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Story [Stranger Things] I Have This Friend... (Max- El Friendship, grief) (Mod!Challenge - 24hr)

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by brodiew, Aug 8, 2019.

  1. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Oct 11, 2005
    Title: I Have This Friend...
    Author: brodiew
    Genre: friendship, grief, hurt/comfort
    Summary: El breaks into Hopper's Bronco just to be near him. Max joins her.
    Author Note: This fic is an entry id for the Mod!Challenge Time Challenge. My prompts were:
    Your TV trope is: I Have This Friend
    Your required line of dialogue is: "You're late."

    Your picture prompt is: (Original Link:
    The picture is huge in the text and I don't know how to make is smaller. :p

    I Have This Friend...

    El sat in the driver’s seat of Hopper’s police Bronco, an unlit cigarette hanging from her mouth. His Chief’s badge hung heavily from the flannel shirt she was wearing. His hat sat on the seat next to her. A low growling sound emitted from between her tightly pressed lips as her hands gripped the steering wheel and turned it back and forth pretending to drive. She scrunched down in the seat to press the gas pedal to the floor and intensified her growling.

    She could just imagine what her dad had said to Mike when he jerked him up and marched him out of the cabin to this very vehicle.

    She remembered the ride home from Hawkins lab after she had closed the gate. She was wrapped in his coat, comforted by his smell, but exhausted. She looked to passenger seat and could just see herself there, leaning against the door. He had talked to her the whole time. Sweet words. Kind words. The loving words of a dad, who was not yet her dad.

    She remembered him revving the engine and driving so fast on the back roads. She smiled at the joy she saw in him and the sense of freedom they both had.

    “You’re speeding, Dad!” she had blurted in excitement and pinch of fear.

    He had turned to her, grinning like a mad man, and said: “I guess you better call the Police.”

    They had both burst into fits of laughter as they shot down a country road.

    A fierce knocking on the passenger door startled El from her memories. The door opened to reveal Max Mayfield. Her red hair was glistening with new rain, which El had not noticed starting while she was lost in thought.

    “You’re late,” El said, matter of fact as she watched her friend carefully move the hat to the center console.

    Max scrunched up her face in faux annoyance. “And you’re sitting in a Police Bronco in the rain in the middle of the night.”

    “Smoking too,” El said, removing the stick from her mouth and holding it between her fingers.

    “I see that,” Max, shaking her head slightly. “Got one for me?”

    “Sure,” El said, taking one of Hopper’s packs, still in the glove box, and shaking one loose. She had learned that trick from watching her dad intently when he smoked. He told her never to do it. That it was not healthy. But he kept on. “Not smoking for real, though.”

    “Got it,” Max said, placing the cigarette between her lips.

    Still holding the pack, El placed it to her nose at the open spot and inhaled. She wrinkled her nose, yet basked in the smell of her dad’s special brand.

    “You okay, El?” Max asked, knowing full well she wasn’t.

    Shrugging, El felt small and, suddenly unworthy of his seat. She looked at Max.

    “You drive,” she declared in a way that would not invite discussion.

    Max’s mouth fell open. “Drive? Where do you want to go this late at night? You realize this car is not at the cabin or at the Byers’ house. It’s parked in the back lot of the Police Station.”

    “Obviously,” El said, sitting up straighter.

    “So, we would be stealing the Bronco if we drove anywhere,” Max said, incredulously.

    “That too,” El replied.

    Max stared out the windshield through the rain drops which coalesced and streaked toward the dormant wipers.


    She made a decision.

    “Okay,” she agreed. “I’ll drive. Where is it you want to go?”

    “The quarry.”

    “What?” Max blurted, furrowing her brow. “I’m not going to the quarry at midnight on a rainy summer night! That’s just nuts.”

    “Nuts like fighting a giant, super gross, Mind Flaying Monster?” El replied, raising her eyebrows in question.

    “Some things come to us and we face them,” Max answered. “Going to quarry is just dangerous.”

    El’s face hardened. “You are right. You can go. I will drive.”

    “You don’t know how to drive, El,” Max replied, knowing it would solve nothing.

    “Just go, Max,” El said. “I can be sad by myself. I’m sorry I called you.”

    “No, El. I’m not leaving you. We can be sad together, but we don’t have to do it at the quarry.

    Max noticed the badge on El’s shirt. She looked at the hat forlornly. The keys were in the ignition.

