you're the daughter of silent watching stones
Posted originally on the Archive of Our Own at

Teen And Up Audiences
Archive Warning:
Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Stranger Things (TV 2016)
Maxine "Max" Mayfield & Mike Wheeler
Maxine "Max" Mayfield, Mike Wheeler
Additional Tags:
Post-Season/Series 03, During Canon, Whump, Hurt/Comfort, Hurt Maxine "Max" Mayfield, Fainting, Head Injury, Blood and Injury, Bad First Aid, Maxine "Max" Mayfield & Mike Wheeler Friendship, mike wheeler has flat feet, Whumptober 2023
Part 1 of whumptober 2023
Whumptober 2023
Published: 2023-10-01 Words: 2,137 Chapters: 1/1

you're the daughter of silent watching stones


" If she could make a choice between ending all hunger in the world, or never fainting again, she would choose the second one without thinking. They make her vulnerable, and if Max Mayfield hates anything fiercely, it’s being vulnerable. "


Day 1 : Safety Net | Swooning | "How many fingers am I holding up?"


kicking off whumptober with max and mike !! tw for usual blood injury and head trauma

you're the daughter of silent watching stones

Fainting is an embarrassing act in its very nature. It exposes the underbelly of anyone’s vulnerability, makes you dependent on whoever is the closest to catch you and make sure you are actually okay, not dead or dying or anything.

Which is why Max hates her fainting spells. If she could make a choice between ending all hunger in the world, or never fainting again, she would choose the second one without thinking. They make her vulnerable, and if Max Mayfield hates anything fiercely, it’s being vulnerable. She has had them ever since she can remember – embarrassing times when she would collapse in the playground in elementary school, that one time at a gas station in Nevada, even around her stepfather and Billy. Over the years, she has learned the warning signs and avoided even bigger embarassments became easier, Max learning how to manage the symptoms, laying down in a cool room and closing her eyes and praying the aura will go away soon.

Sometimes though, they still come suddenly. In the most inconvenient situations usually.

Like now. She’s in the driveway of Wheeler residence, trying to force Mike’s feet into the correct position on his skateboard, because like the flatfooted fuck he is he’s fighting against actually learning how to stand on that thing. He invited her himself, because his parents gave him the skateboard as a very late birthday present, and suddenly Mike developed an interest in skating, so Max was appointed as his very unwilling teacher.

“You’ve gotta stand with one foot horizontal, one vertical. Now you’re just going to fuck up your ankle in this position.” The sun is hitting her square in the face. Augusts in Hawkins are usually rainy and humid, from the ones she spent there, and she had some issues adjusting to Indiana weather, living in California her entire life, but today it’s awfully sunny, without a single cloud in sight. Mike grumbles somewhere next to her.

“I’m trying.”

“No you’re not.”

“I am!” He sounds like a petulant child. Like he’s about to stomp his feet and run away to throw a tantrum somewhere.

Max sighs. Insufferable. Maybe he’ll understand it better if she shows him in full?

She rises quickly, ready to jab at him more and. Oh fuck. Oh fuck. Her ears start ringing violently and the driveway spins like a whirlpool, she reaches out to the side just for her hand to thread through air and the sun is too bright and she tries to curl up in on herself but everything is forcing her not to, like an ocean current.

Bang. Black. Her body is still spinning, nausea rising like a tsunami in her stomach and she lurches forward, dry heaving and gagging on her own spit.

“Max! Max!” Mike’s voice comes through a heavy veil. As if he was on the other side of a mountain, screaming at the top of his lungs. Max tries to open her eyes – she’s very sight–reliant, auditory processing being fucked up – but her eyelids won’t open, no matter how much she tries, and she forces herself not to panic, trying to look out for any other sensations. She can feel Mike’s hand on her shoulder, but when she moves to bat it away, her own hand is too heavy to raise. She makes a disgruntled noise. “Oh my god, oh my god. Okay. You’re– Shit.”

