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There's A Boy In the Forest

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There's a boy in the forest.

He's unconscious. Has been for days.

His clothes are odd for 1987. His shoes, his shirt, his jeans. All of them scream WRONG.

He doesn't know how he got there. He doesn't know why. What he does know is that when he wakes, he will fulfill his mission. No matter what.

 

Steve Harrington woke up to banging on his door. Groaning, he pulled himself out of bed, throwing on the shirt he had hung on the bedpost.

He moved slowly, unsteadily. No, he was not drunk or hungover. He simply was not a morning person.

Rubbing his eyes, he threw open the front door, wondering hazily who in the world was up at this hour (it was 9 a.m. and they were a week into summer break).

Six heads shoved their way past him and into the house.

"Morning, Steve!"

"Eggoooossss..."

"Wow, you look drunk."

"Thanks for letting us use your basement!"

"Wait…" Steve mumbled, only just now realizing what was happening. He raised his voice. "Hey, when did I say you could use my basement!"

They were nowhere in sight.

Continuing to speak loudly, he added, "I'll grab some Eggos, just make sure you clean up any messes you make."

A muffled "EGGOS" was the only reply.

"Alright, Eggos, got it." He turned and headed for the kitchen, wondering how in the world it had become commonplace for six kids to come barging into his house at any hour of the day. Not that he would prefer they not. They were his kids. His family.

 

It was half-past two when they came up from the basement. Steve had gone down for a while, of course, but he had yet to understand Dungeons and Dragons, so he had gone back upstairs and watched horror movies while he waited for them to finish their "campaign".

"Hey Harrington!" Dustin exclaimed, the first of the Party to emerge from their cave. "Sorry we stole your basement, man, but we needed a cave where El was able to come, and your place was the first thing we thought of."

"It's fine," he responded with a shrug. "Besides, I never go down there anyway." And the house is usually so quiet, it's a relief to hear them shouting in the basement, he added to himself.

He was about to return to his movie-watching when a shout came from the stairs. Mike.

"El! El, are you alright? Guys, El fainted!"

Steve's maternal instincts kicked in. Abandoning the still-playing movie, he dashed for the stairs, barely a step ahead of Dustin and Lucas.

Mike and Max were already lifting her off the steps when he got there. Will hung back a bit, looking rather out of place as his friends hauled the girl who had become like a sister to him up the staircase.

Steve took her from them as soon as they reached the top. He may not have won many fights, but he was still stronger than them. Taking a left, he led them to the first-floor guest rooms.

Mike hovered around him as he lowered her onto the bed, a panicked expression on his face. "Is she going to be alright? Is she going to be alright?" he kept repeating, running his fingers frantically through his hair.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa. You're freaking out and it's making me freak out. She'll be fine, she's El. Breathe."

Mike nodded, slowing his breathing. In… Out… In… Out… In- Out- In- Out-

Steve looked over at Will for help. Quietly, the smaller boy came up to Mike's side, taking his hand. "Shh, it'll be fine," he whispered.

He nodded slowly, sinking into the cushioned chair that, besides the bed and a dresser, was the room's only furnishing.

Satisfied that Mike had calmed enough, Steve returned his attention to the sleeping girl. "Do you have any idea why-" he began, but stopped. He didn't know how he hadn't noticed it before: a thin stream of blood was coming out of El's left nostril.

"Guys, her nose is bleeding."

The Party (bar Mike, who was still in the chair, and Will, who stood dutifully by his side) crowded closer to the bed.

"She must be using her powers in her sleep!" Lucas exclaimed.

"Maybe something happened, and it triggered her powers, but for some reason it also knocked her out?" Dustin suggested. "Don't you think we should call someone?"

"Who?" Steve snorted. "Joyce?"--Will glanced up at his mother's name--"You know how she gets."

The curly-haired boy sighed. "You're right. I guess we'll just have to wait until she wakes up."st.