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Stranger Twins

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November 6, 1983

The Wheeler s Basement

 

“Something is coming. Something hungry for blood. A shadow grows on the wall behind you, swallowing you in darkness,” Mike announces, uselessly trying to deepen his voice to intimidate his friends. “It is almost here.”

 

“What is it?” Will asks, anxiety clear in his voice.

 

“What if it’s the Demogorgon? Oh, Jesus, we’re so screwed if it’s the Demogorgon,” Dustin whines.

 

“It’s not the Demogorgon!”

 

“An army of troglodytes charge into the chamber!” Mike exclaims, Lucas smirks triumphantly.

 

“Troglodytes?” Dustin laughs. “Mike, we aren’t twelve anymore.”

 

“Told ya!”

 

“Wait a minute,” Mike whispers for dramatic effect, interrupting his friends who are all laughing. “Did you hear that? That… that sound? Boom… boom… BOOM!”

 

Mike smacks his hand down on the table, making Dustin jump and squeak embarrassingly loud for a 15-year-old.

 

“That didn’t come from the troglodytes. No, that… that came from something else.”

 

The entire group had begun leaning in, nervous glances exchanging amongst themselves as they hunched over their rickety old Dungeons and Dragons table.

 

“The Demogorgon!”

 

“We’re in deep shit!” Dustin exclaims as the other two boys groan, Mike is practically vibrating with excitement. This was the first campaign they’d been able to organize in months between their school and work schedules.

 

“Will, your action?” Mike exclaims, thoroughly enjoying orchestrating the entire evening.

 

“I don’t know!”

 

“Fireball him! Fucking Fireball him!” Lucas begins chanting.

 

“I’d have to roll a 13 or higher,” Will argues logically.

 

“Too risky,” Dustin agrees. “Cast a protection spell!”

 

“Don’t be a pussy. Fireball him!”

 

“Cast Protection!”

 

“The Demogorgon is tired of your silly human bickering!” Mike interrupts. “It stomps toward you. Boom! Boom!”

 

Mike continues while Dustin and Lucas shout their suggestions at an overwhelmed Will.

 

“He roars in anger!”

 

The shouting and swearing has reached a crescendo and Will panics, deciding to roll the die and throw a fireball. The die goes flying from the table.

 

“Oh, shit!”

 

“Where’d it go?”

 

“I don’t know, dipshit!”

 

The boys are clamouring to find the die, knocking their game askew as their knees bang into the too short table in their haste.

 

“Is it a 13?” Dustin whines.

 

“I don’t fucking know, idiot! I haven’t found it!”

 

“Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God!” Dustin is pacing in circles dramatically as his friends search the floor for the die.

 

“Mike!”

 

“Did you find it?”

 

“No, I said I can’t find it!” Will huffs, irritated with his friend’s demanding tone.

 

“Michael!”

 

“Mom, we’re in the middle of a campaign!” Mike whines up the stairs to his mother who stands in the doorway at the top of the stairs.

 

“You mean the end?” she sasses. “It’s fifteen after and you boys have already woken Holly twice.”

 

Mike grumbles, chasing his mom up the stairs as the boys continue arguing and searching the basement floor.

 

“But, mom!” He skids into the kitchen, sliding on his socked feet. “Just 20 more minutes!”

 

“No, it’s a school night, Michael.”

 

“We’re fifteen, not eight,” Mike whines childishly which makes Karen laugh as he towers over her. 

 

“You can finish next weekend,” Karen continues.

 

“But that’ll ruin the flow! Besides this is the only night all month that none of us has had homework or had to work!”

 

“Michael,” Karen sighs, her patience wearing thin.

 

“I’m serious, mom!” Mike continues. “This is the only night! And the campaign took two whole weeks to plan. How was I supposed to know it was gonna take ten hours?”

 

“You geeks have been down there for ten hours?” Richie laughs, shoving Mike out of the way as he heads towards the refrigerator. “No wonder it always smells like shit down there.”

 

“Language,” Karen warns her son, pursing her lips as Richie gives a fake sheepish smile. “Have you really been down there for ten hours?”

 

Mike purses his lips, looking startlingly like his mother.

 

“Dad!” Mike cries, heading towards the den where he knows his dad is reading the paper in his chair.

 

“Dad,” Mike repeats as he enters the room. “Don’t you think that twenty more-”

 

“I think you should listen to your mother,” Ted responds, neglecting to even look up from his paper.

 

Mike gives his dad an incredulous look before heading back to the kitchen to continue arguing with his mother.

 

“Mom, please-”

 

“No, that’s enough, Michael!” Karen shrills. “Call it a night! That goes for your friends too, Richie,” Karen adds, snatching the carton of milk that Richie is drinking from and putting it back in the fridge that he neglected to close.

 

“What the fuck!”

 

“Language!”

 

“This is bullshit!” Richie shouts.

 

“Richard, watch your mouth.”

 

Richie rolls his eyes at his dad’s half-hearted reprimand from the other side of the house.

 

“Mom, this is total bullshit,” Richie continues. “My friends and I are watching movies and being normal human beings. Why do they have to leave?”

 

“Because, Richard, in case you weren’t aware you and Michael are twins and therefore both fifteen. And coincidentally it is a school night for both of you. And even more coincidentally I happen to be the mother of both of you,” Karen explains patronizingly. “So, if Michael’s friends need to leave because it’s late, so do yours.”

 

“This is all your fault!” Richie huffs, glaring at his brother.

 

“My fault!” Mike shrieks. “How is it my fault!”

 

“Because you and your lame ass friends-”

 

“My friends are lame? You guys call yourselves the ‘Loser’s Club’, now that’s lame-”

 

“At least we aren’t nerds-”

 

“Just wait until I get into MIT and you’re still living in our bedroom, sleeping on a bunk for the next 20 years-”

 

“Fuck you, once I’m rich and famous you’ll wish you were a little nicer to your big brother-”

 

“We’re the same age!”

 

“I was born first-”

 

“By six minutes!”

 

“How do you deal with them, Mrs. Wheeler?” Beverly asks, trudging into the kitchen and standing next to Mrs. Wheeler who has continued cleaning the kitchen from cooking supper as if there weren’t two six-foot-tall identical teenagers shouting at each other in her kitchen.

 

“Fifteen years of practice, dear,” Karen smiles, smoothing Beverly’s hair back.

 

“Richie,” comes Eddie’s voice from the living room off of the kitchen where the Loser’s Club had been watching An American Werewolf in London. “Would you shut up!”

 

“Eds,” Richie whines, turning his attention from his brother to his boyfriend who has just entered the kitchen. “He’s so annoying though!”

 

Richie throws his arms around Eddie dramatically, hiding his face in Eddie’s neck making Karen laugh. Eddie is half a foot shorter than Richie, so the taller boy has to hunch over ridiculously.

 

“You’re annoying,” Eddie deadpans, although he’s carding his fingers through Richie’s curls sweetly. Karen laughs again.

 

“That’s so rude!” Richie gasps, pulling back from Eddie. “I can’t believe you’re taking his side!”

 

Eddie rolls his eyes at his boyfriend as Mike’s friends can be heard trampling up the basement stairs.

 

“Hey, is there still pizza in there?” Richie asks when he notices Dustin with the box from earlier in the day.

 

“No,” Dustin calls over his shoulder, running up the stairs to the second floor. Mike stares confusedly at the staircase his friend just disappeared up.

 

“All you ever think about is food, Rich,” Eddie sighs.

 

“I’m a growing boy, Eds. What do you expect?”

 

“Mike doesn’t try to eat a full meal every fifteen minutes like you do and he’s the same height,” Eddie quips with a smirk.

 

“How dare you?!” Richie gasps. “I am an inch taller!”

 

Mike and Eddie both roll their eyes at Richie as he continues on about how he’s way taller and therefore needs more nutrients than his ‘little’ brother.

 

Mike looks away from Richie when he notices Dustin is descending the stairs dejectedly, still holding the box of pizza.

 

“Ready to go guys?” Dustin asks, putting on a smile.

 

Lucas and Will nod in agreement and head towards the front door.

 

“Hey, Mrs. Wheeler where can I put this pizza box?” Dustin asks, wanting rid of the bulky box.

 

“Here, sweetie,” Karen gestures for the box. “I’ll get rid of it.”

 

“Thanks,” Dustin smiles toothlessly, pulling the last slice from the box and shoving it in his mouth before handing Karen the box.

 

“Hey! I thought you said there wasn’t any more pizza!” Richie shouts at Dustin’s back as the boy makes his way towards the door laughing.

 

“Calm down, Richie, you’re going to wake Holly,” Karen scolds. “Seriously though, sweetheart, it’s time for everyone to go home.”

 

Richie rolls his eyes, looking exactly like his brother did five minutes ago.

 

“Yo, losers! Get the fuck outta my house!”

 

“Richard!”

 

“What?” Richie asks, smiling at his mother sweetly.

 

The losers are through the doorway into the kitchen immediately, not wanting to upset Mrs. Wheeler who is the nicest out of all of the group’s parents.

 

“Goodnight, Mrs. Wheeler. Thank you for allowing us to come over,” Stanley comments before exiting with Bill, Ben, Beverly, and Mike.

 

“Not a problem, Stanley,” Karen smiles. “You’re welcome to come over anytime. In fact, if I could trade you for Richie, I would!”

 

“Hey!”

 

The losers are soon through the door, picking up their bikes from the pile on the Wheeler’s driveway.

 

“Hm, that’s odd,” Karen says, peering out the window to the group of teenagers hopping on bikes and joking around. “There seems to be one extra bike out front. Wonder who’s that could be?”

 

“Dunno mom, super weird,” Richie agrees as Eddie chuckles into Richie’s back quietly, enjoying Karen’s playful nature.

 

“That is super weird,” Karen nods, before turning around to look at Richie. “Well, guess that’s everyone gone for the night.”

 

“Yup, I guess so,” Richie continues.

 

“Richie,” Karen smiles.

 

“Mother?”

 

“It’s time for Eddie to go as well,” Karen smiles sadly.

 

“But,” Richie whines, pulling the smaller boy out from behind him and wrapping him in his long arms. “But, mom, please?! It’s cold outside and he needs a home! I promise I’ll walk him and feed him and play with him-”

 

“Richie!” Eddie laughs, smacking his boyfriend in the chest. “I’m not a stray dog!”

 

“Never, Eddie Spaghetti,” Richie agrees, kissing Eddie’s cheek before turning back to his mother. “But for real, please don’t make him leave, mom!”

 

“Richard,” Karen presses, although her resolve is wavering. She loves the polite young boy her son calls his boyfriends and she hates Sonia Kaspbrak. The woman is an abusive fool and Karen wants nothing more than to protect Eddie from her idiocy. “You know it’ll be world war three with your brother if I let Eddie sleepover but not one of Mike’s friends.”

 

“But, mom!” Richie whines again. “Spaghetti’s not just my friend! And who cares, Mike cries about everything.”

 

“You’re giving me more reason to say no, Richie,” Karen warns.

 

“Rich,” Eddie interrupts the two Wheelers. “It’s okay, I should really get home. My mom’s probably worried.”

 

Both of the Wheelers scowl at the mention of Sonia, making Eddie bite his lip nervously.

 

“Um,” Eddie begins, clearing his throat. “I’ll see you tomorrow at school.”

 

Eddie pulls on his shoes and jacket before giving Mrs. Wheeler a smile and kissing Richie on the cheek.

 

“Spaghetti,” Richie mumbles, shaking his head and pulling Eddie back to him to kiss him on the lips. Karen smiles fondly at the two boys.

 

“Oh, my God!” Mike exclaims as he comes back through the door. “Seriously, you may as well just get your lips surgically attached at this point!”

