Boltedfruit Archive

I'll Teach You Wonderwall

Published: 2023-08-03

Category: M/M

Rating: T

Words: 2,394

Fandom: Stranger Things

Ship: Steve Harrington/Eddie Munson

Characters: Steve Harrington, Eddie Munson

Tags: Prompt Fill, TBI Survivor Steve, Physical Disability, Neurological Disorder, Flirting

Summary:

When Dr. Owens handed him a card with Munson’s Monstrous Chords scribbled on it, Steve hadn’t expected to be parked in front of the rundown little music shop an hour after the ink had barely dried.

 

Steve runs his thumb over the name Munson. It was already smeared a little, because he’s impatient. And because his shaky hands are what led him here in the first place.

Author's Note

Prompt posted on Tumblr by @3minsover: "eddie owns a guitar store on the outskirts of town. steve is told by his doctor that it might be good for him to take up something like an instrument to help strengthen his fine motor skills after so many dubiously-explained concussions, so he heads to eddie’s store, entirely unsure what he’s looking for. eddie is patient and encouraging with him, and even teaches him a couple chords, before sending him on his way with a sweet little acoustic that will always make steve think of the pretty man with the kind eyes that sold it to him."

My first steddie fic!

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

When Dr. Owens handed him a card with Munson’s Monstrous Chords scribbled on it, Steve hadn’t expected to be parked in front of the rundown little music shop an hour after the ink had barely dried.

 

Steve runs his thumb over the name Munson. It was already smeared a little, because he’s impatient. And because his shaky hands are what led him here in the first place.

 

He sits with his fingers twitching over his keys for the better part of ten minutes before the front door to the shop opens, startling him into action. He’s up and out before the balding man even has time to reach the curb, giving Steve an odd look before passing him by.

 

Steve told Owens he’d do this. Promised. And he’s in the habit of keeping his promises. He’s reaching for the door’s wide handle when a young man pops out, dark curls hanging in his face, shouting in cupped hands, “Wayne! Don’t forget the beer!”

 

The man from before shouts back a, “Yeah, yeah.”

 

Steve turns back, is promptly ignored by the guy who’d barged in front of him, and is suddenly the only one causing a draft.

 

He lets the door close behind him and is met immediately with the scent of tobacco smoke and something else. Something mangey. He’s not sure what it is, but it sticks to his nostrils as he takes a few tentative steps inside.

 

What does he do now?

 

It’s all red carpet, dark walls, and loud music blasting from the speakers. He spins a little, overwhelmed.

 

It’s a guitar shop. It feels not unlike every Hot Topic Robin dragged him to in high school, but instead of the ceiling-high stacks of band tees, there’s spiky looking electric guitars all over the place. Pinned in rows on every wall and put on display on the floor itself. There’s some stools for sitting. There’s a counter way in the back with the register and a bunch of weird looking action figures.

 

His head is thumping. He tips his head back and goes for the nearest wall.

 

He pretends to be interested in a row of guitars that have all kinds of curves and spikes, too many strings that he wouldn’t know the first thing to do with, and an almost psychedelic array of colors. There’s no rhyme or reason to any of them.

 

He feels the telltale sting at the root of his sinuses and wonders how long he has before he makes an embarrassment of himself.

 

“Hey there!”

 

Steve flinches. Sniffs hard and feels the seconds tick by as pain leeches through his head. His hands are buzzy, the feeling crawling uneven to his elbows. It’s only a matter of time before his left knee decides to be an asshole and forget how to work.

 

“Oh, sorry man. Didn’t mean to scare you. Lost deep in the beauty of these beasts, huh? Can’t say I blame you.” A black-nailed hand reaches up to pat the scariest one on the wall.

 

It’s the guy from before. The one who’d pushed himself through the door in a mess of hair and hands before nearly spitting in Steve’s face and retreating back inside like he didn’t even exist.

 

“N–no problem. I was just browsing.”

 

The guy’s hair hangs in front of dark, depthless eyes over a grin that stretches so wide, Steve wonders if he’s got an extra set of teeth.

 

“You’ve got a good eye! You can’t go wrong with any of these. This one here’s an X Series Rhoads. Body’s weighty enough to feel real, but light enough to throw around when you want. Nice active humbucker so you get all the sear without any of that nasally reverb. Don’t want to go screaming over what sounds like a Tears for Fears cover, right?”

 

He laughs. Steve likes Tears for Fears.

 

Steve nods, like he knows what any of that means.

