Fandom: Stranger Things
Category: Vignette. Family. Hopper and Eleven.
Time Frame: Any time after season two.
Spoilers: Stranger Things, season two.
Summary: It’s rare that we can drop all pretenses. But sometimes, in the right crowd, we can.
Word Count: 565
Christmas was a hard time of the year for Jim Hopper.
He’d spent the last several at the bottom of a bottle of either liquor or pills or both, and he’d never planned on changing that.
But here he was, completely sober and fiddling with an ancient radio to listen to carols with Jane as she strung actual popcorn to put on the little tree he’d dragged into the cabin.
She didn’t know any of the songs when the night started, but since holiday music tends to be rather limited in scope, she was humming along soon enough, and eventually, when she’d moved on to the tinsel he’d picked up in town, she was singing some of the words as Hopper watched, leaned back on the couch sipping soda - and smiling in spite of himself.
But then it happened. A song came on that stopped her in her tracks, and she tilted her head to listen to it more carefully. Because of her reaction, Hopper did the same.
Then he chuckled, which got Jane’s attention. She met his eyes and started to laugh too.
Then she laughed harder, and before they knew it, both Hopper and Jane were holding their bellies and laughing so hard tears came from their eyes.
When they finally settled down, the song was over and Jane had questions.
“Was that a real song?” asked Jane.
Hopper nodded. “Afraid so.”
“It is,” agreed Hopper, though he had been laughing mostly at Jane, not at the song itself. It was extraordinarily rare to see her laugh, so when she did, it was contagious – especially to him.
“I didn’t hear all the words,” said Jane, looking a bit sad.
Hopper shrugged. “Well, you’ll just have to wait until they play it again.”
Jane pouted - just a little - then went back to her tinsel as “Silent Night” played quietly in the background. Hopper blinked. Talk about a juxtaposition. He looked at the radio as if it could explain its sudden change in personality.
When he did, he saw his old turntable next to it, and he grinned.
“Unless…” he murmured.
“Unless what?” asked Jane.
Hopper jumped up and started rummaging through his albums. Jane joined him, leaning over his shoulder as he muttered to himself.
“Has to be here somewhere. I think I had it. But I’m not sure.”
Jane ignored him until he suddenly grabbed a disc that was smaller than most of the others and held it above his head triumphantly.
“Ah-ha!” he said, quickly putting his find on the record player and shutting off the radio.
“What is it?” asked Jane.
Hopper grinned wide. “You’ll see.”
A moment later, the twangy sounds of “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” filled the cabin, and Jane was laughing hard again as she danced around the room.
Hopper watched her until her second pass by him, when she grabbed his hand and pulled him into her antics.
They might have forgotten all about the tree for a while that night. They might have listened to the same single over and over to the point that Jane knew all the words. And they might have danced like no one was watching, because it was just them.
And when it was just them, the fact that they both had a twisted, dark, and very silly sense of humor was just fine.