Eddie tells him, “I think I need to leave my wife.”
He tells him, “I don’t know if you meant it when you said I could stay with you.”
He tells him, “I know it’s a lot to ask.”
Richie is already nodding when he answers with an emphatic round of, “Okay,” and “Yes,” and “When can we leave?”
It takes a couple of days to sort things out in the end. Even though Richie had been the first to offer, and even though Eddie had already asked, it takes some coaxing to get him fully committed to the plan.
“If you’re looking to blow up your life, you could do much worse,” Richie tells him, using his teeth to tear into the package of Kit Kats he’d gotten from the vending machine downstairs. Eddie grimaces at him from where he’s perched on the edge of his hospital bed, newly kitted in a gleaming white cast, but he accepts the proffered chocolate all the same.
“Worse than shacking up with some washed up has-been in the most vapid city in America?” Eddie asks a grinning Richie, for his part delighted to be insulted so mercilessly. “Not likely,” Eddie says around a mouthful of wafer, pinky out where he’s trying not to get chocolate on his cast.
He still agrees to move in anyway.
After Eddie’s discharged from the hospital they make it their business to get out of Derry as fast as fucking possible. Eddie’s leaving Derry with a cast that looks a lot like the first one, a little bigger maybe. Still, he favors his injured arm just the same as he had then, and Richie tries very hard not to think of the smudge of his own blood that Eddie had worn for weeks that summer, how it had stained a muddy brown on the palm of the plaster. He tries not to remember how Eddie had never mentioned it, or how looking at it had made thirteen-year-old Richie want to scream until his throat went dry.
Richie drives Eddie to the Townhouse, and then he drives him to New York. They go to the house Eddie had shared with Myra, and then to a hotel, and later Richie drives him to the airport. Six hours, four checked bags, and two sleeping pills later, they touch down on the tarmac at LAX where there’s a driver waiting to take them home.
Things are kind of ridiculously good after that.
And look, Richie knows he’s simplifying. Eddie’s still got a divorce to slog through, one he doesn’t talk to Richie about much at all. He’s still got to find a job, decide what kind of life he wants to make for himself. And Richie- Well, Richie’s got a career to salvage with an hour’s worth of material he hates. But all the same, he’d be lying if he said that having Eddie here, with him, in his home, wasn’t the realization of most of his more innocent teenage daydreams. The first time Eddie had shuffled into the living room in the late morning—grumpy, sleep rumpled, and unbearably cute—Richie had had to take a walk around the block.
So yeah, things have been good.
Richie drags a hand down his face as he half-listens to Eddie putter moodily around the kitchen, apparently happy to grumble darkly to himself until, moments later, Richie hears the unmistakable sound of an avalanche of tupperware falling from the kitchen cabinet, as well as the frankly inspired piece of enraged poetry that follows.
“-dumbshit cocking motherfuck.”
“You okay in there, Eds?” Richie calls distractedly from his place on the couch where he’s spent the last half-hour rewriting an email to his manager. He’s struggling to appear stern without sounding petulant, the tone vacillating between his usual brand of flippant humor and something maybe resembling professional, but Steve’s going to lose his shit when Richie tells him to fire his writers either way, so Richie hits send before he can overthink it. Or, well. Overthink it any more.
He closes his laptop and sets his phone to Do Not Disturb for good measure.
Eddie stomps into the living room, providing the best kind of distraction.
“I know that your orangutan arms afford you a wingspan that exceeds your height, but could we maybe not store all the fucking tupperware on the top shelf?” Eddie demands, his brow pinched tight.
“I’ve told you I’ll buy you a step stool, pipsqueak, just say the word.”
He watches Eddie’s face edge by degrees toward that truly magnificent shade of purple Richie’s always chasing.
“Don’t- No. No, I don’t need a fucking step stool, what I need is to get this thing off of my arm so that I can navigate the world like a real human with opposable thumbs,” Eddie says, waving the cast around like a club. “Since I’ve got another five weeks with the thing though, what I would like is for you to move the tupperware to a different shelf so that I don’t brain myself with falling plasticware.”
“You’d have to get real creative with that tupperware to brain yourself, Eds, take it down a notch,” Richie says around a laugh. “The sky is not actually falling, I promise.”
