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Death is not an escape

Chapter Text

Chapter One: Deep in the Woods - Nancy and Steve

The summer was ending and that was something that you could see in Hawkins perfectly. The public pool was already being emptied under the watchful eyes of its former lifeguards, the trees began to dye their leaves of gold and orange, the shops were filled with items for the start of a new school year and children began to panic to be able to finish the tasks assigned by their teachers for those three months in a record time, regretting not having taken the advice to do a little every day or having taken them off right after school to enjoy the whole summer without worries.

Then there were others, such as Steve Harrington, who did not have homework, but he was starting to release for the beginning of the year at the University to which, finally, after blood, sweat, tears and sleepless nights of writing applications, he was going to go. The acclaimed Hawkins babysitter had finally managed to be accepted into a university after a complicated sabbatical year with his father's continued reproach every time he was at home (which thanks to whatever entity people believe is no more was a couple of weeks a year) for not having been able to enter the university the year that would correspond to him. They had only been increasing when Steve had expressed his decision to study something that wasn't business, making clear that he did not intend to take command of his father's company once I was an adult.
The cold business world was not for him.

"I still can't believe you're going to college," said a short-haired girl with beautiful greenish eyes who sat on the wide bed of the only son of the Harringtons as he circled the room, classifying his belongings among things. what to throw and things that he was going to take to university. "the dumpling has progressed properly".

"Ha ha very funny Robin" complained the boy without looking at his best friend, busier looking for a cap that wanted to leave to Dustin to remember him, even though the boy had promised that he would go to visit him as soon as he could.

"But it's true, I mean, you have been working so hard this year to make your applications and yet I had my doubts that you were going to succeed"

"You hurt me, you hurt me so much Robin"

"Oh, come on, admit it, dingus, God has not taken you along the path of knowing how to write naturally in a decent way" and unfortunately Steve had to admit it, he had never been good at writing, whenever he wanted to write he knew what he wanted to write, but then he failed miserably at the time of expressing it, his ideas did not have a visible thread and simply seemed like a rain of words for which Steve begged to make sense and rarely did, but it was one thing to admit it to himself and another very different admit it to his best friend, so he was silent while still looking for that damn cap. "You know?" Said after a few seconds of silence the girl." I think I'm going to miss you, Steve".

"You are going to have Keith to replace me, besides, I am sure that when I least expect it you will have another one to call them dingus".

"It can be, but it won't be the same, after all we've been together, not seeing your face every day at work after leaving class is going to be strange"

When she said that Steve stopped looking for the cap and sat down with the girl in his bed, they had known each other for a year, a year whose summer had changed their lives irreversibly, a summer full of secret codes, drugs and interrogations at the hands of the Russians that culminated in the fight against a giant entity from another dimension, the death of almost thirty people and several hours of signatures of confidentiality papers expended by the United States government and threats about how their life was going to be a hell if they say something. A summer also marked by a talk half-drugged in a bathroom and that had marked the beginning of a friendship for which Steve, without knowing it, had begged all his life.

"I'm not going to be so far away" When he said that Robin raised an eyebrow "Okay, yes, if I'm going to be far away, but hey, I'll come for feast and birthdays, those brats won't forgive me if I miss one of their birthdays, especially Dustin"

"Alright, but it won't be the same, who am I going to put now as the subject of my rule or suck board?"

"You can always put Keith in it"

"I would run out of space in the stinking part in the first half hour" She admitted taking out a laugh to the brunette, because they both knew it was true, Keith had even less art than Steve to flirt. "Anyway, dingus, I have to go".

"I thought you were going to stay for dinner"- the boy admitted seeing how she got up, imitating her to follow her to the bottom floor of his, generally, empty house.

"I wish, but my parents want to have a family dinner or something before the course starts and I am involved with all extracurricular activities and work. Besides," She added once she opened the door. "I'm sure you'll have a visitor tonight and I don't want to have to leave quickly to avoid unnecessary trauma"

This comment made the cheeks of the old king turn red, tearing out the girl's laughter.

"See you tomorrow at work, dingus".

