“Couldn’t miss me, Harrington?”
Billy didn't bother turning around when he heard a rustling sound, he knew it was him. Who else would seek out Billy at Hawkins’ public pool after closing hours?
Mondays are supposedly Heather's days to stay after hours and clean up but she had a date so she had asked Billy if he could cover for her. He was about to tell her that it was not his fault she had a date, besides she deserved better than that creep who seemed to think her eyes were positioned right on top of her nipples- But then she’d smiled at him, deceptively sweet and reminded him of the fact that she never whined when he wanted to switch breaks so he could go and bother Steve at the mall. Something in the way she had looked at him, like she was seeing right through his bullshit, had made him shut up and agree.
Whatever, it’s not like he had anything better to do.
Normally, he was gonna hang out at Steve’s tonight. It had become a regular thing between them. It had started with Billy visiting Scoops on his breaks to get on Steve's nerves by asking for endless samples and flicking straws at him. Steve had retaliated by visiting the public pool on his days off. Billy had never seen him actually get in the pool, instead he seemed to be spending his time almost but not quite breaking the rules. Billy swore that if he had to look at Steve doing a stupid looking half jog while smirking at him mockingly because “Hey I’m not running, am I?” one more time, he was gonna drown himself. Luckily for them they had reached a cease fire before either one of them could get fired.
Since then they’d started hanging out outside of work too. Billy really appreciated their time together and he thought Steve did too. But then Steve had cancelled on him. Some kind of emergency with the brats, yeah right. He probably got sick of him but didn’t have the balls to tell it to his face.
Except, he had changed his mind.
“Harrington?” Billy called out again, still waiting for a reply while he continued fishing soggy band aids out of the pool water with a leaf net.
The only illumination was the light coming from the pool, it lit up his face from underneath like he was telling some kind of ghost story at a camp fire. The rustling sound got louder.
“Fine, be like that, it’s not like you-“ Billy rolled his eyes and finally turned around.
Standing there, right in front of him wasn’t Harrington but a thing, a sickly looking dog. Billy briefly considered chasing it away with the leaf net but then its face opened up as it made a horrible noise at him. Teeth, rows and rows of them, right in Billy’s face.
Billy let out a curse as he took an instinctive step back and toppled right over the edge of the pool.
As his back hit the water, Billy closed his eyes for a second. The water washed over him, drowning out some faraway noises. For a second Billy imagined dying in Hawkins’ public pool. He felt oddly calm. He wondered if anyone would miss him.
But then his instincts kicked in. As he was coming up gasping for air, he heard a loud thud. A bit of black goo splattered onto his face as the lifeless carcass of the thing dropped onto the edge of the pool, right in front of his eyes. Looming above of it, Steve goddamn Harrington.
Steve had come up with some lame excuse about an emergency with one of the kids since he was normally going to hang out with Billy after work. He hadn’t bothered explaining any further since he didn’t even know what was going on himself, except for the fact that Dustin had sounded like it was urgent when he declared a meeting at the Byers.
To be fair, he had had the same kind of urgency in his voice when he had called him up a week ago on a Sunday afternoon and ordered him to come over to the Byers’ immediately. When Steve arrived, heart pounding in his chest, bat gripped tight, it turned out they were just a player short for one of their stupid board game.
But Steve had a feeling this time was different. So he had cancelled on Billy.
That’s why he was at the Byers’ right now, with an immense feeling of dread creeping up on him as he listened to Hopper listing off all of the different curious sightings that were reported over the course of the last couple of weeks. The reports had talked about different things: an impossibly large possum maybe, a weird looking dog, even one old woman who claimed to have seen a ghost. But they knew better.
During the conversation, Steve’s mind kept wandering off to think about Barb. Barb dying in his pool. It made him feel uneasy, even more so then usual. So when Hopper mentioned quickly scanning the area to see if the rumors were true, Steve quickly volunteered to check out the pool.
Nancy had given him a little sympathetic smile, like she knew what he was thinking.
The whole drive up to the pool the uneasy feeling only grew and grew until Steve could almost feel it, a physical ball of nerves lodged in his throat.
When he arrived, he didn’t bother parking in a spot, just left his Beemer in the middle of the parking lot. The pool was closed anyways.
