Eddie scoffs as he follows Steve down the aisle of Family Video, a mean scoff that makes Steve grit his teeth and roll his eyes.
Eddie Munson has been in Family Video for almost every single one of Steve’s shifts for the last two weeks. Which means Steve has had to see Eddie far more than he’d like to. He’s Robin’s friend, anyway. And although Steve and Robin are as thick as thieves now, that doesn’t mean Steve suddenly meshes well with her other friends…
Which is mostly Steve’s fault. Surprisingly, every stupid thing he did in high school didn’t vanish into thin air the moment he graduated… no matter how hard he prayed to any god that would listen and wished upon a thousand stars that it would.
“You like The Outfield?” Eddie continues, his disapproval evident.
“I only know that one song that plays on the radio all the time,” Steve answers exasperatedly. “ Your Love , or whatever.”
“I’ll never understand how you’re so popular when you’re so boring.” Eddie jokes, his voice lowering with amusement. Steve doesn’t even have to turn around to know that Eddie’s grinning that stupid crooked smile that Steve has had to look at every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday evening for the last two weeks. Maybe Steve could ask Keith to change his schedule…
“Was popular, Munson,” Steve corrects boredly before he drops into a crouch. He slowly puts away the movies he collected under one arm, having to remember what comes first… S or T…
“Here,” Eddie says, pointing a long finger at an empty VHS sleeve directly in front of Steve’s face. Steve should be looking at the cover, making sure the title matches what he has on top of the pile, but he’s distracted by Eddie’s hand. Steve finds himself wondering if his hand is bigger than Eddie’s… surely it would be. Steve’s not a small guy, and he plays basketball too - but Steve’s reminded of the fact that Eddie’s an inch or two taller than him. Maybe his hands are bigger-
“Earth to Harrington?” Eddie takes those long fingers Steve was just admiring - admiring? No, observing - and snaps them in Steve’s face.
Steve flinches back before he smacks Eddie’s hand out of the way. He reaches for the cover before putting the movie behind it, safely in its case. Steve stares down at the next case, pretending to read the title as he continues his thought from before.
“In case you can’t tell, I work at Family Video, making only slightly more than the Scoops Ahoy job I had at the mall before-” Steve’s about to say something he shouldn’t, so he swallows and says what they were all told to say, “-it burned down.” Steve turns to look up at Eddie, a slight glower on his face.
Munson, though… Munson’s smirking, leaning against a rack with one arm over the top, one ankle crossed over the other. Steve distantly wonders if Eddie’s good at picking up ladies - he seems like he would be - but forces his eyes back to the endless covers in front of him.
Steve sighs, “Popularity doesn’t matter. I just wish I would have figured that out sooner…”
Eddie’s watching him. Steve can just feel his eyes on him. Eddie’s gaze always feels like the Summer sun Steve used to work out in when he was worried about looking good before returning to school. It’s heavy on his shoulders and makes him feel hot in all the worst ways - like he’s slow and exhausted but the anxiety of how he looks overpowers his desire to just give up and say ‘Who cares?’ Not that Steve cares how Eddie thinks he looks. He doesn't care at all.
“Here,” Eddie says after a long minute of silence.
Steve swallows, the sound loud in his ears, but grabs the sleeve Eddie’s pointing to before putting two copies behind it. He doesn’t have a smart retort this time. He stares down at the three movies he has in his hands, numbly reading their titles. Eddie doesn’t say anything else either, and the resuming silence rings in Steve’s ears.
Eddie always comes when it’s dead… barely anyone in the store. And today it’s only them. Steve doesn’t have a chance of tuning out the silence when there’s no chatter around him. Just an empty store and Eddie Munson.
Steve’s read the titles five times over and he still hasn’t processed what they are. All he can hear is his heartbeat and his thoughts and he hates it-
Eddie shifts, taking a step away from the rack he was just leaning on. The direction he moves makes Steve think he’s leaving, but then he sees Eddie crouch beside him, his knees sticking out through the ripped holes in his black jeans. Steve stays still, overly aware of the rise and fall of his own chest with each breath. Can Eddie hear him breathing? Steve feels like he sounds ridiculously loud right now-
“This one-” Eddie pauses, reaching over to grab the VHS out of Steve’s left hand. He ends up laying his hand over Steve’s, palm warm against Steve’s knuckles as his hand slides upwards before grasping onto the tape. He slides the tape out of Steve’s fingers, then tilts his head back to look at the cover just above their heads. Somehow he manages to put the tape away one handed, leaning the cover back so he can slip the case behind it. He makes it look easy with those long fingers of his. “-goes here.”
Steve only has two tapes left, holding one in either hand. Eddie turns to him and Steve realizes he was watching again, so he clears his throat loudly and looks down at the tapes.
“You planning on taking my job, Munson?” Steve grumbles. Thankfully, he finds the place for the next tape before Eddie has to help him. Again.
Steve can see the quirk to Eddie’s lips out of the corner of his eye, which is the only reason Eddie beats him to finding the last tape. He takes the movie out of Steve’s left hand wordlessly this time before he puts it away, one handed and just as skillful as the first time. It makes Steve want to whine and complain like he so often does to Robin when she outsmarts him at the many board games they’ve started playing, but he stays quiet.
“Thinking about it,” Eddie jokes.
With nothing else to look at, Steve turns towards Eddie and Eddie turns towards him. Yep. Steve really doesn’t like his stupid smile.