"See you tomorrow Robin".

After saying goodbye to his best friend, Steve returned to his room to end what he had been doing, after what seemed like an eternity he finally found the cap in the deepest part of his closet, it was somewhat dusty but in perfect condition to give it to Dustin the next day when he went for him to spend the day together (Dustin had practically demanded it after learning that Steve was going to leave a few days before starting the course to accommodate everything in his new apartment).

If he had to be honest with himself, it seemed incredible to him to leave that house, that city where so many things had happened in those last years, where his life had changed so much that sometimes he could hardly believe it. In less than two years he had gone from being the king of the institute with whom everyone wanted to go out and for which the girls fought, to be part of the group of nerds with he used to babysit and who were five years younger than him, not having barely any friends of his age and god forsaken us to even talking about a relationship, either spontaneous or lasting. In less than two years he had gone from being an integral asshole to being a worthy person and not regretting any of it no matter how much others made fun of him.

His sight was then directed to his window, through it, illuminated with large white lights, was the pool for which his residence was famous. That pool that had not been touched again after that fateful night in which the best friend of his girlfriend at that time had died after being dragged into the cold waters by a thing who was going to be the eternal main character of his nightmares for his entire life and who was the cause why he was still sleeping with a baseball bat full of nails next to his bed. Steve didn't want to think about it, he didn't want to think about Barbara, in Nancy's face when, in tears, she had confirmed that the being they had seen in the Byers house had killed the girl, she didn't want to think about it because fear and guilt ate him if he did.

After setting aside the cap he continued packing his things to the point that he lost track of time and by the time he realize it all the street lamps on his street lit the night with a yellowish tone and his pool seemed brighter making a chill would go through his spine making him lower the blinds of his room to avoid looking outside, starting to turn on the lights of the house as a precaution, and finally taking his bat with him. It seemed stupid, but, with the wood between his fingers, he felt more secure than he had felt in recent years.

He left his gun on the kitchen counter before heading to the refrigerator and taking out one of the many tuppers that Claudia Henderson had him have as payment for taking care of Dustin every time she asked for it, a payment method that Steve did not have anything against it, Claudia Henderson cooked like a pro and, yes, he was an idiot, but not enough to refuse to accept a tupper full of food made by her. He had just received the glass container in the microwave to heat it when the sound of the bell caught his ears, his looked at the clock that hung from one of the walls of the room, it was ten o'clock at night, too early for his visit to stop by, but who knows?, it would not be the first time.

"I didn't expect you so soon," he said once he opened the door, and he would deny once and a thousand times that he had stood for a moment in front of the entrance mirror to try to fix a little the bird nest he had for hair at the time.

"I think you didn't expect me directly," said a voice that, really, he didn't expect to hear that night in front of the door of his house. Nancy Wheeler was the one who waited on the other side of the door, with her newly long hair in a medium ponytail, dressed in a gray diamond sweater pierced by a pair of purple lines in the chest area and black pants that highlighted her long legs.

"Nance?" Steve asked seeing his ex-girlfriend and now a friend / partner of battles there. He wanted to ask her what she was doing there, what brought her to his house at that time, however, those questions did not leave his lips when he saw the reddish eyes of the girl and the traces of tears on her cheeks. Something had happened and Steve could only fear the worst, wanting to run, for a few moments, to his room, grab his walkie talkie and call the children he considered his to check that they were all well. " What happened?" He asked almost in a trembling voice.

"Nothing, it's nothing, don't worry".

"Nancy, you have been crying and you do not cry for something that is nothing" at least, he thought, it had nothing to do with the boys, which made him give a sigh internally " You know we are friends and you can tell me anything, right?".

The girl smiled at those words, raising one of her sleeves to wipe the trail of tears from her cheeks. Steve wanted to hug her, although he had already overcome his feelings for her, he did not want to see her suffering, because seeing her in that state hurt. However he did not, he didn't hug her, because he did not know how the other would react, if she would take it wrong . Nancy opened her mouth at that moment to answer, to tell Steve about what had put her that way, tell him about the argument she had just had with Jonathan a few hours ago about her future, an argument that could equate in strengths to which they had had last summer when everything was too close to go to the badge. However, not a word came from her lips when a noise from the forest alerted both of them. Without much ceremony Nancy pushed Steve into the house and the boy wasted no time, while she locked the door, to go to the kitchen for his baseball bat.