 

Eddie blushes violently, pulling away from Richie and excusing himself.

 

“You’re such an asshole!”

 

“How am I an asshole?! You’re so mean to me every day-”

 

“I am not! I’m trying to save you from a life of geekiness!”

 

Karen sighs, heading back to the kitchen as her teenage sons continue to argue in the front hallway.

 


 

 

“Boys! School!”

 

Richie groans, rolling over to bury his head under his pillow, shaking the frame of the bunkbed he shares with Mike.

 

“Michael! Richard!”

 

Mike pulls himself from his bed groggily and notices Richie is still under his mountain of blankets.

 

“Ha, sucker,” Mike laughs, running from the room and dashing into the unoccupied washroom at the end of the hall.

 

“Fuck!”

 

Mike cackles as he starts the shower, listening to Richie swear and argue with his mother in the hallway as he alternates between banging on the doors of the two bathrooms occupied each by Mike and Nancy.

 

“Mike, hurry the fuck up!”

 

“It’s been 30 seconds, Richie. Take a chill pill!” Mike laughs, stripping out of his pajamas and hopping in the shower, deciding to take his sweet time to annoy his brother as much as possible.

 

Although his shower was punctuated with loud thumps on the bathroom door every 20 seconds, Mike steps out of the bathroom with a towel around his waist and his hair dripping 15 minutes later with a wide smile.

 

“Fuck you,” Richie glares, shoving Mike out of the way before rushing into the bathroom to get ready for school.

 


 

 

Twenty minutes later Mike is sat at the kitchen table, happily munching on an Eggo with his sisters and parents.

 

“Michael,” Karen starts. “Where’s your brother?”

 

“Still getting ready?” Mike responds through a mouthful of waffle.

 

“You’re disgusting,” Nancy mutters, scrunching her nose in her brother’s direction. Mike smiles widely, bringing his face closer to Nancy’s and chewing obnoxiously. “Ew, mom!”

 

“Ted, control your son.”

 

“Michael, listen to your mother,” Ted adds, not looking up from his paper.

 

Mike looks over at his dad, giving him a disbelieving look before standing from the table and throwing his backpack over a shoulder.

 

“Bye, mom!”

 

“Michael, wait for your brother!”

 

“Mom, no-”

 

“Michael!”

 

Mike sighs before trudging towards the stairs.

 

“Richie! Hurry up, we’re going to be late!”

 

Mike huffs, knowing his brother will be another few minutes and sits on one of the bottom stairs waiting.

 

Mike startles as Richie vaults himself off one of the top steps, over his twin brother, and onto the landing by the front door.

 

“Richie!”

 

“Bye, mom!” Richie exclaims, rushing into the kitchen to grab a waffle from his dad’s hand. He kisses his mother’s cheek and ruffles Holly’s hair before running past Mike and out the door.

 

“Let’s go, Mike! We’re going to be late!”

 

Mike huffs angrily but follows his brother out the door.

 


 

 

“Eddie lives the other way!” Mike argues, irritated by the fact that Richie is making them bike in the opposite direction of school to pick Eddie up.

 

“His mom doesn’t like him to bike alone,” Richie reasons.

 

“He biked home alone last night!”

 

“No, Bill went with him. Either Bill or I always make sure to ride home with him,” Richie calls over his shoulder as he turns the corner to Eddie’s house. “Spaghetti!”

 

Eddie is stood at the bottom of his driveway with his backpack on and holding his bike by the handle bars.

 

“You’re late,” Eddie states, staring blankly at the twins.

 

“Good morning to you too, Eds,” Richie laughs, pulling up beside Eddie to lean down and place a kiss to his lips. Eddie pulls away with a smile, hopping on his bike.

 

“Morning, Mike!”

 

“Hey, Eddie,” Mike smiles politely, before pedalling in the direction of school, leading the way.

 


 

 

“Finally, come on guys! We’re gonna be late!” Dustin called. He was sat on his bike halfway between the Wheeler’s house and Hawkins High School with Lucas.

 

“Blame Richie!” Mike called as he zoomed past his friends with Richie and Eddie trailing behind him.

 

Dustin and Lucas shared an exasperated look before pedalling after their friend.  

 


 

 

The five boys pull up at the bike rack, locking up their respective bikes.

 

“That’s weird,” Mike comments, drawing the attention of the other four boys. “I don’t see him.”

 

The boys had been discussing Mrs. Byers’ call to all of the boys’ mothers this morning looking for Will.

 

“I’m telling you, his mom’s right. He probably just went to class early again.”

 

“Yeah, he’s always paranoid Gursky’s gonna give him another pop quiz.”

 

“Fuckin’ nerd,” Richie laughs, arm thrown over Eddie’s shoulder as the five boys walk towards the entrance to the school.

 

“Shut up, Richie,” Mike and Eddie say at the same time. Mike was fiercely protective of his oldest friend Will and Eddie was especially fond of Will who had always treated him with kindness.

 

“Step right up, ladies and gentlemen,” comes a cruel voice behind the group. “Step right up and get your tickets for the freak show.”

 

The boys all turn to face Henry Bowers and Troy Harrington, resident Hawkins bullies. Mike rolls his eyes.

 

“Who do you think would make more money in the freak show?” Troy asks Henry. “Midnight, Frogface 1, Toothless, or Frogface 2 and his little fairy boyfriend?”

 

Henry places a finger to his lips as though considering his options.

 

“I’ll go with toothless,” Henry decides, putting on a lisp, mimicking Dustin.

 

“I told you a million times, my teeth are coming in!” Dustin argues. “It’s called cleidocranial dysplasia.”

 

Troy rolls his eyes and pushes Mike harshly out of the way while Henry does the same, taking the time to lick his hand and wipe it down Eddie’s face disgustingly. Eddie whimpers as Richie shouts, outraged that Henry could be so cruel.

 

“Richie,” Mike interrupts Richie’s ranting at Bowers’ form. “Enough.”

 

Richie turns away from the bullies to find Eddie shaking, tears clinging to his eyelashes as he scrubs vigorously at his cheek with his sleeve causing his face to become red with irritation. Richie sighs, approaching Eddie carefully.

 

“Eds,” he said softly, reaching out. “Eds, stop.”

 

Eddie continues his assault on his cheek, tears now running down his fact and nails clawing at his skins.

 

“Babe,” Richie sighs, forcibly holding Eddie’s wrists and pulling his hands away from his face. Eddie collapses into Richie’s chest, sobs wracking his body. “Shhh,” Richie soothes, rubbing his back. “Eds, c’mere,” Richie murmurs, leaning back and taking Eddie’s chin in his hand. He reaches into Eddie’s fanny pack pulling out an antiseptic wipe while Eddie continues crying. “Shh, it’s okay, I’ve got ya.”

 

Richie dutifully wipes down Eddie’s cheek, hesitating whenever Eddie hisses in pain at the burning of the alcohol on his scratched skin. Mike, Dustin, and Lucas watch with worry.

 

“Thanks, ‘Chee,” Eddie whispers, pushing his face back into Richie’s chest once Richie is done wiping his face.

 

“No problem, Spaghetti,” Richie whispers back, leaning down to press a kiss to the crown of Eddie’s head.

 

“You okay, Eddie?” Mike asks as he watches his twin brother and his boyfriend embrace. His voice is full of concern and slight discomfort.

 

“Yeah, I’m good. Thanks for asking, Mike,” Eddie smiles softly, pulling back from Richie.

 

“Okay, we’re gonna head to class,” Mike smiles back, gesturing towards the doors to Hawkins High School before following his friends up the path.

 

Richie and Eddie remain by the bike racks for a few minutes longer, Eddie’s face hidden in Richie’s chest and Richie’s pressed against Eddie’s hair.

 

“You good, Spaghetti Man?”

 

“Yeah,” Eddie whispers, not moving.

 

“Ready to go to class?”

 

Eddie whines and shakes his head ‘no’ causing Richie to laugh.

 

“Well, we both know I have no problem skipping Clarke’s class, but your mom will murder me if you skip,” Richie insists, convincing Eddie to head into the school.

 

“M’kay,” Eddie breathes, pulling away from Richie. “Rich?”

 

“Hmm?”

 

“I love you,” Eddie whispers, pressing his lips to Richie’s.

 

“Love you too, Eds,” Richie grins after pulling back.

 


 

 

“Remember, finish chapter twelve and answer twelve point three on the difference between an experiment and other forms of scientific investigation. This will be on the test, which will cover chapters ten through twelve. It will be multiple choice with an essay section…”

 

“No one’s listening, sir,” Richie laughs, walking towards Mr. Clarke’s desk as most of the class file out of the room. The only students left are Dustin, Lucas, and Mike.

 

Mr. Clarke’s science class was the only class Richie and Mike shared. Richie was often separated from Mike and Eddie as he became extremely disruptive when he was in a classroom with either of the two.

 

“Thank you, Mr. Wheeler,” Mr. Clarke deadpans.

 

“So, did it come?!” Mike asks suddenly, pushing Richie aside with excitement.

 

“Sorry, boys.” Mike, Dustin, and Lucas have gathered around Mr. Clarke’s desk. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but… it came!”

 

The boys cheer with excitement, Mike jumping childishly as Dustin and Lucas grin at each other.

 

“Fuckin’ nerds…” Richie comments, still watching from his place near the door, amazed that he is even related to Mike, never mind genetically identical.

 

“You’re part of AV Club too, dipshit,” Mike grumbles, turning towards his brother with a frown.

 

“Michael,” Mr. Clarke scolds, causing Mike to blush in embarrassment and mutter an apology.

 

“Only for extra credit in science, dipshit,” Richie responds, ignoring the similar reprimand he receives from Mr. Clarke.

 

The twins glare at each other as the other three watch on uncomfortably.

 

“Okay, how about we head over to the AV Room?”

 


 

 

“Yes!” Mike cries, rushing to sit behind the table holding the radio.

 

“The Heathkit ham shack,” Mr. Clarke declares proudly. Dustin, Lucas, and Mike crowd around the radio while Richie stands by the door, rolling his eyes. “Ain’t she a beaut!”

 

 “I bet you could talk to New York on this thing!”

 

“Think bigger.”

 

“California?”

 

“Bigger.”

 

“Eddie’s mom?” Richie pipes in.

 

“Australi?!” Mike exclaims, ignoring his brother with practiced ease.

 

Mr. Clarke nods proudly, ignoring Richie just as Mike had. The three boys exclaim in excitement and begin speaking in vaguely Australian-sounding accents as Richie comments loudly on how bad their attempts are.

 

A knock at the door turns everyone’s attention to the hallway where Mr. Coleman stands with Sgt. Hopper.

 

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

 

“Hey, what about me?” Richie pipes up.

 

“You’re not invited, Wheeler,” Hopper laughs, smirking at the curly haired teen. Hopper was well acquainted with the trouble-making Wheeler boy.

 

“Mr. Coleman,” Richie starts, putting on an old timey Transatlantic accent. “Baby, you know your office is home away from home for me! I gotta come!”

 

“Fine, Mr. Wheeler, you may join us as well.”

 

“Knew he couldn’t resist me!” Richie jokes, heading down the hallway ahead of the rest of the group as Hopper snorts.

 


 

 

Hopper sighs, as the three boys on the couch shout over each other, attempting to explain the last time they had seen their friend will. Richie snorts from his spot, leaning against a wall. Hopper can’t help but silently agree with the boy who clearly finds his twin brother and his friends ridiculous. 

 

“Okay, okay, okay,” Hopper interrupts. “One at a time, alright? Wheeler, you said he takes what?”

