Actions

Work Header

House For Sale

Work Text:

House For Sale
By: Wolfa Moon
Summary: “Hey Chief, did you know the Harrington place it up for sale.”
Started before season 3 came out. Finally Done after.
Disclaimer: No Own.

HOUSE FOR SALE

“Hey chief, did you know that the Harrington place is up for sale.”
“What?” Officer Powell came over and handed him a sales paper for the house.
“Harrington place. It’s up for sale. You said to keep an eye out for places for sale.”
“Yeah thanks.” Hopper takes the paper looking down at it. He swore he got a call from Jane telling him that Steve had picked the gang up and are at the Byers.
Looking to the clock he knows Joyce to be home by now.
RING, RING.
“Hey Joyce, yeah, it’s Hopper… That’s good but not why I’m calling. Is Steve there?”
---
Joyce moves from the hall to look in on the kids doing homework. Steve is sitting on the couch with a pile of papers and his pen moving over the page franticly.
“Yeah,” moving back down the hall. “He’s doing homework.” Hopper doesn’t respond. “Hop, what is going on?”
“The Harrington Place is up for sale.” He informs her. She steps back out. The kids had taken bags of chips making plates of them for each person including Steve. Steve hasn’t touched his.
“Do you want me to talk to him?”
“No, wait till I’m there or let me figure out if this is real or not.”
“Okay, I’ll try and make sure he stays for dinner.”
“That’s good.” Hanging up the phone she moves into the room to look in on the kids. “Do you guys need anything else?” the kids turn to look up at her.
“No we’re good.” Dustin speaks as the others try and finish their homework
“Steve?” Steve looks up at her and smiles.
“I’m fine.”
“Are you sure?” Joyce studies him. They are just finishing their first week back after winter break.
“Yeah, besides I got this.” Pointing to the chips.
“Well if you need anything just ask.”
“Thank you,” he smiles at her. She returns it and walks away.
“How do you do that?” Dustin asks. The others look to Steve as he looks to where Joyce went.
“Do what?”
“She would have made you a sandwich if you asked her too.” Dustin informs him. Mike had seen it happen at his house too from his mom toward Steve. Scoffing he returned to his homework. Steve looks at Dustin wondering if that were true.
“I don’t think so.”
“Try it?” Dustin dared him.
“No, it’ not nice.” Steve flips the paper over in his lap to fill out the other side. “Besides it will ruin my dinner.” He focuses back on his paper.
“It’s the hair.” Dustin says. Steve shakes his head making it bounce a little.
“Pretty,” Eleven says. Mike looks at her in shock. Glaring at Steve.
“So are you.” Steve smiles before returning to his papers. He didn’t talk much with her since Mike wants to occupy all of her time. Not minding he finishes the paper and sticks it under his pile. Shacking his hand he starts on the next one.
Eleven stares at Steve. Mike nudges her.
“What?”
“Is it soft?” Mike looks to Steve who runs a hand through his hair.
“I don’t know.”
“I dare you to ask to touch it.” Dustin says smiling at her. She looks to Max who shrugs at Eleven from her spot next to Lucas. Getting up, Mike wants to pull her back down but she moves over toward Steve. Steve stops to look up at her.
“You okay?” he asks. Leaning over she pets his hair.
“Soft.” He smiles at her.
“Thanks.”
“Pretty.”
“Um, okay, cool.”
“Cool?”
“Means like pretty for guys.”
“Oh, cool.” She runs her hands through his hair again. Steve can only chuckle as she sits down to pet his hair. Mike glares at him running a hand through his own hair. Is was long but not long enough for Steve’s hair dues. Steve shakes his mane at her causing her to giggle. The hair goes everywhere once he stops. Eleven laugh at the angles the hair is going. The others laugh at his hair. Dustin leans over toward Mike.
“Steve knows Eleven is your girl. He just wants her to be happy.” Mike looks at them as Eleven moves to tame the hair but he just shakes his head at her again. Eleven squeals in laughter as the hair tickled her. Steve laughs too before resuming his spot and paper work. Running a hand to tame his hair. Eleven helps but it makes it a little worst.
Steve lets her mess with his hair as he fills out the paper. It’s soothing to be touched. He knew Mike didn’t want to share Eleven. Dustin words had made Mike look at Eleven who laughed at Steve’s antics. Steve knows where he stands with Eleven. If Steve could be her friend that was all he needed.
“What homework are you doing?” Eleven didn’t have public school yet. Home school for now. She learns quickly but there are still things. She looks at the papers. They asked the same questions over and over again. Name, address, birth date.
“Um, job applications.”
“Looking for a job? I thought your parents were loaded.” Mike smirks. Steve nods.
“They are.” Steve smiles before filling out the paper before him. Mike than takes a look at all the papers. Will nudges Mike.
“He’s been filling out work applications everyday he’s been here.” Will whispers to Mike.
“How do you know?” whispering back.
“Because he forgot a few on Tuesday. Did you know he’s only 16?” That surprised Mike.
“No.”
“16 for which answer?” Lucas looked at his math homework leaning over to check with Will’s.
“No, Steve is 16 years old.”
