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Steve can’t really believe Mike’s getting married.

“Is this legal?” He can’t help but ask. Mike gives him the shittiest glare, his face far more angular than it was when Steve met him but having lost none of its infantile annoyance.

“Yes it’s legal,” Mike tells him, “We’re twenty-one, Steve, we can drink, we can vote, we can get married.”

Dustin rolls his eyes, taking a big sip of whatever fruity thing he’s drinking. “Relax, Mike, Steve just doesn’t understand how to commit.”

Steve’s offended. He can see Will grinning next to Lucas, who also looks a little smug. “None of the rest of you shitheads are in relationships either!”

“We’re a lot younger than you,” Lucas points out. He’s the only one of them not drinking—lucky, because if this conversation continues Steve’s going to end up buying the whole bottle and drinking it himself.

“Steve’s not that old,” Will protests. He’s always been Steve’s favorite. Dustin heaves a sigh, his curly hair bouncing as he shakes his head.

“Doesn’t matter, he hasn’t dated anyone for longer than a month since he broke up with Nancy,” he says, “and that was in high school.”

“What is this, Kick Steve While He’s Down Night?” Steve grumbles. He knocks back a shot. It’s his fourth. He better start feeling it soon or he’s gonna kill himself.

“I’m not trying to be mean, Steve,” Dustin informs him haughtily. He takes another long drink. His tongue is blue.

Lucas leans forward. “Shouldn’t we be focusing on Mike? Since it’s his bachelor party?”

“Yes, thank you,” Steve says. Mike grins.

“Do you have a date to my wedding?” He asks. Evilly.

“I’m bringing Robin,” Steve tells him. All of them groan. Steve wonders if it’s too soon to take another shot.

“You can’t bring Robin,” Dustin whines. Steve glares.

“Why not?”

“Because she’s not going home with you after,” Lucas answers. He takes a sip of his coke. Steve throws caution to the wind, knocking back another shot.

“You make friends with one lesbian and suddenly can’t get a date to save your life,” Dustin grumbles, “this is pathetic, Steve. I bet you couldn’t find a real date to Mike’s wedding if it killed you.”

“That’s rude, Dustin,” Steve yelps, “I could totally get a date, I just don’t see the point—even if I take them home after we won’t see each other ever again.”

Mike narrows his eyes. “You are not bringing a one night stand to my wedding.”

“I know,” Steve tells him, “I’m bringing Robin.”

“No,” Dustin says firmly, “The wedding’s still weeks away. It’s plenty of time for you to find someone you like. If you can get a date to the wedding, one that you actually want to see after, I’ll give you… 50$.”

“Hell, I’ll chip in too if it gets Steve to move his ass,” Mike says. Lucas makes a noise of assent.

“We’ll each give you 50$,” Will tells him. Steve takes it back. These children are all monsters.

“Okay, the rules!” Dustin whips a pen out of nowhere, pulls over a bar napkin. “First: you have to have a minimum of two dates with this person before you ask them to the wedding.”

“That doesn’t leave me a lot of time,” Steve interjects. Dustin glares at him.

“Then you better get moving,” he instructs bitterly. Mike taps the napkin.

“We all have to meet and approve the person,” he says. Lucas and Will nod.

“Okay and finally,” Dustin scribbles Mike’s rule with a flourish, “you cannot sleep with anyone, including the person you choose, until after the wedding.”

“You want me to be celibate?” Steve yelps. He needs another shot.

Will looks at him a little oddly. “How many people do you usually sleep with in a month?”

Steve crosses his arms, slumps back. “I don’t keep count.”

“So, too many,” Mike says. Steve rolls his eyes.

“You’re one to judge, you’ve only been with one person your whole tiny life!”

“Steve,” Mike sighs, looking as old as time, “one day, you’ll understand. I’m sure meaningless sex is fun, but when you love someone? It’s like entering a whole new plain of existence.”

“Whatever,” Steve mutters, “I need another shot.”

Steve’s head is pounding. He doesn’t want to be alive. Sun streams in the open curtains and Steve curses as he smushes his face into the pillow more, trying to ignore the light and go back to sleep. The pounding is becoming more rhythmic, and it takes Steve too long to realize it’s the door and not his head. He rolls out of bed gracelessly, not bothering to get dressed as he wanders to answer it.

He flings the door open, glaring and expecting one of the twerps. It’s not them. Standing in front of him, eyeing Steve’s bare chest, is Billy Hargrove, Steve’s always-naked across-the-way neighbor. Steve sighs as Billy shoves past him.

“Sure, come on in,” he mutters, “what do you want?”

“I’m locked out,” Billy tells him, “Can I use your phone?”

Steve huffs a breath, his floppy hair fluttering off his forehead. “I don’t know where it is, hold on.”

He’s about to turn away from the door when he sees the door to Billy’s apartment open, a tall, broad shouldered man exiting. He gives Steve a wave, which Steve awkwardly returns. He waits until the guy is down the stairs to turn to look over at Billy, whose head is peeking out from around the door to Steve’s room. Steve doesn’t bother shutting the door, just puts his hands on his hips in a way that always makes Dustin call him mom. He fixes Billy with his best withering stare.

“You don’t think he could have helped you with the locked out problem, do you?” He asks. Billy just tosses him a smarmy smirk. Asshole.

“Seemed like a clinger,” Billy says, moving from behind the door he was using as a shield. He passes a hand through his long curls. “Thanks for the assist, I owe you one.”

Steve just kind of gapes at him as Billy leaves, not sure how to respond to the whole situation. Billy’s door snaps shut behind him, and Steve stares at it for a second before slamming his own door shut.

“So I had a thought,” Steve says around a mouthful of pizza. Dustin’s giving him kind of a disgusted look. Steve misses the old times, when Dustin thought everything he did was the coolest ever.

“Should I be worried?” Dustin asks. He takes a far more manageable bite of his own slice. Steve swallows hard.

“You made up the bet,” he says, “this is on you.”

Dustin sighs. “Fine, what was your thought?”

“Well,” Steve spreads his hands grandly, a napkin crushed in one, “since I only have a few weeks to get a date you guys like, I thought I’d see if any of my exes were available.”

Dustin groans, drags his hands over his face like he kinda wants to die. Steve gets it.

“Steve, no,” Dustin begs, “that’s a bad idea. That might be the worst idea.”

“I don’t have that many options!” Steve protests. “I’ve already satisfied the two date requirement with my exes, and—I don’t know, maybe one of them is worth another shot?”

