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September 2018

Eddie groans and slams his laptop shut, banging his head onto it once and letting his head rest there for the time being.

“Stupid mother fucking dipshit dickwad –” He mumbles under his breath, keeping his eyes shut and his forehead pressed against the laptop.

“Uh, Eds?” Richie calls from the living room. “Everything good?”

“Dandy,” Eddie calls back before letting out another audible groan. “We might just have to get married in our backyard, though.”

Eddie hears Richie get up from the couch with a little groan before listening to his loud footsteps as he walks into the den. After living in the same house as Richie for almost two years, Eddie knows how Richie sounds when he walks. He can’t walk quietly to save his life, and truthfully, Eddie likes that he always knows where he is.

Eddie doesn’t lift his head up from the desk. He feels Richie’s presence behind him before he feels a hand rubbing gently at his back. Richie crouches down next to him and presses a kiss to his temple, his hand stroking small circles on his upper back.

“What’s up, Spagheds?” He says quietly in Eddie’s ear.

Eddie takes a deep breath, turning his head to the side so he can look at Richie out of the corner of his eye. “All of the venues here are shit,” Eddie says. “If it’s not their lack of a decent-looking wheelchair accessible entrance, it’s the fact that you have to go upstairs to get to the main event room with only one elevator, and you know if that breaks it would be a nightmare –

Richie listens as Eddie continues to vent about the nightmares of Los Angeles accessibility. He presses another kiss to Eddie’s temple, causing Eddie to pause and take a deep breath.

“I would marry you anywhere,” Richie mumbles against the side of Eddie’s head. “You know that. I would gladly do a backyard wedding if that’s what you want.”

Eddie feels guilty, sometimes. He knows that Richie chose this life, chose him and everything that comes with him. But he feels like Richie has given up so much to be with him. They can’t have an elaborate celebrity house because it would be too hard for Eddie to navigate, they can’t go hiking in the mountains, and Eddie doesn’t really have any desire to join Richie at premieres or awards shows in his wheelchair. He knows Richie loves him, of course he does, but he can’t help feeling like he wants Richie to have something he wants for once.

“Rich,” he says, finally lifting his head up and turning to look him in the eyes. “What do you want?”

Richie pauses, bringing his other hand to cup Eddie’s cheek. “You,” he says. “Always you. And your mom.”

Eddie huffs and rolls his eyes.  “Dickhead. You can do better.”

Richie laughs, leaning in to press a kiss to Eddie’s lips. “I wouldn’t mind having a backyard wedding,” he says once he pulls away. “But… I think our backyard is too small.”

“I know,” Eddie replies. “There’s barely enough room for our friends when they’re all here.”

“But. Bill has a big backyard, and a big kitchen and dining room and living room. And all of that is on the first story, and you know you can get into his house from the back.”

Eddie pauses. Bill’s house is gorgeous. It’s big but modest, not overly showy or noticeable, but just noticeable enough that people might pause to look at it. He imagines the backyard decorated, imagines Richie standing under a wedding arch in a tuxedo and a huge smile on his face as he watches Eddie walk –

Eddie quickly wipes the scene out of his memory, giving his attention back to Richie. He nods slowly. “Okay,” he says. “Call him up and see what he says.”

Richie grins and stands up, pulling his phone out of his pocket. “Yes, boss.” He finds Bill’s contact with one hand while his other unlocks the brakes of both of Eddie’s wheels before starting to pull him out from under the desk. Eddie shoos his hand away with a flick of his wrist, setting both of his hands on his wheels and pushing himself into the room behind Richie.

“Wow, is that any way to greet your best friend?” Richie says when Bill answers the phone. Richie goes and flops onto the couch, long limbs spread across the couch and over the opposite arm rest. Eddie grins at him and wheels up next to him, motioning for him to put the call on speakerphone.

“ – just been a day, the dog got out and Mike went into full panic mode –”

“Eddie’s here too now,” Richie says, interrupting Bill, “Lost your chance to profess your undying love for me, Billiam.”

Eddie hits Richie’s shoulder as Bill laughs through the phone.

