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If you're so smart then tell me why are you still so afraid?

Chapter Text

Whenever he was high his ears would start to hum. A soft sound like the ocean's crashing waves. As he lifted a blunt up to his lips he could hear the symphonies of birds, the ocean, and a child's laughter; clashing in a distant harmony.

He was young when he started but it was the late seventies, how could you blame him? He was 10 when he stole his dad's piece off the counter and enough weed to get him high. He crawled out his window and made his way up to the roof.

He watched the stars as he smoked. A feeling of bliss rushed through his veins in a way it never had before. He felt... happy? Giddy? Excited? He couldn't tell but all he knew was that it felt good. Oh so good.

His eyelids were heavy but he felt like he was floating. His head was still on the ground but his body was in a different world completely. It felt like he could fall asleep and do nothing. Like absolutely nothing mattered anymore.

The feeling of dread deep in his stomach let up and he could breathe again. The Stranger blasted through his bedroom speakers and out into the cool night. The soft tones of Vienna started to sing through the air and Billy closed his eyes.

"Slow down, you crazy child" he sang along, "You're so ambitious for a juvenile." He wasn't the best singer in the world but anyone that would have heard him could tell the pain in his voice as the lyrics stumbled from his mouth.

"But then if you're so smart, then tell me why are you still so afraid?" He caressed the fresh bruise on his cheek. Another moment of defiance that his father oh so rightly put him back into place for.

"Where's the fire, what's the hurry about You'd better cool it off before you burn it out." He wanted to grow up. To get out of his life. He'd change his name and never have to hear Hargrove again. Things would be better but that life he craved was just too far away.

"You've got so much to do and only so many hours in a day." He tried to keep himself busy. Project after project so he didn't have to go home to his father's welcoming fists. After his mother left... It just wasn't the same anymore.

The memory felt like a movie playing before him as he sat up on top of the familiar roof. The sun was setting in an extravagant show of colors. Red mixed with pink, yellow, and purple and the moon peaked through the clouds. "Billy! Billy!" Max called his name and he sighed.

He climbed down and back into his room where Max stood angrily. "Dad wants you, William," her foot tapped angrily on the floor, thudding on the soft carpet of Billy's bedroom. Billy sighed and put the blunt he still had between his fingers out on the bottom of his shoe, throwing the remaining bit into his bedside drawer.

He walked into the kitchen where his dad had been looking through mail at the table. "What the fuck is this, William?" He asked, waving his Junior report card back and forth.

"That's a report card, Neil," Billy quipped back. His father put the Report down and moved to Billy's side of the table, "Oh, you want to be smart, boy?" Billy smirked, "Well according to my report I can't be smar-" Billy was cut off as his father's fist collided with his cheek sending him crashing to the floor.

He kicked Billy in the ribs, the boy curling in on himself. "Don't you ever talk to me like that again boy, do you understand?" Billy nodded but Neil kicked him once more, "I said, Do You Understand?"

"Yes Sir," Billy croaked out as he felt his ribs protest against each breath. His father smiled, a sadistic sort of grin. "Good," he said before stepping over Billy's body and leaving.

Billy groaned and sat up, his body ached but he stood up anyway. Max came in from the living room, her backpack on her shoulders. "Dad told me to tell you to drive me down to the Arcade," she said nonchalantly.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath in. He stuck his hands in his jacket pockets and found his car keys in the left pocket. "Fine then, go get in the car," he briskly walked out of the room annoyed, his body feeling like it was screaming with each step.

"You need to stop provoking him," Max said as she closed the car door.

"And you need to fuck off," Billy said as he pulled out of the driveway.

"I'm starting to think you have a death wish."

"Maybe I do."

Billy turned the music up but Max reached over and turned the music down.

"Don't you joke like that, Billy." Her voice was stern.

"Who said I was joking? And if you touch the dial again I will crash this car."

Max glared at him defiantly, turning the music completely off. Billy's nose twitched and he hit the gas. The car sped up along with Max's heartbeat.

"Billy stop, you're gonna kill us!"

"So fucking what? I'm high as a kite baby!"

Billy laughed and swerved around from Lane to Lane as Max gripped tightly to the handle above the car door. "Billy, please!" she begged.

"What's the magic words!" He as Max let out an abrupt scream.

"I'm sorry! Please, stop!"

Billy just laughed harder. "What did you say? I couldn't hear you!" Tears streamed down Max's face.

"IM SORRY, PLEASE!" she screamed as they neared a red light. Billy slammed on the breaks, nearly running the light.

"Good girl, now don't you DARE ever disobey me again," he turned the music back on and started the car as the light turned green.

They arrived at the arcade and Max wiped her face with her sleeve. "I can't wait for the moment you kill yourself, Billy. 'Cause with the way things are going it's not going to be long." She stepped out of the car and slammed the door behind her.

Billy rolled down the window and called after her, "Be careful what you wish for, Maxine! You never know if it might happen!" She didn't turn around as Billy spoke. She just kept walking forward, disappearing into the arcade.

Billy sat for a moment, just thinking. He knew Max didn't like him, but full on wanting him to kill himself was a whole new level. Just another person that wouldn't mind if he died. Oh well.