Dustin looks a little like he wants to stab Steve with the pizza server. Steve pulls his limbs out of reach, just in case.

“You broke up with them for a reason,” Dustin reminds him, “do you really wanna go through all of that again?”

“I mean, no,” Steve admits, “but it’s my best option to take your money, so I’m gonna.”

Steve watches Dustin struggle for a second, before the kid heaves a long-suffering sigh that reminds Steve of his dad.

“Fine,” he mutters, picking at the pizza crust in front of him, “just don’t come crying to me when it doesn’t work out.”

Steve’s checking the mailbox outside his apartment when the door across the way opens. Billy steps out, holding a dish towel to cover his crotch. Steve averts his eyes quickly when Billy shoots him a smirk. Then stops.

“Hey,” he calls out. Billy turns to look at him, his own mail in his hand.

“What’s up?” He asks blandly. Steve takes a step forward, clutching his mail a little too tightly. Billy’s ripped.

“Did you mean it when you said you owed me?” Steve asks. Billy looks at him critically.

“A small favor,” he says, like he’s clarifying. Steve narrows his eyes.

“Are you good with computers?”

Billy snorts. “My old man was a cop, and a bastard. I’d say I’m pretty good.”

“A cop?” Steve perks up a little, closing the distance between them, “Are you any good at finding people?”

“Why?” Billy looks suspicious. Steve digs his phone out.

“If I gave you a list of names could you find them for me?”

“Again,” Billy raises an eyebrow like Steve’s slow. He is, but Billy doesn’t know that. “Why?”

Steve sighs. “I need to track down my exes.”

Billy sucks in a breath, wincing mockingly. “Yikes, you got herpes? Not a fun call to make.”

Steve looks at him incredulously. “No, I—I don’t have herpes. I need to win a bet, and the easiest way to do that is to find my exes.”

“What’s the bet?” Billy suddenly looks interested, his blue eyes sparkling under the thickest lashes Steve has ever seen.

“My friend is getting married,” Steve tells him, “to the only girl he’s ever been with. And he thinks I’m too old to not be settling down.” He gives Billy a pointed look. Billy just smirks, leaning his back against the doorframe. “So anyway, they all bet me that I couldn’t find a real date to the wedding, but I can’t sleep with them beforehand and I have to go on two dates with them first.”

“Hence the exes,” Billy nods, “a loophole.”

Steve sighs, “Yea. So? Can you help me?”

Billy presses his mouth into a line, gives him a considering look. “What’s in it for me?”

“You said you owed me,” Steve reminds him. Billy just rolls his eyes, standing and turning back to his apartment. His ass is perfect. Dammit.

“A small favor,” Billy says, leaning over to dump his mail on the table and then putting a hand on the door, “not this.”

He slams the door in Steve’s face. Steve has to resist the urge to stamp his foot, just turns and goes back to his apartment. He doesn’t stay long, makes a snap decision, grabbing his coat and shoving his shoes on.

He bursts into Billy’s open apartment with as much panic as he can muster.

“Billy,” he shouts. The man in question is standing by his bed, wearing underwear now, thank goodness. There’s another tall, unfairly muscled man in the bed, looking at Steve with wide eyes. “Mom fell!”

Billy stares at him, not moving an inch. Steve scoops up pants and shoes from the floor, still babbling at he shoves them into Billy’s arms.

“She fell in the shower,” he says, trying to keep from laughing. He gets his hands on Billy’s shoulders, steering him towards the door, “she’s in the hospital, we have to go!”

He turns to look at the man still in Billy’s bed, who looks utterly shocked. “Nice to meet you!”

He keeps shoving Billy until they’re both in his apartment, then slams the door and shucks his coat. Billy turns to look at him, his smirk a mile wide.

“Impressive,” he says. Steve shrugs, stepping out of his shoes.

“That’s what you get out of it.”

“Yelling?” Billy drops his shoes so he can pull on the pants Steve grabbed, hopping a little to pull them over his impressive thighs. Steve rolls his eyes.

“An out,” he says, “you can come here and hide, or I can come in and scare them off, whatever you want.”

Billy looks at him consideringly, his hands resting on the button of his jeans. Steve keeps his eyes on Billy’s face. Finally, Billy nods, his golden curls spilling over his shoulder as he leans down to pick his shoes up again.

“Fine,” he says, “I’ll help you. But you have to buy me dinner too.”

Steve hands the money over the counter at the deli, watching disgustedly as Billy shoves half the hoagie in his mouth. He kinda gets why Dustin hates eating with him now. Billy’s cheeks are puffed out like a squirrel as he chews. Steve hates him a little bit.

“So?” He prompts as they exit. Billy swallows around his mouthful.

“So?” He repeats, like the asshole he is. Steve rolls his eyes.

“You said you had something for me,” he reminds Billy. Billy nods, taking a more manageable bite and pulling out his phone. He angles the screen towards Steve.

“I found your ex, Carol,” Billy taps, pulling up a picture of a redheaded woman holding a baby, “she’s married.”

Steve groans. “Great. That’s useless, thanks.”

“You’re welcome,” Billy shrugs, unbothered. Steve gives him look as he steps around one of the blue mailboxes on the street.

“Is that it? I was kinda expecting a little more.”

“I was hungry,” Billy tells him. Steve resists the urge to kick him. “Plus, I found Angela.”

“You did?

“Yea, she works at a bar on main,” he finishes off his sandwich in another obscene bite, “You didn’t tell me she’s a magician.”

Steve glares at him a little. “She’s nice. Plus, she’s some of the best sex I’ve ever had.”

“Seriously?” Billy looks a little dubious, “What, does she pull a coin out of your ass?”

No,” Steve rolls his eyes. Hopes he’s not blushing. Billy cracks a smarmy grin.

“If you wanna get laid, I know a guy who would help you out,” he wags his tongue over his chin, dancing over the curb.

“Gee, thanks,” Steve says, “but you know the rules. No sex unless you wanna come to the wedding with me.”

Billy wrinkles his nose. “Not really into dates, pretty boy.”

“Wow, I never would have guessed,” Steve looks over at him pointedly when they reach their building. They have to take the stairs; the elevator’s been broken since Steve moved in. He can’t help watching Billy move, his t-shirt too tight over his insane muscles. Billy shoots him a smirk over his shoulder, his teeth too white. “Who’s next on the list?”

Billy shrugs, digging in his pockets for his keys. Steve follows him in without really thinking about it. “Who do you want to be next?”

Steve has to stop, looking at the wall across from Billy’s messy bed. It’s covered in pictures, red string making connections Steve can’t parse from where he’s standing. He clears his throat, stepping forward to look at the board.

