Steve sees that Billy is freezing. He's only wearing his denim jacket, his lips are pale and his teeth are actually chattering.
"Here, have my scarf." Steve wraps his black cashmere scarf around him. His jacket is warm enough, he doesn't need it.
"It‘s ph-phine, Stebe."
He can barely make out Billy's words, because he's shaking so much. That man would never admit to needing anything, even if he is bleeding and dying. Or freezing to death.
"That's enough, we're going home," Steve decides.
"I‘m not c-c-cold," Billy insists. A few snowflakes fall on his mullet.
Steve groans and wants to stomp his feet like a toddler. "Then I am cold. Let's go."
"You are s-s-uch a p-p-pussy."
"Yeah, yeah." Steve grabs Billy's ice cold hands and drags him towards his car. Walking through winter wonderland with a freezing Californian is a pain in the ass.
At home he makes them hot chocolate with marshmallows, drags Billy to the couch and wraps three of the biggest, softest blankets he can find around them.
"I don't need that," Billy tells him when Steve gives him the steaming mug. He scowls at the drink until he takes a sip from it. Chocolate sticks to his thin mustache. He hides his grin when Steve turns around, but Steve saw it.
"Do you wanna watch a movie?" Steve asks when Billy finally sinks a bit further into their nests of blankets. Steve has won this round.
Billy shrugs, leans over and rubs his cold nose against Steve's neck. His icy hand slips Steve's sweater. Steve tries not to squirm at the cold.
"We can warm each other's dicks," Billy suggests. He sounds tired and not up for it at all.
"Sure," Steve humours him, rubbing Billy's back. That's the trick. Agreement with Billy's denial on the outside, working against it on the inside. Billy doesn't move.
It only takes seconds. Steve manages to grab Billy's chocolate before it slips out of his hand.
Billy is snoring against his skin, nose still cold. Steve wraps the blankets tighter around them.
Majorly inspired by @wrecked-fuse
There's not a lot of things Max does that go unnoticed by Billy. He seems to just know things. He always knows where she is, who she's with, what she's doing with her time….
But there's one thing he is completely unaware of and Max knows he'd kill her for sure if he ever did find out…
That when he's absolutely plastered, eyes glazed over and breath smelling of booze, or after he's taken a particularly bad beating from his Dad and has passed out cold….
She takes pictures of the evidence.
She doesn't know what compelled her to start doing it, but one night she just followed the impulse and grabbed the camera her father had sent her for Christmas. It had been past midnight when she'd heard him slink back into the house and she'd waited a good hour after that to make her move. He'd been slumped against his bed, stinking of whiskey and dead to the world when she'd shut the door behind her. His black eye from earlier had looked so much worse than when he'd left. It was big, dark and ugly against his pale washed out face and there was a circle on his cheek bone that looked like the inverted insignia of Neil's ring.
That fucking bastard.
She'd raised the camera….
The photos fluttered down at her feet and she'd scooped them up and fled the room as quickly as she could, terrified that he'd wake up and kick her ass for being in there. For seeing him vulnerable.
For taking photos of that vulnerability.
Her fear of him didn't stop her from coming back and doing it again, though.
She'd gone back....
Again and again.
Any time she knew he wouldn't hear her, wouldn't feel her lift his shirt. Wouldn't notice he'd been moved.
She'd gotten disturbingly good at it.
At documenting the injuries.
Black eyes, busted lips, bloody noses.
Click click click.
Finger shaped bruises on his arm, a partial bootprint on his abdomen.
The imprints of a belt buckle on his back.
And every time he sneers at her, yells at her, makes a nasty remark, she reminds herself that this is why he does it. It's not because he is angry at her. It's because he is angry at his situation. He's pissed because he is alone and he's trapped.
He's been imprisoned in this house a million miles away from anyone that cares about him while she's been made into one of his unwilling jailers, or maybe even a noose around his neck.
One wrong move from either of them and he wears the consequences on his skin.
And it just keeps getting worse.
Neil has had a hair trigger lately and Billy can't even breathe in his Dad's direction without facing his ire.
And it's been going on long enough that Max has a shoebox full of polorioids in her hands and she's going to throw up.
Because it's now or never.
She has a chance to finally put a stop to her brothers torture. She has a box full of evidence. Neil can't talk his way out of pictures. Billy didn't do all of this to himself.
She can do this. She can...she just needs a little help. She doesn't think she has the courage to do it alone...
So, she takes a deep breath and opens the glass door. She hears Steve's greeting but she doesn't respond. She just sets the box on the video store counter and pushes it toward him.
"What's this?" Steve asks, fiddling with the lid but not opening it. He looks up at her and his face looks as wary as she feels.
"It's about Billy, "She says, licking her lips nervously. "I think I need your help."
Billy Hargrove headcanon: Billy was never popular. He was just the new kid in town. Think about it, Billy comes into Hawkins guns ablazing, he looks and acts nothing like the other teens in Indiana so everyone just assumes he's badass and awesome. He wins everyone over with the keg stand so now all the girls want him and the boys want to be him. But after that...you don't see Billy talk to any other teenage. Yes, he picks up a girl outside of school, but that was purely for a sexual intention. They say he becomes the new king bee of Hawkins, but you don't see him socialising with the "it" crowd. Other ppl like to say Billy stole Tommy from Steve but aside from the scene in the shower, Tommy never becomes Billy's new lapdog, he isn't clinging to his side trying to get in his good books, in fact Billy kinda looks at Tommy with contempt. I bet when Billy died, only a few of his "friends" actually showed up to his funeral.
I'm a theorist at heart, so I'm going to postulate a reason for the vilification of Billy as a character relative to the other similarly aged men in the series.
Obviously many people within the harringrove and Billy fandom view him as potentially effeminate and perhaps less masculine than he is portrayed in the show. But within the context of the show, he is hyper-masculine and he is hated for it.
Casually in our society over the past twenty years or so, we have begun to vilify men as a reaction to the often pervasive issue of harassment, assault, and worse on women. This is a logical conclusion, but it has become watered down to simply hating masculine men and hating anyone who likes men. (IE, all bi girls like all girls and only some men- which is biphobic and untrue).
On the other hand, J0nathan and 3ddie look more feminine. 3ddie and Billy both have long hair, but 3ddie is thinner, wears layers, and is portrayed as more cowardly. These are very basic assumed traits of women in media, it's easy to latch onto that. And yes, it is reductive. I'm not passing judgement positively or negatively, it's just an observation. (A similar thing has happened with Luke Skywalker because by today's standards, he looks more androgynous or feminine, though he was masculine in the 80s)
St3ve is an interesting case- he is pretty masculine in S4, he's bulked up a bit, and attention is drawn to his hairy chest and physical prowess. But he wasn't always like that. In S1-S3, he was thinner, dressed in lighter colors, and looked more feminine (by today's standards). I think this somewhat contributes to him getting a pass.
I want to be clear, I'm not passing judgement on any of these characters for how they look. This is neither a negative nor positive observation and I recognize that these traits are reductive.
However, I think it's Billy's overt masculinity that contributes to how much he is hated. It's a product of casual derisive comments, along with all of the other reasons that others have already identified.