“Hysterical. Are you done?”
“Tough crowd,” Richie says, still grinning. “What’s up, Eds? I know it’s kind of your MO, but it’s been a while since you’ve been quite so dire. You feeling okay? You taking your vitamins?”
Eddie sighs, shoulders falling, his plastered hand perched on his hip. He pinches the bridge of his nose with his left hand.
“I’m sorry, Rich. I’m just- it’s just frustrating,” he says, laughing bitterly. “All of this is so frustrating. I don’t remember it being so bad last time, I feel like a fucking-” He cuts himself off. “I’m just a little… on edge. Sorry.”
“Eddie, baby,” Richie says seriously, barrelling right over Eddie’s token grumble, ‘Don’t call me baby’. “I can think of one sure-fire way to take the edge off.” He wags his eyebrows for helpful emphasis. “I can clear out of here if you need some alone time.”
Eddie huffs out a distracted laugh and says, almost to himself, “Yeah, well, that’s part of the problem.”
“Oh, Eds,” Richie coos delightedly. “You having trouble getting ol’ lefty to cooperate?”
“I’m having trouble getting lefty to do much of anything at all,” Eddie snaps with a crazed kind of grimace, flapping the offending hand around like an especially uncoordinated bird.
Richie squints at him.
“Well then how do you-”
“I don’t,” Eddie says shortly.
“What do you mean, ‘you don’t’?”
“I mean, I don’t.”
“What- You haven’t gotten off in three weeks?”
Richie laughs. Eddie doesn’t.
“It’s just- the grip is all wrong! Okay. I can never get going as fast as I like. And the dexterity in my left hand is just, like, non-existent, apparently. And if I do manage to get into any sort of rhythm at all, everything just- goes sideways. Literally. It’s like there’s a magnet attached to my left hand that keeps it repelled from my dick. And it’s, like, okay. It’s fine. It’s just that it’s not as good as it’s supposed to be, and then I remember why it’s not as good, and why I can’t use my right hand, and then I’m thinking about the fucking sewers and-”
Eddie takes a shallow, rattling breath. Richie half expects to hear the clatter and gust of an inhaler, but Eddie doesn’t do that anymore.
“And- and-” Eddie stammers, finding his way back into his tangent, “Any time I try, I end up more frustrated than I started, so I just- stopped… trying.”
Eddie says all of this staring at a point on the ground some three feet in front of him, free hand held so tightly in a fist his knuckles have turned white. His gaze snaps up and meets Richie full on, eyes a little crazed.
It’d almost be funny if Richie didn’t feel so bad for the guy. He doesn’t really know anyone more in need of a little recreational loosening up than Eddie. He’s wound so tight as it is, all that nervy tension, it seems unfair that he should have so much trouble working through some of his pent up… aggression.
Something between a cough and a laugh punches its way out of Richie’s chest, unbidden. Eddie’s eyes bug out impossibly further, and Richie wonders idly why he still finds it cute when Eddie is clearly weighing the pros and cons of murder and not finding it to be in his favor.
“Wow,” Richie says, talking slowly so as not to spook him. “I feel like there’s a lot to unpack there, man.”
“Look, can we just-” Eddie’s face screws up tight, a little desperate, like he can’t figure out how he ended up in the middle of this conversation. Richie knows the feeling.
Eddie’s shoulders droop.
“I just want to move some of the shit in the kitchen to a lower shelf. Please.”
And it’s unbearable, actually, seeing Eddie look so pitifully defeated. Even still, Richie’s brain really truly must be offline because before he can properly reboot and make another nice, innocuous height joke to clear the air, his mouth goes on to speak without his brain's permission.
“I could help.”
Eddie blinks at him.
In some distant, faraway corner of his mind, Richie’s sure he can hear screaming.
“Yeah, Rich, that’s kind of the point—I am literally asking for your help in the kitchen.”
“No, I mean-” Richie starts, his mouth now fully just running away with the thing. If he listens hard enough, he can almost hear the sound of sirens echoing through his head. “I mean, I could help you. With the-” and now his hands are getting in on the action too, the traitors, gesturing vaguely—obscenely—in the direction of Eddie’s crotch.
Eddie stares at him.
