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So funny story, this was not supposed to be in Steve’s POV at all. And was only supposed to be like 2000 words tops. But when I sat down to tackle the prompt that the wonderful pantlesshero sent me, it just happened this way. So, yeah. Enjoy!

 


 

I feel so unsure as I take your hand and lead you to the dance floor…

 

“Come on, Nance. Sit down.”

 

“What is this?” she asked, her face pinched as the crooning continued softly in the background.

 

Steve’s grin widened at Nancy’s tone, tilting his head back to lay against his couch as she shifted closer to him, winding her arm across to rest on his abdomen, her head falling to his shoulder.

 

“It’s the new George Michael song. You don’t like it?”

 

He reached out to touch the little wrinkle that had formed between her eyebrows, his grin softening as she rolled her eyes at him.

 

It had been seven months since…well, everything. Faceless monsters and alternate universes, kids coming back from the dead and others staying that way. It had been seven months since he and Nancy started going steady and he told Tommy H and Carol what he really thought of them. It had been seven months since he bought Jonathan Byers a new camera and everything…changed.

 

He had gotten it the same day he wiped those red letters off the movie theatre. He had been walking by Earl’s Electronics and there it was, right in the window. He stood on the sidewalk, staring at it for a solid minute before his feet unglued themselves and carried him into the store. He finally gave it to Nancy four days before Christmas Eve. That was what really started all…this.

 

~*~

“Why don’t you just give it to him?” she had asked, head tilted, hands on her hips.

 

“Come on, Nance, you know he won’t take it from me.”

 

She did know that. So did he. So she wrapped it up all nice and placed it under the mini tree in her bedroom where it sat until she skipped down the stairs and handed it to Jonathan when he came to pick up Will. Steve had listened silently from his spot on the Wheeler’s couch ignoring Mr Wheeler’s snores and heart hammering in his chest. He couldn’t fathom why he felt so…damn it, not nervous but…Nancy would know the exact word, but no way in hell he was gonna ask her.

 

Jonathan hadn’t opened it then and there and for that, Steve was relieved but also a little...disappointed? Was that disappointment? No. Maybe. He had no idea. As he heard Nancy’s footsteps approach, he schooled his face into something more neutral.

 

When she sat down, he wrapped an arm around her shoulder and smiled, “did you give it to him?”

 

“Yeah…”

 

As she turned away, he hid a small smile in her hair and forced himself to look back at the TV, a pool of warmth rising from his stomach and spreading across his chest, it a nice balm to the weird maybe disappointment that had settled under his skin.

 

Jonathan would like the camera.

 

That was what mattered.

 

~*~

 

Steve pulled his jacket closer to him as the cold January air wafted through the doors of Hawkins High School. It was ass o’clock, far too early for any self-respecting teenager to be vertical and yet here he was, opening his locker and wishing he stopped for coffee before getting this shit-show on the road.

 

“Just take those old records off the shelf,” he sang quietly to himself as he took out his books and shoved them into his bag, “I’ll sit and listen to them by myself. Today’s music ain’t got the same soul, I like that old time—”

 

“I don’t see it.”

 

“Holy shit!” Steve jumped, whirling around in alarm at the sudden voice from behind him.

 

Jonathan Byers, if he had have been the type, would have smirked a little at Steve’s deer-in-headlights impression, he was sure. But seen as he wasn’t, he just stood there in the middle of the hallway and stared, hands in his pockets.

 

“Jesus Christ, Byers. Wear a damn bell or somethin’,” Steve grumbled, his cheeks a little flushed as his heart-beat began to slow.

 

“Sorry,” Jonathan murmured, not sounding sorry at all.

 

The two stared at each other for a moment, before Steve had to break eye contact, clearing his throat loudly, “you don’t see what?”

 

Jonathan continued to stare at him, his dark eyes pensive as they raked over his face.

 

Steve forced himself to stand still and not fidget.

 

He would not fidget, dammit.

 

“I heard Carol say once that you look like that guy from Risky Business…” he began before shrugging, “I don’t see it.”

 

A spike of annoyance flowed through Steve’s veins.

 

“Okay, thanks for the observation, Byers,” he deadpanned, turning back to his locker.

 

It only took a moment or two for him to realise that the other boy was still standing behind him. Slowly he turned back around, eyebrow quirked as he asked lowly, “was there uh…did you want…”

 

He left the questions hanging, not really sure what the hell was happening.

 

It was too damn early.

 

Shifting from foot to foot, it seemed it was Byers’ turn to stare at the floor as he muttered something far too low for Steve to hear.

 

Leaning forward slightly, brow furrowed, he asked, “what?”

 

A look of irritation flashed in the other boy’s face for a split second before he ground out, his voice still barely above a whisper, “I just wanted to say thanks…”

 

Neither had to clarify what for.

