Words MatterFandom: Stranger Things
Category: Gen. Vignette. Hopper and Eleven.
Time Frame: Any time after Season One.
Spoilers: Stranger Things, Season Two.
Summary: Say what you mean, mean what you say.
Word Count: 340
Note: written for the random word prompt of “temperature.”
Hopper took the thermometer out of El’s mouth and sighed.
“Yep,” he said. “That settles it. You’re sick. You have a temperature.”
Eleven looked puzzled.
“What?” asked Hopper, now confused as well.
“Don’t I always have a temperature?”
Hopper chuckled. “I guess so, but…”
El cut him off. “Doesn’t everything?”
Hopper nodded. “Well, yeah. But yours is higher than it’s supposed to be. You have a fever.”
“Oh!” said Eleven. She knew what fevers were. She and Hopper had had a long, painful discussion about them when she got her first and was convinced she would die, like in the book. He’d finally gotten her over the fear and through the sickness, but he cursed Anne of Green Gables to this day.
“Oh is right,” said Hopper. “Hold on. I’ll get some medicine.”
“OK,” sniffled El, stifling a cough as Hopper retreated to the bathroom.
Hopper returned a moment later and handed Eleven two pills and a cup of water.
She dutifully took her medicine and then looked up at Hopper from her pillows.
“So, why didn’t you say ‘fever’ to begin with?”
Hopper sighed. “It’s just a phrase, kid.”
“Maybe,” agreed Hopper. “But it’s something people say.”
“But you said I should always try to use the right words.”
“And you should,” said Hopper. “But sometimes… look, I don’t know… it’s just something people say.”
Eleven looked unimpressed. “Words matter,” she grumbled.
“Yeah, they do,” said Hopper, “so how about we learn some more?”
He opened a book to read to her (and to change the subject), and she nodded.
He only got through the first few pages before she was fast asleep.
He shut the book and went to bed himself.
El recovered quickly from her illness. Two days later, she was back to her normal self.
Hopper, however, woke that day feeling like death warmed over. And he decided right then and there that El was right. Words do matter.
Because did not just have a temperature that day.
He most definitely had a fever.