 

“Mirkwood,” Mike says with a gulp, nervous to address the town Sargent. He’s never met the man, but his brother has on quite a few occasions.

 

“Have you ever heard of Mirkwood?” Hopper asks his partner.

 

“I have not,” Callahan answers in an almost bored tone. “That sounds made up to me.”

 

“No, it’s from Lord of the Rings.”

 

“Well, The Hobbit,” Dustin corrects, causing Lucas to twitch in irritation.

 

Nerds, Richie coughs and Hopper laughs

 

The comment is missed, however, as Dustin and Lucas launch into an argument with Mike sitting between them silently, rolling his eyes.

 

“Hey,” Hopper interrupts again. “What’d I just say! One at a damn time, you.”

 

“Mirkwood,” Mike continues. “It’s a real road. It’s just the name that’s made up. It’s where Cornwallis and Kerley meet.”

 

Hopper nods, familiar with the area.

 

“We can show you, if you want!” Mike offers, on the edge of his seat, wanting to help look for his friend. “We can help look!”

 

“No,” Hopper sighs, as the boys argue. “After school, you are all to go home. Immediately You too, Wheeler,” Hopper twists in his seat addressing Richie who salutes him mockingly, not looking up from his cuticles which he’s busy picking.  “That means no biking around looking for your friend, no investigating, no nonsense-”

 

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, Hop,” Richie interrupts, pushing off from the wall. “Nonsense is what I do best! I’m sorry, I just don’t think I can do that.”

 

“I swear to God, Wheeler. Do I make myself clear?”

 

Hopper is standing now, towering slightly over the teenager. Richie rolls his eyes while the other three boys nod in agreement.

 


 

 

“We should be out there right now. We should be helping look for him!”

 

“We’ve been over this, Mike. The chief says-”

 

“I don’t care what the chief said!” Mike exclaims. “We have to do something. Will could be in danger!”

 

“More reason to stay put,” Karen reasons, causing Richie to snort. He doesn’t want to go looking for the boy any more than his mother does, but he knows her statement is complete bullshit.

 

“Mom!”

 

“End of discussion.”

 

Richie grins, thoroughly enjoying watching his twin getting shut down by his mother for a change of pace.

 

“This is bullshit,” Mike mutters, throwing down his fork and fleeing the dining room.

 

Nancy and Richie share a look while Karen looks to her husband for support, neglecting to find any, unsurprisingly.

 

“So, me and Barbara are gonna study at her house tonight,” Nancy breaks the uncomfortable silence at the table. “That’s cool, right?”

 

“No, not cool.”

 

“What? Why not?”

 

Richie cannot believe his luck. It looks like Nancy’s about to launch into an equally explosive argument with their mother.

 

“Why do you think? Am I speaking Chinese in this house?”

 

Richie barks out a laugh.

 

“Mom! That’s so racist,” Richie chuckles.

 

“Until we know Will is okay, no one leaves,” Karen continues, ignoring Richie’s comment.

 

“Wait, but I can still go pick up Eddie after dinner, right?” Richie asks, suddenly worried he might not get to spend the evening with his boyfriend.

 

“No, Richard.”

 

“Mike’s right, this is such bullshit!” Richie cries, jumping from the table to follow his brother up the stairs to their shared bedroom.

 

“So, we’re all under house arrest, just because Mike’s friend got lost on the way home…”

 

Richie can hear his sister continuing to argue with Karen. She always was more persistent than her brothers. Mike typically accepted what he was told immediately and Richie would just do whatever he wanted anyway if he didn’t get the answer he was looking for.

 

“Nancy, this isn’t Will’s fault!”

 

Mike is suddenly rushing down the stairs at full speed, the bannister shaking as he jumps to the landing.

 

“You’re just mad because you want to hang out with Steve!”

 

“Who’s Steve?”

 

“Her new boyfriend,” Mike spits, disgusted with the fact that his sister would try to blame will for her misfortune.

 

“You are such a douchebag, Mike!”

 

The argument has devolved into a shouting match, Karen attempting to referee but decidedly caught off guard by the odd pairing. Ted continued eating as though the room was completely normal.

 

“Hey, Holly-Doll,” Richie sighs, making his way back into the dining room. “Let’s go watch some cartoons, huh?”

 

Holly immediately has her arms raised, waiting for Richie to pick her up and place her on his hip before walking her to the living room.

 

“I’m the only one acting normal here!” Mike is screeching at the top of his lungs. Richie has never heard him this upset. “I’m the only one who cares about Will!”

 

Richie has Holly situated on the couch and is turning on the TV set when he hears Mike stomp up the stairs again. Richie sighs, deciding to go and check on his brother.

 

“I hope you’re enjoying your chicken, Ted!”

 

Richie notices his mother storming out of the now nearly empty dining room, leaving his father sitting at the table alone. He probably prefers it that way, Richie thinks, continuing his trek up the stairs.

 


 

 

“Hey, shithead,” Richie greets, bursting into their bedroom. Mike is laying atop his covers, Supercom in hand. “You okay?”

 

Mike eyes him suspiciously, Richie is never this nice to him.

 

“M’fine.”

 

“Uh, you just swore at mom,” Richie laughs in disbelief. “There’s no way your fine.”

 

“My best fucking friend is missing, Richie,” Mike blurts, sitting up and glaring at his brother in anger. “Would you be fucking fine if Eddie had gone missing last night?”

 

“No,” Richie whispers, looking at his feet. “Sorry.”

 

Mike sighs and lies back down.

 

“Lucas, do you copy? Lucas?” Mike is talking into his walkie-talkie now.

 

“Hey, it’s Lucas.”

 

“I know it’s you. And say over when you’re done talking so know you’re done. Over.”

 

“I’m done. Over.” Lucas sasses making Richie laugh.

 

“I’m worried about Will. Over.”

 

“Yeah, this is crazy… Over.”

 

“Tell me about it!” Richie adds, climbing the ladder and flopping down on his top bunk.

 

“I was thinking,” Mike starts, sounding nervous. “Will could’ve cast Protection last night, but he didn’t. He cast Fireball. Over”

 

“What the fuck?” Richie laughs as Lucas asks a similar variation of Richie’s question.

 

“My point is, he could’ve played it safe, but he didn’t. He put himself in danger to help the party. Over.”

 

“Meet me in ten. Over and out.”

 

Mike sits up suddenly, causing the bed frame to shake.

 

“Woah, woah, woah,” Richie starts, sitting up to look at Mike who has begun to stuff things into his backpack. “Where do you think you’re going? Mom is royally pissed with you right now.”

 

“I need to help find Will, Rich,” Mike whispers, his face so open and honest it makes Richie gulp, searching desperately for a joke to diffuse the tension.

 

“Don’t call me Rich.”

 

“Why not? Eddie calls you Rich all the time,” Mike blanches, pulling a thick sweater over his head.

 

“Eddie gives me blowjobs,” Richie starts.

 

“Richie!”

 

“When you start giving me mind-blowing orgasms, I’ll start letting you call me Rich.”

 

“You’re fucking disgusting,” Mike responds, throwing one leg over the windowsill and out onto the roof.

 

“Wait,” Richie calls, stopping his brother with a look and pulling on his jean jacket. “You’re going to fucking fall off the roof and get us both in even deeper shit. I’ll come with you to meet Lucas, but then I’m going to see Eddie.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Yeah,” Richie rolls his eyes. “I already said, I can’t have you falling off the roof and blowing our cover. I’m horny as fuck and need to go and see Eddie.”

 


 

 

Minutes later the boys have navigated their way down the drain pipe and are slowly walking their bikes from the side of the house to the road.

 

“Oh, my God,” Mike mutters, noticing Steve Harrington attempting to climb into their sister’s window.

 

“Hey,” Richie calls. “Try climbing the drain pipe around back and walk across the garage roof!”

 

Steve startles, looking back at the younger boys curiously, but follows Richie’s instructions and waves gratefully.

 

“Richie!” Mike scolds.

 

“What?”

 

“You just helped Steve Harrington climb into our sister’s bedroom in the middle of the night!”

 

“It’s 7pm,” Richie laughs. “Hardly the middle of the night.”

 

“Still!”

 

“Shit,” Richie mutters. “You’re right.”

 

Richie turns around, heading towards their front door to storm up to Nancy’s room and kick Steve out.

 

“Later,” Mike calls. “We don’t have time right now!”

 

“Fine!”

 


 

 

“Richie?” Lucas and Dustin ask at the same time, confused as to why Mike would bring his brother to search for Will.

 

“I’m just escorting his royal highness over here,” Richie explains, skidding to a stop and winning the unspoken race between the twins with a smile. “Then I’m off to make some sweet, sweet love to my Spaghetti Monster.”

 

“You’re disgusting,” Mike groans, slightly out of breath.

 

“And you’re out of shape, nerd.” Richie replies, ruffling Mike’s hair as he passes his brother, pedalling in the direction the twins had just come from to get to Eddie’s house.


  

“But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks?”

 

“Hey, Rich,” Eddie laughs, not looking up from the notebook he is currently writing in at his desk.

 

“It is the east, and Eddie Spaghetti is the sun,” Richie continues as though Eddie hadn’t spoken. He’s standing on the veranda below Eddie’s window, head rested on upturned palms as he leans his elbows on the window frame.

 

“We get it, Romeo,” Eddie smiles, getting up from his desk and walking towards the window to help pull Richie through. “You’re a real fucking romantic bastard, aren’t you?” Eddie grins, pulling Richie down for a kiss.

 

“You know it,” Richie quips after pulling away, flopping down on Eddie’s bed. “C’mere.”

 

‘Rich, I’ve got a lot of homework to do.”

 

“Spaghetti,” Richie whines. “Are you choosing homework over your one true love?”

 

“Richie,” Eddie smiles, staring exasperatedly down at his boyfriend. “Ugh, fine!”

 

Richie lets out a victorious shout before being muffled by both of Eddie’s hands and a desperate ‘shh’.

 

“You’re such an asshole, you know that?” Eddie whispers, snuggling into Richie’s chest.

 

“I know.”

 

“Hey, wait,” Eddie starts, pulling back from Richie to sit up. “Your mom actually let you out of the house after Will went missing less that twenty-four hours ago?”

 

“Do you really think my mom would do that, Eds?” Richie responds, trying to pull a squirming Eddie back towards himself.

 

“You snuck out?” Eddie asks incredulously. “Richie! Will went missing last night! No one knows where you are. What if your mom finds out you’re not in the house and thinks you’ve gone missing as well? We’ve gotta call her-”

 

“Eddie, it’s fine!” Richie laughs, sitting up. “My mom is pissed off with my brother and I. She won’t be checking our room tonight. Besides, Mike knows I’m here and my mom knows where to find me whenever I’m not home.”

 

“Oh, okay. Mike knows where you are. That’s good.”

 

“Well…”

 

“Richard…”

 

“Mike and his band of geeks are currently off searching for Will in the forest,” Richie shrugs, laying back down.

 

“What!?”

 

“Shh,” Richie mocks, covering Eddie’s mouth.

 

“We gotta go help them,” Eddie demands, standing from his bed and searching for his backpack.

 

“No.”

 

“What?” Eddie asks, confused as to why his boyfriend wouldn’t want to sneak around the forest at night. The entire thing screamed Richie Wheeler.

 

“We aren’t going out there,” Richie repeats, picking at a hole in his jacket. “You’re not going out there.”

 

“You can’t tell me what to do, Richard,” Eddie is immediately defensive.

 

“Spaghetti,” Richie’s voice cracks and Eddie can hear pain in Richie’s voice and lets his guard down, approaching Richie. “I-I-I… I can’t-”

 

“Rich, what’s going on?” Eddie is now sat on the bed next to Richie, running his fingers through the taller boy’s hair as Richie hides his face against Eddie’s thigh. Richie swallows before sitting up.

