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After it’s all over, Steve tries to give Eddie his jacket back. It's covered in blood, dirt and upside-down goo but Steve’s mom taught him manners, and when someone lends you their jacket in a life threatening situation, you give the damn jacket back once you’ve both made it out alive.

Eddie is the one who defies the rule of law and pushes it back into Steve’s arms. “Keep it, Harrington.” He’s exhausted, slumped in a waiting room chair, somehow still maintaining an air of condescending charm when he says: “It suits you just fine.”

And that’s how the whole thing starts. With Eddie Munson’s charming condescension and weirdly-soft jacket.











“What about the Ferris Bueller trio?" Robin suggests.

"No," Eddie renounces, criss-cross applesauce on the family video counter. "No way am I wearing that bright red monstrosity of a shirt.”

“It’s a jersey, actually,” Steve says.

Eddie swings his gaze over. “Oh, right, thanks so much, Harrington. Can’t believe I forgot about the astronomical difference between a shirt and jersey for a second there.” He leans over to Robin, and says gravely: “Rob, would you please note that I made a nearly unforgivable mistake and Steve here corrected me before the mortification could kick in?”

“No thanks, I’m good,” Robin says, spearing a line through the last item on their ‘halloween costume ideas’ list. “Well, gentleman, we are officially out of options. If either of you come up with something, I'll be restocking shelves in the comedy aisle.” She stabs the back of her pen into the counter with a satisfying click, and leaves to go do her job.




It’s Sunday afternoon, nearing evening, and Family Video is deserted, the creeping fear of an approaching Monday enough to scare off even the most loyal of customers. The only one brave enough (dumb enough) to stick around is Eddie Munson, who is somehow a certified regular with a grand total of zero movies rented from the store.

He’s co-opted Steve’s apple slices, which might have been fine if he: one, asked, or two, ate them the right way.

Oranges you peel, bananas, you peel, but apples you just eat. Eddie drags the apple skin off with his teeth before eating every slice. It's weird. It's frustrating. Steve cannot stop looking at Eddie’s mouth.


“Hey, what if we went the more classic route?” Robin says from a few aisles away. “Ghosts, zombies, that sort of thing.”

Steve nods. “I could do ghosts.”

“Oh, please,” Eddie says. He has a few inches of height on Steve but only because he’s sitting on the counter, which he isn’t technically allowed to do and gets away with anyway. “You would probably just throw a sheet over your head and call it a night.”

Steve bristles, resisting the urge to climb up on the counter to level the playing field. “The ghost sheet is classic! Didn't we just say classic— That’s classic! It’s like the classicest!”

“Not a word,” Eddie says smugly, plucking another apple slice from their nearly empty ziploc bag.

Steve reaches out and latches onto his wrist. “Alright, enough with my fruit, I’m cutting you off.”

Eddie’s eyes dart from Steve to the slice he already has clutched in his own hand. “Fine. But you can’t stop me from eating this one.”

“Yes, I can.”

“No, you can’t.”

Eddie’s eyes flash with the kind of fascinatingly dangerous energy Steve would expect from a hyena. It’s silent for one, two—

They both dive for the apple slice.

Wrestling over a counter for a fucking piece of apple has got to be one of the most childish things Steve has done in his whole life, but it’s serious business. Eddie’s got a height advantage, Steve has a grip on his wrist and it’s an over complicated game of tug-of-war for a solid fifteen seconds until Steve lands a well-placed elbow and sinks his teeth into the apple first.

Eddie is just a millisecond behind him, and his teeth just barely scrape over the corner of Steve’s mouth, blunt and already drawing back but there and Steve’s brain short circuits.

He’s got half an apple slice in his mouth and his brain is scrambled worse than an egg, because Eddie fucking Munson’s teeth just touched his lips and the only ever happens when you’re making out with someone.

While he’s distracted Eddie wrests his hand out of Steve’s grip and pops the last half of apple slice in his mouth.

“Alright,” Eddie says nonchalantly. “Now we’re even.”

