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Losers Keepers

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"I could just tie you to the bed," said Eddie. "Shut up."

Richie hadn't said anything, but only because Eddie was currently standing next to the aforementioned bed, looking down at him, and that was new. Mostly the Eddie looking down at him part.

They had shared beds before, and floors, and couches, and hammocks, and on one memorable occasion, a holding cell, but that was then, and this was throwing Richie for a fucking loop.

Eddie had also looked down at him before, when he was on Richie's shoulders in the quarry or knocking him out of the clubhouse hammock, but there was something Richie couldn't pin down about the holistic enchilada of laying in bed, in his boxers and "Meme Daddy" T-shirt, while Eddie stood over him, in a pajama set so pressed it might as well have been a suit.

Richie managed a belated eyebrow waggle. He didn't want Eddie to worry.

"I said shut up. I'm serious. Or we could sleep in shifts."

"If you want to wear a nightgown, be my guest." Richie did his best Lumière voice, which was also his worst Lumière voice.

"I meant—"

"I know what you meant. Don't worry about it, Eds. The sleepwalking was probably just a side effect of the Ambien and I'm sober as a baby tonight. I have a perfectly serviceable guest bedroom right down the hall. Sheets have never been used, and it was vacuumed… before I moved in, but no one's used it since, so how dusty could it be?"

"That is not how dust works," said Eddie. "Will you be able to sleep without the Ambien?"

"Well, yeah," Richie shrugged. "That's what I got the heroin for."


"No, although when I did No Shave November, the resemblance was uncanny." No Shave November really rolled off the tongue better than Seasonal Affective Disorder Depression Beard. "Either take the guest room or get in already. If it helps, I stopped wetting the bed when I was thirty-two."

Eddie gave him so much side-eye that it looked like he was caught in the Deadlights. Richie didn't know why he was playing the devil's advocate. The devil definitely had enough of those (and they also worked for Myra, from what he had understood of the dinner conversation, which was not much— Richie only spoke enough Legalese to get them out of that holding cell).

Forget the fact that he hadn't shared anything with Eddie since they were kids— an accidental boner would be the least of his problems. Richie wasn't having trouble sleeping. He was having trouble staying awake.

The Ambien was last in a long line of solutions, including caffeine pills, 24-Hour Energy, Death Wish Coffee, Rockstar Xdurance, and SpazzStick caffeinated lip balm. He hadn't tried cocaine, but he was starting to think it would be healthier.

Finally, when he couldn't stay awake any longer, Richie mixed Ambien and bourbon, hoping the storm in his autonomic nervous system would keep him from hitting REM stage sleep.

Of course, Eddie has always been Richie's hardest drug. When morning rolled around, he woke up, rested, refreshed, and not retching. He also woke up with a boner.

Richie would have gone to the bathroom and rubbed one off in the name of friendship, but there was a small problem. Eddie was draped across his back, all that compact muscle practically pinning Richie to the bed. When he tried to detangle the Gordian knot of their bodies, Eddie just clamped down harder, like particularly aggressive massage chair.