The Life You Deserve
AN: Well what can I even say?! I started this story in March, with no idea how long it would be or where I was going with it. Over 300,000 words later and it is completed. I hope you have been on a journey with this version of Mike and El and I truly hope I have given you moments to smile at, laugh at and probably cry at!
I love you all and thank you for your continuous support. If you want to follow me as an Author or just keep an eye out, that might be a good idea as I have the missing moments coming out soon and then I will be starting my new Mileven stories.
But for now, please enjoy this final VERY LONG chapter of The Life You Deserve :-)
Chapter 45 – The Life We Deserve
It was coming on 2am when Mike and El stumbled into their hotel room, giggling and tipsy as they crossed the plush carpeted floor on their way to the large bed.
It had been a fantastic day, one of the best in fact. Lucas and Max had got married on the beautiful San Diego shoreline after the shortest engagement in history. Lucas proposed to Max on Valentine's Day and two months later they were saying their vows, their feet bare in the white powdery sand.
The boys had teased Max about her urgency to get married, but she had simply said "what's the point in waiting?"
Mike was of course one of the three best men and El the maid of honour. It had been a packed day of celebrating and lots of drinking, hence the giddy and tipsy Mr and Mrs Wheeler.
At the wedding El and Mike had been happy to finally meet Dustin's girlfriend Laura, who he had met at the hospital he worked at in Massachusetts as a Biomedical Engineer. She was a Resident and her wit, gentle smile and bright blue eyes had drawn Dustin in immediately.
El had smiled so brightly, watching her best friends with their partners, everyone had someone, and in some ways, it felt complete. But since her and Mike's own wedding in November, El felt as if the whole picture had expanded and now there were a few missing pieces of her jigsaw puzzle.
It had taken until Christmas for her to realise what those missing pieces were. The moment she had seen Mike picking up 11-month-old Jess, she knew what that ache in her heart was asking for and what she truly wanted. Mike had smiled over at her, his eyes bright and full of wonder, and El knew immediately that he felt the same.
They had been looking for a house in Indiana since the past summer, wanting to buy a family home and unable to keep up with the expense of living in San Francisco. El had been sad at the prospect of leaving California, but she felt as if it had served its purpose in her young adult life. She had truly known what it was to be independent in the golden state and couldn't wait to come back and visit. But now, El wanted a home. She wanted to set up her future in Indiana with Mike.
It hadn't been an easy transition moving from California to Indiana. Buying a house was stressful, expensive and confusing. But finally, they had found a beautiful 3-bedroom house in Denfield that was perfect. It offered the peace and quiet that they craved whilst being a ten-minute drive away from their families.
El had been able to transfer to the local hospital, but Mike had spent a few months applying for teaching positions before finally obtaining a post at the local high school. Things were starting to slot into place and so El and Mike decided that it was time to start their new adventure.
El had followed all of the rules of getting pregnant; coming off her pill, checking when she was ovulating, taking prenatal vitamins and being healthier with her diet. They had been trying for a baby since January and El felt frustrated that nothing was happening. Mike tried to keep her calm and explain that it was perfectly normal.
But it wasn't until El had spoken to one of the gynaecologists in work who explained that it could take up to 6 months for her body to return to normal after being on the pill and that putting stress on herself would make it more difficult, El finally accepted it.
The gynaecologist had smiled warmly at her and chuckled, "you just need to relax! It will happen when it's meant to happen."
So as Mike and El landed on the white sheets of the bed in the hotel room, all they could do was giggle as the soothing alcohol calmed them. Ovulation math, pregnancy and wanting a baby so badly had left El's mind, and all she could concentrate on was Mike.
"You're so fucking hot," Mike whispered against El's neck, his mouth sucking on her skin whilst she keened and wriggled against the sheets.
She closed her eyes for a moment, just letting Mike's touch take over her senses. The delicious weight of his body on top of her, his hands raking up and down her curves causing her chiffon bridesmaid dress to ride up, and his hot lips and tongue ravishing her skin.
"Mike," El gasped, her chest heaving as heat pooled low in her abdomen at every sensual touch his sinful mouth and talented hands made. "I need you."
Mike smiled against her neck and he pulled away, bunching up the dress and pushing it up El's body. She sat up slightly to help, moving her arms up straight as Mike discarded her of the gown and it fell delicately to the floor.
His dark eyes widened as he took in El's body, her panties the only thing covering her sun kissed skin. He swallowed slowly, his gaze on her breasts. "W-Why didn't I know that you were braless all day?!" he whined making El giggle.
"Mike," She said flatly, giving him an amused grin. "There was a bra built into my bridesmaid dress…besides, what would you have done about it if you did know?" she asked coyly, laying back down and leaning on her elbows so it pushed her upper body out slightly.
Mike smirked flirtatiously and pushed his suit jacket off his shoulders before crawling up El's body, his hands planted on the mattress either side of her face. He leaned his head down so that their foreheads were touching, and their hot breath mingled, their lips inches away from one another.
"I wouldn't have let us be out until 2am." He murmured against her lips, his lowered voice sending a shiver down El's spine. "You're just so beautiful, your body…it's stunning. I just can't help myself." He whispered before his lips brushed against El's and she moaned.
Her fingers knotted into Mike's hair and she pulled him down so that his shirt clad chest crushed against her breasts, making a shot of hot sensation rush through their bodies.
Their mouths moved together, their lips tingling with building desire and their tongues seeking each over out in sweeping strokes of passion. They captured each other's moans of lust as they pulled one another closer, El gasping as she felt Mike shift his hips, his erection pressing into her lower abdomen.
Her fingers made frantic work of the buttons on his white shirt whilst Mike left a trail of tantalising kisses and nibbles against El's collarbones. She pulled the tie from Mike's neck and then pushed his button down off, flinging it to the floor where it met with her dress.
El moaned as Mike's mouth moved down to her breasts giving them equal attention in a flurry of sensual kisses, licks and bites. "Mike," El keened, her head lolling on the pillow in ecstasy.
Her hands moved to his toned back, the heat in her own skin rising at how amazing his body felt under her finger tips. One of her hands moved over the expanse of his rib cage and then sloped down his strong torso.
Mike groaned, his mouth on her breast and the vibration causing El to gasp as her hand reached his hard bulge and she rubbed his erection through his black pants. Mike's hips thrusted frantically and needy into her palm whilst their hearts raced in unison.
El reached for Mike's zipper and button, clumsily undoing then, getting closer to what she really wanted. Mike joined in, his hands moving to his pants and boxers, shoving them down his hips and kicking them off his legs.
He looked up at El's body, the way she writhed against the sheets and how her swollen lower lip was pulled in between her teeth as she stared at him with animalistic hunger. He groaned in response, needing her like he needed air.
Mike's hands moved slowly up El's silken legs, his fingers clinching into her panties before he pulled them from her body, all the while staring into her hazel eyes with blown pupils filled with desire.
"You're so beautiful," Mike choked out in a hushed voice as his eyes raked over El's naked body.
She squirmed under his dark gaze, her eyes pleading. "P-please Mike, I need you."
Mike groaned and then his head was in between her thighs and El was panting and gasping, her fingers grabbing at his dark locks whilst he sucked, licked and nibbled at her, bringing her closer and closer to the edge.
El moaned, her back arched and her eyes tightly closed as she felt everything Mike was doing to her. The heat in her lower abdomen was at boiling proportions, and when two of Mike's long fingers entered her, she was crying out in ecstasy. His name constantly on her lips as the tension built up, her body shook, and her walls fluttered and clamped down on his talented fingers.
El didn't get a chance to breath before Mike's mouth was on hers, hot and needy as their tongues danced furiously seeking dominance. Her hands ran down his bare back and she gripped his ass pulling him closer making them both moan in pleasure.
Mike kissed El more softly, light and loving kisses that decorated her lips and jaw line before his forehead was against hers and he was closing the distance and entering her. They both gasped at the undying passion that being one entity caused.
His hands moved up and down her curves as he thrusted his hips, El's own hips eager to join in and meeting his rhythm whilst they both panted and breathed heavily into each other's mouths.
"I love you," El whimpered into Mike's mouth as he grabbed her thighs and pulled her legs up higher.
Mike groaned as he began to pound into her, going deeper. "I love you too." He exhaled heavily, his chest warm against El's, brushing against her breasts in a delicious friction.
El's hands moved into Mike's hair again and she moaned, her body so relaxed and in utter euphoria from the flawlessness of Mike's body on hers. They fit perfectly, completely made for one another.
Any stress left El's body as she moved together with her husband, meeting every thrust, answering every groan with her own moan. Their breath mingled, their lips needy and loving on one another and their hands finally finding each other, entwining desperately as they brought each other to the edge. Gasping and crying out together as they reached the ultimate pleasure.
Their bodies shuddered together, adrenaline and endorphins rushing into their veins. But that night their bodies worked together to serve another purpose, to help create the future they wished for so desperately. Unsuspecting to them, their two entwined souls were going to make a new one; pure, clean and created with nothing but love.
El was awoken from a vivid dream by Mike walking into their bedroom, a mug of coffee in his hand and a smile on his face. "Sorry for waking you babe, but I don't want you to be late for work." He said placing the cup on El's side table and sitting on the mattress next to her.
"Hmm," El said before yawning and stretching her arms. "How long did I sleep for?" she asked in a husky voice as she squinted her eyes at the small alarm clock.
Mike smiled at her lovingly and reached over to stroke her crazy bed hair. "For like ten hours. You must have needed it!" he chuckled.
El looked at him, her heart filling with love. He looked so damn good in his work clothes, but then again, he would look good in anything, or nothing…
She coughed to clear her throat and rid herself of her dirty thoughts as she shuffled, sitting up against the head board and thanking Mike when he passed her the cup of coffee.
The swirling steam of roasted coffee beans hit her nostrils and she cringed slightly, dismissing her aversion to the early morning. El sipped at the coffee begrudgingly and smiled gratefully at Mike. "You're too good to me Mr Wheeler."
Mike laughed and scooted closer, "well what can I say? I love you Mrs Wheeler."
El put down her coffee cup and moved her now warm hand to Mike's sharp cheek bone, her stomach pooling with heat as her eyes devoured his handsome face. "How much time do we have before I really need to get ready for work?" she whispered, her desire filled eyes locking on the dark amber ones that made her swoon and melt all at once.
Mike slowly smirked, his eyes getting darker and hungrier as they flickered down to her lips. "I'd say a good ten minutes…" He exhaled in a low voice that made a shiver run down El's spine.
