will as eddie’s honorary big bro helping him feel more comfortable with his sexuality because oof homophobic parent? yeah he’s been there and he’s gonna be just as good a big brother to eddie as johnathan was to him when he needed it.
“will do you know what it’s like to have a crush on your best friend?” “boy do i”
max and el both take bev under their wing! max and bev bond over being badass redheads and el is both fawning over having a little sister and impressed with how fucking strong bev is. they all talk about wanting to kick their abusive (step)dads’ asses.
max teaches bev to skateboard and ben makes heart eyes at his zoomer crush.
stan takes a liking to lucas right away as the rational ones of their respective friend groups. they’re so smart and snarky it’s fantastic.
anyone: we’re gonna go do [reckless thing]! stan and lucas simultaneously: hell no we are not.
dustin LOVES richie theyre both such sailor mouths and dustin is so impressed by how FUNNY this kid is even if the others aren’t as amused
mike (hanlon) and ben both love dustin! mike wants to hear all about dart and dustin visits the farm and pets all the animals and asks about their names and mike is happy to tell him!
dustin and ben bond over not being noticed by their crushes and dustin gives him solid brotherly advice not to beat himself up over it because he has plenty of time to find The One. (he’s been taking big brother lessons from steve)
ben and mike’s book club meetings and trips to the library become “curiosity voyages”
bill basically follows mike around. he wants to hear all his stories about the demogorgon and how he never gave up on saving will or finding el. he thinks mike is a total hero and an inspiration
mike trying to keep richie out of trouble is nearly impossible. he feels like his needs to put the kid on a leash or something and dustin encouraging his antics isn’t helping.
mike just calls nancy like “oh my god was i like this when i was 13 i’m so sorry”
(From your resident sap, an unbelievably fluffy piece from an unbelievably fluffy conversation with the unbelievably lovely @eggos-and-promises)
El lies awake for hours, watching her ceiling fan spin around and around before finally reaching for the supercomm on her nightstand and turning it to Mike’s channel. She swallows nervously as the static crackles. It’s not a nightmare she’s waking him up for…but she HAS to say SOMETHING. “Mike?” she whispers into the speaker. Almost instantaneously, he responds. “El?” She can hear the sleep heavy in his voice and her stomach twists with guilt. “I’m sorry I woke you up.” “Nonono, El, it’s all right. You didn’t wake me up,” he says through an unsuccessfully stifled yawn. “What did you need? Are you okay?” Is she okay? Of course. She’s talking to him. That’s why she called. That’s why she was lying awake for all those hours. That’s why all of a sudden, she doesn’t know what to say. “El?” “Yes,” she squeezes her eyes shut and shakes her head. “I’m okay.” She thought she’d finally figured out how to say it. But now the worries are back, the worries that tell her maybe she shouldn’t. That it’s silly. That it’s not something she SHOULD say, that it’s only for people like Joyce and Hopper and Nancy and Jonathan. The static crackles. “Are you sure?” Concern now tinges Mike’s voice and she can picture his face with the tiny frown he always wears when he’s worrying. She never likes him to worry, but something about it makes her heart feel funny, like it’s expanding. She feels that way around Joyce and Hopper and Jonathan and Will whenever they tell her they love her and whenever she tells them she loves them too. But she also feels like that around Mike. Whenever she is around him. Or even when she just thinks about him. And she feels dizzy. Or as if she is wearing all of her jackets at once, even if she’s only in her pajamas. Is that still love? It’s what she’s been thinking about all night: she likes being around him. He makes her happy. Isn’t that love? She’s decided she has to tell him, before all the words slip away from her again. “I’m sure,” she finally responds. He sighs, relieved. “Okay, good.” She hears the smile in his voice and her heart expands again. So she takes a deep breath. “I love you, Mike.” Silence. And more silence. And more silence. Oh no. She’d been wrong. She shouldn’t have said anything. Words never came out the right way for her, and now they’d come out all wrong again. A lump grows in her throat as she realizes she doesn’t even know what else to say, even to try and fix it. The silence just pounds in her ears, making her eyes water. She is just about to put the supercomm back on the nightstand and crawl deep under the covers where she will never have to talk to anyone again when the supercomm crackles back to life. “I love you, too, El!” His voice sounds strange, higher and faster and like he’s whispering and yelling at the same time, but it’s MIKE’S VOICE saying THOSE WORDS and that makes her happier than anything. (If only she had known that the only reason he hadn’t answered right away had been because he’d fallen off his bed in shock and lain motionless on the floor, staring in disbelief at the ceiling. Had she known that, she might have been spared those awful minutes of sadness and worry and doubt.)
The next morning is Saturday and Hopper drops El off at Mike’s house as usual for breakfast. Mike answers the door and before she can say a word, he pulls her into the tightest hug he’s ever given her, one that she tries to return just as tightly. Mrs. Wheeler pokes her head around the corner to tell them the pancakes are ready, and they break apart (although their hands remain clasped), and the smile on Mike’s face is so big, El’s already huge smile only gets bigger. When it’s time to go home, and she’s putting on her jacket by the door, Mike suddenly jumps and pulls her away by the hand he’s been holding all day, saying she’s forgotten something in the basement. When they get there, Mike takes her other hand, takes a deep breath and says in a rush, “IloveyouEl, IknowIsaiditlastnightbutIwantedtotellyouinperson, too.” And even though she’s only put on one jacket, it might as well be four. She smiles down at their intertwined hands and then back up at his red smiling face. “I love you, too.” They both let out a breath they didn’t know they’d been holding that turns into giggles and then into another tight hug. They run back up the stairs and to the front door, where both of them have the same idea: to quickly kiss the other on the cheek. Neither of them make it because as El turns around and Mike leans in, their lips meet instead and they spring back, surprised (though definitely not unhappy, if their grins and rosy cheeks are any indicator). There’s the dizzy feeling again and she’s sure that’s why the only soft words that come out of her mouth are “A kiss.” Mike’s grin only becomes more sheepish and he glances down at the floor. El turns to leave, and as she steps outside, she whispers one last, “Love you, Mike,” before shutting the door gently behind her. (Which means that she doesn’t see Mike calmly walk upstairs to his bedroom, where he collapses on the bed and muffles his disbelieving jubilant squeaks into his pillow.) When Hopper sees her ear-to-ear smile and rosy cheeks, all he asks is, “Huh, good day, kid?” “Very good,” she says with a giddy nod as she feels her heart expand for the millionth time that day. She knows it won’t be the last.