Steve feels like he’s been resurrected and killed again but yeah, sure. They’re even.






“If we do end up going with the more classic route, Steve should be a vampire,” Robin calls from further away this time.

Eddie snorts. "Harrington, a vampire? Nice joke, Rob.”

"No, trust me, I'm serious. Have you seen his canines?”

Eddie swivels on the counter, and pins Steve down with his chocolate-donut-glaze eyes. “Apparently your canines are something to write home about,” Eddie says conspiratorially, but his tone is different, almost edging on jealous. There's a mounting pile of evidence that says Eddie is interested in Robin, and Steve has been steadfastly ignoring it for months.

“This one time Steve bit me for some experiment Dustin was conducting and it felt like I was getting stabbed,” Robin says helpfully. “There were teeth marks on my arm for like a week.”

“Teeth marks?” Eddie echoes, intrigued.

“You’re talking to the guy who turned skull rock into a makeout hot spot.”

“Alright, Harrington,” Eddie says appreciatively. "But I still don't believe this vampire thing. Robin,” he calls to the comedy section, “I’m calling your bluff."

"How much?"

"Five bucks."

"Deal. Show him your teeth, Steve."

“Hey,” Steve objects, “I'm worth way more than five dollars.”

"Sure you are." Eddie reaches out and grasps Steve’s jaw. “Now let's see those pearls."








"This is the worst dentist appointment ever," Steve says through gritted teeth.

“Maybe you’re just a bad patient.” Eddie counters. He tilts Steve’s chin around some more, eyes narrowed. “Yeah. nope, can’t see ‘em. Robin, you're losing five bucks.”

“Steve, I'll give you two of the five dollars if we win!”

“My mouth isn’t just a tool that you can use to prove a point!”

“Two dollars of Eddie’s money, Steve!” Robin enthuses.

Begrudgingly, Steve bares his teeth like he means it.

“There we are,” Eddie says, his thumb trailing up from Steve’s jawline to his mouth, ghosting over his bottom lip and nudging at his teeth.

Steve’s train of thought promptly barrels off the rails and towards a cliff.

If Eddie notices, he doesn’t show it, the pad of his thumb settled on Steve’s nearest canine. He presses down, testing. “Seems pretty normal to me.”

“Get him to bite you,” Robin says.

Steve’s train of thought has taken a swan dive off said cliff and is crashing and burning and generally not functioning as it should.

“Okay, Harrington,” Eddie slips a knuckle into Steve’s mouth. “Hit me with your best shot.”

This is not a normal situation. Friends do not do this. Steve’s train of thought is burnt to a crisp and his mouth is dry and Eddie is staring at him like he’s the only thing worth paying attention to and it’s doing things to Steve’s head. He can’t think straight, but instinct says bite down, so he does, quick, sharp. Like a stapler.

Eddie jolts. “Christ, okay,” he says, shaking his hand out, wrist limp, “Vampire it is, then.” 

Steve runs his tongue over his teeth, right where Eddie’s knuckle just was. Tastes like apple. “And we’re actually even now,” Steve says. “Y’know. Bite for bite.”

Eddie grins. “Steve fucking Harrington,” He says to himself, twisting the lone ring on his hand around. There are teeth-shaped indentations on his pointer finger. “You are an enigma.”

”You just made that word up,” Steve accuses.

“All words are made up, Stevie.”

“Oh, so you can make up words but when say classicest—“

Eddie shushes him, pulls out his wallet, and presents Steve with two one-dollar bills. “Here, for your excellent services.”

“This is weird,” Steve announces.

“Prostitution is a bold and noble profession,” Eddie says seriously. He tucks the money in Steve’s breast pocket and pats it twice. “Get yourself something nice. Go watch a star war.”

Steve throws his hands up. “I forgot the s one time!”

Three bucks, hand it over!” Robin says, flying into view with the empty return box. “And don’t think you can hide behind Steve this time. I want my money.”










Dustin organized a baseball game to kick off summer and it is honestly, genuinely, the worst idea he’s ever had. Definitely worse than the biting experiment. And that’s really saying something.