"More than enough time." El said breathlessly before lunging forward for Mike, her arms tightening around his neck as she pulled his body down with hers.
His chest crushed against hers and she jolted slightly, not realising how sore and hard her breasts felt.
"Everything okay?" Mike panted as he began to pepper her neck with delicious gasp inducing kisses.
"Y-yes," El swallowed heavily before flipping them over and straddling Mike's lap. She grinned down at him, her hands clutching at his button-down shirt whilst she rolled her hips against his crotch causing them both to moan loudly. "Much better." El concluded before leaning down eagerly and capturing Mike's mouth.
It was another three days before El started to question her odd symptoms. She was still feeling pretty tired and having naps on her lunch break in work to get her through the rest of the shift. Her breasts were still sore and when she thought it might be to do with her period, it was then that she realised she was late by 7 days. But remembering her own pregnancy scare when she was a teenager, El didn't want to jump to conclusions.
It was another four days before things started to make sense. El had been up a lot in the night, needing to pee so much that she wondered if she should cut down on her water intake. Mike had let her have a lie in whilst he prepared her a beautiful breakfast of Eggos, syrup and mixed fruit.
He snuck into the bedroom, smiling when he saw she was still sleeping, her mouth open slightly with a bit of drool on the pillow and her hair crazy and free. He grinned to himself thinking she looked ridiculously cute.
Mike placed the tray holding the plate laden with Eggos onto the bedside table and sat down by El's hips, leaning forward to gently shake her shoulder. "El? Come on babe, have some breakfast." He whispered with a smile. "I've made you Eggos." He added with a smirk knowing that this would be enough to coax her.
Sure enough, the moment the word Eggos was heard El's hazel eyes snapped open and she blinked, looking at Mike with a grin and rubbing her cheek against the pillow. "Morning," she said in a sleepy voice.
Mike chucked, leaning forward to move the stray curls off her face. "Morning babe." He said softly before crawling up the bed to sit against his own pillow, whilst El yawned, rubbed at her eyes and met him at the head board. Her eyes went to the tray and she grinned like a child, eagerly pulling it onto her lap.
"Mmm, you're the best." El said happily as she cut up a piece of Eggo with her fork and plopped it into her mouth.
"I know," Mike teased, watching her for a moment, his eyes softening with how much he loved his wife. She carried on eating slowly, clearing her throat and then grabbing her glass of water.
"You okay?" He asked her in amusement. El had an odd look on her face and it was strange to see her eating so carefully, like every mouthful was difficult.
"Yeah," she told him with a small smile which Mike wasn't sure if he believed or not, but he decided there was no point in raising the issue if she didn't want to talk about it.
Mike put his arm around El and decided to discuss their evening plans."So I know we're going to Hopper and Joyce's for dinner tonight, but I was wondering if we could pop in on my parents. Holly wants – "
Mike didn't get to the end of his sentence as El shoved the tray to the side, rushed out of bed and bolted for their ensuite.
"El?!" Mike asked in concern, getting off the bed and hurrying to the bathroom where he could hear the sound of her gagging.
He pushed open the bathroom door to find with surprise that she was on all fours in front of the toilet and puking up the Eggos she had just eaten. Mike began to panic, shit did I cook them wrong?! What kind of dumbass screws up Eggos?!
He kneeled down next to El, pulling her hair back whilst she panted, a sheen of sweat on her forehead as she emptied her stomach.
"Babe what's wrong? Did I screw up the Eggos? I'm so sorry." Mike said in a panic, his eyes wide as he watched El with worry.
Her eyes were closed, and she slowly shook her head. "N-no. Wasn't you." She mumbled. Mike watched her waiting for more of an explanation, but all he got was, "can you get me some water please?"
Mike scrambled to his feet and fetched her glass of water, condensation on the glass from the cold drink as he passed it to El and helped her lean back enough to drink some. She swirled the water around her mouth and then spat it into the toilet bowl.
El leaned back against the wall, her white face starting to gain more colour. "Sorry," she gasped shaking her head.
Mike flushed the toilet and then sat in front of her. "Why are you sorry? You can't help it if you're sick." He said giving her an understanding smile as he reached for her hand.
El stared at their entwined fingers for a while and then slowly looked up at him, something dancing in her eyes, something Mike had never seen before. "I think…I think it's more than being sick." She whispered, her eyes boring into his.
"What do you mean?" Mike asked quietly, his heart beat picking up its pace with anticipation as he wondered what she meant.
"Well," El began taking a deep breath to steady her nerves. "I'm always tired, I've been nauseous, I've now been sick, my boobs are so sore and…and my period is over a week late."
Mike gulped, not wanting to smile or get too excited in case this was a false alarm, or not what El was actually getting at.
"I think I might be pregnant Mike." El said softly, her eyes a bundle of nerves, hope and fear.
"Do you want to do a test?" Mike asked breathlessly, his heart now pounding and his eyes permanently glued open.
As soon as they had started trying for a baby El kept pregnancy tests in the house, and whilst she had done a few over the months, this moment felt different. From the symptoms that she mentioned, logic told Mike she was pregnant. But it didn't always work like that. Sometimes there was always another explanation for certain symptoms.
"Y-yeah, yeah let's take one." El said numbly, nodding her head frantically.
Mike hauled himself off the tiled bathroom floor and reached for El's hands, bringing her up carefully in case she was dizzy or needed to be sick again, but now that her stomach was empty she didn't seem as nauseous.
Mike sat on the edge of the bath tub, his fingers anxiously drumming against the porcelain and his knee bouncing whilst El peed on the stick, set it aside and washed her hands. She came to join him, their thighs touching as they stared nervously at the stick over on the counter.
It was the longest 3 minutes of Mike's entire life. He tried to pass the time by teasing El about the first time they had done this, when they were awkward teenagers. And whilst the rendition of the story made El laugh, he knew she was just as distracted as him. Both of their eyes were set on the counter until Mike's watch beeped and he gulped apprehensively.
They remained seated, both frozen with fear and hope. Finally Mike's loud beating heart distracted him and he glanced at his wife, "do you want to? O-Or should I?" He asked breathlessly, his eyes still wide and anxious.
El turned to look up at him and bit her lower lip nervously. "C-Can you?" she said not explaining any further, but not needing to either. Mike nodded, trying to pretend that he was calm instead of a rack of shuddering nerves.
He pushed himself off the bathtub and walked slowly over to the cabinet. It was crazy how this little stick had the power to change his and El's lives forever. It had the power to give them what they were dreaming of and it also had the power to disappoint them.
As Mike closed in on the counter he took a deep breath and looked back at El over his shoulder, smiling in what he hoped was a reassuring manner. He wanted her to know that even if it was negative, it didn't mean anything was wrong and they would keep trying.
Mike's hand clamped around the end of the stick and he pulled it closer. It was one of those expensive ones that was meant to be 99.9 percent accurate and would boldly state "pregnant" or "not pregnant".
His dark eyes took in the words and he blinked. Mike's pupils widened as he blinked again and tried to comprehend what the bold letters were telling him, and what they meant.
"What does it say?" El asked sheepishly, with a tinge of impatience in her soft voice.
Mike turned to her, he didn't know what his face must have looked like, but she gasped, taking in the pallid tinge to his already pale skin, the way his eyes were bulging and sparkling and how his mouth was gaped open in surprise.
Mike walked over to El, keeping his eyes on her, the stick held tightly in his hands. He dropped to his knees in front of her and led the stick into her waiting shaky palms. She gasped as she looked down at the letters.
"El," Mike choked, his dark eyes shimmering with wetness. "We're going to have a baby."
El slowly looked up from the stick and up to Mike's face. Her eyes were bright with tears that had already fallen down her flushed cheeks and her chest was heavy with emotions.
Suddenly she sobbed, and they were embracing in a tight hug. El crying and smiling in happiness and Mike chuckling and shuddering in amazement. One sentence raced through their minds as they kissed and cried together.
We're having a baby!
Whilst wanting a baby had been everything that El had been dreaming of, she hadn't put a lot of thought into the pregnancy side of things. It didn't take her long to realise that being pregnant could be kind of hard, really hard.
"Where's this glow I've heard so much about?" El gasped into the toilet bowl, whilst Mike held her hair back with one hand and rubbed her back sympathetically with the other.
"I don't think that's until later babe. You're only 8 weeks…" He said calmly.
Everything about the pregnancy had been unconventional so far. Instead of seeing an OBGYN at the hospital where El worked, she had to contact Dr Owens instead because of the risk that the labour might have on her powers.
He had agreed that she couldn't have the baby at a hospital in case something was to happen, and he had suggested that she have the baby at his private medical centre in Indianapolis. He had a confidant called Stephanie who was a Midwife, and after briefly explaining El's story, she agreed to be the main professional in El's pregnancy care and would deliver her baby in January.
After meeting with Stephanie, or Steph as she preferred, Mike and El felt immediately at ease. The old woman was kind, patient and supportive. She told the married couple lots of usual information about pregnancy and told El that her due date was the 10th January and that she was already 8 weeks pregnant as they worked it out from the first day of her last period.
"Just think El, another four weeks and we get to see the baby again." Mike said with a grin as he continued to rub his wife's back as she hurled her dinner into the toilet.
El sighed and wiped at her sweating brow, "yeah, another four weeks of throwing up every time I smell anything that's too strong, or the endless times I need to get up to pee, or the sleepless nights, or the food aversions. Great." She mumbled before spitting a bit of sick into the toilet.
Mike exhaled deeply, "I wish I could do this for you El. I feel like it's my fault…"
"It is your fault." El huffed but she turned to Mike and smiled gently so he knew she was only teasing him.
When she had finished being sick, he helped her sit up against the wall and passed her a can of diet coke which was the only drink she could stomach right now and a packet of animal crackers.
"Thanks baby," El sighed as she nibbled at a cracker and watched Mike flush the toilet and wash his hands. He turned back to her and smiled warmly whilst drying his hands.
"Of course. I'm here for whatever you need El." He said happily before walking over and joining her against the tiled wall.
"So," El began taking a sip of her diet coke. "What have I got to look forward to this week and next week?" she asked sarcastically but playfully.
Mike smiled excitedly, always eager to share the knowledge he had been gaining from reading the pregnancy books. Every night he would read something to El in bed and they would both learn something new about this crazy journey they were on.
"Okay so this week the baby is starting to look less like an alien and more like a human. It's going to start making spontaneous movements – "
"Will I feel it?" El asked curiously as she chewed on her cracker.
"Um no. Not yet, just because it's so tiny you see. It's like the size of a raspberry this week."
