Boltedfruit Archive

Jealous

Published: 2022-08-14

Category: M/M

Rating: M

Words: 3,775

Fandom: Stranger Things

Ship: Billy Hargrove/Eddie Munson

Characters: Billy Hargrove, Eddie Munson, Steve Harrington

Tags: Jealousy, Eddie Munson is a Sweetheart, Billy Hargrove Being an Asshole, Alternate Universe – No Upside Down, Billy has a crush on Steve and Eddie

Summary:

Billy yearns for the days when the only distraction he had to worry about in class was seeing how long it took for Harrington to puff his cheeks out in frustration before finally giving up. The pencil would leave his hand to slap down on the desk as he made eyes at some girl or doodled for the rest of class.

 

But now the most interesting thing in class is Munson and Billy can’t fucking stand it.

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 thing about Eddie Munson is he’s a piece of shit. But, he’s a genuine piece of shit. Means the bullshit he says when he says it even when nobody else thinks he’s being serious. He’s heartfelt in an annoying, impervious sort of way. Gets up in your face, under your feathers, plucks them out one after another until you’re some baldfaced son of a bitch that doesn’t recognize himself in the mirror anymore. Especially on slow mornings, when there’s time to think.

 

Not that Billy has experience, or whatever.

 

The guy doesn’t give a shit in the precise, perfect way Billy wishes he could. His is a show he’s painfully aware of at all times. Watching Eddie merely exist is a study in wondering if the guy even realizes how lucky he is.

 

He doesn’t care.

 

He sidles up to his buddies, boy or girl, sometimes both. Hooks his elbows around their necks and hoots into their faces before smacking wet kisses to cheeks, only to unwind his gangly limbs and twirl away before protests have the airspace to land. He’s a Cessna on a seabed, and there’s just all these undercurrents he should be more aware of. Should care about. Should worry about.

 

But he doesn’t. Because he truly does not give one shit.

 

Billy’s seen stupid. Munson isn’t an idiot.

 

Clueless might be the word for it, but even that doesn’t land quite right.

 

Billy sucks on his cigarette, watching the nerd in the parking lot. Doesn’t catch how close to the end he is until his glove grows hot. He scowls, pinches his knuckles together, and tosses the offending butt to the ground.

 

Eddie Munson’s a piece of shit, and he’s got himself draped around Harrington’s shoulders. And Harrington lets him. Lets Munson the Freak mutter who knows what in his ear like a bat out of hell come to whisper the Devil’s wants, and Harrington just lets him.

 

Like they’re friends.

 

Friends who let friends damn near wrap themselves around them, a tidy, loud envelope made of spiked wrist bands and chain and leather.

 

And Harrington just smiles or grouses or who knows what. But he lets him.

 

Like maybe he might let Munson do more and worse to him in private.

 

Billy doesn’t really know which is worse.

 

 

Steve isn’t even a student anymore, is the thing.

 

He’s the basketball coach. Well, assistant coach.

 

Billy and Eddie are seniors this year–Eddie apparently for the third time, because the guy can’t graduate to save his fucking life. If Billy got the news he had to repeat a year, live out another turn around the sun under his father’s thumb, he’d blow his goddamn brains out.

 

He thinks of Maxine’s face, when she gets mad when he says stupid shit. Winces. Which happens to coincide with running into some senior dickhead with a god complex. Jake…Josh…something like that.

 

Harrington mistakes it for an issue. Blows his whistle like a bitch until Billy eyes him. The whistle drops back to its place around his neck and then he’s beckoning Billy forward with a finger.

 

“Hargrove.”

 

“Harrington.”

 

“Coach, thanks,” he reminds Billy for the hundredth time this year. “Mind telling me what that was all about?”

 

“What? I was just playing the game.”

 

“You railroaded him.”

 

“I did not.”

 

Harrington levels him the look . The one he hates and wants to scratch off the prissy asshole’s face.

 

“I was thinking. Fucking sue me.”

 

From a few feet away, a heavy sigh leaves the open doorway of the gym office where Coach Bell sits working on whatever the hell it is gym teachers do when they weren’t actually in gym. Maybe the guy just decided to finally retire.

 

Hence, Harrington.

