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Maybe guys just aren’t loud.

Maybe they’re not supposed to be. Looking back on it, during those few blissful months in between disasters, when it just made sense to pretend everything was normal - Nancy had been the loud one. Compared to him, anyway.

He’d never heard anything like it, not in real life. The high, breathy moans, the scratchy whines that would pour from her throat like a faucet if he touched her just right, for just long enough. He could get her to make those noises. He knew how. It was thrilling. Like the reward that comes after setting up a turntable, dusting off a record, laying the needle just right - music, carrying through the room, filling him up. It was one of his favorite parts of having sex, hands down.

But that was Nancy. Billy, on the other hand - well.

He’s quiet.

Steve noticed it the very first time he got his hand down Billy’s pants in the Camaro, reaching over the center console, the air thick and tense. At the time, he’d thought maybe Billy was unsure. Maybe as nervous as Steve was. Maybe it was because they were so busy kissing. But even as Billy came, he had been absolutely silent. Steve felt his heavy exhale, felt fingers clenching tight on his shoulder, felt Billy pulse in his hand, but had heard nothing. When he let go, he cleared his throat and the sound of it thundered through the quiet space. Even the scrape of a few spare napkins against Billy’s skin seemed loud.

He tried not to think about it. Not then, or all the times after.

It’s just… he feels like he’s missing out on something. He wants to know what Billy sounds like strung out, needy. Wants to memorize the chords of Billy’s pleasure, wants to be able to summon it when Billy isn’t around, like a song stuck in his head. Alone at night, he tries to recall the timbre of Billy’s voice and let it guide his imagination, but that’s all it is - his imagination.

Was this the tradeoff, he wonders, of being with another guy? Should he feel like an idiot every time a groan or a curse or - worse - Billy’s own name accidentally spills from his mouth?

Not that he can really help it. Not with Billy’s tongue and fingertips scorching his skin.

“I wanna hear you,” he said once, after a few beers. He was on his knees, Billy pressed back into the wall, and it just kinda came out. Seemed easier to say into the soft skin of Billy’s inner thigh, where he didn’t have to meet Billy’s eyes. After he said it, he went hot all over and doubled his efforts.

Billy practically folded in two when he came, hand fisted tight in Steve’s hair, but even as come hit the back of his throat, still Steve heard nothing more than a powerful burst of breath through Billy’s nose.

It was weird, being satisfied and disappointed all at once. Like getting takeout from his absolute favorite burger joint, only to get home and realize they forgot to add the special sauce. Still tasted great, but - something was missing.

Later, as they shared a cigarette by the glow of the pool lights in Steve’s backyard, Billy had said, “I don’t make a lot of noise. When I.” He glanced at Steve, just for a second.

“It’s no big deal,” Steve said, heart sinking and pounding all at once.

“Old man’s got ears like a hawk. So, I just. Don’t,” Billy said, knee bouncing, taking an extra long drag.

Steve laid a hand on Billy’s thigh. “Honestly, it’s not a big deal.”

Billy’s leg went still, body slumping against Steve’s a bit.

That was the first and last time they talked about it. And that was fine. Except -

Steve never really stopped thinking about it. What Billy said - old man’s got ears like a hawk. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to. It was that he - didn’t think he could? Learned not to? Same way Steve learned not to raise his hand in class, or turn off the back porch light, or leave home without his bat. Like something bad would happen if he did.

The first thing Steve does after tugging Billy into his room is pop a cassette into his boombox. Just pulls one out at random and cranks the volume high. No one’ll care. No one’s home.

Billy raises an eyebrow, looks at him like he’s fuckin’ crazy. “The hell you doing?”

“Just wanted to,” Steve says with a shrug before sweeping his shirt off, popping the button on his jeans. He sits on the bed, scooting back toward the headboard. Has to raise his voice a little when speaks. “Come make out with me.”

Billy glances between him and the speakers a couple times before stepping slowly toward the bed, stripping off his own shirt in the process. If he’s bothered by the music it doesn’t show, as he climbs on top of Steve’s lap, wraps a hand around Steve’s neck and goes in for the kiss. Like always, it’s the new best kiss Steve’s ever had. He’s not sure he’ll ever not feel that way.

When Billy’s mouth trails over Steve’s jaw and down to his neck, Steve doesn’t hold back. He doesn’t even hesitate. He tips his head back and moans, hands sliding down Billy’s sides. Gasps out another when Billy starts sucking at his skin, and he feels Billy tense up, ever so slightly, under his hands.

God,” he cries out as Billy moves down farther still, biting and licking at his chest, kissing at the concave dip of Steve’s stomach. “Fuck, yeah.”