Steve rolls his eyes for the tenth time since Eddie Munson walked in through the front door and then stands. Eddie, like usual, follows him. Follows him all the way to the front desk before Steve reaches the little green flapping doors that he’s allowed to enter as an employee but Eddie must respect as a non-paying customer.
“Fine,” Eddie shrugs as he puts his arms up on the counter, the leather of his jacket squeaking dully as the folds rub together. “So you’re not popular anymore. You’re still boring.”
“Then what are you doing here?” Steve snips back. “If I’m so boring then why are you standing here talking to me?”
Eddie’s eyes linger on Steve’s a moment too long, as if Steve’s the one who should know the answer to that question, but then Eddie shrugs and pushes off the counter. He turns his back to Steve, staring out of the front window of the store instead. He watches people pass by, chatting and smiling in the orange afternoon sunlight.
“Just trying to add some spice into your boring life, Harrington,” Eddie finally answers before he turns back to Steve. “Honestly, I feel bad.”
Steve’s eyes roll so hard into the back of his head that he can feel his muscles strain with the action.
“Whatever, Munson. You’re just as boring as I am. You just don’t want to admit it.” Steve begins to organize some candy they left on the shelf. A ploy is what Keith called it. They put the candy next to the register so when people are checking out they feel more inclined to buy it. Because it’s a last minute decision, Steve thinks that’s what Keith said.
“I’m not. And I’ll prove it to you.” Eddie challenges.
Steve looks up at the metalhead under his fringe, disbelief in his gaze and annoyance set in his brow. “And how do you plan on doing that?”
“Come over to my place tomorrow night.”
Steve blinks. Was he just invited over to hang out with Eddie Munson?
“Did you just ask me to hang out?” Steve asks for clarification.
“Yeah,” Eddie gives him a weird look. “What else could you possibly have going on?”
“Nothing,” Steve says as if it should be obvious, but that only makes Eddie lift his brows pointedly. With a deep breath, Steve takes a look at those candies, still in a messy pile despite Steve’s efforts at straightening them out. “Fine,” Steve decides. He meets Eddie’s gaze boldly. “Fine. But if you’re just as boring as I think you are, then I’m going to tell everyone I know that Eddie Munson is boring.”
“Oh, you mean Robin and those kids I see you hanging out with all the time?” Eddie teases.
“Whatever, Munson,” Steve retaliates by pushing Eddie’s hand off the counter, reveling in the way Eddie frowns when he does so. “Now get out of my store.”
Eddie’s face brightens up again despite the fact that Steve is kicking him out. Slowly, the metalhead takes backwards steps towards the exit, keeping his eyes on Steve as he goes. His smile is pretty charming, Steve thinks, but that only annoys him more. Eddie’s just a bother - like a fly buzzing around Steve’s head all day. He shouldn’t think he’s charming.
“See you tomorrow, Harrington.” Eddie grins widely. He’s got one hand on the door, cracking it open as he makes his slow exit.
“Yeah, yeah,” Steve deadpans. He turns away, refusing to watch Eddie any longer. He pretends to focus back on the candy, but says one last thing, “See you tomorrow, Eddie.”
He can tell that Eddie hesitates by the door - he assumes it’s because Eddie wants to get the last word in - but then he leaves, letting the door go so it can crawl shut on its airbrake. Steve’s able to catch Eddie walking past the front window, running a hand through his long hair before he disappears from sight.
Steve should really give Eddie some tips on how to take better care of his hair…
Steve stands outside of Eddie Munson’s trailer, staring at the front door with his fists frozen at his sides. He should knock before people start noticing him lingering around outside like a weirdo… but Steve’s nervous. He can’t quite figure out why. Maybe he’s worried that Eddie will actually see how boring Steve is, and then he’ll give up on Steve and he’ll stop coming into Family Video-
Steve jumps when he hears a clash of trash cans a few yards away followed by a loud and slurred shout from some old man. Or possibly a woman with a really bad smoker’s rasp. Steve can’t really tell. But he knows he’d much rather be inside than outside, so he lifts his hand and knocks on the door three times.
The trailer doesn’t seem to be that large, so Steve’s not surprised when it only takes Eddie a few seconds to open the door.
“Harrington,” Eddie smiles down at Steve, cocky for no reason. “You actually came.”
“Well, yeah,” Steve snaps at him. “Why wouldn’t I?”
Eddie shrugs but doesn’t say anything else. He walks away, and something tells Steve that’s the only invitation inside he’s going to get, so he steps up into the trailer and pulls the door shut behind him.
“It’s not much,” Eddie’s saying as Steve’s eyes roam around the trailer.
“It’s nice,” Steve says earnestly.
Steve shrugs, watching Eddie take a seat on the couch. He kicks his shoes off at the door before he steps into the living room, looking around for a good spot to sit. There’s the couch, which Eddie is already on and… the floor. Steve doesn’t mind the floor, so he lowers himself down.
“Small’s not bad. My house is big but it’s empty.” Steve plucks at a loose string on his jeans, quietly adding on, “A home shouldn’t be empty.”
“No,” Eddie agrees. “It shouldn’t.”
Steve’s not sure what else to say so silence falls amongst them, filling Steve with worry. He hasn’t even been at Eddie’s for ten minutes and he’s already run out of things to say. Eddie’s right. Steve is boring .