“Is Poe alright?” Eddie asks. His hand gently rubs at Richie’s shoulder, never having removed it from when he smacked him.

“Oh, yeah, he’s fine, he was just hiding under the deck,” Bill says. “I swear to god, if I had known that he would take after Edgar Allan Poe’s broody darkness, we never would have named him this.”

Richie laughs, which makes Eddie feel like he’s a million pounds lighter.

“You doing okay, Eddie?” Bill asks once Richie’s laughs quiet down. “Therapy going okay?”

“Yep. Still going twice a week,” Eddie says, biting his lip. Richie glances at him, and Eddie sees a flash of worry in his eyes.

Truthfully, Eddie feels like his physical therapy may have hit a standstill. He does his exercises, they do a little bit of training in his leg braces, but he can never stand for longer than a minute in them without becoming exhausted. It’s an effort for him and his physical therapist to put them on and take them off, and he is truthfully almost ready to call it quits.

He knows Richie has been worried. Eddie used to invite him to his sessions at least once a week; he liked Richie to see that he was okay, that he was making improvements and that he was still strong even if he was mostly confined to a wheelchair. But lately, he’s felt so weak, leaving his sessions on the verge of tears and not wanting to talk about them after. Richie hasn’t come to a session in weeks, and Eddie hasn’t talked to him about any of his sessions in just as long.

He remembers how hard Richie had gripped his hand when the doctors told Eddie that he may never walk again. They hadn’t even been dating at the time, and Richie still looked like he was about to throw up. Eddie never wants to see Richie look like that again, never wants him to be disappointed with who Eddie is now.

“How’s the new book?” Eddie asks, trying to get the conversation away from him. He can feel Richie watching him, only glancing over at him when he feels Richie’s hand rest on his own that is still on Richie’s shoulder. They listen as Bill talks about his new book, but Eddie is distracted by Richie’s thumb rubbing circles into the back of his hand. He can barely even see his hand under Richie’s, his hands are so big and warm and wow, Eddie really wants them on him right this second.

“Um,” he says, not even thinking about how he’s interrupting Bill. “Bill, can we call you back?”

“Uh, yeah, sure, is everything okay? I’ll be around all night, so just call back whenever –”

“Thank, will do,” Eddie says, reaching forward and grabbing the phone from where it’s resting on Richie’s belly, jamming his thumb into the phone to end the call.

Richie is looking at him with an eyebrow raised, still sprawled out on the couch. “What was that all about?”

“You know how the doctor said I should act on my… needs… when they happen?” Eddie asks, biting his lip and looking at Richie’s hand again, still resting on top of his. “They’re happening.”

Richie grins and stands up, getting off the couch and crouching down in front of Eddie so that they’re eye level. “Oh, I knew I was going to be irresistible today,” he says as he leans forward, skimming his lips against Eddie’s jaw. Eddie tips his head to the side with a small sigh. Richie’s hands slide further up his thighs as he presses a brief kiss to Eddie’s jaw.

“Kiss me, Rich,” Eddie says. “For real. And then take me to bed.”

Richie nods and kisses him deeply. Eddie moans into his mouth before Richie pulls away and stands up, quickly wheeling him into the bedroom.

----

They don’t end up calling Bill back until 10 PM. There are empty takeout containers of Chinese food on the nightstands next to them. Richie has a pair of boxers and a t-shirt on from when he went to answer the door, and Eddie just has the sheet draped over his lap. He just can’t be bothered to deal with the struggle of putting shorts on right now.

Eddie yawns into Richie’s shoulder from where he’s lying on his chest, his hand idly rubbing at Richie’s hip.

“Eddie baby, you look absolutely wrecked,” Richie says, grinning down at him. He’s sitting up and leaning against the headrest, scrolling through his phone as his hand rubs through Eddie’s hair.

“Mm,” Eddie hums. He doesn't know what else to say. He feels happy and tired, lazy and loved. Eddie presses a kiss to Richie’s chest before planting his arm into the bed to sit upright. “Help me sit up so we can call Bill back.”

Richie helps Eddie sit up against the headrest, making sure he has his balance and won’t slide down before pulling the sheet up over his lap again. “Can’t have Bill seeing the precious goods,” Richie grins. “Those babies are all mine.”

