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Stranger Twins

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November 6, 1983

The Wheeler's Basement

“Something is coming. Something hungry for blood. A shadow grows on the wall behind you, swallowing you in darkness,” Mike announced in a creepy voice, uselessly trying to deepen it to intimidate his friends. “It is almost here.” 

“What is it?” Will asked, anxiety clear in his voice.

“What if it’s the Demogorgon? Oh, Jesus, we’re so screwed if it’s the Demogorgon,” Dustin whined. 

“It’s not the Demogorgon!” 

“An army of troglodytes charge into the chamber!” Mike exclaimed, making Lucas smirk triumphantly.

“Troglodytes?” Dustin snorted. “Mike, we aren’t twelve anymore.” 

“Told ya!”

“Wait a minute,” Mike whispered for dramatic effect, interrupting his laughing friends. “Did you hear that? That… that sound? Boom… boom… BOOM!" Mike shouted, smacking the table top and making Dustin jump and squeak embarrassingly loud for a 15-year-old.

“That didn’t come from the troglodytes. No, that… that came from something else.” 

The entire group had begun leaning in, nervous glances exchanged amongst themselves as they hunched over their rickety old Dungeons and Dragons table.

“It's... the Demogorgon!”

“We’re in deep shit!” Dustin exclaimed as the other two boys groaned, Mike practically vibrating with excitement. This was the first campaign they’d been able to organize in months between their school and work schedules.

“Will, your action?” Mike cried, thoroughly enjoying orchestrating the entire evening.

“I don’t know!” 

“Fireball him! Fucking Fireball him!” Lucas began chanting.

“I’d have to roll a 13 or higher,” Will argued logically.

“Too risky,” Dustin agreed. “Cast a protection spell!” 

“Don’t be a pussy. Fireball him!”

“Cast Protection!” 

“The Demogorgon is tired of your silly human bickering!” Mike interrupted. “It stomps toward you. Boom! Boom!” Mike continued, smiling menacingly as Dustin and Lucas shouted their suggestions at an overwhelmed Will.

“He roars in anger!”

The shouting and swearing has reached a crescendo and Will threw the die, intending to throw a fireball, in panic and missed the table entirely, watching as bounced off the vinyl surface.

“Oh, shit!”

“Where’d it go?”

“I don’t know, dipshit!”

The boys clamoured to find the die, knocking their game askew as their knees knocked into the too short table in their haste. 

“Is it a 13?” Dustin whined.

“I don’t fucking know, idiot! I haven’t found it!”

“Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God!” Dustin cried as he paced in circles dramatically. 

“Mike!”

“Did you find it?”

“No, I said I can’t find it!” Will huffed, irritated with his friend’s demanding tone. 

“Michael!”

“Mom, we’re in the middle of a campaign!” 

“You mean the end?” Karen called back down the staircase. “It’s fifteen after and you boys have already woken Holly twice.”

Mike grumbled, chasing his mom up the stairs as the boys continued arguing and searching the basement floor.

“But, mom!” He skidded into the kitchen, sliding on his socked feet. “Just 20 more minutes!”

“No, it’s a school night, Michael.”

“We’re fifteen, not eight,” Mike whined childishly which making Karen laugh as he towered over her. 

“You can finish next weekend,” Karen continued.

“But that’ll ruin the flow! Besides this is the only night all month that none of us has had homework or had to work!”

“Michael,” Karen sighed, her patience wearing thin.

“I’m serious, mom!” Mike continued. “This is the only night! And the campaign took two whole weeks to plan. How was I supposed to know it was gonna take ten hours?”

“You geeks have been down there for ten hours?” Richie laughed, shoving Mike out of the way as he made his way towards the refrigerator. “No wonder it smells like shit down there.”

“Language,” Karen warned, pursing her lips as Richie gave a fake sheepish smile. “Have you really been down there for ten hours?”

Mike pursed his lips, looking startlingly like his mother.

“Dad!” Mike cried, heading towards the den where he knew his dad was reading the paper in his chair.

“Dad,” Mike repeats as he enters the room. “Don’t you think that twenty more-” 

“I think you should listen to your mother,” Ted responds, neglecting to even look up from his paper. 

Mike gives his dad an incredulous look before heading back to the kitchen to continue arguing with his mother.

“Mom, please-”

“No, that’s enough, Michael!” Karen shrills. “Call it a night! That goes for your friends too, Richie,” Karen adds, snatching the carton of milk that Richie is drinking from and putting it back in the fridge that he neglected to close. 