“Wow,” he murmurs, “this is dedication.”

“Yea well,” Billy opens the fridge, cracks a beer, “don’t have too much else to do at the moment.”

“Between jobs?” Steve asks, keeping his voice light. He drags a finger over the red string connecting Carol to Tommy on the board. He shoulda known.

Billy snorts, “No. I’m waiting for my music career to take off.”

“And you can’t work while you do that?” Steve turns to face him, accepting the beer Billy hands him. His blue eyes narrow.

“I have to suffer for my art,” he informs him haughtily. Steve’s getting the impression that Billy’s maybe a bit of brat. He rolls his eyes.

“Easy to do when I’m buying you three meals a day.”

“Hey, no one works for free, Harrington,” Billy tells him. He waves a hand at the board. “You think all that yarn was cheap?”

“You mean you didn’t already have copious amounts of yarn lying around just waiting to be tacked to a stalker board?”

“Believe it or not, no,” Billy says, smirking again. Steve picks at the label of his beer bottle, feeling a little warm. Billy clears his throat. “So, anyway—I haven’t had any luck with Pamela or Sandra, and I need more info on Monica before I can even start looking.”

Steve snorts. “I don’t really have more info on Monica. It was spring break, I was out of it the whole week. That may not even be her real name—I’m certainly not Konnor-with-a-K.”

Billy looks a little awed. “You’re a slut.”

“I’m a reformed slut,” Steve answers. Feels the need to clarify. “Not that there’s anything wrong with being a slut. I’d still be slutting it up if Dustin wasn’t such a little bitch.”

“Maybe I should talk to him” Billy says. Looks a little serious. “Then you can sleep with me.” There it is.

“You know, as fun as that sounds, I think I’d probably still take a raincheck,” Steve gives him a sympathetic little pout.

“You ever been with a man, pretty boy?” Billy’s voice is low, suddenly, and the smirk is back. Steve feels a little hot under the collar. Narrows his eyes at Billy.

“No, I’ve never felt the need,” Steve informs him. Billy looks feral, standing in front of him with sharp teeth and sharp eyes. He takes a step forward.

Never?” Billy presses. Steve definitely wants to die, wishes he were wearing less layers. Billy’s just a hair too close, smells like Aramis.

“No,” Steve says. It doesn’t sound sure. Comes out a little breathy. Dammit. Billy’s still grinning, shark-like, as though he knows he’s got Steve burning and two steps away from half-hard in his pants. Steve sucks a breath through his mouth, shoving his beer bottle onto the dresser under the board. “I should go.”

Billy’s eyes clear instantly, though he still looks a little smug. “Sure. See you tomorrow.”

“Yea, see-ya,” Steve beats a hasty retreat, slams two doors between them before he can breathe again. What is wrong with him.

“You ever think about dating a dude?” Steve asks. Dustin pinches his mouth. They’re in the pizza shop again, they go at least twice a week. He looks like he’s regretting showing up a little.

“Where is this going?” He sighs. Steve slurps a little around his straw.

“’S just a question,” his voice is kinda muffled. He chews absently on the straw, keeps his eyes on Dustin across from him.

“No, not really,” Dustin heaves another sigh, takes a bite of pizza, “you sure you don’t wanna have this conversation with Will? He’s way more equipped for it than I am.”

“What conversation?” Steve asks innocently. Dustin shoots him a look.

“The coming out conversation,” he says slowly, like Steve’s four, “the ‘I think I like guys and need to be validated’ conversation. I can validate you but I’m not the one you wanna ask if you need someone to relate.”

Steve huffs. “I don’t need validation. It was a perfectly innocent question.”

“Innocent,” Dustin repeats, “so you’re not asking because there’s a boy you wanna date.”

“No,” Steve tells him. Is it hot in here? He shoves his sleeves up. Dustin’s watching him with narrowed eyes.

“Sure,” he says. Steve can tell he doesn’t believe him. He slurps again. Sighs.

“Okay, fine,” Steve concedes. He’s weak, sue him. “There’s a guy.”

“Uh huh,” Dustin sounds a little bored, but he’s listening. Steve slumps back against the booth.

“He keeps offering to sleep with me and I think it’s just messing with my mind.”

“Who…is offering to sleep with you more than once?” He sounds a little horrified when he says it.

“He’s helping me find my exes,” Steve says, “my neighbor.”

“Ah,” Dustin nods sagely, “the naked one.”

“Yea,” Steve agrees.

“So sleep with him? Only one way to find out if you’re into it.”

Steve glares. “You just don’t wanna pay me.”

“I mean, yea,” Dustin rolls his eyes, “but if you like guys it would explain why you can’t keep a girl.”

“I’m telling Robin on you,” Steve says, “she’ll kick you. You can like both, Dustin.”

“And do you?”

“Do I?”

“Like both,” Dustin clarifies. Steve looks at his pizza crusts.


“So what are you going to do about it?” Dustin grabs the crust and chews on it a little.

“Nothing, for now,” Steve shrugs, “I wanna win my money.”

Steve’s not surprised when he gets a rather rude wake-up call in the morning. It’s the third one this week. He opens the door, glaring at an overly cheerful Billy, who saunters past him and flops onto Steve’s couch like he owns it. Steve shuts the door, rubbing one eye and going into the kitchen for coffee.

“What did you tell him this time?” He calls. He can hear Billy turn the TV on.

“Early dentist appointment,” Billy answers, “Hey bring me some too!”

Steve rolls his eyes, busying himself pouring water into the carafe and getting two mugs out while the coffee percolates. He pours them out, milk for him, black for Billy, and goes into the living room. He hands one down to the other man, sits next to him and curls his legs under him. They drink their coffee quietly, watching some morning talk show that Billy’s put on. Steve’s very comfortable here.

He watches Billy put his empty mug on the coffee table, his messy bun spilling tiny blond curls around the band. Steve clutches his cup so he doesn’t reach out and stroke the baby hairs at the base of Billy’s neck.

“Oh, by the way,” Billy leans back next to him on the couch; Steve’s eyes are stuck on his bicep where Billy’s t-shirt is stretched too tight, “are we going to that bar? To see Angela?”

We are not,” Steve says, very firmly, “I am. Tonight, I think.”

“Come on, let me be your wingman!” Billy grins over at him, looking a little evil. Steve narrows his eyes, places his own mug on the table. He wraps both his hands around Billy’s forearm, makes sure his attention is on Steve.