“Really? When is his birthday?” Eleven listened to their conversation looks to the papers.
“1.2.2.3.” Steve looks at her than to the others.
“What?”
“We missed your birthday man.” Dustin exclaimed. “Why didn’t you tell us?” Steve shrugs. It has never been a big deal. Sure his parents had given an item or two but no real celebration.
“We had other things going on.” Brushing it off to finish the application to another chain store.
“How are you only 16?” Mike asks.
“I skipped a grade.”
“You? You skipped a grade?” Mike asks shocked.
“Third grade was boring and I was a fast runner and their varsity sucked. So they upped me.”
“They upped you because you could run really fast.”
“We won state that year.” Steve turns back to the last application in his pile.
“So you got by on your athletics and not your brain?” Mike accuses.
“Yeah.”
“Is that why you’re applying to jobs and not to college?”
“I applied.”
“Yeah but did you get any?”
“I missed some games due to complications. So I missed out.”
“Than maybe you should have studied more.” Mike attacks. Steve shakes his head. Getting up he collects his things. Placing his jacket over his t-shirt. Shoving papers in his bag.
“Steve, where are you going?” Dustin asks.
“I don’t have to deal with a punk ass trying to puff himself up around his girlfriend.” Getting to the door he looks at them. “I may not be smart as most of you, but I have qualities that you will never have. Talk to you later, Dustin. Eleven, keep it cool.” He walks out into the night.
Joyce comes out to the door closing. Taking in the living room.
“What happened?”
“Mike is being an asshole.” Dustin picks his stuff up and moves to the door. “Thanks for inviting us.” Dustin leaves the house. Max picks her stuff up.
“Where are you going?” Lucas asks.
“Steve’s my ride, remember.” She moves to the door. “Bye Mrs. Byers.” She exits.
Joyce moves to the door to look out as the kids run over to Steve who has closed and locked his trunk. Dustin is talking to Steve but he shakes his head. Max comes over too. They are talking to him and motions for them to go back inside. He looks over at Joyce. She smiles before stepping out toward them.
“Is it cool if they stay for dinner. I’ll pick them up afterwards.”
“That’s bullshit. Mike is being an ass.” Dustin defends their right to leave.
“Max, I know you don’t want to leave yet. You can stay. I’ll pick you up later.” Max looks to the house. She has a brother but in reality she wished Steve was her brother. Steve helped her out. Took her to skate parks and is there for her.
“No, Mike had no right to be mean to you. You are smart and have qualities that he should defiantly look up too.” Max tosses her book bag into his car. Leaning next to Steve who is shivering. Max notices that he is not in the right clothes for the freezing weather. Sure she had her Cali cloths but had added to her wardrobe for the weather. Than she notices that the jeans are the same ones he has been wearing since Tuesday. That had the marker stain from when she accidently was doing an art project and it slid off the tables and onto him. Now she really took in Steve. Something is up.
Being in the family she is in you notice. And this set off red flags for her. Max hugs Steve arm. Something or one is hurting her Steve.
“Come back inside. At least eat dinner.” Joyce tries. Steve shakes his head at Joyce’s words.
“I’m not hungry.” He is hungry but he looks to the house to see Eleven, Lucas, and Will. “You guys go back in I’ll pick you up later.” Dustin moves to the passenger door and opens it for Max. Steve didn’t want to become the rift between this group. “Dustin.” He tries again.
“I’m not going back in there till Mike apologizes.” Max gets into the car. Dustin follows getting in and closing the door.
“Um, see yah.”
“Steve?” Joyce tries.
“I’ll get them home.” Steve backs out and heads off as Hopper pulls in. Hopper jumps out and walks the few steps to Joyce.
“What happened?” Eleven burst toward them and gets in Hopper’s truck.
“Eleven!” Mike screams after her.
“Let’s go.” Eleven voices. Mike tries to come over but Eleven starts the car. “Now,” the car revs.
“Talk to you later.” Hopper replies moving to the truck
“Don’t forget to talk to Steve.” Joyce calls after Hopper. He nods before getting in the truck. Taking one last look he drives out.
“What happened?” He asks Eleven.
“Mike was being a jerk to Steve. Steve just wanted food.”
“How do you know that?”
“I pet his hair. It’s, cool.”
“And you read him?”
“He stomach talked. Why did Mike get angry that I was petting Steve’s hair?”
“Jealous.”
“Jealous?”
“He’s afraid to lose you to Steve.”
“Why?”
“Boys get stupid when they think they will lose a person they like.”
“He also called Steve stupid. But I don’t know the stuff they are working on. So I’m stupid.”
“Smart in your own way.”
“So is Steve.”
“You like him?”
“He’s nice. Doesn’t treat me weird. I am just a kid to him.” Hopper saw that. Out of everyone in the group. Steve is the one to just push it aside and treat you as a person not a victim of your past. Gathering that is especially why Will and Eleven wanted Steve around. Didn’t see them as freaks or people to constantly be asked, are you okay.
“I’m going to drop you off at home than go talk to Steve.”
“Is Steve in trouble?”
“I don’t know.”

