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Night’s falling unusually fast for June, and great fucking timing, because they’re about an hour out from home after road tripping to their college orientation, and Steve’s never seen it raining buckets quite like this. 

Water hammers down onto the metal of the Camaro and becomes but a dull roar in his ears. At this point he can barely see the road, and an alarm blares on his phone, indicating a flash flood warning. He checks it even though he already knows what it is. 

And Steve can’t help it. That shit with the kids? It put him through the ringer. Ever since that, he’s anxious, even when his conscience tells him he’s fine, he’s safe.

So he’s gotta get off the road right now, because he gets this dreadful sense that if he doesn’t, something bad is about to happen.

At first, he phrases it like a suggestion.

“Maybe we should pull over.”

“I don’t need to pull over,” Billy says. “I can see fine. I’m fine to drive.”

“I’m not worried about you,” he says, “I’m worried about other people. If someone starts hydroplaning toward us, there’s nothing you can do.”

“Don’t be dramatic. There’s no one else on the road this time of night.”

Which is true, and part of the reason that they can’t see in the first place — when it’s raining this hard, it’s usually manageable if there’s someone out front, tail lights acting as a beacon. Guidance. But it’s like one of those trippy, underwater levels of a video game. Steve can’t see shit in front of him, just the whitish glare from the Camaro’s headlights on the rainfall, and the windshield wipers operating in hyperspeed, flipping back and forth so hard that Steve imagines they’ll expire after such effort tonight.

“I really don’t feel good about this.”

“Listen, we’re only a few miles out,” Billy tells him, vaguely. “We just need to push through —”

“A few miles?” He points at the the GPS. “That’s over sixty minutes of driving,” he says. He checks the notification on his phone again. “And the warning spans over the entire county. Goes all the way to Hawkins. We can’t just push through — we’re stuck in the middle of it.”

“Do I have to say this again? I’m supposed to see Carol tonight. So you’re gonna have to fucking suck it up, okay?” he snaps. “You wanna smoke a joint?”

“Not while we’re driving, Christ.”

Then Billy casts a look over at Steve. Rolls his eyes as he looks back at the road and huffs. “There’s Xannies in my bag, if you really can’t figure your shit out. Front pocket.”

Silence. Just the thunder of rain pattering the roof.

“You had Xanax this whole time? And you didn’t think I’d want some?”

“I was saving it. For a special occasion.”

Steve absolutely helps himself to that. Unbuckles, bends over the backseat and roots around for Billy’s backpack so he can slip out the rattling container. He grabs for his old McDonald’s coffee cup, swishes it around to find there’s nothing left. — “Fuck.” —  He collects a reasonable amount of saliva in his mouth and pops the bar, half-dry.

Billy looks sideways at him. “Are you good now? You gonna stop bitching, now that you got your fix?”

“I wish I’d known about those before we started driving,” Steve says. The rain’s not letting up, and they’re driving right into the center of where the storm’s set to hit the worst. “Actually. I wish we’d left earlier.”

And that’s like, a subtweet right at Billy, for getting drunk all night with some guys in the room down their hall at orientation while Steve sat in their room waiting for Nancy to text him back. Because then, Billy slept in all fucking day, when they’d agreed to leave early to get iced coffees and hashbrowns. Get on the road right away so they wouldn’t get back too late.

So much for that.

“I’m sorry, okay? I told you that,” Billy says. “Let me just see if Carol’s texting.”

He reaches for his phone in the cupholder, and they sort of swerve a little bit to the left, over the line. Enough that if anyone else was on the road, he definitely would have sideswiped their car and it would have been bad, and now Steve’s heart is pounding properly.

“Dude,” he bursts. “Come on. I need you to pull over. You know, better than anyone, how I get.”

Because, to Steve’s dismay, they’re entwined in each other’s lives enough for Billy to have seen it.

“Relax. We’re fine. And I can’t just pull over in the middle of the road, asshole,” Billy says. “It wouldn’t even be safe.”

“Well, I’m gonna have a fucking panic attack if you keep driving like this.”

“Shit, I’ll do it at the rest area after the one coming up, okay? ‘Cause they have a Taco Bell at the next one. Can you hang on ‘til then? It’s only around the corner.”

“Billy, pull over,” he says, and he taps on the window. “Take this exit. I’m not asking you, I’m telling you. Fucking pull over.”

“Okay, okay,” Billy snaps. “Jesus fucking Christ. Fucking fine. I’m pulling over.”

He slaps on his blinker to make a point, and they pull off into the shoulder of the road, where it narrows down into an exit.

Steve’s trying to cover it up, but there’s not much he can do — he’s still shook. He holds tight to the handle of the door, the other hand wound around the car seat. Fucking white-knuckled. Billy pulls into the closest place to stop — fucking redneck-y, a nearly-deserted gas station, glowing neon under cover of rain. They pull into one of the spots out front, because Billy’s always got to park far away from everyone, so no one dings his paint job. 

It’s dark where they pull in, out of the streetlights, but the neon signs light up the car from behind in the grunge of the downpour. The same heady saturation as the Blade Runner movies.

They just sit there, for a while after Billy’s already killed his engine. Billy slumps back against the seat.

“So. We’re really stuck here, huh.”

Steve’s quiet for a second.

He hadn’t even wanted to make the trip with Billy. He sort of wishes he’d gone alone, and he’d probably have been back home by now. But they’d decided it made more sense to go together. 

Their relationship is difficult to explain. It’s like, they’ve sort of started hanging out from pure necessity. Less of friends, and more that they got into the same school, and they have similar ties to children who run in the same circle, and they’re both kinda like burnouts that actually went somewhere, so. 

There isn’t really anyone else in Hawkins for them, but each other.

“Thanks for… doing that,” Steve manages, once his heart has slowed down enough. He feels a little guilty, but he’d rather irritate Billy than be dead. 

“No big deal,” Billy says. He doesn’t make eye contact. “Works out, ‘cause I really gotta piss, anyway.”

He fumbles for his wallet, then peers out at the storm. It’s coming down hard as ever.

