Chapter 1: Chapter 1
"Richie.." Beverly croaked out as she watched her friend go into such a state of denial that he couldn't even accept Eddie was no longer with them. The whole place was crumbling around them and they had a matter of minutes to get out alive but no one had the heart to tell Richie the facts.
"What?" He turned her to her so cold and emotionless as if daring her to say the words. But she had to.
"Honey, he's dead." She whispered gently yet her words seem to thunder in his ears amongst the destruction around them all.
Hearing the word just broke Richie entirely. He cradled his Eds to him with his hand at the back of his neck, just holding him the way he'd always dreamed of when they were kids. He missed out on so much just because he was a scared little kid but now his worst nightmare was staring him right in the face. It wasn't clowns, or werewolves or even being forgotten... It was losing his best friend, a boy who he'd loved since childhood. It couldn't end like this.
The next thing he felt was someone, or maybe multiple - everything was happening all at once - trying to pull him away. He clung onto Eddie with all the strength he had left. "Don't fucking touch me." He growled out at them. The memory of a young Eddie screaming the same thing at him twenty-seven years ago popped into his mind.
‘DO NOT FUCKING TOUCH ME!’
The memory spurred him on. He didn't care if it was the last fucking thing he did, he was getting his best friend out of here. "Move!" He yelled at his friends who were still staring at him in horror. When they heeded his words and backed up, he mustered all the strength he had and lifted the smaller man into his arms with a grunt. He was so heavy and limp but Richie wasn't leaving him behind. "I said fucking move!" He snapped at the others, who finally listened to him and started to run.
They got out with seconds to spare, Richie trailing behind them with Eddie's corpse still securely in his arms. He could hear the shithole collapsing behind him but he didn't stop until him and Eds were both in safe distance from it.
Everyone was outside trying to catch their breath as they watched the house that still plagued all of their subconscious nightmares fall to pieces until it was nothing but rubble and broken pieces.
Bill turned to Richie when the shock began to wear off and stepped closer to him with his arms extending. "Ruh-Richie.. P-put him down." He spoke softly, careful not to spook his friend. His efforts were in vain as Richie immediately clutched Eddie tighter and stepped away from what he seen as a threat to Eddie.
"No. No, Bill, he's fine." He rushed out, shaking his head in denial. "I just gotta take 'im to the hospital and they'll help-"
"He's dead, Rich! I told you he's dead!" Beverly snapped with tears streaming down her face freely. It hurt her so much to see one of her best friends dead and the other so heartbroken and full of grief that he refused to face the facts. It also hurt to see Richie's look of betrayal at her words like he thought they were all just gonna go along with him and pretend Eddie was alright. They stood at a stand still, staring each other out. "You can't save him." She finally said, breaking the silence. Her words seemed to flick a switch in Richie's brain and his face hardened.
"Yes I can." With that, he turned to walk away, ignoring all the 'Richie!'s he heard from behind him.
"Don't you worry, bud, you're gonna be alright." Richie whispered down to the unconscious man in his arms as he continued to walk down the street, because that's all he was – unconscious. He reached over and shut his eyes so he didn't have to see the last look of fear permanently stuck on Eddie's face and he could pretend for a little longer that he was just sleeping.
Despite the current situation, Richie was a little in awe that he even got to hold Eds like this. It wasn't as if they were never close, they were always jostling around together, shoving each other playfully, crowding the others personal space just to annoy them and even sharing tight spaces together like a hammock but that was all in good fun. They'd never been intimately close, never strayed too far from that boundary where friendship ended and something more began, despite Richie's longing. He just figured that in a backwards ass town like Derry where people spray-painted things like 'God gave the queers aids!' over buildings and anyone openly gay got fucking murdered, it was best to keep his dirty little secret to himself.
However, in this moment, none of that seemed to matter. All he could think about was the what if's; what if he had told Eddie how he felt when they were teenagers, what if, instead of making crude 'your mom' jokes, he told him how much he liked the little twerp and all his annoying quirks, what if they had never forgotten each other.
What if Eddie had actually killed that fucking clown when he said he did.
But he couldn't think of that right now. He just had to get Eddie help.
When Richie finally reached his car, he gently put Eddie down in the passenger seat and buckled him up. God forbid he get into another car accident, Richie thought. His arms were killing him and felt like they were ready to fall off, but he couldn't stop now. He had a plan and he had to do it fast.
Getting into the driver's seat, he checked on Eddie's increasingly pale face one last time before speeding off.
Derry was a weird place. Where else would you lose all of your memories of your childhood just by moving away from it? However, it wasn't the only weird place. He'd heard stories as a kid of towns all around him where disasters happened all the time, like prom queens going on a murder sprees and wild dogs getting rabies and attacking everyone in sight. That kind of shit only happened in small towns like Derry and surrounding areas and everyone was pretty much used to it, just turning a blind eye to the newspapers and pretending like life was hunky dory. It's easier to go back to gossiping about the neighbours down the street than it is to question the very society you live in.
Usually Richie wouldn't give too shits about it. He lived in California now and he toured all around America doing his stand up. If this situation were any different, he'd be driving back there ASAP, ideally with a certain passenger, only he wouldn't be dripping blood all over his interior.
However, he needed some weird shit to happen right now because it was the only thing that could save Eddie's life.
When he was younger, he'd read up on stories of this town a little over five miles away where kids buried their pets in this ritualistic place and somehow the pets would be miraculously better the next day. There was also a rumour about a doctor who'd lost his son when he was run over by a semi truck and did the same weird voodoo shit to bring him back. He never got to find out what happened but he could only assume it was good news since there was no tragedy about it. He'd researched it for the sole purpose of helping Bill bring Georgie back (since he always knew he was dead after the police gave up searching, despite continuing the 'missing' charade in front of Bill) but he knew they needed to find a body for it to work.
Well, he had a body now.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
The drive didn't take long to drive to the next town over but finding the mysterious cemetery was another matter. The woods were miles long, running all along the town with no end in sight. It was already starting to darken outside so Richie knew he was running out of town.
Mist started appearing the further he drove, and it was getting harder to see even with his car lights turned out. Feeling more panicked as time went on, Richie sped up in a desperate hope to finding this place.
However, in his haste, he didn't notice a group of children crossing the street in front of his car until he almost run one over.
"Holy shit!" He exclaimed as he slammed down on the break. The child didn't so much as flinch, still, he got out of the car to make sure he was okay. "You alright, kid?" He asked a little breathlessly, still holding onto the car door.
The other kids around the boy didn't stop in their march, continuing to trek in a single, straight line along the road while the boy slowly turned and stared gauntly at the newcomer of their town. It was then Richie finally got a good look at the group of kids. They were all wearing animal masks and not the cutesy kind that kids had to make in third grade, no, this shit was satanic looking. The boy had his pulled up and resting on his head so Richie could see the empty look in his eyes as he stared him down. Their clothes were all pristinely white that highlighted how pale their skin was which was only illuminated by the car lights shining on them. In short, they looked creepy as hell and it sent a chill down Richie's back.
Instead of answering, the boy simply turned back to the others and followed behind at the end of the line, going across the street and into the dark woods.
"Hey!" Richie called out after them. "Where the hell are you going at this time?" His question went unanswered.
Going with a gut feeling, he followed the group of creepy ass children in hopes that they were going to the exact place he was looking for. Why else would the fucking children of the corn be wandering around in the woods?
He took a deep breath and squared his shoulders. "I'll be right back, Eds, don't fuck up my car while I'm gone." He said to the dead man in his passenger seat before closing the door and following the kids.
'I really need to get into shape.' Richie thought as he trudged his way up another fucking hill. The woods seemed to just go on and on. He had no idea how the hell these kids were even navigating through this hell hole, it was too dark to see in front of you! Still, he pushed on. 'If I get murdered out here because of that germaphobe… Well, there's pretty much nothing I can do about it.'
Eventually, after many more hills, tripping over loose rocks, getting hit in the face by low hanging branches and being swarmed by mosquitoes galore, the kids came to a stop in front of him.'
Richie made sure he kept a reasonable distance from them and as soon as they stopped, he ducked behind a tree to remain unseen. He held his laboured breath and looked around at his surroundings. Some of the children held torches and decided to finally light them and it was only then Richie could see around him.
They were standing just outside a clearing full of dead grass and gravestones. It looked like a regular, old, creepy cemetery, nothing out of the ordinary.
However, in the distance, Richie could see another hill, one that glowed with blue light. He'd read about that blue light in his stories. He'd found the place.
He had to wait until the children left before he made his move to go back. None of them dared to go near the blue light, they just danced around the graves together like it was some family get together.
'If they start chanting, I'm getting the fuck out of here.' Richie thought to himself warily as he watched on with bated breath.
Thankfully, the children didn't stay for long. They scattered as soon as the wind blew out the light from their torches, which was spooky in itself.
As soon as the coast was clear, Richie went back for Eddie. He got back to the car and gingerly unbuckled him from his seat, taking him out and carrying him like he did before, then headed back the way he just came.
This time, it was easier to navigate the woods. Whether it was because he'd already done it before and remembered the path to go or because he had a newfound determination with Eddie in his arms.
When he got to that clearing, he followed the blue light up the hill to find a burial ground. He gently put Eddie on the floor, already knowing how much he'd bitch at him for putting him on the dirty ground, and took off his jacket before starting to dig a hole with his hands.
He was sweating and exhausted by the time he'd finished, covered from head to in dirt but he had no time to stop. It was almost fully nightfall and if there was one thing comic books taught him, it was weird voodoo shit only happened at night, it was just his luck that a full moon was out tonight.
Richie picked up Eddie for the last time. He didn't put him in the hole straight away, he just stared down at the man's face through his bloodied glasses. If it wasn't for the fact he was so pale, Eddie just looked like he was sleeping. Richie leaned down and placed a hesitant kiss on the temple of his forehead. It was then he felt how cold the other man was. To give him a little bit of warmth, he picked up his jacket and covered Eddie's form with it.
"I'll see you tomorrow, Eddie Spaghetti."
With that, he put the shorter man in the hole and covered him.
Now all he had to do was wait.
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
That night Richie slept in his car that was now parked discretely next to the woods. He didn't want to get a ticket or be told by some buttfuck Sheriff to move along when he was waiting for Eddie to come back for him.
His sleep was plagued with nightmares, Eddie's final moments flashed in his minds eye over and over again causing him to be fitful and tossing in his already uncomfortable car seat.
He woke up the next morning with a stiff back and a killer headache. With a groan, he reached into his glove compartment for his emergency cigarettes and put one between his lips before lighting it. He took a deep draw of it to soothe his nerves before checking his cell phone to distract him. There were multiple messages and missed calls from the rest of the losers' club but he couldn't face any of them right now because if this worked, he wanted them to see for themselves but if it didn't… He didn't want to consider that possibility.
