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Please don’t go

Chapter Text

“Hopper.” Joyce breathed as a knock echoed through her home.

Will noticed how a smile grew on her face as she said his name, how she knew it was him just by how he knocks on the door. She half ran to the door and then threw it open, Will knew how happy the chief made her.

“Joyce.” He mumbled, Joyce’s happiness reflected onto Hoppers and they looked at each other for what seemed to be the longest time. Hopper squeezed her shoulder and Will could practically hear the butterflies in her stomach.

A car door slammed and El came running up behind Hop, her hair was pulled into a ponytail a trick that Hopper had taught her so that it would stop getting in her eyes.

Will cleared his throat and behind Hop and Joyce to El. They snapped out of their trance and El rushed over to Will.

Joyce mumbled an apology and went to stand behind Will but instead bumped into Hopper also trying to make a quick getaway. She went a deep shade of pink as she sunk into the sofa next to Will.

“Well...El was wondering if she could stay-“

“A Sleepover?” Will asked aloud.

“I’ll be good and get to bed on time.” El said in a matter of fact tone.

“I mean, yeah that will be great.” Joyce laughed as Will was already tugging El into his room.
Hopper took of his hat and tugged at it his hands, he smiled, hearing El laugh in Wills room just like a normal kid.

“I’ll pick her up at ten tomorrow if that’s ok with you.” Hopper said putting his hat back on.

“What?” Joyce turned her head sharply to face him. “Don’t be stupid.”

Hopper smiled, “I don’t want to intrude...”

She grasped his hand tightly and looked into those blue eyes. He looked down at their hands, his heart pounded in his chest. He was falling very much in love with Joyce Byers.

“Please don’t go.” She whispered the words that he’d needed all that long ago, before the boys, before all the monsters. He would have stayed right here in Hawkins if it wasn’t for Lonnie.

Hopper let go of her hand and wrapped his arms around her, he held her like she’d disappear if he didn’t hold her tightly enough. Joyce buried her face into his chest letting a tear fall down her face, Lonnie never bothered with hugs, on the rare occasion he gave her one it was limp and meant nothing. Bob sure he hugged her but not with this much...love.

Stupid.

Hopper didn’t love her, who could with this much scars physically and mentally.

“I promise that if you ever need me I will be here.” He gently lifted up her chin so that he could look into those big brown eyes. “I will be here Joyce. Because I...” Hopper paused it was too soon he couldn’t say it. “I care about you a lot. Because it is ok to not be ok. Ok?

She pulled away and wiped a tear with the back of her hand.

“Ok.” Joyce laughed shakily. “I’m sorry Hop...You...you can go if you want.”

“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Chapter Text

403.

He was in cell 403.

Joyce ran as fast as she could up the stairs the sound of her boots against the metal clanging with every step.

“Can you go any faster!” She yelled breathlessly to him as he clutched his side painfully.

“Joyce, I might care to remind you that running up four flights of stairs is not easy!” She threw him a glare, which he replied in rolling his eyes and joining her in sprinting at full speed up the stairs.

She couldn’t stop not when they were so close to him. Joyce had never really accepted the fact that he was dead, it just seemed to surreal. But she was finally coming around to it, the fact that she might never see him again. And now she was. She was going to see him and tell everything she regretted not confessing while he was with her.

“This is it! Come on this way!” Joyce threw open the door walked down the corridor to cell 403.

“That’s the cell Joyce.” Murray muttered as Joyce made no indication of opening the door.

She gulped and closed her eyes.

“What if it’s not him?” She said in barely a whisper. Opening her eyes she saw Murray looking at her with brows furrowed.

“If it’s not him?”

“What if it’s some random Prisoner and Hoppers gone, actually...dead.” Joyce looked at him expectantly, waiting for some kind of answer.

“There’s only one way to find out.” Murray replied simply, handing her the key.

