Boltedfruit Archive

First to Burn

Chapter 1: part i: kids

Published: 2020-11-07

Completed: 2023-03-20

Category: M/M

Rating: E

Chapters: 16/16

Words: 76,009

Fandom: Stranger Things

Ship: Billy Hargrove/Steve Harrington


Steve Harrington, Billy Hargrove. Tommy Hagan, Nancy Wheeler, Jonathan Byers, Neil Hargrove. Maxine “Max” Mayfield, Robin Buckley, Susan Hargrove, Jim “Chief” Hopper

Tags:Slow Burn, Childhood Friends, Friends to Enemies to Lovers, Prompt Fill, First Kiss, First Love, Panic Attacks, Emotional Hurt/Comfort, Billy Hargrove Being an Asshole and a mess, Canon-Typical Violence, Mutual Pining, Alternate Universe – No Upside Down, Oral Sex, Internalized Homophobia, Angst with a Happy Ending, Hurt/Comfort, Mutual Masturbation,Protective Robin Buckley, Mental Health Issues


Billy moves in next door on Steve’s tenth birthday. They grow up thick as thieves, sharing everything. When they become old enough to date…they turn to one another for practice.


“Since it’s us. Since I’m not Tina, and you’re not—you’re just you. It doesn’t count if we—if we practice.” Billy turns to face him, even though Steve can’t really make out his face yet in the dark. “Right?


Steve’s heart rate picks up. “Right. Yeah, that’s right.”

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.

The tiny blond boy with the too-big tee shirt and nice mom moves in next door on Steve’s tenth birthday. He knows the boy’s mom is nice because she smiles a lot and pats the boy’s head and spins him around before chasing him around the back of the house.


Steve could see the boy’s backyard from his bedroom window. But he’s out front watering the rose bushes and he has to rake up the leaves next and he’s going nuts watching the boy’s parents bring in boxes. He wants to know more about the boy who just moved in. Wants to know if they can be friends, because Tommy got mad and deflated his best basketball last week and so they aren’t friends anymore.


His mom sends him next door with a plate of cookies that takes forty minutes to make, start to finish. His chores coincidentally take forty minutes to wrap up.


The cookies are snickerdoodle and gingersnap and chocolate-chip. His mom is very good at making cookies. She always wins the prize for best holiday basket at the town hall Christmas party. Dad does not eat her cookies because he has to watch his waist line or something.


Steve races next door the minute he’s stacked the cookies on a plate. He’s rung the doorbell twice and knocked four times before the door finally opens. The dad stands there, staring down with a smile at Steve like he said a joke he hasn’t even thought of yet. Maybe Steve just really does have a funny face like Carol likes to say he does. He frowns.


“Well hello, who’s this?” the man asks, and rubs his chin. “Cookies for me?”


Steve swallows, lowers the plate a little before holding it higher. He stares at the man’s stomach because he’s nervous and he can’t do the thing his dad always tells him to do. To buck up and meet the eyes of those you want to impress.


The man turns around and calls back inside the house. Says, “Sal, some kid’s welcoming us to the neighborhood!”


Steve steels himself. Puts on his best smile and fights his own nerves down to drag his eyes up to the man—and then the woman beside him. The nice mom from before, with her long, wavy blonde hair and clear blue eyes.


She blinks and takes the plate of cookies from him. She picks one up and before Steve can warn her they’re still hot, she’s bitten one in half.


“Oh, sweetie pie,” she says, “these are delicious. Did you make these yourself?”


Her eyes find his and he nods. Then he shakes his head no. Then he turns quickly to point at his house, his mom on the front stoop. She waves with a smile.


“Hello neighbor!” she calls.


“See, Neil. This neighborhood is nice,” the woman says. 


The man stares at Steve’s mom before going back inside the house.


“Billy!” the man yells, and then Steve hears hurried steps. Running. Then it’s the boy Steve wanted so badly to meet, out of breath and lifting an eyebrow.




“Billy, our neighbors made these cookies just for us. Come say thank you.”


Billy walks forward, says, “I’m Billy,” and into the light spilling in from where Steve stands on the porch. He’s got at least five inches on the other boy. Billy says, “Thanks. Who are you?”


“You’re so welcome! You know, snickerdoodle’s my favorite. My mom always makes them. At least once every month! Twice in my birthday month! I’m Steve…uh. Welcome? Are you new here? Will you be going to Hawkins?”


Billy stares and stares at him. Makes a face that tells Steve he’s being weird. Being funny. He smiles and laughs, and knows he sounds nervous.




“Why don’t you boys go play out back?” The plate of cookies is handed off to her son, who looks like he doesn’t know what they are.


Billy’s mom leans out the door and starts toward where their driveways meet. Starts talking to Steve’s mom.


“They’re really good,” Steve says, and grabs a snickerdoodle. Eats it in two bites.


“Your mouth is huge,” Billy tells him. “Do you like baseball?”


“Not really.” But when Steve follows Billy inside, and when the front door is shut, he sees a baseball bat leaning against the inside hall.


“Me either.” Billy takes a snickerdoodle and eats it in smaller bites. Catches all the crumbs. Hums when he’s finished. “What about basketball?”


Steve lights up, says, “Yeah!”


Billy sets the cookies in the kitchen. Grabs two more and hands one off to Steve when they get to the backyard. There’s a hoop that wasn’t there the day before.


His basketball isn’t new, but it’s clearly well used. He’s not just showing off. Steve decides he likes Billy’s house.


“Want to be friends?” Steve asks Billy, already having decided. But he knows it’s nice to ask first.


Billy casts a look toward his father, who’s grumbling while he decides where to put what near the back of the garage. Through its open door, Steve can see his and Billy’s moms still talking.




“On what?”


Billy shrugs and tosses the basketball at the hoop. Sinks it in one.


“First to five?”


“Sure.” Steve dribbles and dodges and scores a point. “It’s my birthday, you know.”


“Oh. Happy birthday.” Billy scores the next. “I won’t go easy on you.”


Steve pouts and plays. Plays his hardest. Billy’s a lot better at basketball than all the rest of his friends.


Billy wins.