 

It’s not exactly an unwelcome thought, that Harrington might soon enough be a permanent fixture at Hawkins High, perpetually sweaty and fed up, like Billy generally likes him to be. But Billy won’t be around long enough to appreciate Harrington’s new career trajectory come graduation.

 

One of them eventually has to leave this godforsaken shithole and it’s going to be Billy.

 

Who knows what he’ll do if he stays.

 

“Apologize.”

 

That gets him to laugh.

 

“Go on,” Harrington waves his hand a little. Prim and proper.

 

“Fuck no. Fuck you.”

 

Another sigh from the catacombs of Bells’ office.

 

Harrington’s retort is to step into Billy’s space and mouth the words, “No. Fuck you ,” right back.

 

And jesus fuck Billy’s gonna kill him. Slaughter him right here on the basketball court.

 

But then it’s another voice, high and too cheerful, cutting through the tension. Billy’s stomach flips before plummeting.

 

Eddie Munson practically skips across the gym to worm his way between the two of them, sensing something off in the way he casts a furtive look Billy’s way. He slips an arm around Harrington’s shoulders and Billy–he isn’t in the mood. He flips them both off and heads back to the game.

 

Behind him he hears, “Was that asshole bothering you again, big guy…”

 

Fuck. Fuck.

 

Practice is over soon, he’ll just work out his frustrations at home, in the shower, where he can have the space to think all he wants.

 

 

The next day in class, Billy’s zoning out. He’s already finished the work for the day, earlier than the rest like he usually is. The sub sits dozing behind the desk up front like she isn’t supposed to be in charge of twenty teenagers.

 

Behind him, Munson is gumming the rubber end of his pencil. It’s wet and slick. He chews on the thing like any minute he’ll blow a bubble.

 

All the while he mutters under his breath. Thinks through his problems out loud like a child who can’t read quietly. Has to sound out every vowel to make the words real. Make them stick. Quiet and on autopilot, but constant.

 

What would Munson do if Billy just reached around to shove the damn thing up his nose? It would at least shut him up. Hopefully.

 

Billy yearns for the days when the only distraction he had to worry about in class was seeing how long it took for Harrington to puff his cheeks out in frustration before finally giving up. The pencil would leave his hand to slap down on the desk as he made eyes at some girl or doodled for the rest of class.

 

But now the most interesting thing in class is Munson and Billy can’t fucking stand it.

 

Just then a crumpled piece of paper sails over his shoulder and hits the back of the chair in front of his desk. It bounces back onto his paper, an offending ball.

 

Then it’s Munson clearing his throat a little too pointedly to be coincidental. Billy frowns and decides playing along is more interesting than letting his brain rot for the rest of the hour.

 

He uncrinkles the paper and reads Munson’s blocky scratching in the upper left corner.

 

D&D tonight? Need a last minute replacement that’s not totally bogus.

 

Next to it is a doodle of the little demon the guy sports on his homemade shirts. The rest of the paper is math problems.

 

They’re all correct. Which is…odd.

 

The guy got held back two times in a row. Might be held back a third. Doesn’t exactly scream adept, at anything.

 

He clears his throat again and Billy swears he can hear a hint of impatience. He rolls his eyes and turns in his seat.

 

“No thanks,” he tells him, keeping his voice low.

 

“Oh come on, now. It’s one night. Steve said you’d–”

 

Billy cracks a knuckle completely on accident when he tightens his fists.

 

“Not my scene. Not interested.”

 

Munson casts a look at the sub still sleeping away. He looks back at Billy, letting his brow settle dark under his fringe.

 

“I’m not into that nerd shit. Ask Harrington.”

 

Munson huffs. “He’s busy.”

 

“Why’s that make it my problem?”

 

Munson ducks his head, his mouth working around the words like they’re something awkward. “Because Steve said you’d be up for it.”

 

Why the hell he would say that is beyond Billy. They’re not friends. That was a crush gone sour a long time ago. And it was never something Billy shared.

 

Looking at Steve now just pisses him off a little bit more than it turns him on, and every day he sees the guy keeping company with Munson edges that bar a little farther toward angry.

 

Seeing Munson twiddle his bitten to pieces pencil between his ringed fingers makes Billy think he knows why. But that’s not something he really wants to face, now or ever.