“You’re– You’re shit.” Finally, Max manages to open her eyes.

From the sky above her, she concludes she’s laying flat on her back (she also vaguely remembers from her health class that you shouldn’t lay someone who just fainted on their back, but what is she expected, it’s Mike Wheeler and his potato brain cell). Said Mike Wheeler’s face quickly comes into her view, obscuring the bright light with a dark mop of hair. Contorted in fear, eyebrows drawn together, trembling lips, and she would’ve felt some remorse for making him so worried if she wasn’t fighting off a king–sized migraine.

“No, stop, don’t move. Fuck. Don’t raise your hands.” He sounds panicked and really frantic, and if she was doing any better, Max would start making fun of him. For now, she’s trying to calm down the ringing in her ears and growing headache. “How many fingers am I holding up?”

Max tries to squint, focus on Mike’s swaying fingers, but realizes quickly that the squinting is only making the headache worse. His fingers seem to be an unsteadily moving blob of beige and red. Jesus fuck. “Uh… Three?”

“Two, actually. You’re dying.” Mike declares confidently. Max rolls her eyes, despite the sting behind them.

“Fuck off, Wheeler, I’m not dying.”

“How do you know that?”

“How do you know that?”

“Shut up. I need to get you inside so I can patch you up.” He points to her knees. As much as Max hates to admit it, he’s right – her knees look pretty gnarly, a laceration spreading through both of them as if they were cut with a knife, spouting light red, fresh blood like a fucked up fountain.“If you noticed, your knees look like they’ve been run over by a lawnmower.”

“Boohoo. Mike Wheeler, the party pooper, won’t even let me get tetanus and die.”

He snickers, “I can’t bully you into playing D&D with us if you get tetanus.”

“Nope. No D&D. Let me roll around in the dirt and get infected with all sorts of parasites.” This time, both of them laugh, Max even slapping his leg playfully. Together, they work to get her to sit up, and then to get her on her feet as painlessly as they can with her entire knees skinned, Mike holding her by the back of her head, the other steadying her waist.

Suddenly, Mike goes quiet. Very quiet. Enough for Max to get worried fast, stop muttering insults and turn to him.

“Your head is bleeding.”

Her blood goes ice–fucking–cold.

“What? Are you fucking with me?”

Carefully, Mike lets go of the back of her head to bring his hand to her face, the hand around her waist tightening.

It’s drenched in blood. The amount you’d expect from, she doesn’t even fucking know, a car crash? Blood drive mishap? Fresh blood, angry red and still dripping from his fingers, running down his forearm. Like a strong-current river. Mike is staring at it like he can’t believe it’s his hand.

Nausea rises to Max’s throat, and she can barely suppress the dry heaving. It’s bad. It’s really fucking bad. She’s lightheaded. Her knees refuse to cooperate and Mike barely catches her before they hit the ground again. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Her head is spinning again, and she looks up to Mike desperately, as if he could do anything about this. He’s just a fourteen–year–old after a semester of basic health class, and he looks just as scared and shaken up as Max.

“Do you– Do you think you can make it inside?” Max gathers all her will and nods.

She doesn’t register anything more happening, not even Mike opening the door and dragging her inside. She ends up on the pristine clean and pastel Wheeler couch, laying amongst silky cushions with embroidered flowers. Her head is propped up with a pillow, laying on her side, facing the coffee table. It always smells something heavy inside the Wheeler house, whether it’s the basement or bathroom on the second floor. Warmth and flowery perfume and an old, hot fan and a hearty home–cooked meal with spices. “I’m calling an ambulance.”

Max almost jumps up, forced down only by the amount of pressure her head is suddenly under. She flops like a particularly stubborn fish. Her grandpa used to take her fishing. “I can’t go to the hospital.”

“You have to. You can’t stay home.” Mike’s hands are sitting on her tibias, tacky with blood. Her blood. Just the thought makes Max nauseous.

