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i'm most always bluffing

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The Worst Fortnight of Richie Tozier's Life begins with a text message that says where the hell are you you're fucking late

Bleary, Richie sits up on one elbow, squinting at his phone. Late for what?

Then he throws himself back down into the tangled sheets to wait for Eddie's answer. He really doesn't remember making plans with him, especially not for... 9:30 in the morning on a Tuesday.

His phone lights up again. You have class

Well, that's true. But he's already late, no point going now. Richie gets himself comfortable, curled, fluffing the pillow up. Not with you

It takes longer for Eddie to answer this time, three little dots dancing and disappearing from the bottom of his screen again and again.

Finally, the response shows: i thought we could get coffee first

Oh, god. Richie groans, guilt flooding through him. Eddie, trying to be nice. Eddie, waiting for him on campus. While Richie snoozed his alarm 14 times.

Richie can just picture Eddie, waiting down the block or at the coffee shop, getting twitchier and more agitated by the moment.

You could bring me the coffee and join me in bed Richie replies finally, unable to help himself.

Richie has made hundreds, thousands of comments over the years about running away with Eddie, about marrying him and treating him right, and more than a few about quick and dirty hookups in the men's room together.

Eddie, who usually responds to Richie's prodding by playing along or fighting with him, makes a frowny face every time Richie makes an over-the-top dramatic declaration of undying love and doesn't say anything back. Ever. Not once.

So, Richie gets it. He's not stupid. Eddie isn't interested.

That doesn't mean Richie is going to stop anytime soon; if he doesn't say things out loud they get stuck in his head for days and at this point it's a running joke.

But as Richie waits for Eddie's (possibly furious, probably radio silence) response, he indulges himself for a moment: what would it be like to have Eddie tangled in the sheets beside him, skin warm, flushed with sleep and gearing up to argue with Richie about-

Fuck off comes first, followed by more dancing dots. Finally, Eddie says meet me for a drink tonight, I'll buy

Richie takes a deep breath. Yeah, okay

Fucking fine. It's fine.

-------

Eddie picks Richie up, which means they walk together to Richie's favourite hole-in-the-wall ("It's a shithole." "It has character!" "And we'll get salmonella, probably."). They argue the whole way there, until Eddie's face is screwed up in fury and he's making finger-clenched gestures in the direction of Richie's face.

Richie beams and holds the door open for Eddie as Eddie stalks into the bar.

Richie settles in at a table while Eddie gets their drinks, and something about the way Eddie grins at him, dark eyes sparkling, as he passes Richie a beer glass makes Richie's stomach twist up anxiously.

But then Eddie leans on one elbow and asks Richie what the fuck he was thinking when he got dressed and they're off -- Richie's got plenty to make fun of with Eddie, who is strangely dressed up right now, in nice jeans and a button-up shirt.

"What, did you come meet me right after a job interview?" Richie says, laughing and then downing more mediocre beer.

Eddie's brow furrows in a frown and instead of firing back, he goes "No. I wanted to-" but Richie doesn't find out what Eddie wanted because Eddie's phone starts to buzz and they both get distracted.

They both ignore it, but it keeps going, interrupting them as they wind back into conversation and Eddie eventually grabs it with a grimace. He reads the screen, and Richie watches with interest as Eddie's face goes red.

"Sexts? Dick pics?" Richie guesses, and reaches for Eddie's phone. He's not trying very hard (does he want to risk seeing the dick of whatever guy Eddie might be dating? Fuck no) and Eddie jerks back anyway. "Gonna ditch me for a booty call?"

"No, of course not, we're on- I wouldn't- I'm not that kind of guy." Eddie looks concerned as he glances back up to Richie, like he doesn't want to hurt Richie's feelings. "It's just Bev. And Ben, I guess. They wanna know how it's going. They say hi."

Richie's shoulders relax just a tiny bit. He empties his glass and smiles at Eddie across the table. "Tell 'em it's going good."

Eddie's smile back is brilliant, uncomplicated delight, and he puts the phone down without typing anything. "It is, isn't it? I'll tell them later."