 

“I can’t lose you,” Richie whispers, cupping Eddie’s cheek. “Tonight… I was being a dick to Mike, asking him why he was being such a fucking psycho and he asked me how I would feel if it was you that had gone missing…”

 

Eddie lets out a puff of air, closing his eyes and wrapping his arms around Richie’s neck, burying his face there.

 

“I would be a fucking mess,” Richie continues. “Mike is a fucking champ, because I would be a fucking basket case...”

 

Eddie lets out a sob and Richie squeezes him tighter. They can’t lose each other.

Chapter Text

Eleven stares around the strange room that the three boys have brought her to, asking her questions that she doesn’t know the answer to, shivering in the baggy shirt she had gotten from Benny and the too big coat one of the boys had wrapped around her. 

“All right, that’s enough, all right?” the one who had given her his coat declared, stopping his friend from clapping in Eleven’s face obnoxiously. “She’s just scared and cold.”

Eleven gulps because, yeah, she’s both of those things, but she’s also somehow reassured by the kindness she finds in the eyes of this six foot, curly haired teenager.

“Here,” he says, pulling out a sweater and some sweatpants from a laundry basket nearby. “These are clean, okay?”

 Eleven accepted the soft fabric, looking at the boy curiously. They’re warm and softer than anything she’d ever felt before. She shivered again, remembering how cold she was before standing and beginning to pull off the soaking shirt that was clinging to her body.

“No, no, no!” the boy shouts, scaring Eleven, while the other two boys turn away quickly making their own surprised shouts. The nice boy’s face has suddenly gone red at the reveal of her lower half and his eyes are on the ceiling. “Over there, that’s the bathroom. Privacy, get it?”

 Eleven feels her cheeks warm at the boy’s soft voice, a feeling she’s never experienced before. Eleven nods at him, but his eyes still refuse to meet hers.


 ‘What the fuck was that about,’ Mike thinks, heart racing and pants uncomfortably tight as he watches the strange girl walk towards the basement bathroom.

 He goes to close the door, looking for something to distract him from his discomfort when she grabs the door roughly.

“You don’t want it closed?”

The girl shakes her shaved head ‘no’ and Mike nods, confused further by her disregard for privacy. Every other teenage girl he had ever met was almost obsessed with the idea of privacy, at least as far as Nancy was concerned. 

“No,” the girl whispers, surprising Mike with how soft and melodic it sounded compared to her rough appearance.

 “Oh, so you can speak,” Mike smiles. “Okay, well… Um, how about we just keep the door… just like this.”

 Mike has left the door open a couple of inches, hoping this would be enough for this strange girl that he suddenly felt weirdly protective of.

 “Is that better?”

 A soft affirmative makes Mike nod and turn away from the crack in the door frame. He can hear Dustin and Lucas freaking out on the other side of the basement, but he can’t bring himself to stray too far from the bathroom.

 He turns, glancing into the bathroom quickly catching sight of the girl’s bare back as she pulls the sweater over her head.

 ‘What the fuck, Mike. Why are you such a creep?’ Mike reprimands himself, turning away and walking over to his friends, cheeks still red with embarrassment.


 

 It’s past midnight when Mike decides to finally go up to his room to go to bed. Dustin and Lucas had left a few minutes ago while Mike was setting up a bed for the girl to sleep in.

 “Um, here you go,” Mike says, dropping pillows and blankets into the small blanket fort he had built to hide the girl encase anyone came down into the basement. “Here is my sleeping bag.”

 "Thank you,” she whispers, sitting in the fort crossed-legged, across from Mike who sits just outside it.

“Hey, um,” Mike starts, eyes zeroing in on the way his sweater hangs loosely on her frame, sliding down her shoulder. “I never asked your name.”

The girl hesitantly reaches out her arm, pulling the sleeve of the sweater up to reveal a neat 011 tattoo across her wrist.

“Is that real?!” Mike exclaims grabbing her wrist, startling her. “Sorry, just I’ve never seen anyone our age with a real tattoo before. Richie would be so jealous. He’s tried convincing the guys at the tattoo parlor in town to give him one before, but everyone knows he’s only fifteen,” Mike rambles, the girl staring at him with a blank stare.

“What’s it mean? Eleven?” The girl points at herself. “That’s your name?”

Mike can feel his heart sinking, upset by this fact for an unknown reason. The girl nods sadly and his fingers twitch as he fights a sudden urge to hug the girl in an attempt at comforting her. 

“Eleven, okay…” Mike starts, trying to think of a way to cheer the girl up. He isn’t sure why it matters, but suddenly it’s as if his entire life depends on keeping this girl happy. “Um, well, my name’s Mike. Short for Michael… Maybe we can call you El, short for Eleven.”

Mike’s heartbeats rapidly as one corner of El’s mouth turns up slightly. She nods her approval.

“Um, well, okay,” Mike stumbles. “’Night, El." 

“’Night, Mike.”

 Mike runs up the stairs quickly, heartbeat racing at the memory of El wishing him goodnight. What was going on with him? 


Richie fell to the floor of his bedroom at 6:58am, 32 minutes before his mother’s customary shout to wake him and Mike up.

“Richie?”

 “Who the hell else would it be?” Richie grumbles, pulling himself up off the floor and throwing himself onto the bed next to Mike, too tired to climb the ladder to his bed.

 “Get off!” Mike groans, pushing his brother’s shoulder from his chest. It was too late though, Richie was already passed out.

 Mike would have been more surprised by the early morning disturbance if it wasn’t such a normal occurrence. Richie spent three to four nights a week at Eddie’s, only to crawl back through the window to their shared bedroom the next morning, their parents none the wiser.

 Occasionally, Richie would sneak Eddie into the Wheeler household, but Mike often threatened to tell Karen about Eddie’s presence in such instances. It wasn’t that Mike didn’t like Eddie, it’s just that he never got any sleep on nights when Eddie slept over.

 Richie would insist on both boys sleeping in his top bunk, giggling and shuffling around until a god-awful hour of the night only for Mike to wake up to the sounds of a giggling Eddie trying to escape from their room to get home while Richie held him down and demanded loud and obnoxious kisses the next morning.

 Mike sighed, he supposed this was better than being kept up all night by the couple. 


 

 “Bye, mom!” Richie shouts, breezing through the kitchen in his typical morning fashion, stealing his customary waffle, giving his mother a kiss, and ruffling Holly’s hair. “Hey, where’s Mike?”

“What?” Karen asks distractedly from the other room, attempting to feed Holly.

 “Mike?” Richie shouts up the stairs and into the hallway. “Mike, we’re gonna be late! Let’s go!”

 Richie jumps when Mike bursts through the door to the basement.

 “What the fuck were you doing down there?”

 “Nothing, let’s go,” Mike insists, pulling his backpack on and heading out the front door without sparing Richie another glance.

 “What the fuck, Mike,” Richie persists. “Something’s going on!”

 “Nothing’s going on, Richie. Let’s go! We’re gonna be late, remember?”

 Richie sighs, hopping on his bike and following his brother down the road.


 

 “Hey, I don’t feel well,” Mike says suddenly, braking and pulling over on the side of the road.

 “Are you okay, Mike?” Eddie asks nervously, wanting to help Mike but also wanting to keep his distance if the boy is sick.

 “Yeah, I’m fine,” Mike nods, glancing nervously at his brother who is staring at him with a critical look. Mike never missed school, even when he was sick. “I think I’m gonna head home though. I’ll see you guys later.”

Before Richie could stop him, Mike was pedalling down the road, ignoring Richie’s shouts.

“What the fuck is up with him?” Richie asks, staring at his brother worriedly.

“Richie, his best friend is missing.” Eddie reasons. “Besides, he could actually be sick… Oh God, you two share a room. If he’s really sick, your bedroom is an incubator for whatever illness he’s gotten.”

Eddie’s already got his vitamins and hand sanitizer out.

“Calm down, Eds. I don’t think he’s really sick.”

“I’m not taking any chances, Wheeler,” Eddie preens, swallowing a handful of vitamin C tablets and stuffing a couple into Richie’s mouth.

“Ah, fuck,” Richie shouts. “Ew, Eds these taste like shit!”


 “El?” Mike calls, rushing down the basement stairs when he arrives home to any empty house twenty minutes later.

“Mike?”

 “Hey,” Mike smiles as her face pops out of the fort to greet him. “You good?” 

El nods, climbing out of the fort.

“Okay, well, um, everyone’s gone so you can come upstairs if you want…”

El is staring at Mike curiously, understanding all of the words he’d said but not fully comprehending his statement as a whole.

“C’mon,” Mike laughs, grabbing her hand and leading her up the stairs. Both teenagers are surprised by the gesture, El due to her inexperience with physical touch and Mike by his confidence at taking a girl’s hand.

“Are you thirsty?” Mike asks, leading her to the kitchen when they reach the top of the stairs. He goes to let go of her hand, but El grips his tighter, not wanting to lose the contact. Mike clears his throat embarrassedly, looking away from El as his cheeks turn pink. “Um, I think we’ve got OJ, skim milk… What else? Um, we have…" 

Mike looks over as he feels El pulling on his arm. El has continued walking towards the living room.

“Oh, this is my living room. It’s mostly just for watching TV.” Mike laughs, resting a hand on top of the TV set as El stares at it curiously, entirely unfamiliar with the device. “Nice, right. It’s a twenty-two inch! That’s like ten times bigger that Dustin’s!”

Eleven has already turned from Mike’s excited ramblings about the TV set and is looking towards the mantle of the fireplace.

“Pretty,” El smiles, thumb rubbing along the frame of a photo of Nancy.

“Like, objectively, I guess,” Mike responds in confusion. “That’s my sister Nancy. And that’s baby Holly, my brother Richie, and those are my parents.”

El looks at all of the photos barely registering the fact that Mike has a twin brother, to focus on the women in the photographs, stunned by their beauty and long hair.

“What’s your family like?” Mike asks earnestly, squeezing her hand slightly. El looks down, ignoring the question and moving away from the fireplace

“That’s our La-Z-Boy,” Mike explains when he notices El staring at it. “It’s where my dad sleeps. You can try it if you want.”

El sits in the chair hesitantly letting go of Mike’s hand as he kneels down to press the trigger to release the footrest. El jumps, letting out a whimper of fright, grabbing one of Mike’s forearms.

“It’s okay,” Mike reassures, worried he’s upset the girl. “Um, let’s go get you some real breakfast.” 


 After a breakfast of more waffles, toast, and orange juice, Mike is leading Eleven up to his bedroom. His palms sweat slightly as his fingers interlace with El’s. He knows the situation is entirely innocent, but he can’t believe he is taking an actual girl into his room.

“So, this is my bed,” Mike explains, referring to the lower bunk before blushing violently, worried that she may think he was trying to proposition her by pointing out his bed.

Eleven is unfazed, turning to look at the posters of rock bands Richie has taped on his side of the room. 

“Those are my brother’s,” Mike explains. El has turned now to the other side of the room where all of Mike’s academic trophies are lined up. “And these are all my science fair trophies…”

For the first time in his life he is nervous and slightly embarrassed at showing all of his academic achievements to another person. What if she thought Mike was a loser? She was clearly super cool with her tattoo and shaved head.

“We get first every year,” Mike continues rambling nervously. “Except for last year when we got third. Mr. Clarke said it was totally political… El?”

The girl had become extremely still, breath coming out in harsh and ragged puffs as she stared intensely at a picture of Mike and his friends winning a science fair. She points at Will mysteriously. 