 

Steve briefly entertained the idea of denying he had any part in the shiny, new camera hanging around Byers’ neck but something stopped him. He merely nodded, shoving his hands in his pockets, unconsciously mirroring the other boy, fighting the urge to hunch his shoulders. Another silence befell them before Jonathan decided that he had done what he came to do and turned on his heel, making his way down the hallway, back to the dark room.

 

“Hey Byers!”

 

The words left his mouth before Steve knew what was happening.

 

Jonathan turned on the spot, head tilted.

 

“Uh…”

 

What the hell are you doing, Harrington?

 

“Take any good pictures lately?

 

A frown marred Byers’ face, no doubt wondering what the hell Steve’s angle was.

 

Steve was wondering that himself.

 

His feet moved several steps forward on their own accord (they had been doing that a lot lately), his mouth failing to stop words from tumbling from his lips, “Nance she…she says you’re a good photographer. Great, even.”

 

Seriously, dude. What the fuck are you doing?

 

Jonathan was clearly asking himself that too if his expression was any indication. Sure, they had killed a giant, faceless monster together. But monster-murdering did not small-talk experts make.

 

“She told you that?” Byers asked eventually in that annoyingly quiet way of his and Steve definitely didn’t imagine the flicker of hope in his gaze.

 

He fought the urge to roll his eyes.

 

“Yeah, she did. And you know Nance, she doesn’t impress easily,” he shrugged, looking around the empty hallway before forcing himself to meet his gaze, “can I see some?”

 

Thinking back, he had no idea what compelled him to ask that. It was just something about that camera, the one that he had bought, the one currently still hanging around Byers’ neck, silently taunting him. He couldn’t help but be curious about what it may have captured, what moment it forever froze in a world of eternal black and white.

 

He couldn’t stop his mind from casting back to the photographs he had already seen, the ones of the party, the ones he had torn up right before he smashed—and there was the fresh bout of guilt, injecting itself directly into his chest, right on time.

 

Meanwhile, Jonathan thankfully seemed too busy internally battling with himself to notice his turmoil. After a beat or two, the photographer shrugged, jerking his head. Without waiting to see if Steve was following him, he turned and continued his trek down the hallway.

 

Steve absolutely did not nearly trip over his own feet in his haste to catch up.

 

The thing about dark rooms was that they were, as the name implies, dark as hell. Well, Steve couldn’t comment on how dark hell was, but it was definitely darker than most things. Coal, night, faceless monsters that want to eat you alive…

 

He barely suppressed a shudder at that particular memory. Not wanting Byers to pick up on discomfort, Steve forced himself further into the room that was draped in an eerie red glow, his shoulder brushing slightly against the shorter boy’s in the small space. Clearing his throat, he jerked his head towards the pieces of papers dangling from a line.

 

“That them?”

 

No. They’re nuclear launch codes. What the hell do you think they are, Harrington?!

 

Jonathan merely nodded, taking a step closer to them.

 

“They’re almost done,” he murmured over his shoulder.

 

Steve shuffled forward, stopping at Jonathan’s side and watched as pictures started to appear on the previously blank pieces of paper.

 

“Whoa,” he mumbled.

 

It was Hawkins. But not like he had ever seen it.

 

The woods, the Mom and Pop shop near his uncle’s house, the quarry, the football field…each were captured in such a way that they shone, appearing to lift off the page almost as if they were some sort of hologram like in Star Wars. They were…beautiful. He knew that they were actually mundane, were places he had seen a dozen times over and yet, the way Byers had captured them they felt…something else. Something unknown. Something he was witnessing for the first time, at this very moment. Steve knew he was gaping, entranced, eyes travelling from one photo to the next, feeling as if he was stepping into each one like in that dumb movie about the British nanny…

 

His gaze screeched to a halt on the last picture, eyebrows shooting up his forehead.

 

It was of a boy, standing at his locker, head bent as he packed his bag full of books. It had been taken at a distance, his mop of dark hair a mere smudge in the top centre of the page, the figure hardly more than a silhouette really, but it was enough.

 

“I thought you were done with stalking, Byers.”

 

Their new-found acquaintance was tenuous at best, a fragile, shakeable thread weaved between them by their mutual admiration of Nancy Wheeler. Over the last month and a half, ever since everything went to hell and came crawling back, they had found themselves in the same place more often than not. But they nearly always had Nancy as a buffer.

 

Steve wasn’t stupid. He saw the way Byers looked at her. How he drank her in each and every moment they were all together. He tapered down his spike of irritation, the nudging jealousy that simmered beneath the surface of his skin, though. Because Byers…he was all right. He may have had a gigantic crush on his girlfriend, but he was all right. And his friendship was important to Nancy, so that made it important to Steve.

 

But the two guys, they were acquaintances, not friends.

