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As Richie goes out in search for his token, he walked past the old arcade, that is now boarded up. “Oh no.” Richie muttered to himself. He knew what would happen as soon as he would enter the grime old place, he would relive the moment that deterred him away from arcades forever.

The door creaked open and sure enough he was suffocated by the dust and cobwebs that covered the interior.

His mind filled in the blanks.

A reasonably cute, dirty blonde haired boy was playing Street Fighter and Richie had basically asked him out in a friendly manner. Except the boy was a homophobe and took Richie’s kind gesture the wrong way. Not only that but he was cousin to Henry Bowers.

“It’s not real.” Adult Richie said to himself imagining far more than he bargained for. He saw the scene happen right in front of him as if he were in a 3D film. But Pennywise didn’t want to stop.

Richie grabs the gaming token and heads out to the giant statue. And there sat Pennywise on the shoulder of lumberjack statue. “I know your secret.” Pennywise tormented, just like he did 27 years ago.

Richie badly wanted to scream to the supernatural being (that was obviously not there) that he loved Eddie, no longer caring, but nothing came out. He knew that the town was just as homophobic as it was when he was a kid. He knew he would be shamed, even as an adult.

The fear came back, he wanted to leave but he couldn’t leave the Losers especially Eddie. So he went back to the inn with the intention with taking a roadtrip with his best friend and leaving the hell hole that Derry was.

****

The Losers Club enter the entry of the sewers. “Is that rope still safe?” Bev asked.

“Only one way to find out.” Mike said. Fear crept onto everyone but the adults pushed it aside. They needed to be brave so that their fear didn’t make them vulnerable to Pennywise.

Mike went down first with Richie heading down last. Richie looked directly at Eddie as soon as his feet touched the ground. The hidden fear in Eddie’s eyes made his heart ache. He reached for Eddie’s hand but instantly chickened out.

Eddie was married, to a woman! Dammit Richard, get your shit together

But then he felt someone grab his hand, he looked down and sure enough it was Eddie’s. “I don’t remember there being this much water.” Ben said. Richie and Eddie pulled their hands away.

“It flooded years ago.” Mike replied. The 6 of them started swimming towards the pile of junk that sat in the middle of the sewer. They all had made it onto the wood pile except Bev. She disappeared from the surface and immediately the losers dived back in to sesrch for her. All but Eddie, that is.

He had a horrible feeling that one of them was gonna die. He wasn’t prepared for what was about to happen in that lair. “Right, down we go.” Mike said. One by one they went down.Eddie hesitated, he felt Richie grab his arm, stopping him.

“You’re braver than you think Eds.” Richie had said to the other man.

“He’s right Eddie. And this, this arrow. If you believe, you can kill any monster.” Beverly said handing him the arrow. Eddie nodded, he took a deep breath and followed to two into Pennywise’s home.

It was gloomy, slimy and claustrophobic. It was an unsettling place. It was like a visual representation of Pennywise’s personality.

Cold, grim and creepy.

Mike led them to where they were going to do the ritual. “Everyone got their tokens?” Mike asked, the rest of them nodded. One by one they threw their objects in.

Richie wanted to be beside Eddie. He saw the fear that Eddie trued to conceal. He wanted to comfort him. “Is that from the arcade?” Eddie asked Richie.

“Huh? Oh uh, yeah.” Richie replied tossing the small coin into the metal bin.

“It’s not going to burn!”

“It will when it meets your fucking inhaler!”

“It still won’t burn.”

“There are chemicals in that inhaler, Eduardo!”

“Guys, this is not the time to fight each other!” Bev yelled.

“Sh-sh-she’s right, guys.” Bill backed Bev up.

After they threw Stan’s token, the shower cap, the next step of the ritual began.

That’s when Mike screams for them to shut their eyes.

Fear crept onto the group of adults but Richie felt a deeper fear. He didn’t want to die without telling Eddie. Heaven forbid! If Eddie died, Richie didn’t want Eddie to leave him without him knowing how Richie truely felt.