“You don’t own them, asshole,” Eddie says behind a laugh. “And are we FaceTiming Bill?”

Richie laughs again and nods. “He wants to see your beautiful face. Can’t say I blame him.”

Eddie gives him a whack on the chest with the back of his hand. “They all just like to make sure I’m in one piece.”

Richie finds Bill’s number in his contacts, pausing before he calls. “Are you in one piece right now? Because like, an hour ago I think you said that you felt like you were –”

Eddie slaps a hand over Richie’s mouth and takes the phone from his hand. He pauses for a second before looking down at his own chest, biting his lip and pulling the sheet up higher so that it comes up to his collarbones.

Richie watches him.

“I, um… Don’t think Bill wants to see… that. Or needs to see that,” he says, vaguely gesturing to where his scar is underneath the sheet.

Richie just keeps watching him, so Eddie looks away and calls Bill. He holds the phone just far enough away so that Eddie and Richie are both in the camera’s view.

“Hi,” Bill says when he answers, raising his eyebrow at them. “It’s late and I haven’t had any emergency calls, so I’m assuming everything is okay?”

“All good here, dude,” Richie says. “Eds just can’t keep his hands to himself –”

Eddie slaps his hand over Richie’s mouth again, keeping it there this time. “We actually have a question for you,” he says, squeaking as Richie licks his palm. “Rich, fuck you, that is disgusting, do you know how many germs live on your tongue, you fucking asshole –”

“Didn’t see you complaining about that earlier,” he says, waggling his eyebrows at Eddie. Eddie groans and shoves him, trying to push him off the bed without messing with his own balance.

“Go get me some hand sanitizer while I have an adult conversation with Bill.”

Richie laughs and gets off the bed to do as he’s told.

Bill is watching them, his chin propped on his hand and his eyebrow raised.

“Don’t look at me like that,” Eddie says.

“I’m not looking at you any specific way,” Bill says. “I’m just looking.”

Eddie sighs and shakes his head. “I’m fine, Bill. Everything’s fine.”

“Fine?”

Eddie ignores him, picking at the sheet. “We, um. We had an actual reason for calling you.”

Bill just keeps watching him.

“So, not a lot of venues are meeting our standards, they’re either not accessible enough or they’re ugly, and our backyard is too small, so can we, I mean, only if you want –”

“Eddie, you know I would give you literally anything you want,” Bill says. “I mean, dude, you almost died –”

“Can you just not –”

Richie comes back with the hand sanitizer, furrowing his brow when he notices Eddie’s raised voice. Eddie hands the phone back to Richie and takes the hand sanitizer, rubbing it into his hands.

“We want to get married in your backyard,” Richie says, still watching Eddie as he focuses on his hands. “If that’s okay.”

“Of course,” Bill replies instantly.

Richie and Bill chat for a little longer, but Eddie scoots down on the bed and lies down, rolling onto his side so that he’s facing away from Richie and the phone. He keeps the sheet pulled up to his shoulders, so that the scar on his back isn’t visible for Bill to even catch a glimpse at.

Eddie is aware that his friends would do literally anything for him. He’s witnessed them dropping everything to come to the hospital when Richie told them the news. He was there when they all came to the house to help Richie move furniture, paint, decorate, and install the shower bench and bathroom grab bars. He is almost too aware of it. He supposes that’s what happens when you get stabbed straight through by a killer clown, spend six months in the hospital, and then have long-term spinal cord damage because of it.

He knows it’s only been over a year since he discharged from the rehabilitation hospital, almost two years since the “accident.” Most of the time, he thinks he is doing pretty well considering that his life has changed completely the past two years. Not all bad, he tells himself.  He has Richie now, who he loves and who loves him. They’re getting married, and he has friends who he almost forgot about and never wants to forget about again.

But.

It’s hard for them, he knows it is. He’s different than they remember him. They only knew him for a few days as an adult before his whole life changed, it’s expected that it would be different. They thought he was dead; they had to drag what they thought was his dead body out of the house. He knows Richie held him and rocked him, pressed his shirt against his chest to try and stop some of the bleeding while his friends watched in a huddle, waiting for the ambulance to come. He can only imagine what they think when they see him, and he hates that he makes them all relive that trauma again every time they look at him.