 

The man moves on to the next, seemingly unbothered. He thumbs the neck of the one below it, a less oppressive looking red guitar with the same six strings.

 

“This here’s a custom Fender Jazzmaster. Blood red, and the lightning details are hand painted by my good friend, Gareth.” The man runs his fingers down the neck like he might lay it out on a bed at any moment. “Jim did good with this one.”

 

Steve nods. He can appreciate the appearance. It looks…cool.

 

“Jim?”

 

“Slipknot guitarist. So technically it’s a custom of a custom. Price runs around near two grand, give or take a little.”

 

Steve swallows hard. Clasps his hands to hide the way they spasm.

 

“Wow! Great deal.”

 

God, why’d he say that. Two grand for a guitar? That’s insane.

 

Those dark eyes light up like Steve’s just handed him his open wallet.

 

“Okay, I see we have a real connoisseur on our hands. Follow me.”

 

Steve’s left looking at a mass of hair as the man turns on his heel and heads towards the back of the store. There’s no one else working, and judging by the spit-and-shine look of the place, he assumes it has to be family run. Maybe that Wayne guy from earlier was the owner, and this was his plucky kid meant to upsell to the unsuspecting.

 

Steve feels his knee wobble. But he makes it unseen when he has to step out wide before falling back in line with the excited employee.

 

“This girl!” he says, taking a glistening black guitar from its prongs to hold flat between them. “Ibanez. Now, we do have a few of the S Series S670QM near the middle of the floor, but trust me. If you want to knock the socks off of your mosh, you gotta get your hands on the Prestige. The RG5120M might look pretty simple, but I’ll let you in on a little secret. This girl right here can achieve any riff you dream of. You want to impress some sleek-suited studio exec looking for the next new thing, and wanna lay down some Metallica just to prove you’re not green under the collar? She’ll have your back. But this one?”

 

He holds it out to Steve, an offering he can’t refuse.

 

The guy’s dressed head to toe in black and spikes and Steve’s in a pink sweater and khakis. It’s not hard to say who would win in a fight.

 

Steve doesn’t know what to do. He’s never been one to pick up a hobby that wasn’t sports. He can tell the difference between an overfilled versus underfilled basketball just by touch, but guitars?

 

He’s got nothing.

 

He holds the thing like it’s a crocodile that somehow found its way into his hands. Stares down at it like it might bite him just the same.

 

Thankfully, the employee is happy to help. He maneuvers Steve until he’s got the strap over a shoulder and the neck in his right hand. He strums it for something to do.

 

“Gorgeous! Like it was made for you, man.”

 

Steve feels his cheeks grow hot. He knows the guy is just trying to make some money off a sucker who was stupid enough to wander in. He can’t seriously think Steve isn’t as awkward and new as he feels?

 

Big hair steps inside Steve’s space. He can smell the guy’s cologne, something lighter and more seasonal than he would have assumed. His hands glance over Steve’s as he guides him to the fancy looking knobs and buttons near the top.

 

It’s all light woodsy pine and citrus as the guy manhandles Steve’s individual fingers to hit whatever spots he’s needing Steve to hit. Steve sniffs gently, trying to keep the fact his head is absolutely swimming with the man’s scent hidden.

 

Then Steve’s hand spasms, or more accurately his wrist. Makes it looks like he swats at the guy. Like get away, I know what I’m doing.

 

He’s an asshole.

 

“Sorry, sorry. I didn’t mean to–I mean, my stupid hands, they–”

 

A palm settles over his fingers, makes the quaking disappear. A soft, maybe more knowing smile crosses the man’s face and Steve wants to bury himself in the sand.

 

“No worries, handsome. Now, you feel that?” Steve isn’t left with any time to absorb the compliment as his first four fingers are urged to feel down the smooth neck of the guitar, between the strings and over the small details underneath. “This one’s another slightly custom build. The dot inlay is typically mother of pearl, but these, the volume, tone and pickup are all golden south sea pearls. Super rare, and really valuable. Hand harvested.”

 

“R-rare huh?” He wonders how much money he’s rubbing his grubby hands over. Did he use sanitizer before he left Owens’ office?

 

“Yeah. They farm them mainly, but something like a whole necklace might take thirty years to make. Hard to find the same size and shape and color, you know?”

 

Steve nods, dazed. Did it take decades to find the pearls formed to the knobs under his fingers?