--------------------

Steve Harrington was a weird guy. But that never stopped Billy from going over to his house to buy the alcohol he stole from his parents. With a 20 dollar bill in his wallet and a new reason to drink he knocked on the front door and the messy-haired man opened up moments later.

"Hargrove."

"Harrington"

Steve opened the door wider and let Billy in, closing it softly behind him. "I need that good shit," Billy said as he pulled out the twenty. Steve nodded and gestured for him to follow. Steve handed him a bottle of Peppermint Schnapps as they stopped at his room.

"What's the need?" he asked as he handed it over.

"Because everyone wants me dead so I might as well just kill myself slowly."

Steve didn't respond, just stayed quiet at the sentence.

"What about you pretty boy?" Billy asked.

"Nancy... Broke up with me," tears brimmed his eyes and he grabbed a lukewarm beer from under the bed, cracking it open.

Billy bit his lip, lost in thought. "Do you want something to help forget?" he asked. Steve looked up, his eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

"What do you mean?"

Billy walked forward, kneeling down in front of him. "We're not friends, Steve. But I'm alone and your single." Steve gulped as the boy looked up at him through dark eyelashes.

"I'm- I'm not gay," Steve stuttered as Billy put his hand on the inside of the other's thigh.

"So?" he said as his hand crept up Steve's leg. Steve grabbed Billy's wrist and looked him dead in the eyes.

"No one finds out about this, okay?" Steve said nervously.

"Not a soul."

Steve let go and Billy continued to move his hand up the other's leg, leaving the Schnapps on the floor. Steve gasped as Billy palmed him through his jeans. Billy leaned up and placed a gentle kiss to the other boy's lips. 'How could someone so violent taste so sweet?' Steve asked himself as Billy slid his tongue into his mouth, exploring as he continued to touch him.

"Ooh-" Steve let out a strained noise as Billy unbuttoned his pants, pulling them down his legs. Billy pushed him onto his back. "Go lie down," he said as he pulled his own pants down.

Steve moved so he was lying down onto his bed. Billy climbed ontop of him and leaned down to kiss Steve. Billy was wearing cherry red, tight, boxer briefs that clung to him in all the right places whereas Steve was wearing plain boring black boxers.

It was only kissing until Billy grinded down and Steve let out a moan from deep inside his chest. Billy lived for moments like this, where he was finally bringing someone pleasure even if it meant that they were squirming underneath him in lust and ecstasy.

But that can only last for so long. So, 30 minutes later Billy left, now with a bottle of Schnapps and another notch in his bedpost.

Chapter Text

Billy snuck back up to his room, the bottle tucked safely in his jacket. He closed the door quietly behind him, falling face-first onto his bed. Two hours. He had two hours before he had to pick Max back up from the Arcade. Two hours to get drunk and sit alone in self-hatred. 

The strong peppermint taste burned as it went down his throat. The fire seemed to quench the aching feeling that was dwelling in his chest. He chugged just enough so that his vision blurred around the edges before storing the bottle beneath his dresser.

He stood up, the world spinning around him as he walked to the bathroom. He looked in the mirror, an assortment of hickeys had purpled his neck. He unbuttoned his shirt and slid it off his shoulders to see that where his father had kicked him was now a large dark mark. He poked it and gasped in pain.

He walked over to the bathtub and turned the water on, plugging the drain. He slipped out of his pants and boxers, throwing them off to the side. He stepped into the bath and sat down in the hot water. 

His skin slowly turned red under the heat as he sank back. The back of his neck hit the water, then his ears, then his cheeks, then he closed his eyes and sank below the water. He held his breath, his lungs hurting and his brain starting to panic as he stayed under the water. It hurt but simultaneously felt serene.

He immerged gasping for air, his hair dripping in his face. He always wondered what it would feel like to drown. To give away all control and just sink. 

He felt dirty. He scrubbed at his body trying to rid his mind of what he had done with Steve. His father was right, he was a faggot. It just wasn't natural. A stupid mistake that he had made when he was high.

But still, the feeling of ecstasy that he felt with Steve burned him from the inside out. How could he do something so vile with another man?

His skin stung as he tried to wash away what he had done. 

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It was late. He had picked Max up 3 hours ago and now he sat on the roof alone.

He always wondered what would happen if he fell. Would he break his neck on impact upon the cracked driveway below or would he just sprain his wrist? Would his blood stain the cement or would it be like he was never there before? Just like the others before him?

He wanted to be known, to be remembered. It wasn't anything selfish or narcissistic, just the wish to be remembered. That he would die and SOMEONE would miss him. Anyone. He didn't want to become just another crack in the pavement. He wanted to BE someone. Anyone.

But, he was just another statistic. Just another kid beyond broken by the abuse, the pretending, and the thoughts that plagued him night and day.

He bet Hopper would be the one to find his body after Max called it in. That he'd be the one to answer that there had been a suicide at the Hargrove's house. He knew Hopper pretty well. The number of run-ins he'd had with the man-made it feel like he could almost call him a friend. Almost.

Would Hopper cry? Would he rush over praying it wasn't him that died? Or would he be expecting it, to hear over the radio 'We've got a 10-56 with Hargrove's boy'?

Probably the latter.