“I’m getting a Redbull, and a meat stick,” he tells Steve. He likes those jalapeno jerkies. “You want anything inside?”

“No,” Steve says. He scrunches his nose. After everything, he’s not feeling very hungry. “You’re going out? You don’t have a coat.”

Billy’s leg bounces, impatient. “Only real quick — gotta piss,” he reminds him. 

At that, he decides to brave the weather. He pops open the Camaro door so the overhead lights flick on. Roaring rain bores down on them, a deafening sound, and Billy’s curls begin to soak, to drip.

“Hey, leave your keys for me?” Steve calls over the noise. “So I’ve got music.”

“Sure.” He tosses them inside. And then he’s like, “Just don’t fucking leave me here, Harrington.”

Like Steve’s going anywhere  — especially alone — in this.

He misses the catch, and the lanyard jingles as it flings to the floor, but Steve snatches them up just as the door’s slammed shut.

There’s something about being in the dark, wet of the car that makes Steve feel like those things are back again. Steve hits the locks.

He feels a little better, though, when Billy’s car growls to life, and his Spotify’s syncing up to the car. “GONE, GONE / THANK YOU” comes on. The last thing Billy was playing before they’d turned off the music so he could focus on the difficult driving on the highway. The pink of the album cover glows on the display in the Camaro, and it’s sort of a soothing presence.

Steve breathes deep. In through his nose, then hold. Out through his mouth for a four count. Practiced. The music and the rain fade to a dull buzz.

Mindful Breathing, a barefoot doctor in hippie pants had told him. Think about your breathing. Feel your ribcage expand, feel the flow of air through your nostrils.

If you lose track, and your mind goes elsewhere — specifically, he thinks, if it goes to wet, dark things, to grey goo, to one million fangs — just bring your attention back to breathing, track it through your body as you feel it pass your lips, enter your lungs — 

Suddenly, there’s a rapping at the window, and Steve nearly has a heart attack when he’s pulled back out of his meditation. He realizes he’s lost track of time, and Billy’s already back, swinging a shopping bag printed with red block letters like THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU and Billy’s curls are deflated, soaked, as he peers into the car. Slaps irritated fingers against the wet pane. They’re pallid where they squish against the glass from pressing so hard, but the edges are pinkened.

When Steve unlocks it, Billy heaves his weight in, and slams the door behind him.

“Christ, I was gone for like, a minute. Did you think someone was gonna steal you?” 

Billy’s about to keep bitching, but then he looks at Steve who must look worse for wear, because it shuts him right up.

“You okay?”

“Fine,” he says, admittedly sort of unconvincingly. “You just surprised me.”

“You should have taken two,” Billy says.

“It hasn’t even kicked in yet. I’ll be fine. One’s usually fine.”

Well, actually.

It’s like, usually, when Steve gets fucking nervous at night? When his parents are out, and he’s alone, and there’s no one to invite over. 

He usually does something that will get him so wrapped up, that he can’t think about the things he fears, can’t just lie there and wait for sleep to eventually take him. Because when it does, he’s gotten sleep paralysis a few times, and that’s just about the worst thing that can possibly happen. 

A while ago, before they were on speaking terms — before they were something almost like friends — he’d even see Billy in those night terrors. Leering through his window into his room in the middle of the night, threatening him, but holding Steve’s bat that he hasn’t had to use since last fall. Tapping it against the window, so one of the nails screeches, a little. That dream was recurring, but he never found out what happened at the end, because he always broke out of it before Billy ever came in.

It took him a while before he’d internalized that Billy wasn’t trying to hurt him anymore. Something leftover from that night at the Byers’ house. 

And he can’t just fucking avoid Billy Hargrove because of a stupid recurrent dream, because his doctor advised against trying to evade otherwise harmless stimuli. And besides, his life would be very fucking difficult, seeing as, like.

This whole school year, Billy’s needed somewhere to go, when things weren’t good at home, and Steve needed someone to be there.  

But they could both sort of call it hanging out and they could smoke some weed at Steve’s big empty house and order Hawkins House of Pizza on Steve’s dad’s card and drink PBR and play that old ATV racing game with that angry soundtrack, as angry as they both so often fucking felt, with Midtown blaring through Steve’s living room speakers like ‘now I can finally say that I’m afraid that you’ve become everything that you had hated’

But anyway.

Steve finds that it’s better to keep himself occupied at night, when he gets like this. To keep that old shit away. 

And he knows this is stupid, but usually?

Jacking off works perfect. 

Because of two things; One, once he gets into it, he’s so invested that it’s impossible to let his mind go somewhere else.

And two, afterwards, when he’s done, he can’t even keep his eyes open. He fucking passes the fuck out, and sleeps like an infant, blessed with peacefully dreamless sleep.

So.

He’s sort of been doing that a lot, lately. Weed used to work, he used to smoke with Billy, but then even that started making him paranoid. 

Right now, though, Billy still pulls out a joint, maybe out of habit. He holds it out. 

“Oh. No, thanks, man.”

“Come on,” Billy says. He wiggles it between his fingers. “We’re stuck here. Nothing else to do.”

“I don’t know, dude. I don’t like how it makes me feel. Like. Makes my heart race.”

“Don’t be a pussy,” he says, leaning over the console, pushing the thing into Steve’s face, so he can smell the skunky scent of it. “You always used to blaze it with me, you know, every time that you were totally—”

He stops himself, and sideeyes Steve, like he’d said too much.

“What?”

“I probably shouldn’t.”

“No, go ahead — what were you gonna say.”

Billy sighs. “‘Freaking out.’ That’s all. Look, don’t get all mad. It’s just that it used to make you feel better. So I’m sorry if I thought it might do the trick, this time.” 

“Yeah, well, I can’t do it, tonight,” Steve says. “Sorry to disappoint you.”

“Whatever,” Billy says, but he’s clearly kinda sour about it. He slouches back against the seat again and puts the thing between his lips, and fumbles for a lighter in the pocket of the console that’s filled with stray quarters and hair elastics. “So you don’t mind if I—?”

