The Significance of Mike Losing Will
I have been doing quite a bit of revisiting Mike's character dynamics lately, and this I think will provide some much needed insight into the implications of what Mike was actually telling Will in the bedroom scene and just how important this truly is.
Before we jump in here, I'm going to be pulling some deductions I made from this post about Mike's relationship to Nancy, so if you haven't read that yet, I suggest reading it first.
So if you've read this, then you'll know my take on Mike's being closed off is a result of many of his relationships failing to hold space for him: basically, Mike doesn't believe that his feelings and expressions really matter to anyone else because he's often being pushed aside. Except for with his Mom (who is often preoccupied with Holly) and Will (who has now moved away to Lenora).
I've posted about this a few times, but I've broken down my take on why Mike believes Will is the one to drop the ball on communication with him here. Mike during the end of season 3 expresses his fears over losing Will when he asks, "But what if you want to join another party?" when Will is going to donate his DnD books. This is not Mike actually asking Will about his DnD books, this is Mike asking "What if you forget about me? What if you move on and make other friends?" So when Will says "Not possible," Mike sees this as a reassurance that they will remain friends, that he's not going to lose Will, but he does.
When we hear Hopper's Letter at the end of season 3 about feeling distant and not wanting to change, we see these shots of Mike looking longingly after the Byers' moving van and back to their house. Of course Mike is upset about El leaving as well, but the implications of the lines from Hopper's Letter directly follow the narrative of this exchange: a fear of losing, which is not the narrative undertone of the scene between Mike and El who promise to stay in touch. Mike doesn't feel scared of losing El because communication with his girlfriend is expected of him, but his relationship with Will is not explicitly a romantic one, they have no obligation to one another to stay in touch, except, Mike wants there to be because Will makes Mike feel like himself. And we again get this image of Mike falling into Karen's arms because now that Will is gone, she's really the only other person that Mike has who seems to understand his emotional needs.
When Will doesn't reach out to Mike during his time in Lenora, I think Will is really recognizing the full gravity of his feelings for Mike and that even after the destruction of Castle Byers, he's not able to get over these feelings or make them go away, so Will uses this distance as a way of attempting to rip off the Band-aid. He wants to believe that Mike is not reaching out to him and that Mike doesn't care about their friendship because it's easier for Will to believe this if he wants to get over his feelings. So Will doesn't call Mike, he waits for Mike to call him. Of course, this attempt at getting over his own feelings doesn't work, because we very clearly see from the painting that Will is not getting over Mike, but for a while, he tries. And I think the painting is his last-ditch effort: taking the possibility of reciprocation off the table. To rip off the Band-aid once and for all.
But Mike? Mike is so confused. Because he (likely) has been calling Will, except Joyce has her telemarketer job and the calls don't go through. And Will isn't calling him, despite knowing Joyce's schedule. And Will promised Mike that he wouldn't move on, that Mike wouldn't lose him, but Mike feels like he lost Will, and he doesn't know what to do with that because losing Will feels like cutting off the one real connection he's had to the authentic version of himself.
Mike doesn't just feel like he lost Will. Mike feels like he lost...well, Mike. Because Will is the only person that he feels comfortable talking to that actually holds space for his needs and emotions.
So when Mike gets to high school and Lucas joins the basketball team and Dustin has Steve to guide him, and Max is so distant that she barely hangs out with the party anymore, Mike feels so incredibly lost because there's really not anyone in his corner. Not until Eddie shows up and takes him under his wing and reintroduces Mike to DnD and being a freak and the pride in that. And I think that's why we see Mike so devoted to Eddie and to the campaign, why he styles his hair and clothes like Eddie, why he looks up to him so much, why he has this admiration for (and maybe a crush on) him, because Eddie in a way makes Mike feel less lost. Eddie makes him feel the closest to connected to something that he's felt since Will left.
So for the people saying Mike joined another party to feel closer to Will, I think this is a truer statement than assuming his joining another party was a slight against Will. Mike needed something to fill that sense of loss, and that's why we see him throw all of himself into Hellfire, to the point where he's more devoted to Hellfire than he is to going to Lucas's game, because Eddie found Mike when Mike was lost, and that creates a huge sense of loyalty. He also feels seen by Eddie in a way he doesn't feel seen by Dustin and Lucas anymore, because they're both moving on to other things and other people, and Mike doesn't have that. For Mike, a sense of loyalty is huge, and though it hurts when Lucas and Dustin go their own ways and aren't as devoted to the party (Dustin is still more into Hellfire and more present than Lucas, but he also has Steve), Mike never expected that Will would abandon him in the way he did. Will has always been there. Will has always been loyal to Mike. And Mike has always felt the greatest sense of loyalty towards Will, so Will not talking to him? That stings more than anything.
