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It was a late night in Hawkins, Indiana. The date was November 6th, 1983. The town was peaceful. No issues to be seen in the quaint town. The only noises being the gentle hums of the wind or the soft buzz of the fireflies. 

 

That is, unless you were at the Wheelers’ residence this starry night.

 

Four young boys sat in the basement of the house, locked in an intense game of Dungeons and Dragons, all them practically on the edge of their seats.

 

“Something is coming. Something hungry for blood. A shadow grows on the wall behind you, swallowing you in darkness. It is almost here.” Mike spoke, looking at each member of his party.

 

Will seemed most anxious, “What is it?”.

 

His fear festered onto Dustin, the hat wearing boy looking around, “what if it’s a Demogorgon?”. Will leaned back in his chair with a sigh. “Oh, Jesus, we’re so screwed if it’s a Demogorgon.” Dustin stated, resting his head in his hand.

 

“It’s not the Demogorgon.” Lucas responded.

 

Mike waited for the bickering to end, before casting down a figurine, “an army of troglodytes charge into the chamber!”. Lucas did a victory pose while Dustin smiled in relief, “Troglodytes?”. “Told ya.” Lucas quipped.

 

All the boys relaxed, giggling in relief. Mike smirked to himself, he knew he couldn’t let them enjoy this for too long. Waiting for the peak of their joy, Mike continued. 

 

Just above a whisper, Mike continued, “Wait a minute. Did you hear that? That...that sound. Boom...boom...BOOM!” with the last one he slapped the table, startling the other three.

 

“That didn’t come from the troglodytes.” The other three were tense now, “No, that...that came from something else. The demogorgon!:

 

All of them groaned as they watched Mike slap down the figurine,

 

“We’re in deep shit.”

 

“Will, your action!” Mike exclaimed.

 

“I don’t know!’ Will took after his mother’s anxious behavior, starting to panic.

 

“Fireball him!” Lucas shouted. “I’d have to roll a 13 or higher!” Will countered.

 

Dustin turned to their cleric, “Too risky. Cast a protection spell.”. “Don’t be a pussy. Fireball him!” “Cast protection.”

Mike slammed his fist on the table, snapping the two out of their argument. “The demogorgon is tired of your silly human bickering! It stomps towards you. Boom!”.

 

“Fireball him!”

 

“Another stomp, boom!”

 

“Cast protection.”

 

“He roars in anger!” Eventually the three boys were shouting over each other, forcing WIll to roll a fireball without thinking. In his panic, the boy tossed the dice to hard, making it fall off the table. All four stood up quickly, searching for the die. “Where’d it go?” Lucas asked as they all searched the basement, “Where is it?”.

 

“I don’t know!” Will repeated anxiously, helping search for the die best he could. “Is it a 13?” Dustin asked. “I don’t know!” Will shouted again. Dustin began pacing in panic, whilst Karen began shouting for her son from upstairs.

 

After he didn’t respond for several moments, Karen opened the basement door, finding her son at the bottom of the staircase searching for the die, “Mike!” she shouted, making her only son look up. “Mom, we’re in the middle of a campaign!” Mike exclaimed, holding his arms up. “You mean the end? Fifteen after.” Karen responded, tapping her wrist as she headed upstairs. Mike swore under his breath, running upstairs while his friends continued to argue over the die.

 

“Mom, wait, just 20 more minutes!’ Mike pleaded, walking over to his mother.

 

Karen hardly batted an eye, “It’s a school night, Micheal. I just put Holly to bed. You can finish next weekend.”.

 

“But that’ll ruin the flow!”, “Micheal-” I’m serious, Mom. The campaign took two weeks to plan. How was I supposed to know it was gonna take ten hours?. His mother lifted her head up, looking at her son shocked, “You’ve been playing for ten hours?”.

 

Mike was about to speak, but shut his mouth, turning around to talk to his father. “Dad, don’t you think that 20 more-”

 

“I think you should listen to your mother.” Ted interrupted, messing around with the TV, grunting as he hit the side of it, “Dang dumb piece of junk.”.

 

Meanwhile, downstairs, Will finally found the die, sighing in relief. “I found it!” So that’s what the dream about the die underneath the table was. He picked it up, walking over to Lucas, “Does a seven count?”.

 

“It was a seven?” His friend asked, “Did Mike see it? Then it doesn’t count.”. The three of them began packing up their things, getting their jackets on.

 

Dustin picked up the pizza box, opening it. “Yo, hey, guys.” the two looked over, “Does anyone want this?”. To which both responded, “No.” before continuing upstairs. Dustin sighed, heading upstairs, maybe he’d have better luck with Nancy.

 

Of course he didn’t though.

 

All of the boys eventually went to the garage, getting ready to leave. Boys being boys argued about how Nancy used to be fun, while Mike denied it every single time. There was no way his sister was ‘fun’, even if she did dress up as an elf once for their campaign. Nancy was a girl, and girls were boring!

 

Mike headed back inside, about to turn off the lights downstairs when he spotted something. “Oh shit.” Mike gasped, rushing over, finding Will’s science homework had fallen out of his backpack, “Goddamnit it Will, you had to forget your damn homework again.”.

 

Karen was making sure everything was ready for tomorrow, when Mike rushed out of the basement. “Mike?! What are you doing, you’re supposed to be getting ready for bed!” Karen shouted.

 

“Will forgot his homework! I’ll be back in an hour!” Mike shouted back, hurrying outside to get his bike. 

 

“Mike!” Karen exhaled in anger, folding her arms as he was already riding off. The woman turned, hoping for some help, “Mike! Ted do something!”

 

“He’s a boy Karen, boys will be boys!” Ted called lazily from the couch, laughing at the movie he watched. Karen let out a huff, heading upstairs. That boy was going to be in so much trouble when he got home.

 

Little did she know that her son wasn’t going to be coming home.

Chapter Text

    Karen let out an exasperated noise as she carried Holly downstairs. Her day was turning into a disaster! “Eat up sweetheart, mama’s gonna be right back.” Karen said, putting her daughter in her seat, and made her a quick bowl of cereal. 

 

Once Holly was situated, the mother checked the clock, swearing under her breath. “Nancy! Mike! Get down here and eat breakfast, we’re running late enough as is!” The mother shouted upstairs.

 

Her day was thrown for a loop. She had overslept because Holly woke up twice from nightmares. Lord knows Ted was no damn help.

 

Getting no response, Karen rushed upstairs. “I know you two heard me, hurry up already!” Karen opened each of their doors, making Nancy look up shocked, which messed up her lipstick that she was applying. “Ugh, mom!” Nancy was ignored, making her groan as she had to start over.

 

“Mike! Get up young man-” Karen opened her only sons door, going quiet as the bed was empty. “Mike?” Karen looked around the room. Growing concerned, the mother left his room, going to her oldest daughter’s room. “Nancy, did Mike come home last night?” She asked.

 

This immediately caught Nancy’s attention. The teenage put down her lipstick, turning to her mother in surprise. “What do you mean?” She asked.

 

    Karen let out a startled breath, hurrying downstairs, her daughter right behind her. Her mother’s concern was contagious. What did she mean by ‘did Mike come home last night?’. When had he even left?!

 

    “Ted, Ted!” Karen shook her husband who was asleep on the couch. The woman swore angrily as he didn’t reply, throwing her arms in the air. The mother’s anger affected Holly too, making the girl start crying. “Oh no, please don’t get upset sweetheart.” Karen hurried over, picking up the crying child, “I’m sorry dear, don’t cry.”. Karen lightly bounced on her hip, trying to console the girl.

 

    With her hands full, Karen quickly turned to her daughter. “Nancy, can you please call the Byers?” She asked.

 

    The eldest sighed aloud, walking over to the phone. After quickly asking her mother for the girl dialed in the number. The phone rang for a bit, and after several rings, there was finally a response.

 

    “Hello?” To her surprise it was Jonathan answered. “Jonathan? Oh, I didn’t expect you to answer.” Nancy said. She knew he was in a few of her classes, but she had never really talked to him, unless it was for a group project or them picking up their siblings. “Hey, quick question, is Mike at your house?”.

 

    This question confused Jonathan, making him look back into the dining room where his brother was drawing instead of eating.

 

    “No, he didn’t. Why? Is something wrong?” The tone in Jonathan’s voice caught Will’s attention, making the boy look up.

 

    He wasn’t there…?

 

    “No, it’s nothing, never mind. Thank you.” And she hung up before he could respond. Her mother looked at her, and when they met eye contact. 

 

Karen’s worst nightmare just came true.

 

    “What was the call about?” Will asked, turning his focus to Jonathan. The older brother shrugged, walking over to the table to eat his breakfast. Will kept scribbling on his paper, until Jonathan suddenly took his crayon from him. “Jonathan!” Will whined.

 

    “You know the rules, Will. No future drawings until after you eat.” Jonathan stated, making the youngest huff. He started eating though, so mission accomplished. The oldest brother smirked, looking at the picture. It wasn’t complete, but he could make up a good amount of the image.

 

    It was clearly based in some woods, but he didn’t know which ones. There were dozens around Hawkins, that’s how secluded the town always felt. It peaked off into a single house, where an incomplete figure sat in front of a pool.

 

    “What do you think it means?” Jonathan asked, to which Will silently shrugged, “I only get pictures. Not the whole thing.” He sighed, “I wish I could control it.”. Noticing his little brother’s distress, Jonathan leaned forward, holding his hand. “Give it time. These things are hard to control.”.

 

    Will looked up as the phone rang, making him raise a brow, “Think it’s Nancy again?”. Jonathan gave a shrug, getting up and heading to the phone. “Byers residence.” Jonathan said, waiting for a response. A smile grew on his face, which was a rare sight alone. “Who is it?” Will asked, raising a brow.

 

    “Summer.”

 

    That response surprised the younger Byers a lot. Jonathan didn’t have many friends, but there was one. Summer Walcoy, Jonathan’s childhood best friend. The two were as thick as thieves, if no one else was going to be their friends, they’d at least have each other.

 

    Will quickly ate his food up, putting his plate in the sink. “Bye Jonathan, see you after school!” The boy called out, grabbing his coat and bag, and rushing right out the door. The eldest let out a breathy chuckle, turning his attention back to the phone call.

 

        Will rode up to the school, spotting Dustin and Lucas at their normal spot. “Hey guys.” Will said, smiling.

 

    “Hey Will, you seen Mike?” Lucas asked, looking around for a bit.

 

    That caught Will off guard. It was usually Mike who was here first, so where was he? “He isn’t here?” Will asked, a bit worried. The other two boys shook their heads, parking their bikes in the bike rack. Will grimaced, putting his bike away in its place.

    Where was Mike?

 

    “He probably just went to class early again.” Lucas stated. “Gursky’s does have it out for us…” Will remarked as they walked, making Dustin chuckle.

 

    “You’re always so paranoid about Gursky giving you another pop quiz.”

 

    The moment was quickly ruined by an all too familiar voice. “Step right up, ladies and gentlemen.” Son of a bitch it was Troy, “Step right up and get your tickets for the freak show.”. “Who do you think would make more money in a freak show?”.

 

    Troy walked up to three boys, hitting each one as he spoke, “Midnight, Queer, or Toothless?”. The boys sighed in thought, looking them over, before mocking Dustin, “I’d go with Toothless.”.

 

    “I told you a million times, my teeth are coming in. It’s called cleidocranial dysplasia.” Dustin said, trying to defend himself. Will grimaced, no matter how many times he saw them being bullied, it would always end up the exact same way. Troy and his goons mocking them in front of the school, and being the laughing stock of the day. It was actual hell.

 

    Despite this, he was still mocked, “I told you a million times.”. They chuckled, when Troy spoke up, “Do the arm thing.”. Dustin huffed, grimacing as he was yelled at. Will looked silently at the ground while Lucas looked at the boys the entire time Dustin removed his jacket. Taking his jacket off, Dustin held his arms forward, cracking his bones. Both the boys groaned, looking disgusted, even looking away.

 

    “God, it gets me every time.” Troy gagged. The two boys eventually walked off, shoving the three as they left.

 

    “Assholes.” Lucas huffed.

 

    Will tilted his head slightly at Dustin, before giving a small smile, “Dustin, I think it’s cool. Like your bards special ability. Like Jean Grey.”.

 

    “Except I’m not an awesome redhead with psychic abilities and I can’t fight evil with it.” Dustin responded as they walked to school

 

    Hawkins High wasn’t much different. Students milling about the halls as the bell rang. Nancy didn’t have the same pep in her step though, her eyes cast downwards as she walked. She always called Mike a pain in the ass, but this bad feeling was latched onto her like a parasite, draining her. What if something horrible had happened?

 

    She wanted to stay home, help somehow, but her mother insisted she and her father could handle it, telling her to go to school.

 

    Nancy was so focused on the current situation, she hadn’t noticed Barbara hurry over until she talked, “So, did he call?”.

 

    The brunette tensed up, turning around startled, only relaxing when she realized it was Barb. “Oh my god, Barb! I didn’t, I mean, it’s not like that, so please keep your voice down.”. Nancy’s tone and honestly ghostly expression concerned the taller girl. All intent for gossip was gone, she wanted to make sure her friend was okay.

 

    “What’s wrong, Nancy? Are you sick again?”

 

“No, I’m not sick Barb, I’m just… really worried.” Nancy said, holding her books more securely to her chest, “You don’t need to worry about it.”.

 

Barb scoffed lightly, “Well I have to worry when it involves my best friend. What’s wrong? You know you can tell me anything.”. As she spoke, she made direct eye contact with the girl, even giving her hand a gentle squeeze. Nancy managed to give a small smile as she made her way to her locker, opening it a finding a letter.

 

“I guess I’m not the only one that wants updates.” Barb commented, as Nancy unfolded the letter. The girl hesitantly bit her lip, honestly, she wasn’t in the mood. Now just wasn’t a bad time. Sorry Steve, but now isn’t the time.

 

Nancy put the letter back, looking up as the bell rang, “See you later?”. “You know it, and you know I’m always one call away.” Barb said, watching Nancy walk off. Nancy gave her a grateful smile, and continued her way to class. She hoped this day would somehow get better, any form of good news would be rewarded, Between Mike being in potential danger and Kaminsky’s chemistry test, she felt ready to just explode!

 

Hopper pulled his vehicle into the police station parking lot. The chief walked in, baring his usual cigarette making the receptionist look up. “Good of you to show.” The woman remarked.

 

The man huffed, looking inside, “Oh, hey morning, Flo. Morning, everybody.”. So much slurring as he spoke, how much had he drank last night.

 

“Hey, Chief.” “Damn! You look like hell, Chief.”

 

“Oh yeah?” Hopper looked back. ‘Yeah.”. “Well, I looked better than your wife when I left her this morning.” Hopper shot back, grabbing a coffee. The two officers chuckled, looking at their cards. Flo walked over to Hopper, shaking her head lightly, “While you were drinking or sleeping, or whatever you deemed so necessary on Monday morning, Phil Larson called. Said kids are stealing the gnomes out of his garden again.”.

 

“Oh, those garden gnomes again.” Hopper groaned, not seeming too interested as he started walking off with his coffee and donut, “Well, I’ll tell you what, I’m gonna get right on that.”. Hopper walked up behind the deputy, pulling out the card and looking down at it. 

 

Flo followed him, seeming more concerned with the next bit of news she told. “On more pressing matters, Karen and Ted Wheeler can’t find their son.”. Hopper put the donut in his mouth, speaking muffled because of it, “Mmm. Okay, I’m gonna get on that. Just give me a minute.”.

 

“Karen’s very upset,” No surprise, Ted never seemed concerned whenever his kids weren’t home. “Flo, Flo, we’ve discussed this. Mornings are for coffee and contemplation.” Hopper stated, starting to ignore Flo altogether now. Of course, in ignoring her, the man was surprised walking into his office and finding the Wheeler couple and their youngest child.

 

Ted had actually fallen asleep in the chair he was in, but Karen was more alert than she had ever been in her life. She lifted her head up hearing footsteps, gently taking Holly off her lap so she could stand. The look of concern on her face was enough to shut him up, and make him walk over to his desk.

 

Of course, it wasn’t enough for the mother that lived the American dream.

 

Karen bounced Holly on her hip, absolutely seething. “We have been waiting for over an hour, Chief! What someone was in the middle of dying?! That would have been on your incapable hands!” Karen shouted, waking her husband up. “Huh? Oh, what time is it?” The man yawned, making his wife glare.

 

“And I apologize again, Mrs. Wheeler.” Hopper sighed out, looking up from the typewriter.

 

She didn’t care if he was sorry, why the hell was wasn’t he doing his job better?! He was the town Chief. “I am going out of my mind, my girls are terrified!” Karen exclaimed, quickly attempting to calm down when she saw Holly getting upset from the yelling.

 

“Look, boy his age, he’s probably out just playing hooky, okay?” Hopper responded, trying to defuse the situation.

 

That of course didn’t work. “That was only once! And he agreed to never do it again after he was caught! My son wouldn’t just ditch like that again!” Karen snapped out, jabbing a finger at Hopper. The Chief shrugged, “Sometimes you never know. I mean, my mom thought I was on the debate team.”.

 

“That is not the point! He is not like you! He’s like his friends that enjoy playing fantasy board games for over ten hours! And that is why he isn;t like other kids, they make fun of my boy. Call him awful names! Like Frogface, and other terrible things! But none of that matters, because he is missing!”

 

Hopper just stared at the woman, stunned as she took a deep breath, sitting back down. “Have you always been like that?” Ted asked, to which the woman glared.

 

“Mrs. Wheeler, this is Hawkins. Out of the four years I have been working here, do you want to know the worst thing I have seen? Do you?” Hopper asked. “I’d like to know.” Ted said. God, was a minute away from strangling both of them.

 

Seeing as Ted responded, Hopper continued, “It was when an owl attacked Eleanor Gillespie’s head, because it thought that her hair was a nest.”.

 

“I don’t care about Eleanor Gillespie! What I care about is you doing your job and finding my son! Find him!”

 

Chapter Text

    School continued as usual, the bell ringing loudly. All the students got up, grabbing their things. “Remember, finish chapter 12 and answer 12.3 on the difference between an experiment and other forms of science investigation.” Mr. Clarke explained as the students filed out of his classroom, ‘This will be on the test, which will cover chapters 10 through 12. It will be multiple choice with an essay section.”. The teacher sighed as the students left, not seeming to care whatsoever.

 

    The teacher turned, finding Will, Lucas, and Dustin standing at his desk. “Did it come in?” Will asked.

 

    “Sorry, boys. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but… it came.” He smiled, seeing he had the boys fooled. Wasting no time, the three boys hurried to the radio room, followed behind by Mr. Clarke. “No fair!” Will exclaimed as Dustin pushed him so he could sit down first.

 

    Dustin chuckled, putting his backpack down, “The Heathkit ham shack. It’s a first come first serve. I bet we can talk to people in New York on this thing!”. The boys begin bickering over who could wear the headphones, making their teacher chuckle.

 

“Think bigger.”

 

“California?” “Bigger.” “Australia?” The teacher nodded with a smile.

 

The three got excited, grinning. “Mike’s gonna flip out when he sees this thing!” Lucas exclaimed. 

 

They were all excited, messing with the radio, Lucas even leaning forward to speak into the mic with a cheesy Australian accent, “Ello, this is Lucas Sinclair, president of Hawkins Middle AV Club.”. “You wish you were the president.” Dustin quipped. Will was about to take a turn, when the principal knocked on the door, catching their attention. From their spot, they could see Hopper and officer Callahan.

 

“Sorry to interrupt, but, uh, may I borrow William, Lucas, and Dustin?”

 

Ew, no one ever called him William.

 

Of course their initial reaction to being called up was thinking they were in trouble. And boys being boys, they all began talking at once, blaming each other for anything that could’ve happened.

 

Hopper groaned, god, he could already tell this was going to be a pain in his ass. “Okay, okay. One at a time, all right? You.” He pointed to Will, who hesitantly nodded, “His mother said he went to your house after all of you left to drop something off. What road do you usually take?”. “M-Mirkwood, sir.” Will responded.

 

Never hearing of it, of course Hopper and the deputy were confused, asking each other about ‘Mirkwood’. Which then resulted in Dustin and Lucas arguing about what it was from, The Hobbit or Lord of The Rings.

 

Yup, pain in the ass.

 

“Hey, hey, hey! What did I just say? One at a damn time. You.” Once again, he was looking at Will.

 

It honestly made him nervous, but if something happened to Mike, he needed to talk. “M-Mirkwood… it’s a real road, we just came up with a name for it. Um, it’s where Cornwallis and Kerley meet. I-If you want, we can show you where it is.”.

 

“I know where it is.” Hopper begrudgingly responded. “Maybe we can help look.” Lucas offered, the other two nodding in agreement, Hopper shot them down quickly. “No. After school, you are all to go home. Immediately. That means no biking around looking for your friend, no investigating, no nonsense. This isn’t some Lord of the Rings book.” Hopper explained.

 

Of course, the only part Dustin heard was that he didn’t say ‘The Hobbit’, making Lucas hit his arm. Will cringed, leaning back so he wouldn’t be hit.

 

They only shut up when Hopper stood up, looking down at all of them. “Do I make myself...clear?” He asked. They all nodded, and that was that.

 

Nancy and Karen walked through the endless woods of Hawkins, hoping for any sign of Mike. “Mike!” Nancy shouted, cupping her hands together, hoping it’d somehow make her loud enough for him to hear her. “Michael?!” Karen shouted, looking around with her daughter. They paused for a moment, looking around before Nancy went back to shouting. God, her voice was going to be so hoarse tomorrow. The two kept screaming, getting no response.

 

Following the Mirkwood road, the three officers began searching for the young boy, “Mike Wheeler!”. Hopper walked on, glancing around as the officers kept shouting. Callahan even starting hooting at some point. The Chief huffed, popping a mint in his mouth. As he looked around, something caught his eye.

 

“Hey! I got something!” Hopper made his way down the side of the road where the woods started, looking down at a knocked over bicycle.

 

“Think that’s his bike?”

Hopper looked around, softly swearing as he noticed blood on a stone not to far from the bike crash, “Yeah, must’ve crashed. Looks like he was hurt by the fall assuming this is his blood.” Hopper leaned down, picking up the bike as he glanced around, “It’s too far to walk to the Byers’ house from here.”. They glanced around, grimacing.

 

Will sat silently on the couch, his arms wrapped around his legs as he stared out the window. He could hear the phone ring from the living room, to which his mother answered, the woman grimaced as a frantic Karen was calling. “Hi again Karen. No! It’s okay, I don’t mind you calling I swear!”.

 

Jonathan frowned, walking up to his little brother, sitting across from him. “What are you looking for?” He asked. Will didn’t look away, “It’s my fault…” was all he managed to croak out.

 

This shocked Jonathan, “Will, no this isn’t your fault, everyone forgets stuff all the time-!”.

 

“No, Jonathan..! I think I know what was going to happen to him...and I don’t know how to stop it, I just know it’s going to get worse.” The young boy picked up his sketchbook, the one where he drew most of his visions, flipping through it before stopping. Jonathan leaned forward a bit to look as WIll turned the page towards him, letting him get a better view.

 

The picture was hastily colored, almost in a panicked manner. Dark colors scrawled out as the background, and the only visible features were a bike and a menacing gray figure standing above it.

 

“Thanks for picking up, Joyce… I…just thanks.” Before Joyce could say anything, Karen hung up. The woman put the phone down, sniffling as she struggling not to break down into tears. She needed to stay strong, the girls were already scared enough as is. Nancy was braiding her sister’s hair in the living room, humming random Disney tunes to soothe the girl. It was honestly the only thing keeping her sane.

 

Her moment of peace was interrupted by a car pulling up, making the three Wheeler women look up.

 

Quickly recognizing Hopper’s car, Karen rushed outside. “Mom?” Nancy asked, following closely as she held Holly. Hopper was already out of his car, walking around, carrying something. Karen’s eyes widened as she quickly recognized what it was. Nancy took a shaky breath, looking at her mom in concern.

 

“Nancy...get your sister upstairs, let mommy handle this, okay?” Karen asked. Nancy hesitated, but nodded, and Karen gave her daughter’s a quick kiss on each of their foreheads before shooing them off.

 

With the two girls out, this left Karen to talk with the chief in the living room. “Are you sure it was just laying there…?” She managed to breath out, still in shock over everything that had been occuring, “Was...was there any blood on it?”.

 

A grim expression crossed Hopper’s features, “There wasn’t any blood on the bike, but we found some on a rock nearby.”. “Oh god…” Karen whimpered, leaving real quick to grab herself some tissues. Hopper waited in his spot, allowing the woman time to grab what she needed before continuing. “If...if you found his bike, why are you here? Shouldn’t you be searching the woods where you found it?” Karen asked, growing scared and impatient.

 

Damnit, all she wanted was her son back safe!

 

“Where we found the bike was too far from the Wheeler’s house. I thought it’d be important to give you an update. We’re getting all the volunteers we can, getting a bunch of flashlights. We’re going to scope out that entire area, alright?” Hopper explained.

 

Karen nodded, hiccuping softly, “Alright...okay, thank you so much.”.

 

Will stared silently at his food, guilt eating away his appetite. “Hey, eat up Will. We don’t want your food getting cold.” Joyce stated, looking over some of her papers. The youngest looked up, “We should help them look. Mike could be in real danger.”.

 

“I’m sorry sweetie, we’ve been over this. Hopper thinks we should-” 

 

“I know what he said, but that’s my best friend out there!” 

 

“I know, Will. I’m sorry but It’s still a no.” Joyce responded, hoping to end the conversation. “We got these amazing powers though, I can see into the future! One of my visions have to mean something-” 

 

“No! We have rules in this house for a reason, Will. Yes, we may have unique powers, but that puts you at risk if you use them. What if someone finds out? If someone finds out, anyone can find out, and what if someone bad finds out. I am not having either of you boys be put in danger. End of discussion!” Joyce snapped out.

 

As scary as his mom could be like this, Will refused to back down, “Mom, just listen to me-”

 

“WILL YOU BOTH SHUT UP?!” The two went still, looking at Jonathan, who slammed his hands down onto the table. The teenager panted heavily, blood running down his nose as he glared at the two, “People can hear your guys thoughts from New York! We get it, this is a shit situation!”. They stared at him silent, watching as he got up, “I’m going to bed.”. As he walked off, he put down his plate of scraps, letting Chester tear into it.

 

Being able to read people’s thoughts was a curse and a blessing altogether. The biggest downside though? He could never block out the loud super emotional thoughts, gave him the work kinds of headaches. Fuck, powers could be suck a pain in the ass.

Chapter Text

Later that day, Hopper had managed to scrounge up a decent search party. A couple dozen volunteers eager to search for the missing boy. “Mike?” “Mike Wheeler!” “Micheal!”

 

Hopper led in front, looking around for any sign of Mike when someone walked up beside him. “He’s a good student.” “What?” Hopper looked to his side, confused by the sudden approach. “Mike. He’s a good student. Great one, actually. Just a little chatty when he’s with his friends though.Then again, what boys aren’t at that age? Oh, I don’t think we’ve met. Scott Clarke. Teacher, Hawkins Middle. Earth and biology.” He held out his hand, which Hopper shook back.

 

“I always had a distaste for science.” Hopper murmured as they walked. 

 

“Well, maybe you had a bad teacher.” Mr. Clarke remarked.

 

Hopper chuckled a bit, “Yeah, Ms. Ratliff was a piece of work.”. Mr. Clarke chuckled as well, “Ratliff? You bet. She’s still kicking around, believe it or not.

 

“Oh, I believe it. Mummies never die, so they tell me. Sarah, my daughter… Galaxies, the universe, whatnot… She always understood all that stuff. I always figured there was enough going on down here, I never needed to look elsewhere.”.

 

“Your daughter, what grade is she? Maybe I’ll get her in my class.”

 

“No, she, uh… She lives with her mom in the city. Thanks for coming out, Teach. We really appreciate it.” Hopper quickened his pace, leaving the man behind as he moved forward. A woman walked up to him, letting Mr. Clarke know the truth. “She died a few years back.”.

 

This sudden voice shocked him, “Sorry?”. “His kid.” She softly said, before walking off, leaving Mr. Clarke stunned and feeling sympathetic for the man.

 

As the search party went on, the three boys got to work, getting their walkies up and running. “Lucas…? Dustin..? Do you copy?” Will asked, laying underneath his bed sheets.

 

“It’s Lucas.”

 

“I know it’s you, Lucas… I’m really worried about Mike.” Will said. “This is crazy.” Lucas responded. “Lucas...remember the time when Mike yelled at Troy to stop hitting you..then Troy punched him? He could’ve just watched like everyone else but he didn’t.” Will sighed softly.

 

There was silence, before Lucas spoke up, “Meet me at ten.”. Will sat up in surprise, climbing out of his bed and packing up his backpack real quick. The boy opened his window, pausing for a moment. He peaked out into the hallway, listening for anyone else. Thankfully he just heard music from his brother’s room, and gentle snores from his mother’s. Alright, time to move.

 

Exiting the house from his window, Will moved to the front, grabbing his bike, riding off. He glanced back at his house silently, before moving on. Hold on Mike, the party will save you.

 

Nancy sat in her room, flipping through the different pictures of Mike. They were just pictures, but if felt so important to get the right one. The right one so people would see who Mike was, looking at the missing papers, and help find him. Tomorrow they are going to hang them up all over town, she didn’t have to do it, but she wanted to do something. Sitting around was making her so damn nervous… she had to do something to help.

 

There was a faint knock on her window, making the girl look up slowly. Her mouth dropped upon realizing it was Steve. Steve flashed her a small smile, waving her over. The girl hesitated for a moment, before standing up, walking over to the window.

 

She lifted up the window, looking down at him. “What are you doing here? Now is really...you...I… I can’t right now…” Nancy groaned, struggling to find the right words. Now was not a good time with everything that was happening.

 

“Come on, first you ignore my note then my calls? Did I do something wrong?” Steve asked.

 

Nancy swore under her breath, “No. No, it’s not you. A lot is going on and..”. She trailed off, looking back, which allowed Steve to make his way in. “Steve, what are you doing?’ She gasped.

 

“A little time together never killed anyone. So just, bare with me.” He grunted, maneuvering his way through the window frame. The window rattled as he finally came through, and he looked back at her, ignoring her disapproving look. “See, what’d I tell you? Ninja.” He asked, looking around her room. Nancy huffed, shaking her head as she pinched the bridge of her nose.

 

Steve was about to make a comment, when he noticed all the pictures on her mirror stand. “What are these, Nance?” When he turned back around, he was shocked to see her expression turn into a very upset one, “Hey? Hey Nancy, what’s wrong?”. She said nothing, walking over, clinging onto him as she softly wept.

 

The three boys biked down the road, Will leading them as he had seen the barricades when he was riding over to Lucas’ house. Though, in retrospect they should have just gone to Will’s house.

 

Then again, probably wasn’t a smart idea.

 

A clap of thunder filled the air, making Dustin lookup. “Hey, guys. You feel that?” He asked, flinching lightly as a drop of rain fell onto his face, “I think we should go back.”. “We can’t go back. Not when we’re so close.” Will responded, following Lucas as he went under the red and white tape. Thunder continued to rumble, and Dustin eventually gave in, following the two into the woods.

 

Rain began to fall, and the three began their search for their missing party member.

 

“What about..this one?” Steve asked, holding up a picture of Mike last Halloween. Nancy shook her head slowly, taking a quivering breath as she wiped off the tears from the corner of her eyes. “No… it’s too old.” She croaked out, voice still raw from shouting for Mike.

 

God, she felt so clique remembering how she was trying to stay the 4.0 GPA girl that was dating the hottest guy in school. Jesus, this was a nightmare reality check.

 

“Hey, I said I’d help.” He leaned over the bed, grabbing a tissue, “So I’ll help. We’re gonna find the perfect photo, and get as many of these papers out as we can.”. A small smile grew on her face as he wiped off the tears, mouthing a small thank you.

 

Karen was downstairs, silently sipping her wine. She had just gotten Holly to sleep, but it was almost impossible for the mother to get any sleep. Her eyes fell onto the door, making a silent whimper leave her. God, he was just out the door and she didn’t do more to stop him. Karen whimpered, holding her head in hands as she began to cry.