The mist from the night had cleared with the morning sky and the town actually looked fairly peaceful, like nothing bad had ever happened here. It was easy to forget about the creepy graveyard only minutes from their centre.
Richie sat in silence as he finished his cigarette, finally letting the dust settle. He thanked God that no one did stop him in his car because he looked like he just committed a murder, still covered in dirt and blood. He took off his glasses and looked down at the lenses. They were still splattered with Eddie's blood. The sight caused his chest to tighten and made breathing difficult.
Shaking himself out his thoughts, he got a wipe from his glove compartment and cleaned them off before putting them back on.
He decided he'd wasted enough time and got out of his car.
Time for the moment of truth.
Richie walked all the way back into the woods to where he buried Eddie. The sight that met him shocked him.
There was an empty hole with nothing but his jacket in it.
He didn't know what to think at first, his brain just short-circuited. He was elated that it had worked but also worried as hell that Eddie was walking around all alone in the woods, and Richie didn't even know what state he was in; did he still have a big hole in his chest? Could he remember everything that happened?
Was he scared?
Richie knew he had to find him fast.
With that, he took off searching.
For hours, Richie ran around like a headless chicken. He stopped against a random tree, leaning against it to try and catch his breath back. He was wrecked with worry. There was no sign of Eddie anywhere.
The woods were too big to look alone, he had to get back up.
Admitting defeat, he finally went back to the car and got his phone to text everyone.
'Dickwads, I know we just got over beating that evil ass clown but I need help. - R' He then texted his address and waited.
"Richie!" Bev called out when she seen him standing by his car. She slammed the car door shut and rushed over to him, pulling him into a hug. "When you disappeared, we just thought the worse." She said, muffled by his shoulder. When she pulled away, she smacked him in the arm. "Why didn't you answer your phone!" She demanded.
By then, all the gang had gotten out of their collective rides and were approaching with equally concerned looks.
"Look I'll explain everything later but right now, we need to find Eddie!" Richie told them in a hurry. He watched all their faces fall collectively but before anyone could lecture him again about 'Eddie being gone,' he spoke up again. "I know it sounds batshit crazy but I brought him back. I think he's lost in the woods somewhere."
The losers' all shared a glance.
"Whu-what are y-you talking about, ruh-richie?" Bill asked tentatively.
"It's not important! All I know is I buried him in this spooky burial ground and this morning, the hole was empty." Richie said, looking more and more antsy as the conversation went on. They were wasting time and Eddie could be anywhere right now. He just wanted to see his friend alive and well again.
"What the hell were you thinking, man?!" Mike exclaimed, startling those around him. "We just got rid of one evil in the world and you wanna mess around with crap like this?"
Richie stood his ground and shot over to Mike like a dart, getting in his face. "If it brought Eddie back, I'd fucking bring the clown back and invite him back to my goddamn house." He gritted out, sounding more serious than any of them have ever heard him. "Now are you gonna help me or not?"
That is how everyone ended up in the woods together looking for their formerly dead friend. Bill and Richie were the first to venture in, followed by Ben who was basically cradling a shaken-up Bev, with Mike trailing the back looking none too pleased.
They all witnessed the empty hole with nothing but a jacket in it and split up from there.
They searched for what felt like hours before Richie lost his temper. He kicked a nearby dead tree, startling Bill next to him.
"H-hey," Bill said gently, putting a comforting hand on his shoulder. "If h-he's out here, we'll fuh-find him."
"I just can't lose him again, Bill.." Richie replied brokenly. He didn't let it comprehend that Eddie was dead so if he couldn't find him now, it was like admitting he was gone and he just couldn't do that. He may have forgotten Eds the first time but there was no way to erase his memory now.
"I-I know, bud."
Their moment was cut short by rustling in the bushes a few metres away from them. At first, Richie just thought it was one of the guys coming to tell him they'd found nothing but he figured they would've said something right now. The person on the other side was silent.
Richie slowly walked over to where the noise was coming from and peeled back the bushes only to lay eyes on him.
Chapter 4: Chapter 4
There he was. Eddie, in the flesh… sort of.
It was clearly him but at the same time, it looked nothing like him. He was just as pale as he was when he was dead and he was covered in dirt, just like Richie, maybe even more so. The Eddie they all knew and loved would be having an absolute fit over that fact but this one looked calm. Too calm for someone who was just brought back from the grave.
"Eds?" Richie asked, sounding like a child again. He tentatively approached the other man who just stared through him. That never happened either.
Even if it was in disgust, anger or affection, Richie always had Eddie's full attention. He never just stared through him as if he wasn't even there.
Still, he didn't make any movement as Richie approached.
Richie stopped when he was in front of the shorter man and reached out to touch his shoulder to just confirm that it was really him. He was really alive. When his hand made solid contact, he let out a relieved sigh and pulled Eddie into a bone-crushing hug, lifting a hand to cradle his head like he did in the underground cavern. He was so cold but it just felt so good to hold him again.
"I…" Eddie croaked out, his voice hoarse. "hate it when you call me that."
The tears finally started to stream down Richie's face as he let out a broken laugh.
“H-Holy sh-sh-sh.. SHIT!” Bill broke the moment by exclaiming. His face was one of pure shock. Despite the fact they’d previously just battled a God-like creature, he clearly couldn’t wrap his head around Eddie being brought back from the dead. In Richie’s mind, it was just like when Ben saved Bev from the deadlights.
Eddie’s eyes left Richie’s and focused his cold stare to the source of the voice. He didn’t make any other movement, even after Richie let go of him.
“E-Eddie, is that r-ruh-really you?” Bill asked hesitantly as he stepped closer to the other man but that seemed to trigger something in him because Eddie let out an inhuman noise that was close to a cat’s hiss which stopped Bill in his tracks.
“Eds, its okay…” Richie said gently, trying to get his attention back to him again. When Eddie ignored him and continued to glare at what he deemed to be a threat, Richie put his hand to his still cut face and forced him to face him. A brief flashback of doing the same to him when Pennywise was trying to kill him when they were children popped into his head before he pushed it away. Memories seemed to just come and go the longer he was in Derry but they hit him especially hard when he was around Eddie.
He remembered sneaking into his room when Sonia deemed Eddie too sick to go out and play with his friends, he remembered getting called a ‘faggot’ by kids at school whenever he tried to sling his arm around the smaller boy’s shoulder in the hallways, he remembered hours spent listening to his records and annoying Eddie when he was trying to do his homework. Only, the thing was, he didn’t want to remember. His life was a whole lot easier when he didn’t remember being in love with his best friend.
“It’s okay.” He repeated, keeping his tone calm and patient. He had no idea what it did to a person to have died and be brought back so he wanted to keep everything as peaceful as possible. He didn’t want Eddie to be anymore scared than he probably already was.
His actions seemed to settle Eddie again because he stopped hissing at Bill and simply stared back at Richie.
“Let’s just go to the car, okay? We’ll get you back to the hotel and in a shower, all clean and warm, huh?” Richie asked. It sounded as if he were talking to a small child, but he was trying to be as delicate as possible. He’d got the biggest scare of his life yesterday and he didn’t want to risk losing Eddie again.
As soon as Richie seen the barest of nods from Eddie, he dropped his hand from his cheek and instead wrapped his arm around his shoulders to lead him away from the woods.
“I’ll get him back to Derry, you okay with rounding everybody up and explaining what happened?” He asked Bill quietly as they passed him. Thinking back to it, this is probably the quietest Richie has ever been in his life – and the longest he’s ever went without making some stupid joke.
“S-sure, man.” Bill agreed, stepping out of their way as to not upset Eddie again.
“Thanks. We’ll see you back at the hotel.” Richie told him before moving on with the smaller man held closely next to him.
The walk back to the car was done in silence. For once in his life, Richie couldn’t think of anything to say to break the tension. A million words ran through his head of what he wanted to say but he couldn’t string a sentence together even if a gun was to his head.
It was ironic because when Eddie was dead, all he’d thought about was all the things he wanted to tell him but was too chicken to and now he was actually here, Richie was mute.
When they got back to the car, Richie silently helped Eddie inside to the passenger seat before getting in the drivers. However, he didn’t drive away right away. He just stared straight ahead at the road before them, contemplating his thoughts.
“Are you okay?” Richie finally broke the silence. “Like really?”
Eddie kept on staring at him and in any other circumstance, Richie would be thrilled to have his attention like this but it wasn’t like before. Everything still felt different.
“I’m dead.” Eddie finally spoke, sound so stoic it was hard to read any emotion from his voice at all. It was hard to even tell a human had spoken.
That got Richie to meet his gaze but his face showed nothing but pain.
“Eds..” He shook his head, resisting the urge to reach out and touch him again. “No. I…I fixed you, you’re alright now.” He explained softly but he wasn’t sure whether he was trying to convince the other man or himself at this point.
“I don’t… feel.” Eddie simply said. His sentences fell dead after every syllable.
“What do you mean?” Richie asked concerned.
“Empty.” Eddie stated, raising his hand to point at his chest.
Richie didn’t know what to make of that. Slowly, he reached over to touch Eddie again, silently asking him with his gaze if it was alright to cross that boundary again. He’d practically cradled him all the way to the car but now that they were in such a close space, it felt different. When he got no response whatsoever, he took the plunge and touched his chest. Under his palm he felt a steady heartbeat. “Feel that, Eds?” He asked with a nervous smile creeping onto his lips. When Eddie still stared through him and gave him no other response, Richie thought he didn’t believe him so he took Eddie’s hand and put it to his own chest. “It’s not empty.”
Eddie held his hand to his chest for a few seconds before smiling softly. That seemed good enough for Richie so he dropped his own hand and put it back on the steering wheel.
“Come on, you just need a shower to get you back to your bitchy little self.” Richie joked but it fell flat in the silence of the car. He had to just keep telling himself that Eddie had been through something no one would ever be able to understand so he obviously wasn’t going to be back to normal for a little while.
Richie flicked on the radio to try and ease the tension in the car before driving back to Derry where, hopefully, everything would be normal again.
He could only hope.
Chapter 5: Chapter 5
In all the years that they'd been friends, there had never been an awkward silence between Richie and Eddie. Richie was either cracking jokes or doing his many voices to annoy Eddie and, on good days, force a smile out of him or it was Eddie ranting about something or another, whether it was school, his overbearing mother or the hundred different ways to contract the flu. Point is, they were always talking, and if they weren't then there was a comfortable silence where they both just enjoyed being in the others' company.
It was never like this.
The drive to Derry felt tense and awkward from Richie's perspective. He nervously tapped his fingers along the steering wheel to the song currently playing on the rock station. It was no Little Richard but it served the purpose of filling the deathly quietness. Meanwhile, Eddie just stared out of the window, barely moving whatsoever.