Joyce fumbled to get the key in the hole, her hands shaking uncontrollably. Turning the key and hearing the faint click she took a deep breath and opened the door.

Empty.

The cell was empty.

“You...you told me he was here. Why isn’t he here?” Joyce took of her stupid Russian hat and threw it against one of the cell walls.

“Joyce I’m-“

“Sorry? You’re sorry?” She scoffed, eyes blazing with anger and tears, “Well sorry isn’t going to bring him back.”

Murray went into the cell and sat on the hard surface which was supposed to be a bed. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small metal bottle which Joyce had a suspicion wasn’t water. He took a swig wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

“You were right you know.” Joyce announced breaking the silence. “About...everything.”

Murray continued staring at the wall.

“I was so stupid, always arguing and I-“

He abruptly jumped out of his seat and went over to the wall he had been staring at.

“Murray what-“

“When’s your birthday?” He snapped, fingers feeling the wall.

“What are you-“

“You birthday! When is it?”

Joyce joined Murray and crouched down so he could look where he was.

“October 29th.” The wall had scratched into it hundreds of dates. December 25th was circled as well as October 31st.

“Why-“

“Don’t you see the important dates are circled, this prisoner obviously wanted to keep track of time so- HA!”

Murray pointed at the wall, her birthday was circled. Coincidence it could be just- Els birthday was circled.

“Hopper. This is Hopper’s cell, but where is he?”

Joyce went wide eyed.

“You don’t think?”

“Yes I do, now come on,” Murray ran out the cell stopping at the door, before smirking and looking at Joyce, “We need to go find you’re lover boy.”

Chapter Text

Hopper hung his head as the guards dragged him by his arms down the corridor. He let his legs scrape against the floor, he knew where he was going. He’d heard scraps of conversations to know about the ‘Execution room’ and how they’d select random prisoners to be the monster’s snack.

Hopper couldn’t fight anymore.

It had been a year, four months and twelve days since he’d winded up in this hell. Since he’d jumped into the gate and left his happiness behind. They think he’s dead and there’s nothing he could do about it but best believe he tried. At the beginning he would try to worm out of the guards grip, hatched so many plans to escape but nothing worked. The feeling began to creep over him that maybe it would’ve been best if he’d died that Fourth of July. Not a year later in some Russian prison.

He never got to say a proper goodbye to El. She would’ve had her first day of proper school without him, would’ve gone day by day not knowing he misses her. He has no doubt in his mind Joyce took her in. Joyce. They had a date, he was going to tell her everything and he was going to convince her to stay in Hawkins. She’d been through so much he couldn’t blame her. He often wondered if she missed him, missed him as much as he did.

A Russian came running down the hallway yelling and waving his hands. The guards holding him exchanged looks and ran after the yelling Russian. Hopper got up to his feet and watched as they ran, he was alone.

“Jim!” Hopper’s heart skipped a beat. Was that-
A hand pulled him into an empty cell and shut the door behind him.

Murray. It was Murray.

“Murray!” Hopper hugged him tightly and smiled for the first time in so long. “How did you-“

“As much as I’d like to explain my somewhat incredible plan I think you have a couple things to say to a certain person. I’ll go and keep watch” Murray brushed himself down awkwardly, turning towards the door. Murray stopped and looked towards Hopper, “It’s really nice to see you Jim.”

Hopper rubbed the back of his neck and shook his head at the door. Was-was this real?

Joyce came through the door. Joyce Byers walked into the cell and she was there. She was actually there and standing across the room.

“Joyce.” He had wanted to say that name for so long, wanted to see her for so long.

She stood in the doorway arms folded against her stomach. Her face was more hollow than before, her eyes were wide, she was the picture of worry. Joyce was dressed in the guards uniform just win out the hat and his mind went back to that day. Even more so when a tear rolled slowly down her face.

He walked over to her slowly and placed his hand on her arm. She was here. Joyce was standing in front of him.