“Hey, I’ve, uh…”
Steve looks up just in time to see Eddie lifting a guitar into his lap. Steve hadn’t even notice the guitar when he walked in, but he’s invested now. He’s never seen Eddie even remotely close to one, despite knowing Eddie plays. Steve’s heart skips a beat in excitement.
“There’s this song…” Eddie holds the guitar against him and it looks so natural that Steve’s surprised Eddie doesn’t carry the thing around with him. “I wanted to play it.”
When Eddie’s eyes land on Steve’s, Steve realizes Eddie’s asking for permission.
“Yeah, of course,” Steve motions towards Eddie with one hand, nodding his head at the same time.
It’s awkward. Steve feels awkward and Eddie looks like he feels awkward so… it’s awkward. Although, Steve’s not ready to run back home just yet. He’s interested in figuring out more about Eddie. Even though Eddie thinks Steve’s boring, Steve doesn’t share the same thought when it comes to Eddie.
“It’s new - I mean, I just learned it,” Eddie corrects himself. He refuses to meet Steve’s gaze, but instead stares at his hands. “So it’s not going to be perfect.”
“Play it already, Munson,” Steve smiles as he bends one leg so he can rest his arms on his knee.
“Alright,” Eddie says quietly.
Steve listens intently, but it takes his brain far too long to put a name to the song Eddie’s playing. He wasn’t trying to figure out what song it was, he just wanted to hear Eddie play - which is truly astounding. Eddie is talented, so talented that Steve’s finally understanding why Eddie finds him to be so dull.
But then Steve’s brain registers the familiar tune just as Eddie risks a glance at him. Eddie’s playing slows and the song crawls to a stop, and he’s hiding his eyes again.
“Wait,” Steve laughs airily, amazement shining in his hazel brown eyes. He can’t believe Eddie just played that. Of all songs too, he decided to play that one. Steve shakes his head before he shifts to his knees, staring up at Eddie who sits on the couch with the guitar resting in his lap. His fingers stop, freezing along the neck of the guitar. The low light in the trailer glints off Eddie’s rings, dragging Steve’s attention back to his hands. “That was Your Love! You told me you didn’t like that song! If you don’t like it then why do you know how to play it?”
Eddie looks nervous, more nervous than Steve has ever seen him. The bastard is nothing but cocky when they’re at Family Video, full of bravado and overflowing with retorts Steve can’t keep up with, but right now he’s timid. Steve gets it… playing an instrument in front of anyone has to be nerve wracking. And the way Eddie keeps glimpsing at Steve makes Steve think that no one’s immune to those nerves, not even Eddie Munson.
“I told you. I just learned it,” Eddie answers, his tone even but his eyes wide as he watches Steve.
Steve’s brows slowly grow closer and closer as his brain tries to comprehend what Eddie just said. And when his brain refuses to believe that, Steve shakes his head, lips pursed and eyes narrowed. “No way, Munson.” Steve scoffs, eyes falling back to the guitar. “What’d you do?” Steve mocks lightly, grinning just enough so Eddie knows he’s joking. “Learn it overnight?”
Eddie stares at Steve, then lowers his gaze to the hand he has on the fretboard. Steve watches, more surprised by Eddie’s silence than if he’d said anything. The metalhead drops his hand, wiping his sweaty palm off on the thigh of his jeans before softly saying, “Yeah. I did.”
Steve blinks blankly, still processing the fact that that’s somehow possible. Is Eddie Munson a super genius? Steve stares in disbelief, mouth hanging agape, his shoulders falling when he realizes how tense they were. His head slowly shakes back and forth as if it’s on some mechanism, too stunned to really say much.
“I know you’re smart, Munson, but I don’t know how that’s even possible.” Steve’s eyes flit back up to the man in question, watching a smile blossom on his face. He doesn’t look at Steve though, only his guitar.
“I just listen to the songs,” Eddie answers with a shrug. He grabs the fretboard again, his fingers pressing down on chords that Steve assumes would make a pretty sound if Eddie were to start strumming. “Then I play the note that I think it sounds like. I don’t always get it perfect… but usually I can figure it out after a few tries.”
Steve laughs again, just a short airy burst, but one of amazement. “That’s like-that’s like translating another language.” This time when Steve’s eyes flit up to Eddie’s, looking up at him under long lashes, Eddie’s looking back. “That’s really impressive.”
“No,” Eddie’s face scrunches up at the same time his cheeks darken, and Steve thinks that means he’s finally found Munson’s weakness. Compliments. Clearly the metalhead doesn’t do well with any sort of praise. “It’s really not.”
“It is,” Steve insists as he scoots closer. “Being humble doesn’t suit you. Just admit it. You’re a genius.”
Eddie scoffs but his face is only turning more red and he seems at a loss for words, so Steve counts this as a win. Out of all of his and Eddie’s spats, he’s definitely winning this one… but is it a spat if they’re laughing and having a good time and he’s telling Eddie things he likes about him? Steve’s not so sure, but he doesn’t think on that for too long.
“Could you teach me something?” Steve asks, his eyes flitting gently between Eddie’s, searching for an early indication of Eddie’s answer.
Eddie looks at him blankly, eyes open and his brain struggling to come up with a response. He doesn’t look like he’s going to say no at least…
“I’m not really a good teacher.” Eddie replies. He clears his throat and averts his gaze down to his guitar. “I play by sound so I don’t really know how to… teach that.”