 

Steve and Jonathan both knew that.

 

And it was never more apparent than right now, in this moment, as Jonathan startled, no doubt realising what he had let slip in allowing the taller boy to see that picture, scrambling forward and yanking it off the line in an effort to shield it from view. But Steve Harrington had quick reflexes, something he thanked god for as he snatched it out of Byers’ hands and held it up close to his face, eyes squinting as he fought to see himself clearly in the dark room.

 

“Huh.”

 

Time stood still as Jonathan waited for him to continue, all that could be heard being his ragged breath bouncing between them.

 

“Guess Nancy was right.”

 

A gust of breath rose the hairs on the side of Steve’s neck.

 

Slowly, he lowered the picture from his face and was met with the dark orbs of Jonathan Byers boring a hole into the centre of his forehead.

 

“Geez Byers, take a picture, it’ll last longer.”

 

Suddenly Steve snorted, realising what he had just said, waving the photo in the air and guffawing, “never mind, you already did.”

 

Jonathan didn’t laugh, didn’t even crack a smile as he turned back to the rest of his pictures and snatched them down off the line, hastily shoving them into his bag.

 

Steve watched him, brow furrowed as he quickly gathered his stuff and made for the door.

 

“Wait, Byers—”

 

“I gotta go,” the shorter boy cut across him.

 

“Where? Class doesn’t start for another hour.”

 

Jonathan ignored him, pushing past him and reaching out for the door handle.

 

Steve shot in front of him, palm pushing against his chest, pressing the picture into his shirt as he stared him down.

 

“Why did you take a picture of me?”

 

That was not what he intended to say. He intended to chew Byers out for being creepy and weird but those words just wouldn’t come, couldn’t come, not anymore.

 

He couldn’t say he missed that part of himself.

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

Byers looked like those weren’t the words he intended to say either.

 

“No I—” Steve scrambled for the right words, his eyes flickering from Jonathan’s gaze, down to the picture and back up, “I don’t care about that. Shit, take pictures of whatever, I don’t care. Just…why me?”

 

Jonathan’s eyebrows rose, his Adam’s apple bobbing in his throat.

 

“You…you take pictures of nature and Nancy and I get why,” Steve continued, marvelling at what the hell his mouth seemed to be saying all on its own with no input from him whatsoever, “but I’m just standing in front of my locker. Why take a picture of that? I…don’t get it.”

 

Steve Harrington was not a guy that willingly admitted to others about not getting things. Unless that other person was Nancy. He wasn’t sure what compelled him into such an admission to Jonathan Byers of all people but it was too late to take it back now.

 

He felt rather than saw Byers shrug.

 

“You were there.”

 

A frown befell his face as those words sunk in.

 

He snorted, “wow. Way to make a guy feel special, Byers. The water fountain was ‘just there.’ You take a picture of that too?”

 

Steve may have imagined it, but it almost looked like a smile was playing about Byers’ lips.

 

“I did, actually. From multiple angles.”

 

“God, I love it when you talk dirty.”

 

That was it. His mouth was no longer allowed free reign. He was hereby placing a gag order on himself.

 

Jonathan’s eyes widened a little, looking just as surprised as Steve felt.

 

Seconds ticked by in which the latter became incredibly aware that he still had his palm pressed against the former’s chest, able to feel each and every breath he took, the quick beat of his heart pulsing underneath cotton and skin. Biting his lip, Steve silently berated himself, clearing his throat for what felt the millionth time in the last twenty minutes and taking a step back, picture still held firmly in his grasp.

 

“Like I said, Nance was right. You’re a good photographer, Byers.”

 

Jonathan didn’t seem to have a response to that so Steve took that as his cue, turning on his heel and opening the door, holding up the picture and calling over his shoulder, “I’m keeping this, by the way. My good hair days deserve to be documented.”

 

Byers snorted, locking up and following him for a few steps before turning right as Steve made his way left.

 

“You’re the kinda asshole that has scrapbooks full of pictures of himself, aren’t you?”

 

Steve turned, walking backwards as he tilted his head at him, “Mom’s gotta have something to cry over when I’m gone off to college.”

 

The photographer shook his head, carob eyes rolling to the ceiling, “whatever, Joel Goodson.”

 

“So you admit it,” Steve pointed an accusatory finger in the air, “I do look like Tom Cruise.”

 

The two students regarded one another as they stood twenty feet apart.

 

“Trust me Harrington,” Byers replied in that irritatingly low tone, an indecipherable expression on his face, “you don’t wanna know what I think.”

 

With that, he turned on his heel.

 

He barely made it ten steps when Steve’s unrelenting mouth began running again:

 

“Me and Nance are going to an early showing of Footloose tomorrow night. She wanted me to ask you if you wanna come.”

 

Nancy had done no such thing.