“I can help you get off,” Richie’s mouth says, slow and clear and a little too loud. “If- if that’s something you’d want.”
Eddie gapes at him, and Richie takes a moment to wonder how far he’d get if he just made a break for it now. Eddie’s scrappy, but he’s down one arm and Richie’s got the element of surprise, so he thinks he has a pretty fair shot at making it out the door at least.
Eddie finally sputters back to life, scoffing at Richie with nervous, jerking motions like an animatronic statue powering up.
“Oh- fuck off, Richie. It’s not fucking funny.”
“I’m serious! Eds, I’m not joking, I promise.” Richie holds up his hands in surrender and says, solemnly, “I swear on your mother.”
And it’s a mark of how absurd this conversation has gotten that Eddie doesn’t rise to the bait.
Richie laughs, feeling crazy.
“Uh, cause you can’t do it yourself? I feel we’re talking in circles here, man.”
“Richie,” Eddie groans, eyes wide, looking at Richie like he doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about. Join the club, Richie thinks, panic mounting.
“I mean,” Richie starts, swallowing dryly. “That’s kind of the whole point of you coming here, yeah? So I can be here to help you out while your arm’s fucked up? While you’re getting back on your feet? So I’m just saying, if you want the help…” Richie trails off lamely. Eddie just stares. “I mean, you saved my life down there, Eds, it’s the least I could do,” Richie tells him with a queasy smile, and fuck, that’s not what he meant to say at all.
Because now Richie can’t help but remember the way Eddie had looked that day, deep underground, hovering above him with a triumphant smile. How the deadlights had left spots on his eyes, making it hard to focus. How they had shown him visions of Eddie—dirty and stained, skewered and limp above him. How Richie had coaxed his sluggish limbs to move, now, before it’s too late. How the clown had let out a furious shriek when It missed Its mark, had dug through the rock to swipe Eddie bodily to the side, had thrown Eddie into the cavern wall. How Eddie’s arm had snapped beneath him. How it could have been so, so much worse.
Richie blinks. And blinks again. And when he looks up at Eddie, refocusing his gaze, he feels a little lost.
“I-” Richie shakes his head, blinks again. Sometimes he thinks he can see the impression left from the deadlights clouding his eyes. “Yeah, Eds,” he says, quiet, too shaken up to be anything but honest. “I want to help.”
He finds Eddie’s eyes again, but Eddie is still just staring at him, expression indiscernible.
Then, quietly, “Okay.”
And Richie can’t think for all the static clouding his ears.
Eddie’s shoulders fall, hands hanging limp by his sides, “Yes, Richie, okay.”
They stare at each other for another moment until Eddie huffs, impatient, “You gonna get over here, or…?”
“What, like, right now?” Richie asks, voice cracking embarrassingly, shoving his laptop to the cushion beside him and scrambling to his feet.
“Yes, Richie, right fucking now,” Eddie hisses, now wringing his hands. “You’re insane if you think I can sit with this and look you in the eye in a few days and ask you to do it later. Certifiable, probably. This is happening now or never, and I actually really would like it to be now because, as we’ve already established, it’s been three fucking weeks, dude.”
Eddie says all of this in one breath, which is simultaneously impressive and makes Richie wonder how they ever thought that he actually had asthma.
Richie crosses the length of the room in a few long strides. Eddie backs up against the wall as he approaches, blinking up at Richie when he draws near. Something thrums hot and molten under Richie’s skin.
“Do you, uh,” Richie clears his throat, voice on the verge of husky. “Do you want to take this to the bedroom?”
“God, no,” Eddie answers quickly. “That’s- that’s too much. That’d be weird, right?”
“Yeah, sure, that’s the weird part.”
“Richie,” Eddie whines. Richie loves him. “You’re the one who fucking offered, so if you’re not-”
“Sorry! Sorry,” Richie interrupts, does his best to put on an unaffected smirk despite the swooping feeling in his stomach. “I’ll be good,” he promises, and Eddie sucks in a shaking breath.
Richie steps forward to close the distance between them, heart thumping heavy and obvious in his chest. Eddie stares up at him with wide, nervous eyes. Richie wants badly to kiss him.
After a long, awkward moment, Richie gestures down, “Uh, should I…?”