"Really?" El gasped, her hand instinctively going to her stomach which felt hard. She rubbed it gently and smiled. "Last week it was only a blueberry." She added fondly.
Mike chuckled, "I know right? It's growing fast and its heart is beating 150-170 times a minute which is like mind blowing when you think about it…" He said with a bright grin whilst his mouth ran on full speed Nerd. "Next week the baby will start developing muscles and it's head will become more proportionate to its body. Oh and you may be able to hear its heart beat on a doppler machine from next week onwards!"
El listened to Mike, taking in his words with awe as she absentmindedly rubbed at her stomach, amazed by all the developing that their little one was doing. It was times like this that all of the worst symptoms felt worth it.
"And what about me?" El asked, looking up at her husband with a soft smile. "What's my body doing?"
Mike looked at El and his eager smile faltered slightly, and he coughed uncomfortably. "Well um, it's kind of the same stuff you've been going through. Fatigue, frequent urination, sore boobs, nausea, with or without vomiting and um maybe heartburn and constipation too…"
"Oh joy…" El said rolling her eyes as she shook her head.
"And potentially mood swings too…"
"You don't say!" El gasped melodramatically making her and Mike chuckle softly.
Mike went quiet and watched El as she continued to stroke her stomach, a small smile lifted her lips and her eyes softened. "But it's worth it, it's all worth it…"
That feeling stuck with El all the way through the next four weeks, even when she was a mess at work because the smell of bleach made her wretch, or when she could no longer stomach Eggos or when she struggled to button up her cutest pair of jeans.
It was all worth it when she lay down on the bed, Mike holding her hand whilst Steph put cold gel on her stomach and moved around the hand-held device, causing a black and white image to appear on the ultrasound machine.
Mike and El both gasped in unison. They had seen the baby at 6 weeks to confirm the pregnancy, but it had been so small that you could hardly make anything out. But now…the baby had a profile. Everything was obvious, its head, its back and its little limbs.
El laughed, tears running down her face as the baby moved its tiny little hand as if waving to them. The sound of its strong heart beat filled the room making El smile brightly. Mike's hand gripped hers and she turned to look at her husband, his eyes watery and so full of love that it was blindingly beautiful.
They both looked back at the screen, watching their baby's tiny movements whilst Steph explained that thankfully everything looked healthy and that the baby had a strong heartbeat.
When Steph left the room to give them some privacy, El beamed at the image that was now frozen on the screen and placed her hand on her stomach where she knew their baby was moving, Mike's palm covered over the back of her hand.
He dipped his head down and El smiled happily as Mike's warm lips kissed her small rounding bump.
"You just keep growing nice and strong baby, mommy and daddy love you so much." He whispered to their little one, causing El's heart to leap with excitement and for her eyes to fill with content tears.
"You're pregnant?!" Karen screeched making El and Mike chuckle, nodding their heads to confirm whilst big grins played on their lips.
"Holy shit!" Max squealed in excitement.
It was a beautiful summers day and knowing that the whole party, including Dustin's girlfriend Laura, and Nancy and Jonathan were back for the week, they decided to announce the happy news at the Wheeler's cook out.
Hopper dropped the burger he was holding in shock, a big wide smile breaking on his face whilst Joyce squealed like Karen and the two women rushed to Mike and El who had been holding hands and facing the guests before being engulfed in hugs.
The party were all shouting in excitement, Ted was grinning, Nancy beaming as she held onto Jess, Jonathan moving in to hug El and Holly jumping up and down in delight.
El smiled and laughed as her family and friends all embraced her, their eyes going down to her developing bump that was mainly hidden in her blue floral summer dress.
"Geez I just thought you'd had a few more Eggos than usual..." Dustin teased, causing El to snort in amusement and for Mike to rib his best friend in the stomach.
Hopper was able to finally make his way over to Mike and El and he embraced them both in a hug, his large arms bringing them both closer whilst they all chuckled.
"Wheeler I bet you never dreamed that the Chief of Police would be the grandpa to your child!"
Mike laughed and grinned at Hopper, "yeah you can say that again!"
"Hey what's stranger Mike," Lucas piped up grinning whilst the others were distracted. "Being married to a super hero or having Hopper be the grandpa of your kid?!"
"Hmmm," Mike pretending to think about it, tapping his chin. "Definitely Hopper being the grandpa to my kid…" He teased making the others laugh and for El to roll her eyes and snuggle into his side.
Mike wrapped one arm around her shoulders and moved his other hand to her stomach, his flat palm gently rubbing the hard bump. He sighed, looking around at his family and friends, holding his wife and his baby and feeling the happiest he had ever felt.
Later that night Max pulled El away from the group, dragging her through the Wheeler house until they ended up in Mike's old bedroom. El sat down on the bed and frowned watching Max nervously close the door before sitting down next to her on the mattress.
"Max what's wrong?" El immediately asked, feeling suddenly anxious.
Max held El's hand and took a deep breath. "Okay, so I was going to wait to tell you…because it's so soon and everything, but…"
"Oh my god, you're pregnant, aren't you?" El interrupted with excitement, her giddy smile only increasing when Max chuckled and grinned slowly.
Her blue eyes met El's hazel eyes and she nodded. "I only had it confirmed yesterday. I'm 10 weeks, but I want to wait until the next scan to tell everyone." Max gushed breathlessly.
El was beaming and she squealed hugging her best friend, "I can't believe this! We're pregnant together! I'm only 4 weeks ahead of you." El gasped in amazement as she pulled away to look at Max.
"I know!" Max chuckled, shaking her head in wonder. "It was a bit of a surprise, me and Lucas weren't planning on having a baby this early into our marriage." Max admitted sheepishly.
"But are you happy?" El asked softly, a warm smile on her lips.
Max grinned and nodded, "yeah really happy. Lucas is too."
El exhaled feeling content and pleased beyond measure. She gripped her best friend's hand and giggled, "we're going to be moms."
"God help our children…" Max said flatly before they both burst out laughing, high off their wonderful news.
"I think the baby has your nose," Mike commented as he looked down at the baby scan whilst El held his other hand and they walked towards their car having just finished their appointment with Steph. "Which is definitely a good thing."
El snorted and smiled up at Mike as she led him towards the car, "there's nothing wrong with your nose Mike."
Mike smirked looking at her, "try telling our future children who have my nose that..." He teased before unlocking the car and opening the door for El.
She thanked him and with a little difficulty got into the passenger seat, buckling herself in whilst Mike got in the driver's side. He looked down at the scan one more time, a warm smile on his face. "And you're sure you don't want to find out the gender?" he asked in a slightly pleading voice that made El smile.
"All we should care about is the fact that the baby is growing well and is healthy." She told him calmly, having had this conversation about the baby's gender a hundred times. Today would have been the day they could have found out on the scan, but El wanted a surprise.
"Okay," Mike sighed carefully putting the photo back in its holder and tucking it into El's purse. He started the car and they began their journey from Indianapolis to Denfield. "So how do you want to decorate the nursery then if we don't know the gender?" He asked curiously, keeping his eyes on the road.
El had been thinking about the nursery for a while already and had a few ideas. "Well I wanted to ask Will if he would do some sketches for us on the walls. I was thinking knights, princesses and wizards."
Mike chuckled and glanced at her for a moment, "so kind of D&D themed?"
El grinned and nodded, her hand on her protruding bump. "Kind of. Is that okay?"
"You're asking a Paladin and the biggest Nerd in town if it's okay to decorate the nursery in a D&D theme?!" Mike teased, a smirk on his lips.
El giggled and then put on a serious expression. "No…I'm asking a Paladin and the biggest Nerd in the world if it's okay to decorate the nursery in a D&D theme."
Mike laughed, the warmth and brightness of it sending a flurry of butterflies to El's stomach. She beamed at him, so in love that she just wanted to burst into tears. Or maybe that was the hormones?
"Well the biggest Nerd in the world thinks it's a great idea." Mike concluded with a soft grin, his eyes sparkling as he glanced at El and caught her eye for a moment before returning his full attention to the road.
Now that El had entered her second trimester of pregnancy, things were getting a little easier. She was no longer being sick, although she did continue to have a sensitive nose which got her out of most of the household chores.
She had most of her energy back, enough at least to go swimming with Mike, which she was told was very good in pregnancy.
El had started to have a strange butterfly feeling in her stomach for a few weeks now but was unable to distinguish it as proper movements from the baby. It wasn't until the third week of August when El would know for sure that it even was the baby.
She was lying down on her side in the bed, a pregnancy pillow between her legs taking the pressure off her widening pelvis.
Mike was lying on his stomach, The Hobbit in front of him, one hand turning the page now and again and his other hand rested on the bump whilst El listened to his soothing tone and drew soft circles over the back of his hand.
Everything was calm and peaceful until El and Mike gasped in unison when there was a hard kick, Mike's hand flinching away from the bump and El sitting up immediately in shock.
They stared at each other through wide eyes, "was that...?" Mike whispered in awe.
All El could do was nod, so stunned and amazed to say anything else. She slowly eased herself back down on the bed and took Mike's hand, placing it where she could feel the movement.
"Carry on reading," El whispered to Mike, a smile etched on her face.
He grinned and nodded, his soothing story teller voice coming back before the baby once again kicked against his hand. This time Mike didn't take his hand away, he laughed affectionately instead and leaned down to kiss the spot of movement.
El beamed as she watched Mike, leaning forward to stroke his hair and embracing the odd sensation of the baby moving within her womb.
"Do you like daddy reading?" Mike said to bump gently, his voice full of warmth. "I'll keep reading to you baby and maybe when you finally get here you'll recognise the stories."
He stroked El's tummy and kissed it gently, his head turning up to meet El's gaze where she was smiling at him with so much love and affection.
"I love you." Mike whispered to his overwhelmed wife.
"I love you too," El choked, happy tears clinging to her lower lashes, causing Mike to lean up and kiss them away gently.
Once the baby had started kicking, it seemed that they didn't want to stop. El would be in work, taking temperatures or writing up notes when she would gasp at a sharp thud of a foot or an elbow. She couldn't stop smiling though, it all made her love the baby even more.
The best kicks were when El was in the bath with Mike, her back against his chest and his hands on her bump whilst he nuzzled her shoulder and kissed her neck.
The baby would kick and Mike and El would beam with pride, laughing when it would kick the rubber bath thermometer off El's stomach.
"I think our little one is going to be a track star like their mommy." Mike said with a chuckle as he placed a kiss to El's jaw and she snuggled into his chest, feeling content and surrounded by love.