“You will do no such thing,” he makes sure to enunciate, “you will stay far away from every girl I try to date.”

Billy nods seriously, a little mocking. “Yes, sir.”

Steve has to bite his lip to keep control of himself. He lets Billy go and leans back again. Taps his foot.

“How long until your friend leaves?” He asks. Billy shrugs.

“I actually left an hour ago, but he was still there after I walked around the block,” he shoots Steve a grin, “you wanna work a little magic?”

Steve huffs, blowing his hair off his forehead. Holds his hand out. “Keys.”

He gets dressed quickly, throws on his coat and shoes to keep appearances, then heads over to Billy’s. At first, when he walks in, there’s no one in the bed, and Steve thinks he’s off the hook.

Then, he turns, seeing a completely naked man stretched out on the kitchen counter, holding a bottle of whipped cream. Steve lets out a very realistic yelp, staring in (very real) horror as the man scrambles to sit up and cover himself.

“Who are you?” The man asks. Steve pinches his face in his best approximation of anguish.

“He didn’t tell you?” He adds a little wobble to his voice, tries to look like he might cry. “I’m his fiancé.”

“Oh my god,” the man says, hopping down. He drags on a pair of boxer briefs. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t know.”

Steve lets out a wail, sinks onto the couch and puts his head in his hands. Screams “why” a few times. Waits until the guy has scrambled to grab all his stuff, mumbling sorry a bunch of times, and left (still mostly naked), before he stops his crocodile tears.

He walks back over to his apartment, tosses Billy his keys.

“You’re welcome.”

“Oh you’ve gotta be kidding me,” Steve whines. Billy smiles at him and waves, like an asshole. Steve watches him pick his way around the crush of people in the bar.

“Oh hey, neighbor!” Billy greets, “Fancy seeing you here!”

Steve glares at him over the straw in his tequila sunrise. Billy shucks his leather jacket and takes the seat across from him, grinning—like an asshole.

“What did I say?” Steve demands. “What are you doing here?”

“I heard there was a killer magic show here tonight,” Billy tells him. His shirt is almost completely unbuttoned, like an asshole, and he glows. Steve wants to die.

“I hate you,” he informs him. He takes a cranky sip of his drink. Billy’s eyeing the bar.

“So?” He prods. “Have you made a move yet?”

“As a matter of fact, no,” Steve says. He gestures where a blonde haired girl is leaning over the bar to pull a coin out of someone’s ear. “I’m not sure I’m gonna.”

Billy raises an eyebrow. “Why? She’s hot.”

“I thought you were gay,” Steve mutters. Billy snorts, leaning an arm on the slightly sticky table.

“I have eyes,” he says. Steve glares at him, takes another sip. Billy watches him, sighs, and stands.

“I’m gonna get a drink,” Billy tells him, “unclench before I get back.”

Steve watches him go. Watches him at the bar. Watches him come back. He’s got a pint glass in his hand, foamy and dripping a little. Steve raises a brow.

“You like head, huh?” He asks, not thinking. Billy gives him his best impression of the Cheshire Cat.

“Prefer giving it, actually,” Billy says, taking a little sip. He’s left with a little foam mustache, which he licks off with his stupid pink tongue. Like an asshole. Steve’s sure he’s blushing.

“Whatever,” he mutters. Shoves his straw in his mouth and slurps. Billy watches him, blue eyes a little dark in the low light of the bar.

“So? Are you going?” He demands, a little bratty. Steve glares at him, then looks over at Angela behind the bar. She looks the same, hasn’t changed a bit.

“No,” he sighs. Billy narrows his eyes suspiciously.

“Why? Because she’s a bartender?” It doesn’t come out like a question. Steve heaves another sigh, feels a little put out.

“Not that I have to explain to you,” he says, “but no. Because she’s still a bartender. She’s in exactly the same place as she was three years ago when we dated.”

“Ah,” Billy nods, “you wanna leave then?”

Steve thinks for a second. He doesn’t really. He takes another sip of his drink.

“No, we can stay,” he says. Billy smiles.

Steve glares at Dustin. He can’t believe he got dragged into this. Mike is looking at him blandly from across the table.

“When you said you wanted to have lunch,” Steve grits out, “I thought you meant just us.”

“You need to bury the hatchet,” Dustin tells him. Mike nods.

“I want you at my wedding, Steve, but I can’t not invite my sister,” he tears off a piece of a roll from the basket in front of them. Steve glowers.

“That doesn’t mean I have to talk to her,” he grumbles. Mike gives him a look that says Steve’s a moron.

“Yes it does,” he says, “and you’re going to do it now, or I’m revoking your groomsmanship.”

Steve sits back, sulking. Dustin pats him condescendingly on the shoulder.

“It’ll be okay, Steve,” he murmurs. Mike stands abruptly.

“Nancy!” He calls, waving across the restaurant. Steve’s heart starts beating hard in his chest as he turns to look at her. She looks the same, mostly. Her hair’s longer than when he last saw her—years ago, admittedly—and she’s wearing a blue sweater under her coat that brings out her eyes. Jonathan is next to her, looking uncomfortable as they make their way over.

“Hey,” Nancy says, her voice soft. She gives Mike a little hug, smiles at Dustin, and then her eyes land on Steve. He presses his mouth into a thin line.

“Hey,” he says back. He’s never been more uncomfortable. He wishes he wore a different sweater, too, knows this one will show his panic sweat. She gives him a nervous smile. She and Jonathan take their seats, thankfully not by Steve. At least he has a buffer.

“So,” Dustin starts awkwardly. Trails off, doesn’t seem to know where he’s going. Mike glares at Steve.

“It’s hatchet time,” he tells him. Steve glares right back.

“There’s no hatchet,” he mutters, “it’s ancient history.”

“Right, that’s why we’re all so comfortable,” Nancy snarks. She always sniped when she felt like she couldn’t control a situation, like a cornered animal. Steve sits up, suddenly angry all over again.

“I don’t see why you are,” he snaps, “you made your choices, Nancy, you should stand by them.”

“Steve, it was high school,” she tells him, like he doesn’t know, “we all did dumb things.”

“Really?” Steve asks, a little incredulously, “Because I don’t remember ever cheating on you.”

Jonathan winces. Dustin’s head is in his hands. Nancy looks furious.

“Maybe if you listened to me, I—“

“Oh, yes, I forgot, this was my fault, “ Steve cuts her off, “I was so horribly abusive that I drove you to seek solace in someone else.”

“No, Steve,” Nancy clenches her tiny fists on the table, “You weren’t horrible. We just weren’t right.”