Richie didn't exactly expect Eddie to be doing somersaults after his ordeal but he expected… something. The man had died, for God's sake! He shouldn't be sitting casually like they were going on a fucking road trip or something. The most concerning thing was what he said about being empty and not feeling. Shouldn't he be like scared or astounded? Richie questioned. He decided that Eddie just wasn't ready to talk about it yet. However that didn't stop his trashmouth from spilling open,
"So what's it like to die?" He asked, cursing himself inwardly the second the words left his lips.
"Cold." Eddie answered curtly.
It reminded him of when Eddie was pissed off and wouldn't want to talk to Richie. It didn't happen a lot – not Eddie being pissed off, that was a daily occurrence – but sometimes when Richie went too far about his mom, or ignored the 'beep beep' that usually put a stop to his ever-running gob talker, Eddie would give him the cold shoulder. Usually all it took to get the shorter boy to forgive him was an 'I'm sorry' ice cream cone or sneaking into his room with some comics. However, despite how quiet he was being, Eddie didn't look pissed off.
"Are you still cold?" Richie asked, more to just keep Eddie talking. He tried to convince himself that if they could just talk like they used to then things would go back to normal.
"But you're not dead anymore." Richie's reminder was answered with more silence. He let out a long sigh and turned to look at Eddie briefly before turning back to the road.
"Look Eds, I don't know what you're going through and I'm not gonna try and pretend like I do, but I do want to help you." Richie told him earnestly. It seemed to get his attention as he could see from the corner of his eye Eddie turning to face him again. "So I'm here for you, bud. Whatever you need."
There was a pause before Eddie reached over to rest his cold hand on Richie's arm. It felt like appreciation – a silent thank you.
All of a sudden, the silence became comfortable again.
Richie helped Eddie out of the car and into his room at the townhouse. He didn't want to risk putting him in his own room again even though there was no longer a threat since Henry and It were dead but it just felt… too soon, to leave him alone just yet.
Eddie didn’t protest to anything, he simply followed.
“You can take the first shower, just don’t be a little bitch and use all the hot water. I know I’m already hot as fuck but I still need some heat to get all this shit off me.” Richie joked as he moved around his room getting everything set for Eddie. He grabbed a couple of blankets and a pillow from the big bed to take over to the sofa. It went without saying that he’d let Eddie have the bed, god knows the poor guy needed some sense of normalcy.
Richie glanced over his shoulder to look at Eddie only to see him still standing at the doorway. He looked so lost.
“Eddie.” He spoke softly, turning to fully face the other man again. “What’s up, man?” He bit back the urge to make a joke about calling his mom to help bathe him. He knew he wouldn’t get the reaction he wanted which was either seething rage or a genuine laugh so there was no point.
Eddie just looked down at his still-bloodied shirt. He reached up to play with the hem nervously but made no other movement. “Scared to look.” He stated.
Richie had to admit, he wasn’t expecting that. He didn’t even stop to think the condition Eddie was walking around in, he just assumed that since he was walking around that everything had just fixed itself but no matter what way he looked at it, he did some dark satanic shit to bring Eddie back. That usually came with a price in the fictional world. Who knew what happened to his wound? He was brought back from the fucking dead so it was possible that there was still a giant hole still in his torso.
He carefully approached Eddie and touched his injured cheek. It was meant to be in jest like before in the sewer but the man didn’t so much as flinch but he did meet Richie’s eyes again.
“Let’s look together, okay? You’ve always been an airhead anyway so it wont change much if more of you is hollowed out.” Richie quipped, feeling elated when Eddie let out the briefest of smiles. It gave him the confidence to reach down and take the hem of Eddie’s shirt out of his hands and slowly raise it up.
He felt beads of sweat starting to form on his giant ass forehead for two reasons. One was, of course, the clearest reason that Eddie was walking around like a real-life zombie with pieces missing and how the hell could he have a normal life like that? The guy afraid of every infection going forced to live with the world’s most severe open wound? And it wasn’t like he could go to a hospital like that, the doctors would see that there was no way a person could survive something like that and he’d be fucking experimented on like E.T. or something!
The other reason was that, any time he’d let himself think about taking Eddie’s shirt off – before completely repressing the thought because there’s no way in hell his best friend wouldn’t be disgusted that he was a dirty fucking flamer - it didn’t exactly go like this.
Shaking those thoughts out of his head, he lifted Eddie’s shirt and they both took a sigh of relief when there was nothing but flesh showing. Not so much as a stray splatter of blood on his skin.
“See? Nothing to worry about!” Richie said with feigned confidence as if he had no worries to begin with.
“Thanks, Richie.” Eddie replied softly.
Richie sent shot him a small smile and patted his shoulder before going back to his task and letting Eddie finally go into the bathroom.
Once he was alone, he flopped down on the couch and rested his head in his hands.
All his emotions were just so heightened from the scare he got from almost having Eddie die so if it was hard to keep his emotions in check before, it was going to be damn near impossible now.
But he couldn’t be selfish. Eddie needed someone to help him through this period of his life and he wasn’t going to ruin his trust in him by confessing some bullshit feelings.
He’d choke it all down. After all, he had years of practice.
Chapter 6: Chapter 6
Richie had been avoiding Eddie’s gaze when he stepped back into the room so it had been quite the shock to him when he turned around to take his own shower to see him standing there, covered in nothing but a towel and soaking wet.
“Dude what the fuck?!” Richie exclaimed, automatically covering his eyes in an act of gay panic. He felt his face heating up at the glimpse he got but he could just play it off as embarrassed if called out.
When he’d lifted Eddie’s shirt before it had been different, he was looking to see if he still had a massive gaping hole through him so it was impossible to see him in an attractive light. However, walking into his room looking like a fucking forty-year-old John Wick, it… well let’s just say it put him in a pretty hard situation that would be difficult to brush off with a joke.
“What?” Eddie answered casually as he shuffled around the room to get his pyjamas from his suitcase.
“Why are you fucking ripped, man? We’re forty, we’re not supposed to look like…” Richie trailed off, his brain shutting off and leaving him hanging. He decided to take the safest route and end the sentence quickly so he wouldn’t focus too much on what was being said. “you.”
He heard Eddie softly laughing and he couldn’t fight back his own grin. The only thing better than making Eddie argue with him was making him laugh. Making thousands of people laugh for his job didn’t even compare.
“Get in your fucking shower so I can get changed, Richie.” Eddie said with a smile in his voice.
No longer than the words left his mouth did Richie comply. He shuffled by with his eyes glued to the ground until he shut the bathroom door.
He finally felt himself finally relax when he stepped under the hot spray of the shower. It had been a hell of a week and somehow, everything managed to work out alright. Eddie was okay and so were the rest of the guys. Now that he thought about it, Richie made a mental note to send them all an update text on how everything was going. He was sure they were just as worried about Eddie as he was.
He washed all the blood and grim off him and felt like he was washing away all the crap from his past away. They'd finally beaten that fucking clown, for good this time, and their lives go on.
Only, he didn't know what he was going to do with his life now.
Did he just go back to California and pretend none of this happened? Did he just call the rest of the Losers on holidays to find out what the hell they were doing with their lives, if Ben and Bev finally dealt with their own shit and got together, if Bill finished his movie, if any of them were going to Stan's funeral? Did he leave Eddie behind?
If anything, that wasn't going to happen.
But surely he wanted to go back to see his mom-wife hybrid and his boring as hell job.
He let out a deep sigh. That was going to be an awkward conversation… but it could wait till tomorrow. For now, he just wanted to bask in the fact that they won and everybody came out reasonably unscathed.
After stepping out of the shower, Richie quickly dried himself off and changed into a loose shirt before he made his way into the bedroom only to find it in a much different state than he’d left it.
The suitcase was put away, their discarded shoes and jackets were hung up near the door, the blanket on the sofa was folded perfectly.
He shot his eyes over to the culprit who was currently snuggled under the duvet, looking far too small for the double bed.
“Did you clean up?” Richie asked incredulously, looking back over the room in disbelief. Of course, even after the little germaphobe came back from the dead, his first instinct would be to fucking clean.
“Just because you live like a pig in shit doesn’t mean I should.” Eddie snapped, sounding a lot more like his old self.
Richie shook his head in amusement before walking over to Eddie and ruffling his hair. “Never change.” He said softly. Just as he was about to pull away and go over to the couch, Eddie’s hand shot out and grabbed his wrist and suddenly he looked like his twelve-year-old self, staring up at him with big brown eyes.
It reminded him of when Mrs K. grounded Eddie for some bullshit reason just because she didn’t want him to spend time with his pals and had to stick with her, Richie would sneak into his bedroom with comics and a Walkman so they could both read and listen to music until the wee hours of the morning. It was only when Richie had to go to sneak back into his own room, before his parents found that he was gone when they tried to wake him up, that Eddie would grab his hand and stare up at him pleadingly. “Just five more minutes, Rich.” He’d always ask and who was Richie to say no?
The memory hit him full force, having blanked on it for twenty-seven years, and made his heart freeze in his chest. For a second, he thought he would have to dig out Eddie’s old inhaler for a hit.
“What do you want, Eds?” He asked gently, making no move to take his hand away.
“Stay.” Eddie pleaded with the same gentle voice as before. “Just for five minutes.”
And those were the magic words.
“Okay,” Richie agreed gently, patting Eddie’s hand to let him know it was okay to let go. “I’m just gonna make a quick phone call then I’ll be right back, bud.” That seemed to appease the shorter man enough to let him go. Looking down at him all snuggled up in the duvet, Richie’s heart skipped another beat.
He quickly stepped outside to fill in the rest of the Losers on the phone. When he came back inside, Eddie was still awake, watching the door carefully.
Without a word, Richie went to the empty side of the bed with his breath held. This didn’t seem so weird when they were kids but sharing a bed as adults was like the start of one of his bad dirty jokes. He slipped under the covers next to Eddie, making sure to keep space between them, and lay on his back.
“Night, Eds.” He whispered after he took off his glasses and put them on his bedside table. What happened next made him freeze.
Eddie leaned over and rested his head on his shoulder and his arm around his waist.
Chapter 7: Chapter 7
The next morning Richie woke up to an empty bed. For a minute, he thought he’d dreamed about falling asleep with his feral little gremlin next to him. It had certainly happened when they were young so it was possible it happened again.
He let out a sigh and ran his hand through his hair, staring up at the ceiling as he tried to wake up.
The sound of the door closing broke him out of his train of thought. He turned to the source of the noise to find Eddie standing there in shorts – it had to be fucking shorts – and a tight shirt. He looked like he’d just been out running.