Steve got the bat out of his trunk and gripped it tight, squaring up for a fight. He didn’t know why, maybe he had developed a sixth sense for these kind of things, but when he arrived at the gate of the pool and saw that it was unlocked, he wasn't surprised.
He continued venturing forward, wary of what might be hidden in the shadows, when he suddenly heard a growl and a loud splash. Before he realized it, Steve was sprinting to the pool, where a demodog was standing. Its back was turned to him, its attention on something in the water.
He didn’t even hesitate before bringing the bat down on its head with so much force the demodog fell down after one hit and stayed down.
Steve was breathing hard, not realizing how much of stress he had built up. That’s when he noticed Billy treading water, looking up at him with a dumbstruck expression. He looked ridiculous, his curls undone, some demodog gunk splattered onto his face and his mouth hanging open.
Steve had never been happier to see him.
“You really have to get out of the pool,” Steve said, suddenly wanting to put as much distance between himself and the pool as possible.
“No shit,” Billy mumbled as he took Steve’s extended hand and hoisted himself out of the pool. He was looking kind of pale and off-balance, so Steve kept holding onto his hand until he was sure he wouldn't fall over again.
“You should plant your feet next time, draw a charge,” Steve quipped.
Billy looked at him in disbelieve before bursting out laughing. “What the hell, Steve.”
Steve was realizing they must look ridiculous standing there. Steve with his bat covered in black goo and Billy completely drenched. He let go of Billy's hand. “C’mon, let’s go, I’ll give you some answers if you help me carry this guy to my car,” Steve said while nudging the lifeless body of the demodog with his toes. He half expected Billy to disagree but he just nodded.
After Billy had locked the gate of the public pool behind them and they had managed to cram the carcass of the demodog into the trunk of Steve’s car -he’d dispose it somewhere as soon as he’d shown Hopper- they settled onto the hood of the Beemer.
Steve started talking. He told Billy about Barb and the lab and how they saved everyone. He only left out some parts about Eleven because he’s not sure that that's his story to tell.
Billy didn’t interrupt him except for occasionally muttering some variations of “Jesus Christ” and “fucking Hawkins”. But when Steve got to the part about what happens at the Byers’, Billy did press his shoulder into Steve’s a little more firmly. It’s alright, he had already officially apologized to Lucas, Max and numerous times to Steve, who had come to understand that Billy was fighting off his own monsters.
When Steve was finally done talking, they sat like that, staring ahead, neither of them saying a word. Pressed together on the hood of the Beemer.
Steve turned his head to look at Billy. He studied his face for a minute. It looked so soft, not a hint of the bravado he wore most of the time. Even in the dimly lit parking lot, Steve could still make out a few freckles on Billy's cheek, along with some splatters of black goo.
Steve went to wipe it off, moving slowly as not to spook Billy. “You have a bit of-,” Steve trailed off while softly touching Billy’s cheek.
Billy had closed his eyes and shuddered.
This seemed to snap Steve out of his trance. “Oh you’re completely wet, euhm, I mean… You’re not wearing much clothes… It’s just you must be getting cold, no?” He stammered and took off his jacket before offering it to Billy who just looked at it with an unreadable expression.
“I’m not some kind off damsel in distress waiting around for a prince on white horse! I’m not some girl you need to save!” Billy spit out indignantly.
“I know, Billy, I just wanted to-,” Steve said while he made move to take his jacket back.
“No, gimme that,” Billy interrupted him while quickly grabbing the jacket and putting it on. Steve felt confused, like there was something important he was missing. He tried to look for answers in Billy's face but he wouldn’t quite meet his eyes.
“I’m not some girl,” Billy muttered, looking at his shoes. They were dripping and forming tiny puddles on the ground.
“I know, Billy,” Steve simply repeated.
That made him look up search Steve’s face and whatever it was he was searching for, he must’ve found it because the next seconds his lips were pressed to Steve’s.
Billy kissed him hard and fast. His eyes were screwed shut while Steve’s were wide open in shock. Steve had barely had time to register what was happening before Billy pulled back. His eyes were fixed on his shoes again when he whispered “Thanks for saving my life, I guess.”
“Well, I think I did save it twice now so…” Steve replied, smiling mischievously.
Billy looked up at him and flashed him a wide boyish grin before kissing him again.