Boltedfruit Archive

First to Burn

Chapter 2: part ii: one more

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.

Tommy likes Billy but Billy doesn’t like Tommy. Calls him a nerd until Tommy tries to prove him wrong at every bend in the road. Jumped off one of the lower cliffs lining the quarry and broke his arm last summer because Billy called him a coward. Calls him a loser because Tommy is afraid when Carol kisses him for the first time and he’s never kissed anyone.


That’s how Steve first gets the idea. It’s a day after his thirteenth birthday. Tina asked him to the Snow Ball last week even though it’s still months away and Steve sweats every time he thinks about it. Tina will want to dance with him. He doesn’t know how to dance.


He hasn’t told anyone about it yet.


Until now.


“Seriously?” Tommy asks, then proceeds to warn Steve that Tina will want to kiss him. So he better kiss her real good.


“Kiss her like a woman wants to be kissed,” Tommy says.


To which Billy, sandwiched between Steve and Tommy on the couch in the Harringtons’ new basement, says, “She’s thirteen, not a woman.”


He grabs another snickerdoodle and breaks it in half, offering one part to Steve before chomping down the other.


“Same thing!”


“Is not. She’s a kid.”


“So are we,” Steve supplies. “But Carol kissed Tommy last week and he didn’t know what to do. He knows how it works now.”


“Bullshit, Carol didn’t kiss you,” Billy says, leaping forward. He glares at Tommy. “I—”


“You what?” Tommy challenges. “I know you like her but we’re going steady now.”


“I don’t like Carol,” Billy snarls more than says.


Steve holds up his hands. “Uh.”


“I bet you haven’t ever kissed anyone, not even a girl.”


“You calling me gay, Hagan?”


“So what if I am? I’ve never seen you kiss any girls. You’re a rainbow loving—”


After that, Steve has to pull Billy off Tommy and they both get sent home.


Billy shows back up around midnight, after sneaking out to throw pebbles at Steve’s bedroom window. Ever since Steve’s family moved to Loch Nora, Billy’s spent most nights sneaking over.


Steve loves when he sleeps over. Billy’s his best friend. He knows Billy and his dad don’t get along a lot of the time, especially since the divorce, so he’s happy that Billy comes to him to get away.


Steve hops up and pushes his window open. Holds out his arm for Billy to grab when he’s on the roof beside his window. Billy and Steve have never missed the jump. Steve doesn’t like to think about what would happen if they ever did.


Billy jumps. Steve catches him.


Hauls him inside and quiets his own laughter as Billy shuts the window for him. Then Billy turns and lands a playful punch to his cheek. Light, a tap of his knuckles. He grins and flops back on Steve’s bed, burrowing into the fluff of blankets he’d as good as made after dinner.


“You hungry?” Steve asks him as he grabs up his walkman and shoves at Billy’s side to get him to scoot over.


He pulls a knee up and hands Billy the headphones. Billy holds them stretched out, one ear turned out a little so they can lean their heads together and listen to the same songs. It’s one of Steve’s favorite things to do.


“Not really.”


Steve waits for three songs to finish before he nods, hands over the walkman, and heads downstairs. Not really means no dinner. Really hungry is bad. Like haven’t eaten all day bad. Already ate means he actually did.


He grabs two slices of bread, slaps on some mayonnaise, and uses half a pack of bologna for a sandwich. Then he grabs a Tab and a beer—because Billy likes beer and Steve’s dad never notices when they go missing.


His parents’ room is dark.


Billy grins when he’s back with the beer and food. He eats the sandwich in a few bites. Steve holds a pillow up so Billy can pop the tabs on the cans quietly. Billy sets the Tab down and sips at the beer, before handing it to Steve.


“Try it, Harrington.”


Steve considers it. He smells the top. It’s bitter and kind of stale smelling. He takes a sip and makes a face. Billy snorts.


“It gets better,” he says as Steve keeps sipping.


He’s not really a fan for the first thirty minutes. He thinks he’s feeling whatever he’s supposed to after that and decides maybe beer tastes kind of good. Billy keeps laughing now and then, almost to himself. His lashes are dark and long and Steve falls asleep beside his friend feeling safe. Comforted.