It wasn't all good times though, as the months went on and the reality of having a baby hit, Mike woke up to the sound of El whimpering in her sleep.
"El wake up," Mike said softly, his brow creased in concern as he gently shook his wife who was sweating and trembling. She gasped sitting up and clutching at her bump before sobbing.
"What's wrong?" Mike asked breathlessly, shaking with panic as he checked El over.
"T-The lab. T-They came for our b-baby." El cried, her hands clutching to the bump as if desperate to keep the baby safe. "A-And then they s-shot you dead and electrocuted my b-brain!"
Mike exhaled a heavy breath and reached for El, she clung onto him, her arms wrapping tightly around his torso whilst she sobbed into his bare chest. He stroked her hair and rocked her gently.
"El it's okay. I promise they're gone. It was just a nightmare after what happened to your mama. I promise this won't happen to you, you're safe. You're safe." Mike whispered urgently, gently shushing her tremors and gasps, as his chest became damp from her anguished tears.
El grabbed onto Mike's upper arms and leaned back enough to look at his face, needing his comfort. His heart felt like it was being crushed when he saw how truly broken and scared she looked.
"Promise me the baby will be safe Mike. P-Promise me." El begged, her eyes red and sorrowful.
Mike's palms cupped her wet cheeks and he leaned his forehead against her sweating one. He stared deeply into her eyes, wanting her to see the seriousness in his dark amber orbs. She looked at him, beseeching and desperate for his strength to calm her.
"I promise. I won't let anything happen to you or our baby." Mike said solemnly, his eyes so meaningful that El exhaled a shaky breath of relief and nodded her head slightly in his hands, as she accepted his words.
"I love you, you're safe." Mike whispered, kissing the tear tracks on her cheeks before capturing her mouth.
El kissed him back, needy and frantic. Her hands clutching to his hair and bring him closer, his head tilting to deepen the kiss before bringing El back down to the bed, showing her with actions rather than words that she was always save in his arms and always loved.
El and Mike started antenatal classes when she turned 6 months pregnant, Mike wanting to be a supportive birth partner and soaking up all of the knowledge like a sponge.
She tried to pretend that she didn't see his face pale when the instructor demonstrated the baby coming down into the pelvis and then moving into position. El knew the logistics of childbirth, she was a nurse after all. But when it was the concept of your own body pushing out a full-grown baby…well it was quite daunting.
El tried to take comfort in the words the instructor said, things like "this is what your body is made for, it knows what it's doing" making her feel respect and trust in her own body.
El enjoyed the classes on how to change a baby's diapers, understanding feeding cues and support on breastfeeding. Mike wrote notes, ever the eager student and took part in everything. El smiled at him, her heart pounding with adoration for her amazing husband who was soon going to be a perfect daddy to their very lucky baby.
The antenatal classes got more entertaining when Max and Lucas joined them for a session on labour. They were up visiting his parents and El insisted that they should come along seeing as Max was already 5 months pregnant.
The two best friends sat next to each other, their husbands sat behind them with their legs either side of their wives, holding their hands and practising the breathing techniques that the instructor was teaching them.
"Breathe…breathe…breathe…" Lucas said calmly.
"Stop telling me to fucking breathe! I'm obviously breathing. I'd be dead if I wasn't." Max snapped at her husband making El and Mike snort.
Lucas heaved an annoyed sigh and turned to Mike with a deadpan look. "Want to switch pregnant wives?"
Mike laughed and shook his head, "no thanks. I don't think I could cope with the spawn of Maxine…"
"Want to make it to your child's birth Wheeler?" Max glared at Mike. "I swear to God I'll sit on you if I hear another snarky comment."
Mike chuckled, his arms wrapping around El's growing bump as he propped his chin on his wife's shoulder. He smirked at the red head, "sorry Max…so um, how are those pregnancy hormones treating you?"
Max huffed whilst Mike laughed, unable to stop himself from teasing her. "Right I'm sorry El, I know he's your husband and all that, but I will squish him to death with this baby bump."
El grinned and lay her head back against Mike's strong chest. "Can you not Max? I do kind of love him and want more babies with him."
"Really?" Mike asked softly, a pleased grin lifting his lips.
"Really?!" Max asked in bewilderment. "You want to do this again?!"
El chuckled at her best friend's reaction but turned her head slightly to look up at Mike and meet his warm gaze. It made her heart tingly and made the baby move in her womb. "Definitely. You're going to be an amazing daddy, how could I not want more babies with you?"
Mike beamed with pride and stuck his tongue out childishly at Max who rolled her eyes but allowed Lucas to carry on with the breathing exercise.
El sighed happily whilst Mike pressed a loving kiss to her cheek. "You're going to be the best mommy in the whole world." He whispered against her skin making her smile widely.
The party were all reunited later in the month at Steve and Robin's wedding which took place in a small chapel in Hawkins. It was a lovely day, filled with laughter and tales of how the couple met in Scoops Ahoy where they worked in the summer of 1985.
El and Max whined about missing out on the free alcohol that Steve's father paid for, but Lucas and Dustin teased that they would drink enough for both girls.
Mike didn't drink, being one of the designated drivers and wanting to keep his eye on his pregnant wife and pregnant best friend. He watched El all night, a love-struck glow in his dark eyes as he observed her talking to their friends, a glass of orange juice in her hand, her hand rubbing gently at her quickly growing bump and a laugh on her beautiful lips. She was perfection and she was carrying their baby. It seemed like a dream.
In early December Will came over to Mike and El's house to decorate their nursery just how the couple had hoped.
El sat in the rocking chair, her hands on her bump and talked avidly with Jen whilst the boys laughed and joked, Mike doing the main painting whilst Will focused on the design.
"So how did he propose?" El asked eagerly, her eyes sparkling with happiness for her step brother whilst she looked at Jen's sparkly ring.
Jen beamed with happiness, "well he took me to this small lagoon that we discovered in Mirkwood when we were sixteen and I thought he was painting as usual, but when he turned the canvas to me, it said 'marry me?' And then he got down on one knee and pulled out this beauty." She sighed contently, looking at her ring with awe.
Will looked over at the girls and smirked when El burst out crying. "You okay over there sis?" he teased.
El sniffled and wiped at her tears whilst Mike glanced at her, giving her a loving smile. "Y-Yeah, it's just these damn hormones." She huffed before chuckling slightly at the stupidity of her body's reaction to things of late.
A week ago she had been trying to open a jar of sauce in the kitchen, only to burst out crying because she couldn't do it. Mike quickly took it out of her hands, opening it easily and giving her a soothing hug, his hands rubbing at her back.
And then yesterday Mike had cooed that she looked so cute when she waddled, and she almost bit his head off. Which of course then turned into sobs of tears for being mean to him and another embrace of comfort and understanding from her husband.
By the time Christmas day came El was feeling more like herself. Smiling as Karen took a photo of her and Max, both of them holding their bumps in front of the Christmas tree.
El had on a maternity red sweater which read 'Bumps First Christmas' and Max had on a black shirt with gold writing over her large bump that said 'Santa I can explain…'
El was 38 weeks pregnant, two weeks away from her due date whilst Max was 34 weeks pregnant. Both of the girls sympathising with each other over their third trimester symptoms.
When Dustin awed over Max's bump and went to touch it, she slapped his hand away and glared at him. "If any of you touch my stomach without my permission I will break your arm." She warned looking around at the party who didn't know whether to snigger or be scared.
"El let me touch her bump!" Dustin said offended, crossing his arms and sitting back in his chair next to an amused looking Laura who happily leaned her head on Dustin's broad shoulder.
Max sighed, "that's because El's a ray of sunshine and I am not."
El laughed, "trust me, I don't feel like a ray of sunshine." She adjusted her position in her chair for the fifth time as they all sat around the D&D table.
"Are you okay babe? Can I get you a pillow? Do you want to sit on my knee?" Mike asked in a rush, he ignored the sniggers from the boys at his wild eyes. As they got closer to the due date Mike seemed to be more on edge, as if worried the baby would be coming at any second.
El smiled at him and shook her head, "Mike I'm 38 weeks pregnant, I'd kill you if I sat on your knee right now. Have you seen this bump?!" She teased indicating to her now huge stomach.
Mike chuckled and turned in his chair towards her, so he could lean down and kiss her sweater clad stomach. "Yes, I see this bump and I love it. You look so cute." He said looking back up at El and kissing her nose.
"Eurgh," Max shuddered holding onto her bump. "You two are sickly sweet." She said shaking her head and making the others laugh.
Mike ignored Max and looked at El, "do you need anything?"
"I'll take the pillow please. Oh and some ice chips!"
Mike chuckled and grabbed the pillow, tucking it carefully behind her back before heading upstairs to get the ice that she enjoyed chewing on.
"How can you do that?" Will asked cringing as El bit into the ice like it was an apple.
"I love it," El shrugged like it was perfectly normal as she sucked on the frozen water.
"Those good old cravings," Dustin chuckled before turning to his other pregnant friend. "Hey Max, you still loving cheese?"
Max looked at him like he was dumb, "hell yeah! In fact, stalker, me and the baby require some cheese please."
Lucas rolled his eyes in amusement and trudged up the stairs to get his pregnant wife whatever she was craving. Max was smiling five minutes later, munching on sliced cheese and watching the D&D campaign rather than joining in.
"Hey, have you realised this will be the last time we all hang out before the babies get here?" Jen gasped as she looked around at the group with a warm smile on her face.
Max sighed, "and I should hope so too. I can't wait to get this little shit out." She huffed before stroking her bump affectionately.
"Aw it can't be that bad Mad Max," Dustin teased giving his friend a grin whilst she rolled her eyes.
"Hmm not that bad? Let's consider the exhaustion, the walking like a fucking penguin, the fact I can't see my feet let alone anything else down there, the constipation, the back aches and don't even get me started on the leaking boobs!"
"Amen!" El shouted before nibbling on her ice and making Mike snort with amusement.
He watched his wife and smiled to himself, it was crazy to think that this time last year he was holding Jess and wondering what it would feel like to be a dad. And now? He was less than a month away from finding out…
January 5th 1996
Mike was struggling to sleep, it was 1am and the drapes were illuminated from the heavy snow falling outside. It was the worst snow storm they had had in years, Mike and El's cars completely blanketed in the ice crystals and cloud like substance.
He frowned hoping it would let out by El's due date which was in five day's time. At the mention of his wife and baby, Mike turned to look at El, smiling softly to himself as he watched her sleeping soundly and clutching to her pregnancy pillow which she said was her saviour in these last few months. Mike tried not to feel jealous of a stupid pillow, but it was definitely getting more cuddles then he was right now.