The lights did not blink, but even so, the feeling of unease was very present in both teenagers, Nancy had run to Steve's father's office to borrow the revolver and the bullets just in case that two-meter nightmare without a face appeared in front of them.

"There are no flickers," said Steve, who held his baseball bat tight, to the point that his knuckles turned white."The lights are fine".

A noise came from outside, from the side of the pool, making them both turn in that direction, there were no flickers, the lights were fine. Maybe it was just an animal. And, although the smart decision had been to call Hopper and stay inside the house, they both went out to the backyard, Steve in front of Nancy who covered his back.
The silence was terrifying, tense, they both expected something to come out of the forest in front of the house, Steve noticed the sweat forming on his forehead, Nancy had her index brushing the trigger while her eyes remained fixed on the darkness. The cool September wind swept through them while they stood still, their silhouettes lit by the pool, neither dared to move a single millimeter.

Seconds, minutes passed, until they could both lower their guard, Nancy lowered the gun and approached Steve who decided to rest the bat on his shoulders, being careful not to prick himself, it was a false alarm. Or so they thought, because something came out of the forest, something that got tangled up in the legs of the girl who could only scream as she was dragged into the depths of the forest.

"Nancy!"For a few seconds, Steve thought his shout must have been heard all over the neighborhood.
He ran, he ran as fast as he could, guided by the screams of Nancy who called him, shouting his name, begging not to be late, because he didn't want her ending up like Barbara, like Bob. He could not live with it, could not live with her death, if she died, being as important as she was to him, a large part of himself would die with her. When he thought he could not reach her, what dragged her stopped, and Steve had the opportunity to reach her.

"Nance, oh, fuck," he said, kneeling beside her to try to free her from those brambles that had curled up her legs, but they couldn't, although she helped him try to break them, it was impossible, it was as if they were made of iron.

Around him the fog was condensing, a strange fog, a fog that predicted nothing good. They both trembled and Steve only managed to hug Nancy when he couldn't even see her hands anymore, noticing how she also clung to him. They noticed levitate, and suddenly everything was total darkness.

When the fog dissipated, there was no sign of fighting or life in that place, only a baseball bat full of nails that this time had not been able to end the monster that attacked it's master.

Chapter Text

She was floating, it was the only thing Nancy could say she knew for sure, she knew she was floating in something dense, as if someone had filled up a pool with cream that adhered her clothes, to her body, creating a strange sensation. She saw nothing despite having her eyes open, everything around her was white, a sea of fog that dragged her without her doing anything to avoid it. She tried to move her legs, her arms, but something was grabbing her, something she couldn't see, but that, she was sure, wasn't a rope, it was impossible for a rope to weigh so much, she thought maybe of chains, cold, heavy metal chains that impeded her movement, but if they were chains, shouldn't she be sinking? And yet there she was, floating.

Her brain was still awaking, she didn't know where she was or how she got there, the last thing she remembered was having argued with Jonathan about a new job they had lost because she hadn't known or wanted to shut up because of the way in which they were treating her for the mere fact of being a woman, she remembered having ended up crying, because although she understood how important it was for Jonathan to work, she had been having a terrible time becoming the new coffee girl, the one that men did not respect, the one to which more and more macho comments were told about her that did nothing but detract from her soul, she knew that she was better, that she was worth much more than those people said, but little by little their words had made a dent in her and she couldn't take it anymore, ending the whole situation with her dismissal, Jonathan's and a fight between them. She tried to remember something else, she knew that she had cried, that she had taken the car and had gone to…Steve.

The air began to be missing and her head began to move frantically as her brain began to remember, she had gone to see Steve, to hang out with him, maybe to receive the support she needed at the time, she knew that it hadn't been a good deed, who the hell was going to his ex's house when things were wrong with his current partner? But Steve had said they were friends in spite of everything, and she needed a friend at that time. A friend who had run for her through the forest while she was being dragged, a friend she couldn't see in the fog.