 

The man is watching him, probably realizing he doesn’t actually have a super star on his hands and that he won’t be making a hefty sale to cover his overhead for the next few months. He’s going to realize the guy who’d practically hit him, because his stupid hands can’t control themselves, is weird and broken and sick because he got into one too many fights in high school and now he’s paying the price.

 

“Whoa, hey there…”

 

Suddenly a black hanky is being pressed to his face. The guy is pinching his nose and Steve balks, because of course. Of course this was going to happen when he had what was probably the most expensive guitar in the store in his hands.

 

Steve takes over, holding the hanky and tilting his head back while the guy switches effortlessly over to removing the guitar from him. It’s back on the wall and out of his sweaty palms before he has the chance to bleed on the thing.

 

“Do you need–”

 

“It’s just a nosebleed! I get them all the time. It’s a–it’s not like a drug thing or anything,” Steve insists, because that’s not something he does. “I just–it happens a lot. I’m used to it. No big deal. Really.”

 

The guy nods, amicable before leaving Steve to his own bloody mess. Figures. Steve eventually ruins every situation he finds himself in, no matter how simple or complicated. Dating? Nightmare. Conversation with a stranger? Bleeds all over the guy’s handkerchief.

 

Christ. He’s gone and used the guy’s handkerchief. Now he’ll have to return it, and it’ll be bloody , and he–”

 

“How about some seltzer?”

 

The guy comes back, two black cans labeled with Black Death in his hands. Steve just blinks at it.

 

“I have to drive, sorry.”

 

The guy looks confused before he huffs. “It’s sparkling water. It just looks extra fun.” He pops the tab and hands one to Steve. “I have some gatorade too if you’d rather have that?”

 

Steve takes a sip, easing his head forward enough to swallow and check the damage he’s done to the man’s hanky. It’s so dark he can hardly tell.

 

The man takes Steve’s chin between his thumb and forefinger before Steve knows what’s happening. He peers into Steve’s nose. “Looks like it’s stopped. Sorry you have to deal with that.”

 

“It’s nothing new…Headaches and dizziness are worse. I–it’s something you get used to.”

 

Another smile. Another knowing little look. Steve feels exposed.

 

“I can’t say it isn’t unique and romantic as all hell, but you really think your wife would prefer a guitar outfitted with rare pearls over a necklace or pair of earrings?”

 

Steve has to laugh at that. The idea of him, married. No, he’d had that chance and it had come and gone years and years ago.

 

“I am not married. Nope. Not even a little bit.”

 

He’s shaking his head at the floor when the other man hums. He feels like he needs to explain unless this guy thinks he’s a freak.

 

“My doctor, he uh. He recommended guitar as a way of helping my fine motor skills? I have this thing. It’s kind of embarrassing. Persistent post-concussion syndrome? I get kind of off my feet a lot, and bright lights cause migraines, and sometimes I forget things and–well. He recommended this place.”

 

“So, how long have you played?”

 

“Counting today?”

 

The man smiles and jerks his chin over his shoulder. “I’ve got you covered. Let’s grab you something that’ll get you good as addicted.”

 

The man leads Steve to a nook in the back near the register. It’s all guitars he’s seen before, and all of them far less intimidating than the rest of the shop’s.

 

The man deliberates, tapping his foot and hooking a finger under his chin like he’s actually considering which one would be best. They all look the same to Steve.

 

He plucks one seemingly at random and hands it over, letting Steve hold it like he did the electric guitar.

 

“Six string acoustic and plays as good as anything else in this old place. You know Hot Cross Buns?”

 

“No?”

 

The man smiles and starts rattling off instructions one at a time.

 

 

Steve walks out of the shop feeling lighter than when he’d gone in. He rides the high of having a not-entirely-detrimental interaction with a stranger for once until he gets home and is sitting on his couch with the guitar in his lap.

 

He tries playing the same notes he was taught at the shop. They come out hesitant and clunky, but his hands feel determined, the vibrations of the strings making him feel more solid than he’s felt in a long time.

 

Later, after dinner when he’s balancing his checkbook, he notices a smudge on the edge of the receipt. The guitar was only fifty dollars, which was a steal as far as the rest of the guitars he’d held that day.

 

He turns the receipt over, wondering if a pen broke somewhere.

 

It all starts with a Fender, handsome. Come back this weekend and I’ll teach you Wonderwall.

 

Eager to see what those fingers can do,

 

Eddie Munson

 

Steve blinks, rereading the words again and again.

 

He pins the receipt to his calendar for that Saturday.