“I know that,” he tells her curtly, “but don’t put it on me. You made the choice to go behind my back instead of just talking to me.”

Nancy looks at him, her eyes a little shiny. Her nose is red. Steve thinks she might cry. Finally, she takes a deep, shuddering breath.

“You’re right,” she concedes, “what we did was wrong. I’m sorry.”

Steve struggles for a minute. Dustin gives him an encouraging nod.

“Fine,” he heaves a sigh, “I accept your apology.”

“Great!” Mike’s grinning, and Steve feels a little bad that he had to do this. “Can we eat now?”

Steve watches in fascination as Billy inhales four egg rolls in a row, barely swallowing between them. They’re sitting in Steve’s kitchen, ostensibly for a powwow about Steve’s date progress, but so far all they’ve done is discuss basketball and order Chinese. Billy’s hair is drying in little ringlets, hanging around his ears and tickling his neck—Steve won’t admit it out loud, but he kinda loves when Billy comes here straight from the gym. He looks good just-showered, sue him. Billy smiles at him, baring his half chewed food at Steve, who snorts in disgust.

“How do you feel about Indianapolis?” Billy asks, mouth still full. He reaches for a container of fried rice.

“It’s a cesspool,” Steve says automatically. He crunches down on a crab rangoon. “Why?”

“Rita’s there,” Billy tells him, “She’s shadowing the senator.”

Steve groans. “Great. I’m not cut out to be a trophy husband.”

“I beg to differ,” Billy smirks, “pretty and dumb, it’s just how girls like that like them.”

“I’m not dumb,” Steve protests. Billy pats his hand condescendingly.

“I know, baby.”

Steve’s ears burn a little. “I’m not!”

Billy sighs. “I wasn’t actually making fun of you. I know you’re not dumb. You are good at playing it, though, so. There’s no reason she has to know.”

“You were making fun of me,” Steve tells him. Billy smiles a little, digging his chopsticks into the container and rooting around.

“Yea, a little, but I was also being serious.”

“Didn’t know you could be both.”

“It’s a talent,” Billy agrees. He sticks the chopsticks in his mouth, talks around them. “So, Indianapolis?”

Steve eyes him critically. Leans forward a little. “You wanna take a road trip?”

Billy is annoying. He won’t keep his feet off the dashboard, won’t stop messing with the music, won’t stop fiddling with the windows. Steve’s gonna scream.

“If you don’t stop I’m kicking you out,” he says, very diplomatically. Billy just grins over at him, turns the volume up a few notches. Steve breathes through his nose carefully, grips the steering wheel tight. “I mean it.”

“Sure you do, baby,” Billy intones blandly. He’s started doing that more—calling Steve baby. It makes Steve hot under the collar.

“We’re like 20 minutes from the hotel, can you just chill out until we get there?” He begs. Billy glances over at him then, makes a show of putting his feet down. Keeps his hands clasped in his lap the rest of the drive (like an asshole).

“Okay,” Steve says while they dump their stuff, “I’m gonna go to the library, where she does research during the day—“

“You don’t think this counts as stalking, do you?” Billy wonders aloud. Steve glares at him.

“You said it wasn’t as long as it was publicly accessible information,” he accuses. Billy snorts.

“I wonder if she’ll see it that way.”

Steve rolls his eyes. Turns his back on Billy to change into the suit he brought, then sticks his tongue out as he leaves. Billy just wiggles his fingers in a wave, looking a little unfair lounging on one of the beds.

Rita is thrilled to see him. Her dark curls bob as she bounces over to throw her arms around him, her grey skirt swishing around her knees. She’s immediately into the idea of catching up, invites him to some dinner thing that night, puts him up in a ridiculously nice room in a hotel. He calls Billy.

“Come to The Alexander,” he says as soon as he picks up.

“What? Why?” Billy sounds confused and a little groggy, like he was napping.

“Rita got me a room,” he knows he’s grinning, can’t help it, “it’s way nicer than ours, we have to stay here tonight.”

“Both of us?” Billy asks. Steve glances at the king sized bed, bites his lip.

“Yea, both,” he finally answers, “you don’t have a problem with sharing, do you?”

Billy snorts into the phone. “With you, pretty boy? Never.”

Billy looks surprised when he enters the room, looking around with wide eyes. He dumps his and Steve’s bags at the foot of the bed.

“You were right,” he tells Steve, “this is way nicer than where we were.”

“Right? She sent me this suit, too,” Steve pulls the box out and shows Billy, who hums appreciatively.

“She has good taste,” he murmurs, “you gonna put it on?”

“Later,” Steve says, “I don't want it to get all wrinkled before I go.”

They lounge around for hours, side by side on the big bed. Billy talks the whole way through two movies, but Steve doesn't mind. He's funny, and luminous, and Steve's getting more sure by the minute that he'd rather spend the evening with Billy than with Rita.

When the time comes for him to leave, he puts on his suit and gives Billy a twirl, spreading his arms for the full effect.

“Well?” He prompts. Billy licks his lips, looking him from head to toe very slowly. Steve can feel the heat burning in his cheeks.

“You look good,” Billy tells him. His voice is rough, and it makes Steve want to crawl inside and stay—possibly forever. He clears his throat.

“Thanks,” he murmurs, “I'll uh—see you later?”

Billy spreads his hands. “I'll be here.”

Steve comes back to a dark room. He moves very carefully, trying not to make any noise as he undresses and gets ready for bed. He can see Billy's sleeping figure on one side of the bed, illuminated by the bathroom light, his bare chest rising and falling as he breathes softly. He draws the covers back slowly, crawls in on the other side.

Billy shifts, reaching out towards him. Steve holds his breath as Billy's hand connects with his shoulder. He shifts again, one blue eye cracking open blearily.

“Hey,” he murmurs, sleep rough and soft. His hand strokes absently at Steve's bicep like he doesn't know he's doing it. “How'd it go?”

“She asked me to marry her,” Steve tells him. Keeps his voice soft in the dark. Billy's other eye blinks open, shocked.

“She what?”

“She needs a beard,” Steve says. Billy stares at him, then cracks up. Steve mouth twitches up at the sound. Billy leans up on one elbow, looking down into Steve's face.

“This is the best karma,” he grins. Steve shoves out at him playfully.

“Shut up,” he mutters, “this just means your job isn't done.”

Billy flops back down, his hair haloed around his head as he smiles dumbly up at the ceiling.

“Never is,” he says. Steve rolls his eyes, turning over so he's curled up on his side facing Billy.