Steve shakes his head. “Go for it. As long as you don’t drive us right after.”

“Won’t.”

Over the speakers, “NEW MAGIC WAND” is playing while Billy has his session by himself. Another angry sounding song, like ‘saw a photo, you looked joyous / my eyes are green, I eat my veggies / I need to get her out the picture —’ 

He spins the dial up, so Steve more feels than hears the bass reverberating through the car, making it shake and pulse. 

Code for, I DON’T WANT TO FUCKING TALK.

And neither does Steve.

So they don’t.

And God, it’s so fucking tense, Steve swears something is about to break, but he isn’t really sure what will.

It’s certainly not the fucking storm. The car’s getting pounded with water, as if heavier than before. The smoke begins to collect, soupy-thick, too.

Look, he was scared, he hadn’t meant to make Billy upset. To ruin his date (or whatever the fuck it is with him and Carol), or to take away the chance that they might still get home tonight, or to make this car ride suck so bad. Awkward and tense. He thinks that somewhere in there, Billy knows all that.

And if he’s honest, there’s only one thing that would make him feel better right now — and that’s a dense weight in his mind. His body’s just programmed that way; he gets stressed out, so he needs a release. And while drugs are great, they don’t give that to him. Don’t do it for him.

At least not consistently. At least not anymore.

Worse still, his dick is so embarrassingly hard. Steve shifts to try to conceal it, paranoid that even in the dark, Billy will be able to tell.

“I didn’t mean to trap you here,” Steve says. “I’m really sorry.”

“I know that. I’m not mad at you,” Billy says. He holds the joint in his lips again while he uses the lever to recline his seat back, so he can lie down. “Don’t be sorry. You were right about the storm getting worse. I was... being stubborn.”

And that never fucking happens. Billy Hargrove admitting someone else was right.

That’s a privilege Steve is not usually afforded.

It feels kinda good.

“Look,” Billy goes on, and he sifts through the bag from the store. Gets out his Redbull. The can is sweaty-looking, a cyan blue thing called Beach Breeze. He cracks it open and sips it while the joint smolders in his hand. Steve smells coconut. “If you wanna sleep, or something — I’m clearly gonna be up.”

That was kind of? A nice gesture, actually. That he’ll stay up to make sure nothing happens while Steve’s out.

“Thank you,” Steve says, but he doesn’t do anything.

“Stop thanking me,” Billy says. He finishes the joint quickly. Sucks the thing down to the last bit, where it burns, orange, between his slightly-dry pink lips. “I’m just saying. It’s cool, if you wanted to pass out.”

And God, honestly, Steve would love to just feel comfortable letting himself fall asleep in Billy’s car, in the middle of a flash flood, in the darkest spot of the parking lot of a sketchy gas station after one of his pre-panic attacks.

But he just simply doesn’t. 

Because he knows what he needs to fall asleep peacefully, and he can’t fucking get away with that right now. Like, what would he do? Excuse himself to the backseat and try to hide what he was doing? No fucking way, it’d be obvious. He could, however, sneak off to the restroom in the building, just do it really quick. But that would take a kind of confidence Steve’s not sure he’s got right now. And he’s pretty sure that’s illegal? Not that legality always matters to him.

He’d also have to go out in the rain, and like Billy, he’d opted not to pack a coat for the trip.

So he just stays in his seat, getting painfully hard by thinking about it. How good it would fucking feel to let it go right now. How the orgasm would wash his body with endorphins so strong, he could finally feel at ease.

“Alright,” Steve finally decides. And he’s not really sure what he’s gonna do next, but he commits — he gets in the backseat.

“Watch your shoes,” Billy hisses while he sort of propels himself over the console and crawls back, so that he might lie down across the rear seats if somehow sleep comes to him.

Steve doesn’t say ‘thank you,’ this time, compulsively, though.

“Music fine?” Billy asks. He cracks the window to toss out the finished roach. Leaves it like that to drain a little of the smoke. While it dissipates, rain dribbles over the interior of the car until Billy decides that’s enough and rolls it up. “I can turn it down.” 

And he does that. Twists the dial, then checks to make eye contact with Steve through the rearview mirror. 

“That’s perfect.”

Steve’s not really proud of this, but this is what happens next. 

Because they’re sitting there for a while, and he’s getting antsy, and no matter how long he closes his eyes or curls up or spreads out, he can’t get comfortable enough to fall asleep. 

And Billy’s distracted, with Tyler bumping lowkey in the background, and his Redbull and Insta and texts from Carol to keep him busy. 

So Steve just sort of. Starts by palming himself. A brave fucking move. He’s sitting on the passenger side still, leaning his head against the back window, feigning like he’s sleeping. But he rubs his hand over his jeans a little bit and presses, and he instantly starts to feel better.

It’s so good.

Steve’s getting more into it, has let himself snake his hand into his pants to touch over his underwear, and that’s when he hears a rumbling sort of laugh. 

His eyes fly open, and Billy’s meet his through the mirror. 

The thing that Steve always seems to forget is that Billy Hargrove isn’t fucking stupid. 

“Need a hand?”

Caught.

Steve tugs his hand out of his pants and slaps it against the seat. His cheeks heat up, no doubt red, and he just sits there, heart hammering so hard it would be a miracle if Billy couldn’t hear it, even under the rain.

“Sorry,” he hisses. “I’m sorry, man. I just. I don’t know.”

“Xanax finally kicked in, huh?” Billy teases, and his eyes are squinty and bloodshot. Steve wonders if he would find this quite as fucking funny if he weren’t stoned. “I can’t believe it. King Steve, jacking himself off in my backseat. Do you need a hand, or what?”

Steve wants to actually die. He wants to fucking melt. Like, drop through the floor of the car, so he never has to see Billy again.

“Shut up,” Steve says. He won’t look at him, because he fucking can’t. He’s mortified. “You’re not fucking funnny. I just. When I get anxious, I get desperate, and it’s the only thing. It’s the only thing. Or I never would have —“

“Well, I’m serious,” Billy drawls. “One hundred percent serious. Offer still stands. Not like we’ve got something better to do.”

