The cold snowflakes landing on his bones, the gentle breeze rustling through the trees—they were simply background noise, secondary to the incredible feeling of Swap’s magic, humming against his. It wasn’t enough—but at the same time, it was all too much - Sixteen Rules by @alicedragons (warning the fic is very much 18+ NSFW)
leah @dadhopper asked for Karen and Joyce as teenagers kissing behind the bleachers. I made Joyce… a little too flirty maybe but I wrote this super quick and had fun doing it SO I HOPE THAT IT’S OKAY
Karen is always nervous on game day.
Joyce can tell because her usual perfectly manicured nails are cut short, like she’d chew on them if they were long enough and her signature high ponytail is just the slightest bit crooked. No one else can tell, but Joyce can. Karen might be the beloved flower of Hawkins High - head cheerleader, valedictorian, straight on the path onto bigger and better things outside of Hawkins - but nobody knows shit about her.
Everyone thinks they know Karen Dawson. Karen Dawson who wears Grace Kelly approved blouses with her signature rose pink lipstick. Karen Dawson who raises her hand every day in math because she always knows the answer. Karen Dawson, whose giggles make guys like Lonnie Byers and Jim Hopper alike weak to their knees.
It’s all bullshit. Nobody knows the Karen Dawson that Joyce knows.
“Hey Dawson,” Joyce calls when the bell rings in sixth period, Karen getting up from her seat a little too frantically, scrambling to get her books in time. Karen turns to her, hair whipping around her shoulder and Joyce bites the inside of her cheek to keep herself from smiling at the steely glint in Karen’s eyes. “Break a leg today.”
There’s a moment when Joyce thinks Karen is gonna snap at her, full of heat and tension that makes Joyce’s spine light on fire. But it’s gone in a second, Karen’s perfect face fixed back into her perfect Lucille Ball smile. “Thanks ever so much, Horowitz,” Karen says sweetly before exiting the classroom with the rest of her squad.
Joyce grins darkly at her retreating back.
The game goes perfectly - they win, Karen executes her final tumble perfectly and she’s waving her pompoms wildly, leading the audience in one final victory cheer. All her nerves and anxiety bleed away and she nearly sags to her feet, exhausted. Thank god it’s over.
The team and the rest of the squad make excited plans for the after party while Karen slowly makes her way to the lockers. She makes it a rule not to ever ride with any of them - the last thing she needs is Ryan Cooper trying to cop a feel while she rides passenger - and takes her time getting ready after a game. She’s already thinking about how good it’ll feel to take her ponytail out when a delicate hand seizes around her wrist and drags her behind the bleachers.
Karen is half ready to shriek but the familiar smell of Camels and some other unidentifiable spice hits her and she relaxes. “Joyc - “ she starts, about to scold her but Joyce steals her words away, pressing her mouth against Karen’s seamlessly, like they’ve done a dozen times. At Joyce’s house at night, at the quarry, at the dark corner by Cherry and Elm and doesn’t have a streetlight when they’re feeling particularly bold.
She relaxes into the kiss for a good ten seconds, the taste of cheap beer and bubblegum a welcome reprieve, before her brain catches up with her. “Joyce!” she hisses, pushing her away. “Your lipstick!” Judging by the satisfied curl of Joyce’s mouth, Karen’s suspicions must be on the dot - Joyce’s dark red staining Karen’s mouth.
Joyce tilts her head in that furiously coquettish way, tilting Karen’s chin so she can get a better look. “I don’t know, Karen, I think I like this color better?”
“You’re impossible,” Karen grumbles but she doesn’t protest when Joyce carefully undos her ponytail, running her hands through blonde tresses.
“You did good tonight, kid,” Joyce says and Karen preens because she’s never one to deny a compliment. Joyce takes advantage of her lapse in attention and tugs her down for another kiss, heated this time, Joyce’s tongue coming to curl against hers.
Five more seconds, Karen thinks wildly to herself, hands scrambling to clutch at Joyce’s leather jacket. We can kiss for five more seconds.
Joyce tugs at her hair, startling Karen with the electric way it feels, and she bites on Joyce’s lip to hold back her moan.
“Ow, motherfucker,” Joyce hisses pulling away. Her lipstick is all smeared and Karen hates how much she loves it. “Play nice!”
“You started it,” Karen pants back. Joyce rolls her eyes at her.
“Nice hair, Dawson.”
Karen immediately tries to pat down her wild curls. “Whose fault do you think this is?” she hisses. Joyce snorts at her but helps brush back a few curls until it looks presentable. Karen groans as she points to her mouth. “How bad is it?”
“Yes, well.” She never knows how to act when they’re in public because Joyce is always staring at her with those dark, wide eyes like she knows something Karen doesn’t and it’s infuriating. Joyce Horowitz is infuriating. “I have an after-party to get to.”
“Yeah. Byers and I will stop by.” Karen wrinkles her nose at the mention of Lonnie Byers. “What are you doing tomorrow though? I think I’m flunking chemistry… might need a tutor.”
Joyce’s eyebrows raise and Karen immediately starts to blush, thinking of the other ‘tutoring’ sessions they’ve had. “I’ll be at your place at five,” she snaps as she turns away. “Don’t you dare think I won’t actually make you study!”
Joyce’s tinkling laughter, carried high in the wind, follows her as she goes.