“Just like,” Steve stares at the guitar too as he motions towards it with both hands. The guitar is starting to feel like a person, like they’ve got a third wheel present to help lessen the tension. Not that there’s tension, Steve corrects himself. “Put my hands where they need to be.”
Eddie looks back at Steve, his large brown eyes unsure. Steve likes his eyes. He’s always liked how he can take one look at Eddie and can take a good guess on how he’s feeling based off of his eyes alone. Eddie’s simple like that. And Steve likes that about him. He likes Eddie’s genuinity.
“Fine,” Eddie concedes. He scoots to the far corner of the couch, opposed to where he’d been sitting right in the center, to make room for Steve. “Come on,” he beckons, sounding grumpy and put-out, but it’s hard to hold that facade when Steve plops down beside him with a lopsided grin and excitement in his eyes.
“I’ve never even touched a guitar,” Steve admits as Eddie takes the strap off his shoulders. Eddie would have known the second he handed Steve the guitar though. He doesn’t know how to hold it, and the way he puts his knees together tightly with his toes drawn in as if he’s afraid the guitar is going to fall is pretty cute.
Eddie clears his throat and lifts his eyes from Steve’s legs to the guitar.
“Just put your hand here,” Eddie grabs the fretboard for a second to show Steve his finger placement before letting go.
“Wait!” Steve objects, taking on a frown when Eddie moves too fast. “I didn’t see that. Show me again?”
Eddie’s jaw clenches when Steve scoots an inch closer, leaving barely any space between their legs. He can practically feel Steve’s warmth radiating off of him, making Eddie feel like a popsicle still stuck in its sweaty wrapper while it melts in the sun. Eddie swallows before he reaches for the guitar, ignoring the way their shoulders bump because of the new angle.
“Like this,” Eddie says, voice tight.
Steve tilts his head, his brown hair falling over his forehead as he focuses. His arm is between their bodies, stretched underneath the guitar and out in front of them. Steve attempts to mirror Eddie’s position in the air, but it’s so bad that Eddie can’t help but sigh out loud.
“I’m trying!” Steve exclaims, but he’s laughing. “You know how weird it feels to hold your fingers like that?”
“Yes, Harrington, I do know,” Eddie mocks before lifting his hand out in the air so it hovers beside Steve’s. He holds the position for Steve to try to replicate, but Steve’s still struggling. Eddie’s arm falls, pressing his elbow into his thigh moments before he hangs his head.
“Harrington,” Eddie exhales exasperatedly. Steve sits beside him quietly, frowning down at his hand as he tries to rework his fingers. A better idea comes into Eddie’s head, so he perks up and grabs the fretboard.
“How about I play the chords and you strum?” Eddie suggests.
“Okay,” Steve agrees with a simple nod. He turns towards Eddie, suddenly aware of how close they are when their noses nearly brush. He feels his face heat up seconds before he turns away, staring down at the cords Eddie so helpfully advised to ‘strum.’ “How do I do that?”
“How do you-” Eddie repeats, but suddenly stops when Steve meets his eyes again. Looking genuinely curious to learn and Eddie really shouldn’t be a smartass when Steve’s looking at him like that. “Okay, it’s a pattern. A strum pattern. So think of the song and strum to match it.”
“Oh,” Steve grins, full of false confidence. He stares down at the strings, looking determined despite not having a clue what he’s doing.“I can do that.”
Eddie smirks but hides it well, He doesn’t want Steve to think he’s teasing him. Not at a moment like this.
“Okay, I’m ready. Just keep strumming and I’ll do the rest.” Eddie tells him as he scoots another inch closer. They’re pressed side to side, from ankle to shoulder, but Steve doesn’t seem to be thinking anything of it. He’s far too focused. Eddie likes the way tenacity glimmers in Steve’s eyes.
Steve does as he’s told, dragging his thumb down the chords to the best of his ability. Eddie’s been playing so long that he forgot how little people know about guitar. He always assumed people would pick it up and have a general idea of what to do, but this proves him wrong. He shifts his fingers along the fretboard a few times, but the notes come out loud and grating.
Steve immediately stops strumming, glimpsing at the whining amp with a grimace on his face.
Eddie clamps his long fingers down on the strings, silencing the racket coming from his amp. He never would have described any sound a guitar made as ‘racket’. He’s heard that one too many times from old people who say his music isn’t real music… but what he just heard was definitely racket.
“That was bad…” Steve slowly turns towards Eddie, his grimace still on his face. “I can add this to my growing list of stuff I suck at.”
“Anyone ever tell you how dramatic you are?” Eddie rolls his eyes as he reaches around Steve, his arm snaking around the other’s waist. He grabs onto Steve’s hand with his own, molding Steve’s fingers just how he would hold his own.
“You. All the time.” Steve mumbles petulantly, but watches Eddie’s hand curl around his. “Your hand is bigger than mine…” Steve observes absentmindedly. There’s not a huge difference… Eddie just has unfairly long fingers. Probably perfect for playing guitar. Steve likes to think his own hands are perfect for basketball. Maybe that’s why their hands are the way they are.
Steve clears his throat as he brings himself out of his thoughts. “N-nothing.” He swallows, then glowers in Eddie’s direction. “You’re supposed to be teaching me something here, Munson. So far I haven’t learned anything.”
“Apparently you’ve learned that my hands are bigger than yours,” Eddie says under his breath.
