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Protect

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Running.

That’s all she knew.

Running from bad people.

Running from monsters.

Running from everyone.

She didn’t know how long she’d been running and hiding and escaping.

Protecting.

But then she wasn’t.

Suddenly she was in the snowy forest that oh so often plagued her dreams.

She began to breathe hard.

No.

This couldn’t be.

She was back?

She began wondering through the woods, aimlessly.

How could she be back?

If she was back, then no one could protect them.

Eventually, after night had come, she found herself exiting the woods behind a familiar house.

Will and Joyce and Jonathan lived here.

She sat and stared at the house for the longest time before she saw a light come on.

A window opened and a tall, lanky male crawl out the window.

He was familiar somehow.

She stood up from her hiding place and stepped forward.

The boy turned and stared at her.

His eyes lit up a moment later and his jaw dropped.

“Eleven?” He croaked.

His voice was deep and strong but there was even more familiarity there.

His voice reminded her of friendship and promises and kindness.

“Mike.” She breathed as she collapsed.

He rushed forward and caught her, cradling her in his arms.

“El!” He cried and she smiled as the world faded from view.

Mike was here.

She could stop running.

Mike was here.

Chapter Text

“Remind me again why I have to sneak out?” Mike said as he pulled his pants up.

Will rolled his eyes as he sat up.

“Because Jonathan’s home from school.” He said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

“Yes and he’s hanging out with my lovely sister and her fiancé. And your mom and Hop are at work sooooo…”

Will laughed and chucked a pillow at Mike.

“Yes and Jonathan will be home any minute and you know it. I’m not allowed to have you over while mom isn’t home.” Will said.

“I don’t see why.” Mike grumbled.

Will crawled to the end of the bed and grabbed the lapels of Mike’s jacket.

“Maybe it’s because of the fact I just got finished sucking your dick.” He purred.

Mike grinned and leaned down, kissing him.

“Ok you have to go.” Will said, shoving him away.

Mike grinned and walked over to the window.

He paused and turned back.

“Don’t forget your meds.” He said.

Will sighed.

“I won’t.” He said.

Mike gave him a grin before opening the window.

“Hey Mike.” Will called.

Mike turned to look at his boyfriend.

“I love you.” The shorter boy said, smiling softly.

Mike smile back with equal affection.

“Love you too Will.”

He climbed out the window and waved at Will through it.

It amazed him sometimes.

That even after all they had been through they had made it and were just a little over half a year before they would be able to leave Hawkins for… well anywhere but here.

Mike turned from the window and was frozen solid by the sight before him.

It was a girl about his age walking towards him.

She had brown hair and eyes but that wasn’t what stopped him.

No it was the tattered-way-too-small pink dress and tattered-way-too-small blue windbreaker.

“Eleven?” He croaked, not believing his eyes.

It couldn’t be her.

It had been too long.

She looked at him with such utter relief.

“Mike.” She breathed.

He watched in horror as her legs collapsed from underneath her

“El!”

Mike rushed forward to catch her.

She was limp in his arms.

“Oh my god. WILL!” He yelled, panicking.

 Oh god.

Will stuck his head out the window.

“Mike… what the hell?” He asked, balking.

“Call Hopper. Tell him Eleven’s back.”

 

Being Police Chief in a small town was boring.

Being Police Chief in Hawkins, Indiana was boring.

Sometimes.

Sometimes it wasn’t.

Today was one of those days.

“Chief? The Byers kid… your kid is on line 2. Says it’s urgent. Sounds frantic. He might be off his meds again.” Callahan said, peaking in the office.

Hopper resisted the urge to roll his eyes.

The kid has one melt down and no one could let him forget it.

After what happened to him who could be him?

Besides Hopper knew for a fact that Mike Wheeler practically shoved those pills down his throat.

“I got it. Thanks.” Hopper said, dismissing the officer.

He picked up the phone.

“Chief Hopper here.” He greeted.

“Hop?” Will asked.

He sounded terrified.

Oh oh.

“Hey kid. What’s going on? You ok?” Hopper asked.

“I-I don’t… She’s back.” Will whispered the last part softly.

Hopper sighed and rubbed his face.

Sometimes he thought giving up drinking was the worst thing he’d ever done.

“Will... Are you taking your meds kid?” He asked.

There was silence.

