Not Brighter Than Your Eyes
“If love is anything tangible, it
is his mouth,
his holy goddamned mouth.
He says my name
and the whole sky is talking.”
Billy had always liked shiny, sparkly things. As a young boy, his mother would allow him to play with her jewelry collection. From a very young age he had been attracted to anything bright and gleaming, but especially jewelry, and especially his mother’s jewelry underneath the California sun.
As tradition dictates, at fourteen, when his first heat comes, he is confined to his room, with only his mother entering to bring him water and food.
Despite what tradition dictates, though, when he emerges from that trying test provided by his biology, he is not gifted with any jewelry. There was no gift, not even a plastic ring from a candy shop; just his father’s fists and disappointment.
Apparently, having an omega son was not what Neil Hargrove had been expecting.
After the whole ordeal, when he has already stopped crying in his room, his mother sneaks in, bringing him ice and a small wooden box with floral engravings on it. Inside, a Saint Christopher golden pendant and a simple gold chain.
“Wear it underneath your clothes, darlin’.” His mom tells him, kissing his good brow. “If your father asks, tell him it’s just a saint medal. He’s catholic, he won’t fight that.” She put the necklace around his neck, and then her hand around his shoulder warmly.
“I am very proud of you, my boy.” She told him, smile as bright as any of her golden pieces.
And then she was gone.
Billy hid his box inside his closet, behind everything else. He also tried to hide everything about his secondary gender: his smell, any typical mannerisms, needs, anything that could remind his dad that he didn’t produce the alpha he wanted so bad.
And Billy falls into his new life, pretending that that part of him didn’t exist.
Then, Susan and Max happened, and it wasn’t really their fault. It’s just that Susan, soft, sweet omega Susan is lured by Neil’s bullshit, and Max, the little bullheaded redheaded girl, was too young to be allowed an opinion on anything.
Six months later they are married and Max presents as an alpha at thirteen. He is glad for her, but it’s short lived - his dad makes it another one of his lessons. If tiny little lady Maxine Mayfield could be an alpha, then he could shape up too.
It’s not her fault, but he couldn’t help but to be angry at the world.
He gets home one day and is greeted by Maxine’s face, angry flush colouring her wet cheeks. For a moment he thinks Neil hit her, and rushes to the girl’s aid.
“What happened?” He asked, gut clenching. “Did he-”
“No, no.” She shakes her head, voice frail. He had never seen her like this. “I’m sorry, Billy.”
“What-?” He didn’t have to say anything more, though, because he could see Susan leaving his room, something broken in her hands.
“I was playing around in your room,” Max blurted before he could even speak to Susan. “I found your box. I didn’t mean anything by it, I just wanted to ask mom what the engravings meant.” She held his forearm in a pleading manner. “I’m so sorry.”
Susan let him pass when he walked inside. She had done everything she could, but his father broke everything . Especially whatever reminded him of his mom.
“Billy, I am so sorry.” Susan told him, and he knew she was honest. And he knew Max never meant to make this happen. She was young and brash and curious.
Still, it was all ruined.
“It’s… it’s OK.” She knew it wasn’t. It really wasn’t. His bracelet, his earrings, stuff that he bought - manly stuff, alpha stuff, but shiny and sparkly nonetheless - were all broken and ruined beyond recognition in lumps over his floor. “Just… can you please leave me alone?” He asked, voice soft. She probably heard enough yelling already.
She nodded, turned, and left, shutting the door behind her. He heard her telling Max that he should be left alone for now, and that she should apologize once again when he re-emerged from his room.
It wasn’t that he was such a nice person to her, but after a while, it seemed that she understood a bit of what was going on, despite her age. He hated that she had to see it, but there was no hiding, not to anyone living with him and Neil.
He shut himself in his room, gathering everything and putting it all in the trash. At least his mother’s medal was still with him, around his neck. He never took it off, and he would be damned if Neil ever touched it.
A friend of Billy, from school, made the mistake of dropping off a bracelet with Susan, saying that it was for Billy, because he had missed school for a couple of days and he thought it was a heat. It was a friendship token, a respect and loyalty symbol.
Neil melted it on the stove before Billy could even come out of his room.
The following week, they moved.
Hawkins, Indiana, was a very small town. Everybody knew each other, everybody knew each other’s secondary gender, and, traditionally, nobody wore scent blockers.
Nobody but Billy.
“Billy?” Max entered his room, three days after they moved. He had left everything inside the boxes, still, everything but his clothes.
He turned to her. He had been trying to be more distant, more of an asshole to her, so maybe she wouldn't care that much when Neil slapped him around.
It was working. Sort of.
“What do you want, Maxine?” She flinched at the way he said her name. His tone tasted sour even to his own goddamned mouth.
She takes the care to shut his door and talk quietly. “I brought you this.” She gingerly gives him back what apparently was a recovered jewelry box, the one his mother gave him.
He analyzed it. It had been glued together, and then the missing pieces were covered by some sort of metal. It looked like a real piece of art.
“My mom knows a craftsman. I paid him myself, back in Cali.” She told him, looking uncertain. “He did the best he could. There are still some dents inside, but-”
“You didn’t have to bother.” Billy interrupted her. “I mean. It looks amazing.” She preened at the compliment. “But Neil’s just gonna find it and break it all again. There’s no point.” He handed it back to her. “You should keep it.”
“But… mom explained it to me.” She switched her weight from one foot to the other, nervous. “She told me how important this is. And your mom gave it to you.”
“My mom left.” He told her, not exactly harshly, but not softly as well. She flinched once again. “And I’m fine without it, Max. Honestly.”
The girl looked uncertain still. “This doesn’t feel good. You have the right to keep jewelry, Billy.”
He shook his head, pushing the box in her hands to her chest. “I appreciate it, but I’m fine. Honestly.”
Maxine seemed to ponder it over. “I’ll hide it for you. He never goes into my room. If you ever want it or need it, you just tell me. Or go and grab it, I don’t really care if you go through my stuff. I know you won’t tell on me.”
Billy felt touched by her misplaced trust. “I won’t, Max. It’s fine.”
She nodded, but she was stubborn. He just hoped Neil never found it.