“Eddie what the hell?!” Richie exclaimed as he shot out of the bed, grabbing his glasses and sticking them on to see if he was seeing straight. “The fuck are you running for? Felt my huge dick last night and trying to run away from your gay thoughts?” Although he made the question in jest, there was some truth to it. He worried if Eddie felt too weird about them sleeping next to each other and wanted to get away from him in any way possible.
For a second, Eddie looked just as apathetic as he did when Richie found him in the woods and then, like a switch, his face morphed into a scowl.
“What are you, fucking twelve?” He snapped, waving his hands wildly in a way that made Richie smile. “Besides, the only thing you could get a boner for is your own Netflix specials.”
“They don’t call it stand-up for nothing.” Richie quipped back almost on instinct. He knew he could’ve bantered back and forth for hours so he had to force himself to focus on the matter at hand. “That isn’t the point! You almost died almost two days ago, dude! You shouldn’t be moving around so much.” He said with a more concerned tone, automatically stepping towards Eddie to make sure he was still okay but stopping himself from getting too touchy-feely. He slept in a bed with him last night for the first time as adults, he didn’t want to overstep the unspoken boundaries.
“Mike was in the hospital and he was still walking around the next day.” Eddie pointed out in the same bitchy way he always did when he thought he was in the right.
“Yeah, to look for your supposed dead body walking around like something outta the walking fucking dead.” Richie shot back smartly.
“You gonna fucking hold my hand on the way to the airport too? I have shit to do, Richie!” Eddie snapped before turning away to get his suitcase again, clearly having already decided the conversation was over.
However his words seemed to stun Richie. “You’re still going back?” He asked in a voice so quiet, he didn’t even recognise it as his own. He couldn’t help it, he just thought… Well he didn’t want to go over what he thought because it was obvious Eddie was just going back to his old shitty life and leaving them all behind again.
Whether it was the question or the pathetic way it had slipped out, Eddie froze in his tracks. He didn’t even turn around to face Richie.
“Yes.” He answered simply.
It was clear to Richie that he was trying to shut down this argument before it even began but he wasn’t letting him go that easily.
“Why?” Richie demanded. If nothing else, he had to know that after… everything, why Eddie would want to go back. Why Eddie would want to leave him- and the others.
“Because I want to be normal.” He replied softly, his back still facing the other man.
Richie wasn’t having any of it though, he grabbed Eddie’s shoulder and forced him to turn and look at him. “That’s bullshit!” He snapped, all his hurt showing itself on his face as plain as day. He felt like he was about to lose Eddie all over again and it scared him shitless. He didn’t want to go back to his life with the knowledge he had now. “Your life isn’t normal, its dull! You work at a boring job, you don’t have any friends, your wife-“
Before he could continue his rant, Eddie cut in harshly.
“It is normal! It isn’t meeting up with a group of friends you couldn’t fucking remember for twenty-seven years to fight a demonic clown! It isn’t dying and waking up alone in the dirt! It isn’t-“ Eddie stopped himself short before he could continue. He just waved his hand between them both. “this.”
Richie couldn’t believe what he was hearing. All he wanted was Eddie – was for all his friends – to be happy, even if it didn’t involve him, but he knew for a fact that he wasn’t in that life. Still, because he was emotionally constipated, he didn’t know how to express that so he did the only thing he knew how to: Act like it didn’t affect him.
“You know what? You’re right. I mean, if I had tail like Myra waiting at home I wouldn’t want to keep that waiting.” He said, pulling out the oldest trick he had in the book. Use Eddie’s guardian as a way to get under his skin. Only, this time when he joked, he couldn’t keep the bitterness out of his voice. “Just like good ol’ Mrs. K. Bet they have the same moves, I’ll have to stop by and compare but she might kick you to the curb once she’s had some of my monster co-“
“Shut the fuck up, Richie!” Eddie screamed as he pushed the taller man away from him forcefully. “You don’t know anything about my life and you don’t know me anymore!”
“I know you’re still a scared little bitch.” Richie hissed. He knew his words were biting but they were also lies. Eds really was the bravest person he’d ever met but he just knew that pointing out his fears would hurt him and that’s all he wanted, because him leaving hurt him. “Can’t live without mommy so you shack up with the first broad that wants to keep you suffocated up in bubble-wrap as much as her.”
“It’s not my fault you’re fucking in love with me or something!” Eddie snapped back, both of them getting in each other’s face.
The argument seemed to be getting one wrong word away from fists swinging but Eddie’s dig rendered him speechless.
Richie knew he was just saying it to be a dick, he knew it, but the words rang too close to the truth for him to have a rebuttal.
The air around them was filled with tension that couldn’t even be cut with a knife.
“I’m going for a shower.” Eddie bit out, finally breaking the stare off.
“Oh big surprise.” Richie shot back sarcastically, trying to save face after his blunder. “And make sure you wash that blood off your neck this time.” He pointed out the blood splatter still on the back of his neck just to piss Eddie off that bit more.
Eddie’s expression hardened once again but he didn’t say anything more. Instead he just stormed into the bathroom and slammed the door shut.
When he was finally alone, Richie let himself deflate against the sofa in the room. A million thoughts ran through his mind. He didn’t think of this when he brought Eddie back but if he could go back in time, he’d do it again… Actually if he could go back in time, he’d fucking make sure that clown was dead when they were kids so none of them grew up alone and two sevenths of the group didn’t marry clones of their parents. But still, at least Eddie was still alive. Richie knew he never had a chance with him anyway so it was probably best they lived two completely different lives.
No matter how much he tried to convince himself this was for the best, his heart continued to ache.
He felt himself becoming numb even after Eddie emerged from the bathroom again – fully clothed this time, thank god.
He kept his eyes on the wall in front of him as Eddie started to pack his things.
And when he said goodbye, Richie simply nodded. He couldn’t bring himself to say the word back.
He decided that if Eddie could just pick up his life where he left off and act like nothing happened then so could he.
After wallowing in his self-pity for an hour, he decided to pick himself up and book a flight home.
Except, he actually did the decent thing and went to see the rest of the guys before he left though.
He exchanged numbers with all of them and promised to keep in touch but they all seemed to understand why he had to go.
And when he was sitting on the flight to take him back to California, Richie finally let himself cry.
Chapter 8: Chapter 8
The next few days all hazed into one long ass day for Richie. The feeling of numbness followed him back from Derry. He would have thought he would have felt some sort of accomplishment from killing the clown once and for all but he knew in his heart what was wrong.
He missed Eddie.
He distracted himself by keeping up with the rest of the guys. He’d found out that Bill was back at home with Audra, Ben and Bev had finally sorted their shit out and stuck together when everybody went back home, and Mike was making a full recovery. That, at the very least, made him feel better.
However, reading about the recent Derry deaths on his phone made his tension shoot back up. Apparently there had been multiple murders before they had all left and it had just got pinned on the deceased Henry Bowers, a last act of violence before he had been killed.
He was just glad to finally be out of that hellhole.
Other than that, he carried on with his day like any other. He called his agent and apologised for disappearing off the grid, promising to be back to work first thing Monday morning, convincing himself that as soon as he got back into the swing of his current life, the sooner he would forget about the old one and everything in it – although he would let himself catch up with everybody around holidays and no doubt an invite to Haystack and Bev’s wedding would arrive at his doorstep soon.
A week later, his plan was actually starting to work. He was back at work, sitting with a group of writers and writing new material for his next tour. Everything was fine, everything was… normal.
It was only when he was sitting in his shitty studio apartment at night with a bowl of ramen noodles and the tv on in the background that the loneliness kicked in.
It became routine for him until one night, the ringing of his phone broke him out of his depressing ritual.
Richie just assumed it would’ve been his agent at this time so he answered automatically.
He immediately sat up, already on full alert. Richie didn’t think he was gonna hear that voice again, let alone sounding so scared and small.
“Eds?” He breathed out, still unable to process that he was calling him. “H-how.. What’s up? Are you okay?”
“I quit my job and left Myra, Rich.” Eddie confessed, sounding way out of breath, most likely clutching a back-up inhaler in his hands as they spoke.
“Holy shit.” Not the best response he could have given but it was all Richie could say. He had assumed that after their fight, Eddie was gonna go back into full repression mode and live the rest of his life in misery with a woman he didn’t love.
“Yeah.” Eddie agreed, still just as breathless but with a smile in his voice as if he was charmed by Richie’s last of tact. “Look I know we didn’t end things on good terms but I don’t know who else to turn to. Do you think I could stay with you till I figure out what the fuck I’m gonna do?”
Richie blinked twice dumbly. He couldn’t believe what he’d just heard. It was like a dream come true, Eddie moving in with him. Yeah the little gremlin would bitch at him for leaving his towels on the floor and he probably couldn’t cook for shit since his mom never let him near anything hot growing up and he’d probably fill up the entire TiVo with boring documentaries and shit, but he’d be here. And on the plus side, he was small so he wouldn’t take up too much room.
It was only when Richie heard Eddie clear his throat on the other side of the phone that he realised he’d yet to give an answer.
“Yes!” Richie exclaimed a little too excitedly. He immediately tried to play down his reaction. “Uh yeah sure, whatever. Just don’t pack too many of your tampons, im struggling for bathroom space as it is.” He quipped and could practically hear Eddie’s eye-roll from the other side of the phone.
The way he said his name warmed Richie in a way he hadn’t felt since they shared a bed.
“What are best buds for?” Richie asked rhetorically with a soft smile determined to stay on his lips. “When can you get a flight out?”
“There’s one leaving tomorrow morning. I could be there by tomorrow night.”
“Just text me your times when you book it and I’ll be there to pick you up.” Richie promised, already standing to start clearing up his pig sty. He didn’t want Eddie to freak the fuck out when he seen the mess of the place he was going to be staying for god knew how long. He plopped his bowl in the sink with his free hand and started to run the water to fill it up. “By the way, how did you get my digits?” He asked as soon as he realised that he hadn’t given Eddie his number.
“Bill.” Eddie said simply as if it answered everything.
They wrapped up the conversation quickly after that and Richie ran around like a headless chicken trying to straighten the place up. He hadn’t actually cleaned in… He didn’t even know how long. He didn’t have any guests and he was usually away for long periods of time touring or recording comedy skits and specials.
It was only when he hoovering the place that he thought about Eddie asking Bill for his number. That meant he was clearly still in contact to Bill and talking to him yet he didn’t ask to stay with him. Maybe it was stupid to hope but it seemed like it was only him Eddie was willing to bunk up with. The very thought made him feel elated.
He knew nothing was going to happen between them but to have his best friend back in his life again just to hang out with was the best news he’d had in a really fucking long time.
He was so excited that he could barely sleep that night but eventually, he did.
The next day seemed to fly in.
