Steve keeps thinking that things will get better. That the days will get easier. That he won’t wake up every night screaming. He’s been hoping that would be the case since the first night after everything happened his junior year. Yet, it never does.
The days never get easier. He keeps thinking they will, but then another day passes, and then another, and then another, and then before he knows it they’re fighting something new and it just starts the whole process over again.
Yet, he continues to hope. Continues to believe that one day things really will get better, even if he knows it’s just a pipe dream.
The days have been so hard lately. He feels like he might crumble from the weight of it most days, but he just keeps going. He keeps going to his shifts at Family Video. Keeps getting out of bed every morning. Keeps on keeping on until he thinks he’s going to collapse at any second.
Robin has started to notice something is up. Of course she does. She’s far too perceptive for her own good, and honestly knows him better than he thinks he knows himself these days. That doesn’t mean he talks to her about it.
He just shrugs it off as if he’s not having nightmares so vivid he has a hard time telling if they’re real or not. As if he’s not getting maybe two hours of sleep a night. As if he doesn’t wake up covered in sweat and screaming every night. As if he’s fine.
That’s what he tells her. He’s fine. She clearly doesn’t believe him.
He wakes up to screaming but he doesn’t know where it’s coming from. It’s not until he startles out of bed that he realizes it’s from him. He looks around frantically trying to find the danger, but he doesn’t see anything. There is nothing for him to be afraid of except for his own brain.
He collapses where he is standing, crumpling to the floor and burying his head in his hands. He curls himself up as tight as he can and rocks himself on the floor as he sobs. Each sob shakes through him so violently he thinks he is going to fall apart. He swears the next one will finally be what breaks him, but instead more and more just keep coming.
He feels like he can’t breathe, desperately trying to take in gasping breaths of air, but he is cut off by a new sob each time. He can’t breathe, and suddenly he feels like he’s suffocating again. Like those bats are wrapped around his neck squeezing . He closes his eyes, bracing for death to come, but instead he just keeps sobbing.
His throat hurts and his stomach hurts and everything hurts . Everything hurts all the time and he can’t take it. He feels like he is being taken apart at the seams and then sewn back together in some horribly mangled and disfigured version of the person he was before. It’s the most agonizing feeling in the world.
He feels bile rising in his throat, and he tries to choke it down but it’s no use. He retches off to the side, trying not to get any vomit on himself and failing a little miserably. He takes in a heaving breath after emptying the contents of his stomach on the floor beside him.
It does nothing to help the panic and pain coursing through his body, but at least he can see a little clearer now. At least he no longer feels like he is going to collapse at any moment in a pile of his own vomit.
He brings his right hand down on his thigh, hitting it as hard as he can. He doesn’t even know why he does it. He just feels like he is going to break apart again if he doesn’t. So he does it again, and again, until he is calm enough to think and is sure there will be a large purple bruise there the next morning.
He stares around his room, a little confused as to how he ended up on the floor. He doesn’t remember getting out of bed, but he knows he must have been on the floor for quite some time if the state of him is anything to go off of.
It’s not the first time something like this has happened, and he’s sure it won’t be the last. He looks to his side and sees the pile of vomit sitting next to him, feeling a little more bile rise in this throat at the sight. He pushes it down, standing up on shaky legs and going into the bathroom to get something to clean it up.
He feels his legs and arms moving but he doesn’t have any control over them. It’s like he’s in a trance or watching himself from a third person perspective. It’s a little terrifying if he’s honest but he can’t bring himself to do anything about it. He just watches his body move, watching as it cleans up the vomit and strips off his disgusting clothes.
He turns on the shower, not bothering to make the water warm before stepping under the freezing stream. He doesn’t even react to the temperature, just standing there numbly. He feels his body come back to him a little bit as he goes through the motions of a shower.
By the time he has gotten to conditioning his hair, he can almost feel everything again. The water still feels too normal for how cold it is, but he can at least tell it’s supposed to be cold now, even if he still doesn’t really feel it. It’s almost like he feels the ghost of the feeling. Like someone is describing it to him, without him ever having actually experienced it before. It feels like second hand knowledge, but he supposes that’s better than having no knowledge of it at all.
He rinses himself off before just standing there. He doesn’t know how long he stands there letting the water wash over his body, all he knows is that it’s helping. He can feel the water on his skin now. Like, actually feel it. He can feel how cold it is, and he suddenly realizes he’s shivering.
His movements are slow and awkward and it feels a little like he is just learning to walk again for the first time, but he gets the shower off and steps out. He wraps himself in a fluffy towel, shivering where he stands. There is a mirror in front of him. The big one that rests above the sink, and when he looks at his reflection he barely recognizes who he sees.
His eyes are dark and sunken in. The bags under his eyes look more like bruises and his cheeks are a sickly pale color. His lips are almost blue from the cold, and there are deep frown lines along the sides of his mouth. He looks so old, he thinks.
He’s not even entirely sure it’s him in the mirror. The man has similar features to him, but he looks so forlorn and broken and unfamiliar that he hardly recognizes it as himself. He lets his gaze trail further down his body, stopping at the base of his neck.
There are still faint red lines there that he honestly doesn’t think will ever go away. It’s been months and yet they’re still there. Still pressed into his skin like a brand. His eyes fall further down, catching on the scars littering his stomach.
Talk about a brand. Those bats had almost killed him, and they made sure he would never forget it. He will never be able to look at himself again without a cruel reminder of what he has been through. As his gaze falls even further down to his legs, he thinks he might throw up again.
There is already a bruise forming on his right leg. He only half remembers giving it to himself, and that scares the shit out of him. He follows his gaze to his other leg, angry red lines coating his skin.
Some are newer than others. Some of them still sting with the pants he wears. Others are now thin white lines, scarring the once smooth skin. His upper arms look much the same but the towel is covering them right now.
He just stands there and stares at himself in the mirror, unable to break his gaze from his skin. From the reminders of how broken he really is. By the time he pulls himself away from his reflection, the sun has started to rise outside the window.
He spends his whole morning in that same trance, as if he’s looking on as a spectator. He doesn’t even bother trying to make himself breakfast, thinking he would probably just throw up again if he did. He throws on whatever outfit he finds first, not caring if it looks good, before throwing his Family Video vest over top.