He somehow scoots closer, his knee going slightly under Steve’s. He brings the guitar closer to himself as well, meaning that arm around Steve’s waist only gets tighter. Steve’s not sure how he wound up in this position (with Eddie Munson no less…), but here he is. Heart racing, perspiration building at his temples, and his mouth horribly dry. He swallows again, trying to ignore the feeling of Eddie’s calluses against his skin.
“Put your other hand on mine,” Eddie instructs, nodding his head towards the hand he has on the fretboard.
Steve pouts - no, he scowls, Steve Harrington doesn’t pout - but he does listen to Eddie. His arm brushes against Eddie’s stomach, surprised when he feels taut muscle under Eddie’s torn band t-shirt. Steve wonders what Eddie looks underneath it, but only wonders about that for a split second before he forces his attention back to the guitar. He refuses to think about Eddie’s muscles.
“This is the best way I’ll be able to teach you,” Eddie says as he leads their left hands to the first note. His other hand squeezes Steve’s for a moment before he strums the guitar, using Steve’s hand instead of his own.
And the noise coming out of the amp sounds good again. Not as good as when Eddie was playing by himself, but it sounds like a song at least.
A breathy laugh leaves Steve and he’s smiling again as he watches Eddie move their hands. Steve’s nothing but a puppet at this point, but it feels good to have the guitar in his lap, and it feels even better knowing he’s helping (no matter how minuscule that help might be).
Steve, for whatever reason, is inspired enough to start humming, and then humming turns into quiet singing where he misses a lyric every now and then. And Eddie’s laughing under his breath, which makes Steve’s grin grow even wider. Steve made Eddie actually laugh and not because he did something dumb - like knock over a movie display five seconds after putting it together.
But then Eddie starts singing with him and Steve’s too enraptured to do anything else but watch. Eddie catches him in the act, but instead of calling him out on anything, he simply says, “Keep going,” so Steve catches back up to Eddie in the lyrics while the corner of his mouth pulls up into a crooked smirk.
After the first verse, Eddie quiets the guitar by laying his fingers over the chords again, so Steve helps by laying his fingers over Eddie’s. The metalhead must find this humorous judging by the look he gives Steve, and Steve’s too embarrassed to joke about it so he brings his hands back to himself. Luckily, Eddie seems to get the message since he takes the guitar back a second later, his broad hand brushing against Steve’s waist as he goes. The strap messes up Steve’s hair too but Steve refuses to let Eddie mock him for playing with his hair so he keeps his hands in his lap and tries to not think about how silly it must look.
“I can’t believe you learned that song so fast,” Steve comments. He watches Eddie prop the guitar up against the side of the couch, then leans back and relaxes against the couch cushions. Steve’s also hyper aware of the arm Eddie has stretched along the back of the couch, an arm that would be around Steve’s shoulders if he leaned back.
“It’s really not that hard,” Eddie replies, sounding tired, as if the topic of conversation bores him.
“It is though ,” Steve argues, throwing a hand into the air before it falls back to his lap. “I couldn’t even strum which should be the easy part! I don’t know why you aren’t out there trying to win girls over with your killer skills.” Steve turns to Eddie, hoping to share a smile with the metalhead, but instead finds Eddie looking at him with a straight face.
“Yeah,” Eddie nods slowly. “But, for some unknown reason, I’m here with you.”
Steve laughs, even though Eddie’s face remains stolid, Steve still laughs because that was a joke. Right? What else would it be?
“I know,” Steve shakes his head, his snicker dying off and morphing into a sigh. “Maybe you’re not that smart after all.”
The corner of Eddie’s mouth quirks up for a brief moment before he shrugs coolly. “Guess not.”
Steve swallows again, throat bobbing as he turns away and tries to focus on anything else in the trailer besides Eddie’s mouth. He notices a few pictures on the wall, but the glare from the kitchen light makes it impossible for Steve to see what those pictures are. And there’s clean dishes stacked beside the sink, with a dish towel that has a paw print pattern on it hanging on the stove handle. It’s not exactly decor that Steve would see Eddie having around.
“This is my aunt’s place,” Eddie explains when he notices Steve looking around. “But I basically live here. She even has a room for me in the back.”
Steve leans forward, resting his elbows on his knees as he looks down the hall. He assumes that’s Eddie’s room at the far end, and the band poster tacked on the hollow door suggests Steve’s probably right.
“She’s great,” Eddie continues. “She travels a lot for her job so she didn’t want to buy a house when she’d barely be able to live in it. She usually only stays for a few weeks when she comes back to Hawkins, but she didn’t want this place sitting empty so when I turned fourteen she said I could come and stay anytime I want. Helps me get away from my parents, that’s for sure.” Eddie snorts at the end, but the small smile on his face makes Steve think that his parents must not be that bad. Steve definitely doesn’t smile when he’s talking about his.
“She sounds cool,” Steve comments.
“She is,” Eddie agrees. He leans forward, resting his elbows on his knees just like Steve is. That’s when Steve realizes their legs are still touching. And Eddie smirks when he sees Steve staring at their knees. “Want to see my room?”
“Hm?” Steve’s eyes flit up to meet Eddie’s, briefly wondering why the other is so close. He’s not helping Steve play the guitar anymore… There’s no need for such a close proximity-
“I said,” Eddie lowers his voice, “Do you want to see my room?”
Steve’s lips fall apart slowly, a response failing to come, especially when Eddie’s eyes fall to his mouth. What the hell does that look mean, Steve wonders? But then Eddie’s eyes are back on his and Steve’s confident that he imagined all of that. It’s all in Steve’s head - he’s been thinking about Eddie Munson and his stupid smile and his annoying voice and his frustrating laugh that always seems to come at Steve’s expense. That’s all.