 

Eventually Steve headed off, reminding Nancy to call him if anything changes. “Thanks Steve, for everything.” She whispered, watching him climb back out the window.

 

Only seconds after he left, the phone rang, surprising her. Who was calling at this time? And why was it coming in through her phone? She crawled over her bed, picking up the phone and held it up to her ear, “Hello..? Who the hell is this?”. There was static on the other line, and she nearly hung up when she heard it. Faint muffled breathing, sending chills down her spine.

 

“M-Mike…?” She breathed out, straining to listen for a response in the static, “Mike..?”. The girl whimpered, starting to sob, “Who is this?”. Her heart stopped, hearing growling in the distance of the call, her eyes widening in fear, “What have you done with my brother?! Give him back-AH!”. Electricity ran through the phone, shocking her. She dropped the phone, gasping in pain.

 

Heavy footsteps ran upstairs, and her mother swung the door open. “Nancy?! Nancy, what’s wrong?!” Karen exclaimed, hurrying over to her daughter’s side. Nancy began to mutter incoherently, slowly bursting into tears. Karen held her daughter close, shushing her softly as the girl cried, muttering Mike’s name ever few seconds. “Shh, it’s okay sweetheart. It was just a bad dream…” Karen whispered, combing her fingers through her daughter’s hair.

 

“Mike!” Will shouted, the three boys struggling to call for their friend over the loud rain. “Wheeler!” Lucas shouted. “Will rolled a 7 on fireball!” Dustin exclaimed, hoping Mike’s super serious way after Dungeon Mastering would trigger him into coming out from wherever he was.

 

The three pressed on, moving their flashlights around. Even with the flashlights, it was extremely hard to see in the pouring rain and dark forest.

 

“I really think we should go back.” Dustin stated, to which he was ignored. 

 

“You wanna be a baby, Dustin? Then go home already!” Lucas snapped.

 

“I’m just being realistic, Lucas!” Dustin exclaimed. The two boys began to shout at each other back and forth, while Will moved his light around, hoping to see something useful. Anything to help them in their search for Mike.

 

That’s when a faint rustling caught his attention. “Guys, be quiet.” Will said, looking forward. Thankfully they shut up, looking to where the noise had come from. The rustling got closer, and they could even hear a faint screeching noise in the distance. A twig snapped behind them, making them turn around in panic, finding a bald girl in a large yellow t-shirt, soaked to the bone, facing them


Will took a trembling breath as he looked at her, feeling a strange...presence from her. She’s like me.

Chapter Text

The group made their way back to Will’s house, sneaking in through his window. Will would’ve preferred Castle Byers, as it was away from his brother and mother, but considering it was pouring, they had no choice.

 

Will peaked out of his room, hearing the music had stopped. That mostly likely meant Jonathan and his mom were asleep thankfully.

 

Gently and quietly, Will closed the door behind him. Once it was closed, he turned to the two boys and the strange girl, who was already sitting on his bed, wrapped up in one of his old jackets. A wet bed wouldn’t be fun, but what could you do? Plus, she might be her only chance to find Mike...and he wanted to know why she was like him. Were they not the only ones with powers?

 

Knowing that they were in the clear, they all began asking the strange girl questions. “Do you have a number? Your parents are probably really worried.” Will said. “Where’s your hair? Do you have cancer?” Dustin asked, his friends looking at him. “Did you run away?” Lucas questioned. “Are you in trouble? Is that blood?” Will asked, looking at her shirt hesitantly. “She’s freaking me out.” Lucas muttered. “I bet she’s deaf.” Dustin leaned forward, loudly clapping, which startled her.

 

Good move genius. Scare her some more.

 

“Guys, co-come on. She’s soaked, and probably really scared.” Will looked around for a moment, before getting an idea, “Wait here.”. Leaving the three alone, Will left his room quietly, making his way over to his brother’s. Thankfully the door was already open, making it easier for him to make his way in quietly. The boy almost had a heart attack when Jonathan moved, but he relaxed seeing he was just rolling over.

 

Being careful to not make any noise, Will went to his brother’s closet, searching around until he found something. Leaning in, Will grabbed one of Jonathan’s old t-shirts and some shorts. ‘Queen’ was written on it in bold letters. It was a little big, but it would do. It was clean too thanks to Jonathan’s sense to clean up whenever he could, always wanting to help out his already busy mother whenever he could.

 

Will was about to leave when he glanced over to his older brother, frowning as he noticed some tissues with blood on them in his trash can. Tucking the shirt under his arm, he walked over, taking a dry tissue and wetted it with a leftover water bottle on Jonathan’s nightstand.

 

“I’m sorry we got you all riled up…” Will whispered, cleaning the dried blood off his brother’s nose. Once it was all clean, he threw away the tissue and headed back to the room.

 

Will returned to the room, approaching the group. “H-here, they’re clean, I promise.” He said, handing the clothes to her. She took them, holding them close, because of how soft and warm they were compared to her soaked clothes. She stood up, shrugging off the jacket, and was about to lift up the shirt she was in, resulting in the boys panicking. “W-Wait!” Will exclaimed, as Lucas and Dustin turned around, “U-Um, you change here. We’ll go in the hallway. Okay?”. She gave a slow nod, and the three boys left.

 

They waited in the hallway, Will was about to close the door, but she stopped him. “You don’t want it closed?” Will asked. She glanced at the floor, then him again slowly, “No.”. “Y-You can talk?” Will gaped, “Um...okay, we’ll keep the door open a little. Is that okay?”. Will nodded, heading back over to where the other two were.

 

“This is mental.Like, she tried to get naked.” Dustin remarked.

 

“She can talk, that’s good. Right?” Will questioned. “She can say ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Holly says more than that, and she’s only three.” Lucas stated, “There’s something seriously wrong with her. Like, wrong in the head. I bet she escaped from that nuthouse in Kerley County.”. Ouch, rude.

 

Dustin looked at lucas with a smirk, “You got a lot of family there?”.

 

“Bite me. Seriously though, think about it. That would explain her shaved hair and why she’s so crazy. My point is that she is an escapee. She’s probably a psycho.” Lucas stated. “Like Micheal Myers.” Dustin gasped. “Exactly!” Lucas exclaimed, ‘We should’ve never brought her here.”

 

Will grimaced at the two, they couldn’t be serious, right?

 

“W-What? Were we supposed to just leave her out in that storm?” Will asked.

 

“Yes! We went to find Mike, and instead we found another problem. I saw we wake up your brother and tell him, because there is no way we are waking up your mom.” Lucas stated, to which Dustin agreed.

 

Will tensed up, looking at them with wide eyes, “N-No. You guys are crazy. If we tell Jonathan, mom will find out. S-She didn’t want me to go out.”. After that intense argument at dinner, he’d never hear the end of it if she knew he still snuck out to find Mike. It’d get worse once she realized that girl was like them… much, much worse.

 

Like burn down everything you own in a fit of anger.

 

This was going to be difficult to talk about with Lucas and Dustin there. If they found out, they could be in serious danger.

 

“Let’s go over this again. What are the rules?” Joyce asked, looking at a much younger Will and Jonathan. They had just moved into their new house, it was early but they had to be careful. Just because Hawkins was a safe town didn’t mean they had men everywhere trying to find him or her sons.

 

Jonathan looked up nervously, talking for him and his brother. Which he had too, considering Will was only 2 at the time.

 

“Never talk about it and never show it.” Jonathan said. “That’s my boy.” Joyce beamed.

 

The three boys looked up as the girl opened the door, letting them know she was done. They walked back into the room, and went back to talking. “I’m serious, we have to tell your brother. It’s the best we got.” Lucas said, ignoring Will’s pleas as he tried the door. He opened it, only for it to slam shut, startling him. He opened the door again, only for it to close even harder.

 

They all turned around, looking at the girl shocked, seeing blood running down her nose, “No.”.

 

There was a long silence, which was quickly followed by a knock on the door, making the boys jump up. “Hey Will...keep it down, me and mom got work tomorrow. So please...keep it down.” Jonathan tiredly asked from the other side of the door, relieving the boy slightly. “Got it. Sorry.” Will responded, waiting for his brother to walk off, before turning around to talk to the group.

 

“She can sleep in here tonight, alright? So no one else finds out.” Will explained, and eventually the two nodded. Will nodded in response, walking to his closet, and moving things aside for her to lay down. Lucas glanced back as they prepared to leave the window, still not trusting the girl. “Sorry, it’s not a lot of room. Our house isn’t that big.” Will said, laying down some blankets down for her along with a few pillows.

 

Once the two were gone, Will focused his attention to her, might as well get this over with. “I’m Will, what’s your name?” Will asked. The girl looked away for a moment, before pointing at the tattoo on her wrist. 

 

011

 

“I’ve never seen a kid with a tattoo before. Is it...is it your name?” He asked, to which he nodded. The boy thought for a moment, Eleven felt… off. “What if we call you El? For short.” Will said, and she gave another nod. He gave her a small smile, putting his hand on the closet door, “Night, El.”.

 

To his surprise, she replied, “Night, Will.”. Will closed the door slightly, that way no one would see him, but the door wouldn’t be closed on her. He made his way to his bed, letting out a soft sigh as he pulled the sheets over his body.

 

The morning after was a silent one for the Wheeler’s family. Karen passed of plates of food to her girls and husband, before returning to grab one of her own. Nancy silently looked through the missing paper they had made for Mike, making sure they had every detail they needed on it. The phone call last night still wracking her brain. “Nancy sweetheart, eat please.” Karen said, sitting besides Holly.

 

“I will in a second, Mom-” Nancy was interrupted by a knock on the door, making them all look up. Karen quickly patted down her clothes, hurrying to the doorway.

 

Chief Hopper stood at the door, making her way inside once she opened the door. “Did anyone find anything?” Karen quickly asked.

 

“Nothing, and we went all the way to Cartersville.” Hopper explained. “Oh, God.” Karen whimpered, putting a hand over her mouth. Nancy resisted the urge to mention the call from Mike, they wouldn’t believe her anyway… After some final discussing, Hopper made his leave. Nancy watched him silently from the window, rubbing her arms.

 

Will watched Jonathan cook silently, waiting for the perfect moment to sneak El some food. Their mother had already gone to work, making sure that Jonathan would drive Will to and from school. She really did worry a lot.

 

When Jonathan wasn’t looking, Will stuffed some waffles into his pocket. Jonathan always said he hated Eggos and other shit like them, because they weren’t ‘freshly’ made. It was cook self talking obviously. 

 

After putting away the waffles, Will began to quickly eating, making Jonathan raise a brow as he sat across from Will. “Slow down Will, we don’t need you choking. I’ll never hear the end of it from mom.” Jonathan stated, making Will smirk a bit. He finished the rest of his food, then ran to his room to ‘grab his school stuff’.

 

El sat in the closet, silently messing with the walkie, listening to the static. Will gave a small knock on the door, pulling it open. The boy crouched down, facing the young girl, “You found the walkie. It’s really cool, right? All of us talk on it. Signals pretty weak though and everyone else lives kinda far from me.”. She simply looked up at him, and Will pulled out the waffles from his jacket, “Breakfast.”.

 

El took it, taking a bite out of the waffle. Will glanced at her for a moment, before deciding to tell her the true, “I...I’m like you. I have powers.”. This caught her attention, wide brown eyes staring back at him. “N-Not like yours exactly. Um, I can see the future, and I end up drawing it.” He got up, grabbing his stack of vision drawings, “See? My mom and brother are too.”. He had expected this to make her more relaxed, but it did the exact opposite. “W-What? My family is really nice, I promise.” Will explained.

 

The girl letting out a trembling breath, looking out the window, making look out the window too. “Is...is it the people who after you?” Will asked. El shook her head, pointing at Will then herself, and what she whispered made him afraid, “Bad.”.

 

Was this what his mother had been warning him about? There really were people out there looking for them..?

 

Will took a moment to compose himself, letting out a shaky breath, being snapped out of his thoughts when Jonathan shouted for him to come outside. “Stay here, okay? I have to go. Promise me you’ll stay here.” Will asked.

 

“Promise?”

 

“A promise, um, it’s what friend’s make. And friends don’t break promises.” Will stated.

 

El looked at him, pointing at herself, “Friend?”. “Yeah, yeah we can be friends. Now I promise to be back as soon as I can if you promise to stay here.” Will stated, to which she nodded, “Okay, see you after school.”. Giving her one last smile, they boy left, heading to the front of the house to meet up with Jonathan. His brother was already waiting in the car, letting Will climb in. 

 

“Buckle up, Will.” Jonathan said, starting the car. Will put on his seat belt, and looked at the house through the window as Jonathan began driving. The pit in his stomach grew, and he was starting to wonder if it was just a coincidence that a girl like him ended up where they were looking for Mike.

 

He was very afraid, that something much more sinister was occurring.

Chapter Text

Hawkins High was buzzing with activity, students running around to get to class or to their groups.

 

While most students were running about, Nancy was stationary, Barb helping her hang up some missing posters for Mike. “I am so happy I got a pass on that test...my mind is just...everywhere.” Nancy sighed out, about to take another paper from Barb when Tommy snatched them from her. “Tommy, what the hell?!” Nancy exclaimed.

 

Steve walked around his friend, taking the stacks of papers from him, “We just want to help Nancy, I mean I think you’ve done enough. Let someone else help out.”.

 

“Steve-”

 

“I’m telling you, we got this.” Steve responded. She still wasn’t reassured, Carol and Tommy didn’t seem to care whatsoever. 

 

“Oh, um, one thing real quick. I know your in a funk, but I thought of a really good way to try and boost your mood. My dad left town to go to a conference, and my mom went with him, she doesn’t trust him.” “Good call.” Tommy chuckled. “I know it’s crazy for you right now, but I think you need this. Are you in?” Steve asked.

 

Nancy bit her lip hesitantly, looking at the poster she tacked up on the board. “Come on Nancy, there’s a couple dozen volunteers looking for him. It’ll be fine if you miss one day of poster hanging.” Steve stated.

 

“It’s...It’s Tuesday, my mom wouldn’t want me out when everything’s happening.” Nancy said. “‘My mommy wouldn’t want me out.’” Tommy mocked with a chuckled, getting elbowed by Steve.

 

Before she could say anything, Carol groaned. “Oh, God. Look. It’s Nosebleed Byers.” She rolled her eyes. Jonathan tried his best to ignore him as he walked past them, which was hard as Tommy stuck out his foot, making the teen fall hard on the floor. “Didn’t see you there, nosebleed.” Tommy chuckled.

 

God, how long were they going to call him that? He couldn’t control his powers back then!

 

Jonathan pushed himself up, walking off. Just ignore them, just ignore them.

 

“Hey, how much you want to bet he killed him?” Tommy whispered to Carol, who giggled. Nancy thankfully didn’t hear them, but Barb did, glaring. Eventually the school bell rang, letting the five teens walk off to class. 

The PTA machine went off, “At 8:00 pm tonight, there will be an assembly on the football field in support of Mike Wheeler and his family. All are encouraged. Volunteer sign-ups for search parties are still available in the office.”

 

Lucas and Dustin arrived to class, looking at the empty seat. It already felt wrong with Mike being gone, now Will? He was never late.

 

“This is really weird. Will is never late, period.” Dustin stated, putting his backpack down.

 

“I’m telling you, his stupid plan failed.” Lucas remarked. “I thought you liked his plan.” Dustin responded. “Yeah, but obviously it was stupid, or else he’d be here.” Lucas stated.

 

Dustin gasped, “What if his mom or brother found out a girl spent the night-”

 

“Then he is in deep shit right about now. Unless it was Jonathan...maybe.” Lucas shrugged, he never really knew how to feel about Will’s older brother. He wasn’t bad, just never really social. “Anyway it doesn’t matter, the freak will be back in the loony bin, and we’ll be able to go back to what really matters, finding Mike.” Lucas explained, to which Dustin sighed.

 

Unknown to his friends, Will began biking back to his house, making sure to avoid being spotted.

 

It was along ride, but the boy eventually returned home. Once he was inside, he began to show El around. “U-Um, do you want anything to drink? We have apple juice, coke, and um, half a gallon of milk.” Will asked as he looked through the fridge, turning around when he saw El wandering into the living room. She was really interested in the TV, so he came over.

 

“This is our living room. We kinda do everything here. Board games, reading, whenever we want to get out of our rooms. Sorry, our TV isn’t that good. It’s pretty old.” Will softly explained, feeling somewhat embarrassed as he showed her around.

 

El turned her attention to the family photos, standing on her toes to better observe them. Her eyes lingered on a picture of his mother when she was still in high school, El’s fingers gently touching the frame. “Pretty.” She softly said, making Will smile a bit. “Yeah, mom is really pretty.” Will responded.

 

She continued to look through the photos, so he thought he might tell who everyone was. “That’s my mom, Joyce. And that’s a picture of my older brother Jonathan when he was a baby, he’s not that blonde anymore. And this is all of us.” He smiled, pointed at the picture of the three of them. They never really had enough money to get a professional family photo, so that’s why it was nice that Jonathan was so good at it. It was just sad, because it meant there were less pictures of his brother.

 

Will almost asked her about his parents, but hesitated for a moment, remembering the chilling warning she gave him before he left for school.

 

The girl went back to looking around, taking a seat on the couch, surprised as she sank in. Will nervously chuckled, folding his arms, “Yeah. We didn’t realize it was like that until after we got it.”. El tried to push herself up, but giggled as she sunk back into the couch, and eventually Will was laughed too.

 

“Oh! I think I know something else you’ll like. Come on.” He took her hand, helping her off of the couch and to his brother’s room. Jonathan wasn’t like most siblings, always wanting their younger siblings to stay away from their shit. Jonathan actually really liked hanging out with his little brother. What he loved to do with Will especially, was make mix tapes for both of them to listen too,

 

Will led El inside, sitting her on Jonathan’s bed as he grabbed one of his brother’s mix tapes. “Your going to love this.” He smiled, putting the mixtape into the stereo his brother had. Making sure it was playing, Will sat by Jane, lightly bobbing his head as the music began. 

 

Darling, you got to let me know. Should I stay or should I go?”

 

“Do you like it?” Will asked with a smile. The girl nodded slowly, smiling back. “My brother made the mix, he’s really good at it. He says the best stuff is on it. Um, Joy Division, Bowie, Television, the Smith’s, the Clash. Talked about it ‘changing my life.’” His smile faltered slightly, remembering the day he had gotten the mix tape.

 

Jonathan made these mix tapes for him, and it was a perfect distraction so he wouldn’t hear their parents fighting. His talk about not having to like ‘normal’ things really stuck with him.

 

Nancy sat in class, nervously hoping her mother had actually gone out and bought her a new phone. She needed it if he called again, even if there was the slightest chance that he brother would call again, she needed to be ready.

 

The girl bit her lip nervously, looking up at the classroom clock again. God, she wanted school to be over with already.

 

Back at the Byers’ house, Will was letting El get an actual look around his room. Must’ve been boring to hide in a closet all day, so he wanted to let her know that if no one was home, she could play with his toys, or even draw.

 

However, her focus was on the trophies on his desk. Will noticed, walking over with a small smile. “It’s from our science fair, we usually get first, but there was one time we got third. It was a bummer, b-but we did it together.” Will said, trying to keep a positive tone. El looked over, and noticed the picture of the four of them holding the trophy, her eyes widening slightly, her lip quivering as she stared at the photo. Will looked at her, the photo as she pointed as Mike with a shaky finger.

 

“Y-You know Mike? Did you see him at all? When you were on the road last night?” Will asked, growing concerned by her fear.

 

“Mike…” She softly whispered, making Will look at her in surprise. She recognized him...she knew where he was!

Chapter Text

The search for Mike Wheeler was on going. It even took them to the cliff side, which was extremely dangerous area. One wrong step, and you’d be gone. The water would turn into cement from the height, and you’d be done for.

 

Hopper pulled back Callahan, putting his hands on his hips as he looked out to the water. “Careful now. I need you alive for the next few days, at least.” Hopper stated. “Oh, I could survive that.” Callahan responded, making Hopper laugh. “What? George Burness made the jump. And he was drunk as a skunk. He did it on a 10 dollar bet.” Callahan explained.

 

“George is a liar. You make that jump from this height, that water turns into cement.” He clapped his hands as an exaggeration, “Hits you like a ton of bricks. Break every damn bone in your body.”.

 

Callahan looked out at the water for a moment, then to the Chief, “Nah.”.

 

Before they could keep at it, Hopper’s walkie rang, “Chief, you copy?”.

 

Hopper grabbed his walkie, looking up, “Yeah, Flo, talk to me.’

 

“Chief, we got a call over at Benny’s. I think you need to get there right away. It seemed pretty damn urgent.” Flo explained. The two officers looked at each other, before heading out.

 

An ambulance was there when the three cops pulled up, all climbing out to see what the commotion was. The three headed inside, finding Benny sitting in one of the booths, a paramedic taking a look at the nasty gash on the side of his head.

 

“Benny, what the hell happened?” Hopper asked, walking over to the familiar man. 

 

Benny groaned, lifting his head up. “Hey there friend, it’s been a while. I was waiting for you to show up before I said anything.” Benny stated.

 

Hopper took a seat across from the man, taking his sunglasses off. “And what exactly is it that you need to tell me?” Hopper asked.

 

It was hard to get a signal out, but Will was eventually able to call for Lucas and Dustin to come over to his house. He pushed back the curtains, sighing in relief as she saw the two riding up to the house. The two boys put their bikes up on the porch, before heading inside. “Come on guys, we need to talk.” Will gestured them to follow him to his room, and they thankfully did.

 

The two boys stood silent, seeing El sitting on Will’s bed, Dustin slowly closing the door. “Are you out of your mind?” Lucas questioned.

 

“Please, just listen to me. She knows about Mike!” He stated.

 

“What do you mean she knows about Mike?” Dustin asked, shocked by this revelation. Will walked over to his desk, grabbing the picture of the four at the science fair. “She pointed at him, she knew he was missing. She even said his name! I mean think about it, was it really a coincidence we found her on Mirkwood, the same area where Mike vanished? When I talked to her, she said bad people are after her, maybe the same ones that took Mike. Maybe she knows what happened to him.” Will explained.

 

Lucas folded his arms, looking at the girl. “Then why doesn’t she just tell us where he is instead of us going around at night?” Lucas asked. He walked over to her, “Do you know where he is? Do you know where he is?!”. The girl tensed up as Lucas grabbed her shoulders, and Will stepped forward in a panic.

 

“Stop it, you’re scaring her!” 

 

“She should be scared! If you know where he is, tell us!” Lucas shouted. El sat silently, making Lucas huff in anger.

 

Benny sat across from Hopper, his head stitched up now. They were sitting in his office, talking about what had happened. “Alright, start from the beginning. What happened?” Hopper asked, facing him.

 

The cook let out a chuckle, looking up at the Chief. “Believe it or not, I don’t remember what happened when I was knocked out. But I remember exactly what happened before hand. It was, it was just a normal lunch day. I was working, um, just us and the boys. That is, until I noticed this kid in the kitchen, eating up some of my fries. But I know for sure, it wasn’t them.” Hopper was surprised at the mention of the child.

 

“Was there any chance it was this boy? Kids been missing over a day now.” Hopper said, holding up a missing flyer. Benny shook his head with a grimace.

 

“No, it wasn’t him. In fact, it was a girl. Poor thing had her head shaved, and was in some hospital gown. Pretty small. I stopped them from stealing, but I knew something was wrong once I got a good look at them. I ended up letting them stay and eat, asking them whatever I could. Look, Hopper, something bad happened to this kid, really bad. She didn’t want to talk or anything, and she was scarfing down food like she hadn’t eaten in a long time.” Benny explained.

 

Hopper let out a sigh. Great, a missing kid and now a girl on the run from an abusive situation.

 

“So, what happened to this girl?”

 

“I don’t know. I called the social workers to try and see if they could help her. Someone came to the door, and that was the last thing I remembered.” Benny stated, making Hopper sigh.

 

Nancy laid on her bed, checking out her new phone. God, she was so happy her mother agreed to get her a new on. She dialed in Barb’s number, laying back as her friend picked up. “Barb, remember Steve’s party. Can you come with me? Barb… please, I don’t want to go alone. I just… I just need a break from all of this, it’s so intense and I want a break. Please. Come on, you could just tell your parents you’re going to stay at my house. Just...tell them your going to help me cope or whatever. Please, Barb…” Nancy sat up, holding the phone, a soft smile forming on her face when Barb agreed, “I’ll see you in an hour.”.

 

Will, Dustin, and Lucas sat at the Byers’ table, all eating dinner. It felt odd, considering how far our Will’s house was from theirs, and the kids usually met up at Mike’s, but it was the only ideal situation with El around.

 

It was just them three and Jonathan, Joyce still being out at work. She tried to leave early, but the person that was supposed to take over flaked out on her, leaving her at work.

 

“Sorry if it’s not enough, I wasn’t expecting to feed two more people.” Jonathan nervously said, seeing the boys were uninterested in eating. He was a great cook, he just didn’t have much confidence in himself.

 

“No, it’s good Jonathan.” Will quickly said. “Yeah, I just had two bologna sandwiches for lunch.” Dustin chuckled nervously, “I don’t know why I did.”. “Yeah, me too.” Lucas agreed.

 

Jonathan looked at his brother, letting out a small cough to clear his throat. “There’s going to be an assembly at school, for Mike. I thought I should go and...do what I can. I know mom doesn’t want us out past dark, but it feels like something I should do. You cool with me going? If you guys don’t want to be alone, I completely understand-”

 

“It’s okay Jonathan, you should go. We’ll be fine, we have Chester here.” Will responded, somewhat relieved. They wouldn’t have to worry about him catching them with El. His brother nodded with a smile, and they went back to eating.

 

For the second night in a row, volunteers were out searching for the young boy. Some even took their dogs out in hopes of it helping them. “Mike! Mike!” Various people shouted, checking around for any signs of the boy.

 

Hopper wandered around the woods with the two officers, when he heard a whistle being blown. “You find something?” Hopper called out, following the whistle blows. The three officers hurried over, finding Mr. Clarke hunched over by a large storm drain it seemed. “What’d you find?” Hopper asked.

 

“Not sure.” The teacher responded, holding up a piece of white cloth with patterns on it. Hopper looked at the cloth, then into the storm drain. “No way a kid crawls through there.” Powell remarked,.

 

Hopper grimaced, shining his flashlight in, “I don’t know, a scared enough one might. If he was being chased, who knows.”. The Chief grimaced, remembering they blood they found on a nearby rock. Stepping over the drain, Hopper moved deeper into the forest, searching for where the drain led too. And eventually, he found something. A wire fence blocking them off from Hawkins lab.

Chapter Text

El sat in Will’s closet, playing around with the walkie. “El?” The girl looked up Will came on, holding a plate. The other two boys were right behind him, standing by the doorway. “No adults, I mean, Jonathan’s about to leave, but for the most part...just us and some casserole.” Will said, putting the plate down.

 

She glanced at the food, then the boys behind him. “It’s okay, we all promised not to tell anyone.” Will said.

 

“Yeah, I mean who would want to lie to someone with superpowers?” Dustin chuckled, getting a look from Will.

 

“We...we’re still getting used to this. We just want to find our friend.” Lucas said, making El peek out. “Friend?” She questioned. “Yeah, friend. Mike?” He replied. “What is ‘friend’?” The girl asked, making Lucas confused this time. Dustin just shrugged, and Lucas thought of a way to explain it to her. “Um, a friend-”

 

Seeing they were struggling, Will decided to tell her, “A friend is someone you would do anything for. They never break promises. It’s really important because friends…” Will’s eyes fell onto his vision drawings, “They tell each other things they can’t tell anyone else. Not even their family.”. El silently looked at the boys, taking in his words,

 

Jonathan was preparing to head out for the assembly, when he noticed something on the ground. “Damnit Will, leaving everything…” He sighed, leaning down to pick up the paper. As he did, he noticed something. The more he stared at it, the more he put together what it was. A familiar figure sat on the diving board in front of a pool, orange hair shining up from the lit pool. It was Barb, Nancy’s friend. And...by the looks of it she was at Harrington’s how, he had of course never been in it, but he knew what it looked like.

 

The most startling feature of the drawing though, was the figure lurking behind Barb.

 

The teen took a shaky breath, hurrying to grab his keys and running to his car. Will’s visions were never wrong, and if this is what he thought it was, he had a sinking feeling something was going to happen.

 

Barb pulled up to Steve’s driveway, letting out a sigh as she turned to her best friend. Yeah, Nancy needed a break from how crazy things had become, but this didn’t feel like the proper way. After all, there was no way Steve wasn’t just trying to get into her pants. Selling the ‘you need a break’ and ‘let us help you’ act along the way. Despite her deep rooted concerns, she didn’t say anything...it was just one night, Nancy needed this.

 

Plus, she was going to be there, it couldn’t end that badly... right?

 

The two girls walked up to the front door and Nancy pressed the doorbell, taking a step back as it rang. They could hear the music from inside, and Nancy noticed Barb moving nervously. “Barb, chill.” Nancy said.

 

“I’m chill.”

 

Steve opened up the door, smiling at the two, “Hello, ladies.”.

 

El sat on Will’s bed, staring intently at the drawing Will had up. Some of them were of their characters from Dungeons and Dragons. She looked up to the paladin one, “Mike.”.

 

“Superpowers.” Dustin whispered, getting a disapproving head shake from Lucas. Will walked over to her, looking at the picture, then her. “Did you see him? On Mirkwood? Do...do you know where Mike is?” Will asked.

 

El looked at him, glancing around his room for a bit, before getting up off his bed and taking the picture off the wall. “Hey.” Will said. She ignored him, flipping over the picture, pointing out how you could still faintly see the drawing from the other side of the paper. “Hiding.” El told, catching their attention, the three boys walking over.

 

“Mike is hiding…?” Will asked, and El nodded. “Is...is he hiding from the bad men?’ He asked, worried that if they found Mike...what if they found his family? Thankfully El shook her head, but it also made him more worried. “Then...from who?” He asked.

 

Eleven glanced around the room again, her eyes eventually falling on a drawing of the party fighting a monster. The demogorgon. Lifting her head, she pointed at the monster. The boys looked at each other, an intense silence spreading between them. Dustin put his arms up, swearing under his brother. Will stared at the drawing, a chill running down his spine as he thought about it.

 

It wasn’t one of his normal drawings...it was one of his vision drawings.

 

Jonathan drove his car down the road, stopping it. He quickly climbed out, looking around. God, if anyone saw him they might get the wrong idea. In his backpack was an ax from the backyard and his camera. It was...it was a precaution. If he got hurt out here, his mom would lose it, and they didn’t need the woods to be on fire.

 

Slipping his camera strap over his neck, Jonathan began walking through the woods, looking around for any sign of...well, anything. These pictures didn’t exactly have time stamps of when they would-

 

A startled gasp left him as he heard a loud scream, making him burst into action. The teen panted as he ran through the woods, heading to the source of the screams. He knew it wasn’t what his mom wanted, but he couldn’t just sit back and do nothing while things were getting worse. What was the point of having these powers if they couldn’t do anything with them?

 

The screams continued, and he ran faster. The noise got closer, and he stopped, looking forward. Carol shrieked as Tommy picked her up by the waist, attempting to throw her into the pool. Jonathan went stiff recognizing the house and pool,glancing around for any signs of Barb, praying she wasn’t there. Unfortunately, she was.

 

“Shit.” Jonathan whispered, crouching down in the greenery so he wouldn’t be spotted.

 

Steve came outside, taking the knife from his mouth. Nancy looked over, wondering what he was doing. Steve stabbed a hole in the bottom of the can, beginning to drink from it, chugging down the whole thing. Barb glanced over, unimpressed, and went back to looking away. He let out an exhale, sitting in the pool chair.

 

“Is that supposed to impress me?” Nancy asked. She was trying to enjoy the party, but it was hard considering everything that was happening. “You’re not?” Steve asked, putting a cigarette between his lips.

 

The girl let out a groan, rolling her eyes, “You are such a cliche, Steve Harrington.”.

 

He scoffed, “You are a cliche. With your perfect grades, band practice, and great looks-” “I am so not not in band!” Nancy retorted, making him chuckle. “Alright party girl. Show us how it’s done then.” He said, holding out the knife to her.