Eddie rolls his eyes, says, “I got it,” and unbuckles his belt.
For all the nights Richie had laid awake, skin hot, flushed with guilt, telling himself that he can’t, he can’t think about this; for all he’d hoped that maybe, somehow, there might be a chance that Eddie felt the same way; for all the years Richie has spent wanting this, even the years he hadn’t remembered who it was he wanted, but still always, always it was Eddie—despite all that time, when presented with the reality of Eddie, willing and wanting in front of him, Richie feels-
Well. He’s a little overwhelmed, to be honest.
Eddie is breathing in long, even breaths, gaze focused somewhere around Richie’s chest. He seems determined to keep calm, so Richie’s certainly not going to interrupt him. His line of sight travels downward when he remembers he has permission, and he takes in the sight of the line of Eddie’s cock, visible beneath the deep red fabric of his boxer-briefs.
I can touch Eddie’s dick, he thinks, a little delirious. Then amends, I’m going to touch Eddie’s dick.
Richie swallows and bites his tongue to keep himself from saying something truly stupid.
He takes a breath, glances once at Eddie’s face, then brings a hand up to cup him in his briefs, grinding against his dick with the heel of his palm.
Eddie lets out a short, hitching gasp at the touch. His gaze flies up, meets Richie’s for a few terrifying, exhilarating moments, before his eyes flutter closed, hips rocking forward minutely, chasing the pressure of Richie’s grip.
Eddie is hot and slowly hardening in Richie’s hand, and the thought alone is enough to get Richie’s dick twitching to attention too. The reality of the situation hits Richie all at once and for a few moments he’s unable to do much more than give Eddie some blunt friction while he collects himself. Eddie doesn’t really seem to mind, though, if the shuddering quality of his breathing is anything to go by.
Richie checks his nerves, decides stubbornly that he will panic about this whole thing later, and determinedly trails his thumb slowly up the line of Eddie’s dick. He lets his nail drag just a little, just enough for Eddie to feel it, curiously watching Eddie squirm beneath him. He thumbs over the head of his cock, presses the pad of his thumb where the fabric is just starting to grow damp, and is rewarded with a quiet whimper.
Richie’s quite sure it’s the best sound he’s ever heard.
He trails his fingers up, tugs at the waistband of Eddie’s briefs and says, quietly, “Can I…?”
“Yeah, yes,” Eddie breathes out, eyes still closed.
Richie hooks his thumbs under the waistband and works them down over his hips, biting his lip hard, just barely managing to hold back a whine at the sight of Eddie’s dick.
It seems ridiculous to describe a dick as pretty, but that’s what it is. It’s the prettiest cock Richie’s ever seen, heavy and flushed, starting to bead precome at the tip, and Richie gets to do something about it. He feels, frankly, flush with power.
Richie trails his fingers lightly over the length of it, teasing him a little. He glances up to find that little pinch between Eddie’s brow again, gratified to see it make an appearance here too. Eddie’s eyes are still closed, but yeah, that probably makes sense. Easier to imagine it’s not Richie’s hand feeling him up, that it’s not Richie’s fingers teasing at his cockhead. Because Eddie isn’t here to see Richie, he’s here to get his rocks off in as inoffensive a manner as possible, and Richie is here to serve no greater purpose than a functioning dominant hand.
He wraps his hand firmly around the base of Eddie’s dick and gives him a good, firm upward stroke. Eddie gasps lowly, hips bucking up into Richie’s grasp, his erection filling out nicely in Richie’s hand. Richie works up a slow, lazy rhythm, stepping closer to better manage the angle.
“Fuck, your hand is big,” Eddie gasps out, head bowed low between them, and fuck, yeah, okay, Richie’s dick is now fully invested in the proceedings.
Richie laughs roughly, thinks of the women who might have done this before him. How small and soft their hands would have felt, touching Eddie the way Richie is now. He wonders if they would have been gentle, tentative in how they handled him. He wonders how Eddie would prefer it, if Eddie would have liked it rougher, a little faster, impatient as ever at being coddled.
Sounding more out of breath than he ostensibly has cause to be, Richie asks, “That a good thing, Eds?”