Robin went and got a competitive streak, so she keeps making faces at Steve from the red team’s bench and it’s so disgustingly hot that Steve’s hair is sticking to the back of his neck and Eddie is pressed right up against him on the blue team bench which means their ankles keep brushing together and Steve is seriously two seconds away from some kind of victorian heat stroke.

“Henderson’s really lost it, huh?” Eddie says.

“Right?!” Steve exclaims. “Baseball in ninety-degree weather? Kid’s a regular genius but this… it’s not it.”

Eddie shakes his head in shared disapproval and Erica tugs sharply on his hair. “Don’t move,” she demands, “If you want a quality padawan braid you better shape up.”

Eddie stops moving. “Sorry ‘bout that.”

“You’re forgiven,” she says tersely.

Out on the baseball field, Mike misses again and Dustin shrieks in righteous disappointment.

Steve grimaces.

Dustin chose Steve first when he and Max were picking teams, citing his bat skills full confidence, and Steve didn’t know how to break it to him that bashing a demodog to death does not equal hitting a home run. He hasn't actually played baseball since middle school.

Mike misses for a third and final time, Dustin and Nancy are stuck at bases one and three respectively, and Lucas is pitching. The pressure is on.

Steve rises to his feet and hopes his eardrums won't burst when Dustin realizes Steve isn’t little league championship-worthy and shatters the sound barrier.

“Wait, hold on.” Eddie pops up next to Steve and  Erica makes an indignant noise.


“Sorry, sorry, just give me a second, Steve’s collar is wrong.”

Eddie reaches out, pulls Steve forward a bit, and it is too goddamn hot outside for skin-on-skin contact, especially when it’s Eddie Munson doing the contacting. Heat stroke is real and Steve is in immediate, life-threatening danger.

“Is it bad?” he asks.

Erica levels him with an unimpressed look. “It wasn't even wrong to begin with.”

Eddie shushes her, fiddling with the fabric around Steve’s collarbones. He’s got a lot of rings on today, all silver and cold against Steve's neck, a far cry from the broken bottle Eddie held against his throat back when they barely knew each other. Steve knows it’s cheesy as hell, but he can’t believe how far they’ve come.

Eddie gives Steve’s collar one last tug and steps back, satisfied. “Alright, you’re battle-ready.” He smiles and falls back onto the bench. "Go get 'em, Tiger."















Steve swings and misses twice.

Dustin is still crouched at first base. “Just hit it!” he shrieks desperately.

Behind Steve, Max is laughing so hard they probably won’t even bother catching the next perfect fastball Lucas pitches.

“Hey, batterbatterbatter, saaa-whingggg, battah,” Eddie crows from the blue team’s bench in a pitch-perfect impression of Cameron Frye.

“I swear, Munson, I’m going to get you in that jersey next Halloween!” Steve calls, eyes fixed on the ball.

“Not on your life, Pretty Boy!”

Lucas winds up, pitches—

Eddie cups his hands around his mouth and roars, “SWING.”

Steve hits a home run.












Eddie sticks a raspberry on the end of each finger and wiggles them like a cartoon spider. “Look, the tips of my fingers have all been chopped off.”

“Don’t play with your food,” Steve says automatically, punching numbers into the ancient computer in front of him.

He actually has to actually do his job today— the end of summer break is a retail nightmare and every task is the worst combination of mundane and time-consuming. He doesn’t have the energy to banter; Eddie figured that out early on and stuck around anyway, cross-legged on the counter. It’s Robin day off,  so Steve’s best guess is that Eddie’s here for the raspberries (his favorite fruit) that Steve got from the store yesterday and brought to work with him for totally normal snack-related reasons. 

Eddie wiggles his fingers some more. “What if I told you this was the idea that eventually led to the production of Edward Scissorhands. Would that be a better joke?”

“Why am I rating your jokes?” Steve asks. “You got someone you want to impress?”

Eddie drops the court jester act and the mood drops with it. He starts pulling the raspberries off of his fingers. ”Maybe I do.”