 

“Okay.” Nancy took the knife, standing up. Barb rolled her eyes, shaking her head. 

 

Jonathan watched silently from his spot, growing anxious as he waited. It was great that he could mostly control his powers, he didn’t even want to know what they were thinking about. Tommy and Carol especially, they were probably thinking of pool sex right now. Gross.

 

Nancy jabbed a hole in the beer can, started to chug as the three cheered her on. The entire time Barb held a disapproving look. Even if Nancy was struggling, this just felt wrong. It wasn’t who Nancy was. Her looks caught on, as Nancy looked at her. “Barb, you wanna try?” She asked.

 

The redhead was shocked by this. “What? No. No, I don’t want to, thanks.” Barb said. They weren’t going to give up easy, all four of them now egging her on.

 

Eventually she gave in, taking the can from Nancy and standing up. “Okay.” Taking the knife in one hand, and the beer can in the other, Barb began to push the knife into the can. She pushed, but the can moved, jabbing the knife into her thumb. She dropped the can, clutching her hand.

 

Nancy was shocked by this, “Are you okay? Barb, you’re bleeding-”

 

“I’m fine. Where’s your bathroom?” Barb asked, turning her attention to Steve. Steve got up, pointing inside, “Oh, it’s...it’s, uh, down past the kitchen, to the left.”. Barb nodded, walking off.

 

Jonathan exhaled softly, looking at the time on his watch, and messing around with his camera. Maybe he was mistaken. It was probably just...a coincidence she was here. Still, he decided to wait a few more minutes to see what would happen. He glanced up, watching Tommy shove Carol in and then jumping in after her. Steve pushed Nancy in, jumping in after her with a loud ‘Whoo!’.

 

Jonathan didn’t really like people...but at the same time he couldn’t help but the slightest envious. He was used to the fact he wasn’t normal, heh, in more ways than one. But actually having friends to hang out with, god, it made him miss Summer even more.

 

The four teens eventually went back inside, grabbing towels. Carol and Tommy were being themselves, talking about warming up in Steve’s mom’s room, because it had a ‘fireplace’. 

 

Yeah, sure.

 

“Okay, well, you know, you’re cleaning out the sheets when you done!” Steve shouted as they ran upstairs. He turned back to Nancy, “Come on, let’s get you some dry clothes.” Steve led the way, and Nancy eventually followed. By the time she made, Steve was already halfway up the stairs. She was about to follow when Barb called for her.

 

Jonathan sighed, starting to grab his stuff. So much for trying to figure out what the Hell was going on. Just as he turned his back to the house, he heard the door open, turning around. Barb sat on the diving board, kicking her feet in the water lightly.

 

It was just like Will’s drawing…

 

Barb sat silently on the diving board, letting out a small sigh as she looked up, not noticing the small drop of blood falling into the pool. She glanced at her hand with a sigh, and that’s went the pool lights went off, shocking her. A feral growl was heard behind her, and she turned around, her eyes widening seeing a monstrous beast behind her.

 

The beast roared, reaching out for her, and Barb let out a cry of terror as it nearly grabbing her. It’s claws were mere inches from her body, but it stopped. A gasp left her, and she looked up in shock.

 

Jonathan stood in the tree line, his arm shaking as he had it out stretched. His head pulsed, feeling ready to split in half, but he persisted. “Barb..move..!” He shouted, and thankfully she listened, hurrying over stand behind him. Now that she was out of the way, it was best to deal with this thing however he could.

 

The monster growled, struggling, and Jonathan pushed his power more, blood running down both of his nostrils and starting to run from his ears.

 

He had only done this once, and it was completely by accident. If he pushed hard enough into reading someone’s mind, he could actually make them think thoughts that weren’t their own. Some sort of mind control in a sense. It was extremely useful, but it was agonizing to do and hardly ever worked.

 

But it seemed to confuse the beast, growling. “Come on..!” He took her hand, running into the forest. Barb was still reeling from the entire situation, looking back only to find the beast gone. 

 

Jonathan’s grip on her wrist slackened, allowing her to stop as she looked back. “What the hell was that..?!” She shouted, hearing a thud behind her. Barb turned around, seeing Jonathan sliding down a tree, barely conscious. She hurried over to him, worried, “What was that thing..? What did you do?”.

 

Tired breaths parted from his lips, the teen looking at her. “I...made it leave…” Jonathan let out a weak groan, his head dropping forward.

 

Barbara bit her lip, looking back to where Steve’s house was. She was scared for Nancy, but Jonathan somehow saved her life. And she had to repay that.

 

“Where do you live?” Barb asked, finding his keys in his pocket. “Down the road...where Cornwallis and Kerley meet...can’t…” He groaned, his eyes closing as he slipped out of consciousness. Barb swore under her breath, helping Jonathan to feet. She was never more thankful to be the tallest girl in school.

 

“Don’t worry. I’m gonna get you home...hopefully then I’ll get some answers.” She whispered, heading to his car.

Chapter Text

Barb looked at Jonathan in the passenger seat repeatedly, constantly checking to make sure he was still breathing. There was so much she still didn’t know or understand, but what did know was that she had to get him to his house. It felt more rational to bring him to a hospital, but what the hell would she tell him?

 

Following Jonathan’s instructions best she could, she found the road that he mentioned. “Cornwallis and Kerley.” She whispered, pulling into the road.

 

It was a long road that led through a large wooded area, and she felt nervous driving through it at this time of night. The never ending woods… the image of...of that monster kept coming to her in flashes. It’s pale gray skin, star fish like mouth.

 

What the hell was it?

 

After several minutes of driving down this road, she spotted a house. “Please let this be your house.” Barb climbed out of the car, going around and helping Jonathan out. It still made her go crazy. A guy she hardly knew ended up there at the right time to save her! Save her. Why though? How did he know? Damnit, she had so many questions!

 

Using his key, she opened the house door, which relieved her slightly. At least this was the right house.

 

Pushing open the door, Barb gasped as a dog rushed up to her, barking as it saw its human hurt. “I swear, I am trying to help him.” Barb stated, walking into the living room, closing the door behind her. She grunted, laying Jonathan down on the couch. It felt so strange being in his house, but it seemed her good nature would have to be set aside. “Alright, something for the blood.” She muttered, heading into the kitchen.

 

“Napkins, tissues, something.” She whispered to herself, eventually finding some paper towels that would do. Taking two, she headed back to the living room, tensing as Jonathan groaned. “Are you awake?’ She asked, kneeling in front of the couch.

 

Brown eyes slowly opened, a weak groan leaving him. “Hey, careful now. That was pretty intense.” Barb said, starting to wipe the blood off his ears.

 

“Feels like my fucking head is splitting open…” Jonathan groaned, wincing in pain as he tried to move. “Careful.” Barb warned, wiping the blood off his nose, “Where’s your aspirin?”. “Ugh, that won’t work on this, trust me…” He groaned.

 

Barb let out a sigh, looking at him. “I know you probably feel awful, but I need some answers Jonathan… What the hell was that thing, and what did you do to stop it?”.

 

Jonathan grimaced, remembering the terrifying monster...how...how he felt as if he had seen it before.

 

“That’s...that’s a long story.”

 

Morning had come, and Barb silently glanced at the unconscious teen on his bed. His soft breathing was the only noise in the room, his face cleaned off of all the blood that was on it last night.

 

Jonathan stood in the tree line, his arm shaking as he had it out stretched. His head pulsed, feeling ready to split in half, but he persisted. “Barb..move..!” He shouted, and thankfully she listened, hurrying over stand behind him. Now that she was out of the way, it was best to deal with this thing however he could.

 

Last night haunted her, plaguing her dreams and keeping her awake. The thought of it somehow...coming back to take her terrified her. Jonathan’s talk from last night still fresh. So much had happened last night, and it was hard to believe any of it.

 

This was Hawkins! Nothing ever happened here!

 

Yet...yet it did.

 

Now she knew there were monsters and people had superpowers! Just your everyday Tuesday apparently!

 

Barb let out a heavy sigh, looking back at Jonathan. Oddly enough, the craziest thing to her was that she spent the night at Jonathan’s house. She spent the night at a boy’s house! She’s never done that before, she didn’t even really talk to any guys! It was embarrassing, but it was better than trying to get home that late...especially with that... thing out there. At least sleeping on the floor wasn’t that bad, and Chester made sleeping less scary by sleeping beside her.

 

A soft groan cause his attention, making her look up to see Jonathan waking up slowly. She got up off the ground, standing up nervously. “Jonathan?” She asked. “Mmm..?” Jonathan grunted, slowly opening his eyes.

 

“Can...Will you be able to drive me back..? I have to get my car…” Barb explained, “Then I’ll have to head back home...my parents will still be thinking I was staying over at Nancy’s.”. Jonathan sat himself up, wincing in pain from the lingering headache. ‘Hey, it’s okay if you can’t. Maybe, later when your better.” Barb quickly said.

 

“No, no it’s okay. I can do it.” He took a moment to focus himself, before getting up on his feet, using the wall to support himself. Barb mouthed a quick thank you, nervously looking away as Jonathan changed out of his clothes from yesterday. However, she peeked over for a moment, noticing something odd on the back of his neck..

 

“I didn’t take you for a tattoo guy.” Barb said, making Jonathan turn around, confused by the girls words.

 

The three boys and El were hiding out at Castle Byers, knowing that Jonathan was home, they didn’t want to risk being spotted. “You seriously think this weirdo knows where Mike is?” Lucas asked.

 

“Please guys, you have to trust me.” Will pleaded, to which Lucas relented, “Do you guys have supplies?”.

 

Lucas nodded, hefting up his backpack and starting to pull things out. “Binoculars...from ‘Nam. Army knife...also from ‘Nam. Hammer, camouflage bandanna, and wrist rocket.” Lucas held his legendary wrist rocket up with pride. “You’re gonna take out a Demogorgon with a slingshot?” Dustin scoffed. “First of all, it’s a wrist rocket. And second of all, the Demogorgon’s not real. It’s made up. But if there is something out there, I’m gonna shoot it in the eye, and blind it.”.

 

Will flinched as Lucas pulled the string, slowly turning his attention to Dustin, “Dustin, what did you bring?”.

 

At the mention of his name, Dustin began emptying out the contents of his backpack onto the ground. The two boys stared blankly, quickly realizing Dustin only had food. They could hear Jonathan start shouting from the house, catching the boys attention. “Um, stay in the house. You can hang out in my room and eat whatever you find. Okay? We’re gonna meet up here, at 3pm. 3-0-0. Right here, Castle Byers. You should probably start walking at 2-5-5, it’ll say it on the clock in my room. Think you got it?” Will smiled as she nodded, waving goodbye as he hurried off to meet up with his brother.

 

Nancy walked through the halls, keeping her head low. Her week felt like it was getting worse as she noticed all the students staring at her… the party was supposed to make things better. It felt like it just got worse. She didn’t have Barb by her side to talk with her.

 

The bell ring, making her lift up her head. She saw Steve heading her way, and swore under her breath, closing her locker and quickly heading to class. Steve stopped in his tracks, watching her go with a huff.

 

Nancy hurried to class, taking her seat. The bell rang a final time, and she felt her stomach twist as she saw Barb’s chair was empty. She tried asking Ally if she knew where Barb was… No such luck. Hell, not even Robin knew, and she seemed to know where everyone was. She glanced back at the chair silently, before turning her focus onto the teacher.

 

Jonathan’s fingers rapped on his steering wheel, keeping his eyes on the road. His head still ached, but he was starting to feel better. God, he needed to remember to never do that again. It was one of the worst feelings ever.

 

“Hey...thanks for helping me out.” Barb said. He nodded, “Yeah, your welcome.”. He put a small smile, but it faded, the two soon sitting in silence again.

 

Several minutes passed, before he looked at her, “What did you mean about me not seeming like a tattoo guy?”. Barb lifted her head up, looking at him, “While you were getting dressed, there was a tattoo on the back of your neck. I almost didn’t see it.”. Jonathan rose a brow, but assumed she was talking about a mole or birthmark he never noticed before. He couldn’t exactly just look behind his neck with ease. 

 

Jonathan turned his attention back to the road, spotting Steve’s house, pulling up to the road. “Thanks Jonathan, for everything.” Barb gave him a small wave, climbing out and heading to his car. Jonathan returned the small wave, getting ready to drive back. He had to get back to school before people noticed, then again it wasn’t likely anyone would.

 

Barbara made her way to her car, about to unlock it, when her eyes wandered up to Steve’s house. Flashes of the night before came to her mind, remembering how she was mere moments from death.

 

Her hand slowly dropped from the car handle, turning back to Jonathan’s car. “Jonathan!” She shouted as he was about to drive off. The boy stopped, confused, “What’s wrong?”. Barb ran over to his car, leaning over to speak to him through the window.

 

“What happened yesterday wasn’t normal. Those things, they aren’t normal. Something about all of this is just so strange, and I know you can sense it too. I want to help, I want to know what’s happening.” Barb explained, feeling more determined than she ever had in her life.

 

Jonathan was silent for a moment, before slowly nodding, “Alright, get your car, and we’ll head back to my house.”

Chapter Text

El sat silently in Castle Byers, multiple wrappers littering the ground around her. She picked up the walkie, messing with the dials a bit. Eventually she got bored, heading over to the house. Will always kept the back door unlocked for her now, letting her in easy. The girl slowly entered the house, glancing around to make sure no one else was here. Chester ran up to her, giving a single joyful bark before sitting down. “Good dog.” She smiled, petting the dogs head.

 

Knowing no one was in the house, she made her way deeper into the home, ending up in Jonathan’s room. Walking over to the bed, she used her powers to turn the dials, playing some of his music. Will had really gotten her into it, she had never heard music before, so this was...fun.

 

After listening to some music, she headed into the living room, noticing the phone. She picked up the phone, listening to the dial tone and softly mimicking it.

 

Putting the phone down, the girl glanced over to the tv. She made her way over, turning it on, flicking through channels until one caught her attention. A coca cola commercial with a jolly jingle ...but it just back memories of the labs... of Papa.

 

She quickly turned off the TV, taking a shaky breath. Her head shot up, eyes widening as she heard a car pull up.

 

Karen walked around the house, taking a shaky breath as she moved around. Holly was fast asleep on the couch, letting her get some quick deep cleaning done. It was a good distraction, and she honestly needed on. The woman let out a deep sigh, scrubbing away at the counters when the light above her flickered.

 

“Ugh, goddamnit Ted, I already asked him to change the light bulb.” She exhaled, walking over to grab a new bulb. She didn’t even know why she tried to have him do things anymore. It’s not like he was going to ever do it!

 

Her fingers touched the bulb, when the lights above flickered again. Karen grabbed the bulb, about change the lights when suddenly all the lights began to flicker. “W-What..?” The mother gasped, looking around startled at the insane phenomenon. All of them flickered rapidly, and then she heard Holly crying from the living room.

 

“Holly, Holly?!” Karen ran into the room, finding her youngest sitting up crying as she looked around. “Oh my god, sweetie.” She picked her daughter up, looking at the lights in panic, hiding her daughter’s face in her blouse. Holly whined, clinging to her mother when she suddenly stopped crying, concerning Karen even more.

 

The young girl lifted her hand, pointing at the light flickering the most right above a picture of Mike, right before they all shut off.

 

El quickly ran to the back door, slamming it behind her as she hurried outside. Jonathan rose a brow hearing the back door slam shut, slowly stepping inside the house. “Will? Is that you?” Jonathan called out, looking around the house. There was no response, so he just assumed it was Chester being Chester. He glanced back, seeing Barb pull up and waved her in to follow.

 

A nervous breath left Barb, looking up to the house. She never expected to be doing anything like this. Missing school to hunt down monsters!

 

Swallowing a lump in her throat, she followed him inside, giving up on trying to rationalize anything. All of this was already crazy enough as is, and there was no reasonable explanation for it! What did matter is that they had to figure out what was going on, and how to stop it.

 

“Ready?” Jonathan asked, walking into the dining room with all of Will’s vision drawings, setting them down to try and figure out what could help them. “Whenever you are.” She responded, sitting across from him.

 

Nancy made her way to Steve’s table, hearing Carol and Tommy bicker about the pool. She put her backpack down, sitting beside Steve. Tommy slapped Carol’s leg, making her take it off with a giggle. Nancy tilted her head, turning her focus to him, “Hey, Tommy. When you left, did you see Barb?”.

 

“What?” He asked. “Barbara. She’s not here today.” Nancy explained. “I seriously have no idea who you’re talking about.” Tommy replied, making him and Carol giggle.

 

Steve huffed, knowing it wasn’t a good time to be mocking Nancy. “Don’t be an ass, Tommy. Did you see her leave last night or not?” Steve asked, poking at his food a bit. Nancy shot him a grateful look, before turning to the two.

 

“No, she was gone when we left.” Tommy said.

 

Nancy bit her lip a bit, the pit in her stomach grew. With Mike going missing, and that crazy phone call, she was starting to worry something really wrong was happening. Even when Steve tried reassuring her, telling her Barb was ‘probably just skipping’, the feeling didn’t go away.

 

Will, Lucas, and Dustin walked around, searching for any good rocks that they could use for the sling. “I thought I found one, but it’s too big.” Will huffed softly, dropping his rock. Dustin looked up, turning to the two, “So, do you think Eleven was born with her powers, like the X-Men, or do you think she acquired them, like… Green Lantern.”.

 

“She’s not a superhero. She’s a weirdo.” Lucas stated, picking up more rocks. Will frowned to himself, looking at the ground. They had no idea he was just like that ‘Weirdo’.

 

“The X-Men are weirdos, super cool ones too. Like Jean Gray.” Will stated. His mom kinda reminded him of Jean Gray...well, more so Dark Phoenix. “Oh my god, she totally could be Jean Gray.” Dustin chuckled, getting an eye roll from Lucas.

 

The boys continued searching, when they heard a chuckle, making the three turn around and see two familiar kids walking over. “Shit.” Dustin whispered.

 

“Lookie here, the freak show. What are you losers doing back here?” Troy asked. “Probably looking for their missing friend.” James stated.

 

Dustin glared, “That’s not funny. It’s serious. He’s in danger.”. Will grimaced, looking at Dustin.

 

Troy scoffed, “I hate to break it to you, Toothless, but he’s not in danger. He’s dead. That’s what my dad says. He said he was probably killed by some other freak show.”. The two boys laughed, and Will grimaced, holding his arms lightly. “Come on, guys. Just ignore them.” Lucas said, walking off. Troy stuck out his leg, making Lucas fall forward. Dustin and Will hurried over, frowning as the two boys walked off laughing.

 

“Y-You okay..?” Will asked. “Ugh, yeah.” Lucas grimaced, rubbing his chin. Dustin watched James and Troy walk off, then bent down, picking up a rock. The mood lifted slightly, the boys smiling as they had their perfect rock now.

 

“What about...this one?” Barb asked, picking up a picture. Jonathan glanced over, tilting his head as he looked at it. The drawing was of...what looked to be the gymnasium, only there was a giant pool in it, and someone floating. Some drawings were clearer than others, but it was always just a frame of the future, a picture.

 

He shook his head slowly, tsking, “I don’t think so. We’re trying to find one’s that show the monster.”. Barb nodded, looking through the pictures again, “Is it alright if I ask you about...you know, your powers?. “Uh, yeah sure. Go ahead. I’ll answer whatever I can.” Jonathan replied.

 

“Alright, were you born with these powers?” Barb asked. The boy paused for a moment, thinking, “Yeah. At least, I’m pretty sure. Believe it or not my mom is actually really secretive about the powers. She only ever talks about it with us when it involves some sort of rules.”. “Let me guess, the rules are never talk about it?” “Bingo.”.

 

Barb went through the photos, when she paused on a drawing, shaking Jonathan lightly, “Look at this one.”. Jonathan leaned over, tilting his head lightly as he looked at it. It was a hallway it seemed, a man in a black suit with what looked like white hair standing above someone on the ground. The two silently looked at each other, getting a strange feeling from the photo.

 

Hopper pulled up to the Hawkins Library, climbing out after parking. Something about that lab didn’t feel right, and he was going to find out what he could about the place. They knew something about this whole situation.

 

“Hey, Marissa. How you doin’?’ Hopper asked, entering the library with Powell. “You have a lot of nerve showing up here.” Marissa stated, staring down the Chief. Hopper grimaced, knowing where this would go.

 

Thankfully, it ended rather quickly. Marissa walked them over, opening up two little drawers full of newspapers. “We have the New York Times, the Post, all the big one. Organized by year and topic. You can find the corresponding microfiche in the reading room.” Marissa explained, gesturing to the room on the left.

 

“Okay, we’re looking for anything on the Hawkins National Laboratory.”

 

“Shouldn’t you be looking for that missing kid?” “Yeah, we are. Uh, so, why don’t you start with the Times, and we’ll check out the Post.” Hopper said. Marissa scoffed, walking around to grab what she could, while Powell gave the Chief a judgmental look. Hopper just shrugged, getting to work on searching for any newspapers based on Hawkins Lab.

 

The two officers got to researching, searching for anything they could use. A few articles brought up experimentation, a lawsuit from a woman named Terry Ives, and something about a stolen child. Hopper rubbed his forehead as he was moved to the final newspaper, and this one was the most shocking of then the rest of them, this one having noticeable scorch marks on the corners.

 

‘Woman, Joyce Horowitz, a former lab assistant at Hawkins Laboratory, wanted by Federal Government for stealing highly dangerous lab material crucial to the labs works’

 

“Oh my god, Joyce.” Hopper gaped, looking at the all to familiar face.

Chapter Text

El paced outside of Castle Byers, wondering if she should go back to look at the clock. A gentle breeze blew, making her hold herself. It was good she went in earlier to borrow one of Will’s jackets, it was cold.

 

As she paced, a noise caught her attention, making her look up. A cat hissed at her from one of the trees, before scurrying off. She held her arms, looking as it ran off, shaking as the memories came back to her, whimpering softly. They wanted her to hurt it, but she didn’t want to.

 

Brenner let out a disappointed sigh, seeing she refused to do it. He slowly nodded, and two of his men grabbed her, forcing the girl away, taking her to the dreaded room. Eleven desperately screamed for her papa, struggling greatly. He didn’t care, watching and listening as she was taken away. They went to lock her away, but she snapped, NO MORE.

 

The first guard was thrown into the wall, the second had his neck snapped. A weak breath left her, the girl leaning against the wall as blood ran down from her nose and eyes. Brenner walked over, looking at the damage, then turned to the girl. Taking a moment, he made his way into the small room, approaching the girl. Eleven tensed as he approached her. His hands reached out for her, slowly cupping her face.

 

“Incredible.” He remarked, ignoring the girls soft cries. Brenner leaned down, scoping the girl up into his arms. Eleven continued to cry, lying in his arms. Brenner never took his eyes off of the girl as he walked down the tiled halls.

 

“El!” The girl looked over, seeing Will, Dustin, and Lucas coming over, “Are you okay?”. She gave a quick nod. “Alright, climb on. We only have a few hours.” Will stated, climbing onto his bike, and patted the spot behind him. Eleven made her way over, holding on as they rode off.

 

Nancy leaned against the lockers, watching Carol run her mouth. It was nothing new. Okay, she didn’t mean to make it sound mean, but it just wasn’t the stuff she wanted to hear right now! Mike was still missing and now it seemed like Barb vanished too! Not even her mother knew where she was!

 

“So, I told Mr. Mundy ‘The solution to ten plus Y equal blow me.’” Carol said, making Tommy laugh.  

 

Gross.

 

“Bull, if you did that, you’d be in detention right now.” Steve stated. “Saturday.” Carol replied. “I bet Mr. Mundy’s still a virgin.” Tommy quipped. “Oh, he’s so a virgin!” the two continued at it, and eventually Nancy had enough. Slinging her bag over her shoulder, the girl walked off.

 

“Jeez, who shoved a stick up Ms. Perfect’s ass?” Tommy chuckled, getting a glare from Steve. “What the hell man? Girl’s brother is missing, give her some fucking decency.” Steve huffed, getting up to chase after her, “Nancy, wait up!”.

 

The four walked through the woods, and El glanced back, noticed the gash on Lucas’ chin. “Why’d they hurt you?”. Lucas looked up confused, and El pointed at his chin, pointing out the scar.

 

“This? It’s my battle scar… from ‘Nam.” Lucas replied, not wanting to really talk with her. “He got tripped by an asshole named Troy at school.” Dustin explained.

 

“Asshole?” Eleven asked, and Will almost tripped hearing her swear.

 

“Dustin, don’t teach her swears!” Will exclaimed. “It’s called the American dictionary!” Dustin remarked.

 

Barb and Jonathan groaned, seemingly hitting a roadblock with the photos. They didn’t even know what else to look for, the monster seemed to hardly show up. There was one of some weird black octopus creature in the sky, but Jonathan was sure it just got mixed in from Will’s actual drawings.

 

“So, we’re out of pictures to go through. Can’t we just ask your brother to make more?” Barb asked.

 

“It doesn’t work like that.” Jonathan sighed, “He only gets flashes usually, in his sleep. And then he draws them out. It’s like if I could take pictures of the future. We know a part of it, but not the whole thing. So it might not help anyway.”.

 

“Well..it helped me. I mean, I’d probably be hurt or worse if you didn’t look at those pictures. So I say put some more faith in your brother.” Barb stated, making Jonathan smirk a bit, nodding in agreement. “Alright, then I suggest, maybe we head back to Steve’s house, I mean the woods around it. There’s probably something there that could help us.”.

 

Joyce hummed softly as she took someone’s order, placing it into the cash register. “Alright, that will be a total of $10.23.” Joyce took the cash from the woman, and handed her her changed, “Have a nice day, Olivia!”. Olivia made her way out the door, and before the door closed Hopper caught it, making his way in. Joyce looked up from her station, putting on a small smile seeing Hopper. “Hello Hopper.” She said, before going to work again.

 

“Joyce, I need to talk to you.” Hopper stated. “I can’t, I’m in the middle of work-” “Joyce, I know about the labs.” Her eyes widened, turning to face him, her mouth agape. It took a moment for her to compose herself, and she forced a calm expression. ”Donald, I’m calling my break!”Joyce shouted, waiting for her boss's approval before shooing off to the back. She made sure no one saw, pulling him into the back room and closing the door behind them, locking it.

 

“Joyce-” “How do you know?” She quickly asked, her tone intense. Hopper took a moment to process how such a small woman could be so intimidating. Taking a moment, he eventually pulled the news article from his pocket, holding it up, “Wanna explain to me why you’re wanted by the Federal Government for stealing classified lab equipment? Also the fact that it seemed you were some techie lab assistant there. Might I add how bold of a move it is to remain in Hawkins after committing that crime.”.

 

“Protecting my family is not a crime Hopper! You do not understand the situation, and you are putting us both at risk by talking about this, I mean they could be listening!” Joyce exclaimed.

 

This caught Hopper’s attention, “Who’s listening to us?”.

 

Nancy headed home, stopping at the door confused as she heard sobbing. “Mom?” Nancy called out, making her way into the house. The sobs got louder, and she made her way into the living room, her heart breaking finding her mother crying over a photo of Mike. Her concern for Barb was still strong, but her concern for her mother was more intense.

 

The girl put her bag down, making her way over to her mother, sitting by her. “Mom..? Are you okay?” It was a stupid question, but she had to ask it still.

 

Karen lifted her head up, slowly whimpering, “Oh god, Nancy… I’m going crazy.. I was in her with Holly, then suddenly all the lights started flickering, and Holly calls out for Mike..! T-Then the phone rings, I j-just hear his breathing, and then the phone shorts out!”.

 

“The phone what..?” Nancy asked, staring at her mother stunned.

 

“Hopper, you don’t under-” Joyce’s rant was cut off by Hopper’s walkie turning on. He held up his hand to shush her real quick, turning it on. “Hopper here. What do you got?” He asked. The Chief’s eyes widened as Callahan explained, quickly putting his hat back on, “This conversation isn’t over!”. Hopper hurried outside the store, getting in his car quickly.’

 

He started the car, turning on the siren as he pulled out of the parking lot. Driving down the roads quickly.

 

The four kids wandered through the night, making their way down the road. El lead the way, having a pep in her step as she approached Mike’s house. “Here.” She responded. Will grimaced a bit, seeing the lights on in the house. They’d be in trouble if they were seen, there was no way Mrs. Wheeler wouldn’t tell their parents after all.

 

And Will was not in the mood to see his house burning from his mother’s rage.

 

“This is Mike’s house, I know it’s pretty big, but there’s no way he’s hiding here.” Will replied when El told them he was here. This unfortunately led to a fight between them all. Will did his best to defend her but was still slightly disappointed, Lucas stated they should have called the cops, and Dusting was just annoyed. Will huffed, but stopped hearing police sirens. They all turned, seeing multiple police cars and even an ambulance speeding down the street.

 

“Mike..” Will gasped. All of them burst into gear, grabbing their bikes. Living in Hawkins for years, they knew all the shortcuts, and were able to keep a decent pace with the cop cars.

 

Joyce stood in the back room of Melvald’s general store, shaking as she stared at the newspaper in her hand. All the painful memories coming back to her. Her anger grew as she read through it, could you really fucking consider stealing back your child stealing classified equipment because those bastards tried to us him as a weapon?!

 

Her fist clenched around the paper, watching it as burned away in her fist. The fire slowly died out, and she dropped the ashes of the paper on the ground, stomping on it. No one was going to ever take her son away again, ever.

 

Jonathan rubbed the back of his neck, going through the pictures one more time with Barb. As he went through, he noticed an odd one. It seemed to be him talking with Will, but there was a mirror behind him. Through the mirror, he could see something on the back of his neck. Barb leaned over, looking. “I’m not the only one that’s noticed it then. There’s no way it’s a birthmark or a mole, Jonathan. It says ‘001’. We just have no idea why.” Barb stated. Jonathan grimaced, putting his hand on the back of his neck, feeling the area where this supposed tattoo was.

 

The four kids eventually caught up, finding a bunch of ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars gathered out by the water.

 

“Oh, Jesus.” Hopper climbed out of his car, hurrying over in a panic. He joined the others standing by, watching silently as a body was pulled from the water. “Oh, God. Please tell me it’s not the kid.” Hopper whispered, almost praying.

 

They stopped their bikes behind a fire truck, climbing off to see what was going one. They hi behind it, but peeked out, watching.

 

Two officers pulled out the body out of the water, laying it down, letting everyone get a look. A dark blue sweater underneath a bright brown jacket. Hopper’s breathing grew heavy, the man slowly closing his eyes. Confirming it was the boy, he stepped away, knowing what he had to do now.

 

“It’s not Mike ...it can’t be…” Will whimpered, watching as they pulled the body to shore.

 

Lucas looked over, then closed his eyes, slowly shaking his head, “It’s Mike. It’s really Mike.”. All of them were devastated, El especially, the girl on the verge of tears. They all stepped back. El tried reaching out for Will, to comfort the boy like her. He shrugged her off, whimpering, breaking down.

 

“Don’t touch me..! We were s-supposed to h-help him..! We were supposed t-to find him alive..! You said he was alive..! Why did you lie to us..?! To me..?! I thought...I thought..!” Will struggled to talk more, tears streaming down his cheeks as he ran to his bike.

 

“Will, come on man don’t do this… Will!” Lucas pleaded, tears rolling down his cheeks. “Will, where are you going? Will!” Dustin called out, watching the boy ride off.

 

Karen cried heavily, clutching the photo of her son in her hands, bursting into tears, “I heard him! I heard my boy…!”. Nancy clung to her mother, trying to soothe the frantic woman in any way. “Karen?” Ted called out, hearing screaming. The man made his way in, holding Holly. Nancy looked up to her father, her heart aching. Karen just cried, while Nancy did her best to soothe her mother.

 

Will slammed open the door, making Jonathan and Barb look up from the table, quickly covering up the pictures. “Will?” The older brother got up, immediately growing concerned seeing his brother, “Hey, what’s wrong buddy?”. Will just whimpered, latching onto his brother tightly, and sobbing into his shoulder. Jonathan was shocked by this, crouching down to hold his brother better, shooting Barb a concerned look.

