It’s Thanksgiving, El Hopper!
so idk i came up w this last night!! idk how good it is or anything i just thought people might like it and i felt in the spirit. im pretty ok with how this turned out seeing as i wrote it in a night but i hope people like it!! its got some mileven fluff and a slight jancy reference
hope you guys enjoy! i have a writing tag! (#flame writes sometimes i guess idk)
Even though her vocabulary had expanded much over the past year, El had never heard that word.
“W-well yea. It’s a holiday, like Christmas. You sit with your family, and the people you love, and everyone eats a ton of food and has a good time.” She and Mike sat in the boy’s basement, crammed into the pillow fort. Dustin, Will, Lucas, and Max were having a heated discussion over who would make the best Mouth, from The Goonies, at the table. Things had generally calmed down since last November, and the kids were free to be young and stupid.
“Why didn’t Hopper tell me about…Thanksgiving last year?” Eleven furrowed her brow and fiddled with her long sleeves. Fall had set in once more, and the weather was getting cold again. El didn’t mind the cold so much anymore, now that she lived with Hop in the warm, cozy cabin.
“I dunno… maybe…maybe it was just too crazy? Last year was really…” Mike trailed off, struggling to find the words for the absolute shit show that was last fall.
“Stupid.” The corners of her mouth quirking up, El recalled the endless days of soaps and Eggos in Hopper’s cabin.
The boy grinned down at her, dark eyes glittering with stifled laughter. “Yeah, that’s one way to put it.”
The reality of the concept set in around Eleven though. “Mike?” Her voice was more serious now, and Mike could hardly hear her over the other’s debate.
“Yeah?” His voice softened, just like it had on those train tracks so long ago.
“Can we do Thanksgiving together?”
Mike wrinkled his nose. “I dunno. I don’t think my mom would appreciate having-” He cut himself off, watching the curly-haired girl’s face drop. “El, it’s not your fault, it’s just that Thanksgiving is more of a family thing and you’re kinda like a frie-”
Suddenly, his eyes widened, and his face lit up like a Christmas tree. “WAIT!!” He softly took Eleven’s hands, his mouth split into a wide grin. “I have an idea.”
Hearing the secret knock at the door, Eleven shot up from the couch. “I’ll get it!” She called over to Hopper, dancing as he stirred potatoes on the stove.
Mike answered the door, wrapped in a big, clunky scarf and a grey sweater underneath his coat. “Hi. My mom insisted I bring a pie, because she loves to bake.” In his hands was a perfectly cooked pecan pie, complete with two leaves of pie crust set on top.
Right behind him was Nancy, with Jonathan and the other Byers in tow. “Sorry we’re a little late, Hop. Karen talked my ear off when I was picking up Nancy and Mike.” Joyce tumbled in the door, holding a turkey in oven-mitted hands. “The turkey is sort of burned, and it’s probably too salty and-”
“It looks great Joyce. Don’t sweat it.” Hopper took the bird from her and set it on the counter. He looked up when he heard laughing on the porch.
Steve waltzed through the door holding the biggest sweet potato casserole anyone had ever seen. Trotting in behind him like three baby ducks were Max, Dustin, and Lucas. “Who knew I could cook?” A cheeky, lopsided grin spread across Steve’s face as he fought the three kid’s cries of protest- “We practically made the whole thing!” “You fell asleep on the couch while it was in the oven!” You practically burned down my kitchen Steve!”
El stood in quiet awe at the light banter that surrounded her. She had never felt so loved, and so warm. Everyone was light-hearted and kind, and never in a million years would the little girl at the lab even DREAM of a moment like this. Hopper leaned against the counter, casually holding a beer in one hand, as Joyce nursed a glass of wine. They chatted as Dustin and Will pulled out a notepad for a game of pictionary, with Steve, Lucas, and Max groaning and whining. Jonathan and Nancy set the table, stealing quiet glances at each other’s faces in the soft candle light.
Mike broke her from her quiet daze as he slid his hand into hers. “El? Are you alright?” His freckled features were pulled together in concern, and his cheeks were tinted with the softest shade of peach.
The girl felt tears well up in her eyes. This is my home. She nodded quietly, breathlessly at him. Wiping away her tears, she pulled him into a hug. “Thank you Mike.”
Mike went fire hydrant red with shock and held Eleven in his arms. “Y-yeah, uh you’re welcome I guess? What are you thanking me for?”
“For a family.” She pulled away from him and stared at his face. Though he had aged since that night in the rain, under all those freckles, under these last few harrowing years, he was still the boy who gave her the only thing she could ever want: acceptance and love.
“Hey lovebirds! Dinner’s ready!” Dustin called over from the kitchen, the food spread out on the table like a king’s feast.
Blushing, the two kids jumped up from the couch and quickly slid into their seats at the table, as the rag tag family began to serve themselves.
As they ate, laughed, and told stories, El held Mike’s hand all night.
Because he was what she was most thankful for.