Alarm bells blare in Steve’s mind. “You’re gonna need better jokes, then,” he says, trying to salvage something from their wreck of a conversation.

Eddie just smiles ruefully. ”Oh, trust me, I know.”










Steve breaks the topic a few days later, over breakfast with Robin at their favorite diner.

“So, just wondering here.” Steve twists his fork back and forth, mopping up maple syrup with his chocolate chip pancake bite. “Do you have a plan if-slash-when Eddie asks you out?”

Robin almost chokes, swallows hard, and takes a very, very long drink of lemonade.

“You,” she says, setting her plastic cup back on the table, “Are asking me what I am going to do when Eddie asks me out?”

Steve gestures with his fork, universal body language for duh. “You probably have a plan right? If I’m overstepping here just tell me, but I’m, y'know. Curious.”

Robin actually laughs, in that low, giggly way that makes her look and sound like she’s dying. “Steve,” she says, “Steve, Eddie knows I’m a lesbian.”

“Oh,” Steve shoves the bite of pancake in his mouth, appetite suddenly back. “Cool.”

“Cool,” Robin echoes, grinning harder than she should. “And now my question is, where’d you get the idea in your head that he was going to ask me out?”

“I mean, he comes to Family Video during, like, every shift you work,” Steve says. “And he came to Dustin’s baseball game but only after we asked, plus a while ago he implied there was someone he wanted to impress around and—“

“Remove me from the equation,” Robin interjects. “What then?”

“You know I failed freshman year algebra, right?”

“Just think about it, just for one second. If we became you…”

Then Eddie would be showing up at family video and going to Dustin’s baseball game and trying to impress—

Steve gestures to himself with his fork, eyes extra-large-sunday-brunch-special-plate wide.

“You,” Robin confirms. “Now only two questions remain. Do you have a plan if, but much more emphasis on when, Eddie asks you out? And how are you going to beat him to it?”











Steve is halfway through his Tuesday shift at Family Video and Eddie still hasn’t shown up yet.

He’s restocked shelves and helped the occasional customer and played Wham! over the speakers all morning because Last Christmas can definitely be a June song if he tries hard enough, but he’s still half-miserable and full of nervous energy.

The counter looks empty without Eddie on it.




A little before noon, after rewinding a box of returned tapes and the memory of Eddie’s rings against his neck and teeth scraping over his bottom lip and how he nearly tackled Steve after his home run during the baseball game, Munson finally decides to show up.

“You’re late,” Steve says.

Eddie stops a few steps in. The door swings shut behind him, the rusty squeak of it echoing through the empty store. “I wasn’t aware I was expected at a certain time.”

Steve shuffles some of the return slips in front of him around even though they’re already in the right piles “Have you ever actually showed up here with plans to rent a movie?” he asks.

“Maybe I did the first time,” Eddie says carefully, slowly approaching the counter. “But I kinda needed an excuse to come back again after.”

“You would have had to return the movie eventually.”

“How do you know I wasn't planning on stealing it?” 

“I should ban you,” Steve says. He flips the nearest return slip over to the blank side and holds it up threateningly. ”I’m going to write ‘No Eddie Munson’s allowed’ on this and tape it by the open sign.”

“Your loss, Harrington,” Eddie drawls. “If you ban me then you’d never get to see my pretty face during working hours.”

Steve feels flammable. “What about outside working hours?”

Eddie leans, elbows on the counter, into Steve’s space. “What about them?”

“Can I see you outside working hours,” Steve says, patience nearing zero.

Eddie grins devilishly. “You forgot the pretty face part.”

Steve abandons all rational thought, grabs Eddie’s stupidly attractive face, and pulls him into a kiss.

It’s too bruising to be romantic, but Eddie tastes like cinnamon instead of apple and it’s just as good, it’s better, and Steve feels like he’s burning alive after drowning his whole life.

When they pull back for air, Steve knocks their foreheads together. “Go out with me.”

Eddie beams like he won the lottery. “Thought you’d never ask.”