When Will gets to the airport with his painting and looks so excited to see Mike (he can't help it, he's tried to tamp down the feelings, but he can't), Will is willing to put aside whatever he believes about why Mike hasn't written him because he just wants Mike to be there with him again, but Mike? Mike's giving "WTF you didn't talk to me for five months and now you want to hug me?" energy. He feels hurt and abandoned by Will in a way that he never expected to and he can't understand how Will can look so happy to see him yet have not put any effort into maintaining their friendship.
But after the Rink o Mania scene (which I've talked to death at this point), Mike finally decides to cut Will a break a little and realizes there's more to the story.
Mike just, really wants Will to be back in his life more than anything, because I think he finally realizes once he's in Lenora, back around Will, how easy it is for him to fall back into his old self. To open up. To feel seen and heard.
So while Mike makes Will feel like he's not a mistake, Will also makes Mike feel like he's not a mistake. When everyone around Mike misunderstands him and shuts him down, Mike feels like he doesn't matter. When he loses Will, this becomes a lot more apparent. And Will makes Mike feel like he matters, because whether or not Will interprets Mike's feelings correctly (Mr. Byers, please get out of your own way), he never fails to validate Mike's feelings. He gives Mike a voice when Mike doesn't feel like he has one.
s5 wishlist (in no particular order)(also incomplete):
WillEl following Jonathan around like little ducklings
Nancy and Mike actually bond as siblings (never before seen)
Jopper telling ppl they have 3 wonderful children
Healthy Milkvan breakup
Steve, Jonathan, Mike + Will team up
Wheelers x Byers soulmatism
Nancy and Will bonding over guns, how annoying Mike is and how cool Jonathan is
Lumax reunion (has to be v.emotional)
OG party actually having scenes together
Karen Wheeler learning abt the upside down and slipping into joyce byers mode
Cali gang reunion because Argyle, Jonathan, Mike and Will are the funniest thing ever
WillEl defeating vecna with THEIR powers
Mike and Will leave hawkins together xoxo
Argyle, Nancy, Steve, Robin and Jonathan team up
Will and Max scenes
Dustin and El scenes
Jonathan and literally anyone who isnt his family
Little woman parallel with Mike and Will
Jonathan and Will hiding Lonnies dead body (this is personal)
Central Byers family xoxo
El and Lucas being besties can be something so personal to me
Bonus: Max and Mike are really changed by their performance
That's presumptuous of you.
Y/n: Have I ever told you how much I love you?
Steve: We are not stopping at mcdonalds.
Y/n: This is bullshit.
✧ 𝐁𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 ‘𝐜𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐤𝐲 𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐭’ 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐇𝐚𝐰𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐬 𝐠𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐩 ✧
> gender neutral, requests are open (thank you to those that have messaged me, I am working on them!)
→ obviously not actually being a grandparent (the age can be whatever reader wants!)
→ usually having a grumpy exterior, doesn’t like ‘soppy’ or heartfelt expressions of emotion.
→ “don’t touch me” (cue cranky face) but everyone loves annoying you
→ probably more than twice you’ve yelled “aye, watch my garden!” and the group teases you nonstop for it.
“watch out for y/n lawn!”
“i said GARDEN, not lawn... jesus.”
→ erica likes you the most, she tolerates everyone else but you two understand each other on another level
→ dustin and lucas take it in turn trying to make you laugh, or even crack a smile “knock-knock”
“really? a knock-knock joke - c’mon. try harder.”
→ standing up for the group when they’re not around. you think it would be too embarrassing to do it in front of them.
→ have and will punch a bully. hell, you’d love to punch anyone
→ robin laughs at the majority of your comments
→ the kids come to you when steve is in mum mode, usually letting them get away with most things
→ always having freshly baked goods at your house so the group can fuel up. (acts of service would def be your love language).
→ “feet off the table,” you’d murmur and mike would be like “oh yeah, sorry” now everyone makes fun of you for that too
→ will would feel oddly very safe with you, not that you aren’t a safe person, just that it’s odd he connects with you (old souls?)