Steve snorts. Looks out the window, despite the fact that he can’t see fucking shit, just a streetlight sort of flickering like a lantern down the road. 

Even if Billy were serious, which Steve knows for sure he’s not, because Billy’s straight and he’s not like that — even if he were serious, it’s not like they could.

They’re both sort of in relationships. 

And he can’t speak for Billy — but Steve’s a lot of things, and a cheater isn’t one of them.

“What about your girl?”

“Oh, please. You know that’s mostly for show, man,” Billy’s scoffing. 

“Then why you going to see her tonight?” 

“To fuck around,” he shrugs. “And besides, I’m not getting to see her, anymore. Not while it’s raining like this.”

And then he hesitates. “But listen, like. It’s too bad you’re still with Nance. Wish you weren’t.”

Steve doesn’t really know what compels him to say this, but he’s stupidly invigorated, excited by that.

It’s this drug-like feeling of just letting things go where they’ll go. Like, what if there was nothing to hold him back? Nothing to stop him from getting what he wants. If he just let it happen, just responded to Billy in ways that would put things in fate’s hands. So he didn’t have to make a decision.

“I’m not,” Steve lies, but he’s only half lying, because they’re sort of on and off and honestly he  can never tell where they stand. So if he’s only half lying, it basically doesn’t count. “I’m not even with her.”

“Yeah? You never told me that,” Billy says, curious. “Since when?”

“Since — I don’t know,” he says. “Does it matter?”

“It kind of does,” Billy says. “Because you either pick me, or you pick her — but not us both.”

“Oh, but you get to fuck around?”

“Don’t worry about what I do,” he says. “Besides. You’re not actually trying to do something, are you? ‘Cause it sounds like you are.”

Now Billy’s turned around in the front seat, no longer watching him through the glass. Glow from the gas station lighting up his eyes. He runs his them up and down Steve, searching.

“If it makes you feel any better,” he tells him. “I could always just watch.” He shrugs. “I like to watch.”

Steve gets chills even in the humid wetness, running up the backs of his arms and his thighs and his neck. Feels like he’s on display under Billy’s eyes, like that.

“No.”

Billy stays twisted in the front seat. Hand resting on the back to keep himself comfortable, situated. 

“Go ‘head,” Billy says. Encouraging. “Make yourself feel better.”

“I can’t. I can’t.”

“What if I do it with you?” he asks. “So you don’t feel weird about it.” And he smiles, because he knows how ridiculous he is.

“Billy.” 

That comes out like a warning, but it’s a fucking weak one. 

Fucking pathetic warning, showing how flimsy his will-power is. 

“Look, I know you don’t want me to actually touch you,” Billy says. “And I get that. But I don’t really see what’s so wrong if we’re just doing the same thing, at the same time.”

God. Steve just wants — wants so badly, to believe him. His voice is warm, honeylike, annoyingly persuasive.

“It’s fair game, you know,” Billy says. And he turns back around in his seat, so he’s facing forwards, again. “As long as we don’t touch each other, or see anything below the waist, it’s fair game.”

Steve realizes how real this is when he sees Billy’s shoulder move, and he can see when he leans forward that he’s got his hand on his cock. His fist begins to work beneath the fabric of his jeans, bulging and straining against the zipper.

He just about dies when Billy lets out a little, breathy grunt. His eyes are still fixed on Steve, through the mirror again, a new constant.

And Steve doesn’t say anything, wouldn’t admit it, but he really wants to see more — really wishes he could see Billy’s fist when he strokes himself.

He wonders what Billy’s cock looks like. If it’s golden-tan like the rest of him.

It’s not the first time he’s caught himself thinking about this, and he wonders if all guys think like this, or if it means something’s off in his head.

He feels in his gut that this is wrong, but at the same time, it feels really fucking right, and the lines are blurred just enough for him to be able to truck through.

It’s just one night. It doesn’t even matter. 

They’ll probably just laugh about this later. 

So Steve slides his hand down his pants. Doesn’t unbutton them or unzip, either. Just slides in between denim and hot skin, feeling his breath hitch when he trails his fingers down to his cock.

“Are you doing it?” Billy says under his breath. His broad shoulder works as he strokes himself. “Say you are.” 

“Y- yeah. Fuck.” Steve wraps his hand around himself and pumps, soft, teasing.

“That’s hot as fuck,” he says. Billy bites his lip and leans back against the seat, damp curls fanned out. 

Steve relaxes a little bit, following Billy’s lead. “I can’t believe I’m doing this in front of you.”

“Me either,” Billy says, and he laughs, high. “But I’m glad. Because I was thinking I was gonna get laid tonight. And I was kinda set on it — so that’s why I was being such a cock to you, earlier. Sorry about that.”

“Have you guys hooked up yet?” Steve finds himself asking. 

Billy unzips his pants for more space, but he doesn’t take his cock out. Fuck. Things are getting so real, so fast. He spits into his hand to get it slick, and Steve’s pretty sure he’s gonna have a heart attack.

So he copies Billy. If only so his hand can move more freely. More comfortably.

And he’s living for the way his wet fist feels, tight around his cock. He’s wanted this so badly. Whatever anxieties were plaguing him earlier, they’re a distant memory now. Fucking funny how that works.

“Not yet — just, like, blowjobs,” Billy bitches. “Was hoping we would tonight, though. I keep trying, but she doesn’t really put out as much as she acts like she does, huh?”

Steve laughs. “It took me forever to get her to even give me a handjob. And once I started asking for more, then she’d always tell me she was saving herself. So if you get there, I mean. Guess you’re special.”

Billy looks up again, and they meet each other’s eyes in the mirror. His blue ones sparkle. 

“So did you guys hook up, or not?”

“Hargrove.”

“Oh, Princess Steve doesn’t kiss and tell? Bullshit,” Billy says. “You know chicks compare notes, right. Talk about how big your cock is, and talk about what you’re into like it’s weird shit, you know. Like, you ask a girl if you can choke her once, and suddenly the whole fucking town has something to say about it. So what’s the harm if we talk about them?”