“You know Will?” Mike asks, confused and slightly jealous. Mike shakes his head at his stupidity. “Did you see him? Last night? On the road?” 

The teenagers are startled at the sound of Karen’s station waggon pulling up the driveway. 

“Shit!” Mike shouts, jumping up and taking El’s hand. “We gotta go!” 

He’s dragging her down the stairs as the lock in the door clicks open.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Mike chants, changing direction and pulling her back up to his room. 

“Ted, is that you?” 

“Just me, mom! I’ll be down in one second!”

“Michael? What are you doing-”

 “Just a sec!”

“In here,” Mike gestures to the open closet. El hesitates. “Please, you have to get in or my mom, she’ll find you.”

Eleven gulps nervously. 

“I won’t tell her about you,” Mike whispers, squeezing El’s hand in his. “I promise.”

“Promise?” 

“It means something that you can’t break. Ever.”

“Michael?! Get down here!”

“Please?” Mike asks desperately before Eleven nods, squeezing Mike’s hand nervously and stepping into the closet before he slams the door shut on her.


Mike is back up the stairs within minutes, locking his bedroom door once he’s through the doorframe. 

“Eleven?” Mike whispers. “Is everything okay? El?” 

Mike opens the closet door to find El crouched down, tears running down her cheeks. 

“Mike,” she whispers, looking up at the boy.

“Is everything okay?” Mike asks, reaching out to place a hand on her knee. The girl’s breath hitches as she nods hesitantly. “Are you sure?” he asks disbelievingly.

“Promise,” she whispers and Mike feels his chest become tight. 

“Come here,” Mike smiles, tugging on the knee of the sweatpants she’s wearing to encourage her to stand up.

Once standing he pulls her into a hug. Eleven stiffens, unsure of what is happening and Mike’s heartbeat races nervously.

“It’s okay,” Mike whispers. “It’s just a hug. To make you feel better.”

Eleven slowly relaxes, bringing her arms up to mimic Mike’s actions. 


 “Mom?”

 Richie, Eddie, Dustin, and Lucas have just arrived at the Wheeler’s house after school.

“She’s not home!” Mike screams up the stairs from the basement.

“Dustin and Lucas are here,” Richie shouts back. “C’mon, Eds,” Richie smiles leading Eddie up the stairs to the second floor while Dustin and Lucas trample down the basement stairs.

“I’m not going in there, Richie,” Eddie whines, trying to pull his hand from Richie’s grip.

“He’s not sick, Eds, God,” Richie laughs, pushing Eddie up against the outside of his closed bedroom door before kissing Eddie’s neck hungrily.

“Fine, but if I have to spend my weekend in the ER with a cold because my mother is a sociopath, I’ll kill you,” Eddie grumbles, tangling his fingers in Richie’s hair.

“You won’t get sick,” Richie promises, pulling away from Eddie’s neck to peck his lips before hoisting the smaller boy up, Eddie’s legs wrapping around Richie’s waist as Richie pushes the bedroom door open and carries Eddie over to his bed.

Richie attempts to climb the ladder to his top bunk mattress, awkwardly ramming Eddie in the back with his knees as Eddie’s sucks on his lower lip. 

“Ow!” Eddie shrieks. “Richie!”

 “Sorry, babe,” Richie breathes, pushing Eddie’s shoulders back into the soft sheets of his bed once they have finally made it up to the top bunk. “We really need to get rid of this fucking bunk bed. It’s such a cockblock,” Richie mumbles, lips returning to Eddie’s neck.


“Mm, Rich,” Eddie’s breath is a whisper, encouraging Richie to continue his slow and persistent movements, hips pressing Eddie’s down into the mattress. “Ngh… Rich… ”

Richie kisses Eddie’s forehead, loving how Eddie has come undone beneath him, unable to form coherent words other than Richie’s name. He knows that in a few minutes Eddie won’t even be able to form the word ‘Rich’ and his moans will devolve into desperate chants of ‘Chee’, which always has Richie cumming hard and fast within seconds. 

“OH, MY GOD!” 

“Oh,” Eddie moans, hips stuttering up into Richie who is frozen above Eddie, staring at his twin brother who stands in the doorway watching Richie and Eddie frantically grinding against each other. Richie shifts immediately, blocking Eddie’s face from Mike’s view, knowing the smaller boy will be mortified once he’s come down from his high in a few seconds.

“MIKE! GET OUT!”

Mike slams the door shut and Richie can hear his hurried footsteps rushing down the stairs. Eddie’s climax continues, hips still stuttering into Richie’s, a high whine ripped from his throat. Richie quickly bears down against Eddie, wanting to prolong the moment.

“ ‘Chee… Ngh… ‘Chee!” 

Richie watches Eddie’s orgasm play out on the smaller boy’s flushed face. He can’t believe Eddie’s not done yet, he’s never seen the boy in such ecstasy for such an extended amount of time. He places a hand on Eddie’s lower abdomen, loving the feel of the smooth skin tightening and loosening quickly as the muscles beneath spasm.

“I know. I’m here, baby,” Richie mumbles as Eddie whimpers tiredly, rolling his hips into Eddie’s which seem to be twitching with uncontrollable exertion.

Richie smiles down at Eddie, brushing sweaty curls from his boyfriend’s forehead as Eddie attempts to recover from his intense orgasm, eyelids fluttering and chest heaving.

“Did you really just-”

“Shut up, Richie,” Eddie whispers, removing his hands from each of Richie’s biceps which were braced on either side of Eddie to hold Richie up, covering his face with both hands.

“Mikey just saw you cum,” Richie states unhelpfully.

“Rich, please shut up,” Eddie moans, for the first time in the last ten minutes, without any pleasure. 

“No,” Richie smirks. “There’s no way a little dry humping made you cum. I know your pre-ejaculation face, you were nowhere near cumming until Mike made his presence known and then you came in your pants like a 12-year-old, you dirty little-” 

“I hate you so much.” 

Eddie’s face is beet red at this point.

“I’d beg to differ,” Richie giggles, kissing Eddie’s cheek. “You loved it, you little perv, you enjoyed Mikey walking in on us. I mean, I’d be jealous… But we’re identical, I totally get it. Having two Richie’s in the same room with a raging boner is a lot for a 16-year-old Spaghetti-head to handle.”

“You’re honestly the worst,” Eddie mutters, refusing to make eye contact with Richie who has moved on to placing kisses all over his face.

“And you’re adorable,” Richie whispers directly into Eddie’s ear. “But, unfortunately, I’m still hard. Help a guy out, Eds?”

“Rich,” Eddie groans, pushing up against Richie’s chest. “No, I’m so embarrassed-”

“There’s nothing to be embarrassed about,” Richie mumbles, leaning down to capture Eddie in another heated kiss. “In fact, I think it’s kinda hot,” Richie continues. “My little Eddie, an exhibitionist! Who would have thought? Bill’s gonna die when I tell him-” 

“Don’t you dare, Richard!”

“Just kidding, babe,” Richie laughs, moving to kiss down the column of Eddie’s throat. “But, if you’re interested, I could probably convince Mike-”

Richie’s eyes widen in shock, his mouth closing involuntarily as he feels Eddie become hard again. 

“Seriously? How the fuck are you hard again, you came like 30 seconds ago! How the fuck-”

“Please shut up,” Eddie groans face still crimson, wrapping his arms around Richie’s neck and pulling the taller boy down so he can hide his face in Richie’s neck. “Just, please for once in your life, shut up and make me cum again…”

“You’re so fucking hot,” Richie groans, reaching a hand down to palm Eddie over his jeans, causing the smaller boy to gasp in pleasure and bite down on the soft flesh of Richie’s neck.


 “Oh, hello Eddie!”

 Richie and Eddie are making their way down the stairs an hour later, while Karen is setting the table for dinner.

“Hello, Mrs. Wheeler,” Eddie smiles, although blushing at the thought of what him and Richie had been doing in her home.

“Can Spaghetti stay for dinner, mom?" 

“Of course, Richie. Dustin and Lucas are staying as well though so it’s gonna be a full table,” Karen smiles, turning back to setting out plates.

“It’s fine, Eddie can just sit on my lap, he doesn’t mine. Right, Eds?”

“I am not sitting on your lap, Richie,” Eddie responds, rolling his eyes. 

“But, Spaghetti-” 

“Richie,” Karen interrupts. “Can you go and grab a spare chair from the basement?” 

Richie grumbles but does as his mother asks while Eddie collects the silverware to help Karen set the table.

Richie is descending the stairs when Mike begins to squawk at him.

“What the fuck is your problem?” Richie asks, staring down at his brother who is now blocking the stairs. 

“Nothing,” Mike breathes. “Just, what do you want? We’re having a private discussion about our next campaign.” 

“You’re one to talk about respecting other people’s privacy,” Richie snorts as Mike blushes. “Mom wants me to grab another chair for dinner. Eddie’s staying.”

“He is?” Mike asks, voice cracking. 

“Yes, fuckface,” Richie continues, rolling his eyes. “And if you make him feel even the slightest bit uncomfortable I’ll tell everyone about time I walked in on you with that Star Wars poster-”

“Okay, okay!” Mike shouts, trying to drown Richie’s voice out. “I wouldn’t have said anything anyways. Now can you please go away? I’ll bring the chair up.” 

“Fine, weirdo,” Richie responds, looking over Mike’s shoulder suspiciously.  


The table is virtually silent, the only sound that can be heard are the scrapes of silverware against plates and Richie’s ramblings about a new movie he wanted to see.

All of the other teenagers at the table are picking at their food silently, Mike and Eddie with suspiciously pink faces, purposefully turned away from one another.

“Something wrong with the meatloaf?”  Karen asks, interrupting Richie.

“Oh, no, I had two bologna sandwiches for lunch,” Dustin lamely explains. “I don’t know why.”

 “Me, too…” Lucas agrees.

“It’s delicious, Mrs. Wheeler,” Eddie adds, looking at Richie with disgust as his boyfriend leans down to shovel the food directly into his mouth. 

“Thank you, sweetie.”

“So, there’s this… special assembly thing tonight… for Will at the school field,” Nancy announces, everyone’s eyes turning toward her. “Barb’s driving.”

“Why am I just hearing about this?”

“I thought you knew…” 

All of the boys stare down at their plates, aware that Nancy is lying about the assembly.

“I told you, I don’t want you out after dark until Will is found,” Karen reminds.

“I know, I know, but it’d be super weird if I’m not there.” Nancy explains, hoping Karen’s obsession with appearing like the perfect family would help her cause. “I mean, everyone’s going.”

“Just, be back by ten,” Karen sighs. “And, why don’t you take the boys, too?”

“NO!” Mike exclaims as Dustin and Lucas shake their heads in agreement with Mike.

Richie and Eddie stare at the other boys in confusion. They were both aware that Nancy was lying about the assembly, but they didn’t think they would have such a strong reaction to going along with the lie. 

“Don’t you think you should be there?” Karen asks in confusion. “For Will?”

Suddenly, Mike is snorting milk up his nose and spraying it everywhere as he coughs painfully.

“What the fuck, Mike!” Richie exclaims, wiping at the liquid that had landed on his cheek and looking over at Eddie who is staring queasily down at the sleeve of his shirt which is now doused in milk that Mike had coughed up. “You good, Eds?" 

Eddie nods silently, biting down on his bottom lip as he grips Richie’s knee almost painfully tight under the table. Eddie’s mysophobia had become progressively worse in the last few years, which confused everyone around him as it seemed to worsen when he began dating Richie, possibly the least hygienic person out of all of Eddie’s friends.