“What the fuck!”

“Language!”

“This is bullshit!” Richie shouts.

“Richard, watch your mouth," Ted calls half-heartedly from the other room making Richie roll his eyes. 

“Mom, this is total bullshit,” Richie continues. “My friends and I are watching movies and being normal human beings. Why do they have to leave?”

“Because, Richard, in case you weren’t aware you and Michael are twins and therefore both fifteen. And coincidentally it is a school night for both of you. And even more coincidentally, I happen to be the mother of both of you,” Karen explains patronizingly. “So, if Michael’s friends need to leave because it’s late, so do yours.”

“This is all your fault!” Richie huffs, glaring at his brother.

“My fault!” Mike shrieks. “How is it my fault?"

“Because you and your lame ass friends-”

“My friends are lame? You guys call yourselves the ‘Loser’s Club’, now that’s lame-”

“At least we aren’t nerds-”

“Just wait until I get into MIT and you’re still living with mom and dad, sleeping in a bunkbed for the next 20 years-”

“Fuck you, once I’m rich and famous you’ll wish you were a little nicer to your big brother-”

“We’re the same age!”

“I was born first-”

“By six minutes!”

“How do you deal with them, Mrs. Wheeler?” Beverly asks, trudging into the kitchen and standing next to Karen, who has continued cleaning the kitchen from cooking supper as if there weren’t two six-foot-tall identical teenagers shouting at each other in her kitchen.

“Fifteen years of practice, sweetie,” Karen smiles, smoothing Beverly’s hair back. 

“Richie,” comes Eddie’s voice from the living room off of the kitchen where the Loser’s Club had been watching An American Werewolf in London. “Would you shut up!”

“Eds,” Richie whines, turning his attention from his brother to his boyfriend who had just entered the kitchen. “He’s so annoying though!”

Richie throws his arms around Eddie dramatically, hiding his face in Eddie’s neck making Karen laugh. Eddie is half a foot shorter than Richie, so the taller boy has to hunch over ridiculously.

“You’re annoying,” Eddie deadpans, although he’s carding his fingers through Richie’s curls sweetly. Karen laughs again.

“That’s so rude!” Richie gasps, pulling back from Eddie. “I can’t believe you’re taking his side!”

Eddie rolls his eyes at his boyfriend as Mike’s friends are heard trampling up the basement stairs.

“Hey, is there still pizza in there?” Richie asks when he notices Dustin with the box from earlier in the day.

“No,” Dustin calls over his shoulder, running up the stairs to the second floor as Mike stares confusedly at the staircase his friend just disappeared up.

“All you ever think about is food, Rich,” Eddie sighs.

“I’m a growing boy, Eds. What do you expect?” 

“Mike doesn’t need to eat a full meal every fifteen minutes like you do and he’s the same height,” Eddie quips with a smirk.

“How dare you?!” Richie gasps. “I am an inch taller!”

Mike and Eddie both roll their eyes at Richie as he continues on about how he’s way taller and therefore needs more nutrients than his ‘little’ brother.

Mike looks away from Richie when he notices Dustin is descending the stairs dejectedly, still holding the box of pizza.

“Ready to go guys?” Dustin asks, putting on a smile.

Lucas and Will nod in agreement and head towards the front door.

“Hey, Mrs. Wheeler, where can I put this pizza box?” Dustin asks, wanting rid of the bulky box.

“Here, sweetie,” Karen gestures for the box. “I’ll get rid of it.”

“Thanks,” Dustin smiles toothlessly, pulling the last slice from the box and shoving it in his mouth before handing Karen the box.

“Hey! I thought you said there wasn’t any more pizza!” Richie shouts at Dustin’s back as the boy makes his way towards the door laughing.

“Calm down, Richie, you’re going to wake Holly,” Karen scolds. “Seriously though, sweetheart, it’s time for everyone to go home.”

Richie rolls his eyes, looking exactly like his brother did five minutes ago.

“Yo, losers! Get the fuck outta my house!” 

“Richard!”

“What?” Richie asks, smiling at his mother sweetly. 

The losers are through the doorway into the kitchen immediately, not wanting to upset Mrs. Wheeler who is the nicest out of all of the group’s parents.

“Goodnight, Mrs. Wheeler. Thank you for allowing us to come over,” Stanley comments before exiting with Bill, Ben, Beverly, and Mike.