“Fuck you, you know it is,” Eddie says, grinding up a bit into Richie’s hand, and Richie preens where he knows Eddie can’t see him.
He thumbs up firm under the head of Eddie’s dick, encouraging a pulse of precome to ooze up and over. Eddie bites back a stifled moan. Richie wishes he wouldn’t.
“You know what they say about big hands-”
“Please shut up,” Eddie begs, eyes squeezed shut.
“Right, sorry,” Richie says, throat tight. “Just pretend I’m not here.”
He gives him a few long, tight strokes, thumb dragging up the length of him.
“Just let me know if- let me know if this isn’t doing it for you,” he says quietly, working his hand a little faster now.
“I should’ve known that your need for validation would extend this far,” Eddie says, voice sounding thin. His head falls back against the wall behind him. He’s got a lazy grin on his face and his hair is coming loose from the gel he wears, flopping limply over his forehead. And it’s a good thing he’s not looking at Richie, because if the lovesick expression on his face wasn't enough to give it away, the way his hips buck up against nothing at that last certainly would. “What, you wanna hear it’s good? It’s good, Rich. It’s really good.”
“Good,” Richie answers, strangled, tone betraying him, but Eddie is too swept up to notice.
Richie can feel himself leaking in his pants, damp and uncomfortable, but it’s nothing to the way Eddie’s dick is drooling messily in his hand. Richie’s mouth waters at the sight. The slide of his hand is slick and fast, and he wonders what Eddie would do if he got on his knees right now. He wonders how Eddie would react if Richie licked a long stripe up his cock, root to tip, before swallowing him down, making his dick a mess of precome and spit while Richie ground up desperately into his own hand.
“I don’t, ah,” Eddie whimpers when Richie drops his hand down to palm at his balls. “I don’t know what to do with my hands,” Eddie says, laughing a little, breathless. Richie snorts and shuffles forward, right up in Eddie’s space now. He takes Eddie’s cast and rests it heavy on his own shoulder. After a moment, Eddie’s other hand comes up too, smoothing over Richie’s chest to settle hot on his other shoulder.
Richie bites back a groan.
He gets his hand back on Eddie’s dick and speeds up his strokes, panting roughly himself. Eddie must be able to feel it now with his hands on Richie, but he doesn’t seem to care. “I don’t think this will last very long,” he says, voice thin.
“This is about you, Eds,” Richie tells him, almost whispers it. “You don’t have anyone to impress here,” he says and means it. Richie doesn’t know exactly how he managed to talk his way into this, but he is very abruptly grateful for his trashmouth’s penchant to speak without permission. His dick has been straining at the zipper of his jeans since he got his hand on Eddie, but it’s nothing to the needy, desperate desire to make this good for Eddie. Please, please let this be good, he thinks loudly in Eddie’s direction. Please let me touch you again, Eds.
They’re close enough now that Richie can catalogue the exact shade of the flush of Eddie’s cheeks and the way it travels down his neck, bared where his head is tipped back against the wall. Richie wants to lick and nip and taste, to suck kisses into his neck until Eddie is writhing beneath him. He wants to get on his knees and show Eddie exactly how messy he can be. Wants Eddie’s fingers shoved indelicately into his mouth, getting them sloppy wet so that Eddie can tease and fuck him with them, until he’s over-sensitive and strung out and begging for more.
He can’t have any of that though. So instead he slowly, tentatively rests his unoccupied hand at Eddie’s waist.
Eddie makes no comment, just continues to huff out shaky little gasps. Richie grips his hip a little tighter, feeling altogether like he’s getting away with something.
Eddie’s hips begin to speed up, stuttering out of rhythm.
“Uh, fuck, I’m close, Rich.”
Richie drags his eyes up to look at Eddie’s face and finds Eddie’s hazy gaze trained on him.
It’s too much, surely. He doesn't have the wherewithal to hide anything right now, that overwhelming, insidious want must be writ plain across Richie’s face. He should look away before Eddie catches wise, but he finds it impossible to do so. Eddie’s caught him in his gaze, easy as anything.
He stares back and does his best to commit the sight to memory.
“What do you need?” he begs Eddie. “Eds, tell me what you need.”
“Faster,” Eddie gasps out. “And, ah, tighter.” Richie adjusts his grip, picks up the pace. “Yeah, fuck, like that.”