 

Then Eddie Munson frowns– pouts –up at Billy with huge, impossibly dark eyes. 

 

Billy swallows.

 

“Pretty please, slayer? You don’t think you and me could run a group of kids, your little sister included by the way, into the ground? In a pretty sweet campaign just teeming with danger, I might add–”

 

“I’m not some nerd. Go find some other freak who’s into that Caves and Critters shit.”

 

He expects the insult to land, or at least bite out a piece of Munson’s seemingly glossy exterior. Wear him down a little, find what makes him mad, the rest would be history.

 

But Munson only grins, like Billy’s swam right into his net. Impenetrable. Not an idiot.

 

He laughs softly, his breath blowing his bangs away from his forehead for an instant, making Billy’s eyes catch on the dark line of his eyebrows. Inevitably his sight slinks lower, lingers on Munson’s dark eyes. The amusement in them.

 

“It’s Dungeons and Dragons, but I don’t know. Caves and Critters might just catch on. Give it a try. It’s a few hours, there’s snacks. So, you in?”

 

Billy hates himself a little for not immediately shutting him down.

 

He has to wait for Max anyway. And it keeps him from being bored.

 

And Munson is still just staring at him. The guy’s all eyeballs and ringed fingers twiddling over one another.

 

“Jesus, fine. Fine, just shut up, will you? You’re gonna get us in trouble.”

 

He’s not, because the sub doesn’t care and nobody around them is paying them any mind. But still.

 

Still. He can’t seem to give in so easily.

 

Before he turns back around, he sees Munson grin all proud and pleased.

 

Something wrinkled and mean curdles in his gut, the image seared into his brain.

 

Billy decides he’s a bigger idiot than he first thought.

 

 

Apparently Munson plays his little game on the theater stage. Takes up all this space as he flops down in a makeshift throne draped in red fabric as he opens a binder full of half-crazed and barely legible scrawling and doodles next to a book of actually pretty decent art. The creatures are all gnarly and sharp toothed and even though there are wizards, there are knights and hot as shit princesses too, so it balances out.

 

Munson sends him a toothy smile over his shoulder as he looks up at Billy where he stands over him, more hovering than anything. Like hell he’ll ever admit he doesn’t know what to do, where to sit.

 

Munson kicks a shoe up on the table, pointing to the seat next to him.

 

“Pop a squat. Stay a while. And nobody’s allowed to see the inner workings of the DM’s twisted mind except said twisted DM.”

 

Billy pushes Munson’s boot from the table and sits, letting his legs spread wide. Munson’s eyes rake over him quickly, his mouth quirked up, before going back to his notes.

 

“So.”

 

So,” Munson echoes. “Big words for a big guy.”

 

He thinks of Harrington and how that’s only ever been a nickname for him.

 

Billy leans forward and snatches the binder from Munson’s hands, holding it up with one hand while bracing the other against his chest as he launches at Billy in an attempt to get it back. But Billy’s strong and Munson doesn’t think to try a new move.

 

His arms wheel, one landing to grip at Billy’s shoulder. Billy leans back, teetering on the back two legs of the chair.

 

“Rule number one,” Munson declares, struggling. “Don’t fuck with the DM! Hand it over, man!”

 

“Oh ho! So the big bad Eddie Munson does have some spice in him! Who knew?”

 

He laughs as Munson presses even hard against the hand at his chest. Underneath the fabric of his shirt and the scratchy bite of the zip of his well worn leather jacket, he can feel Munson’s heart beating. His ribs expand and then a warm swathe of air is hitting his face as Munson sighs heavily.

 

He stops all at once, standing up straight and leaving Billy’s hand bereft of anything to hold up. He watches Munson readjust his jacket, throw his curls over a shoulder.

 

“Fine. Name your price, you fiend.”

 

“Fiend, huh?”

 

Munson holds a hand out, wagging two fingers in impatience.

 

Billy lowers the binder, a sheaf of paper falling into his lap. He sees Munson flinch, like he’s barely holding himself back from leaping forward to fix it.

 

Billy doesn’t care about this nerdy board game shit. He just enjoys making people squirm.

 

People like Eddie Munson, who runs in so many of the same circles as he does, only a degree of separation keeping them largely apart from one another.