He slowly made his way down and back into the warmth of his bedroom. He closed the window behind him and made his way to the bathroom for the second time that day\night. He turned the water on but didn't make any effort to remove his clothing.

He looked in the mirror, rage building at the sight of his reflection. His fingers twitched where they had been angrily holding onto the sink, his knuckles white. He lifted up his right arm and coiled it back before punching the mirror as hard as he could. He split into what seemed like a hundred pieces, glass embedding itself inside his hand.

He hissed at the pain, crouching down to look under the sink for the pain medication he had stashed for moments such as this one. He pulled them out, taking two before setting the bottle on the edge of the bath.

He pulled the pack of cigarettes out of his pockets along with a lighter and set them next to the pills. He stepped into the bath, the water threatening to overflow.

His hands shook as he re-opened the bottle. He took four out and downed them all at once. Four, four, four, over and over till he had taken all of them. He picked up the cigarette pack and watched as water spilled over the tub's edge.

It took him a few tries to get the lighter to light. The orange flame danced before him as he lit the cigarette. His stomach turned as the pills began to digest. Smoke filled his lungs as he took a drag, pouring out of his lips like water out of the tub.

He finished and tossed it into the water, sinking down below the rippling waves while the cigarette butt floated on top. He heard a frail knocking on the door that quickly turned frantic.

He sank down. His neck, his ears, his cheeks, his eyes underwater. Free, he was finally free.

He didn't hear the banging anymore.

He didn't hear anything.

Chapter Text

1:16. The clock was at 1:16 when his phone started to ring. Hopper stood up with a groan, rubbing his face as he walked to his midnight alarm clock. Taking a deep breath, he picked up the receiver.

"Who the hell i-" "He won't open up the door! I keep banging but he won't open up the door!" a young girl sobbed over the phone. Hopper's heart raced as he thought of his own daughter in such peril.

"Who is this? Who won't open the door?" he asked, struggling to get his pants on. El opened her door, walking out into the living room where Hopper struggled to find his car keys.

"Max!" the voice cried, "It's Billy, he won't open up the bathroom door! There's water everywhere and he won't open up!" Eleven watched on in confusion as Hopper grabbed his keys.

"Maxine, I'm on my way everything is going to be okay," Max sniffled in response and hung up.

"What's going on?" Eleven asked running out the door after Hopper.

"Get in the car, I'll explain on the way," Hopper knew it was better than to fight her with how stubborn Eleven could be. The doors slammed shut and the engine roared as Hopper turned the key and hit the gas.

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1:21. The clock on the car read 1:21 as Hopper and Eleven pulled up to the Hargrove household. Hopper didn't even remove the key from the car as he ran out and up to the door, Eleven grabbing it before trailing after him. He didn't knock as he entered, following the sound of Maxine's cries.

When he saw her she was curled up in a ball on the floor. She was soaked in water that was trickling out from under the door she was leaned on.

"Maxine!" Eleven called and the ginger girl jumped up and ran into her arms. Hopper ran forward, slamming his side into the locked door. The wood creaked under his weight.

Bang!

Bang!

Bang!

The door burst open, wood splinters falling to the floor. Hopper wished he could go back in time. Before he saw Billy Hargrove's pale face, his soft blue eyes open and cold, his body limp in an overflowing bathtub.

He ran forward, falling to his knees at the base of the tub. The rush of the water as he pulled Billy's body out of the bath felt deafening. Hopper layed Billy on the soaked floor, his heart beating out of his chest as he moved the boy around with no response.

He felt for a heartbeat and deflated in relief upon feeling, the rather faint,
thump
thump
thump.
Hopper had never prayed in his life before but as he started CPR on the boy he had come to know as a fiend, a player, and an outright dick, he hoped he would make it.

Chest compression.

Chest compression.

Chest compression.

Billy lurched forward, water spewing from his mouth as he coughed violently. He gasped for air for a short while before turning around and vomiting into the toilet.

Hopper rubbed the boys back and held his hair as he puked. Hopper was terrified of what was going to happen next. He thought Billy was an asshole, but he never knew what was lying behind the mask he so desperately held in place.

The mask hiding the small boy who sat in front of him right now. The room was silent, El having turned the bath spigot off minutes prior.

The tense silence was disrupted by Billy groaning and flushing the toilet. He looked around at Hopper and El holding Max outside the room.

"Why?" his voice was so faint it was almost a whisper. "Why can't I just die?" he asked, voice strained as he held back tears.

He wanted so badly to die but here he was, alive with the taste of vomit in his mouth and Jim fucking Hopper soaked beside him. 'Maybe next time' he thought as he closed his eyes and tried to picture himself anywhere else.

He closed his eyes and he was at the beach again. Back with his mother where he desperately wanted to be. Back in his mother's warm embrace. But you can't stay in your mind forever.

You have to go back into the real world where there was murder, and rape, and suicide. Away from the nest he had built himself and into the cramped bathroom.

"Billy? Billy?" Jim was waving his hand in front of Billy's face, trying to get his attention. "Billy, are you okay?" he asked as Billy followed his hand with his eyes.

"Vodka," Billy grumbled and Hopper looked at him confused. "I need more Vodka, I need to forget," his words were slurred in his already drunken stupor.