 

Jonathan didn’t need to know that.

 

Not that he didn’t love spending time with Nancy, because he did, but even he had to admit that being forced into seeing some chick flick when he already had practically no male interaction since his and Tommy’s friendship blew up was just a step too far from the level of masculinity Steve Harrington had become accustomed to. At least with Byers tagging along he got to keep his girlfriend happy and maybe find something more of the male persuasion to talk about.

 

Right. That made sense. That had to be why he suddenly asked Byers to join him and his girlfriend on what was supposed to be their date night.

 

Who knew, it could even be…fun?

 

What was that people always say?

 

~*~

 

“You asked him to the movies with us?”

 

Steve grimaced, never more glad that his girlfriend couldn’t see his face over the phone.

 

“I—weren’t you just saying last week that you wanted to spend more time with Byers after Christmas?”

 

“Well, yeah…” Nancy’s voice trickled down the phone as Steve stood in front of his bedroom mirror and fixed his shirt, “I just, I guess I’m surprised, that’s all.”

 

Yeah, that made two of them.

 

“Well, I know his friendship is important to you, babe. And he—he doesn’t have a lot of friends and after everything with—” he stopped himself in his tracks before Barb’s name could fall from his lips, “after everything I just thought that…” he trailed off, running a hand down his face as he realised not for the first time since yesterday morning that he had no idea what he had been thinking.

 

Nancy seemed to have some sort of an idea thankfully as she piped up, “it’s sweet, Steve, really. Thank you. You’re right, Jonathan’s friendship does mean a lot to me and I’m…I’m sure that you guys could…if you just gave each other a shot you could…I don’t know. You both actually have a lot in common.”

 

Steve sincerely doubted that.

 

“Yeah, Byers is…he’s all right,” he forced himself to reply, after all, you couldn’t really hold a grudge with the guy that set the giant faceless monster that still haunts your dreams on fire, “and you were right about the pictures. They’re good.”

 

He could practically hear her smile.

 

“I’ll see you at seven.”

 

~*~

 

“Kick up your sundance shoes,” Nancy sang, bopping her head as they filed out of the movie theatre several hours later.

 

“I think it was ‘kick off the Sunday shoes’,” Jonathan deadpanned as he followed along behind them.

 

Steve snickered.

 

A hand smacked his shoulder, “shut up, Harrington.”

 

“Sorry, sorry,” he broke away from her, holding up his hands in surrender, catching Jonathan’s eye before finishing, “my bad, Sundance.”

 

Byers chuckled softly before tilting his head at her, his gaze passing between the couple, a thoughtful look on his face, “you meeting Butch here later, or…?”

 

A laugh bubbled up Steve’s throat, surprising him.

 

Nancy glared at him, then Jonathan and back again before muttering, “you know, I think I liked it better when you two were punching each other.”

 

Silence met her words.

 

Slowly, her eyebrow raised, a mischievous glint in her gaze as she asked in a faux-innocent tone, “what? Too soon?”

 

The two boys gaped at her before exchanging a glance and silently walking faster, towards the diner they had all decided on going to after the movie.

 

“Wait, guys! Oh come on, I was just kidding! Wait up!”

 

Steve and Jonathan caught each other’s eye again, barely suppressing smug grins as Nancy ran to catch up with them.

 

Surprisingly, Steve turned out to be right.

 

Tonight was…fun.

 

~*~

 

“Jonathan, these are amazing!”

 

The trio sat in a booth at Dina’s Diner, eating fries and sipping milkshakes, Nancy pouring over Jonathan’s latest batch of pictures, an awe-struck expression crossing her beautiful face. Steve found himself alternating between staring at her, the pictures and the blush that had been steadily rising up Byers’ neck for the last twenty minutes.

 

Shaking his head, he forced his eyes to lower, turning the closest picture over and scanning the back.

 

“1984,” he murmured as he caught the handwritten date that Byers had scrawled in the corner, “guess Orwell was wrong, huh?”

 

He could feel two sets of heavy stares angled his way.

 

“Was he?”

 

Steve looked up and met Jonathan’s knowing glance.

 

The three of them couldn’t help but briefly reflect on everything that went down barely two months before.

 

“Guess not.”

 

With a quick glimpse at her watch, Nancy broke the tension with a quiet, “it’s getting late. I really should be going…”

 

And so, the trio gathered up their stuff, leaving a tip for the waitress and throwing on their coats as they stepped out into the night air. With an awkward jerk of his head, Jonathan started to walk back the way they came, calling out a quiet, “see you guys first period.”

 

“Jonathan!” Nancy took several steps toward him, throwing a look at her boyfriend over her shoulder before turning back to him, “it’s too far to walk. Let Steve give you a ride home.”

 

It was not a request and they all knew it.

 

Which was how Steve Harrington found himself driving to Casa Byers at 11:33pm on a Thursday night.