“Not a problem, Stanley,” Karen smiles. “You’re welcome to come over anytime. In fact, if I could trade you for Richie, I would!” 

“Hey!”

The losers are soon through the door, picking up their bikes from the pile on the Wheeler’s driveway.

“Hm, that’s odd,” Karen says, peering out the window to the group of teenagers hopping on bikes and joking around. “There seems to be one extra bike out front. Wonder who’s that could be?”

“Dunno mom, super weird,” Richie agrees as Eddie chuckles into Richie’s back quietly, enjoying Karen’s playful nature.

“That is super weird,” Karen nods, before turning around to look at Richie. “Well, guess that’s everyone gone for the night.”

“Yup, I guess so,” Richie continues.

“Richie,” Karen smiles.

“Mother?”

“It’s time for Eddie to go as well,” Karen smiles sadly. 

“But,” Richie whines, pulling the smaller boy out from behind him and wrapping him in his long arms. “But, mom, please?! It’s cold outside and he needs a home! I promise I’ll walk him and feed him and play with him-”

“Richie!” Eddie laughs, smacking his boyfriend in the chest. “I’m not a stray dog!” 

“Never, Eddie Spaghetti,” Richie agrees, kissing Eddie’s cheek before turning back to his mother. “But for real, please don’t make him leave, mom!”

“Richard,” Karen presses, although her resolve is wavering. She loves the polite young boy her son calls his boyfriends and she hates Sonia Kaspbrak. The woman is an abusive fool and Karen wants nothing more than to protect Eddie from her idiocy. “You know it’ll be world war three with your brother if I let Eddie sleepover but not one of Mike’s friends.”

“But, mom!” Richie whines again. “Spaghetti’s not just my friend! And who cares, Mike cries about everything.”

“You’re giving me more reason to say no, Richie,” Karen warns.

“Rich,” Eddie interrupts the two Wheelers. “It’s okay, I should really get home. My mom’s probably worried.” 

Both of the Wheelers scowl at the mention of Sonia, making Eddie bite his lip nervously. 

“Um,” Eddie begins, clearing his throat. “I’ll see you tomorrow at school.”

Eddie pulls on his shoes and jacket before giving Mrs. Wheeler a smile and kissing Richie on the cheek.

“Spaghetti,” Richie mumbles, shaking his head and pulling Eddie back to him to kiss him on the lips. Karen smiles fondly at the two boys.

“Oh, my God!” Mike exclaims as he comes back through the door. “Seriously, you may as well just get your lips surgically attached at this point!”

Eddie blushes violently, pulling away from Richie and excusing himself.

“You’re such an asshole!” 

“How am I an asshole?! You’re so mean to me every day-” 

“I am not! I’m just trying to save you from a life of geekiness!”

Karen sighs, heading back to the kitchen as her teenage sons continue to argue in the front hallway. 


 

“Boys! School!”

Richie groans, rolling over to bury his head under his pillow, shaking the frame of the bunkbed he shares with Mike. 

“Michael! Richard!”

Mike pulls himself from his bed groggily and notices Richie is still under his mountain of blankets.

“Ha, sucker,” Mike laughs, running from the room and dashing into the unoccupied washroom at the end of the hall.

“Fuck!”

Mike cackles as he starts the shower, listening to Richie swear and argue with his mother in the hallway as he alternates between banging on the doors of the two bathrooms in the house both occupied by Mike and Nancy. 

“Mike, hurry the fuck up!” 

“It’s been 30 seconds, Richie. Take a chill pill!” Mike laughs, stripping out of his pajamas and hopping in the shower, deciding to take his sweet time to annoy his brother as much as possible.

Although his shower was punctuated with loud thumps on the bathroom door every 20 seconds, Mike steps out of the bathroom with a towel around his waist and his hair dripping 15 minutes later with a wide smile. 

“Fuck you,” Richie glares, shoving Mike out of the way before rushing into the bathroom to get ready for school. 


Twenty minutes later Mike is sat at the kitchen table, happily munching on an Eggo with his sisters and parents. 

“Michael,” Karen starts. “Where’s your brother?”

“Still getting ready," Mike responds through a mouthful of waffle.

“You’re disgusting,” Nancy mutters, scrunching her nose in her brother’s direction. Mike smiles widely, bringing his face closer to Nancy’s and chewing obnoxiously. “Ew, mom!” 