It keeps buzzing, for a bit, but Eddie turns it on silent. Then he kicks Richie in the shin, but like, fondly, as he sits back down with their next round.

Richie launches into a story about this asshole in his 19th Century Lit class that has Eddie laughing so hard he starts to wheeze a little.

Eddie explains something from one of his accounting classes that Richie cannot force his brain to absorb but Richie clings to every word anyway, watching the way Eddie uses his hands to illustrate concepts that Richie will never understand.

When they call it, Eddie walks him home too. They're both happily sloshed, and Eddie keeps bumping his shoulder into Richie, and giggling to himself.

Richie feels warm all over and deeply satisfied, and he wraps an arm around Eddie's shoulders. "You spoil me, Eds," he sighs dramatically.

Eddie's ears go pink, and he shrugs, but not enough to dislodge Richie. "Don't know why, you don't deserve it."

"I do not," Richie agrees, his walk slowing as they reach the house he rents with Stan. He lets go of Eddie and leans against the stairs. "Thanks for the drinks. Sorry about this morning."

"Don't worry about it," Eddie says. His face is still flushed, and he looks uncomfortable, shifting his weight back and forth. "This was - good," he adds, like it's a surprise, or like it's hard to say out loud.

Richie tilts his head, about to ask what's wrong, and before he even understands how it's happening, Eddie is in his space, Eddie's right hand is tilting his chin down, and Eddie is kissing him.

Eddie's lips are soft and on his and Richie can smell Eddie's shampoo and Eddie is kissing him.

Richie holds very still, his hands hovering near Eddie's shoulders without touching him. If he moves, he might break something.

Eddie pulls back, and smiles. One of those soft ones, that he only breaks out on special occasions. Richie can list every time he's ever been on the receiving end of this smile.

Richie's heart makes a valiant effort at starting to beat normally again. "We should do it again," Eddie adds.

Richie blinks, slowly lowering his hands and then shoving them in his pockets. "Uh," he says dumbly when he realizes that Eddie is waiting for a response. "Okay." He straightens up, nods jerkily, and goes inside the house.

Behind the locked door, Richie's brain whirs back to life. It's way too obvious to peek out the front window to see if Eddie's still there, and Richie's bedroom windows face the backyard, so--

"Sorry Patty, sorry Stan," he announces, barging into Stan's room to kneel on the edge of the bed and peek out the window down at the driveway. "Emergency."

Eddie is standing in the driveway, arms crossed, looking at the front porch. After a bit, he shuffles his feet, takes his phone out of his pocket. He starts to type and walks away, in the direction of his own house.

What was all that about? A joke?

Must be.

Patty sits up, leaning on Richie's shoulder and craning her neck to see what he's looking at. "An Eddie emergency?" she asks, sounding a bit curious but mostly sleepy.

"Yeah, sort of," Richie replies, then looks at Stan. "I said sorry!"

"What's the emergency," Stan says finally, reluctance evident in his tone. And he's glaring.

A lesser man would wilt under such a glare, but Richie is immune by now from long exposure.

"Eddie kissed me and I don't know what he's trying to pull--" Richie begins, and Patty shifts over on the bed, making room for Richie, and pats the space she's made.

Patty is his fucking favourite and if Stan doesn't marry her, Richie might. He plops down, head on the pillow and sighs. "Marry her," he says sternly to Stan, who has at least lowered his glare by two notches.

"He will," Patty says, all self-assurance and calm, "Why do you think Eddie's trying to pull something?"

"Fucking with Richie is a favourite Eddie pastime," Stan adds, thoughtfully. "But this might be a bit far. We need more information."

Richie looks up at the ceiling, watches the fan spin lazily. He tells them about the coffee this morning, the drinks.

He doesn't tell them anything more about the kiss other than it happened - even though Richie is sure that this will end with Eddie cackling at him and explaining why it's hilarious, he wants to keep the details (Eddie's thumb somewhere near the corner of Richie's mouth as he leaned in. The smile, that smile, another one to add to his mental list titled perfect smiles - Kaspbrak, E.) to himself. For now.