While he’s down there, Billy unzips Steve’s fly, then tugs Steve’s pants down his thighs. Steve kicks them away. The underpants go next, and then Billy’s doing what he does best - hell, he’s the one that taught Steve everything he knows. It feels fucking incredible, and Steve doesn’t try to hide it.

“You tryin’ to wake up the neighbors?” Billy says, popping off Steve’s cock and looking up at him.

“No one can hear us,” Steve says, one hand gripping the sheet, the other reaching to comb through Billy’s hair. “That feels so fucking good.”

Billy presses his lips together just for a second, then goes back to it, and for as much as all of Steve’s noise seemed to make him nervous, he only seems to get more enthusiastic the more he hears, taking Steve deeper, faster, messier.

When Steve pries his eyes open and looks down, he sees Billy’s shoulder working, sees Billy’s hand buried in his pants, and just that sight alone has Steve bursting with a fresh round of groans. “Oh my god, come here. Fuck, come here,” he says - he feels like he might be yelling, he can’t be sure - and scrabbles at Billy’s shoulders to coax him back up.

“Take those off,” he says when Billy sits up. He watches Billy rise to his knees and fumble with his fly, his mouth watering, his breaths shallow. This never gets old, he thinks absently. Somehow, it only gets better.

Then Billy’s on him again, all heat and sticky skin, hands claiming whatever they can reach, and Steve moans right into his mouth. He knows what he wants with absolute surety, knows they both love it, but he doesn’t want to stop kissing long enough to speak. So he spreads his legs wide as he can, taking Billy by the wrist and guiding his hand down. Unmistakable.

Billy just nods, tongue running deliberately over Steve’s, breaking the kiss just long enough to lean over and grab their trusty bottle from Steve’s nightstand. He squeezes some lube onto his fingers then tosses it to the side, reaching down to touch him in that perfect, practiced way that Steve never could’ve imagined he’d grow to want so much.

The moment Billy gets a second finger inside him, he can’t stop the noise he makes, desperate and deep. He turns his head to the side to take a gulp of fresh air, but then Billy’s other hand is on his face, stroking his cheek, guiding his head so that Steve’s looking at him, and the look on Billy’s face is nothing short of ravenous.

Steve’s hand flops around the bed as he fumbles for the lube. He nudges Billy off him, just enough to give him room to reach down and slick Billy up. “I’m ready, I’m ready,” he says, vaguely aware of the blare of drums and guitars still bouncing off the walls around them.

Billy slips inside with ease and lets out a breathy sigh, but it punches another moan from Steve, who arches his spine and wraps his arms around Billy, smearing lube on his back. Almost every thrust provokes a noise from him - he can hear in his own voice how wrecked he is and it only gets him harder, hotter. He loves being a player in the soundtrack of their passion, he realizes. He just wishes Billy would join in.

“You’re so loud tonight,” Billy says rather quietly, looking down at him. Not a judgement, but an observation. There’s something curious about it. Almost longing.

“Because - fuck,” Steve starts, but then his jaw falls open, his eyes squeeze shut, as Billy hits that spot that renders him beyond words. When the room stops spinning, he takes a shaky breath and goes on - “I can’t help it, god, I just feel so good, you - the way you - touch me, I - fuck, dont - don’t stop.”

But he’s the one who can’t stop. He’s always tried to reel it in with Billy, even with Nancy, but now that he’s started babbling he can’t seem to put a cork in it. In between moans he keeps erupting with praise and encouragement as though he’s a soda can that’s been opened after being shaken one too many times.

When he opens his eyes, Billy’s still staring down at him, fascinated, licking his lips. He’s breathing hard, sweat on his brow - he seems close, and it hasn’t even been that long. Usually Billy can last a while, but now? He looks overwhelmed, strung tight. Like maybe he’s just waiting for someone to come pop his lid, too, let all the pressure out.

“It’s okay, Billy,” Steve says, reaching to cup his cheek, slide his fingers into Billy’s hair. “It’s just me, don’t worry, there’s no one else around, just me.”

It feels right, instinctively, and he knows he’s onto something when Billy bites his lip, hard, turning it white. Steve can see his throat working just as plainly as the questioning look in his eyes.

“You’re okay - god - you can -”

With the hand in Billy’s hair, he coaxes his head down, shifts his own to the side to give Billy a space to tuck himself into Steve’s neck. Raises his hips to meet Billy’s thrusts - and then he hears it.

Right up against his ear, like it’s a secret just for him, Billy lets out a whine, reedy and almost broken. It comes from someplace deep - Steve could almost feel it working its way out of Billy’s chest.

That single noise sends electricity rocketing from the top of his spine to the tips of his toes. And just when he thinks it might have been a fluke, there it is again, soft but even more substantial, right into Steve’s ear.