Mike turned on his side so he was facing El fully, he watched her sleeping for a while, tucking a loose curl behind her ear and pressing a gently kiss to her forehead before he tried to get back to sleep.
It was coming on 3am when he heard her whimpering and shuffling around under the covers. Mike's eyes opened tiredly, and he blinked a few times before he could see in the darkness of the room. "You okay babe?" he whispered in case she was still asleep.
"Yeah," El sighed, her voice heavy with sleep. "Just trying to get comfy, I've got a bad back."
Mike's brow furrowed for a moment as he watched her toss and turn. "Do you want me to give you a back massage?" he asked softly.
El huffed as she tried to get comfy, but she gave him a weak smile and nodded her head. Mike scrambled closer to her and moved his hands to her back, trying to get rid of the knots in her muscles caused by the strain of carrying their full-term baby.
"Is that better?" Mike whispered as he carefully moved his fingers against her soft skin.
"Yes, that's helped thank you." El said sleepily, the gentle movements of Mike's hands relaxing her so much that she was ready to sleep again.
Mike kissed the back of her neck and snuggled up to her, his hand on her bump. "Try and get some sleep babe." He said quietly as he closed his own eyes.
El didn't respond but her slow and calm breathing told him she had fallen asleep again. Mike drifted off soon after, having a flurry of short dreams, imagining meeting the baby, doing stupid things like dropping it or decorating the entire nursery bright pink but it turned out to be a boy who despised pink.
Mike jolted awake, not really sure why at first but when he felt El's stomach tighten under his palm he knew the reason. He sat up quickly and turned to his wife who was gripping her bump and inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly, her eyes closed.
"El?" Mike asked, his heart in his throat. "A-Are you in labour?"
El's eyelids fluttered open and she turned to Mike, a mixture of fear and nerves in her beautiful hazel eyes. "I-I think so. I've been having contractions." She finally admitted.
Mike looked between El and the bump repeatedly, and when the news finally processed in his brain, he launched himself off the bed. "R-Right. It's okay, it's gonna be okay. I'm going to ring Steph, y-yeah I'll ring Steph and – "
"Mike?" El asked, taking a moment to breathe deeply.
"Y-Yeah?" Mike asked, his throat dry and his eyes as wide as saucers.
"Breathe Mike." El said whilst she demonstrated by breathing through her own contraction and Mike joined her, having to admit that it did steady his nerves enough to try and think rationally.
"Okay," Mike exhaled feeling calmer. "H-How long are the contractions and how often?" His knowledge from the pregnancy books slowly seeping back into his brain.
"I've been counting and they're like e-every five minutes and lasting about thirty seconds." El said as calmly as she could.
"Right okay. You stay here, sleep if you can. I'll go and ring Steph and then I'll be right back, okay?" He asked his wife softly, cringing internally because he didn't want to leave her, even to go downstairs and ring the Midwife.
"Y-Yes, that's fine." El said nodding her head as her legs curled and she tucked herself into a fetal position under the covers.
Mike pretended to be cool and composed, but the moment he was out of the bedroom he raced down the stairs, almost sliding across the polished wooden floor as he rushed to the kitchen phone.
He grabbed Steph's number that had been taped to the fridge and quickly punched the digits into the phone, praying that she would answer despite the early morning.
"Hello?" answered a slightly croaky voice.
Mike breathed a sigh of relief, "Steph it's Mike. El…s-she thinks, we think she's in labour."
There was a bit of shuffling and then the fluttering noise of paper, "right okay, how far apart are the contractions?"
"T-They're every five minutes and lasting t-thirty seconds." Mike stammered as his nerves started to build back up.
"Okay that's good." Steph said with a sigh. "We've still got a little bit of time then. I would have said this should be the right time to make your way to the medical centre Mike, but have you seen the weather?"
Mike nodded even though she couldn't see him. His teeth chattering from adrenaline pumping through his veins. "Y-Yeah. Our cars are snowed under and the roads, they're pretty shit."
"Right okay," Steph said, pausing to think it all through. "Well I'll come to your house then. My Jeep will probably getting through this snow, but I might have to park a bit away from your house. I can hopefully get there in say two hours? Are you going to be okay?"
Mike exhaled a shaky breath, "I think so." He said starting to panic about what would happen if Steph didn't get there in time.
She clearly sensed his alarm because her next words came out supportively. "It's okay Mike, if she is a quick labourer she can do this and so can you. I know you've been to all of the classes okay? Make sure to have plenty of warm towels, get her in the bath as well, that'll help with the contractions. And maybe call your mom or El's stepmom for some assistance okay? Until I get there."
Mike nodded once more, his chest calming slightly as he realised he hadn't thought about his mom or Joyce. They'd know a lot more than him seeing as they had both experienced labour themselves more than once.
"Y-Yeah that's um, a good idea. But get here as soon as you can Steph, please."
"I'm putting on my snow boots as we speak. I'll get there as soon as I can Mike."
Mike ended the call and took a few steadying breaths, it was going to be okay, it had to be. He picked up the phone ready to call his mom when he realised there was no dial tone. Mike frowned, putting the phone back down and picking it up again, but still there was no dial.
His dark eyes went to the heavy snow he could see through the kitchen and he groaned. "Are you fucking kidding me?!" Annoyance and frustration filling his chest as he realised that the phone lines had gone down because of the snow storm. He slammed the phone back on the wall and paced the kitchen.
Mike huffed to himself, trying to calm himself down and remember that he had his pregnant and labouring wife upstairs who needed him. Yes, he couldn't call his mom or Joyce to come and help, but Steph was on her way and he would be damned if he didn't get El through these next few hours. She was having their baby and there was no way he could let her do this on her own.
Mike's jaw tightened with determination as he walked with purpose to the laundry room, taking the fluffy towels and placing them on the heaters. He exhaled deeply and then headed back upstairs, planting what he hoped was a relaxed expression on his face.
He snuck back into the bedroom and was relieved to see that El was back to sleep. He snuggled up to her, rubbing her stomach and counting to himself when he felt a contraction.
This went on for another hour until El felt too uncomfortable to sleep, she moaned and writhed slightly on the bed, her eyes fluttering awake.
"Hey baby," Mike said softly, rubbing her back whilst she came out of her exhausted spell.
"Have you called Steph?" El asked before wincing slightly from a contraction.
"Yes, she's um, she's on her way. The snow is slowing her down, but she'll be here." Mike said in a determined voice that made El nod her head slowly.
"Do you want to have a bath? Steph said it can help with the contractions." Mike offered, hoping to distract her from the obvious pain she was experiencing.
"Yes," El sighed rubbing at her stomach and rolling onto her back briefly. "That sounds good."
Mike quickly went into their ensuite, running the water and sitting on the edge of the tub making sure it was the perfect temperature for her. When it was drawn and ready to go, Mike rushed back to El, helping her carefully out of bed.
They paused on their way to the bathroom whilst El had another contraction. They seemed to be a lot closer now, around three minutes in between each one. Mike tried to hide his panic and placed a smile on his face, helping El to get undressed and making sure she didn't stumble as she got into the warm water.
El sighed in relief as she soaked in the water whilst Mike knelt down beside the tub and watched her every move anxiously.
"This is much better," She sighed, laying her head back against the rim of the porcelain tub and closing her eyes as she tried to relax.
Mike let El stay in the tub for as long as she wanted, topping up the water now again to keep it warm for her whilst she moaned through the contractions and Mike's chest tightened as he realised they were getting ever closer. He looked down at his watch and frowned, it was now two hours since he had spoken to Steph. He prayed she'd get here soon.
After a while El's breathing became heavier and she turned to Mike, her cheeks a little paler. "I think I should get out now." She said swallowing nervously.
Mike grabbed a few of the towels out of the cabinet and helped El out, drying off her body whilst she leaned her hands against the counter top and breathed in and out deeply.
"You're doing amazing El," Mike couldn't help but whisper in awe as he watched her take control of her contractions. She gave him a feeble smile but didn't say anything.
Mike was helping her into a nightie when they both gasped as a rush of water spilled down El's legs and hit Mike's bare feet, he quickly hid his shock and looked down at El who was gasping, her eyes wide.
"M-My waters…" She choked. Her eyes met Mike's and he wanted to take the fear out of her beautiful features. "A-And Steph isn't h-here yet." El sobbed.
"Hey," Mike whispered softly, his hands palming El's cheeks. "Baby it's okay. It's…it's a good thing that your waters have gone right? It means we're a step closer to meeting our baby. You can do this El. I won't leave you alone, I promise."
"But I need Steph here," El trembled, her lower lip quivering.
"And she's getting here as soon as she can El. But I promise, I'm here and I'm going to help, whatever you need, whatever happens, you've got me." Mike said the words with purpose, truly meaning them as his heart beat quickened at the reality that he may have to help her deliver their baby into the world.
Things moved even quicker after El's waters had broken, Mike flittered around her, rubbing her back, wiping at her sweating forehead with a cold flannel and talking to her encouragingly. She was so strong, and Mike was captivated by her courage.
El leaned against the mattress, rocking her hips side to side and groaning into the duvet cover. She shouted out in pain and the lights in the house all seemed to flicker. Mike gulped from his position rubbing her back, noticing that watery blood was trickling down her legs whilst she continued to make noises, her groans getting lower and longer.
Mike tried to ignore the fact that his heart was in his throat and that his eyes were so wide that it was painful. "Um…El? Do you mind if I? Can I um…l-look?" He asked sheepishly, not sure if he really wanted to look but knowing he needed to at this point.
El couldn't speak, she was in too much pain and focusing on her breathing, but she nodded her head quickly and Mike who was slightly trembling slid down on the floor by her legs.
There was a lot of watery blood on the floor and Mike gulped, realising that the instructor wasn't lying when she said labour was messy. Mike clenched his fists for a moment, trying to remind himself to be brave.
He hesitantly pulled up El's nightie slightly and looked, his eyes widening in shock at what he saw. Holy shit that's the beginning of the baby's fucking head!
"Mike," El moaned, whimpering and rocking her hips to try and ease the pressure she was feeling.
Mike tried to hold back his stunned tears and he gasped, "y-you're doing so well El. The baby is almost here." He was shaking and wanted to sob at the amazement of this moment, but all he could focus on was getting those damn towels and helping his incredible wife.