Max left the room and Billy laid down, face up, on his bed.
It was fine. He was fine.
On the next morning he saw Susan with a new pair of shiny quartz earrings in golden leafs, and envy curled, ugly, in his belly.
It was not peachy.
Max started to walk around with her little band of misfits, and Billy was the designated driver whenever Harrington wasn’t around. He didn’t even have the strength to say no these days, feeling all of his limbs weighing a ton. All the basketball practice paired with his freshly finished heat was taking a toll at him.
When the kids got out of the car, though, Will Byers stayed behind. The boy was a sweet, small thing, and had presented as an omega about a year before they got to Hawkins. Billy found him sweet, if a little strange.
“Kid. We’re here.” He announced, not understanding what was happening.
“I know.” He nodded, looking at Billy’s eyes from the rearview mirror.
“Then what are you still doing in the car?”
Little Byers paused, then shifted, dropping something on Billy’s lap. “I wanted to give you this.”
It was a ring, one of those golden rings with the Our Father prayer engraved to it.
His heart jumped at the sight of it. “Kid, I don’t-”
“I saw that you wear that Saint Christopher necklace.” He interrupted Billy’s refusal quickly. “I know what it is when your dad isn’t happy with who you are.”
He couldn’t help but wonder what type of monster would roughen up a kid as sweet as Little Byers. Gladly, he knew the guy wasn’t around anymore - Joyce Byers, a beta, had left him to protect her sons.
He eyed the ring once more. Pondered if it was worth the try. “I appreciate it, but I can’t take this. I know your mom doesn’t have money to spend on this stuff, especially with a complete stranger.”
“This was mine.” The boy revealed. “It’s not real gold, but I only had to pay for the resizing. Your fingers are bigger than mine.” He got his hands on Billy’s and made him close his fingers over the metal ring. It felt warm against his palm. “I know you’re not, like, the nicest person around,” Billy chuckled at that. “But every one of us should be allowed this.”
“Is it because I’m never wearing anything but the pendant?” He asked, sighing. He was probably a pity case for him, but it was OK.
“I see you staring at Nancy’s rings sometimes.” He admitted, flushing a bit. “She has the expensive stuff. It’s really pretty.” He says, longing coloring his voice.
Billy nodded and put the ring on. It felt good and heavy against his skin, spreading warmth from nerve to nerve from that point of contact.
He could barely take his eyes off of it.
“Thank you, kid.”
Little Byers smiled, looking happy. “You’re welcome, Billy.” He said, finally slipping out of the car and into the arcade.
It felt like spring was blooming in his stomach. Like the moon was reflecting all of its brightness to his chest.
He started his car and went ahead to his job at the mechanic shop, wondering just how long he would be allowed to have a feeling like that.
He lost his damn necklace.
Billy had bumped into a few people during practice, and the thing probably broke at some point during the game. But now it was the ending of the school day, and he had looked everywhere , and he couldn’t find the damn thing.
So, Billy was sitting on the front steps of the place, probably looking defeated, probably smelling like distressed omega. He wore scent-blockers but his skin always made an effort to sweat out the damned thing, it was why he was always wearing light clothes. But it was summer, and it was the end of the day, and he had had PE, and he just couldn’t give a fucking damn about any of it.
“What the- Hargrove?” Harrington came from the front door, looking confused. Probably by the way he smelled. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing, Harrington.” He tried to dismiss the other boy quickly. “Just go away.”
Instead of doing what was asked of him, Harrington walked down the stairs and crouched in front of Billy. That boy didn’t have a single fucking self-preservation bone in his whole body.
“Hargrove, you’re a cloud of distress sitting there.”
Billy bared his teeth. “It’s none of your concern.”
“No, it’s not.” He conceded. “But I’m offering to be concerned about it. So spit it out already.”
The omega rubbed his eyes with his fingers vigorously. He was exhausted. He was pissed.
He was desperate.
“I lost my mother’s necklace.”
Steve narrowed his eyes. “The one you wear all the time.”
“That’s the one.” Billy agreed with a small nod.
“Okay.” He nodded. “Want me to help look it up, then?”
“I already did.” Billy shrugged, at loss of what to do. “I couldn’t find it anywhere. It’s gone.”
“We should take another look, though.” Steve insisted. “Two pairs of eyes are better than one.”
“Leave it, Harrington.” Billy stood up, ignoring the other boy. He entered his car and left.
He didn’t need any damn necklace.
“Hargrove!” The voice came from nowhere on Monday. It was Steve, running in his direction. “Think fast!”
He threw something in the air and Billy had no trouble catching it.
It was a gold chain and a Saint Christopher’s pendant.
Billy opened and closed his mouth, feeling something weird at the sight of it.
“I found it underneath the bleachers.” Harrington told him with a small smile and kept on walking to his class.
Billy didn’t know what to say. “Thanks.”
“Don’t mention it.” The other boy stated before heading right into his classroom.
Billy kept staring at it. Decided against wearing it and put it in his pocket instead.
Henderson sat by his side at the bleachers during lunch break. Billy had been smoking, but threw it away. That boy had enough health issues already.
“So.” He started, mimicking Billy’s position, elbows back on the steps, legs stretched in front of him. It was awkward, and sort of adorable. “Did you like it?”
“Did I like what?” Billy made an effort to sound gruff as always.
“The necklace.” He said as if it was obvious. “Will got a little nuts when he heard that you lost yours, and we didn’t understand why until Max explained.”
Max . Damn it. “It’s none of your damn business, Henderson. Let it go.”
“Will was almost crying, Billy.” The boy rolled his eyes. “We had to do something .”
He looked at him, considering what he was saying. “So you did what?”
“We looked for it. At the school. On Saturday.” He explained.
Billy just hummed in response, but his chest felt warmer. Little Byers was a gem, really.
“We didn’t find it, though.”
His brows furrowed in confusion. “So what do I have in my pocket, then?”
“You didn’t look it very closely, did you?” The boy asked, and Billy shook his head, agreeing. He hadn’t had the courage, actually. “Steve put on a rush order to make one like the one you had. Max fished out pictures and everything she could remember to make it look as much as possible like yours.”
Okay, what the fuck now? “Why the hell would you do somethin’ like that?”