“Just go to sleep.”

Billy drives them back, crazy and too fast like he’s racing the other drivers on the highway. Steve tries to clutch the door inconspicuously, doesn’t want Billy to know he’s hanging on for dear life. It’s dark when they get back, and Billy doesn’t take them back to the apartment right away. Steve peers out the window.

“Where are you taking me?” He asks warily. “Is this the part where you kill me?”

Billy scoffs. “If I wanted to kill you I woulda done it already.”

Steve glares at him. Billy looks over, rolls his eyes.

“I’m not telling you,” he says, “in fact, cover your eyes.”


“Do it,” Billy insists, “Or I’ll pull over and you can walk home.”

Steve heaves a long-suffering sigh, covering his eyes with his hands. He tries to track the turns and bumps in the road at first, but gives up quickly. He counts his breaths instead, bored out of his mind. Finally, the car stops and he hears Billy open the driver’s side door.

“Can I open my eyes?” He calls. A rush of cool air tells him Billy has opened his door.

“No.” He feels a hand reach over and pop the buckle on his seatbelt, then the hand wraps around his bicep and carefully maneuvers him out of the car. He lets Billy drag him down what must be a long hallway before they come to a stop. “Okay, open.”

Steve takes his hands away, and gapes. The stadium around them is empty, stands that reach the ceiling dark where the lights don’t reach. He takes a step forward, awed.

“Are we in the United Center?” He asks breathlessly. Billy shoves his hands in his pants pockets and come up to nudge him with his elbow.

“Cool, huh?”

“How did we get in here?” Steve looks over at Billy, whose hair is glowing under the lights, dimples carved into his cheeks as he grins.

“I worked here over a summer,” he says, “kept a key.”

“That has to be illegal,” Steve comments. Billy shrugs, stepping up to the metal rack of basketballs.

“Probably,” he picks one up, turning it over in his hands, “You ever play HORSE on a professional basketball court?”

Steve steps up, takes the ball from Billy, “No.” He sinks it easily in the basket without looking. “But I have played HORSE.”

Billy grins, looking thrilled. He chases the ball down, missing when he shoots from the same distance as Steve, then takes off his shoes. Steve gives him an odd look.

“What are you doing?”

“Strip HORSE,” Billy says. He quirks an eyebrow. “Did I not mention that?”

Steve rolls his eyes. “No, you left that part out.”

Billy throws him the ball, which he catches easily. “Are you scared, Harrington?”

Steve passes the ball under his leg and sinks the ball again. Throws the ball back to Billy with his own smirk. “Nope.”

Billy misses twice more before Steve does. Steve takes off his shoes, grinning at a sock-less, shirt-less Billy. They go back and forth, playing at one on one, swiping at each other and crowding close. Steve loses his shirt when Billy makes a shot with his chest pressed to Steve’s back, unable to concentrate from the same position. Billy misses the next one, loses his pants.

Steve feels alive, watches Billy bounce around in his tiny briefs, grins and misses the next shot, loses his pants. They’re breathing heavily, chest to chest, when a door shuts loudly from somewhere. They both startle, looking over to the hall they came in and seeing the shadow of a man walking towards them. They look back at each other, grabbing whatever clothes they can and fleeing.

They’re giggling like children when they make it outside, Steve clutching a shirt that’s not his and his shoes, Billy holding a pair of pants. He slips the shirt over his shoulders, too loose despite Steve having an inch on Billy in height. The other man is broader, more muscular, and Steve has never been more aware of it than he is wearing his shirt. Billy pulls his pants on, digging the keys out.

“Lucky I grabbed my pants, or we’d have no way home,” he remarks as they climb into the car. Steve can’t stop grinning the whole way back to the apartment.

Billy follows him inside, dumping the bags on the inside of the door. He’s looking at Steve oddly.

“What?” Steve asks, “Do I have something on my face?”

“No,” Billy smirks, “you look good in my shirt.”

“Oh,” Steve says. Thanks the lord his lights are mostly out, won’t show his blush. He picks at one of the buttons. “I might keep it then.”

“No way,” Billy takes a step forward, eyes bright, “I can’t afford to lose anymore shirts, guys keep taking my shirts.”

Steve rolls his eyes. “It’s not their fault. They take them, thinking you’re gonna call, and then you don’t so they never have the opportunity to give them back.”

“Never had a reason to call before,” Billy says, voice low as he takes a step forward. Steve swallows hard.

“No kidding,” his voice is equally low as he watches Billy advance. Billy’s hands creep out to undo Steve’s top button.

“Until you,” he murmurs. Steve watches him undo another button, doesn’t try to stop him. He feels too too hot. Burning up.

“Me?” He asks, barely above a whisper. Billy leans forward just a tiny bit, undoes the last few buttons. Steve’s shirt falls open, and Billy pushes it to the floor.

They stare at each other, blue eyes on brown, until Billy’s eyes flicker down to Steve’s mouth. Steve lurches forward, he can’t help it. Gets his hands in Billy’s ridiculous hair and presses his mouth over Billy’s. Billy makes a small noise, pressing back, his hands lifting to grip over Steve’s flanks. Steve huffs, changing the angle and applying more pressure.

Billy slips his tongue into his mouth, like he belongs there, and Steve makes the world’s most embarrassing whimper. He presses closer, opens his mouth wider and tries to devour Billy whole. Billy’s strong arms wrap tight around Steve’s waist, their chests flush, and Steve can feel Billy’s half-hard cock against his hip. It’s strange, but not bad. Might be good, actually.

Steve’s still mostly naked, clutching at Billy in nothing but his briefs as they trade hot kisses back and forth. He has to pull back, getting dizzy and hot all the way down to his toes.

“I’ll go to the wedding with you,” Billy blurts, sounding wrecked. His mouth is red and bitten, eyes glassy and hair a mess.

“Are you just saying that to sleep with me?” Steve breathes. Billy shakes his head, his arms still wrapped tight around Steve’s middle. They’re breathing each other’s air—it’s intoxicating. Billy laughs.

“No,” he assures him, “although I definitely want to sleep with you. Turns out I don’t hate doing other stuff with you too, though.”

“Wow, high praise,” Steve snarks. He feels dazed, can’t help but lean in to steal another kiss. Has to pull away hard before they get too distracted. Billy leans his forehead against Steve’s and Steve breathes deep, breathes him in.

“So, the wedding?” Billy prompts. Steve sighs, closes his eyes.