Hopper stood up and scooped Billy up in his arms. "Where's his bedroom?" he gruffly asked Max. She pointed to a closed door and he carefully walked over, bending down and opening it. He kicked it open with his foot and walked inside.

The room was small and busy. Posters littered the wall, built-in cabinets filled with random things from nicknacks to records. He placed Billy on the bed, stripping him of his shirt and pants, leaving his boxers on for moral decency on both of their parts.

He threw them at a clothes basket in the corner and Billy curled up, pulling the covers that had bunched up at the bottom of his bed up to his shoulders. Hopper noticed a polaroid on the ground and picked it up.

"Steve?" he said quietly in shock as he looked at the photo. It was of Billy and Steve having a good time together, laughing and smoking like they were the best of friends. Like Billy hadn't beat the shit out of him.

"Pretty boyyy," Billy murmured from the bed. "Pretty pretty boy," he said, twisting around under the covers.

"Steve?" Hopper said once again in confusion, hoping that it might stir Billy to say something more.

"Sooo prettyy, so verry pretty," Billy's words confirmed Hopper's new suspicions.

"But I ain't no faggot dad, I swear sir. I swear," Hopper had always had a bad feeling in his gut about Neil Hargrove but as Billy spoke in soft broken apologies and Hopper looked at Billy's broken body he could only continue to pray that everything would turn out okay.

Cheif of police don't mean shit when everyone has the same homophobic opinion. Plus Billy would never let anyone know about his dad and what was going on and Hopper knew it.

Just like Billy, Hopper was fucked.

Chapter Text

Pain. All Billy felt was pain when he awoke. His stomach hurt, his eyes burned, and his muscles felt tense. The room felt like it was on fire around him. He opened up his eyes before immediately closing them, the light making everything feel worse.

Slowly but surely he made his way up, only then noticing that he was only in his boxers. Last night hit him in a rush as he saw his soaked clothes piled in his laundry bin.

The vodka, the pills, Hopper carrying him. It was all a wasted blur but it was still there. He hoped he hadn't said anything too stupid to Hopper but it was anyone's game.

He swayed as he stood up, his stomach and head unable to handle the sudden movent. He put his hand against the wall, attempting to get his balance back.

Deep breath in,

Deep breath out,

Repeat.

He put some clothes on and slowly made his way into the kitchen where Max, Neil, and Susan were eating breakfast. Max looked up at him, pity etched into her face. Billy looked at her, a silent 'If you tell anyone I will murder you'. She looked back down at her pancakes without a word.

"Billy, how nice of you to actually show up," Neil said as Billy walked into the room. "Don't worry, I'm not staying for long," he responded, grabbing his jacket off the couch.

"Susan made pancakes, why don't you come and enjoy them with us," his voice was deadly low and Billy could tell he was grinding his teeth. "No thanks," Billy rushed out the door to avoid the (inevitable) beating soon to follow.

He hopped into the Camaro and drove away, Mötley Crüe blasting from the car's speakers.

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Billy hated driving down uneven roads. The way his car jostled around made his stomach turn in worry that it would be damaged. But all that annoyance was washed away with fear as he pulled up Hopper's driveway.

He knocked three times, his heart feeling like it was beating rapidly in his throat. The creaking of the door did nothing to ease his anxiety nor did the look of confusion on Hopper's face.

"We need to talk," Billy said, shoving his hands in his pockets nervously. Hopper nodded and Billy followed him into the cabin.

"So, last night," Hopper stated, obviously not wanting to bring up the events.

"You can't tell anybody, absolutely fucking no one," Billy tried to hide the fear with anger but his voice cracked defiantly. "I don't know what I said and I don't want to. But if you tell anybody I will be ruined."

Hopper sighed, running his hand through his hair, "Kid, I walked in on you half dead and you expect me not to tell anyone. To keep it a secret until it happens again yet this time I can't save you."

"Please Hopper, my dad would... I don't know what he would do but I sure as shit know it wouldn't be good," Billy begged. He hated begging, it felt weak and he was NOT weak.

"Billy, does your dad abuse you?" Hopper was blunt but he knew that with Billy Hargrove you couldn't be easy. Billy snarled, "That ain't none of your fucking business, Hopper."

"I'm the chief of police, if it's anything it's my business," Billy scoffed, crossing his arms across his chest.

"There isn't anything going on. Anything. So Stop. Asking," Billy's voice was stone cold. "Look, I have to go. But I swear to God Hopper, if you or that kid of yours tells anyone I'M as good as dead," Billy quickly left the cabin, ignoring Hopper as he called after him.

He got back into his car, Metalica blasting through the speakers. Hopper watched the young male drive away to God knows where. All he could do is hope that he stayed safe enough.

-----------------

As Billy arrived at the familiar house he felt guilt and disgust course through his veins. It was a poison wrapping itself around him like a vice as he knocked.

As soon as Steve opened the door Billy spoke. "Are your parents home?" he asked, nervously tapping his foot. Steve shook his head and Billy quickly moved forward, kissing him.

Steve wrapped his arms around Billy's waist after slamming the door shut. They stumbled into the living room, Billy pushing Steve back onto the couch.