“It was the best we could do, since we couldn’t find yours.” The boy shrugged, as if what they done was something natural to do.
“I don’t need you to take care of me.” He answered, pushing some anger into his voice. “It’s not because I’m an omega that I need somebody to keep doing stuff for me, Henderson.”
“I know that.” He shrugged again. “It just felt right.” Henderson looked forward to the field instead of Billy. “You know, when you got here and I first knew you were an omega, I could swear you’d have like this chest of stuff hanging around your house. That you’d cover yourself with different tokens of different suitors just to brag that people were that attracted to you, back in Cali.”
It was a little unusual for Henderson to talk that much to Billy, but he let it slide. “Most people assume that about me.”
“Yeah.” He turned to Billy again. “You should put the necklace on.” He said, and then slid something towards Billy.
It was an anklet - a simple gold chain. Still masculine, still acceptable, but it shone warm under the afternoon’s golden sunshine.
“What’s it?” He snatched it from the bleachers, analyzing it.
“You can wear it under your sock.” Henderson said instead of answering. “Your dad will never find out.”
His finger slid on the smooth surface of the anklet, eyes enraptured by the way it sparkled. “My next heat isn’t for a month still, Henderson.” He pocketed the thing. “And I’m not spending it with you .”
“It’s not about that, stop being disgusting.” Dustin made a face. “God, you really know how to ruin a moment, don’t you?”
Billy chuckled and the sound seemed to surprise the boy. “Thanks, kid.”
“You’re welcome, Billy.” He said.
He saw the boy watching him, and then the place he put the chain on, like he couldn’t help it. “You wanna put it on me, don’t ya?” He rubbed his face with his hand. Henderson was a beta, but he was still prone to gender-typical behavior. And it wasn’t like he was being an ass about it or anything.
The boy looked sheepish. “I’d like to put it on you, actually.”
Billy hesitated, looking around. There were a few people there, but it wasn’t like he cared much about his reputation at this point. Or like he had any friends who would question it afterwards.
Billy shrugged in response. “Alright, kid. But do it fast.”
He pulled one leg of his jeans up and the boy moved quickly, clasping the chain Billy handed back to him around the omega’s ankle.
“Don’t be an asshole about it, but,” Henderson watched him carefully. “Gold looks good on you.”
Billy stared at Henderson for a bit, and then let his jeans fall over the chain, hiding it.
Henderson re-assumed his previous position. They stayed there until the bell rang, and then walked silently to their respective classes.
Every time he saw the glimmer of the anklet, though, he felt a little warmer on his chest.
Billy had been carefully hiding his stuff from his dad, only wearing what he always wore, the Saint Christopher necklace.
“What’s it that you’re wearing, boy?” He asked Billy, shutting his room’s door behind him.
Billy felt the familiar zing of fear going up his spine, but then he shut down. He usually did. It was too overwhelming, to process it, especially while still hurt.
“Ma’s necklace.” He answered, forcing his voice not to waver.
“No, you’re not.” Neil fished something in his pocket. The fucking necklace.
Billy felt his breath catch in his throat. “How did you-?”
“I took it, boy. It’s under my roof, it’s mine.” He put it back in his pocket. “Now answer me .” He pushed Billy against the wall and fisted his shirt hard . “Have you been sleeping around? Whoring yourself to get shiny things, that it, boy?” He backhanded Billy, who tasted blood almost immediately. “Where did you get that necklace?”
Billy didn’t answer. There was no point to it. “Give me Ma’s necklace back.” He demanded, his voice clogging on his throat.
Could he ever have anything? Anything at all? He was so tired. So damn exhausted of everything.
Neil took a swing at Billy, hitting him in the eye, and then another to his jaw. “You’re not good for anything, boy. Even your momma left you.” Another one, hitting his temple. “And after everything I put up with because of you, this is how you repay me.” Then he got his hand on Billy’s throat, around it, and squeezed .
When he woke up, his whole goddamn bedroom was all torn to shreds, and everything the boys had given him wasn’t there anymore.
On the following day, Max was pouting hard . Billy had no idea what had gotten into the little bitch until she dropped something on his lap at the cafeteria. It was raining, so there was no point in being outside, unfortunately.
Billy stared at the brown paper bag, confused, while the rest of her little gang followed her, gathering around Billy. “What’s this?”
“Lucas’s dad caught Neil trying to sell your things.” She announced, looking upset and fiery. She would be such a good alpha to somebody, someday. “I got to it just in time.”
Billy’s eyes widened. “You stole from Neil? Are you insane? ”
“I didn’t steal anything, I got your things back.” Maxine answered, like a dumbass.
“Same difference, kid. He’ll think I took it and beat my ass up.” He opened the bag anyway, looking inside. Everything was there. “Why did you do that?”
“We made it look like a robbery.” Sinclair poked his head from behind Max. “He’ll never know it was any of us.”
Billy rubbed his eyes hard. Damn those dumbasses. “And what if he does .”
“Then we got the chief of police on our side.” Wheeler spoke from Max’s other side. The little alpha looked just as mad as Max was.
He looked at them, face to face, completely at loss of what to say. “Thanks. I guess.”
That was how he ended up spending his lunch with a bunch of adolescents, who were suddenly sitting at his table and discussing D&D. The bunch of nerds.
He got his Ma’s necklace - the original one, he recognized - and placed it around his neck.
He suddenly felt a little better about life.
He parked the Camaro to drop Max at the arcade. Before he could pull it out again, though, Harrington just opened his passenger door and let himself in.
“The fuck, Harrington?”
“The kids told me what happened.” He said, and Billy rolled his eyes.
“Great. Another pity party.”
“Not really, no.” Harrington shook his head. “I-” He looked, really looked, at Billy. “I’m pretty sure I’m digging my own grave here but. I saw something.”
“You… saw something.” Billy repeated, flummoxed. “What did you see, Harrington?”
“I… this .” He handed Billy a small box.
His mouth was suddenly dry. Billy licked his lips.“What is it, Harrington?”
“I saw it in a store.” The boy started nervously. “And I couldn’t stop thinking about you wearing it. How it would look.” His throat worked convulsively.