“Fine,” Steve snaps, and then vaguely, he’s like, “it happened once or twice.”

“Fuck,” Billy says, and he sucks his bottom lip into his mouth, clamps his front teeth down over it. He’s sort of fucking his hips up, into his own fist. “So we’re gonna be, like, tunnel buddies.”

“Oh my God,” Steve says, but he’s laughing a little bit. “You’re so fucking gross. Who even says that?”

Billy’s got that sly smile, because he likes being gross. Likes being told that he is.

“Whatever you call it — that’s hot, right?” he tells Steve. “Don’t lie.”

“It’s. Hot.” 

It’s, like. Really fucking weirdly hot. And he’d never have admitted that unless Billy fished it out of him. He doesn’t know what he’s saying. What he’s even doing, Christ. Look at him, right now.

“I know,” Billy says. “So, tell me, King Steve. What’s it like?”

“What? Fucking Carol?”

“Yeah, sure, or,” he shrugs. 

And then he pauses.  

And it’s quiet, ‘til he’s like, “Or, like. Fucking you.”

Steve feels like his heart is tripping over itself to keep beating this fast.

“Shit,” he breathes, rubbing over the swollen head of his cock. “I don’t know.”

“Oh, please,” Billy says. He draws it out, slow. Playful. “No one ever told you you’re a good fuck?”

And Steve feels himself fucking blushing again.

“I don’t know. Yeah, but. I don’t know.”

Because how are you supposed to know that? It’s like, girls writhe and moan and dig their nails into his back, and tell him how big he feels inside them, how much they like the way he licks their pussies out and fingers them while he does it. 

But how does he really know?

Like, really.

Because admittedly, it’s not that he’s deceitful, but he’s not the most honest when it comes to sex. 

“God, then I gotta ask her,” Billy says, and his arm’s going faster now and Steve syncs up with him, breathing quickening, too, “what it’s like to fuck the King.”

“Stop it,” Steve says. “Jesus, Hargrove.”

“Why? You embarrassed?” he asks. “You don’t get a nickname like King for no reason.”

And it’s stupid how that shit works on him. Steve is easy. His ego craves being fed. He just wants to bask in that shit.

In the back of his mind, he realizes Billy knows that about him. That he’s using that.

“So walk me through it,” Billy says.

“What?”

“You say you don’t know if you’re any good at fucking,” he says. “So, tell me about it, and I’ll tell you what I think.”

“Jesus. No. You’re unbelievable.”

“Frame it like this: if I were to fuck Carol tonight, how should I do it? How should I touch her. I need King Steve’s advice.”

“I don’t know,” Steve says, half miserably. Half still involved in the euphoria of getting to rub himself. To the timbre of Billy’s voice, no less. “I’d probably. You know. Finger her, first.”

“Finger her —? Come on, Harrington.”

Steve grunts. Strokes all the way down his shaft, then all the way back up. Building a gorgeous fucking rhythm. 

“Her fucking. Pussy.”

“Yeah,” Billy says. “Fuck, yeah. Her tight, wet pussy.”

“Yeah,” Steve breathes. “Goddamn. Fucking. Slip my fingers in her tight pussy. Tell her she’s like, almost too tight.”

“Brilliant,” Billy says, and he’s looking wicked. “‘Cause she’s never heard that before.”

Steve bristles. “Look, you asked what I’d do. I’m not good at, like. Dirty talk.”

“Chill out,” he says. “Take a joke. I’m fucking with you. Girls probably eat that shit up for you.”

And that gives Steve pause.

“What do you mean by that?”

“What do I mean by what?”

“‘Girls eat that shit up,’” Steve says, and he’s kind of challenging Billy, back. Catching him slipping. “Why’d you say it like that? Girls.”

But Billy smiles, too.

“How far you been with a guy, Harrington?”

It sounds super infantile. An immature fucking question. But it makes Steve’s stomach flip. Makes him feel like he’s a freshman in high school again — like he has to have stories and experience. 

Steve scoffs, feeling so seen, that Billy would even go there. “What are you talking about? You can’t just. Just ask me that.”

“We’re jerking off together,” he says. “I don’t think the usual rules still apply, now. I can ask that if I want.”

“Hargrove. Dude, I’m not like that — I’m not gay.”

“I’m not, either,” Billy spits, frustrated. “Christ. I’m not gay.”

And what Steve had said — it wasn’t meant to be offensive, it had no fire behind it — it was just a fact. Steve has never done anything with another guy, because he had never even thought of it as an option. When he was younger, ‘gay’ meant something mean, something that he and Tommy would shout at smaller kids at camp or on their sports team — and when he got a little older, gay was just defined as that one guy in his grade, who did choir, and liked to act, and sometimes wore nail polish, and listened to Lady Gaga and Britney Spears. He sees much separation between himself and Ian from sophomore year French class.

He holds, for a second, though. 

Because what does that make this, then?

What does it mean, if Steve is turned on by Billy’s body, and his voice, and his whole look, and his mannerisms, and his dense muscles, and the stubble on his face, and his earring, and that sexy way he sort of swings his hips when he walks like no other guy Steve knows?

Does that mean anything? It has to.

It’s just that. Billy is different than other guys Steve knows. He’s different because he’s confusing. So fucking confusing. Because he’s masculine but he’s pretty, and he comes onto Steve like a fucking monsoon sometimes, but other times he treats him like he wants to beat his ass.

They’ve both stopped what they’re doing, Steve realizes.

“It’s not like I haven’t thought about it,” Steve begins, finally admitting, “but I. Haven’t really been too far. With a guy, I mean.”

Jesus. 

Heart’s racing.

Billy snorts. “Harrington, please. I know. I know you’ve never fucked a guy.”

Okay, now he’s just embarrassed. Why does that make Steve feel angry and ashamed, like he’s got something to prove?

“Yeah? How can you be so sure?”