As their bodies disconnected they quickly worked on taking their shirts off. Billy moved so he was on top of steve, reconnecting the kiss. It was hot and heavy, a distraction that Billy couldn't have wanted any different.

"Bedroom. Now," Steve demanded. Billy stood up and was willingly led to Steve's bedroom. Memories of their first interaction seemed to turn him on even more as he quickly undid Steve's belt, throwing it to the side as Steve shimmied out of his pants. Steve turned them around as they reached the edge of the bed forcing him to be ontop of Billy.

"Wha-" Billy tried to ask but Steve silenced him with a kiss.

"You did all the work last time, now it's my turn to reciprocate," he whispered, gently kissing down Billy's neck. His lips grazed over a specifically sensitive spot and Billy groaned, his hips bucking up involuntary.

Steve grazed his teeth gently across the spot sending shivers down Billy's spine. "If you don't do something right now Harrington I swear to God I will leave," Billy threatened half-heartedly.

"Fuck off Hargrove," Steve said as he moved his way down Billy's body. Steve reached down and unzipped Billy's pants, pulling them down to his knees as he was inches away from the waistband of his boxers.

Steve looked up through his lashes at the other boy who was staring down at him. Billy had a look on his face that he had never seen before. There was lust, but something else he couldn't quite put. It sent shivers down his spine and he went back to work.

Chapter Text

Billy sat in bed, the thought of how good it felt to have his hands holding onto Steve's hair as he looked up at him with his brown eyes darkened with lust floating through his mind like some bad dream he couldn't get rid of. The more he tried to rid his mind of it the stronger it became. Like some... Infection. He was infected and Steve Harrington was his virus.

He stood up and grabbed his jacket. The alarm clock on his bedside table read 1:24 in bright red letters that illuminated the room alongside the moonlight streaming through the open window.

Billy needed to escape. To get away from the tight room and away from his thoughts. So, he did what any other teenager would do, and lowered himself out of his window. He didn't want the Camaro waking up Neil so he decided to walk to his destination.

---------------

Deep inside of the woods he had found a special clearing. Whenever he felt this way he would go there to relax. Day or night. He would take off his shoes and socks and feel the cool grass beneath his feet. He'd never admit it to anyone, but here he finally felt safe.

At least there was somewhere in this shit hole of a town that he could go. It wasn't the beach but it was something. That's why he felt a pang of anger go through him as he saw someone basking in the moonlight in HIS clearing. In HIS safe space.

As he got closer and closer his face paled as he saw exactly who it was. Steve fucking Harrington sat in his clearing. The moonlight was bright enough that Billy could see the tranquil look on Steve's face. How his eyes were closed and his head was tilted up to the sky.

He was like a painting. Immaculate and elegant as he layed perfectly still. The only movement was the raise of his chest with each deep breath he took. If he could take a picture he would.

He made his footsteps a little louder as to not startle the beauty before him. Steve turned around, the silence disrupted by the crunching leaves of the boy he had become surprisingly fond of. Steve smiled but ultimately didn't speak a word.

Billy walked over to him and sat down, looking up at the stars above. He hadn't expected the silence to be so... therapeutic. He felt like all the tension in his body disappeared as Steve's body heat melded with his own; his left side ten times colder than his right.

He moved his hand and felt his fingers brush up against Steve's. His entire body wanted to jerk his hand back. To pull away and run as far as he could. Away from Hawkins, his family, his stupid highschool, and most importantly Steve Harrington.

But he didn't. He didn't run away as his fingers tingled at the small touch. He didn't run as Steve moved his hand so it was over Billy's and linked their fingers together. He was vulnerable and Steve knew it.

Billy looked over for the first time since he had sat down. Steve looked back at him, staring into the other's eyes. Sky blue meeting hot chocolate brown.

Billy raised his unoccupied hand and cupped Steve's cheek, caressing the rosy skin with his thumb. Steve leaned into the touch, his eyes closing as he let himself get wrapped up in Billy's soothing hands.

He opened his eyes again and leaned forward, pressing his lips to Billy's. His eyes fluttered shut as they kissed. This was like no other kiss he had ever had. This was passionate but still soft. There was no fighting for dominance like their last kisses. No, this meant something more than a quick fuck.

It was in that moment that he discovered what the other emotion was in Billy's eyes.

It was love.

-------------------

The walk home seemed ten times longer than the way there. He hugged his jacket closer to his body, hoping he could get some resemblance of the warmth he had mere moments ago. He wished that his and Steve's houses weren't on opposite sides of the forest so he could continue to hold his hand.

It was 4:34 when Billy climbed back through his window. 20 minutes after he left the clearing, after he had left Steve. He sat down on his bed and removed his shoes and jacket. He slid out of his pants and curled under the blankets.

Each time he closed his eyes all he could picture was Steve laying in the grass, the soft moonlight, Steve's hand on his, the kiss. His lips still burned with passion and longing for more.

He slowly fell asleep, Steve filling his dreams in ways that he never had before.

--------------------

Billy awoke to his covers being pulled from his body violently. His eyes shot open to see Neil standing above him fuming.

"Where were you last night?" he asked, deadly quiet and slow. Like he was a cheetah prepared to strike.