 

He’s caught sight of the guy at concerts. In town, in Indy. Ran into him in line for beer at the liquor store on Third, the shitty one that never cards. Munson had thrown him a salute when he caught Billy staring.

 

They obviously like the same music.

 

They both make eyes are the pretty, bouncy cheerleaders who walk the halls.

 

But while people call Munson a follower of Satan, they praise Billy for being strong, being a heartthrob, being badass.

 

Billy isn’t a nerd, is the point.

 

He can’t remember just then why he’s even bothered to show up.

 

He takes the sheaf and places it back inside, carefully closing the binder that apparently holds everything Munson holds near and dear.

 

He holds it out and Munson slaps his hands on it. His rings drag a muted line over the edges like he’s checking if Billy somehow managed to damage the raggedy thing.

 

Billy settles all four legs of the chair back on level ground. He claps his hands, doesn’t like how Munson flinches with it.

 

“Think I’m gonna head out.”

 

Those dark eyes get all big and worried, like he wasn’t just smacking at Billy to get his book back. “What? Why? The kids will be here any minute.”

 

“Exactly. I’m not the biggest fan of the nerd brigade.” He thinks back to Halloween. “They’re not a huge fan of mine either. Better for everybody if I just take off until Maxine is ready to be picked up.”

 

Munson takes that in, rapping his knuckles lightly on the binder’s cover. He’s thinking and generally when Billy lets himself linger around thinkers, he ends up getting into trouble.

 

He’s halfway past the table when Munson hums.

 

Says, “Huh. Weird.”

 

Billy should keep walking. Go spend the next couple hours listening to music and smoking and generally not expending much brain power.

 

But he’s an idiot, and he’s helpless but to succumb to his own curiosities.

 

He stops and spins on his heel. Munson’s putting on a show of holding his knuckles to his chin, like he’s thinking hard.

 

“What’s weird?”

 

“Oh, nothing.” Munson sets the binder on the table before taking a seat back in his throne. His legs splay wide as he sinks down, chin on his chest. “It’s just Steve said you don’t run from anything.”

 

He prickles, like always. When it comes to Harrington, even the barest mention of him, his hackles rise all on their own.

 

“I don’t,” he says. “I’m not.”

 

It’s more biting than he intends, but. Can’t be helped.

 

“Doesn’t look that way to me.”

 

Billy’s in his face before he can register having moved. He’s always been this way. Reckless. Thoughtless.

 

His fingers smart where they circle the chair arms. Munson links his fingers in front of his face, doing little to hide the smile on his face.

 

“Why’s Harrington’s up in my business anyway? Not like I’m friends with the asshole.”

 

Munson shrugs. “He said as much. But I like to think of myself as a guy who favors second chances. Just look at me–used to be I thought Stevie was just another jock jerk, but turns out he’s pretty layered. Has all that pouty, sad boy energy wrapped up in a deceiving jock exterior. Can’t fathom why he’s not pulling any girls now he’s the assistant coach and all.”

 

“Maybe he’s a lame duck.”

 

Munson tilts his head. “Eh. I wouldn’t say that.”

 

Billy doesn’t get this guy. He straightens and shoves his hands in his pockets.

 

“Whatever. I’m not some charity case. I don’t need a second chance. And I’m not running. I just got better shit to do than watch a bunch of pubescent dickheads throw dice.”

 

“So you do know D&D?”

 

Billy shakes his head. Starts walking away.

 

“Later Munson.”

 

“Not so later, slayer!” he calls back.

 

Billy can’t help but smile to himself on his way out.

 

 

The other thing is, Neil skipped out on Susan. Not the worst thing he’s ever done, and it definitely beat leaving her with more than one long hospital bill and a nightly need to wear a retainer, but it does mean some changes.

 

For the last year or so, Billy’s watched Susan go from this meek, pathetic mouse of a woman to somebody who’s only mild mannered until she gets pissed off. Then she’s a lot more like her daughter.

 

They move into a trailer, which also isn’t the worst place Billy’s ever lived. But there’s only a room for Susan and Max, and he refuses to share a room with her. They’ll kill each other–likely Max will smother him in his sleep. So he gets the living room. All of it beats existing waiting for Neil’s temper to pitch over.

