Author's Note: So here I am, with another fic! I really love Mike/Eleven, so I decided to write my own take on their first real meeting after nearly a year. Very fluffy. Hope you all enjoy!
Also: I'm taking requests for oneshots so if there's anything you absolutely NEED to have written, PM me!
Mike had to see her again. He just had to.
It'd been a little over a week since they'd last been together, since Will had been saved from the Mind Flayer, since El had closed the Gate, since everything had gone back to normal – well, as normal as it could be, given that they'd all been saved from certain death for the second time in as many years.
And still, he hadn't been given nearly enough time with her. The brief half hour they'd gotten to spend with one another after her initial homecoming (and apart from about five measly minutes, that half hour had been spent making plans to stop the world from imploding again) was it. It'd been a week since he last seen her, getting into Hopper's truck and preparing to head back to Hawkins' Lab.
The day after, he'd biked straight to the police station in the early afternoon (the morning was spent helping clean up the Byers' home, making sure Will was better, and then heading back to his own house, where he and Nancy had had to dodge many questions about their whereabouts over the past three days), with the full intention of telling Hopper, in no uncertain terms, that he wasn't going to leave him alone until he could see her again, even if it was just for another half hour. Knowing she was okay wasn't enough. He needed to be with her. They had 353 days to catch up on.
But Hopper hadn't been at the station when he arrived, which he supposed wasn't all too surprising. Closing a portal to another dimension was bound to drain the life out of you, even if the chief himself wasn't the one performing the task. Plus, the two days leading up to the closing of the gate hadn't exactly been peaceful, either. Mike knew that Hopper deserved a break – they all did – but that didn't stop him from only thinking about seeing El again. The moment she'd walked in through the Byers' front door, it felt as if all the air had been knocked out of him, and for a split second, everything was right in his world. Eleven was alive, and she was healthy and she was here, and being ripped away from her again so suddenly was just not okay, in any sense. He could (just barely) understand the chief's reasoning for not wanting to bring her back to the Byers' after leaving the lab, but there was no way in hell he was going to be kept from her any longer.
The following day was Monday, and as soon as school ended (he'd have skipped altogether if it weren't for the fact that he was already in deep shit with both the school and his parents and he had no desire to exacerbate the situation), he made his way down to the station again. This time, Hopper was there, sitting in his office and sipping from a cup of coffee as he read a newspaper.
"I have to see her." Mike said, breathlessly, as he walked straight into the office and shot him a look that he hoped made it clear that this wasn't a topic up for debate.
"Not now, kid." Hopper hissed through gritted teeth as he slammed the door shut, glaring at him as if he was the stupidest person on the planet. "Soon. I promise. But not now."
"No, not soon. You've kept me from her for a year, I need to see her. I need to make sure she's okay."
"She's fine. Exhausted, but fine. She's been sleeping for the past two days. Visiting right now wouldn't be worth it. She wouldn't be able to talk to you."
"I don't care. I haven't seen her for a year. I need to see her. Please." His voice broke a little. "I've missed her so much."
The police chief sighed. "Yeah, kid, I know. She's missed you, too. Wouldn't stop asking about you every single day. Even snuck out once to see you. But that's besides the point. It's not –"
"Wait," Mike interrupted, "she did? When?"
"A few days ago. That isn't what's important right now. What is important, though, is that just because you and your little friends know about her living with me, things haven't become any less dangerous. You seem to be forgetting the fact that those government assholes can have your entire family killed if anyone finds out about her. Not to mention that she'd be taken straight back to the lab. Is that what you want to happen, Wheeler?"
"No, but –"
"Then don't argue with me. You'll see her soon enough. I just… I have to figure some things out. I'm not going to hide her anymore, but we have to be smart about this if you're gonna come over. We have to make sure nobody follows you, that you're accounted for when you're not at home or with one of your smart-ass friends, that nobody suspects anything."
"And. what, are you just gonna make her live the rest of her life in secret? Because that's not any better than living in the lab."
"Yeah, you think I don't know that, kid?" Hopper sighed and ran a hand along the length of his face. "I'm figuring it out. Slowly. Things need to die down a bit before we do anything risky. As it is, there's talks of another Russian spy being in town, and it doesn't take a genius to put two and two together, especially if that genius talks to your parents. Isn't that the story they told you guys? That she was from Russia? It's too dangerous for her to go out right now. So, just… give me time, will you? Anyways, I'm not too sure I'll be able to keep her from sneaking out to see you on her own again, so I'll try to figure it out quick. Give me a week. Two, tops. Can you do that?"
