from the backyard is fading, the crowd beginning to disperse back throughout the house once they’ve had their fill of entertainment.

Billy isn’t pissed about loosing a keg race. If anything, he’s impressed that someone here in the middle of bumfuck nowhere can not only match up to him, but beat him.

No, what he’s pissed about, is stupid fucking Pretty Boy Pink showing up out of nowhere in his stupid fucking eyeliner and his stupid fucking jacket with his stupid fucking rock band patches, acting like he’s the fucking shit, like he’s cock of the goddamn walk.

What he’s even more pissed about, is this unexplainable pull that he feels toward Pink.

Billy tried to ignore it, tried not to acknowledge it when those dark eyes seemed to pierce him and catch on him like a fish hook, reeled him in before tossing him back out to sea. He tried not to acknowledge it when Pink stepped close to him with a fire burning hot, a fire nearly merging with Billy’s own before it flickered when Billy moved even closer.

And when Pink looked up at him from across the kegs, when he stuck his tongue out and winked at him with an arrogance that could mirror Billy’s own, that pull grew stronger.

It’s goddamn exasperating, the way that this guy that Billy just met is able to make him feel so intensely. It’s new and it’s terrible and Billy would much rather go back to being numb.

Billy shuts his eyes and forces himself to relax against the bench. He rocks the swing using just a leg, listening to the sounds surrounding him instead of his own thoughts. The music from inside the house is blaring loudly. It's surprising that none of the neighbors have called a noise complaint yet. There's some laughing and loud talking mixing together to form a sort of white noise. It's oddly soothing. Then, over the background noise of the party raging on, Billy hears the sound of the front door opening and shutting, then footsteps on creaky wood heading right towards him. When Billy opens his eyes with a frown, he sees that cocky little bastard standing right in front of him with his hands in his pockets.

“Can I fucking help you?” Billy snaps.

"Maybe. Doubt it." Pink says, taking a few steps closer. He keeps his eyes on Billy’s, and Billy wonders briefly if Pink has some sort of thing for heavy eye contact, if he smears eyeliner around his eyes to draw attention to them. Then he lifts his leg, places his boot on the bench right next to Billy’s thigh, making the bench sway back slightly. Billy looks down pointedly at the boot before looking back up at Pink with a raised eyebrow.

Pink doesn’t give any explanation as he leans forward and bends down. Billy starts to feel that pull again. Then Pink reaches into the cuff of his jeans and pulls out a cigarette, places it in between his strawberry pink lips.

And then he’s leaning forward again. Getting closer to Billy’s face with every inch. Billy can only watch in anticipation, but for what, he’s not sure. When Pink stops, he’s close enough for Billy to notice that his eyes are a lighter brown than what they appear to be from afar.

Pink steadies his cigarette, touches the tip of it to the cherry of the lit cigarette between Billy’s own lips. Holds it there. Holds his gaze. Billy feels his breath catch in his throat.

After lighting his smoke, Pink pulls back just enough to blow smoke into Billy’s face. “Gotta admit, you were pretty good back there, California. You almost gave me a run for my money.” He chuckles, unsweet. “Hope I didn’t hurt your pride.”

There’s a lot of things here that Billy could do right now. Billy could land a left hook right on Pink’s jaw. He could push him away, he could threaten him and call him a million vile things. But Billy knows the game Pink is playing. He knows it very well. And he refuses to let the bastard think he’s got the upper hand.

So Billy grabs the foot still perched next to his thigh by the ankle and squeezes it tight, quickly yanking Pink forward by the leg. That smug face he wears falls almost immediately, replaced by a wide eyed panic as he fumbles to brace himself against the back of the bench.

“Don’t worry about my pride, Doll,” Billy whispers dangerously into Pink’s ear, “It’s doing just fine.”

Billy feels Pink shudder, and he so desperately wishes to see the expression on his face. Pink makes a fairly quick recovery, however, and straightens himself out before Billy can taunt him. What he does next, though, is something Billy never would’ve imagined.

He places his foot right in between Billy’s thighs, moves it up so that the toe of his boot is putting just the slightest bit of pressure on his crotch. Oddly, it feels great, and Billy has to suppress a groan at the contact, has to will his dick to not react, only just barely succeeding. It gets increasingly harder to control, however, when Pink leans forward, putting more weight on his foot. Billy gasps and tries to move back to relieve some of the pressure, but he's too far back against the bench to move any further.

Pinks eyes flick down to where his boot is practically torturing Billy. There's a flash of a smile, a bite of his bottom lip as he presses the toe of his boot down, eliciting a grunt from Billy's throat. “I bet,” he breathes, matching the tone Billy had previously.

A chill runs straight down Billy's spine, shooting through his arms and legs until every part of him is tingling with a sensation he can't say he's felt before.

"Maybe next time you'll bring some of that fire Tommy was telling me about." That boot nudges up even further against Billy's crotch. Before, it could've been taken as a threat, meant to intimidate Billy from climbing the Hawkins High food chain any higher. But now.

Now Billy sees it for what it really is.

Billy tries to keep his voice even, but it comes out breathy, even to his own ears, as he says, "You're awful brave for a small town boy, you know that?"

Pink ducks his head, his hair falling forward as he chuckles to himself. A joke that only he understands, it seems. "You have no idea, Big Guy."

"Really?" Billy is starting to feel a little ballsy himself. Despite this, and much to his own chagrin, he's still tentative when he lifts a hand and wraps his fingers once again around Pink's ankle. He simply holds it there, not pulling or pushing. "Almost makes me wanna see just how brave you really are.

Pink grins around his cigarette, but before he can say anything else, a flash of red and blue lights come down the street, stopping just in front of the house. Someone inside yells "Five-O!"

"Shit." Pink takes his boot off Billy's crotch, the latter nearly hissing at the loss of contact. "Time to get the hell outta Dodge." He tosses his cigarette before hastily climbing over the bench to jump off the side of the porch. His manner is very ungraceful and clumsy, and he nearly trips several times trying to get over the bench as it sways with his movement, despite Billy trying to steady it for him. When he lands on the other side of the porch about three feet down, he stumbles and falls, looking like a newborn deer trying to learn to walk. Pink gets up fast, though, dusts himself off and runs a hand through his out of place hair. He turns around, gives Billy a two finger solute. "Catch ya later, California!" And he's taking off, crossing a lawn and turning around the nearby street corner.

Billy doesn't stick around for much longer after, making his own exit by jumping over the side of the porch as well, though he's much more solid on his feet than Pink.

He's just half the distance to the Camaro parked across the street when someone calls behind him, "Hey, kid!" Billy turns carefully, seeing a tall fat man with a mustache next to a police cruiser.

Even though he hasn't done anything wrong, Billy feels the strong urge to take off. He can't get in trouble with the police. There's no telling what his dad would do if he has to come pick Billy up from the police department.

"You're new in town, right? Family just moved here?" The cop asks from across the street.

"Yes, sir."

"Stay outta trouble," the cop says before turning to walk up the porch steps and knock on the front door.

There's a loud revving down the street, even louder than his own car. A motorcycle comes speeding around the corner and down the street, the rider waving at Billy as they pass him. Despite the helmet obscuring their face, Billy has no question as to who it is.

And as he watches him ride further down the road, that Heart patch across his shoulders getting smaller and smaller in the distance, Billy thinks to himself, it's too late.

He's already in so much trouble.