~H4S~

Steve dropped Dustin off at his house. Dustin wanted to invite them in for dinner but Steve said he was fine. Max said she was good too. Dustin waved good-bye as they drove off.
“I know you don’t have to be home till 8:30 so do you want to go to a park or go to McDonalds or something.”
“I’m good. You should probably save your money and not waste it on me.”
“It’s not wasting,” if we get food.
“Your house is up for sale.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“So you’re leaving?”
“No, not yet at least.”
“Do the others know?”
“Others?” Like who would care if he left.
“The group.”
“No, they won’t miss me.”
“I would.” Steve looks at her smiling.
“That’s one person.” They share a smile.
“How about we get some happy meals?”
“Okay.”
~
Hopper didn’t find Steve that night but he was going to have a talk with him.

~ H4S~

Jonathan had come home from work to half the gang there instead of all. His mom gave him some details but also asked him to keep an eye on Steve. He wanted to know why but she handed him two lunches the next day.
At lunch, Jonathan tried to find Steve in the lunchroom. However he found Steve in the library. Sitting across from him he gets stared at back.
“What are you doing?” Jonathan asks. He wasn’t known for being social so he takes some baby steps.
“Just reading.” Steve looks back flipping through pamphlets.
“Looking to join the military.”
“A back up plan.”
“Do you really want to join?”
“It’s an idea.” Jonathan nods. Not once would he think of Steve joining the military. He knew a lot of kids joined to get out of town.
“Here,” he handed a lunch bag over to Steve.
“What’s this?”
“Lunch.”
“Why?”
“I don’t know. My mom said to give it to you.”
“I’m fine.” He moved the bag back toward Jonathan. “And tell her I’m fine too. No worries.”
“She won’t believe me.”
“She will believe you tried.”
“True.”
“Got to go.” Steve left with his belonging. The lunch still sitting in the space between. Jonathan looked around. Some kids were eating snacks but Steve wasn’t. Something had happened. Not demogorgon bad but something just as questionable.

~H4S~

Steve sat in his car in his old home driveway. He had broken back into the house to get everything that he would like to keep and everything he could sell. Counting the money he had from pawning would last for only so long. The rest of his past and needs are in the trunk. Two sleeping bags, pillow, blanket, some cloths. Clothes that he had bought and never worn were returned for money. Clothes that were pristine sold for a few coins. And he couldn’t fit his whole wardrobe in the trunk. A small purse was filled with medicine from common headache remedies to antibiotics for the beat down he had taken. A few of his favorite books fit in with the spare tire compartment. Then the one thing he would never give up. An Electric guitar his mom’s grandfather had bought him and taught him on. He had sold the others but this one he would never. That is his life in the trunk of his car.
No one knew that his parents had decided to sell the house not even Steve. Steve came home to the sign and the locks changed. His father had told him to keep his grades up or he would do this. Guess he got his last report card somehow.
His father didn’t tolerate failure. Was so proud of his son for being advanced so he could do athletics. But the years that followed, business trips became always and his visits to Hawkins became never. Steve remained.
Looking down at the pamphlets for the military he guessed he knew why a lot of kids joined up. To be free from their desolate hellhole or to have a place to live. Shivering in the cold he places them in his glove compartment. The weather is suppose to be dropping again tonight. He couldn’t go back inside the house. They had shut off the Electricity and water for the house. His parents were not holding anything back.
Rubbing his hands together he looks at the left over fries he had saved from the happy meal. Eating one slowly he looks at his watch. He had a job that starts in a half an hour. Eating one more fry he starts the car to head to work.

~H4S~

Hopper parked down the block from Steve’s house. Walking around the house he saw the cracked open window to the upstairs room. Guessing Steve was sneaking into his old home. Calling up the Harrison’s about their house, they disclosed they were selling it and had already moved permanently to Manhattan. That they had been living there for 3 years to see if this was permanent and finally did in the summer. So they decided to sell the home. Hopper finally asked how Steve is handling the move. There was a moment before the father replied by hanging up. Red flags went up.
Hopper had gathered the kid, Steve had been unwatched for 3 possibly 4 years. And if the birth date panned out as Will informed him. Than Steve had been alone since the age of 12/13. The same age as Eleven and the others are now.
Moving to the drained pool he looks around the empty place. There was a lawn chair at the bottom of the pool. Did the kid sleep down there.
Hearing a car pull into the driveway he rubs his hands together in the cold to wait. From the backyard he watched as Steve grabbed a sleeping bag from his trunk and place it in the backseat of his car. The kid looked dead on his feet.
“Steve,” he calls out startling the kid.
“Chief.” Steve quickly closes the back door.
“Getting home late?”
“Yeah, got a job.” Nodding his head looking to the house than back to the Chief. “I better get inside. Don’t want my parents worrying. Night.” Steve moves inside his car to grab a backpack. This gave Hopper time to come up and hold the door to Steve’s car.
“Why don’t you try that again?”
“Try what?”
“I called your parents. They live in Manhattan.” The kid looked pale before, now he looked ashen. “So try again?”
“I’m taking care of the house for sale.”
“For four years?” Steve looks to the house than to Hopper. Jumping in his car he starts it up and pulls away. The door ripping from Hoppers hand. The car turns and head off. Hopper curses moving to follow. But by the time he gets to his truck there is no sign of Steve. “SHIT!”

