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Richie Tozier wasn’t funny. He just wasn’t. And Eddie respected Bill for maintaining a friendship with the man since high school, even through Richie’s rise to fame. They still Skyped all the time and hung out when Richie made it back out to LA, and Eddie knew that wasn’t easy. But… just because Eddie’s best friend was also Richie’s best friend didn’t mean that Eddie had to pretend like this shit was funny. Because it fucking wasn’t.

Eddie was leaning back against Mike’s legs, sipping from his glass of margarita and feeling a little bit like he was on candid camera. Bill had put on one of Tozier’s comedy specials and fuck. It was bad! But all of his friends were laughing and just generally enjoying the experience? The only thing that made this moment bearable was that a. he was drinking, and b. Mike was gently running his fingers through Eddie’s hair, almost lulling him to sleep and c. Stan wasn’t laughing either. He was staring at the screen like it was growing spider legs, which was exactly how Eddie thought his face looked too.

“Oh GOD, That’s SO not funny,” Eddie griped, unable to passively observe anymore, “I don’t think grown men are allowed to make this many dick jokes.” He’d been paying attention intermittently, between scrolling through Instagram and daydreaming he was watching something actually funny. Stan laughed in agreement but Bill did not. Instead he threw a handful of popcorn at Eddie in annoyance.

“Can you not just sit there and bitch?” he asked and Eddie raised his hands in question.

“That was the first thing I said!” Eddie argued and Bill rolled his eyes, shoving popcorn in his mouth.

“You’re been making dumb faces this whole time. I can practically hear the judgment rolling off of you.” Bill scolded, but Eddie just shrugged, “There’s some funny stuff in here, if you parse through the bullshit.”

“Wow, okay calm down. That’s a rave review, Bill. Really making this sound so appealing, let me just parse through the awful, juvenile, borderline misogynistic jokes that were probably written by a thirteen year old, to find the one that might make me chuckle.” Eddie laughed once, loudly, and then downed the rest of his drink. Bill glared at him and Audra, from her spot opposite Bill on the couch, stretched her leg out and over, nudging Bill’s cheek with her toe.

“Bill, unclench. Eddie’s allowed to not love Richie as much as you do,” Audra said calmly, through a mouthful of Doritos, “I mean, the guy did just make a joke about dick-hole vaping.”

God, straight guys are the worst.” Eddie cringed. He heard Mike laugh from behind him and nod.

“Straight AND white,” Mike added, taking Eddie’s empty glass as he got up and went to the kitchen, to refill it. Eddie blew him a kiss as he walked away, “It’s a dangerous combination.”

“Richie isn’t straight.” Bill pouted and Eddie’s head snapped to him in surprise.

What?” he asked. No lie, he was straight up shocked (the only type of straight he’d ever be, lmao). A man wearing THAT shirt and talking about pussy THAT much was gay? Bill shrugged.

“He isn’t straight. He came out to me as bisexual in like eighth grade I think.”

“He was Bill’s first real crush,” Audra added smugly, making Bill blush, “And his first kiss.”

“Oh my God Audra!” Bill laughed, hitting her gently with a pillow before pulling her into his lap, “These are personal details! Shared in CONFIDENCE! Y’all wanna know some about Audra? Her first crush was teenage Simba and-”

“That’s true of every single millennial,” Stan cut him off, “Let’s talk more about you and Richie, Bill. Did you guys ever, like, go steady?” Stan leaned closer, leaning on his head on his fist and Eddie grinned. Bill’s blush was really ruining his glare, as was the adorable way that he rested his chin on Audra’s head. They were so fucking cute, sometimes it made Eddie mad.

(Eddie wasn’t bitter or anything, but the constant reminder that everyone in his friend group had a soulmate OTHER than him? It stung a little bit.)

“Richie and I share a connection you guys cannot hope to understand. It goes beyond the fact that I think he’s hot. And charismatic. And funny as shit. Our souls are linked.” Bill said seriously, making them all laugh. It was perfect timing, because as everyone else focused on Bill, Eddie’s attention shift went unnoticed. The crowd on the TV let out a raucous laugh that Eddie was just one hundred percent sure was undeserved, but it made Eddie pay close attention to Richie, solely because the shot lingered on him for so long, as he waited for the laughter to fade.

Eddie tried to see him from Bill’s point of view, without the tinge of disgust that Eddie felt due to the baseness of his humor. He supposed he wasn’t that awful to look at? For one, it was pretty undeniable he had a definite big dick energy… and he was tall, which was a reluctant plus in Eddie’s 5’8” book. He also had very nice hair and impressive bone structure. The glasses he wore were dumb as shit, made his eyes look… kind of weird. But, it was endearing in a way. He also had great hands, they were probably his best feature, in Eddie’s opinion. They were big and the way they gripped the microphone or rubbed over his stubble was… not… unappealing…

Okay he needed to stop this train of thought before he ended up somewhere dangerous. Like agreeing with Bill that Tozier was hot. Eddie loved Bill, he did, but GOD he hated when he was right. He would never let Eddie hear the end of it.

Eddie was very relieved when Mike came back with a refilled margarita.

***

Eddie was in the kitchen, cleaning up the dishes left over from when his friends left. There wasn’t much, just some glasses and a pitcher. He could’ve left it until morning, but… then they would’ve been sticky and he was Eddie so. He didn’t.

He was just soaping up the margarita pitcher when he heard the front door open. He jumped slightly, not expecting the sound. He lived alone and none of his friends had a spare key so… Did he leave the door unlocked? That didn’t sound like him.

“Bill? You here still?” a voice called out and Eddie felt tingles spill down his spine, but he didn’t know why.

“Stan?” Eddie called out, a shot in the dark, but he didn’t recognize the voice and he didn’t really know who else would just barge in. He turned his head over his shoulder as he heard footsteps approaching and the pitcher almost slipped out of his hands when he saw who it was.

Richie Tozier was in his kitchen, holding a duffel bag and looking confused.

“What the fuck?” Eddie said aloud, unable to hold it in because WHAT THE FUCK. Richie turned to him with a start and a shy smile spread over his cheeks. Eddie wouldn’t have thought the man capable of looking embarrassed, but he did. It was NOT endearing.

“Oh, shit, you’re not Bill.” Richie fucking Tozier said. Then he looked Eddie up and down, appraisingly, and stopped when he reached the hem of Eddie’s pajama shorts. His eyes widened slightly and he met Eddie’s eyes again, as if they were in on a joke together. And the joke was Eddie.

Eddie just scowled and fidgeted slightly as he turned around completely. His hands were still soaking wet, so he held them out awkwardly, wanting to tug his hem lower but unable to.

No, I’m not. What the hell are you doing in my apartment?” Eddie asked, shaking off his hands once in the sink.

“Umm… well,” Richie took a second to laugh, probably musing on how awkward the situation he created was. Then, Eddie assumed, he kept talking but… Eddie wasn’t listening because that laugh? It sounded… wrong. He couldn’t put his finger on why, but it was almost… hollow. Not right at all, though Eddie didn’t know how he knew that since he’d never-

“Eddie?” Richie asked, pulling Eddie out of his zone-out.

“Huh?” Eddie asked instinctively. Richie tilted his head and smiled, staring at Eddie like he was a little bit insane and a lot adorable. It did NOT give Eddie goosebumps. “How do you know my name?” he asked, dazedly.

“You just told it to me.” Richie explained slowly.

“I did?” Eddie asked and Richie chuckled.

“Yeah, right before I told you why I was here… and judging by the completely blank look on your face, you weren’t listening at all. So, we’ll start over. Bill told me to come. He heard I just got back from my tour and suggested I come over. Said his friend Eddie was having a people over. He didn’t tell me this, though,” Richie said, and suddenly his gaze felt really heavy on Eddie, like he saw right through him. It made Eddie’s heart beat faster, made his legs feel a little like jelly. “He didn’t tell me someone like you lived here.”

“Someone like me?” Eddie breathed, slow to catch up with the sudden shift in the room, the heat that crept in. Seriously, did the heater turn up?

“Someone this fuckable.” Richie whispered and Eddie’s jaw dropped so suddenly he was surprised he didn’t hear it thud against the tiled floor. Heat rushed through him at the words, both from embarrassment and arousal. Richie grinned smugly and that irritated Eddie enough that he shook his head out of his lust-stupor.

“I think you should go.” Eddie managed and Richie nodded, taking a step back and grabbing his duffel bag again. He didn’t seem too put off.

“Right,” Richie shrugged, “Since I seem to have missed the party.” He looked around at the empty apartment and Eddie nodded in agreement.

“Yeah, sorry.” Apparently they were gonna blow right past the whole sudden-sexual-tension thing and Eddie was just one hundred percent okay with that.

“Can I use your bathroom before I go, though?” Richie asked. It was a seemingly innocent question, so Eddie easily agreed. He took a step to show Richie where to go, but he realized his hands were still wet.

“One second.” Eddie muttered, turning around to the counter where he kept the paper towels, and suddenly, faster than should’ve been possible, Eddie felt Richie up against his back, hands strong on Eddie’s hips.

Oh fuck. What are you doing?” Eddie whispered immediately, but Richie didn’t respond right away. He just stood still and firm, heat radiating through the layers of clothes separating them.

“Tell me you don’t want me to stay and I’ll go,” he breathed. Eddie gasped reflexively when he felt Richie’s hands flex, somehow pulling him closer, “Just say the word.”

Eddie’s throat was completely useless. He was struck motionless, all rational thought driven right out of his head with lust. So, instead of doing the entirely rational thing: pushing Richie off of him, threatening to call the cops, and kicking him the fuck out, Eddie arched back against Richie, tilting his head to the side and echoing Richie’s moan loudly when he took the invitation, pressing his lips gently to Eddie’s neck.

Richie’s hands were instantly moving all over him, one going down, gripping the meat of Eddie’s hip, his ass, his thigh. His other hand went up, over his abs and nipples, tracing his collarbone before settling on neck. It wasn’t squeezing, wasn’t constricting any air, but the heavy pressure and the threat were enough to make Eddie breath faster.

He brought one hand up to Richie’s against his neck, but he didn’t try to move it, even when it tightened, making it just a little harder for Eddie to catch his breath. Fuck, he never thought that choking was something that would turn him on so much, but Richie’s hands, they were so big, made Eddie feel so small. That wasn’t something Eddie usually loved, but tonight it was really doing it for Eddie’s dick.

“You like that?” Richie asked, smug, and Eddie whined in a way that was supposed to sound angry but was more desperate than anything else, “Yeah, I can tell, baby.” Richie started grinding his hips into Eddie’s ass. His other hand gripped Eddie’s hip so hard he was probably leaving bruises and Eddie moaned at the thought.

