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  1. In Memory of LAJ_FETT: Please share your remembrances and condolences HERE

Story [Stranger Things] A Sleigh Ride Together With You - post-S3 AU, Holiday Tropes challenge response)

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by amidalachick , Dec 25, 2020.

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  1. amidalachick

    amidalachick Fanfic Festival Hostess Extraordinaire star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Title: A Sleigh Ride Together With You
    Characters: Steve/Billy, Robin, the Party, OCs
    Genre: Do I even have to say it? [face_laugh] Pure self-indulgent fluffy fluff
    Notes: I knew right away I wanted to write something for @Briannakin's Holiday Tropes Challenge, because I basically live for fluff and tropes. And cliched feel-good romances where you know exactly how it's going to turn out and it's a guaranteed happy ending? YES PLEASE! :* Especially this year, for obvious reasons.

    The plot's gone through about four different variations, and I've lost count of the number of rewrites, and I know it's silly and unrealistic and not perfect. I almost gave up a few times, but I decided to go with it anyway, "because **** you", as this essay puts it. Because I have a story to tell, and it makes me happy, and even though they're fictional I want all of these characters to be happy too.

    I decided to split this into two parts because it turned out a lot longer than I originally thought, and I still have to edit the second half. I wanted to get this part finished and posted by today at least.

    The title is taken from the song "Sleigh Ride". Dates are taken from timeanddate.com's 1985 calendar. The prompts I used from Bri's lists are Snow falling + Sleigh ride + Peppermint. And technically the 'small town' trope is there too, because it's Hawkins. :p

    I think that's everything! Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and thank you so much for reading! I hope this brings you a smile or two. :)[face_love]

    *****

    A Sleigh Ride Together With You

    *****

    Chapter 1

    Saturday, December 21, 1985

    Steve slid the movies across the counter with a bright smile. "Enjoy! Merry Christmas!"

    As the parents herded their kids towards the door, he glanced at the clock and his smile faded.

    He hated closing shifts.

    Alone in the empty store, every shadow was a monster climbing through the walls. Every sound was a demogorgon's growl. The aisles of neatly organized videos became otherworldly tunnels and endless hallways in secret Russian bases.

    He'd had a long, sleepless night the first time he closed alone. After that Robin would stay with him, even if her shift was over. He'd done the same for her on a few occasions.

    But she was at a family dinner tonight, and Steve was on his own.

    He crouched down to look for some new receipt paper, torn between hoping no one else would show up and wanting a last-minute rush to put off the end of the night as long as possible.

    The sudden jangle of the bells over the door and a blast of cold air startled him, and he almost lost his balance.

    "Be right with you!" he called, trying to compose himself.

    "Don't worry, Harrington. I've got all night."

    Steve abandoned his quest for the receipt paper and got to his feet.

    Last year, he never would have believed that he'd ever, under any circumstances, be happy to see Billy.

    A lot had changed since July.

    "Better hurry up, Hargrove," he said. "You might have all night but we close in - " he checked the clock again - "ten minutes."

    Billy leaned on the counter. "I'm not here for the movies."

    Steve leaned across his side of the counter. "What are you here for, then?"

    "Thought you might be lonely with Buckley away," Billy said. "You up for a drive after? Maybe grab something to eat?"

    "Yeah," Steve said. "Yeah, sounds good." He took a quick look outside, saw no sign of any potential customers, and straightened up. "I'm gonna close up now, screw it."

    Billy gazed at him through lowered lashes and licked his lips. "Want a hand, pretty boy?"

    "What?" Steve spluttered.

    Billy poked at Steve's chest. "Do you need help with anything so we can get out of here faster?"

    "Oh." Steve felt himself blushing. He tried to focus on what still needed to be done instead of Billy's smirk. "Yeah, actually. You can clean up." He jerked his thumb in the general direction of the supply closet. "Everything's back there."

    Billy pushed himself away from the counter, and to Steve's surprise, he set to work without a single insult, innuendo, or complaint. Steve watched him for a minute before starting his own tasks.

    He was in the office sorting out the tills when he heard a sudden clatter. Heart racing, he snatched the stapler off the desk and ran out front.

    He found Billy kneeling among garland and a garish plastic Santa; scattered videotape cases, a toppled display stand, and the broom and dustpan lying next to him.

    "Billy!" Steve nearly shouted.

    Billy's head jerked up. "I didn't do anything. It just fell. I'll clean it up."