“Ted, control your son.” 

“Michael, listen to your mother,” Ted adds, not looking up from his paper.

Mike looks over at his dad, giving him a disbelieving look before standing from the table and throwing his backpack over a shoulder. 

“Bye, mom!”

“Michael, wait for your brother!”

“Mom, no-”

“Michael!”

Mike sighs before trudging towards the stairs.

“Richie! Hurry up, we’re going to be late!”

Mike huffs, knowing his brother will be another few minutes and sits on one of the bottom stairs waiting.

Mike startles as Richie vaults himself off one of the top steps, over his twin brother, and onto the landing by the front door.

“Richie!”

“Bye, mom!” Richie exclaims, rushing into the kitchen to grab a waffle from his dad’s hand. He kisses his mother’s cheek and ruffles Holly’s hair before running past Mike and out the door.

“Let’s go, Mike! We’re going to be late!” 

Mike huffs angrily but follows his brother out the door.


“Eddie lives the other way!” Mike argues, irritated by the fact that Richie is making them bike in the opposite direction of school to pick Eddie up.

“His mom doesn’t like him to bike alone,” Richie reasons.

“He biked home alone last night!”

“No, Bill went with him. Either Bill or I always make sure to ride home with him,” Richie calls over his shoulder as he turns the corner to Eddie’s house. “Spaghetti!”

Eddie is stood at the bottom of his driveway with his backpack on and holding his bike by the handle bars.

“You’re late,” Eddie states, staring blankly at the twins.

“Good morning to you too, Eds,” Richie laughs, pulling up beside Eddie to lean down and place a kiss to his lips. Eddie pulls away with a smile, hopping on his bike.

“Morning, Mike!” 

“Hey, Eddie,” Mike smiles politely, before pedalling in the direction of school, leading the way.


“Finally, come on guys! We’re gonna be late!” Dustin called. He was sat on his bike halfway between the Wheeler’s house and Hawkins High School with Lucas.

“Blame Richie!” Mike called as he zoomed past his friends with Richie and Eddie trailing behind him.

Dustin and Lucas shared an exasperated look before pedalling after their friend.  


The five boys pull up at the bike rack, locking up their respective bikes. 

“That’s weird,” Mike comments, drawing the attention of the other four boys. “I don’t see him.” 

The boys had been discussing Mrs. Byers’ call to all of the boys’ mothers this morning looking for Will.

“I’m telling you, his mom’s right. He probably just went to class early again.”

“Yeah, he’s always paranoid Gursky’s gonna give him another pop quiz.”

“Fuckin’ nerd,” Richie laughs, arm thrown over Eddie’s shoulder as the five boys walk towards the entrance to the school.

“Shut up, Richie,” Mike and Eddie say at the same time. Mike was fiercely protective of his oldest friend Will and Eddie was especially fond of Will who had always treated him with kindness. 

“Step right up, ladies and gentlemen,” comes a cruel voice behind the group. “Step right up and get your tickets for the freak show.”

The boys all turn to face Henry Bowers and Troy Harrington, resident Hawkins bullies. Mike rolls his eyes.

“Who do you think would make more money in the freak show?” Troy asks Henry. “Midnight, Frogface 1, Toothless, or Frogface 2 and his little fairy boyfriend?”

Henry places a finger to his lips as though considering his options.

“I’ll go with toothless,” Henry decides, putting on a lisp, mimicking Dustin.

“I told you a million times, my teeth are coming in!” Dustin argues. “It’s called cleidocranial dysplasia.”

Troy rolls his eyes and pushes Mike harshly out of the way while Henry does the same, taking the time to lick his hand and wipe it down Eddie’s face disgustingly. Eddie whimpers as Richie shouts, outraged that Henry could be so cruel.

“Richie,” Mike interrupts Richie’s ranting at Bowers’ form. “Enough.”

Richie turns away from the bullies to find Eddie shaking, tears clinging to his eyelashes as he scrubs vigorously at his cheek with his sleeve causing his face to become red with irritation. Richie sighs, approaching Eddie carefully. 

“Eds,” he said softly, reaching out. “Eds, stop.”

Eddie continues his assault on his cheek, tears now running down his fact and nails clawing at his skin.

