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Another is Waiting

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Epilogue

It had been five days since the Loser’s defeated It. Eddie was finally stable, in vitals at least, but after a reparative surgery, his body was struggling to take to the new tissues and blood. Richie knew he had always had a weak immune system, he always blamed it on Eddie’s mother, the overmedication could never have done anything good for the boy, now man's, body.

The other losers have started their journey home, though Bev had lingered longer, and by extension of her, Ben did too. She and Ben had left roughly two hours ago, Richie estimated. Now he was alone, Eddie was deeply medicated and unconscious. Years of yearning to be near Edward Kaspbrak had built up within him, but this wasn’t at all what he wanted.

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Richie paced the room quietly, tidying up things as he checked the perimeter. If Eddie woke at this moment he would be very displeased with how much of a mess Richie had made. It wasn’t exactly his fault, as a creature of habit. He lived like this day-to-day, he never really had the motivation to keep clean until now. Richie never had the motivation to do anything, in fact, he found it hard to enjoy himself doing much of anything, even his tours. He shook his head as if to flick off all the piling thoughts of his failure and sloppy lifestyle out of his skull, picking up a couple of empty water bottles he had discarded on the floor. Suddenly, he heard heavy footsteps and many exclamations of distress roaring down the hall. Richie chuckled, it sounded just like Eddie’s mother when he broke his arm. Then he heard it -- “I need to see Edward Kaspbrak this instance, he’s my husband, where is he? Give me his room number!” Dread bubbled up inside Richie’s heart, his fists clenched tightly to the grocery bag filled with trash. He listened to the hushed nurses attempting to calm the bellowing beast that was Eddie’s wife. Richard opened the door slowly, thinking of those dinosaur movies that were so insistent that slow and limited movement could not be seen by the massive creatures. He scanned the hall for a place to discard his filth, trying to be as quiet and inconspicuous as possible, but alas, while shouting and gesturing to the poor nurse at the desk she laid eyes on him. A finger so covered in blubber that nearly had rolls, raised to point directly at Richie.

“You!” She exclaimed with a mixture of frustration and unbridled excitement. “Him! He’s one of my dear Eddie’s friends- is that his room?” The nurse was visibly distressed but nodded, as he had looked through Eddie’s file and found that he was in fact married to the whale that was now shuffling very speedily towards Richie, who found himself unable to move. He was a deer in headlights - headlights of a massive fucking semi-truck.

“You’re Richie right?” She inquired, huffing and puffing from her twenty-step workout. “Uh-- Yeah, how did you know?” He adjusted his glasses anxiously, despite them being in a perfectly fine place. “I’m Myra, Edward’s husband--” “I know,” Richie said rather bluntly. The woman’s face contorted to a sneer of irritation. “My Eddiebear watches your shows when they get broadcasted- and he has a couple of pictures of you around the house.” Richie felt a heat rise slowly to his cheeks, Eddie had multiple pictures of him, in his house! And watched his shows. “Oh, that makes sense I-- I didn’t have a clue he remembered that much of me.” Myra gave a sarcastic chuckle “What do you mean? He has an excellent memory, and you were his childhood best friend.” Were? Richie scowled, but quickly pulled it into the most awkward of smiles “I suppose your right, Uh-- Eddie’s in there, he’s still in a medically induced coma, I need to throw this away.” Richie needed to get away from the stench of her pretentious perfume and to ensure he didn’t lose his shit on her in the hallway of a very quiet and public place. Richie kept thinking of the night not too long ago when he and Eds arrived in Derry. They had both flown out the day of the call and arrived at the hotel at similar times. Eddie didn’t want to keep the clutter in his car, Richie wanted to take a nap, he knew that the dinner of the following day would have been far too taxing for him to be functioning with a tank on low.

Chapter Text

The brunette adjusted his tie with fumbling fingers, his hands shaking from pure frustration as he observed the film of dust that covered much of the lobby desk. His patience was wearing ever-thin, as it had been an entire 15 minutes after he had last rang the service bell. How utterly unprofessional. He rang the bell again, with a more aggressive slam. At the same time, the bell over the entrance rang. Eddie finally peeled his eyes off the desk to see a man that was sloppily dressed, his face pointed downward as he cleaned his shoes off on the rug. “Just a heads up, dude, I don’t think anyone is fucking working tonight,” Eddie proclaimed loudly, hoping that the person on shift would miraculously now hear his complaints. The man looked up, meeting Eddie’s gaze, the brunette’s expression immediately softened. “Richie?” he breathed the name out quietly, almost as if to whisper. The tall man grew a large smirk and outstretched his arms “Eduardo! My man, how are you?” Excitedly the suit-clad man ran to his childhood friend, giving him a quick hug with a pat on the back before attempting to recoil, but it was too late. Richie’s arms had folded around Eddie’s back, there was no escape in sight. Eddie wrinkled his nose “You smell like vomit and sweat,” he commented unabashedly. “Oh, you don’t like my new cologne? But it’s your mom’s favorite!” Richie exclaimed without hesitation. The comment received a genuine snicker from Eddie before he regained his composure and pushed at the taller man’s face and chest. “Let me go, dickwad. This is a lot of hugging for not having seen you for almost 30 years.” Richie gave a brief pout before releasing the writhing brunette, “Fine, I see how it is,” he sighed dramatically, closing his eyes and throwing a wrist against his forehead to feign upset. Eddie simply rolled his eyes, a massive grin rested on his face as he relaxed in the other’s presence.

“What's with the get-up, Eds?” the other hummed. “I got the call right after getting off work and packed, I was able to book a last-minute flight, never really had an opportunity to change,” Edward explained, suddenly aware of how uptight he might look. He removes his blazer and tosses it around his shoulder, it rests on his back. “How’d you get here so fast? If I remember right you had a show this afternoon in New York. I was actually about to pick up my wife so we could go see you, but then Mike called and I got in a wreck.” Richie turned red with embarrassment, shoving his hands ever-so awkwardly into his jeans pockets “Well thank god because I totally tanked and just walked off, my manager is pissed, we refunded everyone,” Richie stuck his thumb through a belt loop in his jeans and whistled awkwardly before pausing “NOT thank god you got in a wreck-- I absolutely didn’t mean-” Eddie cut him off by patting his shoulder, which was almost above his own head, “It’s okay, Richie, I know what you mean.” Richie seemingly lingered on a thought, continuing to look at Eddie but giving no verbal or physical response. Eddie awkwardly removed his hand from the man’s shoulder, and decided to start talking before the silence became exceedingly awkward “This place is filthy, I’m tempted to put on a mask for fear of asbestos or excessive dust inhalation.” Richie squinted, processing now what Eddie had said and laughs “Well you’re already far past the danger zone, besides, if you were really worried about all that why are you opening your mouth so much? You’re just going to inhale more!” Eddie quickly closed his mouth, consciously pressing his hand to his lips. Richie in a moment of realization slapped his friends back playfully “Dude if it was really a problem your asthma would be fucked right now.” Eddie relaxed, Richie was right.

Richie suddenly took a couple of paces away from Eddie and groaned dramatically while Eddie focused on him intently. “Okay well this is taking too long, I’m just going to grab some keys!” Richie exclaimed, stepping behind the administrative desk. Alarms blared in Eddie’s head, this was practically illegal! “Richie! Don’t. I’ll go look for-” The comedian snatched up keys from two-room slots, offering one over the desk to his friend. Eddie pursed his lips in a line, weighing morality, legality, and the copious amount of unprofessionalism he was experiencing. The brunette took the key from the scraggly looking friend and huffed out “They better have cleaned this one.” Richie chuckled and looked at the two suitcases Eddie held tightly at either side. “There isn’t an elevator,” he told the smaller. Eddie gave a groan but shrugged, putting his blazer over the handle of one of his suitcases. Richie took this moment to fold the other suitcase’s handle down and scoop it up under his arm, which Eddie noticed at the last minute. “I could’ve gotten them both just fine,” he murmured shortly. “Yeah, but you would’ve bitched about it like the pussy you are,” Richie sneered “What?! I am not a pussy!” the shorter squawked, moving to punch his arm. By the time his fist was in motion, Richie was taking a running start up the stairs, which he immediately tripped on when reaching the second flight.

Eddie raced up after him immediately upon hearing the thud, leaving the suitcase behind, “Richard Tozier, you absolute moron! Are you h--hurt?!” His voice cracked at the end of his shout, his genuine concern was revealed. Richie laid on the foot of the second flight groaning, the luggage and his own duffel bag laying beside him as he rubbed his head, readjusting his glasses. Eddie sat on the first step and stared at him, worry and fear washing over him, “Dude you’ve got to be more careful.” Richie to catch his breath before bursting into laughter, “I’m sorry I scared you Eds,” he managed between chuckles. Eddie loosened his tie and breathed a sigh of relief before grabbing the sleeve of Richie’s jacket. Richie stopped rubbing the sore arm and outstretched it for his inspection, he may not remember much, but this was a recurrent theme of when he was hurt. Eddie bent the arm himself, feeling the joint and pushing up the sleeve slightly to inspect his wrist, “idiot” he mumbled under breath before releasing the arm. “Didn’t your parents ever teach you to not run up stairs?” the brunette scolded, flicking the dark-haired man in the nose. Richie smiled softly and pinched the cheek of the irritated man, “Still cute when you're mad, aren’t you?” Eddie’s entire face turned red as he slapped away the hand “Richard, we are grown men will you stop!” he squawked. “Fine, fine, buzzkill,” Richie rose to his feet and outstretched his hand to Eddie, “you should go get the suitcase you left down there.” The flustered man grabbed onto the other’s hand and stood, bolting back down the first flight, “Didn’t your mother ever teach you to not run down the stairs?!” Richie exclaimed loudly. “Oh my God, shut up asshole!” Eddie retorted, dragging the suitcase up the stairs by its handle, each step hitting the suitcase with a ‘thunk’.

“You’re gonna beat up your suitcase, Eds. We’re going to the third floor.” Eddie groans and throws his blazer over a shoulder, folding the handle away and lifts it. “Why exactly did you pick a room on the third floor?” “Oh don’t blame this on me, bitchypants.” Eddie scowled but followed Richie up each flight, roughly 3 steps behind him at any given moment. “You’re awful close there, Eds, does my ass look good?” The heat returned to Eddie’s face “Shut up! I wasn’t even looking at you pervert!” Which was true, he wasn’t.. Until now. It did look decent-- quickly he tore away his gaze to focus on his feet, scared of misstepping like his idiot friend had. They finally arrived at the third floor; Richie marched up to a room and set down Eddie’s suitcase, outstretching his arm “This is your room, gimme the key.” Eddie obliged after digging through his pocket to re-acquire the key. Richie snatches it up and unlocks the door. The room looks claustrophobically cramped but, to Eddie’s relief, it looks, for the most part, liveable and clean. Richie sets the suitcase on the bed, turning around and grabbing the second one from Eddie’s side and doing the same. “Thanks, Rich,” Eddie said, sitting on the bedside as he tossed the blazer onto the desk.

Eddie unzipped the front pocket of the larger suitcase that Richie had carried, retrieving a rather large bag of pills. Richie frowns, fidgeting with his belt loop again, “Eds, I thought you were off all that shit,” he stated plainly. The brunette frowned, ‘shit’? he shook his head and sighed, “Richie this is the stuff I need, my wife noticed there were some things I did or symptoms I had that were still really bad, so I went to the doctor and refilled a couple of the medications, but not all of them. I’m getting old, dude, give me a break.” “Old? You’re in your late 30s, you aren’t fucking ancient yet, Eddie.” Eddie could feel the seething frustration radiating off his friend and rolled his eyes, he just didn’t understand how sick Eddie normally was, Eddie knew he didn’t want to.

Chapter Text

Oh if Eddie only knew how much Richie really did know, his stomach twisted in knots and bows thinking about Eddie with someone just like the stupid fucking cow who raised him. Reinforcing all that trauma, all those ruined sleepovers of his mom ripping him out of the Tozier residence in the middle of the night or Eddie panicking when he forgot a singular medication. He wanted to take Eddie by the shoulders and shake him, screaming how he didn’t need any of that. Nothing at all. It was all a trap to keep him glued to his mother’s hand, and now his wife! If only he could get a b- Richie snapped out of his internal monologuing as he heard the overdramatic wails of Myra erupting from the open door. He tossed the bag in a maintenance cart trash can and jogged back into the room, shutting the door and feigning concern. “Myra? What’s wrong?” “OH, I KNEW HE WOULD GET HURT RICHIE!” She exclaimed “He should have never ever left for that wretched town! He’s so much safer at home.” Richie’s fists balled up as he cringed from the sheer disgust washing over him. “It was a freak accident, Myra,” he said in a forced, calm tone.

The Loser’s resolved to tell everyone that Eddie had been drinking with the group on the rooftop of the old Neibolt house, and when standing he slid off the roof, impaling himself on the fence, thus why the ambulance was called to the scene. Richie hated that excuse because it was completely unlike Eddie, who would’ve had never gotten on to the roof. Eddie was a hero, who nearly died to save Richie, and now everyone thought he was a bumbling drunk idiot.

“It would have never happened if it weren’t for you all encouraging him to drink! My Eds never drinks! Never!” That was it. Richie’s limit had been reached. Her Eds. Hers? He could excuse blaming the Losers, though Richie exclusively blamed himself for what happened. He threw up his hands as they pried open to gesture aggressively in Myra’s face, “Maybe he doesn’t drink when you’re around, I wouldn’t either, you controlling bitch. You’re just like his mom, you know, never letting him live, forcing him to overmedicate. You’re the problem, Myra, this is no more my fault then it is yours. His immune system is entirely fucked because you got him back on all those meds. That’s not on me, is it? No, Myra, its one-hundred percent on you. You fucking skank.”

Myra stared, her blowhole, oh wait, her mouth, agape as Richie screamed and spat in her face. Richie froze after he finished his outburst, this, he was sure, was a mistake on his part, but he couldn’t help but feel relieved. A shaking, chubby finger jabbed into his chest suddenly, “Get…” Her voice shook, “Get out.” Richie stared at her incredulously, balling back up his fists, “No.” “Excuse me? This is my husband, get out. Now.” “I cared for him this long, you don’t even know what’s going on- or what medications he needs I--” “I know perfectly well, Richard, now get the hell out of this room.” Her flabby arm rummaged through the front pocket of Eddie’s suitcase, Richie’s eyes narrowed. “He can’t take that shit, it’s not good for him while he’s on the Morphine.” “I said leave, I know my husband.” Richie stepped outside with his bag immediately, running to the nurse's desk, “Excuse me, sir, that woman that just arrived is trying to give Mr. Kaspbrak medications that are not approved by the doctor to be given during morphine administration and he’s still unconscious can you p-” before he could finish the male nurse went flying into Eddie’s room, shouting. He could hear Myra screaming back, but his heart was pounding so heavily that he couldn’t hear what they were saying. He stood at the desk, motionless aside from his trembling. Another nurse who was walking by observed the commotion in the Kaspbrak room and recognized Richie from the previous night. She approached him, resting a hand on his arm gently, “Is everything okay sir?” “E-every… Everything’s fine, thank you,” he responded quietly as he wanted a larger male nurse stormed into the room and soon after, retreat with Myra in his grip, she locked eyes with Richie. He looked away quickly, ignoring her screams.

The female nurse at his side looked at the mountainous woman in what Richie read as annoyance before tapping his elbow gently, “I should inform you, sir, that the doctor will be easing the patient off some of his medications soon, and he is expected to be conscious.” Richie smiled, his hands trembling as the gripped his bag. “You should go get some food at the cafeteria, I’ll stay in his room while you do. We’re expecting to start weaning him off in two hours.”