Well, the thought of bruises and the fact that Richie’s hands were moving again, like they wanted to map out every inch of Eddie’s skin.

“God, your fucking thighs,” Richie groaned. Eddie felt him lean back slightly to stare as his hands went travelling down, over Eddie’s hips and gripping the meat of his thighs with both hands this time, shaking him gently in emphasis as he said, “Fucking irresistible, baby.”

“Oh God.” Eddie groaned, gripping the counter in front of him now for stability. Richie laughed and Eddie couldn’t believe how much of Richie’s hands covered his thighs, almost felt like he could wrap around them completely. It made him want to just fucking bend over, press the coolness of the counter against his cheek and beg to be fucked.

“I think you already knew that, though, didn’t you, Eds?” Richie asked as his hands moved higher, his thumbs slipping under the edge of Eddie’s shorts, pushing in right under the curve of Eddie’s ass, “No one could wear shorts these short without knowing exactly how they look.” Eddie whimpered, pushing his ass back into Richie’s touch. Richie hummed his approval and pushed his hands further under Eddie’s shorts. His palms pushed into the flesh of Eddie’s cheeks, kneading possessively and pulling them apart, his thumbs slowly moving towards Eddie’s hole and then suddenly, the pressure was gone and Eddie was being turned around again. The counter was a cold sting against his back, but he was solidly distracted by Richie against his front, his hands stretched across Eddie’s abs and-

Whoa what? When did Richie take his shirt off? How did he not notice that?

“Tattoos, handsome? Shit, wasn’t expecting that.” Richie teased, his tongue tracing Eddie’s chest, focusing on his right nipple and Eddie’s head was reeling. Was he so fucking turned on that he was losing time? That had never happened before, what the fuck?

Richie’s hands were gripping his thighs again, hoisting him up so he was sitting on the counter. Richie spread his legs wide open and slid in between them, wrapping Eddie’s thighs around him tightly. His hand was massaging Eddie’s dick just right and his lips were there against his ear.

“I wanna fuck you, Eds. Wanna take my dick, handsome?” Richie whispered and Eddie groaned, so fucking desperate, completely ready to beg when-

BEEP BEEP BEEP.

Eddie woke up quickly, arm shooting out from under the covers to grab his phone, flashing with the LED light and vibrating wildly. He pressed the snooze button and collapsed back into the pillows, sighing sadly at the loss of his dream. He sunk into his pillows, almost wanting to cry at being pulled from bliss.

He gave himself a minute to wake up, thinking back to why exactly he felt so warm, and comfortable and-

“Oh fuck.” Eddie shouted, sitting up in bed quickly, disoriented. He dropped his head into his hands and ignored the phantom throbbing in his hips, remembering exactly where dream-Richie’s hands had just been. He ran his hands through his hair a couple times, slapping his cheeks to ground himself in reality.

Then, staring into the dark of his room, he whispered, “Bill can never know.”

***

“You’ve been having SEX DREAMS ABOUT RICHIE?” Was, of course, the first thing Bill said as he slipped into the booth at the Panera they were meeting at. Eddie’s head snapped up from his phone and he immediately glared at Audra, who was sliding into the booth next to Bill.

“You bitch.” He said instantly and Bill threw a straw wrapper at Eddie in protest while Audra groaned.

“I’m sorry!” she yelled, putting her face in her hands, “I didn’t tell him much! I was very vague on the details!”

“I tell you ONE secret!” Eddie complained. He should’ve fucking known.

“He’s a wizard! A psychic!”

“You’re weak!”

“You’re dramatic.”

“You betrayed me!”

“Oh come on! Let’s be honest, you should’ve fucking known, Eddie!” Audra argued and Eddie rolled his eyes, leaned back, and crossed his arms in anger, “Bill always knows when I have a secret!”

“That is so not true.” Eddie quipped, and he stared at her for a long moment, discerning, “Vegas?” he suggested, one eyebrow raised. He was very satisfied by the Immediate flush to Audra’s cheeks.

“Don’t do this, Eddie.” Audra begged. Eddie let her suffer a moment before he scoffed, ignoring Bill looking between them, confused and spluttering.

“I’m not doing anything. Because I can keep a secret.” Eddie said. He was only pouting a little but Audra rolled her eyes nonetheless, even as her shoulders relaxed with relief.

“He knows when I have secrets concerning him.” Audra amended and Eddie made a noise of protest.

My libido has nothing to do with him!”

“You specifically told me not to tell him! You said the name Bill! The story and Bill were undeniably linked in my head!”

“Oh my God, that is such bullshit.” Eddie huffed. He was quiet, steaming, for a moment and Bill kicked his foot gently under the table.

“You’re not really mad, are you?” Bill asked softly, “You seem genuinely upset.” Eddie leaned his head back against the booth and took a deep breath, shaking his head.

“No, it’s fine,” He managed a small smile, “I should’ve known she wouldn’t be able to resist telling you.”

“Well, you chose to tell her in the first place.” Audra butted in, “That was your mistake.”

“I don’t have a huge selection of friends who wouldn’t have made fun of me for it, Audra.” Eddie snapped, with little heat. Audra smiled and looked truly apologetic.

“I’m sorry, Ed. But if it makes you feel any better… Bill was so fucking stoked when I told him.” She said with a laugh. Eddie scrunched his face in confusion.

“What the fuck?” he asked and Bill laughed loudly.

“Someone else understands how hot Richie is! I’m excited! I win!” Bill explained. Eddie glared at him.

“Shut the fuck up, Denbrough. Just because I had ONE sex dream about the guy does NOT mean I think he’s appealing. It was one malfunction. You do NOT win.” Eddie argued and Bill just stared, smug.

“Just one?” he asked, and Audra took a big gulp of her iced tea, staring in the other direction even as Eddie glared lasers at her, “That’s not what I heard.”

“What the FUCK? Very vague on the details?” Eddie repeated to her and Audra’s smile was pained.

“I didn’t tell him what positions you two were in.” Audra offered and Eddie balked.

“BARE. MINIMUM.” Eddie snapped, shaking his head as Bill laughed.

“Just admit you’re officially a member of the I-Love-Richie-Tozier Club.”

“I thought once you find your soulmate you’re supposed to quit all those other clubs,” Eddie teased, a desperate attempt to get the attention off of him, “Shouldn’t you only be in the I-Love-Audra club?”

“Bill’s love for Richie unfortunately outdates me,” Audra cut-in, running a hand through Bill’s hair affectionately, “It was here before me and it will be there after me, too.” She said, faux-seriously, and Eddie knew she was kidding, but Bill turned to her quickly, eyes worried.

“You know that’s not true, right?” he whispered, checking in. Audra’s eyes softened and she smiled, kissing Bill on the lips once.

“Of course, baby. I’m just teasing. I know you love me most.” She assured him. Bill smiled too then and nodded once.

They were so fucking cute it was annoying.

Eddie wasn’t sure he really believed in soulmates until Bill and Audra. If he’d met Stan and Mike earlier in life, they would’ve proved it to him too, but as it happened, Eddie saw the development of Bill and Audra before his very eyes. He’d known Bill for a long time. They’d met when he was little, becoming friends in the third grade.

Then, in the seventh grade, Eddie’s parents got divorced. Eddie had thought his parents were soulmates. They told him they were, when he was little and they told him the fairytales about meeting someone, hearing them laugh, and everything in your life clicking into color. It sounded too good to be true, and Eddie didn’t spend too much time thinking about it. Figured he’d understand one day, but when he was younger, he was happy. He didn’t need to worry about stuff like that. He had a good childhood. His dad loved him, his mom was a little overbearing but Eddie’s dad softened her worries in a beautiful way.

But then, Eddie was 12. He was sitting with his dad at a Parent-Teacher Conference, since he was struggling in his science classes, and his Biology teacher laughed. She laughed and Eddie’s dad froze. He looked ecstatic for one brief moment and then his face shifted and he looked to Eddie with wide, apologetic eyes. Turns out his mom and dad weren’t soulmates and all it took was one quick laugh from Ms. Kavatappi to prove it. It was quick, but it changed Eddie’s life drastically.

He didn’t blame his dad, looking back on it. He didn’t even really blame him in the moment, he just didn’t understand. All he knew was that his mom was fucking furious. The whole thing changed her, made her edges rougher, and she tore his dad apart in court, lied in anyway she could to get full custody.

Eddie didn’t see much of his dad at all after that.

So, when Eddie reconnected with Bill in college, after his mom moved him to another city, another school, far away from anyone who knew anything about her disastrous rejection, Eddie had a pretty fucked up view of soulmates. The only soulmate pair he knew of tore his family a part.

Bill understood that, so he didn’t judge Eddie for the random slew of guys he’d sleep with, uncaring of future hypothetical soulmates. It was because of that, Eddie didn’t judge Bill in turn when he fell head over fucking heels for Audra. They’d met in the library, which was very cliché and sweet.

Bill and Eddie were studying late one night, delirious over finals, and Eddie had suddenly started laughing uncontrollably at something, he didn’t even remember. He just remembered being so tired, everything was funny. Bill tried to stop him, but nothing worked and eventually, when Eddie ignored the shushing of two boys from another table, Bill caved too. He’d always said Eddie’s laughter was contagious, so both of them ended up bending over their textbooks and clutching their stomachs, laughing at the fact that they couldn’t stop laughing. When Eddie looked up, finally, he saw Audra a couple tables down.

He’d already met her, hung out with her a few times. They’d had a couple English classes together. Eddie smiled at her, but she hardly noticed. She was too busy staring at Bill, completely frozen, one headphone pulled out of her ear and her face almost exactly like what Eddie had seen on his father 9 years prior.

Things progressed naturally from there, literally no issues for two white, attractive, m/f members of society meeting each other and declaring soulmates. Eddie’s instinct was to be suspicious, waiting for the inevitable blow-up or for Bill to abandon their friendship, or something, anything negative.

But Audra was lovely. Truly and genuinely, she brought out the best in Bill and they supported each other in everything. It was so fucking relieving for Eddie. He actually started entertaining the idea of maybe meeting his own soulmate one day, started working through the negative clouds that hung close to and heavy around that concept in therapy.

It also meant he started sleeping around a little less, cared a little more about the sanctity of love or whatever. Not a whole lot, but somewhat. So, he was partially blaming increased horniness for these dreams.

“Well, was it good?” Bill asked, pulling Eddie out of his thoughts.

“I’m not answering that.”

“Oh come on, Ed! Stop playing. We know you like him, so-”

“Ey!” Eddie cut in, “I do not like him! Where the fuck did you get that from?”

