Steve tells Nancy and Jonathan he loves them every single day. He loves saying it, and he’ll take every opportunity he can get, whether it’s light-hearted or sad or apologetic or just out of the blue. The other two know this, and they love hearing it, but they rarely say it back. They’ll say it occasionally, but they don’t want it to lose its meaning. So instead, they like starting banter with him, or coming back with “I know” or “I love me too” or other dorky responses, and it’s a comfortable loving thing between all of them.
One day, they’re in the middle of a hunting job when things go wrong. Really wrong. They’re not prepared, they don’t know what to do, and it’s a mess. Nancy has a broken arm, Jonathan gets terrible burns down his legs, and Steve.
Steve doesn’t make it out.
Nothing’s the same after that. About a month afterwards, Nancy wakes up from a nightmare sobbing and she wakes Jonathan up and just starts mumbling “I love you, I love you, I love you,” over and over again and Jonathan doesn’t know what to do but she can’t stop because “fuck Jonathan we didn’t tell him, we didn’t tell him enough, he told us every single day and we didn’t say it back, why didn’t we say it back?? and what if he didn’t know, what if we didn’t say it enough and he didn’t get it, and now I can’t say it to him, what if he didn’t know? I should’ve said it every single day, I should’ve never stopped…” until eventually she falls asleep
Things never go back to the way they were, but they learn to smile again with time, and from then on, they never ever let a day go by that they don’t say it.
description: steve and jonathan were friends, once upon a time.
pairing: stonathan (but mostly friendship stonathan until the end), stoncy (sort of)
word count: 821
when they were seven years old, and things like money or the clothes you wore or how many other friends you had or lacked didnt matter, steve harrington and jonathan byers were friends. it was a friendship full of trading baseball cards, of splashing each other at the shallow end of the Hawkins Outdoor Summer Swimming Pool, of raspberry popsicles under the sun and poking each other with their red, sticky fingers afterwards. they were younger then. they didnt notice the looks steve’s mother gave jonathan whenever he came over, or how jonathan’s mother would spend a full day cleaning up the house if she knew steve’s mother would be picking him up. what they focused on instead was making sure steve had the perfect hiding spot so that he could stay longer when his mom came to pick him up, they focused on building the perfect blanket forts in steve’s basement so that they could hide in it whenever a thunderstorm hit. It was a friendship of bliss, oblivious to the outside world and what it had in store.
when they were ten years old, steve harrington and jonathan byers became best friends. at ten years old, they werent completely oblivious to the outside world anymore. jonathan didnt miss that all of steve’s clothes were far nicer and his home was much bigger, steve noticed the bruises on jonathan’s arms and how he slouched down a little more. but jonathan had said the bruises were from falling out of a tree, and steve had no reason not to believe him. and none of that really mattered anyway. they were best friends, after all. steve himself had declared it during the Hawkins Harvest Festival, and by the winter of that year they were attatched at the hip. you couldnt find one without the other. but that didnt mean they didnt hear the whispers. steve heard his dad say that, according to her husband, joyce byers was crazy. jonathan could hear steve’s parents yelling at each other even when steve and jonathan were playing on the other side of the house. still, they were younger then.
when they were thirteen years old, steve harrington and jonathan byers became enemies. no longer oblivious to the looks they got, no longer oblivious to how jonathan’s family was viewed compared to steve’s. they lived in two different worlds, and finally, they tore apart. steve started becoming friends with the new kid tommy and his girlfriend carol, jonathan shied away from social interation. he heard what they called him. the freak from the loser family. sometimes jonathan caught steve’s eyes on him in the classroom, but whenever he tried to wave he got pulled somewhere else by tommy and carol. first, they grew apart. then, jonathan caught tommy and carol making fun of him, steve laughing along. steve offered no apologies when he was confronted. after that, they werent friends. after that, jonathan had no friends. steve’s friends, on the other hand, only seemed to grow once he dropped him.
when they were sixteen years old, steve harrington and jonathan byers were… well, they didnt exactly know what they were. in such a short period of time, they had grown from intense hatred for one another to… some kind of acceptence. no, not acceptence, exactly. jonathan still found it hard to trust steve. steve still found it hard to make everything up to him. but fighting a monster with someone made it kind of hard to remain enemies. perhaps they couldnt go back to the way they were when they were children, but they couldnt go back to ignoring each other, either. not after everything. so it was a quiet companionship, nancy wheeler filling the void between them and pulling them together. nothing was spoken about when they were younger. its the elephant in the room, growing bigger and bigger every passing moment they spent with each other.
now they are eighteen years old, and steve harrington and jonathan byers are gratuating together. in the summer they will move into a small New York apartment together with nancy wheeler. they arent young now, but perhaps the closeness is back. steve harrington ignores the mocking looks he gets from tommy and carol whenever they spot them together. jonathan byers ignores the whispers that follow him through the halls of Hawkins High as he, steve, and nancy walk arm-in-arm from class to class. sticky popsicle fingers are replaced with sticky kisses, splashing around in the shallow end is replaced with pushing each other into the deep end, and they certainly dont need to hide the other so they can stay longer anymore. what happened in the past stays in the past, and now they are focusing on the future; terrifying and exciting all at once. and they know that if they can get through everything that has happened together, they can get through everything that will happen together.