 

The Wheeler family tried comforting each other, when the sound of sirens caught their attention, making them all feel instant dread.

Chapter Text

“A trooper found something in the, uh… water that’s at the quarry. Our working theory right now is that Mike...crashed his bike, he hit his head. He made his way down to the quarry, and uh...because of his head injury, he misstepped, accidentally falling in.” Hopper explained, but every word he said was distorted.

 

Karen stared at the wall silently, the world around her seeming to stop as she was just left in shock. “Mrs. Wheeler? Mrs. Wheeler?” He voice became clear, making her look over, “Do you understand what I’m saying?”.

 

“T-That can’t be...I heard Mike on the phone.. I know it…!” Nancy exclaimed, holding Holly as she failed to calm herself down. “Sweetheart, that was just your imagination. You were worried, all of us were.” Ted stated, getting a glare from his daughter.

 

“No...Nancy’s right...whoever you found...it’s not my Micheal… you don’t understand… W-We both talked to him, I saw the lights flashing..!” Karen exclaimed, standing up. “Mrs. Wheeler, it very easily could have been one of the power outages Hawkins has been facing over the week.” Hopper explained, trying to rationalize with the woman, and of course Karen was not having any of it.

 

Karen stepped up, getting to his level best she could, “M-My son is out there...he is hiding… from whatever the hell is out there, some sort of monster that is still after my son…! I heard it, and I heard him screaming..!”.

 

Ted stepped forward, gently grabbing his wife, “Come on, you need some rest Karen. You need to stop this, please dear...”. Karen whimpered, trying to get out of her husband’s arms, but he led her upstairs. Hopper exhaled loudly, watching Nancy soon follow with Holly. This was not how he wanted things to end. He just hoped they’d be able to get over it better than he could.

 

He sighed, hearing a door upstairs slam shut. The man tsked softly, heading outside to his car, driving off. He felt for this family, he really did. This situation was to familiar, too close to home. Hell, for a while he saw and heard Sarah too...he just hoped they could get through it together.

 

Jonathan sighed, tucking Will in. He was about to get up when his brother grabbed his wrist, “Don’t go…” he whimpered. Jonathan nodded slowly, “Alright.”. Not wanting to leave his distraught brother alone, Jonathan laid down on the bed, pulling the sheets over the both of them. Will rolled onto his side, latching onto his brother, making the older boy sigh. He heard an engine starting, and he assumed Barb was heading home.

 

Barb pulled out of the driveway, taking a shaky breath as she started driving, tears threatening to roll down her eyes. Jesus, she had been gone all day, she couldn’t even begin to imagine the hell Nancy was going through. Glancing at her watch, the girl pressed her foot down on the gas more, making it her goal to get to the Wheeler house to see her friend. She needed to be there for her. It’s what friends were supposed to do.

 

“Wheeler’s body was found in the water of this quarry by state police earlier this evening. It was discovered by state trooper David O’Bannon, just after dark. The state police are mounting an investigation to determine Wheeler’s cause of death, but an initial inquiry-” the second the news was out, Joyce ran out of work, hurrying to her car. The mother floored it, knowing she needed to get home as soon as she could.

 

Her tires screeched as she pulled up to her house, quickly climbing out of the car and running to her house. She pushed the door open, growing concerned as it was already unlocked. She reflexively made sure her powers were ready, running deeper into the house. “Jonathan, Will, where-” She stopped at Will’s doorway, looking into the room

 

Both of her boys were fast asleep on the bed, Will clinging to his older brother. Chester loudly snored, sleeping at Will’s feet.

 

Joyce’s heart beat calmed, the woman taking a shaky breath as she walked over to the bed, not noticing the girl hidden in the closet. El silently watched the woman come into the room, and walk over to the bed. “Night boys...sleep tight…” Joyce whispered, kissing both of them on their foreheads, growing increasingly thankful both of her boys were safe. Whispering one final goodbye, she left the room, closing the door behind her.

 

Seeing as the woman was gone, El went back to playing with the radio. There was a faint static, but it didn’t wake up either of the boys. The static cracked a bit as she continued messing with it, when suddenly she heard something.

 

“You’re wondering who I am, machine or mannequin.”

 

Blood ran down the girl’s nose, her eyes slowly widening. She climbed out of the closest, hurrying over to Will and shaking him. The boy groaned, “Five more minutes, mom…”. “Will, it’s Mike.” El said, turning up the audio.

 

“With parts made in Japan. I am the modern man.”

 

Will pushed himself up, being careful to not wake his brother up as he stared at the walkie. That was Mike’s voice, and that was him singing Mr. Roboto! He had been obsessed with that song for months! Eleven held out the walkie to him, which he slowly took, Mike’s voice still singing. Growing frantic, Will pulled up the antenna, trying to reach out for him.

 

“M-Mike..? Is that you? It’s me, Will. D-Do you copy..?” Will whimpered softly as all he heard was static now, “M-Mike..?”. Eleven slowly closed her eyes, taking a shaky breath. Will lifted his head up, staring at her stunned. “Was...was that…?”

 

“Mike.” She responded.

 

Karen laid in bed, moving around in her sleep when she woke up to a voice. “Mike..?” The mother groaned, pushing herself up confused, looking around her room. “Micheal..?”

 

“Karen!” The woman gasped awake, looking around confused, “Wake up, dear.”. Ted stood beside her, gently shaking her arm.

 

“Ted…? W-What time is it?” She asked, slowly sitting herself up. “Almost 8:00. We have to go.” Ted explained, sitting beside her. “Mmm, go where?” Karen questioned.

 

“To see our son.”

 

The town was mostly silent, the death of the boy hitting everyone hard, especially the families that knew him the most. Jonathan was up, making Will’s favorite breakfast as Joyce made her way to her youngest son’s room. She left out a soft sigh, knocking. Her mind was still rattled by Hopper yesterday, but what mattered now was being there for her son.

 

After another knock, a soft voice called for her to come in. Joyce gave a sad smile as she entered the room, her eyes falling onto her son who hid himself under the sheets. “Hi, sweetheart.” Joyce walked over, sitting on the edge of the bed, “How are you feeling baby?”.

 

Will peeked his head from the sheets slowly, a distraught look clear on his face. “I-I don’t think I can go to school today, mom… I just…” Will grimaced, and Joyce put a hand on his forehead, pushing her son’s hair back. “You don’t have to explain yourself to me dear. I understand.”

 

“Um, well Jonathan is going to school and I have to go to work...so how about, you come with me to work, and I’ll let you take whatever you want there. Come hang out and the fun Staff Only room.” Joyce smiled, hoping to get him to come.

 

He shook his head a bit, pulling his sheets up some more. “No...I just...I just wanna stay home.” Will replied.

 

This made her frown, the woman biting her lip a bit. “I-I don’t like the idea of you being alone, sweetheart. Why don’t I see if Jonathan will stay home-?” “No, it’s okay mom… I’ll be fine, I have Chester.” The boy said, watching the dog climb onto his bed.

 

A sigh left her, but she slowly nodded, “Okay, you can stay. But if you need anything, do not be afraid to call me. Okay, baby?”. “I got it, mom.” Will replied, making her smile a bit, kissing his forehead again. “I’ll try to come home early.” Giving him one more kiss, she got up, heading to the living room, “And don’t forget to eat breakfast!”

 

Waiting for a few minutes, Will climbed out of bed, grabbing his walkie. “Lucas? Dustin? Does anybody copy? Please, this is urgent and serious. Any of you, please respond.” Will bit his lip hearing radio silence, holding the walkie close and praying they’d respond, “Lucas, Dustin...guys please…”

 

He was about to give up when Lucas responded, “What do you want, Will? I’m not in the mood.”

 

“It’s about Mike. Please, I need you to grab Dustin, and get over here. Over and out…” Will put down the antenna, turning to El, who slowly nodded from her spot.

Chapter Text

Hopper sat in the coroner’s office, bouncing his leg anxiously. “What’s taking so long?” He asked, looking over to the receptionist.

 

“Well, everything’s been a bit chaotic around here without Gary.” She responded. Hopper looked over, “Without Gary? Where’s Gary?”. “Well, I thought you knew. Those men from State, they...they sent Gary home last night.”. This confused Hopper more. “So who did the autopsy?” He asked. “Someone from State.” She simply responded.

 

This was all so strange for him to process, why would someone from State be here to do the autopsy?

 

Karen, Ted, and Nancy stood behind the glass window, watching into the morgue. One of Karen’s friends was thankfully watching Holly...no child should see this. Ted put a hand on his wife’s shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze. Nancy just stared forward, unable to take her eyes off the covered body. It couldn’t be Mike...it just couldn’t be.

 

The doctor pulled down the cover, revealing a familiar young boy. A startled gasp left Nancy, the teen looking away as she was on the verge of tears. It soon became too much, the girl walking off as she began gagging.Ted shook his head, swearing, while Karen kept staring.

 

Karen took a shaky breath, looking at the body. “M-Mike has a set of moles on his back...shaped like the little dipper. C-Can you show that to m-to us…?” She asked, making Ted raise a brow.

 

Nancy sat in the waiting room with Hopper, wringing her hands together anxiously, her cheeks still wet from crying. “Hey, how are you doing?” Hopper asked, looking at the girl who sniffled. She slowly lifted her head up, looking at the police chief, “I...I don’t know…”.

 

Hopper glanced at the door, then back to her. “How long has this stuff been going on? The lights, the phone call you got, and um...hearing him?” Hopper asked.

 

“First phone call...the night before you told us about the bike...I...I didn’t want to tell you cause I know you’d think I was crazy...a-and maybe I am crazy…I’ve never had problems before, b-but this is an insane situation. I just...I don’t know...I don’t know if I’ll be okay...if we’ll be okay...I never got to tell him how much I cared.” Hopper frowned, watching the teenager break down into sobs again. He knew the pain of losing a loved one, but having to go through it at such a young age.

 

The Chief was about to comfort her, when the doors swung open, making them both look up startled. “Karen, we need to sign-!” “I’m not signing anything! I don’t know what you think that thing is in there, but that is not our son!”. Nancy and Ted looked at her concerned. “Karen, please-” the mother ignored them all, storming off outside. Nancy bit her nails nervously, picking her things and hurrying after her with her father.

 

Barb arrived to school, walking around nervously. God, she was hoping that there was the slimmest chance Nancy was there. She wanted to find her best friend, and just tell her everything she could. The redhead arrived to first period, frowning upon finding Nancy wasn’t there. She sighed softly, taking a seat, looking at the empty desk beside her. “Please be okay, Nance.” Barb whispered to herself.

 

Ted drove the car, stopping once he spotted his wife. “Nancy, stay here dear.” Ted said, hurrying out of the car. “Karen! Karen!” He shouted, chasing after her, taking his wife’s arm, “Dear, you need to stop.”. “Just go home, Ted! Take Nancy and go home!” She shouted.

 

“Dear, you need to listen to me, now is not an okay time to just storm off. We need to deal with this as a family. We have a funeral to plan!” Ted explained.

 

This only angered her more. “As a family?! Ted, last I checked I have been the only one dealing with our family for the past seven years! You go to work, come home, watch TV, then sleep on your goddamn chair! Our children would be fighting and you’re always to busy eating that goddamn chicken! And as for a funeral, what funeral?! That thing, that thing is not our SON!”.

 

“Karen, you need to listen to yourself. There’s no monster, our son isn’t in the lights, and he isn’t calling you. You need to listen to yourself for christs sake.” Ted stated.

 

“It’s crazy, and I know it is! It is fucking crazy, Ted! I know what I heard, I heard Mike! I know what my son is like, and I clearly can’t say the same about you! My son is calling out for me. And he’s out there scared and alone! I don’t care if anyone believes me! I will never stop looking for him until he is safe at home!” Karen shouted, stomping off. Ted let out a heavy sigh, noticing the crowd looking. He shook his head, making his way back to the car.

 

El sat in Castle Byers, tinkering with the walkie. The three boys sat across from her, watching. “We keep losing signal, but you guys heard it...right?” Will asked. ‘Yeah, I heard a baby.” Lucas responded. “Lucas, where is there a baby around here?” Will scoffed, “I’m serious, it was Mike! He sang last night!”. “Sang?” Dustin asked.

 

“It was that one song he likes, ‘Mr. Roboto’! El heard it too!” Will exclaimed.

 

‘Well, if the weirdo heard-” “Are you sure you’re on the right channel?” Dustin asked.

 

Will shook his head, looking at El, “No...I think she’s channeling him. Like Professor X… She can...tell where he is.”. Dustin grinned, to which Lucas scoffed. “Are you actually believing this crap?” He asked, “They pulled Mike’s body out of the water! He’s dead!”. They were all silent from the outburst.

 

Before anyone could talk, they saw El trying to mess with the walkie. Will frowned, nudging her lightly, “It won’t work. We need to get her to a stronger radio.”.

 

Dustin grinned, “Mr. Clarke’s Heathkit ham shack.”. “It’s at the school. There is no way we’re gonna get the weirdo in there without anyone noticing. I mean...look at her.” Lucas said, and they all turned to her. Will turned to her, thinking back to a weird vision drawing he had.

 

There was what looked to a young girl, long dark brown hair waving out, wearing some old clothes.

 

“I got it.” The four hurried back to the house, Will leading El into his mother’s room. He pulled open the closet, eventually finding old clothes in a forgotten donation box. He was thankful for his mom forgetting to give these away. In the box was also an old wig, twin braids running down it. If he was right, it was from when she was in the Wizard of Oz play back in middle school.

 

Taking out the wig, Will noticed some of her makeup on her dresser. Joyve hardly ever wore makeup, but when she did, Will thought she was the prettiest lady in Hawkins. Taking some of the makeup, Will hurried into his room, carrying the wig, makeup, and some clothes.

 

El was startled by him putting makeup on her, but eventually relaxed into it, putting some blush on her cheeks and a little lip gloss.

 

Will stepped out of the room, waiting in the hall with the two boys. The door eventually opened, and they looked back, watching El step out. She had undone the braids, making the wig long and curly, and she wore slightly faded lavender button up, dark blue jeans, a dark green jacket, and white shoes. They weren’t the nicest clothes, but it was what they had.

 

“Wow, she looks really good.” Dustin smiled. El smiled, walking over a mirror, staring at herself in the mirror, stunned. “Good.” She whispered out.

 

Hopper rode over to Melvad’s, spotting Joyce outside on a smoke break. The woman looked up, seeing him, dropping her cigarette in attempts to run. Hopper thankfully caught up to her, running over. “Joyce, I need your help!” This caused her to stop for a moment, turning back to look at the Chief. “I think there’s something going on.” He said.

 

The two went into the store through the back entrance, Joyce glancing around to make sure no one was around. “What do you want, Hopper?” She scowled. “I know your angry about yesterday, I am too, but I won’t ask about that right now. I want to talk about Mike’s body.” He stated.

 

This startled her, “W-Why..? It’s awful yeah, but why talk about it with me?”

 

“Because I’m beginning to think this isn’t just a normal case. Gary was sent home last night, and the autopsy was performed by someone from State. Why are a bunch of State guys getting invested in the death of a small town boy?” Hopper asked, and Joyce looked at him with a concerned expression.

 

The three boys started riding to the school. El held onto Will, looking around at all the stores they passed. It was a nice change of scenery. The town was nice, lots of people. As they rode around, she spotted a familiar face. Benny was walking out of a grocery store, heading to his car. The girl smiled a bit, waving as they rode by. Benny noticed her, giving her a smile and wave in return, not recognizing her.

 

As they passed, she couldn’t help but frown though. She barely saved him from the bad people. It worried her.

 

How many other people were going to be hurt because of her..?

 

Her eyes looked over to Will in front of her, worried. If they found her, they’d find him too. If they knew he was like her...they’d take him away.

Chapter Text

The four of them arrived to the school, El looking around curiously. “Alright, put your sad faces on, guys.” Lucas stated as they walked around. El mimicked a crying motion by dragging her fingers down her cheeks. The PA machine announced an assembly to honor Mike, but they didn’t care right now.

 

What did matter was getting to that radio, and letting El reach out to Mike.

 

Will was about to open the door, when a familiar voice called out to them. “Boys?” They all tensed up, turning around to see Mr. Clarke. “Hey.” Lucas said. “Assembly’s about to start.” Mr. Clarke stated.

 

“W-We know...we’re all just...upset. We needed some alone time.” Will explained. “To cry.” Dustin added.

 

Their teacher let out a soft sigh, “Yeah, listen… I get it. I do. I know how hard this is, but let’s just be there for Mike, huh? And then the Heathkit is all yours for the rest of the day.” Mr. Clarke explained. The boys nodded, smiling a bit. Mr. Clarke turned his attention to El, “I don’t believe we’ve met. What’s your name?”.

 

El lifted her head up, “Ele-” “Eleanor! She’s my cousin from Grand Rapids, Michigan.” Will quickly explained, “She’s here for Mike’s funeral.”. Lying to Mr. Clarke felt wrong, but they couldn’t have anything go wrong, they needed to contact Mike.

 

“Ah, well, welcome to Hawkins Middle, Eleanor. I wish you were here under better circumstances.” Mr. Clarke said. “Thank you.” El softly responded. “Alright, shall we?” The four nodded, following Mr. Clarke to the gymnasium.

 

“At times like these, it is important that we come together as a community. We come-” the gym went silent hearing the doors open, looking over as the four and Mr. Clarke walked in. Dustin tried walking off, but Will nudged him forward. They had to get through with this. All of them headed to the bleachers, taking a seat.

 

Jonathan pulled his car off to the side of the road, glancing around to make sure no one had seen him. What happened to Mike might’ve been related to the thing that nearly took Barb. Seeing how strong it had been when he dealt with it the first time, Jonathan had no doubt this thing was strong. Especially if it vanished seconds after they started running.

 

“Never saw myself as being the hero type…” He muttered to himself, keeping his camera close...it was always just...well it was his comfort object honestly. Jonathan hesitated for a moment, before proceeding into the forest. Two days had to be long enough to recharge his powers, right? 

 

God he hoped he didn’t regret this.

Jonathan lifted his head up upon hearing a twig snap, making him turn around in a panic. To his surprise when he turned around, a familiar tall redhead appeared. “Barbara?” Jonathan asked. What was she doing out of school?

 

“Hey...Jonathan...I heard some news that might prove our little theory.”

 

“Mike Wheeler’s death is an unimaginable tragedy. Mike was an exceptional student and a wonderful friend to all of us. It’s impossible to express the hole his loss will leave in our community. I’d like to introduce you to Sandy Sloane. She’s a local grief counselor from the church over in Jonesboro. But before she comes up here, I just want those of you who are having trouble dealing with this tragic loss-”

 

The group ignored their principal’s speech, looking around judgingly at all the crying kids. “Look at all these fakers.” Dustin whispered. “I-I don’t think th-they even knew his name before this…” Will commented, glancing around. It didn’t help that Troy was giggling, mocking the principal.

 

God, kids are fucking assholes.

 

“Asshole.” El whispered, leaning over to look with them. Will didn’t like swearing, but that was very truthful.

 

The assembly eventually ended, all the students filing out of the gymnasium. Will bit his lip, watching Troy walk off. “H-Hey..! Hey, Troy!” Will shouted, that was too far! He was positive Mike was alive, but still! That isn’t something you do! The two boys turned around, and Will stood his ground, despite shaking a bit. “D-Do you think this is funny?”

 

“What’d you say faggot?”

 

“I saw you guys laughing over there. I-It’s really messed up.” Will stated, the other three standing behind him. A small crowd had even begun to form.

 

“Didn’t you hear the counselor, pixie? Grief can show itself in funny ways.” Besides, what’s there to be sad about, anyway? Mike’s probably with all the other little frog faces. Face first in shit swamp water. All happy and ugly.” Troy chuckled, intimidating a ribbit noise.

 

Will’s fist balled up, watching the two turn around, starting to walk off. He had never been so enraged in his life. These… these assholes had the audacity to say those messed up things about his best friend.

 

Fueled by anger, the boy stomped forward, shoving Troy with all his might. Everyone gasped, looking over. Troy got up, glaring. “You’re dead, faggot! Dead!” Troy charged at him, ready to attack the boy, when suddenly he stopped entirely, frozen in his spot. Will was shocked, but quickly caught on, so did Dustin and Lucas. All of them whispered. When Troy looked at Will, the boy couldn’t help but smile a bit, looking down to see Troy had pissed himself.

 

Karma for all those years of being insulted. Who knew it felt so nice?

 

“Dude, look Troy peed himself!” the gym was quickly filled with laughter, all eyes on him. Will glanced back to El, who had some blood running down her nose that she quickly wiped. 

 

“Hey! What’s going on here?” Lucas ran over to Will, grabbing his arm as the principal made his way over. The four of them ran off before they could be caught.

 

Nancy and her father stood silently, listening as the man told them the types of coffins they had. “It’s made of soft wood with crepe interior. I know you are willing to put in a high budget, so here we have some copper and bronze.” The two walked around, looking at the different types of coffins.

 

“You know, I was honestly expecting your mother to be looking for these more than me.” Ted commented, making Nancy look up a bit surprised. “What do you mean?” She asked. “Nancy, I’m 41. I mean, I’m not getting any younger here.” Ted stated. Nancy frowned, ready to have a heart to heart with her father...until she saw her in the hall.

 

Barb gave a sad wave from the doorway, holding her bag nervously.

 

“Dad, I have to go to the bathroom. I’ll be right back.” Not waiting for a response, Nancy headed over. She folded her arms, walking over. Barb stepped aside, so they could talk. “Okay, first of all, Nancy, I am so so sorry. I shouldn’t have-” “I don’t want to hear excuses, Barbara! You have been missing for two days. I have been so worried! My brother was missing, and now, now he’s dead! Do you know how horrible it’s been finding out my brother’s dead, at the same time my supposed friend is missing?!” Nancy exclaimed.

 

The words hurt Barb deeply, “Nancy, I’m sorry...please, I can explain.”.

 

“I don’t w-want an explanation..I needed my best friend...and she wasn’t there when I need her most.” Nancy sniffed, turning around quickly, heading back inside. “Nancy please…” Barb let out a shaky sigh, tears running down her eyes, “I’m sorry…”.

 

Joyce sat across from Hopper in they sat in his house, letting a breathy sigh. God, she was so thankful Donald let her take that break. “Alright… fine, I’ll answer whatever questions you want. But Hopper, I swear to God, if any of this traces back to me or my boys-” “It won’t, I promise. But I need your help, Joyce. Something serious is happening, and I know for sure it’s gotta do with that lab, and so far you are my only lead into it.”.

 

The woman took a long drag of her cigarette, sighing out loud. “Christ, I don’t even know where to begin. Um, right after High School, me and Lonnie were short on money. So I saw an ad in the newspaper for a lab assistant.” Hopper gave her a judging look, “I was desperate okay! All girls wanted the ideal American life style. It seemed like an easy enough job! It should have been obvious it was bad from the get go. I should have known it was a terrible idea.”

 

“Things started off fine, simple lab clean up and running errands...and then they brought out the drugs.”

 

Hopper rose a brow, “Drugs?”

 

“Yes, drugs. I know it sounds insane, but just listen. It was kept quiet, not the same as the Terry Ives case. No one knew about it, cause they only did it on certain assistants...and I ended up being one of the chosen few. Tried out different drugs on me, and then the most...the strangest thing happened to me. After a few days, I could control fire with my mind-”

 

“Fire? Fire with your mind?” Hopper asked, chuckling. Joyce scowled, and suddenly the fire a fire formed in his trash can. “Oh my god!” Hopper ran over to put it put, but was stunned as it ended as fast as it started. He turned to face her, watching blood run down the woman’s nose.

 

Joyce rubbed the blood off her nose, looking him in the eyes, “Do you believe me now?”. Hopper nodded slowly, going back to sitting.

 

“Turns out I’ve always had these powers, but the drugs kicked them awake. That wasn’t even the worst part...not long after, I found out I was pregnant.” Hopper was surprised by her tone, wouldn’t being pregnant be a good thing? “I was happy at first...but so was Brenner. The bastard that runs the place. And the second I went into labor, those bastards drugged me, and they took him right out of my arms.”.

 

Hopper rested his elbows on his knees, listening intently, “Why would they do that?”.

 

Joyce sniffled, rubbing her eyes. “Because...when I saw him finally, I saw they had numbered him. ‘001’ was tattooed onto the back of his neck. At that moment...I knew I had to get my boy out of there. If I hadn’t...If…” Joyce whimpered, all the painful memories bringing her emotions up, “If I hadn’t taken him away, god, who knows what they would have done to him...I mean there’s no doubt he was going to be like me…”.

 

The Chief sat silently, taking in Joyce’s story. He knew the lab had to be hiding something, but on this scale, not at all. “Joyce, thank you...for being able to tell me this.” Hopper leaned forward, putting a hand on her knee, “And I know for sure it will be able to help me. I am going to find out what those bastards are hiding. Once they’re dealt with, I promise, you and your family will be safe.”.

 

“No.” “No?” “No, I can’t sit back anymore...if they’re really involved with what happened to Mike, then I want to help. I’m tired of running, being afraid of letting my boys out my sight. They deserve a childhood, not to be afraid...I’m going to help stop those bastards.”

Chapter Text

The four kids made their way into the radio room, locking it behind them. “Come on.” Will said, sitting her in front of the radio. “Now what?” Dustin asked. “She’s going to help us find, Mike. Right, El?” Will asked, giving her a knowing look, which she responded with a nod.

 

Now that it was settled, Lucas started turning the dials, letting the hear the frequencies. El took a breath, putting her hands on the table, and closing her eyes. The three watched silently, praying this would somehow work. Will looked at her, biting at his lip nervously. Her powers were so much better than his. He could only see a single moment of the future. But El, she could do some much more. And he wondered if that was a good or bad thing.

 

The radio soon chirped to life, making Will gasp. “You’re really doing it..” He smiled.

 

“This is crazy.” “Calm down. She just closed her eyes.” They all gasped as the light above them cut off. Leaving them in darkness.

 

“Holy-” they all shut up hearing a clanging noise. The three boys moved closer to the radio to try and hear it better. The clanging began to intensify. As if...as if it was getting closer. “What is that?” Dustin asked. The radio began tuning itself again, searching for the proper frequency.

 

Karen sat on her bed, letting out a shaky cry. Some classical music played in the room, doing very little to soothe the mother. Her moment was interrupted by a clanging noise, making her stand up. Karen looked around the room, tensing as the music suddenly cut off. “Who’s there?” Karen called out, walking around when she heard soft whimpering.

 

Mom?

 

“Micheal?” Karen gasped, looking around desperately for any sign of the beast.

 

Mom? ” Mike’s voice called out again, shocking the four. “No way!” Lucas gaped. Will looked at Dustin nervously, listening as Mike continued to call out for his mother.

 

Karen took a frantic breath, looking around in panic, “Mike? Mike?!”. Not caring that she wasn’t wearing shoes, she ran out of the house, looking around in panic for any sign of her son. “Mike…” She whimpered, hurrying back inside as she found nothing out there. The panicked mother ran back to the spot where she heard him the most, panting, “Mike! Mike, keep calling for me baby! Keep calling! I’m gonna find you!”

 

“Mike!” “Mike, it’s us! Are you there?” “Can you hear us? We’re here!” The three boys kept calling out for their friend frantically, getting no response. “Why can’t he hear us?!” Lucas exclaimed. “Maybe it’s like one of the double sided mirrors! We can hear him but he can’t hear us!” Will explained, struggling not to break down in a panic.

 

The group tensed up hearing a growling noise, all look at each other in fear. “ It’s coming! It’s coming for me! This place…! It’s like home, but it’s like a nightmare! It’s so dark, it’s so dark and so empty! It’s freezing! Mom? Mom!

 

“Listen to me, Micheal! I swear, I will not give up on you until you are safe at home! You need to hide, hide for me, please!” Karen pleaded, her heartbeat quickening as she heard the beast growls grow louder, “I promise, I will find you, but you need to run! Run! Run!”

 

All of them yelped as the fuse blew, the radio completely fried. A small electrical fire even came out of it. The three boys were startled, looking at each other in a panic. Due to the fire, the school bell began ringing loudly. Dustin picked up a fire extinguisher, while Will helped El up to her feet, “Are you okay?”. El just gave him a weak stare, blood running down her nose and faint black lines on her face. “Can you move?” He asked, once again getting no response.

 

With their combined strength, the three of them picked her up, carrying her out of the room. They quickly found a rolling cart, wheeling her out of the school.

 

Jonathan and Barb were in the dark room, going through the photos of what they had seen earlier. “How’d the talk go?” Jonathan nervously asked, messing around with the controls. He was always better at cameras then people. But Barb was pretty cool from the people he actually knew. Then again, almost all the people he knew well enough were his family or his brother’s friends.

 

“Well she hates me, reasonably so.” Barb sighed. “You try telling her why you haven’t been around?” Jonathan asked, leaning down to see what he needed to work with. The redhead scoffed, “Yeah. I’ll let her know I’ve been off on a monster hunt rather than being there for her after such a horrible event. God, I am the worst best friend.”.

 

The boy looked up from his work, “If we’re right Barb, and I know we are, it’ll be okay. All of this is Hell, I’m still impressed you want to help me. You went..through a freaky experience.”.

 

A soft sigh left her, “I couldn’t let anyone else experience what I nearly did, and what Mike might be going through, It’s just..what I want to do.”. She let out a nervous cough, turning her attention to the photos he had out. “So what are we doing here?”

 

“I’m brightening and enlarging them, give us a better image on that thing.” Jonathan explained. “I honestly don’t think we need a for sure photograph of this thing, I mean we both saw it with our own eyes, you even stopped it!” Barb remarked. He shrugged, picking up a scope to look at the photo better, turning the knob a bit. 

 

The machine let out a small ding, letting him put the paper in to soak in the water, he even tilted the tray a bit to make sure it was in. “How long does this usually take you?” Barb asked. “Not long.” Jonathan replied. “You’re really good at it...when we’re not hunting down monsters, do you think I can see your other pictures? I mean I’ve seen some of your photos on the school paper, they’re great.” Barb stated.

 

Jonathan turned to her, with a small smile, “Thanks…”. God, he wasn’t used to anyone being this nice to him. “You must’ve been doing it for a long time if you’re so good.” Barb said.

 

“Yeah… I mean, I guess… I’d rather observe people than...you know...talk with them” Jonathan softly spoke, keeping his eyes down.

 

Barb let out a soft sigh, “I know how you feel. Nancy…. I love her to death, and she has been my only friend for the longest time...but ever since she started hanging out with Steve, Carol, and Tommy H., I hardly recognize her… still, I stuck with her no matter what. Even if it ended with me in that nightmare party. But, hey, I got saved thankfully...plus you’re probably the coolest person I know.” 

 

“I’m not cool.” He muttered.

 

“Jonathan, you can read people’s minds. And you stopped that freaky monster back at the party! You are awesome, you just need to tell yourself that! Plus, it’s probably the coolest power to know what people are really thinking when they talk. Camera skills and mind reading powers, you are your own detective.” Barb smirked.

 

A soft chuckle left him, Jonathan shaking his head, “I’ve never thought of it that way. I just...was never really fond of my powers. It always felt wrong to just breach’s someone’s mind.”. “Doesn’t make you any less cooler. It makes you better, because you know not to use your powers for bad things. Though you should totally expose some of Tommy and Carol’s secrets, then again, I don’t think anyone would wanna read their minds.”.

 

“Right, constant sex thoughts.” Jonathan smiled a bit. Strangely enough, Barb was the first person he had felt so comfortable with since...well since his only friend moved away.

 

Their moment of calm was interrupted when the resolution of the photo came through, letting them get a close up of the monster. “We know it’s true… now we need to deal with it. Maybe...maybe get some answers on why it went after me and maybe Mike.” Barb whispered. She was going to make this right, do right by Nancy and do everything she could to help.

 

Hopper drove up to the coroner’s office, Joyce tagging along with him. The woman nervously wrung her hands together, following closely to Hopper. Shockingly enough, she was able to sneak through with him by hiding behind him when they walked past the receptionist.

 

“That easy?” Joyce questioned. “That easy.” Hopper responded, walking down the hall with her, spotting a guard reading, “Hey, I love that book. It’s a nasty mutt.”. Joyce swore under her breath as Hopper strolled up to the guard.