“How it would look .” Billy was still befuddled by the whole conversation, and decided to start opening the ribbons around the box. “Thinking about me, pretty boy?” He teased, expecting the default disgusted reaction.
It did not came. “Maybe.” Harrington was beet red.
Billy put the untied ribbon on his lap and opened the box.
Inside there was a chest harness. Two gold chains interlocked in two places, meant to go around Billy’s shoulders like a shirt, laying together over his chest and then separating at his waist.
It was gorgeous. And sexy as fuck.
He touched the metal reverently for a moment.
“Do you like it?” Harrington asked, teeth worrying over his lower lip.
Billy took a deep breath.” Yeah.” He answered. There was no space for joking, not there. “It’s beautiful.”
The boy preened under the praise, smiling. “It’ll look better when you put it on.”
Billy’s breath caught. “I don’t know how to put something like this on.”
Harrington bit his lip again. “Want me to help you?”
In lieu of an answer, Billy took off his jacket and his shirt, throwing them behind him.
The boy hesitated, but got the box from Billy’s hands in the end. They didn’t have much space inside the car, but they managed, Harrington’s hands brushing his skin lightly as he gently placed the chain over Billy’s large shoulders.
Billy used the precarious rearview mirror to look how the chain sat against his skin. He never really lost Cali’s tan, so the chain sparkled beautifully against his own golden skin.
He probably shouldn’t put himself in such a vulnerable position in front of Steve The Hair Harrington, but he couldn’t help it. His heart was hammering in his chest, and between the ring, the necklace and the anklet, he finally felt… cherished. Like his existence wasn’t just a waste of space. Like someone appreciated him for what he was, even if some days that meant that he was an asshole.
He was working on it, but still.
He turned to Harrington, seeing as his eyes were bright, maybe as bright as Billy’s own, despite their darker coloring. “Does it look like you imagined?” He asked, voice coming out raspy from his throat.
Harrington swallowed dry once again. “I-” The boy bit his lip, eyes scanning Billy’s naked chest, the chain delicately framing his whole torso, and then traveling to his face, lips before eyes. “Looks even better than I pictured.”
It was Billy’s time to swallow dry. He shifted and got his shirt and jacket back, putting them on again, over the piece of jewelry he was just gifted.
“Thank you, Harrington.” He said, a little awkwardly, fiddling with the gem of his shirt.
Steve opened a big, stupid smile. “Thank you for showing me.”
Harrington opened the door and got out of Billy’s car, walking slowly to the arcade, a spring on his step. He was even whistling, the dork.
And Billy was left there, heart thundering on his ears, on his chest. Skin all warm underneath yet another piece of jewelry he was gifted since he arrived at Hawkins.
Sex Ed course came once again, and, for the first time, Billy listened .
He listened , because it started to match and make sense with what Max’s little troup told him over and over again.
Apparently, it was biology which dictated that omega jewelry wasn’t just a futility or decoration, or even a signal that the omega was taken. It wasn’t a trade, sex for jewelry, like Neil had taught him all his life. No: scientists had found back in the sixties that omega jewelry has a soothing effect, especially during heat, as a reminder of love and affection; something tangible and available at all times, even when no one is.
Billy stared at himself in the mirror . He was wearing only his briefs and the jewelry he had, all warm against his skin, the comforting touch of metal as soft as a tender touch.
He looked good, but it wasn’t just that; he looked cared for. Like somebody gave a damn about him, enough to respect and treasure that softer part of him.
He took it all off and hid it on the bottom of his cigarette box, and slept through the whole night for the first time in a while.
When his next heat came and went, Billy had been already expecting it.
Apparently, it was the Wheeler boy’s time to gift him with something, so he materialized in front of him just after Billy gave Max her lunch money.
He didn’t say anything, looking too awkward for it. Just handed over the box to Billy.
“I tried to get something that looked like what you wore before.” He said. Billy didn’t want to make it harder for the boy. He just opened the box.
Inside, a kit of golden earrings just like the ones his father broke - metal, badass, and very nice. They were just a couple of tiny bangles and a spike, but Billy liked it anyway.
He put his hand over the boy’s hair and messed it up, making him complain. None of it was too heated.
“Thanks.” He knew the little alpha had his reservations towards Billy, reasonable ones at that. So he appreciated the effort.
“I-” Mike hesitated, still looking at him. “I also have a question.”
Billy leaned with his shoulder on his locker, scrutinizing him. Just to let him steam a bit. “Shoot.”
“I’m giving this to… a friend.” He said, taking a little box out of his pocket and showed it to Billy. It was a necklace with a square pendant, something engraved on it. Looked like a card of one of the games those kids played all the time.
Billy just hummed.
“I just wanna know if that’s something you think-” He interrupted himself, flushing.
“Something that an omega would like.” Billy completed the thought for him.
He got the box from the boy’s hands and examined the piece.
“You got this personalized, right?”
“Is that… friend , someone really special to you?” Billy asked in a very matter-of-fact tone.
The alpha flushed furiously at the question, so there was no reason to answer.
“If you got some extra cash, you should ask the person who made you this to throw a couple of clear zirconia where those star drawings are.” He showed it to Mike, who nodded immediately, filing the information as important in his brain. “It probably sounds weird to you, but sometimes, the shinier the better. Doesn’t need to be expensive, just… real pretty.”
It shone a light in a part of him that he didn’t really want to look at, but Mike didn’t look disgusted or like he’d take a piss at Billy for it. Instead, he looked like he thought he should be taking notes.
Billy gave him the box back and placed a hand on the boy’s shoulders. “Don’t worry, kid. They’ll like it.”
His smile told Billy the story of a long-standing secret crush.
It was about to get not-so secret pretty soon. He was kinda looking forward to that.
“Good luck, Wheeler.”
“Thanks Billy!” He turned as the bell rang, running to his class.
Billy pocketed his earrings to put them on later, and got to class.
The fight was already going on when he got to it. He thought it was Tommy, or someone like him, making another mess -- he just went to watch.
But then he heard Wheeler's voice and stepped forward, pushing the people in front of him away.
"What the fuck is going on here?" Will Byers was on the floor, bleeding, and Mike was curled on himself like somebody who had been kicked in the gut.