“Of course I am! Mike told me to call you!” Will spat.

“Whoa kid. I didn’t mean anything by it. Now why did Mike tell you to call me?” Hopper said.

He was gonna kill those two.

Will knew he wasn’t supposed to have company when no one was home.

“Eleven is here.” Will breathed and Hopper felt his heart stop.

“What?” He demanded.

“She-she just showed up in the backyard.  Passed out in Mike’s arms. Hop… We don’t know what to do.”

Will sounded small and fragile and like the twelve-year-old he once had.

“I’ll be home soon. Sit tight.” Hopper ordered.

“Yeah. Ok. Jonathan will be back soon anyways.” Will said.

“Good. Just stay there ok?”

 

Will took a deep breath and placed his head on the wall.

He couldn’t freak out.

Not now.

He walked into the living room and found Mike sitting on the floor next to the couch.

The couch that had Eleven on it.

“You ok?” He asked softly.

Mike looked up and gave him a weak smile.

“Yeah. Just worried.” He said.

Will looked at Eleven and sighed.

“If she’s been in the Upside Down this whole time then she’s probably tired.” He said as he sat next to his boyfriend.

“You think?” Mike asked.

Will nodded.

“Yeah. You don’t really sleep in there. You just… are. You don’t eat or sleep or feel the need to but when you come out you feel the days you didn’t sleep or eat. It won’t kill you but…” Will’s voice trailed off and he shuttered.

Mike took his hand.

“You don’t have to talk about it.” He said.

Will smiled.

That’s what he loved about Mike.

He didn’t ever try to force Will to talk about what happened to him.

But that wasn’t helping the girl on his couch.

“What the hell?”

The two boys looked up to see Jonathan standing in the doorway, staring.

“Umm… surprise.” Will said weakly.

Jonathan sighed.

“Christ. Did you call Hop already?”

 

Hopper arrived home to find Will and Mike huddled together on the floor and Jonathan huddled over Eleven, placing a rag on her forehead.

“Hop!” Will exclaimed as he and Mike jumped to their feet.

Hopper raised an eyebrow but said nothing.

Some fights just weren’t worth fighting.

Especially his ‘I-Like-Girls-Plus-Mike’ stepson on the fact he had a boy over.

He turned to his other stepson.

“How is he?” He asked gently.

“She’s out of it but her plus is strong and she’s not running a fever. It’s like she’s sleeping.” Jonathan said softly, as if not wanting to wake her.

Hopper sighed and motioned for Mike to come over.

“Now Mike you know,” the boy flinched, “that I could give a rat’s ass about you and Will being together but your dad… well you’d best get home ok? If she wakes up before you come over in the morning, I’ll call.”

Mike nodded and he and Will walked out.

Hopper sighed and ran a hand through his hair.

“What are we going to do Hop? If they find out she’s here… they’ll come after her won’t they?” Jonathan asked.

Hopper shook his head.

“After she disappeared they came to see me. Told me that they were dismantling the project. Told me if she ever showed up she was free to go.” He said, remembering that car ride from so long ago.

“But why? Wouldn’t she be too… valuable to them?” Jonathan said, spitting the word out like it was filth.

And it was.

Hopper was silent for a moment before speaking.

“I think they feared her too much to try again.”

Chapter Text

Eleven blinked awake to unfamiliar surroundings.

Well, kind of.

The room was familiar but the decorations and posters were different.

Posters that said ‘Joy Division’ and ‘The Cure’ among other adorn the room’s walls.

She sat up slowly.

Will.

This was Will’s room.

She looked herself over.

She was wearing sweatpants and a long sleeved black shirt.

“The pants will be a little short on you and Will’s shirt is a little big but it’s the best we could do.”

Eleven looked up to see Joyce standing in the doorway.

She looked… better than the last time Eleven had seen her.

Healthier.

Happier.

Joyce walked in and sat next to the girl.

“How are feeling sweetie?” She asked.

Eleven blinked.

She… she didn’t know.

It was all too much.

“Hungry.” She blurted out.

Joyce laughed.

“Ok. Ok. Good. I’ll get you something to eat.” She said.

“Eggos?” Eleven asked hopefully.

Joyce laughed.

“Of course dear. We keep a freezer full.” She said.

Eleven bit her lip before smiling at Joyce, shyly.

Joyce stood and eyed the doorway.