 

The guard stood up, standing in front of the taller Chief, “Hey, you can’t be back here. And she definitely can’t.” The guard stated, looking at Joyce.

 

“Yeah, I just got off the line with O’Bannon. He said that he needs to see you at the station. It’s some emergency…” “What the hell are you talking about? I don’t work with O’Bannon.” “Did I say O’Bannon? I meant…” Hopper made a face as he tried thinking of a name, before giving up with a smack of his lips, “Okay.”. 

 

With a yell, and two swings to the face, the guard was unconscious. Hopper turned back to Joyce, who was pinching the bridge of her nose. “See, don’t need powers to get things done.” He panted, taking the guards keys. He looked around, before walking into the room, followed by Joyce.

 

The two arrived at the morgue, and Hopper made his way over, starting to open them all. He frowned a bit, before sliding out the body, looking down at it. Joyce took a shaky breath, holding herself. Even if it was a fake body, that didn’t mean it felt horrible to see. This was the boy that Will grew up with, the one he has found true happiness with. If he wasn’t here, then that meant he could be suffering through worse God knows where else.

 

Hopper pulled down the cloth, looking at the pale body. Joyce let out a silent gasp, covering her mouth. Hopper took a moment to compose himself, before pulling the cloth down more. Joyce turned away as Hopper pressed his hand on the body, only looking over when he gasped.

 

The Chief retracted his hand, looking at it, then the body for a moment. Letting out a heavy breath, Hopper took out a switchblade he carried on him.

 

“Oh God, Hopper.” Joyce groaned. He ignored her, pushing forward, digging the blade into the body. A horrified gasp left Joyce, watching as Hopper began pulling cotton out of the body. Hopper dug in more, finding more cotton. The Chief looked up, staring at Joyce with wide eyes, the woman as horrified as he was.

 

Hopper gave her a knowing look, and she began to shook her head frantically. “No Hopper, no you can’t go there!” She pleaded. He ignored her, quickly leaving the building. She chased after him, but it was no use, the man beginning to drive off. Joyce stood on the wide walk, watching him eventually vanish from her sight, a pit forming in her stomach.

 

If they found him there, the thoughts of what they’d do to him terrified her.

 

They could torture him, lock him up...or even kill him.

Chapter Text

Hopper started making his way through the labs, waiting behind a wall as two scientist left. Glancing over, he made sure they were gone before heading in through the door. He peeked around the corner, making sure no one was coming. Seeing the coast was clear, he moved forward.

 

That’s when two scientist turned the corner, in reacting quickly, Hopper turned into a small room. He took deep breaths, waiting for the two to pass. Staying for a little longer, Hopper continued through the lab.

 

Making his way to the end of the hall, Hopper paused as he came across some clear plastic covers, labeled with bio hazard symbols.

 

Well this was interesting.

 

The Chief let out a sigh, unzipping the cover, and making his way inside. This was probably the craziest thing he had ever done in his entire career. Despite how insane it was, he wasn’t turning back. These guys were hiding something, and after what Joyce told him, he knew these people could do some really messed up things. So if there was even the smallest chance that Mike was here, he was going to damn well take it.

 

Blocking him from his goal was a locked door needing a key card and two guards. Neither was too hard to take care of though. Just knock out one guard, take his gun, and steal the others key card.

 

Easy peasy.

 

Hopper moved forward, shooting the card reader. Letting out a sigh, he looked around, taking in the dark hallway.

 

Karen sat on the couch, taking a deep breath as she sipped her wine. “What am I gonna do…?” She softly whimpered, putting her glass down, and holding her head in her hands. The mother lifted her head up, frowning. The house was almost entirely silent. Ted was still gone, dealing with funeral plans, and Nancy refused to leave her room. Holly was sound asleep on the couch across from her, breaking her head.

 

Her family was falling apart, and she couldn’t do anything to help.

 

A whimper left her, the woman looking up at the family photo they had taken only a few months ago. She sniffled, picking up her glass, and pouring herself more wine.

 

“Mike?” Hopper called out, shining a flashlight down the dark hallway, “Mike?”. Darkness filled the entire area, all rooms leading to nothing. Everything was empty.

 

Hopper moved forward, stopping in surprise as he found himself in what looked to be a holding cell. There was a small bed on the floor, but the most unsettling part was the teddy bear resting on it. Hopper moved his flashlight around, finding a stick figure drawing posted on the wall. Papa and 11 .

 

El laid down on Will’s bed, resting her head on a pillow. “What do you think Mike was saying…? Like...like home...and dark.” Will held his arms frowning, getting memories of the one vision drawing he did a month ago or so… it was...dark, almost all of it was dark...there was nothing else.

 

“And empty.” Lucas added. “Empty and cold.” Dustin murmured, “Ugh, the radio kept going in and out. This is turning into some riddle shit.”.

 

“Like home...maybe like his house?” Will asked, standing up. “Or like Hawkins!” Lucas exclaimed.

 

El looked over to the three boys, “Upside down.”. Lucas rose a brow, “What’d she say?”. Will looked at her in surprise, quickly catching on. Remembering when she flipped over Mike’s drawing, he moved to his desk, looking at it.

 

“When El showed us where Mike was, she flipped over the picture, remember?” The other two came over, “The Upside Down...dark...empty. Think about it, okay? When she took us to find Mike, she took us to his house, right?”. “Yeah, and he wasn’t there.” Lucas commented. “But what if he was there…? Maybe we just couldn’t see him because...he was on the other side.” Will flipped the picture back over, “Say this is Hawkins. And on the other side, that’s where Mike is. The Upside Down.”.

 

Dusting gasped, “Like the Vale of Shadows.”. They all looked at each other, taking in the information.

 

“Mike?” Hopper called out, running in deeper. Jesus, how big was this fucking place?! An alarm started going off, but he didn’t let it deter him. Hopper continued on, looking around as he kept taking turns. This place was like an endless maze of tile. Thankfully, he spotted an elevator at the end of this hallway, turning into it quickly.

 

Will grabbed her D&D book with a grunt, setting it down on his desk. Dustin took over, skipping through the pages until he found it. “The Vale of Shadows is a dimension that is a dark reflection or echo of our world.”

 

The elevator doors slid open, and Hopper took a step forward, letting his light be his guide. He pressed forward, coughing heavily as the lights around him flickered.

 

“How do we get there?” Lucas asked. Will looked back, giving El a slow nod. She knew how to get there, he could feel it. “D-Do you know how we can get there…? To where Mike is?” Will asked, frowning as she slowly shook her head. The other two boys let out an irritated huff.

 

Hopper began coughing harder as he moved farther into the labs. A strange dust filled the air, making it difficult to breath. He stopped suddenly, his mouthing dropping as he faced the strange creation in the center of the room. “What the hell?” Hopper muttered, slowly approaching it. Whatever it was, it was definitely not from this world. Black fleshy vines spreading out through the room. A soft pulse could be heard from it, and he swore it looked like it was moving. 

 

Hopper extended his hand forward, touching it, feeling the almost slimy web like structure. He gasped feeling it pulse against him, christ, it felt almost like a heartbeat.

 

Something shifted behind him, but Hopper didn’t have time to react as he was knocked out.

 

Jonathan made his way inside his home, slowly closing the door behind him, swearing softly as he heard the door creak. Alright, now all he had to do was sneak into his room, and everything would be-

 

“Jonathan Raif Byers, where the hell have you been?” Oh shit. “I-I was out studying-” “No, you know what. I don’t want to hear it. So much is going on right now, and having my oldest son vanishing for an entire night isn’t helping! It’s just making me more worried for christ sakes! What if something happened?! What if someone found out?” Joyce exclaimed.

 

Jonathan tensed up, grimacing a bit, before taking a shaky breath. “You know what? I’m tired. I’m tired of all of this, okay?! I didn’t ask to grow up like this, but I did, and I hate it. Being the school freak, not allowed to get close to anyone because your always scared someone will find us! No one’s gonna find us, okay?! I’m 17, I’m tired of spending my life hiding because of a possible what if!”

 

Joyce stood in her place stunned, watching as Jonathan stormed off into his room, slamming the door shut.

 

The four kids looked at each other silently, not knowing how to process what just happened. “Dude, I don’t think I’ve ever heard your brother yell. What just happened?” Dustin asked. “We’ll have to worry about that later… we still have to be at the funeral.” Will grimaced. He wasn’t looking forward to this at all, but they had to get through with it.

 

Once it was dealt with, it’d be back to searching for Mike again. Now that they knew where he was, there was no time to slow down.

Chapter Text

Jonathan crouched in front of Will, helping his little brother with his tie. “Ow, it’s too tight, Jonathan.” Will whined, “How can you tie my tie, but you can’t tie your own?”. “Sorry Will.” His brother sighed out, loosening the tie, trying again.

 

Joyce stood in front of her mirror, silently looking at her dress. After what she saw last night, this felt wrong. Karen deserved to know the truth. But the truth could put her in danger, and it was too soon. They needed time to solve this.

 

Nancy check her reflection, letting out a shaky breath as she put on her ears. Looking herself over, she tied up her hair. Her hair fell out of place, making her swear in irritation.

 

Karen sat in Mike’s room with Ted, the two holding hands. Her husband gave her hand a gentle squeeze. The two had made up from the fight, Karen agreeing to keep herself calm during the funeral. She knew that thing in the morgue wasn’t her son, but she couldn’t bare putting her family in more pain than they already were. Ted let out a sigh, getting up, “Come on, it’s time to go.”.

 

It pained her to do it, but she took her husband’s hand, following her out of the room.

 

“Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you.” So many people had come for the funeral, all standing around the grave as the Pastor spoke, “Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. It’s times like these that our faith is challenged. How, if He is truly benevolent…”

 

Karen shook her head, she couldn’t stand listening to this. Nancy held Holly close, cleaning her sister’s tears off with her jacket sleeve. Ted stared silently forward, taking in everything he heard.

 

The families of the boys looked down sadly. It was still hard to believe a boy that had been so close to their sons was gone, just like that.

 

After a while, the eulogy ended, and everyone moved forward, dropping roses on Mike’s casket. “Hi..” Joyce walked over, giving Karen a hug, “I am so so sorry this happened…”. “Thank you for coming.” Ted said. “You know if there is anything at all that I can do, you know I’m here, Karen.” Joyce said, frowning as the woman was unresponsive. She gave her one last hug before walking off with her sons.

 

Hopper woke up with a gasp, finding himself in his bed. Beer cans, used cigarettes, and pills were scattered on the coffee table. The Chief sat up, panting heavily as he looked around. Hopper took a moment, looking around before picking up his gun, and running out of his house.

 

He swung open the door, hurrying down the stairs.

 

Seeing no one around, Hopper hurried back inside. Not knowing what those lunatics could be up too, Hopper quickly checked his neck, hoping they didn’t end up sticking a tracking device in him. There was only a moment of relief, as Hopper got to work, taking out any light bulbs that could be hiding microchips. He was onto something, he knew it, and there was no way in Hell he’d let these lab pricks shut him up.

 

The man literally tore his house apart, pulling out dishes and cutting open his couch, but he found it. He huffed, holding the clear bug.

 

Jonathan and Barb moved away, going over their evidence. “Alright, we know this is around Steve’s house. Might I add, I hate the woods now.” Barb commented. “Good luck with that, that’s all we have here.” Jonathan remarked, looking back, “You sure you don’t want to involve Nancy?”.

 

Barb grimaced, shaking her head, “She hates me right now, there’s no way she’d listen... I’ll make it up to her by helping bring Mike home.”.

 

Seeing she was firm on her decision, he nodded, pointing out three spots they had marked up on the map, “Alright, so this Steve’s house, this is where they found his bike, and this is my house.”. “It all seems pretty close. What about Nancy’s place though? I’ve heard about flashing lights there, like how the pool light cut off when..it showed up.” Barb stated.

 

Jonathan huffed in thought, “I don’t know about that. But what we do know is that it’s hunting ground seems to appear around this area. So maybe, we head out there later or something. I mean, between my powers and some weapons, we could kill it.”.

 

The two walked over to Joyce’s car, Jonathan opening her glove compartment and pulling out a gun. Barb stared stunned at it, having lots of questions. Jonathan noticed, climbing out of the car. “My mom is super paranoid, even with her powers she wants to have this in her car at all times. So no one finds out.” Jonathan hid the ammo inside his jacket, pocketing the gun, “Plus, it’s the best we got, I can only stun it for a little and we saw how much it took out of me.”.

 

“I don’t know, maybe we should tell your mom. She’s got, -you know fire powers-.” Barb whispered.

 

He shook his head, “No way. She won’t do it. Plus, she’d be on my ass if she knew what we were doing, then there’d be no hope of finding and killing this thing.”. An exasperated sigh left Barb, the redhead shaking her head. She didn’t like it, but he was right.

 

Karen sat by her self silently, listening in as her husband spoke with Joyce and some others. All of this...just felt so wrong, she was so sure…

 

Will, Dustin, and Lucas approached Mr. Clarke, Will lightly tugged the teacher’s sleeve. Mr. Clarke turned, noticing them, “Oh, hey, there. How are you boys holding up?”. Dustin shoved some snacks into his mouth, making Lucas look at the teacher nervously. “We’re...in...mourning.” Lucas said, God, that was more awkward to say than he thought.

 

“Man, these aren’t real Nilla Wafers.” The two looked at Dustin. Will cleared his throat, looking at their teacher, “Um...w-we were wondering if you...had any time to talk? We have some questions...a lot actually.”.

 

The three boys joined their teacher at a separate table, beginning to discuss the chances of the Upside Down existing.

 

“In Cosmos, Carl Sagan talks about other dimensions, right? Beyond our world.” Will said. “Yeah, sure. Theoretically.” Mr. Clarke responded. “Yeah, theoretically. So, theoretically, how do we travel there?” Lucas asked.

 

The teacher looked at the three amused, “You guys have been thinking about Hugh Everett’s Many-Worlds Interpretation, haven’t you?”. The three looked at each other confused, so he continued, “Well, basically, there are parallel universes. Just like our world, but just infinite variations of it. Which means there’s a world out there where none of this tragic stuff ever happened.”.

 

Lucas shook his head, “Yeah, that’s not what we’re talking about.”. “Oh.” He remarked.

 

“We were thinking more of an evil dimension, like the Vale of Shadows. You know the Vale of Shadows?” Dustin asked, eating another fake Nilla Wafer.

 

This certainly wasn’t what he expected to be doing today, but then again, he always encouraged his students to be curious and want to learn. “An echo of the Material Plane where necrotic and shadow magic-” “Y-Yeah, exactly. So, if a place like that existed, a place like the Vale of Shadows, how could someone travel there?” Will asked, slightly worried the teacher would make fun of them. “Theoretically.” Lucas quickly added.

 

Thankfully, the teacher didn’t, in fact, he decided to try and answer it. Mr. Clarke grabbed a paper plate in front of him, taking a pen from the inside of his jacket. “Well...picture an acrobat standing on a tightrope.” He quickly drew on the plate, letting them see, “Now, the tightrope is our dimension. And our dimension had rules. You can move forwards, or backwards. But, what if right next to our acrobat, there is a flea? Now the flea can also travel back and forth, just like the acrobat. Right?”.

 

“Right.” Will nodded.

 

“Now, here’s where things get really interesting. The flea can also travel this way, along the side of the rope. He can even go underneath the rope.” Mr. Clarke explained.

 

The three boys looked at each other gasping, “Upside Down.”.

 

“Exactly.” “But we’re not the flea, we’re the acrobat.” Will grimaced. “In this metaphor, yes, we’re the acrobat.” Mr. Clarke stated.

 

Lucas huffed, “So we can’t go upside down?”.

 

Mr. Clarke shook his head, “No.”.

 

“Well, is there any way for the acrobat to get to the Upside Down?” Dustin asked. The teacher paused for a moment, thinking. “Well...you’d have to create a massive amount of energy. More than humans are currently capable of creating, mind you, to open up some kind of  tear in time and space, and then…” He folded the place in half, stabbing his pen through it, “you create a doorway.”.

 

“Like a gate?” Dustin asked.

 

“Sure. Like a gate. But again, this is all-” “Theoretical, yeah, we know.” Will gave his friends a knowing smile, this gave them a great idea of what they were against, and what was coming up. He hoped his visions would be able to help somehow though, they were getting so close to finding Mike.

 

They just needed one more big push.

Chapter Text

Hi, author here, or After as I'm called on discord. As you may know if you've read the end notes for the past few chapters, I have finished writing season 1 and soon I will start season 2. So I decided to hold up a contest. A fanart contest~! You can draw any scene or character from the story. The winner will have a character of their own presented in the story. I cannot promise a major role, but they will be seen and interacted with multiple times. Anyone else that participates will get to suggest their own ideas for plot! If you are interested in the challenge, please search up my tumblr name pixel-playstation or here's the address https://pixel-playstation.tumblr.com/ . DM on tumblr if you're interested and good luck! The contest ends on the 25th of August, so take your time guys.

Chapter Text

Callahan and Powell pulled up to Hopper’s house, hoping to find him here. Callahan made his way up the stairs first, knocking on the door. “Hey, Chief!” The man called out, “Hello-Whoa!”. Hopper swung the door open, gripping his gun when he realized who it was. The Chief looked like a mess, sweat staining his shirt, and hair a mess.

 

“Jesus, Chief. You all right?” Powell asked.

 

“What are you doing here?” Hopper shut the door behind him, turning to the two officers. “We tried calling, but-” “Yeah, the phone’s dead.” Hopper quickly interjected.

 

The two officers looked at each other, before Callahan decided to go ahead and explain why they came. “Hey, so Bev Mooney came in this morning all upset. Said that Dale and Henry went hunting yesterday and they didn’t come back home. She thought they were on another binger, but she’s not so sure now. I think this whole Mike Wheeler thing has everybody on edge.” Callahan explained.

 

“Where was this?” Hopper asked. “It was at the station.” Callahan responded. “No, no. Where did Henry and Dale go hunting?” Hopper asked. “Oh, um, near Kerley.”.

 

Mirkwood.

 

“You go back to the station, I’ll take care of this, alright?” Hopper didn’t wait for an answer, heading inside.

 

Will stabbed a hole in the paper, startling El. “It would take a lot of energy to build a gate like this, but that’s gotta be what happened. I mean, how else would Mike get there, right?” Will asked. “Right.” El responded.

 

“What we want to know is, do you know where the gate is?” Lucas questioned, huffing as she shook her head, “Then how do you know about the Upside Down?”.

 

Will frowned, looking at her. She had to know something… right.. ?

 

The three turned their attention to Dustin, who was still walking back and forth, turning a bit here and there. “Dustin, what the hell are you doing? Hello? Earth to Dustin!” Lucas exclaimed, watching him spin distracted by...whatever the Hell he was doing. “Dusting!” Both he and Will shouted to get his attention.

 

Dustin looked up, “I need to see you compasses.”. “What?” Will questioned. “Your compasses. All of your compasses, right now!” Dustin exclaimed. Will and Lucas gave each other a questioning look, before giving in.

 

Between the three of them, they set down at least seven compasses. “Why are you so excited about this…?” Will asked. “Well, they’re all facing north, right?” Dustin questioned. “Yeah, so?” Lucas shrugged. “Well, that’s not true north.” Dustin stated.

 

True north ?

 

“What do you mean?” Will asked.

 

“I mean exactly what I just said. That’s not true north. Are you both seriously this dense? The sun rises in the east, and sets in the west. Right? Which means that’s true north..” Dustin pointed at the wall he was facing.

 

Will tilted his head confused, “So...you’re saying is…the magnetic pole is messed up!”. “Exactly! Cause the needle is naturally drawn to the Earth’s magnetic North Pole! If there’s the presence of a more powerful magnetic field, the needle deflects to that power. The gate would have so much power that it could disrupt the electromagnetic field, meaning it should lead us to the gate.”.

 

El had a grim look on her face, listening to the boys talk. Awful memories starting to come back to her.

 

Joyce sat on her couch, giving a heavy sigh as she held an old family photo of them. “ I’m tired of spending my life hiding because of a possible what if! ” Joyce stifled a sob, hanging her head low. All she ever wanted to do was protect them, make sure those bastards never found her boys again.

 

“It’s a boy.” Joyce took deep breaths, tears running down her cheeks after that painful labor. “I wanna see him…” She whimpered. Even when Lonnie and her talked of her putting the baby up for adoption, she had grown attached to this baby, she had grown attached to her son.

 

Brenner turned to the nurse, watching as they cut the cord. They spoke for a moment, and Brenner picked up the baby boy, looking down at the crying infant. “Please...let me see my boy…” She gasped trying to sit up.

 

He looked up at her, “No.”. Joyce’s eyes widened in sheer terror, screaming as Brenner walked out of the room with her son, “No! No, give me back my son! Give me back my boy..! I want him!  I want him, please!”

 

The memories haunted her, every time she’d catch a glimpse of that damn number on the back of his neck, she’d be reminded of what could have happened. Joyce sniffled, clinging to the photo in terror, knowing how close Brenner was, she was terrified.

 

Barb gave her bat a few practice swings, sighing a bit to herself. Sure, he dad used to do softball way back in high school, but none of those genes passed onto her. She huffed, doing some more practice swings when she nearly hit someone, “Oh my God!”.

 

“Woah, woah, easy there!” Steve exclaimed, backing up a bit with his arms raised. 

 

“Steve? What are you doing here?” Barb questioned, confused on what the Hell Nancy’s boyfriend was doing here. Shouldn’t he be comforting Nancy ?

 

“What are you doing here?” Steve asked. Shouldn’t she be comforting Nancy ?

 

“I, um, I was thinking about joining softball.” Barb quickly said. Steve rose a brow, “Never took you as the sporty type, Holland.”. Shit . “My dad was into softball, wanted to see if I had any of the talent he had.” She nervously laughed, “Um...anyway why are you here?”.

 

Steve rubbed the back of his neck, huffing, “I know Nancy’s going through a lot. I want to help her, but I don’t know how too. So, I was wondering if you could talk to her for me, or tell me what to say.”.

 

The redhead frowned, “Yeah...I...sorry, I can’t. She and I haven’t exactly been...talking. Your on your own.”. Before Steve could try talking to her, the girl made her way inside, might as well practice later when no one else was around. Steve huffed, shaking his head as he left, “Thanks for nothing.”.

 

Jonathan found a nice empty area to practice his aim, trying to shoot at any of the three cans he set up. Each shot missed, making him sigh out loud. Barb her way over, cocking a brow, “No luck?”. Jonathan turned to her, huffing.

 

Barb walked over to him, dropping her back and the bat on the ground. “You ever shot a gun before?” He asked. “My parents would never allow it. But hey, I’ve tried a bunch of stuff I’ve never done before in the past week.” Barb nervously chuckled.

 

“Heh. Well, I haven’t shot one since I was ten. My dad took me hunting on my birthday. He made me kill a rabbit. Thought it would make me a man or something. I...I cried for a week.” Jonathan said. “Jesus, he sounds like an asshole.” Barb muttered, giving him a sympathetic look. “Yeah...he is.” Jonathan muttered, “I guess… he and my mother loved each other at some point, but… I wasn’t around for that part.”.

 

Barb frowned, patting his back. “I’m sorry you had to deal with that...um, mind if I try the gun?”. “Huh? Oh sure, go ahead.” Jonathan passed her the gun, putting his hands in his pocket. Barb took a moment adjusting the grip of the gun in her hand, deciding what worked best for her.

 

Just aim and shoot.

 

She took a deep breath, closing one eye, and lifting up the gun. She fired, jumping a bit, surprised by the force of such a small gun. “Crap.” She huffed, missing the can. “Hey, don’t worry, you were a lot closer than I was. Let’s keep practicing, okay?” Jonathan asked. A heavy sigh left Barb, but she nodded, taking aim again.

 

The four kids were on the move, following Dustin’s compass and walking along the old railroad tracks. “How much further?” Lucas huffed.

 

“I don’t know. These only tell direction, not distance.” Dustin stated, looking down at the compass, “You really need to learn more about compasses.”.

 

“I’m just saying. How do we know when we get to the gate?” Lucas asked.

 

“Uh, I think a portal to another dimension would be obvious.” Dustin quipped. Lucas scoffed, looking back to El and Will, “Think she’s acting weird?”. Dustin glanced back, “You’re asking if the weirdo is acting weird?”. “Hey, I don’t know. Will’s been acting weird around her too...almost like he knows something we don’t.” Lucas remarked.

 

This made Dustin uneasy, “Think he’s hiding something from us? What if it’s important and he won’t tell us?”. Lucas shrugged a bit, looking back one more time.

 

El’s breathing grew heavier as they walked, memories of the bath coming back. Going in and seeing the monster. She grimaced, turning to Will, grabbing his arm, “Turn back.”. Will frowned, looking more concerned. “W-Why…?” He asked, worried for her and a bit himself now.

 

“I’m tired.” She lied, it felt wrong… friend’s don’t lie .

 

“W-We’re almost there...I promise, can you hold on a little longer?” Will asked, having a pleading look. El glanced back, but continued following them, a bit of blood running down her nose as the four continued following the compass.

 

The sky was partially cloudy, leaving a small gray tint in the sky. Leaves crunched under Barb’s flats, the redhead glancing around every now and then. God, she felt like the least intimidating person ever. Even though she agreed to it, it was still so weird to put together that she was out monster hunting. Her, Barbara Holland of all people!

 

Jonathan looked at her, the bat resting on his shoulder, “If you’re having second thoughts you can leave. You don’t have to do this.”.

 

“No. I do. I want to figure out what’s going on and why this thing is after me. Plus, I might not be a crackshot, but I know you can’t fight this thing alone. You passed out last time and it took all your energy, someone’s gotta make sure it doesn’t eat you.” Barb stated, making him smile a bit.

 

Joyce took a long drag of her cigarette, taking a deep breath. Shit, she came home to just check up on her kids, and now both of them were gone! Goddammit, everything was falling apart! Why did she think getting involved would be a good idea?! The moment the boys get home, they need too-

 

A loud banging on the door caught her attention, making her look up startled. She hurried over, swinging the door open, shocked to find Hopper holding up a piece of paper with ‘Don’t say anything’ written on it. Her stomach dropped, getting a good idea of what had happened. Biting her lip, she realized that running off wasn’t going to be an option now.

 

God, please don’t make me regret this.

Chapter Text

After following the compass some more, the four kids eventually ended up in the old scrap yard. Dustin looked up, “Oh, no.”. “Oh, no? What’s oh no?” Lucas asked. “We’re heading back home.” Dustin responded, turning around. “Wa-wait, are you sure?” Will asked. “Yeah, I’m sure.” Dustin replied, “Setting sun, right there. We looped right back around.”

 

Dustin and Lucas started arguing, but Will turned around, looking at El with a frown. While they were walking, she was wiping her nose a lot… “E-El...did… are you the one that messed with our compasses? Why would y-you…? I thought we were friends...” Will’s voice quivered, keeping his eyes on her. He didn’t want to believe it, but it was the only possible option.

 

“Because she’s a traitor!” Lucas exclaimed, walking over to El, making Will worried. “L-Lucas, what are you doing?” Will asked, walking over as Lucas got close to El’s face. “You did it, didn’t you? You don’t want us to reach the gate. You don’t want us to find Mike. Admit it already. Admit it!” When El refused, Lucas grabbed her arm, holding it up, letting them see the fresh blood on her sleeve.

 

“Why…?” Will asked, frowning. El sniffled, starting to cry. “It’s...not… It’s not safe.” She said.

 

Between Hopper and Joyce, the two were able to take out all the light bulbs in her house, both tired from running around the home and taking out all the light bulbs. Hopper sat down, panting softly, “It should be safe. I can’t guarantee it...but it should be safe.”.

 

Joyce sat across from him, patting Chester’s head as he laid at her feet, “What did you find out over there? Did they follow you? Do they know about-?”

 

“No, far as I know they have no idea you’re even here, Joyce.” Hopper stated, letting her sigh in relief, “They bugged my place though. Put a microphone in the light. They know I’m onto them, so yeah, these people are hiding something big that’s not just about your family. You and I saw that the body was fake.”.

 

“What did I tell you? She’s been playing us from the beginning!” Lucas shouted. 

 

“T-That’s not true..! She’s been helping us find Mike!” Will exclaimed, defending El despite how betrayed he felt.

 

“Find Mike? Find Mike? Where is he, then? Huh? I don’t see him. Do you see him, Will? Think about it! She could’ve told us where the Upside Down was right away, Will! But she didn’t! She just made us run around like headless chickens. She used us, all of us! I have no idea why you even trusted her!” Lucas shouted.

 

“Because she’s the only one like me!” Will snapped, shocking the two, “I have powers too, I c-can predict the future! The drawings in my room, I’ve predicted the board game the night he went missing, I’ve seen the monster in my dreams, I trust her cause there’s no one else like me!”.

 

Lucas glared stepping up to Will, “Oh, it all makes sense now. You were blind because you were happy that someone wasn’t freaked out by a freak like you! But wake up, man! Wake the hell up! She knows where Mike is, and because of you two, he’s gonna die in the Upside Down!”.

 

“Stop…” Will whimpered, tears running down his cheeks, “Stop please..!”.

 

“For all we know, it’s her fault, and she played you! Made you feel less of a freak so you wouldn’t catch on! We’re looking for some stupid monster, but did you ever stop to this she was the monster? That you’re a monster too?” Lucas shoved Will back, making him flinch. 

 

“Stop!” El exclaimed. “Knock it off!” Dustin shouted. Lucas ignored them, shoving Will again. “Stop it!” El shouted again. Lucas shoved Will again to the ground, and El screamed, sending Lucas flying back.

 

“Jesus!” Dustin exclaimed. Will pushed himself, running over in a panic. Despite all the hurtful things Lucas just said, Will didn’t want him hurt! The two hurried over, crouching down by him, worried as he was still. “Lucas..! Lucas..! Lucas, are you all right?!” Will shouted as Dustin shook him, “Lucas, come on!”.

 

Will turned around, whimpering, “Why would you do that…?! W-What’s wrong with you..?”. El whimpered, tears running down her cheeks, memories of...of when she first saw it coming back.

 

After some more shaking, they woke him up, Will let out a sigh of relief. “Lucas...Lucas, are you okay..?” Will asked. Lucas sat up, leaning against the sheet of metal he hit. “L-Let me see your head-”

 

“Get off of me!” Lucas pushed himself up, and when Will reached out for him again, he was shrugged off, “Get off of me!”. Lucas balanced himself, before stomping off. Will attempted to follow, but Dustin stopped him.

 

Will sniffled, turning, his heart dropping finding El gone. Everything was falling apart… his friends knew his biggest secret...and now he lost two of them at the same time. “E-El… El, where are you..?!” He cried out, hiccuping softly as he cried.

 

Jonathan and Barb walked through the night, using some flashlights to help them see. “Hey, just letting you know, my parents think I’m at a study group. So I’m really hoping we find this monster before they come back from their show.” Barb stated, groaning. God, she sounded stupid. “I’m hoping we don’t stay out here all night, so don’t worry.” Jonathan responded, adjusting his grip on his back.

 

The duo continued searching the woods, when Barb paused, hearing a strange noise. “What is it?” Jonathan asked. “Shhh. I heard something.” Barb stated, hearing the noise again.

 

Barbara took the lead, moving slowly, gasping softly when they found the source of the noise. A poor injured dear laid on the ground, whimpering in pain. “Oh my god…” She whimpered, putting a hand over her mouth. Jonathan let out a sigh, walking over to it. Barb glanced over, watching a bit of blood run down his nose, and a single tear running down his cheek. She frowned, wondering how many awful thoughts he’s read in his life time...it probably wasn’t something you forget easily.

 

“Give me the gun…” Jonathan softly said, “We can’t leave it here.”. “What about-” “I’m not nine anymore.” He responded. She slowly nodded, passing him the gun and both of them got up.

 

Jonathan let out a sigh, aiming the gun, and Barb looked away, not wanting to see it. Before Jonathan could fire, something grabbed the deer, dragging it off.

 

“Ahh! Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!” Barb squealed, closing her eyes and jumping back. Jonathan panted heavily, looking at Barb.