"I don't know what you mean?" Billy lied through his teeth. Neil already called him a faggot without knowing he was one, imagine if he knew the truth.

Neil lifted him by his shirt, surprising the teen. "I said, where were you last night?" Neil's eyes were cold and distant like he knew fully what he was doing but didn't care.

"I was here," Billy barely got to finish before he was shoved to the floor.

"What did we talk about respect? Is lying respectful? No, it's not. And you know what happens when you disobey me," Neil had a smile on his face. He had a smile on his face. Perfect white teeth showing between his pale lips. Joy. Neil was about to beat his son and he was happy, excited even.

Billy stood up, about to speak before Neil punched him. It made Billy fall back to the ground it was so strong. His head hurt and he knew he was going to have a monster of a bruise tomorrow.

Billy looked up through blurred vision to see Neil undoing his belt, taking it off his pants and bending it in half. Billy went to stand, turning so he was on his knees facing the wall. He put a hand up to the wall to stabilize himself but before he could stand he felt it.

He cried out in pain as the belt came into contact with his back. He never knew what it sounded like when someone was whipped and he wished he could go back before this very moment.

Another hit and his hand fell from the wall, trying to help him not fall over. The sound was sharp, high-pitched, and quick. Like a distant shot from a gun.

BANG!

BANG!

BANG!

His dad was a loaded gun and Billy was just there for target practice. Something he could get his anger out on without getting fired or losing a friend.

"Now Billy, who's in charge here?" Neil asked. Billy remained quiet but that just seemed to anger Neil more. Another crack of his belt across Billy's back made him cry out, "You Sir!"

Pain ripped through him as his back moved with each shallow breath. Neil leaned down and grabbed a fist full of Billy's hair, forcing him to look Neil in the eyes.

"Don't you dare disrespect me again because I will not let you off as easily next time," Neil let go of Billy's hair and his head went back to feeling like it was filled with lead. Billy heard as Neil left the room, his heavy footsteps becoming lighter and lighter.

Billy's legs crumbled beneath him and he fell to the side. He stared at his plain forest green sheets, a new level of self-hatred bubbling beneath his skin.

--------------------

Max watched around the corner as Neil left Billy's room, his chest puffed in a confident bravado. Like he had just won a contest and was carrying the prized trophy home. She snuck over to the now open door and peered inside.

Billy layed on his side, his eyes open and lifeless. He was pale and the back of his shirt was ripped and darkened with blood.

Max was fine with blood, enough accidents on her skateboard numbed her to it, but as the dark stain spread across his back she wanted to vomit. The only sound in the room was a soft dripping of blood into the carpet.

'Had Neil finally done it, had he killed Billy?' she thought to herself as she stepped into the room. "Billy," she called out, walking forward. He didn't even blink.

"Billy," she said again as she moved into his line of vision, bending down so she was on the floor beside him. She raked her fingers through his lifeless curls, "Billy? Please answer me," she begged.

He moved, looking up and blinking slowly. She sighed in relief, finally taking in air after she was unknowingly holding her breath. He mumbled something before looking away again. "What did you say, Billy?" she asked.

"Kill me. Please, kill me."

He sounded so frail as he laid on the floor. This wasn't Billy Hargrove. No, this was some imposter pretending to be Billy Hargrove.

"I can't do this anymore, there's a balisong in my top dresser. Please."

She sniffled, the tears she tried to hold in fell down her face in thick, hot streams, "I'm going to go get the first aid kit, I don't want your back getting infected. I can't let you die like this."

--------------------

Billy sighed and drifted back to whatever thought he was lost in. Far away from the pain and blood and into the clearing with his hand in Steve's.

Chapter Text

Billy fucking hated Mondays but that hatred was increased tenfold as his back screamed at every move he made. With each step he took he wanted to cry out in pain but he hid it well. Trading the pain in for anger, a scowl on his face all day as he walked through the halls of Hawkins Highschool; kids and teachers alike were scuttling to get out of his way.

The only time he changed his expression was whenever he and Steve locked eyes, a small smile replacing the grimace. He hated what Steve was doing to him, reducing him to a blushing mess. He wished he had never had to move from California so he never had to meet Steve.

Billy jumped as he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned around, his fist in the air preparing to deck who ever it was in the face. Steve jumped back, putting his hands up in defense, "Slow your horses, I don't think I want to get punched in the face again." Billy laughed and lowered his fist, "I make no promises."

"So, I was wondering if you would like to get out of this wretched building with me and get lunch?" Steve asked, biting his fingernail nervously. Billy's tongue slid across his lower lip, a smile breaking out on his face. "Only if you pay," he said with a wink.

Steve huffed a laugh, "Deal."
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"Holy fuck, you weren't kidding. This is the best pizza I've ever had!" Billy groaned, taking another piece from the box titled 'ShowBiz Pizza!'. "I thought they were creepy, I didn't know they had some damn good pizza," Billy took a big bite and smiled. Steve laughed, noting the pizza sauce that had dripped onto Billy's chin.

"You've got a little something there," Steve pointed to Billy's chin. Billy attempted to wipe it away but failed, missing it by mear centimeters. Steve leaned forward with a napkin, cleaning it off. Anyone that saw the two would have thought that it was a scene from a movie. Two boys alone in the middle of the woods, the world feeling as if it was their own.