Across from them, a couple of seniors, older than Billy, smiling like they won something.
"I asked you a question." Billy stood between them, facing the seniors while the boys dusted themselves off of the floor.
"We don't owe you an explanation, Hargrove." One of them answered and spat on the floor.
"Yeah, we don't answer to omegas." Fucking hell . "Didn't know you were friends with these brats, though . You letting the Wheeler boy bang you, is that it, Hargrove?"
They sputtered into laughter.
Billy chuckled with them. "Yeah, real funny." He took another step forward, so he was toe to toe with the biggest one in the middle. "Know what else is funny?"
"What, Hargrove? He asked, disdain tinting his tone.
And, for that, he got sucker punched and fell on the floor, knocked out.
"Fun thing, this omegas here can kick your asses." He announced to the two shell-shocked alphas that were left awake in front of him. "Wanna give it a try, too?"
He got one meek punch to his ribs and a decent kick to his thigh. Despite that, both alphas were on the floor soon enough.
Knuckles bleeding and gave sweaty, Billy turned to the boys standing behind him. "You OK?"
Mike gaped as Will jumped, his arms up in celebration. "That was awesome!"
Billy couldn't help but smile. "Let's get out of here before they get us."
They ran to Billy's car and he drove them off to the diner while discussing how amazing was his prowess. He laughed all the way there.
"It wasn't all that good, kid." He corrected him when they were already slurping on strawberry milkshakes. "That guy ain't the toughest shit around. He has asthma or somethin'."
“It was badass .” Wheeler agreed from behind his straw. “Thanks for helping us.”
“Don’t sweat it, kid.” He said, and noticed how Mike seemed satisfied to see the earrings he gave Billy on him. Like nobody had to know it had been him to give ‘em, but it was still good for him to see Billy wearing those.
He just slurped on the milkshake, wondering how his life got to this. Comfortably drinking milkshake in the middle of nowhere with those two dorks, and feeling pretty fine about it.
Fallout was just detention for the three of them, and for three days, considering the other boys brashly admitted to have started the fight. Because they were alphas, and alphas could be very stupid, sometimes.
His dad gave him a couple of slaps for it, but he was glad Billy had won the fight. What he wasn’t happy about was that the fight was over two young boys being bullied.
On his next heat he didn’t even have to as who it was; he knew it was Sinclair who left something at his window, hidden behind a bush. It was an additional pendant to his necklace, with a Virgin Mary on it.
He thanked the boy on Tuesday morning by handing him a couple of bags of warheads, his favorites.
On the way out, though, there he was. Steve Harrington, in the flesh, waiting for him.
“Can we talk?” He asked, and Billy just leaned against the Camaro, waiting. He knew his shirt was loose enough so that the chest harness that he gave Billy could be seen. He had never had such tranquil heats before than now, with the jewelry in the room with him.
“Shoot, pretty boy.”
“Alright.” Harrington shifted, looking nervous. “I wanna… I wanna askyouonadate.”
“Say what now?” Billy asked, half amused as how nervous he was.
“Asshole.” Steve grunted, but it had no heat to it. He took a deep breath. “I wanna ask you on a date.”
Billy hummed. “So the thingy you gave me was a courting gift, then?”
“No.” Harrington put yet another velveted box on Billy’s hands. “But this is.”
Maxine was coming to the car when he opened the box. and exclaimed “Holy shit!” Calling up all the kids of her group like some sort of herding call. They were all around him in a minute, exclaiming and talking over him about it.
“Kids, hey, hold on,” He said above their voices, making them shut up. “Can you stand over there and wait for us to finish this conversation, please?”
His tone left really no room for protests, so they all went together to sit on the steps of the school.
Then Billy turned to Harrington again. “They’re quite taken with you.” He told BIlly.
“Yeah.” He agreed, watching the group from afar. “They’re good kids, I guess.”
“So.” Harrington took off his sunglasses, staring at Billy. “What do you say?”
Billy opened the box once more. It was almost blinding in the sunlight - a gold necklace with an aquamarine pendant right in the middle of it. It wasn’t subtle, and most likely wasn’t cheap. It reminded him of the colors of the beach, with the sand and the water.
That wasn’t affection, or respect, or friendship. That was a fucking statement, right there, for anyone to see.
Billy hesitated. “I’m not worth this shit, Harrington.”
“That’s not up to you.” Harrington said, all the alpha he was bared, just like that. He was the alpha and he as the other part in that (prospective) relationship, so he would be the one to decide what he was going to offer Billy. Of course, if it wasn’t up to standards, Billy could always fall out, but.
Billy was gonna fall like a moth to a flame.
“A date, then.” He agreed with a small nod. “Alright.”
Steve’s smile was as blinding as the jewel on Billy’s hands. “May I?”
Right there, in the parking lot, as everyone walked out of their classes. In plain sight.
Billy didn’t need to be a dirty secret.
“Sure.” He answered and turned around.
Harrington was delicate while placing the necklace around his. The pendant fell a couple of centimeters up his mother’s necklace, which he wore upon the copy that Steve made him, with Sinclair’s medal next to it, on the same chain.
He caught the kids’ eyes on them, looking like they were cheering him. The necklace felt heavy and nice against his chest. And when Harrington bent down to kiss Billy’s neck right over where the clasp of the necklace was, making him shiver, he felt claimed . Surprisingly, it was not a bad feeling.
Not a bad feeling at all.
“I’ll pick you up on Friday at seven.” Harrington said against his skin, hands on Billy’s shoulders.
“Pick me up at the hardware store.” He asked. It was better if Neil never saw Steve hanging around Billy, ever .
Steve nodded and turned Billy around, getting his still bruised hand and kissing the back of it. It should be weird, it should feel old-fashioned and ridiculous; he just felt warm all over. Steve’s eyes never left his while he did it.
“Whatever you need.” He agreed, and let go of Billy’s hand to enter his own car and go.
The brats came to him yelling and smiling, yapping their heads off, as soon as he was alone. “Oh my God let me see!” Maxine was the one to take the stone in hand from his chest and show the others.
“This probably cost his whole paycheck.” Henderson said, the local expert on Steve Harrington.
“What?” Billy frowned. “I thought this was something his dad would give him money to.”