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A warm light fell over Eddie’s face that quickly became irritating as someone pried an eye open to shine it directly into his cornea. He groaned audibly, but when attempting to complain he found his jaw wasn’t moving. His eyes shot open, his mouth agape as he inhaled sharply, trying again to speak, he could hear beeping from a machine beside him begging to speed up. His heart, yes that was it, it was pounding. Where was he? What happened--shit. His face contorted from confusion to fear, his throat was tight and sore, as he rasped out, “Is Richard Tozier alive?” “Sir please calm down, we need you to breathe and decrease your heart rate significantly.” “I said. Is Richard Tozi--” ''I’m here Eds, I’m fine, please calm down for the doc.”

The brunette’s neck snapped around to look at the tired, tearfully happy Richie, “R-Rich!” He exclaimed weakly, the doctor pushing his chest gently so that his back was against the bed again. “Did everyone- did e-everyone-” “Everyone’s okay, Eds. Everyone is fine.” Eddie let his shoulders relax but he still worried about Richie, who certainly looked everything but fine. It looked like he hadn’t slept in days with a diet consisting only of whiskey and coca-cola. He wanted to ask, but he knew with other people in the room Richie would likely brush off his concerns. Not to mention, it hurt like hell to talk. His eyes slowly focused in on a digital clock parallel to his bed. 3:32 PM and the date below it was- wait. That couldn’t be right, five days? Had he been out for five days? His heart began to pound again, what happened? Why was he in the hospital for five days? He couldn’t remember.

The doctor audibly sighs as the monitor picks up the increasing heart rate. “Edward, can you sit up for me? It may be uncomfortable.” Eddie writhed slightly and moved his shoulders forward to a sharp, but equally fuzzy pain, he looked down at his hospital gown with a frown of confusion. “What happened to me?” The doctor’s hand glided over the source of the pain delicately, but even this made Eddie flinch. Eddie saw Richie twitch in annoyance from the corner of his vision. The doctor gave a quiet hum of thought before answering: “You fell off a roof when drunk and got impaled by a fence post, Edward.”

He what!? Eddie’s eyes went wide as they darted to look at Richie, who shook his head quietly and held up his pointer finger, a motion for Eddie to wait for an explanation. The Brunette closed his eyes, taking a deep and calming breath, letting the doctor look him over. “Okay Edward, you can lay back down,” the doctor mumbles, turning to Richard. “Don’t mind his ramblings, the medication can sometimes cause a weird dream-state when they’re kept under.” Eddie frowned deeply and lifted his very heavy arm to brush over the stitches across his cheek while Richie simply nodded, his hands clasped together, shaking. The doctor retreated back into the hallway and gently shut the door. “It was Pennywise” Richie blurted, biting his lip and shaking still. “You saved me, Eddie, you did it, and because of you, we could defeat Pennywise” the ragged man choked out. Eddie stared wide-eyed at his friend, an ecstatic smile forming on his face, “We won?!” he exclaims. Richie stood, a few stray tears escaping his eyes, as they dripped down his face and off his chin onto the floor, he made his way over to Eddie, grinning through the tears. “Are- .. you okay Richie?” Eddie asked, softening his tone. Richie gave a crackled laugh, “I’m fantastic Eds, I was just so scared I’d lose you again.” Eddie’s heart ached with worry as the comedian stood over his bedside, trembling from happy tears. “Do you need a hug, Richie?” “I didn’t know if I could, your stomach-” the brunette cut him off “I don’t care, asshole, just hug me.” Without a moment of hesitation, Richie wrapped his arms around the smaller man, collapsing into sobs. Eddie wrapped his arm around Richie, patting his back gently “It’s okay Rich, I’m okay.”

The sobs slowed to shaky, snot-filled whimpers, Eddie tried not to cringe at the fact his shoulder was probably covered in Richie’s slimy mucus. “What happened to my stomach?” Eddie asked quietly, his hand now resting on the back of Richie’s neck. Richie sniffled and huffed “After you saved me from the deadlights, he impaled you with one of those freaky fucking c-claws of his, the spider ones, right through the stomach.” The brunette went quiet, trying to remember the scene, but all he could remember was looking into Richie’s eyes and then blacking out after a sharp blow to his back. “I’m sorry you had to see that Richie.” He said hoarsely, his throat was starting to hurt again. “Are you kidding me, Eddie? You’re apologizing to me? I could’ve prevented all of this if I just moved fast enough it’s my fault. I should be apologizing- Eddie I’m so .. so sorry.” The taller began to cry again, Eddie frowned, running a hand through his friend's hair. Richie blamed himself? Eddie decided to change subjects because he knew that Richie wasn’t going to change his mind presently, and was in much need of some cheering up.

“When I was out I kept remembering things we all did as kids, things I thought I’d never forget. Awesome memories, man,” Eddie murmured into Richie’s ear, who quickly perked up. “Me too, it comes to me faster whenever I sleep,” Richie said, slowly let go of Eddie, his hand still resting on Eddie’s arm, “What are some things you remember?”

September 3rd, 1991

It was Eddie’s fifteenth birthday and school had just let out and Richie was walking with him to the carnival. “So guess what, Eds?” Richie inquired in a sing-song tone, grinning ear-to-ear. “What?” “My mom gave me twenty dollars to spend today for you and I, since it’s your birthday.” Eddie smiled, moving closer to Richie as they walked beside one another, “Can we go on the ferris wheel first?” “Yeah man! You’re the birthday boy, you pick.” “Ferris Wheel, then.” With the Carnival visible over the horizon, Richie bolted down the street without warning, leaving Eddie scrambling to start after him. “Hey asshole! Wait up!!” Eddie shouted, receiving only a cackle in response.

Within a minute they arrived, Eddie was bent over, wheezing as his lungs rattled, staring at the asphalt. He felt Riche’s thin fingers reach over to his fanny pack, unzipping it and retrieving his inhaler, before placing it in one of Eds’ hands. “Sorry Ed, I forget sometimes it takes so much out of you.” Eddie smiled quietly, taking it, and inhaling the powder from his inhaler, pausing and clearing his throat, “It’s fine Richie.” Richie marched up to the admissions booth and bought two day passes, which came in the form of paper wristbands. Eddie walked up beside him, taking one “Hold out your arm, I’ll put it on,” after Ed obliged Richie fastened on the wristband before holding out his own arm. Richie fastened it tightly onto Eddie before grabbing his arm and dragging him towards the massive ferris wheel. Eddie clung onto Richie’s shirt with his other hand as the crowd became more compact.

Abruptly, Richie froze, Eddie tumbled into him, wrapping his arm around Richie awkwardly to ensure he didn’t fall forward. The brunette peered around the arm of his partner-in-crime, who was now holding even tighter to his arm. “Richie?” Eddie whispered gently before seeing it. A clown, with orange hair and a colorful outfit. Eddie shuddered, slowly creeping his way around Richie, keeping a hand planted on his back so Richie knew it was him. “C’mon man, it’s okay,” Eddie mumbled, resolving they would go a longer way that kept the clown out of sight. “What if it’s-” Richie’s hand shook around Eddie’s wrist, “It’s not Richie, it’s not,” Eddie cooed. Richie begrudgingly followed Eddie’s lead, as the brunette dragged him away from the clown and its surrounding crowd. Once a good distance away, he pulled away his wrist and grabbed both of Richie’s instead, turning Rich to face him, “Calm down, Richie. You’re safe ‘kay?” Richie nodded, adjusting his glasses with an embarrassed blush on his cheeks. “Right Eddie, Sorry.” Eddie smiled and looked up to the Ferris Wheel, then down to the less than five-person line beneath it. “Rich! The line’s really short, we could make it on the next one, let’s go,” the returning excitement drove Eddie to dart and shove through the crowd with vigor, Richie behind him this time. They soon arrived at the metal ramp, Eddie swiftly clamoring up it as they began to let the few people ahead on. He thrust Richie forward who scrambled to pull money from his pocket. The attendant took 5 dollars from Richie’s crumbled pile of cash, and Richie pulled Eddie into the next cart, “You know Eds, I’m surprised you like these things,” “Why? Because they’re usually rickety and extremely unsafe?” “Well-- Yeah pretty much.” Eddie laughed, sitting across from Richie, a young couple loaded behind them, as they were hoisted into the air by about three feet. “I definitely hate that part, Rich, but I love the view,” Eddie said right as the machine began to move. As they hit the peak of the wheel Eddie pointed out towards the forest, “There’s the clubhouse,” he then pointed to the suburbs, “And mine!” his finger slid slightly to the left, “and your’s is over there.” Richie remained quiet, listening to him with a goofy grin on his face.

“Rich? You listening?” Richard’s eyes went wide, he pushed up his glasses and nodded at Eddie quietly, “Well yeah, I uh- just thought I’d let you rant to me, dork.” Eddie snickered “I’m the dork?” “Duh, you totally are.” Richie gently shoved him from across the cart. Eddie leaned in, delivering a gentle punch, which Richie dramatically reacted to by groaning in pain and hunching over. Eddie could feel Richie’s breath on his face as he huffed and dramatically whined before looking up to Eddie, their faces inches away from each other. Eddie could feel his face burning, his hands fumbled awkwardly in his lap, Richie didn’t move, but kept staring.

“There was something there, I couldn’t figure it out, something we didn’t say to each other that we already knew. But I can’t remember it for the life of me,” Eddie grumbled in frustration as he finished his story. He looked back up to Richie, his face was red, his eyes averted. “You know what it was, don’t you?” Richie flashed the most nervous smile Eddie had ever seen. “I might, I’ll tell you when I’m sure.” Eddie pouted dramatically, looking to Richie pitifully. Richie stuck out his tongue “Your puppy eyes will have no influence over me Eddiebear,” he teased. Eddie blushed lightly before looking around, “Rich, Did my wife come by yet?” Richie groaned under his breath “Yeah, about that-” “Richie, what on earth did you do?” Richie plastered back on that massive, nervous grin “Well.. She was super rude and she kept tryna give you pills, so she was removed from the premises…” Eddie groaned, “Super rude to you or staff?” “Both! But uh, mostly me.” The brunette writhed at the thought of the earful he’d get later, but pushed the thought to the back of his head, “What is it with you and women in my life?” “Probably has something to do with the fact that they often are walking tubs of lard and a dash of bitch sauce.” Eddie struggled not to get irritated, “They are not,” “Dude, your mom totally was, when I fucked her, like, she rippled more than the ocean on a stormy day-” “Richie, Jesus Christ!” Eddie tried to act frustrated but snorted as he held back laughter. “You’re such an asshole, Richard Trashmouth Tozier,” “No shit, Eddie Spaghetti.” Eddie smiled warmly, he had never forgotten that nickname. “Can you ask the doctor if I can eat? I’m starving,” “Sure thing, Eds.” He watched Richie step out, looking down at his hands with a warm smile. He had never felt relaxed in all of his childhood and adult visits to the hospital, somehow Richie managed to make this experience, probably the most traumatic one, much different.

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Richard couldn’t help but beam as he stepped out of the door, Eddie really was starting to remember everything. His hands trembled with excitement, he needed to take a moment, he peeked back into the room. “Eds, I’m gonna take a piss, since the doctor’s not around yet,” “Okay Richie, go ahead.” Richie scrambled down the hallway, covering his massive smile. The most exciting part was that Eddie remembered when they went on the Ferris Wheel, when he remembered the next half of it, maybe Eddie would be willing to talk to him about what they used to have. Richie smiled, sitting against the wall in the hallway, running his fingers through his hair. He missed what they used to have, he wished he hadn’t ruined it all those years ago.

 

January 14, 1992

Richie stared at his boyfriend, eyes wide, mouth agape. Eddie’s mom had found out their secret, and she had given him the biggest scare of his life. He kept rambling about AIDs and Conversion Therapy, he trembled, holding onto Richie’s hands with all his might. He was sobbing. The boy in glasses’ heart ached for his love, trying to pull him closer, he didn’t hear a word of what Eddie was saying, in fact, he was actively trying to ignore it. Richie had never been comfortable with how he felt about boys, even Eddie, and he didn’t want to face that right now. He wanted to talk about anything but this.

He felt Eddie grab his face and he was jolted into reality, “Did you know that, R-richie?! Did you? That- that there’s no scientific evidence that this is okay? That it can’t be natural? My mom said I’m a p-pervert, and y-you’re a pervert but-- But we’re not! Richie, I love you, so fucking much a-and-” “STOP!” Richie shouted over him suddenly, the shorter froze, tears still dripping down his face. “I-i.. It is wrong, Eddie. I don’t need you reminding me! Stop it! Jesus Fuck!” Eddie stared at Richie, slowly letting go of his hands, “You think it’s wrong too?” Richie clenched his fists and shook “Of course it is! O-otherwise we wouldn’t have to fucking hide it!” The brunette shifted off his lap, shaking harder and scrubbing at his face, “It doesn’t feel wrong loving you,” he whispered in almost a hushed tone “It never has.” Eddie looked incredibly hurt, he began to cry again. Richie shook, sliding off his bed. “Y-you know what, Eds? Your mom is probably right- I-i’m just a pervert, and you need to get away from me. We could get hurt, YOU could get hurt, for doing this, we need to stop. Right now” “Rich b-but we--” “Eddie, I’m calling this off, for both of us.” Richie watched with tear-blurred vision as Eds slid off the bed, grabbing his hand. Richie didn’t hold his, he was making this more difficult than it should be. Richard pulled his hand away and faced the wall, “You should go Eds, it’s getting late, your mom is going to wonder where you’ve been.” “I don’t--” there was a pause, the boy with glasses looked back to see Eddie looking at his watch, it was actually quite late. “We’ll talk about this tomorrow Richie… bye.” Richie turned away as Eddie gently shut his bedroom door. They never talked about it, not the following day, week, month, or year after.

Richie rubbed his eyes, trembling with even more tears drenching his face then when he hugged Eddie a few moments ago. God had he fucked up, he always did. He saw the doctor who had visited early walk by and shot to his feet. “Sir? Can Edward have food?” The doctor stopped, turning to face Richie and looked at his watch, before looking back to Richie, “Soft foods, no solids. Call in some food to your room, mashed potatoes or smoothies might be best for him.” The comedian smiled, taking a breath and wiping his eyes, he peeked into the room again “Only soft stuff,” Eddie looked over at him “Like what?” “Uhhh, well the doctor said things like smoothies and mashed potatoes.” Eddie gave a thoughtful frown, Richie’s heart pounded, he hoped that Eddie didn’t notice how upset he looked, he rubbed over his eyes casually with a jacket sleeve. “Mashed Potatoes work. Are you okay?” Dammit “Yeah Eds, I’m alright, I’ll order you those potatoes.”

Richie stepped out into the hall to a nearby phone, skimming over the listing for room service before dialing it, he ordered some mashed potatoes and Eddie’s favorite soda, Root Beer, to the room. He stepped back into the room, Eddie was staring intently at the IV and medication hooked into his right arm, not looking up. He looked tired, almost sad. “Eddie, are you okay?” The brunette jumped in his bed, looking back up quickly to the comedian, “Oh yes, I’m alright. I just…” He trailed off, glancing at the bag of medication on the chair next to his bed and sighed, “I wish I wasn’t always so sick, and when I feel well, I end up in situations like this.” Richie’s hands begin to shake again, “Eddie you aren’t-” “Rich, I am.” Richie knew it was no use arguing right now, he took a mental note to move the pills away from Eddie’s bedside whenever he went to sleep. The hatred for Myra and Sonia Kaspbrak was pounding in his head, but he said nothing of them, giving a gentle smile to his dear friend. “You’ll get better, I’m sure of it, Eddie. We can work through it together,” the brunette gave a little sigh of relief, he had obviously gotten tense, preparing for an argument. “Thanks, Rich,” he mumbled. There was a knock on the door.