~H4S~

Hopper waits for Steve at school the next day. Jonathan walks up next to him.
“Hey Chief.”
“Hey Jonathan.”
“What are you doing here?”
“Waiting for Steve.”
“He’s not here.”
“Dammit.”
“Is he okay?” True they didn’t start out as friends. Hell they never started out as anything until they fought side by side. He became an acquaintance. Steve is more a friend with Will than him.
“No, if you see him tell him I’m looking for him.”
“He normally picks up Dustin but I haven't seen him.”
“Thanks.” Hopper walks over to where the kids are standing and talking.
“Hey Chief,” they all greet.
“Hey, Dustin,” the kid perks up at his name. “Do you know where Steve is?”
“No, he normally picks us up but he said this morning he had a interview so he wouldn’t be able to drive us home.” Dustin motions to Max. Max looks worriedly at Hopper.
“Did he seem off to you?” Hopper ask.
“Yeah but he’s Steve.” Dustin tried to play it off. Hopper looks to Max. Max looks away.
“Max?”
“Steve’s been busy.”
“Well if you see him tell him I’m looking for him. He’s not in trouble, I just want to talk.”
“About what?” Max asked. She remembered how Steve looked this morning when he picked her up. He looked cold and his car was freezing until she turned on the heat. She gave him half her hot pocket. Max knew things were not okay with Steve. It is different from the way Billy hides things. But there are similarities.
“I just need to talk.” Max lays down her skateboard and rides off.
“Later.”
“Later.” The crew calls. Dustin looks to Hopper.
“Keep me posted.”

~H4S~

Max knew of some of the hideouts in Hawkins. But she also knew of the jobs in Hawkins. She had looked when she got her in order to raise money and go back to California. Riding her skateboard she moves to the new construction for the mall. They had been hiring like crazy to get it built. Moving under the fence she moves off to see if she can find him.
A worker stops her before she gets too far.
“I’m looking for my brother, Steve. He forgot his lunch again.” The man looks around and whistles to one of the dozers.
“You see that kid Steve.”
“He’s moving blocks from the pallets.” The man drove off. The worker turns back to Max.
“Follow the tape till it bends. There is a big hole, walk around the pallets are at the bottom of the hill. He’ll be there.”
“Thanks.” The worker smiles watching her run off down the line.
Coming to the top of the hill she sees Steve in well dirt covered, sweat drenched shirt. He is moving cinder blocks onto different pallets from the huge pile.
“Steve.” She calls sliding down the hill. He doesn’t hear her and continues to move the blocks. Getting up to him as he turns, he stops.
“Max? Max, what are you doing here?” Placing the block down he looks at her for injury.
“I’m fine. I was worried about you.”
“How did you know I was here?”
“Took a guess. Hopper is looking for you.”
“What did you say?”
“Nothing much. Just he said you weren’t in trouble but needed to talk to you.”
“Shit.”
“What’s going on?” Steve moves some more blocks before stopping again.
“I can’t go into it now.”
“Do you want half my sandwich? I saved it for you.”
“You didn’t know you were seeing me today. So is that your dinner as well?” Max shrugged. Home life is hectic and she would lie about going to eat at a friends place and eat the other half of her lunch for dinner. Steve had found her one night in his wonderings. They had bought a loaf of bread, peanut butter, jelly and a gallon of milk. Eating like royalty in the old school bus in the scrap yard. They became buddies but no one knew about their adventures.
“Yeah so.”
“I have another hour before I can take off. I get paid so maybe we can get some food.”
“Than eat my sandwich because, I know.” I know you haven’t eaten much today. Holding the sandwich out to him. He takes his gloves off. Tears the tuna sandwich in half before handing her half back.
“Eat it.” He tells her shoving the piece he took into his mouth and getting back to work. Max nibbles at the sandwich piece.
“Can I stay here?” Steve looks around. Reaching in his pocket he pulls his car keys out.
“My car is in the parking lot. Sit in there till I’m done. Do your homework.”
“Okay Steve.” She comes over with an newly opened juice box out for him. He drinks it.
“Thank you, go, get.” Max moves off to where the parking lot is. Most of the cars are trucks with the few cars in between. Spotting Steve’s she gets in and waits.
~
“Do you need any help tomorrow?” Steve asks the boss man.
“You’re a good worker. If you come here I’ll find you something to do.”
“Thanks.”
“And here is your pay today.” Steve smiles. “Steve, are you okay?”
“Fine why?”
“Your sister said you forgot your lunch again.”
“Yeah, I’m a scatterbrain.”
“You sure?” Steve smiles at the concern.
“Yeah, I just forget and I need to get us home for dinner. Thank you. See you tomorrow.”
“You keep coming back, I’ll give you work.” He said again. Once Steve left the boss man’s face dropped. He had all walks of life on his crew. Seeing the signs he recognized the need for money, for food. Knowing the kid probably gave his portion of food to his sister. Now knowing why the kid desperately needed the work. Probably to get them out of a nasty situation. And if Steve came back like he has, he would give Steve work.
Steve came upon his car to see Max finishing her homework. Dusting himself off he taps on the window. Max turns to smile at him. Opening the door she begins to get out.
“Stay in the car. I’ll change real quick and we can go food shopping.” Max watches as Steve goes to his trunk to pull off his work shirt. A couple of other workers whistle at Steve but they laugh as Steve gives them the finger.
“See yah Steve,” one of the workers spoke getting into his truck. Shaking his hair out he puts on another shirt. Max watches and looks in concern at how skinny Steve has gotten. Sure the work had given him some muscle but the bones of his hips barely keep his pants up.
“Max, you’re staring.”
“You’re too skinny.”
“It’s called muscle.”
“Tell that to your hips.” Steve grabs another pair of jeans out. It is the same pair with the marker stain. Taking his work ones off has Max turn from him. He quickly puts on the marker jeans. Switching the used duct taped obviously gifted boots on the floor of the back of his car he places his sneakers on.
“My hips are fine.” Max pulls some papers from her backpack.
“I clipped some coupons for you.”
“Thanks, any for cereal?”
“Yeah a few.”
“Good.” Steve closes the doors and trunk. Moving to the driver seat he looks at her. “So sis,” Max smiles at him. “Let’s go food shopping.” She smiles buckling herself in.