“Um, you wanna fuck him,” Bill deadpanned, “Do you usually fuck people you don’t like?” Bill asked and then backtracked a little because honestly, yes, Eddie had. In college he exclusively fucked people he didn’t really like that much.

“Hate sex is a very real thing.” Eddie said smugly and Bill rolled his eyes.

“Okay, so that’s what these dreams are? Hate sex?” Bill clarified and Eddie was about to agree and simultaneously make fun of Bill for caring so much, for wanting to live vicariously through Eddie’s sub-conscious, but then he remembered his dream last night.

He remembered how slowly he’d ridden Richie’s dick, as the man cried and begged beneath him. He remembered the words he whispered, calling Richie beautiful and perfect and saying how he cried so fucking pretty for him and oh God, your cock feels so good in me, Rich, fills me so good-

“Yeah. Hate sex.” Eddie agreed casually, sipping his Pepsi. Bill stared at him a long moment, eyes squinted, before smiling.

“Liar.” Bill said. Eddie just glared. He knew nothing.

“Well,” Bill continued after Eddie didn’t reply, “If you’re so cool with him, no feelings at all, you should come to his comedy show this weekend.” Bill suggested casually. Eddie looked at Audra, confused.

“What are you talking about?”

“Richie just finished his tour,” Bill said, and no, that didn’t make Eddie think of anything in particular AT ALL as he fidgeted in his seat, “He’s doing a really small, intimate show at a comedy club downtown to celebrate being home. We’re going.”

“Um, no thanks. Not my thing.” Eddie laughed, not even lying. He may have wanted to ride Richie’s dick until he broke it, but that didn’t mean he would sit through an hour and a half of his “jokes”. Bill reached into his pocket and dramatically threw something down on the table.

“Well, I already bought the tickets, so, you’re coming.” Bill said definitively, as if that meant ANYTHING to Eddie.

“I didn’t tell you to buy that! I have nothing to do with this.” Eddie insisted, looking to Audra for support. She just stared back and forth between him and Bill, enjoying the show.

“Stan and Mike are already in, we just need you.”

“What, you NEED a fifth wheel? Bullshit, just go the four of you, why would you-”

“I’m calling in my Georgie-favor.” Bill cut him off and Eddie went immediately silent, shocked.

What?” he balked. Bill just nodded, completely serious. “Bill, you only get ONE Georgie favor a year. You’re going to use it for this?”

“I am.” He replied and Audra waved her hand inbetween them, breaking the stare.

“Um, what is the Georgie-favor and why are you both acting like you’re members of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood?” she asked. Bill looked at Eddie and raised an eyebrow, prompting him to explain.

One time in the sixth grade,” Eddie said, glaring at Bill to emphasize the ridiculousness of it all, “I ACCIDENTALLY lost Georgie in a corn maze at the Derry Harvest Festival. But I eventually found him.” Eddie explained to Audra, casually. She still looked confused and Bill scoffed.

“He was missing for four hours!” Bill argued, “We thought he was dead! Or kidnapped!”

“It was an accident! That I made when I was PRE-PUBESCENT!” Eddie shouted, making Audra laugh.

“I don’t care,” Bill said, “We agreed that to pay me back, you owed me one favor a year, no questions asked, no arguments, until we both die.”

“Both of you? What if one of you dies and the other doesn’t? Ghost Eddie still has favor responsibilities?”

“Don’t worry about it, Audra.”

“That would hardly hold up in court.” Audra pointed out and Bill turned to look at her.

“We shook on it. With blood.” Bill emphasized and Eddie groaned. He usually didn’t argue the validity of the Georgie-favors. To be honest, he does still feel bad about it. Georgie was really fucking scared when they found him in the barrens, shaking and cold and complaining about a clown chasing him through the fair. He didn’t mind the favors.

It was just… what the fuck? Why did Bill want this so much? Was it really that important to him?

“Fine!” Eddie relented, “I’ll go to the stupid comedy show as your 2019 Georgie Favor. Which is just… it doesn’t make any sense, Bill.”

“It doesn’t have to make sense,” Bill said primly, “You just have to come. And hang out with Richie and me afterwards. And admit you’re in love with him.”

“Oh my GOD.”

“He’s better in person,” Bill said and Eddie stared at him like he was crazy, but Bill was unaffected, “Pheromones. Trust me.”

“OH. MY. GOD.”

***

Eddie was… he didn’t remember exactly how he was feeling when the night had begun. Probably a little nervous, a little bored, a little excited. He came to the show, obviously, he came. Bill wanted him to, genuinely, for some reason that probably had to do with his huge pride, so even though it was embarrassing and would undoubtedly cause more … dreams, Eddie got dressed up and pre-gamed for a comedy show with his best friends.

God, the things he did for them.

So he didn’t know how he’d started the night feeling, but now he was upset. Because all of a sudden… Richie was funny. Like really fucking FUNNY. It was like he was a completely different performer. He was so fucking smart, his timing was perfect, his energy both chaotic and controlled, and he was funny. And the content wasn’t anything like what his special was on Netflix. This was random, unexpected, he’d had a whole segment about running a honey business that almost had Eddie rolling. It was so fucking FUNNY.

And it was hot as fuck. And Bill could never know.

“Ever since I was kid,” Richie said about 45 minutes into his set. Eddie had been strong so far, managing not to laugh in the same way he managed not to come too soon in sex when he was younger: he recited the Preamble to the Constitution song from School House Rock. Something about the way Richie started this joke, the quiet confidence and twitch to his lips made Eddie nervous. So he hummed.

“Stop fucking humming.” Stan whispered to him and Eddie huffed but did, returning his attention to the stage, to Richie leaning against the microphone stand like it was a walking stick.

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to be one thing… An undercover cop.” He paused to let the audience laugh and Eddie grabbed his drink, taking a sip to cover the smile that threatened to spread.

“I love this joke.” Stan muttered and Eddie looked at him curiously.

“You’ve heard it?” he asked. Stan shrugged and smiled.

“I helped him write it.” Stan admitted, humbly, and Eddie’s mouth dropped.

“You know him too?” he asked, but before he could say anything, Richie continued.

“But that’s not something I told many people. Even thought they’d ask. They would, they’d ask and ask and ask. You know how adults are always asking kids what they wanna be when they grow up? And kids are like, I don’t fucking know, I’m 6?” The audience laughed and Richie grinned, nodding along, “Yeah, well, I was smart. I was a forward thinker. They’d ask me that, and I knew I couldn’t say undercover cop. Because I do that and when I grow up, first day as an undercover cop, I’ve already blown my cover! Because I was running my goddamn trashmouth as a little kid, blabbering all about my undercover dreams.

“So,” Richie continued, over the laughter that Eddie fought succumbing to, “I thought ahead. When adults would ask me Rich, what do you wanna be when you grow up, I’d say the same thing, every time: … drug dealer.”

Eddie clasped his hand over his mouth, physically restraining any laughter. (Bill could not know.)

“If I go around always telling people that I wanna be a drug dealer, when I end up becoming an undercover cop, get placed in a drug operation, people will inevitably start getting suspicious, they’ll ask, what if Richie’s an undercover cop? And everyone else will be like, what the fuck? No way! This is his life-long dream! He’s wanted this as long as I can remember! And my cover is safe.”

WE THE PEOPLE, IN ORDER TO FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION-

“It’s worked perfectly. I’m an undercover cop today, I’ve officially made it. You’re all probably wondering what I’m doing up here as a stand-up comedian, then? Well, I was assigned to a case to bring down an organization dealing drugs to comedians backstage at comedy clubs, never cracked the case, but the gigs keep rolling in and I’m happy to be here.”

ESTABLISH JUSTICE AND PROMOTE DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY       

“Let me tell you though, my boss is NOT happy that I’m telling the audience this every night. He is not happy about it. He called me in there the other day. He comes storming out of his office and goes SPRINGLEAF!”

PROVIDE FOR THE COMMON DEFENSE, PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE AAAAND

“Oh Springleaf, that’s my real name, actually. Pat Springleaf.”

And oh fuck, Eddie couldn’t help it, he broke. WHY was that the line that broke him? No idea. But it was so funny and the crowd’s energy was infectious, Eddie dropped his hand from his mouth, covered his eyes, and laughed.

Richie let them all laugh for a long time, too long, and when Eddie finally stopped and opened his eyes, Richie was standing still on the stage, looking around desperately.

“Hold on,” Richie said, breaking the silence as he shook his head and held up one hand, seemingly thinking hard, “Let’s pause that for a second. I need a moment to… reassess, guys. Something weird just happened.” He took a deep breath and the crowd stayed silent, waiting for the next joke. But Eddie, he looked around, confused, because something about the way Richie was fidgeting made Eddie think there wasn’t another joke coming. Something really had happened. Bill seemed to think the same thing. His face looked worried.

“Either the spotlight man just put a weird fucking filter on the room, or I just heard my soulmate laugh,” Richie whispered, but it was a whisper into a microphone, so the whole audience heard, responding with a well-timed gasp. Eddie felt his stomach drop with his jaw and he saw Bill light up from the corner of his eye.

“I know, I know,” Richie said, stopping the crowd’s murmurs with his hand motions, “You’re thinking isn’t this what you fucking signed on for, bro? You’re a comedian, man, you had to think about this possibility. And I don’t know why this crowd’s collective voice is one of a surfer dude, but deal with it bros.” Richie gave a hang-ten sign and Eddie rolled his eyes at the impression. Even if it was fucking funny.

“And to answer your question, brah, I have thought about it. I have, definitely, but mostly it was something I considered when I was younger. First starting. Back then,” Richie explained, leaning on his mic stand for support, “I had really shit self-esteem. Like most comedians who are actually funny. So, mostly I thought I would never have to deal with that, because my soulmate… wouldn’t think I was funny. I know, that’s depressing, but I didn’t think I was either, so… anyway. Then, once I was older and less… cynical, I wasn’t really writing my own material because of shitty contracts and managers. So I kind of HOPED my soulmate wouldn’t even come to my show, let alone laugh at one. Maybe he or she wouldn’t have any exposure to my material, or they just… genuinely wouldn’t think that shit was funny.” Richie shrugged, blasé, and Eddie tried really hard to ignore his friends next to him. At this point they weren’t even looking at the stage, for fucks sake. They were just staring at Eddie, waiting for him to say something.

“Stop it.” Eddie whispered, ignoring their continued glares. Bill was the only one who looked away, looked back up at Richie, even though he was obviously just as annoyed.

It’s just… it might not have been Eddie, you know? Like, maybe someone else in the theater had waited until that exact moment to laugh as well. Or maybe Richie’s soulmate had shown up late, slipped into their seat quietly, and proceeded to enjoy the show like a normal person. That was totally possible. Totally. It wasn’t NECESSARILY Eddie.