"Steve!" she began to scream, began to stir, noticing how what was holding her squeezed her more and more, however, Nancy was stubborn, and continued to stir while calling her partner. "Steve!"

It was surprisingly that her bonds were released, in a matter of seconds the girl no longer noticed the fog behind her, but the cold and hard ground, the fog did not dissipate, but she could move, as soon as the stabbing pain stopped on his back and head for the blow she received when she was released. The ground behind her was wet, cold, like the floor of the Hawkins forest when winter began, Nancy even thought she could smell the same scent that those wet trees gave off while lying there, face up, looking at the white immensity that covered her . She then thought about the time she passed through the portal in the forest the year Barbara disappeared, she thought that perhaps she was in the Upside Down, that perhaps Steve and she had been dragged there by a new creature, as Barbara had been dragged. The thought of her friend made a lump put in her throat and her eyes itched, she blinked several times holding back tears, whenever she thought of Barbara she wanted to cry. However, along with the image of her friend came that of the demogorgon, that of that faceless being they had faced that same year, that of that being that had lurked in the woods the night Jonathan and she had gone out to explore . She got up suddenly, feeling the nausea rise in his throat, she touched the pockets of her pants, trying to find her gun and gave a shout of frustration when she didn't find it, it must have fallen when she was dragged. She had to find Steve, although at the time it seemed impossible.

"Steve!” She shouted again, hoping he would listen to her.

What should she do? Staying still didn't seem like an option, she didn't want whatever it was that had dragged her back to do it again, and if they were facing something from the Upside Down, they had learned from Will that it was best to keep moving and hide, staying in the same place for a long time wasn't the best option. However, Nancy disliked the fog, it gave her chills, she felt as if something, someone, was looking through it, someone she didn't see but who did see her.

 

She shook those thoughts from her head and prepared to move, she had to find Steve, although it was going to be difficult with that amount of fog covering everything, but, as we had already said, Nancy was stubborn and what she intended was achieved. She did not know how much she was walking, even if she was going straight, Steve's name came out of her lips every so often at a tone that she was sure that if there were any creatures nearby, it wouldn't be long without being attacked. There was no trace of her partner, and at that moment she remembered that he had hugged her to protect her when the fog enveloped them, closing his eyes tightly and covering her with his body to receive all the damage that the thing they faced could do to them. It was incredible that after everything that had happened between them, Steve was still willing to give his life for her, like the first time they had faced the demogorgon, when instead of running away he had returned to the cabin and sent to that being straight to the trap so Jonathan could burn it. Now she felt even worse about everything she had said at Tina's Halloween party.

"I have to find him" She thought as he continued walking. "I will not forgive myself if something happens to him when we are both in these, I do not want to lose anyone else because of beings from another dimension".

It was when that thought ended that she tripped and fell face down on the ground. She groaned in pain when she noticed how one of his knees ended up scratched by the impact against the ground, just like the palms of her hands for stopping the fall. She turned her head to see what she had tripped over, finding her legs on others covered by light jeans, her entire body turned, palpating from the legs to the torso and finally discovering the face of Steve Harrington who at that time was with his eyes closed. Nancy noticed how the air escaped from her lungs, how she was short of breath, and internally she began to pray that the other was not dead, for not being late as she had been with Barbara. She rested her head on Steve's chest, sighing relieved to hear the beat inside. Her hands went up to her ex-partner's face and she started tapping him to wake up.

"Steve, Steve, please wake up, Steve" She called him, with an increasingly high tone, but the boy did not respond, did not move, although at least he was breathing."Steve!".

"Nance?" The boy asked in a sleepy voice as his brown eyes began to open, meeting that white immensity that covered them. "Where?, where are we ?".

"I don't know". She answered helping him to get up" I couldn't see anything, I found you by chance"

"Do you think we are ...?" Steve did not dare to finish the question, it was not necessary, Nancy knew what he meant, and just thinking about it made the tremors ran through them both.