~H4S~

Lucas didn’t want to go with his mom food shopping but if he helped he could get some candy. And he is still a kid and candy is candy. His mind is set though on getting Max a snicker or m&m’s, her favorites. Getting some milk he stopped as he saw Max laughing with Steve down the cereal isle. Running he places the milk in his mom’s cart.
“Mom, Max is in the cereal isle. Can I talk to her and I’ll be right back?”
“Sure.” Lucas heads back to the cereal isle to see Max hand Steve a coupon as she placed another box in the cart.
“I think we have enough cereal.”
“Well with this coupon, the cereal will only be 50 cents.”
“But nobody likes cheerios.”
“It’s food and,” she stops as she reaches for the cheerio box while looking at Lucas. “Lucas, hi.”
“Hey Max, what are you doing here?”
“Food shopping with Steve.”
“Hey Lucas,” Steve called moving to take the box and coupon from her hand. “Max goes hang with Lucas. I can finish up.” Steve moves off. Lucas watches as Steve leaves to turn to a glare from Max.
“What are you doing here?” Max questions Lucas.
“I’m shopping with my mom. Why are you with Steve?”
“Steve’s my friend and is helping me out.”
“So you two aren’t um…”
“Stalker are you trying to wonder if Steve and I,” Max laughs. “Good one. He’s helping me out with school stuff. Stuff that Mike obviously won’t understand.” Lucas looks taken aback at the comment. The small rift that had started from Mike’s comment had been biting them all in the ass. Even worst Eleven stopped answering Mike.
“Okay, I give. I was just wondering.” Max turned from Lucas and her eyes light up. Lucas turns but watches as Max grabs two boxes of pop tarts.
“What?” Max asks with a tone.
“You’re really excited about pop tarts.”
“They’re breakfast and a treat. And I have a coupon.” She smiles at Lucas. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow at school and don’t tell Hopper you saw Steve.”
“Why not?”
“Because I asked you to.” Lucas nods and watches her go off to Steve who has come back from an isle placing applesauce into the cart. The whole incident seems strange to Lucas but he’ll keep quiet because Max has asked him.
~
The two sit around a small fire up on a hill near the quarry. It was a teenage hangout but nobody came out here in the frigid weather. Their hotdogs cooking on some sticks in the flames.
“This is great.” Max says taking one stick out and taking a mustard packet and applying some to the hot dog.
“It’s nice.” Steve says eating another hotdog.
“So what is really going on?” Steve glares at her. “I know you’re living out of your car. I won’t tell Hopper. But what is going on?”
“My parents moved permentally to Manhattan.”
“And you weren’t invited.” She states and Steve nods his head.
“They said I could keep the car and that was it. I withdrew all the money from my account before they closed it. Bought gas and food before they cut the credit card. And that was in September.”
“What!?!” Steve nods as if it’s nothing. “You’ve been alone this whole time.”
“I’ve been alone most of my life.” He says to the fire. Max looks down. She had her mom and somewhat hippie dad. Than she had Billy and Neal. Billy was good when he was allowed to be himself. But Neal made sure Billy was not allowed to be Billy but be the good little soldier and follow all the rules. She liked before Billy. Before he got caught and the reason they really moved.
Max moves to sit closer next to him.
“I wish I didn’t have to go back home.” Sure things had changed after that night with the injection and the nail bat. “I would love to stay here with you.” Steve puts an arm around her.
“It’s nice not being alone but I don’t want to get charged with kidnapping.”
“No, that would not be good. Next paycheck maybe we should get you some cloths. These are wearing thin.”
“Maybe.”
“I can steal some of Billy’s or Neal’s.”
“Don’t get in trouble over me.”
“You’re worth it.”
“I’m not.” Steve says pulling a blanket up around them. “You should have gone with Lucas’”
“No, Lucas already knows more than he should and if his mom finds out that would ruin everything.”
“You’d be safe.”
“I am.” She leans on him. “I wish you were my brother.” Steve smiles down at her.

~H4S~

Dustin stops Max at school.
“Where is he?”
“Who?” Lifting up her skateboard.
“Steve? Where is he?”
“What makes you think I know where he is?”
“Lucas.” Max glares over at Lucas.
“I told him, not Hopper.” Lucas defends himself from the death laser glare.
“And he’ll tell Hopper.” Max turns back to Dustin.
“He’s concerned for him. He wants to help.”
“Really, sucky way of showing it.” Steve had told her how he was confronted at his house and is scared to go back. How he couldn’t chance it. “Tell Hopper to stay away from Steve.” Hopper pulls up next to them.
“Any sign?” He asks the group. Lucas looks away. Max glares at Dustin.
“I haven’t seen him.” Dustin says. Hopper turns to Max. Max refuses to look at him but her glare has turned to Lucas.
“Haven’t seen him.” Lucas says.
“Come on guys, I need to talk to him.”
“Why don’t you tell us what you want to ask him and if we see him we can pass along the message?” Max turns to Hopper. Hopper sighs heavily.
“It’s a personal matter on his part.” Max taps her foot. “I need to discuss the house with him.”
“It’s up for sale. You saw the flyer.” Max had taken most to all of them so people couldn’t keep information on it. It’s Steve’s house.
“And that is what I want to talk to him about.”
“You’re going to buy Steve’s home?” Dustin asks.
“Thinking, but I need to talk with him.” His CB goes off. -There is an accident at the new mall. – Taking the call, “Alright I’m on my way.” Max moves jumping into the passenger side of the truck. “Where do you think you’re going?”
“Drive.”
“Get out.” Max stares at Hopper.
“Steve works there.” Hopper puts the car in gear and speeds off.