    Steve dropped to his knees beside Billy and looked him over anxiously. "I don't care about that. Are you okay? I heard the noise, and - "

    "Came running to rescue me," Billy said.

    "Um." Steve broke eye contact and shifted the stapler to his other hand. "I guess I kind of panicked? I just - I get jumpy sometimes, and - "

    "Do you even know how brave you are?" Billy's tone softened, and he leaned over a little, into Steve's space.

    Steve wanted to turn the question back on him, to tell him he wasn't the one who'd fought off the Mind Flayer, but he was distracted by Billy's lips, so close. So tempting.

    It wasn't the first time he'd thought about it. He'd thought about it since Billy moved to Hawkins, and he'd assumed that meant there was something very wrong with him. He liked girls. He definitely didn't like Billy Hargrove.

    But since July, when driving Max to the hospital turned into visiting on his own turned into a close friendship, and a long talk with Robin reassured him there wasn't anything wrong with him, he'd grown to like Billy Hargrove a lot.

    He liked him too much to risk losing him by turning their friendship into something more.

    "Steve?" Billy's hesitant voice pulled him out of his thoughts.

    Steve drew back and pointed at the display stand.

    "I think it's broken," he said. "Just put it by the wall, I'll get it tomorrow. I'm starving, and I've got to finish my stuff, and like you said, the sooner we finish, the sooner we can get out of here."

    He made himself stop talking and pasted on a smile.

    Billy studied him for a moment before smiling back, toothy and insincere. "Right. Don't work too hard, Harrington."

    Steve forced a laugh and headed back to the office. He tried to focus on the tills again, but all he could think of was Billy telling him he was brave, and the hurt in Billy's eyes when he'd pulled away.

    *****

    Sunday, December 22, 1985

    Steve overslept after tossing and turning half the night. Scrambling to get ready for work, he groaned when he yanked open the door to a thick layer of snow covering everything, piled even deeper where it had drifted.

    Robin was already leaning on the counter when Steve finally burst into Family Video.

    "I thought you weren't coming in today, dingus," she said. "Which would have been a shame, because you would have had to wait to hear my big news."

    "Big news?" Steve repeated. "What happened?"

    Robin gestured towards the feathery snowflakes falling outside. "Thanks to this snowstorm, you and all the rest of our weird little friends are invited to my grandparents' place for a Christmas Eve surprise."

    It took Steve a second to process that. "The snowstorm? What does that have to do with anything?"

    The bells over the door tinkled as a woman walked in accompanied by three shrieking children who immediately started running around the aisles.

    Robin grinned and patted Steve's shoulder.

    "You'll see," she said before ducking out back.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2021
  2. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Delightfully fluffy and trope-filled! :) And I'm trying to picture this quoted scenario because I've never lived in snow, just flew over it. Greenland was the snowiest place I've ever seen.
     
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  3. amidalachick

    amidalachick Fanfic Festival Hostess Extraordinaire star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Notes: This is just garbage and not worth wasting your time to read. It has literally nothing to do with the show and is not remotely in character. Like, I should just change the names and slap an original fiction label on it but I have zero interest in doing that. Every word was a struggle and it all just feels repetitive, flat, and lifeless but I have no clue anymore how to make it better. I'm only posting because at this point I feel like I'll never write again, and I really wanted to finish something finally and this has been nagging at me all year, and if I don't do it now, I never will.

    I hope you all find love, peace, and happiness this holiday season and in the year ahead. Please take care of yourselves. [:D]

    *****

    Chapter 2

    Tuesday, December 24, 1985

    As soon as their shift ended on Sunday Steve took Robin back to his house to tell everyone else about her invitation. The kids were excited, launching a barrage of questions and speculation about the surprise, but Robin refused to give any hints, only telling them to dress warm and promising they'd like it.

    Steve called Billy last, partly to work out the logistics of picking up the kids and partly from anxiety about any lingering awkwardness from the night before. To his relief, Billy had already heard from Max and agreed to go, and Steve was glad that he even seemed to be looking forward to it.

    Robin told Steve her grandparents lived about half an hour from Hawkins, but between the traffic of shoppers running last-minute holiday errands and Dustin running back inside to search for his forgotten mittens, it took almost that long just to get out of town on Tuesday afternoon.

    Trying to follow Robin's directions while the kids squabbled in the backseat made the drive seem even longer.

    "Steve, are you sure you don't know anything about this?" Dustin asked, leaning so far forward he was almost yelling in Steve's ear.