"I don't think so, but, if we are there, it is in a different part".

"What do you think we should do?"

"Moving, I don't want to stay still, not when there seems to be something in the fog that observes us, in addition," said helping Steve to get up after doing it. "Maybe if we walk we could find the exit or an area where the fog isn't so thick"

Steve nodded, and Nancy then made a decision, she entwined her hand with Steve's, causing the boy to tense for a few seconds and look at her in confusion. It had been two years since Nancy had taken him by the hand, since two years ago she had another lucky man who had the right to do so, not Steve, Steve had lost that privilege, although, if he had to be honest, he had won others months ago , with another person and had no complaints, but being in that situation, Steve could not help wondering if he could have kept holding her hand if things had developed differently. He shook his head and lightly squeezed Nancy's hand making the girl smile a little for it before starting to walk.

"That way we won't separate," she said.

They walked, walked and did not stop walking for what seemed like hours, without pause, noticing as if something behind them was watching them, but when turning to check it there was nothing. The more they entered the fog, the more chills they had, at a certain point in their walk, the sound of the wind began to add to the sound of their footsteps, a sound that gives them the heebie jeebies and stick more to each other in search of comfort, the wind seemed to drag moans, voices that could only be heard in the most horrible nightmares or horror movies. Nancy was tense, Steve was tense, and the fog didn't seem to disappear at any time. Both began to fear that they would not leave there at any time soon, that they would stay there forever, wandering until someone found them, if they did.

They were losing hope and energy, if there was something in the fog, and they were both sure there was, and decided to attack them, they could not do anything, they had no weapons and fatigue began to make a dent in them. Steve thought that if that was the case, he would entertain what he decided it was time to take action while Nancy ran away, he had already won a fight, maybe it was time to win a second.

"Steve, I see a light" Nancy's voice took him out of his thoughts, making him look straight ahead. "Do you see her too?"
It was dim, very dim, but it was certainly a light, an orange light, like a lamppost or a bonfire. Maybe they weren't alone in that place.
A sound behind them made them start running in the direction of the light, something was chasing them, the thing what just observed had taken action.

"Don't stop!" Nancy shouted practically dragging Steve through the fog in the direction of the light.

"I have no intention of doing it!" The boy shouted back while still running.

The light was getting closer, the fog, at every step, became less and less thick, the sound of a guitar could be heard, a melody that was driving them to get there. They skidded upon arriving, behind their backs, whatever was chasing them emitted a whimper, both turned toward the edge of the forest with shaken breathing and their hands still entwined.

They didn't notice how the music had stopped behind them and how several pairs of eyes were now fixed on them. They didn't notice any of that until they turned around and found themselves face to face with a group of seven people staring at them.

"I think we have new people."

Chapter Text

Claudia Henderson smiled as she ran her hands through the fine fur of the cat that had been Mews' surrogate since it mysteriously disappeared one night, her eyes were fixed on the figure of her no longer so small son who moved from side to side from the house looking for something while muttering curses again and again as if it were a mantra.

She had rarely seen her son so nervous, but Claudia understood that this was going to be one of the few days, maybe the only one, that his little Dustin was going to have with whom he considered his older brother in a long time, not with Steve going to live in another State for at least four years, that is if he did not decide to stay longer because he found work or to take a postgraduate degree.

To tell the truth, the first time Claudia had heard Dustin talk about Steve Harrignton she has been worried about the influences that might be coming to her little one, Steve Harrington did not have a good reputation in various aspects, famous were his parties or the amount of Parties that had gone, many mothers had heard from their daughters that it was a cocoon, the typical rich man with no problems in life, with more girls at his feet than he could count. However, upon getting to know Steve, Claudia had been able to understand Dustin's adoration for the teenager, Steve was a good person who struggled to be real, and who cared for Dustin, who was there for him and for the other children if they needed him, but especially for Dustin who, although he had not expressed it in front of Steve, had been discouraged a little when he saw that his best friend was going to go too far away and could not see him as much as he wanted.