Steve is shaken awake. It’s gentle. Nothing quick about it. The room is dark and his mouth tastes gross. Billy hovers over him.


“Move over, you’re hogging the blankets.”


Steve says, “Oh,” and gets moving. Lifts his legs and watches Billy throw his shirt and his pants off before climbing back in. He shivers before he settles. Yawns.


Steve reaches forward and pokes the roof of his mouth. Billy gags and coughs and growls something unintelligible before full on tackling Steve beneath the covers. He wrestles Steve breathless.


Billy claps a hand over Steve’s mouth when the swearing turns to laughing.


“Shut it or your folks will come in here and kick me out.” But when Steve nods his assent and Billy takes his hand away, Billy thinks a good end to the conversation is to jab him a final time in the ribs.


Steve says, “Goddammit,” and knees Billy. Maybe too hard. Billy curls forward and falls strangely quiet. “Shit. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Are you okay? Billy, you alright?”


Billy turns his face into the pillow. Says a muffled, “Asshole,” and Steve sighs his relief.


“Sorry,” he whispers. “But you kinda deserved it.”


Billy turns his face only enough that Steve can see him roll his eyes.


“Lame.” He closes his eyes. “Hey, you think Tommy was telling the truth earlier?”


“What about? Carol? Yeah. Carol’s been into Tommy forever.”


“It’s gross.”


Steve shrugs. “I think it’s kind of nice.”


Billy burrows in further to the blankets, inches closer until his forehead is plastered to Steve’s shoulder. “She’ll break his heart.”


“Why d’you think that?”


“Girls leave. When they don’t love you anymore they leave. So why bother loving them first?”




“I’m drunk, Steve,” he explains. Steve believes him.


“Were you?”


“Was I what?”


“Lying…or I guess, not fessing up earlier. When Tommy said you liked Carol?”


Billy bullies Steve onto his back before planting a cheek on his chest. Steve blows the stray curls that tickle the corner of his mouth away.


“I don’t like Carol.”


“…Really? Because you stare at her a lot.”


“No I don’t.”


“You stare a lot, Billy—”


“I stare at everybody.” He gestures with the arm nearest Steve’s side. Speaks with it twisting and pushing shapes around in the air above them, casting shadows in the already dark room. “I wasn’t staring at Carol. It was Carol and Tommy.”


“So you are jealous?”


Billy’s hand tenses, spasms into a fist that thumps Steve on the chest. He wheezes lightly as Billy settles into stillness once again.


“I’m not jealous, I’m—you—Never mind. Stop being annoying as hell, Harrington.”


Steve feels uneasy about the whole thing still. Something nagging inside him doesn’t want to let it go.


“Okay. I believe you.” They don’t say anything for a while. Then Steve adds, “Were you jealous that Tommy got his first kiss before you did?”


Billy doesn’t say anything which Steve knows to mean he’s trying not to lie. Billy’s a bad liar.


“It’s okay. I haven’t kissed a girl either.”


Billy’s hand twitches against his stomach, curls over his side. “Really?”


Steve smiles to the ceiling. “Nope. Truth be told, I’m kind of freaking out about Tina asking me to the dance.”


“She made you look like a pussy,” Billy says softly.


“I’m not a pussy. She just asked me first is all. I was going to ask the week before the dance.”


“It’s months away.”


“That’s what I’m saying!”


Billy pokes him. “Loud. So what, are you jealous of Tommy?”


“No? I’m—maybe I am? I don’t know—” Steve presses his palms into his eyes and rubs hard. “I don’t want to mess it up.”


“How can you mess up kissing?”


Steve takes his hands away. Tilts his head to look at his friend. Billy’s got his eyes open and is looking at him. He lifts up on his elbow and quirks a brow. “You’ve seen plenty of flicks where there’s kissing. It’s easy.”


“You don’t know that.”


Billy glowers. “I know it looks fun, not scary.”


Steve lets free a tiny whine of a sound. “I just wish there was, I don’t know, a girl I could ask to practice with or something.”




“Like practice kissing? But it would have to be with a girl who wouldn’t care. Like Barb or something.”


“Why would Barb not care?”