 

A somewhat uncomfortable silence had engulfed the two once Nancy had vacated the car with a quick hug for Jonathan and a kiss to the cheek with a whispered “behave” for Steve, that knowing glint ever-present in her cerulean irises as she waved them off. Byers had climbed into the front seat after receiving his hug and had not stopped tapping his hands on his knees along to the radio that was playing his mix-tape for the last four minutes. Steve was this close to telling him to knock it off when the opening bars of a familiar song reached his ears.

 

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality…

 

He found himself quietly singing along, never able to resist the dulcet tones of Freddie Mercury.

 

“You know Queen?”

 

He couldn’t help but hear the sheer disbelief in the other man’s tone.

 

Throwing him a brief withering glare before focusing back on the road, Steve nodded, “yeah. I mean, I know they’re not a huge deal here, they’re much bigger in Britain, a goddamn travesty if you ask me, but man, my dad went on a business trip there a few years back and brought home A Night at the Opera and I’ve kinda been obsessed with them ever since.”

 

He could feel the weight of Jonathan’s stare on the side of his face and determinedly kept his eyes on the road.

 

It seemed this night contained tonnes of surprises. For both of them. Before either could continue, Steve pulled up at the Byers residence, the outside light a soft glow in the night’s gloom. They sat there, quietly listening as Freddie, Roger, Brian and John continued their impressive harmonies.

 

“Thanks for letting me crash your date,” Jonathan said suddenly, chancing a glance at Steve out of the corner of his eye.

 

“You weren’t—”

 

“Nancy said it was your idea to invite me.”

 

Well, shit.

 

I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me…

 

Heat flooded Steve’s cheeks as he fought to think of a witty response. The other boy beat him to the punch however, “you can keep the tape. I think you need it more than I do,” he finished with a little scathing nod to his mom’s cassettes piled up on the dashboard.

 

Fuck Olivia Newton-John.

 

“Whatever, Byers. You’re the weirdo that brings his own mix-tapes to group activities.”

 

“Isn’t that just being polite? Bringing your date a gift?”

 

Steve’s eyebrows rose. He chanced a glance to his right and took a little smug pleasure in the fact that, intended sarcasm or not, Jonathan looked like he just admitted he still sucked his thumb.

 

“I’ll be sure to tell Nancy to expect a gift next time.”

 

Next time?

 

Byers, seemingly having lost the ability to speak, merely nodded, his flush from earlier making a comeback as it rose up his neck. Hastily, he threw open the car door, stepped out and slammed it behind him before he half walked/half ran towards his house with a shaky two-fingered salute thrown over his shoulder.

 

Steve stared at the space he once occupied for a full ten seconds before he shook his head.

 

Oh baby, can’t do this to be baby. Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here…

 

~*~

 

“Steve,” Nancy gasped, her breath hitching in his ear as he nibbled along her neck, his tongue leaving a hot, wet path in its wake.

 

“Y-You…” she rambled shakily, her hands pressing against his shoulders, “come on, Jonathan—” she was cut off when a low groan escaped her as he bit down on her collar bone.

 

“Huh, last time I checked, my name was Steve, not Jonathan,” he teased, his lips brushing against her throat, “but nice to know where your head’s at, Nance.”

 

He could practically feel her eyes roll as she got herself under control and finished her sentence: “Jonathan will be here any minute. We should probably—”

 

He pressed a biting kiss to her lips , his chest flush against hers as they lay back on his bed.

 

Ever since that night at the movies, Jonathan had been included in more and more of their social activities. They sat together at lunch, met up after school and some weekends and as was the case with today, even did group projects. Hawkins High School’s populous were more than a little confused. The trio were damn near inseparable all of a sudden and nobody knew just what to make of it. Tommy H and Carol tried voicing their opinions once or twice, yelling insults and snarky comments as they walked down the hallway, but with three stony glares directed their way, soon quietened down. So the rest of the student body did too, moving swiftly on to whatever new 'scandal' caught their eye. It wasn’t like any of them were particularly of interest (especially once Steve stormed out of Tommy’s orbit), anyway. The weirdo, the nerd and the has-been.

 

Steve had to admit, the last month and a half had been fun. Turned out he and Byers did have a lot in common as Nancy had promised. Both had snarky senses of humour that bordered on lame (in Nancy’s opinion) and both had an avid interest in music. And, Steve had to concede, it was nice to have a guy around again, even better when this one wasn’t as much of a asshole as Tommy H had been. Not that he would ever admit that out loud.

 

With a frown, he realised that he was spending far too much time dwelling on Jonathan Byers when he currently had his very beautiful and smart girlfriend beneath him, something which did not go unnoticed as Nancy’s hand reached up and cupped his cheek, her cerulean eyes wide in question, her pupils dilated.