“You really wanna go?” He asks quietly, “because if you say you wanna go and then you decide not to—I’m gonna be crushed. Or if you ditch me after. I’ll steal all your mail.”

Billy huffs a little laugh. “I don’t really know what to tell you except that everyday I spend with you I wind up wanting a thousand more.”

“Sap,” Steve murmurs, his lips ticking up in a little smile. Billy’s mouth presses against the corner of his. Steve sighs, “okay.”

“Okay?” Billy sounds like he's grinning. Steve opens his eyes.

“Okay,” he says, “but we can't have sex yet, I want my money.”

Billy snorts. “Fine. Can we make out at least?”

Steve grins. “Definitely.

“How's the progress finding a date?” Will asks. They're at a fitting for their suits. The wedding’s three days away. Steve has yet to introduce them to Billy, a little nervous about it.

“Uh,” he stalls. Dustin looks at him interestedly from the stool he's standing on, his arms out so he can get pinned.

“Did you find someone?” He demands. Mike looks up from where he's texting El. Lucas stares. How did Steve's life end up here?

He sighs. “Okay, listen—”

Mike squawks, Lucas is grinning loudly. Dustin squirms to look at him over the man that's pinning his suit.

“Who?” He yelps. Steve pinches the bridge of his nose.

“You know you don't get the money if we don't meet and approve her!” Mike tells him, pinched and haughty. Steve glares at him.

“It's not a girl,” he says. There's silence all around him. He looks up to see identical looks of shock on all of their faces.

“Wait, naked neighbor?” Dustin asks. Lucas balks.

“Naked neighbor?” He sounds dubious. Steve heaves a deep breath, trying not to slap every one of them.

“Well I usually call him by his name,” Steve says, “but yes, you know him as naked neighbor.”

“I can't believe you didn't tell me!” Dustin looks offended. Steve shoots him a dirty look.

“I don't tell you everything about my life.”

“Have you slept with him?” Mike asks, a suspicious look on his face. Steve turns his glare on Mike.

“No,” he informs him, “which sucks because I coulda been getting laid the past three days if not for you idiots.”

“I mean,” Will interjects, “you coulda still done it. It's not like we have any way of knowing.”

“I hate all of you,” Steve tells them.

Mike rolls his eyes. Shithead. “Anyway, we have to meet him.”

Steve pinches his nose. Wishes he were someplace else.

“Fine, we can meet for lunch tomorrow,” Steve says, “but if you're rude, I won't hesitate to end all of you.”

“Don’t do that,” Steve hisses. Billy grins at him, takes his hand out of Steve’s inner thigh.

“You need to calm down,” Billy tells him, “It’s not like I’m meeting your parents.”

“This is worse,” Steve hisses, “I don’t really care about my parents. I do care about them.”

Billy raises an eyebrow, leans his elbows next to his plate. “So, what, if they don’t like me I get the boot?”

Steve’s mouth twists. “Well…no. But it’ll be way easier for everyone, including you, if they do like you.”

“Is that one of them?” Billy tilts his chin towards the door of the restaurant. Will stands there, looking a little nervous, but he smiles when he sees Steve, gives them a little wave as he comes over.

“Hey, Will,” Steve says, a little relieved that he’s the first to arrive, “This is Billy.”

“Hi,” Will shakes Billy’s hand, sits across from them, “Did you already tell him to ignore whatever Mike says?”

“No,” Steve admits. He looks at Billy. “Ignore everything Mike says.”

Billy looks between them, his eyebrows climbing. “O-kay.”

The others arrive soon after, shaking Billy’s hand and sitting. Steve can tell everyone’s trying to be polite, but he can also see them all shooting Billy surreptitious looks and smirking. After they order, Mike leans forward.

“Not exactly your type, is he, Steve?” He asks, a little smug. Steve glares.

“I don’t have a type,” he grits out. Dustin rolls his eyes.

“You mean you don’t always go for people who are both pretty and could destroy you with their little finger if they wanted to?”

Billy’s grinning. Steve’s going to kill them all and then himself.

“Sounds like a type to me,” Lucas nods. Will gives him a sympathetic smile.

“What do you, Billy?” He interjects. Billy swallows a mouthful of water.

“I’m a musician,” he says. Steve can see Will twitch when Mike opens his mouth, then winces. Hopes it hurt.

“That’s so cool!” Will grins. “What do you play?”

“Guitar, mostly,” Billy nods a little at him, “I’m the lead singer in my band, too.”

“You are?” Steve blurts. He can see Dustin glaring. “I mean, yes, you are. Very good, too.”

Billy looks like he wants to laugh. Steve resists the urge to kick him under the table, give him a bruise to match the one Mike’s gonna have from Will’s foot.

“You know Steve’s kind of a slut?” Mike pipes up. The whole table groans.

“Mike, you idiot,” Lucas glares around Will at him. Steve’s definitely gonna commit a murder before this meal’s out.

“He should know!” Mike protests. Billy’s mouth is stretched in a slightly feral grin that Steve will not admit turns him on a little bit.

“I do know,” Billy tells him, “I’m kind of a slut too, though, so it’s a good match.”

Steve snorts. “Kind of?”

“Whatever,” Billy rolls his eyes, but he’s still smiling.

Their food comes, and there’s quiet for a few blessed minutes as they eat. Steve’s not sure this is going as badly as he thought it was. Maybe he’ll make it out alive.

“That wasn’t so bad,” Billy says, tucking a big hand into the back pocket of Steve’s pants. It makes Steve tingle a little. “Will was cool.”

“He’s the only one,” Steve agrees, “and sometimes Lucas.”

“They love you,” Billy tells him. Steve looks over at him. He shrugs. “Feel lucky you have people to give the shovel talk for you.”

“I knew I shouldn’t have gone to the bathroom,” Steve groans. He missteps, tipping into Billy’s side a little, and the hand in his back pocket tenses briefly.

Billy grins, pulling him in tighter. “It was funny. Does Mike always look like he hasn’t shit for a week?”

“Pretty much,” Steve admits, “they weren’t rude?”

“Oh, definitely,” Billy says, “but it’s expected. I’m sure Max’ll be just as horrible.”

“Max?” Steve looks at Billy’s perfect profile.

“My stepsister.”

“I didn’t know you had a sister!”

Billy gives him a look. “We’ve been together for like four days, you can calm down.”

“I wanna know everything,” Steve whines. He steps in front of the other man to wrap his arms around Billy’s shoulders. Billy doesn’t stop moving, just keeps walking and sticks his other hand in Steve’s other back pocket to guide him.