Mike shook his head. “He always told us that he’d never give a courting gift that wasn’t bought with his own money.”
And his heart was pounding again. Fuck it all.
“I can smell your excitement from here, Billy.” Max announced, making him blush.
“Shut up and get in the car or you’ll all have to walk to the arcade, shitheads.”
They entered the car without any more protests. Billy stayed there for a bit more, soaking up on that feeling, before entering and pulling the car to drive.
When Billy starts to feel a little queasy next; when he sure of what’s going on with his body, he prepares.
Billy wakes up at five a.m. - much earlier than anybody else in the house. He grabbed everything he could need for that time - blankets to nest, toys if everything went wrong, his jewelry, water and food, soft clothes, towel and hygiene products in general.
Then he gets into the Camaro and drives.
He got the address from Henderson, and the information that Steve’s parents were out of town pretty much all the time, including that weekend.
Once in front of the big house, he carefully put every piece of jewelry he owned on, dressed his softest leather jacket, and walked up to the front porch.
His smell wasn’t all that strong yet, but he was already feeling itchy and warm with all the clothes on. Harrington is there before he can even ring the bell, though.
“Billy,” Steve says his name like a prayer, in awe and hope.
Billy stands there awkwardly, backpack over his shoulder. Just his smell , of cedarwood and pine, something raw and natural and comforting, already made him a little wet between his thighs.
“Hi.” Billy licks his lips, a nervous habit. Steve follows his tongue with his eyes like he couldn’t help himself. It made him feel less awkward, less small. A little more powerful. “Can I come in?”
He could see Steve trying to keep his composure, to keep him from seeing how he was hardening inside his pants. He stepped back so Billy could enter the house.
“I-” Steve’s pupils widened as Billy’s smell became more prominent into the enclosed space. “What can I do for you?”
Billy was finding it a little bit funny that Harrington was this thrown by an omega going into heat. Like it wasn’t normal for him to do those things. From what Billy heard before, though, it definitely wasn’t any news for King Steve.
“So. This is where you live.” He said, observing the kitchen. Big and fancy, a little industrial. Not exactly like he had imagined, but not too off, either. “Nice.”
“Thank you.” Steve’s voice sounded clogged to his throat. “What can I help you with?” His tone was somewhat formal. Billy almost laughed.
He hummed. “Isn’t that obvious, pretty boy?” He asked, voice sultry, hip propped against the kitchen isle. He knew how to make himself look good .
Harrington swallowed dry. “If you need a room to spend your heat in peace, I can give you one. Locked from the inside, no one will ever be able to get inside without superpowers.” Billy could see that the offer was sincere. “No strings attached, I promise.”
“I know that, pretty boy. Wouldn’t have come here if I thought you were an asshole.” He pushed himself from the counter with his hip and went to Steve, a hand laying on his chest. Steve’s heart was beating wildly underneath his fingers. “But that’s not what I want.”
Steve bit his lower lip. Paused. “What do you want, then?”
Billy’s smile was filthy , he knew that. He got his backpack from the floor, located the stairs, and started walking up the steps. “You coming, pretty boy?”
He could hear Steve’s harsh exhale, and also how he scrambled to comply.
Oh, yeah. This was exactly what he needed.
He got himself arranged at Steve’s room - his smell was everywhere , it felt exciting - and got his sheets and blanket from the backpack, making his nest soft and comfortable. Steve just watched as he did it, getting progressively harder as time went by.
Then, when Billy started to get his stuff out of the backpack - supplies, toys, lube, that sort of thing - , Steve was shook back into gear and made a quick descent downstairs to grab them some bottles of water and food, placing them close to Billy’s prepared nest.
Billy was taking his time -- there was no real rush there -- and Steve didn’t seem to mind it. But soon enough his clothes were getting too uncomfortable, so he started to take them off. “Could you turn on your AC?” He asked as his jacket came down, followed by his pants. His underwear was already pretty wet in preparation. “‘bout 70° is fine.”
Steve nodded, going to do that immediately.
Then Billy laid there, in the middle of his comfortable, safe nest, and looked at Steve. Really looked .
He would go away if Billy asked.
He would give him the key to lock the door, buy new clothes for himself so he didn’t need his wardrobe for the next few days, and he would never complain. Never fight Billy.
He had been acting like the mere fact that Billy was there, at his place, willing to spend his heat in the same building as him, was a gift. That his trust was a gift.
Billy raised his hand and made a come hither gesture with them. Inviting Steve over to the nest. “Come on. I wanna cuddle a bit first, if that’s OK.” He flushed a bit.
But Steve didn’t make fun of him; Steve just nodded eagerly, taking his clothes off too before laying down beside Billy. It was the omega who made the first step to touch him, but, after that, the alpha didn’t need much more prompting than that to pull Billy closer to his chest and bury his nose on Billy’s neck.
Billy let him. He let Steve pull him closer, gently; let him lick over his scent glands as if he wanted to taste what he was smelling. The moan Harrington let out at that gave Billy shivers.
“Are you cold?” Steve asked him as he saw the hairs of his arms standing.
Billy shook his head. “Horny.” He pressed his lips against Harrington’s, feeling his whole body react to the contact. “Needy. Wet.”
“Fucking hell,” Steve breathed, looking so horny from Billy’s words he could barely think. Billy took pride in that. “You’re going to kill me, aren’t you? You’ll be my death.”
“Death by sex doesn’t sound so bad, baby boy,” Billy shifted to straddle Steve’s hips, his hands coming immediately to Billy’s own. Billy got the hands with his own and directed them to his ass, where he wanted it.
“Do you remember that poem we studied in literature class with Mrs. Gregory?” Billy asked him. They didn’t share the class, but the woman did the same thing every year. Maybe Steve remembered.
“ The first time he calls you holy, ” Billy recites, undulating his hips, making Steve moan. “ you laugh it back so hard your sides hurt. ”
Recognition lit up in Steve’s eyes. “I remember.”
“Then help me,” He asked, leaning to kiss him again, whispering against his lips.
“the second time ,” Steve groaned, eyes shut. “you moan gospel around his fingers, between your teeth. he has always surprised you into surprising yourself.”
