- “Do you remember the first day that we met? It was the first day of kindergarten. I knew nobody. I had no friends. I just felt, so alone. And so scared, but- I saw you on the swings and you were alone too. You were just swinging by yourself. And I just walked up to you and asked, ‘do you want to be my friend?’ and… you said yes. It was the best thing I've ever done”
- — Mike to Will.
Mike and Will have been best friends since kindergarten, where Mike had found Will on the swing set all alone and decided to approach him and ask if he wanted to be friends. Will said yes, and Mike told him it was ‘the best thing he's ever done’.
Will goes missing after he’s captured by the Demogorgon. Since he's gone for most of the season, there aren’t much moments between the two- Mike stops at nothing to rescue his best friend from the upside-down. After Will is presumed dead, Mike rushes home and hides away in his basement, looking through drawings that Will had drawn before he went missing, blaming Eleven for misleading him. In the very last episode, Mike is shown to be the only person, who's apart of the A.V. club, who stayed awake in the hospital to not miss a chance to talk to Will.
The first moment is when Will has an ‘episode’ (or so called flashbacks of the upside-down), and Mike comes out to check on him. The two walk back into the arcade with arms wrapped around each other. Throughout this season, Mike is overprotective of him. When Will goes home early for no explained reason, Mike is visibly concerned for his friend and his health, and even goes to call his house to make sure he’s okay. After not getting any answer, he tells his other friends that he’s going to visit him to make sure Will’s doing okay. After discovering Will’s possession by the mindflayer, he helps him through it by holding his hand, after reassuring he’ll be okay, and expressing deep concern after Will uses his ‘true sight’. Mike comes to the hospital with Will and stays by his side throughout.
Not much has happened to the pair in season 3, Mike is still shown to be concerned for will in the first episode asking if he was ok. Soon after when Dustin gets back from camp, it is shown that Will thinks that Mike's relationship with Eleven was gross.The two, Mike and Will, ended up having a fight after Mike and Lucas don't show much interest in playing D&D with him and only showed interest in girls. The fight concluded with will biking away in the rain, not before Mike making a comment that could be regarding to Will‘s sexuality, “It‘s not my fault you don’t like girls!”. Not long after Mike is shown to be at Will's house, with Lucas, to apologize.
- “Well, if we’re both going crazy, then we’ll go crazy together, right?”
- — Mike to Will.
- “I’m the only one who cares about Will!”
- — Mike.
- “Will! Are you okay? Are you hurt?”
- — Mike to Will.
Typically this ship is looked down upon, as Mileven is the canon ship of the series. Despite this, Byler is a pretty popular theme throughout and most people had shipped it even before season 2 came out, and is a very popular theme in fanfiction. Most of fanfiction is based around Mike expressing feelings for Will after realizing Eleven wasn't for him. Throughout the series, Byler has been decently popular.
On AO3, Byler is the fifth most written ship within the Stranger Things (TV 2016) tag; Mike’s second most written, and Will’s most written.
- Mike is seen as Will’s go-to for help or secrets.
- Mike and Will are often seen looking into each other’s eyes for a longer amount of time that is usual.
- Mike often expresses the most deep concern for Will both in season one and two.
- Due to Byler’s popularity, some have begun to ship “Foah” (Finn Wolfhard/Noah Schnapp).
|SHIPS||het||Jancy • Mileven|
|slash||Byler • Harringrove|