→ You always say like really odd sayings from the older generation, and no one can understand what you mean. But they come up with their own interpretation because they don’t want ‘the look’ from you if they ask
→ You’d be more of a realist, and wouldn’t associate the upside down with anything ‘magical’, it’s all science to you
→ You have a bag/satchel/backpack that you carry around with at all times. It has first aid (bandaids, gauze, tape, septic/rubbing alcohol etc), water, a flashlight, the book you’re reading at the moment, money (obviously), and a few fake IDs
→ Everyone also leaves their stuff with you
→ You don’t take crap from anyone, I mean they know you’ll say something snarky but really true
→ You love reading and have an immense library (your lucky enough to have parents that also like to read, however, they’re at work a lot and you don’t see them)
→ I can see you having a crush on any of the older members; eddie, steve, robin and/or nancy but you try to hide it
Everyone besides Robin, Max and El thinking Eddie and Steve are just really close friends because Steve is the "straightest guy" they've ever seen.
Eddie and Steve have been dating for months and assume everyone has figured it out because they're very affection with each other.
Everyone has in fact not figured it out so imagine everyone's surprise when Steve kisses Eddie hello after a rough fight with his parents.
I forget who it was now but in the tags of one of my posts someone commented on how Steve’s got the boys and Billy has the girls (with Will being split custody - they most definitely fight over him) and listen, listen, listen. You’re so right, bestie.
And Billy constantly tells Steve that he doesn’t want to talk about the kids, doesn’t want to waste his time with Steve over pre-teen/teenage gossip, but Steve can’t help himself.
“I just need to ask you one thing, Billy,” he says. “One thing and then I promise I won’t bring up the kids again.” And Billy rolls his eyes because he knows that’s a lie, but he gestures for Steve to go on, and Steve asks, “What exactly did Lucas do this time? Like, seriously, why is Max so pissed at him?”
Billy doesn’t miss a beat. “He fucking knows what he did, Harrington.”
“I really don’t think he does,” says Steve, because he just spent an hour listening to Lucas and Mike try to reason through just what caused this particular break-up and honestly? The whole thing made Steve’s head hurt.
“Then he’s a fucking idiot,” Billy says, because he had to listen to Max and El rehash the whole argument and he’s second-hand furious at Lucas. “And so’s that little dickbag mini-Wheeler. You tell him to fucking apologize to El before I knock his fucking teeth out.”
“Mike? What the hell did Mike do?”
“Mike knows exactly what he did.”
“Again,” Steve says, sorry that he ever brought this up, because Billy is a pitbull when it comes to his girls and he should have known better, “I don’t think he does!”
steve should’ve subbed the hellfire campaign instead of erica.
in vol 2 erica told lucas that she goes to all his games because he is her brother and she obviously cares about him. so why would she miss the probably most important game of his life to play dnd?? that doesn’t really add up imo.
steve already knew that his date would probably be pointless and only end in meaningless sex which is not what he wants from dating. missing that date wouldn’t be that bad. plus dustin is really important to him and although he’s not into dnd i feel like he would’ve said yes if dustin had tried a little harder.
steve joining the hellfire campaign that night could’ve beautifully shown his relationship to dustin and the other kids.
AND DONT EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE STEDDIE CONTENT WE WERE ROBBED OF.
can you imagine eddie’s dumbfounded look when steve walks into hellfire. they could’ve bonded so much earlier in the season i-
Get in, we’re getting Starbucks!
Is your req box open? If so can you please do like the party x a male reader saying "I hate you" in a argument ? And please end it up with fluff any way you like ! I just can't take it when the ending is angst 😭
I hate you
The party x male reader // hurt/comfort // FEM aligned DNI // this will include : Mike, Will, Dustin, Lucas, El, and Max // I took a romantic route since you didn’t specify btw
• It was a petty fight. That’s the only fights that ever happen between the two of you, so this wasn’t any different than what happens normally.
• It was getting a little more heated than usual. Both of you were in each other’s faces, tears filled the eyes of the both of you. It was a spur of the moment thing that slipped out you hadn’t even realized you said it.
• “I fucking hate you!”
• Mike stopped breathing for a good 20 seconds. Your back was turned pushing your hair out of your face until it finally registered what you had said.
• He wasn’t crying, his breathing was steady again, he just looked confused. He calmly sat down, he wouldn’t look at you. It was completely silent, but so loud at the same time.
• “Mike I’m…” you got on your knees in front of him, cupping his face gently so you could make eye contact with him.
• “I am so so sorry Mike. I didn’t mean it I promise, I love you more than anything.”