 

“Hey, where’d you go?”

 

He shook his head gently, offering her a small smile before recapturing her lips, his hands sliding up from her hips to brush against the side of her breasts. Nancy arched her back at his ministrations, a guttural groan rising from her as her breath became shallow, her eyes falling closed as her arms wound around him and grabbed fistfuls of his t-shirt, pulling it up and off his body. Steve bit his lip as she dragged her nails down his back, the scratching sting summoning goose bumps across his skin. A shudder wracked his body as his pants tightened—

 

“Shit, sorry.”

 

There was only one other time where he moved that damn fast. Those three syllables barely left Jonathan Byers’ mouth before Steve had bolted up off his bed, turned on the spot and backed himself up against the wall, chest heaving as he fought to control his ragged breathing.

 

“Jesus, Byers! What did I say about wearing a bell?!”

 

The photographer stood in the middle of his room, dark orbs flickering from Nancy who was busy fixing her blouse and smoothing down her hair, to Steve who was painfully aware he was very shirtless and very hard.

 

“I-I’ll just…” Jonathan trailed off, cheeks a deep crimson, eyes glued to the floor as he jerked a thumb over his shoulder and turned on his heel, practically sprinting out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

 

A full five seconds passed before Nancy heaved a sigh.

 

“Dammit, Steve.”

 

~*~

 

They still got an A on their project.

 

That was mostly down to Nancy and Jonathan, though. After their little…interruption, the latter had been more distant than usual (which was saying something) and things were, awkward, to say the least.

 

Something sharp and uncomfortable had settled in Steve’s gut as he tried to ignore the tension in the room, instead playing perfect host and plying his guests with refreshments and trying to pull his weight in the research-department. It was here he fell short. Every time he looked up from his book, he found himself transfixed with his two companions and how well they worked together. In everything they did, they worked in perfect harmony, practically finishing each other’s sentences.

 

“Jonathan, that’s perfect!” Nancy exclaimed, her eyes alight with an excitement that Steve couldn’t ever remember seeing before as she smacked him playfully on the shoulder.

 

Byers smiled gently, head bowed, clearly pleased with her praise.

 

Something stirred in Steve’s chest at the very sight so he focussed his attention back on Nancy only to see the same pleased grin on her face as she pulled books closer to her, a fiery determination in her movements, complemented and fuelled by Byers’ soft input.

 

What was weird though was that what spiked in Steve’s veins didn’t feel like jealousy. Once upon a time he had felt that, back when he looked through Nancy’s bedroom window and saw Jonathan sitting with her on her bed, jealousy mixed with a fuck-ton of pain had flared in his chest but…not now. He wasn’t sure what he felt now and that frustrated the hell out of him.

 

He was still trying to decipher what the hell was going on with him several hours after both his study buddies had gone home, leaving him to his thoughts in his large, empty house. His parents were on another business trip aboard and in lieu of a party, Nancy had suggested they all get a head-start on their project. Steve couldn’t help but agree, looking forward to spending time with his girlfriend and Byers alone.

 

How times had changed.

 

How he changed.

 

Bored with TV, he decided to go to bed early, the strange sensation, something akin to an itch he couldn’t quite scratch still simmering underneath his skin. With a sigh, he threw himself onto his bed and stared up at the ceiling. He could smell the faint scent of whatever flowery perfume Nancy had worn that day lingering on his pillow and smiled gently, casting his mind back to their fooling around session earlier.

 

Images flooded his brain as Steve let his eyes fall shut.

 

It was if he was having an outer body experience. In one way, he could practically feel the ghost of Nancy’s nails clawing up his back, but in another, he imagined he was standing at the foot of his bed, staring at another version of himself draped over her. He bit his lip, his hand drifting to the waistband of his sweatpants as he remembered how it felt sucking on her neck, hearing the little hitch in her breath. He palmed himself through his boxers as he focused on how her petite hands looked spread across the other him, how good the two of them looked together as they moved as one, how she gripped his shoulders tight and pushed her heaving chest up into his.

 

He watched, spellbound as her slender fingers traced his shoulder blades, sliding up to his neck and burying themselves in his long, brown tresses—

 

Wait, what?

 

Steve frowned as he watched Nancy continue to touch some other very willing guy that had somehow replaced him. He scrambled around the side of the bed, staring at the expanse of exposed skin and lean muscles, shoulders, pecs and abs of a gasping, horny teenager that was definitely not him.

 

“Jonathan…”

 

He gaped as Nancy’s groan reached his ears, gaze glued to the two half-naked bodies as they explored each other.

 

There was that feeling again, lurking in the depths of his chest, fluttering up from his stomach.

 

Not jealousy, but something…else.