"You're so beautiful," Steve sighed happily. He looked at Billy like he was the only thing meaningful in his life. Billy felt confused, he loved the boy before him with his whole heart but he knew that he could never be happy with him. That they could never be happy together no matter how desperately they tried.

But his clean swept hair was so soft to the touch, and you could get lost in his hopeful eyes, the way his pale skin tanned ever so slightly in the sun before it turned red making his cheeks and nose rosy, he loved it all. Every moment they were together birds sang and his stomach felt like it was filled with butterflies.

Why did something so wrong feel so right?

"What are you thinking about?" Steve asked softly.

"You. Your beauty, your mind, just you," Steve moved forward and captured Billy in a kiss. Billy's hands grabbed onto Steve's jacket and pulled him closer. The kiss was a mix of passion and love, a perfect combination.

Steve moved to take Billy's shirt off but was stopped as Billy's hands grabbed his own and pulled away. "No," he said bluntly and concern flashed across Steve's face. "I'm sorry, did I do something wrong?" he asked, quickly pulling away. Billy smiled sadly, "No, it's not you. I promise."

"Then what is it?"

"I- I don't want to worry you," Billy said with a sigh, looking down at where he was still holding onto Steve's wrists. He let go, clasping his hands together and putting them in his lap. "Darling, " Billy looked up, "I'll be twice as worried without knowing."

Billy closed his eyes tight and took a deep breath in, unbuttoning his shirt slowly. He turned around and slipped it off his shoulders. Steve let out a sharp gasp causing Billy to look down in shame. The wounds were thick, some scabbed over, others just long bruises.

Steve gently caressed the clean parts of his skin, careful not to hurt the delicate bruising. "I'm sorry I'm not as beautiful as you think," Billy whispered, tears brimming his eyes. "You are not just beautiful, you are so much more," Steve placed a gentle kiss to Billy's neck. "You're strong, brave, and could own the entire world if you so pleased."

"I think I'm in love with you, Steve Harrington."

"And I think I'm in love with you, Billy Hargrove."
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It was 2:36 when Billy dropped Steve off at his house. A chill wind blew through the air as they said goodbye. "I would kiss you if I could," Billy nodded in agreement. "I'll see you tomorrow," Billy said with a bright smile.

"Till then," Billy walked back to the Camaro, the engine purring to life as he drove away. Ten minutes later and he was sitting in Hawkins Middle School parking lot. He lit a cigarette and took a slow drag, his lips breaking into a smile as he exhaled.

Steve fucking Harrington was in love with him. The king of Hawkins High was in love with him of all people. Not some random girl, not Nancy, him. How fucking crazy is that.

He was brought back out of his thoughts as he heard a knocking on the window. Max's freckled face peered in through the window. He reached over and unlocked the door for her.

"You look like you're in a good mood," she said as she sat down, throwing her backpack in the backseat.

"Well, you would be right," he said smugly as Sunglasses at Night started to play over the radio. He drummed his fingers against the steering wheel as he pulled out of the parking lot.

"I'm surprised, especially after last night..." she trailed off.

"Look, Max. There is one thing you need to learn about Neil Hargrove. You NEVER tell anybody about the shit he does. No matter what if you want to stay alive," his eyes stayed on the road as he drove.

"What do you mean 'If you want to stay alive?'" she asked, her eyebrows furrowing.

"Look at my wrist," his right hand moved from where it was on the wheel so she could look at it. She grabbed his hand, "I'm not sure what to look for."

"See where my wrist juts out weird? That's because I tried to tell my counselor and he threw me down the stairs," she saw where the bone was most likely set wrong. "I was nine."

"We may not like each other but you need to listen to me when I say this, Do Not Fuck With Neil Hargrove, got me?" she nodded, the rest of the ride spent in quiet reserve.

She remembered when she was nine. Back when her father and mother were still together. It was pure bliss while Billy was busy getting beat by his own father. By the man who was supposed to look after him. She felt sick. No wonder Billy was a dick, his father was the only role model he had and he beat kids for fun. 

Chapter Text

 

Steve despised being alone. At first, he loved it! He relished in the fact that there were no adults to breathe down his neck. But, as his parents were gone longer and longer, he began to resent it. Mere days turned into weeks of nothing but himself for company. That's why he consulted in meaningless fucks to pass the time. Any form of physical connection was enough for him.

But then he met Billy Hargrove. Of course, he had known the other male for months, but now he felt as if he truly understood him. He didn't want some quickie under the bleachers now that he realized what true love felt like. The vulnerability he had shown in their clearing made him ache, inside and out.

But, he was still Billy Hargrove. The same Billy that showed him no mercy that day in the cabin. The Billy that would have killed him had Max not stepped in.

No, he shouldn't think like that. But deep down, he knew it was true. How could anything they have together be healthy? Billy was a violent man and Steve didn't think he could change that. Didn't know if he even wanted too. Still, he had to face the facts that Billy could hurt him badly. It was almost as inevitable as they were.

They were like fireworks in July, extravagant shows that were destined to die down to nothing but an insignificant memory. He loved Billy, no matter how disturbed he was. Love is a scary thing, but it is even worse when you're in love with a ticking time bomb set to detonate.