He stumbles out the door, and into his car, driving to his job without paying any attention to the road. The ride to the store is a blur, and he’s just grateful he manages to get there in one piece. He barely remembers getting in the car, let alone driving here, so he supposes muscle memory must have taken over.
He drags himself out of the car and into the store, moving about to open up for the day. He handles opening alone, thankfully no customers coming in just yet. Robin gets there at around eleven, clocking in and joining him at the front counter.
All it takes is one look for her to be able to tell something is wrong. He supposes he can’t blame her for noticing. Hell, he’d be worried if she didn’t notice. He saw himself that morning. He knows how god awful he looks.
“Steve? What happened? You look like shit.” She says. Her voice is light and playful, trying to ease some of the tension, but Steve can hear the underlying worry in her tone. He waves her off as always, mumbling some excuse of needing to restock the shelves.
His shift goes by in the same blur his morning had, and before he knows it it’s time to clock out and drive home. Robin gives him strange looks throughout the whole day but doesn’t push. She also doesn’t joke with him or make idle conversation like she normally would.
He’s just about to walk out the front when he feels a hand grabbing his wrist. He turns around, confused and is met with the concerned face of Robin. She is looking him over appraisingly, and he feels himself squirm just a little bit under her gaze.
“My shift is over, Robin. Did you need something?” He knows his voice comes out a little harsher than he means for it to, but he can’t help it. He is exhausted and frustrated and scared and he just wants to go home and drink until he can fall asleep. Robin looks him over for another long moment before speaking.
“Give me your keys.” She says, not leaving any room for argument. Steve blinks at her a little disbelieving.
“There is no way you’re driving my car, Buckley,” he says, pointing a finger at her. She rolls her eyes, holding out her hand in front of her.
“Nope, and there’s no way you’re driving it either. I called Eddie, he’s driving you home.”
Steve just stares at her, honestly at a loss for words. What the hell is she talking about?
“What the hell are you talking about? I can drive myself home perfectly fine, thank you very much.”
He only half believes his own words, seeing as he still doesn’t really remember his drive to work this morning. Robin doesn’t relent though, still holding her hand out and looking at him expectantly. He finally gives in, reaching into his pocket and pulling out his car keys. He slaps them into her hand, before crossing his arms across his chest.
There is a loud rumbling from behind them, and when he turns around he can see Eddie’s van parking beside his own car in the parking lot.
“Looks like your ride’s here,” Robin teases, giving him a smirk before her face turns serious again. “Take care of yourself, yeah? I’m worried about you.” Her voice is soft and sincere and the sound makes Steve want to cry just a little bit. He doesn’t deserve her kindness. He never has. And yet he gets it anyway.
“Thank you, Robin.” He replies, and he means it as well. He is so thankful for his best friend he doesn’t know what to do with it most of the time. She gives him another small smile, before turning him around and pushing him out the door.
He can’t help but let a smile spread across his own face, feeling a little more like himself for the first time all day. He walks over to Eddie’s van, knocking on the passenger’s side window, before opening the door and climbing in.
Eddie looks him over worriedly for a moment, but quickly shakes it off, his signature Eddie Munson grin taking up his face. Steve relaxes at the sight of it, leaning back into his seat as Eddie turns on the radio.
“Let’s get you home, big boy,” Eddie teases, still grinning as he pulls out of the parking lot, driving just as fast as usual. The familiarity of it calms Steve’s nerves and he lets himself close his eyes, resting his head against the window.
Before he knows it, the van is parked in his driveway and he is looking up at his big empty house with despair. The thought of walking in alone makes him want to vomit. He doesn’t move from his spot, keeping his gaze on the front door.
He startles a little when he feels a hand touching his shoulder. He flinches back from the contact, turning his head, looking for the danger, but all he sees is Eddie Munson smiling at him with his hands raised in front of him surrenderingly.
“You good there, Stevie?” He asks, and his expression is playful, but his tone is worried. Steve shakes his head, trying to clear it, before opening his door to get out. Eddie is quick to follow him, turning off the engine and exiting his own door.
He is right on Steve’s heels as he opens the front door, not even waiting for an invitation before pushing past him into the house. He looks around in awe, still grinning like a madman.
“Wow, I knew you were rich, but I didn’t know you lived in a palace,” Eddie teases, moving his gaze back to Steve. He rolls his eyes at the comment, shutting the door behind them and locking it, unable to help but feel another small smile pulling at his face.
When he turns back around, Eddie is standing much closer than before. He is only a foot or so away and Steve feels his breathing catch a little. Eddie is looking at him with that grin and those big brown eyes, and his stupid dimples, and Steve wants to scream.
He wants to scream because he doesn’t deserve to be friends with Eddie Munson and he certainly doesn’t deserve to feel this way about him. He deserves better than someone like Steve, even though the thought of him with someone else makes Steve’s chest constrict.
Eddie’s grin softens a little as Steve continues to stare at him, turning into something more intimate and maybe a little worried. He steps a little closer to him, raising his hand up slowly so he can see the movement before placing it gently on Steve’s shoulder.
The contact feels like it’s burning him, but he wants more. He needs more. Before he really knows what he’s doing he steps forward the rest of the way and scoops Eddie into his arms. He holds onto his waist as tight as he can, and buries his face in his neck. Eddie just stands there frozen for a moment, before wrapping his own arms around Steve’s shoulders, pulling him closer.
Steve feels like he is going to disintegrate into the hold. He wants to wrap himself around Eddie and never let go. Eddie buries his head in Steve’s hair, and it’s the best feeling in the world. He rubs his hands up and down Steve’s back, making small shushing noises. Steve doesn’t even understand why, until he realizes the fabric under his eyes is wet. He didn’t even know he was crying.
“You’re gonna be okay, Stevie. I’m here,” Eddie whispers and Steve can’t help but believe him. He thinks he would believe anything Eddie said to him if he just said it in that soft tone of his.
He has no idea how long the two of them stay like that, all he knows is he never wants to pull away. He feels more himself at this moment than he thinks he has in months. It’s a strange feeling, seeing as he still doesn’t really know Eddie. Not that well at least. The two of them have only hung out just the two of them a handful of times since everything happened. They hung out as a group plenty, but it was rarely just the two of them. Steve should change that, he thinks.