Claudia still remembered when the letters from the universities had arrived that year, Steve had gone to the Hendersons to open them with them, his parents were not at home, and the teenager did not dare to open them just in case he had failed again . Claudia had put her hand on his shoulder as a show of support and had given him a hug, reminding him that there was nothing to worry about, that she knew all the effort he had put into his applications, and that whatever happened he had to be proud of what hehad accomplished. Steve had almost cried when she said that, and, not for the first time, Claudia had wondered if at any time Laura Harrington would have said something similar to her son or that were the first time he heard something like that. Steve never talked about his parents except to say they were out of town again. The envelopes were opened, two universities had rejected his application, however, the third, the one that Steve most yearned for acceptance, had answered positively.

The three had cried, Claudia and Dustin hugging Steve who was holding the paper in his hands, he had succeeded, finally he was going to college and Claudia could not be more proud of him for that. Steve invited them to dinner that night, to celebrate, to thank them for their support, and Dustin had been well all night, until surely the initial excitement gave way to the reminder that the university was far, far away and that Steve wasn't going to be less than an hour from Hawkins.

"Dustin, honey, have you looked in your room" The woman asked seeing how for the sixth time Dustin searched the same closet.
"Seven times, seven times and I can't find it".
"Where you left it?"
"Here, I left it in the living room, I'm sure I left it in the living room" He said starting to get frustrated, especially when he looked at the clock and saw that the time to go see Steve was getting closer. "A red package, fuck, it doesn't have to be so difficult to see it but I don't see it".

Complaining always worked for Dustin, it was as if the object disappeared and after long minutes of complaining it stopped playing hide and seek to be found, after the last complaint with his mother Dustin never took long to find the object he was looking for, this time some bracelets he had bought, personalized, for Steve and for him, so that he did not forget him, perhaps the greatest fear that Dustin had at the time and Claudia could not help but blame her ex-husband for that. When Marcus had grown tired of playing father and left, at first he used to send letters to Dustin, sometimes a small postcard, something that made Dustin thinks that his father, despite everything, had not forgotten him, suddenly the letters stopped coming and Dustin realized that his father had forgotten him, just as the friends he had made in the various camps, the passage of time had caused them to fall into oblivion. Dustin was afraid that Steve would forget him, although Claudia knew that would never happen, for Steve, Dustin was his best friend, his little brother, and there was no way for one brother to forget another, had the same blood or not.

In the end after a few more minutes of searching, Dustin found the small package he was looking for, and gave such a cry of relief that the cat that was in his lap jumped from it to hide.

"Don't forget to bring him to have dinner with us," She warned him rising from the armchair to go to say goodbye to his son at the door "I will make his favorite dish to be able to say goodbye properly"

"Don't worry mom" Dustin answered after giving him a kiss on the cheek and running towards his bicycle "If necessary I bring him from the ears".

And with that Dustin left his mother's house in the direction of the video store.

As much as he denied it, Dustin was excited for the day he was going to spend with Steve, the idea was to pick him up after finishing his work in the video store, Steve would keep his bike in his BMW, they would go to eat at some place and then spend the afternoon making a fool for a while at Steve's house, maybe watching a movie for people over eighteen, like Friday the 13th or Halloween, Steve used to get on his nerves when Michael Myers appeared on the screen. Dustin smiled as he pedaled in the direction of the video store although his smile soon disappeared as he thought that this was going to be one of the few horror afternoons he was going to spend with Steve for a while. Don't get him wrong, Dustin was very happy that Steve had managed to enter the university, the only thing he hated was the fact that he was in another State which would greatly limit his relationship with Steve, but if he had been able to take two years of relationship with Suzie on the basis of radio calls thanks to Carebro, he also seemed able to continue his friendship with Steve, he didn't want to lose Steve for anything in the world, when he had said “if you die, I die with you” in That Russian elevator he meant it.

When he arrived at the video store he was surprised to not see Steve's car there, rare was the time when Steve was not going to work without his car. Dustín got off his bicycle and left it parked on one of the walls in front of the store before entering the small video store being received by Keith, who looked up briefly from the comic he was reading, lowering it again when he saw that who was in the Dustin was the door and not some girl he could try to flirt with.