    El was silent, her eyes locked on the pink, elastic bracelet on her right wrist.

    I have this friend," Max said. "You don’t know her, but she’s pretty cool. For someone who’s been through a lot, she’s the nicest person ever. She wasn’t nice at first. Not sure what that was all about, but once I got to know her, she’s great. She’s smart and strong and pretty and kind and funny and…sad, too. She’s sad, too. She lost her mom when she was just a baby. Her dad was not a nice man. Kind like my stepdad.”

    “Who is this friend?” El asked. “Seems like I should know her. If’s she that cool. We could use another girl in The Party. Not Erica. It is not Erica, right?”

    Max laughed out loud. “No, it’s not Erica. She doesn’t fit the bill I described.”

    “Then who is this mystery Friend?” El pressed. “Mess up!”

    Max chuckled. “I think you mean ‘Fess up’,” Max replied. “Well, let me see. She has lovely curly brown hair and her eyes are so brown and expressive.”


    “Like full of emotion. People can tell how you’re feeling from your eyes.”

    “My eyes?” El asked, unsure.

    Max barreled on with her description. “You should see how strong she is. I’ve never seen a girl lift as much as she can. And her endurance. My god, she takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Like a Timex, I tell you.”

    “If she is so special, she should be your best friend,” El said, hurt and frustration rising in her throat.

    “She is my best friend, El,” Max confessed. “She’s you!”

    “Wait…me?” El said in surprise. He eyes went up and he retraced all the things Max had said. “Why are you telling me this?”

    “To distract you, of course. Though every word is true,” Max said, smiling. “That quarry thing isn’t happening. But…if you are wanting to break the law, I have another more immediate solution.”

    El perked up. “Yes? What is it?”

    “We break into the police station,” the readhead said, pleased with herself. “What would The Chief think of that?”

    El rolled her eyes. “Did that already. Got the badge and the hat and the keys.”

    The rain started to come down harder, hammering the roof of the Bronco.

    “Well,” Max said, a croak of emotion creeping into her voice. “We could just stay right here. We could sit right here and miss The Chief together. We don’t have to go anywhere.”

    At those words, El clutched the badge on her shirt and started to cry. She leaned over and rested her head on Max’s lap. Reaching back, she grabbed the hat and clutched it to her chest as she wept.

    Max laid a tentative hand on the curly brown locks and pulled them away from El’s face. “Nope. We’ll just stay right here.”
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Touching and great use of the prompts =D= Max is very supportive.
    Findswoman and brodiew like this.
  3. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Gah, brodie!!

    First of all, I have to applaud you for writing such a fantastic story in so short a time - especially all the more so since I know you started your clock on accident. :p :oops: This vignette hurt in all the best ways, whew! That was a tough read. :( =D=

    Right off the bat, this image struck me, and I imagine it will stay with me for some time to come. I could perfectly see this as if it was an opening scene onscreen. El's grief in its entirety - and her way of expressing it, particularly - is just heartbreaking. (And, honestly, it's one of the reasons I've balked for finishing the season - I know that Hopper is going to come back to her, or at least he better [face_waiting], but still. El deserves better from the plot, after everything else she's persevered through. Enough is enough, IMO. =(( This poor dear girl.)

    Bwaha!! Of course El saw through that in a second, no matter how silly the boys were being. Say what you will, that was one of my favourite Hopper moments of the show. [face_rofl] This was a nice line of levity to break up the tension.

    Ack. =((

    Another scene I could see playing out perfectly in my mind. Perfectly in character.

    That line is so El. What a great way to include the dialogue. And, it was all the more of an emotional punch after what she's lost. If the poor thing didn't already have abandonment issues before . . . :( [face_plain]

    I love how you worked in the picture prompt. It was a scene I could perfectly envision, even without the image being included. =D=

    Wise words from a wise girl. What a good friend. [face_love]

    I already love how strong Max and El's friendship grew to be onscreen, but this just gutted me. What a great way for Max to express an emotion that's maybe just too big for words. I appreciate, even more so, how you took the trope - one that's usually used for laughs - and played it straight, too. It made the scene all the more poignant. =D=

    [face_laugh] Another great way to break up the emotional tension. Again, you have a knack for capturing the voices of whatever cast you choose to write for. I could hear both actresses without having to stretch my imagination in the slightest.

    [face_laugh] The friendship here is just all sorts of epic.