“Because,” Billy explains. “You want it so bad, and you don’t think I can tell — yet you’re back there, a fucking mile away from me. Like you’re scared I’m gonna get too close. Like you’re scared if I get too close, I’ll touch you. And if I touch you, it’ll be too real.”

“I’m not scared,” Steve says, stubborn. “I’m not scared of that.”

“Then maybe we should get closer,” Billy suggests, and he runs his tongue over his lips, wetting them. “If you’re not scared. You know. To make things easier.”

Fuck fuck fuck fuck. 

He shouldn’t be doing this, he shouldn’t be here, they’d never be in this position if he’d just let Billy drive him through the rain —

But, yeah, “Easier,” Steve finds himself agreeing. He’s already shifting, tucking himself to the window so there’s room for Billy to crawl back. “Yeah, just. Okay.” 

Billy makes quick work of heaving his weight into the backseat. It’s much more graceful than the way Steve did it. Probably because he’s hooked up with tons of people in this exact backseat. And that sort of makes Steve feel, stupidly, like a number. Which may be childish, but it’s honest, it’s what he feels, he knows everyone resents that feeling.

And he might also get a bit of a charge off of it.

But Billy settles in beside him, and he spreads his thighs wide. Unafraid of taking up space. He looks sideways at him, but Steve avoids the eye contact — just views him peripherally.

“Okay?”

Steve spreads his legs too, cautious about putting his body too near to Billy’s, and slips his hand back down his pants.

But Billy sort of spreads his legs wider. Their knees and thighs are just barely grazing each other and it suddenly feels so fucking impossibly hot in this tiny car, something Steve’s been trying to put out of his mind. As small a touch as it is, even clothed in denim, Steve’s hyper-aware of the sensation. 

God, he’s so fucking touch-starved, he’s actually getting off on imagining how it would feel to have Billy’s bare thighs, hairy and muscular, strattling his own.

It’s fucking sinfully stupid hot, watching Billy touch himself. 

His hair’s still wet, dark blonde curls against the headrest, and his chin’s tilted up a little bit, jaw tightened and tense as he focuses. His arm’s working, muscles flexing as his fist moves in the bulge of his pants. He presses the toes of his stupid fucking Kanye shoes into the metal body on the underside of the seat in front of him, so he can sort of hump up into his hand.

“What are you doing,” Billy finally says, and it comes out rushed, jumbled, like he wasn’t able to fully sort it out before it came tumbling from his mouth. “Tell me what you’re doing. Describe it.”

But Steve turns his head and locks eyes with him. They both know what he’s asking. That he’s not asking about what Steve’s physically doing, no — they’re both painfully fucking aware of that situation. Steve hesitates to watch the way Billy’s wrist works, for fear that he’ll spill out into his fist already.

He allows himself to picture what he’d be doing if there was nothing holding him back. If there were no repercussions, no consequences, no guilt.

Just him. Just Billy. Nobody fucking else. 

What’s he doing, then?

“I’m. I’m kissing your neck,” he says, because Jesus, that’s the first goddamn thing he’d do. If he got the green light? Shit. He doesn’t even have to think about where he would start, it wouldn’t be a debate, he wants to get his mouth on Billy’s hot skin. “Kissing higher, along your jaw —”

Suddenly, Billy laughs aloud, and it sounds like he’s pressed for air. Raspy and faint. 

And instantly Steve feels. Fucking lame.

“Christ,” Billy croaks out. “You gonna start telling me the way I should rub my fucking clit, or something, Harrington? Skip the girl shit. I’m trying to get off.”

He runs his tongue over his lower lip that way he does, shows he’s teasing, and Steve feels his cheeks burn. He wonders if Billy picks up on it.

“Fuck you, I told you I’m not good at this,” he snaps, but he’s picking up the pace. Precum builds, sticky, sopped up by his underwear. “Okay, then. Dick. You do it. Since all you wanna do is listen to yourself talk.”

Billy looks way too fucking smug, but he smoothes over Steve’s ego, like, “I’m just giving you shit, okay? Just talk about what you want. Look, I’ll start this time, alright?”

“Alright.”

It’s quiet for a second. Just the low murmur of Tyler on shuffle, and Billy’s belt buckle clinking as it dangles, loose, on the upstroke. Faintly, Steve can see the trail of blonde curls peeking out from the little dip where Billy’s wrist keeps tugging down his pants when he rubs.

Billy turns his head again and makes that eye contact with Steve that he could swear is gonna make him blow too soon. All vivid blue eyes and long dark lashes. 

“Just concentrate on my voice, okay?” Billy says, speaking slow, husky. “And close your eyes.”

So Steve does. He squeezes them shut like he’s told and puts more pressure on his desperate erection, grinding the flat of his palm against it.

“Okay.”

“So, we’re on this deserted fucking highway, and it starts flash flooding, right,” Billy says, and Steve sort of laughs, seeing where he’s going with it. He can hear the smile in Billy’s voice when he goes on. “We’re trapped in a parking lot in hickland. Got nothing else to do. So I get you in the backseat. And I ask you to sit in my lap, right? And what do you say back?”

“I say,” Steve starts, and his mind’s frenetic, wild, trying to think of something to say. Something good enough. He doesn’t want to feel that shame again. “I mean. I don’t say anything, I just do it. And I’m sort of rocking back and forth on your thighs, and I reach between us. Rub you through your pants.”

Billy groans, and it’s fucking magic, is what it is.

“Like we’re little kids?” Billy says, and Steve can tell he’s trying not to straight-up pant . “No, bullshit. I take your hand, and I slide it past my waistband. And you’re touching my cock.”

“Fuck,” Steve says, stroking faster, gaining confidence. “And it feels so fucking big in my hand.”

“Fuck, yeah. You’re jerking me off now,” Billy says. “And I can tell you have no fuckin’ idea what you’re doing — that you’ve never touched another dick in your life. You’re so cute, Harrington. Such a virgin.”

“Billy,” Steve hisses. “Jesus. Can you fuck off me?”