That’s when a red balloon appeared in the centre of the circle. The Losers scrambled away from the growing balloon. Richie and Eddie immediately went for each other.

“Wanna tell them why the ritual didn’t work, Mike?” Pennywise chuckled.

Mike was quiet, he knew why but he couldn’t bring himself to see the disappointment on their faces.

“Wanna play truth or dare Richie?” Pennywise tried again. “Wanna tell them your dirty little secret?”

The cogs in Richie’s mind starred turning faster and faster until he couldn’t contain his anger he needed to do something but fear crept onto him.

He did the thing that they all agreed not to do.

He made himself vulnerable.

****

During the fight, Richie and Eddie found themselves running in a dark tunnel. The two men came to a halt as they found themselves in front of 3 doors with words written in blood. “‘Scary’, ‘not scary’, ‘very scary’?” Richie read out loud. He gingerly walked towards the ‘Very Scary’ door. He gripped Eddie’s wrist a little tighter as they opened the door.

As the door creaked opened, the two were faced with a closet and half a torso. With a scream they slammed the door. “‘Not Scary’?” Eddie asked.

“Why not.” Richie replied. They ran to the final door.

They were met with a ginger fluff ball. “Awe.” The two exclaimed simultaneously. They started obsessing over the small fluffy animal, telling it how cute it was. In the process, completely ignoring the sound of IT’s extension that was coming towards them.

“Sit!” Richie commanded. The small Pomeranian sat. “Good boy.”

The scraping of the sharp extension drew closer but the men were still caught up in the dog.

But alas! It was too good too be true, the dog turned out to be a monster. Much to Richie’s disappointment.

They regained their breath from running and Richie announced, “when we get outta here, we’re adopting a dog!”

Richie miraculously finds the strength and picks up a reasonably large rock, thinking that he could distract Pennywise from his friends. “Yipee Kayay Motherfu-“ Richie screamed before he was caught in the deadlights.

****

It was white for a split second before Richie saw a vision. It was sort of clear, everything had fuzzy edges though.

He was in IT’s lair only brighter. He saw all his friends screaming at the creature, attempting to belittle the creature. But he couldn’t see Eddie or himself , he tried to move but he was stuck, he turned his head to the right and sure enough there was Eddie, bleeding from his abdomen and Richie holding the wound.

He wondered how Eddie ended up in that position. Sure enough, Pennywise took him 5 minutes earlier.

He saw himself get saved by Eddie but what shocked him was that he watched himself kissing Eddie. But just as they come apart, Eddie is impaled.

Richie watched as Eddie’s blood was spurted onto his clothes and face (glasses included). He watched himself cry out in agony.

If he ever made it out of the deadlights, his mission was to keep Eddie from the psychotic clown and tell him how he feels!

****

“Huh?” Richie regained consciousness, he saw his best friend and life long crush, hovering over him. “Oh my God! Eddie!” He hugged him but that was over within a second.

That’s when he remembered what he just saw in the deadlights. He pulled Eddie away, hiding in the cave they were just in. “I saved you!” Eddie screamed excitedly. Eddie’s excitement disappeared when he looked at Richie’s concerned face. “What did you see in the deadlights?”

“You getting impaled. Wasn’t going to let that happen.” Richie replied hesitantly. That’s when he saw the fear in Eddie’s eyes and he knew he’d start hyperventilating shortly. “Focus on me okay. Block out any fear.” Richie handed Eddie the spare inhaler that he took from Eddie’s bag before they left the inn.

****

“We should go before we’re arrested for destruction.” Bill said, everyone snapped their heads towards the previous ringleader. “What?”

“You didn’t stutter once.” Richie said.

“You said that the last time, before we defeated IT as kids.” Eddie pointed to Richie. They all laughed.

It was like 27 years earlier. Heading towards the Quarry to hang out. The nostalgia that they felt as they walked the route but something told them that they would not forget each other this time. They were no longer afraid of the things that Pennywise feasted upon. Their bond was even stronger than it was back when they were kids.