“But this show was different, guys, and I forgot to even think about… well, this show is different because this show I wrote myself,” Richie admitted, and the crowd gave a round of applause that Eddie tentatively joined in on. So that was why it was funnier, “Thank you very much, yes. Thank you. It’s exciting… So I’m glad my soulmate found this funny! It’s just…. Over halfway through the show? I mean, I’m over halfway through my set, y’all, and I only JUST made you laugh?” The crowd laughed, a relief tinged in the energy of it.

“I’d really love if you’d just…” and Richie trailed off, swallowing deep, “I could just continue the show, I guess. I don’t really know what protocol is here, but… fuck I really wanna know. Could whoever just … can you tell me who you are?” Richie’s voice was so … so… Eddie’s heart broke, it was so vulnerable. He still had a smile, trying to seem at ease but Eddie could tell he was nervous. Excited, but not wanting to show it, in case… no one spoke.

“And he’s answered with deafening silence.” Richie whispered dramatically, slightly farther away from the microphone. People began looking around then, the pin-drop silence from before broken with soft murmurings. Richie was starting to look sadder by the moment and Stan nudged his shoulder firmly.

“What the fuck Eddie?” Stan whispered and Eddie turned to him with wide, angry eyes.

“What if its not me. I don’t see anything, no color! What if it isn’t me?” He frantically whispered. He didn’t think Richie had laughed yet, but he wasn’t sure, he didn’t remember. He wanted to stand, say something, ease the sting of pain evident in Richie’s eyes, but his throat was closing and his legs felt like lead and-

“You haven’t laughed yet!” Bill suddenly shouted out. Eddie swung his head, turning to look at Bill and feeling like his eyes were going to pop out of his head.

“What the fuck are you doing, Bill?” he whispered desperately. His voice was embarrassingly high and scratchy. Bill didn’t spare him a second glance.

“What was that?” Richie asked, squinting into the crowd, “Is that you Bill?”

“Yeah, it’s me,” Bill said, sitting up straighter, “And whoever your soulmate is, he – or she, or she – hasn’t heard YOU laugh yet. You’ve said a lot of jokes but haven’t really laughed so… they probably don’t know for sure. Y-y-y-you should laugh. So, they know for sure.” Bill explained, staring at Eddie during his last sentence. Richie seemed to be contemplating Bill’s point, nodding along.

Eddie’s heart was beating in triple time. What were the odds that meeting his soulmate induces a heart attack? Damn it, why wasn’t he a risk analyst?

“That’s a good point. Okay. All I have to do is laugh, yeah?” Richie said, seemingly hyping himself up. The crowd cheered a little, signaling their agreement, and Richie shook his head, smiling. “Well, not exactly. It has to be sincere, not fake. Those are the rules. Not nervous or pained or… It must be genuine, happy laughter or it won’t work so…. Fuck, okay, I’m a comedian, right, this shouldn’t be that hard? But God, I’m so nervous, I just don’t know…” he trailed off, biting his lip, and Eddie felt himself standing up, pushing his chair back from his table with little care. It was an instinct, pulled out of him by the need to help Richie.

“Umm, I could… I could help.” Eddie said, his voice cracking with nerves. He coughed and tried once more, louder this time, “I think I could make you laugh.” Richie squinted again and then pointed above their heads.

“What? Hey, can you guys turn the house lights on? I think I should… see the audience, it might help.” He said with an awkward laugh. Eddie fidgeted with his sleeves as the lights shifted, evening out the brightness. When Richie’s eyes settled on him, though, he relaxed slightly. He couldn’t explain it, but the tension eased out of his hands for some reason, relaxing his muscles and making him smile easily. “Oh, hi. You’re Bill’s friend?”

“I am,” Eddie responded and oh God his dreams were nothing like this, they paled so hard in comparison to the way Richie’s smile in person made Eddie’s stomach flip, “I’m Eddie.”

“Nice to meet you Eddie,” Richie responded sincerely, but Eddie was sure he either hadn’t clued in yet that Eddie was the one or he was acting casual, refusing to believe, “You can make me laugh?” Eddie nodded once, definitively, “You got a joke, or what?”

“No,” Eddie said with a shake of his head, “I think… I should tell you why it took me so long to laugh.” Eddie saw the moment the penny dropped for Richie and he wished he’d gotten it on camera. The way the line of his mouth softened, the way his shoulders relaxed, and his eyes widened as he looked Eddie up and down quickly before re-settling on his eyes... it was perfect.

“Oh?” Richie asked, breathless, “Why?”

“Because…” Eddie thought about what to say. He could start at the beginning, but that would take a long time and it would sound a little something like Richie Tozier wasn’t funny. He just wasn’t. And he respected Bill for…

See? Far too long. But, it wasn’t a bad start so…

“You just… weren’t that funny, I guess.” Eddie deadpanned and Richie immediately laughed, loud and bright and shocked.

Eddie squeezed his eyes shut at the sudden onslaught of color. He didn’t hear the roaring laughter of the crowd, all he heard was Richie. It felt like a switch had been violently flipped in his brain, like he’d leveled up in a video game, or like he’d just heard his soulmate laugh and everything had changed.

“Oh.” Eddie whispered to himself and he felt Audra grip his forearm, the weight comforting. He opened his eyes slowly and the first thing he saw was red, the dull red of the stage’s backdrop and the bright red of Richie’s button-up. And Richie’s grin. He was smiling so wide, right at Eddie, laugh still trailing off.

“You’re kidding, right? Please tell me you’re kidding.” Richie begged and Eddie smiled slowly, unable to stop as a giggle bubbled past his lips.

“Yeah,” Eddie admitted, making Richie slump in relief, throwing his head back dramatically and groaning Thank GOD as Eddie continued, “I’m totally kidding. I just wanted to hear you laugh.”

“That so?” Richie asked, “And?” Eddie looked around, suddenly embarrassed by the crowd as he tried to think of what to say. So many people listening, and so much pressure, and – when he looked back to Richie, nothing mattered.

“I really like the color of your shirt,” Eddie yelled back, making the crowd laugh and aww, “It looks really good on you.”

“Oh, shit, thanks, I had no hand in choosing it,” Richie said, looking down as if he was seeing the shirt for the first time and well, he kind of was, “I like yours too. Is that… umm…”

“Pink!” Stan shouted back, holding Mike’s hand and grinning at Eddie, “It’s pink.”

“Pink,” Richie said fondly, “Pink is a great color for you.”

“Thank you.” Eddie replied, not knowing what else to say. The two of them stared at each other for another long moment. Then Richie sighed, laughing as he shook his head.

“Fuck, I gotta finish my set still,” he pointed out and the crowd laughed. Eddie did too, giddily. “How much is fucking left?”

“About half an hour!” Someone called from backstage and Richie sighed dramatically.

“You don’t have to finish.” Stan yelled up to him and Richie just waved a hand at him.

“Shut up, Stan the Man. These good people paid for thirty more minutes, I’ll give them thirty more minutes,” he said pleasantly, and the crowd roared their agreement. Richie turned his gaze back to Eddie, “Plus, I have to see how many more times I can make you laugh.”

“I’m tough crowd.” Eddie warned.

“Yeah, you are,” Richie agreed, eyes seemingly memorizing Eddie’s face, “You’ll be here when I’m done?” he asked, soft and sweet. Eddie nodded adamantly.

“Of course.” Eddie replied. Richie nodded once, slipping into his stand-up façade once more, confidently, as the spotlights turned back on him.

Eddie sat down and kept his eyes on Richie, purposefully and pointedly not looking anywhere near Bill. (Maybe it wasn’t SO bad when Bill was right.)

Chapter Text

“Richie?” Adrian’s voice croaked through the line, scratchy and groggy.

“Oh, shit, did I wake you?” Richie asked, wincing. Adrian was in Maine, visiting Don’s family. Richie hadn’t even thought of the chance he’d be asleep. His mind was moving too fast, he was forgetting obvious fucking details.

“It’s fine, Rich. Are you okay? Where are you?” Adrian asked. He was sounding more alert by the second, and Richie could hear him moving, could hear Don in the background asking what was happening. Then he heard the sound of a door sliding open and it was quiet again.

“I’m backstage. Just finished a set.” Richie breathed. He grabbed a water bottle and unscrewed it fast, chugging half of it, crinkling the plastic in his fist.

“Okay. Okay, what are you thinking?” Adrian asked. He was trying to get a read-on Richie, he knew that, gauge where he was at. Honestly, Richie didn’t even know. He didn’t know why he called Adrian, just that the second he finished his set and got backstage, the phone was in his hand and he was calling his sponsor without thought. Instinct.

“I met my soulmate.” Richie croaked. His throat stung, always did after a show, but Richie barely noticed this time. Too much on his mind.

“Holy shit Richie! That’s exciting! You met them at your show?”

“Yeah. He, um… I heard his laugh halfway through and bam, goodbye black and white, hello world of color. It was…-”

“Disorienting?” Adrian offered. He knew the feeling. He’d met Don, his soulmate, about a year back, at the fucking MOMA of all places.

Yes. Disorienting. Good word.” Richie agreed, nodding. It had also been a bit anticlimactic as well, since, well, he hadn’t seen Eddie when it happened. He wished he had been the first thing he’d seen, soft brown eyes instead of the bright yellow of the spotlight. It might have been less jarring that way, more comforting.

“So… based off that tone of voice, I’m guessing you didn’t just call me to tell me the good news,” Adrian said. He’d always been good at reading Richie. That was why he’d asked him to be his sponsor, honestly. He was a bit younger than Richie, but they shared a lot of similar life experience, and the kid was more mature than anyone his age should be, “What’s going through your head, Richie? What are you thinking?” he asked again.

It was what he asked a lot. Richie talked more than anyone should, but often times he wasn’t really saying anything. Nothing important, nothing genuine. Adrian cut right through that, knowing his habits. He always got straight to the core of it, and Richie used to try to evade but at this point…

“I don’t know. I don’t even really know why I called you.” Richie said. His hands were shaking. They wouldn’t stop shaking.

“You do. Take a minute, breathe, and reflect.” Adrian soothed, so Richie did what he asked as best he could.

“I think… I’m scared.” Richie admitted, the truth settling uncomfortably in his belly. Adrian hummed in understanding over the phone and Richie took it as a sign to continue, “He was great, you know? Looked really fucking perfect, not hard to believe he’s my soulmate but… I’m also his. I’m his soulmate and that’s… he doesn’t deserve that, right?”

“Wrong.” Adrian cut-in immediately and Richie sighed, running a hand through his hair with a groan.

