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.
Sugar is Brittana’s love child; Rory is Klaine’s; Madison and Mason are St Berry’s; Jane is Quinncedes’; Spencer is Quick’s; Unique is Kurtcedes’; Myron is Hummelberry’s; Alistair is Kadam’s; Kitty is Quinntana’s.