Whenever Richie asked Eddie about it, Eddie often shrugged him off, explaining that once you’ve been in as close of contact with some of Richie’s bodily fluids as Eddie had been, nothing about the boy could really gross him out anymore. Eddie’s lenience for Richie’s germs seemed to have trigger an even stricter distaste for the germs in the rest of the world. In a fucked-up way, Richie thought it was kind of sweet.

“Come on, Eds,” Richie sighed, removing Eddie’s hand from his knee and moving to pull him up from his chair. “Let’s go get you a clean shirt-”

 Dustin banged his fists down on the table suddenly, grabbing everyone’s attention.

 “Sorry, spasm,” Dustin explained.

“You three are so fucking weird,” Richie groaned, tugging on Eddie’s hand again.

“Language, Richard!”

“Sorry, mom,” Richie responded automatically before ruffling his whimpering sister’s hair as he walked past her. “It’s okay Buddy Holly, it’s just a loud noise.” 


 

 Eddie sat on Richie’s dresser, legs swinging as he held his discarded shirt in his lap.

“I’m such a fucking loser,” Eddie groaned, leaning back to smack his head on the wall.

“C’mere,” Richie sighed, slamming shut one of his drawers. He pushed Eddie’s knees open, moving to stand between his thighs before pulling one of his old sweaters over Eddie’s head. “Adorable,” Richie murmured against Eddie’s lips as the smaller boy pushed his arms through the sleeves, hands not quite reaching out of the long fabric.

Eddie sighed, pushing his face into Richie’s neck, wrapping his legs around Richie’s waist as Richie wrapped him in a hug.

“You’re not a loser,” Richie whispered, running his fingers through Eddie’s hair.

“I am,” Eddie protested.

“You’re not,” Richie continued. “You’re not a loser for not wanting to be covered in my nerd brother’s snotty milk… ”

“Ew.”

“Agreed,” Richie laughed.

Chapter Text

“Richie?”

Nancy burst through the door of Richie and Mike’s room startling the three boys inside from their slumber. 

“Nance?”

“Oh, sorry,” she muttered when she noticed Eddie’s face peeking out from behind Richie’s shoulder as her younger brother sat up in bed. “I didn’t know Eddie was over-”

“And neither does mom, so if you’d help me keep it that way…” Richie spoke, gesturing towards the door which Nancy closed. “It’s midnight, what’s up?”

“Sorry, go back to bed,” Nancy told her brother, making to leave the room, cheeks flushed pink. She didn’t typically come to Richie for things like this, her and Mike were much closer as their personalities and interests were more similar. She knew, however, that Richie would have much more insight on the topic than Mike would, if Mike had any at all.

“Nancy, wait,” Richie called, descending from his bed and following his sister across the hall and into her bedroom.

Eddie pulled his knees up to his chest, wrapping his arms around them and stared nervously at the bedroom door Richie had just closed. He could hear Mike’s breathing even out as he fell back asleep. 


“What’s going on?” Richie asked, standing in the doorway as Nancy took off her coat, setting her bag down on the floor by her bed.

“Richie,” Nancy breathed, letting out a quiet sob and covering her face with her hands. 

Richie was immediately across the room, pulling Nancy to his chest and rubbing small circles into her upper back, paying no mind to the fact that he was only in a pair of boxers. He was incredibly comfortable walking around his house nearly nude.  

“What happened? Was it Steve?” Richie asked, rambling with anger. “I’ll kill him!" 

“We had sex,” Nancy whispered into Richie’s chest, shaking with tears.

“Harrington’s that bad, huh?” Richie joked, swallowing down the rage he felt within himself. He knew it would just upset Nancy further if he began ranting about chopping Steve’s dick off. 

“I just…” Nancy pulled away from Richie, sitting on her bed and pulling her covers up to her chin as Richie sat by her feet. “Barb was right. God, she’s probably so pissed with me... I don’t think it meant to Steve what it meant to me…”

Nancy traced the pattern on her bedspread, embarrassed to be sharing her insecurities with her younger brother who was definitely more sexually experienced that she was.

“As much as I want to kill him,” Richie started, holding Nancy’s ankle that was hidden under the blanket. “You should probably just talk to him. Be honest…” 

“I guess,” Nancy sighed, entirely unconvinced. “You should go to bed, we have to be up in like seven hours and there’s definitely a cute boy waiting for you in your bed.”

Richie smiled sadly at Nancy whose face was slightly puffy from crying.

“You’re right, Eddie must be terrified without me there to protect him,” Richie joked standing. “You’ll be alright, Nance,” he whispered, opening the door.

“Thanks, Richie,” Nancy whispered back, sliding down and snuggling into her pillow.

“Anytime…”


 

“Is everything alright?”

Richie had barely opened the door before Eddie was up on his knees, face full of concern.

“Everything’s fine spaghetti-head,” Richie smiled, closing the door and climbing into his bed. “Steve Harrington’s just an asshole.” 

“Well, we both’ve known that for years.”

“Seems like my sister didn’t,” Richie laughed, wriggling under the covers and pulling Eddie down on top of him. “I might fucking kill him if I see him in the hallway tomorrow." 

“I’ll help if you want,” Eddie murmured, rubbing his cheek against Richie’s chest.

“You’re the best,” Richie smiled, eyes closing. 


“Richie! Mike!”

 Eddie stirred slightly at the sound of Karen yelling up the stairs. He snuggled further into Richie’s warmth unconsciously, licking his dry lips.

“Boys! I’ve been calling you for fifteen minutes! It’s time to get-”

Eddie shot up into a sitting position, hyper aware of Karen’s eyes on him. She had just entered the room, hand still on the door knob, when she noticed Eddie in Richie’s bed and was frozen with surprise. 

“Baby, come back,” Richie whined tiredly, seemingly unaware of his mother’s presence in the room as he reached up trying to pull Eddie back to his chest.

“Richie,” Eddie’s voice was unusually high. “Stop!"

Richie opened one eye to stare at Eddie with concern.

“Richard,” Karen’s voice was stern. 

“Fuck…” Richie sighed, throwing an arm over his eyes not even bothering to try and come up with an excuse as to why Eddie was in his bed. 

“Mrs. Wheeler,” Eddie started, scrambling to get down from the bunkbed but stopping short when he realized he was only wearing a pair of boxers.

“Mike, get up,” Karen ignored Eddie’s flustered comment, waking her son. “Eddie get dressed and get home. Your mother’s probably worried sick.”

Richie didn’t seem to have any qualms about revealing the fact that he had slept almost entirely nude with Eddie in his bed, jumping down from his bunk immediately.

“Mom, I’m really-”

“Richard, we’ll talk downstairs.”

With that Karen left the room, heading across the hall to check on Nancy.

“You fucked up,” Mike laughed, breezing past his brother who was still stood in the middle of the room staring at the doorway his mother had just walked through.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck,” Eddie was chanting, scrambling down the ladder of the bunkbed and throwing on the jeans and borrowed sweater he had been wearing the night before.

“Eds,” Richie sighed, reaching out for his boyfriend who was cherry red and frantically searching for all of his belongings. “Eds, calm down.”

“Calm down?!” Eddie shrieked, turning to glare at Richie. “Calm down!? Richie, we overslept and your mom just found me in your bed. On a school day!" 

Richie laughed at Eddie’s school comment. 

“This isn’t funny, Richard,” Eddie glared, finally dressed and pulling his backpack on. “I’m going to be grounded until I’m thirty-five and your mother probably hates me now. She probably thinks I’m just some horny teenage boy trying to get in your pants.”

“Aren’t you a horny teenage boy trying to get in my pants?” Richie laughed, pulling the shorter boy into a hug. 

“Hilarious, Richie,” Eddie mumbled sarcastically into Richie’s collarbone, wrapping his arms around Richie reluctantly, looking for comfort.

“My mom loves you, she couldn’t hate you even if she tried. Walking in on one sexy sleepover isn’t gonna change that!" 

“Don’t call it that!” Eddie blushed, hitting Richie’s chest as he tried to hide a smile at the comment. 

“You’re so cute,” Richie smiled, kissing Eddie’s cheek. “Come on Spaghetti, I’ll walk you out.” 

Richie took Eddie’s hand, leading his boyfriend down the stairs and to the front door in his boxers.

“Richie! You’re basically naked!” Eddie blushed, following his boyfriend.

Ted gave Richie a pointed look as the boys walked past the kitchen where Ted was sitting with his coffee and the paper. Richie shot back an obnoxious grin. 

“Mornin’, dad!”

“Goodbye, Eddie,” Karen commented, not looking up from feeding Holly. Her voice was entirely devoid of emotion, which surprised Eddie. He looked down at his feet in shame, unable to form the words for an effective apology.

Once they had reached the front door Richie was leaning down, attempting to engage Eddie in a kiss.

“Stop, Richie!” Eddie pushed at Richie’s bare chest, horribly embarrassed at the entire situation.

“Relax,” Richie chuckled, pecking a quick kiss to Eddie’s lips before he could stop him. “I’ll pick you up in half an hour.”

Eddie nodded.

“Love you,” Richie added, pressing a kiss to Eddie’s cheek before he was out the door.

“Love you, too,” Eddie responded, cheeks still rosy with embarrassment. 

“Hey, Eddie?” Lucas called as him and Dustin passed the boy walking up the driveway, but it came out as more of a question. 

Eddie looked up at the boys before averting his gaze quickly and hopping on his bike to pedal home as quickly as possible.

“What the fuck?” Dustin laughed, sharing a confused look with Lucas before reaching the door which was still open. “Oh, my God!”

Richie was stood in the door frame, door open wide, still in his underwear. The boys were able to extrapolate what had just happened.

“What the fuck are you nerds doing here?”

“We’re meeting Mike before school to talk about, uh-” Dustin looked to Lucas in a panic.

“To talk about the campaign we started planning last night,” Lucas finished, rolling his eyes at Dustin.

“You guys do know your friend is fucking missing, right?” Richie asked, eyebrows raised but letting the boys in. “There’s more important things going on than your stupid game.”

Dustin and Lucas were silent, unable to argue with Richie’s comment.

“Good, you guys are here,” Mike announced, reaching the bottom of the stairs. He popped into the kitchen to grab a few waffles before leading his friends down to the basement.

Richie shook his head, watching his brother and his friends go. They really needed to sort out the priorities, which was odd considering how intense Mike had been two nights ago about finding Will.


 

Richie was back down the stairs ten minutes later, sliding into the seat at the kitchen table next to his sister. He immediately began filling his plate with eggs and toast, shoving bacon into his mouth while he did so.

“That’s disgusting,” Nancy groaned, watching her brother.

“Richard, slow down,” Karen reprimanded.

“I’m hungry, mom,” Richie choked through his food.

“You’ll be even hungrier if you choke and die,” Karen continued dramatically, causing Richie to laugh.

“Ugh, I’ve lost my appetite!” Nancy grumbled, standing from the table and heading back up the stairs to her room.

“Richard, your father and I would like to talk to you about what happened this morning,” Karen started, looking up from Holly. Richie looked to his dad who was staring intently at his paper, clearly not wanting to be a part of the conversation. Karen looked to him and sighed. “You know Eddie isn’t allowed to sleep in your bed when he stays over.”

“Mom, I know. I’m sorry-”

“I don’t think you are, Richie,” Karen interrupted. “We’re very disappointed in the both of you for sneaking around like that. I’m not sure I feel comfortable letting Eddie stay over on the weekends if you so blatantly ignore the rules we’ve set.”

 “Mom, it was one time,” Richie’s eyes were wide with panic. He gulped, wracking his brain for a believable lie. “He was really upset, needed to get away from his mom. She was trying to get him to take the pills again!”