“I know, I know. Self-hatred. Irrational, but I’m over-thinking what’s going to happen when we talk, get to know each other, when he sees the scars and-”

“Babe, you know-”

“I know! I know, give me a second. Let me talk through it.” Richie snapped, squeezing his eyes closed, trying not to lose his train of thought. Chain thinking plagued him constantly, if he let a thought go too far, one second later he’d be 18 paces ahead and unable to turn around.

“Okay.” Adrian said amicably and fell silent. Richie took another deep breath and tried to calm himself.

“I know that if he’s my soulmate, he won’t care about any of my shit, it’ll just be… fine. Rationally, I know that. But I also haven’t even thought about a soulmate or the possibility of a soulmate since… before Patrick. That’s like six years, at least. I haven’t been preparing or planning for this and it really got the motherfucking jump on me. So, these insecurities… they are here and rearing their ugly fucking heads and so. I’m scared.” Richie blew out a breath and Adrian waited for the pause to lengthen before he spoke.

“That’s fair, Richie. It’s a scary thing, meeting your soulmate. You’re allowed to be scared.” Adrian assured him and Richie also knew that, he did, but-

“But being scared, Adrian, that’s how it starts.” Richie choked out and Adrian made a noise of contemplation again.

“Do you feel like you’re going to use?” Adrian asked. His voice completely devoid of judgment, of course it was, but Richie still felt the question like a weight in his stomach. He hated that it had to be asked. Adrian was his NA sponsor, so of fucking course he asked, but… fuck.

“I don’t…”

“Be honest with me, Richie.” Adrian begged, suddenly vulnerable.

“Not yet.” Richie managed, before digging his fingernails into his palm. His hands just wouldn’t stop fucking shaking. He was so annoyed, he just wanted to be okay, wanted to be happy, Bill was going to text him any second.

“Okay. I think I understand, but I want you to explain it to me.” Adrian pushed. Richie nodded again, feeling like it looked slightly manic but, who the fuck cared, no one was watching him.

“It always starts with me being scared. I was scared people wouldn’t like me, so I stole my mom’s Adderall. I was scared of coming out, so I snorted coke. I was scared of Patrick… hurting me, so shot up. I… it’s always how it starts. So no, I don’t want to use yet but what if…” What if he’s so fucked up he relapses because he met his soulmate?

“I understand that fear, Richie. I do. But I think there is something very big and very important that you are forgetting.” Adrian said and Richie racked his brain.

“I mean… I called you, I remembered to ask for help.”

“And that’s so good, I am so glad you called me,” Adrian’s assurance actually did do a lot to slow his racing heart, knowing he did something right helped a pathetic amount, “But apart from me and apart from your soulmate, you’re forgetting you, Richie. You are so much stronger than you were when you were in high school, or in college, or with Patrick. You are so much stronger than you were this time last year, last month, even. I know you’re not going to break here, Richie. I know.”

“It’s just, I’m feeling so much-”

“And you can handle it. Because you are strong. And you’re not alone, Richie. You’re not.” Adrian implored him. Richie took a second to let the words sink in, repeating them in his head like a mantra. He looked up at the mirror in front of him, examining his face with his new vision. His eyes were red, bloodshot, and his cheeks were a little too pale. His cheekbones stood out starkly, revealing the fact that he hadn’t been eating very well lately. His lips were also really chapped, cut slightly on the bottom one. When he noticed that, he remembered when he did that – when he was waiting on stage, waiting for his soulmate to say something, anything, nothing. He’d been so nervous, so fucking sure that he was going to have to live his life in color and never know who triggered it, would have to live knowing he was rejected by his soulmate.

But then there was Eddie. Richie smiled into the mirror as he remembered the moment the lights dimmed, the moment he saw him and put the voice to a face. He’d looked scared as all hell, but also determined and beautiful. Richie remembered thinking it was too good to be true, but… here he was. Eddie had been perfect and the way he’d gasped when Richie laughed, squeezed his eyes shut to the onslaught of color was so fucking endearing, so cute.

When Richie looked back at his reflection, smiling at the memory… he looked better, eyes brighter and the lines of his face softer. The stark difference made a weird thought pop in his head, and he brought his attention back to Adrian, who was probably confused by the long silence.

“Hey… can I ask you a weird question?”

“Go ahead, Rich.”

“Um… what color is heroin?” Richie asked. Adrian didn’t answer right away, the silence loud. But after a minute, over the line, Richie heard the sound of a door sliding open again and Adrian sighed.

“I don’t know. I’ve never seen it in color.”

***

Richie was resting his eyes in the car, the flashing lights of the city a little too much to handle. It was making him just the slightest bit carsick, that and the stress and exhaustion as well. So, when the driver announced that they were at the bar Bill had texted him to meet them at, he was a little shocked. He jolted up, opening his eyes a little too quickly, glaring at the garish orange of the seat covers this driver had. Even so, he tossed the guy a tip and then pushed himself up and out of the car. He stared at the building for a moment, admiring the bright pink neon flamingo sign, before steeling his nerves to walk in. When he got close, though, he paused.

Eddie was already outside, leaning against the brick wall and staring daggers from the corners of his eyes at the couple a few yards away from him. They were standing close together, taking long drags from cigarettes before blowing the smoke directly into the air above them. Each time they did, Eddie took a somehow passive aggressive puff of his inhaler. Richie laughed and smiled as he walked towards him.

“This probably isn’t the best place to be if you’re looking for fresh air.” Richie said, guessing at Eddie’s reason for being outside alone, instead of inside with their friends. Eddie looked over at him, startled.

Richie.” He exhaled. A smile seemed to almost pull at his lips, but he seemed nervous well, fidgeting with the inhaler in both hands, “You’re here.”

“I am here,” Richie spread his arms out, hands still in the pockets of his jacket. He was nervous too and he shrugged before saying, “I said I would be.” Eddie scrunched his eyes up and looked at an imaginary watch on his bare wrist.

“Thirty minutes ago.” He said it teasingly, but Richie also got the vibe that he was slightly annoyed. Richie laughed half-heartedly.

“LA traffic, you know? How the city slow?” Richie joked, but Eddie didn’t smile. His gaze was discerning.

“We drove in that same traffic, you know.”

“Right. That we did… I’m sorry, I actually got caught up in a phone call. Lost track of time.” Richie shrugged and Eddie seemed to accept that answer, even though it did sound like bullshit. It was the truth, but if Richie was Eddie, he probably wouldn’t have believed it. Eddie was apparently a good judge of character though.

“Who were you calling?” Eddie asked, leaning back against the brick wall. Richie was surprised he didn’t feel defensive, when Eddie asked him that. He thought, objectively, he usually would’ve been. He usually would’ve made some joke about receiving the third-degree, about Eddie being all up in his business, about being allowed some privacy. He didn’t feel any urge to do that now.

“You want the honest answer?” Richie asked, moving to stand next to Eddie, scooching down the wall so his legs were spread further out but now the two of them were the same height. Eddie smiled at the action, but seemed confused by the words.

“Why wouldn’t I?” he asked. Richie shrugged and stayed silent for another long moment, “Was it… a girlfriend? Or boyfriend?” Eddie asked tentatively, nervously. Richie shook his head immediately.

“No, I am very single, rest assured, Eds. I’m free for the taking,” Richie laughed and Eddie shoved his shoulder gently.

“Don’t laugh! It’s a legitimate fear, asshole.” Again, Eddie was smiling as he said it, but the shove was a little real and there was an edge of vulnerability to his voice. Richie backed off, trailing off the laughter and smiling softly.

“It is, I’m sorry.” He apologized. Eddie shrugged and rocked back and forth on his heels for a moment.

“So, if it isn’t a boyfriend or girlfriend it was…” Eddie trailed off, waiting for Richie to fill in the blank. When he didn’t, just stayed silent, Eddie looked concerned before saying, “You don’t have to tell me. No pressure, it’s just-”

“My sponsor,” Richie cut him off, not wanting to hear the gentle, we-might-be-soulmates-but-we-don’t-really-know-each-other-yet speech, “I was talking to my sponsor.” Eddie still looked concerned and confused for a short moment before understanding spread on his face. The lines of his forehead softened and his mouth dropped open a little.

“Oh,” he said, and Richie waited for the pity, disgust, sadness, anything. But surprisingly, Eddie just nodded and kept staring into Richie’s eyes, “You called your sponsor. Do you mind if I ask…?”

“Go ahead.” Richie insisted, even though he actually didn’t know what was coming. He had some ideas, but all of them were pretty bad. Eddie didn’t seem bad.

“AA or NA?” he asked, short and sweet and Richie didn’t really know why it mattered in the moment, but Eddie seemed sincere, interested.

“NA,” Richie responded, “But I don’t really drink either. Slippery slope.” Eddie nodded in understanding, not needing more explanation.

“And how long have you been…”

“Using?” Richie filled in and Eddie looked startled (maybe sad? Richie couldn’t tell) as he shook his head.

“Sober.” Eddie corrected.

“Oh,” Richie laughed. That’s a nicer thing to ask, less invasive he supposed, more relevant, “Nine months, last Monday.”

“Wow, that’s amazing. Congratulations, Richie.” Eddie grinned. He squeezed Richie’s arm gently, and then let it travel down to slip their hands together for a moment. Richie smiled too, because, again, he was a sucker for praise. But after a moment of staring at their enjoined hands, he pulled back, looking at Eddie inquisitively.

“You don’t seem upset.” Richie asked and Eddie tilted his head in confusion.

“Upset that you’re nine months sober?” he asked. Richie rolled his eyes and huffed, convinced Eddie was being purposefully evasive, but when he looked back at Eddie, he did genuinely look confused. Richie’s heart sank.

“Upset I’m an addict.” Richie clarified as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. Eddie looked taken aback for a moment, his face flashing anger. Then, he took a deep breath and shook his head.

“I’m not going to pretend like I don’t know why you would be scared I’d think that… because that would make me look like an ass. I know some people would be… turned off to hear that but, Richie… I don’t care. I mean, that sounds shit, I do care, of course I care. It’s gotta be so hard for you.”

“It can be.” Richie breathed, laughing a little bitterly. Eddie sighed and grabbed his hand again, gingerly.

“I can’t imagine, Richie. But, I’m… I’m not looking for perfect.” He said simply. Richie remembered his conversation with Adrian, his initial reaction to Eddie. He had called him perfect.

“That’s hard to believe.” Richie joked and Eddie tensed slightly, but it was only for a split second before he went back to casual.

“Is it? How come?” he turned sideways, so his hips and shoulders were leaning against the wall and he was facing Richie completely.

“Well… fuck, Eddie, come on, you seem pretty perfect to me.” Richie admitted, eyeing Eddie’s everything. Eddie blushed but rolled his eyes and flipped Richie off immediately.

“Fuck you, Rich.”