“Babe,” Richie sighs, forcibly holding Eddie’s wrists and pulling his hands away from his face. Eddie collapses into Richie’s chest, sobs wracking his body. “Shhh,” Richie soothes, rubbing his back. “Eds, c’mere,” Richie murmurs, leaning back and taking Eddie’s chin in his hand. He reaches into Eddie’s fanny pack pulling out an antiseptic wipe while Eddie continues crying. “Shh, it’s okay, I’ve got ya.” 

Richie dutifully wipes down Eddie’s cheek, hesitating whenever Eddie hisses in pain at the burning of the alcohol on his scratched skin. Mike, Dustin, and Lucas watch with worry. 

“Thanks, Chee,” Eddie whispers, pushing his face back into Richie’s chest once Richie is done wiping it.

“No problem, Spaghetti,” Richie whispers back, leaning down to press a kiss to the crown of Eddie’s head.

“You okay, Eddie?” Mike asks as he watches his twin brother and his boyfriend embrace. His voice is full of concern and slight discomfort.

“Yeah, I’m good. Thanks for asking, Mike,” Eddie smiles softly, pulling back from Richie.

“Okay, we’re gonna head to class,” Mike smiles back, gesturing towards the doors to Hawkins High School before following his friends up the path.

Richie and Eddie remain by the bike racks for a few minutes longer, Eddie’s face hidden in Richie’s chest and Richie’s pressed against Eddie’s hair.

“You good, Spaghetti Man?”

“Yeah,” Eddie whispers, not moving.

“Ready to go to class?” 

Eddie whines and shakes his head ‘no’ causing Richie to laugh.

“Well, we both know I have no problem skipping Clarke’s class, but your mom will murder me if you skip,” Richie insists, convincing Eddie to head into the school.

“M’kay,” Eddie breathes, pulling away from Richie. “Rich?”

“Hmm?” 

“I love you,” Eddie whispers, pressing his lips to Richie’s.

“Love you too, Eds,” Richie grins after pulling back.


“Remember, finish chapter twelve and answer twelve point three on the difference between an experiment and other forms of scientific investigation. This will be on the test, which will cover chapters ten through twelve. It will be multiple choice with an essay section…” 

“No one’s listening, sir,” Richie laughed, sauntering towards Mr. Clarke’s desk as the rest of the class filed out of the room, leaving only Richie, Dustin, Lucas and Mike in the classroom. 

Mr. Clarke’s science class was the only period Richie and Mike shared. Richie was often separated from Mike and Eddie because of his disruptive behaviour around the other two. 

“Thank you, Mr. Wheeler,” Mr. Clarke laughed, shaking his head in amusement.

“So, did it come?!” Mike asked suddenly, pushing Richie aside in excitement.

“Sorry, boys,” Mr. Clarke frowned at the four boys crowded around his desk. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but… it came!”

Mike, Dustin, and Lucas erupted with excitement, Mike jumping childishly as Dustin and Lucas grinned at one another. 

“Fuckin’ nerds…” Richie laughed. He found himself truly amazed at times at the fact that he was even related to Mike, never mind genetically identical to him.   

“You’re part of AV Club too, dipshit,” Mike grumbled, turning towards his brother with a frown.

“Michael,” Mr. Clarke scolded, causing Mike to blush in embarrassment and mutter an apology. 

“Only for extra credit in science, dipshit,” Richie retorted, ignoring the similar reprimand he receives from Mr. Clarke as he held his brother in a glaring gaze, the other three watching on uncomfortably. 

“Okay, how about we head over to the AV Room?”


“Yes!” Mike cried, rushing to sit behind the table holding the radio.

“The Heathkit ham shack,” Mr. Clarke announces proudly, watching as Dustin, Lucas, and Mike crowd around the radio, Richie opting to hover by the door rolling his eyes. “Ain’t she a beaut!”

“I bet you could talk to New York on this thing!”

“Think bigger.”

“California?” 

“Bigger.”

“Eddie’s mom?” Richie pipes in.

“Australi?!” Mike exclaimed, ignoring his brother with practiced ease.

Mr. Clarke nods proudly, ignoring Richie just as Mike had. The three boys whooped with excitement, putting on vaguely Australia sounding accent.

"Oh, my God!" Richie snorted, eyebrows raised. "Mike, that was fucking pathetic!"

“Sorry to interrupt, but, uh, may I borrow Michael, Lucas, and Dustin?”

The group turned in the direction of Mr. Coleman's voice to find the principal standing in the hallway with Sgt. Hopper. 

“Hey, what about me?” Richie crowed, crossing his arms over his chest with a pout.