Steve was damaged too, they could relate in that way, but he and Billy would never be the same. Billy took that grief and turned it into ferocity. Steve could never imagine doing that.

The desire he felt for Billy ate him alive.
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The moon was high in the sky when Steve stepped into the clearing. Billy was late as per usual, 'Fashionably late' he'd say. Steve would just shake his head and kiss him. Throwing the annoyance out and replacing it with passion.

Billy arrived a few minutes later. He had changed his denim jacket for a black leather one and a tight black tank top underneath. Steve could feel his pulse under his skin as Billy got closer and closer, that infamous smirk on his face.

He had a paper bag filled with, what Steve assumed, a bottle of shitty vodka and a new carton of cigarettes. "Well well well Hargrove, what do we have here?" Steve asked, grabbing it. Steve was right about the new smokes but pulled out a bottle of Jack Daniels.

"Oooh, whiskey. How fancy," Steve said as he pulled Billy in for a kiss. "Only the best for the princess of Hawkins high school," Billy quipped as they sat down.

"But I thought you were the king?" Steve joked as he twisted off the cap of the bottle and Billy unraveled the plastic off of the cigs. "I'd be anything as long as I could be with you," Billy smiled and pulled a lighter out of his pocket.

Steve's cheeks flushed a bright red at the comment, "You're so damn cheesy for a prick." Billy laughed and took a long drag of his cigarette, "What can I say, that's the Hargrove charm." Steve was mesmerized by Billy as he took another drag, the smoke dancing in the cold moonlight as he breathed out.

"See something you like, princess?" Billy asked, looking at Steve knowingly. Steve rolled his eyes, "Nope, I'm pretty sure I hate you." Billy pouted, "Aww babe, did I hurt your feelings?" Steve plucked the lit cigarette from Billy's lips and took a drag of his own, "Yes you did, and I don't think I could ever forgive you."

"You are such a damn tease, Harrington," Billy huffed as he attempted to get his cigarette back but failing miserably. "Says you, Hargrove."

"Shut up."
-----
They quickly found themselves staring at the stars once more. Billy's back was pressed up against Steve's chest as he sat between his legs, Steve's arms wrapped around Billy's torso holding him close. Billy drew shapes on Steve's leg with his finger, a comforting motion to them both.

"Have I ever told you that you're beautiful?" Steve whispered into Billy's ear.

"I'm not beautiful," Billy said, taking a swig of the bottle of Jack. "I have to disagree with that," Steve said, placing a gentle kiss to Billy's neck.

"I have too much baggage to be beautiful," Billy whispered, turning his head slightly so he could see Steve out of his peripheral vision. Steve had a soft smile, a mix between empathy and sympathy that made Billy's heart flutter.

"We all have baggage, darling. It's what we choose to do with our pasts that define who we are."

Billy closed his eyes and took in a deep breath. "You are one of the most beautiful people I have ever met," Steve said, holding the other boy tighter in his arms, "Every time I see you I get butterflies in my stomach that just won't go away."

Steve kissed Billy's neck again making him whimper, "You are breathtakingly gorgeous, Billy."

"I admire everything about you," Steve said, his hand slipping underneath billy's shirt. His cool fingers grazed across Billy's warm chest sending shivers down his spine. "Your competitiveness," his hand grazed across Billy's happy trail. Billy's breathing sped up as Steve undid his belt buckle.

"Your perseverance," Billy was so close that Steve could see the light dusting of freckles across his cheeks. God, just another thing he loved about Billy. Steve palmed Billy through his jeans causing him to moan quietly, bringing his hand to his mouth to cover up the breathy moans.

Steve's free hand moved up to remove Billy's hand, "I love the sounds you make." Steve unzipped Billy's pants and started to stroke him through his boxers. Steve's fingers pulled back the elastic band of Billy's underwear, taking him in his hand. Billy gasped at the skin on skin contact.

Tears welled up in Billy's eyes and a single tear trailed down his face. "Do you want me to stop?" Steve asked, moving to pull his hand out of the other's pants. "Oh god no, please don't stop," Billy begged. Steve started to move his hand and Billy let out a moan of relief.

"I. Love. Everything. About. You," Steve said, punctuating every word with a kiss to his neck. Tears streamed down Billy's face freely, "Fuck- I love you, Steve." Steve quickened his pace and Billy moaned, bucking into his grip.

"fuck Steve, I'm gonna cum," Billy groaned, his legs shaking and his hand grabbing onto Steve's thigh. "Then cum for me, darling," BIlly's back arched and his toes curled as he came into Steve's hand. "Oh fuck, oh fuck!" he cried as Steve stroked him through his orgasm.

"So beautiful," Steve said, removing his hand from Billy's pants. Billy's cum had painted his hand and as Billy looked at him he brought it to his mouth and licked it clean. "Jesus Steve, is there anything about you that's not beautiful?" Billy asked, a soft smile on his face; his eyes still glossed over in a post-orgasm bliss.

"Says you."

"Is it true, what you said?" Billy asked, a flicker of pain and worry showing on his face. "Every last word. I love you more than words could ever express," Steve said quietly.

"I love you to the moon and back."

"And I love you even further."