 

The two continued forward, following the tracks. “Oh god, I’m starting to regret staying. Ugh, keep it together Barbara.” Barb whispered, trying to give herself a pep talk. “Where’d it go?” Jonathan muttered, keeping af firm grip on the gun, glancing around. “Ugh, I don’t know. It has to be the monster though, right? Is it too late to go back and get your mom?” Barb asked, getting silence as a response.

 

Perfect.

 

“Do you see any more blood?” Jonathan asked. “None..” Barb responded. Jonathan sighed, continuing to search. Barb glanced around, holding the bat close to her chest.

 

As Jonathan moved around, he felt a strange presence, making him turn around. There was a large hole in the base of the tree, and something appeared to be dripping from it. The teen moved closer, flashing his light into it. “Barb?” He turned around, not seeing her. Jonathan huffed, this was fucking stupid...but he could definetly hear something in her.

 

Wiping the blood off his nose, Jonathan proceeded to crawl inside. “Oh, jesus.” He gagged, the smell foul and the place feeling so slimy. Jonathan just barely managed to fit through the whole, climbing out. He pushed himself up, groaning as he wiped off what he could. His flashlight flickered, making him grimace. This was just perfect.

 

The area around him was so strange. It looked just like the forest he was just in, but foggery, and a weird blue tone. It was also freezing.

 

Moving forward, Jonathan opted not to touch anything, as it seemed everything was covered in these strange slimy vines. His flashlight continued to flicker, concerning him but he didn’t turn back. That’s when he heard it, a strange snarl making him turn around in shock.

 

The horrifying gray beast that almost took Barb was now hunched over the deer, tearing it apart with his starfish like mouth.

 

Jonathan took shaky breaths, recognizing this as the presence he felt. When he stunned it, it must have made him familiar to the beast. He didn’t want to test his theory out though, stepping back. What he didn’t notice was his foot stepping onto a twig until it snapped, making the monster turn to him. He screamed in panic, dropping his flashlight and running. He couldn’t use his powers here to stun, especially if this was it’s home turf!

 

The only option was run!

 

Barb whipped her head around hearing screams, “Jonathan!”. She ran over where she heard the scream, growing concerned as she found his stuff on the ground. “Jonathan? Jonathan, where are you?” She shouted, grabbing his back, walking around...not noticing the hole in the tree behind her slowly sealing shut.

Chapter Text

“Jonathan! Jonathan, I swear to god if this is some sort of prank I will leave right now!’ Barb shouted, praying it was a prank. If it really was the monster, and it...it…

 

Flashes came back, remembering how if Jonathan was even a second off she could be gone. It still haunted her, terrorizing her dreams.

 

“Barbara! Barb!” Jonathan shouted, mentally cursing himself for not bringing in the fucking gun! “I’m right here, I’m right here!” Jonathan screamed, hearing Barb’s voice echoing the air, “Where are you?”.

 

“I’m right here, Jonathan!” Barb shouted, knowing she was hearing his voice. “Follow my voice, I’m right here, Jonathan! Just keep following my voice!” Barb shouted.

 

Jonathan turned around, gasping as he saw the monster. He held his hand up, still attempting to us his powers on it. His head began to hurt, but unfortunately, it didn’t work this time. It screeched, running at him and swinging at him. Jonathan yelled feeling it’s claws sink into his side, and he scrambled to his feet, running with both his hands pressed firmly on the wound.

 

Barb let out a shocked gasp, finding the hole. She gagged a bit, but stepped forward, approaching the tree slowly. “Oh my god, that is so gross.Jesus...is it pulsing… I’m gonna be sick, oh god.” Barb groaned, crouching down to try and look in, “Jonathan, are you in there?”.

 

Jonathan had managed to hide himself behind a tree, panting heavily as he held his side, biting the inside of his mouth to make no noise. He lifted his head up hearing Barb shout. The monster seemed distracted by something else, giving him a sense of hope.

 

“Jonathan-” The redhead shrieked in terror as a bloody hand shot out of the strange webbing in the hole. “Barb!” She quickly recognized Jonathan’s voice, gasping. “Oh my god, hold on!” She grabbed his hand, grunting as she started to pull him through. Jonathan whimpered in pain, his side burning.

 

With one final pull, Barb pulled him free, falling back to the ground panting. Jonathan laid on his side, gasping in pain. He propped himself on his elbow, pulling his shirt up, hissing in pain as he looked at the wound. “Jesus, you’re hurt.” Helping him up to his feet, Barb let him lean on her, “I got you.”. 

 

Looks like they were about to be even .

 

“I don’t know why you’re doing this. I thought you didn’t want to talk to her.” Carol stated. Nancy huffed, folding her arms over her chest. “Hey, leave her alone Carol, she wants to talk to her friend.” Steve replied, although Barb didn’t seem interested in talking to her earlier. The only reason Nancy was even around right now is because she needed a ride to Barbara’s.

 

And unfortunately, Carol and Tommy decided to tag along.

 

“I say you should just ditch her. She’s a loser anyway.” Tommy said, leaning over his chair.

 

Nancy scoffed, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear, “Barbara is not a loser! God, she’s just...been acting weird, something has to be wrong with her.”.

 

Carol giggled, leaning over as well, “Aw, do you care about her.”. “Come on Carol, that’s enough.” Steve stated. “King Stevie has a heart.” Carol cooed. “Would you just- stop.” Steve huffed, pulling up to Barb’s house.

 

“So this is it, huh? Nerd’s castle.” Tommy said, getting a glare from Nancy.

 

Nancy shook her head, taking off her seat belt. “I’ll just be a minute.” Giving Steve a quick peck on the cheek, Nancy climbed out of the car, making her way over. She glanced back, noticing Barb’s car was there. Looking for a coffin was a really bad time, but now she wanted answers. She wanted to know where the Hell her best friend has been this entire time!

 

As she approached the door, her face fell. Barb walked over to her bed, handing Jonathan a blanket. He took them, wrapping them around himself. She sat by him, putting a hand on his shoulder, hoping to comfort him.

 

“Are you fucking kidding me…?” Nancy whispered, watching from the window.

 

“Alright, tell me again, tell me again what you saw.” Joyce said, taking a drag of her cigarette. “Upstairs or downstairs?” Hopper asked. “Upstairs.” She replied.

 

“There was a laboratory. It was where they must do experiments, and then...there was a kids room. Knowing that they...numbered Jonathan and took him from you, I’m guessing they didn’t stop there. Benny told me about this girl with shaved hair. How she might be abused or on the run or something.” Hopper explained, trying to remember.

 

Joyce let out a shaky breath, taking another drag. “There’s no way they aren’t involved in Mike’s disappearance. Christ, they probably took him..! I thought I could forget my past by burying it…” Joyce looked up, “Looks like the only way I can forget it by burning my past down to ashes.”. 

 

Holy shit, that was hot.

 

“Alright, so that kid, it’s most likely the one in the room then, going through what they wanted to do with Jonathan. Now, there was a woman, Terry Ives. I’m guessing you heard about her case,” Joyce nodded, “She sued Brenner and the government because they took her daughter, Jane. Sounds like your story, but instead of looking for Mike, I’ve been looking for Jane all along.”.

 

Jonathan grimaced as he made his way into the shower, his side still hurting horribly. Thank god Barb was nice enough to let him take a shower. The teen turned on the hot water, gasping as hit his skin.

 

Jonathan let out a sigh, aiming the gun, and Barb looked away, not wanting to see it. Before Jonathan could fire, something grabbed the deer, dragging it off.

 

“Ahh! Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!” Barb squealed, closing her eyes and jumping back. Jonathan panted heavily, looking at Barb.

 

He tensed, scrubbing his face with the hot water, trying to wash away the filth and memories.

 

The Demogorgon turned its head hearing the twig snap, making Jonathan gasp in terror. The beast shrieked at him, and he turned around, running as fast as he could.

 

Jonathan held his head, remembering Barb screaming his name, the horrifying world he stumbled into, and the monster… what he saw when he used his powers on it. Jonathan whimpered softly, holding his head as the hot water continued dripping onto him.

 

After turning on some music to attempt to lighten the mood, Barb began laying out some blankets. “Who knew I’d add a boy staying the night to the list of new things I’ve done.” Barb muttered to herself, putting a pillow down as well. The door opened, making her turn around. Jonathan walked in, closing the door gently behind him. He was so thankful he had some old clothes in his trunk, they were just some old donations he forgot to give away. At least they fit still.

 

“Are you feeling better?” She asked, “Sorry, dumb question.”. Considering she just stitched his side back up and he ended up god knows where, she doubted it.

 

“Yeah.” He gave a small nod, making her frown. He knew what everyone else was thinking, and he was impossible to read. She let out a soft cough to clear her throat, gesturing to the blanket, “I’m guessing you don’t want to be alone tonight, so I made you a bed.”. “What about your parents..?” Jonathan asked. “I'm really good kid… and while I hate lying, they’ll believe almost anything I say since I’ve never done anything bad. You can stay the night, it’s okay.” Barb explained.

 

It was what she had to do, he needed it. She...she easily could have been in his spot.

 

Taking her glasses off and setting them on her nightstand, she looked at him get on the blanket, “Are you going to be okay down there?”. He gave a small nod from what she saw, letting her relax only a little bit. “Well...wake me up if you need me, okay?” She got no response, and she sighed, keeping her lamp on for him just in case, “Night…”.

 

“Goodnight…” Jonathan whispered, rolling onto his good side, closing his eyes, praying for some sort of sleep.

Chapter Text

Morning soon came, Will sat silently on his bed. Putting down the piece of paper he was drawing on, Will looked over to his window… he kept it unlocked all night in case she came back … his eyes wandered to the empty closet, his lip quivering.

 

Swallowing hard, Will looked down at his incomplete vision drawing. Letting out an angry noise, he tore the paper up, ripping it into multiple pieces as hot tears ran down his cheeks. He tore up the paper, climbing off his bed, picking up the completed vision drawings, crying as he tore them all up.

 

He panted hard, looking down at the pile of paper, sniffling as he crumbled to the ground, breaking down in tears.

 

Joyce nervously played with her hands, watching Hopper make the call. Despite her fire powers, she felt this chill...like something bad was going to happen...or it already did. Biting her lip, she pushed back the paranoia, returning her mind to their current objective, finding Terry Ives.

 

Hopper eventually returned, entered Joyce’s beat up car, driving to the address they were given. “Let’s hope she’s gonna help us out.” Hopper murmured, to which Joyce agreed.

 

Should’ve burned the place to the ground ages ago, would’ve saved them so much trouble.

 

A soft noise woke up Barb, making her wake up. The girl groaned, rubbing her eyes heavily as she picked up her glasses. Blinking a few moments allowed her to see clearly, the redhead looking around, shocked to find Jonathan missing from the blanket. She looked around some more, eventually seeing Jonathan looking at the photos she had hanging on the wall.

 

“Couldn’t sleep..?” She asked, lifting her glasses up to rub her eyes.

 

He didn’t even turn to her, looking at the pictures of her Nancy tacked up on her wall. “Everytime I close my eyes… I see myself back there, I see it’s face… It was scary the first time, I mean it was...but… But I didn’t hear it last time.”.

 

This shocked her, making her sit up completely, “You heard it..? You...you read it’s thoughts?”. There was no response, making her frown.

 

Whatever he heard in there...must have really scared him.

 

She sighed softly, deciding not to press. “Well, at least sit down so you don’t hurt yourself. You won’t heal if you keep standing.” She stated. Jonathan softly sighed, nodding as he made took a seat at her desk.

 

Will paced in his room, looking at the empty closet each time he went in a circle. “Relax, Will. She’s gotta be close.” Dustin spoke. “No way...she said it wasn’t safe. I mean, she was messing up the compasses to protect us… she… she wouldn’t betray us..” Will whispered, holding his arms.

 

“Calm down.

 

“I shouldn’t have yelled at her. I never should’ve said those things when I’m a freak like her… It’s all my fault…” Will sniffled. So many things were going wrong all at once! First he revealed his secret, lost one of his best friends, and now El was missing...if they took her... it’d be all his fault.

 

“Hey, stop that. It isn’t your fault, it’s no one’s fault accept whoever took Will.” Dustin explained. Will frowned. “Look, you were all out of line, okay? So clean up your face and get ready, we’re going to Lucas’, then we’re going to find Eleven.”. Will gave a small nod, quickly rubbing his eyes, and hurrying to grab his backpack.

 

El woke up panting, looking around the empty woods silently. Her dreams being haunted with the memories or...of what Brenner made her do. The girl got up, carrying her wig in hand, and began walking.

 

She approached a small river, getting down on her knees. She slowly put on the wig, staring at her reflection silently. A sigh left her, and she took off the wig, keeping her eyes on her reflection. Her breathing grew heavy, anger welling up in her as she let out a scream, making the water ripple violently and all the birds nearby to fly off.

 

“Barbara dear, breakfast time!” Mrs. Holland called out from the table, putting down a tray of bacon and eggs making her husband beam. There was no response, making her sigh softly as she walked to her only child’s room, “Barbara, breakfast is ready. Eggs are how you love them, sunny side up.”. She approached the daughter’s door, hearing classical music playing. The woman let out a soft hum, stepping away from the door knowing well her daughter was studying.

 

But in doing so, the mother had no idea Barbara’s window was unlocked, or that the stranger’s car from last night was gone.

 

Will and Dustin rode up to Lucas’ house, the smaller boy hesitantly moving forward to knock on the door. He wanted to badly to turn back and run, but there was no chance for it when Lucas opened the door. “What do you want?” Lucas asked, his tone making Will flinched.

 

The boy lifted his head up slowly, taking a shaky breath. “I’m sorry… I shouldn’t have hid my secret for so long, I was just scared.. And I acted out… I know I didn’t draw first blood but…” Will held out his hand, praying Lucas would agree to shake it.

 

All he wanted was his friends back…

 

Lucas let a sigh, looking down at Will’s hand. “Okay, fine. I’ll shake...because I’ll admit, I was being a real jerk about...your powers,” It felt strange to say, “And I promise to never call you a freak again. And… while I really, REALLY, don’t want to...I’ll help you look for El.”. Will sighed, going to take his hand, “On one condition! You tell me how to win the next D&D session AND the perfect hiding place to keep Erica away from my shit. That, and the second we find her, we hit that gate with all we got.”.

 

A smile grew on Will’s face, the boy furiously nodding as Lucas shook his hand.

 

Eleven panted as she had been walking around for some time, stopping when she spotted a grocery store. Her stomach growled, encouraging her to head inside. Music was heard of the PA system, playing whatever song was currently popular right now. The people in the store gave her odd looks, some disgusted and others concerned for the random chil covered in dirt with a bloody nose.

 

“Are you lost? Is your mom here? Your dad?” A random man, who most likely worked here, asked. Before El could say anything, a large hand was put on her shoulder, making her look back, startled spotting the nice man from the food place.

 

“Sorry about him. This is my niece, Juliet. She probably got scraped up playing around outside waiting for me to finish shopping. Poor girl has chemo, so she hardly gets out, that’s why she was so excited and fell. Kids will be kids.” Benny looked down at El, giving a subtle wink, “Come on Julie, let’s finish shopping.”. El looked at Benny, then the working man, slowly nodding. “Have a nice day, sir.” Benny said as he walked into the aisle to grab his cart.

 

El followed, stopping when she spotted some Eggos. Not even thinking, El grabbed for boxes of Eggos, dropping them into the cart. “Alright, I’ll buy these for you, but afterwards you and I have some catching up to do, alright?.

 

Much to his joy, she nodded, making him smile as they walked to the check out stand.

 

Nice man…

 

Hopper pulled up to the address, climbing out with Joyce. The two hurried to the door, and Hopper began knocking on the door, hoping for an answer. A few moments passed, and a young woman pushed back the curtains, looking at the two. Hopper gave a small wave, putting his hands in his pockets, waiting for the woman to unlock the door.

 

“Hi, we’re looking for Terry Ives. Does she live here?” Hopper asked. “Who’s asking?” The woman retorted. “Hawkins Chief of Police.” Hopper responded, holding up his badge for clarification.

 

The woman gave him a quick once over, “And you want to talk to my sister?”. Hopper nodded, making her sigh softly. “Well, you can come in, but if you want Terry to tell you anything, you’re about five years too late.” Without any further explanations, she led them inside. The duo gave each other a look, following the woman inside.

 

“Terry, you have guest.” The woman spoke, leading them into the room. Joyce walked in first, immediately feeling a connection to the woman… she was just like her. She approached the woman, her stomach twisting as she was able to quickly realize something was horribly wrong.

 

The three boys began gearing up, ready to search for El and get to their friend. Once all of them were ready, they headed to their bikes. Lucas looked over, spotting an electrician man across the street, and he gave a small wave. “Come on, Lucas.” Dustin called out, starting to ride ahead. Lucas sighed, riding after them.

 

“Look at the three of us, back in action ready to kick gate ass.” Dustin said.

 

“We still need to find El.” Will stated, slowly turning his attention to Lucas, “Thanks...for shaking my hand.”

 

Lucas let out a sigh, “It’s fine… I was just...jealous that you spent so much time with her. Now I know why.”. He was silent for a moment, before looking at Will, “Can we talk about ‘it’ when we find somewhere private?”.

 

“You can ask whatever you want...I don’t want to hide it from you guys anymore.” Will replied, giving them all a weak smile.

 

“She was a part of some study in college.” Becky explained, “Um, MK Ultra. Was, uh, started in the ‘50s. By the time Terry got involved, it was supposed to be ramping down, but the drugs just got crazier. Messed her up good.”.

 

Yeah, right, sure it was the drugs that made her like this.

 

“This was the CIA that ran this?” Hopper asked. This made Becky chuckle a bit, “You and Terry would’ve gotten along. ‘The Man’, with a big capital ‘M’. They’d pay...you know, a couple hundred bucks to people like my sister, give ‘em drugs, psychedelics, LSD, mostly. And then they’d strip her naked and put her in these isolation tanks. Basically big bathtubs filled with salt water where you could float around. They wanted to expand the mind, real hippie shit.”.

 

Joyce trembled lightly, staring at Terry the entire time Becky talked. She didn’t need to hear anymore as...as one thought haunting her completely.

 

I could’ve been her.

Chapter Text

Dustin looked down at his compass, panting as the three boys were still riding. “Good news guys, the compass is still acting up, we’ll have plenty of time to find after we find El.”. This made Will grimace, and suddenly stop his bike. “Dude, what are you doing? Just cause we have time doesn’t mean we should drag our feet.” Dustin stated.

 

The smaller boy shook his head, “Lucas, you should go scout the gate. We all want the same thing...and sometimes a party has to split up to get it done.”. Lucas frowned a bit, looking at Will, so did Dustin.

 

“Are you sure?”

 

“I am, I know you have this handled.” Will smiled, having full confidence in his friend.

 

Lucas slowly nodded, adjusting his compass. “Good luck you guys, and when you find El...tell her I’m sorry.”. “You can tell her when we all meet up again!” Dustin called out, watching Lucas vanish into the woods. Will sighed, turning to Dustin, no time for delays now.

 

Jonathan and Barb walked around the local hunting store, gathering what they needed. “Do you think we should get a bigger fun?” Barb asked, looking over as Jonathan walked towards her, frowning as he seemed in pain every step he took, “Are you sure you’re up for this?”. “I already told you I’ll be fine..I’ll feel a lot better once that things dead” He responded, looking at the guns with her, “Also, I don’t think so about the guns. Neither of us are good shots and...they’re pretty expensive.”.

 

“I’d recommend the Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 if you want some cheap damage. But those are sloppy. If you want real precision get a Remington 783 or even a Ruger 10/22.” 

 

Both of them turned around startled, finding a 5’6 woman covered head to toe in black leather and black makeup. The red tips of her black hair being a huge contrast. It took Jonathan a moment to realize who she was. “Dorian...right? You’re in my chemistry class.” He said, to which the girl nodded.

 

“That’s me, Byers. Gotta say, never expected to see you or Ms. perfect Holland over hear in my store.” Dorian commented.

 

“You’re store?” Barb scoffed. Damn, sassiest Jonathan has ever heard her .

 

“My uncle’s store. Anyway, you really wanna fuck something up, get the shotgun.” Without another word, the goth left. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard he talk.” Barb spoke. “She’s talked to me before about some songs she was writing.” Jonathan said, helping grab the rest of their items.

 

The two approached the counter, putting down all the items they grabbed. That meant the bear traps, propane tank, lighter fluid, the flashlight, the pegs, the mallet, etc. Dorian snorted at her uncle’s expression, going back to restocking the shelves.

 

“And I’ll have four boxes of the .38s.” Jonathan said, nervously tapping his fingers on the counter while Barb looked away awkwardly. The shopkeeper grabbed the bullets, putting them down on the counter. “What are you kids doin’ with all this?” He asked.

 

“Monster hunting.” Barb simply replied. The man shrugged, opening the cash register.

 

The two walked out with everything they grabbed, Jonathan letting out a small chuckle. “Monster hunting?” He smirked, opening the trunk for them.

 

The redhead shrugged a bit, softly sighing as she looked at the items. “It’s funny… last week I was shopping for outfits with Nancy to help her ‘impress’ Steve. Took us all weekend. She just made it seem like life and death, I couldn’t say no to her. Nancy is.. My best friend, you know? And now..”

 

“You’re shopping for bear traps with Jonathan Byers.” Jonathan said, closing the trunk, making her nod. “So, what’s the weirdest part? Me or the bear trap?” He asked, putting his hands in his pockets.

 

Barb let out a small chuckle, “You. A hundred percent you, I mean you have these crazy abilities no one knows about.”.

 

The two shared a laugh, when a car drove past them, catching their attention with a honk, “Hey, Barb. Can’t wait to see your movie.”. “What the hell was that?” Jonathan asked. Barb gulped, feeling her stomach twist. She turned around, letting out a gasp, walking off. Jonathan followed her best he could, ignoring the searing pain in his side.

 

Barb panted, running down the street, her mouth dropping at what she saw. ‘All the right moves STARRING BARBARA THE BITCH HOLLAND’ was sprayed onto the Hawk sign. “Jesus…” Jonathan said, giving Barb a sympathetic look. Barb swallowed hard, struggling not to cry.

 

That’s when she heard it. That asshole Tommy’s laugh. Taking a shaky breath, the girl followed the noise, Jonathan swearing as he followed after her.

 

“Tommy, you write like a three year old.” Carol chuckled. Barb stood at the entrance of the alley, spotting Tommy, Carol, Nicole, Steve...and Nancy. Just seeing her friend with them shattered her heart. Biting her lip, Barb moved forward.

 

Carol turned around, smirking, “Look, the big giant is here. She looks upset.”. Barb stopped just short of them, “What...what is wrong with you?”. Her voice quivered, wondering why Nancy would let them do this.

 

“What’s wrong with her? What’s wrong with you?” Steve asked, ready to defend his girl. 

 

“I can speak for myself, Steve.” Nancy stepped forward, glaring at her ‘friend’, “I was worried about you, Barbara. I was actually worried about you! I mean you’ve been gone for days with no calls or anything. You come to the funeral home while I’m shopping for coffins for my dead brother of all times! Then when I try to give you a chance to talk last night, I find you getting all comfy with that nosebleed Byers!”.

 

“What are you talking about?” Barb asked, stunned by Nancy’s outburst. “I wouldn’t lie if I were you. Wouldn’t want to be known as they lying bitch.” Carol chuckled. Jonathan finally caught up, hiding his pain. Jesus, he hoped the stitched didn’t tear.

 

Tommy noticed him, smirking, “Speak of the devil.”. 

 

Barb glanced back at Jonathan, before turning back to Nancy, “You came by last night? Nancy, I swear it is not what you think you saw.”. Nancy scoffed, folding her arms. “What, so you let him into your room, mind you you never had a guy over, EVER, to what, study? I thought you were better than that, Barbara. I guess I was wrong.” Nancy hissed out.

 

Anger boiled in Barb, and without thinking she spoke, “Oh, so you can ditch you friends at parties to fuck the popular guy, but the second I even talk to a guy, you publically humilate me. I’m glad to see you’re a hypocrite and a horrible friend.”. Carol and Nicole gasped, Tommy chuckled.

 

“Go to Hell, Barb.” Nancy glared, stepping besides Steve, who wrapped and arm around her.

 

Jonathan grimaced, taking Barb’s arm. “Come on, Barb. Let’s just go already.” Jonathan moved her in front of him, wanting to get her out of there before things got any worse.

 

Too late for that unfortunately.

 

Steve stepped forward, shoving Jonathan as the two started walking, “You know what, Byers? I’m actually kind of impressed. I always took you for a queer, but I guess you’re a little screw up like your father.”. Jonathan bit his lip, continuing to walk. “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, that house is full of screw ups.” Steve continued shoving him, worrying Barb, “You know, I guess I shouldn’t be really surprised. A bunch of screw ups in your family.”

 

“Jonathan, come on.” Barb pleaded seeing he stopped.

 

“I mean, your mom. I wouldn’t be surprised if your brother ended up dead too.” Nancy looked at him appalled, that was too far even for her, “I’m sorry I have to be the one to tell you this, but the Byers, their family, it’s a disgrace to the entire-”

 

His anger blew over, Jonathan turned around, striking Steve right in the face. Steve stumbled into the wall, leaning on the rail. “Oh my god, Steve!” Nancy exclaimed, looking at Jonathan in horror. The boy panted heavily, putting a hand on his side as it ached. Steve pushed him up, looking at Jonathan, and lunged at him, grunting as he made contact with the other boy.

 

“Get off of him!” Barb screamed. Steve threw Jonathan to the ground, quickly getting on top of him. Jonathan grunted, managing to roll him over. “Stop it, seriously!” Barb shouted. “Kick his ass, man!” Tommy yelled.

 

Steve elbowed Jonathan in the side, making him gasp in pain. Steve got up, but Jonathan pushed him back, punching Steve again, making him stumble back. Tommy moved up, grabbing Jonathan, but Steve shoved him back.

 

This piece of shit was his !

 

Running on sheer adrenaline, Jonathan was able to fight to the burning pain in his side, swinging at Steve. Steve dodged the swing, hitting Jonathan right in the head. He grunted, managing to get balanced enough to hit Steve in the face. “Stop it, you’re really going to hurt him!” Barb shouted, flinching as he hit Steve again, “Jonathan, stop!”.

 

Sirens could be heard in the back, but Jonathan didn’t care. He climbed on top of Steve, starting to punch repeatedly. “Get the Hell of him you psycho!” Nancy shouted, looking up as a cop car pulled off. The three girls ran. Tommy rushed over, shoving Jonathan off of Steve. Jonathan fell back with a yell of pain, clutching his side when he fell on it. Barb hurried over, watching Steve and Tommy run off. Callahan ran after the others, while Barb rushed to Jonathan’s side, worryingly checking his side, grimacing as his stitching tore, reopening the wound.

 

Hopper walked into the hall with Becky, letting out a soft sigh, “Thank you for your time.”.

 

“Hmm, yeah, I’m sorry I couldn’t be more help.” Becky responded.

 

The two returned to the car, Joyce slamming the door. A heavy sigh left her, slowly putting her head in her hands. “Hey.” Hopper said, putting a hand on her shoulder, slowly making her look up.

 

“What..?”

 

“You’re okay, you’re family is okay. Mike will be okay too, we’re going to find him.”

 

Joyce shook her head, “Terry...she was just like me, I’m the reason she’s like this. Why...why she lost her daughter.”. “Hey, we’re close. You’ll have your sons safe at home, and Terry will get her daughter, and Mike will come home.” Hopper stated, “We know Benny saw her five days ago. She has a chance. Do you know what i’d give for a chance?”.

 

Joyce didn’t have time to respond, as Hopper’s walkie quickly chirped to life. “Hey, Chief, you there? Hey, Chief?” Callahan asked of the radio.

 

Hopper sighed, leaning over grab his walkie, “Yeah, go ahead.” 

 

“Yeah, a fight broke out and-”

 

“Cal, I don’t have time for this.” “It’s Jonathan Byers.” The two adults looked at each other surprised, “Got hurt bad by the looks of it. You haven’t seen Joyce, have you?”

 

The two of them looked at each other, sharing the exact same thought.

 

Oh shit.

Chapter Text

The police station was silent for the most part. Barb followed Flo to the back, nervously watching as the woman pulled out a first aid kid. “How long do you think we’re going to be here?” Barb asked, rubbing her arm anxiously. “A while considering your boyfriend’s hurt and was in a fight.” Flo explained.

 

Barb’s cheeks reddened, her eyes wide. “He’s not my boyfriend.” Barb stated. “Then you better tell him that. Only love makes you that crazy, sweetheart.” Flo explained, holding out the first aid, “And that damn stupid.”. Barb sighed, taking the first aid.

 

No way. She was Barbara Holland, no one...loved her like that. She wasn’t pretty, interesting, or popular. She just wasn’t...enough.

 

Jonathan sat in a chair, hissing in pain as he looked down at her stained shirt. He was glad and angry that they didn’t go to a hospital. It hurt like hell, but there was no time to just be checked in. A sigh of relief parted his lips when he saw Barb walk over. “Hey.” He tiredly said.

 

“Hi. I got a med kit for you.” Barb said, taking a seat by him. She had to thank her mom later for teaching her how to sew all those years ago. Sure it wasn’t the same, but this would help him from bleeding out.

 

Jonathan rolled up shirt, looking away as Barb put the thread through the needle. It hurt like hell last time, it was definitely going to hurt again. His eyes scrunched up as he felt the needle go through his skin, balling up his fist. “Sorry, I want it to be really secure this dang thing. We don’t need it to tear open and you get a blood infection of something.” Barb explained, sewing the gash closed slowly with precise hands.

 

“You know...I’ve never heard you curse before.” Jonathan said, trying to distract himself. Barb chuckled a bit, “I didn’t even know I had it in me honestly.”. She had flustered smile, continuing to patch up his side.

 

“Everything okay?” Jonathan asked, surprising her. He was asking her if she was okay ? “Yeah, everything’s fine.” Barbara softly said, turning all her focus on stitching up his side.

 

Benny took El to a small area of the woods, sitting across from her on the ground she tore into the Eggo boxes. “Those taste better cooked, trust me.” The man said. The girl gave a small shrug, biting into another eggo. Benny sighed, letting her do as she please. His mind was still reeling from what she told him. It probably wasn’t the whole truth or everything, but it was pretty crazy still.

 

“El!” The two looked up hearing her name being called out in the distance.

 

“Eleven! El!” Dustin and Will shouted for the girl, walking around the forest. The two boys kept moving, until Will stopped, looking around. “D-do you hear that?” Will asked. “What?” Dustin asked.

 

Will looked around, hoping it would be El, but much to his horror it was Troy and James. Shit, maybe they should’ve kept Lucas with them!

 

“Shit! Run, Will!” Dustin dropped his bike, booking it once he saw Troy had a knife. Will quickly ran after him, moving as his little body would go.

 

Lucas panted as he walked around the gate, trying to find a way inside. “Jesus, how long is this gate?!” Lucas exclaimed. The compass moved, making him pause. He retracted his steps, looking to where it pointed.

 

He put his bike down, quickly climbing up a tree. This is insane, this is insane . Lucas made it as far as he could, putting his backpack down, and taking his binoculars out of it. He laid down more, peering through the binoculars, spotting several men entering the labs. “Got you now dickbags, now to try and find the gate.” Lucas whispered, looking at the large building. The outside looked normal for the most part.

 

That was, until he saw an army truck pull in...and several Hawkins electricity trucks. “Shit.”

 

Will and Dustin ran as fast as they could, quickly entering the quarry. Troy was quickly catching up to them, and as awful as it sounded, Will hoped he fell on the knife! “Augh, cramp!” Dustin shouted, slowing down. “Keep running!” Will pleaded, gasping as he saw James coming from the other direction.

 

The two boys were quickly surrounded, Dustin picking up a rock quickly. Will grimaced, wishing his powers could help him somehow.

 

Dustin yelled, swinging the stick at Troy. Troy dodged, grabbing Dustin, and holding the knife close to his face. “Get off! Get off me!” Dustin yelled, trying to get out.

 

“L-Let him go…!” Will shouted.

 

“Stay back, or I’ll cut him!” Troy exclaimed. “What do you want?!” Will shouted, terrified for his best friend. “I want to know how you did it! I know you did something to me! Some nerdy science shit to make me do that.”