Eddie takes a deep breath. He knows that isn’t all they see. It’s just hard sometimes. He feels selfish, like the whole world now revolves around him. All he thinks about is physical therapy, his medications, his wheelchair, the fact that he will likely never fully walk again, and it makes him feel even more selfish when he thinks about everyone else also worrying and thinking about him.

Eddie vaguely hears Richie say goodbye to Bill before he feels him lie down, pressing himself against Eddie’s backside and wrapping his arm around his waist. He nuzzles his face into the side of Eddie’s neck, kissing just below his ear.

“Want to talk?” Richie asks quietly. Eddie, in that moment, is so, so thankful for Richie. Richie knows that Eddie doesn’t always want to talk, and Eddie has learned not to snap if Richie asks if he wants to.

“Why did this happen?” Eddie asks. “No, that’s dumb, we know it’s because of the stupid fucking clown. But – Rich, things could have been so different. I’m so tired of everyone walking on eggshells around me.”

Richie is silent, pulling Eddie closer to him and hugging him tight against his body. “I think we’re pretty lucky,” Richie whispers, burying his face in Eddie’s shoulder. “I know you hate when people say this cheesy shit, but hear me out. We have each other, Eds. We didn’t have that before. I know it sucks, I know, I can’t even begin to imagine what you go through every single day.”

Eddie bites his lip, closing his eyes and trying to focus on the feeling of Richie’s hand on his belly.

“If this is what we get, I’m cool with it, Eds. You know that. As for the others, you know they just worry, babe. They don’t see you every day, they only get glimpses of how strong you are, but I see it every single day.”

Richie presses a kiss to Eddie’s shoulder, twining a leg between Eddie’s to bring them, somehow, even closer together.

“You’re not selfish,” Richie whispers again. “I can promise you that you are absolutely not selfish.”

Eddie is always amazed that Richie knows exactly what he is thinking, sometimes. Of course, he’s sometimes a fucking asshole who jokes when he shouldn’t and makes sex jokes at inopportune times, but his moments of sincerity, Eddie knows, are preserved for him.

“But,” Richie says after a few seconds of silence, “Would it help if you started doing something for others?”

Eddie – pauses, because that is not what he was expecting Richie to say. “What do you mean?”

Richie presses another kiss below Eddie’s ear. “You’ve handled this pretty fucking well, Eds, all things considering. I’m sure any association would love to have you on board for mentoring or whatever it is they have employees do.”

“What’s the one you’ve been donating to?” Eddie asks quietly. It’s an interesting thought, and Eddie is almost surprised he hasn’t thought of it himself. He’s thought about working again, but he just couldn’t imagine going back to his old job. He wants nothing to do with his old life, and he wants absolutely no reminders of what his life was like without Richie in it.

“I’ll send you the info,” Richie says, and Eddie can tell he’s starting to drift off to sleep.

“Go to sleep, Rich,” Eddie whispers, turning his head to press a soft kiss to Richie’s lips. “We’ll talk more in the morning.”

Once Richie’s breath evens out, Eddie thinks. For the past year and a half, ever since he was discharged from the hospital, Eddie has been focused on his recovery and on therapy. He was adamant about regaining as much mobility as he could so that he could do as much as possible. Eddie and everyone around him have been so focused on him. Eddie thinks that, maybe, it might be time for him to focus on someone else.

He thinks about Richie in Bill’s backyard again, dressed in a tuxedo and sitting in a chair under a wedding arch. Richie is fiddling with the sleeves of his jacket, grinning at Eddie as he sits in his wheelchair across from him, resting his hand on Richie’s thigh to get it to stop twitching up and down.

Tomorrow, he thinks. Tomorrow, he’ll call Richie’s associations to see what jobs are available. Tomorrow, he’ll start calling wedding vendors to book them for the date.

But tonight, right now, Eddie lets Richie hold him. Richie has always been his solid, his constant, but right now, Eddie feels like everything else in his life might also work out to his advantage.