Within thirty seconds he was back, kneeling down with the towels and talking to El with encouragement. His heart pounding as she groaned, louder and more longer moans that brought her closer to getting the baby out.
The lights were flickering again, one of the bulbs in the bathroom bursting, but Mike tried not to focus on that.
She was panting now, her chest heaving and her legs shaking. "You can do this El, you're so close." Mike called, tears streaming down his cheeks as he helped El's body, guiding with trembling hands as their child started to come into the world.
El screamed, the sound cutting through Mike's heart like a knife, but then everything changed. His whole world turned on its axis as their baby was out, screaming their little lungs off in the towel that a stunned Mike held it in…held her in.
His mouth was gaped open in shock, but he managed to wrap the towels around her, his fatherly instinct to keep her warm and safe taking over.
"El," Mike gasped, lifting their baby through her legs and up so that a sobbing and shocked El could pick her up, which she did immediately. Bringing the small crying bundle immediately to her heaving chest.
Mike shakenly stood, his sobs wracking from his chest now as he smiled with pride and intense love and cried all at the same time. "Y-You did it. I love you so much El. You brought our d-daughter into the world." He gasped, his eyes on his wife.
El's red eyes turned to Mike in shock, "d-daughter?" she gasped, her voice dry and sore.
Mike smiled and nodded happily, "yes daughter."
El gasped and sobbed, kissing their little girl's messy black hair and holding her tighter to her chest whilst the baby stopped crying, her eyes searching for her mother.
There was a loud knock at the front door and Mike groaned in relief, "thank god!" He shouted, running out of the bedroom, his heart staying behind with his wife and daughter.
Mike was back within a minute, a panicked Steph hot on his heels before she paused in the door and breathed with relief looking at the new parents with a smile of pride. "You both did it!"
Mike couldn't help but let his floodgates break. He had been so scared, so terrified about what would happen, but El had done it.
Steph got to work, getting Mike to cut the spongy cord and then checking their little girl and El over.
When Steph was checking El over and helping her deliver the placenta, Mike was finally handed their daughter. She was a little cleaner and wrapped in a new clean towel. He marvelled at the little person that he and El had created, she had dark hair like him, but she looked like El so much already, her cute little nose, her lips with a sweet cupid's bow and the shape of her eyes. She was perfect.
Mike's was besotted, a love so strong hitting him as he realised that he would do anything for this little girl. He would die for her, kill for her, do anything to make her happy. He loved her unconditionally.
"Hi," Mike whispered to her as she stared up at him. His finger brushed over her tiny hand and her fist clamped tightly onto his finger making Mike smile through tears.
"I'm your daddy. I'm the guy who was reading The Hobbit to you and talking about Star Wars theories a-and trying to sing. I'm sorry if it was annoying…but I just wanted you to know I was there. That I will always be there for you. I…I love you." He choked out, not taking his eyes off their perfect daughter.
El was finally helped into bed by Steph, clean, exhausted and happy beyond measure. Mike carefully put their baby girl into El's waiting arms and she beamed at their little bundle of love. El's eyes greedily taking in everything about their daughter whilst Mike crawled into the bed beside her and put a protective arm around El, kissing her temple.
She glowed with happiness as she stared down at their baby girl, everything about her made El feel amazed at what her and Mike's love had created. She smiled warmly as she remembered asking Joyce about love when she was fourteen. Her words now rang in El's mind.
"Unconditional love is the love that parents should have for their children. It means that no matter what, they will try and protect their children and love them. It's something sweetie that most people don't understand until they have their own child."
El understood it now. She understood that there wasn't anything she wouldn't do for her child. She would keep her safe, make sure she had a happy life and love her unconditionally forever.
She felt like her heart was expanding, a new section had just been created for her daughter. "Hi baby." She said shaking from the adrenaline that was still rushing around her.
She didn't pay attention to Steph who was cleaning up, she only had eyes for her precious daughter. El slowly reached her finger out to her daughter and brushed her soft cheek. She cried in love and relief and turned to Mike, feeling still in shock. "We did it." She said, her voice cracking with the emotions that were soaring through her.
Mike shook his head and stroked El's hair. "No, you did it. I am so proud of you." He said choked. He gently moved his hand over to his daughter, terrified of hurting her and treating her like porcelain. He slowly leaned forward and kissed her soft forehead.
The new parents gazed at their daughter, wanting to memorise everything about her. Dark amber eyes and hazel eyes dancing across the sweet baby's features.
Steph had finished cleaning up and was now zipping up one of her bags. She beamed as she watched El and Mike before saying, "does the little beauty have a name yet?"
The new parents looked up at Steph before turning to each other and smiling. Mike wanted to laugh because El had their baby names chosen since she was a teenager.
"Yes," he said smiling before his warm gaze returned to his daughter who was making the cutest little noses as she snuggled into her blanket. "Her name is Ivy."
"Ivy Jane Wheeler." El sighed happily as she moved closer to Ivy and kissed her little button nose.
El looked up at Mike to find he was looking back at her, love, admiration and utter contentment written all over his face. He leaned in and kissed her lips softly, his gratitude resonating in the warm touch. El sighed against his mouth, feeling like one of the beautiful pieces of their life jigsaw board had just slotted perfectly into place.
January 1996 – January 1997
Mike and El had one day at home with Ivy, getting to know her, kissing and cuddling her, changing a ridiculous amount of diapers and marvelling at how easily she took to breastfeeding.
Mike chuckled and beamed with pride when El changed their wriggly little girl into a white onesie which had a black printed image of Yoda and read 'Yoda Best Daddy'.
Through the night of January 5th, the telephone lines were fixed, and Mike immediately called around their family and friends to give them the great news. He didn't know what stunned them all more, that El had laboured without pain relief or that Mike had helped to deliver Ivy.
The next day everyone swarmed on the house, except for a very disappointed Max and Lucas who couldn't fly out because of Max being so close to her own due date.
El relaxed, exhausted but so happy whilst her family and friends flittered in and out of the house, all of them cuddling Ivy and swooning over her.
Becky cooed over how much Ivy looked like El and carefully placed the baby into Danny's waiting arms. Her six-year-old cousin smiled down at the baby but soon grew bored when he realised that she didn't do much but eat, sleep and poop.
The first month flew by in a flurry of sleepless nights, breastfeeding struggles, tears of joy and tears of exhaustion. But El and Mike had never been happier.
One night El awoke, confused for a moment when she realised that Mike wasn't in bed next to her. She crept the small distance to Ivy's nursery and leaned against the door frame, smiling tiredly as she watched Mike cradling their daughter.
He was on the rocking chair and she was against his chest, slowly falling asleep whilst he sang 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' to her.
The image of Mike with their daughter, an image El had dreamt about for years brought tears to her eyes as she looked at her soulmate and the love they had created together.
Max gave birth on the 11th February to baby Ryan and El waited impatiently for her best friend and Lucas to travel up to Hawkins with their new born, everyone so excited to see them.
Max and El hugged, both of them immediately swooning over each other's baby, carefully swapping them over whilst Lucas and Mike embraced happily. Both of them basking in the joy of being new dads.
They took photos of Ryan and Ivy together, both of them on Ivy's playmate, their little eyes wide with curiosity, having no idea that their parents were melting over the cuteness of their children.
Things weren't always plain sailing, El would sometimes cry, clutching onto Ivy and feeling so scared that someone would try and take her away. Mike was always there to ease her worries, to kiss her, hold her and assure her that they were safe, and he would never let anything happen to his girls.
El was rocking Ivy to sleep having just fed her and singing 'You Are My Sunshine' when her daughter looked up at her, their eyes connecting before Ivy smiled for the first time. El's heart ached with love and she beamed down at her little girl, thrilled that she had caught her first smile.
Mike caught her first laugh. But definitely not in the nicest of circumstances. He had just changed her diaper and was peppering kisses on her soft cheeks when she had a poo explosion, Mike gasping in horror as he got it all over his hands.
Ivy seemed to think this was hilarious and started to laugh, surprising Mike and El who was folding freshly washed baby grows. They both burst out laughing too, the sweet and high-pitched giggles of their daughter filling their hearts with adoration as they listened to the most wonderful noise in the world.
Those moments that Ivy laughed were needed, especially when she was red cheeked and screaming because of her teeth coming through. Those nights were the hardest, Mike and El both rocking her and trying to soothe her through the pain. She breastfed a lot through that and El winced but dealt with the discomfort for her daughter. She would do anything for her.
Ivy was generally a really good baby, good enough to make Nancy broody, and before they all knew it, she was announcing to the family that she was pregnant again. Everyone was thrilled, loving there being children in the family.
Everyone loved Ivy, Hopper being one of the baby girl's favourites as she always smiled and giggled as he did ridiculous things to incite the sweet noises and reactions from her. He had already taken her to the station, showing her off to Flo and the other officers proudly.
Holly started to baby sit now and again so that Mike and El could go out on dates and have a bit of time as a married couple instead of parents. It wasn't easy though, the first time El was away from Ivy she was itching to get home and make sure the precious baby was okay.
But anytime they rushed home from the restaurant or the movies, it was to find that Ivy was sound asleep and content.
El started to relax and would look forward to her dates with Mike, giggling and feeling like a teenager when they got some free time at home and rushed up to their bedroom.
When Ivy turned six months old, Mike came home one day from work, picking up his giggling and gurgling baby, kissing her cheeks and cuddling her.
She smiled at him, her eyes now having turned dark amber like his. "Da-da!" she exclaimed to Mike's and El's surprise.
El was so proud of their daughter's developments and eagerly added them to her baby book, loving that she could record all the wonderful things Ivy did.
And whilst she was jealous that Mike got the first word, three weeks later when El was picking up Ivy out of her crib after her nap, the sweet baby girl smiled up at her and happily exclaimed "mu-ma!"
El's heart had melted on the spot and she scooped up Ivy, sitting her on her hip whilst she kissed her giggling daughter's nose. "That's right baby, I'm your momma." She said sighing happily.
By seven months Ivy started to crawl and Mike immediately baby proofed the house, much to Dustin's annoyance. He would always get stuck between baby gates when he visited and had to shout for help.
El eventually went back to work, handing Ivy over to Karen and then crying in her car on the way to the hospital at the separation from her daughter. It didn't take long for El to realise that going back to work was actually a good thing. She wasn't mommy in work, she was El or Nurse Wheeler and she was able to focus on things that weren't poop, how many baby wipes she had left or whether there was sick on the back of her clothes.
Just shy of Ivy's first birthday she learnt how to walk. Mike was playing with her, holding onto her little hands, before he knelt down next to her and said, "walk to momma Ivy!"
