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time after time

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eddie is close enough to kiss her, he thinks.

they lay here on the floor of her bedroom, clothes and comics and bowls no longer containing chips strewn around them, small radio playing songs in the corner, sitting on her nightstand. it's nearing midnight, and she's wearing a shirt that is without a doubt richie's, and so is he. her eyes are closed, she's humming to whatever song is playing, and eddie is close enough to kiss her, he thinks.

he can smell the rose scented perfume on her, that, and the scent of winstons cigarettes he- not by choice- knows so well. he can see the shine of her glossed lips, and briefly remembers being with her when she stole it. eddie knows that he could count every freckle on her face if he cared, study every fiery curl that lays on her forehead if he just took the time. eddie kaspbrak knows this, this, and that he is close enough to kiss her.

despite the signs in bright, neon lights that live in his brain that are telling him to do this, he doesn't. despite the fact that he is currently living a rom-com trope, the fact that she is a girl and he is a boy and girls and boys kiss- boys want to kiss girls and girls want to be kissed by boys- he doesn't do it. despite the fact that this feeling is so much more intense than any other he has felt near beverly, even compared to the throbbing, hateful jealousy he had felt upon meeting her, he doesn't do it. despite the feeling of pressure on his shoulders, weighing him down, the short intakes of breath, the whistles that come with it- the beat of his heart is still. still, steadily thrumming like usual, because he doesn't want to.

eddie is close enough to kiss her, he thinks.

eddie kaspbrak is close enough to kiss beverly marsh, he knows this, and he doesn't want to. he just doesn't want to kiss her.

he knows that it could be easy if he wanted to. he knows that he wouldn't think as he did it, that it would just happen and that it would be fate or something. that leaning over and kissing the tip of her nose, or her cheek, or her lips would happen and it would mean something like destiny. that disney like fireworks would shoot off in his stomach and he would feel an all encompassing, ethereal feeling of bliss and love. he knows that he's lying to himself- that maybe if her face changed and her body changed and she changed, changed into someone else, a particular someone else, he wouldn't be lying.

he knows that it might mean those things it was supposed to mean with beverly if he was bill denbrough, but he is not bill denbrough.

eddie kaspbrak doesn't need to pinch himself to know that, one, he is eddie kaspbrak, and two, that he doesn't want to kiss a girl, or girls, plural.

he thinks he can feel bev's eyes on him, questioning the shifting gears in his head, the revving engine, moving wheels, but he knows she says nothing about it. he thinks that he can hear the song change in the background, feel the slight, barely there vibration of the radio from the corner, and he knows that he's heard this song at richie's house before. richie's.

whatever he feels right now, it's whatever, because he doesn't know what it is- whatever he feels, it's like swallowing a pill dry.

he feels five years old again, standing on his polished, hardwood floor in his clean, white church shoes, cupping two red pills in the palm of his hand. he feels his mother's voice ghost over his ears, take them eddie, they'll help you, and he feels the sound reverberate in his brain. he feels his small hand go up to his lips, feels the pills sizzle on his tongue, metallic taste filling his mouth, coating his teeth, and he feels himself swallow. he feels the same, dull nothingness, and the same, anticipation. anticipating for those two tiny pills to work, to do something, to make him feel anything.

they never did, and he supposes if he took them again, now, they still wouldn't.

the thought of kissing beverly marsh is like swallowing placebo pills, and waiting for them to do something. the thought of kissing beverly marsh makes him feel nothing. nothing, except worry, and the need to do it only to prove something of himself.

he blinks, and exhales. his body goes stiff, and he sits up. eddie suddenly finds bev's open window, and the brick wall in front of it, very interesting. probably the coolest thing he's seen all day.

"bev?" he waits for only a second, but not long enough for her to reply. she stayed silent, anyway. beverly is sitting up now too, resting a hand on one of eddie's.

"why don't i want to kiss you?"

the silence that hung in the air was deafening, suffocating. eddie kept his eyes trained on the open window, the brick wall, and tried to welcome the silence. he didn't know what it meant, but didn't try to figure it out. when she hugged him, arms wrapping around his small frame, painted nails attached to pale fingers clasping together, he thought he might have known.

he didn't kiss her, because he didn't want to. he was supposed to, and she knew, but couldn't have been more glad that he didn't. that he didn't, and that he didn't ever want to.