Eddie doesn’t pull away or loosen his hold for even a second, waiting for Steve to be ready to pull away. He doesn’t think he’ll ever be ready to, but he knows they have been standing like this for too long and it’s probably getting awkward for Eddie.
He takes a step back, wiping his eyes with the back of his hands, a little embarrassed by his behavior. Eddie doesn’t seem to share his embarrassment, keeping a hand on his shoulder to ground him. He appreciates it more than he can ever say.
He thinks Eddie is going to start asking him what happened, what’s wrong, but when he opens his mouth to speak all he says is, “let’s order pizza for dinner tonight.”
Steve stares at him, a little caught off guard, but he just nods, Eddie smiling at his approval. He walks to the kitchen, leaving Steve still standing there a little dumbfounded. While Steve takes a moment to collect his thoughts Eddie grabs the phone book, looking through the numbers until he finds the pizza place, walking over to the phone and punching the numbers in.
He comes back a few minutes later to see Steve still just standing there. He gives him a smile, before walking back over and leading Steve into the living room. He sits Steve on the couch, before going over to where they keep their stacks of VHS’s, riffling through until he finds one to watch.
He pops it in the VHS player, turning on the TV before walking back over to joining Steve on the couch. He moves about as if they have done this thousands of times. As if this is normal for them, and Steve wishes so badly that was the truth.
As the pre-movie ads start to play, Eddie turns to him again, a mischievous smirk on his face. Steve squints his eyes at him, trying to figure out what he could be planning, before he pulls a bag with three pre-rolled joints out of his pocket. Steve can’t help but laugh a little, as Eddie takes one out and waves it under his nose enticingly.
“Give that to me,” Steve mumbles, snatching the joint from Eddie’s hand. Eddie just grins wider, taking out a lighter and handing it to Steve. He takes it gratefully, bringing the joint up to his lips, before lighting the end.
He takes a long drag, letting the smoke fill up his lungs, holding it there for a moment before breathing it out. He offers the joint to Eddie, who takes it and does the same. They pass the joint back and forth until it’s all burned out, just a small stump left, stubbed out in the ashtray on the table.
Steve’s head feels floaty and nice. He feels like the world is a little off kilter but in a really enjoyable way. He relaxes back into the couch. He can feel each of his limbs for the first time all day, and the feeling is so refreshing he thinks he could cry again.
He turns his head to look at Eddie, but finds the other man already staring at him. He gives him a wide smile, unable to help the way the grin spreads across his face at the sight of him. Eddie grins back, grabbing one of the other two joints, holding it up in question. Steve grins brighter, nodding his head in answer.
Eddie lights up the joint, taking the first drag, before passing it over to Steve. They finish this joint much the same and by the time they’re done with it, Steve feels like a puddle on the couch. He doesn’t think he could move right now even if he tried, and it feels great.
He is startled a little by a knock on the door, but Eddie waves off his panicked look, getting up, looking far more steady on his feet than Steve would be right now as he walks over to the door. He comes back a minute later, carrying two large boxes of pizza.
Steve immediately sits up, his stomach suddenly reminding him that he hasn’t eaten anything all day and he’s starving. Eddie places the boxes on the coffee table, before walking into Steve’s kitchen and grabbing them both a plate. He brings the plates back out to find Steve already halfway through a piece of pizza.
He shakes his head fondly, placing the plate in front of Steve on the coffee table. He mumbles a thanks through his mouthful of pizza, and Eddie can’t help but laugh a little at how ridiculous it is. He swallows his mouthful of pizza before looking over at Eddie’s still smiling face. He is suddenly struck by how thankful he is to have someone like Eddie in his life.
“You a really good friend, Eddie,” he says and he means every word of it. Eddie just rolls his eyes, moving to sit back next to Steve on the couch.
“Whatever, you’re just glad I shared my weed with you,” Eddie teases. Steve is hit with the need for Eddie to believe him. He’s not really sure what’s gotten into him tonight, but he is leaning forward and placing a hand on Eddie’s shoulder, turning his attention back towards him. He has a deadly serious look on his face, but he doesn’t let up even when Eddie laughs a little nervously.
“Hey. I’m serious. You really are a good friend, Eds.”
Eddie just stares back at him, unsure what to say before finally nodding.
“Okay. Sure, Stevie.” He says, before turning his head back to look at the TV. Steve moves himself so he is seated pressed into Eddie’s side before turning his gaze to the TV as well. He’d be lying if he said he has any idea what is happening in the movie they’re watching, or even what movie it is, but Eddie seems to like it so he supposes it must be pretty good.
He feels himself start to drift off around halfway through the movie, his head tilting to rest on Eddie’s shoulder. He feels the other man tense momentarily, before relaxing into the touch. Steve nuzzles further into him, moving so he can wrap one arm around his middle and rest his head on his chest.
Eddie huffs out a laugh, but brings his arm up around Steve’s shoulders, pulling him in closer. Steve feels more relaxed than he has in weeks as he closes his eyes and drifts off to sleep, pressed against Eddie’s chest.
Steve wakes up slowly the next morning, which is strange within itself. What’s even more strange is the warm chest underneath his head, rising and falling softly. He gradually opens his eyes, blinking them a few times to get used to the light before opening them fully. He sits up a little further, already missing the warmth beneath him. He looks around, still trying to get his bearings when he hears a soft voice from behind him.
Oh, that’s right. Eddie came over last night. Steve turns around, looking down at Eddie as he too blinks his eyes open. Steve feels butterflies erupt in his stomach at the sight. Eddie looks adorable, he thinks. His hair is a mess, and he has a small line of drool on his mouth, as well as soft red lines on his cheek, where his face was clearly resting up against Steve’s hair the night before.
“Morning Eds,” Steve whispers, smiling at the look of the other man. He looks over at the clock on the wall, startling when he realizes he’s late for work. He springs off the couch, moving to rush upstairs. He’s stopped by a gentle hand grabbing his wrist and pulling him back onto the couch. He opens his mouth to protest, but Eddie beats him to it.
“Robin is covering your shift today. She told me when she asked me to drive you home yesterday. Don’t worry,” he mumbles, pulling Steve back into his chest. Steve lets himself be pulled, feeling significantly calmer at the reassurance that he doesn’t have to go to work.