“Hopper I thought- I thought you were gone forever,” Her eyes flickered up to his, those brilliant blue eyes. “I thought I...killed you.” Her voice broke as she spoke and she let out a small sob.

“Don’t you ever think that. Don’t you think that for one second.” Joyce avoided his gaze Hop squeezed onto her shoulder, “Hey, you are so...good. So caring and kind. And it’s killed me not knowing if your ok.”

“It’s been so hard without you. I just-I’m so alone without you. I missed you so much. No one’s there when I have nightmares, no one to call at night no one to...to-“ Joyce let out another sob and Hopper wrapped his arms around her. They clung desperately to each other neither wanting to let go.

Joyce looked up properly at Hoppers face for the first time and gasped. A deep scar ran down from his forehead to his cheek and carried on underneath his collar. He had a black eye and multiple other cuts, Joyce rolled up his sleeve to reveal more bruises and scars.

“Hopper, what did they do to you.” She breathed cupping his face with her hands. Joyce remembered back two years ago. Two whole years ago. She had found him and she had held him like this.

“Don’t worry about me Joyce.” Hopper put his hands on her waist lightly and smiled, he was talking to her, the actual Joyce Byers.

“Of course I’m going to worry, you’re hurt.” Hopper fought of a grin, “What are you smiling at?” Joyce smiled and bit her lip.

“I’m talking to you. It’s been so long, but now you’re actually here.” She scrunched her nose and laughed shakily, “You’re so beautiful.”

Hopper dropped his smile and his hands from her waist realising what he had just said. Joyce’s eyes went wide.

“Oh god-I-I’m so sorry I didn’t-“

“It’s ok.” She smiled and turned his head towards her, “It’s fine. You missed our date Hop.” She grabbed onto his hand, he looked down as she laced her fingers threw his, “I waited...I waited all night. Do you remember? Pick me up-“

“7pm Friday.” They laughed, tears welling up in Joyce’s eyes. “I’ve missed you.”

Murray clanged at the door, Joyce noticed Hopper flinch, and then threw it open.

“I’m sorry to brake up your beautiful reunion but we need to go.”

“Ready?” Joyce asked squeezing his hand.

“More than ever.”

Chapter Text

Joyce clicked the door of her living room shut and closed her eyes tightly.

Jim Hopper was in that room. He was alive and- god she had missed him, she smiled at the very thought of him.

“Mom?” Joyce snapped open her eyes, “What’s got you smiling?”

Jonathon asked as if he didn’t already know. When Lonnie hurt her a piece of her crumbled away, that scumbag left her and she was alone with him and Will. After a while she made the house he had tormented into a home and she mended herself steadily but surely. Then Will went missing and that home she had built up lost its warm feeling of family. He had to watch his mom crumble in her desperate search for his brother while still being there for him. When he came home he knew his family wouldn’t be the same again. But she was happy again.

Jonathon knew that the forced smiles outwayed the rare, genuine ones when Bob was around, how sometimes she just needed someone to talk to about what happened. What actually happened. But then he was gone. That little light that switched back on when Will came home had lost its bulb. He knew she blamed herself for his death and how hard it was on her but she put on a mask of happiness for them.

Hopper came round more and more often after what happened at the lab. He fixed the light and made it glow even brighter than before. Jonathon noticed the lingering touches after their hugs, how they held on to each other just a little longer than necessary. But then he was gone.

Joyce’s home crumbled to the ground, so much that they had to move out of his childhood house. She started spending longer in the bathroom coming out with red puffy eyes. Sometimes he heard her mumbling his name in her sleep when she passed out on the couch after too many sleepless nights. The light went from her eyes.

But now she had him again.

Joyce chuckled and shrugged her shoulders.

“I’m just- just happy I guess, I mean can you believe it?” She grinned and quickly looked at the door behind her.

“When are you going to tell him?” The words tumbled out of his mouth before he could stop them.

“Tell who what?” Her smile dropped, she rubbed her arm awkwardly.