Richie jumped in for a quick shower and dried himself off, sticking his towel over the door instead of on the floor like he usually would.
He then rushed to get himself dressed before leaving to jump in his car and drive to the airport.
Once he was there, he felt himself getting nervous. Every few minutes he was either adjusting his glasses or bouncing on the heels of his feet.
It felt like hours had passed before he spotted a vey familiar red hoodie in the crowd.
“Eds!” He called out, cupping his hands over his mouth as he did.
The shorter man immediately met his eyes and smiled in a way that made Richie melt a little inside.
When Eddie approached him the first thing he said was, “I’ve told before not to fucking call me that.” Before pulling him into a tight embrace.
It was far too emotional for Richie not to start leaking tears like a little bitch so he was quick to change the hug into a noogie, running his knuckle over Eddie’s head and messing up his hair.
“Who you kidding man? I could call you Betty and you’d still like it.” He shot with a wide smile as Eddie struggled to get out of his hold.
“Fuck you bro!” Eddie exclaimed before jabbing Richie in the stomach, not enough to hurt but enough to make him release his hold and for him to free himself.
There display had caught the attention of a few groups of people around them but they couldn’t notice from how much they were smiling at each other.
“Well, Master Kaspbark, let me escort to you to your new digs.” Richie said in his ‘Jeevs’ voice, playing the full part of the butler to the extent of taking Eddie’s bags from him and leading him out of the airport and to his car.
The drive to the apartment went smoothly. They mostly talked about Ben and Bev finally getting together and how frustrating it was to see them pining as kids, knowing they clearly liked each other but were both too much of a pussy to do anything about it.
When they finally arrived outside the building, Richie carried Eddie’s bags up the multiple flights of stairs. He figured the poor guy was probably still shook up from the abrupt change in his life.
“I know it’s not much but…” Richie started to explain after he unlocked the front door and let Eddie in.
“Is Trashmouth actually nervous?” Eddie said in disbelief, ending his rhetorical question with a whistle. “Never thought I’d see the day.” He finished with a smirk.
Richie rolled his eyes good-naturedly before moving past him with the bags in tow. “Only thing I ever got nervous about was popping boners in front of your mom, dude.”
“Gross.” Eddie scoffed.
They fell almost immediately into routine.
Richie helped Eddie unpack all of his stuff, having cleared out a few drawers the night before for this very reason, and Eddie went on an inspection to see how clean his new living space was. He seemed fairly content with the state of the place before he came across the towel on the door.
“Uh uh. No way.” Eddie tutted, pulling the towel down roughly and waving it at Richie. “Have you ever heard of Legionnaires' disease? That’s exactly what you’re gonna get leaving towels to hang like this. Don’t you have a hamper?” He asked, his words rushing out one after the other.
Richie couldn’t help but be charmed by it. Eddie always spoke fast when he was in his hypochondriac mode. It was a relief to see nothing had changed.
“I’ll buy one tomorrow.” He said with a soft smirk.
It seemed to appease Eddie enough to drop the subject.
The rest of the night was just like one of their sleepovers as kids.
Richie cooked his shitty ramen and they got changed into pyjamas before parking it in front of the television, watching some generic superhero movie before falling asleep against each other on the sofa.
And for once since sharing a bed with the other man, Richie slept with no nightmares.
Chapter 9: Chapter 9
The next month felt like bliss to Richie. He didn't know when it happened but not only were him and Eddie living together, they were co-habituating.
When Richie woke up together the next morning with Eddie already awake and staring down at him, they didn't speak about it but it became some sort of unspoken rule that Eddie would just sleep next to Richie whether it was on the sofa or in the bed.
Richie always fell asleep first and woke up last, he'd yet to have the pleasure of seeing his Eds' sleeping face.
But for once in his adult life, he felt well-rested.
Not only that but he'd taken to cooking like a duck to water since Eddie couldn't and he didn't seem to have much of an appetite so Richie often witnessed him going without food for what seemed like days before he stepped in.
He bought the hamper as promised, as well as hypoallergenic bedsheets – his sneaky plan to get Eddie comfortable enough in bed to actually fall asleep first – and brand new cleaning supplies since the ones he owned where growing stuff that would need to be cleaned with new supplies so he just cut out the middle man and threw them out and bought the ones that were Eddie approved.
And because of these little changes, the apartment stayed happy.
They spent most of their days like kids; playing the PlayStation together – which always led to both of them getting competitive and scream profanities at each other -, staying up all night just to talk, watching Richie's recorded stand-up gigs and taking the absolute piss out of all his cheesy jokes that weren't really his.
Eddie even found his ADHD medicine he’d been taking since college.
“I know right,” Richie commented with a nervous scratch of his head. “back in our day, we didn’t even hear about this shit and now everybody’s got something.” He said, trying to laugh it off.
“I guess it explains why you could never sit still in class for five minutes straight.” Eddie said with a small shrug before putting the medicine back in the cabinet, passing no judgement whatsoever.
It made Richie feel accepted.
After that time just passed by in a blink of an eye.
So it was no surprise to him when Richie's manager and agent started to get pissed off because he wasn't meeting with the writers to work on his material for his new tour. He had half a mind to just cancel the whole thing since it meant leaving Eddie on his own for a couple of months making the same old, "I'm a drunk, pervy bastard" over and over again in every different form.
It was only when Richie wanted to go back to work that things started to get weird. Eddie kept putting his phone on silent so he couldn’t hear when either his agent, manager or writers were trying to get in contact with him and when they did, he would be right there listening to what was being said. Every time he put on the news for some ideas for jokes - he did write some material - because people liked to laugh at current events, Eddie would switch the channel or do something to distract him. Even at night, when he was up late at night on his phone texting his friends – only his new ones since the old ones hadn’t gotten in contact with him again – Eddie would stay awake even if Richie insisted he get some sleep – one time it got to four in the morning before he finally gave in and put his phone down so they could both go to sleep. After all, he was an old man, he couldn’t pull the all-nighters like he used to.
Richie just assumed that he was starting to get separation anxiety for fear that as soon as he went back to work, he would leave Eddie behind.
He decided to put an end to it.
“Hey Eds,” He said one day while the shorter man was in the kitchen doing the dishes from their steak dinner that Richie had cooked. He went up behind him and buzzed his sides, making him jump.
“Don’t fucking do that!” Eddie snapped at him, throwing some bubbles at Richie and getting some over his shoulder. “What do you want, dipshit?” He asked with no real bite in voice, looking over his shoulder to face Richie.
“I’ve got a gig tonight and I was wondering if you wanted to come along?” He questioned almost shyly. “I mean, you can see me up there in my element, that’s sure to give you spank bank material for the next couple of weeks.” He joked, adjusting his glasses on his face to keep his hands from twitching nervously.
Eddie raised his eyebrows at the offer but in the end, shrugged casually and went back to his task with a simple. “Sure.”
Ritchie smiled despite the fact the other man couldn’t see him. He was just happy that he got to bring Eddie along to cheer him on – or, most likely, heckle him – and hopefully it would mean he would stop acting so weird.
With that, he went to the bedroom to get changed into something a little nicer than the stained t-shirt and sweatpants he was wearing.
When it was time for his gig, he booked a cab to drive him and Eddie – who also made a little more effort with his appearance and even let his hair naturally curl at the top – to the comedy club. It was only when he was backstage that he started to feel nervous. He had never felt nervous before a gig before but, then again, he’d never had Eddie watching him – or even remembered Eddie for that matter!
However, when he finally got on stage and seen Eddie’s smiling face, all that nervousness fizzled away into nothingness. Eddie might have hated his Netflix special’s, but those jokes weren’t from him. What he needed to remember was that his jokes usually made his Eds laugh, when they weren’t about his mother. He thought Richie was funny on his own and that was all that mattered.
“So I’ve been gone for a while,” He addressed into the mic, knowing he had to talk about his absence at some point. He decided to take the easier route and lie about his whereabouts but sprinkle some truth. “I was actually visiting where I grew up. It’s in the middle of buttfuck nowhere and it can only be described as ‘80’s as fuck’.” He started, pausing a moment until the laughter from the audience stopped. “So I decided to visit to my childhood home and knocked on the door and asked if I could look around and see what’s changed,” He started the set-up of the joke. “And they fucking slammed the door in my face!” He said, outraged before letting out a scoff and taking the mic off the stand so he could move around with it. “Parents can be so fucking mean sometimes, dude." The laughter up roared and Richie was on a roll.
Throughout his set, he would occasionally look over to Eddie and sometimes he would see him laughing which never failed to stroke his ego.
By the end of the night, he felt on top of the world.
When he’d finished his routine, he bought him and Eddie a few drinks. They drank almost a full bottle of grey goose and Richie was almost on his ass. Eddie, however, didn’t seem the least bit affected. In fact, he was the one who had to carry Richie back into the taxi and tell him his address.
“Eddie Spaghetti,” Richie sang with a big, goofy smile on his face when they were in the back of the cab, leaning back against the seat and reaching over to stroke his face. “You are my favourite ever person. Ever.” He said definitely.
Eddie just smiled at Richie placatingly. “You too, Richie.”
Richie shook his head, not feeling like Eddie really knew how true his words were. He shook so hard that it left his glasses askew which his Eds reached over and immediately fixed for him.
“See? That’s why I love you, dude. You’re so fucking annoying like all the time, but you’re also really sweet and helpful and pretty,” Richie couldn’t stop the word vomit from leaving his mouth and he was too drunk to care. He was still on an emotional high from everything over the last month. His life finally felt complete with Eddie in it and nothing was ever going to take him away. “and funny, you’re the only person that can actually make me laugh instead of the other way around. And I like your hair, and the way you scrunch your nose up when you get mad, or when-“ He could’ve went on for hours just listing all the things he liked about Edward Kaspbrak but it just so happen that said man had to interrupt him.
“I love you too, Richie.” Eddie stated as if it were a mere fact than it was a confession.
It was the only thing that’s ever stunned Richie into complete silence. For once in his life, he didn’t have a quick remark – or any remark for that matter. He just didn’t know what to say and he didn’t want to jinx Eddie taking it back, in case the other man meant it in a brotherly or friend way which he probably did, so he sat in silence with a contented smile.
When they got home, they both started to get ready for bed. Richie stumbled into his pyjamas and he actually managed to get them on without tripping. While Eddie was in the bathroom brushing his teeth, Richie went on his phone just to scroll through Facebook to see if there were any reviews up already about his show. It was only by chance that he seen the name Myra Kaspbrak in an article.