years that have gone, and years that will come -
a mileven soulmate au
so this is my contribution to the stranger things big bang! it’s a soulmate au where you are born with the ability to feel the other’s emotions/pain. it was betaed by the wonderful @stardustsantiago (thank you!), and here you can find incredible fanart by the beautiful @raesberri. alternatively, you can read it on ao3. i hope you all enjoy! get ready for some angst ;))
PART ONE: BEFORE
The pain had hardly been bearable before Mike had met her, but after — when she is gone — that is the definition of unbearable.
He had grown up with a constant ache of pain, an ache of panic, of loneliness. Never his, always hers. He’d been sure his soulmate was a her for as long as he could remember, despite knowing that some people could have a soulmate of the same sex, his definitely wasn’t.
His was a her.
He knew the difference between their emotions, he wasn’t really sure how he knew, he just did. One was his, and the other was hers.
When he was young, barely talking, that’s when he first felt the staticky flutters that were her emotions spike and become so vivid and real it was like someone was drilling into his arm, but it wasn’t his arm, it was her arm. But he could feel it, and it felt so real, he’d sat up in bed and screamed at a volume seemingly impossible for a child of his size. Ever since that night, the emotional connection between Mike and her (whoever she was) was strong. He could feel her every emotion, even when her heart just palpitated too fast.
It was unusual to have such a strong connection with your soulmate so young, unless you knew them from a young age, usually your connection with them didn’t become clear until you met them.
At age seven, Mike asked his sister (who was twelve, which to a seven-year-old is practically an adult), “Can you feel your soulmate?”
They were sitting on the floor of the living room, close to the TV so they didn’t have to get up off the couch and walk all the way to the TV if they wanted to change the channel.
Nancy shrugged, “Sometimes, but not very often… I’m only twelve, I just probably haven’t met him yet, I’ve got loads of time.”
A sudden terrifying question found its way into Mike’s mind, “What if you never meet your soulmate?”
Nancy glanced back into the kitchen — her mother inside it, cooking dinner for the whole family — and thought of her parents. “Some people never do, so they marry the wrong person for the wrong reasons because that’s easier than to continue to search for the right person.”
Mike sat there in shock of what his sister had said. What If he never found her?
“Now, scram,” Nancy said, shoving him lightly, “I’m trying to watch something.” She turned up the volume knob on the TV and Mike reluctantly left the room.
He walked up to his own room and shut his eyes hard. I’ll meet you, he thought, and he hoped she could hear him.
At age eight, he began watching the girls in school, not in a creepy way, just to see if their faces matched the emotions he could feel — they never did. He took out a book on the science of soulmates, which wasn’t very helpful. No one really seemed to have any solid answers to about how they worked, something to do with atoms and stardust, which to an eight-year-old (even one who read at a ninth grade level) sounded ridiculous.
At some point during the autumn of 1980, he found himself alone in the kitchen with his mother, helping her bake some muffins for Nancy’s bake sale (or something along those lines, he hadn’t really been paying attention). He watched his mother as she carefully filled up the patty pans, somehow managing to get every single one exactly even, which baffled him.
“Hmm?” She doesn’t look up.
“How do you know when you’ve met your soulmate?”
Karen almost dropped the bowl of mixture. “You’re a bit young to be thinking about that, aren’t you, Mike?” She replied, after a moment.
Mike pulled himself up onto the kitchen counter. “I was just wondering, because what if I just see them in the street and then never again? How will I know it was them?”
Karen put down the bowl of mixture and looked at her tiny son sitting there on the kitchen bench, his legs barely dangling over the edge he was so small. He was young, too young to be worrying about things like this.
“Michael, one day, you’re going to meet a girl, who will be different from any other girl you’ve ever met, because she will be the girl meant for you. And maybe you won’t know right away, but it won’t take you long to work out, you’re a smart kid.”
Mike thought about what his mother said for a moment, it made sense, then he nodded and hopped down from the bench, leaving the kitchen.
“Michael!” Karen called out after him. “Do you want to lick out the bowl or not?”
Mike hurried back to the kitchen.
Sometimes the pain, sadness, scared or loneliness (or a melancholy mix of all four) was too great. Mike would lie on his bed and focus on his breathing and heart rate. He’d be able to feel her heart, as if beating next to his, and attempt to sync them.
“One day, when we meet,” he’d whisper, staring at the ceiling, “I’ll make you feel happy and safe. I promise.”
Somewhere, not too far away, a scared girl was sitting with her knees drawn up to chest all alone in a dark room. Every part of her hurt, but she could feel an emotion that wasn’t hers, and if she knew the word for it, she’d call it empathy.