 

“Y-You mean piss your pants?” Will retorted.

 

Dusting took a shaky breath, leaning away from the knife, “Our friend has superpowers, and she squeezed your tiny bladder with her mind.”. “Shut up!” Troy looked at Will, then Dustin, “I think I’ll save Toothless here a trip to the dentist. Help him lose the rest of his baby teeth.”.

 

“Let him go, Troy!” Will shouted, his heart hammering violently in his chest as he was terrified for Dustin’s life.

 

“Oh, I will. But first, it’s your turn. Wet yourself.” Troy stated. “W-What..?” Will asked. “Jump or Toothless here gets an early trip to the dentist.”

 

Will looked at Dustin who was struggling, Troy moving the knife closer. Dustin whimpered, trying not to cry. The smaller boy took a shaky breath, “Okay…”. Will walked towards the cliff, gazing down at the quarry so far down. He stepped closer to the edge, looking down, swallowing hard. Troy began counting down, and Will slowly closed his eyes.

 

I love you mom and Jonathan…

 

He stepped forward, letting out a scream as he fell. The three boys were shocked, quickly running over to the edge. “Holy shit.” Dustin gaped.

 

Will gasped, shocked as he found himself floating in the air, safe from plummeting into the quarry. “Whoa!” Will screamed as he was lifted back up, being levitated over. The boy grunted as he fell to the ground, rubbing his back, The other three boys walked over, shocked. Will took a shaky breath, turning  his head, his eyes widening. The rest did looked as well.

 

El marched over, blood running down her nose. Will staring in shock whilst Dustin grinned, knowing these assholes were going to get what’s coming to them. Without batting an eye, El knocked James to the ground, and tilted her head, breaking Troy’s arm. “She broke my arm! My arm!” Troy screamed, clutching his arm.

 

“Go.” El demanded.

 

The boys didn’t hesitate, running as fast as they could from the freak. Dustin stepped forward, grinning, “Yeah, that’s right! You better run! She’s our friend and she’s crazy! You come back here and she’ll kill you! You hear me? She’ll kill you, you sons of bitches! She’ll kill you, you hear me?”.

 

El panted, collapsing to the ground. “Eleven!” Will shouted, running to her, Dustin right behind him. He crouched down beside her, extremely worried for her. “El, are you okay?” He asked.

 

A whimper left her, tears brimming in her eyes, “Will...I’m sorry.”. “Sorry..? You have nothing to be sorry for. If anyone is sorry, it’s me.” Will stated. She slowly shook her head, “The gate...I opened it. I’m the monster.”.

 

“El...if you’re a monster...then I am too. We’re the same. But I promise you, you’re not a monster, El. You saved me. You saved US. Do you understand? You saved us.” Will lifted her up, pulling her into a hug. Dustin made his way over, joining the two.

 

The three got on their bikes, heading home, completely unaware that someone was waiting for them.

 

Lucas watched the vans pull out, immediately having a sinking feeling.

 

The three kids entered Will’s house, locking the door behind them, not knowing that Brenner was coming.


Papa was coming .

Chapter Text

El let out a soft sigh as Will wiped her face off. The boy tilted his head, sighing, “There. That’s better.” El looked at him, before turning to the mirror, running a hand over her head. “You didn’t need it. You look nice without it.” Will said softly, “Um...El..?”

 

“Yes?”

 

“I...I’m happy your home.” Will said. A small smile grew on her face, “Me, too.”. Will rubbed his arms, approaching El to give her a hug. She had become a sister to him, and he treated her so horribly. El stepped forward, slowly raising her arms-

 

The door swung open, making them panic seeing Dustin. “Guys, I think Lucas is in trouble!” Will’s eyes widened, quickly following Dustin, “Remember how you sent him to check out the gate? Well, what if he found it?”. El grew concerned hearing this, taking a seat. This was bad, very very bad. 

 

They could hear Lucas’ distorted shouting over the walkie, making them all worried.

 

Was he hurt? Did something find him?

 

Will took the walkie from Dustin, “Lucas, Lucas if you can hear us, you need to slow down! We can’t understand you.”

 

Lucas panted, pedaling as fast as he could when he suddenly heard Will. “Yes, I copy! Do you? They know about Eleven!  Get out of there! They know about Eleven! The bad men are coming! All of them! Do you hear me? The bad men are coming! The bad men are coming!”.

 

Will felt his blood go cold, nearly dropping the walkie in dear. Bad men . If they knew El was here, they might know about his family! How could have no recognized the dangers his family was in this entire time?!

 

“Stay here!” Will hurried out of his room, hearing Chester barking outside. His heart hammered vigorously as he approached the window. Dustin joined him, both looking out the window.

 

Out on the driveway was a van, facing towards the house. Seeing as his mother and brother weren’t home, there was no way this was a normal repairman. A gasp of shock left the two, seeing more vans drive up. “Oh shit, oh shit!” Dustin exclaimed, closing the blinds, “We need to leave now!”. “I know!” Will yelled, running back to his room, but stopped, returning to his dog, “Chester, go hide in Castle Byers, I don’t want you hurt!”. The dog whined for a moment, before retreating out the back door.

 

The three of them hurried outside, climbing onto their bikes. They grabbed their bikes, running to the back road. El quickly climbed onto the back of Will’s bike, taking a shaky breath as she spotted Brenner.

 

“Go, go, go, go, go!” Dustin shouted, riding as fast as they could. Brenner and his men ran to their vehicles, ready to chase after them.

 

Tires screeched as the cars sped after them. Will grimaced, looking at how long the road was. Dammit, why’d he have to live so far away from anywhere?! “Dustin, do you copy!” Lucas yelled. “Yeah, they’re on us!” “Where are you?!” “Mirkwood!”

 

“Meet me on Elm and Cherry!” Lucas yelled. “Copy. Elm and Cherry!” Dustin yelled back. Will nodded, breathing heavily as he pedaled as hard as he could.

 

They cut through some wooded area, but much to their horror, they could hear the vans behind them. “Cut through the park!” Will exclaimed, thinking for any visions that could help them. Damnit, why couldn’t his power be more helpful?! Wh y, why-?!

 

There was a flash, and Will saw a back route trail leading to Elm and Cherry. The boy gasped, feeling something wet on his nose, making him gasp. Holy shit, did he actually control his future sight?!

 

“I know where we have to go!” Will shouted, following the directions from the flash. Following the route, they found themselves on the road, Lucas riding up behind them.

 

“How’d...where are they?” Lucas asked, catching his breath. “I think we lost them.” The second the words left Dustin’s mouth, they heard tires screeching behind them. “Go, go, go, go, go!” Will exclaimed, pushing forward. The cars were quickly catching up to them, and one pulled up in front of them. Dustin and Will screamed in terror, but El gazed intently forward, focusing her powers on the van.

 

The boys gasped in shocked as the van flew over them suddenly, landing on it’s roof behind them. They looked at each other, lost for words as they continued riding.

 

After some time they pulled into the old scrap yard...the same one they fought in. Will climbed off his bike, taking deep breaths to calm down. “Holy shit. Did...did you see what she did to that van?” Dustin asked, “I mean that was…”

 

“Awesome.” Lucas said, making El turn around, “It was really awesome. Everything I said about you being a traitor...both of you being freaks, I was an asshole. I already said sorry to Will, but you deserve one too. I was wrong. I’m sorry.”. Lucas put a hand on her shoulder. “Friends...friends don’t lie. I’m sorry, too…” El said.

 

Lucas gave a small smile, giving El a one armed hug. Will and Dustin ended up joining as well, enjoying the peace.

 

The sky was partially cloudy, and it was a beautiful day to be in Hawkins. Hopper pulled into the parking lot of the police station, watching Joyce nearly run inside. The woman power walked inside, Hopper beside her, making her way over to her son. Jonathan had his eyes clamped shut as Barb finally finished stitching up his wound again. 

 

Fuck demogorgons and their stupid fucking claws.

 

Brown eyes widened seeing the bloody injury, hurrying over. “Jonathan? Oh my god, Jonathan! What…what happened?” Joyce gaped, seeing the wound.

 

Jonathan opened his eyes a bit, “I’m fine.”. Barb gave him a concerned look, tying off the end. “You’re side is cut open! You’re not okay, why is my son here, and who did this to him?!” Joyce shouted, fueled by motherly rage.

 

Hoping he wouldn’t be torn to shreds by the mother, Powell stepped up, “Chief, I get everyone’s emotional here, but there’s something you need to see.”.

 

The three officers went to Jonathan’s car, Hopper opening the trunk, shocked to find the hunting box.

 

Hopper returned with the box, setting it down on the desk. Oh shit , Barb and Jonathan thought. Joyce leaned over, looking inside the box. “What is this?” Joyce asked, moving some of the stuff in the box.

 

“Why don’t you ask your son? We found it in his car.” Hopper asked. “What?” Joyce gaped. “Why are you going through my car?” Jonathan leaned forward, wincing in pain. Barb frowned, carefully leaning him back in his chair.

 

“Is that really the question you should be asking now?” Hopper probed, leaning forward, “I wanna see you in my office.”. The boy grimaced, great, walking.

 

“You won’t believe me.” Jonathan said.

 

The chief scoffed, leaning forward once more with one hand on the desk, “Why don’t you give me a try?”. Jonathan grimaced, looking at Barb, who gave him the same look

 

Sitting on the ground, Lucas set up some sticks for an imaginary map. “This is Randolph Road, right here. The fence starts here, and goes all the way around. And this is the lab right here. The gate’s gotta be in there somewhere. It’s gotta be.” Lucas explained.

 

“Well, who owns Hawkins Lab?” Dustin asked. “The sign says ‘Department of Energy’.” Lucas replied. “Department of Energy? What do you think that means?” Dustin asked.

 

“Military… it’s gotta be the military.” Will softly said, having the sinking feeling, “Probably for making weapons.”. He looked at El, making the other two boys groan.

 

Lucas huffed, “It’s really bad. The place is like a fortress. We can’t go home, so now what?”

 

None of them could continue talking, as they could hear a helicopter in the distance. All of them got up, seeing it coming. “Go, go, go, go!” Will shouted, the three boys shoving their bikes underneath the bus. Once it was in, they hurried inside the bus, ducking down behind the seats. They leaned against the walls, keeping quiet as they could

 

A heavy sigh left Joyce as she passed Hopper the picture of the monster. Jonathan sat across from his mom, biting his nails. “You say blood draws this thing?” Hopper asked. 

 

Barb slowly nodded, rubbing her scarred thumb. “It’s what brought it to me, and that injured deer.”. Jonathan grimaced as his mother looked at him, knowing he was in for it.’

 

“I’m sorry, mom.” Jonathan softly said, leaning on the wall a bit as it made it easier to stand. “What, you’re sorry? You’re...you’re sorry.” Joyce stammered, using her hands expressively as she was just lost for words, though Jonathan could hear all the thoughts running through her head, “That is not good enough, Jonathan.”.

 

“I know.” He responded, wiping the blood off his nose with his sleeve.

 

“That’s not even close. That’s not even in the...in the ballpark.” Joyce gasped, her emotions all over the place. “I’m sorry mom, I wanted to yell you, I just-”

 

“What if this thing took you, too? What if they took you? You risked your life...and Barbara’s.” Joyce stated, “We have rules to protect us.”.

 

“I-I th-thought I could save Mike...I still do.” Jonathan stuttered, starting to close down as his mother kept going.

 

“This is not yours to fix alone! Acting like this, it puts you in danger.” Her voice cracked, but a thought caught Jonathan’s attention. Brenner could’ve found you and taken you back for Gods sake!

 

His eyes slowly widened, looking at his mother stunned, “Who is Brenner…? And where would he have taken me back?”. Joyce’s eyes widened in sheer horror, completely forgetting how Jonathan’s powers would sometimes work around strong emotional thoughts. Her mouth dropped, not knowing how to respond. Seeing how she wouldn’t tell him, Jonathan put matters into his own hands. Blood dripped down his nose as he listened to his mother’s thoughts. She tried to think up random things, but he found his answer, slowly opening his eyes, looking at her in disbelief.

 

“You lied...about everything...”

Chapter Text

Everyone gathered inside the Byers house, allowing Will to quickly update everyone on the upside down. “We’re the acrobat. A-And this flea...it’s Mike and the monster. And this is the upside down, where Mike is hiding.” Barb grabbed Jonathan’s hand, surprising him. He didn’t let go, instead he gave her hand a gentle squeeze.

 

“So where exactly is this gate at?” Barb asked, her voice shaking lightly. “Underground.” El softly said, catching Hopper’s attention.

 

“Near a large water tank?” He asked. El gave a small nod. Will’s eyes widened, but Jonathan said it before him. “You’ve seen it.” The older Byers boy said, not caring about his power use, since clearly Will already told his friends about their family secret… it was weirdly nice though...no having to bottle it up anymore. Make sure that only you knew it.

 

Barb rubbed her arms, letting out a shaky sigh, “So with this...we can reach out to Mike? Talk to him or something?”. El once again nodded.

 

All of the gathered at the dining table, putting a photo of Mike -really cut out from a group picture- infront of her beside the walkie talkie. Barb practically forced Jonathan to sit, not wanting him to injure himself more.

 

The lights above them suddenly flickered, and El opened up her eyes. “I’m sorry...I can’t find them.” The girls voice began cracking. Everyone split apart, needing time to think.

 

El walked into the bathroom, cleaning her face off. A soft sigh left her, the girl looking at herself in the mirror. That’s when she spotted something in the mirror. She turned around, staring at the bathtub.

 

That’s it.

 

“So like us, the more power she uses, the more energy she uses. She gets drained.” Will explained. “Like how you were at the pool Jonathan.” Barb stated, remembering how he was after stunning that thing. He gave a simple nod in response. 

 

“How do we make her better?” Hopper asked.

 

Joyce let a shaky sigh, rubbing her temples, “You don’t. We need to wait, let her rest, then try again.”. 

 

“For how long?” Barb asked. “It varies.” Jonathan huffed.

 

“Bath.” They all turned around hearing El’s voice, confused by what she meant. “I can find them. In the bath.” There was a stunned silence between them all, when Joyce suddenly got up from her seat, hurrying to her room. Who knew saving her research would be so valuable now?

 

El looked at Jonathan as Joyce walked off, nervously stepping forward. “How are you feeling?” Jonathan asked. She bit her lip a bit nervously, rolling up her sleeve, showing the ‘011’ tattoo on her wrist. His mouth opened a bit, shocked as he saw it. El looked at him, a weak smile on her face, “Brother.”.

 

His heart fluttered hearing that, and soon it ached. This girl had… had suffered what he had been spared from, but she still had enough love to protect those she cared about others...and those so much like her. After all the hell those men put her through, she easily could’ve feared everyone or even use her powers against them. But she never did...as far as he knew.

 

“Yeah, brother.” He adjusted himself in his seat, pushing his hair up, allowing her to see the ‘001’ on the back of his next. El tilted her head curiously, looking at it. “One…” She breathed out. “Actually, I go by Jonathan.” Jonathan said, frowning a bit as she didn’t seem to have a real name. Shit, poor kid,

 

As much as he wanted to connect with her, it was interrupted by his mom returning with a bunch of papers he’s never seen before.

 

“Alright, I think I might know what we have to do, so everyone, listen up.”

 

Wasting no time, the group drove to Hawkins High, knowing what they’d need. A pool for her to lie in, and roughly 1,500 pounds of salt.

 

No big deal.

 

Jonathan grunted as Hopper tossed him a bag of salt, his side burning. “Hey, how are you feeling kid?” Hopper asked, tossing him another bag. “Peachy.” He huffed, “Let’s hope it doesn’t snow next week.”. “Worst case, no school.” Hopper responded. “Even if we find Mike in there, what are we gonna do about that thing..? I’ve seen it first hand, it’s deadly.” Jonathan said, taking a break to catch his breath.

 

Hopper shook her head, picking up another bag, “We’re not doing anything. It already hurt you once, I don’t want you anywhere near that thing, alright? Your moms already got enough to worry about.”.

 

“I’ve seen the inside of that things head! I know more about it then more of you do! I can help-” “LIsten to me, I know you have every reason to be mad at your mother right now, but that doesn’t mean you should run off when you want. You gotta trust me on this, okay? We’re going to find Mike, and stop that thing.” Hopper stated, squeezing the boy’s shoulder. He slowly nodded, making Hopper back off. Jonathan stood silently, thinking, when Hopper tossed a bag at him, startling him. He grimaced, getting back to work.

 

Dustin and Lucas made their way into the gym, trying and failing to set up the pool.

 

Barb and Will walked over to one of the storage rooms. The tall girl huffed seeing the door was locked, making her look around, hoping a window was open or- “Try this.” Will said, holding out a rock. Barb blinked for a moment, before taking the rock, and smashing it against the lock. “Oh my god.” Barb gasped out, realizing she just broke into a part of the school.

 

A soft chuckle left Will, heading inside the room, and grabbing some hoses. He tossed what he could in the wheelbarrow, letting Barb grab the rest. Having all the hoses they needed, the two left the room, making their way back to the gym. “So...crazy week?” Barb nervously said.

 

“Huh..? Oh yeah, I guess it is crazy.” He swallowed a bit, looking up to her, “I don’t want to be rude, but who are you?”.

 

Barbara blushed, nervously laughing, “Oh, I’m Barb. Barabara Holland. I go to school with your brother. You guys don’t know me, I’m Nancy’s best friend.”. 

 

“I’ve heard about you. Well, when we were playing D&D at Mike’s house.” A small smile grew on his face, “I’m glad Jonathan met you even after everything. I’ve never seen him so happy around people.”. Barb frowned when he said that, remembering how often Jonathan was bullied or made fun of in school. “I’m glad I met him too.” She softly said.

 

Joyce made her way into the chemistry lab, searching around for the supplies they needed. Opening up some cabinets, she took out a pair of safety goggles. After getting a good pair, Joyce sat across from Jane, taping up the front.  “This will keep it dark for you.” She said, “Just...like in your bath”. El gave a small nod, and Joyce let out a shaky sigh, wondering what would’ve happened if her and Terry had switched places. 

 

They were in such similar situations after all, she just...didn’t save her daughter. What if Jonathan had been in this spot? Kept for years upon years, tested to do horrible things that left a scarring impact on his young mind. A single tear ran down Joyce’s cheek, the idea to painful to bare.

 

She swallowed hard, holding Eleven’s hand, “You’re a brave girl. You know that, don’t you? Everything you’ve been doing for Will, for Mike...for my family. I...thank you. Thank you for being there for him, and helping him search for Mike.”. El gave a weak smile, and Joyce gave her hand a gentle squeeze, “Listen. I am going to be there with you the whole time. And if it ever gets too scary… in that place you just let me know, okay?”.

 

Much to her relief, El nodded, “Yes.”.

 

Everyone got to work in the gym, setting up the pool. Will dragged the hoses over, pouring them in while Barb started the water. Lucas put a thermometer in the water, watching the temperature rise and fall. “Colder!” Lucas shouted, seeing the temperature rise, “Warmer!”. Barb nodded, turned the valve until she heard Lucas shout “Right there!”.

 

Hopper and Jonathan cut open the bags of salt, dumping them into the pool. It was a tedious project, as they had to get it exactly right. After some trial and error with sinking eggs, they finally did it. They had the right amount of salt needed for her to float.

 

They were ready.

 

Will set up the walkie as El got ready to climb into the pool. Joyce stood behind her, handing her the goggles, and once those were situated, it was time to get into the water.

 

 With the help of Hopper and Joyce, El got to the center of the pool, laying down. Everyone was watching her nervously, anxious to find out where Mike was. The lights above them flickered, and they knew.

 

She was in.

 

El took a shaky breath, finding herself in familiar blackness. Swallowing a bit, she moved forward. The world around her was silent, the blackness out stretching as far as she could see. As she moved around, something appeared in her vision, “Castle Byers.”.

 

Will’s eyes widened, looking at his friends. “He must be hiding there, he was closer to my house when he went missing.” Will said, “El, can you go in?”.

 

Nodding slowly, the girl moved forward, approaching the more damaged and...gross version of Castle Byers. She pushed away the cloth entrance, stepping in. A figure was curled up on the floor, and crouched down beside him. “Mike.”

 

“Mike?” They all gasped, relieved hearing her say his name.

 

Mike laid on his side, weak and frail. His eyes were closed, and blood there was dried blood on his forehead.

 

“Tell him to hold on. His friend’s are coming to save him!” Will exclaimed. “Yeah, we’re right here Mike, we’re gonna get you out!” Lucas stated.

 

“Your friends, they’re coming for you.” El said. Mike’s eyes weakly opened, struggling to speak, “Hurry.”.

 

“Hurry.” Hopper looked away from the radio, turning to El. All of them looked at each other, knowing the was Mike’s voice. Jonathan hugged his brother, sighing in relief. Barb mouthed a silent pray, so thankful he was still alive. “Tell him to hold on a little longer. W-We’re gonna find him.” Will softly whimpered, hiccuping softly. Mike was alive, he was alive!

 

“Just...just hold on a little longer. Mike. Mike.” She shook the boy, but much to her horror the area around her began to fade, and soon Mike did too. “Mike?” She looked around, “Mike!”. The girl began panicking, whimpering as she curled up on herself.

 

They could hear El’s whimpes from the radio, and Joyce quickly pulled her out. Lucas and Dustin gasped in surprise, not expecting this. Joyce took the goggles off of El, holding her securely. “Breath, breath, it’s okay.” Joyce whispered, “I’ve got you. I’ve got you honey, you did so good.”.

 

The boys grabbed her a towel, comforting and drying her off. “So where’s this fort?” Hopper asked. “It’s in the woods, behind our house. Will never lets anyone in really, I guess except Mike.” Jonathan explained, leaning against Barb. They didn’t need it tearing again. Hopper nodded, heading outside, surprising them. Joyce, Jonathan, and Barb followed him out. “Hey, get back inside.” Hopper demanded.

 

“What, are you insane. No, i’m-” “Look, if something happens to me, if I don’t make it back-” “Yeah, but then I’ll go. You stay, I can use my powers to protect me! I know what that lab is like, I know my way in and out, so I’m going!” Joyce demanded, turning to her son, “I need you to stay and watch over the kids.”.

 

He shook her head, wincing as he stood straight, “No, mom. You can’t go. I can help.”.
“Please, I need you to stay, Jonathan.” She stood on her toes to hug him, being careful for his injury, “I can’t let them take you...not again...never again. Please, I can’t let them take you or your brother. Please, stay here.”. Jonathan frowned, clinging to her as he heard Hopper shouting for his mother. “Be careful...I need you…” All the anger from earlier in the day was gone, watching sadly as Hopper drove off with his mother.

 

Barb frowned, helping him back inside, “Let’s sit you down.”. The two teens walked into the hall, Barb sitting him down. Jonathan winced in pain, holding his side. “Let me see it, I want to make sure it’s not getting any worse.” She said.

 

Turning his body a bit, Jonathan lifted up his layers, letting her look at it. “Thankfully the stitches are holding up, and it doesn’t look infected. Perfect.” Barb smiled. He was silent, which concerned her, “What’s wrong?”.

 

“Barbara...it’s not too late to go home. Let us handle this. You’ve already been through enough, you don’t need to worry about this anymore. Just go home...live a normal life again and try to forget all of this happened.” Jonathan said.

 

Barb stared at him stunned, before slowly shaking her head, “No. No way.”. This shocked him, but he couldn’t get a word in. “My ‘normal’ life ended when that thing tried to take me away, Jonathan. I was your everyday girl, good grades, kept to herself… just like everyone else. No one really knew me or cared to know me. So even though the last couple of days have been actual hell...it’s been the best week of my life.”.

 

“Barb, you can’t mean that.” Jonathan stated.

 

“I mean every word of it. I’ve done memorable things, things I never thought I’d ever do. Heck, I feel the most alive I ever have, and it started with me almost dying...plus… it also helped me meet the most incredible guy I have ever met.” Her hand rested on top of his, making his blush lightly, “If I hadn’t gone through this, I wouldn’t have known how sweet and honestly cool you were.”.

 

Jonathan was speechless, his face bright red. Both awkwardly sat in silence, before Barb leaned in, suddenly kissing him. He tensed slightly, but soon relaxed, closing his eyes, leaning in.

 

Hopper and Joyce arrived at the lab, climbing out. “Are you sure about this, Joyce? I know this place isn’t exactly the most pleasant.” Hopper said. She didn’t respond though concerning him. “Joyce?” He asked, once again getting no response. That’s when a car pulled up, making him shield his eyes seeing the bright light. The car stopped in front of theirs, and a figure climbed out. “Joyce, please tell me you didn’t-”

 

“She did, and don’t you dare try to stop me, Hopper.” Karen Wheeler, it was Karen Wheeler, “Joyce told me everything. So help me, or move. I’m finding my son.”

Chapter Text

Infiltrating the lab went about as good as they expected it too. With all three of them locked up, separated from each other in different rooms.

 

“Let me out of here! Somebody, let me out!” Karen shouted, struggling to free herself from the handcuffs, “Let me out!”. The woman grunted, trying to free herself, when she heard the door open. A white haired man walked into the room, making her swallow.

 

“Where is my son? I know he’s here! Joyce told me about the portal!” Karen exclaimed, struggling once more.

 

Brenner looked at her from his spot, “Your son. We know you’ve been in contact with him. When and how did you make contact with him?” Brenner asked, approaching her.

 

Karen kept her mouth shut, watching him make his way to the seat across from her, taking off his jacket.

 

“Five.” That was all he said to her.

 

“W-What…?” The woman asked perplexed. “Five people have been taken. This...thing that took your son… we don’t really understand it. But it’s behavior is predictable. Like all animals, it eats. It will take more children. I want to save them. I want to save your son. But I can’t do that without your help.”.

 

A hearty chuckle left Karen, the woman shaking her head with a grin, “You, sir, are a real piece of work, do you know that? So just stop. I know who you are. I’m not just some stupid domestic wife that only knows how to clean and cook. I am so much smarter than that, and I know you took my son away from me! Leaving him in that place to die! Faking his death, with a dummy! Putting other children in danger! Jesus, we had a funeral for him! We buried him. And now you have the audacity to ask me to help you? Go to hell.”

 

Hopper panted, slumping down in a corner of the room. His body tingled, having just been tasered again. “Okay, now what do you know?” One of the men asked, standing beside Connie. The woman looked at him displeased when Hopper once again refused. Seeing as he still refused, the Chief was tasered once again.

 

Joyce softly whimpered, curled up in a corner as she stared at familiar walls, memories of her old life here coming back to haunt her.

 

Joyce ran through the halls, shoving past workers. The workers looked at her stunned, not expecting her to have gotten out. Guards attempted to stop her from pursuing forward, but Joyce wasn’t having any of it. With a feral screech, the woman released a wave of fire around her, incinerating anyone in her vicinity. The flames of maternal rage showed no mercy. Only bringing agonizing death.

 

Tears bubbled down the woman’s chin, softly crying as her eyes moved towards the remaining singe marks left in the hallways. Brenner had personally locked her inside the room. For what reasons, God there were too many to think of.

 

All she truly knew is that her worst fears were arising, her past coming back to destroy her life permanently. Trapped and unable to save her sons from the upcoming dangers.

 

The four kids and two teens sat in the gym. Barb let Jonathan explain their plan, as he knew the group better than she did. “Me and Barbara are going back to the house. We’re going to fight it there. And before you say anything, no, we aren’t going to let any of you come. It’s too dangerous, and we can’t risk any of you getting hurt. We can handle this.” Jonathan quickly explained, attempting to leave, when someone grabbed his hand.

 

When he expected Will, he was shocked to see it was El. After seeing the number on him, El had quickly grown attached to the older Byers. He didn’t mind either...it was actually quite nice.

 

“Hey, you should go sit down, okay? You used up a lot of power. We’re going to come right back.” Jonathan said. The girl shook her head, frowning, “Hurt.”. “I’ll be fine. You guys need to stay here, and more importantly, stay together.” Jonathan crouched down, frowning as Will walked over, “Take care of each other, so that way when I get back, both of you can yell at me for being dumb.”. Will gave a weak nod, sniffling as he hurried over, hugging his brother. Jonathan returned it, before eventually letting go.

 

There was no time to waste, it was time to kill the monster.

 

Taking some back roads, and carefully speeding, the duo arrived at the Byers house. Stopping not far from the porch, they climbed out, grabbing everything from the trunk. Putting all the boxes on the floor, both of them knew they had a lot of work to do.

 

Knowing they were running out of time, Barbara began setting up the traps while Jonathan started hanging up any spare lights they had in the house. They knew lights flickering was a sign of its presence, well they needed to be ready. Jonathan came over, helping her set up the bear traps, making sure they were set properly. She gave a knowing nod, leaving to make sure the gun was fully loaded.

 

It was a lengthy process, between Barb pouring gasoline onto the carpet, and Jonathan hammering nails into the bat, they were finally ready. The final step was getting it to come now…

 

Joyce sat in the hall silently, gasping in shock as Hopper and Karen were escorted down the hallway, several guards behind them. “W-What’s going on…?” She asked, joining their side. “We came to an agreement.” He looked down at the two women beside him, “Everything that’s happened here and everything that’s gonna happen, we don’t talk about. You want Mike back and the boys safe? This place had nothing to do with it. That’s the deal. You two got it?”.

 

Despite her troubled past, Joyce nodded, knowing that...in the end, it seemed hiding the truth was the safest route possible. This enraged Karen, but she kept her mouth shut. The only thing that mattered was finding Mike.

 

And thankfully, it did.

 

The three adults were guided into a room full of hazmats suits, instructed to wear them, as the air was toxic. Dressed head to toe in the suits, the three made their way into the elevator, traveling down. Hopper led the way, grimacing seeing all the strange fauna that had grown on the walls. It looked nothing like this last time he came. Karen took a deep breath, whispering a prayer as she stepped deeper into the nightmare. And eventually, she entered the portal with Joyce and Hopper.

 

Much to her horror, the Upside Down was a horrifying mirror of their world… but darker, colder...empty. All the things Mike had told her in that call.

 

Hopper led the way, stopping to help Joyce, who started to have an anxiety attack. Karen let him, but she wasn’t going to just stop. Keeping a firm grip on her flashlight, Karen continued forward, determined to save her son from this cold hell.

 

Jonathan walked into the kitchen, taking two knives from the drawer, and quickly joining Barb in the living room. The redhead nervously checked everything for the third time, it had to go right. No room for error. “Hey, we’re going to be fine. If you want, we can go over the plan again. We go into Will’s room. Don’t step on the trap. We wait for the yo-yo to move, then…” He flicked the lighter on, allowing Barb to relax a bit;

 

Taking in a deep inhale, she looked at the two knives in his hand, looks like it would be the second time a knife cut her-no, never say that again Barb. She rubbed the scar on her thumb, nodding, “I’m ready whenever you are.”. 

 

Taking the knife from him, both teens held out their palms, resting the blade on it. “On three.” Jonathan took a breath, starting to count. Barb bit her lip, and on the sound of three, both sliced.

Chapter Text

Will paced anxiously in the gym, stopping, “I’m tired of waiting. I don’t care if those bad men are out there, I need to go help my family! They’re both out there and we’re in here!” Not many things could rile him up, but family and friends...those were important to him, and it only got worse the longer he was without his mother or brother.

 

“We can’t. We need to stay here and keep her safe from them. That’s the most important thing, remember? Jonathan’s okay, he’s got super powers, plus, apparently Barbara is a badass now.” Lucas stated.

 

Dustin stretched, before turning around and walking off. “Where are you going?” Lucas asked. “I’m just gonna go get some chocolate pudding. I’m telling you, lunch lady Phyllis hoards that shit. We all need to recharge!” Dustin shouted, exiting the gym.

 

Well that’s fucking perfect.

 

Blood stained the living room rug of the Byers house. Barbara taking care of Jonathan’s hand after he patched up hers. 

 

“Are we...going to talk about it?” Jonathan asked, his voice wavering a bit, his cheeks red. 