“There’s your food, I’ll get it.” Richie walked over to the door, opening it, a worker asked if he had ordered for an Edward Kaspbrak, he nodded, opening the door wide enough for her to see Eddie in bed, now tentatively waiting for his food. She smiled, handing over the container of mashed potatoes and the glass bottle of Root beer. Richie examined the label, to his delight it was from a local soda pop store, which Eddie had adored since they were kids. “Thank you,” he said, watching the worker step away as he shut the door. Eddie again was inspecting his arm, he attempted to bend it and flinched, “What’s wrong?” “They fucked up when sticking me for sure, I’m bruising like a motherfucker.” “I’m not bruising?” “What?” Richie sneered, Eddie always took the bait, “You said you were bruising like a motherfucker, as a certified motherfucker, I can’t say you are, as I’m not bruised,” Eddie groaned audibly to the taller’s delight. “Is that Poppy’s Pop Root Beer?” He said as Richie sat down beside his bed with the food and drink in hand. “Yeah! Figured you’d want some of that too,” Eddie squirmed with visible excitement, extending his hand to take the food before immediately recoiling “Fuck! Why the fuck did they have to do this on my dominant arm.” Richie looked over the brunette's arm with a frown, there was, admittedly, an atrociously large bruise on the inside of his elbow, and the top of his hand. “I’m sorry Eds,” he murmured, prying the lid off the cup of mashed potatoes. “It’s fine, just-” he lifted his left arm, moving to reach across his lap, only to find the IV connected on that hand had much too short of a tube to reach across comfortably. Richie watched his face contort into a mixture of pain and bitter frustration.

“I can feed you, you know,” He offered, unwrapping the plastic spoon and shoving it in the mashed potatoes. Eddie turned red, averting his eyes with embarrassment. “We don’t really have a choice, Eds,” Richie said more insistently, “You need to eat, I know you’re hungry.” The smaller wrinkled his nose in annoyance, “Fine, but can I have a drink first?” The comedian nodded, pulling out his keyring and using the bottle opener attached to pop open the bottle, he then carefully held it to Eddie’s lips and tilted it when he received a nod. Richie watched him carefully, Eddie kept drinking, his throat must’ve been pretty sore, as Eddie pulled back, Richie took the bottle away from his mouth. The brunette wiped his mouth off with his own shoulder, scowling, “This is humiliating,” he whined. “It’s just me and you, Eddie, I’m not judging,” Richie said with a hum, scooping up a bite of mashed potatoes with the plastic spoon. Eddie watched him from the corner of his eye, Richie grinned. He held up the spoonful and waved it around slowly, making airplane noises. Immediately Eddie pursed his lips shut and glared at Richie, his face going fire-engine red, he turned his face away from Richie. “Oh my god how did I know you would be this way, asshole?” he huffed out, “You’re such a-” Richie cut Eddie off by gently flying the airplane into his mouth. Eddie shot him a nasty glare but closed his lips over the spoon. The comedian chuckled at his own antics, enjoying thoroughly the reaction he was getting. Eddie let go of the spoon as he opened his mouth, “Are you satisfied?” “Very much so,” Richie replied through his fit of laughter. “Can I please have more? Without the sounds,” I’ll think about it.”

Chapter Text

Today was the day of his release from the hospital, and Eddie couldn’t be more nervous. The plan was to go to Richie’s hotel room for now, because that’s where all his luggage was being kept, so that he wouldn’t have to keep paying for the room. The idea of not only re-entering that filthy hotel, but the emotional whirlwind his wife was going to bring down on him for not contacting her upon his release, was tremendously stressful. He had received a full explanation of how Myra had behaved in the hospital, and he was, quite frankly, very ashamed. The tension between Myra and him had always been there. Richie was right, she was a lot like his mom, the more he thought about it at least. He walked slowly to the car, his hand clinging to Richie’s arm. He was stiff, and it was still uncomfortable to bend from the waist up. His friend was being excessively careful, stopping nearly every five steps to ensure that Eddie felt well enough to continue. He appreciated the effort, but really just wanted to get to the car. They stepped out of the hospital, and much to Eddie’s relief, Richie had parked the car close.

They walked across the street to the red Mustang. The comedian leaned forward, opening the passenger door and cautiously helped the smaller in. Eddie’s face was flushed with red, biting his tongue as to focus on getting well adjusted in the seat as painlessly as possible. The car door stayed open, his friend observing him closely with concern. Richie leaned over him, buckling him into the seat. “I could’ve got that Rich, I’m okay,” “Yeah, yeah. I know, let’s go.” Richie finally shut the door and jogged over to the drivers side, hopping in and starting the car. Eddie glanced behind his seat as the car was pulled out of the parking lot, “Richie the backseat is a pigsty,” he announced. Richard chuckled and glanced at the backseat, “What did you expect, Eds? I’ve never been the cleanest.” He was right, Eddie supposed. Richie drove well over the speed limit down the stretch of Main, the brunette shot him a glare of daggers, assuming he was horsing around, but Richie appeared to be completely unaware of the issue at hand. “Rich, you’re speeding,” Eddie scolded, dramatically gripping the handle above his head. Richie visibly rolled his eyes, adjusting his glasses as he focused on the road, then glancing down at the speedometer, “It’s only 15 over, I’m fine,” “Fifteen!? Richie! We could get pulled over you moron!” “Yeah but the police kinda suck here,so are they really gonna pay attention? Didn’t a bunch of kids solve a mass murder case before they did?” Eddie got quiet, fair enough, but if they got pulled over he would be incredibly frustrated.
Richie pulled into the small, cracked parking lot of the Derry Town House, screeching to a hault before meticulously parking, with surprising accuracy. The car unlocked as Richie stepped out, Eddie unbuckled himself and opened the door to see the comedian scrambling to his side of the car and extending an arm for Eddie to grasp. The brunette laughs and takes his arm, using it to help hoist himself upward and out of the car without bending too much. Richie placed a hand on Eddie’s mid back and paused. “We’re gonna go up some stairs, can you handle that, Eds?” The thought of 3 floors worth of stairs, 6 flights to be exact, was borderline naseauting to Eddie, but he didn’t want to worry his dear friend. “Yeah, I’ll be fine as long as we aren’t trying to run like you did last time.” The taller laughed and walked the other inside, beginning their trek up the stairs.

“So, Eds, Does your wife know you’re out?” “No, no she doesn’t,” “Oh, Cool.” Richie’s voice showed obvious restraint from what seemed like pure excitement. Eddie was annoyed, and this response to his stress was not appreciated whatsoever, “I’m scared she’s already gonna be pissed at me because I never gave clearance to let her back into my room.” Richie gave a loud sigh, going quiet. “What?” “I don’t see why you want to be with her. She makes you scared, she makes you take all those meds, she-”“Richie, Can we please not do this right now, at least wait until we’re in your room,” Eddie pleaded. Richie obliged with more silence, they neared the fourth flight, Eddie groaned, his breath becoming more of a wheeze. “Eddie? Are you okay?” his friend inquired. Eddie held up a shaky pointer finger and then patted his jacket pockets, retrieving his inhaler. He clamoured with shaky hands to remove the lid, shoving it in his pocket. He slid the opening just past his lips and pushed down, spraying the inhalant and breathing in. The taller watched intently, concerned. Edward removed the inhaler from his lips, leaning back his head and expecting relief. He took a breath in and paused, beginning to cough. Why wasn’t it working? He kept coughing, Richie kept support on his back, “Eddie? Eddie did it not work? What’s going on?” he clung onto Eddie’s jacket. Eddie felt himself tilt over, his shoulder bumping the wall, he leaned into it, coughing more. “Eddie? Eds?” Richie blurted again, Eddie forced a small smile, holding up his finger again and taking another dose from his inhaler. He straightened his back and tried to breathe calmly, and suddenly, things were resolved. “I.. I’m okay, Rich.” He watched the relief flood over the dark-haired man’s face, a small smile curling into existence among the stubble, “Good, let me carry you for this last set of flights, just to make sure,” Eddie flushed red. “Dude, I’m a grown man. I’ve got this,”“A grown man, newly released from the hospital with breathing problems.” And with that statement, Richie scooped Eddie up into his arms, and began walking up the stairs again.

They arrived shortly at the room, Rich gently set Eddie down, unlocking the door. Eddie wore a firm, embarrassed scowl as he marched into the small hotel room, hands shoved in his jeans pockets. He hopes no one saw that, but on second thought, he doubted anyone else would stay in the dump. Richie’s room was uncharacteristically clean, almost as if he hadn’t lived here. Eddie inspected the space carefully, expecting to notice all the mess shoved under the bed or in the small corner by the nightstand, but there was nothing. The only traces of Richie inhabitants, infact, were an open suitcase on the desk next to a half drunk bottle of whiskey, no glass in sight. “Richie?” Eddie inquired, sitting on the edge of the bed. “Yeah, Eds?” “How long did you stay in the hospital with me?” “Most of the time, but they wouldn’t let me sleep there.” Eddie observed the neatly made bed, knowing well that the staff, if they were even existent, was likely not proactive enough to have fixed the bed or even cleaned the room. “So you came back here to sleep?” Eddie continued before cutting off Richie before he could respond, “Richie, you didn’t stay in your car did you?” he blurted, thinking back to the blankets and a rolled up jacket in the backseat. “I wanted to make sure I was close by incase anything happened, Eddie, why is that such a problem?” Richie averted his eyes, red with what Eddie assumed to be embarrassment. “You’re tall as fuck and your car probably had you all scrunched up, which isn’t good for your back, I doubt you could sleep good so close to a busy road and -” “I was fine, it was fine. I was more worried about you.” Edward picked at his jacket sleeve awkwardly, Richie had always been this way, selfless, but it never ceased to amaze him, or in this case, flatter him, in a way. “You would’ve been close enough, Rich, the town house isn’t that far,” “It’s far enough that I didn’t feel I would be there the instance you needed me, or uhm- If you needed me.” “Well, Thank you Richie.” He couldn’t help but smile, he knew for a fact that his friend was very dedicated to him. Eddie knew no one else who would sleep in their car every night just to make sure they were moments away while he was ill. Not even his wife, actually, Eddie nodded to himself thoughtfully, no, Myra would certainly have gotten the nicest hotel she could find in the area, she could never sleep in a car. “Anytime Eddie, you know I’ll always have your back.”

December 19, 1990

Eddie’s heart was still pounding out of his chest, soaked and freezing, lying in the snow. Richie hoisted himself out of the water, skittering across the ice to him. “Eds, Oh my god I’m so sorry, this was all my idea, I didn’t know the ice wouldn’t have been able to hold us, are you okay? Are you breathing okay? Eddie?” Eddie was trying to think of what to say, he was furious with Richie, but grateful all the same. Yes, he was right, the ice was too thin, Yes, he fell in, did he have hypothermia? Probably! But he would have most likely died if Richie hadn’t dove in after him. He stared blankly at Richie, who was still freaking out, tearful with regret as he grabbed his glasses from where he had thrown them on the snow. “Eddie? Are you listening? Can you hear me? I said I’m sorry,” Richie moved closer to Eddie, kneeling beside his chest, leaning downward. He waved his hand in front of Eddie’s face. The brunette let a goofy smile slip, making Richie chuckle, “So, you’re oka-” Eddie leaned up, grabbing a fist full of Richie’s soaked coat and pressed his cold lips against the other’s. Richie froze, slowly pulling Eddie into a sitting position and kissing him back. Eddie’s face began to warm much faster, he let go of Richie’s coat, taking off is soaked mittens and wrapped his arms around the taller boy’s neck, his trembling fingers tangling in that dark, messy mane.

It seemed like hours before they broke away from each other, both were still panting, creating puffs in the crisp winter air. Eddie kept his arms around Richie’s neck, both of their faces were red. “Thank you, for getting me out,” “Anytime Eddie, you know I’ll always have your back.”

“Hey Eds? You there man? Helllloooooo? Eddie!” Eddie blinked and he was back in the hotel room, Richie leaned over him, similarly to the memory he had just recalled. His face was so hot that it felt like a heat lamp was beaming down directly onto his face. He stared at Richie, his hand squeezing the bedding below him. All the feelings he had forgotten were flooding his senses at a rate Eddie was struggling to even comprehend. His heart began to pound harder. “Richie,” he blurted suddenly, much to the comedian's relief, “Richie, I.. think I love you.” And in that instance, Richie’s face lit up with a light Eddie hadn’t seen since the night he reunited with him. “You remember!” He said at a jarring volume for the still recovering asthmatic. “Quiet down, dickwad,” Eddie murmured hoarsely, overcome with emotion, “but yes, I remember.” Suddenly, Richie’s very sweaty hands took ahold of Eddie’s, shaking gleefully, “I love you too, Eds.” This was, needless to say, completely overwhelming. Every sweet moment, every tender touch, every fight, and every long glance was coming back to him, but yes, he definitely loved Richie. Eddie held tight to Richie’s clammy paws, his nimble fingers intertwining with Rich’s thicker, warm ones as his eyes began to well up with tears. This was it, this is what real love felt like.

Chapter Text

Richie pried a hand away from Eddie’s grasp, moving to comb through the brunette’s neat, short hair. “What made you remember?” He asked, Eddie now laying into his chest. “Do you remember when you dared me to walk across Polly Lake when it was frozen over?” Richie paused thoughtfully, focusing on what Eddie had said, trying to remember. “I don’t think I’ve had that one come back to me yet, Eds, Sorry. What happened?” Eddie squirmed, sitting up, off of Richie’s chest, still holding his hand. “I think it was our first kiss,” Eddie mumbled quietly, looking to Richie. “Oh, Oh, it was in December, right?” Richie replied, “I remember our anniversary was in December.” Eddie shrugged awkwardly “Honestly I don’t know, It was cold, though, really cold.” Eddie was smiling so hard Richie thought his jaw just might fall off. “What are you grinning at me like that for, Spaghetti?” Eddie blinked slowly, continuing to stare for a couple of fleeting seconds before breaking his eyes away, “I’m just really happy, everything feels okay now that I’m with you and I know the full depth of what we are.” Richie paused, fiddling with the edge of his sleeve, “Were,” he corrected, “We broke up because I was scared of who we were, and what I could cost you.” Eddie paused, closing his eyes and tilting his head to rest on the comedian’s arm, “I think I remember that.” Eddie stated plainly, “But I don’t hold that against you at all. You were scared, so was I.” Richie ran his thumb over Eddie’s knuckles and sighed “I guess, maybe it just wasn’t a good time for us.” Eddie said nothing, eyes now open and focusing on the floor. “What about now, Eddie? Do you think we could start over?” The taller asked, squeezing the smaller man’s hand gently. “Richie as much as I’d love to, I’m married,” Eddie’s voice shook “I’m obligated to stay with her, It’s been two years and-” “But do you love her, Eddie?” "What do you mean, Rich? She's my wife of-" "When we were 17 I remember you said you'd never marry a woman, and that you'd rather die alone then be forced to, what happened?" "I met Myra, and she was kind- she cares about my health, she keeps me on schedule,.. she, Uh--" "She's controlling you, Eddie. Just like your mom." Richie crossed his arms, "And I'm not saying that because I'm jealous, I'm saying that because it's true." "Richie my mom wasn't that bad, she was just trying to protect me." "By popping a bunch of pills in you and never letting you experience shit, sure, if that's what you call it Eddie. Is that protecting?" Richie's voice was seething with frustration. "Richie she was trying her bes-" "Eddie she was trying to keep you at home forever." There was a long pause, Eddie has gone tense, his hand shook in Richie's. "Eddie?" Silence.