Billy was already pretty wet, just waiting for the first cramp to hit, teasing Steve while Steve’s fingers circled his hole. “because he’s an angel hiding his halo behind his back and nothing has ever felt so filthy as plucking the wings from his shoulders-- ” He moaned as Steve’s finger slipped inside easily, effortlessly. As if it belonged there.
“Fucking hell, Billy, you-” He bit Billy’s jaw, thighs straining in self-control and desire. “ undressing his softness, one feather at a time. ”
Billy raised his torso again, letting his weight press his opening against Steve’s cock as he slid up and down it. Steve rolled his eyes up. “ god, if you’re out there, if you’re listening, he fucks like a seraphim, and there is no part of scripture that ever prepared you for his hands. ”
Steve growled, suddenly, and inverted their positions, rolling to his side with Billy cushioned by his arms. He didn’t mind it at all as Steve kissed and bit the skin of his neck, his chest and belly. “hands that map a communion in the cradle of your hips,” He was breathing hard, but going forward, as Billy asked him to. “hands that kiss hymns up your sides.”
He got to Billy’s navel, licking a stripe up his cock, and Billy moaned, chuckled, arched his back. “he confesses how long he’s looked for a place to worship and, oh, you put him in his knees. ” He lets his hands cover Steve’s hair, caressing it softly, as he took Billy’s cock into his mouth. “when he sinks to the floor and moans like he can’t help himself, you wonder if the other angels fell so sweet. ”
When it was time -- which was announced by the first cramp, which made Billy curl a little in pain, his hole gushing slick out on the sheets -- Steve let go of Billy’s cock and went back up to kiss him, laying down so they had the most skin-to-skin contact that they could, knowing that it would soothe Billy’s pain the best. “he says his prayers between your thighs and you dig your heels into the base of his spine until he blushes the color of your filthy tongue. ” He recites, eyes burning on Billy, who was already half of it, legs spread wide to give Steve room.
“ you will ruin him and he will say thank you; ” Billy tries to take a deep breath, feeling too hot, too much, as Steve rubbed the tip of his dick to Billy’s wet hole. “he will say please.”
Steve put his hips down slowly, sinking into Billy. Dragging a moan from them both. His voice came very strained, and only once he bottomed out. “no damnation ever looked as cozy as this,” He once again buries his nose in Billy’s neck, scenting him, drowning in his smell. “but you fit over his hips like they were made for you. you fit, you fit, you fit,” He shut his eyes and starts to roll his hips slowly.
Billy smiles, hands on Steve’s nape. “on top of him, you are an ancient god that only he remembers and he offers up his skin. and you take it. ” As if on a cue, Harrington moaned and bit his neck, leaving teeth marks in his wake. “who knew sacrifice was so profane? ”
Steve kisses him, filthy and warm and perfect, and Billy wraps his arms and legs around the alpha’s body, taking it all eagerly, wishing he could never let go, that he could live right there, in that moment, forever.
“and once you’ve taught him how to hold your throat in one hand and your heart in the other, ” Steve whispers against Billy’s cheek, sweet and desperate as his hips took more strength and speed to its movements.
“ you will have forgotten every other word, except his name .” Billy finishes, and moans, and arches his back, and gives his all, letting pleasure get to him, to his head, to every fiber of his being.
And as his first orgasm came, he felt free like he only felt once before, when it was only him and his Ma at the beach, riding waves, basking on the sunlight.
And it was all because of Steve.
He knew what was gonna happen when he got home. He didn’t tell anyone, though.
He would take the consequences, just as long as his body was once again his.
Billy wasn’t sure who called the police, but he didn’t care. The ambulance peeled him from Neil’s front yard beaten and bloody while Chief Hopper got his dad from inside in handcuffs and a furious expression.
“YOU LITTLE WHORE!” He screamed at Billy like a madman. “YOU SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN BORN! YOU’RE ONLY GOOD FOR BREEDING. I HOPE YOU’RE SOLD TO SOMEONE WHO KNOWS WHAT TO DO WITH YOU.”
The chief growled something and punched Neil in the face to shut him up right before pushing him into the police car.
“It’s going to be OK, mr. Hargrove.” The paramedic tells him softly. “You’ll never have to see him again.”
Billy is asleep before he can warn her about making promises she can’t keep.
When he’s out, it’s Susan who surprises him with a gift. A golden bangle that looked so very beautiful, he almost refused it.
“I am sorry about what happened to you.” She told him. “I am at least partially responsible. I knew what he was doing and didn’t do anything.” Her eyes shone with unshed tears and her hands shook.
“It’s fine, Susie Q.” He told her affectionately. It was his fault anyway. He knew what he was getting into when he chose to drive to an alpha’s house for his heat and then come back home.
She sniffles. “No, it’s not. But it will be.” She grabbed the bangle and slipped it on his wrist, right beneath the needle of the drip. “You have been rude before, and with reason, but otherwise you were nothing but good to my daughter. And the way Neil treated you wasn't right. So,” She held his hand firmly. “He’s out of the house, and if you don’t press charges against him, I will.”
“Susie Q, you don’t have to-”
“I know you work already, but I want to make up for my silence. So you can live with me and Max as long as you want. You were never a weight or a bother, if nothing else you brought home money for Max’s lunch and paid for what Neil spent on booze.” She wiped her face on her hand. “No more. You are welcome, because you are family.”
He stared at the ceiling. He was tired, and sore, and now he felt warm all over his chest and fingertips. “You gonna make me cry, Susie Q.”
She bent down her little, but resilient, body, and hugged him close. “Then cry, my boy. Cry your fill, get better, and come back home to me and Max.” She kissed his forehead. “You’ll always be welcome with us.”
He held onto her, and was very thankful she didn’t say anything when her shirt came up wet from where his face was.
“BILLY!” Henderson hugged him from his middle, right over his bruised ribs, when he got out of the hospital. The whole little gang was waiting for him, along with Steve, the chief and Joyce Byers.
He moaned in pain and Dustin immediately let go. “Oh my God, I’m so sorry!”
Billy just shook his head and found a better angle for that hug, letting the boy stay close. “It’s OK, kid.”
