AN: I really do believe El is claustrophobic, and I hope they explore her fears and traumas and how she handles them everyday in future seasons. The mean girls are from my other story Took you long enough; check that out if you want, so you get a bit of a background on their relationship with El.
Their laughter and taunts echoed from outside the door, but El could only widen her eyes in fear as her sudden predicament sank in.
Her hands slapped frantically at the door until they grew numb as she screamed, pleading to the girls on the other side to get her out.
"Please, please, PLEASE!" She yelled as she began to cry.
Her sobs choked on the way out, and her chest began to tighten with the force of her breathing, and only after the words wouldn't come out anymore she realized she had begun to hyperventilate.
She turned around and pressed her back against the door, eyes frantically moving around the oppressing darkness of the closet; her butt hit the floor and she held her knees to her chest, as her brain told her that the mop and brooms on the corner were the bad man coming for her.
She closed her eyes tightly as tears streamed steadily down her face and her whimpers echoed around her ears. She could feel their needles and wires around her arms, and then Papa was there murmuring to her, but no comfort came with his words like they came with Mike's.
Mike where are you?!
"Mike." She whispered and she wished she could reach him with her mind, but she was too weak.
She knew she could blast the door from its hinges to get out of here if she wanted. She knew she could snap those girls' necks if she wanted; she could make blood ooze from their eyes and make their hearts stop beating if she desired to.
But as she tried to control her breathing, she knew her mind was too focused on keeping her alive to make all of those things. So, she settled for taking a deep breath, counting to 5 like Hopper taught her, letting it out, and then repeating the cycle.
She could hear Daysi still laughing outside as a fourth voice joined them, and then a fifth.
Her heart gave a jump when she thought she heard Max's voice, and then thumped frantically in her chest when she realized it was Max screaming at the three girls outside.
Relief rushed through her, and she tried calling for Max to get her out when all of the sudden the door opened behind her and she fell backwards into dark arms.
"It's okay, El. It's okay, I got you." The voice who she realized was Lucas murmured to her, while she still cried heavily.
She was lifted up by Lucas who continued soothing her, but she could only see the white blinding lights of the hallway; she heard Max's yells grow louder as Katherine responded with equal venom on her voice, and then Daysi joined them, and then she couldn't hear anything because she was suffocating from the inside voices she kept hearing, and then her chest was still tight, and then- and then, Mike was there.
Mike was there holding her in his arms and he repeatedly told her she was okay, that he loved her and everything would be okay.
"It's okay, baby, I got you. You're okay now. I love you, I love you." He told her in a shaky voice as he squeezed her tight.
He grew quiet as he looked at the three troublesome girls on the hallway, and then he glared viciously at them as the few words Lucas told him when he pulled him out of Spanish and the scene before him clicked together.
"What the fuck is wrong with you?!" He yelled at the three girls who wouldn't stop laughing in spite of a dangerously furious Max.
El kept crying on his arms, and he began to murmur into her ear.
"Hey, hey," his voice was still shaking from seeing her in such a distraught state. "In, out. Okay? Remember? How Hopper told you? Breathe with me, El. In," He breathed with her and counted the five seconds. "1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Out. That was great. Another one, okay?" He repeated the process with her as Max grew even louder on the background.
El moved her face away from his chest as she looked over his shoulder and locked eyes with Caroline Duke, who was staring at her with what looked like pity on her eyes as she understood their little prank wasn't just a prank for El.
The sound of skin smacking against skin drew her eyes away from the lesser evil of the trio, and her eyes widened as she watched Lucas pry a wild Max away from Daysi McNamara.
Daysi wailed as she clutched her rapidly swelling cheek; Katherine openly gaped at Max who was still screaming at them from her place in Lucas' strongly wrapped arms.
"HEY! That will be enough, Ms. Mayfield. To the office!" The principal screamed as he finally arrived at the scene. A few students had gathered around the classrooms' doors, intrigued by the shouts from the hallway, and the teachers tried to get them back inside but still lingered to watch the commotion.