"Hey Keith," Dustin said, approaching the counter as he looked around in case he saw Steve placing the VHS on their respective shelves.

"He's not here" replied the boy with oily hair without even looking up from his comic. Dustin blinked several times confused.

"What do you mean by that he isn't here?"

"It means that Dingus has not shown up for work" said a female voice behind her making Dustin take a small jump and put his hand to his chest in fright before turning to see Robin there with a slight funny smile for his reaction.

"Fuck Robin, don't show up suddenly," He complained. "But seriously, where's Steve? I was supposed to pick him up today at the end of his shift"

"I still wonder how Harrington can stay with you".Keith said looking at the duo, making Dustin turn to face him.

"Are you jealous that a popular person wants to spend time with me Keith?" He asked before returning his attention to Robin."Well?"

"I don't know Henderson, we agreed to meet here today, he didn't even come to pick me up this morning and I had to walk here" Complained the girl, although she did not give it real importance, she had already assumed that Steve was not going to pick her up, when that person appeared at home, it was rare for Steve got to work on time.

" He didn't pick you up? And that doesn't worry you?" Dustin was nearly running to his bike and activating his radio to call Eleven and put everyone on res code for that." After all the crap we've been through, you're not worried?"

"Relax Henderson," said the girl, she was not worried, because she knew who had been at Steve's house that day and that he took the day off to be with that person would not be something strange, it was not something that would recriminate him openly, but the truth is that she would have appreciated if he had given her a call to warn her that he was not going." Surely he appears at any time, you know that he's incapable to say no to you and less to spend time with you, you are his favorite".

Then a rumble could be heard in the street causing the three inhabitants of the video club to turn their heads towards the street at the right time to see a blue Camaro park in front of the building. Dustin had a chill, Keith returned his eyes to the comic and Robin snorted at that. The car's engine was turned off and the pilot's door opened letting out a 19-year-old boy, with curly blond hair and blue eyes, who wore light jeans, a white tank top partially covered by a leather jacket. Billy Hargrove entered the scene.

"Hargrove" Robin greeted the boy when he entered the store, Keith took advantage that Robin had the attention of the blond to go to the office of the manager, Hargrove gave him a bad feeling, he had never liked him and preferred to stay out of his way, no matter how friendly he seems to be lately with Robin and Steve." I see you very alone" She said still looking towards the car, as if she expected someone else to get out of there.

"That's because I've come alone," he said, and at that Robin began to be alarmed. "Henderson." He greeted Dustin who returned the greeting with a nod, still didn't know how to feel with Billy since the Starcourt incident. "Where is Harrington? I have to talk with him".

"Well, you should know" said Robin, crossing his arms, making Billy raise an eyebrow." wasn't he with you?"

"Em? No? If he were with me, why on Earth would I come here to look for him?" he growled before he realized something" wait, haven't he come to work?"

"No, he hasn't come".

Dustin didn't know what they were talking about, they both seemed to know something about Steve that he didn't and he didn't like that at all, Steve was like his older brother, his best friend, nobody was supposed to know him better than him, and that those two knew things he didn't making him jealous of them, as if he had been relegated from his position as Steve's number one friend to a mere third place because of Robin and the fucking Billy Hargove. However, he didn't want to think about it much, not when he didn't know where Steve was. He had to take action, maybe Steve was in trouble, maybe he had gotten sick and was so bad that he hadn't been able to get out of bed to even call them. He pushed the other two teenagers slightly to break through and go for his bike, he had to go to Steve's house.

"Where are you going Henderson?" Asked Billy, stopping him at the door.

"To look for him at home," he replied, making both teenagers look at each other.

"Wait, I'll take you". Hargrove offered taking out the car keys and walking towards the exit. Normally Dustin would have refused, but Billy had proved to have changed since the entire Starcourt incident, Dustin supposed that having been possessed and almost having died protecting Eleven had marked the beginning of the Californian's personality change. He was still a dipshit, but not as much as he was before, according to Max he was now a decent brother and Jane seemed to love him quite a lot and if Jane loved him, the rest of the group was relatively fine with him.

