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New Fic: Lesson Learned

 Lessons Learned

Fandom: Stranger Things
Rated: PG
Category: Gen. Vignette. Humor. Joyce and Hopper Friendship.
Time Frame: Season Two. After the gate, before the dance.
Spoilers: Stranger Things, Season Two.
Summary: Hopper generally tried to forget New York. But not this time.
Word Count: 479

-------

Joyce rang through the purchase without looking up.

She did that a lot. It was an occupational hazard to being a cashier. Eye contact and pleasantries were the first to go after a long night with a sick kid or one customer too many.

And today, she’d had both already, and she was just going through the motions.

That is, until chuckle and a rumbling voice responded to her statement of the amount.

“Well, good morning to you too.”

Joyce looked up to meet Hopper’s eyes. He had that grin on his face that always made her unsure of whether to smile back or smack it off his face.

She went with neither this time.

Instead, she looked down at the purchase, then back up at him.

“Makeup?” she asked, clearly puzzled.

Hopper glanced around the store and seeing it nearly empty, he shrugged. “Jane.”

“Ah,” said Joyce. “For the dance?”

Hopper nodded, his smile growing a bit sappy.

Joyce pretended not to notice.

“You need me to come help with it?”

Hopper waved her off. “I got it.”

Joyce leveled a skeptical look at him.

“What?” he asked defensively.

“You know you can’t let her do it, right, Hop?”

Hopper nodded as he handed her some bills. “Duh. Of course. She’ll put on way too much color and not enough base. Everyone does that at first.”

Joyce gaped at him as she absently took his money.

“And you would know this how?” she asked as she returned his change.

Hopper shrugged – then he actually winked.

Joyce tried to respond, but found she had no words.

Hopper chuckled, then collected his things. Joyce was still speechless as he turned and left.

It wasn’t until he paused briefly at the store entryway to look over his shoulder with raised brows and a gleam in his eye that she recovered her voice.

“Clearly you never met Dennis,” he shot back, waggling his eyebrows as he did.

He didn’t wait for a response before slipping out the door, but Joyce’s shout of “Hopper!” followed him as he giggled like a child all the way to the car.

He’d explain later. How it was a lifetime ago. How he’d been young and poor and just fun-loving enough to try most anything once.

But for now, he’d let Joyce stew on all the possible inferences she could imagine, and he’d enjoy every minute of her suffering.

He wouldn’t keep her in suspense too long, though. She didn’t deserve that. After all, she had offered to help. And he appreciated the offer, really.

But he wasn’t worried. Jane would look just fine for the Snow Ball.

Because if two years of living with a drag queen in a low-rent district in New York City had taught Hopper anything, it was how to do hair and makeup.

Especially since Dennis occasionally needed extras for his show. 

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