• That ended the fight there. He pulled you up so the two of you could hug, you stayed there for a good 5 minutes.
• “I forgive you.” He said the first words in the silence that fell over the room.
• You guys cuddled the rest of the day :)
• You guys never fight so when you do it’s usually pretty serious. But at this point in the fight neither of you could remember what the fight was about anymore, there was screaming , crying , something was thrown at some point.
• Will said something that just set you off.
• “God I hate you” your words cut into him like knives. The malice laced in your voice made him flinch, you saw him and it broke your heart.
• It was like all of the muscles in his body got weak, he would’ve hit the ground if you hadn’t caught him. You sat him down on the bed wiping the tears off his cheek.
• “Oh hun, I’m so sorry I didn’t mean it I promise you. I was just angry.” You held him for a while. Letting him cry into your shoulder until he could compose himself.
• “Don't ever say that again.” it was direct how he said it. He knew that in the heat of the moment things could happen, words slip out, and feelings are hurt.
• “never again love I promise.”
• You guys didn’t fight for years after that
• You and Dustin play fight constantly. Even real fights are playful, so this fight wasn’t very different from the others. Things we getting a little heated this time which was odd, it doesn’t happen often but when it does it can get nasty.
• When Dustin realized this was a real fight he got a little nervous. He didn’t show it though, he kept being a smart ass like he is pretending like he doesn’t care.
• “I hate you Jesus Christ.” “Wow. Not cool.”
• You stopped in your tracks and looked at him “Shit I’m sorry D”
• He doesn’t take things very personally so it wasn’t really a big deal to him especially since you apologized
• You guys laugh about it later honestly
• He teases you about it too. Won’t ever let you live it down. (Unless you feel too bad and he’ll stop)
• You guys serious fight about stupid shit all the time. Today was a little bit more hectic, more stressful, you guys were yelling at each other cursing at each other.
• “I hate you!” “Yeah well I hate you too!”
• You guys kinda stared at each other after that. Neither of you knew what to do or what it meant, so you just stared at each other.
• “I didn’t mean that” you guys said it at the same time which caused you both to start laughing. At this point you don’t even remember what the fight was about anymore, flipping down on the couch you looked at each other.
• “no more fighting?” “Yeah no more fighting”
• You probably play video games the rest of the night honestly. Reading comics and eating your favorite snacks <3
• He isn’t one to hold grudges so you don’t have to worry about that. He will hold it over your head in a joking way to get you to do things for him though.
• El can’t take play fighting cause she always thinks it’s real. So when you guys fight she’s usually pretty shaken up, especially if it’s an intense one like this one. Don’t get me wrong she can defend herself very well, she just doesn’t like it when she’s fighting with someone.
• It usually ends with the two of you going to separate rooms to cool off and then coming back to the conversation so things aren’t as heated.
• When you told El you hated her she burst into tears, she didn’t say a word and just ran. Ran from wherever you guys were all the way home and told hopper all about it.
• It wasn’t till a week later that you could finally get ahold of her. Knocking on the door of her cabin you were greeted with a very angry hopper, so you kinda anxiously got past him and into El’s room.
• When you apologized and told her that you didn’t mean it and that you love her
• She understands. She’s had fights with hopper resulting in things like this happening, she knows sometimes in fights things happen.
• You guys go to the mall and get icecream and put it behind you.
• Max fights are terrifying. You stay away from them as much as you can, cause she will be extremely harsh with you and doesn’t regret it. She’ll apologize if she needs to/you guys are making up. Sometimes she doesn’t mean to be as harsh as she is.
• “I hate you” She stars at you for a good 10 seconds “excuse me?”
• This is where both of you knew this fight was getting way too heated. Both of you were trying to catch your breath from yelling so much, after about 2 minutes of standing there staring at each other Max turned to leave.
• “Max, wait please.” You grabbed her arm to keep her in the room, and she gave you a look of ‘this better be good or I swear to god’
• You apologized but she wasn't having it. Compared to the others she would be the angriest with you. It took her about a week to get over it and finally accept your apology.
• She came by your house, her backpack slung over her shoulder and her skateboard under one of her arms. Standing in your doorway she looked at you.
• “Well are you gonna let me in or am I going to have to stand here all night?”
• She told you she accepts the apology but to never pull that ever again
• which is completely understandable
• You guys cuddled and read comic books for the rest of the night <3
The end <3
omg are we sending hot takes for sleepover saturday? bc my hot take is that elumax. that is all.
Is this a hot take? Bc I mean....yeah