Ivy turned to El who was knelt not too far away with her arms outstretched. "Come on baby," she encouraged smiling at her sweet girl.
Ivy giggled and then slowly toddled over to her. El scooped her up and flung her in the air in excitement whilst Ivy squealed happily. Mike joined them, hugging both of his girls to his chest, his face beaming with pride and love.
When Will and Jen got married a month later, Mike stood at the top of the aisle next to his nervous best friend but all he could do was grin with pure happiness as El walked down the aisle in a red bridesmaid dress looking so stunning whilst holding Ivy's hand. His daughter was in a little white dress with a red sash around the middle, looking so beautiful. Mike didn't understand how he had got so lucky as he watched his whole world walking down the aisle together.
Ivy's first birthday was a fun child filled party at Mike and El's house. Ivy toddled around the living room with Ryan, both of them gnawing on soft toys to ease their incoming teeth.
El went into the kitchen to have a moment alone, tears rushing down her cheeks until Mike appeared and engulfed her into his warm arms whilst she sobbed into his chest.
"She's growing up too fast." El whimpered into Mike's button-down shirt as he stroked her hair and kissed her forehead.
"I know baby. But the important thing is that she is growing, she's getting a wonderful life and already making memories." He said softly, his warmth instantly making El feel better.
"Thank you," El sighed happily, leaning up and kissing Mike's lips tenderly. They kissed for a moment, their embrace pushing them closer as they enjoyed this private moment.
"For what?" Mike finally whispered, his forehead against El's.
"For Ivy. Without you, I wouldn't have her." El said simply.
Mike chuckled and smirked, "well I did enjoy making her…"
"Shut up!" El snorted, playfully shoving Mike whilst he laughed. "You know what I mean." She added more softly, looking up at her amazing husband.
He sighed contently and nodded, "I do know what you mean. I'm just so grateful for you. You gave me Ivy, you give me everything El."
"I love you Mr Wheeler." El grinned pressing a lingering kiss to Mike's soft lips. When she went to pull away, he chased her lips for a moment pressing his mouth to hers, a gentle and intoxicating pressure.
"I love you too Mrs Wheeler." Mike whispered against El's mouth.
31st December 1998
Mike couldn't believe that Ivy would be turning three in just a number of days. The past few years had been the best of his life, learning to be a husband and learning how to be a dad.
Ivy was asleep against his chest, her arms sprawled over Mike's shoulders as El leaned up to kiss their daughter's dark curly locks before he retreated upstairs with their little girl, putting her to bed and kissing her forehead. Ryan was already in the travel cot in her room and was flat out, sleeping like a star fish and making Mike chuckle as he left the room.
"How are those two going to sleep through the fireworks?" Dustin chuckled, his arm around Laura whilst hers was wrapped around his waist.
"Oh, trust me, Ryan will be out like a light." Max said sipping at her wine.
"Trust me he is." Mike grinned before adding, "and once Ivy's asleep, she asleep. Like her mommy." He teased winking at El who rolled her eyes but smiled happily when Mike pulled her to his chest, his arms wrapping around her thin waist.
"We best get going though, we've only just got the girls down." Will said to his friends, indicating to where Jen was placing six-month-old Grace into the double buggy to sleep next to her twin sister Lily.
"Those two are so cute," El beamed looking over at her sweet nieces.
"They are a handful," Will chuckled, but his eyes softened as he took in his wife and twin girls. "But I wouldn't be without them for the world."
"God look how sappy we've all got." Max grinned, leaning her head on Lucas's shoulder before he put his arm around her.
"Who do you reckon will be the next one to have a baby?" Lucas teased looking around at his friends whilst he sipped at his beer.
"Well not Nancy and Jonathan, they said no more after Emily." Mike said chuckling, remembering his sister covered in baby sick from her youngest and crayons from her oldest.
"Dustin and Laura?" Max prompted teasingly, smiling over at the cosy couple.
Laura laughed, "hopefully not just yet. I would like to get the wedding out of the way first seeing as I've bought my dress." She said happily, her engagement ring sparkling on her finger.
Dustin had proposed to her whilst they were on vacation in the Caribbean and they would be returning there to get married, the whole party all excited for the vacation as well as the wedding in three short months.
"Well it's got to be Mike and El then," Max said simply turning to her friends with a gleeful smile.
"Uh oh, not yet." El said shaking her head. "Potty training was traumatic enough."
Mike grinned and nodded in agreement, kissing El's cheek. "I'm just happy with my girls right now…"
But fate had a funny way of twisting words, and that night, after the count down into the new year, a giggling Mike and El fumbled into their bedroom trying to be quiet and failing miserably, Max and Lucas down the hall way in the guest room.
Mike grabbed El, lifting her thighs which she then wrapped around his hips as they collapsed onto the bed together, moaning and gasping as they made love into the night, feeling giddy and so in love.
Max turned to Lucas as they got into the guest bed and smirked, "see I told you they'd be the next to have another baby…"
9 months later…
23rd September 1999
"Come on baby, you can do this. You're doing so well." Mike said fiercely, holding El's hand as she panted and pushed, her face straining in pain as she tried to bring their son into the world.
This labouring experience was definitely different to the first one. After managing with a home birth and seeing the way she had smashed light bulbs in the house, El decided on another home birth, but this time with an inflatable pool, and with Mike and Steph by her side.
It was the middle of the day when El's waters had gone, so Joyce and Hopper had picked up Ivy, the little girl being kissed by her parents before she was taken for a day out and then a fun sleepover at her grandparents.
Mike and El had been surprised when they found out they were expecting another baby, Max had joked and laughed at them though, stating she called it.
The pregnancy was completely different to her pregnancy with Ivy. El wasn't as sick this time around and her bump even seemed to grow in a different shape to Ivy's bump.
When it came to finding out the gender, El and Mike opted to know this time, hoping it would give Ivy some time to get used to having a brother or sister.
And when she sat on her daddy's knee at Dr Owen's medical centre and Steph announced, "congratulations! You're having a boy!" Ivy had been less than impressed, pouting and mumbling, "I wanted a moo moo cow."
They had tried to explain to Ivy that she was going to have a little brother, buying her a baby doll and explaining that mommy was also going to have a baby to take care of. Ivy had ditched the doll, more interested in playing with her Star Wars figurines much to Mike's delight.
And now they had arrived at the day when their baby boy would join their crazy little family. El wondered what he would be like, would he be just like his daddy? Or have some of El's features too?
Ivy was an interesting mix, she looked just like El, if El was to dye her hair black and have dark amber eyes. El loved looking at those beautiful eyes on her daughter, knowing that she had fallen in love with those same eyes over 16 years ago.
"You can do this El! You're so close to seeing him!" Mike shouted in excitement as El squeezed his hand and screamed as the burning sensation took place and then suddenly he was here.
Steph scooped him out of the water and put him straight onto El's trembling chest whilst she rubbed at his back with the towels to warm him up.
He cried and squealed and Mike and El gasped and sobbed with love for their little boy. They had both been scared that they wouldn't have enough love to go around, but as El looked down at her perfect little boy, she felt her heart squeeze and then expand, forming a home just for this precious baby.
Once El and the baby were out of the water, she was tucked up in bed, her son nursing contently, his little fist around El's finger whilst Mike gaped in awe at their baby boy and gently stroked his dark hair.
El chuckled, "I think we have a mini Mike on our hands here." She cooed with love and adoration, taking in her baby boy's features which were identical to the love of her life.
Mike grinned and leaned down to kiss their son's nose. "Poor little guy has my nose." He murmured, his eyes full of wonder as he stared at their boy.
El gently stroked their baby boy's nose and smiled to herself happily, "I think his nose is perfect. He's perfect…just like his daddy."
Mike beamed and leaned in to kiss El softly, his love and admiration for her overflowing into their embrace. He would never be able to get over the wonder of his incredible wife having the strength to bring their family into the world.
"So," Mike started, looking down at their sweet baby boy. "Is it gonna be James Michael Wheeler then?" he teased, remembering how El had informed him of the baby names she picked as they cuddled in the back of his first car, crazy in love seventeen-year olds.
El nodded, glowing with happiness and love. Her hazel eyes firmly planted on their son, "yes, James Michael Wheeler."
James met his first important visitor the next morning; his sister.
El sat down on the couch, Ivy in her lap whilst Mike gently knelt down in front of his girls and placed James into Ivy's waiting arms.
"Now support his head like this baby," El said quietly, exhausted from the first night with their new born as she demonstrated to Ivy how to hold James correctly. He was in a little green onesie which said, 'I love mommy like a hobbit loves 2nd breakfast'.
Joyce and Hopper stayed by the door, beaming with pride at the small family and watching the children interact for the first time. Joyce took a couple of photos, wanting them to have this moment forever.
"Do you like him Ivy?" Mike asked kindly, smiling at his little girl whilst she held her brother.
Ivy stared down at James and then shook her head quickly. "Too little." She concluded making the others all chuckle. "I want Ryan, when will he be here?" Ivy moaned looking at her daddy and pouting.
Mike rolled his eyes in amusement, "Ryan is coming over tomorrow baby, with Uncle Lucas and Aunty Max."
Not long after, Ivy wanted to be dismissed to go play in the back yard, Hopper keeping an eye on her whilst Joyce went about making El and Mike a hot drink whilst they curled up on the couch snuggling and stared at James with awe.
"He's so soft," El whispered, smiling gently as she stroked his little cheek.
"He's beautiful." Mike concluded, leaning down and placing a tender kiss to his son's forehead.
Time would fly by as it often does, and El would once again be crying when James turned one. Not understanding how her mini Mike was growing so quickly.
There would be funny times like when Hopper was changing James and he peed all over him, Mike didn't let him forget it for weeks until the same thing happened to him too.
James was clingier then Ivy had been, needing El constantly whilst he teethed but rewarding them with the sweetest smiles and laughs that melted both El and Mike's hearts.
Ivy would grow more attached to him, calling him her baby and insisting on helping with dressing him and feeding him in his high chair.
El felt constantly tired running after her babies but loving every moment and living for those lazy weekends when she would snuggle up in bed with her perfect little family, Mike and El separated by two dark haired children, their limbs sprawled out over their amused parents. It was one of those times when El just wished she could freeze time.
But fate would have just one more surprise for Mike and El to come…
"Only your dad would have a joint 60th birthday party and retirement party." Mike chuckled as he held onto seven-year-old Ivy's hand whilst she tried to twirl in her party dress to make it sway in the warm summer breeze.