And that's how Dustin ended up in Billy Hargrove's Camaro along with Robin, having left his bicycle inside the video store (Billy had subtly threatened Keith with what could happen to him if that bike disappeared), touring the streets of Hawkins at a speed that Dustin was completely sure violated all existing traffic codes. In less time than expected the trio arrived at the rich area of Hawkins, the one that had the perfect gardens for its, surely, not so perfect inhabitants, Dustin remembered Steve complaining about how idiots his neighbors could be, striving to appear happy when the reality was very different.

Upon arriving at Steve's house, in the rearview mirror, Dustin watched as Billy frowned at the sight of two cars in front of the house of the one for whose owner they had begun the journey.

"What happens?"

"Wheeler's car is parked at the Harringtons' house," he said in a somewhat somber tone that caused Dustin's neck hairs to bristle.

"What is the problem with Nancy's car in ...? Oh" Dustin fell then looking between the two seats while Billy parked in front of the Harrington entrance.

"Yes, oh".

Dustin looked at Robin without understanding why Billy had come out of the car in rage before they both decided to follow him and prevent him from smashing the brunette's door. He didn't understand what the problem was with Nancy there, he knew she was Steve's ex-girlfriend, but she was perfectly with Jonathan and Steve had long since overcome his feelings for Nancy, he knew he didn't have a Suzie in his life, but he didn't seem to care, it would be weird if Nancy was there for something like what was surely going through Billy Hargrove's head, who at that moment seemed to want to open the door of the Harrington house with his fists and Dustin still didn't understand why Billy seemed so angry about it. Surely they would not have done anything, Steve would not do something as disgusting as sleeping with his ex while she was dating another person and if they had done so, which would be an absolute disappointment, Billy would have nothing to say about it.

"He doesn't answer," Billy informed the other two when they approached, even with a frown, that was beginning to be worrisome, if the car was there it meant that Steve had to be home and more if Nancy's car was also there.

Robin went to one of the windows of the house to try to observe the interior, narrowing his eyes to try to see better, the blood froze when he saw the lights on and nobody there.

"The lights are on, but they don't seem to be at home" she said looking at the other two with clearly palpable concern, lights on and absence of people in the place never meant anything good, or that they had learned over the past year.

"I'm going to open," Billy warned and Dustin nodded.

It only took one blow from the old Mind Flyer receptacle for the door to give way, the wood hit the wall behind it with a slight notch in it due to the impact of the golden knob on the white surface. The sound of impact was the only thing heard throughout the house. Thousands of images passed through the head of the three as they advanced cautiously on the wooden floor of the entrance, being able to see through the stairs that the lights upstairs were also given, but there was no sign of life inside of the house, as if there was no one except them three.

They wasted no time, the blond hearing nothing began to tour the house calling for Steve, almost sprinting to the second floor while Dustin and Robin searched the first floor, a new level of panic filled their brains. Upon entering the kitchen Dustin discovered the microwave marking that he had finished heating whatever it was that had been put inside, when he opened the door of the same he discovered one of the tuppers that his mother had prepared for Steve and its contents cold again, Steve had been about to eat dinner before disappearing without a trace.

On the upper floor, Billy walked room by room looking for the brunette, but there was no sign of him or Nancy, everything was spotless except for the room of the usually only resident of the house. The whole room was full of boxes and scattered objects, Steve had been organizing his belongings by the time he had to leave. Billy entered the room trying to find something that would tell him where Steve could be, however, it was not something that found what sent chills to his body ruffling all his hairs, but the lack of a particular object. Steve's bat was not there, and if Steve's bat was not there, it could only mean one thing, one thing he didn't like.

Robin's shout caught the attention of the other two who quickly headed to the back of the house where the pool was located, there, kneeling by the edge of it was Robin, holding something in his hands, as they turned both They could see Steve's father's gun. That it was there by the pool did not indicate anything good, the greatest fears of the trio seemed to have come true.

"We have to call Hopper." It was the only coherent thing Dustin could say.