“Richie- My medication,” Eddie blurted, shaking slightly “They were all placebos, weren't they? I remember- Greta, Doctor Keen’s daughter said so. It was all fake-- wasn’t it?” Richard paused, biting his lip, he remembered when Eddie found out about his medications, and how upset he had got before. “Yeah man, they were all fake. Except your inhaler I think.” Eddie gave a shaky nod, “Right,” he mumbled before going quiet again. “Eddie I’ve been trying to tell you, they aren’t real and-- I’m really worried Myra got you on real shit, Eds.” He squeezed the brunette's hand, watching the soft, sad expression contort into one of frustration. “Eddie? What is it?” He inquired, the smaller shifted uncomfortably at the bedside. “My inhaler wasn’t real either,” Eddie muttered, fiddling with his hands in his lap. “What? How could it be not real? You have asthma, Eds, just now on the stairs you-” “No, Listen. There was a pharmacist that worked with Keen for a summer, and he told me that my inhaler was just water and, uh, something else,” Eddie squinted “He said.. That the reason for my respiratory problems was due to poor posture.” Richie stared at Eddie, eyes wide, “Then why are you still taking one?” “My Mommy -- Er, my Mom, when I told her that she lost her shit, and said the new guy was lying to me, and that he was some gay pedophile or something, that wanted me to be super weak to he could take me away. That’s when she gave me that rant on AIDs, and how homosexuals are all predators...” Richie held his hands tight, “But Eddie your posture is fine now, what about-” “I think I may have developed something due to my posture as a child, and I guess my aspirator works for real now.”

Richie paused, making sure Eddie finished before standing slowly “I’m gonna make me a drink, do you want one?” Eddie laughed quietly and ran his fingers through his hair with a tired grin, “Sure Rich, just one glass, you know I’m not big on whiskey.” Richie nods, pouring two glasses, making his more full than the one he made for Eddie, passing him the cup. “Thanks, Rich,” he hummed, raising his glass up to Richie. The comedian grinned, clicking his glass gently against Eddie’s. “To us,” Eddie said, his grin making Richie feel warm inside, complete. “Well, I was going to say to your mom, but close enough,” he sat down beside Eddie who shot him a playful glare. Richie could feel his face heating up from the embarrassment, realizing that Eddie had said something sweet and he could possibly just ruined the moment. Much to his surprise, Eddie leaned against his shoulder with his entire body, sighing softly, “You know Richie? I think you’re right,” “About what?” “I think we could make this work, maybe that fucking clown coming back and my near-death experience aren’t all bad. I can’t seem to be upset over any of it, because in nearly every moment back in this town I was with you.” Richie got so red that his glasses were beginning to fog. “You think so, Eduardo?” “I know so, Ricardo.”

Chapter Text

October 30, 1990

Eddie was on his way to see Beverly and Ben, who were helping him sew together his costume for tomorrow. All of the costumes at the store for the Thundercats lackluster in design, much to Eddie’s dismay. He wanted to be as accurate as possible, and if that meant making his Lion-O costume by hand he absolutely would! Well, with the help of his friends, of course, he didn’t have a clue how to make anything. He knocked on Ben’s door, which was near-immediately answered by Beverly, who had an unlit cigarette between her teeth. She dropped the cigarette into her hand and pushed it into her pocket, she never smoked when Eddie was around after an asthma attack he had a couple of months ago. “Hey Eds, I was wondering if you were coming!” She exclaimed excitedly, hanging an arm around Eddie and dragging him inside, the stench of cigarettes clung to her clothing, though it was obvious she tried to cover it with some of Ben’s cologne in the last couple of minutes. He gave her a quick hug with his casted arm. “Did you bring all the materials?” “Yeah, I think so.” Eddie presented a bag, filled with fabric, base clothing, and a store-bought Lion-O belt, to the lanky ginger. She inspected the content’s briefly before shouting “Ben! Can you unpack and plug in the sewing machine please?” Eddie could hear the scrambling in the other room as Ben hefted out the sewing machine from the carrier Beverly had brought it in, “Y-Yes Beverly!” He called back. Eddie laughed. “Thank you again, Bev,” “Anytime Eddie. You look pretty winded, did you run here?” Eddie shook his head quietly, placing a hand on his face and realizing it was still red. The reason he got there late was a long phone call with Richie that had gotten him incredibly flustered. He wasn’t embarrassed for any reason in particular, but Richie had been sick for a couple of days, and it was just nice to hear his voice. “Hmmmmm…” Beverly tapped her chin in fake thought, “Were you on the phone with Richie?” “Well, yeah.” “That definitely makes sense.” “What’s that supposed to mean!?” Eddie blurted in a sudden, very defensive change of tone. The ginger rolled her eyes incredulously, “Really? Alright, Eddie, we’ll stop talking about it.”

Eddie followed Bev to Ben’s room, which had recently been redecorated. Well, if you considered taking down all those depressing news articles redecoration. Ben was under his desk, plugging in the machine. “Ben?” THUNK “Y-yeah Bev?” Beverley snorted, covering her mouth to muffle a chuckle. “Do you need me to do that, my arms are a little longer.” “Yeah, uh, That’d be great. Thank you.” Ben scooted out from under the desk, his face red and his hair ruffled. Eddie frowned sympathetically as he stared on at Beverly while she crawled beneath the desk. He hoped for Ben’s sake one day Bev would finally catch on to how he felt, but the situation with her and Bill was pretty complicated right now. She had to have some idea of how he felt, didn’t she? Eddie shook his head and sighed, maybe she was more oblivious than he thought. The small brunette sat down on the edge of Ben’s bed and took a breath, trying to cool off. Why was his heart still pounding? Maybe Richie got him sick through the phone somehow! Eddie laughed, he knew this wasn’t possible but it was definitely a funny thought. Ben looked over to him and cracked a gentle smile, “Did Richie call you this afternoon?” He asked in a near teasing tone. Eddie felt himself only get warmer, his voice cracks as he shouts back “W-why are you saying it like that, asshole?” He heard a fit of snickers erupt from beneath the desk. “Oh, I didn’t mean anything, He just called Bev earlier, I was just wonderin’,” Ben said in his own defense, now grinning. Eddie could feel there was something he was clearly not being told and it was really frustrating him, his ears burned with anger and embarrassment.

Beverly popped out from beneath the desk with her mockful, shit-eating grin, but began to sew, instructing Ben to take some measurements off of Eddie. Within a couple of hours, it was almost fully constructed and the small brunette was bursting with excitement. Ben’s parents had come home and were talking to him in the living room, Eddie sat beside Beverly at the desk, wearing something as Bev made some touch-ups with hand-sewing. “Beverly?” He blurted after a long period of silence, the girl jumped, jabbing her thumb with the needle as she sent it through his sleeve. “Shit!-uh, Yes?” she mumbled around her thumb which she had now stuck in her mouth. “Sorry,” Eddie rubbed the back of his neck, “Bev, what do you think of, like, dudes who like dudes?” Beverly’s posture perked up significantly, she took her thumb from her mouth, pressing it against her thigh. “Well, Eds, I don’t think much of them. It’s a pretty natural thing, I think anyone should be able to like who they like, without it being anyone else’s business, you know?” Eddie nodded slowly, his hands shook in fists on his lap. “What about you, what do you think?” The brunette frowned, trying to hold back a lot of conflicted emotions, his lip quivering. All he could think about is Richie, that’s all he’s been thinking of for weeks. He tried describing the feeling to Mike and he was told he had a crush on that particular someone, and frankly, that made a lot of sense. Beverly looked at him in the eyes, watching tears form, glazing over his vision. Her expression softened and she finished the few stitches before knotting and breaking the thread. She extended her pale arms to Eddie, “C’mere Eds.” Eddie, before he even realized it, collapsed into her arms, beginning to sob. She ran fingers through his hair gently and patted his back. “I-it’s Richie,” he murmured hoarsely into her shoulder. “I know, Eddie, I know,” Bev cooed, holding him close. This statement made the brunette nearly jump out of his skin, though, shooting him up and out of her embrace. “You know?!” He shrieked, his face going pale. “Yeah Eds, I’m pretty sure you’re the last one to figure it out. Besides Richie, of course.” “Even Stan?” “Yes, even Stan.” “Fuck! What if he told Richie- or - Did you tell Richie?!” Beverly laughed, looking up as the bedroom door opened. Ben slid into the scene awkwardly, looking at Bev in a confusion. “Do you know?” Eddie asked pointedly, his arms now crossed. “Do I know wh-” Beverly coughed, Eddie looked over to see her mimicking the motion Richie made when adjusting his glasses. “Oh,” Ben laughed nervously, “Yeah, that. I knew.” “When was anyone going to tell me this!” Eddie whined dramatically covering his pink face.

Eddie heard Richie snort loudly as he finished his story. “What?” Eddie smiled, looking up at him from his shoulder. The comedian crossed his arms, leaning back against the head of the bed. “Those smug bastards, I’m sure it didn’t help that I had already told them I liked you.” “You already knew?” “Yeah, Of course, I did, you were fucking adorable, still are. I just.. I didn’t want to face it. Beverly helped me come to terms with it after a while, especially after you confirmed her suspicions.” The brunette chuckled, curling his body closer to Richie, “Those scheming motherfuckers.” “Right? But hey, they were looking out for us, and in the long run, it kinda worked, right?” “What? Them tryna hook us up?” “Yeah, that.” “I guess you’re right!” Eddie chirped.

The brunette paused, his arm snaked around Richie’s as he laid into the man’s body. He felt his smile drop as he began to think about his wife, Myra would be furious. His grasp loosened on the comedian and he pressed his forehead against his jacket. It didn’t smell pleasant, mostly of BO and booze, but Eddie could tolerate it. “What’s wrong Eds?” Richie inquired with a tinge of concern in his voice. “I just… I haven’t got a clue how to tell Myra about this.” “Well, don't, just send her the papers, see her briefly in court, then get it-” “Richie that’s not at all how it works.” “It can be how it works if you make it that way, Eddie. Don’t feel bad you deserve so much better and-” “Richie, stop.” “Dude, I’ll even talk to her then, call her or something, or gimme her email if we wanna keep it professional.” “God no, I’ll figure this out in the morning, I’m too buzzed to be making decisions,” Eddie announced, despite the fact he had only had two glasses. In his defense, the original plan was one glass, but Richie filled him up again.

Chapter Text

Brunette hair tickled his chin as he opened his eyes, Eddie was laying against him, his back to Richie’s chest as he slept. Richie quickly realized that he was latched onto his arm, which had made its way around the hypochondriac's torso while they slept. He smiled warmly, resting his chin on the top of his fluffy, tired head. This felt right. He shifted slightly to the side, realizing with a sudden, burning urgency that he needed to piss. Immediately. Shit, he didn’t want to wake up Eddie, or move, this was comfortable, but God did he need to go. Then again, Eddie would be much more angry if he pissed the bed while snuggled up against him. Richie pried Eddie off his arm and scrambled into the small bathroom. While he finished his business, the comedian grew anxious. He knew Eddie wouldn't want to break it off with Myra, he'd be scared to. There had to be a way to encourage him in some way, proof that he really cared. The kissing bridge-- yes that would be a good start. Richie nodded to himself and washed his hands, then smelling his own breath. Brushing his teeth would be another good idea.

“Richie?” A tired grumble came from the bed. “Yeah Eds?” Richie called, spitting out the toothpaste in his mouth. “Where’d you go?” “Just in the bathroom, sorry I needed to pee.” There was a loud huff from Eddie as Richie stepped out into the hotel room watching the messy-haired brunette stretch in the sunlight that was pouring in from the window. He looked very much like a cat did after a long nap. The comedian smiled warmly, “Let’s go out today and walk around. You’ve been cooped up in the hospital for days.” Eddie collapsed back onto the bed dramatically, curling up in a ball. Richie chuckled and walked over, scooping up the smaller man, who immediately shifted to lay against his chest. “Wake up, sleepyhead!” He shook Eddie gently in his arms. The other quickly scowled prying his eyes back open to glare at the comedian. “Fine, fine, where are we going?” “Uhh, I figured we’d just walk around downtown, maybe go get ice cream?” Eddie shrugged, stretching again, he nearly punched Richie by accident. Richie narrowly dodged the sprawling limbs as Eddie let out a quiet, “Okay, let me get dressed.” He set down the tired little man to grumble and scratch himself while pulling off his shirt, rummaging through his suitcase.

Richie walked over to his side of the bed, changing into a clean tee, an old your shirt. The tour was called "What My Childhood Must Have Been Like" where Richie filled in the gaps of what he couldn't remember with comedic, made up skits that his writer had come up with. Most of his audience was led to believe he had serious memory loss due to a disorder or head injury, and in a way, this was correct. It was weird to think about how wrong his speculations were, he had included bits, the ones he could have remembered, about the particular hypochondriac across the room. Until he got the call from Mike, though, he never remembered the nature of their relationship. He then pulled on a large hoodie, some random one he had collected in New York before his tour. The comedian combed through his hair and looked up to see Eddie fidgeting with his sleeves, adjusting the white button down beneath his long sleeve, olive sweater. Utterly adorable, he wished he could just pinch Eddie's sweet little cheeks.

"Ready Eds?" "Let me brush my teeth and hair and--" Eddie's eyes rested on the massive bag of his medications before gently grabbing it and putting them in his suitcase. "Yeah, lemme do those." He stepped into the bathroom. Richie stared at the rejected bag of pills and grinned. This was a good step forward. Eddie's phone buzzed on the nightstand. The dark-haired man leaned over the bed, snatching up the phone curiously. 13 unopened messages from Myra, he swiped up to view them. If Eddie saw them it would put a damper on his day out! Not like Richie wanted to know what Myra had to say or anything. No way.

10:16 Edward are you not at the hospital anymore
10:20 Eddie?? Baby where are you? They said you got discharged.
10:21 Edward Kaspbrak you promised never to go somewhere without me knowing?
10:23 Eddie? Don't you love me anymore?
10:24 Eddie please.
10:26 I know you're up Eddie.
10:30 Eddie you'd better not be with that asshole. He's a bad influence on you.
10:35 You're breaking my heart, I'm sobbing. Is this what you want?

Richie hastily scrolled through the rest, his stomach in bitter knots. What a manipulative hog. He closed the phone and set it back where it was on the bedside table right as Eddie opened the bathroom door. "Alright ! I'm ready to go." "Okay! I've got your phone." Richie snatched up the phone again and opened the hotel room door for Eddie who smiled warmly as he exited.

Richie paced down the street with Eddie by his side, they were passing the library, Richie's stomach was in still knots. "Where are you taking me again?” Eddie asked quietly, his hand centimeters away from Richie’s as they walked side by side. “I want to show you something.” They approached the kissing bridge and the comedian’s stomach tightened further. He kneeled down in front of his carving, pressing his pointer finger to the + in “R+E.” Eddie leaned down behind him, smiling wide, “When did you put that there?” “The summer we fought that stupid clown for the first time. Before we got together.” The brunette laughed, squatting down next to the taller man and snaked his arm beneath Richie’s pointing at the carving on the wood slate below. An R with a heart surrounding it. “Wait-- how didn’t I notice that before?” Richie retracted his hand to look closer at it, grinning like the lovestruck fucker he was. “I carved it a couple days after that years Halloween,” Eddie explained, tracing the heart with his pinkie. “When you dressed up as Lion-O?” “Yeah! You remember-- And you were- uh..” The smaller furrowed his brows in thought, “Don’t tell me. Edward Scissorhands?” “No Eds, that didn’t come out until December.” “Right! Uh- Oh! You were the orange Ninja Turtle.” “I think you mean Michaelangelo, you uncultured swine,” “I couldn’t remember his name for sure, shut up. I always liked Donatello.” “Of course you did, you fucking nerd.” Eddie laughed, standing up and extending his hand to Richie, who was still a red-faced mess. He latched onto the brunette’s arm, but he stood on his own, knowing well enough if he actually pulled the little guy would topple over. Eddie took that moment to pry Richie’s hand off of him to intertwine their fingers forcibly. Richie was surprised, but he certainly didn’t mind. He could hear Eddie’s phone buzzing away in his pocket, Eddie paid no mind. “You said something about ice cream, didn’t you?”