“You’re not invited, Wheeler,” Hopper laughed, smirking at the curly haired teen. Hopper was well acquainted with the trouble-making Wheeler boy.

“Mr. Coleman,” Richie started, putting on an old timey Transatlantic accent. “Baby, you know your office is home away from home for me! I gotta come!” 

“Fine, Mr. Wheeler, you may join us as well.”

“Knew he couldn’t resist me!” Richie jokes, heading down the hallway ahead of the rest of the group, making Sgt. Hopper snort with laughter.


Hopper sighed, watching the three boys on the couch shout over one another, each trying to explain the last time they had seen their friend will. Hopper smirked as he heard Richie snort from his spot behind him where he's leaning against a wall. Hopper can’t help but silently agree with the boy who clearly finds his twin brother and his friends ridiculous. 

“Okay, okay, okay,” Hopper interrupted. “One at a time, alright? Wheeler, you said he takes what?”

“Mirkwood,” Mike recounted with a gulp, nervous to address the town Sergeant. He’d never met the man, but knew his brother had on quite a few occasions.

“Have you ever heard of Mirkwood?” Hopper asked his partner, Officer Callahan.

“I have not,” Callahan answered in an almost bored tone. “That sounds made up to me.” 

“No, it’s from Lord of the Rings.”

“Well, The Hobbit,” Dustin corrects, causing Lucas to twitch in irritation.

Nerds, Richie coughed under his breath, making Hopper laugh again.

The three teens on the couch in front of him have apparently missed Richie's comment, instead laughing into an argument about the Tolkien novels.   

“Hey,” Hopper interrupts again. “What’d I just say! One at a damn time, you.” 

“Mirkwood,” Mike continued. “It’s a real road. It’s just the name that’s made up. It’s where Cornwallis and Kerley meet.”

Hopper nods, familiar with the area. 

“We can show you, if you want!” Mike offered, pushing himself to the edge of his seat, wanting to help look for his friend. “We can help look!”

“No,” Hopper sighed, as the boys began arguing again. “After school, you are all to go home. Immediately You too, Wheeler,” Hopper twists in his seat to address Richie who salutes him mockingly, not looking up from his cuticles which he’s busy picking.  “That means no biking around looking for your friend, no investigating, no nonsense-” 

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, Hop,” Richie interrupted, pushing off from the wall. “Nonsense is what I do best! I’m sorry, I just don’t think I can do that.”

“I swear to God, Wheeler. Do I make myself clear?”

Hopper is standing now, towering slightly over the teenagers, making Richie roll his eyes while the other three boys nod in agreement.


“We should be out there right now. We should be helping look for him!” 

“We’ve been over this, Mike. The chief says-”

“I don’t care what the chief said!” Mike exclaims. “We have to do something. Will could be in danger!”

“More reason to stay put,” Karen reasons, causing Richie to snort. He doesn’t want to go looking for the boy any more than his mother does, but he knows her statement is complete bullshit.

“Mom!”

“End of discussion.”

Richie grins, thoroughly enjoying watching his twin, rather than himself, get shut down by his mother for a change of pace.

“This is bullshit,” Mike mutters, throwing down his fork and fleeing the dining room. 

Nancy and Richie share a look while Karen looks to her husband for support, unsurprisingly finding none.

“So, me and Barbara are gonna study at her house tonight,” Nancy breaks the uncomfortable silence at the table. “That’s cool, right?”

“No, not cool.”

“What? Why not?” 

Richie cannot believe his luck. It looks like Nancy’s now about to launch into an equally explosive argument with their mother.

“Why do you think? Am I speaking Chinese in this house?” 

Richie barks out a laugh.

“Mom! That’s so racist,” he chuckles.

“Until we know Will is okay, no one leaves,” Karen continues, ignoring Richie’s comment. 

“Wait, but I can still go pick up Eddie after dinner, right?” Richie asks, suddenly worried he might not get to spend the evening with his boyfriend. 

“No, Richard.”

“Mike’s right, this is such bullshit!” Richie cries, jumping from the table to follow his brother up the stairs to their shared bedroom.

“So, we’re all under house arrest, just because Mike’s friend got lost on the way home…”

Richie can hear his sister continuing to argue with Karen. She always was more persistent than her brothers. Mike typically accepted what he was told immediately and Richie would just do whatever he wanted anyway if he didn’t get the answer he was looking for. 