“That’s it,” Steve says, grasping at Billy’s back, his neck, not wanting to sacrifice an inch of space between them. “It’s okay. Let it happen.”

In response, Billy lets loose a moan - a real, honest-to-god moan, and it’s everything and nothing that Steve imagined it would be. It’s Billy’s voice, but - a completely new sound.

“Yeah?” It’s not a real question, but he feels Billy nod. “Is it good?”

“So good,” Billy murmurs. “Feels amazing.”

“Yeah, fuck me,” Steve says, testing the waters. He’s never said anything like that while having sex with Billy, but it feels filthy and thrilling to say it now.

For Billy’s part - he must love it, because he presses deep into Steve’s body and lets out a throaty groan. It makes Steve’s toes curl, his heart race, the hairs on his arms stand on end.

“God, Billy, you sound - that’s gonna make me come.”

And Billy seems so delighted by the promise that he does it again, and again, moaning and gasping and whining with each drive forward.

Steve wishes he could record everything he’s hearing, keep it with him at all times like a favorite mixtape. But he can’t, so he tries to commit every sound to memory.

Music is still blasting from the speakers but it’s nothing but background noise, now. All Steve can focus on is trying to draw more sounds out of Billy. He runs his hands down Billy’s body like it’s an instrument, plucking at his ribs, fingertips resonating over his skin. Meets Billy’s moans with ones of his own - call and answer. He can’t remember ever feeling this in harmony with anyone. Ever.

Billy pauses, pulls his face back to look Steve over. There's mischief in his eyes, like he gets it now, knows exactly how much this is getting to Steve, and when he moves again, it’s with Steve hugged to his body, shoulders hunched. And he growls, feral and challenging, into Steve’s ear.

“Oh god, Billy, I’m gonna - I can’t - it’s gonna -”

“Do it, come on, come for me,” Billy says, steady and deliberate and ripped straight from his fantasies. Billy telling him to come, god, not with a tightening of his fingers or a speeding of his hips but with words, a scorching directive that Steve can’t help but follow.

His orgasm hits him so hard that this time, he’s the one that goes quiet, pleasure completely lodged in his throat. Back arching, fingers clenching tight on heated flesh, he finally manages to cough out “Billy,” not caring how desperate he sounds.

“St- Steve, Steve, fuck, Steve - “ Billy starts chanting, like he’s making up for lost chances, all the times Steve’s name was on the tip of his tongue and he swallowed it back. Then, with one last thrust he stills, tense and curved, and lets out a long, drawn-out sound of relief that sends a fresh wave of dizziness through Steve.

The music’s too loud and intrusive once they’re both spent and panting, and Steve wants it off. Doesn’t want it to drown out the echoes of Billy’s moans in his mind. Just wants to soak in the silence for a while.

Scooting away just enough so that he can reach over the side of the bed, he rifles around underneath until he finds it - an old ratty gym shoe he hasn’t worn in over a year. His muscles feel loose and weak but he still manages to chuck it all the way to his dresser - bullseye. The boombox clatters to the ground, tape flying a few feet away. The room goes suddenly silent.

“What the hell,” Billy laughs, lips pressed to Steve’s chest. His voice is tired and worn in a way that makes Steve feel like he’s glowing from the inside.

“Didn’t wanna get up,” he murmurs.

“You’re so lazy.”

Steve lets out a long, slow breath, heartbeat finally slowing. “Mm, yeah.”

The silence settles like a blanket around them. Not smothering now, but warm, comfortable. The sheets rustle as Billy scoots his way back up and falls to the side, so that he’s only half-draped over Steve. They find each others’ mouths easily, naturally.

And Billy’s making these small noises. These little huffs and contented hums that he’s never, never made before. It’s incredible. Steve gathers him up in his arms, lets one hand settle on the small of his back, the other combing lazily through his hair.

Billy kisses his way across Steve’s cheek, until his mouth is hovering just beside Steve’s ear, and whispers, so beautifully, perfectly soft, “You happy now?”

It’s teasing but it’s also - not.

Steve just nods. Turns his head enough to catch Billy’s eyes.

Billy’s already looking at him, wearing a sluggish smile. “I can’t hear you,” he drawls.

And ain’t that some shit. But - fair’s fair. Steve snorts quietly, brushes the hair off Billy’s forehead. Keeps his voice low, letting the words live only in the close, private space between them.

“Yeah, Billy. I’m happy.”

Because even if this never happens again, he has it now. The most enduring of earworms, forever playing sweetly in the back of his mind.

“Well, careful what you ask for,” Billy says, just as low. “Next time we really might wake up the neighbors.”

Steve smiles. Now he’s heard everything.