A/N: Hello, well jumping into a new fandom, well not entirely new, my first time writing for it. Well anyway, I started watching Stranger Things when it first came out, season one to be exact, so last year, fell in love with it and began reading fics like crazy to tide myself over until season 2. I finished season 2 yesterday and well, this plot bunny hit me about three episodes into season 2, but I finally got chapter one finished today. A bit about the idea. Major AU: there is no Will getting trapped in the upside down, it's pretty well grounded. All of the kids are present, although the major focus will be on Will, Mike and Eleven, including some characters introduced in season 2, but as this is AU there will be no major plot details as it pertains to their role in the show itself. They will simply be playing their role in this version of Hawkins. As for Eleven and her abilities, well that is to be determined. If there is enough interest in Eleven having her powers, I am definitely open to working it in. TW: For references to abuse and dark themes.

I do not own Stranger Things, that belongs to Netflix and the Duffer Brothers. I'm simply playing in the sandbox. I only own my plot.

Chapter One: Before

Mike's POV

"Come on, come on, fireball Will!" Lucas and I banged on the table. We were sitting around the table in the middle of an important campaign. We'd been planning it for months, and now Will, Dustin, Lucas and I were face to face with the Demogorgon.

"Cast protection! Fireball will never work." Dustin reasoned. "Oh shit…"

"Fireball!" It looked as though Will was deciding to cast fireball. He shook the dice with a dramatic pause before he tossed them.

We scrambled as the dice went flying hoping that Will had rolled a thirteen or higher.

"Where are they?" Dustin asked.

"Is it thirteen?" Will asked.

"Where's the last one?" Lucas was under the table searching as I grabbed a die from the bottom of the stairs.

"Boys, it's six o'clock." Mom's voice came from the staircase as I looked up. "School tomorrow."

"Come on Mom," I sighed. "We're in the middle of the campaign, we have to find out if Will the Wise killed the Demogorgon."

"Well, I'm sure the Delamorgan will still be there tomorrow." Mom said.

"Demogorgon Mrs. Wheeler." Lucas said.

"Whatever it is, regardless, you have school tomorrow and Jonathan is on his way."

"But Mrs. Wheeler…" Dustin protested.

"No arguments."

"Sorry Mrs. Wheeler." Dustin and Lucas apologized. They then turned to us. "See you guys tomorrow."

Will and I looked at each other from across the room. I noticed he was the only one that wasn't trying to start an argument. Will was just like that though, always had been. Parents liked him.

"Alright." Will said. He looked at Dustin and Lucas. "I think it was a seven, the Demogorgon got me."

"Not cool." Lucas frowned. "We'll solve it tomorrow. No worries."

"I know." Will nodded.

"Still sucks though." Dustin said.

"Dustin language."

"Sorry Mrs. Wheeler." Dustin ran up the stairs shouting the apology quickly.

Lucas, Will and I laughed.

"Tomorrow then?" Lucas said

"Tomorrow." Will replied.

Eleven's POV

I've only ever heard my name twice. Eleanor Jane Brenner, once when I was in serious trouble from Papa, and once from my social worker when she dropped me off at the group home. Once I got into the group home, I got my new name, Eleven. I was the eleventh kid in the house, and the woman that owned the house was always drunk. She couldn't keep track of names so we all got numbers. There was another girl. She was eighth. Eight was the one who put up a fight. She set the house on fire, and then we split up. I don't know where she ended up, but I was sent to Hawkins with Billy and Max. That's how I ended up locked in the bedroom without dinner.

I got along alright with Max. As far as foster sisters went, she wasn't as crazy as Eight, and her mother was alright too. It would've went well if it weren't for the fact that Max's mother worked all the time and we were stuck with Billy. Billy treated me okay at first, other than teasing me about my name, but then he started wanting things from me, things that hurt.

I decided not to give him what he wanted, and then he hit me and locked the door. It's been four hours. He locked the door at two zero zero. It's six zero zero. Max's mother gets home at eight zero zero.

"Eleven…" I heard a whisper through the crack in the bottom of the door. "Eleven…"

I crawled over and peeked through the crack. Max peeked back at me and then began working the lock with a hair pin.

"What are you doing?" I backed away from the door. My stomach got butterflies. "You're going to get in trouble."

"Screw that." Max said. "We're getting out of here."

We snuck out of the window, both wearing sweatshirts that Max had stolen from Billy's closet. I put up the hood as the chill of the fall weather bit through my clothes, even the sweatshirt that was four sizes too big.

"Where are we going?" I tugged at the sleeves hugging myself in an effort to warm up as we ran.

"There's a general store not far from here, Melvald's I think." Max said.

I frowned. I hadn't seen her with any money, unless it had been in her pocket.

"Would you relax?" Max said. "We need supplies."


"Uh...yeah. Otherwise we'll wind up eating each other." Max laughed. But I couldn't. Running away was bad enough, but going to the store without money... I gave a half grin, but it probably didn't look like one. This was bad for both of us.

We stopped in front of the store around twenty minutes later. It looked small enough, fit in pretty well with the rest of this town. Small could be bad news.

"Ele, come on." Max whispered jamming an elbow into my side. "Let's go."