Boltedfruit Archive

Cold

31 Days of Steddie Halloween Horror: Part 21

Published: 2023-10-21

Category: M/M

Rating: M

Chapters: 31/31

Words: 1,895

Fandom: Stranger Things

Ship: Steve Harrington/Eddie Munson

Characters: Steve Harrington, Eddie Munson

Tags: Vampire Eddie Munson, Human Steve Harrington, Flirting, Implied Mind Control

Summary:

Day 21 Prompt: Vampires exist and humans are outlawed from entering their territories unless having received a Golden Invite.

Everyone knows you don’t go to Hawkins. It’s off limits both by federal law and local legend. Of course, the legend came first.

 

It happened slow, apparently. A man not quite a man took a ship to the new world. A man not quite a man made a name for himself in business best left in the shadows, made a name that others could not ignore, made a name that was mocked as new wealth and revered for the same and that is when he went west. He found towns, small ones. He injected life into them. He made them places of debauchery and sin. He bathed them in red and moved on to the next.

 

Until he found Hawkins and decided he would stay.

 

That was over a hundred years ago.

 

Now, it’s 1988 and Henry Creel was usurped a week ago.

 

No one knows what comes next now. If the red town licked with hellfire will wipe itself out from conquest, or ambition will simply make a new, worse creature in Creel’s absence.

 

And just because the government says one thing doesn’t mean another isn’t true.

Author's Note

I hope you enjoy! And consider leaving a comment at the end of the fic to let me know what you thought.

Everyone knows you don’t go to Hawkins. It’s off limits both by federal law and local legend. Of course, the legend came first.

 

It happened slow, apparently. A man not quite a man took a ship to the new world. A man not quite a man made a name for himself in business best left in the shadows, made a name that others could not ignore, made a name that was mocked as new wealth and revered for the same and that is when he went west. He found towns, small ones. He injected life into them. He made them places of debauchery and sin. He bathed them in red and moved on to the next.

 

Until he found Hawkins and decided he would stay.

 

That was over a hundred years ago.

 

Now, it’s 1988 and Henry Creel was usurped a week ago.

 

No one knows what comes next now. If the red town licked with hellfire will wipe itself out from conquest, or ambition will simply make a new, worse creature in Creel’s absence.

 

And just because the government says one thing doesn’t mean another isn’t true.

 

There’s one way in. A Golden Invite.

 

If you receive one of those, you get to see what humans haven’t been able to. But once you’re in, you don’t come back out.

 

Steve’s never seen one in person. He’s never particularly wanted one either. Everyone knows that if you’re Invited, you’re as good as dead. Little better than cattle.

 

But that doesn’t mean he’s not curious about what it’s like inside. It’s not walled off. It’s not guarded by anything other than graffitied welcome signs along the highway. Trash marks the offramp into town from years of avoidance.

 

Steve is curious, but he doesn’t want to die.

 

So he sneaks in.

 

He just wants a look. Just wants to see what no other living person has. Then he’ll sneak back out, no one the wiser. He’ll have a story whether he shares it or not.

 

He’s prepared, too. Garlic in his pockets. Silver around his neck. A couple of pencils in his polo’s pocket. He looks like a nerd, but he doesn’t care. He’s even got a piece of vine in another pocket, just in case. Stick it between the teeth and ward off plague. The oldest plague is death, is red, so he’ll use the earth to fight it if he has to.

 

Of course, they smell him before long.

 

Laughter precedes cold hands at his throat. A sound both vicious and smooth whispers into his ear.

 

He goes.

 

 

Steve blinks. What felt like being muted lifts away with a breath, the cold lingering like a chokehold around his neck. He gasps, falling to his knees with only the slightest of pushes.

 

He stays there, keenly aware of the two men on either side of him, and the gathered crowd beyond that. He hears a titter of laughter, looks forward, and lands on a pair of black boots over leather pants. Higher up, he sees a pale chin and the ends of dark hair.

 

Steve resets, heart hammering, eyes on the floor, breath slow as he can make it. He shakes.

 

He’s going to die.

 

The creature in front of him speaks, voice sounding like any other; one of their greatest assets. A man not quite a man.

 

At least he knows it’s not Creel. Creel, the beast. Creel, the mass murderer. Creel, the one responsible for the plague that will never end.

 

His death had been reported far and wide, a global cause for celebration.

 

But it doesn’t make the stale, cold air any less frightening. Despite the movement of bodies around him, the whispers of voices mingling, the air around him is still, freezing, dead.

 

“Away now. Let me have a look at him.”

 

The men flanking him step away, back into the unbeating heart of the crowd. The man before him crouches, a leather knee taking his weight as an icy finger lifts Steve’s chin.

 

Steve looks into the dark eyes of the most beautiful man he’s ever seen. Dark curls like ink around pale, smooth skin, lips pink and nostrils flared.

 

He inhales, lips only just parting. He’s smelling him, Steve knows. Is scenting his blood.

 

The man who’s not a man’s eyes turn hooded, the darkness in them going bottomless, like olive pits. He exhales, and Steve startles at the feeling of breath washing over his face.

 

He smells like nothing. Steve expected rot, blood, offal.

 

It gives Steve enough state of mind to take the rest of him in. He’s wearing an old band tee with cutoff sleeves. Makes him laugh.

 

The man tilts his head. His lips turn up, a hint of a smile.

 

“Lamb,” he says, the word falling into Steve’s ears like cream, “did you happen to bring others with you? Or were you brave enough to come alone?”

 

“Alone,” he says, feeling a strange compulsion tug at his throat. Feels that chokehold return. “Brought garlic and silver.”

 

The smile grows. The man sniffs once before easily sliding his hands over Steve’s pockets. He finds every item hidden away.