He is practically sitting in Eddie’s lap now, his legs falling over his thighs when he was pulled down. He can’t find it in himself to care though, just snuggling deeper into the warm body below him. Eddie’s arms are wrapped around his waist now, holding him in place up against him. It’s the best feeling in the world, and he never wants this moment to end.
They eventually have to break apart, Eddie having to get back home before his uncle worries too much. Wayne is very easy going and lets Eddie do pretty much whatever he wants, but after he was accused of murder and presumed dead for a few days, Eddie supposes he can’t blame him for worrying.
He waits downstairs while Steve gets dressed in new clothes. Once he is ready, he leads him to his van as they both hop in. Eddie drives Steve to Family Video, so he can pick up his car. They get there quickly, the two of them hopping out and walking into the store to retrieve his keys from Robin. She lights up at the sight of them, and Steve can’t help but smile as well. They walk over to the counter where she is waiting with her hands on her hips.
“Did he finally sleep?” She asks, addressing Eddie. Steve opens his mouth to protest against her accusations, but is cut off by Eddie replying.
“A full eight hours, as promised,” Eddie says with a small bow. Steve looks between the two of them, trying to figure out what he missed.
“Hold on, did you get Eddie to me to drive me home yesterday just so he would make me sleep?” He asks, pointing an accusing finger at Robin. She just smirks back at him, hands still on her hips.
“Yup.” She says, popping the p and looking a little too satisfied with herself.
“You’re unbelievable, you know that?” He asks, referring to both of them. “Can I have my keys back now?”
Robin looks him over for a moment, seeming to think about it before turning back to Eddie.
“What do you think, Munson? Think he’s in good enough shape to drive home?” She asks, and Steve gapes at her, flabbergasted. He can not believe his best friend right now. Eddie brings a hand up to his chin, stroking it as if he were deep in thought.
“Hmm, I suppose so. He was a very good boy for me last night, so I believe he has earned the right to drive home.”
Steve’s expression just gets even more stunned at Eddie’s words. Did Eddie just call him a good boy? Did he like it? He is sure his face is bright red right now, but there is nothing he can do about it as he looks back and forth between Eddie and Robin. They both laugh at his shocked face, but Robin relents, taking his keys out and slapping them into his palm.
He hardly feels it, still reeling from Eddie’s words. Eddie is suddenly clapping his hands together, startling Steve out of his thoughts.
“Alright, well I need to get going before my uncle sends out a search party for me. I will see you two soon.” Eddie says, before turning around and walking out the door. Steve watches him go, only feeling a little crushed that he’s gone. He brings his attention back to Robin when he hears her laughing. He squints at her, trying to figure out what she finds so funny before he realizes she’s laughing at him .
“Holy shit, Steve! You should see your face right now!” She cackles, and Steve thinks he is feeling none of the gratefulness for his best friend he was the day before. Now he finds himself wondering why he even keeps her around.
“Yeah, this is sooo funny, Buckley. Keep it up, see if I ever give you a free ride somewhere again.”
Robin assesses him, looking him over before snorting a little. “You’re just bluffing. You love me too much.” She says with confidence, and Steve can’t help but think she’s right, but he’ll never tell her that. She leans in further, resting her forearms against the counter as she gets in his face.
“Sooooooo, you and Eddie?” She teases, and Steve feels his face go bright red again. He pushes her away, scowling as she laughs again.
“There is no ‘me and Eddie’ Robs.” He says, but even he doesn’t believe his own words.
“Right. He just called you a good boy because you are very good, platonic friends.”
“Shut up.” Steve mumbles, crossing his arms across his chest and moving to walk out of the store. Robin doesn’t make any move to stop him, still laughing as he walks out the front door. He gets into his car, starting it up and pulling out of the parking lot. He thinks over Robin’s words on his way back home. Maybe she has a point. He shakes his head to dislodge the thought. No, just because he has a stupidly big crush on Eddie doesn’t mean he feels the same way.
“Eddie?” Steve asks, looking at the unmoving man standing before him. His eyes are rolled into the back of his head and he’s standing stock still. Steve feels his blood go cold at the sight, running forward and shaking Eddie’s shoulders violently.
“Eddie! Come on, you gotta wake up man!” He yells, tears running down his face. Eddie’s body starts floating off the ground and Steve is helpless to do anything about it.
He watches as he is raised into the air, and then his bones begin to snap. Steve screams in anguish, as Eddie’s mangled body falls to the ground.
Steve wakes with a start, looking around desperately trying to find Eddie. He sees nothing but his empty bedroom. It was just a dream, he tells himself. It was just a dream. But it felt so goddamn real, he doesn't really believe it.
Before he knows what he’s doing, he has gotten out of bed, walked downstairs, and put his shoes on. He doesn’t even bother putting on real clothes, walking out the front door to his car in his pajama pants and an old sweatshirt.
He gets in his car and takes off towards Eddie’s trailer as fast as he can. He breaks numerous traffic laws, but he can’t bring himself to care. Not when he’s still not really sure if Eddie is okay or not.
He peels into the trailer park, pulling up outside of his trailer, barely remembering to put the car in park and take out the keys before he is running up to the door. He knocks frantically on the door, not caring if he wakes up the whole damn neighborhood with his noise. He just needs to know Eddie is okay.
After a few seconds of knocking a very tired looking Eddie Munson opens the door. Steve practically tackles him with a hug as soon as he sees him. Eddie is confused and really doesn’t understand what’s happening, but he hugs back nonetheless, pulling Steve inside as he closes the door behind them.
Eddie’s uncle comes out of his own room, looking just as discombobulated, but when he sees the distressed boy in his nephew’s arms, he figures it’s best to give them some space, so he walks back into his room and tries to fall back asleep.
Eddie looks down at the now sobbing Steve Harrington in his arms, he strokes his hands up and down his back soothingly, just like he had the night before. He doesn’t know what’s happening, but if Steve is hurting he will do anything in his power to make him feel better.
Steve feels so relieved to be in Eddie’s arms he can’t help but cry. As soon as he saw the other man alive and well it was over, he was launching himself at him, not caring if anyone saw them. Thankfully Eddie pulled them inside, but Steve barely even noticed, too caught up in the feel of his arms around him. He pulls back for a moment, taking Eddie’s face in his hands and looking him over, just to be sure.
“You’re okay?” He asks, and it sounds so desperate and pleading that it breaks Eddie’s heart just a little bit.