 

Absentmindedly, through the fog shrouding his brain, somewhere on outside where he lay alone on his bed, he was partially aware that he was still firmly cupping himself but didn’t have it in him to take his hand away. He stood stock-still in his mind, mesmerized, hearing those familiar breathy moans, the tiny gasps and the stuttered words as Jonathan reached around and unclasped Nancy’s bra, baring her pert, creamy breasts and peppering them with kisses.

 

Steve held his breath as she arched off the bed, moaning loudly as a tongue swirled her nipple, lapping and sucking it into an eager mouth. His throat went dry at the sight, his cock twitching beneath his palm. Slowly, almost as if it was on autopilot, his fingers trailed back up to the waistband of his boxers and slipped inside, all the way down so he could grip himself, skin on skin.

 

Slowly, he dragged his dry palm over the head, barely supressing a shudder as he squeezed his eyes ever tighter, trying to hold on to the image in his head. Nancy looked…enchanting, the moonlight reflecting off her ivory skin much like it had their first night together. And Jonathan…no matter how hard he tried, Steve could not unglue his eyes from him, this fantasy version of him with his shining carob orbs and floppy hair that had fallen into those eyes as his large hands brushed over every inch of Nancy’s flushed chest.

 

Fantasy-Steve’s fingers twitched as he was suddenly overcome by the ridiculous urge to brush those tresses off the other boy’s forehead, to rake his hands through to feel if it was as soft as it looked. Real-Steve’s hands were much busier, one clutching desperately at his bedsheet as the other pumped his cock faster and faster, his heart hammering in his ears as Fantasy-Nancy looked between the two boys, a gleam in her eyes as she reached forward, grabbing a fistful of Fantasy-Steve’s shirt and tugging him down onto the bed.

 

Steve shuddered at the picture the three of them made, his thigh pressed up against Jonathan’s as they both sat in front of Nancy, crammed close together on Steve’s bed, each wrapped up in each other’s breath, scent, heat…

 

He gasped as lips brushed against his neck. Lips that were definitely not Nancy’s.

 

His eyes burst open, alarmed at his mind’s wanderings, his hand stilling its ministrations.

 

What the fuck was that?

 

Chest heaving, he stared wide-eyed up at his dark ceiling, fighting to control his rapid breathing and desperately trying to ignore his achingly hard cock as it pulsed beneath his hand.

 

He did not just fantasise about Jonathan Byers kissing his neck.

 

Sure, he got turned on at the sight of Nancy (who wouldn’t?), and yeah, it was weird when Fantasy-Steve suddenly morphed into Jonathan, but that—that didn’t mean…

 

What the hell did that mean?

 

Frowning, he shook his head to clear it of the vestiges of whatever lapse of sanity he was clearly having and tried to get back into the mood, letting his eyes fall closed once more and imaging Nancy and him (only him!) back on his bed.

 

He smirked as the vision easily came to him, the familiarity of it comforting. He had knocked one out to this so many times he had lost count and having the real thing, actual memories to back up the fantasy, well that…that just made it sweeter when it was just him and his hand. Whatever…weirdness from before had well and truly gone and he soon got the release he had been chasing before hastily cleaning up, rolling over onto his side and letting sleep claim him.

 

It was when he woke up several hours later sweating, gasping for breath, painfully hard with the memory of him and Jonathan taking turns making out with Nancy before turning to each other and going to town that he really started to freak the fuck out.

 

~*~

 

“Why don’t you ask Jonathan?”

 

Steve blinked, convinced he heard his girlfriend wrong.

 

“You want me to ask Jonathan Byers to go gift-shopping for my cousin with me?”

 

Jesus, it sounded even more ridiculous out loud.

 

Nancy let out a long-suffering sigh, “you guys need to hang out more—without me,” she jumped in before he could counter that they hung out plenty, “come on, you said it yourself that I was right and you guys have stuff in common. He made you laugh the other day, I heard it with my own ears.”

 

She was starting to let that smug tone seep into her voice that he hated but he also kinda loved.

 

“And besides,” oh yeah, she was going in for the kill, “Jonathan has a little brother. You don’t. He is definitely more qualified to pick out a gift for a Bar Mitzvah.”

 

You have a little brother,” he reminded her dryly and could practically feel her rolling her eyes.

 

“Yeah, but I was never a twelve year old boy. Jonathan was, you were. So go pick out something for Jason. And try not kill each other.”

 

And that was that.

 

Steve knocked on the Byers’ door and forced himself not to shuffle back and forth. Biting his lip, he ran a hand through his hair just as the door opened, revealing Will, staring up wide-eyed at him.

 

“Uh…hey, Will. Is Jonathan there?”

 

God, he felt like a kid.

 

“Hi Steve,” he nodded before turning around and calling over his shoulder, “Jonathan! Steve is here!”

 

“Do you wanna come in?” the younger boy asked, gesturing behind him.