    "I'm sure, jeez," Steve said, just as he had the other five times Dustin had asked. He glanced at Robin. "How much farther?"

    Robin pointed at the intersection ahead. "Left here. It'll be the second laneway on the right."

    "Left?" Dustin repeated. Steve glanced in the rearview mirror as Dustin lifted his radio. "Approaching intersection! Turn left at the intersection. I repeat, turn left."

    "Okay!" Max's voice screamed back. "We can literally see you!"

    "Your grandparents might regret this," Steve said as another round of bickering broke out.

    Robin laughed. "Don't worry, dingus, they can handle it. We Buckleys are tough."

    Steve turned where Robin indicated, into a long laneway flanked by neatly-fenced fields. By the time he parked near the big farmhouse at the end, Billy pulling up next to him, curiousity had overcome his irritation. He couldn't wait to find out what Robin had planned.

    An older woman stood near the house, obviously waiting for them, and after giving Robin a big hug, she greeted the rest of them warmly, introducing herself as Robin's grandma Julia.

    "My husband's out back," she said. "He should be just about ready."

    Robin beckoned to the others. "Let's go!"

    They followed Robin and her grandmother past the house and across the yard, farther back to where a couple of equipment sheds and a weathered barn sat. Snowy fields lay behind the buildings, stretching to the distant woods.

    "George!" Julia called as they rounded the side of the barn. "Our guests are here!"

    An older man in a heavy coat and a trapper hat turned to smile and say hello. But it was the two huge, dark brown horses hitched to a large red sleigh that caught everyone's attention.

    "Hi, Grandpa!" Robin said. She turned to Steve and the others, smiling excitedly. "So, here's the surprise. We got enough snow for a Christmas Eve sleigh ride!"

    Excited whoops and chatter erupted from the kids as George went back to adjusting the matching leather harnesses, bells jingling every time he moved a strap or the horses shifted their weight.

    "You can all climb on up and get settled," Julia said.

    As the kids scrambled to the sleigh, arguing over who was sitting where, Steve noticed Billy walking away.

    "Where are you going?" he asked.

    "Back to the car," Billy said. "I'll wait there."

    Steve frowned. "What? Why?"

    "Because I don't want to go."

    Billy kept walking, and Steve hurried after him.

    "But it'll be fun!" he said. "It's so...Christmas-y! Like 'Jingle Bells'."

    "I hate 'Jingle Bells'," Billy said. "Go have fun, Harrington. Leave me alone."

    "Come on." Steve put a hand on his shoulder, and Billy stopped. "It'll only be like an hour. Just come with us." He grinned. "Besides, you know if I go back alone, Max and El will come after you."

    Billy didn't reply at first, just looked down at Steve's hand on his shoulder. Steve took it away but didn't step back.

    "It's just - I can't," Billy said finally.

    "Can't?" Steve echoed. He took a few steps so he could face Billy. "Why can't you?"

    "Because I - " Billy glanced at him briefly, then stared at the ground somewhere past him. "I'm scared of horses, okay? You happy now?"

    Steve couldn't help it. He laughed. The idea of Billy, of all people, being scared of horses, of all things, was just too ridiculous not to laugh.

    Billy's face clouded over, and he shoved past Steve.

    "Hey, wait!" Steve said. He quickly caught up again. "Wait. I didn't mean - I wasn't laughing at you." He touched Billy's arm tentatively. "It's no big deal, really. We're all scared of stuff."

    "Real stuff." Billy sniffled. "Not horses."

    "Fear doesn't always make sense," Steve said. He circled around so he was in front of Billy again, keeping his hand on his arm. "I mean, I think my mom's china dolls are creepy as hell."

    Billy finally looked at him. "They are creepy as hell."

    "Okay, bad example," Steve said.

    His gaze drifted down, to where his gloved hand still rested on Billy's coat sleeve, then back up to meet Billy's eyes. He took a deep breath.

    "Um, remember the other night? When you said I was brave? I sure didn't feel brave, because, like, there was something I wanted to do - something I've been wanting to do, and I was too damn scared to do it."

    His heart racing, he took his hand off Billy's arm and laid it against his cheek.

    "Steve," Billy said quietly, eyes locked on his. "Don't - you don't have to pretend or - "

    "I'm not pretending," Steve said.

    He didn't hesitate this time.

    Billy made a noise when Steve's lips met his, and Steve wasn't quite sure if it was supposed to be his name or a sob or a gasp, but he lifted one hand to grasp Steve's jacket and pull him in closer, kissing him back urgently.