“I’ll go get you some breakfast. Are you up to visitors? I have two very anxious boys that want to see you.” She said.

“Mike?” Eleven asked.

Joyce shook her head.

“No. Mike isn’t here yet but Will and Jonathan have been up since dawn waiting for you to wake up.” She said.

Eleven nodded.

Will and Jonathan were friends.

Joyce gave her one last smile before leaving.

A head poked in the doorway.

“Hey. Good morning.” He said as he fully entered the doorway.

He wasn’t a very tall teen boy.

His hair was a little long and he was dressed in black.

“Good… morning.” She said.

Her voice sounded raspy still.

“I don’t know if you remember me but I’m-“

“Will.” Eleven said simply.

Will gave her a smile.

“You know I never got to thank you for what you did so thanks.” He said.

Eleven stared at him.

“You don’t talk much do you?” Will asked.

Eleven shook her head.

She had never been allowed to talk in the place.

“I get it. There was a while after… what happened I didn’t like to talk much either. You can though. Talk to us.” Will said.

“Friends?” Eleven asked.

Will chuckled softly.

“Yeah. We’re friends.”

 

“Mom stop.” Nancy groaned as her mother fussed around her.

She hated when her mother got like this.

“You need to be sitting down dear. You need all the rest you can get… in your condition.”

She also hated when her mother referred to her pregnancy as a condition.

Sure she was pregnant out of wedlock but it was the 80’s.

Who cared.

A timer went off in the kitchen, distracting her mother.

Nancy sighed.

Being pregnant at 21 was not part of her plans at all.

The plan was NYU for 4 years and then Columbia for med school.

Still she didn’t regret getting pregnant.

She rubbed her stomach.

It was different than her mom.

She was in love with her baby’s father.

Well… fathers.

The phone rang and Nancy walked over and answered it.

“Hello. Byers residence. This is Nancy.” She chirped, hating herself a little on the inside.

“It’s killing you isn’t it?” An amused voice said and Nancy grinned.

“Hey Jonathan.” She said fondly.

Steve seemed to materialize out of thin air next to her.

“Is that Jonathan?” He whispered excitedly.

Nancy shoved him away, playfully.

“So what’s the early morning call for?” She asked.

There was silence.

“Why are you up so early? Is the baby ok?” Jonathan asked sounding panicked.

Nancy let out a sigh of frustration.

“Yes the baby is fine! She was just kicking.” Nancy said.

She heard Jonathan sigh in relief.

“Is Mike up yet?” He asked.

Nancy scrunched up her face.

“I don’t think so. He didn’t get home till late last night.” She said in confusion.

“Will you tell him Eleven is up?”

“What?!” Nancy screeched.

“What is going on?” Steve asked.

Nancy ignored him.

Eleven was here?!

“Mike didn’t tell you? Eleven showed up last night.” Jonathan said.

“Oh my god.” Nancy breathed.

“What is going on?” Steve repeated.

“Eleven came back!” Nancy hissed.

Steve paled.

“Shit.” He said, running his hand through his hair.

“Nancy?” Jonathan said trying to get her attention.

“I’ll get Mike. We’ll me over soon.” She said before hanging up.

She turned to Steve.

“Get dressed.”

She headed upstairs to Mike’s room and found him getting dressed.

“Wanna tell me why you didn’t tell me Eleven was back?” She asked.

Mike whipped around at the sound of her voice, looking guilty.

“I was tired?” He offered.

Nancy looked at him pointedly.

Mike sighed.

“What are you going to do if this means more Nancy? More than Eleven just finding her way home?” He asked.

“If something else bad is coming? I’ll help of course.” Nancy said.

“No you won’t. You can’t.”

Mike gestured to her stomach and Nancy felt dread fill her.

“You think I should leave?” She asked quietly.

“I don’t know.” Mike admitted.

Nancy walked over and placed her hands on his arms.

“I’m staying Mike. Because you’re going to need me.” She said.

Mike looked absolutely wrecked.

“I love Will.” He said firmly.

Nancy nodded.

“I know.” She said softly.

“I’ve always loved Eleven.” He admitted.

“I know.” Nancy repeated.

Mike groaned.

“How is this possible? How can you love two people at one time?” He asked.

Nancy smiled and pulled him into a hug.

“Trust me Mike. It is very possible.”