~H4S~

Arriving at the mall there is still dust high in the air. Two work trucks are on it’s side. A couple of dozers are at weird angles. Max hops out running to the gate. Workers are coming out covered in dust and blood. Ambulances are there treating people.
“Steve!” Max calls looking around. Sliding under people she makes her way to where the main chaos is happening. Hopper is right on her tail trying to grab her but she’s quick. Then he spots her standing next to the boss man who has a blueprint in his hand and another to the walkie-talkie. “Where’s Steve?” The man looks to her than to Hopper as he walks up behind her.
“Chief Hopper, Hawkins police. What happened?”
“One of the dozers hit a gas pocket or something. Than there was an explosion. We’re evacuating the area.”
“Where’s Steve?” Max says again.
“I haven’t seen him.”
“But he was here?” Hopper asks.
“Bright and early.” Max moves away from them. The two shouting out after her.
“STEVE!” More hurt men go past her. Some holding their arms close to their chest. Some limping. Coughing she makes her way through. “STEVE!”
“Max?” She hears through the dust. Coming upon an over turned truck she spies Steve trying to help leverage a truck off a man who is stuck under. There are workers everywhere trying to help. Steve gets back to helping.
“Steve.” She comes through the dust to see Steve before her. He’s not focusing on her and his back is to her. There is blood on his left and down one of his legs but he is trying to help get the man who is stuck. Max looks down at the man who is half under and half out. The man is gurgling. As the workers try. They do lift but there is a sickening pop and only half comes out. Max screams. This has Steve turn to face her.
“Max?” She runs to him burying her face in his chest. “Max?” She feels his hand in her hair.
“Steve.” She hugs him and he groans.
“Max, you need to let up off him. Steve’s hurt.” At Hopper’s initial words she froze. She had betrayed Steve. But Steve’s hurt hit her more. Releasing she looked up. Steve was not looking a her. His face is covered in dust and blood. His left arm is a mangled mess. “Steve?” Hopper calls to the kid. The boy looks up at him. Takes a big gulp in fear before collapsing. Hopper grabs him.
“Steve?” Max looks in horror as Hopper picks Steve up and moves them out from the disaster area.
“I need help here.” Emergency crew spy Hopper with the body in his arms. Max forces her way with Steve. They begin to shower him off so they can see the damaged. It’s not pretty.
“Let’s get him to Hawkins general.” An EMT says.
“I’m coming too.” Max says.
“And who are you?”
“She’s his sister and he’s one of mine so keep me posted.” Hopper spoke helping Max get into the ambulance. “Keep me posted too.” Telling Max. Max moves in holding Steve’s hand.

~H4S~

Word spread in the tight group that Steve was working on the mall construction and is at the hospital. By the time Hopper had gotten there the whole party was there. Max still looks worst for ware. Eleven had brought her some cloths to change into but she sat in her dust and bloody cloths. Lucas sat close next to her holding her hand.
“Any word?” Hopper asking Joyce who was there with the kids.
“No, we found Max in here alone. No one has said anything.”
“I’ll see what I can find out.” Joyce looks to the kids.
“Do you guys want to get some food?”
~
Hopper makes his way to the nurse’s station.
“Excuse me.”
“We’re busy right now so if you can have a seat.”
“A minor was brought in and he is my responsibility. So if you have done work on him without consent I can sue you.” This stopped the nurse.
“A minor?” Hopper nods. “What is his name?”
“Steve, Steve Harrington.” She looks through some clipboards.
“He’s not here. But he could be up in surgery.
“Find him.”
“Give me a moment.” While she is doing this several more clipboards are placed on her desk. Hopper looks down and picks the one up with the name he wants. Stopping the nurse who had dropped them off.
“Where is this patient.” The nurse does a quick glance while going back down the hall. She points to a room. Hopper taps on the waiting room window before heading down hall.
Entering the room he spies a body on the bed. Moving in he sees Steve bandaged up. The one side of his head is covered.
“Damn kid.” He sighs moving into the room. Then there are more people in the room.
“Steve,” Max whispers before moving to the bed. Dustin is right behind her.
“Did they say what is wrong with him?” Joyce asks as Hopper looks through the chart.
“Hematoma, malnourished, busted arm, leg, and injury to his left eye.” He sets it down. “We’ll wait for more.” Hopper pulls out a chair and sits down.
“Steve?” Max asks.
“Let him sleep, Max.” Dustin says pulling a chair over and Max sits down holding Steve’s hand. “He’ll be okay.”
“I know he will.” Max rests her head on the bed looking up at Steve.