“The kids were very worried about you.” Mrs. Byers told him, cupping his face, very motherly. “You made quite an impression on my son, Mr. Hargrove.”
He winced. “Billy, please.”
“Billy, then.” She repeated, still smiling.
“You don’t have to worry about him coming back.” Chief manifested himself, a short-haired kid in front of him. “I… pulled some strings.”
“He used me.” The strange girl told him directly, taking a step forward. She felt familiar, somehow. “I made your dad confess.”
“No.” The girl interrupted her father, who looked frustrated, and anxious, and gruff about it. “He is friend. Friends don’t lie.”
Billy had no idea how a little kid like her could have done anything to his father, but he believed her. “We friends, then?”
“Not yet.” She agreed meekly. “But we will be.”
Billy nodded, placing one hand over her hair gently. “Alright. Thanks, kid.”
Hopper and Byers seemed surprise he took it all in stride, but it was a perk of spending so much time with the little brats. They always came up with something new, and it was no use trying to stop them or shutting them up.
They adopted him, somewhat, and while he wasn’t sure why, he was also thankful for it. It felt good not to be alone after… everything.”
“Billy!” Will got him by the forearm. “Steve has something for you!”
“He does?” He smirked, unable to help himself. Looking around almost immediately, he noticed that neither adult around was looking at him in disgust, or even surprise. “What’s it, Harrington?”
Before he could move, though, Max stopped right in front of him. She looked nervous, but determinate. “I just want you to know that I already talked to Steve and he knows what happens if he hurts you.” She puffed her chest all alpha and cute. “You don’t have to accept his gift.”
Billy messed with her hair. “I know, Max. Thanks.”
She stood aside and he walked to Steve, who looked a little strange. Billy was pretty sure on the why.
“It’s not your fault.” He told Steve, who shook his head.
“I should have never let you go back home.”
Billy chuckled. “What would you have done? Locked me in your room?”
Steve shrugged. “I’m sure I could have come up with a better way to keep you in my bed, Hargrove.”
Steve reached out, placing one hand on Billy’s waist, and pulled him in. Billy went willingly, over caring about anybody would say about it; put his hands on Steve’s shoulders. Just breathing him in already made him feel calmer, and by the pheromones he was exhaling, it was the same for Steve too.
“Will told me you got a gift for me.” He said with a small, smug smile.
Steve smiled back. “Sure I did.” He kissed Billy’s cheek before handing him the box.
Inside, a gold band encrusted with aquamarine and diamonds. And a key.
“Wow.” Mike said when he saw it, peeking over Billy’s shoulder on his tiptoes. He was the only one tall enough for that, yet.
“Is that a key to your house? ” Henderson robbed Billy’s line from him.
“Yup.” Steve answered, as if it was the most common thing in the world. “So anytime you wanna crash there, you can just come right in.”
“You never gave ME a key to your place!” Henderson complained. Loudly . “And I’m your best friend!”
Steve just put the ring on Billy’s finger. He kept staring at it underneath the sunlight, feeling like a magpie searching for sparkly things to collect.
But looking around - even at that weird kid he barely knew - they seemed to shine a little more than any stone or polished metal that he was wearing. And he had collected that too, somehow.
“Well, who wants a milkshake? My treat.” He announced, being cheered on by the kids, who were already entering Steve’s Beamer, squeezing and complaining.
“Can I go?” Hopper’s girl asked him. He looked from her to Billy, and then nodded.
“You take care of her, Hargrove.” He told Billy, who nodded.
“Count on me, Chief.” He answered, but the other man turned, grumbling.
“You’ll get used to it.” Steve said as Jane made her way inside her car, on top of Little Byers, who flushed to the tips of his ears. Wheeler, on his part, was glaring daggers at them both. He knew the girl was an alpha, so. Interesting.
“It’s fine, baby boy.” He smacked a kiss on Steve’s lips. “Shall we go?”
“After you, babe.” Steve opened his door to him and he entered, feeling tranquil as they drove off. Like he belonged.
“Hey, Steve,” Wheeler pulled himself forward underneath Max’s leg to look at both him and Billy better. “Is there any particular significance to that blue stone?” He asked, making Billy smile. Smart boy was still looking for pointers. “You gave two of them to Billy already, and I was kinda wondering why the same one.”
“It’s an aquamarine.” Steve answered, looking at the boy from over his sunglasses. “It’s supposed to be a stone that represents the sea.”
“And Billy misses Cali.” Max reminded them.
“That, yes.” Steve agreed. “But it’s also the color of his eyes.” That made Billy turn, half-frown, half smug grin.
“The fuck, Harrington?”
“It’s true!” Steve laughed, a bit embarrassed, but pushing through it.
“So you gave me jewelry that would compete and outshine my eyes, is that it?” He crossed his arms over his chest, playfully teasing the other boy.
“Oh, babe, no,” Steve was, too, playful as he grabbed his hand and squeezed it. “No stone will ever come close to how bright and beautiful your eyes are.”
A collective protest came from behind them, composed of “eww’s” and “disgusting”, and a little bit of laughter from the Hopper girl. Billy was laughing too.
“Real smooth, Harrington.”
Steve winked and brought Billy’s hand to his lips, kissing the back of it. Their fingers interlocked, and it felt like he would never belong anywhere else. But also like there would never be a need to.
“None brighter than your eyes.” Billy rolled his eyes. “Where did you get that stupid line from, Harrington?”
“From my heart, babe.” Steve’s smile made his heart jump a beat. “From deep in my heart.”
“We brought this on ourselves, didn’t we?” Henderson asked Wheeler in a murmur.
The other boy was looking just as disgusted as his friend, nodded.
Billy just shook his head and stared at the ring a bit more. Maybe he would be happy away from the sea, after all.
He’d have to see. For once, though, he felt pretty optimistic about it.
“The sun inside of him
rages like a wildfire
and he is
and he is
scorching the skin of my heart,
yet still he pretends
that he is safe for me to love,
that his hands are gentle,
that his fingertips won’t be
seared into the notches of my spine.
The sun inside of him
could set the kingdom ablaze;
he knows this, he does.
And he still asks me to love him,
to face the flame.
Find me in the ashes.”
Emily Palermo, Apollo