Richie had the decency to feel a slight twinge of guilt as his mother’s eyes softened. Besides, it wasn’t entirely a lie, Sonia had been trying to get Eddie to start taking the placebos again recently. 

“Richie, all you had to do was tell me that last night,” Karen sighed. “You know I would have let him stay over in the guest room or on the couch.”

Richie nodded, looking down at his plate in guilt, fully aware that his mother would have done exactly that if Richie ever asked her if Eddie could stay over.

“I’m sorry, mom,” Richie said in an unusually quiet voice.

Karen picked Holly up, placing her on her hip before walking around the table towards Richie. She leant down, placing a kiss into his hair before leaving the kitchen. 

“Oh, and you can explain to your brother why your bedroom door now stays open at night,” Karen called over her shoulder from the hall.

“Fuck,” Richie groaned, dropping his head into his hands over his plate.

“Language,” Ted piped up, not looking away from his paper. Richie rolled his eyes and shoved a piece of toast in his mouth angrily.


 

“Morning, El,” Mike smiled, descending the stairs and finding the girl curled up on the couch with his Supercom in hand, messing with the dials, as she had been all night. “I brought your favourite!”

Eleven’s face lit up with excitement as she accepted the Eggos.

“Thanks, Mike,” she said quietly, a small smile on her face.

“No problem, El,” Mike grinned back, cheeks pleasantly warm and pink.

“Hello, earth to Mike,” Lucas interrupted, causing Mike’s blush to turn a violent shade of red. “We’re here to go over the plan, not to watch you make googly eyes at the weirdo.”

“Don’t call her that,” Mike scowled, leading the boys to their Dungeons and Dragons table, leaving Eleven curled up on the couch munching on her waffles. “Okay, so we just tell our parents we have AV Club after school. That’ll give us at least a few hours for Operation Mirkwood.”

“You’re forgetting something kinda important,” Lucas sighed. “Richie is also in AV Club…”

“My parents won’t be home until late tonight. Dad’s working late and mom and Holly have some weird toddler class. I’ll tell Richie about the AV Club lie but say we’re actually going to the arcade. He won’t care, he’ll probably bring Eddie over or something.”

“You seriously think that the weirdo knows where Will is?”

“Her name is El,” Mike hissed, teeth grinding angrily at Lucas. Lucas rolled his eyes in response. “Just trust me on this, okay?" 

“Fine,” Lucas sighed. 

“Did you get the supplies?”

“Yeah,” Lucas grinned, grabbing his backpack. “Binoculars, from ‘Nam… Army knife, also from ‘Nam… Hammer, camouflage bandana… and the wrist rocket!”

“You’re gonna take out the Demogorgon with a slingshot?”

“First of all, it’s a wrist rocket. And second of all, the Demogorgon’s not real. It’s made up,” Lucas explained to Dustin, as if speaking to a small child. “But if there is something out there, I’m gonna shoot it in the eye… and blind it!”

Dustin jumped at the snap of the slingshot while Mike rolled his eyes.

“Dustin, what did you bring?” 

Mike sighed, throwing his head back with defeat when Dustin emptied his backpack onto the table. 

“Alrighty,” he began excitedly. “So, we’ve got… Nutty Bars, Bazooka, Pez, Smarties, Pringles, Nilla Wafers, an apple, a banana, and trail mix.” 

“Seriously?” Lucas asked, face a picture of disbelief, wiping the grin from Dustin’s.

“We need energy for our travels! For stamina!” Dustin bit back. “Besides, why do we even need weapons anyways? We have her.” 

“She shut one door!” Lucas argued back and while Mike wanted to agree with Lucas, he also found himself slightly irritated with Lucas’ lack of faith in Eleven.

“With her mind! Are you kidding me? That’s insane!” Dustin laughs, unable to believe how blasé Lucas was being about Eleven’s psychokinetic abilities. “Imagine all the other cool stuff she could do. Like…”

Dustin began rummaging through a pile of items in the corner of the basement, pulling out a pristine model of the Millennium Falcon. Mike blushed, embarrassed at the fact that he was nearly sixteen and had purchased the model only a few months ago.

“I bet that she can make this fly!” Dustin announced, moving in front of Eleven. “Hey, hey!”

“She’s not a dog, Dustin!” Mike called, feeling insulted for the girl.

“Okay, concentrate. Okay?”

Eleven looked up from the radio, staring at Dustin blankly as the toy clattered to the floor. Lucas and Mike both rolled their eyes, sighing.

“Okay, one more time.”

Eleven looked over at Mike, a hint of amusement in her eye that made Mike grin.

“Dustin, enough,” Mike laughed.

“No,” Dustin dismissed. “Use your powers, okay?” 

Mike sighed again as the toy hit the ground, Eleven still staring intently at Dustin.

“Fuckin’ idiot,” Lucas groaned. 

“She’s not some trained monkey, Dustin,” Mike huffed, picking up the toy and tossing it back into the corner.

“Yo, fuckers!” Richie called from the top of the stairs, making all of the teenagers jump. “Let’s fucking go, we gotta go pick up Eds!”

Dustin and Lucas grabbed the belongings before rushing up the stairs.

“Okay, just stay down here,” Mike told Eleven, sitting next to her and placing a hand on her knee gently. “Don’t make any noise and don’t leave, okay?”

Eleven nodded.

“If you get hungry eat Dustin’s snacks, okay?” Mike added, gesturing to the junk food littered across the Dungeons and Dragons table. 

“Fuckface, let’s go!” 

“Coming!” Mike screamed in irritation.

“You know those power lines?” 

“Power lines?” Eleven asked in a small voice that made Mike’s stomach churn.

“Yeah,” he continued patiently. “The ones behind my house?”

“Yes.”

“Meet us there, after school,” Mike said, smiling as he removed his hand from Eleven’s knee and stood up.  

“After school?”

“Yeah, 3:15.” 

Eleven stared at Mike blankly. 

“Shit, sorry,” Mike laughed, forgetting that she had no way of telling time in the basement. “Here,” Mike quickly removed his watch, fastening it to Eleven’s wrist with shaky fingers. The watch slipped, the band entirely too big for Eleven’s wrist. “When the numbers read three-one-five meet us there. My mom will be gone.”

“Three-one-five,” Eleven repeated, staring down at the watch. Mike smiled fondly.

“Three-one-five,” he repeated, staring intently at Eleven. He grabbed her knee once more, squeezing it softly before grabbing his backpack and running up the stairs.


“Holy, fuck! Could you have taken any longer?” Richie groaned, sitting on his bike and leaning his forearms on the handles. 

“Sorry,” Mike quipped, hopping on his bike and pedalling down the driveway leaving Richie stunned. Mike took every opportunity to argue with Richie, he never gave in that easily.  


“Spaghetti!” Richie shouted as he rounded the corner to Eddie’s house, the other three trailing behind him. He excitedly pedalled up to Eddie, acting as though he hadn’t seen him in weeks. “I missed you!”

“It’s been thirty minutes, Rich,” Eddie rolled his eyes. “Don’t!” he warned, once Richie was close enough to reach out for him. Eddie glanced back at his house nervously where his mother was stood with her arms cross and a frown on her face. Richie being Richie, waved obnoxiously at the woman before planting a very obvious kiss on Eddie, holding the boy’s cheeks tightly to stop him from wriggling away.

“Have a nice day, Sonia!” Richie called over his shoulder before biking away from the house, Eddie at his side.

“You’re such a prick!” Eddie screeched at his boyfriend. 

“Whatever,” Richie laughed. “So, how bad is it? Is she putting bars on your windows or what?” 

“I told her I was at Bill’s and that we were up late studying and I was so stressed that I complete forgot about calling and fell asleep there by accident,” Eddie sighed. “Apparently I’m never allowed to leave my house again… Which basically translates to being grounded for a few weeks.”

“Fuck,” Richie groaned. “Well, my mom has decided that she’s a fucking prison guard and we aren’t allowed to close our door at night so I can’t even sneak out to come to your house anymore…”

“It’ll be like a month tops, Rich,” Eddie tried to sound reassuring but he sounded as upset as Richie did. 

“I’m not even gonna be able to make it a week, babe,” Richie sighed as they pulled up at the school, the Loser’s Club approaching them.


“And then my fucking mom burst into the room and found Eddie full on blowing my brains out-”   

“Richie! That’s not what happened!” Eddie shrieked, cheeks on fire as Richie recounted this morning’s events to the Loser’s Club at lunch. “We were just sleeping!”

“D-d-don’t worry, Ed,” Bill grinned. “We know R-r-richie’s a goddamn liar!”

“I’m wounded, Big Bill,” Richie gasped, flopping to the side onto Stan’s lap as though he had been shot.

“Get off me, you buffoon,” Stan grumbled, pushing Richie away.

“Buffoon? Seriously, Stan?” Richie snorted, stealing more of Eddie’s fries.

“Hey!” Eddie whined, slapping Richie’s hand away from his lunch. “You had your own lunch, this is mine.”

“But, Spaghetti,” Richie moaned, swallowing the stolen fries. “I’m still starving.”

“You’re such a drama queen,” Eddie grumbled, rolling his eyes but pushing his tray closer to Richie anyways.

“Love you too,” Richie grinned, kissing Eddie’s cheek.

The conversation had turned to the latest pop quiz in the sophomore English classes on Macbeth when Richie noticed Steve Harrington across the cafeteria, sitting with Tommy and Carol, laughing obnoxiously about something.

Richie let out a little growl, before standing and dislodging Eddie from where he had rested his head on Richie’s shoulder.

“Rich?” Eddie followed Richie’s glare across the cafeteria towards Steve. “Rich, wait-”

Richie was already stalking towards the junior with the stupidly quaffed hair.

“I need to talk to you, Harrington,” Richie growled, standing with his arms crossed.

“What do you need, kid?” Steve laughed, looking at Richie with amusement.

“Let’s talk in the hall,” Richie gestured to the exit with his head.

“No,” Steve laughed again, standing up from his table and moving towards Richie in an attempt to be intimidating. It didn’t quite have the desired effect as Richie was a couple inches taller than him. “Say whatever you need to say, Wheeler.”

Tommy and Carol were laughing openly at the exchange and quite a few people in the cafeteria had turned to watch, waiting in anticipation for fight.

Eddie and Mike had approached the two at this point. Although Mike wasn’t sure what was happening, he moved to stand shoulder to shoulder with his twin in support, glaring down at Steve. Eddie was standing on Richie’s other side, holding his bicep with both hands, not quite pulling him away but trying to keep him from doing anything stupid.

“I just wanted to say, you should watch yourself. I may be Nancy’s younger brother, but I won’t hesitate to kick your ass if you hurt her, Harrington,” Richie said, eyes narrowed in a glare identical to the one Mike was wearing. Mike stayed silent, knowing he wasn’t as good at trash talking as Richie was.

The two boys were bluffing entirely, neither one particularly strong or athletic, but they used their imposing height in an attempt to intimidate Steve.

“Fuck off,” Steve laughed, turning away from the twins and making his way back to the table. 

Richie had seen the flicker of uncertainty in Steve’s eyes before he turned away though and made his way back to his table with a satisfied smile. Mike returned to his table, still unsure of what had just happened. 


“Richie,” Eddie whined, trying to pull away from his boyfriend who was pushing him up the stairs to the Wheeler’s front door.

“Eds, chill,” Richie laughed, fishing around in his jacket pocket for his key. “No one’s home! It’s fine!” 

“But-”

“The only but I want from you is yours in my bed, right now,” Richie teased, grabbing Eddie’s hand and pulling him into the house. 

“Mike?”