He clicked on it and read all about her untimely death, found lying in a pool of her own blood, in her apartment back in New York City and how her husband had gone off the grid. He sobered up almost instantly. Surely Eddie would have told him about this if he knew anything about it? Wouldn’t he be freaking the fuck out that someone had murdered his wife? Did he even know? No, Richie told himself, he couldn’t have known, or else he wouldn’t be acting like everything was alright. But then again, Eddie never did him how things with Myra ended, he just said he’d left her.
Just then, Eddie came into their room with a smile on his face. It fell as soon as he seen the horror on Richie’s face. “Rich,” He questioned gently as he approached the other man. “What’s wrong?”
Richie looked down at the warm brown eyes that he knew had too much goodness in them to ever do anything evil.
“Myra’s dead.” He stated, hoping with every being of his body that Eddie would freak out as much as he was right now. Then he would know.
However, what he did instead surprised the absolute hell out of Richie.
Eddie pulled on his shirt and kissed him.
Chapter 10: Chapter 10
Richie couldn't process what was happening. One minute, he was telling his best friend that his fucking wife had been murdered and the next, said best friend's lips were on his.
His grip slackened on the phone until it fell out of his hand completely. He couldn't even remember what he was freaking out about. All he could feel was the effects of the alcohol swirling through his body and Eddie's soft lips on his.
He was a weak man, always had been, so he gave into the temptation.
Pulling Eddie closer to him so his smaller body was pressed against his own, he kissed back with all the emotion he'd been harbouring since he was thirteen-goddamn-years-old. He held the little gremlin in his arms like he was something precious as he kissed him tenderly, because he was. Eddie was the most important thing in his life and he would do anything to protect him.
But could he say the same about the other man currently?
Before he could fixate on that thought too long, Eddie was pushing him onto the bed and taking his shirt off, and it was suddenly like every dream he'd had come true.
However, when he was lying there, staring up at the fun-sized Adonis, he was struck with a memory.
"And make sure you wash that blood off your neck this time."
He had said those words to Eddie during their argument and because he had been so pent-up with rage and hurt at the time that he hadn't even processed that the blood was fresh.
"Wait," He muttered quietly, still feeling disorientated. He wished he hadn't drunk so much.
He was about to continue when Eddie climbed on top of him and started to kiss his neck. It felt so good, like Eddie had done this before – but he hadn't.
The Eddie Kaspbark he knew was even deeper in the closet than he was – he married a fucking clone of his own mother, for crying out loud!
Richie knew then that Eddie was doing this on purpose just to distract him. He knew about his feelings and he was manipulating them.
"Eddie. Stop." He said, sounding more serious than he'd ever been. He pushed the shorter man away from him and sat up, adjusting his glasses. "Just," He tried to stay as firm as he'd been before but the words just came out as more deflated than anything else. "Just gimme a minute." He said tiredly, dropping his head into his hands and rubbed his temples.
Richie let out a huge sigh as he contemplated what to do next. Here he had Eddie practically offering himself on a silver platter and he was turning him down, but he had a solid reason. Something wasn't right here and he had to get to the bottom of it.
When he finally raised his head again, he stared Eddie dead in the eyes.
"What happened to Myra?"
Like a switch, Eddie's face morphed into a scared expression. He looked exactly like how he did when Bill was yelling at him after Richie got attacked and he just stood there in fear.
But how quickly he changed into that expression put Richie on edge.
"I told you, Chee, I left her. I just couldn't stop thinking of you," Eddie crept closer to him on the bed once again and moved his hand to touch Richie's shoulder before skimming his fingers over the top of his back and finally brushing through his wild hair. "I wanted to be with you. I love you; don't you love me?"
Richie couldn't help but lean into his touch. He wanted nothing more than to just fall in Eddie's embrace and finally let himself be free after hiding a part of himself from the world. But he knew he couldn't. He knew that Eddie was saying everything he wanted to hear and using his affection as a weapon. He knew it and he still wanted to let himself live out the lie and go back to an easier life where everything was perfect.
When he didn't pull away, Eddie seemed to take that as a good sign and moved closer until his front was pressed against Richie's side. He continued to run his fingers through Richie's hair, watching as his eyes fluttered shut and he relaxed into the touch.
"She was just in our way, Rich. We're together now." Eddie said softly in his ear before tilting his head to kiss him again.
However, the words made him feel like he just had ice water poured over him. His eyes shot open and he stiffened, moving away from Eddie's reach so he wouldn't be distracted again.
"So you did kill her."
“It was a means to an end.” Eddie replied but the way he had said it was so cold and not at all like the Eddie he knew.
Richie couldn’t wrap the situation around his mind. His Eddie would never hurt a fly. He wanted to just squeeze his eyes shut and just pray that this was a nightmare and that everything would go back to normal when he opened them again. Alas, he tried and Eddie’s stoic face stared back at him.
“How could you do that, Eddie?” They both knew it was serious when Richie had gone five whole minutes without giving him a stupid nickname but there was nothing playful about this scenario.
It made it all the more painful to see Eddie’s indifference about the matter. He knew Eddie didn’t love his wife but he would have thought he’d have cared enough about her to… not do this!
“With a knife.” He answered plainly. “Pretty simple.”
Richie’s expression turned to one of total disbelief. “I’m not asking for details! I mean how could you kill your fucking wife?!”
Eddie shrugged. “I told you before, Richie, I don’t feel anything.” He answered, being completely honest for once. There was no use lying now everything was out in the open. “Except this urge to kill. I was trying to go back to my normal life but I kept thinking about you and I just knew I needed to see you again, so I killed two birds with one stone…. And then I killed Myra.”
“Stop making fucking jokes!” Richie snapped at him, standing up from the bed so there was more distance between them. He felt sick to his stomach just hearing how nonchalant Eddie was about the whole thing.
“Sorry,” Eddie said, more to appease Richie than actually feeling remorse. “I didn’t want anyone to try and come between us so I just got rid out of her.”
“And the murders in Derry? The ones they pinned on Henry?” Richie questioned, suddenly feeling like everything was falling into place. It was obvious that Henry had just been after the Losers so those deaths on the news couldn’t have been him, and it explained why Eddie had come back from his ‘run’ with blood still on him after he’d showered the night before.
“The urge was really strong that first night.” Eddie answered.
“Is that what you do on your fucking runs in the morning?!” Richie demanded, feeling his heart racing faster and faster in his chest.
“I don’t kill people anymore!” Eddie tried to defend. “Just animals in the park or something.” He said as if that made things any better.
“Holy shit you’re fucked up.” Richie said in realisation. “You’re just as bad as Bowers. Why the fuck didn’t the rest of the guys tell me about any of this…” He muttered more to himself than Eddie but still, he answered.
“I blocked their numbers from your phone. I couldn’t risk them telling you anything and ruining what we have.” Eddie explained softly as he finally stood from the bed as well and moved closer to Richie who was currently backing up until his back met the wall. “Don’t be afraid, Richie. I may have woken up like this but everything can still be normal. When I get rid of the urge, I can go back to swearing at you or kicking your ass at Mortal Kombat or giving you shoulder massages. I can be whatever you want me to be.” He said with a captivating lilt to his voice. He drew closer until he was once again pressed against Richie, but the other man refused to let himself be pulled into his spell again.
“Put a fucking shirt on, man.” He said desperately as he raised his eyes to pointedly stare up at the ceiling.
Eddie let out a huff but still did as he was told and backed up to go retrieve his discarded nightshirt. While he was putting it on, Richie moved so he was longer trapped against the wall.
“You can’t just act like this is normal, Eddie! You fucking killed people!” Richie exclaimed as he started to pace up and down the room, trying to think of a way to fix this. “Is this why you don’t sleep at night?” He demanded, turning to stare down the other man.
“I don’t sleep at all. I haven’t since I woke up in the ground.” Eddie answered dryly. “Or feel the desire to eat, I just do that to make you feel better but it just feels empty.” He added.
Richie felt like he was just a few more words from a complete mental breakdown so he didn’t ask anymore questions. He knew all of this was really his fault. He fucked with death and brought Eddie back all screwed up in the head. However, he convinced himself that this could be fixed. Okay sure, Eddie might not sleep and he wanted to kill living things but who didn’t have weird quirks? He could take him hunting, Richie thought desperately, and that would fend off his ‘urges’.
“Okay, okay,” Richie said to no one in particular, just trying to put everything into perspective. “Let’s just think. No one can link you to Myra because everyone either thinks you’re missing or dead.” He rationalised. “And the others were already pinned on a dead guy. So you’re off the hook. But those are the last ones, right?” He probed with a desperate look in his eyes.
All Richie wanted was for things to go back to normal. He told himself that he could live with the guilt of having those lives hanging over his head if it meant keeping Eddie. He was willing to do anything for Eddie.
“Right?” Richie questioned with more urgency when Eddie didn’t respond. He breathed out a sigh of relief when the shorter man nodded his head.
With that, Richie went back to the bed. He seen Eddie just standing in the same place, looking unsure if to approach or not, so he flicked his head and gestured for him to join him.
They both got into their usual side of the bed and Richie immediately pulled Eddie close and just held him tightly against his chest as if he feared that if he loosened his grip, Eddie would leave and do something awful again. But he couldn’t let that happen because if it did then someone would take him away from Richie and lock him up or worse, kill him again.
He closed his eyes and tried to force himself to go to sleep but all that happened was the tears he had been holding back finally fell until he was practically sobbing into Eddie’s hair. The other man never even said anything about being covered in tears and snot because they both knew now that he didn’t care about hygiene. It was all an act to keep up the façade that he was still guy Richie loved. But it was all a lie.
That night, after Richie had finally cried himself to sleep, his nightmares were nothing compared to the reality he was living.
Chapter 11: Chapter 11
The next day, Richie woke up to find himself in bed alone.
His first thought was to panic. He usually woke up alone, but that meant Eddie was out for his morning run and if he was out for his morning run then that meant he was going all types of Jason Voorhees on some fucking puppies at the park or something.
He bolted out of the bedroom, heart hammering at one hundred beats per second, only to find Eddie in the kitchen with his back facing Richie.
It was an odd sight to see because Eddie was almost never in the kitchen unless he was doing his Martha Stewart impression which consisted of cleaning or following Richie around as he cooked something.At first Richie thought it was because Eddie had no fucking clue how to make toast let alone work an oven – which was still true – but now he knew the truth, he knew that it was because Eddie couldn't enjoy the taste of whatever he was having so he wouldn't be able to tell if what he made was good or not.
Everything he did was just to fool Richie into thinking he was still the same. He cursed himself for not picking up on anything sooner but they'd just fallen into such a domestic routine that small things like that were easy to miss.
Currently, Eddie was standing at the oven and Richie got there just in time to see him opening it then pulling the tray out with his bare hands. He was about to jump forward to scold the idiotic man from hurting himself when he realised that Eddie was just fine. He was handling the hot tray like it was nothing. It only solidified that there was something wrong with him. Richie doubted he would've done that if he knew he was watching.