Regardless of the intention, Richie now knows what it's like to kiss Eddie Kaspbrak and he's got more than a decade of daydreams to revise with this new tidbit.

"It doesn't sound like he's fucking with you to me," Patty says softly, reaching to stroke Richie's hair.

Stan makes a sound of disagreement, and Patty gives him a shove and hushes him with a hand over his mouth. Stan's eyes are amused when he looks back to Richie.

Eddie is the funniest person he knows, aside from Stan (drunk) and Richie himself (in all states, of course).

"No, Stan's right, this is definitely a joke." After a moment or two trying to focus his swimming head on what the joke could possibly be, and only managing to linger on what Eddie's mouth felt like against his own, Richie sits up. "I just don't get the punchline yet. Always a pleasure, guys."

Patty and Stan exchange A Look, which Richie ignores as he leaves their room, pausing to bow in the doorway. "If it's a joke," Stan calls as Richie retreats down the hallway, "why don't you beat him to the punch next time?"

This is followed by a muffled smack and Patty's voice, too low to hear but with a gently chiding tone, and Stan's laugh.

Richie lays awake for a long time.

-------

When Richie slides into the desk beside Bill, Bill passes him a coffee. "Thank you," Richie says fervently, taking two giant sips and burning his mouth immediately. "I owe you. This is firstborn child level."

Bill laughs, elbows him. "I don't want your f-firstborn," he says.

Richie doesn't protest. He's tired and kind of hungover and still can't get Eddie out of his head. "So, funny story," Richie starts, in a whisper now because the lecture has started. "Eddie's trying to prank me. He kissed me last night."

Bill splashes coffee when he puts his cup down. "And how is kissing you a prank?" he asks finally, leaning in closer.

Shrugging, Richie slouches further down in his seat. "Dunno yet. But he's not gonna win."

The girl sitting behind him kicks Richie's seat and hisses, "No one fucking cares, shut up." Richie winks at her and gets out his phone.

He and Eddie have dinner at a tiny diner near Eddie's place like, every week. The waitresses all want to adopt Eddie and they laugh at Richie's jokes. So, Richie texts Eddie.

We still on for tonight? My treat.

Eddie paid for everything last night, after all. Only fair.

Bill, who is a nosy fucker and is watching Richie type, mutters "goddamn idiot," but he's smiling.

Eddie's reply is short: great! :D

See you tonight, Richie types out. Maybe Eddie's trying to make someone jealous? Or -- what else could it be?

Wear something nice this time

Anything for you, Eds

That's fucking right.

Then Bill elbows Richie again, because something important is happening, and Richie puts his phone away.

-------

Dinner is completely normal. So normal, in fact, that Richie almost forgets about the kissing and whatever insanity Eddie is using to fuck with him until it’s over. Almost. He keeps finding his eyes drifting down to Eddie’s mouth, remembering how his lips had felt.

Eddie catches him, once. And raises his eyebrows, smirks, his ears going a little pink.
Richie changes the subject abruptly, theorizing about their waitress and what she’s doing to save the world in her other life.

They go back to Eddie’s, for a couple more drinks. The kitchen is quiet, with Ben staying at Bev’s as usual, and Richie nurses his beer, debating: escalate or ask Eddie what the fuck is going on?

If he asks, Eddie will laugh in his face. You thought I wanted to date you? Richie can just hear it, Eddie’s delighted giggles that he succeeded in fooling Richie even for a second.

Escalating gives Richie a chance of winning. And besides that, it means he gets to kiss Eddie again.

So, when Eddie grabs a fresh beer from the fridge, Richie corners him against the counter, gathers all his courage, and leans down to kiss him.

The whole world freezes for a few seconds, until Eddie scrambles behind himself with one hand to set down the can, and then cups Richie’s jaw, fingertips cool against this side of Richie’s neck.

Eddie sighs into the kiss, a little sound that jolts through Richie’s spine, and Richie can’t help but part his lips. Then, then-- Eddie’s tongue is in his mouth. Jesus Christ, Richie might melt. He grips the edge of the counter with one hand, to keep himself upright. His knees probably aren’t going to give in, but it would be super embarrassing if they did.