~H4S~

Hopper did some digging. Finding out more about Steve Harrington than he ever thought he would know. The kid worked the construction site. When the boss came in checking on his men Hopper met him when he wanted to find out about Steve.
“Good kid. Hard worker. I knew something was up by how he was working, not eating lunch with the boys. Than his sister started showing up and 2 + 2. Figured the situation wasn’t good. So I found him work to keep him on. Keep me posted on the kid okay?” Hopper affirmed that he would.
The kid had night jobs at most of the shops in town. That he had lied about his age to some people to get the job but they knew something was up with the rich kid. Noticing how he never took food breaks and wore the same clothes over and over again.
At the pawnshops and record stores he found out about the trade ins he had done.
When Hopper drove the kids car to Joyce’s for safekeeping. That is when it truly opened his eyes. The trunk was storage for food and personal affects. Cereal boxes with numbers written on for how many days it would last him. Everything was calculated for how long and little he needed to survive. Than in his glove compartment the pamphlets for military sign up and pros and cons of joining. Finding Max’s name on the con and pro list. Dustin on con list. This kids world had been turned upside down and he hid it from them. They fought monster but everyday life is harder.
Bring on the monster.

~H4S~

Eleven is petting Steve’s hair while Dustin is reading ‘The Hobbit’ to Steve. Everyone is worried since he has not woken up in 2 days.
“El can’t you do anything to wake him up?” Max asks looking to their mage.
“I don’t want to hurt him. He is healing.”
“Sorry, I’m just worried bout him.” Max keeps a hold of his hand
“I know.” El says resting her hand on his. “Steve,” she whispers. Max lays her head on the bed again. Hopper called Neal about where Max is and Neal just says okay, since it’s the Chief of police informing him. Dustin continued,
“When Bilbo opened his eyes, he wondered if he had; for it was just as dark as with them shut. No one was anywhere near him. Just imagine his fright! He could hear nothing, see nothing, and he could feel nothing except the stone of the floor.”
~
Everything is dark, then pain and red. There is dust everywhere. It hurts to breath. Coughing he wants air that is not there.
“Steve,” voices call his name. Groaning he tries to move through the dust.
“Steve,” they call again. Someone is squeezing his hands. Squeezing both of them.
“Yeah,” his voice is ruff and kind of echoy.
“Hey buddy,” Dustin speaks. Trying to open his eyes is tough but he gets one open to see Dustin.
“Steve?” He moves his eyes to see who,
“Max,” he smiles at her. She moves up on the bed and hugs him gently. “What?”
“You were hurt.” The eye moves to look at El.
“Gas pocket.”
“Yeah,” Max puts herself in his vision again. “You’re in the hospital. Your arm is hurt. There is an oxygen mask over your face.”
“But I still look good?”
“Cool,” El says. He chuckles before coughing.
“Easy Steve.” Dusting tries. The coughing slows and he wheezes. “We’re right here.” Max smiles down at Steve.
“You can relax. We’re safe.” Steve nods before closing his eye and drifting off again. Max smiles as Steve relaxes. Looking to the others they are smiling too.