{---}

eddie is close enough to kiss him, he thinks.

they lay here on richie’s bed, not even minding as much to pull the batman patterned covers over themselves, welcoming the chill of the night. it can't be past one in the morning, and eddie can still hear the record player humming, music long gone, album coming to a close likely hours ago. he's wearing a shirt that is without a doubt the other boy's- he's swimming in it and he loves it- and through the fabric he can smell lavender detergent and cigarettes. richie’s eyes might be open, might even be looking at him, but eddie hasn't looked- for that matter, hasn’t looked back. won't look back. he just listens to his breathing, and the wind outside, and the static, stagnant hum of the record player, and thinks about how he's close enough to kiss him.

if he was looking, eddie would be able to see the light of the moon reflect off of his glasses, his chapped lips framing a smile brighter than the stars- the fake ones on the ceiling, or, the ones in the actual sky. the ones stuck to the ceiling were a gift from richie, actually, but eddie thinks that this boy would give him the stars in the sky just as easily if it was a possibility. or at least, he would fantasize about such a thing. if he was looking, eddie would be able to see the soft, light freckles on his nose, and how they spilled out to his cheeks. he would see the neon light of the glow stars on the ceiling hug his features, curving around his cheekbones, casting over his skin. he knows this all too well already, would fawn over these things when he wasn't seen, caring too much about these little details. he knew these features more than he likely knew his own, and he knows he is close enough to kiss him.

he knows that he shouldn't. despite the signs and arrows he can almost picture, the ones lit in bright lights telling him to go the other way, not to do this, nor want to do this, like, ever- he wants to. despite the fact that he lives in the town that he does, that he’s suffocated by the beliefs and people that he is, he wants to. despite the fact that he, eddie, yeah him- is a boy, and that richie, also, is a boy, and that that notion should propel him out of this house enough, out of this town, even- he still wants to. despite the fact that this feeling, the one he is feeling right now, is so familiar, yet still so strong, that it’s one he shouldn’t even be feeling in the first place, he wants to. despite the gravity weighing him down, gluing him to the bed, paralyzing him, which should be worrying, and the wheezy breaths, which should also be worrying, and the rapid, manic heartbeat which should be incredibly fucking worrying- he wants to.

eddie is close enough to kiss him, he thinks.

eddie kaspbrak is close enough to kiss richie tozier, he knows this, and he wants to. he just really wants to kiss him.

he knows that it would be easy if he didn’t want to. he knows that it would no longer be a thought to keep him up at night, something he couldn’t distinguish from a dream or a nightmare, he knows that if he didn’t want to, he would have nothing to hide. he knows that if he did it, it would feel like it did in the movies, that disney like fireworks would shoot off in his stomach and he would feel an all encompassing, ethereal feeling of bliss and love. he knows this and he wishes that he didn’t, sometimes, wishes he was lying. he knows that if richie’s face changed and his body changed and he changed, changed into someone else, he wouldn’t want to. he would be lying if he said he did- because he doesn’t. he knows it would be easy to not lean over and kiss the tip of his nose, or his cheek, or his lips, and that if he didn’t it would mean he got to live another day. he knew that saying it was easy not to do that or ever want to do that, would be a lie.

he knows it wouldn’t mean those movie things if richie wasn’t richie, and he was still eddie. he knows it might mean those movie things if richie was richie and he wasn’t eddie. but eddie is eddie, and richie is richie, and if eddie were to lean over and kiss his stupid face wherever exactly he wants to kiss, for him, it would mean, and feel like, and be those movie things.

eddie kaspbrak doesn’t need to pinch himself to know that one, he is eddie kaspbrak, and always will be, to his own dismay, and two, that he wants to kiss a boy. maybe not boys, plural, just this boy, but, boys. he wants to kiss boys.