    Oh. =(( :_|

    Once again, I could see this playing out as if it was a missing scene. El needs - and deserves - to cry and let herself mourn with someone she trusts with her heart. Max is the ideal bastion to confide in and watch over her as she exercises her grief. This was incredibly touching, even for how much it hurt.

    You did a fantastic job working the prompts so seamlessly into the story. I wouldn't have been able to guess what was required and what was yours if I didn't already know. And in less than twenty-four hours, too! Nicely done! Thanks for participating in the challenge, and for sharing this wonderful story with us. I enjoyed every word.

    =D= [face_love] [:D]
  4. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    I was not ready for this :_| Season 3 just gutted me. This was a heartbreaking companion piece, but in a good way. I also honestly forgot I was reading a challenge piece - it all fit in so perfectly =D=

    This glimpse of Hopper just being Dad is just so him! I love it.
    This is a great description of El
    Of course she did! =((
    This is so sad, but I love the undercurrent of honest friendship. Max is wonderful!
  5. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Great story! The prompts worked perfectly. The rain image matches the somber mood, and of course the whole theme throughout Stranger Things has always been how we need our friends.

    Your imagery is fantastic. I can see El sitting in that car in the rain, Max gently picking up Hopper’s hat and moving it aside do she can sit next to El. You really caught the caring and compassionate bond the two girls developed during Season 3. It’s funny; I think Max was originally introduced as a love interest for Lucas, but I think her far more important role has been to be a supportive best friend to El.

    Great response to the challenge!
  6. GregMcP

    GregMcP Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 7, 2015
    Loved the read, but I've really gotta do a 3 season Stranger Things binge.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
    Findswoman and brodiew like this.
  7. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    So, I hereby confess that I don't know the slightest thing about Stranger Things, but I still thoroughly enjoyed this! As always, you do a great job establishing the setting and mood; rainy windshield with the lights filtering through it made for a particularly poignant brackdrop to the two friends' conversation. There's something bittersweet in the way El puts on her dad's badge and pretends to drive his car, given her grief (and it's complex grief, too, as I get the feeling her relationship with her dad was much less than perfect). Most of all I love Max's words of encouragement and sympathy—as Mira said, the "I have this friend" trope really made them hit home all the more. Mighty fine work, and thanks so much for sharing! =D=
  8. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Oct 11, 2005
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha: Thank you for your kind words, Nyota. Max is indeed supportive. So much so I even teared up writing it. :_|

    @Mira_Jade: Thank you so much for the wonderful review, Mira. I am pleased to hear that provoked an emotional response. Your comments about the description of El opening the story are on point. I kind of fee like I should add more. I also loved the moment when Hopper tells her she should call the police about speeding. I could see it on the show in my minds eye. As for Max, I wanted her to be the strong person know her to be, but at the same time do whatever it took to walk El through her grief. Oh, and fret too much. Hopper will return! He better.

    @Briannakin: It is good to see you on one of my fics, Briannakin. I really appreciate you comments. I love the Timex comment and I agree that it is a great description of El, in a nutshell.

    @divapilot: It's always nice to see you, divapilot. Thank you for taking time to read and comment. I'm so glad the the friendship came through strongly. I'm not sure what's got me writing female friendships lately? Strong characters, I suppose. I liked the El-Max friendship in S3, but felt the season was too short. reading about the friendship on other sites has been a pleasure as well? Have you ever considered writing a Strangers Things story? How's that for a challenge? [face_mischief]

    @GregMcP: Hi Greg! Thanks for stopping in. I appreciate your comments and yes, you need to get on that S3 binge! Now![face_hypnotized]

    @Findswoman: Hello Findswoman! I am so thankful that you decided to stop in for my story. Especially, knowing nothing of the Fandom. I'm glad the setting of he scene was strong and came through well. I'm happy to hear that the friendship and Max's words had the desired impact. Just a note of clarity: In Max's comments about her step dad and her 'friend's father', this was a reference to the man El calls Papa. He was a scientist who exploited El's powers and mentally and physically abused her from an early age. She escapes from his facility at the beginning of ST S1. The man who died most recently is her adoptive father, and Chief of Police of Hawkins. He was as good a man as she could have hoped for. He is thought dead.:_| But likely not. [face_hypnotized] Thank you again!
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
  9. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost star 4

    Jun 3, 2002
    I know next to (perhaps on top of) nothing about Stranger Things, but your use of the prompts and the emotions of the characters have me wanting to check it out. Great work. =D=
    brodiew likes this.