“I’m okay,” he confirms, nodding his head as Steve hugs him tightly again. It takes a little while but Steve’s breathing eventually evens out, and he feels secure enough to pull away from the embrace a little.
He stays close to Eddie, keeping his hands on his shoulders, but takes a step back so they’re not wrapped together anymore. Eddie’s hands are resting on Steve’s waist, rubbing soft circles with his thumbs.
“You wanna tell me what happened, sweetheart?” Eddie asks, bringing one of his hands up to tuck some of the hair that had fallen in Steve’s face behind his ear. Steve continues staring at him, a little overwhelmed by their contact, but not ready to give it up just yet. Instead of replacing his hand on Steve’s hip, he holds it against his cheek, rubbing the same circles with his thumb into the skin there.
“I had a nightmare. You were-” Steve’s voice cracks as he thinks about the dream. He takes a few deep breaths, pulling himself together before continuing. Eddie just waits patiently for him to continue, holding him all the while. “He got you. Vecna got you, and I couldn’t save you. You were- Jesus Eds. It was horrible. He lifted you into the air and then your bones-”
Steve cuts himself off, unable to continue. Eddie just nods, pulling him back into a bone crushing hug. He instantly relaxes into it, so grateful Eddie understood what he meant. He clings to him, relishing the feel of him real, and warm, and alive underneath his hands.
“I’m here. I’m okay. Nothing got me. I’m right here, baby.” Eddie whispers into his hair. He always seems to know exactly what Steve needs to hear, and the feeling of it is always more than a little intoxicating.
This time Eddie is the first one to pull away. He holds onto Steve by the waist, leading him the short distance to the couch and sitting him down. Once he is seated he runs to the kitchen, grabbing him a cold water bottle from the fridge, before bringing it back over. Steve gratefully takes the water, taking a large gulp before closing it and placing it on the coffee table.
Eddie sits next to him, close enough their thighs and shoulders are touching and Steve can’t help but lean into his touch. He repositions himself so his legs are thrown over Eddie’s lap and his arms are wrapped around his middle, while he rests his head on his shoulder. Eddie chuckles a little, before wrapping his own arms around Steve’s waist.
The two of them sit like that for a long moment, comfortable silence settling between them. After what feels like hours but in reality was probably only a half hour or so, Steve lets out a big yawn, feeling the exhaustion of his panic attack and lack of sleep hitting him like a truck.
“Let’s get you to bed, big boy,” Eddie says, so Steve moves to stand up. Before he can, however, Eddie is moving Steve’s arms so they’re wrapped around his neck. Steve looks at him confused, before Eddie places one arm under his knees, and the other behind his back, and lifts him up .
Holy shit. Eddie Munson is carrying him right now. He holds on tighter to Eddie’s neck, making an embarrassing squeak of surprise. Eddie starts walking them towards his bedroom with surprising ease. Steve thinks this is more than a little hot and will definitely be making its way into his wet dreams for the rest of forever, but he’s too tired to think much more beyond that.
It’s a short walk to the bedroom, and Eddie is placing him down onto his mattress far too soon for his liking. He can’t help but snuggle into the covers however. The bed smells like Eddie and his sheets are soft and it’s the most comfortable he’s ever been.
Eddie closes the door to his room, before joining Steve on the bed. He scoots closer to him, pulling him in so his back is pressed against his front. Steve instantly melts into the embrace, bringing his hands up to hold onto the arms around his waist.
“Get some sleep, baby. I’ll be here when you wake up.” Eddie whispers, burying his face in Steve’s hair. Steve is helpless but to obey him, already feeling sleep pull at the edge of his vision.
“Night, Eds,” he whispers before he is out like a light, lulled to sleep by the sound of steady breathing behind him, and Eddie’s smell surrounding him.
Steve wakes up to the smell of coffee, and that alone is enough to remind him he’s not at home. Eddie’s arms are still wrapped around him, and sometime in the night their legs had gotten tangled up together as well.
He feels so warm and safe and happy, and it’s so overwhelming but also the best feeling in the world. Waking up wrapped in Eddie’s arms is the best way to wake up, and he is quickly deciding there is no other way he wants to wake up from here on out.
He hears Eddie mumble something behind him as he feels him bury his head deeper into his hair. Steve can’t help but laugh a little, stroking soft patterns into the arms holding him. Eddie sighs at the feeling, placing a soft kiss to the top of Steve’s head that he’s almost positive he must have imagined.
“Morning Eds,” Steve says, a lazy smile stretched across his face.
“Mnggh,” Eddie responds, making Steve laugh. They lay together for a little while longer, both content basking in the other’s warmth before Steve remembers he has a late morning shift that morning and needs to get up soon.
“Hey, Eds. We gotta get up.” Steve says, trying to move out of Eddie’s embrace. He just holds onto him tighter, pulling him back against his chest. Steve laughs again, and feels a little breathless at how easy it is to just be with Eddie.
“Seriously Eds, I gotta get ready for work,” Steve tries again, making Eddie groan. He mumbles something indiscernible into Steve’s hair before letting go of his waist. Steve sits up, turning his body so he can look at Eddie and feels his breathing catch at the sight of him.
He hadn’t even really realized Eddie was shirtless last night, too caught up in the relief of finding him alive. He looks so fucking good though. His hair is a mess and he has bags under his eyes, but he is still the most beautiful thing Steve has ever seen in his life. Eddie smiles up at him, and his heart soars.
Before he even really knows what he’s doing he’s leaning down and placing a soft kiss to Eddie’s mouth. Eddie freezes against him for a moment, before his hands come up and pull Steve harder against him. He tangles his hands in his hair, tugging lightly, making Steve moan a little.
The noise just spurs him on, as he pushes himself up a little so he can meet Steve’s mouth better. He licks at Steve’s bottom lip, and he eagerly opens his mouth for him, letting him slip his tongue in. He wraps his own hands around Eddie’s middle, bringing him even closer.
Fuck, Eddie is a good kisser. He kisses like he’s starving and Steve is his last meal, and it’s the best fucking thing he’s ever felt. It feels like every other kiss in his life pales in comparison. They are startled apart by a knock on the door and a deep voice on the other side.
“There’s coffee and toast if you boys want any.” Wayne calls, before they hear his footsteps retreating back down the hall. Steve and Eddie look at each other for a moment before both bursting out laughing. They laugh until their sides hurt and Steve thinks he must be in heaven.