Mike sighed, but reluctantly nodded. "Fine. But tell her I'll be there as soon as I can. Please."
"Yeah, yeah, you got my word." Hopper rolled his eyes a bit. "And Wheeler? If you absolutely have to talk to your friends about this, make sure it's in private. I can't have anything happening to her."
"You think I don't know that?" The teenager quipped in a sarcastic tone.
"Keep that up, and it'll be a month before I let you see her again." The chief replied as he opened his office door again.
"I'll be back in a week." Mike said as he left, a little defeated to know that it'd be so long before he could see her again, but also knowing not to chance it by running his mouth off any further. It was a miracle he had the chance to see her at all. A week was nothing compared to 353 days.
Today marked a week exactly since that conversation, and all throughout the school day, Mike couldn't get the thought of finally seeing El again out of his head. Even in Mr. Clarke's class – usually his favorite and the only one he paid attention in, no matter the circumstances – he couldn't stop daydreaming. About the fact that he and El would finally be able to spend some quality time together without having to worry about that time being limited. About the fact that he could finally hug her again. About the fact that she was alive and she was well and after today, they could forget about the 353 agonizing days they'd spent apart, and instead focus on their future. A future they could spend together.
"Jesus, what's got your panties in a twist?" Dustin asked during their last class of the day, leaning close to Mike's desk and eyeing his shaking leg.
"Isn't he seeing El again today?" Lucas jumped in, his voice teasing.
Mike just shot them both a look that said 'shut up or I'll make you shut up' as he focused intently on the cover of his English textbook, silently counting down the seconds until school let out. The moment the final bell rung, he was racing out of the classroom, down the front steps, and hopping on his bike. He rode to the station in record time and ran directly to Hopper's office, panting and out of breath, but not caring because he was that much closer to seeing her. His chest being on fire was more than worth it.
"It's been a week." Mike informed the chief as he looked up from his newspaper questioningly, unsure why a sweaty teenager had just burst into his office.
"You keep good time, kid."
"I haven't seen her for more than five minutes in the past year, of course I do. Will you take me to see her now? Or are you just going to sit there and drink more of your coffee and read more of your newspaper that won't tell you anything you don't already know?"
Hopper sighed and then set down the paper. "You do know I have a job, right? And that I can't just take off whenever I please to cater to your every whim?"
"So, tell me where she is, then. I'll be careful. I know a bunch of different bike routes."
He went quiet for a moment as he debated this. "Look, I'll let you come over on Saturday. For sure. Letting you go on your own is too risky. So much could go wrong."
"Or nothing could go wrong at all. Come on, Hopper. You kept me from her for a year. You owe me this."
"And you owe her safety and not having her cover blown."
"I can't wait until Saturday. Please. I need to see her. I need to. I'll be careful. Nobody will see me. Please tell me where she is. Please."
Another brief silence passed before the chief let out a groan, throwing his hands up in defeat "Christ, you really know how to wear someone down. You're even worse than she is, and she spent every single day for almost a year begging to go see you. Fine. But if anything happens, anything at all, I'll have your head. You got that?"
"Yes. Okay. I'll keep her safe. I promise. Thank you, sir. Thank you." Mike smiled gratefully, the first time a genuine smile had spread across his lips since seeing her a week before, as held back a strong urge to hug the chief, both for dotting him see El and for taking care of her.
"Mmhm." Hopper answered noncommittally as he grabbed a sheet of paper and wrote down directions to the cabin. "There's a knock I do with her, when I come home, so she knows it's me." He knocked lightly on the wooden desk in demonstration. "When you get there, use that, because otherwise she might throw something at you with those powers of her. And you might as well keep her company for dinner, if you're so inclined. I'm expecting to be where a bit later than usual, there's a lot of paperwork I need to catch up on. But I want you gone no later than nine."
"No later than nine." He confirmed as he grinned again and then left, running out of the police station with the same fervor as he'd left the school with, getting on his bike once more and quickly studying the directions before riding to the cabin, his heart beating rapidly in his chest.
As he approached the front steps, he felt his palms beginning to sweat, and a nervous feeling rise in the pit of his stomach. It was barely four, which meant that they had a full five hours to spend together, just the two of them, which was good, and also bad, because he didn't know how to be with her and not have to worry about solving some mystery. All their previous interaction had been done in the heat of a tense moment, in the midst of finding Will, or building a sensory deprivation tank, or saving Will from a faceless creature. Even when he'd kissed her before she defeated the demogorgon, he'd only done so because he didn't know when he would have the chance to do so again. And now, there was none of that. It was just them and this cabin in the middle of nowhere.