“Nancy, this isn’t Will’s fault!” Mike boomed, rushing down the stairs at full speed, the bannister shaking as he jumps to the landing. “You’re just mad because you want to hang out with Steve!”

“Who’s Steve?”

“Her new boyfriend,” Mike spits, disgusted with the fact that his sister would try to blame Will for her misfortune. 

“You are such a douchebag, Mike!”

The argument has devolved into a shouting match, Karen attempting to referee but struggling as she's decidedly caught off guard by the odd pairing while Ted continues to eat dinner calmly.

“Hey, Holly-Doll,” Richie sighs, making his way back into the dining room. “Let’s go watch some cartoons, huh?”

Holly immediately has her arms raised, waiting for Richie to pick her up and place her on his hip before walking her to the living room. 

“I’m the only one acting normal here!” Mike is screeching at the top of his lungs. Richie has never heard him this upset. “I’m the only one who cares about Will!” 

Richie has Holly situated on the couch and is turning on the TV set when he hears Mike stomp up the stairs again. Richie sighs, deciding to go and check on his brother.

“I hope you’re enjoying your chicken, Ted!”

Richie notices his mother storming out of the now nearly empty dining room, leaving his father sitting at the table alone. He probably prefers it that way, Richie thinks, continuing his trek up the stairs.


“Hey, shithead,” Richie greets, bursting into their bedroom. Mike is laying atop his covers, Supercom in hand. “You okay?” 

Mike eyes him suspiciously, Richie is never this nice to him. 

“M’fine.”

“Uh, you just swore at mom,” Richie laughs in disbelief. “There’s no way your fine.”

“My best fucking friend is missing, Richie,” Mike blurts, sitting up and glaring at his brother in anger. “Would you be fucking fine if Eddie had gone missing last night?”

“No,” Richie whispers, looking at his feet. “Sorry.”

Mike sighs and flopping back against his duvet.

“Lucas, do you copy? Lucas?” Mike calls into his walkie-talkie.

“Hey, it’s Lucas.” 

“I know it’s you. And say over when you’re done talking so know you’re done. Over.”

“I’m done. Over.” Lucas sasses making Richie laugh.

“I’m worried about Will. Over.”

“Yeah, this is crazy… Over.”

“Tell me about it!” Richie adds, climbing the ladder and flopping down on his top bunk.

“I was thinking,” Mike starts, sounding nervous. “Will could’ve cast Protection last night, but he didn’t. He cast Fireball. Over”

“What the fuck?” Richie laughs as Lucas asks a similar variation of Richie’s question.

“My point is, he could’ve played it safe, but he didn’t. He put himself in danger to help the party. Over.” 

“Meet me in ten. Over and out.” 

Mike sits up suddenly, causing the bed frame to shake.

“Woah, woah, woah,” Richie starts, sitting up to look at Mike who has begun to stuff things into his backpack. “Where do you think you’re going? Mom is royally pissed with you right now.”

“I need to help find Will, Rich,” Mike whispers, his face so open and honest it makes Richie gulp, searching desperately for a joke to diffuse the tension. 

“Don’t call me Rich.”

“Why not? Eddie calls you Rich all the time,” Mike asks, pulling a thick sweater over his head.

“Eddie gives me blowjobs,” Richie starts. 

“Richie!”

“When you start giving me mind-blowing orgasms, I’ll start letting you call me Rich.” 

“You’re fucking disgusting,” Mike responds, throwing one leg over the windowsill and out onto the roof.

“Wait,” Richie calls, stopping his brother with a look and pulling on his jean jacket. “You’re going to fall off the fuckin' roof and get us both in even deeper shit. I’ll come with you to meet Lucas, but then I’m going to see Eddie.” 

“Really?” 

“Yeah,” Richie rolls his eyes. “I already said, I can’t have you falling off the roof and blowing our cover. I’m horny as fuck and need to go and see Eddie.”


Minutes later the boys had navigated their way down the drain pipe and were slowly walking their bikes from the side of the house to the road.

“Oh, my God,” Mike mutters, noticing Steve Harrington attempting to climb into their sister’s window. 

“Hey,” Richie calls. “Try climbing the drain pipe around back and walk across the garage roof!”

Steve startles, looking back at the younger boys curiously, but waves gratefully before following Richie’s instructions.

“Richie!” Mike scolds.

“What?”