Billy’s laughing again. Way too pleased with himself. “Okay, okay. So you’re jacking me off, and God, it feels so fucking good. ‘Cause I’d been hoping something would happen between us since like, the first fucking time I saw you, at that party.”

Steve stops. Opens his eyes. Sees Billy, pumping over his dick, lids slid shut, jaw a bit slack, eyebrows knit together in concentration.

“That long? Seriously?” 

Billy looks at him. And his chest is rising and falling fast, but for once he keeps his mouth shut, so.

That must be a yes.

Steve shuts his eyes and keeps going.

“So I take off my pants, and my underwear, too,” he says. “And you get out of yours—”

“And then I’m fucking kissing you,” Billy interrupts, breathless. 

“Y- Yeah.”

“We’re making out, and it’s like, all tongue. And teeth. Fucking. Running my hands up your body, up your back. Grinding us together.”

“So I take both our cocks, and I stop kissing you, so I can spit down onto them,” Steve says. “And I start jerking us both off, while we make out.”

“God, Harrington,” Billy breathes out. “You’re gonna make me cream my fuckin’ pants.”

It’s like Steve’s brain floods with fucking dopamine at that. 

“Shut up. That’s disgusting.”

“It’s true.”

“So maybe we should. Take them off, then.”

And they look at each other again.

“Okay,” Billy’s quick to agree, fist still shoved down his pants, moving lazily. He won’t make the first move, though, like he’s afraid to.

So Steve’s gotta. All hesitation has fled from him. He shoves his jeans down to his thighs and lets his poor fucking cock free.

“Shit,” Billy growls, eyes trained on Steve’s length. “You’re hung.”

And Steve glows. “You think?” he says. “Lemme see you.”

Billy’s struggling to keep up, fumbling to get his shoved mid-thigh, too. 

God, he looks good like this. His cock strains up, hard and thick. Now Steve can see the rest of the blonde curls, too — low maintenance-groomed. 

It’s basically the first time Steve’s ever seen someone else’s fully-hard dick, other than from the safety of a phone or computer screen.

There’s a second where neither of them seems to know what to do.

He feels so young. This whole night’s had him feeling like that. He’d thought that once he was in college, he was practically an adult, but. He’s never felt more juvenile.

And it’s thrilling.

He’s not sure who does it first. He thinks it’s probably him, but as if in unison, they reach over to each other and skate fingertips over curls — so careful it’s barely a touch, only a tickle, but so fucking pleasurable it’s got Steve’s cock jumping. He shudders.

Billy pulls away first, though.

“Fair game,” he reminds him. 

“Well, we already fucked that up,” Steve says. “‘Cause we said we wouldn’t look, either.”

He moves to keep going, to take Billy’s cock in his hand, but he’s stopped.

“I really, really want to,” Billy says, gripping his wrist tight. “You have no idea how much I want to.”

“So what’re we doing? Let’s do it.”

“Steve,” he says, and now that’s he’s shooed Steve off, he’s licking his palm and starting again. “Please, okay? Just. Please. Talk to me. From where we left off.”

“Okay,” Steve whispers. And he can’t help it. He just feels so fucking close to Billy right now. So he scoots across the seats, nearer, until his left arm’s pressed over Billy’s right, kinda holding him down from jerking himself off because he’s right-handed like Steve is. 

He kinda drapes his head against Billy’s shoulder, and well. Billy doesn’t stop him — doesn’t try to move from his side.

Steve’s leaned down enough that he can see their reflection in the rearview mirror — can see the splay of Billy, his jaw dropped as he gasps silently, his necklace rising and falling with his chest, the places where he’s begun to break out into a sweat on his shirt. 

“We’re still kissing,” Steve continues. “I’m fucking. Sucking on your tongue.”

(Does that sound stupid? It’s just what he wants. Billy said to talk about what he wants. It just comes out.)

“God,” Billy hisses. His arm works awkwardly beneath Steve, who’s entranced by watching the wet head of his cock poke through the grip of his fist. “Yeah. Wanna feel your fucking mouth so bad, baby."

“So I start kissing down your chest,” he says, and he’s smiling, because Billy told him he didn’t like this shit before, but now look who’s all fucking gone on it. But so’s he. “I pull up your shirt, and get on the floor of the car. So I can kiss down your abs. Licking and sucking on your skin, until I get to your cock.”

Billy moans. 

Steve twists his neck, a little, so his lips are in line with Billy’s chin, just a few inches apart. Carefully, Billy turns toward him — shifts down, slightly, until they’re actually breathing into each other’s mouths.

It would be so easy for Steve to make that space between them disappear. 

Billy’s looking him dead in the eye, this sort of willing look, like he’s still hesitant to make the first move. He’s all blown pupils and long dark lashes, and now he’s got his gaze on Steve’s lips, that way that someone looks when they want a kiss but they’re not sure how to ask for it.

He’s so funny, so strange. So much bravado, until it gets too risky for him. And now Steve’s gotta be the one to pick it up.

“And then what happens,” Billy breathes.

Steve lifts his hips a little, trying to meet the motion of his wrist. 

“And then I’m licking at the inside of your thighs,” Steve says. “And I do that tongue thing, you know? The figure 8 thing, on your balls.”

Billy summons a laugh. His eyes look high; they’re squinty and pink. “The fuck? You learn that in CosmoGirl?”

“Stop it,” Steve says, but he’s grinning too. “Don’t make fun. It feels good.”

“Was it in an article, like, Six Quick Tricks to Make Him Shoot a Fat Fuckin’ Load —” 

“Oh my God,” Steve says. “You’re so — Stop making me laugh.”

Their faces are so close. Ghosts of smiles still lingering now that the real things have slid off in concentration. 

Billy licks his plump lips, wetting them, and then they stay parted. It looks like an invitation, if Steve’s ever seen one.

So he takes him up on it. 

Leans up against his arm, and tilts his head so their lips touch, a soft press at first. And he’s half expecting Billy to jerk away. 