“Tell Hop you love him.”

She let out a small gasp and shook her head.

“What-What are you- no I don’t-“ Joyce leant against the wall in defeat. “There’s no point denying it anymore is there?” She let out a small laugh which turned into a groan.

“He makes you happy mom. He makes Will happy, he’s a good man.”

She lost herself in thought or her and Hopper in a couple for just a second before snapping back into reality.

“I-This whole conversation- he doesn’t love me back I mean we have a perfectly good...” Joyce thought of a way to describe their relationship, two people who would do anything for each other, “Friendship.” She settled on friendship, god that didn’t do it justice.

“You were going to go on a date mom. That’s a thing people do when they have feelings for each other.” Jonathon replied.

“How do you know about the date?”

“I forgot my wallet on that Friday.” He said guilty.

Joyce but her nail and her mind went back to that night. She dressed up stupidly like- like he was going to turn up out of nowhere. She waited for him, but he never came. Jonathon had seen that.

“Oh god...Jonathon that-I’m sorry. I just...missed him so very much. And I’m so sorry you had to see that. I was stupid waiting for him like he was going to turn up.”

“Please just tell him mom.” Jonathon smiled and walked down into the kitchen. What did she do to deserve him?

Joyce hesitated before nodding her head and turning to the door.

She let herself in taking a deep breath.

“Joyce.” Hopper breathed, smiling. Why was he smiling?

“Hop I-“

He bent down his head and kissed her gently on the lips. He pulled his head back waiting on her response. Joyce wasted no time in kissing him back, she put her arms around his neck and pulled him down closer. He lifted her slightly and she wrapped her legs around his waist, kissing each other deeper and deeper.

Hopper eventually put her down, she rested her head on his chest, his arms tightly around her, fingers making little circles on her back.

“Hop I’m so in love with you, I’ve been in love with you for so long.”

“It’s always been you Joyce.” He pulled away from the hug and looked down into her big brown eyes, “I love you so much.”

Joyce grabbed the collar of his shirt and pulled him in for another kiss, Hopper kicked the door closed with his foot.

Chapter Text

Hopper studied the ring before shutting the black velvet box car carefully. Is was perfect, not too flashy to be considered extra but just extra enough to be proudly worn on her finger. Well, if she said yes.

The fact that a man like him was even allowed to ask this amazing, kind woman to marry him made his heart swell. Jesus he loved Joyce Byers or Joyce Hopper if she said yes.

He hoped she said yes.

“I’m home!” Joyce called out the front door clicking shut.

Hopper cursed and tucked the box into his pocket, rushing out the bedroom door.

Joyce pecked him quickly on the lip before hanging up her coat.

Hopper gripped onto her hand and curled his arm around her waist, he spinned her around twice then bent down to messily kiss her laughing mouth.

Joyce grinned and smacked him playfully on the chest. “I love you Jim Hopper, isn’t it amazing how we can just say that now?”

“It really is.” He found himself staring at this perfect woman who had actually decided to love him, “I love you too.”

Joyce collapsed onto the sofa and turned on the TV. “I was thinking yesterday’s meatloaf for dinner and some Ghostbusters? Sound any good to you?”

Hopper smiled something he’d been doing a lot more of recently, “Sounds perfect.”

Hopper tucked the black box deeper into his pocket.

^^^^^

Jonathon opened the door as quietly as he could, thinking it best not to wake the whole house up. The lights were still all switched on and a giant marshmallow seemed to be terrorising some city on the TV. Hopper’s arm hung loosely around Joyce who was snuggled into his chest, their hands were still laced together on his knee even as they slept.

Jonathon couldn’t help but smile at the scene, he took out his Polaroid and snapped a photo wanting to capture this moment for his mom. He placed in carefully into his pocket putting a reminder into the back of his head to show her the next morning. He then crept silently into his room, happier now that he knew that the man that was sleeping on Jonathon’s couch would treat his mom how she deserved.