“What the fuck!” Richie screamed, jumping back and holding Eddie behind him as Eleven peered around the corner into the front hall. “What the fuck!” Richie continued yelling, causing Eleven to draw back in fear. “Who the fuck are you?! Why are you in my house?! I’m calling the fucking police!” 

Richie was shouting frantically, holding Eddie’s hip in a vice grip as Eleven cowered against the wall, terrified by the way she was being yelled at. 

“Mike?” she whimpered, staring at Richie as tears fell down her cheeks.

“I’m calling the fucking police!”

“Richie,” Eddie spoke, rubbing a hand up and down his back. “Calm down, I think she thinks you’re Mike.”

“I don’t care who the fuck she thinks I am!” Richie shouted, reaching for the telephone on the table next to him.

“Richie! No!" 

Mike burst through the open door, grabbing the phone in Richie’s hand and slamming it down into the cradle.

“Mike, what the fuck?!” 

“El,” Mike said gently, directing his attention at Eleven. “El, it’s okay-” 

Eleven panicked, throwing Mike against the nearest wall with her powers. 

“Oof,” Mike moaned, sliding down the wall to sit on the carpet.

“What the fuck!” Richie was screeching again.

“Richie!” Mike shouted, wincing as he stood up. “Shut up!”

“Mike, what the fuck is going on!” 

“Just shut up!” Mike shouted again, turning to Eleven. “El, it’s me. It’s Mike. This is my stupid brother, Richie. Remember, Richie? I told you I have a twin brother…”

“Mike?” Eleven whimpered, staring at Mike uncertainly.

“Yeah, it’s okay. It’s me, I promise,” Mike spoke softly, approaching the girl with caution. 

“Promise?” Eleven repeated, still crying.

“I promise,” Mike nodded, finally closing the gap between himself and the girl, pulling her into a hug. Eleven hid her face in Mike’s neck and continued sobbing. “I was worried about you when you didn’t show up,” Mike whispered to her. Eleven sniffled in response.

“Mike, what the fuck is going on!” Richie repeated. 


“So, you found her out in the forest?” Eddie asked, voice full of disbelief.

“Yes,” Mike confirmed, rolling his eyes. He had already explained the story multiple times. 

“And you’ve been hiding her in the basement for two days?” 

“Yes, Richie,” Mike nodded. “I already said that…”

“I’m sorry, I just can’t believe you of all people have been hiding a girl in the house…”

“Fuck you,” Mike grumbled. Eleven was sat next to Mike, head resting on his shoulder.

“But, where did she come from?” Eddie intervened, not wanting to listen to Mike and Richie argue. 

“We don’t know,” Mike responded. “She’s kinda quiet in case you hadn’t noticed…”

“El, right?” Eddie decided he would address the girl rather than speak about her as if she wasn’t in the room. Eleven’s fingers came up to wrap around Mike’s arm nervously but she made hesitant eye contact with Eddie. “I’m Eddie,” he introduced kindly.

“Hello,” Eleven whispered.

“And I’m Richie!” Richie added enthusiastically. The girl jumped at his loud void and shrunk back towards Mike who wrapped his arm around her comfortingly. His cheeks burnt red with embarrassment. 

“Richie!” Eddie scolded, smacking his boyfriend’s thigh angrily.

“Ow! Abuse!" 

“You guys can’t tell anyone about El,” Mike continued as though Richie hadn’t said anything. “Not mom or dad or any of your friends.”

“Of course not,” Eddie promised immediately while Richie shrugged.

“I’m serious, Richie,” Mike glared. “El’s in real danger. You can’t tell anyone.”

“Fine,” Richie rolled his eyes.


“Ugh, I wish Stan was here,” Eddie moaned as they trampled through the forest, Mike and Eleven in the lead and Richie, Eddie, Lucas, and Dustin bringing up the rear. “He would totally agree with me that that’s poison ivy!” 

“Eds,” Richie laughed, rolling his eyes. “Not every fucking plant is poison ivy!”

“Still, Richie!” Eddie insists with a whine. “And who knows what’s lurking under all these rotting leaves,” he added with a shiver. 

“Oh, my God!” Richie groaned, dumping his bike. “Hop on, Eds,” Richie laughed, crouching in front of Eddie. 

“But our bikes…”

“We’ll come back and get them,” Richie promised, slapping his butt. “Come on!”

“You have no idea where we are, Richie!”

“Last chance, Eds,” Richie smiled before beginning to count down. “3…2-”

“You’re so annoying!” Eddie declared, dropping his bike before climbing up onto Richie’s back. “You so owe me a new bike if I don’t get mine back!”

“Whatever you want, Spaghetti,” Richie laughed, reaching to press a kiss to Eddie’s hand that was on his shoulder.


“Why do they hurt you?”

“What?” Mike asked, startled by Eleven’s question. Eleven pointed to her chin, indicating the cut on Mike’s. “Oh, that…” Mike tripped slightly over a root, blushing. “Uh… I just fell at school.”

“Mike, friends tell the truth.” 

“I was tripped by this mouth breather, Troy, okay?” Mike sighed.

“Mouth breather?”

“Yeah, you know…” Mike started, laughing slightly. “A dumb person. A knucklehead.”

“A knucklehead?” Eleven asked, voice full of confusion making Mike laugh, his chest filled with warmth. 

“I don’t know why I didn’t tell you. I mean, everyone at school knows,” Mike continues, staring at his feet as he pushes his bike through the forest. He can hear Richie and Eddie shrieking with laughter behind him while Dustin and Lucas argue. “I just didn’t want you to think I was such a wastoid, you know?”

“Mike… I understand,” Eleven said with a smile, reaching out to place her hand over top of Mike’s on his handlebar.

Mike looked away, blushing with a huge smile on his face. Eleven watched him, feeling her own cheeks heat up and looking away embarrassedly when Mike noticed her staring. 


“Cold, babe?” Richie asked as he felt Eddie shiver against his back. The sun had set a few minutes ago and the entire group was now navigating through the forest in the pitch black. Eddie nodded, chin digging into Richie’s shoulder. “You good if I put you down? I’ll give you my jacket.”

 “Rich, no,” Eddie protested, not wanting to take Richie’s jacket.

Richie had already begun setting Eddie down despite his protests, wrapping the denim jacket around a grumbling Eddie before kissing his forehead with a laugh. “Come on,” Richie wrapped an arm around Eddie’s shoulders while Eddie begrudgingly wrapped one of his around Richie’s waist, walking briskly to keep up with Richie’s long strides.


“What’s the hold up?” Richie called as they finally exited the forest, watching as Mike and Eleven stood close together in the clearing.

“Yeah, what are we doing here?” Lucas asked, stopping once they had reached Mike and Eleven.

“She said he’s hiding here,” Mike sighed, waiting for Lucas to throw some new insult Eleven’s way.

“Um… no!” 

“I swear, if we walked all the way out here for nothing-”

“That’s exactly what we did!” Lucas cried, voice steadily rising with anger causing Eleven to shrink back slightly. “I told you she didn’t know what the fuck she was talking about!”

“El,” Mike turned back to Eleven, voice soft. “Why did you bring us here?”

Eleven struggled to answer the question, stammering softly under Mike’s intense gaze.

“Mike, don’t waste your time with her,” Lucas grumbled, picking up his bike and moving to hop on. 

“What do you want to do then?”

“Call the cops, like we should have done yesterday,” Lucas exclaimed over his shoulder, already facing away from Milke, Eleven and the Byers’ house. 

“We are not calling the cops!”

“Hey, guys!” Eddie piped up while Mike, Lucas, and Dustin began arguing.  

“Eds?”

“Guys!” Eddie shouted, effectively shutting the boys up. He was pointing towards the road where emergency vehicles were flying by.

“Will…” Mike said, gulping loudly.

All three boys scrambled to hop onto their bikes, Eleven climbing onto the back of Mike’s.

“Hey, assholes! What about us?” Richie exclaimed as they started pedalling away.

“Oh, shit,” Dustin commented, skidding to a stop. “Hop on, Eddie. Richie, go with Lucas." 

“Rich,” Eddie whined, not wanting to ride on Dustin’s bike. Dustin wasn’t the most hygienic of Mike’s friends and Eddie didn’t want to have to be in such close proximity to the boy. Dustin was bigger than Lucas though, and it made more sense to put Eddie with Dustin rather than Richie. The two boys never would have fit.

“You can do it,” Richie assured his boyfriend, kissing his cheek before dragging him towards the boys and shoving Eddie in Dustin’s direction. 


“The quarry!” Richie exclaimed as they got closer.

“Thanks, Einstein,” Lucas grumbled, rolling his eyes.

The group pulled up behind a firetruck, climbing off the bikes and throwing them to the ground haphazardly. 

“Fuck,” Eddie whispered, holding onto Richie’s sleeve as his boyfriend watched his brothers panicked face. “Oh, fuck,” he gasped, turning to hide his face in Richie’s chest as they pulled a body they were sure was Will’s from the water.

Everyone else was silent, the only sound everyone’s heavy breathing. 

“It’s not Will. It can’t be,” Mike’s voice cracked violently for the first time in a year. 

“Mikey,” Richie whispered, reaching out to place a hand on Mike’s shoulder. Mike shrugged it off, shaking his head. 

“It’s Will,” Lucas whispered, swallowing the bile he felt building in his throat. “It’s really Will.”

Mike pushed off from his spot on the firetruck, walking away from the group and dropping his head into his hands.

“Mike…” Eleven whispered, tears brimming in her eyes.

“Mike? Mike, what?” Mike exploded, shoving the girl away from him harshly. 

“Hey!” Eddie shouted in outrage, trying to defend Eleven. “Don’t-”

 “No! She was supposed to help us find him.” Mike ranted. “Alive!” 

“Mikey, it’s not her fault,” Richie tried to reason.

“Fuck off, Richie!” Mike glared before turning back to Eleven. “You said he was alive! Why did you lie to us? What’s wrong with you?” Tears were streaming down Mike’s face as he stared at the girl in front of him in betrayal. “What the fuck is wrong with you?!”

“Mike…” Eleven breathed, loud enough for only Mike to hear.

“What?!” He stared at the girl expectantly, storming away when the tears began flowing down her eyes.

“Mike, come on. Don’t do this man.” Lucas sobbed. All of the boys were openly crying now, terrified and heartbroken, as Mike hoped on his bike.

“Mike, where are you going?” Richie called, chasing his brother. “Mike!”

He stopped running when Mike had picked up enough speed to leave a trail of dust, choking Richie as he breathed heavily from exertion. He crouched down, watching his brother bike home as he sat in defeat. 

“Fucker,” Richie muttered bitterly before standing and heading back to the firetruck. 

“Now, what?” Lucas asked, tears still streaming down his face. “How the hell are we gonna get five people back with only two bikes.” 

“You guys head home,” Richie sighed. “I’ll walk Eddie and El home, I guess.”

“No, we’ll walk with you,” Lucas responded, shaking his head.

“We will?”

“Yes,” Lucas glared at Dustin. “We will.”


“El can stay at my house tonight,” Eddie suggested as they walked towards the Wheelers’ house. 

“There’s no way we could get her past your mom, Spaghetti!” Richie laughed, smiling down at his boyfriend who was walking beside El, clasping her hand in a surprising turn of events. Eddie refused to shake hands, let alone hold a hand that wasn’t Richie’s.

“I guess you’re right,” Eddie muttered, chewing on the inside of his cheek nervously.

“Can I get that on record?” Richie exclaimed. “You guys heard that, right? Eddie just said I was right.” 

Lucas and Dustin started at Richie blankly, clearly not in the mood for Richie’s jokes.

“Tough crowd…” Eddie leaned over to smack him lightly. “Ow! Eds!”