So I kinda based this off "A Walk to Remember" Because that story/movie gives me life. However, don't worry this story still has a complete stranger things vibe to it and even though there are some new characters, it still has all the original ones. Also this is an AU where Mike's a popular badboy, like seriously what's better than that?
The burly muscular teen who had an appearance of that of a grown man, glanced down the halls once more before giving his friends an approving nod.
"This is gonna be good."
He was called Stacks, no one knew how that nickname came about but somehow it did and it just stuck with him, rumor has it that his real name's Robert but then again nobody knows for sure.
It was around noon at Hawkins High and they were determined to make their senior year something to remember. They were ragtag bunch, mainly composed up of kids who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. However, they were still infamously popular, being deemed as "those badass cool kids" by their peers and just "those damn bad ass kids" by everyone else.
"So, you guys ready?" asked T.J. a former jock who got kicked off the football team for apparent drug use. He was suave, sophisticated, and always kept a comb in his back pocket proving once again that he cared more about his looks than anything else.
Amanda shook her head in agreement and turned to others. "Ready." She was the only girl in the group. A curvy blonde known for her heavy mascara, bright red lipstick, and seductive attitude.
T.J. shot a coy smile at the tall boy to his left. "Well do us the honors then, Wheeler."
Michael Wheeler, known to his friends simply as Wheeler or Wheels was a different story altogether. He didn't grow up on the rough edge of Hawkins with acquired street smarts like Stacks, He wasn't rebelling against his high class family to make a name for himself like Amanda, and he definitely wasn't a rich kid with more money than common sense like T.J.
Nobody would believe it now if you told them.. but before high school started, Mike would've been classified as your typical nerd. He used to hang out with his former group of friends and together they'd play Dungeons & Dragons, watch Star Wars, and even practically lived at the arcade. They were his best friends, the close knit group of four who had grown up together most of their lives. They had once promised to have each others backs no matter what but that was easier said than done, especially on the one day that changed everything.
"So race ya guys to Mike's place? Winner gets a comic."
Will eagerly turned his attention to Dustin. "Any comic?" he asked, hoping to raise the stakes.
"See ya there then ladies." Lucas chuckled, pedaling his bike faster gaining an immediate head start.
"Wait guys! I didn't say go!"
A trail of dust and skid marks could be seen as all three of the boys bolted down the quiet neighborhood's streets.
Lucas's mouth dropped when he saw that Will had managed to catch up with him.
Will just laughed at his friend's confused expression. "That X-men 254 is mine!"
"Yeah right, In your dreams!" Lucas responded, shooting the short boy a smug look.
Both of them were now side by side speeding down every curve as the sun began to set and street lights overhead began to glow.
"You're a bunch of cheaters!" Dustin yelled from behind them. "Imma kill you guys!"
Will and Lucas didn't hesitate as they rounded the corner where Mike's house was, giving it all they had knowing the finish was just up ahead. Their lungs and legs felt like they were on fire but that didn't stop them in the slightest as they approached the familiar looking cul-de-sac.
Smoke billowed from their rubber tires as they screeched to a halting stop. Then at the same time they jumped off and dropped their bikes at the edge of the driveway.
"Ma-made it he-here first!" Lucas muttered, desperate to catch his breath while supporting himself by placing his hands on his knees.
Will wiped the sweat from his brow. "No, I wa-was first" he slowly breathed, hoping to ease his aching chest.
They suddenly stopped bickering as their attention was captured by the loud ruckus coming from inside the house.
"That wasn't fair, you two owe me a rematch!" Dustin whined, as he finally made it and dropped his bike along with the others.
They turned to their friend and immediately shushed him.
"What's going on?" Dustin asked, now hearing what the others had heard.
Will's face fell with concern. "We're not sure."
"Let's go check it out." Dustin said, motioning for them to follow.
"I don't know guys.. Maybe it's invasion of privacy"
Lucas rolled his eyes. "Or maybe you're just bein a pussy."
Will sighed, knowing he was fighting a losing battle. "Fine."
They all snuck behind the bushes in the front yard, quietly slinking their way to the house's side window. They couldn't see much because of the curtain that blocked their view, yet they could hear everything.
"Oh shit, it's Mike's folks!"
Lucas swiftly punched him in the arm. "Dustin shut up, before they hear us." he loudly whispered.
"You're never here and when you are, it's like you don't even care!"
"I don't care? Who the hell is paying for this house then?! Tell me that!"
"Sure you pay for this house! But when's the last time you helped me with Holly? When's the last time you even had a decent conversation with Mike and Nancy? I bet you had no clue that your son got second place in the science fair, did you? No! Because you're too busy at the bar every night getting drunk!"
"I work everyday to provide for this family! Do you hear me?! EVERY DAY! 365 days outta the year I devote to this family! So, I sure as hell don't need you telling me that I don't deserve a fuckin drink every once in awhile!"
The boys looked at each other with the same painful expression. They've heard Mike's parents get into fights plenty of times so this wasn't anything new, but they all had that same gut wrenching feeling that this time it was different, this time it was worse.
"If only it was just a drink, but NO, it's three drinks, it's four, five, and six. You stay at that bar all night and you don't bother coming home sometimes! Don't you think I worry? I don't even know where you are half of the time, Ted!