“You will,” Billy looks soft as he says it. Steve wants to kiss him, so he does. Gets pushed against a wall for his trouble, mouths sealed.

The day of the wedding dawns bright and sunny, and Steve’s more nervous than he really has any right to be. He and Billy drive to the venue together, then Steve leaves him to go get changed with the other groomsmen.

Mike looks a little sick when he gets there, already in his tux, and pacing. Steve leans down to Lucas, who’s watching him from an arm chair.

“Is he okay?” He whispers. Lucas shrugs.

“Probably not, but it was his idea to do this, so.”

Steve nods. It’s a fair point. He’s dressed when Dustin comes in, also dressed, with Will hot on his heels.

“We just saw the girls,” Dustin says, “El said to tell you to calm down.”

“How does she know I’m freaking out?” Mike yelps. Paces harder. Steve rolls his eyes, walks over and grabs Mike by the shoulders. Forces him into a chair.

“Okay, listen to me,” he instructs. Mike’s looking at him a little desperately. “You love El. You want to spend your life with her. This freak out is not about that. You know what you’re doing. It’s normal to be scared, but it’s going to be okay.”

Mike takes a shuddering breath, shutting his eyes tight. Steve squeezes his shoulders until Mike opens his eyes again. He looks clearer.

“Okay?” Steve asks. Mike nods. Steve grins.

“Let’s have a wedding!”

“You gonna let me take that tux off you when we get home?” Billy’s voice is a quiet rumble in Steve’s ear, sends a shiver down his spine. He turns, grinning.

“Did you cry?” He asks. Billy rolls his eyes.

“I don’t know these people,” he says. There’s a tiny pink tint to his cheeks.

“You did!” Steve exclaims. “It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone.”

Billy rolls his eyes, leans forward to plant a short kiss to Steve’s mouth.

“So do we sit, or what?” He asks, gesturing at the tables. Steve shrugs.

“Sure, let’s sit.”

Billy draws Steve’s chair out for him. They sit, looking around at all the people mingling in formalwear. Suddenly, a girl with bright red hair takes the seat next to Billy. He turns to look at her.

“Hey, shitbird,” he says. Steve looks between them, bewildered.

“Fancy seeing you here,” she answers, “At my best friend’s wedding. Who you’ve never met.”

“I’m Steve’s date,” Billy tells her. She turns a critical eye on Steve, who waves awkwardly.

“Hot Neighbor Steve?” She asks. Billy’s ears turn red, and Steve feels buoyant.

“Are you trying to kill me?” He mutters. She rolls her eyes, turns to Steve.

“I’m Max,” she says, “Billy’s sister.”

“Ah,” he murmurs, “nice to meet you, Max. You were El’s maid of honor, right? I didn’t put two and two together.” He knocks his hand against Billy’s bicep.

“That’s me,” she chirps. They sit for a second, and silence descends. Finally, she stands, her dress swishing around her ankles. “Well, this has been sufficiently awkward. I’ll see you guys later.”

She walks away without looking back. Steve grins at Billy.

“Hot Neighbor, huh?” He pokes at Billy, who swats at him.

“Whatever,” Billy mutters.

“You know, I also had a moniker for you,” Steve tells him, “I called you naked neighbor to my friends.”

Billy huffs. “That’s not nearly as flattering.”

Steve shrugs. “Not my fault you can’t keep your pants on.”

Billy looks around, leans forward to murmur into Steve’s ear. “Speaking of, how long do we need to stick around?”

“Uh, an hour or two?” Steve tells him, a little red. Billy licks his lips.

“Bets over,” he reminds Steve, “means we can finally fuck.”

Steve chokes a little, on nothing. “Yea, I remember.”

“Not excited, baby?” Billy gives him a simpering smile.

“More than you know,” Steve tells him seriously, “but I have to stick around for a while. It’s the duty of the groomsmen to hold the groom’s tux while he pees.”

Billy snorts.

They barely make it through the door before they’re on each other, crashing against the wall in Steve’s entryway as Billy seals his mouth over Steve’s. It takes two tries to slam the door shut, then Billy’s dragging him off the wall by the lapels.

They don’t let go of each other as they stumble down the hall, shucking clothes with fumbling hands and trying to touch as much as possible.

“Fuck,” Billy mutters into Steve’s mouth, struggling with his belt, “Get this off.”

Steve reaches down to pull his belt off, sucking hard on Billy’s tongue as he does so. His pants fall to the floor, followed closely by Billy’s. They stumble backwards, Billy shoving him when the backs of Steve’s knees hit the bed. He climbs on top of him, whining and grinding down so their cocks meet through their briefs. Steve can’t breathe around how good it is, reaches up a hand to get Billy’s mouth back on his, licks past the other man’s teeth with gusto.

“Fuck, fuck,” Billy curses, scrabbling at Steve’s hips, “I’m not gonna last.”

“Me neither,” Steve breathes, his voice hitching when Billy attaches his mouth to the space behind Steve’s ear.

He struggles, flipping them and ripping Billy’s briefs in his haste to get them off. Billy groans, his cock red and leaking, curved against his stomach. Steve drops his forehead against Billy’s, feels overwhelmed and breathless. Shucks his own underwear hastily and brings his hips down against Billy’s.

They rut, precome slicking their bellies and easing the friction into a delicious slide. Steve’s panting, the pressure building behind his eyes and at the bottom of his spine. Billy’s not far behind, reaching a hand down to get a grip around them. It only takes a few pumps before Steve’s spilling between them, Billy arcing off the bed not long after as he comes too.

Steve collapses on top of Billy, still horizontal on the bed. Just lays there, his head rising and falling in time with Billy’s breaths. Billy’s hand comes down to stroke over Steve’s bicep, just a gentle thing that makes Steve kinda want to cry. He doesn’t. But. Wants to.

“So?” Billy’s voice is soft. “What’s the verdict.”

“I’m thinking about doing that with you everyday for the rest of my life, if you’ll let me,” Steve admits. Billy’s quiet.

“I don’t think so,” he murmurs. Steve freezes. “Why would we keep rutting like teenagers when there’s so much more fun stuff we can do?”

Steve sits up, smacks Billy’s chest and glares down into his grinning face. “Don’t scare me like that!”

“Aw, baby, don’t be mad,” Billy teases. He looks a little fucked out. There’s a hickey forming on his neck Steve doesn’t remember putting there. He sighs, leans down again, rests his head over Billy’s heart.

“Not mad,” he says. Smiles. “Happy, actually.”

They get married a two years later. Mike’s the most smug Steve’s ever seen him.