“I’m serious!” Richie said, and he was about to start listing all the reasons, Eddie’s flawless skin and perfectly coiffed hair, his perfectly tailored jeans and the rolled-up sleeves on his pink button up, and so on and so on, but Eddie wasn’t listening. The sound of a clicking lighter rang obnoxiously and Eddie swiveled around in anger.

“I am begging you. Please God, do not light up another cigarette.” He snapped. Both the couple and Richie were struck kind of speechless.

“Ummm.” The guy mumbled, flame an inch from the cigarette resting on his lip. He had wild black curls and big green eyes, which were staring at Eddie in both shock and admiration.

“I have sat here quietly while you’ve worked through FOUR between the two of you, and I can’t do it anymore. PLEASE. It’s 2019! Read about second-hand smoke, you absolute jerk! I get if you wanna tear up your own lungs, that’s fine, you’ll work through that yourself, but I can’t have a conversation over here if I cannot breathe so please! Call it quits!” Eddie gestured with a wide sweeping hand to the front door of the bar, begging the couple to back inside. Somehow, it worked. They both put the cigarettes back in their case, staring at Eddie like he was an insane person the whole time.

“Enjolras would love that guy.” Richie heard the girl whisper as they walked past them. She was pretty, long dark hair styled into a bun at the top of her head, dark skin highlighted and bronzed perfectly. The guy chuckled and nodded.

“He is Enjolras. That’s my soulmate but packed into a 5’8” body, so his righteous fury has less storage room.” The guy joked back, before pulling the door open for his friend.

“I can hear you!” Eddie shouted after him, making the guy laugh and wave, even as he moved faster into the building. Eddie rolled his eyes and then turned back to Richie with an annoyed look. When he saw Richie’s raised eyebrows and amused smile, he blushed.

“Oh. You saw that?” Eddie asked, redundantly. Richie laughed and nodded.

“I was right here the entire time. And I have ears. And eyes.” Richie explained as he tried to laugh too hard at Eddie’s cringe.

“Like I said. Not perfect,” Eddie covered his face, pushing at his eyes for a second before leaning next to Richie again, a little closer this time, “I struggle a little bit with anger management.”

“That’s…”

“Not perfect?” Eddie filled in for him, smiling a little. Richie nodded.

“Not perfect.” He agreed, but the way he said it, he might as well have said it was. They stared at each other for a long moment, Richie taking the opportunity to appreciate the colors in Eddie’s face, the deep brown of his eyes and the golden brown of his hair, the blush of his cheeks and the sweet pink of lips. Eddie stared at him too, for a while, eyes just as contemplative roaming over his face. Eventually though, his eyes softened a little, and his hand slowly came up to touch Richie’s cheek. But at the last minute, he hesitated.

“What?” Richie breathed, slightly disappointed and a lot desperate to feel Eddie’s skin touching his. He didn’t know what Eddie was thinking, but it was all he wanted to know.

“You look tired.” Eddie said, sadly. His fingers edged the dark circles Richie knew were prominent under his eyes and then he cupped Richie’s cheek altogether. Richie sighed and leaned in to the touch.

“I am.” He admitted. It was deeper than any physical exhaustion, but Richie didn’t think that needed clarification. It seemed like Eddie knew, “I’m better now though.” Now, with Eddie in front of him and his hand on his cheek and his smile in his future, he was better already.

“Do you want to go somewhere else? Somewhere…” Eddie glanced behind him, towards the door to the bar which was pounding faintly with the sounds of some rock song that Richie knew as totally Bill’s vibe, “quieter?”

“You don’t want to go hang out? Everyone’s still in there, right?” Richie asked. Eddie just shook his head and shrugged.

“They are, but I don’t care. I just… you look really tired.” Eddie said again, then he moved his hand down to rest on Richie’s shoulder, “I don’t like it.”

“Well, fuck, Eds, that stings a little-”

Shut up, you know I don’t mean it that way. I love the way you look. It’s just… it makes me want to…” Eddie sighed and Richie waited with baited breath for what he was going to say next, “It makes me want to hold you. Can I give you a hug?” he asked and Richie wasn’t expecting that. His mouth opened slightly and he paused for a moment, a long enough moment that Eddie felt slightly awkward before Richie was able to agree.

“Yes please.” He choked and then Eddie relaxed and grinned. He stood up straight, on his tip-toes, and immediately wrapped his arms around Richie’s neck. Richie in turn wrapped his arms around Eddie’s waist, resting his hands on the small of Eddie’s back so they fit together as close as possible. Richie’s face rested in Eddie’s hair and Eddie’s was tucked into Richie’s neck.

“I’m really glad it’s you.” Eddie murmured after a long moment. The words were said directly into Richie’s skin, so it was faint, and Richie wasn’t sure if he was supposed to hear it, but he did. He did, and he felt the words sink into deeply, pricking tears in his eyes and soothing a fear that had been lurking for as long as Richie could remember. He just nodded in response, not wanting to risk saying anything wrong, not even knowing how to say what he felt. He just loved that his soulmate was the first person in his life to strike him speechless.

***

“So, I have tea… sort of. It’s sleepy time, so I don’t highly recommend it. I also have water, but only tap… and old Sunny-D if you want something with a bit of a kick, and… okay. That’s it. I think the conclusion is I have nothing.” Richie sighed, shutting his refrigerator with a slam. Eddie laughed from where he was looking out the big window in the living room, admiring the view.

“Impressive.” He teased, not turning around. Richie leaned against the counter and admired his profile as he spoke.

“I’m not usually this bad of a host,” Richie explained, making Eddie look over his shoulder to throw a doubtful look, “I’m serious! It’s just I only got back from New York yesterday and I haven’t had time to grocery shop.” Eddie hummed, considering but still disbelieving.

“The fact that you ever had Sunny-D makes me doubt the natural hostess in you.” Eddie teased, moving to sit on Richie’s couch. Richie followed, collapsing into the cushion right next to Eddie, sprawling out slightly so their legs bumped. Eddie smiled at the contact and then readjusted, turning sideways and sitting legs crisscross.  

“There’s too much to unpack there, Eddie, so I’m not even going to try.” Richie said seriously, making Eddie laugh again. Such a great sound, Richie wanted to make it his ringtone. His doorbell. His alarm in the morning.

“Whatever you say, babe,” Eddie replied, and Richie tried not to get too excited by the pet name, “What do you wanna talk about then?” he asked. Richie just shrugged.

“I dunno.” He sounded a lot like a 12-year-old just then, more than he would like to admit.

“Come on, I thought you were supposed to be the trashmouth? Isn’t talking like, what you do best?” Eddie teased. Richie scoffed and gave Eddie a look.

“Something tells me you’ll have no problem keeping up with me on that front.” Richie said. Eddie scrunched up his face and raised his chin in offense.

“What the fuck does that mean?” he asked, and Richie just tilted his head at him, deadpan.

“Seriously? You talk just as much as I do, just as chaotically.” Richie explained and Eddie spluttered for a moment, searching for an argument. Then he stopped and sighed in defeat.

Fine, I’ll pick the topic of conversation,” he conceded, and Richie laughed loudly, using the motion to throw his arm over the back of the couch and slide slightly closer to Eddie, “So, do you want to talk about why you look so tired? Have you been sleeping well?” Eddie asked, not condescending or mothering, just genuinely wondering. Richie shrugged.

“I guess? I sleep fine. Not for huge periods of time, but when I manage it, its fine. It’s just the tour, I guess. It’s always draining, travelling basically alone for that long. I’ve been having weird dreams lately, too.” He said with a grimace. Eddie’s cheeks flushed suddenly and he looked down at his hands to avoid Richie’s eyes. Weird.

“Oh yeah? What kind of dreams?” Eddie asked, voice slightly strangled.

Richie watched him for a moment and then blurted out, “What’s wrong with you?” That just made Eddie blush more.

“What do you mean?”

“You’re being weird.” Richie said. Eddie laughed awkwardly and shook his head, clearing his throat.

“No, I’m not.”

“Yes, you are.”

“No, I’m not.”

“Yes, you ARE.”

“No, I’m NOT.”

“Yes, you-”

“Oh, shut the fuck up, Richie! Just tell me about your stupid dreams.” Eddie snapped, making Richie laugh hard. At least he was back to normal now.

“Jesus, alright. If you fucking insist,” Richie laughed, “It is stupid, really. Kind of embarrassing.” He stalled, but Eddie just grinned self-deprecatingly.

“I think I’ve got you beat there.” Eddie forced out. Richie sat up a little straighter, because THAT was interesting.

“Oh yeah? You having weird dreams too? About what?” Richie asked and Eddie looked offended.

“Um, I asked you first so…”

So… if I tell you mine you’ll tell me yours?” Richie pressed, excitedly. Eddie stared at his feet for a moment, biting his lip before shrugging.

Possibly. Let’s hear yours first.” Eddie compromised. Richie would’ve kept fighting, but something about Eddie made him soft. Made him have too much give.

“Well you drive a hard bargain, but… okay, so… I keep dreaming I’m the pilot of the Galaga ship, fighting aliens and stuff.” Eddie stared at him for a moment.

“The Galaga ship?” he repeated, unimpressed.

“Yeah, you know that arcade game? It was like Sega or something.” Richie clarified. Eddie nodded and looked around the room, thinking back.

“I know it, yeah. But… okay, how do you know that’s the ship you were piloting? Why not like a Star Trek ship or something?”

“Because I’m fighting those dragonfly guys! The same weird bug ships! And I’m in the cockpit of this spaceship, completely alone, which is not how spaceships that big are supposed to piloted, I’m sure, and I have to control it with the little fucking red joystick and the big red button. Usually the dream ends with an explosion, but sometimes it tells me I ran out of tokens, just in the middle of the level, and ejects me into space. That’s when I wake up, usually.” Richie shrugged when he was done recounting and Eddie just kept staring for a moment.

That’s what you’ve been dreaming about? Space bugs?” Eddie asked, deadpan and Richie didn’t get why he was so disappointed.

“Yeah?” Richie offered. Eddie shook his head and laughed at the ceiling.

“How is that keeping you from sleeping?” Eddie asked.

“I mean, it’s not really. I’m not sleeping for other reasons, but it makes my sleep a little more high stress! A little less rejuvenating! I’m piloting a spaceship, for God’s sake. I didn’t even go to college and I’m manning a spaceship? That’s a lot of responsibility.”

“Well, what are you fighting for?”

“I dunno. The universe probably.”

“But you always die. The universe is screwed. Have you ever won? Beat the level?”

“No, I always wake up. Can you beat Galaga? I thought it never ended.”

“I don’t fucking know, Richie, it’s your dream.”