Once they finally calm back down, Eddie leans in and places one last soft kiss to Steve’s lips before pulling away. Steve smiles down at him, feeling more than a little love sick at the sight of Eddie Munson looking up at him first thing in the morning after the best kiss of his life.
“Come on, let’s get you some coffee, pretty boy,” Eddie says, tapping Steve’s cheek before getting out of bed. He brings his arms over his head, making a small noise as he stretches. Steve admires the way his muscles move, reminded of how strong the other boy really is as he thinks about how he picked him up last night.
He knows there is a bright red blush on his face, and that he is very obviously checking Eddie out, but he just can’t help it. Eddie is the prettiest person he has ever seen.
“See something you like?” Eddie teases when he turns back around and sees him staring. Steve licks his lips, nodding as he moves to stand up. He grabs Eddie by the waist, still looking over his bare torso. He has so many tattoos and Steve wants to trace every single one of them with his fingers and tongue. Later, he thinks, bringing his gaze back up to Eddie’s eyes.
“You’re so fucking pretty, Eds.” Steve breathes out, and this time it’s Eddie’s turn to blush. Steve thinks he looks even better with the pink spread across his cheeks, and makes it his personal life mission to make him blush as much as possible. He leans in and presses his lips to Eddie’s, letting them move together for a moment before pulling away again.
“Come on, let's go get that coffee before it gets cold,” Steve says, stepping back with a smirk. Eddie stares after him, mouth open in shock before shaking his head and laughing a little disbelievingly.
“You are something else, Steve Harrington,” Eddie says, mostly to himself as he walks the two of them out into the main room. Steve follows behind him, a stupid lovesick smile still plastered on his face. Eddie waves to his uncle once they get in the room, before walking over to the cupboards and grabbing them both a mug.
Steve stands next to him a little awkwardly. He’s not really sure what to do. He looks over to Eddie’s uncle who is sitting on the chair in the corner reading some book and sipping on his coffee. He’s never met the man before, but he’s heard lots about him from Eddie.
Eddie places a mug of coffee into his hands, which thankfully distracts him. He mumbles a soft, “thank you,” giving Eddie a bright smile before taking a sip. It’s made just the way he likes it and the thought makes him feel a little woozy in the best way. Eddie knows how he takes his coffee.
It’s so domestic and sickeningly sweet he thinks his teeth might rot. Eddie takes him by the hand, before leading them over to sit on the couch. He sits them down so Steve’s legs are resting in his lap, as he rests a hand over one of his calves, stroking lightly.
Steve feels, not for the first time that morning, so lucky to have Eddie Munson in his life. He settles into his position, drinking some more of his coffee. Wayne finishes the page he is reading before bookmarking it and placing the book down on the small side table next to him.
He turns his attention to the two boys sitting on the couch, making Steve squirm a little bit. He really doesn’t want to move, but he’s not quite sure how Eddie’s uncle will feel about them sitting like this. Eddie seems unbothered, though, still softly stroking his calf, so he assumes it’s probably okay.
“You boys sleep okay last night?” Wayne asks, a subtle accent coating his words.
“Yeah,” Eddie confirms, giving Steve a small smile. He can’t help but smile back, hiding it behind the edge of his mug as a blush spreads across his face.
“I’m sorry for bursting in last night. I didn’t mean to intrude,” Steve says softly, genuinely feeling bad for encroaching on the two’s space. Wayne waves him off, shaking his head.
“No need to apologize. It looked like you were in pretty rough shape. I just hope everything is okay.” Wayne says, and Steve feels himself tear up a little bit at the sincerity of his words. He quickly looks around for something to distract himself, his gaze landing on the clock against the wall. His eyes widen as he sees the time. He jumps up, draining the rest of his coffee.
“Shit, I’m going to be late for work.” Steve says, looking around for where he put his keys last night. Eddie gets up and places a hand on his waist, bringing his attention towards him.
“Hey, I'll drive you, don’t worry. Why don’t you go grab some clothes from my room so you don’t show up in your pajamas,” Eddie suggests, Steve nodding along before sprinting off to his room. He grabs the first shirt and jeans he can find, taking off his pajamas and throwing them on. Eddie comes into the room a moment after him, grabbing himself a pair of jeans and a shirt as well. He quickly gets changed, before the two of them are hurrying out the door and into Eddie’s van.
Steve is eternally grateful he left his vest in his locker at Family Video last time he worked, as he does not have time to run home before his shift. Eddie gets him there in record time, with five minutes to spare. Steve leans over the center console, grabbing onto Eddie’s hand, squeezing warmly. Eddie meets his gaze with a soft smile, Steve smiling back.
“Thank you for the ride, and the clothes, and the coffee, and just everything,” Steve says, laughing a little. Eddie laughs along, shifting his hand to intertwine his fingers with Steve’s.
“Of course, baby. I’ll pick you up after your shift and we can hang out at my place tonight. How does that sound?”
Steve grins even brighter, leaning across and placing a quick peck to Eddie’s mouth.
“That sounds wonderful. I’ll see you after work!” He calls, opening the door and sprinting towards the store. Robin is already at the counter when he gets in, looking him over with a smirk on her face.
“Shut up.” he mumbles before she can say anything, walking to the back to grab his vest. He pulls it on, taking a deep breath, preparing for the shit he is about to get from Robin, before walking back into the main store. He meets her at the counter, crossing his arms over his chest, making a ‘get on with it’ motion with his hand. No point in delaying the inevitable.
“Holy. Shit. You are wearing Eddie’s clothes! And he drove you to work this morning!? Did you stay over his place last night!?” Robin asks, sounding more accusing than genuinely curious. Steve sighs, leaning back against the counter.
“Yes Robin I did, but not for the reasons you think.”
She raises one of her eyebrows, looking him over as if she doesn’t believe him.
“Seriously! I had a nightmare and needed to make sure he was okay,” he admits, getting quieter and quieter with every word. He doesn’t know why he is so embarrassed at the confession, but he is. He thinks it’s probably more embarrassing than if he had done what Robin is thinking.
“Okay. I believe you.” Robin says, and Steve looks up at her, shocked. He honestly did not expect her to believe him so easily. “ But that doesn’t explain why you kissed him in his van before coming in.” Robin smirks at him, as his mouth drops open.