Taking a deep breath, he made his way to the door and then knocked on it, just as Hopper had shown him, waiting only a second before he heard the locks click. Figuring that El had used her powers to do this when the door failed to swing open, he cautiously turned the knob and stepped in, his heart skipping a beat when he saw her. She was sitting on the sofa in front of the TV, wearing a flannel shirt and jeans, and twirling a stray curl with her finger.
"El." He said quietly, his voice cracking a bit.
A little startled, her head shot up, but her features softened when she saw who her visitor was. "Mike." She whispered back, rising from the couch to join him by the front door and hug him just as tightly as she had the night of her return. "What are you doing here?"
"I made Hopper tell me where you were. I couldn't wait to see you again. I missed you too much." He smiled at her, a smile that said everything he'd been wanting to say for the past year, but never got the chance to.
"Missed?" Her eyebrows wrinkled in confusion, and he laughed a bit, the expression being so familiar and so welcoming to him.
"It's like… when you're away from someone or something, and you really want to be with them again, you miss them. But I don't miss you anymore, I missed you. Past tense. Something that happened before."
She grinned a little shyly and then hugged him again. "I asked Hopper to bring you. He wouldn't. Told me it was dangerous."
"Yeah. That's what he told me, too. I saw him last week."
"I heard. I didn't speak to him the rest of the night." She grinned even wider. "I'm… I'm happy you're here, Mike. Very happy."
"Me too, El." He took her by the hand and then looked around the cabin, amazed that she'd been more or less confined to the tiny space for an entire year. He knew that if it had been him in her place, he would've gone crazy a long time ago. But then again, he hadn't spend the majority of his life trapped in a lab with no contact to the outside world. Anything, he supposed, would be a step up from that.
"So… this is where you've been living."
"Small." She said, also looking around. "But home."
"Show me around?" He squeezed her hand and she nodded eagerly, first leading him around the living room and showing him the TV, which she informed him was always on, then moving into the tiny makeshift kitchen, where she opened the freezer and showed him the several boxes of Eggos sitting in there, and then finally going into her tiny bedroom. It hardly looked as if anyone lived there at all; if it weren't the clothes strewn over the chair near the window and a stuffed teddy bear on the bed, Mike would've thought this was just a guest room. But El only beamed with pride when she stepped in. A place to call her own was still a place to call her own, regardless of size or amount of possessions.
"We'll have to help you decorate. Me and Lucas and Dustin and Will. Maybe Hopper will let us all come over this weekend."
El nodded. "I'd like that."
"Me, too." He smiled at her again (not that he'd ever stopped; now that he was with her again, there was a perpetual grin on his lips).
"I have a sister." She announced as she sat on her bed.
"… You do?" He blinked in surprise. "How… how do you know?"
"Mama. I found her. Hopper had papers. I went to visit. And then I saw my sister. In Chicago."
If it weren't for the fact that this was "friends don't tell lies" El, Mike would've thought she was playing a joke on him. "… What's she like?" He asked, unsure of what else to say. Chicago was remarkably far from the sleepy town of Hawkins, Indiana, and especially for someone who'd never been in the real world before.
"… She hurts people." Eleven said after a moment. "Because she's been hurt. A lot. But she's good. Inside, she is. I know my name now, too. Jane. I'm Jane."
"… That's really pretty. Do you want me to call you Jane now?"
"No. You made me El. You call me El." She smiled at him again.
"Alright. El it is, then." He cautiously went to sit beside her.
She took his hand. "I'm sorry I never answered. When you called. Hopper wouldn't let me. I'm really sorry. I wanted to call back."
"Hey, don't apologize. He wanted to keep you safe. I want you to stay safe, too. It's okay. You're here now. And you're safe."
She leaned against him. "Do you want to watch TV with me? There's not much to do here."
"That sounds perfect." He said quickly, noting the apologetic tone to her voice. "And if Hopper lets me come back this weekend, I'll bring some stuff for us to do."
She smiled again and then got up from the bed, taking him back into the living room/kitchen/front of the house, where she plopped down in front of the TV and waited for him to do the same before she covered them with a blanket and rested her head on his shoulder.
And, save for a short break to make and eat Eggos for dinner, this was how they spent the rest of the night until the clock struck nine, and Mike decided he'd better leave before Hopper got back and refused to let him visit again.
He was up until almost three in the morning completing the homework he hadn't been able to do during the afternoon, but for El, it was more than worth it.