“Sure,” Steve answers, but his voice comes out raspier than he thought possible.
Eddie looks concerned as he gets up from the couch. “You okay, Harrington?”
“Yeah,” Steve clears his throat as he gets up from the couch, a little too stiff and a little too quick to look casual.
Eddie grins that all-knowing grin again, then wordlessly turns around to the kitchen. He reaches the cabinet, pulling out an old glass that used to have a design on it but it’s too scratched and damaged to look like anything now. He flicks the sink on, the silver chain around his left wrist clanking against the faucet, then fills the glass under the tap.
Steve runs a hand through his hair when Eddie turns around to hand him the glass, water dripping down the sides and over his fingers. He gives a brief tight-lipped smile before he takes the water, taking two gulps before he nods.
“Thanks,” Steve says, and he means it too. He feels much better, especially with the cold glass cooling his skin. He hadn’t realized how heated he became.
Eddie stares at him a while longer, head just slightly tilted to the side and his expression soft. Steve feels as though Eddie’s stare weighs a hundred pounds, so he’s relieved when Eddie looks away and motions towards the hall. Steve might have said something stupid had he been left with silence any longer. And Robin can attest to the fact that Steve says really dumb shit when in the presence of someone he finds-
“Come on,” Eddie looks over his shoulder when he realizes Steve hasn’t moved.
Steve steps forward and silently hopes his numb legs don’t give out underneath him. There’s no reason for him to be this nervous. Eddie’s just Eddie, after all. So he holds onto his water with a tight grasp and stays two steps behind Eddie.
“It’s messy,” Eddie warns quietly before he pushes the door open and steps inside.
Steve stares unabashedly, his curiosity overpowering his politeness. He takes in the stacks and stacks of D&D books, and figurines that he’s pretty sure go with the game. Eddie has another guitar in his room too, and another amp, which has a boombox sitting on top precariously. He’s got a chair pushed into one corner, filled with clothes so there’s not a chance of either of them being able to sit on it. Eddie’s bed is pretty big though, big enough for the two of them, and it’s made, which means Eddie’s room is cleaner than Steve’s right now.
“Wow,” Steve smiles as he walks up to a stack of cassette tapes. There are even a few CDs in Eddie’s collection too. Steve runs the fingers of his free hand along the tapes, eyes skating along the titles. “I barely know any of these bands.”
“I already knew you had shit taste in music, Harrington,” Eddie jokes. He walks past Steve, brushing against him on his way to the bed. The room isn’t large, considering they’re on the other side of the trailer, but it’s cozy. Maybe a little cramped but… Steve likes it. It smells like Eddie too.
“Whatever,” Steve huffs out a laugh as he turns his head to read a few more titles.
Behind him, Eddie sits on the edge of the bed, knees spread, hands pressed into the mattress beside him. He leans back, watching Steve inspect his collection. Steve’s unaware of the set of eyes on him, or how intently they’re studying his every move. Like how Eddie finds the face Steve makes when he focuses endearing; when his brows join together and his mouth forms a very gentle frown. Sometimes Steve’s mouth will move with the words he’s reading too, Eddie has learned that from all the times he’s seen Steve in Family Video.
“We could get high and listen to a few of them,” Eddie suggests. He wants that to be Steve’s choice though. He’s not even sure if Steve smokes, and the last thing he’d want to do is scare Steve away. Steve was the golden boy in high school after all. Eddie might have put the final nail in his grungy outcast coffin Steve surely has him in.
Steve laughs and turns to give Eddie a hesitant look. “I haven’t gotten high in over a year - well, actually Robin and I-” Steve seems to remember who he’s talking to since he cuts himself off.
“No, please continue,” Eddie smirks, swaying one knee back and forth. He really wants to hear this story.
“Uh,” Steve blushes and ducks his head to stare at the floor. Eddie ignores the burning desire to walk across the room and brush Steve’s hair off his forehead. “Rob and I… accidentally got high. But I can’t say any more because she might get mad at me.”
“Ah,” Eddie nods slowly, then shrugs. “I’d be the last person to judge you.”
Steve finds that funny since he rolls his eyes and barks out a dry laugh. “You judge me every day, Eddie.”
Eddie takes in a deep breath, trying to remember the way his first name sounded coming out of Steve’s mouth while also trying to think of a retort. It’s not the easiest thing he’s done, but he manages. Hearing ‘Eddie’ in Steve Harrington’s voice shakes him to his core every time.
“I really don’t,” Eddie argues. “You want to smoke then?”
Steve’s teeth clamp down on the corner of his bottom lip, the plush flesh red and bouncy at the other corner. His eyes are on the corner of the room where Eddie has one low lamp on, illuminating a sketchbook he conveniently closed before Steve came over.
“Sure,” Steve concedes, “Why not?”
Eddie leans over to the bedside table, pulling out the first drawer to reveal an array of joints already rolled and waiting. Steve catches the sight of his stash and can’t help the way his eyebrows jump up to his hairline.
“Jesus, Eddie,” Steve says under his breath, already walking over to the bed. He sits down beside Eddie like they’ve done this a hundred times, his leg only an inch from the other’s. It’s like their time on the couch all over again, except this time Eddie doesn’t have the excuse of the guitar to get close to Steve again.
