Jonathon doesn't know why he puts up with the likes of Nancy Wheeler or Steve Harrington.
Especially when they are scream-singing along to Denice William's lyrics blaring on the radio, wiggling in Jonathan's car seats and distracting him.
"Will you two knock it off!" he shouts, unable to quit grinning himself.
Simultaneously at "let's hear it for my baby!" ringing out from all sides of him, Jonathan feels Nancy's hand squeeze down with friendly, affectionate pressure to his bicep from the passenger seat — and the backs of Steve's fingers gently sweeping over Jonathan's temple and caressing his jawline.
He nearly elbows a cackling, overly pleased Steve in the backseat and runs past a neighborhood stop sign. Jonathan flushes hotly and cringes with embarrassment as Nancy tuts sympathetically.
Summer feels tangible like this — a warm, scented breeze hitting Jonathan's cheeks and his lips.
No monsters. No screams or bloody hands, no terrors forming out of the pitch-darkness.
There's honey-colored marigolds painted beneath Nancy's eyes and bluebells dangling out of Steve's left pocket. They speed on their bicycles past the pale pink fence-lattices choked with geraniums and weeds, out of town and its roaring Founders Day Festival, into an acre of knee-high, scarlet meadow flowers.
Up ahead is the creek and woods. Jonathan catches the semi-challenge in Steve's glinting, brown eyes. With a victorious, howling war-cry, Steve pumps his legs faster and bolts past them.
"Hey!" Nancy cries out, laughing and chasing after Steve.
Jonathan feels a twinge of anticipation as he follows, hurrying over broken twigs and dirt.
It's not much of a biking trail, not with all of the trees to zigzag. He's about to pass Nancy when one of the larger branches hidden by the leaves and debris gets struck by Jonathan's front tire.
He veers right in a difficult, awkward turn still on his bike, falling off his bike and tumbling downhill. Everything spins violently, in lights and flashes of color, before it goes dark. Jonathan shuts his eyes and groans weakly, knowing full well he is no longer upright and his body hurts like hell.
A rock digs sharply and painfully between his left shoulder-blade. His head still feels like it's spinning wildly, even though Jonathan's pretty sure he's stopped falling. Wet moss dampens Jonathan's pant leg.
"Jonathan! Damn it," Steve mutters, his voice nearing closer.
He peeks an eye open, squinting through the harsh, yellowed rays of sunlight. The other boy kneels over Jonathan, checking over him for any visible injuries, touching Jonathan's chest lightly.
"Hey, Jonathan—you with me?" Steve asks, his eyebrows furrowing. His immediate show of concern washes over Jonathan's awareness. How far downhill were they? Was it that bad he…?
"—fell," he murmurs, Jonathan's voice thick and lead-heavy.
There's no joy in Steve's laughter. "No shit, man! Coulda fooled me," he says curtly, before holding onto Jonathan's face with both trembling hands and leaning over to kiss him. Maybe he's out of it, but Jonathan tastes the fresh air and cotton-candy sugar on Steve's chapped lips. "You scared the hell out of me."
"Steve!" In the distance, Nancy screams out. "Jonathan!"
"I found him, Nance! Stay by the trail!" Steve yells back, helping the other boy sit up.
Jonathan chuckles, massaging his stiffened, aching neck.
"She's not gonna listen to you…"
"Yeah, well, one day." Steve's mouth uplifts. "Maybe."
Nancy slides the rest of the way down from her stumbling run, her bleached-white trousers caked and ruined with mud. "Jonathan, oh thank god!" She joins Steve in kneeling down, throwing her arms around a mildly surprised Jonathan and beginning to furiously cry. "You scared the hell out of me, you idiot!"
Her brown curls feel soft and sticky with perspiration, when Jonathan returns the hug, resting his face against her shoulder. "Mm'okay. I promise," he murmurs, trying to console her and shooting Steve a look.
Steve nods, rubbing Nancy's back in a soothing, slow circle and easing her away.
"Let's get outta here," he says firmly, grabbing onto one of Jonathan's arms as Nancy does the other, pulling him up. All three teenagers manage to climb themselves back onto the dirt path. Bikes forgotten.
After further inspection on Nancy's porch steps, Jonathan discovering a thin, bleeding cut on his abdomen, as well as a variety of developing bruises and bumps. The first-aid kit comes in handy. "Pretty sure he's got a booboo here too," Steve points out, tapping on Jonathan's bottom lip and smirking at her.
He's about to grumble at the lame joke when Nancy slyly raises an eyebrow and presses her glossy, peach-flavored lips quickly to the exact same spot. Jonathan's heart erratically pounds faster.
"You're an expert," Steve comments, watching her blush a little. "Nurse Nancy."
"Shut up, oh my god. Don't ever say that again—" Nancy's bare palm shoves right into his face, as a mischievous Steve embraces her from behind, nuzzling her throat as they continue to play-fight each other.
Jonathan closes his eyes, struck by a haunting, blazing realization. He's here because of them.
Nancy Wheeler and Steve Harrington… are here because of him. They care about him.
And whatever comes next… that's more than enough.
Stranger Things isn't mine. WHO IS HYPED FOR SEASON 2? THIS BITCH TOO! I came into this fandom around June and fell in love with Steve/Nancy/Jonathan so easily in canon/fanon. Ughhh. I promised some friends I would attempt a fic of them and here we go! In celebration of the S2 premiere this week! Thoughts/comments appreciated too guys! Let me know hoe excited you are too!