Steve shrugs. “I don’t know. I was just thinking—just throwing ideas out there. God, I’m gonna mess up. I’ll probably bite her or something.”


“So what, you want me to find you a doll to practice kissing on?”


Steve pushes himself up, hissing out, “No! No, no, no way, oh my god. I meant with, Billy. How am I supposed to get it right if I don’t know how to do it…with someone.”


“I’m confused. You went from kissing to doing it. What step are we at here, tiger?”


Steve shoves his friend. Billy laughs at him.


“Stop your groaning,” Billy orders, still laughing. He wipes his hands on his legs. “What if we practiced?”


Steve levels him a dark look. “That’s what I literally just said, idiot.”


“No,” Billy says, then wipes his hands again. He laces his fingers over his knees before planting his palms flat on the mattress. “Just don’t laugh at me for saying this, but, but what if—we—practiced—together?”




Billy fists the sheet. “We kiss each other and it’s practice, fair and square. Nothing weird about it. Just so we know what we’re doing when we kiss girls.”


Steve watches Billy fidget.


“Isn’t that…kind of gay?” Steve whispers the word because it’s not a word he says in the house. He knows it’s bad. It’s Tommy’s favorite.


Billy won’t meet his eyes. He’s never not looked Steve in the eye. “It’s just practice, Harrington,” he spits out. “Like you said. Do you want help or not?”


“Well I didn’t mean—”


Billy goes dead still. Steve wonders at it, at him. Even goes as far as to shake him a little.


Billy blinks and snaps to life. Snatches the blankets off and starts for the window.


“I’m going home,” Billy says in a shuddering voice. Steve thinks maybe he might be crying he’s so embarrassed. Billy’s never cried in front of Steve before. “Sorry I said anything.”


“Billy.” Steve gets up and hurries to grab his friend’s wrist. “You’re in your underwear. It’s freezing outside.”


Billy yanks his hand free. “So?”


Fine,” Steve hears himself say. “Fine, but you won’t tell Tommy?”


“I won’t say shit. This is just to help you.”




Billy glances at him too fast for Steve to get a read on him. “This was your bright idea, Harrington.”


“Come on,” Steve says, whispers. He hates seeing Billy cry. It’s frightening. “It’s a good idea, really. This way it won’t count. Because we’re not girls.”


Billy follows him back to the bed, back to where Steve lifts the covers and settles down and pulls his knees to his chest. Billy mirrors him.


“Right. It won’t count,” Billy echoes.








“Steve, quit it.”


“Sorry. I’m nervous.”


“Well, stop it. It’s just me.”


“Just you,” Steve says. Billy nods. His eyes shine even in the dark. Steve swallows so hard his throat clicks. “So what do we do?”


Billy snorts. It seems to surprise him. “I, uh. Just.” He frowns. Leans forward and presses his lips to Steve’s.




“Like that,” Billy tells him.


Steve swallows again. His lips are very dry so he licks them. Then he leans in and does the same thing Billy did, just for longer. Billy tenses and relaxes. Makes a weird choking sound.


Steve pulls away. “What happened, what did I do wrong?”


Billy shakes his head. Coughs into the sheet. “Nothing. Nothing, got a tickle in my throat. Maybe kind of hard to breathe. Or something.”




“Want to try again?”


Steve thinks yes, he wants to try it a lot. Says, “One more, then bed?”


“Yeah. I have to be up early anyway.”


Billy always says some variation of the same, every time. Steve knows his dad and his new stepmom don’t like him sleeping over at friends’ houses anymore.






“Will you come back?” Steve asks, because somehow he’s suddenly afraid of something.


Billy nods. “Don’t I always?”


“You do.”


Billy nods and inches forward. Looks at Steve’s mouth, he thinks. “One more.”


This time when Billy leans in, it’s for a long time, and Steve feels a little like it’s melting. That single place where their mouths meet. His cheeks are warm and he feels fluttery, a little dizzy and out of breath. He wonders if kissing is supposed to make you sick to your stomach or if it’s the beer from earlier.


“Better,” Billy comments.


When he wakes up, his window is cracked and Billy’s clothes are gone.


The sun is out.