“I don’t smoke it often,” Eddie tells him, although his idea of often and Steve’s idea of often are probably vastly different. He puts the joint between his lips as he twirls his lighter skillfully between his fingers. Steve watches him, and Eddie stupidly hopes the golden boy is impressed.
“Right…” Steve trails off.
Eddie lights the joint, taking a few puffs before he takes one good, long drag. He holds the smoke in his lungs while he turns to Steve, holding his best-rolled joint out to him. Steve looks nervous but takes the blunt from Eddie and holds it in a way that shows he’s definitely smoked before. Color Eddie surprised…
Steve takes a drag but ends up coughing the cloud of smoke out into the air.
“Come on, Harrington,” Eddie can’t bite his tongue when it comes to Steve. “I know you can do better than that.”
“I told you!” Steve’s laughing as he motions at Eddie with the blunt. “I haven’t smoked in over a year.”
Eddie watches Steve lift the joint to his lips again, holding it between his first and middle finger. He’s slower with his drag this time, taking just enough to burn but not enough to cough. He holds it, scrunching his face together and puffing out his cheeks. He looks ridiculous so Eddie can’t help when a laugh escapes him.
“Take it,” Steve says, still holding his breath.
Eddie’s fingers brush against Steve’s, plucking the blunt out from between his fingers. He holds the joint differently, between his thumb and forefinger. Not as hoity toity as Steve does. He probably learned that from watching his mom smoke cigarettes, Eddie would guess.
Eddie takes another long drag as Steve exhales his first one. He’s only taken one hit but Eddie can already see it in Steve’s eyes, glossy and soft. He looks at Eddie and all it takes is Eddie lifting his brows for Steve to laugh.
“Guess that means your tolerance is pretty low if you haven’t smoked in a while,” Eddie’s joking, but he keeps his tone even.
Steve snorts, scrunching his nose up.
Eddie’s too enamored to do much else but watch. He takes another few drags on his joint, only starting to feel the edges of his high kicking in, so he offers the joint to Steve once more.
“Okay, one more,” Steve tries to say seriously, but he’s giggling. Honest to God giggling. He takes the joint lazily out of Eddie’s hand, takes a deep drag, deep enough that Eddie’s eyes widen. But Steve manages to hold it just long enough before he begins coughing. He’s handing the blunt off in a hurry so Eddie takes it from him as he scrambles for air.
“You’re going to feel that one for a while,” Eddie warns, but Steve doesn’t stop coughing. So he gets up, grabs the water, and holds it out to Steve. Steve’s already too gone though, Eddie knows that for a fact when Steve just grabs the hand Eddie’s using to hold the water, leans in to drink from Eddie’s hand, and then pulls back.
“Oh… whoa…” Steve wipes off his shining lips with the back of his hand. “I’m really high.”
“Yeah, you kind of went all in,” Eddie smirks. He takes another hit.
“You need to catch up,” Steve declares, waving his hand in Eddie’s direction. “I can’t be the only one high.”
“I’d have to smoke the whole thing to get as high as you are right now, Harrington.” Eddie retorts, but he takes another drag because that’s what Steve wants him to do.
Steve falls back against Eddie’s bed, splaying himself out on the covers. He looks cozy and tired, grabbing at the edge of the blankets just to pull it closer. He wedges the blanket against his side, so the blanket encompasses him on either side.
“You just messed my whole bed up,” Eddie deadpans.
Steve laughs airily while he stretches his arms above his head. “Your bed is really nice.”
Maybe Eddie should slow down. He’s got a high tolerance but he’s smoked a lot really fast. He can really feel the high kicking in, so he turns back in the direction of his bedside table, dabbing the blunt out against the old wood before he sets it down. Steve has the right idea, so Eddie falls back against the mattress to get comfortable.
“I was surprised when you invited me over,” Steve admits.
When Eddie turns to look at him, Steve has his eyes closed.
“Why?” Eddie asks, watching his face.
Steve shrugs. “You don’t like me.”
“I never said that,” Eddie argues.
His tone gets Steve to open his eyes, looking at Eddie like he said something incomprehensible. “You laugh at me all the time,” Steve begins to name his points, all of which Eddie has easy comebacks for, but he’ll let Steve continue. “You make fun of my hair. And you’re always teasing me for not knowing movies-”
Eddie grins at him. “You haven’t seen even a quarter of the movies in the movie store that you work at. It’s pretty ironic. And I’m not laughing at you either, I laugh because I think you’re funny. And, sure, I tease you for caring about your hair too much, but I’ve never said it looks bad. You have really nice hair.”
Steve seems to deflate. But only slightly.
“You’re in my bedroom and I let you smoke my weed,” Eddie states the obvious. “That means I like you.”
Steve’s silent for a minute, then he hums thoughtfully. He won’t meet Eddie’s eyes as he speaks. “And what about learning a song for me? Does that mean you like me?”
Eddie feels fear in the center of his chest, like a block of ice, spreading icy tendrils through his veins. Eddie, though, is honest and stupid with courage… and growing weaker by the second for Steve fucking Harrington.
So he answers Steve with a simple, “Yeah. Yeah, it does.”
When neither of them say anything, Eddie realizes that he never put a tape in his boombox. They’re just sitting on his bed high, swallowed by silence and weighed down by a truth neither of them are willing to face yet. And Eddie’s still reeling from the fact that he has Steve Harrington in his bed.