Chapter Text

The comedian leaned against his hand as he sat across from the brunette in the ice cream shop who was carefully licking at his cone, visibly calculating each placement of his tongue so that the ice cream wouldn’t drip onto his fingers. “Eddie?” he spoke up suddenly, making the smaller jolt slightly in his seat. “Yeah Che?” the shorter looked up mid-lick from his ice cream. “Bet you can’t fit that all in your mouth at once,” Richie challenged playfully. Eddie smirked devilishly, “Oh, you don’t think so?” “No, No I don’t.” And with that, Eddie proceeded to cramp the remaining pile of ice cream atop the cone into his mouth. Within moments he could see Eddie flinch and he chuckled. “Bain-feeze!” Eddie managed, only to have the blackberry ice cream drip off his bottom lip and run down to his chin. The comedian laughed harder, success, the bait had been taken. He grabbed a napkin to assist Eddie in his newly developed distress, trying to avoid dripping the dark sticky ice cream on his clothing. He leaned over, moving to wipe off the handsome man’s chin and froze, staring at his mouth more intently. The hair on the back of his neck rose, “Wichie, is evweytig okay?” the smaller broke his train of thought briefly, and he finished wiping. The Brunette managed to swallow some more of the mound of sweet in his mouth. Richie closed his eyes slowly, nodding. He tried to push the memory far back.

June 7, 1988

Richie was done, and he meant it. Done. What the actual fuck did Bill think would happen? Did he really think a bunch of random losers could defeat some kid-eating clown? Fuck that! Forget Bill. In fact, Richie wanted to just forget all of it. But he couldn’t, at least not one thing. Eddie. That made him most furious of all, Bill was still ready to do this after what happened to Eddie, and knowing what hell Eddie would have to deal with at home for it.

Richie crossed his arms, balled fists tucked away as they shook. He sat on the edge of his bed, kicking off his shoes by the heel carelessly and dramatically throwing himself backwards onto the bed. Suddenly, something tapped at his window. He ignored it at first, probably a dumb fucking bird. A moment later, the tap persisted, in a fast, impatient pattern. Richie groaned and looked over, what the fuck could that-- Eddie?! He sprung from his bed and pried open the window. He took quick notice of what looked to be a massive, fresh bruise on Eddie’s face, covering and extending past his left eye. “Eds holy shit! Are you okay?” Eddie raised a brow and smiled awkwardly, placing his hands on the window’s edge. “ ‘sides my arm? Yeah.” He held up the freshly set cast, his shoulder’s noticeably heaving. “And-..” He paused to give a quiet gasp. “I ran here, do you have my rescue inhaler?” Richie paused, darting over to his emptied out school bag, retrieving the extra inhaler. “Here.” He watched Eddie clamor to take a dose of the inhalant. After a couple moments, he relaxed. “Thanks,” he rasps out, “Can I come in?” Richie took both of his hands, knowing well that his arm wouldn’t be able to support much weight, and helped him through the window. “Thanks Rich,” he sat down on the taller boy’s bed. “Hey Rich? I need a distraction--” The boy blurted, tapping his fingers against his knees hastily, “Can we play a game or something?” Richie frowned, grabbing the brunette’s jaw gently, examining the blistering bruise on his face. “Did your mom do this?” “Do… what?” Richie gently pressed his thumb against the bruise, but received no reaction. “The bruise-- On your face, Eds.” “Babe, I don’t know what you’re going on about, can you please help me distract myself? My mom’s freaking out at home and I don’t wanna think about all the new medications I’m going to-” “Babe? Since when was that-” “I was thinking we play Streetfighter, you know, down at the arcade.” Richie let out an unbridled groan of frustration. “Eddie when did-- You don’t even like Streetfighter, you always get too mad to play it.” Eddie sighed dramatically, crossing his own arms. “Fine, what about truth or dare?” FINALLY, something Richie could work with.

“Alright, yeah, let’s play that Eds.” “Okay, Richie, Truth or Dare?” “Truth.” Eddie paused, a grin forming on his face, “You sure?” Richie laughed nervously, “What’s the worst you could ask?” Eddie kept up his big smile, tapping his fingers methodically against his knee. “Well, you never pick Truth when we play with the others, but I get it.” “Get what? They just pick better dares than you do.” “Richie, you don’t have to lie to me, I know.””Eds what in the fuck are you talking about?” “Oh.. Rich..” The smile grew soft on the younger boy’s face, he leaned his head on Richie’s shoulder. “You wouldn’t want anyone to know your secret, right?” Richie began to grow sweaty, warm, and very uneasy. Why was Eddie acting so dodgy? What secret? “Don’t act surprised, It’s obvious!” The brunette exclaimed. “What’s obvious?” “Your dirty little secret, Richie, you know the one.” He felt Eddie’s fingertips glide across his jawbone, his entire body shuddered. “Eddie you--” Eddie laughed softly, “Yes, I know.” Richie blinked, and in that millisecond Eddie was sitting on his lap facing him, their faces mere inches apart. The lanky boy grew red with embarrassment as the brunette leaned into his face, he could feel his breath on his lips while staring into his eyes. He placed a hand on Eds’ waist while maintaining eye contact. Then, something wet splashed onto his arm, it kinda tickled- wait, no- It burned . He tore his eyes away from Eddie, a glob of black, bubbling liquid trickling down his arm. It hurt, it stung, shit! He forcibly shoved Eddie off of him, who fell on his back with a thud and a yelp. “Shit! Sorry Eds I--” He grabbed the towel he had used this morning and wiped off the substance, his towel hissed and sizzled. “Are you o-” He stared at Eddie, now sitting on the floor much like a dog would, hands between his legs. But that wasn’t what bothered him, it would be the sludge slowly drippingfrom the corners of his grin. “Eddie are you-” “I-bm fine Wichie!” the thing he realized was not Eddie exclaimed, struggling to speak as the black vomit flooded from its mouth. Then he remembered, the house on Neibolt, when… this thing popped out of the mattress. Richie froze in his place. The monster on his floor coughed and sputtered out his acidic goo, it hissed as it hit Richie's carpeted floor. When it finally seemed to be out of vomit, it licked its vile lips and looked straight at Richie. "Should I tell them?" It sputtered, pushing itself back to its feet, taking sluggish steps towards the frozen boy. "No, this can't be happening-" Richie mustered out before flinging open his door and running out of his house. Whenever he came back later, the only thing left was the singed carpet and a hole in his towel, which morbidly enough, had taken shape of a heart. He was grounded for two weeks because of the damages.

"Richie, love, are you okay?" Eddie placed his hand on the comedian's arm, making him nearly jump out of his skin. He felt the other man's small hand cup one side of his face, brushing away the tears that were forming in his eyes. Rich gently placed his hand over Eddie's pressing Eds' palm against his own cheek. "Yeah Eds, I'm okay."

Chapter Text

After a Richie stopped crying Eddie smiled warmly, slowly pulling his hand away from the darker haired man’s jaw. He kept his other hand placed gently on his arm. He jumped in alarm as his phone began to buzz incessantly on the table, he flipped it over, Myra. He could feel Richie go tense as he read the name, the man now staring at him intently, assumably to gauge his reaction. Eddie bit his lip, drumming his fingers on the table loudly before giving a loud exhale and standing, “I should get that, shouldn’t I?” Richie’s expression softened to that of worry, “Eds are you really ready to deal with her?” Eddie shrugged quietly and looked out the window, the buzzing had stopped, but he knew it would start again in a minute. “I tried to wait until I was ready to stand up to my mom too, she died, and I’m not gonna wait that long. So, I might not be ready but it needs to happen.” The brunette dusted cone crumbs off his lap and slid the newly incoming call to answer, stepping outside the ice cream parlor.

“Hello?”
“EDDIE! Y-”
“Hi Myra,”
“Where are you!? They said you were discharged! I’ve been waiting for you to call or text me back!"
“Oh, sorry, uhm, listen, about that…”
“Are you going to finally come home?”
“Wait-- wait. You’re back in New York already?”
“Of course I am! Eddie that town is dreadful!”

Eddie swallowed hard, his hand shook as it grasped tightly to the phone. He didn’t know whether to agree with her or not. This was his childhood home, but also the place were the best and worst things in his life had happened to him. It’s where he met his friends, where he defeated It, well, allegedly, he still couldn’t believe that. Regardless, Ed was distracting himself from the task at hand.

“Myra, I want a divorce.”
“I’ll book your flight you’re going to get fir-- What?”
“I’ll book my own flight, to come get my things, and quit my job.”
“Eddie, what on earth are you talking about!?”
“I’m done Myra. I’m done with how you treat me, and I’m absolutely done acting like I love you.”

Eddie could feel tears forming in the corner of his eyes.

“Eddie you can’t be serious-- You need me!”
“No, no I don’t, Myra.”

The brunette gave a shaky, broken laugh.

“I know I don’t because even though I just got out of the hospital I’ve had the best day of my life in years, and it’s only 2pm. Most importantly, you’re not here, and someone who cares about me is.”
“Eddie I care about you! What about our reputation?”
“Well Myra, I don’t care much for you. I don’t care about your reputation, and I’ll be long gone from New York.”
“Eddie y-you can’t do this t-to me..”

He felt a pang of guilt, hearing her voice shake on the verge of tears. He closed his eyes, she always did this whenever she wanted her way. He refused to give in this time, not this time, not ever again. He cleared his rasping, throat, his voice shaking.

“I’ll come by soon, don’t contact me until then. I’ll bring the papers with me.”

He moved to lean against the brick on the outside of the building and let out a loud gasp when his shoulder blade hit something soft and warm. “Oh my god- I am so sorry I-” He turned around to face the person he leaned against. Much to his relief, it was Richie who outstretched his arms towards him. Eddie fell against his chest, head first, beginning to tremble harder. Tears slipped out from his eyes, this was terrifying, but it didn’t feel wrong. In fact, he had never been more sure of anything in his life. “Eds, I am so proud of you,” Richie whispered. Eddie felt his fingers run through the back of his hair, he relaxed into the larger man’s shoulder, he stayed silent. It was all over, Eddie thought, and all it took was Richie being here to tell him his worth. No more. Never again.

June 1, 2015 (8 days ago)

“Myra, I know we were going to go the Comedy thing today but I have to go, it’s an emergency.” “What? Where?” “Uh-- My friends, back home. They need me, bad.” “Eddie they haven’t contacted you in years, why does it matter if they need you now?” The brunette squirmed in annoyance, walking to his bedroom past his wife. “It does because they’re still my friends, Myra. I’m going.” He could hear his wife storming towards the bedroom, he grit his teeth, trying not to cower. “Eddiebear you are not leaving me, right before a date, to go see some people who don’t care about you.” He threw up his hands in frustration, opening the door to his closet, “For fucksake Mom, they care about me! They’ve just been busy!” “Excuse me!?” Eddie froze, eyes going wide as he stared into the black void of his unlit closet. “M-myra. I meant Myra, I’m sorry.” His hands began to shake as he ran it over the inside wall, feeling for the light switch. He was still getting used to this apartment, they had just bought it. The silence behind him made him grow weary, his hands finally met the edge of the plastic cover on the lightswitch. Suddenly a massive, heavy force slammed into his back, making him flat on his face, into the closet. Breath knocked out of him, Eddie wheezed loudly, hearing the door slam behind him. This wasn’t the first time this had happened, he assumed it wouldn’t be the last. He eased himself into a lying position, rolling onto his back, panting.

“M-Myra, please let me out.” He called out towards the door, he made no move to check the knob, he knew it was locked. “You’re not leaving me, Eddie! Not again.” He sat up, shaking terribly, “Last time was just a business trip! Myra please my friends need me!” “Eddie I’m sorry, but I need you more.” Eddie shook with both fear and a new found fury, shoving himself to his feet and rubbing on the wall until he flicked on the light. He waited for his eyes to adjust and grabbed two suitcases from an overhead shelf and started packing. “Eddie what are you doing in there?” Myra called, he fidgeted anxiously with the zipper on the suitcase, careful to glide it slowly open, as not to let her hear. “I’m getting changed, for the show, baby. Will you meet me in the car? I parked it in lot B of the deck.” He could hear the door unlock, and breathed a sigh of relief as he heard her click away in her heels.

He hurriedly crammed all the clothes in his bag and stepped out of the closet. He peered around the corner, looking out into his apartment. She was out. He grabbed the two bags walking to his bedside and taking his inhaler, panting as he sat down. Eddie snatched up his bag of medications and packed it, opening his laptop and searching for the soonest flight into Maine. Booked. He grabbed a small backpack, cramming his chargers and laptop inside, pushing it onto his back. The brunette hurriedly grabbed his luggage and rushed out of the opposite end of the apartment building, waving down a taxi.

Never again. Eddie repeated to himself, eyes closed with both of Richie’s arms enveloping him in a warm embrace, this, this was home. He smiled into the other man’s shirt. “Let’s go see a movie or something, okay?” he asked, finally pulling his face away from Richie’s shoulder. “Sounds good to me.”

Chapter Text

“Dear Losers,
I know what this must seem like, but this is not a suicide note. You’re probably wondering why I did what I did. It’s because I knew I was too scared to go back. And if we weren’t together, if all of us alive weren’t united, I knew we’d all die. So, I made the only logical move. I took myself off the board... Did it work?

Well, if you’re reading this, you know the answer. I lived my whole life afraid. Afraid of what would come next, afraid of what I might leave behind. Don’t -- Be who you want to be. Be proud; and if you find someone worth holding onto, never ever let them go. Follow your own path, wherever that takes you. think of this letter as a promise, a promise I'm asking you to make. To me. To each other. An oath. See, the thing about being a loser is you don’t have anything to lose. So, be true. Be brave. Stand. Believe. And don’t ever forget, we’re losers and we always will be.”

Richie bit back a whimper, Eddie leaning into his shoulder, shaking “Your Dear Friend, Stanley Ur-” The taller began to cry, Eddie grasped tightly to his hand and closed his eyes. “Uris,” he breathed out, squeezing Eddie’s hand. “Goddammit Eds, I-” he struggled desperately to find words to express how devastated he was. He knew if he had received this letter before he returned to Derry wouldn’t have been nearly as bad, but that just made the fact of Stanley’s death much worse. That if Richie had run away like he so desperately wanted to, he wouldn’t remember Stan as he does now. As one of his best friends, his confidant. He remembered being able to tell Stan anything and everything, and despite the lanky boy’s awkward, care-free demeanor, Richie knew he really cared for him. Richie knew everything about Stan, and Stan knew everything about Richie.

The comedian’s fists began to shakily squeeze the letter, wrinkling it. He felt Eddie gently pluck it away from his hand, to avoid damaging it. He watched as the brunette neatly folded it back into its pre-existing creases and examine the shipping information on the envelope. It had been forwarded from Richie’s housekeeper in Seattle. “When did he say he got this?” Eddie asked quietly. “Er- He texted me the second day you were in the hospital.” He watched the brunette trace over the return address, it was in Atlanta, Georgia. “Why?” “I kept getting calls from an unknown number in Atlanta last night.” “Why didn’t you mention that?” “Well, I figured it was telemarketers, plus I didn’t know Stan lived in Georgia.” Richard nodded and looked outside to the dark void of a starless night, standing from the bed and removing his shirt to put on a more comfortable one. Eddie stayed motionless, staring at the envelope. “I want to call it back.” He blurted, Richie looked back at him and shrugged. “I mean, go ahead, Eds.” He tried to sound indifferent, wanting to avoid the furthering of the conversation on his dead best friend. “I want to, I’m just scared..” Eddie repeated, laying back on the bed with a sigh. “Eddie it’s really just a coincidence. Stan’s--” he cleared his tightening throat, “Stan is dead, Eds.” “But what if-” “No Eddie, He’s dead. Can we please move on?” Eddie frowned, setting the envelope down delicately and opened the recent calls on his phone, staring at the repeated unsaved number. Richie crossed his arms and sighed, “Let me see the phone, Eddie. I’ll call it.” Eddie gave a weak smile and handed over his phone, “I’m telling you it’s nothing though, don’t get your hopes up.” Eddie nodded. He re-dialed the number and it began to ring.