"Well guess what?! You don't have to worry anymore!"
The boys crouched behind the bushes as they heard the door swing open and the ongoing scream match get louder.
"YOU CAN'T JUST WALK OUT."
They peeked through the greenery and proceeded to watch Mike's father swing a suitcase into the trunk of his car. "I'M THROUGH, KAREN."
His wife chased after him as he got into his car causing him to almost slam the door shut on her in the process.
"NO! WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS? THEY NEED YOU." She sobbed, pounding hard on his car window. "YOU CAN'T DO THIS!"
He immediately put his car in reverse and sped out of the driveway not even caring as he ran over one of the boys bikes.
Little did they know, that would be the very last time they'd ever see Ted Wheeler.
Mike deviously smirked, grabbing the lighter from his back pocket and flicking it twice.
He took the piece of paper T.J. handed to him and carefully lit it on fire. He watched as the red flames began to consume it before he soon tossed it in the trash can.
It wasn't long before the entire trash can burst into flames, the smell of burning debris filling the air.
"Go! Go! Go!" Stacks shouted, rushing the group out of the small classroom.
They all darted down the hall, giving each other the same knowing grins as the smoke alarm sounded and the safety sprinklers set off.
"What the hell's going on? "Is the school on fire?" "Oh my god, my hair!" yelled students as they began pouring into the hallways. It was pure chaos and frantic teachers were doing their best to help the teens exit the building.
Amanda waved the boys towards her. "Guys there's a shortcut this way!" She pointed.
T.J. and Stacks gave a curt nod as they sprinted down the corridor, not knowing that their friend was no longer right behind them.
Mike weaved in and out of the sea of students, accidentally bumping into them along the way. The shower of water from the sprinklers didn't help and made it even harder for him to find the others. "Damn it." he mumbled under his breath.
He rerouted himself and he made a sharp turn to his left almost skidding on the inch of water that now coated the floors. He knew there was a way out of here somewhere but he just had to find it.
He pushed his way through his peers once more and rushed down the flight of stairs as fast as possible, knowing they'd lead to the back doors.
He smiled to himself, fully satisfied that everything was going according to plan. This was it, they'd all go down in school history for pulling one of the best senior pranks of the year. They perfectly planned it to be after lunch knowing the day was halfway over anyways. They also knew that a small fire would be perfect for getting kids outta school because the teachers and faculty would be way to preoccupied to even worry about classes.
He pushed open the exit doors and his heart dropped along with his smile.
"Well, Well, Well.. if it isn't Mr. Wheeler, why am I not surprised?"
Mike nervously gulped, deciding to make a run for it but before he could, a firm hand gripped his arm. "And where do you think you're going? You're not going anywhere young man, except for my office."
Principal Crawford rapped his fingers against the desk pensively as he stared at the lanky teen in front of him. "So why'd you do it, Mike?"
"Why are you accusing me? It literally could've been anyone." Mike snapped, as he slicked back his wet hair from his face.
The older man with the receding hairline let out an exasperated sigh. "I know you did it, I've been informed by several key witnesses that they saw you leaving the biology lab when the fire started."
"Well maybe I'm just that hot." Mike softly chuckled.
"No, you're an imbecile." The principal retorted, unamused. He folded his hands in a tent shape in front of him, contemplating. "Hmm. You know what truly baffles me though? Is how on one hand you actually make pretty good grades in the classes that you decide to attend but then on the other, you go and do something beyond idiotic like almost catching the entire school on fire and I honestly, don't know what to think."
Mike slumped in the chair, not bothering to make eye contact. "Just suspend me or whatever, okay?"
"Suspend? Ha! Your little stunt is worth an expulsion at least."
"Then expel me, I don't care, do what you want but let's just get this over with." The dark haired boy muttered, growing irritated.
Crawford shook his head. "That's the thing.. I could easily expel you, sure, but that's not going to help you. I personally believe you're smarter than you let on, so you know what? I'm gonna do you a favor, I'm actually not going to kick you out of school this time."
Mike eyes widened as he studied the man's words trying to figure out if he heard him correctly.
"Instead of expelling you, you're gonna do what I like to call my own version of community service." The principal then took out a flyer from his desk and handed it to him. "So free up your weekends from now on kid, because Fridays you'll be spending your time helping out as a library aid and on Saturdays, you'll be recycling and shoveling compost with the environmental club."
"You can't be serious?" Mike groaned while reading the flyer in front of him.
Crawford turned to him with a stoic expression. "I'm dead serious and if you decide for whatever reason you don't wanna show up then I'll expel you in a heartbeat. And believe me, you can say goodbye to graduating, because if it comes to that, you definitely won't be."
"And how long will I have to do this?"
"Until the end of the school year." Crawford spat. "So how about you make this easy on both of us? I don't want you here for another year and I know you don't wanna be here for another year so just go and serve your time without any issues."
Even though Mike thought this had to be probably one of the stupidest punishments he's ever heard of, he was just honestly grateful that the principal hadn't expelled him. He had gotten into a lot of trouble over the years but even then he never got expelled. He couldn't imagine not graduating with his class, it had always been one of his goals to graduate so he could go to college and pursue the career he's dreamt about since his childhood. But of course, he couldn't let anyone else know that, it would ruin his image.
"Sure, I guess."