“My mom–” Her mom. She wasn’t home when Max left, she hasn’t been home for almost three days now, and if the police or CPS or whoever go there and see that she’s gone, or worse, blackout drunk, Max will never see Hawkins again.

God, how much will these bills cost? Can’t she just power through it? Her previous split head from hitting it on a door frame went away on its own, with a little help of her neighbors’ spray and a week off school, and the second week she went back and even participated in PE as usual. She would do it if Mike wasn’t such a stubborn little shit. Can’t he shut up for five seconds? And let her deal with things the way she always deals with them?

“My parents will call her. Don’t move.” And with that, the hands on her legs disappear, the weight on the other end of the couch disappears. She vaguely hears the spinning of the rotary dial and Mike’s pacing as he speaks on the phone.

White–hot pain tears through her head, splitting from where she assumes her skull is cracked, spreading through like a crown–of–thorns, viciously squeezing her skull. Breathe in–out, in–out, like her mom does when she has her migraines, and the room is spinning again, the nausea coming to torment Max once again, making her stomach lurch violently and she begs to not have to vomit over Mrs Wheeler’s nice white carpet, and—

“Max? You awake? Alive? Something?” A hand lands on her shoulder, and she can sense that he’s about to shake her awake, like he always does at sleepovers, but decides not to at the last moment. Wow, Wheeler, using that potato braincell at last.

“Yeah.” She swallows thickly. There’s something in her throat. She doesn’t know if it’s anxiety or blood. “Mike.”


“Mike, I’m going– I’m going to bleed all over your cushions. Your fucking embroidered cushions” Mrs. Wheeler is going to be so mad. She’s always on and about her beautiful house, how everything is so clean and good–looking and trendy and the fucking couch she’s laying on probably cost more than her mom’s entire trailer.

“Is that what you’re worried about?” Mike sounds weird. Like a duck. Jesus christ, did she really lose this much blood? Duck? Or is it her brain getting inflamed? He’s got that weird tone he always has when he’s worried about someone, like that time a week or so ago when Lucas tried to drive Dustin on the frame of his bike and Dustin fell flat on his face. (He ended up being okay, but it was hilarious to watch Mike panic and fret like a helicopter mom.)

“Your mom will hate me.” Max hates how weak her voice sounds. It’s barely above a whisper, cracking everywhere. She’s surely going mental, just like her mother, and grandmother before her, because she's most certainly hysterical over Mike’s mom’s stupid posh cushions.

“She’ll hate me if I let you die on her cushions.” And out of nowhere, tears spring into her eyes, but her arms feel like lead and she can’t even dry them. She doesn’t want to die on Mrs Wheeler’s cushions. Mike looks at her like she just told him she, Max doesn’t fucking know, turned Lucas into a goat or a Demogorgon something. Whatever. “Oh my fucking god, Max, don’t you dare cry. Not now! You didn’t cry while splitting your head and you’re going to cry over my mom?”

“Shut up, dickhead.” She says through hiccups. She attempts to curl up on herself, but her entire body screams in protest, so she just resorts to crying weakly as the white–hot pain pulses through her head like venom. She just wants it to stop. Do something. The tingles spread to her limbs, and she knows that it has probably something to do with her skull, but she couldn’t care less. Just stop the pain.

Mike is suddenly wrapped around her. Really gently, and more like laying on her, because his arms hang awkwardly on either side, gangly legs spread well past the armrest and his chin digs into her arm while his torso is warming her leg. She can feel that he’s trying to comfort her, as weird as it is, and the thought makes her cry even harder. A warm weighted blanket spread all over her, with a stupid face and an even stupider haircut. “She adores you.”

“Really?” Max feels a goofy smile spring onto her tear–stained face. Everything hurts like she’s being torn apart, limb by limb, brain screaming and rattling around in her skull. Mike is a nice break from it, even if for a few seconds.

Mike nods. Smiles softly.

Blue and red lights appear in the window.

Maybe she will be okay.


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