He slammed the door shut, making it look like he'd just entered the room, and seen Eddie jumping and turning towards him.
"Oh, morning, Rich." He greeted like it was just another day for them.
Richie knew he could keep up the charade and play along with him. Pretend like everything was fine and Eddie was fucking normal, but he wasn't.
"Hey." Richie greeted almost cautiously. "What'cha doing there?" He questioned, gesturing to the tray of burnt oats.
"Training for the fucking Olympics, what does it look like, dipshit?" Eddie responded sarcastically and Richie couldn't help but smile sadly because it sounded so much like his Eds.
Maybe he could just keep up the act, Richie thought. Maybe they could keep being happy, I mean, who were they really hurting?
"Aren't you a good lil' wifey, making 'er man some brekkie in the morn." Richie said in his 'Irish cop' voice that he'd been doing since childhood.
Eddie sent him a smile that sent his heart aflutter.
Richie told himself that after that, he would do anything to keep that smile on Eds' face.
"That's right, now sit your ass down before it gets cold." Eddie said as he scraped the bottom of the tray, trying to get the oats onto the plate. It took him a few tries before he succeeded. He covered his mistakes with chocolate sauce, very aware of Richie's sweet tooth, before serving it to the man with his coffee. At least he knew how to make that.
"Dude I've had your mom's ass in my mouth and I wouldn't even touch that." Richie quipped as he stared down at the breakfast. He knew Eddie was just doing it to prove they could still have a normal life but the gesture still touched him all the same. He tried not thinking about him picking up a burning tray without so much as flinching because everything else, like how fucked up it turned out, was so human.
“Shut up, fucker.” Eddie hissed in disgust as he sat down next to him at the island that connected to the kitchen.
“Don’t you mean, motherfucker?” Richie teased, leaning into Eddie’s space and only laughing when he was shoved away.
However, the laughter stopped when he seen Eddie had nothing in front of him. No plate, no coffee, no nothing. It seemed that now the cat was out of the bag, he felt no need to pretend at normalcy.
Another reminder of the things Richie learned last night.
“So,” He started after clearing his throat to try and fade the awkward tension. “No run this morning?” He asked, trying to keep his tone light. He purposely avoided asking anything like ‘No murders today?’ because he didn’t want to accept what Eddie had done – what he had been doing. He just wanted to keep things the way they were.
Eddie responded by leaning forward and placing a gentle kiss on Richie’s unsuspecting lips. “No run.” He answered casually though he didn’t miss the lovestruck look on Richie’s face. “Guess I don’t need to get away from the gay thoughts anymore.” He added with a knowing smirk, referencing to Richie’s joke back in Derry.
The remark broke Richie out of his stare and only made the smile on his face grow. “You and me both, Eds.” He said softly, reaching over to hold Eddie’s hand. It was warm, he told himself. It was warm because Eddie was alive and human. Okay, he had a couple of fuck ups but Eddie would change for him, he just knew it.
There was a comfortable silence between the two as they simply enjoyed the other’s presence.
“I told you before not to fucking call me that, dickwad.” Eddie finally broke the silence but his statement was a loss less biting when he had a stupid smile still plastered to his face.
Nonetheless, Richie let out a booming laugh.
They were going to be okay.
Chapter 12: Chapter 12
Life carried on like normal after that.
Richie and Eddie fell back into their routine; Richie constantly messed up their apartment and Eddie cleaned it, Richie went out at night to do his gigs and Eddie went to support him, Richie got hammered and Eddie carried him home.
They still hung out like teenagers on his days off, playing the Playstation, hanging out at the beach and goofing around, except now they fooled around a little as well, and Richie thought it was awesome.
He was doing the job the loved, lived in an apartment he loved, living with the man he loved.
His happiness lasted about another week, when something came to ruin it as it usually did.
He had unblocked the Losers’ numbers from his phone, but he still hadn’t made any effort to contact them first because he hadn’t wanted to face reality. If any of them had heard about Eddie’s wife, which they probably did, then they’d have questions. Questions that Richie didn’t want to answer. For that reason, he stayed off the radar for a while.
And it was working pretty well until Mike called him out the blue. He was on his way to work with his writers about his new routine. He’d been a lot more involved with writing his own jokes with Eddie’s encouragement and it had been pretty successful so far, if the reviews where he did little snippets at a few comedy clubs where anything to go by.
“What’s up, Mikerophone?” Richie answered casually.
“What’s up?” Mike repeated in sheer disbelief. “What the fuck, Richie, I’ve been trying to get a hold of you for weeks!”
Richie already knew he was in for an earful so he jumped into a nearby coffee shop to grab a cup and get out of the sound of traffic.
“Yeah sorry,” Richie muttered. He didn’t want to tell Mike the real reason he hadn’t been picking up because it would just put more suspicious around Eddie so he just made up a quick lie. “I’ve just been really busy with work and everything.”
Mike hummed over the phone but didn’t say anything more on the subject. Richie knew he knew he was lying out his ass. “I’m calling about Eddie, Rich.”
Richie briefly cursed himself for ever letting the Losers know that Eddie was staying with him. He should have just kept his mouth shut for once in his fucking life.
“Yeah, what about him?” He asked, keeping his tone as casual as possible as to not give anything away to Mike. He paused briefly to order his beverage before standing in the other line to wait for him.
“It’s been all the news about his wife, man!” Mike exclaimed, clearly already sick of Richie playing dumb. “And it says he’s missing. Does he have something to hide?” He asked knowingly.
Richie felt like he was being backed into a corner but he knew he couldn’t give Mike any leeway with this. If anyone knew what Eddie did then he’d be taken away from him and he couldn’t lose him again, he just couldn’t. “Of course not, dude. This is Eddie we’re talking about.” He said, trying to laugh off Mike’s unspoken accusations. “Little pipsqueak wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
“I’ve been doing some research, Richie.” Mike told him sombrely. “I know what you brought back.”
“Hey, you don’t know shit!” Richie snapped immediately, drawing attention from the other patrons of the coffee shop. He shot them all a sarcastic smile before lowering his voice and continuing. “Eddie’s fine, okay? What happened with Myra probably happened way after he left her ass, and he didn’t tell anyone he was just going to pack up all his stuff and move in with me so of course people are gonna assume he’s missing. He’s been through a lot.”
Richie could practically hear the disappointed frown from the other side of the phone. He heard his name being called for his order and went to get his beverage before sitting in the corner of the shop in case he made another scene. He wasn’t doing a great job of not attracting attention thus far.
Mike’s sigh brought him back to attention. “Richie, I know it’s hard to hear but this thing isn’t the Eddie we all know. He has no soul-“
“Well I wouldn’t say that, he does a great Otis Redding impression.” Richie interrupted. He couldn’t sit here and listen to anyone saying shit about Eddie - he had his own doubts and fears about the shorter man but he had to just keep believing that things would get better – so he did what he always did and deflected with a joke.
“Listen to me!” Mike pleaded desperately, shutting Richie up momentarily. “I’ve read every article, I’ve talked to all the citizens in the surrounding area, and they all say the same thing: What’s dead should stay dead.”
Those words seemed to take the breath from Richie’s lungs so Mike took the opportunity to continue before he could interrupt or go on a tangent of denial again.
“Whatever’s living with you can’t feel emotion, it doesn’t care about anything apart from killing. It may look and act like Eddie, because it remembers how he was, but that’s only to fool you. Richie, you can’t trust it.”
As Mike spoke, a memory flashed in Richie’s mind.
"I don't… feel." Eddie simply said. His sentences fell dead after every syllable.
"What do you mean?" Richie asked concerned.
"Empty." Eddie stated, raising his hand to point at his chest.
He forcefully shook the thought out of his head. That was right after Eddie had come back from the fucking dead. He was obviously disorientated and confused and scared. He didn’t know what the fuck he was saying, and neither did Mike.
“Jesus Mike, you’re talking about him like he’s a fucking zombie.” Richie laughed breathlessly, trying to force humour into a situation where there was none.
“Because that’s what he is.” Mike stated seriously.
“Well you’re wrong!” Richie hissed, standing up in an outrage. He couldn’t sit here and take this bullshit, he had to go home and see Eddie. He had to make sure nothing happened to him. “It’s real, okay? He’s real!” He yelled passionately as he stormed out of the place and back to his apartment. He felt tears prickle at the back of his eyes because if he accepted what Mike was saying then that meant Eddie didn’t really love him. He was just using him as a safe house until the deal with Myra died down and he could just go out sucking brains again – or whatever the fuck Mike was implying.
“I’m sorry, Rich, I wish I was wrong.” Mike told him sincerely. “But I’m just really fucking worried about you. It’s not gonna be long before he goes feral and turns on you.”
“E-Eddie wouldn’t do that..” Richie tried to defend but it came out more uncertain than he would like.
Mike seemed to finally realise he wasn’t getting anywhere with this conversation. “Please just be careful, Richie. And call if you need anything.” He pleaded gently.
“Yeah…” Richie answered but his mind was a million miles away. Mike hung up but Richie continued to hold his phone up to his ear, still in a daze. He eventually lowered his arm and started to walk the long way home, through the park. He had a lot to think about.
As he walked through the park, he saw multiple missing dog and cat posters plastered on practically every tree he passed.
His heart raced with every ‘MISSING’ sign he seen and he started to walk a little faster. It reminded him far too much of Derry. He told himself they couldn’t all be Eddie’s doing but deep down, he knew the truth.
However, one poster specifically caught his eye. He stopped in front of it and ripped it down from the tree for a closer inspection.
It was a teenage girl. A dog walker.
She’d been missing for a couple of days.
Richie dropped the poster and practically sprinted the rest of the way home.
He had to talk to Eddie.
Chapter 13: Chapter 13
When Richie arrived home, he looked around in a frenzied panic but there was no sight of Eddie anywhere.
He ran his hand through his hair as he tried to catch his breath and just think.
Where the hell could Eddie have gone? As far as Richie knew, he hadn't met anyone in the city. He actually never left the apartment alone since he stopped going for his runs in the morning but Richie told himself that Eddie wasn't doing that anymore.
His hands shook as he reached in his pocket for his cell phone and speed dialled Eddie's number.
It only rang twice before he heard their apartment door opening and shutting again.
Richie's phone fell out of his hand and fell onto the floor with a thud when he looked at the sight before him.
Eddie was standing there, looking as cool as a fucking cucumber, dripping in blood. His hands and face were covered in it.
Richie immediately felt bile rising to the back of his throat and had to force himself to swallow it down so he didn't barf. He didn't want to believe what he was looking at but there was no denying the evidence before him. Everything Mike said was true, this wasn't his Eds- Eddie.