“You-” He starts, not entirely sure what he was going to say. “Shut up!” He decides on, making Robin cackle next to him. He hits her arm lightly, but finds himself laughing along a little as well. He is feeling lighter than he has felt in years after spending just two nights with Eddie. Robin eventually calms down, looking up at him with a mischievous smirk on her face.
“You have to tell me everything!” She says, making him groan. He complains about it, but he does in fact tell her everything.
His shift goes by slowly, the anticipation of getting to see Eddie again at the end of it making it feel longer than it actually is. Robin makes fun of the way he perks up every time the bell above the door rings, only to deflate when he sees it’s not Eddie.
Finally, finally after the longest four hours of Steve’s life, Eddie walks through the front door of Family Video. A bright smile spreads across Steve’s face almost instantly at the sight of him, Robin laughing at him from his right. Eddie walks up to the counter, smiling just as brightly, and rests his arms on it as soon as he’s close enough.
Steve leans in the same, so they are only a foot or so apart. They stay far enough away that to any prying eyes they would just look like good friends, but close enough they could reach out and touch each other. There are no other customers in the store, but better safe than sorry.
“You almost ready to go, baby boy?” Eddie asks, smirking up at Steve’s flushed face.
“Yeah, lemme just go clock out super quick,” Steve replies, running to the back room as fast as he can. While Steve is gone, Robin walks up to Eddie, giving him a hard stare.
“If you hurt him, I swear to god Munson. I will hunt you down and make you regret ever being born. I will make Vecna look like child’s play with what I will do to you.” She says, voice low and threatening. Eddie swallows harshly. He honestly doesn’t doubt that she’s telling the truth.
He is thankfully saved by Steve coming out of the back room, and walking over to him. Robin’s face instantly turns back into a grin, as if nothing ever changed as she bids the two goodbye. Steve and Eddie get in his van, Eddie turning it on and starting to pull out of the parking lot.
As soon as they are on the road, he reaches across the console and takes Steve’s hand in his own. Steve smiles brightly at the gesture, holding on tightly. The drive doesn’t take long, the two of them lightly discussing their days as Eddie drives.
As soon as they pull up to the trailer, Eddie is parking the car and turning it off, getting out and leading Steve up to the house. They both step inside together, the trailer empty as Wayne had gone off to work not too long before Eddie left to pick up Steve.
Eddie closes the door behind them, before spinning Steve around and pinning him to the door. He feels all the breath leave his lungs as his mouth is captured in a searing kiss. He kisses back just as desperately, letting his hands tangle in Eddie’s hair.
If Steve thought Eddie was kissing like a starving man before, it was nothing compared to this. Steve feels like he is being consumed by Eddie, and he wants nothing more than to let it happen.
Eddie pushes closer, slotting a thigh in between Steve’s legs, pushing up against his crotch. Steve moans into the kiss, tugging Eddie’s hair just a little. Eddie groans at the feeling, kissing him even harder.
Steve feels like he’s drowning in Eddie’s affection, and there isn’t any other way he wants to go. Eddie’s grip on his hips is bruising and he feels light headed thinking about being littered in bruises from Eddie’s hands and mouth.
Eddie pulls away from his mouth, making him whimper, missing the feeling of his mouth already. He doesn’t have to miss it for long, as he starts trailing wet kisses down his jaw until he reaches his pulse point.
He bites down on the spot before bringing his tongue out to soothe the sting. He sucks the skin into his mouth and Steve thinks he must have died. This is it. He died and now he is in heaven. That’s the only explanation he can think of as to why Eddie Munson is giving him a goddamn hickey right now. He gives one last bite to the mark, before pulling away from his neck, looking at him through hooded eyes.
“Bedroom?” He asks, and his voice is low and gravelly and it makes Steve’s insides melt. He just nods, whining as Eddie leans in and gives him one last filthy kiss before he is pulling away, and dragging Steve by the hand into his room.
He closes the door behind them, pushing Steve onto the bed. He scoots himself up so he is leaning on the headboard, getting comfortable before Eddie practically pounces on him, straddling his hips.
He leans in and kisses him again, letting his hands settle on Eddie’s waist. Eddie’s hands trail down his chest, stopping when they get to the bottom of his shirt. He puts his hands under the fabric, the heat from his hands making Steve gasp into his mouth.
Eddie pushes the shirt up his chest, adoring the feel of Steve’s skin below his hands. He pulls away from his mouth, pushing the shirt further up. Steve gets the hint, moving to pull the shirt off his head. He throws it to the floor, not caring about where it lands right now.
He leans back in to kiss Eddie again, but is stopped by a gentle hand on his chest. He looks up at Eddie in confusion. He looks worried, and maybe a little scared. The sight sends a cold shock through Steve’s stomach. He feels himself tense up, a pit forming where the butterflies were a moment before.
Eddie reaches out a tentative hand, before softly stroking it over the angry red lines on Steve’s upper arm. Fuck. He forgot about that. He was so caught up in the feeling of how amazing it is being with Eddie, he forgot how broken he really is. He closes his eyes tight, feeling tears welling up in them as he waits for the inevitable rejection.
“I’m sorry, Eddie. I’m sorry,” he chokes out, unable to say anything else as he feels hot shame fill his body. Eddie’s hands move up to his face, cupping his cheeks as he wipes away the tears that had started to fall.
“Hey, hey, no baby. You don’t have to apologize. I’m not mad, I promise.” Eddie says, and his voice is so sincere but Steve just can’t believe him. He wishes so badly he could, but he just can’t. “Stevie, open your eyes for me please.” Eddie says, and his voice is a little more stern this time.
Steve cautiously opens his eyes, terrified of what he’ll find on Eddie’s face when he does. However, when he looks at him all he sees is honesty and love on his face. He can’t help but choke out a sob, feeling a little pathetic for doing so.
“Oh, come here sweetheart.” Eddie says, pulling Steve in so his face is pressed against his chest. Steve wraps his arms around Eddie’s waist, holding on as tight as he can while Eddie strokes his fingers through Steve’s hair.
“It’s okay, my love. You’re gonna be okay. I’m right here. I’m not going anywhere.” Eddie whispers, his words both soothing Steve and making him cry harder. He has no idea what he did to get so lucky as to have someone like Eddie Munson to love him.