“Hello?” A female voice answered, “Is this Edward Kaspbrak?” Richie pressed the speaker button and held it outward were Eddie could also hear. “Edward isn’t available right now, but I saw your calls, can I take a message?”
“Yes! This is Patricia Uris.”
“Oh, Patricia, I- Hi, It’s Richie.” Richie mumbled, his eyes wide, “How are you?”
“Richie! Right! My Stanley has told me about you, he just recently started rememb-”
“He remembered me? And Eddie?”

“He told me vague things, when we first met, about you but now he remembers much more, He can’t stop talking about you all. I was calling to apologize, when your group, well, I guess specifically Beverly called me, I was grief-stricken and I was told outlooks weren’t bright for Stan. I had resolved myself to the worst I guess. Nevertheless, he was able to be revived with minimal brain damage. In fact! He seems to have a better memory then he did before! Like I was sayi-” “STAN IS ALIVE?!” Eddie shouted over her abruptly, springing from the bed as if he could run-up to the old friend that very moment. Patricia laughed.

“There you are, Eddie! Yes, yes He’s alive. He was having me call all of you so that you would know since those letters had already sent out by the time I knew he was going to be alright.”

“That’s.. Fantastic, thank you so much for calling, Patricia. Is there any way I could speak with Stan?” “Oh he usually doesn’t like speaking on the ph- Well, He said yes, I’ll hand it over.”

“What’s up Trashmouth and Wheezy?”
“Stan!” They both respond in unison. “Dude I’m so glad you’re okay, you have no idea.” Richie chimed immediately after.
“I am so sorry for leaving you guys, if I remember half of what I do now, I would never, ever, had left you to do that alone,” they could hear a shaky strain in his voice.
“Hey, Stan, it’s okay. We’re not upset with you,” Eddie said softly, pulling Richie onto the bed so he could sprawl across his lap. Richie ran his spare hand through the brunette’s short hair. “We aren’t mad Stan, we’re just happy you’re okay, have you called the others?” “Well, Ben’s voicemail said he and his girlfriend were on a cruise, Bev’s said she was away from home. I assume that means the same thing-- and Mike’s number is out of service. Bill said he’d call back soon, but he’s been on a roll, writing something for his next book I think. I’m just glad I could reach someone.”

“Yeah I think Bev and Ben are out fucking on a boat somewhere-” “Richie just be happy for them you ass-” “Oh sorry, I’m just jealous.” Stan let out an audible groan from the receiving end. “Please tell me you two are married by now or some shit,” “Well, We are staying in the same hotel room, and I think we went on a date today.” “You think- Richie are you gonna start this shit aga-” “It was a date, Stan.” Eddie interrupted, shoving at him playfully. “Good, it’s about time you two made up.” “You’re telling us.” Richie chuckled and looked over to Eddie, who was near beaming from joy. “Alright well, it’s late in Maine, I won’t keep you two up any longer, well, I should say I won’t keep you two held hostage in this call since I’m sure you’ll be keeping each other up.” Richie let out a loud snort, Eddie buried his face into the taller side, embarrassed, “Shut up Stanley.” “Fine, Fine. Goodnight you two.” “Goodnight Stan!” “G’night Stan.”

The dark-haired man itched at his scruff, his smile remained spread dorkily across his face. “I told you,” Eddie said suddenly. Richie looked down on his lap to see a smug, grinning brunette that much resembled the boy he first fell in love with. “Oh shut up, Eds,” “If we had listened to you we wouldn’t have known he was okay!” “Well, we would’ve eventually, whenever Bill or someone answered the phone and texted us,” he retorted. The brunette flicked his nose and crossed his arms. “For fucksake can’t you ever admit I’m right?” “Oh, you’re right sometimes for sure. But I have to double-check your judgment every once and a while.” “And Why’s that?” “Well, you’ve somehow been making goo-goo eyes at me for the past 7 hours, which only crazy people would do.” Eddie laughed. “Well, I guess you can call me crazy, Chee.”

Chapter Text

February 1, 1992

Eddie stare himself down in the mirror, fidgeting absentmindedly with his long polo sleeves. His mom had dropped him off earlier than usual to school, hardly anyone was there. So there he stood, in the boy’s bathroom, staring down his puffy eyes and tear-stained cheeks. Another night of wishing he was with Richie, another morning of lying about it being allergies and getting far too many allergy medications shoved down his throat with a morning glass of OJ. “Pull yourself together Ed, pull it together, Jesus fuck.” He spoke quietly to himself, forehead nearly against the mirror as he stared into his own somber eyes. He traced the dark bag beneath his eyes with his pointer finger. Feelings are stupid Eddie thought, Everything hurts.

The door to the bathroom flung open abruptly, sending Eddie stumbling away from the mirror, he looked away from the person entering, hoping they’d ignore his obviously distraught state. “Eddie?” Damn it. The brunette turned to face his curly-headed friend, who was panting heavily, his back against the bathroom door, “Oh--you look horrible what happened?” “It’s.. nothing, Stan, I’m fine.” Stanley frowned, pressing his ear briefly to the door in a spell of rigid paranoia, mumbling, “It’s obviously something, Eddie.” “What the hell are you doing?” The brunette stepped forward, genuinely concerned but also trying to change the subject. “Belch is back from his sick leave and I guess he wants to make up for lost time. What are you doing? Crying in the bathroom at 7:15?” God, he just won’t let this go, “I’m just dealing with some shit.” Stan took his head off the door, relaxing his shoulders. He walked over to Eddie and looked him up and down with a set of piercing eyes. “Did your mom hurt you?” “No, she didn’t.” “You promise?” His Jewish friend frowned, crossing his arms, effectively wrinkling his freshly ironed button up. “Eddie, seriously. What’s wrong then?” The smaller boy averted his eyes, staring down at his feet, shoving both hands in the pockets of his jeans. “Is this about Richie?” “..N-no.” Fucking voice cracks. Why now? Stanley sighed softly, gesturing his arms outward to invite a hug, which Eddie timidly accepted. “You need to talk to him, Eddie,” “I know, I know, I just don’t have the guts. I wish he’d stop acting like we were never a thing.” Stan rolled his eyes, resting his chin on Eddie’s head, giving him a soft pat on the back. “Richie does stuff like that, it makes it easier for him to ignore how he feels, you know,” “I know, I just don’t like it.” “No one does,” Stan let go of him, Eddie stepped away hesitantly from the comforting embrace.

“If you can’t talk to him, is there some other way you can initiate a conversation? Or any way to conjure up the topic in his head?” Stan asked, now going in the analytical, brilliant mode of his brain Eddie had become familiar with via Chemistry Lab. “Uh, I’m not sure,” Stanley tapped his finger against his chin, “No grandiose displays of affection that he would remember?” Eddie thought hard, brows furrowed. “Well, I don’t know about grandiose, but there’s one thing.” “What’s that?” “Remember when I broke my arm? He wrote a V over the S when Greta wrote Loser on my cast, I mean, I made the lines thicker, but it was his idea.” “Ohh, Yeah I remember that what if… We put the V on your wrist? So whenever you roll up your sleeves he’d see it.” Eddie gave a genuine grin as he watched Stan fish a red marker from a side pocket on his backpack. The brunette nodded, rolling up the sleeve of his left arm, Stanley snatched up his wrist and hastily began replicating the V with surprising accuracy, pausing for a moment to visualize every couple seconds. “How’d you remember that so well?” Eddie asked, pulling his wrist towards him as the other boy finished, admiring the work. “You had it on for so damn long, it’s hard to forget it at this point.” Eddie wrapped his arms around Stan’s neck, squeezing him in a quick hug. “Thank you, Stan,” “No problem, Eds, Richie is probably here now. You should go see him, I’m gonna take a piss.”

Eddie pulled back on his backpack and stepped into the hall, walking towards Richie’s locker. He saw the messy-headed boy in ripped jeans pillaging through the messy tin box. “G’Morning Chee!” He called, sprinting up to the boy, who visibly jumped before whipping around to face him. “Oh, Hey Eds,” He gave a soft smile. Eddie gave a tiny wave, consciously trying to make his sleeve slouch. Richie took no notice but waved back. “You’re here early, usually your Mommy has you sleeping ‘til the last minute doesn’t she?” The brunette laughed awkwardly, “She had to go help at church,” “Wow, she’s actually going to leave her den for something besides you or food?” Eddie snorted, “Shut up Trashmouth.” Richie adjusted his glasses, shutting the locker, “You wish,” he chimed, “Want to go sit in the Caf with me?” Eddie nodded, this would give ample opportunity to find ways to get Richie to look at his wrist. They walked together to the lunchroom, sitting down at a vacant table.

Eddie skimmed over Richie’s figure with anxious, sore eyes, “Belch is back today.” Richie sighed dramatically, placing his chin on his hand, “Damn, I was really hoping he had … some-- serious disease, what’s a serious disease, Eds?” “You mean, like, Cancer?” “Oh God no, I’m not a dick, Jesus.. Like uh - I don’t know, a bad virus.” Eddie laughed, shrugging, “Me too, but he’s back. He was chasing after Stan this morning.” “Already?” “Yeah, I know righ-” “Hey g-guys! Mind if I s-s-sit?” Bill asked, interrupting the conversation, which was most likely unintentional. “O’ Course you can Ol’ Chap! Take ah seat right here, Laddie!” Richie said, breaking into one of his moronic voices. Eddie rolled his eyes while Bill chuckled and sat down across from him, beside Richie. “W-what are you guys t-talking about?” “Belch is back,” Eddie repeated with less enthusiasm, worried now if Richie noticed he wouldn’t respond. Bill slugged his backpack onto the table and sighed, “A-a-already?” Eddie simply nodded, taking off his own bag, then rolling up his sleeves, it was genuinely warm in the cafeteria since they were still cooking in the kitchen. The hypochondriac gestured vaguely towards the hallway, “He was chasing Stanley around earlier,” “I-is he okay?” “Yeah, I think so.” He took note of Richie’s silence and saw him staring at the V on his wrist, lips taut, emotionless. Eddie gave him a little smile, looking at the letter himself, Richie made eye contact with him, and in that moment, Eddie’s heart lurched. He was angry, or at the least, very upset. He quickly lowered his arm, pulling down his sleeves, hoping it would stop the scalding glare.

“S-so uhhh… W-w-what’d you two h-have for dinner last night?” Bill blurted, in an attempt to mend the awkward, unexplained silence. Richie perked up, smiling his normal smile, looking to his friend, “I had chicken pot pie, what about you?” He shot another quick, warning glare at Eddie, who shrunk into his seat. “I-i had b-burger king, I tried that n-new meatloaf s-sa-sandwich thing.” “Yuck!” Eddie exclaimed halfheartedly, fighting a crack in his throat. “It was p-pretty weird,” Bill nodded, “W-what about you E-Ed?” “Oh, my mom made spaghetti a-” “And then, I came over and had his mom for dessert.” Normally, this would’ve gained a reaction from Eddie but all he could do was cringe, Bill laughed. How could Richie be really acting like nothing was wrong? Eddie stood up, grabbing his bag, “I’m gonna go to the bathroom, see you both in class.” “Yeah, See ya Eds.” “Bye Ed-Eddie!”

The small brunette scrambled into the hallway again, frustrated and biting back tears, he started his way towards the bathroom when a firm grasp took his shoulder. “Eddie,” Richie started, standing behind him, it made Eddie’s entire body tense and shudder, “What the hell.” That hurt. He moved to face Richie, leaning against a nearby wall, fidgeting anxiously with his sleeves, he opened his mouth to speak but he was cut off. “You wanted this, why are you being like this? Sulking all day and now--” Richie grabbed his left wrist gently, tapping his thumb on the fabric over the symbol, “Now that.” “Richie, I never wanted this, I was having a panic attack you know how I-” “And you would’ve kept having them, Eds.” Richie bit back coldly, “You know this is for the best, why are you making it so hard.” Eddie clenched his fists as his hands shook, “Richie, I didn’t I swear I wouldn’t have, I l-” “Shut the hell up there are people all around us.” Tears began to form in the brunette’s eyes as he twisted his wrist from Richie’s grasp, shoving his hand in his pocket. “W-would you let me get in one fucking sentence Tozier?” Richie froze, adjusting his glasses and shoving both hands in his own pockets, leaning down slightly to be eye-to-eye with Eddie, his eyes were pools of guilt mixed with a strange indifference. “Fine, go ahead, sorry…” The boy mumbled, combing through his hair. “You- need to stop acting like this didn’t happen, Richie, it fucking hurts. I’ve wanted to talk about this for ages, but after the following week of you brushing me and my feelings off every single day, I gave up. I thought you cared about me, Richard Tozier. I thought you-” his voice cracked loudly, tears beginning to drip down his face. “I thought you loved me.” Richie straightened his back, his posture was stiff, uncomfortable, scared, he cleared his obviously tight throat, refusing to look Eddie in the eye. “Eddie this is the best thing for both of us,” he said in a hushed tone, “Your mom was right this isn’t -” “My mom wasn’t fucking right, she never has been, about anything, and you know that!” “Keep it down!” Richie snapped, “Eddie even if she were wrong this time, we’d get fucking destroyed if it got out to the school. I don’t want that for you, and not to be selfish, but I don’t want that for me either.” Ed swiped at his tears hastily and cleared his throat, lowering his voice to a quivering whisper, “I don’t care what other people think or do, Rich. All I want is you.”

Richie traced over the red, simple tattoo on his wrist, the delicate brush of his thumb making blush rise to the smaller man’s face. “So, when’d you get this done?” he said quietly, smiling to himself. Eddie leaned against his boyfriend’s shoulder, “Right before I forgot when I moved for college. I thought I had gotten drunk the week before move-in. I’m glad I remember why it’s so special now.” Eddie felt his face and ears burn as the ragged, handsome man raised his wrist to his lips, pressing a gentle kiss to his flesh. "I'm glad you made me remember then and helped me remember now, what we have," the comedian mumbled against his skin, pressing another kiss to the V tattoo. Ed could feel himself melting away with each hot puff of breath against his wrist, "Me too, Rich." The man released his wrist, and Eddie didn't know whether to be relieved or disappointed, watching him stand up. "Let's get dressed, Eddie. I wanna go do something." Eddie rolled his eyes and stood, pulling off the big shirt he had stolen off Richie the previous night. "Fine, dickwad, ruin the mood."

Chapter Text

Richie pulled on a jacket over his tee, turning to face Eddie who remained shirtless, digging through his luggage. He was in remarkable shape, what the hell, they were nearly forty, he had no business looking that good. The brunette seemed to sense his stare, looking up and giving him a sharp glare upon reading his bright red shirt. “We are not going out in public with you in an ‘Orgasm Donor’ shirt, Richie.” “What, are you just jealous you haven't received my donation?” the smaller man turned red, spitting out curses under his breath, refusing to look the comedian in the eye. “Shut up, asshole,” he mumbled.

The warm blush coupled with the little smirk the brunette gave as he looked away from Richie made his heart soar. Rich peeled off his shirt, looking through his suitcase and settling on something plain, a maroon shirt with a navy banded neck and sleeves. He peered back over at the smaller man, who was buttoning up a light blue dress shirt while trying to wrestle out of his pajama pants simultaneously. He watched Eddie go tumbling onto the bed, face first. The dark-haired man snickered, laying across the bed so his face was to Eddie’s flushed ear. “Need help getting dressed, Eds? I always thought I’d be doing the opposite, but if you-” he received a blind smack to the neck as the brunette swatted his arm towards his voice before standing back up, his face was much redder than before, his fingers shaking as they nimbly finished buttoning the shirt closed. Richie stayed laying on the bed, stretching out his lanky limbs and watching his partner wrestle off the pajama bottoms from an upsidedown perspective. “C’mon, could you at least give me a show, Eddie?” he teased, moving his arms to shield his eyes, anticipating a smack for his misbehavior. The slap didn’t come. His face grew warm as Eddie’s hands traced over his own, he heard the smaller man’s socks glide over the shitty hotel carpet, closer. And then, it happened. He felt lips against his own, gentle, soft. Richie’s hands flew off of his eyes, staring up to see Eddie’s throat, his body leaned forward, over him. The brunette pulled away, looking down at him, his face burned with a mixture of embarrassment and shock. Eddie sighed playfully, unfolding a pair of khakis and stepping into them carefully, “Now, can you shut up?” Rich obliged, not on purpose, no, but he couldn’t for the life of him think of what he could possibly say in this moment, and God knows he didn’t want to fuck it up. Eddie tucked his shirt carefully into his khakis before zipping and buttoning them, grabbing his belt from the floor and looping it through, as he grabbed the buckle he looked back into Richie’s eyes, the ones who had been following him wordlessly, “Go brush your teeth, Tozier, you’ve got serious morning breath.”