Barb was able to tell what he meant instantly. “If you’re talking about the kiss, I meant it. I’ve...never liked a guy like you before, ever known one really.” She finished wrapping up his hand, her hand lingering in his, her fingers slowly curling around his, making him look up, “And...if this is possibly the last night I’m alive, there isn’t anyone else I’d-”

 

Both of them gasped in surprise as there was a loud knock on the door, not expecting anyone to be around. “Jonathan? Are you there, man? It’s...It’s Steve! Listen, we just want to talk” 

 

Oh, shit.

 

Barb’s eyes widened, quickly standing up. When he said ‘we’, there was no doubt in her mind that Nancy was there as well. Damnit, Nancy she wanted to make up, but now was the worst time possible! The banging continued, and Barb moved forward, opening the door. Nancy and Steve were talking amongst each other, when the brunette girl noticed her...former best friend.

 

“Baraba, what-”

 

“Nancy, you need to leave…” Barb stated, keeping the door open a small bit.

 

“Hey, I’m not here to start anything. Neither is Nance, okay?” Steve said, standing up for his girlfriend.

 

The redhead shook her head, “No, you guys have to leave now.”. Barb attempted to close the door, but Steve stopped her by putting his hand on the door. “No, listen, I messed up, okay? I messed...I messed up. Okay? Really, please. I just want to make things right.” She was impressed, she never heard Steve stutter, let alone apologize.

 

She was conflicted, seeing how genuine Steve was when he spoke, the look of- ”Barb, what the hell is that?” Nancy suddenly asked, making Barb gasp realizing her bandaged hand was the one resting on the door.

 

Shit, shit, shit.

 

“What happened to your hand?” Despite how awful she treated Barb earlier, this was still her childhood best friend, and she grew worried, “Is that blood?”,

 

“Nothing.” Barb began to stutter, she was never good at lying, “It was an accident.”. Nancy looked inside, spotting Jonathan, anger boiling in the short girl, “Did he do something to you? Barbara, dammit let me in!”. “No! Guys, no, no!” Steve didn’t listen to Barb, pushing past her and walking into the living room with Nancy at his heels.

 

Steve stopped, seeing Jonathan standing in the center of the room, all sorts of dangerous and weird shit around the room. “What the hell?” Nancy gawked. Jonathan approached the two, starting to push them back, “You need to get out of here.”. 

 

“Hey, get your fucking hands off of her!”

 

“Listen to me. I’m not asking either of you, I’m telling you to get out of here!”
Jonathan exclaimed. “Oh god, what is that smell?” Nancy gagged, “Is it gaso-”

 

There was a loud bang, startling them as they turned, seeing Barb had shot the ground near their feet, making Nancy jump back in fear. “B-Barbara, why do you have a gun? What the hell is going on?!” Nancy shouted, tensing as Barb pointed the gun at them, resulting in clinging to Steve. 

 

Damnit, why was everything going wrong for her ?! 

 

“Wait. What? What is going on?” Steve shouted, holding Nancy securely.

 

It pained Barb to do this, but she had no choice. She wasn’t going to put Nancy in danger over this. “I’m going to make this right by you, we’re going to save Mike.” Nancy’s eyes widened, “But you need to go! You have five second to get out of here! I swear, I am doing this for you!”.

 

As the the three argued, the lights above them began to flicker, immediately catching Jonathan’s attention. “Barb…” Jonathan glanced around, watching the lights. Barb didn’t hear him, continuing to count down so the two would leave before it was too late.

 

It already was too late though.

 

“Barb! The lights!” The redhead turned around in terror, remembering how the pool lights flickered from the night it nearly took her. “It’s here.” Not caring for his side at the moment, he ran over, grabbing his bat. “What, what’s here?” Steve asked, still frazzled by everything that just happened in a two minute span, “Woah! Easy with that!”.

 

Nancy and Steve were ignored, stuck watching Jonathan and Barb stand back to back as the lights above them continued to flicker. “Where is it?” “I don’t know. I don’t see it.”. “Where is what?!” Nancy shouted, tired of not getting any answer, “Someone explain what the HELL is going-”.

 

There was a loud crashing sound, making the four teens look, seeing the roof tearing open as a horrifying creature came out from it. Nancy screamed in terror, backing away. Barb wasted no time, shooting at it. “No!” Jonathan grabbed her arm, yanking her back, “Go! Go! Run! Go!”. The creature broke through the roof, the four teens hurried into the hall, jumping over the traps and rushing into Will’s room. Jonathan slammed the door shut behind them, panting heavily.

 

Nancy was frozen in place, staring at the door while Steve was losing his mind. “Oh my god. What the hell was that thing?!” Steve yelled. “Shut up!” Jonathan and Barb shouted. The monster’s screeching was heard beyond the door, and Barb quickly moved Nancy back. Barb held up her gun while Jonathan clutched the bat in one hand and the lighter in the other.

 

“What...what do you think it’s doing?” Barb asked, looking at Jonathan cautiously. He swallowed a bit, closing his eyes and attempted to reach out for it. What he got in return was a splitting headache, swearing as he quickly stopped. Barb gave him an apologetic look, not thinking it would hurt him.

 

The lights suddenly stopped flickering, making them all relax a bit. Jonathan wiped the blood off his nose, slowly approaching the door, and exiting the room.

 

There was no noise. Just complete silence other than the groups breathing.

 

Back in the Upside Down, the three adults pushed forward. While Karen kept moving, Hopper and Joyce stopped to inspect a strange egg on the ground. It was cracked open, and nothing seemed to be in it. Joyce gave Hopper a concerned look, starting to look around in case whatever was in the egg was still lingering.

 

As Karen progressed, she spotted something on the ground. “What on…?” Karen gasped, seeing it said ‘Castle Byers’. “Mike! Micheal!” Karen’s shouts attracted the two, making the come over. Joyce took a shaky breath seeing this version of Castle Byers torn apart, her stomach twisting in concern for Mike and her sons.

 

Karen screaming snapped him out of it, groaning as both mothers were now shouting the boys name. Well, this is what he got for following two extremely dedicated mothers into the Upside Down. Taking a shaky breath, Hopper stood up, “Mike!”.

 

Making his way into the living room, Jonathan found the living room empty, and the roof intact.

 

He didn’t know if that was a relief or just more concerning.

 

Sighing out loud, Barb turned her attention to Nancy and Steve, the latter was proceeding to freak out. “You two need to get out of here, it’s going to come back! Right now, it is not safe for you guys to be here!” She exclaimed. “So it’s safe for you to be here, Barb? Fighting that thing with him? -No offense- No, if this really does involve Mike, I need to be here! It is my brother!” Nancy stated. “And I’m your best friend, I don’t want you getting hurt! You need to be safe for when he comes back, so go!” Barb shouted.

 

Nancy tried to get another word out, but Steve grabbed her arm, hurrying outside with her. “Steve, Steve! We can’t just leave them!” She shouted, looking back to the house. Steve ignored her, running to the car, and frantically unlocking the door. Nancy stood by the car anxiously, looking back in worry as the lights inside began flickering. Steve got the door open, but stopped from climbing in once he saw the lights too. The two made eye contact, and Steve internally swore.

 

Shit, this was crazy!

 

Barb and Jonathan stood back to back, looking around the room for any signs of the monster. “Where is it?” She asked, turning around. “Come on, come on, you son of a bitch.” Jonathan whispered, “Where are you? Come on!”.

 

Damn, he really wanted to make it even for the injury .

 

Just then, the lights cut out, Barb gasped in terror as she remembered the pool lights. A low growl filled the air, making her blood go cold. 

 

It was behind them

 

Barb turned around, gasping seeing the monster behind Jonathan. “Behind you!” The warning came too late, the beast knocking Jonathan down and causing the bat to roll awake. A cry of pain left Jonathan as he landed hard on his back, being temporarily stunned from his previous injury and his head hitting the floor when he fell. The boy groaned, wincing as the beast pinned him down, leaning over him. 

 

“Jonathan!” Barb cried out, her heart hammering seeing him on the ground. Gripping the gun, she began unloading on the monster, flinching a bit at the recoil feeling. The Demogorgon growled, climbing off of Jonathan, who coughed heavily feeling it’s weight off of him. It stood up, growling as it approached the redhead. Barb backed up, firing at it more, trying to stop it. Bullets did nothing to it, and it seemed to only anger it more, releasing a loud screech as prepared to swing at her. Barb closed her eyes, waiting for the blow.

 

But it never hit .

 

A yell filled the air, making her open her eyes, shocked to find Steve had picked up the bat, swinging it at the monster to get it away from her. Steve yelled, backing away from the monster, getting hits when he could. Holy shit, he still couldn’t believe he was fighting this thing! While Barb was focused on Steve, Nancy ran past her, helping Jonathan onto his feet. “Come on!” Nancy balanced him, before rushing over to Barb’s side.

 

“Nancy?” Barb gasped, looking at her then Steve. The Demogorgon growled, about the strike Steve when he stumbled. Steve yelled, seeing the beast move, but it suddenly stopped. Nancy looked at Jonathan, her eyes widening finding his good hand outstretched, blood running down his nose and some coming from his ears. Oh my god…

 

“Hit him, Steve!” Jonathan yelled, knowing he couldn’t hold it for long. Steve twirled the bat in his hand, striking the Demogorgon once more, making it stumble back. A loud clunk filled the air, and the yo-yo moved. It worked!

 

“He’s in the trap!” Jonathan stepped in front of the three, throwing the lighter. The gasoline stained carpet quickly caught on fire, burning the monster. It let out a loud screech of pain and the lights began to rapidly flash.

 

Joyce stopped in her tracks, looking around, “Do you hear that?”.

 

Waiting for it to burn for a few moments, Jonathan ran, grabbing the fire extinguisher from the kitchen. “Get back!” He shouted, pulling the trigger. When he wavered a bit, Barb helped him, knowing he had used a lot of energy in the fight. The fire was out and so were the lights, leaving them in darkness. All of them coughed from the left over smoke, panting heavily to regain their breathing as the kitchen light came on.

 

When the smoke cleared, they were shocked to find nothing in the bear trap. There only being scorch marks, a weird bubbly mass, and the set off trap. “What…? Where is it?” Nancy asked. “No...it’s gotta be dead. It had to be...” Jonathan panted, leaning on the wall as he felt drained.

 

The three adults moved through the Upside Down, eventually finding themselves in a familiar setting. “Is this my house..?” Joyce whispered, looking around. Why were they here? Hopper held up his gun, heading inside the home through the back door. Joyce gagged as she saw the disgusting wildlife inside her home, swallowing hard as she stayed close to Hopper.

 

The christmas lights above them slowly turned on one by one, catching Jonathan’s attention as it stopped above them. Steve held his bat defensively, while Nancy gripped Barb’s hand.

 

“It was hurt.” Hopper stated, looking down at the blood stained carpet. “I hope so.” Karen murmured, following the blood trail into the living room.

 

The lights began moving, making their way into the living room. Looking at each other, the four moved forward, following the lights. Jonathan watched the lights approach the front door, a sudden realization coming to him. Despite how weak he felt, he made his way into the living room, “Mom… is that you?”

 

Joyce stopped, turning around as she heard her son’s voice. “Jonathan?” She whispered. Karen stood at the doorway, looking at her, “Joyce, we need to keep going. Please.”. Joyce stayed for a moment, before nodding slowly, following the two outside.

 

The four teenagers made their way outside, finding the street light flickering. “Where’s it going?” Barb asked.

 

Jonathan shook his head lightly, taking a seat on the bench. A smirk formed on his face as he wiped off his nose, “It’s not the monster.”

 

Back at the school, the boys were having the time of their lives as they found the lunch ladies pudding stash. “Will, I found the chocolate pudding!” Dustin yelled. Will let out a small chuckle, turning his attention to El.

 

“D-Do you f-feel better?” He asked. The girl shrugged, making him softly sigh. She looked up at him, a faint curiosity growing, “What’s ‘putting’?” She asked. 

 

A smile grew on his face, a gentle chuckle leaving him, “Pudding, it’s.. It’s b-basically chocolate goo. But hey, when this is over, you won’t have to keep eating all this junk food. Jonathan is a great cook! I promise, you’ll love it. Real food, really really good food. Mom already likes you, and well, you already call Jonathan brother. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind getting you a real bed so you don’t have to sleep in the closet anymore. Though, you could take my room and I can see if Jonathan would let me sleep in his room with him. Anyway, my point is...we’ll take care of you. Like a family. We’re alike, powers and all. We all understand each other. I’ll be like your brother.”.

 

Huh, now he wondered if she was older or younger than he was .

 

El smiled, growing excited at the idea of having a family. Will smiled in return, leaning forward and hugging her. The two embraced, relaxing in each other’s grasp...but the tranquility was ruined by the sound of a car pulling up. “That’s gotta be Jonathan, wait here!” Will got up, hurrying out of the cafeteria. Finally, they were back! He was so worried!

 

Will made his way to the door, about to open it when a strange flash hit him. Lots of cars and a man with white hair .

 

The boy began gasping, hearing more cars pull up. Wasting no time, he locked the door in front of him, and turned, running as fast as he could to the cafeteria. “They’re here, the bad men! They found us! They’re here!”.

Chapter Text

Agents from the laboratory began searching through every inch of the school, determined to find the kids. Lucas led the way, hurrying down some stairs. Will took El’s hand, hurrying after his friend. “H-How did they find us?” Will gasped, glancing back. “No clue, but what I do know is we have to haul ass!” Dustin responded. They saw an exit, hurrying to it, when lights flashed onto them.

 

“Found them!” An agent yelled.

 

“Run!” Will exclaimed, all of them running back the way they came. Unfortunately, there were agents that way too. “Other way, other way!” Will yelled, making sure El was right behind him as they ran. They made it to the end of the hall, stopping as Connie cut them off. El stopped, watching as the woman held a gun up. Will looked around anxiously, biting his lip. 

 

They were surrounded.

 

El knew what to do, using the powers they had trained against them. The flashlights the agents held began flickering, and to the boys horror blood began to run from Connie’s eyes. It happened to the rest of the agents around them, blood running from their noses and eyes.

 

All of the agents fell to the ground limp, staining the school floors. Eleven panted heavily, before collapsing to the ground. “El! El, are you okay?” Will shook her lightly, worried for her. The other two joined his side, worried that it hurt her. “Guys, something’s wrong! She’s not waking up!” Will whimpered, trying not to break down, “El! El, wake up!”.

 

Moving through the Upside Down version of Hawkins, the three adults continued following the blood trail. “It only gets more horrifying the farther we move…” Karen swallowed. Hopper suddenly stopped, making the mother raise a brow. “What is...it?” Karen stopped, seeing where the blood trail led.

 

Hawkins Library .

 

Swallowing hard, the mother rushed towards the building. “Damnit, Karen slow down!” Hopper groaned, chasing after her with Joyce.

 

“We have to go!” Lucas exclaimed, ready to help pick El up when a new voice was heard. “Leave her!” They all got up, shocked as Brenner and several agents stood at the end of the hallway, “Step away from the child.”.

 

Will got in front of her quickly, shaking his head. “No! You won’t take her! I-If you want us,  you have to k-kill us first!” Will exclaimed. Dustin and Lucas joined his side. “That’s right!” Dustin added. “Eat shit!” Lucas yelled.

 

Three agents walked up behind them, grabbing the three boys. “No! N-No! Get off me!” Will shouted, struggling. Brenner ignored the boy shouting, walking over. “You look just like your mother. Be glad I’m not here for you.” Brenner crouched down, grabbing El. Will could only watch, struggling as to no avail, tears threatening to fall. “L-Let h-h-her go…! Le-Let her g-go..!” Will cried out, looking at El.

 

Brenner sat El up, holding her head so she was facing him. “Eleven? Eleven, can you hear me? Eleven?” Brenner asked. The girl groaned tiredly, slowly opening her eyes, “Papa..?”. “Yes, yes. It’s your papa.” El looked away hearing her friends struggling, “I’m here now. Shhh, shh. You’re sick, but I’m going to make you better. I’m going to take you back home, where I can make you better. Where everything will be okay again. No one will ever be hurt again.”.

 

“He’s lying! Don’t l-li-listen El..!” Will yelled.

 

El shook her head, looking at them. “Will… Will…” The girl whispered, trying to get free from Brenner, “Will.”.

 

The lights above them began flickering, a wave of dread instantly hitting Will as he caught on. “Blood…” He gasped. He looked forward, seeing the trail of dead agents with blood oozing from them. The wall across from the shifted suddenly, a thudding noise coming from it. To their horror, the wall burst open, and out came the Demogorgon, screeching at all of them.

 

“Demogorgon.” Dustin gasped. The agents let go of them the second the monster got out of the wall. Wasting no time, the three hurried over to El. “Go!” Dustin yelled, picking El up and running after his two friends. ”Let’s go!” Lucas yelled, leading the way.

 

The agents fired at the monster, but it did nothing. Brenner stepped forward, almost mesmerized by the monster when it suddenly jumped at him, making the man scream.

 

The three adults continued their journey, making their way into Hawkins library. “See anything?” Karen asked, following closely behind Joyce and Hopper. The Chief said nothing, looking through the continuous rows of books, using his flashlight as a guide. As they walked around, Hopper caught sight of the blood trail again. “Is it here?” Joyce asked. Hopper shushed her, leading the way towards the back of the library. Karen could feel her hairs standing from inside the suit, everything about this place was unsettling.

 

Karen gasped out loud finding the upper body of a skeleton trapped in the strange webs, almost making her hurl. “Oh, god…” She gagged, moving forward. This looked like this was where the monster brought all of it’s kills. Dread filled her instantly, terrified of continuing. Swallowing hard, Karen continued looking around the nasty mess. As she moved the flashlight, her eyes widened seeing an all too familiar face.

 

“Mike! Mike!” She hurried over to his, gasping in horror as she saw something was attached to his mouth and her poor boy looked awful overall, “Damnit, help me get him out!”. Joyce stepped forward, carefully using her powers to burn away the webbing. While Joyce took care of the webbing, Hopper grabbed the thing attached to his mouth, starting to pull it out. Karen whimpered, Joyce hugging her as Hopper continued pulling, finally getting it out. The mother screamed as the tendril began moving, and Hopper wasted no time shooting it.

 

Gunfire rang behind them, but the boys didn’t stop. “Come on, come on!” Will shouted, leading the way. Moving through the halls, the boys eventually ran into one of the science classrooms. “Hurry up!” Will yelled, looking back as Lucas locked the door. The boy hurried over, helping Dustin put El on the table. The girl weakly groaned, whimpering as Will took her hand.

 

“Hold on...hold on a little l-longer, p-please…” Will whimpered, tears running down his cheeks. He couldn’t lose her! “H-He’s gone...the bad man’s gone. We’re going to be home soon, mom...Jonathan… they’ll take care of you. We’ll get you your own bed… You can eat as many Eggos as you want and all of Jonathan’s great food. We’ll be a family. You can come to the snow ball with us…”

 

A weak smile grew on El’s face, “Promise..?”. “Promise…” Will sniffled.

 

The peace was cut short, hearing the monster screech. It was getting closer. The gunfire suddenly stopped, making them freeze. “Is...is it dead…?” Dustin asked. Just as he said that, the room door busted open. “What do we do?!” Will exclaimed. “Get the wrist rocket! Get the wrist rocket!” Dustin yelled. Lucas quickly got his jacket off, getting the rocket out. He moved to take position, allowing the other two to grab rocks for him.

 

“Kill it! Kill it!” Will yelled, watching load a rock and firing. It did nothing, the Demogorgon opening its starfish face and roaring at the boys. “Kill it, come on, Lucas!” Will screamed, watching Lucas load up the wrist rocket again. Once again it did nothing, and the monster only got closer. Lucas fired at it twice, and nothing happened again. “Come on! Go, go, go!” Will cried out.

 

Lucas loaded up the sling, pulling his arm back as far as he could. The Demogorgon growled, making its way closer. Putting everything he had in this shot, he let go, and much to their shock, the Demogorgon went flying across the classroom, hitting the wall. All of them gasped, shocked as what happened. But they quickly understood as El made her way in front of them. Will gasped seeing how weak she looked, blood running down her ear and nose

 

“Eleven, no!” Will ran forward, but with a single wave of the hand, Will was sent flying back, landing on Lucas. The Demogorgon shrieked, struggling to free itself. Will got off of Lucas his heart breaking as El walked over to it. El looked back at the three boys, frowning. All the boys had the same look of despair, not ready for what they knew was coming.

 

“Goodbye, Will…” El gave him one last smile, before turning back to the monster. Tears ran down Will’s cheeks, unable to do anything. “No more.” El stated, raising her hand causing the monster to screech in agony. The boys covered their ears, wincing at the loud noises The Demogorgon growled, struggling to grab the girl. Putting all of her energy into this, she screamed loudly, the Demogorgon beginning to fade away.

 

Will held his ears, whimpering as he closed his eyes. The screaming stopped and so did the screams. Will slowly opened his eyes, snuffling as there was nothing left but a pile of ash where the two once were. The boy curled up on himself, bursting into tears, getting a hug from his two friends.

 

Hopper laid Mike down, and Karen wasted no time taking off her mask. Panting heavily, she rested her head on her son’s chest, gasping as she heard nothing. ”Oh my god, Hopper he isn’t breathing!” Karen exclaimed, whimpering. Not wasting a moment, Hopper instructed Joyce to tilt Mike’s head back, giving him the position he needed to try and resuscitate the boy.

 

The Chief started counting down, instructing Karen on how to give him air. The two women did as they were told, determined to save Mike’s like after coming so far. Karen whimpered, blowing air into her sons mouth, pleading for him to wake up. “Baby, come on! It’s me, your mom. Think of your mommy! Think of your sisters! Please, I love you so much. You need to come back!” Karen cried, leaning down and blowing air into his mouth again.

 

Starting to hit Mike’s chest, Hopper was determined by the memory of Sara. Damnit, he wasn’t going to let another kid die!

 

His fist swung down, and they all gasped as Mike shot up, wheezing heavily. ‘Breath, breathe! That’s it.” Karen patted her sons back, helping him regain his breathing. The moment he was breathing normally, she held her son close to her chest, sobbing as she ran her fingers through his hair. Joyce sniffled, smiling at the two. “It’s okay, baby. Breathe. Breathe, alright. Come on.” Karen cried tears of relief, holding her son as tightly as she could without hurting him.

 

It was over...it was over...

Chapter Text

A few hours had passed, and the group was waiting in the hospital anxiously. The entire Wheeler family was already in the room, waiting for him to wake up. Nancy sat on the floor of the room, allowing Holly to braid her hair. Karen listened to the beeping machine, lightly squeezing her husband’s hand.

 

Mike groaned, slowly opening his eyes. Karen looked over immediately, gasping as she saw him waking up. “Hey.” She smiled, “Hi, sweetheart.”. “Glad to your up kid.” Ted said.

 

A weak smile formed on Mike’s face, relieved to see his family again. Nancy picked up Holly, walking over with a wavering smile, “Hey Mike…” Nancy softly said as Holly gave a small wave.

 

The boy looked around a bit, “Where am I…?”. “Hey, that doesn’t matter. You’re home, that’s all that matters now.” Karen smiled. Running her fingers through her sons hair. Letting his wife have her moment, Ted got up, grabbing their box of things that they brought home for him. Didn’t need him getting bored in the hospital now.

 

Everyone else sat in the waiting room and the wait was long. Very long. 

 

The three boys had fallen asleep on each other, Will and Dustin resting their heads on Lucas’ shoulders. Barb was fussing over Jonathan, making Joyce crack a small smile. “How long?” She simply asked, making the two teens blush heavily. She chuckled softly, looking across the room, spotting Steve. Judging by the bruises, and awkward looks he gave Jonathan, she guessed he was the one that her boy got in a fight with.

 

Well, if he tried messing with her son again, he could say hello to some third degree burns.

 

The room to the waiting room opened, and they all looked up, sighing as Nancy walked in. Jonathan turned to the boys, starting to shake them awake. “Come on, guys. He’s up. Don’t want to miss it.” Jonathan said, waking the three up instantly. Wasting no time, the boys hurried after Nancy, following her to Mike’s room.

 

Will was the first to the door, pushing it open, a grin growing on his face seeing his friend. “Mike!” Will exclaimed, running over to the bed and hugging him. Dustin chuckled, quickly joining the hug with Lucas right behind him.

 

“Careful, he’s still just waking up.” Karen said, but she couldn’t help but smile at the boy’s pure joy. “Come on guys, go easy on him.” Nancy snickered from the doorway, Steve right behind her as she let him follow.

 

Getting off of Mike, the three boys wasted no time in telling him everything that had happened. From the funeral, Troy pissing himself in front of the school, and...and Eleven. Will swallowed, letting Mike know that she was a hero, and that she was gone after saving then. They made the mood better by telling Mike all about her powers and what she did with them. Ted was thankfully out with Holly at this part, grabbing some snacks from a nearby vending machine. Nancy sadly smiled, but it faltered a bit, looking back into the hall. There was something she needed to do. Steve frowned as she left, but he didn’t leave. She needed her own space.

 

Hopper made his way outside of the hospital, putting a cigarette between his lips, lighting it. The Chief took a quick inhale, sighing as he made his way down the stairs. Behind him he heard a car pull up, making him look back. A familiar car pulled up to the side of the street, and he knew what this was about.

 

Anything to protect these kids and Joyce and her family.

 

One month had passed, Christmas time was here. The boys sat in the Wheeler basement, continuing their previous campaign. Of course, they replaced the Demogorgon with the Thessalhydra for obvious reasons. It went down the same way, but much to their joy, when Will rolled a fireball, he had cast a fatal blow. The boys all cheered, Dustin and Lucas quickly putting out their own moves in fighting the beast. Well, Dustin’s character put one of its heads in a bag, but it was still contributing.

 

But once Mike began talking about rewards, the others were having none of it. Stating that the campaign was too short. Immediately pointing out all the forgotten plot points.

 

Before they could bicker anymore, they heard footsteps coming downstairs. Jonathan made his way down the staircase, crinkling his nose. “Jeez, what’s that smell?” Jonathan asked, “Have you guys been playing games all day, or just farting?”. Lucas chuckled, “Oh, that’s just Dustin. He farted. Dustin farted.”. “Very mature, Lucas.” Dustin scoffed as Lucas began blowing raspberries.

 

“Come on, Will.” Jonathan looked at his brother, putting his hands in his pockets. Will nodded, getting up from his seat, quickly saying his goodbyes to his friends. Will followed his brother upstairs, giving Mrs. Wheeler a knowing smile. “Wish your mom a merry Christmas for me, okay boys?” Karen asked. “We will. Merry Christmas to you too.” Jonathan replied.

 

The boys walked towards the doors. “So, did you win?” Jonathan asked. “Yeah.” Will replied with a smile. Jonathan smiled at his younger brother, patting his back when he heard Nancy, making him stop. Nancy made her way down the stairs, surprised seeing her run down with a small box in her hands. The girl approached him, handing him a small box.

 

“It’s from both of us. Don’t tell him I told you.” Nancy gave him a small wink, before heading upstairs. Will gave his brother a confused look, and the teen stared as she walked upstairs, wiping off his nose. “Um, you ready?” Jonathan asked. Will nodded, following his older brother out to his car.

 

Both of the boys climbed in the car to escape the snow fall, and Jonathan looked at the present on his lap. Will glanced over, a faint curiosity forming. “Can I open it?” He asked. Jonathan shook his head a bit, “Yeah, go ahead.”. Will smiled, opening up the gift. His brows rose in confusion, finding a folded up piece of paper. Jonathan rose a brow, picking up the paper and opening it up, reading out a few words in beautiful cursive writing.

 

Third house on Washington. You know the one

 

Blush grew on his face, making him pocket the pater. A soft smile came, and Jonathan leaned over, ruffling his little brother’s hair. Will snickered, looking at Jonathan’s hand as he pulled it back. “You’re going to be the king of awesome scars.” Will said, hoping to comfort his brother. This did make his brother smile, and drive off.

 

Nancy made her way past her snoring father, and took a seat beside Steve. The boy smiled, holding her close. “Did you give it to him?” Steve asked. “Of course. I didn’t spend three days helping Barbara find the perfect outfit for nothing.” Nancy smiled, wishing her best friend luck.

 

Jonathan drove to the address, making Will look confused. “Is this your girlfriend’s house?” Will groaned. “She’s not my girlfriend. I’ll be right back.” Jonathan said, getting out of his car and approaching the front door. They weren’t dating, it was a one time thing after all. There was no way she’d want to be his boyfriend-Girlfriend! Girlfriend! Plus, they hadn’t really...talked since everything happened. Not that he blamed her though.

 

Letting out a nervous breath, Jonathan knocked on the door. The door opened, and his heart stopped, and his mouth dropped. Barbara Holland stood before him, looking drastically different. Her hair had grown more over the past month, the wide framed glasses that fit her face so well were gone, silver snowflake earrings highlighted her face, and she was fitted in a gorgeous red layered dress that looked perfect on her in all ways.

 

“You came.” Barb smiled a bit, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear. “You...wow you look...amazing.” Jonathan gasped, making her blush. “Thanks. I had Nancy invite you here because...well I’m not good at talking to guys I really like. So I had her and another friend do it for me.” Barb stated. “Another friend?” Jonathan asked.

 

With a cheeky grin, Barb pointed up, making him look up. His eyes widened, finding a mistletoe hanging above them. Jonathan flushed, but didn’t fight it. Instead, he leaned forward, kissing her back. Barb felt her heart flutter, gently closing her eyes as she let him lead this time.

 

The two pulled after, their cheeks bright red. Barb smiled, holding a hand over her chest as she took a step back. “Merry Christmas, Jonathan.” Giving him one last glance, she closed the door behind her. Her heart fluttered, making her enter the dining room practically radiating. Her mother smiled at her, looking out the window as Jonathan drove off.

 

While Karen finished the last touches of dinner, Mike sat on the floor with Holly, going through presents. Steve was over, helping her as well. He might as well, since the family was kind enough to let him stay at their house for Christmas since his parents were still gone.

 

“Hey, careful with that. We don’t need you breaking anything before it’s present time.” Ted called out, having just woken up. Holly got up, giving her brother a quick hug, before running off to see what Steve was doing. Mike chuckled, getting up and heading to the dining room as well.

 

And soon, dinner was done. Everyone gathered around the table, grabbing what they wanted from the center of the table. “I know what that present is for sure. The new dungeon master book for Dungeons and Dragons!” Mike said, grabbing plenty of food. Karen chuckled a bit, smiling at her boy. Mike was about to dig in, when he stopped, getting up.

 

“Hey, no more snooping!” Karen shouted.

 

“I just forgot to wash my hands!” Mike yelled back, heading to the bathroom. The family looked at each other as he left, Nancy giggling a bit. “Washing his hands?” She snickered, getting a look from her mother as a result.

 

Closing the bathroom door behind him, Mike made his way to the sink, staring silently at his reflection. Mike leaned forward, his body tensing as he began to cough heavily, putting a hand over his mouth as he struggled. Coughing harder, he ended up coughing out another one of those weird slug things. The boy groaned, turning on the faucet, holding his head.

 

To his horror, the world around him shifted, looking much like the Upside Down. It lasted for a moment, and the world around him quickly returned to normal. He swallowed nervously, quickly leaving the bathroom.

 

“Look who’s back.” Steve snickered, stealing some food off of Nancy’s plate, making her elbow him. Mike rolled his eyes, taking his seat.

 

Karen looked at her son, maternal instincts kicking in. “Are you okay?” She asked. “Yeah, I’m fine.” Mike responded, starting to tear into his meal. The family began talking about random events that happened in the past few days, just enjoying the Christmas meal they were having. Enjoying their now normal life.

 

But good things could only last so long.

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Hello everyone, it's After here. I want to thank you all for joining me on this ride of season 1. This AU got so much more love and attention than it deserved and I am so thankful for that! I want to thank every single one of you readers, it had really helped me continue with this story. I'm thankful that even through all my struggles of college, broke computers, and other things that I was able to post this story and finish it! Season 2 already had 5 chapters written, and I will start posting in October! Thanks again, and get ready folks, season 2 is gonna be fun.

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HI! I am so so sorry for the long wait for season 2! I've been really busy with college. My computer broke, but I swear season 2 is coming! I'll start posting this week as i have five chapters done

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Ladies and gents, I would like to announce that the first chapter is out! https://archiveofourown.org/works/21454654