 

Whiskey eyes lingered around the living room and barely managed to supress a shudder at the memories that assaulted him.

 

“Uh—”

 

“Steve, hey…what’s up?”

 

Dragging his gaze away from the wall that once had the alphabet scrawled across it in giant black letters, Steve felt relief as Jonathan came into view, looking slightly puzzled, walking towards him and halting just behind his brother, hand resting on the door.

 

Words failed him as he stared back and forth between the Byers siblings. Why had Nancy thought this was a good idea again?

 

“Uh…” he cleared his throat, rubbing the back of his neck, “I was just wondering if you were uh…my cousin is, well, he’s…it’s his Bar Mitzvah and I gotta get him a gift and Nancy mentioned that you’re good at that kinda stuff so uh…”

 

He may have imagined it, but he was fairly certain in that moment that a smile was forming around Jonathan’s lips, reaching all the way up to his eyes, they alight with amusement with his obvious awkwardness. 

 

“You want help picking out a gift for your cousin?” he asked, apparently taking pity on the taller boy.

 

Steve nodded vigorously, wanting nothing more than just to turn on his heel and high-tail it out of there but he stood his ground, aware that Byers’ kid brother was watching his every move too.

 

Jonathan shrugged, “all right. We gotta drop Will off at Lucas’s first, though.”

 

Five minutes later they were all piled into Steve’s car and on their way to the Sinclair’s house. Will sat in the back, content to just stare quietly out the window as his brother sat up front, tapping restlessly on his knees.

 

I've seen you in the mirror when the story began , and I fell in love with you, I love your mortal sin. Your brains are locked away but I love your company—

 

Steve didn’t miss the frown of confusion cross the young boy’s face when he looked in the rear view mirror.

 

“Is this your tape, Jonathan?”

 

The two teens froze as they stopped at a red light, Johnny Rotten’s vocals bleeding through the speakers.

 

“Uh, yeah, it is.”

 

Steve found his whitening knuckles very interesting as he wrapped his hands tighter around the steering wheel, heart jack-hammering in his chest.

 

“Huh.”

 

It seemed that was all Will had to say on the matter.

 

The Byers boys exited the car three minutes later just as the next song was about to start.

 

You spurn my natural emotions , you make me feel I'm dirt and I'm hurt. And if I start a commotion, I run the risk of losing you and that's worse…

 

Steve took that moment to unclench his hands and take in a breath, not realising that he had been practically holding it since he started driving. He could see Jonathan and Will approaching the Sinclair’s front door and mere seconds later, another kid answering it, holding it open for his friend to pass.

 

The older Byers exchanged a few words with him before shoving his hands in his pockets and turning on his heel, shuffling back up the driveway. Steve quickly averted his eyes but not before he could miss the bewildered look Lucas shot his way before closing the door. He forced his gaze forward as Jonathan climbed into the car and pulled on his seat belt.

 

Ever fallen in love with someone, ever fallen in love, in love with someone, ever fallen in love, in love with someone you shouldn't have fallen in love with?

 

Steve swallowed deeply, clearing his throat, trying to cure it of its sudden weird dryness, watching out of the corner of his eye as Byers froze, one hand still on his seat belt.

 

“Uh…I was just gonna head to the mall outside of Hawkins?”

 

Jonathan jumped at his voice, dark eyes snapping to his before just as quickly averting back to the windshield, palms clenching his knees tightly.

 

“Yeah, okay.”

 

From then on, his hands remained glued to his knees, fingers frozen, not tapping in the slightest, not even when Bohemian Rhapsody came on.

 

Steve felt a weird ache in his chest at the absence.

 


 

So, I decided to split this into 2 parts. The last will be posted very soon.

The words will always be "kick up your sundance shoes." Fuck Google. Me and Nance are stickin' to our guns. After all, she is one hell of a shot. And you know, luckily for her, Google's not a thing yet.

Come yell at me about the perfection that is Jonathan/Nancy/Steve on Tumblr.  

Have Happened Playlist.

NEXT CHAPTER TEASER:

 

They weren’t the worst dreams in the world if he was being honest. Actually, in comparison to all the freaky shit he had been dreaming about for the last few months, the smell of burning monster flesh still lingering in his nose as he clutched his bedsheets, his eyes darting around his empty room, it was downright pleasant.

 

But he wasn’t…like that.

 

He liked girls. One in particular, very much.

 

It was probably just some belated PTSD bullshit, invading his mind in the dead of night, the trauma of what he went through mixing with his teenage libido and creating some sort of strange sexual by-product from all the adrenaline and shit.

 

Yeah, that was it.

 

That had to explain why for the fifth night in a row, he woke up panting and hard, the ghost of Jonathan Byer’s lips on the back of his neck as Nancy wrapped her legs around him at the forefront of his racing mind.