He’s never heard Eddie sound like this, so unashamed, so strung out, so- so desperate. Abruptly Richie is not entirely sure that he’ll make it out of this rendezvous without coming in his pants.
Eddie’s breath has quickened and his shoulders are braced tight against the wall, small whimpers working their way out of his throat in time with the steady rhythm of Richie’s strokes. His hips snap up to seek out the tight grip of Richie’s hand, again and again, and Richie chokes down on something that he’s sure would have come out as a growl. He wants Eddie, he always has, but right now he just wants Eddie to want this. Please, he thinks again, hand picking up speed. I’ll make it so good for you- just, please, want me.
Richie drags his thumb just under the ridge of the head of his dick and Eddie lets out a long, broken whine. His free hand clenches at the fabric of Richie’s t-shirt, his fingernails digging into the meat of Richie’s shoulder, and Richie feels more than hears the thought reverberating through him, Touch me, want me.
And Richie loses it for a second. He hauls Eddie closer by his waist, both breathing heavily into the heady space between them. Eddie’s eyes snap up to meet Richie’s, dark and focused, and Richie struggles to catch his breath before he tells him, “Let go, Eds. I’ve got you, let go.”
Eddie sobs out a long moan, gaze held fast on Richie, until his head falls forward, eyes squeezing shut as he comes over Richie’s hand.
Eddie's hand clenches at Richie’s shoulder before shooting out to fumble at the box of tissues sat conveniently on the end table beside them, catching the worst of the mess while Richie works him through it. He pushes a long, slow breath out through his teeth, chest rising and falling heavily, eyes still closed.
Richie lets his hand fall away when Eddie starts to squirm at the overstimulation, his own chest heaving in tandem with the sound of Eddie’s breathing. His left hand is still gripped tight at Eddie’s waist and he squeezes, once, before letting go, shuffling back to put some space between them. Eddie’s eyes open slowly, his cast falling limply from Richie’s shoulder. He watches Richie with unfocused eyes, the beginning of a lazy smile starting to sprawl across his face, and Richie is struck with the realization that he’s never wanted anything more than he’s wanted him.
“That was,” Richie’s voice comes out cracked and thin. He clears his throat, tries again, “That was good, I hope. Seemed to get the job done anyway. The hand job, hah. Literally.”
Richie takes back every nice thing he’s ever said about his stupid mouth.
He retreats, back toward the hall, away from Eddie. “I’m just gonna-” he says, stumbling around the corner of the coffee table. “I’m just gonna go clean up.” He waves his hand stupidly and escapes into the hallway, leaving Eddie’s dazed expression behind him.
Richie legs it to the bathroom, letting out a long breath when he gets the door shut behind him. He glances at the sink, spares a thought for washing up, before thinking better of it, popping the button on his jeans, and yanking at the zipper.
He shoves his pants and underwear down and sighs when his long-neglected erection pops free. He’s harder than he’s been in a long time, maybe ever, his dick hanging heavy between his legs and flushed an angry red. He stifles a moan when he gets a hand around himself, still sticky with Eddie’s come. And it’s not the most pleasant sensation, already going a little tacky between his fingers, but it’s still probably the hottest thing he’s ever experienced.
The image of Eddie’s dark gaze, heavy and trained on him, the sheen of sweat on his skin, and the sound of his breathing and his moans, the way Eddie had felt in his hand, in his arms, and the way Eddie’s hand had felt on him—it’s all fresh, crystal clear in Richie’s mind. And so it doesn’t take long at all before he’s coming into the tight grasp of his own hand, biting down hard on his lip to keep quiet.
He comes down slowly, left arm braced against the counter. He lets out a long breath and moves shakily toward the sink, careful to hold his right hand aloft where it’s covered with both his and Eddie’s come—and fuck if that thought doesn’t make his spent cock twitch pathetically.
He washes his hands methodically, and when he’s done he braces them against the edge of the sink, counts to three and looks up into the mirror. The person staring back at him looks strung out, a little desperate around the eyes, a nervous cut to his jaw. He looks well and truly fucked. And, hey, at least it’s accurate, if not literally.
He sighs and squeezes his eyes shut.