Richie nodded, because that was true, but he still didn’t know. He flopped his head to the side, on the cushion behind him, and stared at Eddie, who still looked a little bit like he was judging Richie. Then, they both started laughing, leaning into each other and smiling wide.

“That was so dumb, ‘Chee. I thought it was going to be something real! Something serious.” Eddie explained through laughter. Richie shook his head as he flicked a stray piece of hair off Eddie’s forehead.

“Nah, I’m not very good at serious.” Richie explained and Eddie raised an eyebrow in doubt.

“I mean, our first, well, second conversation was really fucking serious, I’d say.” Eddie reminded him.

“Oh right. Eh, I was in a mood.” Richie said, a little too honest. Eddie’s smile diminished a little and he nodded in commiseration.

“Right. You’d just called your sponsor.” Eddie said, like he’d forgotten. Richie tensed a little, sensing a more serious conversation riding down the rails, “Why’d you do that, Rich? If you don’t mind me asking?” Richie didn’t know if he minded or not, honestly. He didn’t really want to talk about it now, when he was just making Eddie laugh not ten seconds ago, but he also didn’t NOT want Eddie to know.

“There are lots of reasons to call your sponsor.” Richie said evasively. Eddie wasn’t distracted, though.

“One of them is feeling like you want to get high.” Eddie said, blunt. Richie grimaced and nodded, “Is that what this was?”

“Not exactly.” Richie whispered and Eddie scooted closer, spurred by Richie’s soft tone of voice. They were touching at multiple points now, but Richie wasn’t counting the contact or anything (Richie’s arm-Eddie’s shoulder, Richie’s knee-Eddie’s knee, Richie’s hand-Eddie’s hand, Richie’s hip-Eddie’s forearm).

“That’s vague.”

“Purposefully,” Richie sassed, but Eddie’s stare was pointed and persistent, “I was just… nervous. Scared.”

“Of me?” Eddie asked. Again, he wasn’t mad or sad, he was just trying to figure it out. It helped Richie find the strength be honest.

“A little bit. Mostly of what… this means. The fear of you not liking me, us not getting along, the compromises being too much, just… its scary, you know?” Richie said, really hoping he didn’t have to explain it anymore. Eddie nodded, slightly stoic, and Richie felt the need to clarify, “I’m not as scared anymore! Talking to you… it helps. It feels comfortable and I do feel less scared. I am still a little, but mostly… mostly you’re just really great.” Richie assured him and Eddie smiled.

“I appreciate you saying that. This soulmate thing isn’t always the easiest thing in the world so, I feel the same way.” Richie’s stomach eased at the words and he relaxed back into the couch as much as he could.

“Oh, good.” Richie breathed, smiling. Eddie didn’t look done talking about it though.

“I still don’t get why you called your sponsor, though.” Eddie said, “Were you…”

“I was never going to use,” Richie cut-in, “I was just scared. And I always feel weak when I’m scared.” Eddie ahhed in agreement, leaning back against the couch now too, into Richie’s arm. Richie immediately wrapped it around him, rubbing his thumb along his shoulder.

“I get that feeling,” Eddie said honestly, “I’m sorry I had any part in-”

“No, don’t apologize. I appreciate it, but really, all you’ve done is help. It’s my wonky brain that created anxieties and… I’m okay now. Or I will be, I know.” Richie clarified and Eddie smiled, letting it drop.

“I’m glad you have your sponsor. You’re close to him?” Eddie asked.

“I am, as close as I can be. They recommend that you’re not BEST friends with your sponsor, so they can remain objective, but Adrian is really great. He moved to a new place in New York, which can be rough but I’m there a lot for work anyway, so it works out. And he always takes my calls, my Facetimes, is as available as he would be here… I’m lucky to have him.” As Richie spoke, Eddie started running a gentle hand through his hair, the act small but incredibly intimate. It made Richie’s stomach turn to jelly.

“He sounds great, I’d love to meet him one day.”

“Hmmm, he’d love you,” Richie slurred, eyes closed to focus on Eddie’s touch, “What’s not to love?” he flirted. Eddie laughed and tugged softly on a strand of Richie’s hair.

“Don’t be sappy.” He teased. Richie cracked open an eye to see Eddie smile before closing it again. He was so comfortable, he kind of wanted to fall asleep.

“Do you think we’ll start to dream in color?” Richie asked randomly. Eddie’s hand stopped moving, still pushed in Richie’s hair.

“Hmmm,” Richie opened his eyes again to watch Eddie think, “Probably. Not right away, though.”

“Its exciting, though.”

“You think?”

“Oh yeah, now I get to see the bug alien ships in 3D and color.” Richie grinned and Eddie rolled his eyes, laughing. Then he was quiet for a moment, staring at the kitchen, before he muttered something Richie couldn’t make out. It sounded like he said something about Bill, though? “What was that?”

Eddie took a deep breath and said, “And now when I have another dream about you fucking me I can see the exact color of your eyes.”

Richie was quiet for a moment, struck still.

“What was that?” he repeated, voice squeaky. Eddie blushed bright red and stared at the ceiling.

“Don’t make me say it again, asshole, I know you fucking heard me.”

“I might be convinced my brain was playing tricks on me. Say it one more time?” Richie asked, because there was just no fucking way that was what Eddie said. Eddie glared at him and then reached back, grabbed one of Richie’s pillows, and threw it at Richie’s face.

“I said I’ve been having sex dreams about you! Those are the weird dreams I’VE been having! We can’t all be lucky enough to get dreams about cheesy 80’s arcade games.” Eddie huffed as he hugged the pillow to his chest, pouting petulantly. It was adorable and Richie really needed to think of something to say that wasn’t kissing the pout right off his lips. Because, well, that wasn’t saying something.

Please stop staring at me and say something.” Eddie begged after a moment and Richie felt a laugh burst past his lips, making Eddie flash with anger again, probably thinking he was being made fun of.

“I have literally… no idea.. I am speechless. Speechless. What… when? Why? We hadn’t even met before.” Richie managed and Eddie shrugged, tugging at his sleeves and fiddling with the ends.

“Bill made me watch some of your stand-up.” Eddie admitted. Richie immediately groaned, his turn to be embarrassed.

“Oh fuck me, which one?” Richie asked and Eddie giggled at the dramatics, which was a better shift in mood in Richie’s opinion.

“Um, your first Netflix one? I don’t remember the name, but it was…” Eddie trailed off, searching for the right words, but Richie cut him off because he knew the right words. And he didn’t want to hear them, really.

“Awful. It was awful.” He deadpanned and Eddie made a cooing noise to soothe.

“Oh no! It was just… not my speed…” Richie gave him a blank look, disbelieving and Eddie sighed and relaxed a little, “okay, you’re right, that’s not me. I’m sorry, yeah it was awful. I felt like I was being yelled at by a 17-year-old fuckboy in a 24-year-old’s body.” Eddie explained and Richie yelped.

“Yowza! Go hard, Eds.” Richie laughed, but he wasn’t offended. It was true, “I don’t blame you though. They was rough years; I wasn’t really at my peak then. I was more just… writing to be famous, rather than writing what I really thought was funny.” He admitted. Eddie seemed like he liked that answer.

“I noticed that, at tonight’s show. You really were funny this time.” Eddie praised. Richie smiled at the compliment and leaned his head against Eddie’s shoulder, hiding the blush.

“Good enough for a sex dream?” he asked, words muffled slightly, but Eddie still heard them and guffawed.

“OH my God… you wish.” He teased, but Richie just grinned, moving his lips slowly up to Eddie’s neck, not kissing though, just pressure. Eddie inhaled slightly with the movement.

“I do.” Richie whispered and Eddie shook his head, pushing him away gently. When, he did, Richie looked up at him and Eddie’s eyes were wide, pupils blown out just from their proximity… or maybe even some memories…

“Tell me what you dreamt about.” Richie insisted and despite Richie’s sincerity, it momentarily shifted the mood and Eddie immediately laughed and scoffed simultaneously.

No fucking way.” He said, scooting back slightly, farther from Richie and more into the arm rest. Richie wasn’t having that, though, so he grabbed Eddie’s ankles and pulled him closer, so his legs were thrown over Richie’s thighs and he ass was pushed up close to him.

Not that Richie did that on purpose or anything.

“You promised.” Richie argued, but Eddie just crossed his arms. He didn’t make a move to move farther away again, though, just settled in as close as he was. Richie took that as a good sign. He kept one hand on Eddie’s ankles and threw another arm over the back of the couch again.

“Um, no I did not. I said POSSIBLY. And then your dream was dumb as hell, so.” Eddie shook his head and looked off out the window again, so Richie took his chin gently in his fingers and tilted him to face him again.

“Please?” Richie whispered, their faces close enough to feel each other’s breath. Eddie took a deep inhale as he gauged Richie’s reactions.

“You don’t think its weird? Embarrassing?” he asked, breathless. Richie shook his head and laughed once.

Fuck no, Eds. It might be the hottest thing I’ve ever heard,” Richie admitted, moving his thumb gently against Eddie’s ankle, up to his calf, “You wanting me before we even met? Jesus.” Eddie stared at him for a moment longer before shaking his head slightly, shifting in Richie’s lap like he wanted to move closer.

“I wouldn’t even know where to start. I’ve kind of had a lot of them.” Eddie said, making Richie groan loudly and tighten his grip on Eddie’s leg, hand climbing up to mid-calf now.

“Your favorite,” he replied immediately, “tell me your favorite.” Eddie grinned and brought one hand up to Richie’s neck, stroking against his pulse.

“You wanna delve into my kinks so soon?” Eddie asked, “It’s a little early for that, don’t you think?”

No.”

“I don’t wanna scare you away-”

“No possible way for that to happen, baby.” Richie’s hand was mid-thigh now, and he was perfectly happy resting it there for now, admiring the muscle. Eddie nodded and slipped one of his hands into Richie’s hair.

“There is… one dream that’s repeated itself. A few times.” Eddie started and Richie took a deep breath, preparing himself.

“Yeah?” he asked, spurring him on. Eddie nodded, gazing deep into Richie’s eyes, impossible to look away from.

“Yeah, it’s definitely my favorite. Always ends with you crying for me.” Eddie’s voice was like deep, calm, and scratchy in a way Richie hadn’t heard yet. Even if he hadn’t said something that cranked so hard into one of Richie’s biggest kinks, he would still be hard from that tone of voice alone. He could read fucking Socrates to him and Richie would get a boner.

“Good crying?” he choked out and Eddie bit his lip, nodding.

“Uh-huh,” Eddie rested their foreheads together, “The best crying. You’re just begging to come, completely desperate for me. I love being above you like that.”