As the group was nearing the entrance to the Quarry. Richie said, “We’ll meet you at the Quarry. I’ve got to show Eds something.” He pulled Eddie a little further up the road towards the kissing bridge.

“Richard?” Eddie question Richie as he saw Richie finishing off a carving. There was half a faint ‘E’ written beside an obvious ‘R’. “When did you start this engraving?”

It would’ve been clear to anyone walking past that the ‘R’ and the ‘+’ looked as though they had been carved decades ago.

“When Bowers caught me checking out his cousin and called me a fag in front of the whole arcade. Oh and that was right before my encounter with Pennywise and his worse rendition of what Bowers said.” Richie replied. “I realised they were both right. I just didn’t want to believe I was gay, especially with being in a town like Derry.”

“I’m proud of you, opening up about your sexuality. But, um, you liked me when we were 13?!”

“Thanks and uh yeah I did, still do.” Richie gulped and muttered to himself, “In fact, I think it might be love now.”

“You hesitated before when I asked so I could only assume there’s more.” Eddie took a breath. “What else did you see in the deadlights?”

Richie sighed heavily and braced himself.

“I uh, I kissed you and Pennywise. He uh, he took the opportunity to kill you. Well actually, he made it a slow death.” Richie choked on his spit and tried to fight the tears. “I couldn’t let that happen. You’re my best friend, even if we didn’t remember each other for 27 years. You’re still my best friend Eds.”

“Let’s head back to the others.”

A cloud of disappointment hovered above Richie as they walked back towards the Quarry.

I knew I shouldn’t have told him. I’m an idiot! He’s married. Dammit Richie!!

He ducked under the fence and ran toward the cliff, jumping into the gross water below. Eddie followed after him.

He completely ignored Eddie, not wanting to wait for him before swimming over to the others sitting on the bank.

****

Eddie looked at the tall dark haired man. It was clear that Richie was upset, he was hunched over and didn’t care that his glasses were almost off his nose. He felt bad for dismissing Richie’s admission of love. He didn’t mean to, it was just too much.

But he started putting the pieces together, starting back from that Summer. Not only did Richie go to him when his parents were giving him a harsh time or when he couldn’t sleep. It was that particular day at the clubhouse. The day when Eddie sat in the hammock with him because Richie refused to move. Richie clearly did that on purpose, not to mention his hand on his leg.

He thought back to every single action of Richie’s but more importantly his own. Eddie knew he liked guys, that was no lie, but his mother made him marry Myra. Eddie couldn’t pinpoint the day but he remembered when he bought Richie an ice-cream. He loved hugging and cuddling with Richie at 3am. He had always thought Richie was hot, even if he annoyed the shit outta him.

Eddie gasped loudly, catching the attention of every loser. Richie even looked up. “What?” Bev asked. Not wanting to face the others, Eddie looked down to avoid eye contact.

“I liked you too, Richie, I, uh, I still do.” Eddie said.

“Eds don’t – ” Richie began.

“Don’t call me Eds.” Eddie stated. “I didn’t want to admit it. But those cuddles we shared as kids, the egging you on was because I wanted your attention asshole!”

“The ‘I fucked your mom’ jokes were to get you attention!” Richie exclaimed.

“You’re both oblivious! We’ve known for years!” Bill yelled.

Ben and Beverly laughed and swam away, Mike and Bill then left, leaving Riche with Eddie. Eddie waded through the shallow water towards Richie.

“What will you do about Myra?” Richie asked.

“I’m divorcing her. I never loved her. Mom forced me to date her when I came out.” Eddie admitted. “Said, I was sick and that Myra would help.”

“I know I offered it to you once before we graduate high school and you said no but, come with me back to Cali.”

Eddie smiled and nodded, he kissed Richie. “I would love that, boyfriend. Oh and we can even adopt a pomeranian.” Richie laughed and kissed his boyfriend again.

“Boyfriend?” Richie giggled.

“We waited long enough, eh?” The two laughed.