They make out for a little while, lazy, and Richie isn’t thinking about what the hell Eddie is trying to do to him (he isn’t thinking at all, actually) until Eddie’s free hand grips Richie’s hip and pulls him in close.

All of a sudden, Richie is very aware of how hard he is, and he remembers that Eddie’s fucking with him.

Richie pulls away with a gasp, and takes a few steps back. His hands are shaking. He stares at Eddie, and Eddie holds his gaze, brows starting to come together in a frown.

“Sorry,” Richie says, shoving his hands in his pants pockets. “I - I gotta go.” He turns and practically runs for the door, ignoring Eddie saying his name behind him.

-------

When Richie gets home, the place smells of apples and cinnamon; Patty loves pie, and Stan bakes when midterms and exams are coming up. It relieves his stress, apparently. “Hey, Richie,” Stan calls from the living room, and the sound of the TV stops. Richie slams the door. “You okay?”

“No,” Richie calls back, booking it down the hallway to the bathroom. He needs a shower. He needs to - he needs to figure out when the fuck his life became a complete joke, instead of just mostly one.

“Anything we can do?” Patty asks.

“You could marry me and take me away from this place, Patty, baby,” Richie replies, unable to help himself. He can hear Stan snort. “No, this is a Richie thing.”

He locks himself in the bathroom, and takes a long shower. He thinks about kissing Eddie, thinks about Eddie’s fingers clutching at his hip, and for a little while, Richie lets himself imagine it’s real.

When Richie emerges later, cleaner and calmer, Patty and Stan have gone to bed, but there’s a slice of apple pie on the counter for him, with a heart drawn on the top in whipped cream.

He leans on the counter as he eats it.

He does not think about Eddie.

-------

In the morning when Richie wakes up, there’s a text from Eddie: everything okay? It’s followed by another, a couple hours later. I had a nice night. Hope you did too.

Letting the phone drop onto his chest, Richie scrubs his hands over his face. So Eddie is fucking with him. It’s not like Eddie knows how much it’s destroying Richie's sanity.

He carefully types out yeah, sorry. forgot i had a paper due at midnite. Sends. And after that, feeling brave, Richie types a little more.

always have fun with you, eds. Richie blinks at the words and deletes them.

-------

Every other Friday is Loser’s Club Movie Night. They take turns hosting (except for Mike, because Mike lives in a tiny studio out of town and they don’t all fit in his living room), and picking the movie.

This week, it’s Top Gun at Eddie and Ben’s. Richie’s bringing the cheese puffs, and Stan isn’t home by the time he’s ready to go. You coming? Richie texts.

Not this week. Visiting Patty’s parents.

Richie shrugs, and heads out. When his phone buzzes again, there are two messages. One is from Stan and says you’re an idiot, by the way. The other is from Mike, and says Have fun tonight!

Huh. Weird.

Eddie answers the door and makes a face at the cheese puffs, but he ushers Richie inside, gets him a beer. “Where’s everyone else?” Richie asks.

Looking away, Eddie shrugs. “Ditched.”

“What, all of them?”

Eddie looks back at him, dark eyes wide. “What can I say, we’ve got shitty friends.”

Richie laughs, and follows Eddie to the couch to start the movie. They settle in, and Eddie's sitting maybe a little closer than he needs to, with the whole place to themselves.

With all this space, Richie sprawls out more than is really necessary, and watches Eddie fidget out of the corner of his eye. Eddie's sorta twitchy at the best of times, but this is something else.

Eddie lets out a gusty breath, and Richie turns to look at him, waiting for the tirade he’s sure is coming. What’s it going to be this time? He can’t wait.

But instead of going off, Eddie somehow half-stands, pivots, and drops himself into Richie’s lap. “Eddie? What-” Richie starts to say, but he swallows it when Eddie curls his fingers in Richie’s hair.

He pulls, just a little, and Richie’s scalp tingles. His mouth falls open. Eddie grins, sharp and intent, and kisses Richie.