"Richie!" Eddie's eyes widened when he finally spotted the other man staring at him in horror. He even had the nerve to try and play innocent, hiding his hands behind his back but Richie shot him an unimpressed look. "I thought you went out to work."
If Richie wasn't so close to fucking crying like a baby, he'd laugh. Eddie was acting like he'd just caught him fucking the next-door neighbour instead of committing yet another murder.
"Stay the fuck away from me." Richie told him seriously, keeping the distance between them even as Eddie tried to approach.
"Richie, calm down-"
"Calm down?!" Richie exclaimed, waving his arms around like a madman. "Jesus Christ man, you look like you've been wrist deep in Angelina Jolie's period. Don't fucking tell me to calm down!"
Eddie blinked up at him with those goddamn Bambi eyes of his but Richie wasn't backing down. He was beyond livid that the little shit had lied to him and did this again! He thought they were really making progress and he could call Mike up and tell him to suck it because Eddie was just fine but it was becoming increasingly obvious that he wasn't.
It was time to accept the fact that Eddie wasn't the same man he'd loved and as much as that fucking hurt, he couldn't let anyone else die because of his mistake.
"Who was it this time?" Richie demanded, keeping firm in his stance to show that Eddie wasn't going to soften him up this time. He couldn't just shoot him a smile or bat his fucking eyelashes and everything would go away.
"It was just a moment of weakness," Eddie desperately tried to explain but it was hard to feel any sympathy for him when he was leaking someone else's blood on his carpet. "You know how you get when you try to give up smoking cold turkey-"
Richie quickly interrupted him before he could try and spin the situation onto him. "Yeah but there's a difference between a guilty cigarette and fucking murdering someone."
Eddie truly did look at a loss for words, but Richie couldn't trust it was genuine. Okay, maybe he didn't plan on getting caught but he didn't for a split second think he felt any sort of remorse over what he did.
"Tell me who it was." Richie kept up with the interrogation. He'd already let Eddie away with the unforgivable but that was because he thought he could change; he wouldn't make that same mistake twice.
Eddie finally decided to drop the act and let everything out in the open. Richie didn’t know it was because he knew he wasn’t going to win or if he thought being honest would get him off the hook like it did last time. “I don’t know her name, the one that lived alone with the cats in 1B.”
“You killed Mrs. Sanchez?” He screamed at him, eyes widening to the point that if he was a cartoon, they’d be bulging out his head right now.
He supposed it made sense, Mrs. Sanchez lived alone with no family coming to visit her so there would be no questions asked. It just made him wonder how long Eddie had been watching her to know that.
If he had been watching her then surely he’d see she was a sweet old woman who just got confused sometimes. There were moments where Richie would have a conversation with her in the hallway and she’d got him mixed up with her distant son who hadn’t visited her since Richie had moved in a hell of a long time ago.
The thought that Eddie prayed on someone so vulnerable just made him sick all over again.
“I just had to get it out my system.” Eddie explained like that made any kind of a difference.
It was true that in any scenario, Richie would always choose Eddie over anybody, including himself, but the person in front of him was not Edward Kaspbrak. The things this imposter was doing would make his Eddie sick to his stomach. It would probably give him the first real asthma attack he'd ever had.
“I can’t do this anymore.” Richie announced after a pregnant pause. “You, me, this,” He gestured between them. “It’s over. You’re a fucking psychopath.”
“Richie, come on,” Eddie tried to plead with him, stepping into his space but Richie was having none of it. He forcefully pushed the shorter man away from him, making him stumble. “Calm the fuck down, Richie!” He finally snapped. “I told you I need to do this, okay? You’re the one that brought me back like this, I can’t help it!”
The guilt that Richie already felt over this whole situation doubled at Eddie’s words. He felt trapped in his own fuck up.
“Well what the fuck am I supposed to do now, Eddie? Kill you before you kill me?” He asked in desperation, his voice cracking from sheer hopelessness.
“I would never hurt you.” Eddie told him sincerely, having the nerve to look hurt like he was actually affected by Richie’s words. “I love you.”
He knew now that it was all bullshit but, god, did he want those words to be true.
“You loved Myra too.” Richie uttered, staring Eddie dead in the eyes as he did. He wanted to see if there was any guilt or remorse or responsibility or fucking anything.
But there was none.
Eddie stared back at him with a stoic expression, unreadable as a brick wall.
It sent shivers up Richie’s spine.
“I always told you that your trashmouth would get you into trouble one day.”
“Well that’s cryptic as fuck.” Richie muttered sarcastically but his quip was cut short when he saw Eddie pulling out a bloodied knife from his back pocket.
“Beep beep, Richie.”
Chapter 14: Chapter 14
"W-what are you doing there, man?" Richie asked nervously, backing away from the now unrecognisable man in front of him. Unluckily for him, his apartment was tiny as hell so he didn't have a lot of room to manoeuvre. He tried to back behind the sofa to at least put something in between him and Eddie in case he decided to pounce.
He never thought he'd see the day where he was actually afraid of any of the Losers club but he couldn't look at Eddie and see his best friend. He had to force himself to see him as an imitation sent to fuck him up, like the one he'd seen in the Neilbolt house when they were kids.
"What's wrong, Richie?" Eddie asked curiously, moving slowly closer as if he was a predator playing with his prey before he went in for the final kill. "Don't you want a kiss?" He raised the knife to his lips and sliced two marks into the corner of his mouth without so much as a flinch. Blood was now dripping from his mouth making the Neilbolt compassion scarily accurate.
It seemed that now Richie was expendable, Eddie no longer felt the need to keep up with his façade so he was just releasing all the craziness these fucking supernatural creatures all seemed to possess.
"Jesus fuck." Richie cursed as he watched the horror before him. He frantically looked around for something to defend himself with and came up short. He ended up with one of those overly fluffy, old lady cushions - that Eddie insisted on buying because of his bad back – to shield himself.
As predicted, it did very little to help when Eddie pounced over the sofa and stabbed the knife straight through the cushion, making feathers fly out everywhere.
Richie used the momentary distraction to bolt to the door but Eddie was quicker, beating him to it and blocking his way.
“You know, I’m glad you finally figured it all out. I mean, it took you long enough. For being the smartest kid in class, you sure are dumb as fuck when it comes to getting your dick wet.” Eddie said tauntingly.
Richie tried to ignore him as he backed away from the maniac and continued to dart his eyes around the small apartment for anything useful. He managed to grab an oven tray, still left laying out from when he made breakfast, and held it over his chest. Clearly Eddie was too busy killing his neighbours to care about tidying up.
Eddie watched him with a cold smirk as he crept closer and closer, to where Richie was once again backing away. It felt like a familiar dance between the two.
“Why do all this, huh?” Richie finally demanded. He hoped that if he kept Eddie talking long enough, he’d manage to catch him off guard and slip away. “Why come all the way over here and pretend that everything was normal?”
“Because it was easy.” Eddie said like it was obvious, following up with a cold laugh. “I knew all I had to do was snap my fingers and you’d do whatever I asked so it worked out for running away from the cops. Can’t find new victims from a cell.” He explained with a shrug, absentmindedly waving his weapon around as he did. “But I have to admit, I thought that after you found out about Myra, that would be it and I’d have to kill you too but man, did you surprise me!”
His words were starting to cut more deeply than the knife would have reached at this point. Richie wanted to just squeeze his eyes just and pretend like all of this was just a bad dream but he knew the second he left himself vulnerable, Eddie would strike.
“I mean, you were really willing to cover up the murder of a lot of innocent people, just so you could have your happy ending, right, Rich?” Eddie continued. It was clear he knew the effect he was having on the other man. He knew that it would only take the right words to leave Richie weak and if Eddie was lucky, maybe he would even be willing in his death. Less blood that way. “How selfish do you have to be to do that, huh?”
Richie forcefully shook his head, refusing to answer. His throat felt tighter than it had ever been, and it was getting harder to speak with every cutting remark. What was awful was that he knew everything Eddie was saying was right. He was a selfish piece of shit. He knew he never should have brought Eddie back from the dead in the first place but he just wanted him so bad that he was willing to face any consequence.
“You know it was all an act, right?” Eddie asked with what seemed like genuine curiosity. “I could never love you. I’m not a dirty, sad, pathetic, little,” With every word, he took another step closer to Richie until he had him backed against a wall. “faggot.”
Richie flinched as if he had been struck. He couldn’t describe the pain he felt at hearing the only person he had ever loved calling him the word that haunted him since he was a teenager. He wanted to be proud of who he was but he couldn’t because of that word. It meant he was disgusting, that he was wrong.
Knowing that these weeks, which had been the best of his adult life, was all a lie was the final nail in his coffin.
He lowered the oven tray till it was dangling from one hand and dropped his head in defeat.
“Good boy.” Eddie said, sounding pleased. He raised the knife above his heart and just as he was about to strike-
Richie slammed the oven tray against the side of Eddie’s head, making him drop down like a sack of cow shit.
He quickly snatched the knife and got on top of him, using his knees to pin Eddie’s arms down.
“You listen to me, you zombie piece of shit.” Richie hissed, hovering the knife over Eddie’s neck and meeting the other man’s dazed glare with his own. “Okay maybe I’ll never know if the real Eddie felt the same way as me or if he’s even gay but I’ll tell you one thing, I know he loved me.” He said firmly. He knew that for a fact that Eddie had always loved him. It was why he put up with all of his shitty jokes and why he always bought him an extra ice cream cone and why he fucking died saving him from the deadlights. “And he would still love me if he knew I liked dick. You, on the other hand, can suck Satan’s when you’re down there.”
“Fucking do it then.” The Eddie imposter challenge, even going so far as to lift his neck closer to the blade so it broke skin.
Richie’s hand shook as watched the drop of blood run down Eddie’s neck and told himself to just get it over with and push the knife in further.
But he couldn’t do it.
As much as he knew that this wasn’t really Eddie, he couldn’t kill something that was wearing his best friend’s face.
“I knew it.” The zombie smirked before using the moment of weakness against Richie and overpowering him with unnatural strength.
Their position had been flipped and Eddie was now on top of Richie, grabbing the knife during the other man’s moment of shock.
“See you in hell, bitch.” Richie spat out before he felt the knife piercing into his chest.
His eyes closed and all he seen was blackness.
He was so cold.
Then suddenly, he heard his name being called from the darkness. He struggled but managed to open his eyes to see they were still in the same position.
Eddie was still on top on him but he no longer had slits in his mouth, only a bandage on cheek.
And he was covered in dirt.
Richie squinted up at him in confusion. He was so disorientated that he wasn’t even sure what the fuck was going on.
Why was Eddie smiling down at him?
“Hey Richie listen, I think I got it, man. I think I killed it for real.”