“Guess you proved your point,” Steve speaks, but his voice is so soft and even that Eddie can barely understand him. Eddie presses his elbow into the mattress so he can stare down at Steve with obvious confusion. Steve only laughs though, his glossy eyes rolling to the side. Eddie used to walk away feeling like he won something whenever he made Steve roll his eyes, but now Steve’s smiles feel like bigger rewards.
“I’m boring,” Steve explains simply, amusement making his tone dance in the air. He wiggles his brows once too with his words, distracting Eddie long enough that Steve’s face softens into curiosity. His head tilts slightly, studying Eddie’s face.
“You’re not boring,” Eddie finally says.
“Is that your decision after hanging out with me?” Steve snorts, cheeks turning red as he laughs harder. It was easier for Eddie to ignore Steve’s pretty features when he was sober, but now he’s drowning in appreciation for Steve’s long lashes, and big eyes, and pink lips-
“Because all I’ve done is watch you play guitar like a pro,” Steve lifts his hands, limply listing off on his fingers, “And you played a song you learned last night, which is just insane-”
“Steve,” Eddie tries, but Steve shushes him sloppily.
“Shush, shu…sh…” Steve blinks blearily up at the ceiling, momentarily forgetting where he was in his list. He lifts his head off the bed, staring at the two fingers he has up so far, hoping they’ll give him his thought back. “Oh, yeah,” Steve’s head falls back, “I’m in your bedroom which has all this cool stuff - seriously, Dustin would love this stuff, I mean, I don’t even know what it is but I know it’s cool - and now I’m high from barely any weed, your weed, because I’m so boring I don’t even have fun.”
Eddie shrugs. “Pot isn’t fun for everyone.”
Steve exhales and Eddie can see how his body sinks further into the bed. “I was hoping you’d say something like ‘You’re not boring, Steve. You’re actually really cool. Just last summer you helped infiltrate a secret Russian military base and survived-”
Eddie’s snicker interrupts Steve’s rambling, confusing Steve enough to turn his head and blink up at Eddie confusedly.
“I already said you’re not boring, Steve,” Eddie grins down at him. “That whole Russian military base, though, that’s cool.” Eddie’s being sarcastic, but Steve beams at what he thinks is a genuine compliment. It softens Eddie’s heart, like soft serve melting on the pavement. “You confuse me, Steve.”
A laugh bursts out of Steve, just short and airy and surprised. “Thanks,” Steve snips playfully. He moves, just a fraction of an inch, but Eddie thinks he’s going to move away , so Eddie places a hand on Steve’s stomach to stop him. It mostly has the desired effect. Steve stops moving, but he’s also looking at Eddie like he’s terrified.
“That’s a good thing,” Eddie says, suddenly feeling parched. Maybe he should have gotten himself some water… “You keep proving me wrong.”
Steve takes in a small breath between his parted lips. “About what?”
“I thought you were just some asshole jock-”
“I was.” Steve says, looking ashamed.
“Maybe,” Eddie shrugs. “But you aren’t now. You’re nice, and funny, and smart, even if you don’t think you are. You drag those kids around like they’re yours, and you listen to them when they talk because you actually care-” Eddie’s hand moves over Steve’s stomach until he’s able to grab his waist. He shakes his head, trying to hear himself over the pounding of his heart. “And you put up with me even though I come in just to annoy you because I can’t think of any other excuse I can use to talk to you.”
Steve has a hand on Eddie’s arm, fingers curled around his bicep, resting on that area right above his elbow. Slowly, he glides his fingers up until they’re dancing under the sleeve of Eddie’s t-shirt.
“I hope you plan on kissing me after that, Munson, because that was quite a speech-”
Steve is silenced when Eddie’s mouth crashes against him, just on the side of painful, but Eddie’s enthusiasm has Steve smirking against his lips. Eddie’s chaste at first, softening his approach almost immediately, but then Steve’s hand glides up his arm, up his shoulder and behind his neck so he can grab the hair at Eddie’s nape. He grasps tightly, and that makes Eddie open his mouth and press his tongue against Steve’s when Steve’s lips part to reciprocate.
“Steve fucking Harrington,” Eddie breathes, amazed, before Steve’s claiming his mouth once more.
“Shut up,” Steve mumbles against him, his tone falsely annoyed. He’s actually flushed in the face, his cheeks prickling with heat, and his heart is hammering in his chest from Eddie’s apparent crush. Steve wonders how long Eddie’s felt like this, how long he’s wanted Steve - surely he’ll have a chance to ask the metalhead in the future.
Eddie chuckles, a sound that’s sweet on Steve’s tongue. He says nothing else, forgoing a retort in favor of grabbing Steve’s leg so he can guide it around his waist.
Steve never imagined the night was going to wind up here, but he’s far from disappointed. Eddie Munson is an impressive kisser, and Steve’s not sure whether he should be surprised or not. Eddie’s not leaving Steve much time to think on that when he keeps doing this thing with his tongue, and his hand has glided down Steve’s thigh far enough that Eddie’s now grabbing his ass.
Steve had forgotten what it felt like to like somebody. The way it made his stomach tie in knots that only made him excited, or the way it made him feel breathless from simple glances or soft touches, or how being cared for makes him feel safe. Eddie makes him feel safe, and important - like he matters - and hopeful. Eddie has Steve looking forward to tomorrow, and Steve hasn’t felt like that in a while.
Steve likes Eddie Munson… a little too much for his own good.