"Excuse me, do you not remember us having a joint eighteenth birthday party?" El teased, her left hand entwined with Mike's and her right hand clamped around four-year-old James's little hand securely, whilst he tried to pull away.
Mike laughed, "how can I forget? It was in the same building we're heading to now." He joked looking up at the community centre which really hadn't changed in all of the years.
They walked into the community centre, the music already blaring, and the excited squeals of children could be heard as they chased the spotlights around the dance floor.
The moment they walked into the warm room, Ivy let go off Mike's hand and raced off to where Ryan was chasing a globe light with his little brother Zach.
"And she's off…" Mike sighed, watching his only daughter giggling with Ryan. "Is it normal for me to already feel protective?" he teased to El who laughed softly.
"I guess not. Me and Max already have a bet on that Ivy and Ryan will date at some point." El said wisely, leaning down to kiss James's locks and letting her eager little boy run off to join his cousins Lily and Grace, Jess and Emily, Dustin's son Sam and Steve's son Tyler.
"Ah there you are," came the booming but friendly voice of the retired chief as he sidled over to Mike and El, hugging them both and kissing his daughter's cheek.
"Sorry we're a little late dad," El sighed. "James was refusing to get dressed into anything. He was running around naked and then Ivy got her party dress all dirty playing in the mud, so I had to find another dress…"
Hopper chuckled and put his arm around El silencing her ramblings. "It's okay El. I know what's it's like. Kids eh?" He teased giving his daughter a playful wink.
El gave him her own playful smirk in return. "Well, how about we throw another one into the mix?"
Hopper frowned, not understanding her for a moment until his eyes slid down to her stomach and he gasped. "Are you pregnant?!" he whispered in excitement, his eyes back on El's.
Mike and El both grinned, putting their arms around each other as they nodded in unison. "But no one else knows yet." El said quickly. "We just thought we'd tell you as one of your birthday presents."
Hopper smiled at them both, his eyes happy and bright. "Well it's definitely the best birthday present I've ever had. I can't wait to meet my seventh grandchild!"
And in six months Hopper would meet his seventh grandchild. A beautiful little boy named Benjamin Edward Wheeler who would have honey locks and dark starry eyes, a perfect little combination of his parents and siblings. Mike and El will be besotted by him, so in love as their hearts grow to accommodate their third and final child. Ivy will think he's less boring then James and help out with cuddles, whilst James will moan that Ben won't play with him, even when he asks nicely. It will be a few more years before the brothers play D&D with their older sister.
Hopper's party is a great success and it feels like everyone in Hawkins is present, paying tribute to the man who has been the chief and protected the town from more than the residents can ever imagine.
The kids are the life and soul of the party, giggling and squealing whilst they try to copy Hopper dancing to Jim Croce, and watching in amazement as Max requests 'Thriller' and the young parents go wild for the song.
Twenty-four-year-old Holly Wheeler will proudly show off her engagement ring, her fiancé Chris, who she met at college, stood proudly at her side. Staring at her with love and a look of amazement, as if he's wondering how he ended up with such a beautiful girl.
Max and El's new obsession over the singer Beyoncé only heightens when the DJ plays her new song 'Crazy in Love' and the girls giggle, finding each other in the crowd and getting down on the dance. Laughing at themselves as they do the booty popping and hip wiggles.
Ivy and Ryan scream that their moms are embarrassing them, their humiliation only getting worse when a smirking Lucas and Mike join in to embarrass their children further. Mike does his signature robot during the rap section and Lucas does the caterpillar against the floor whilst Ryan covers his faces and cringes.
"Ew, they're dad dancing!" Ivy squeals before grabbing Ryan's hand as they run off to the other side of the room.
El and Max laugh at their husbands before Mike comes up behind El, his arms going around her waist, as he gently rubs at her tiny bump, a knowing grin on both of their faces. They honestly can't wait for their final baby to join the family.
After the party finishes, the group head back to the Wheeler house playing a special game of D&D with their children. El has her little Mage Ivy on her lap, Mike has his little Paladin James, Dustin has his little Bard Sam, Lucas has his little Ranger Zach, Max has her little Zoomer Ryan and Will has two little Clerics Grace and Lily. Jen and Laura watch on, both interested by the game but finding it too complex.
The children laugh and squeal at the dramatic voices that Mike puts on to entertain them, and with the help of their parents, they manage to kill the Demogorgon.
Once everyone has gone home, El wanders into the Wheeler's kitchen, getting a cup of water for Ivy and James whilst Mike reads them a story in his old bed. Karen says she will keep an eye out for the kids in the night and that Mike and El can sleep in Nancy's old room. But they have other ideas about their sleeping arrangements of course…
El goes up the stairs, heading to Mike's old bedroom but pauses by the open door as she takes in the scene with a smile.
Ivy and James are tucked up in the bed, James clutching Rory who he inherited and Ivy holding onto Lovebug, the teddy that Mike got El for Valentine's day when they were fourteen.
"…and the brave mage went with the knight because he swore to protect her. He took her back to his home and gave her warm clothes, for she was cold and scared…"
El felt tears well in her eyes as she leaned her head against the pine wood of the door and listened to Mike telling their story to their own children.
"The knight knew that she was special, so very different from any other girl he had ever seen. She was beautiful, smart, kind, magical and so brave..."
"…and then the knight lost her, for she had given the ultimate sacrifice to safe him, the ranger and the bard. The knight realised in that moment what he had lost, he knew he loved her. He searched for 353 days, looking high and low, his heart painful and his spirit weak…"
"…but then she returned to them. To him. To save them all…"
"And did she?" Ivy asked, her eyes wide and captivated by her father's story whilst James also watched on, his mouth gaped open in awe.
Mike looked up from his notebook and grinned lovingly at his daughter and son. "Of course, she did. For the mage was the most extraordinary and powerful girl in all of the realms. She fought hard, going into battle and promising the knight she would return to him. And when she did return, the knight embraced her with true loves kiss…"
Mike continued with the story and El continued to watch, warm tears falling down her cheeks as she watched on, her whole life in this very room.
When Mike had reached the part about the mage having to go to the academy to learn like the other party members, James had fallen asleep, clutching onto Rory and Ivy was yawning.
Mike smiled at his babies. "I think we'll stop there," he said softly, before leaning down to press a loving kiss to James's forehead and then Ivy's.
"Good night, I love you both." He whispered tenderly.
"We love you daddy," Ivy mumbled, tucking herself further into the bed.
Mike smiled and grabbed the notebook, ready to put it back on the shelf.
"No daddy, can I?" Ivy whispered but her voice was strong.
Mike turned to her and chuckled, "fine, but don't tell mommy that I let you."
El rolled her eyes in amusement and scooted slightly into the corridor, not wanting to be seen by her husband and daughter. She knew what was happening anyway.
Ivy concentrated on the book, her hand outstretched as it flew graciously across the air before it tucked up neatly against the other books on the shelf.
Mike beamed at his daughter who had been displaying powers for over a year now. "That was beautiful baby," he said softly, smiling down at his daughter and stroking her hair. "You've got a gift just like mommy. I know there will be times when you have to hide that gift, but I want you to know you are special Ivy. And don't ever think you're not."
"I won't daddy," the innocent and pure voice of their little girl sounded as she tucked up against her little brother and yawned. "Night night daddy."
Mike beamed, "night night Ivy."
He sighed happily and left the room, not surprised to find El in the corridor but surprised by her dazzling smile. "What?" he chuckled, wondering why he was getting a smile like that.
El sighed happily and wrapped her arms around Mike's neck, "you are so special Michael Wheeler. You're the best." She whispered brushing her lips against his eagerly.
Mike grinned against her mouth and deepened the kiss, his touch sending sparks of electricity all over her body. It amazed El how this still managed to happen, but she knew it would last a life time.
"Come on, let's go to bed." Mike grinned mischievously when he finally pulled away and reached for El's hand. She entwined their fingers and followed him down the stairs, through the kitchen and down the stairs to the basement.
The fort was still standing, and whilst it was expanded over the years and the sheets had changed, it still stood under it true foundations and every time El looked at it, her mind flashed with memories. Happy memories.
They climbed into the fort and lay side by side, propped up on their elbows as they stared at one another greedily taking in each other's features. El wondered how it was possible for Mike to get more and more handsome everyday whilst Mike was simply captivated by the beauty of his wife. Whilst she moaned about her changing body after having children, he loved it more for bringing their children into the world.
Mike marvelled at the fact that she was currently growing their next child, making them grow strong and healthy. It was overwhelmingly amazing when he thought about it for too long.
"I love hearing you reading to the kids," El said softly, her eyes on Mike's starry black orbs that made her think of the beautiful night sky.
Mike smiled warmly and reached for El's stomach, his palm brushing against her small bump. "And I'll be reading to this little one soon as well." He whispered softly making El sigh happily and cover his hand with hers.
Mike looked back up at El and swallowed nervously, wanting to tell her an idea he'd been toying with for a while, but was too scared to make it reality…until now.
"El?" he asked softly, his eyes searching hers for the support he needed, and finding it instantly. She was always what he needed.
"I've been um…I've been thinking about writing a children's book. I've had some ideas for a while, it would mainly be based on your story. What do you think?" Mike asked nervously, fully understanding if that was too close to home for her.
El's eyebrows raised in surprise and then a warm grin took over her delicious lips. "Mike, I think that's a wonderful idea. You already are such a talented author, it's about time other people knew it too." She said boldly.
Mike knew he shouldn't be surprised by her unwavering support, but it still amazed him how he had been so lucky to get a partner who cared about his dreams and wanted to nourish them.
"I just want to give you the life you deserve El." Mike whispered, his eyes honest and vulnerable as he looked at his wife.
El stared at him for a moment, before shuffling closer so that their foreheads touched, and their breath mingled. "It's the life we deserve Mike."
And as she thought about her husband, Ivy, James and their new developing baby, El took her husband's hand and placed it back on her bump.
"And you have given me the life I deserve Mike. You've given me everything I could have ever wanted."
Mike was choked, his eyes warm and watery. "I love you El. Forever."
El beamed before closing the small distance between them, their lips ghosting and their hearts pounding in unison. "I love you Mike. Forever and always."
AN: I'm not crying you are! Okay...I am maybe crying!
I hope you enjoyed that and I'm sorry if my British spelling annoyed you!
Please review, I'd love to know what you thought, and not just about this chapter but the whole story. Did you have a favourite moment? Scene? Or chapter? I want to know!
Lots of love to you all, and I'll be back very soon!