Richie bolted up-right and darted for the bathroom, not only out of a worsening sense of embarrassment but so he could finally cool off. He shut the door behind him and splashed cold running water all over his face. Jesus Christ, this was actually happening. That actually happened. He dried his face with the still damp towel he had used last night for a shower. The comedian stared into the mirror, his lips curled into the largest grin; he was absolutely, and totally giddy. Eddie was the only man that could make Richie feel like the giddiest school kid, he had never felt anything like this for anyone. He hoped Eddie felt the same, he hoped his Eds would get to experience this wonderful feeling too, hopefully, thanks to him. He also, on another note, prayed to whatever deity existed or didn’t exist, for that matter, his breath really wasn’t that bad. He pulled his hand over his mouth and breathed out, smelling it. “Well, fuck, I’ll just die,” Richie bemoaned to his reflection rather loudly. “I’d rather you didn’t!” Eddie called from the other side of the door, obviously right outside. Richie’s entire body jolted, this morning couldn’t get any more embarrassing… or any more perfect. He drowned the bristles of his toothbrush in paste and began to clean his mouth with vigor, laughing awkwardly. “Can you hurry up in there? I didn’t know you were on your period or some shit, Chee.” “T-thorry! I’m juth making thure my mouth ith clean!” He heard the brunette chuckle, followed by silence. The comedian spat out the liquified paste and grabbed the complimentary mouthwash, flooding his mouth and sloshing it around. He spat this out as well. He ran his fingers through his hair slowly, unlocking the bathroom door and opening it to see Eddie leaned against the wall opposite of him, scrolling through his phone, his honey-colored eyes looked up at him before focusing their gaze past him. “Let me clean up too, then we can go, ‘kay?” Richie could only nod, watching the smaller man march into the bathroom with a purpose, unzipping his rather large toiletry travel bag before shutting the door. The comedian took his place against the wall, heart fluttering still from the aftermath of the kiss, today had to be perfect. It just had to be.

Eddie stepped out, giving Richie an awkward grin before nodding to the door, “Let’s go.” He opened the door for the brunette, who walked out, shoving his hands in his pockets. Today, Eddie had something to show him, this entire day was supposed to be planned by him, but Richie insisted first they had breakfast at the old diner downtown. They had spent many mornings there during the summer, it was something they were both excited to revisit. The small brunette hung a quiet tune as they made their way down the stairs, it was a familiar tune. “Elton John?” “You know it,” The brunette retorted.

January 21, 1991

Richie’s finger’s drummed over the wooden table, it was still damp from the clean off it had received moments earlier. Eddie was late like he had been the last time, which was normally unlike him. Every Monday, 7:30 AM, it was simple, it was only recently that Eddie had had trouble getting there, and he didn’t explain why last Monday, he’d have to ask today. And then, he saw Eddie, well, a blur of him, seemingly sliding past the entrance, his hand smacking onto the window of the diner-front, parallel to the booth where Richie sat. Rich pressed his face against the glass, looking down. Roller skates! Eds had always wanted some, but his mother had always refused to buy them. Scuffed, dirty, pink roller skates with little flowers. He snickered, fogging up the glass, he heard Eddie scream from outside, who had obviously just noticed his smushed face against the glass. He pulled back, waving and adjusting his glasses, which had become crooked from being pressed. Eddie’s face flushed as he sat down on the curb, pulling off the skates and removing his backpack. He pulled out his sneakers, sliding them on and tying them meticulously before packing the skates away. He walked into the diner, setting off the little ring of the bell overhead, glaring at Richie with crossed arms. “When didja get those!?” the lanky boy prodded, hopping off the booth and jogging over to him. The brunette scowled, “Last Saturday..” “Why haven’t you shown me them yet?! Is that why you were late last week?” Rich took his arm gently, walking to the booth, Eddie sat on the edge, legs still facing out. “I wanted to get better at it! So I’ve been practicing on the trips here in the morning. And- I wanted to paint them or something, they look dumb.” Richie chuckled, pinching his boyfriend’s cheek, “I think they look cute on you Eds.” The smaller shoved at his chest and growled, “Shuddup Rich, I just wanted a pair, and Susie was selling these,” “Susie Pattison?” “No, Susie Herts.” “You mean the 9th grader!? Your little feetsies are soooo small!” Richie went to grab Eddie’s shoe, but received a firm kick in the thigh for his attempt, “I knew you’d say some shit like that!” he squawked. Eddie pushed off his backpack into the booth and stood back up, pointing at the new disc jukebox the diner had bought. “What’s that?” Richie’s eyes followed his finger, “Jukebox, they’re these new ones, I don’t know why they keep remaking them, since our dinosaur parents enjoyed them I guess. These types use CDs and shit..” Before he could finish Eddie was at the jukebox, skimming through the list of songs. The diner was basically empty this morning, aside for a burly trucker-type dude at the counter, sipping at his coffee. Richie stood, beginning to walk over as Eddie fished out some change and paid the box, “What’re you playin’ Ed-” Eddie spun around and grabbed his hand, dragging him back to the booth.

It’s a little bit funny, this feeling inside,
I’m not one of those that can easily hide,

Rich perked up, a massive grin absorbing his features, “Eddie! You listened to my mixtape!” The brunette gave a little smile, sitting across from him, his hand still clinging to Rich’s, which were quickly growing clammy with nerves.

I don’t have much money but boy if I did,
I’d buy a big house where we could both live.

If I was a sculptor, then again, no,
Or a man who makes potions in a traveling show,
Oh, I know it’s not much but it’s the best I can do,
My gift is my song,
And this one’s for you

He watched the smaller boy lean back into the booth, his grip loosening on his hand as he relaxed. The boy fiddled with his thick jacket that his mom likely shoved onto him the moment he neared the door. “You look like an orange marshmallow,” he commented, leaning over the table on his arm to poke at the puffy fabric. Ed unzipped the fabric, flicking Richie’s finger with a scowl, “And you look like a total geek in that D&D shirt, but I haven’t pointed that out.” He pulls off the jacket and tosses it on top of his bag. Richie eased back into his seat and grabbed his menu, “Fair ‘nuff, Eduardo.” He looked over the menu, what should he try today. He saw Eddie do the same, knowing well enough he’d order the same thing he always did, but he decided not to point that out.

“I’d like the Sunrise Breakfast Plate with sausage links, and my egg, over easy.” Richie frowned, wishing Eddie had given him a second more to order, he placed his finger on a pancake platter at random. Sure? “Uhh, I’ll have the Berry Blue Pancakes with a si-” The waiter spoke over them, “Hey! Didn’t you two used to go to Derry High?” Richie looked to Eddie, who was obviously irritated that the man had interrupted them, then to the man himself. Curly-haired dark blonde, close shave, athletic build, the same age as the two men, or close to it. “Uh, yeah, Did we know you?” “Yeah! We used to hang at the arcade? Connor Bowers, or, er, Con.” Richie froze, biting his lip awkwardly, he tore his eyes away from Connor, staring at the menu. “Right, Con, it’s good to see you, anyways can I-” “Aren’t you like a big shot now? An actor right? No! Wait- a comedian! That’s so-” Rich snapped over him “Berry Blue Pancakes, a side of hashbrowns, Con.” The man froze, looking dejected, and quickly scribbled down the order before walking away.

“..So Rich, what was that about?” the man across from him asked, his hand now resting on Richie’s arm. The nerves of this guy, after the shit he went through just for being friendly all those years ago . He couldn’t believe it! He shook with bitter fury. He looked up to Eddie, pushing his glasses up from where they had slid down his nose. “It was nothing, Eds, I’m alright,” “You’re obviously not. Bowers? Is he related to Henry?” Richie groaned loudly, placing his face in his hands, “Yeah, he’s Bowers’ cousin. We hung out one summer, as kids.” “That doesn’t sound so horrible, why were you so mad?” He really wished Eddie would drop the subject, he appreciated his concern, but he’d like to save this all for the therapist he told himself he’d book, but realistically, never go see. All these bad memories were just fine, locked away and never to see the light of day. “Eddie, I’d rather not ruin our day with my sob story,” Richie gave an awkward smile, grabbing the two menus and setting them behind the assortment of table items by the window. Riche watched the brunette straighten his posture as he patted Richie’s arm gently, “Okay Rich, I’ll quit.”

The food soon arrived, by the hands of a different waiter. Richie at first worried he had upset Connor, but after a quick retrospective thought the guilt disappeared. He watched Eddie cut up the short stack of pancakes on the small side dish before drowning the entire little plate in syrup. He then began eating one of his sausage links, looking to Rich. The comedian looked down at his food, taking a bite of his hashbrowns, then looking to Eds again. “Those pancakes are gonna get soggy,” he said, nodding to the poor fluffy bits of cake, suffocating. “That’s how I like ‘em,” Eddie proclaimed, eating his second bite of sausage. “Gross! Why not just eat mush?” The brunette shrugged, cutting open his egg and adding a bit of the table salt and pepper. Richie finished his hashbrowns rather fast, “You’re a different breed of weirdo, Eds.” “I prefer the term loser.”

Chapter Text

The bell chimed as Eddie stepped out of the diner, ahead of Richie, holding the door so that he may walk through after him. “Thank you m’lady,” Richie chimed, “You’re welcome m’moron.” Eddie rolled his eyes with a grin, shoving his hands into his pockets as he released the door after the big oaf made his exit. “Where to, Spaghetti?” the comedian asked, his hands laying slack on either side of his waist. “Just, follow me okay? You don’t mind a little walking, do you, old man?” “Hey! I’m not old! I can keep my pace just fine.” Eddie chuckled, leading his way down the side of main towards the library, “Richie, we’re dating now, right?” his question was initially met by silence, he couldn’t tell if that was good or not. He glanced back to see a flush-faced Richie, kicking pebbles along as they walked, “Well, yeah, I’d sure hope so after that kiss, Eds.” “And before the kiss?” “Well, we did go on that date, y-.. You did call it a date.” The brunette chuckled, enjoying the warm glow of his boyfriend’s cheeks, finally, he was the one to make the other blush, “I did, didn’t I? I hope this date is just as good, babe.” He could hear a small squeak escape Richie’s lips, assumably of surprise. He gave Rich some dignity to hide that one, keeping his eyes forward, a smirk spread across his lips. Cute, Cute, Cute. he thought, hearing it echo in the voice of a young trashmouth.

Eddie stopped in front of an old, worn church; it was no longer in use, which was made evident by the shattered windows and boarded up door. Likely, Eddie knew it was now filled with junkies and homeless people with illness and dirt-caked skin. But in this moment, that didn’t disgust him as much as it did sadden him, this church was always full of sad people, sad people without homes, that’s how he remembered it. Richie ran into him with a small “oof” as he realized he had bowled into him, “Sorry Eds! I was zonin’ out,” the comedian turned to face the old church, “is this Ol’ Saint Sebastian’s?”

July 10, 1992

“Be good today, Eddiebear. I’ll be back at 6:15, okay?” Sonia chimed from the open car window, Eddie had his back to her. He glanced at his watch, 7:30am. He turned, forcing a tight smile, “Okay, Mommy.” She stayed parked, he walked inside the glass doors of the church, approaching the fold-out table with Father Peterson sitting patiently at the other side. Eddie’s mind wandered to what his friends could be doing, most likely, many were just waking up. He set down his backpack routinely, before being abruptly snapped out of his trance.

I said, Good morning Mr. Kaspbrak,” “Oh! Good morning, Father. I’m sorry, I’m still very tired.” He watched the man turn to the coffee station behind him, pouring him a styrofoam cup full. “Well, Edward, you’ll need to be pretty responsive today, so drink up.” The brunette gave an excited grin, watching the priest go through his bag, retrieving his “Journal of Progress,” as he sipped away at the warm beverage. His heart sank as Father Peterson pilfered through the pages, only stopping briefly on each one, a frown across his face. “Your progress report for this week is rather lackluster, Edward,” he states bluntly, “Much of your fellowship have glowing reports that exhibit much progress past this.” Eddie felt his fingers curl tightly around the cup, his hand shaking visibly, “Sir, you’ve only asked me to be honest, and I didn’t understand this week's--” he was cut off by the drop of his journal onto the floor. His entire body shook with fear he had not yet found a reason for except for the intensity of the situation. Peterson had never hurt him, why was this so alarming. Father kicked the journal beneath the folding table so that it scraped across the ill-sweeped floor, tapping Eddie’s polished dress shoes. “Pick that up,” he spat, “I’ll be back, I suppose you’ll be working away from your fellowship today.” Eddie froze his stomach beginning to ache with worry, Away from the fellowship!? He had only heard the worst of those who had days away from fellowship. “Sir,” he pleaded “No, no sirs. You need this Eddie, it’s for your own good, grab your journal.” He watched as another man in an orange polo and slacks stepped out from the gathering room, standing beside Father. It was strange to see someone in such vibrant colors here.

“This is David, one of my graduates. He will be working with you one-on-one, Edward. David, this is Edward Kaspbrak.” David gave an animated wave, shoving his hand in front of Eddie’s chest to shake, “Edward! It’s nice to meet you.” The small brunette looked from the outstretched hand to the journal, still, on the ground, he bent down, taking it under an arm and standing, shaking David’s hand. “ Nice to meet you too, sir.” “D’awwh, don’t you give me that sir stuff, it’s David, alright?” Eddie nodded, “David can you tell me what we’re doing today?” he said, following the heavyset man’s surprisingly quick steps to a room away from the gathering room. “Oh well I can’t say too much, it wouldn’t work as well if you were anticipating it. However, we call it Redirective Coaching, it really helped me.”

“Eddie-- Eds? Are you crying, what’s wrong?” Richie’s voice cracked, breaking the mirage of memory. He felt Richie’s warm arms wrap around him gently, the brunette buried his face into his partner’s shoulder, wiping his tears into the man’s jacket. “Richie,” Eddie took a deep breath, “Do you remember the summers after we broke up?” Richie went quiet for a long while, Eddie waited patiently. “Yes, I remember, somewhat. I don’t remember much with you,”''I wasn’t there for most of it,” “You weren’t?” The brunette shook his head, sighing and pulling away from the embrace before quickly interlocking both of his hands with his boyfriend’s. “Richie after my mom found out, she sent me to classes here. To learn… how to get better,” he saw Richie’s face contort to an expression of shock, “And before you try and ask, my mom was listenin’ when I called you, and I didn’t want it to seem like I was guilt-tripping you either. I figured if I went for one summer she’d let it go. But, apparently, you've got to graduate to leave, and one year turned into five, I was-- I was so convinced I finally had gotten it right…” the brunette watched as the comedian bit a quivering lip while he took a breath. “But, Richie,” Eddie pried one hand away from the other’s grasp, cupping the man’s jaw. “Richie the moment I saw you in Jade, before I even remembered all of what we had, the way you made my heart flutter and my stomach tie in knots, I knew I had it all wrong.” Richard gave a shaky smile, quickly clinging onto Eddie and pulling him into a slightly sweaty, but nonetheless, sweet hug “Eddie, I’m so sorry,” he breathed into Eddie’s neck, holding him tight.

They stood like that for a while, both were crying. The smaller man knew Richie would hold it against himself for not being there, and he hated that, but Richie was a stubborn man.