Fuck.” Richie breathed, squeezing his eyes shut to picture it. Eddie made an approving humming noise and he tugged on Richie’s hair once, hard, before moving his hand to Richie’s jaw, running his thumb along the edge. “You like being in charge?” Richie asked.

“Sometimes,” Eddie answered easily, “I like it both ways, honestly. I do love to be held-down and pounded, owned, don’t get me wrong. But lately… I just really wanna ride you until you cry.”

“No fucking complaints here.” Richie said, making Eddie laugh softly.

“That’s good to hear,” Eddie leaned back a little then, moving so that both of his hands were on Richie’s chest, “So, all the dreams usually start the same. You have me pressed against some surface, the counter, the wall, the hood of a car, and you tell me you want to fuck me. You just need to be inside me.”

“Fucking relatable,” Richie interjected, “So never much of a plot then?” he didn’t even know how he was managing words, just that he needed to say something or he was actually going to combust.

“Not since the beginning,” Eddie admitted before continuing, “And then you have me feel your cock and you ask me if it’s too big.”

“Been watching too much porn, Eds.” Richie laughed and Eddie slapped his cheek once, too gentle to actually hurt, but the sting was enough to get his attention.

“Cut the fucking peanut gallery act, or I will stop,” Eddie snapped. Richie believed him, and he’d be lying if he said the threat didn’t go straight to his dick.

“Sorry, babe,” Richie said, and he took Eddie’s hand in his own, sliding it down his own chest to rest on his half-hard dick just like he’d said, “What happens next?”

Fuck, Richie,” Eddie moaned, feeling out the shape over Richie’s jeans. Richie knew he didn’t have anything to be embarrassed about; he was a big guy and that was consistent all the way through, but the reaction still boosted his ego a bit, “You- um, you ask me if its too big. And sometimes, I shy away, when I wanna play coy and have you… take control. Fuck me. But, in this one, I take it as a challenge. I’m usually that way, I have a lot of pride.” Eddie said and Richie just smiled, made no comment.

“So, I push you hard onto the nearest flat surface, sometimes a bed, sometimes a couch, sometimes the floor, I unbutton your pants, and swallow down your cock.” Eddie described, not much detail at all, but Richie still groaned loudly. Eddie kept massaging his dick through his jeans, working it to full hardness and Richie thrust up slightly, unable to stop, “That’s not realistic, just so you know. I don’t like deep-throating at all, but in the dream, its fucking hot.”

“Hmmmm.” Was all Richie could manage. He wanted to agree, he wasn’t the biggest fan of deep-throating either, a little too scary for him, but Eddie was on a roll and Richie was in no position to stop him.

“So, I swallow down your cock, and I work you up as best I can. I always love looking up at you, the way your eyes squeeze closed and your mouth drops open. You always look so fucking desperate, right away. I tell you that, too, as I pull off right before you’re about to come. I tell you how I love how easy you are for me. Would you be easy for me too, Rich? Lay down and give me your dick whenever I want?” Eddie asked, and he moved one hand to Richie’s lips, thumb trailing across the bottom one.

Yes.” Richie managed to croak and Eddie smiled, slipping his thumb on to Richie’s tongue and pushing down as he started to suck.

“I know you would, baby. So fucking perfect.” Eddie muttered, admiring the view. Eventually, he pulled his thumb out and ran it across Richie’s cheekbones, mapping out his face.

“What happens next?” Richie asked after a second, desperate to know.

“Oh, right, the next part is my favorite bit,” Eddie said, grinning through Richie’s moan of anticipation, “Something about me you should know, Richie, is that even though I do like to switch up who’s in charge in bed, I always, always love to take it.”

“Oh fuck.” Richie groaned, picturing it as clear as day in his mind: Eddie riding his cock, Richie holding him up against a wall, having him face down on the bed, both of them rocking back and forth.

“Yeah, that’s right, Rich. I wanna take your cock so bad,” he moaned, rubbing a little harder against Richie and then he made a noise of frustration and moved quickly so he was straddling Richie now. Eddie grinded down immediately, the friction perfect, and Richie threw his head back at the feeling, moving his hands to grip Eddie’s hips in a vice.

“So you have to open me up, first, in the dream,” Eddie continued, voice breathy and finally as affected as Richie felt, “I always flip positions, turn around and sit on your face, so you can open me up with your tongue. Its nice, how in dreams we can do that spontaneously. I mean, in real life I’d have to REALLY clean myself before all of this, but in a dream-”

“I get it, Eddie. Back to the point.”

“Right, right. The point. The point of me fucking riding you until you break, yeah, that one. It’s my favorite position, you know,” Eddie said, putting both hands on the side of Richie’s neck as he slowed the roll of his hips to something intoxicating and sensual, “Just like this, with you sitting up so you’re as deep as you can get. I can move at exactly my speed and touch you however I want.” He demonstrated that next, moving his hands into Richie’s hair and then down his back, gripping his shoulder blades, and then down to his pecs and then his waist.

“God, why do we have so many clothes on?” Richie whined, desperate to feel Eddie against him with nothing in between.

“Why would we take our clothes off, Richie? I’m just telling you a story,” Eddie laughed, “I would never fuck someone on the first date.” Eddie teased, making Richie want to cry with how turned on he was. Which, actually, Eddie would fucking love, so that wasn’t a bad thing.

“You’re killing me, Eds.” Richie said. Eddie stared at him for a moment, hips stilled in their movement and then he hopped off Richie’s lap.

“Well, maybe we’ll switch it up then,” he said, leaving Richie no time to mourn the contact, because he was immediately sat back down, this time his back to Richie and his ass snug against Richie’s cock, “This is my second favorite, makes me feel really slutty.”

Yeah, you look it.” Richie murmured as he stared down Eddie’s body, over his shoulder.

“Hmmm,” Eddie agreed, grinding back gently to start as he grabbed Richie’s hand and brought it to slip into his own pants, “Gives you back a little control, too. You wanna make me come, Richie?”

“Fuck, yeah, yeah, I do, Ed.” Eddie’s cock felt so good in his hands, already wet and rock hard. Richie started jacking it fast, right away, desperate to feel Eddie lose control.

“Oh God, Richie, that feels so good, just like that,” Eddie leaned forward, hands on his knees to arch his back out and Richie wanted to grab his phone and take a picture, because damn. Eddie could throw it back, “Think you can make me come first?” Eddie asked, throwing down a challenge clear as day as he ground his ass back hard. Richie was probably two minutes away from coming, at this rate, but he was never one to go down easy, so he slowed his hand a little and took a deep breath as he pushed his thumb firmly against the head of Eddie’s cock.

“I’ll definitely try.” He muttered. With one hand he gave into the temptation right in front of his face and grabbed Eddie’s ass, smacking it once before groping again, fingers digging a little into his ass crack, as much as the jeans would allow, “With the way you’re moving this though, I might be fucked.” Richie chuckled and Eddie groaned. Richie liked that, the way his words affected him.

“What, Eds?” he asked, leaning forward himself now, to get a hand around Eddie’s neck and pull him back, so their bodies were plastered together, “You can dish out the dirty talk, but you can’t take it?” he tightened his hand just slightly at his throat, nothing close to choking, but enough to get Eddie riled.

“Go fuck yourself.” Eddie muttered even as he twisted his head back to mouth at Richie’s neck, licking and biting at right behind his ear.

“I’d rather fuck you.” Richie replied, making both of them laugh.

“Oh, I can feel that.” Eddie wiggled down firmly against Richie’s cock in emphasis and Richie was so fucking close. It was kind of ridiculous, the two of them dry humping like they were fucking 13, but it was a hot as fuck power play on Eddie’s part and Richie wasn’t about to push.

“Eddie, I’m gonna come.” Richie mumbled into Eddie’s neck, the skin damp and soft.

“Yeah, baby? You gonna blow just from thinking about my ass, Rich? That’s so fucking hot.” Eddie groaned and Richie resisted the urge to say that this was a little more than just THINKING, but whatever. He was too close. He sped up his hand around Eddie and right before he came, sunk his teeth into Eddie’s neck in front of him. Eddie cried out at the pain because he was fucking perfect and Richie tipped over the edge, coming harder than he could remember in a very long time.

When he came to, he noticed his hand was wet now too, even as he kept jacking Eddie off, slow and steady.

“Richie, stop.” Eddie whined after a moment, weakly pushing at Richie’s hand in his pants. A part of Richie wanted to keep going, fuck with Eddie and overstimulation, but they could do that another time.  They fucking WOULD do that another time.

“Did we just come at the same time?” Richie asked, catching his breath. Eddie laughed and nodded, bringing a hand back to rub at Richie’s neck.

“Yes we did. It was very fucking cliché.” Eddie commented. Richie laughed too, and then he pulled his hand out of Eddie’s jeans, dripping in come. Richie went to bring it to his mouth, to clean it up, but Eddie stopped it mid-air, before he could get close.

“Do not bring that close to my face.” Eddie warned. He was still resting boneless against Richie’s chest, but his voice was steel. Richie laughed, shocked.

“You’re grossed out by a little come? Comeplay isn’t one of your kinks, then?” Richie wasn’t judging, but he would be a little bummed if Eddie said yes. He desperately wanted to come on Eddie’s face some time soon, his ass too… and his thighs. Just all over him. Eddie turned his head to glare at Richie before turning around completely and straddling Richie front-to-front again. He took Richie’s hand then and fed it to him slowly, guiding him to suck each finger completely clean, watching him with dark eyes.

“I’m not grossed out by come, I just don’t particularly want my own in my face, around my nose.” Eddie explained. Then he looked down in between them, where Richie’s jeans were showing a bit of a wet spot, “Your come though? I’m a little more interested in that.”

“Oh, good,” Richie managed, which wasn’t the smoothest thing, he admitted, but he never claimed to be smooth, “Well, there’s a lot down there if you want any part of that.” Richie said, gesturing to his jeans. Eddie grimaced.

“Call me crazy but, me fishing in your jeans to find some come just… doesn’t seem sexy.” He reasoned, climbing off Richie and standing on slightly shaky legs. Richie stood up with him, close as possible, looking down to accommodate their height difference.

“Anything you do is sexy.” Richie admitted. He leaned down and, realizing this was about to be their first kiss, he paused, checking Eddie’s face to make sure it was okay. Eddie nodded minutely and so Richie closed the rest of the gap, sealing their lips together firmly.

It wasn’t perfect, it took a bit of adjusting at first, especially with how far Richie had to bend down and since his mouth still undoubtedly tasted like Eddie’s come, but it sank in to something good after a moment. It also felt so much better knowing that it was the first of many, knowing that Richie was so fucking lucky in finding his soulmate, that he would get to kiss him countless more times in his life. There was nothing better than that and most importantly, absolutely nothing to fear in that moment.