Powerless, Richie leans into it, kisses back. He still doesn't get the fucking joke, but he can play along. Especially if playing along means that Eddie keeps sucking on his tongue like that.

Richie doesn't know what to do with his hands, but he can't keep them still. He grips the edge of the couch cushion with one, thumb twiddling with a little threadbare part of the piping.

His other hand drops his hand to Eddie's thigh, gives it a squeeze. And Eddie-- Eddie groans, right into Richie's mouth. God, Richie thinks. Take me now, I don't want the punchline.

Eddie's all around him, solid and firm and squirming. Lightheaded, Richie lets his head fall to the back of the couch. Eddie follows, teeth on the underside of Richie's jaw.

"Fuck," Richie pants. Eddie shifts back, just a touch, just his body, hands reaching between them and lips still white-hot on Richie's neck.

Eddie's fingers fumble at Richie's fly, and Richie freezes. The button pops free. Eddie makes a little sound in his chest, a rumble Richie would usually kill to hear, and this is too far. Too much, he can't deal.

"Stop," Richie says, swallowing around the lump in his throat, blinking away sudden tears. He pushes at one of Eddie's shoulders, and Eddie unlatches from his neck. "Too far, Eddie. This isn't fucking funny anymore."

Eddie sits back, raising his hands, eyes wide. He looks incredible, and Richie closes his eyes, covering his face. He can't do this, not with Eddie looking at him like that, not at all.

All Richie can hear for a bit is their unsteady breathing. "Rich," Eddie says, low and careful. He's still on Richie's lap, but otherwise isn't touching him. "What part of this is supposed to be funny?"

Richie laughs. It comes out more bitter than he'd expected, and he winces. "I don't fucking know, Eds, why don't you fill me in."

The silence goes on long enough that Richie is tempted to lower his hands, see what Eddie's face is doing. "Well, I figured you would be all on board. Since it's our third date, and all."

"Third date?!" Richie squawks, dropping his hands to gape at Eddie. "I said it's not funny, Eddie, drop it. Get off me," he adds, straightening up. He should go home, nurse his feelings alone.

Eddie's arms are crossed, his face solemn but rapidly edging into irritation and exasperation. "Dude! I am not fucking joking, what the fuck is wrong with you?"

"Alphabetically or by severity?" Richie snaps back, wishing they were standing. He thinks he'd feel better if he wasn't looking up at Eddie. It's making the sense of unreality he's feeling so much worse. "To start with, you keep kissing me to screw with my head."

"WHY WOULD-" Eddie starts, and throws his head back, hands in the air. He takes a deep breath. "I asked you out. I paid. I walked you home. I kissed you at your door. What part of that sounds like me screwing with you?" He looks at Richie again, then leans in closer, one hand on the back of the couch beside Richie's shoulder.

"The- the-" Richie looks around, but there's no help coming from anywhere. He sputters some more, but there's nothing for it but the truth, apparently. Richie clears his throat, and stares past Eddie at the TV screen, watching Tom Cruise idly. "The part where you want to kiss me, I guess." He sounds sullen, and he hates it.

It gives too much away.

Eddie takes a sharp little breath, and that's it, Richie is leaving, he has had enough. He goes to push Eddie off his lap, but Eddie grabs his hands, gets in his face again. "Rich, I do, though."

Richie swallows. He shakes his head, slow.

Eddie's trying not to smile, dimple peering through. "Yeah. Seriously." He's so earnest with his big eyes, and - "I'm not that much of an asshole, you know."

With a little laugh, Richie says, "I was just thinking that."

"Okay." Eddie lets go of Richie's hands, cups his face instead. He settles himself over Richie's hips again, close. "Okay. Let's try this again. Richie, wanna date me?"

Fuck. Richie takes an unsteady breath, and nods. "Holy shit, yes."

Eddie breaks into a big grin. Richie's heart does a complicated flip in his chest. "Good," Eddie says. "So, let's make out."

"Yeah," Richie agrees, and he hauls Eddie in to kiss him. "Yeah, come here."

Eddie presses right against him, and kisses him and kisses him and kisses him. This time, Richie lets himself touch. One hand back on Eddie's thigh, the other sliding up Eddie's well-muscled back.