After what felt like an hour of sobs and sweaty embrace, Eddie peeled himself off Richie, outstretching his hand to be held. “If the zombie apocalypse ever happens, I’m gonna kill your whale of a mom twice over,” Richie proclaimed. The hypochondriac gagged at the thought of his obese, maggoty mother before chuckling. Richie pinched his cheek, “you don't have to visualize every gross thing I say, you know.” “You make that very hard,” Eddie said, squeezing his hand as he began to walk, turning a corner. “Whoa, Eds, what’re we doing on Neibolt?” Richie asked observantly, his eyes fixed on the poorly aged, rusted road marker. “You’ll see,” The brunette insisted, “well, hopefully.” He could tell that statement made Richie tense, but explaining would have to wait. They passed the ruins of the dreaded house that tried to swallow him whole. He turned the corner onto the grass of its property, dragging along his anxious trashmouth. “Eddiiiiee what’re we doingggg...” The dark-haired man asked with a tinge of actual worry. Edward stepped over the train tracks that cut off that property like from the back, turning to walk along side them, soon the trees parted. The field where the oath was taken, the field where he remembered kissing Richie under a distant willow tree. His eyes focused in on the willow tree at the corner of the clearing, and there it was, what he was counting on still being there. Last night, Eddie had snuck out with Richie’s car, after checking the weather forecast, of course, and went to the store. There, he acquired a blanket, napkins, and some sealed up foods like potato salad and chicken, lastly, a cooler. Lucky for them, it had been rather cool as planned, so the ice would’ve likely just melted, according to Eddie’s calculations. He remembered climbing up the tree right next to the Willow late that night, which was admittedly difficult with his injury. He draped the blanket over the branch and hooked the small, light cooler on its edge. Hopefully, everything had gone as smoothly as it appeared from afar, but Eddie wasn’t too concerned, he’d make the most of it regardless.

Chapter Text

Richie tore his eyes off of the brunette to do a quick check of his surroundings. This is where the oath took place, as far as Richie could remember, at least it looked the same. Eddie stared forward, towards the edge of the clearing, something massive was caught in the willow tree of which Eddie’s gaze rested. “Damn kids, leaving shit in nature, what are they thinking?” Eddie let out a little cackle, which was odd since Richie really wasn’t making much of a joke. “Rich, I put that stuff last night. Guess I’m a damn kid, huh?” Richie flushed red with embarrassment as they stepped closer to the willow, he now clearly saw it was, in fact, a blanket and what looked to be a cooler hanging on the tree, not trash or old shit. He rubbed the back of his neck, laughing awkwardly, “Oh, shit, I must need new glasses,” he said, a lie, his prescription was updated, but he felt bad admitting that he jumped on the idea of Eddie’s date plans being literal trash.

His boyfriend jogged forward, getting on his tip-toes to grab the cooler. He tugged it, sliding it off the high branch, which quickly flung upward, tossing the blanket into the air, “FUCK!” Eddie burst. Richie ran over beside him, watching blanket get caught in the trees well above the brunette’s head. A massive grin grew on Richie’s face, one of pure bliss, he knew what would happen next, it happened often when they were younger. He observes Eds crossed his arms over his chest, glaring angrily at the blanket above. Eddie would follow his usual ritual of shortness-denial now, the comedian couldn’t wait to watch. The first stage of this denial was always the same, Eddie would glare at the object that was out of reach, then convince himself he can grab it. Eddie got on his toes again and clawed at the air with a scornful pout, he began to jump. Not once did he look at Richie. Now was the fun part, the unpredictable stage, where Eddie would try and plan something elaborate or dangerous to reach his goal, without swallowing his pride and asking Richie to grab it. He watched the hypochondriac’s eyes focus in on the trunk of the willow tree, he knew what Eddie was gonna do, “Eddie don’t your stitche-” And Eddie booked it, Richie took two quick steps after him, placing his arm in front of the pestered tiny man’s chest, which made a thud at contact. The comedian slicked through his hair and laughed awkwardly, “Eddie do you want me to get that?” “No! I’ve got it, fuck off!” “You are not climbing the fucking tree when I can reach it! You just got impaled like a week ago!” Eddie ducked under his arm and immediately leaped to hug the trunk, beginning to scale it slowly. “Eddie for fuck's sake!” Richie walked over to the trunk; Eddie had made about a half-foot over-head, he reached up and grabbed the little man by his waist.

Richie pried Eddie off carefully, setting the brunette over his shoulder, receiving a gentle tantrum-of-a-beating on his back. “Put me down! I could’ve got it, Put me down, Richie I’m nearly Forty, for fuck's sake!” “Stop trying to injure yourself then!” The comedian exclaimed, grinning through his boyfriend’s squabbles. He set him down carefully and reached over-head, easily retrieving the cooler. Richie kneeled dramatically, holding the crumpled blanket up to Eddie as if it were a ring, “For you, M’lady.” “You’d better stand up right now if you have any sense left in that pea-brain. You’re in ball-kicking range.” “I mean, with your size, aren’t I always in ball-kicking range?” Richie asked, standing up with a smug smirk. Eddie feigned a quick kick towards Richie. The comedian gave a shriek of terror and took a couple of stumbling steps backward. “Thanks for reminding me, love,” Eddie chimed, the smirk now on his face. Richie decided it looked better on him, so he’d let him have this small victory. The smaller took the blanket from his grip hastily and spread it out, doubled over, it was a large enough blanket that they could fit on it halved, however, they’d be rather close to each other, not that the curly-haired man was complaining. Richie grabbed up the cooler and opened it, handing Eddie its contents one by one. “This looks really good Eds,” he mumbled, his lover giving him a small smile. “I sure hope they are, if we had access to a kitchen, I’d--” “You can cook now? Last time I ate your food I nearly got food poisoning!” “Oh shut it, that was one time!”

November 1, 1991

Richie watched the brunette stare at the instructions on the Rice-A-Roni box. He was still in awe that Eddie had never made one before. He assumed that Eddie’s “mommy” expected him to make all the food, it was hard to envision that tub of lard in the kitchen, actually cooking, instead of inhaling everything in sight. However, Eddie had never cooked before, apparently, the most he'd done is warm up soup or TV dinners. Even with microwaved meals, he wasn't allowed to remove him from the microwave, for Sonia's fear of burning his hands. Eddie moved past him slowly, retrieving the butter from the fridge and carefully cutting it on the kitchen island to the right measurement. Richie said nothing, not wanting to embarrass his boyfriend for once. He grabbed the box briefly to read over the measurements for the water, grab a measuring cup to help Eddie out. Eddie whipped around to the sink, noticing Richie and giving a quiet “thanks,” before he began to grease the pan. Richie set the water beside him, watching the brunette’s tight knuckles tremble against the dull heat. “I can still do this, if you want, your mom won’t find out, Eds,” “No, no, She’d be furious if she did find out, only she’s allowed to use it, and I--” “Yeah, just her, you’ll get in just as much trouble,” “I’m used to it! It’s fine, Richie!”

Richie winced at the thought of what would happen if Sonia did find out. He only had glimpses into what his boyfriend’s home life was, only what Eddie was willing to talk about, but he knew the aftermath was always detrimental when rules were discovered to be broken. “Well, if she finds out, tell her it was my idea,” “Richie, no I wouldn’t be able to talk to y-” Eddie realized that he had forgotten to add water with the rice, and clamored to grab the prepared cup, pouring it in, then the powder for flavoring and began to stir.

Richie hoped that quick reaction saved the meal, but alas, it did not. It as disgusting, and it hurt his heart. He tried his best to eat it, he really did, but the moment Eddie took a bite he confiscated Richie’s plate and discarded it. Pizza it was!

The comedian watched with adoring, brown eyes as his little brunette fixed him a plate with large helpings of all the food he had selected. “Thank you, love,” Richie murmured, trying to use more of the affectionate terms that Eddie had been using. The brunette said nothing, his cheeks filling with blush as he handed over the plate and nodded. The flustered Kaspbrak made his own plate with smaller portions before looking up to Richie. “I hope this is an alright date, I tried my hardest, so you better like it…. Asshole,” Richie laughed, “I love it so far, I don’t think it could get any better, Spaghetti.” The brunette gave a satisfied smile and popped open two bottles of Poppy’s, handing one to Richie. “To us?” Ed mumbled, “To us.” Richie clicked his rootbeer against Eddie’s and took a sip. Eddie didn’t take a drink, nor move to eat, he just seemed to stare at Richie. His eyes were pools of honey and filled with stars, the stars that lit up Richie’s entire universe. He felt his body lean forward as he set his drink down in the grass, placing a hand on Eddie’s knee. Eddie’s blush only grew darker, but he didn’t push him away. The dark-haired man slid his other hand to cup Eddie’s stitched cheek, drawing him in by the jaw gently, kissing him. The asthmatic man returned the kiss eagerly, tangling his fingers into his messy locks. Maybe it could get just a little better.

Chapter Text

June 21, 1992

Eddie combed through his wavy, brown locks, his eyes closed as he lies awake. Nights were horrendously sleepless this summer. But, to be fair, when learning just how filthy you are, should you be able to sleep easy? Mother always said it was bad to sleep on a guilty conscience but… it was awfully hard not to feel guilty when you’re going to near-daily classes to be reminded of how fucked you are. He glanced at the clock half-heartedly, 3:06 AM , fuck, might as well be. He pushed himself sluggishly off the bed and into his fuzzy Reptar slippers, he’d have to tread quietly, as not to wake his mom, but maybe a warm bath would ease him into slumber. He carefully avoided a particularly sensitive board near his doorway, arching his leg over it.

He slipped through the bathroom door frame, flicking on the light and quickly, but quietly, closing the door. The brunette rubbed his dreary eyes, turning to face the mirror. There stood a tall figure, unlike his own stature, pale sickly flesh, covered in what looked to be chips, almost as if it were… wooden. Actually, it couldn’t be anything else but wooden, he could see the grains now, scratches and carvings, joints at the elbow-- No. Eddie stopped, staring at the beast in the mirrors midsection, this was, almost, exactly lining up with what Richie had described in Neibolt. The sleepless asthmatic snapped out of his haze, his hands began to shake as he placed them firmly on the edge of the counter. “Go away, I’m not scared of you,” Eddie said firmly, refusing to look any further than the doll-like teen’s torso. He heard the wood creak as the joints of the boy presumably began to move, he clenched his eyes shut, refusing to look still. Nothing was there, no one was there. Stupid fucking clown. Why was this happening? It was supposed to be dead. It was-- Wait, YEAH! It WAS dead! This must be all some bad dream. He stood straight to stare the thing down, which he had obviously just imagined. That thing’s, however, very real, creaky hands were on the frame of his mirror.

Eddie stumbled backward letting out a wheeze of dismay as a grime-covered sneaker stomped on his counter, hoisting the lanky, puppet-like mimic through the mirror’s edge. The boy slammed himself against the wall of the bathroom, chest heaving. The beast stopped, peering down with empty, but equally piercing eyes. He watched as the monster’s lips curled into a grin, pulling the stitches around its lips taught. His mouth slowly widening further, the thread growing ever tighter before popping all at once, making Eddie gag out of reflex, despite the fact the wooden boy had no flesh to tear, the thought was still in his head. “Oh, Eds,” the creature crooned, “I’ve missed your cute, cute, cute little face all summer. Where have you been, baby?” Eddie snapped, fists balled up at his side, “Don’t call me baby.” The boy creaked, flipping so that it’s back was to Eddie, spilling itself over the sink with a hollow clunk it’s arms and neck becoming a mess as they hang over the counter edge, it begins to cackle. "Why are you here?" Eddie mustered in a whimper, "I thought we killed you."

"Eddie you could never kill me," the creature stated matter-of-factly, "No one can get rid of me, not even Father Peterson." The brunette stared at him, bug-eyed, "Father... Peterson?" he could hardly process what the thing was implying. Suddenly, it thrust out its arms and grabbed Eddie's hands firmly in its stiff grasp, pushing its midsection up to a sitting position, facing the mirror. The wooden boy's head spun to look dead at him, now completely backward from its chest. “Kiss me like you missed me, lover-boy!" It said in a shrill voice, lurching forward, Eddie tore his hands away, many splinters to spare and screamed as loud as he could. He could hear his mom’s mattress creak, followed by thundering footsteps up to his room, his heart began to pound, torn between his two greatest fears. The boy barely dodged the door as it swung open, slamming into the wall with a noise that could only mean a deeper dent where the knob always hit. He looked up, wide-eyed at his mother, wheezing and hunched over. Sonia’s scalding glare turned to that of, likely feigned, concern, wrapping her arms around Eddie in the empty bathroom, grabbing his extra inhaler from a medicine cabinet below the tan countertop. “You’re okay, Eddie..” She cooed. But Eddie was not, not at this moment, he wasn’t before, and he felt like he wouldn’t be okay every again.

Eddie bolted up-right, having fallen asleep beside Richie on the quilt, who jumped in alarm. “You okay, Eds?!” But Eddie couldn’t manage the words, this was something he hadn’t wanted to remember, his throat let out a rattle of struggling, wheezy lungs, Richie handed him his inhaler. He took it and groaned, pressing his forehead to the back of the comedian’s shoulder, his own shoulders heaving. “Eddie?” Richie repeated, reaching back to grab the brunette’s hand. Eddie swiftly dodged the grab, whimpering out, “Not right now, Not right now, Richie.” He could see his boyfriend frown, mildly hurt by the response but he had to calm down first. He pushed himself to his feet, pacing further beneath the willow and gently bumping his forehead into the trunk. “Fuck,” Eddie hissed in frustration as tears began to gloss over his eyes. It was just as scary now as it was when he experienced it. He scrubbed at his eyes with a sleeve hard enough his skin was surely irritated and red. “There’s nothing wrong with me, this is okay,” He breathed out, popping his knuckles shakily. He closed his eyes, letting the hot tears cascade down his cheeks, “fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck,” each ‘fuck’ becoming more hoarse as he broke into sobs, turning his back to the willow and sliding down it to sit on its roots, knees close to his chest. His boyfriend kept a good 5-foot distance but stayed in sight, worried, not knowing what to do. Eddie choked on his sobs before gasping, taking another dose of inhalant, pressing his head back on the tree. “I fucking hate that clown,” Eddie started, his voice gaining volume rather abruptly, “I hate my mom, I hate this fucking town! I HATE IT ALL!” As he reached the peak of his volume he looked to Richie, who flinched with a saddened expression. He drew in a breath and held out a hand apologetically, the other hand moving to pinch the bridge of his nose as his head throbbed, “Okay, not all of it. I don’t hate you, I don’t hate the others, or our memories, I’m sorry-” he rushed out, rubbing his eyes, “I’m sorry, that isn’t what I meant.” His lover frowned with an expression of concern staying plastered onto his features, “I know Eds, I know… Bad dream?”

Eddie gave a halfhearted laugh, trying to ignore the realization that his jeans and shirt would be filthy from laying against this old tree. “More like a fucking nightmare,” he murmured, “That stupid doll version of y-” Richie cut him off by holding up a hand immediately, “I-... I’m sorry you had to deal with him, but please spare me the details, I have a hard enough time trying to forget him.” Eddie nodded sympathetically, drumming his fingers on his knee anxiously and holding out his arm so Richie would help him up. Instead, the messy-maned man grabbed him by the waist and hoisted him back to his feet that way. The brunette quickly collapsed against his chest, rubbing his wet eyes into the man’s shoulders. “You’re okay now Eddie, It is really gone, I know it,” Richie cooed, sliding his fingers through Eddie’s hair gently. Eddie hoped Richie was right, but they were all certain the first time. He wasn’t even conscious for the supposed defeat, he couldn’t trust anyone’s word to save his life. No one could be trusted, even the ones you hold most dear when it came to it. No one in Derry ever truly dies, that’s what Eddie knew to be true.