But instead, Billy reaches for him, holds him by the jaw and pulls him in, ‘til they’re properly making out. And it’s so fucking gratifying, so unbelievable, to finally feel Billy’s mouth moving against his. Taste the weed, and the coconut of Beach Breeze on his tongue when he slides it alongside Steve’s own. He’s barely conscious of Tyler playing in the background, but Billy’s phone’s moved on to “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?”, and not only does this have the classic sort of vibe of a hookup song, but it seems a little too fucking coincidental, fucking overkill, over and over again like, ‘are we still friends, are we still friends, can we be friends?’

Steve doesn’t know if he can be.

“Was starting to think you were never gonna do that,” Billy whispers into Steve’s lips.

“Is this still fair game?”

“Shit, I don’t give a fuck,” he says. “Come here.” 

They’re making out, and it’s so fucking messy. The sloppiest, wettest kiss of Steve’s life. He thinks he likes kissing Billy. He likes the way his stubble scruffs his face, and the way he’s not afraid to lead them.

“I’m getting there,” Steve says while Billy’s teeth tug on his lower lip. 

“Same,” Billy says dumbly, and he’s still got one hand on Steve’s face to hold him in place as he jacks himself off, loud and wet. “I’m so fucking close.”

Steve realizes he’s so fucking gone on Billy. It’s a shock to his system, too much, all at once.

He knows he’s going to cum soon, and it makes his feet scramble for purchase against the floor of the car and the metal frame of the seat in front of him as he braces for it.

“Fuck, I’m cumming,” Steve babbles as it washes through him, and he kisses Billy, a desperate, open-mouthed attempt to get as close to him as possible. “I’m fucking cumming. God. Oh fuck, yeah.” 

He turns away from Billy to watch it happen as he shoots all over himself, up onto his shirt, onto the pale expanse of his hips, getting himself fucking messy, so it drips down his thighs and onto the car seat, and sideways, sort of, marking Billy’s hairy thigh. 

“Fuck.”

“I’m gonna cum, too,” Billy whispers. “Fuck, baby. You wanna taste it? Wanna taste it for me?”

Billy’s disgusting, but Steve is fucked on endorphins. Doesn’t give a fuck. He’s sloppy and boneless and riding the aftershocks, and so he’s nodding dizzily, letting himself be led. Billy’s fingers are tight, a little too rough in his long hair as he pulls him down to his cock. 

It’s happening so fast; he’s a little scared, this isn’t something he’s ever done, he probably can’t ever come back from this, he wonders what will happen to them after tonight, he doesn’t know what the fuck has come over him, but it’s too late and nothing else matters in the real world, because any rules of this game are so, so, so fucking out the window and he just.

Fucking.

Doesn’t give a fuck, doesn’t give a fuck, doesn’t give a fuck, doesn’t give a fuck!

And Goddamn, it’s rewarding, because Billy is beautifully fucking loud when he cums. Nothing to hold him back. Buzzed by weed, so he’s unrestrained. He groans through it, stroking fast through the build up, then keeping a steady pressure around the head straight through it as his cock leaks and spurts down his fist and into the tiny blonde curls, shooting over Steve’s tongue and cheeks, painting him sticky white. Steve looks up in a haze and holds the bleariest eye contact with Billy as he shoots his load, and he knows he probably looks so slutty like this, hair a fucking mess, tongue out and dripping with Billy, tasting strange and thick and bitter.

“You’re so good, you’re so good,” Billy’s rambling, and his fingers feel heavy as they scrape through Steve’s hair, trying to massage at his scalp. “Baby, you’re so fucking good for me. Let me see.”

So Steve sticks out his tongue, further, so he can properly fuck Billy’s shit up. And then he swallows, and Billy’s cock kicks up.

And then Billy laughs.

“What?” Steve bitches, and he feels that little flip in his fucking stomach. 

“You’re so gross right now,” Billy says, but he pulls him in again. Gentle this time. No longer possessed by that need for release. They kiss, closed-mouthed, dry, this time.

And Steve knows how he probably looks. Sweaty and red-faced and covered in both their cum. Now that the orgasm’s over, and the aftershocks, too, he’s tempted to fall into that self-loathing that comes after a particularly guilty jerkoff, but.

Steve’s mind’s euphoric right now. Far from the tension of panic that was haunting him earlier. The rain sounds like comfortable white noise, now, even if it’s really torrential.

They both pull their pants back up. Billy buckles his belt, and Steve runs a hand through his hair, looking at him, uncertainly, because what the fuck now?

He wonders if, once they get back to Hawkins, Billy will be out with Carol, apologizing for keeping her up waiting. Taking her out to the fucking Fourth of July carnival thing, maybe, and finally hooking up with her in this same backseat. 

Then he wonders if he’s supposed to tell Nancy about this. If she’ll even care, now that she’s started working at The Hawkins Post every day with Jonathan. Maybe it’ll be like, the straw that broke the camel’s back, kinda thing. Maybe he needs to let their relationship go, at last.

He wonders what the fuck is going on in Billy’s head, right now. Because this isn’t new to Billy, this isn’t different and shocking and invigorating, it’s just. Well, Steve doesn’t know what it is. And he thinks that, even if Carol and he are together tomorrow, Christ. If Billy wants to sleep over his place next weekend? Steve will let it happen if Billy tries to make things happen between them again.

But somehow, he can’t fucking care about all that. He can’t fucking care when Billy’s sitting beside him, smiling, sated and high. He can’t care about how much his head’s fucking spinning when Billy tugs him in, wraps an arm around him and says, “Stop being fucking weird.”

And Steve isn’t capable of speech, yet, but Billy rubs over his shoulder. He lies his head against Billy’s chest, a little bit.

Steve stifles a yawn. 

“Pass out, if you can,” Billy says. “I’ll stay up while we wait it out.”

“I feel bad,” Steve says. “Are you sure?” 

Billy shrugs. He can’t possibly imagine what that really means to him.

“Dude, you’re good — think I owe you,” he says. “I’m staying up. Pass out.”

And despite the fact that he’s sleeping in a fucking car in the seediest gas station parking lot in the entire great state of Indiana?  He gets some killer fucking sleep right there.