 

Their trailer is across from Munson’s, is the other other thing.

 

It’s annoying.

 

He thinks Munson’s dating the cheerleader for a while. The one going out with Josh-Jake-Whoever, but turns out she’s just there for what most are. Weed and pills.

 

Billy used to be a customer. Now he just sticks to Reds and beer, like a normal middle-class degenerate. That, and Munson raised his prices.

 

He still replays the last thing Munson told him the last time he bought something from the guy.

 

“You’re going cold turkey on me? If you’re that strapped for cash, I’ll take the pleasure of your company in exchange for an ounce.”

 

Billy had shoved him against the door of the trailer, slung him aside, and stormed out.

 

He doesn’t know if Munson is stupid or crazy or a little a both. But nobody fucks with Billy. Everybody knows that.

 

But the next day, Munson had bumped shoulders with him at school and said hello. Like nothing happened.

 

And ever since Billy’s been left with an itch. Wondering if Munson meant it like Billy thought or if he was just poking fun like he does with Harrington, like he does with everyone.

 

It makes his stomach flip unpleasantly, makes him hurt.

 

So he doesn’t think about it.

 

 

It’s late and Billy can’t sleep. He checks his watch sitting on the coffee table. It’s past two and he’s going to be wrecked come morning if he just stays up all night, but he gets like this sometimes. Knows if he forces sleep, he’ll just have have nightmares of Neil stomping down the hall.

 

So he gets up, pulls his gym shorts on and leaves out the front door as quietly as he can.

 

There’s a dog that’s always barking next to their trailer, forever sentenced to the outside because the owner’s don’t believe in pets in the house or some shit. He goes over to the chainlink and the dog instantly quiets, padding over with a lolling tongue. He licks at Billy’s outstretched fingers.

 

It’s chilly. He didn’t bring a shirt, and he regrets it even more when he has nowhere to wipe the dog slobber off except the crunchy cold, half dead grass.

 

He hears steps and stands, expecting Max.

 

Who he doesn’t expect is Eddie Munson, wearing a ratty shirt with holes around the collar and flannel bottoms. He’s barefoot, so Billy knows he’s insane.

 

“Where the hell are your shoes man.”

 

“Speak for yourself,” Munson replies, pointing at Billy’s socked feet.

 

“At least I’m wearing socks.”

 

Munson rolls his eyes. “Aren’t you from California? You’re supposed to loudly proclaim your distaste for our frigid weather, and wear like, thirty layers at all times.”

 

Munson kneels and scratches at the dog’s head for a bit before standing again, hopping from foot to foot.

 

“Come on. We both can’t sleep and my uncle’s at work, so my place is free.”

 

“I was just going back inside.”

 

He gets narrowed eyes for that. “Really…because you’ve been out here a while, man.”

 

Billy shrugs and frowns.

 

“Come on. It’s warm and you don’t have to suffer through being such a bad liar.”

 

“No thanks, freak.”

 

Munson sighs. Like he’s tired.

 

“I got a joint I need to smoke before it goes stale. Consider it on the house.”

 

It would be so easy. He could sit on Munson’s lumpy couch, get warm, and get high. Forget about the world for a while. Maybe even doze a little.

 

But he doesn’t know what he’d say in his sleep. And he doesn’t like being at the mercy of somebody he doesn’t really know, somebody who makes his stomach twist too much like Harrington does.

 

He doesn’t say anything else. Munson returns to his trailer.

 

Billy doesn’t sleep.

 

 

A few nights later, Billy stays inside and Munson stays on his porch.

 

 

A few nights after that, Billy only realizes what he’s actually feeling when he peeks through the blinds.

 

Harrington’s beemer sits in front of Munson’s trailer. The lights are on inside.

 

It’s three in the morning. He’s been inside for hours and Billy’s been sitting at his window moping.

 

He’s jealous.

 

He wants Munson to be bothering him to come over, to hang out and get high or–or something else. Something worse. Something better.

 

He’s not jealous of Munson for getting to be Harrington’s friend, no. He’s jealous of Harrington for getting to be  Munson’s.

 

He lets the blinds flick closed.

 

He’s a goddamned idiot.