Boltedfruit Archive

Missing

31 Days of Steddie Halloween Horror: Part 5

Published: 2023-10-05

Category: M/M

Rating: M

Chapters: 31/31

Words: 842

Fandom: Stranger Things

Ship: Steve Harrington/Eddie Munson

Characters: Steve Harrington, Eddie Munson

Tags: Time Travel, Implied Time Loop, Missing Persons, Time Travel, Implied Time Loop

Summary:

Day 5 Prompt: Missing

 

That summer before freshman year, Steve’s face was everywhere.

 

Posted around town in store windows, on telephone poles, the newspaper. Eddie remembers eating cereal every morning and having to stare at Steve’s face on the milk carton.

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.

Hawkins Middle School’s most beloved, the not quite infamous Steve Harrington—up and coming Popular Kid, the guy who supposedly already hung out with older girls and was making a name for himself—goes missing the summer they turn fourteen.

 

Eddie barely interacted with the guy past avoiding spitballs launched through straws and a strange kind of shared camaraderie the miserable day Eddie came to school with a shaved head and a black eye.

 

“Your old man, I bet?” Steve had said, not really asking. He offered Eddie a cigarette, because at their age the coolest thing to do was skipping class to smoke behind the gym and watch the girls run up at the high school.

 

Eddie never said anything back. Never spoke a word to him. He was right and they both knew it. And besides, Eddie wanted to wallow.

 

He was shy back then. Easily thwarted by bullies he only learned to fight back against a few years later. Steve happened to be a bully with a human side, and Eddie didn’t really know what to do with that.

 

He regrets it every now and then, when thoughts of his school days wander back in mind. Doesn’t even know if he had the beginning of a crush, or it was his own inability to speak up.

 

Maybe if he had, maybe if, somehow, Steve and him had been friends it never would have happened.

 

There were plenty of rumors and conspiracies around what happened. But what was confirmed was that he’d invited Tommy Hagan and Carol Perkins over to his house when his parents were out of town. They’d been drinking. The news reported there had been a lot of blood at the scene. No body. A teen couple that didn’t have answers, and were quickly ruled out as suspects.

 

It was a small town mystery that gripped everyone that called Hawkins home. American bread and butter.

 

Hagan was never really the same, got into drugs before being shipped off to some behavioral correction program in Virginia at seventeen. Carol began to crack only around sophomore year when she had a meltdown at homecoming. People never stopped calling her Carrie after that.

 

That summer before freshman year, Steve’s face was everywhere.

 

Posted around town in store windows, on telephone poles, the newspaper. Eddie remembers eating cereal every morning and having to stare at Steve’s face on the milk carton.

 

The Harringtons flew back and spoke in front of camera crews. Eddie remembers Donna Harrington crying beside her stone-faced husband, Randall. Remembers it looked fake, put-upon. Too much from the mom and not enough from the dad.

 

His uncle often thought it was them that had done it somehow, mainly the dad. He knew them from when he’d been in school and never liked the man.

 

All through high school, including the extra two years, the unsolved missing person’s case of poor Steve Harrington infected the town, the halls and classrooms.

 

Every time Eddie smoked behind the gym, watching the girls run, he wondered if Steve was out there somewhere doing the same.

 

Now, Eddie stands on the front stoop of the trailer he used to share with his uncle before he passed. He graduated fifteen years ago. He’s sipping off a lukewarm beer in the early morning hours just before dawn—only back about an hour from his shift at the bar—when a man that looks startlingly similar to Steve Harrington walks by.

 

Eddie stops, frozen mid-sip.

 

The man is filthy. Covered in what looks like dust, or soot even. His hair is wild, thick and choppy, the fringe strangely reminiscent of how Steve styled it back in middle school. His clothes sport tears and dark stains. His eyes jump around the recently paved road that ties the front porches of every trailer in Forest Hills together. He’s got no shoes on. He walks in a circle, turning slowly as he takes every little detail in.

 

Eddie swallows nothing, his fingers tapping anxious across the bottleneck. He hears the din of nails on glass and has the urge to look down, take in the moles on Steve’s face on the milk carton.

 

But there is no milk carton. He’s reliving a memory. There are no more milk cartons, runs in the paper, posters on telephone poles. The missing are only missed for so long before they’re forgotten.

 

But as the man spots him, as he walks forward as if in a trance, Eddie counts the same moles he used to. And he’s never forgotten those eyes.

 

Steve Harrington has been missing for over twenty years, but he stumbles into Eddie’s arms anyway.

 

“Is it over?” Steve’s throat works, his voice deeper and richer than the childhood version frozen in Eddie’s mind. There’s a thick scar across his neck that’s long since healed, as if someone came at him with a garrote wire. He meets Eddie’s eyes, dirty fingers sinking into and twisting his shirt. He looks desperate. Hollowed out.

 

And he asks, “Did we win this time, Eddie?”