It takes a little while and more comforting words and touches, but eventually Steve calms down enough for them to talk. Eddie pulls his head away from his chest, but doesn’t move off his lap, still cradling his face in his hands like he is something precious.
“Hey, we don’t have to talk about anything you don’t want to, but I want you to know you can always tell me anything and I’ll never think any less of you for it, okay?” Eddie says, looking into Steve’s eyes with intensity. He is always so intense in the way he expresses himself and Steve doesn’t think he will ever fully get used to it. He nods his head, squeezing his eyes shut as he thinks about what he wants to say.
“I love you.” Is what he settles on, the gentle confession ringing out into the otherwise silent room. He opens his eyes, looking up at Eddie to find him already looking down at him.
“I love you too.” Eddie breathes out, and he sounds so honest and sincere that Steve thinks he might pass out. He leans in and captures Eddie’s mouth in a tender kiss. It’s salty and wet from the tears on his face, but it’s so good and exactly what he needs right now, so he doesn’t care. They pull away after a minute, resting their foreheads together as they just breathe.
“You can- you can ask me about them. I don’t mind.” Steve whispers, and he surprisingly finds his words to be true. If it were anyone else he would never even think about discussing this with them, but it’s not anyone else. It’s Eddie, and he thinks he would happily tell him anything he wants to know, if it means he gets to be near him.
Eddie looks at him for a long moment, searching his face and thinking. Steve forces himself to stay still under his gaze, even though he is feeling more than a little self conscious about himself right now.
“Does anyone else know about them?” He settles on, still gently stroking his thumbs on Steve’s cheeks, keeping his gaze locked firmly on his eyes. He shakes his head, looking down at where his own hands rest on Eddie’s waist, too overwhelmed by the intensity of the eye contact right now.
“No. Just you.”
“Do you- Are there any more anywhere else?” Eddie asks, and Steve squeezes his eyes shut. He holds on tighter to Eddie’s waist, the pressure between his hands helping to ground him some.
“Yes. On my thighs.”
“Can I see them?”
Steve opens his eyes at the question, searching over Eddie’s face for any hint that he might find him disgusting. That he might take one look at him and kick him out of his life if he looks at his thighs. Steve finds nothing of the sort, just love and adoration in his eyes. Steve finds himself helpless but to nod.
Eddie slides off his lap, and Steve immediately misses the warmth. He brings his hands down to Steve’s waist band, looking up at him for permission. Steve nods his head, closing his eyes as Eddie starts to pull the pants down his legs.
In any other situation, Eddie Munson taking off his pants would be the hottest thing to ever happen to Steve, but all he feels is scared and a sense of guilt as his legs are exposed. Eddie pulls the pants all the way off, throwing them by his shirt.
His hands come up, hovering just above his thighs as he looks over the marks there. Some are more faded, others clearly less than a week old. His right thigh has a large purple bruise on it, and Eddie doesn’t have to guess that hard to know where it came from.
Steve opens his eyes after Eddie doesn’t say anything for a long moment. He finds Eddie looking down at him with almost reverence. He looks like he is scared to touch him, and Steve hates the thought that Eddie would ever be scared to touch him.
“You can touch me, it’s okay,” he breathes out, his voice coming out far calmer than he thought it would. He’s still terrified that Eddie will change his mind and kick him out at any moment, but he can’t help but feel safe with Eddie. As much as his insecurities are screaming at him that he is ugly and disgusting and that Eddie could never love him, he can’t help but trust him. If Eddie says he loves him, he’ll be damned if he doesn’t believe him.
Eddie reaches out and tenderly places his hands on Steve’s waist, right over where his scars from the demo-bats are. Then he leans in, oh so carefully, and presses soft kisses over each of the marks covering Steve’s thighs.
He takes his time, tracing his fingers over Steve’s stomach as he works, making sure he doesn’t miss a single mark, no matter how faded it is. Steve is helpless but to stare down at him in awe. Of all the reactions he was expecting from Eddie, this didn’t even make the list.
It’s the most intimate thing Steve thinks he has ever experienced, and he has never felt more loved than he does in this moment. Eddie moves on from his thighs, trailing kisses over the scars on his torso.
He is so gentle and kind that Steve can’t help the tears that spring to his eyes. They quietly fall down his face as Eddie continues. He works his way up his torso, moving his mouth to the scars that litter his chest from years of fighting monsters. He presses the softest kiss right above his heart, and Steve lets out a tiny sob at the feeling.
Eddie immediately pulls away, moving up so he can look at his face with worry. He brings his hands back up to his cheeks, wiping away the tears that are still steadily falling.
“I’m so sorry, baby. Are you okay? I’m sorry if that was too much,” Eddie rushes out, tripping over his words a little in his haste to apologize. Steve feels a small smile spread across his face as he brings his own hands up and places them over top of Eddie’s. The tears are still falling but they don’t feel oppressive this time.
He’s not sobbing in agony, or desperate relief. He’s just crying because he feels loved and safe, and he can. It’s a release. A release of all the horrible things he’s been through. Of all the horrible things he says and thinks about himself. It’s a reassurance that he has someone to hold him through the pain now.
“I’m okay. Just a little overwhelmed. I love you so much, Eddie.” Steve says, and he means the words so much he can feel it in his bones. He thinks if someone were to cut him open and take out his heart, Eddie’s name would be carved into every crevice of it.
“I love you too, Stevie. So, so much.” Eddie says, and there are tears in his eyes now too. He leans in and presses his mouth to Steve’s, both of them just needing to feel the other against them.
They kiss like that for a long time, mouths moving lazily together, not working up to anything, just content and happy to be pressed together. They pull away after a while, resting their foreheads together as they just breathe.
“You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. You know that Stevie?” Eddie asks, his eyes gazing deeply into Steve’s. He is helpless to believe him. He has never thought of himself as such, but if Eddie says it, it must be true.
He leans in and presses his mouth to Eddie’s again, moving his hands down to hold onto his waist and pull him closer. Eddie lays himself on top of Steve, their chests pressed together, and their legs tangled up. Steve thinks there is no place he’d rather be. No one else he would rather be doing this with.
Things are hard and he knows it’s not going to get better overnight, but this is easy. Being with Eddie is the easiest thing he’s ever done, and he supposes having something so easy might just help when things are hard.