 

He smells the garlic, the crowd laughing. He places the crucifix around his neck and chews the end of the vine as if it’s a piece of wayward straw.

 

The only thing he hesitates on is the pencils. He pats Steve’s chest once, holds him, feels his heart thundering.

 

He hums a low sound that goes straight to Steve’s inside, rumbles him, makes him melt.

 

“Will you do as I say, or will you cause trouble?”

 

The cold presses tight at his windpipe. He gasps, “No trouble.”

 

The chokehold surrenders him. He sags, exhausted.

 

The man stands, gestures to one of the others, and then Steve is being led away.

 

He’s brought to a room in a house that’s like any other house. There are no massive bolts on any doors, no locks on the window. There are thick curtains, open with the window cracked to let in the night air.

 

Steve goes and closes it.

 

It’s a master bedroom. There’s an empty en suite bathroom and a tidy makeshift study in the corner. There’re sheets of music spread out with handwritten notes in the margins. There’s a guitar on the wall.

 

He wonders about it.

 

The door opens without a preceding knock, and he jumps. The one from before comes in with a tray of food. He sets it down with what Steve thinks is an attempt at a smile before leaving again. Steve listens for a lock cranking, but it doesn’t come.

 

He takes in the tray. It’s a bowl of tomato soup, warm to the touch, and a bag of chips.

 

The creatures have no need for human food. There’s no reason to hold on to any either, not with their Invited never returning. They either become food or become other. Neither requires food.

 

He opts for the chips because if they want to poison or drug him, it’d be in the soup. He opens the bag and snacks, mouth too dry to really enjoy them, as he plans his next move.

 

 

Steve’s sitting at the desk when the door opens again.

 

It’s the man from before, just as devastatingly handsome in lamplight as he is under the moon.

 

He seems surprised to see Steve there.

 

“Making yourself comfortable, I see.”

 

Steve shrugs.”

 

“I let you keep your…writing utensils. Had half the mind you’d try to stake me the moment I entered.”

 

“And then what? I’d walk out of town? I wouldn’t make it.”

 

“Smart. I like that.”

 

“Are you disappointed I didn’t try?”

 

“Maybe a little.” He goes to the window, lingers in the breeze. He turns to Steve. “Didn’t even try to climb out the window?”

 

“Same end.” Steve sets the chips down. “Is this what gets you off? Make your dinner run before you sit down and eat?”

 

The man huffs. “That’s not my speed, unfortunately. It would make things much easier.”

 

Steve doesn’t know what to say to that. He stays where he is as the man leaves the window, eyes always on Steve as he sits on the edge of the bed.

 

“This is my room.”

 

“I figured.”

 

The man lifts a hand, beckons Steve forward with two fingers.

 

The cold doesn’t return, doesn’t press on the soft parts of his throat, doesn’t restrict his airway, doesn’t whisper at the base of his brain to obey.

 

“I’ll stay here, thanks.”

 

“You don’t know why I brought you here?”

 

Steve shifts. “No. But whatever it is, I’ll make you work for it.”

 

The man who’s not a man laughs, and Steve shivers for another reason entirely. It’s pleasant. Heat warms his belly.

 

“Was that your attempt at flirting with me?”

 

Steve goes warm all over, ashamed. A little disgusted with himself. He’s a human. It’s not like that. He’s scared, not interested.

 

“I don’t know.”

 

He stands and goes to Steve, gets right in his space, stands between his spread knees. Steve swallows thickly, sees the silver crucifix dangling between them as the man bends, meets Steve on his level.

 

The silver looks good on him.

 

“It was smart, coming prepared. Unfortunately, most old wives’ tales are merely that. Wood, however.” He reaches out, takes one of the pencils from Steve’s pocket and slips it behind his ear, curls tucked neatly away. “Most will work. These would do in a pinch, but to kill one of my kind you’d need a stake made of willow. Do you know why?”

 

Steve shakes his head, no.

 

“Willow is believed to have control over the dead.”

 

Steve doesn’t miss how the man doesn’t say it’s not true.

 

“Though I suppose that particular information hasn’t quite stuck its roots in on this side of the world just yet. And unfortunately for you, a number two pencil is merely made of graphite and cedar.”

 

“Sorry.”

 

The man laughs again, lightly this time. He seems delighted, cheeks dimpling as he smiles down at Steve, gaze skimming his neck, his chest. His hand lifts, hovering over Steve’s heart.

 

“Don’t apologize.”

 

He draws away all at once, standing with his hands in his pockets.

 

“No one will bother you on the way out.”

 

“I–what? You’re not going to kill me?”

 

“No.” Then, “Do you want to know why?”

 

Steve wants to squirm under the weight of his gaze, almost haunting.

 

“No.”

 

The man who’s not a man grins.

 

And sees Steve out. But not before lending him a leather jacket.

 

“For the cold,” he’d said as Steve shivered from the weight of the man’s hands trailing down his arms. “You’ll return it won’t you?”

 

“But the others…”

 

“They’ve been told to not lay hand or cold upon you,” he’d said. “Ever.”

 

It’s not until Steve gets back home, nose chilled numb and chest warm from heavy leather that he realizes he never learned the creature’s name.

 

 

He doesn’t have to wonder for long.

 

The next morning’s paper catches his eye, and not for its blazing headline: HAWKINS’ CREEL OUT, MUNSON IN.

 

It’s a large picture of the man he’d met the night before.

 

He skims the article, reads it twice.

 

Edward “Eddie” Munson killed longtime tyrant Henry Creel in a show of bloody ambition…

 

He swallows, again and again, feeling hysterical.

 

He knows he’ll go back tonight.