"WHY? FOR PROTECTING MY FRIEND? THESE THREE LOCKED HER INSIDE THE CLOSET! SHE'S CLAUSTROPHOBIC, MR. LANGDON! DO YOU KNOW HOW ANGRY THE CHIEF WILL BE?!" Max kept on screaming without a care for the authority. "HE'LL SUE YOUR ASSES! YOU BETTER WATCH YOUR BACKS FROM NOW ON BECAUSE NOW YOU HAVE ME TO WORRY ABOUT, YOU DISGUSTING PIECES OF CRAP!" She yelled angrily as she was dragged away by an equally angered Lucas, and escorted by one of the secretaries.
"You three. Office. Now." The principal barked at the three girls who were huddled together, intimidated by Max's threats.
El's whimpers were still present, but they were considerably quieter because of Mike's uninterrupted loving murmurs against her hair.
She hid her face on his chest again as the principal turned to them.
"Miss Hopper? If you'll come to the office." He requested in a gentle voice.
"Why?" Mike asked with flashing eyes.
"She needs to tell her version, Mr. Wheeler. And I think it would be in order for us to call the Chief. She looks really shaken up."
"And with right reason, sir. I hope those girls get punished."
"They will. I can promise you that. But for now, if you will lead Miss Hopper to the office." The principal gestured as he walked in front of them.
"It's okay, Ellie. Your dad will be here soon, okay? It's okay, baby." Mike whispered gently as he rubbed her arm while they walked, never letting her out of his arms.
"Don't leave me."
"I won't. I'll stay by your side every second, okay? I'm sorry for not being there sooner, El."
She shook her head and hugged him closer. "Not your fault."
When they got to the principal's office, they watched him get inside and for a moment Max's and Lucas' voices thundered from inside before they were muffled as the door closed.
Mike stopped her before she entered and took her wet face in his palms, tracing his thumbs softly on her cheeks to gather the tears there.
She nibbled on her lip as a fresh batch of tears resurfaced, and she closed her eyes as he brought their foreheads together.
"I was so scared." She admitted as she cried quietly.
"I know. I'm sorry they did this to you, El." Mike whispered gently to her.
He kissed her moist lips and then planted a soft kiss on her forehead.
"I love you." He murmured against her skin.
"I love you, too. Don't leave me." She sighed at his warmth.
"I won't. I'll come with you to the cabin, okay? I'll never leave you alone, El."
He wiped the tears that escaped her eyelids as she opened her eyes.
"You promise?" She whispered.
"I promise." He murmured against her wet lips as he kissed her.
An hour later, (after she had turned into a crying ball in her dad's arms when she first saw him; after Hopper had screamed his throat raw at the principal and at the three girls; after Max had hugged her tight and fiercely told her the planned revenge she was forming; after Lucas kissed her head and assured himself she was okay) El and Mike were snuggled together in her bed. He watched as she napped, drained after the emotional trauma she had suffered.
Hopper had tucked her in bed, pressed warm kisses to her forehead, and after pointed glares and threats of "no funny business", had let him stay with her while he returned to the station.
Now, Mike gently rubbed his fingers on her scalp to massage her previous headache away. She was pressed against his side, arm thrown across his stomach; he brought his head down next to hers on the pillow and watched her perfect face.
Why would anyone want to hurt her? Those girls had no idea what she had been through, yet they didn't care to find out. A week of suspension was nothing compared to what they made El feel when she was inside that closet.
They didn't know she was terrified of closed spaces and of the dark. They didn't know she couldn't even pee with the door entirely closed. They didn't know the struggle she had to suffer through when they explained she couldn't do that in school. They didn't know how much of a regression they made for her now.
He knew she would be scared of being alone now, but he would be prepared to be with her every step of the way to get her better. He would fight the damn world with his bare hands if he needed to.
"I'll never leave you alone." He promised at her sleeping form, as he closed his eyes and hugged her close, finally falling asleep with her in his arms.
AN: I'm thinking of starting a Prompts story. Is that something you guys would like me to do? Review!