Richie is going to remember the way Eddie sighs and melts against him for the rest of his life.

Eddie pulls back just enough to mutter "can I blow you?" and Richie can't agree fast enough.

The sight of Eddie Kaspbrak kneeling between Richie's legs, pink and smug and unzipping him, could almost be enough to get Richie there, especially when Eddie frees him from his boxers and gives him a firm squeeze. Richie gasps, and can feel his dick throb. "Fucking hell, Eddie," Richie breathes.

Eddie's staring at Richie's cock in his hand, and Richie has to look away. It's like... staring into the sun or something, too bright, too much. Risky.

So Richie isn't quite expecting it when Eddie's tongue touches him, a long slow lick up the underside. The sound Richie makes is mortifying, a high pitched whine, but he'll worry about that later. His fingers clutch at the fabric of his own jeans, at the couch.

"God, Richie, I just..." Eddie sounds a little shaky, but before Richie can open his eyes and raise his head to check on him, he feels Eddie's mouth around him and his hips jerk up as Richie moans.

Eddie grips Richie's hips, holding him down. And, fuck, he's really going for it. Richie pants, and stares up at the ceiling. Pinned in place and losing it. He can hear fucking slick little noises that are from Eddie's mouth and lips, and a pleased sound from the back of Eddie's throat.

And above all of those things: this is Eddie fucking Kaspbrak sucking his dick.

Richie doesn't last long. At some point, one of Eddie's hands finds one of Richie's, and he squeezes Richie's fingers between his own, their palms pressed tight together.

Richie takes a deep breath and looks down. Eddie is looking back up at him, and... that's it for him, he feels the heat and tension pooling in his belly, and he comes before he gets a chance to warn Eddie it's happening.

Eddie's pulling off when it starts, so Richie also gets to watch his come spill into Eddie's mouth, over his lips. Dripping a little onto Eddie's chin. Eddie swallows what he can, wipes his face with one hand.

Richie could die happy, right now.

"Fuck," Eddie says, and he sounds.... Richie doesn't even know how he sounds, but it makes him feel frantic and needy, even through the post-orgasmic haze.

"Get back up here," Richie says, grabbing at Eddie's shoulders, pulling at his t-shirt. Eddie cooperates, and settles himself across Richie's lap again, no hesitation, like it's the only choice. Richie keeps pulling at the shirt. "Can you, can you - off, please."

Eddie's eyes are darker even than normal, and he pulls off his shirt, tossing it aside. Richie leans in to press kisses to Eddie's throat, collarbone, shoulders, whatever he can reach. "God, Rich, I've thought about doing that so many times...."

"Tell me more," Richie replies, shuddering a little. He gets Eddie's fly open, gets a hand on Eddie. On Eddie's cock.

Eddie makes a strangled sound, and Richie is kind of a dick, but he's not heartless. Richie starts to stroke, savoring the way Eddie rolls his hips into it. "Yeah, yeah, I think about you all the time, you drive me crazy. Your arms... your hair. I've been thinking about tonight all week."

"All week," Richie repeats, his voice almost a whisper. Eddie leans in to kiss him, but "Hey wait wait fuck-" Richie says as a thought strikes him. He keeps stroking Eddie, though. "All our friends were supposed to be here tonight! Eds, are you an exhibitionist? I could be into that-"

Somehow, Eddie manages to look embarrassed, annoyed, and extremely turned all at once. It's a very good look on him. "I told them to leave us alone. Come on please I'm almost there...."

"Disinvited all our friends from movie night to get laid, Jesus," Richie laughs against Eddie's jaw, and breathes him in as Eddie shudders and comes in Richie's palm.

-------

Later, after they've recovered, and rewound Top Gun to watch all the best parts, Eddie hustles Richie into his bed, where they strip down to their underwear and curl up together.

Eddie kisses Richie's shoulder and curls around him. "Night, Eds."

"Sleep well, Rich," Eddie murmurs back, squeezing Richie a little bit tighter.

Smiling, Richie closes his eyes and relaxes into Eddie's arms.