he thinks he can feel richie’s eyes on him for sure now, not questioning the shifting gears in his head, knowing the engine is always running over something, the wheels are always turning, but he knows he doesn’t say anything about it. eddie didn’t expect that. he thinks that he can feel richie’s foot brush up against his calf, and he isn’t sure if it was an accident or not, either way the boy is always, always fucking moving, but he knows that he doesn’t say anything about that, and now richie is the one not expecting something. he hums in confusion- he expected a remark like get your dirty ass feet off of me, fuckwad, but eddie acts like there was no hum to hear.

whatever he feels right now, it’s whatever, because he doesn’t know what it is, but he should because he felt it once and never stopped feeling it- whatever he feels, it’s like swallowing a pill dry.

he feels eight years old again, standing on his plush, carpeted floor in his dirty, adidas shoes, cupping two white pills in the palm of his hand. he feels his mother’s voice ghost over his ears, oh eddie bear, you need some water dear, you’ll choke, and he feels the sound reverberate in his brain. he feels his hand go up to his lips, feels the pills sizzle on the tip of his tongue, metallic taste filling his mouth, coating his teeth, and he hears his mother scream from their small kitchen. he feels the same, heart racing fear, but it’s still drowned out by adrenaline. fear, fear of getting caught, but too in the moment and excited not to do it, not to rebel.

he never really played goody two shoes after that, doing it only as an act but definitely not caring as much- having seen the things that he did, when he did, sort of dulled you in a way there was no coming back from. but if he did do that again, rebel, maybe even do this right in front of his mother, he would feel the same.

the thought of kissing richie tozier is like rebelling, swallowing a placebo pill dry, no water, right in front of his mother, just to do it. the thought of kissing richie tozier makes him feel everything, makes him feel energized, afraid, everything, everything and worry, with a need to do it to prove something of himself.

he blinks, and exhales. his body goes stiff, and he leans forward. eddie suddenly finds richie’s open window, and the tree branch in front of it, very interesting. he thinks that it’s the coolest thing he’s seen all day, and richie must be telepathic, because he says, no it’s not, i showed you the new issue of x men today and you said that was the coolest thing you’ve seen like-

"richie?” he waits only a second, but not long enough to let richie finish. he stays silent for once in his life, and eddie doesn’t know if he’s grateful. anyway, richie is sitting up now too, resting a hand on eddie’s shoulder. well, more like hovering it over. eddie brings over a hand to push it down, thinking touch me or don’t, shitbird, only before taking richie’s whole hand off of his shoulder.

"why do i want to kiss you?”

eddie asks this, and doesn’t want an answer, because he already knows. he knows richie too well for him not to sense the opening and closing of his mouth next to him, even though it’s completely silent and he’s not even looking, and before richie finds the words to say, he keeps talking.

"i mean, i know why, but, why? why out of all people, is it you? why do i like you? what the fuck is so special about trashmouth tozier?”

he looks at richie then, only to see tears welled up in his eyes. he takes off his glasses and wipes at them, looking back up at eddie. he was always a sap, even if eddie rarely saw it, he knew it. he laughed, a breath through his nose. richie tried to talk then, doing the goldfish thing with his mouth- open, closed, open, closed, and then he moved closer.

it was all too quick, and eddie didn’t have time to process it. richie said something, eddie felt his breath ghost over his lips, they were close enough for him to feel the slight hum of his words, but for once he was too damn quiet. eddie felt chills run up his spine, like tiny bugs. richie moved away, only the slightest bit, only enough for someone like eddie to see.

he grabbed richie’s shirt, holding onto it for a moment, not knowing what that meant but not trying to figure it out, but then he kissed him. he kissed him and their noses bumped right before their teeth did, and he winched and richie laughed and wiped his eyes- he was crying again, and he knew. this time richie went in, and their heads moved- their noses didn’t bump, their teeth didn’t either, and it was sweet, and it felt like fireworks and rocket pops and maybe not disney, but maybe universal at best. It probably did have something to do with the universe, anyway, because regular old earth or god or who the hell ever couldn’t give him something this good.

he kissed him, because he wanted to. he wasn’t supposed to, and they both knew, but they couldn’t have been more glad they did. that he did, and that he ever even wanted to.