~H4S~

Hopper hated his job sometimes and there are moments where he loved it. Having called up with a lawyer he confronted the Harrington’s. Following the negotiations which didn’t last that long. Hopper got a new house. Given full custody of Steve Harrington. Given a steepens for care and money for college. Also with the info he gained from the pawnshops he got back some of Steve’s items.
Eleven and Hopper tried to fix his room up as best as they could for Steve. Dustin helped critique since he had been there before all this. But with Steve’s injuries, his first few weeks home will be downstairs on the sofa. His belongings in his car were moved back to his room and the food placed in cabinets.
Driving his two kids home from the hospital, Hopper looks at Steve who’s asleep. Who would have ever thought him with two kids? No one. Yet here he is taking them to their new home where everyone is setting up to welcome them.
Eleven leans forward to pet Steve’s hair. He’s still pretty banged up. The left eye is still covered. There is hope it will make a full recovery. Right now it is just a precaution. His left arm is in a sling and there is a cast on his left leg and a knee brace on his right. The ribs are bound with significant padding keeping his sutures on his back from rubbing against material. Leaning over the seat more she kisses Steve on his forehead. Hopper look at her. Eleven has become more affectionate with Steve since he became identified as Brother.
“He hurts.”
“We’ll get him inside and he can have some pain meds.” Hopper informs her. “And let him sleep. You know the others are all going to want a moment with him.”
“Max wants to spend the night.”
“I know, I said it was okay and that it was up to how Steve is feeling.”
“Sure,” Steve voices. “Let her stay.”
“You okay kid?”
“Hurts but I’m here,” giving a lopsided smile.
“Almost home.” Steve nods looking up at Eleven.
“Hey,” she smiles at his words.
“Brother.” She smiles.
“Sister,” they give a small laugh. Steve had become brother once Hopper told her he was adopting Steve. She has been calling him brother every chance she can get.
Pulling up to the house Steve takes in his former and now abode again. “They let you have it?”
“Yup,” with a loud pop on the P. “Are you okay with this?”
“Yeah, going to be… not quiet.”
“Well not for a while anyway.” Hopper says as two of the welcome wagon exit the house. Max and Lucas can be seen waiting for them. “Can you move?” Steve lifts a hand but it drops easily.
“Good.”
“Right.” Hopper looks to Eleven. “Get his bag and meds. I’ll get him.”
“I can,” Steve tries but Hopper is there opening the door and lifting Steve out bridal style. Steve flops a little but rest on Hopper.
“I got yah kid. You’re so light.”
“Diet.”
“You’ll eat better soon.”
“Eggos??” Eleven pipes in.
“Maybe.” Hopper says. Max hops down a step stopping at seeing how Steve is like a newborn puppy in Hopper’s arm. Lucas opens the doors letting them pass. Max stands shocked still. Eleven walks up to her.
“Is he okay?” Max asks worried.
“Just tired. Be better soon.” Max nods as they head inside.
~
And uproar of welcome home is shouted as Steve is brought in. Steve gives a weak wave as Hopper moves him to the couch. Steve arches and groans as his back makes contact with the couch.
“Jane pills,” Eleven moves over with the bag. Nancy comes over with a glass of apple juice. Hopper takes a few out and hands them to Steve. Taking the glass he hands the pills to Steve, which he takes. Next Hopper assists Steve with drinking the juice. “Take it easy,” one more sip and Steve is coughing a little.
“Sorry.” Steve croaks leaning back against the sofa. Max comes over with a blanket and drapes it over him. “Hey Max.”
“Hey,” she sits beside him. “Are you okay?” He nods but looks to the others.
“I don’t think I’m up for a party.”
“Don’t worry, we’re planning to do dungeons and dragons while you rest.” Dustin informs him.
“Okay.” Steve smiles at Dustin.
“Do you need anything?”
“A pillow.” Nancy comes over with one. Dustin, Max, and Nancy help Steve move a little so they can place his head on the pillow. “Take it easy.”
“Yes mam.” Nancy touches his head before moving off. Mike moseys over next. Max and Dustin are on guard as Eleven moves from Mike’s side to sit on the armrest above Steve’s head.
“Steve,” Mike announces himself to Steve who looked to be tiring. The eye blinks several times before focusing on Mike. “I want to apologize for what I said. It wasn’t right and you’re not stupid. I was ….”
“Jealous,” Eleven adds.
“Yeah. So are we good?” Mike holds out his hand. Steve nods.
“We’re good.” Steve hand lifts up but falls before touching Mike’s. This startles them but realize Steve went to sleep.
“Is he okay?”
“Tired,” Eleven informs them.

~H4S~

It’s been a week, Max and Dustin take protective post beside Steve. He’s exercising his hand but the fingers are stiff. Groaning he stops and bring it to his head.
“Take it easy Steve.” Dustin says.
“I am, it’s just frustrating.”
“At least you’re safe.” Max says. He nods leaning back against the couch.
“Just sick of being inside and doing nothing.” He had been working nonstop for… feels like forever. “I hope I still have my jobs.”
“Hopper talked to them.”
“Oh,” Steve says knowing he is probably out of a job. His mind reeling what was the town thinking of him.
“What’s wrong?” Max asks.
“What are people sayings bout me?” He asks. Dustin gets a big grin because of some of things being said and Max frowns.
“Mostly people are belly upping on your parents. Everyone you worked for brought over casserole. Most dropped them off at the police station as Hopper gave orders not to disturb you.” Dustin says handing Steve a glass of water. Hand shaking he takes it.
“So pity,” he deduces.
“No,” Max says. “Just everyone is upset they didn’t see and…”
“So there will be looks.” Steve concluded moving to sit back.
“Maybe,” Max says.
“Don’t worry about it.” Dustin says. True he shouldn’t worry about it. His reputation had changed already with dating Nancy and sticking around the kids. Sighing heavily, why should he give a damn anyway what they think. No one helped before. Shaking his head he releases a breath.
“No worries,” he rubs at the eye patch again. “I think I need to lay down.” The kids share a look. “I’m sure you guys have better things to do than hang out with me.”
“I don’t.” Max says sitting next to him. Steve looks at her with one eye.
“Ok, than I need to rest.”
“We’ll stay with you.” Max says. Steve looks to Dustin for help. Steve loves the kids but.
“I think Steve wants some alone time.” Dustin says.
“Oh,” she nods. “Are you sure?”
“I’m use to a quiet house. Its just closet.. Um, no, clause thing.”
“Claustrophobic.” Dustin says. Steve nods. “Yeah, we’ll go to the store and get something?”
“Don’t need anything.” Max knew the line. Moving to Steve she kisses him on the forehead before tapping Dustin and grabbing her board to head out.
“But?” Dustin tries before “Yeah, right, go. Bye Steve.” Dustin moves with Max out of the house.
Steve groans loudly and bends over to lay on the couch.
“Steve?” El voices kneeling before him.
“Yeah?”
“You should go lay down.”
“I am.”
“Upstairs.”
“El, I just.” El begins to run her fingers through his hair. It was one of the few things that calmed him down. He leans into her hand.
“It’s okay Steve.” He lifts his head a little to look at her. “Everything is okay.”
“It is now.”
“We have a home.”
“Yeah,” he pulls himself up. El helps him up to direct him toward his room. “Sorry I’m a lousy brother.”
“No, you’re the best.” Steve huffs but pulls her close.
“You’re the bestest.”
“Not a word.” She informs making Steve laugh.
Hopper watches his kids go upstairs. Who would have thought him a father, thrice?

~SOLD~