“You just helped Steve Harrington climb into our sister’s bedroom in the middle of the night!”

“It’s 7pm,” Richie laughs. “Hardly the middle of the night.” 

“Still!” 

“Shit,” Richie mutters. “You’re right.” 

Richie turns around, heading towards their front door to storm up to Nancy’s room and kick Steve out.

“Richie, no, later,” Mike calls. “We don’t have time right now!” 

“Fine!” 


“Richie?” Lucas and Dustin ask at the same time, confused as to why Mike would bring his brother to search for Will.

“I’m just escorting his royal highness over here,” Richie explains, skidding to a stop and winning the unspoken race between the twins with a smile. “Then I’m off to make some sweet, sweet love to my Spaghetti Monster.” 

“You’re disgusting,” Mike groans, slightly out of breath.

“And you’re out of shape, nerd.” Richie replies, ruffling Mike’s hair as he passes his brother, pedalling in the direction the twins had just come from to get to Eddie’s house.


“But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks?” 

“Hey, Rich,” Eddie laughs, not looking up from the notebook he is currently writing in at his desk. 

“It is the east, and Eddie Spaghetti is the sun,” Richie continues as though Eddie hadn’t spoken. He’s standing on the veranda below Eddie’s window, head rested on upturned palms as he leans his elbows on the window frame.

“We get it, Romeo,” Eddie smiles, getting up from his desk and walking towards the window to help pull Richie through. “You’re a real fuckin' romantic bastard, aren’t ya?” Eddie grins, pulling Richie down for a kiss.

“You know it,” Richie quips after pulling away, flopping down on Eddie’s bed. “C’mere.”

"Rich, I’ve got a lot of homework to do.”

“Spaghetti,” Richie whines. “Are you choosing homework over your one true love?”

“Richie,” Eddie smiles, staring exasperatedly down at his boyfriend. “Ugh, fine!”

Richie lets out a victorious shout before being muffled by both of Eddie’s hands and a desperate ‘shh’.

“You’re such an asshole, you know that?” Eddie whispers, climbing onto his bed and snuggling against Richie’s chest.

“I know.”

“Hey, wait,” Eddie starts, pulling back from Richie to sit up. “Your mom actually let you out of the house after Will went missing less than twenty-four hours ago?”

“Do you really think my mom would do that, Eds?” Richie responds, trying to pull a squirming Eddie back towards himself.

“You snuck out?” Eddie asks incredulously. “Richie! Will went missing last night! No one knows where you are. What if your mom finds out you’re not in the house and thinks you’ve gone missing as well? We’ve gotta call her-” 

“Eddie, it’s fine!” Richie laughs, sitting up. “My mom is pissed off with my brother. She won’t be checking our room tonight. Besides, Mike knows I’m here and my mom knows where to find me whenever I’m not home.” 

“Oh, okay. Mike knows where you are. That’s good.” 

"Yup…” 

“Richard…?”

“Mike and his band of geeks are currently off searching for Will in the forest,” Richie shrugs, laying back down. 

“What!?” 

“Shh,” Richie mocks, covering Eddie’s mouth. 

“We gotta go help them,” Eddie demands, standing from his bed and searching for his backpack. 

“No.” 

“What?” Eddie asks, confused as to why his boyfriend wouldn’t want to sneak around the forest at night. The entire thing screamed Richie Wheeler. 

“We aren’t going out there,” Richie repeats, picking at a hole in his jacket. “You’re not going out there.”

“You can’t tell me what to do, Richard,” Eddie spits, immediately defensive. 

“Spaghetti,” Richie’s voice cracks and Eddie can hear the pain in Richie’s tone and lets his guard down, approaching Richie. “I-I-I… I can’t-” 

“Rich, what’s going on?” Eddie is now sat on the bed next to Richie, running his fingers through the taller boy’s hair as Richie hides his face against Eddie’s thigh. Richie swallows before sitting up.

“I can’t lose you,” Richie whispers, cupping Eddie’s cheek. “Tonight… I was being a dick to Mike, asking him why he was being such a fucking psycho and he asked me how I would feel if it was you that had gone missing…”

Eddie lets out a puff of air, closing his eyes and wrapping his arms around Richie’s neck, burying his face there.

“I would be a fucking mess,” Richie continues. “Mike is a fucking champ, because I would be a fucking basket case if anything happened to you.” 

Eddie lets out a sob and Richie squeezes him tighter. They can’t lose one another.