    They drew back, breathless, and stared at each other.

    Billy broke the silence first. "Okay. I'll go on a sleigh ride with you, pretty boy."

    Steve took his hand. "Yeah? You're sure?"

    Billy glanced from their joined hands to Steve's face and squeezed Steve's fingers. "Yeah."

    They headed back to rejoin the others, stopping just before they came around the barn for one more kiss before letting go of each other's hands.

    Everyone else was already seated. Steve and Billy climbed into the sleigh and squished in the back next to Robin. As they got settled, Max twisted around and shouted, "Hey, Billy!"

    She made a poor attempt at a whinny before bursting into laughter that made El break into giggles too.

    Billy glared at her. "What the hell, Maxine?"

    "Oh," Robin said, a grin spreading slowly across her face. "You missed it. Our ride today is provided by Bo - " she gestured to each horse as she spoke - "and Billy."

    This time all the kids burst out laughing. Max shot Billy a devilish grin before turning back to Lucas.

    "Everybody ready?" George called, looking over his shoulder.

    The answer was a chorus of cheers and Yeah!'s. Robin gave him a fuzzy neon-green-mittened thumbs-up, a big grin on her face. Everyone burrowed under the blankets piled on the seats and got comfortable.

    Steve draped one arm across Robin's shoulders and took Billy's hand under the blankets as the horses set off at a slow walk. They picked up their pace once they hit the open fields, their hooves crunching rhythmically on the snow and the bells on their harnesses ringing out merrily, runners swishing as the sleigh slid easily over the snow. The path took them to the woods beyond, through thick stands of snow-covered trees and clearings where stripes of shadow and sunlit sparkles crossed the snow. By the time they looped around to head back through the fields, the late afternoon sun cast a rosy glow across the sky in a perfect winter sunset.

    When they returned to the barnyard Julia, Steve, Billy, and Robin got down first to help the kids if they needed it. Once everyone else was on the ground, George climbed down.

    "If you had a good time, Billy and Bo sure would appreciate you letting them know." He winked and reached into his coat pocket, removing a handful of candy canes. "These are their favorites."

    "We've got some treats for you, too," Julia said with a smile. "Just come up to the house when you're ready. No rush."

    Steve stayed back with Billy while the younger kids crowded around the horses, talking excitedly among themselves while they petted and fed them.

    Robin came over, holding a candy cane. "You want to feed them?"

    "Yeah, okay," Steve said. He looked at Billy.

    Billy shook his head, but gave him a quick smile. "You go."

    Steve followed Robin to the horses. She broke the candy cane into small pieces and showed him how to hold his hand flat under the horse's nose. He took one of the candy cane pieces from Robin's palm and cautiously held out his hand.

    "Relax," Robin said. She leaned in and lowered her voice. "This Billy won't bite."

    Steve jerked his hand back, almost dropping the candy cane. "What?"

    Robin kept her voice low, but she couldn't hold back a mischievous smile. "I saw you getting cozy in the sleigh. Congratulations."

    "Thanks," Steve said. "I think."

    Robin scratched Bo's cheek, watching while Steve held out his hand again. Billy lipped the candy cane off his palm and whooshed out a warm breath sweetly scented with peppermint and hay.

    Steve laughed as the horse nudged at his hand, searching for more treats.

    "He likes those, huh?"

    Steve turned, surprised that Billy had come up next to him.

    "Yeah, he does," Steve said.

    Billy cautiously reached up to touch the horse's neck, and when the horse didn't move, he gave him a tentative pat.

    "He's kind of cool," he said.

    Billy snorted as if in agreement, making them both laugh. They gave him one more pat, and then turned to go up to the house for their own treats.

    "Coming?" Steve asked Robin.

    "I'll be up in a minute," Robin said. "I'm gonna help Grandpa put these guys away first. You go ahead."

    She grinned, and Steve grinned back.

    Steve and Billy held hands as they crossed the yard. They stopped near the house, where colorful Christmas lights and the warm glow of the interior lights spilling from the windows illuminated the snowy yard. The distant sound of jingling bells floated through the silent, crisp air.

    "Merry Christmas, Steve," Billy said, his eyes shining as bright as the first stars emerging in the sky.

    Steve smiled. "Merry Christmas, Billy."

    They kissed softly. Then, side by side, they headed into the house to join the others.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2021
    earlybird-obi-wan likes this.
  4. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    A lovely sweet tale for the Christmas time. Loved the interaction between Steve and Billy
     
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