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i'll come back to you (and i'll be here for you)

Chapter Text

Eddie wakes up with a start, lifting his heavy head from the keyboard of his computer. The letter ‘g’ has filled four hundred ninety-eight pages.

Rubbing his eyes with one hand, he groggily looks around for his phone; the cause of his startled waking from the best sleep he’s had in a solid two weeks. Before-break papers were really kicking his ass.

He finds his phone under his Cultural Resource Management textbook with several texts from Bev.

Oh god, her messages start, am I the new u?

Attached is an article.

Bill Denbrough Released From Rehab. Meanwhile, Old Bodyguard, Ben Hanscom, Spotted With Fiery New Girl!

There are two photos next to each other below the header; one is of Bill exiting the rehab center in a dark jacket with chunky sunglasses on, while the other is of Ben and Bev sitting inside a cafe in New York. Bev is flipping off the camera.

Eddie snorts. Classic Bev.

I take it city life has been treating you well..?


It varies day by day


Same here

Yeah :/

So are you gonna tell me why you and Ben were on a date, or am I gonna have to trust the tabloids on this one?


I think we’ve both learned to never trust the tabloids


*remembers last summer*


It wasn’t a date!!

We ran into each other on the street


I tripped into him, and he spilled the coffee he was holding all over himself

Oh my god 😂

He recognized me, unfortunately, as “Eddie’s friend from the night everything fell apart” and we started talking after I finished apologizing profusely

I, being the generous person I am, insisted on buying him a new drink


The paps just caught us at the wrong time!

Yeah, it appears so

He asked about u

Did he?


He wanted to know if thing settled down for u

Did you let him know that I’m living a perfectly normal, boring life?

Pretty much



Is there something else, or did you just feel like typing a lot of ‘m’s?

I know ur dying to ask it

Ask what?

If he mentioned Richie at all



I mean, I wasn’t gonna mention anything, but since you brought it up

Did he mention Rich at all?

A little

He said he talked to him recently

He said Richie’s in NYC, but he’s keeping himself on the dl

Maybe you’ll literally run into him too

Hey, u never know



I don’t know if I should mention this,


Ben says Richie misses u

So much


U could reach out to him, u know

I know u miss him too

Chee said he’d be the one to find me

It doesn’t have to be that way

I know

Can we please talk about something else now?

It hurts

And I don’t like it

I’m sorry

What do u want to talk about?


I don’t know



Okay, so, I had an idea last night

I’m listening

So, my roommate is going home to celebrate Christmas n’ other shit with her family until the end of January


And I was wondering if instead of going home, u wanted to come here?

I already ran this by her, and she’s totally okay with u using her bed


I know what ur gonna say

Ur gonna give me the classic excuse of “I don’t really have money for that kind of travelling right now”

But I’d be happy to buy u a plane ticket


And I’d pay for food and stuff

So basically what I’m saying is,,,

please don’t say no



I was gonna say that that sounds perfect


















Chapter Text

The airport is crowded. Eddie is exhausted, and his senses are overwhelmed by overlapping voices, and colors, and the strong scent of coffee drifting over from the small Dunkin’ Donuts hidden by a throng of people.

Where ya at?, he texts Bev.

She’d promised him she’d pick him up, but he hasn’t heard from her and if he has to find a cab to her apartment, Eddie thinks he might just give up and collapse from exhaustion here-and-now. Sure, the airport floor isn’t clean, but he has his neck pillow tucked under his arm and an oversized sweatshirt thrown in his carry-on.

When she texts back, Over by baggage claim!!, Eddie’s body floods with relief.

Look for the girl in a bright orange beanie standing next to a super-duper hot dude

Hot by whose standards?

Definitely mine ;)

Now I’m worried

Eddie spots the bright orange hat almost immediately. It’s a fluorescent color; the kind that burns an orb into your vision.

It also clashes terribly with Bev’s hair.

Beverly Marsh

What the hell is that hat??

Is it even a hat??

Is it secretly a safety cone??

Ur a pain

You know, for someone who’s going to a fashion school, you really suck at fashion

I hope that college loan is worth it in the end

Oh shove it

I still can’t see ur short, sarcastic ass

My short, sarcastic ass has actually grown half an inch, I’ll have you know

Looking up from his phone with a giggle, Eddie freezes. Everything seems to start moving in slow motion. His laugh dies in his throat.

He’d recognize that easy smile anywhere, even if half of it is being covered up by a bulky scarf.

Ben Hanscom is standing next to Bev in a puffy winter coat. A dark blue baseball cap shadows his eyes.

I’m still waiting for an Eddie sighting…

Eddie gulps. Someone pushes past him, making him stumble.

When were you going to tell me that “super hot dude” is actually Ben Hanscom?!?



Don’t freak out


I actually wasn’t gonna tell u?









I’m so sorry!

Do u want me to tell him to leave?


Haha, okay

Slight problem with that tho…

He’s our ride home..?



What. The. Fuck?!?!?!?

Why is he here????!!!???

I probably should’ve mentioned that after the falling-into-him fiasco, we went on a date or two

Or three

That’s great and all, and I’m so happy for you, but that doesn’t answer my question









I accidentally let it slip that u were coming to visit me and he said he missed u, so I was all “hey! I have a great idea! Y don’t u surprise him with me at the airport?”

I’m so so sorry

I should’ve told u


You should’ve

R u mad at me?

Not mad


Seeing him brings back a lot of memories

I’m sorry

You said that already

Well, I mean it


Would u feel any better if I told u that I finally see ur tiny ass?


U look rly tired, love

Maybe because I am

Can I come hug u?

I’ll come to you

I’ll have Ben go look for ur bags



With heavy feet, Eddie drags himself forward. Forward towards Bev, and Ben, and the memories he’s tried so hard to forget.

Chapter Text

“All I’m asking is that we pop into the party to at least say hi! Stay five minutes, do a shot, and if you’re comfortable, we’ll stay. If not, we’re out of there by 10:05 and I’ll buy you one of those slices of pizza that’s bigger than your whole head.” Bev’s grinning at Eddie and batting her eyes in a way that’s supposed to be charming.

“Can the pizza slice have pineapple on it?”

“Absolutely not.”

“Well, then I guess we will absolutely not be attending Ben Hanscom’s holiday gathering.”

Eddie turns his back to Bev as she throws her lips in a pout. He knows she’s going to try and make herself cry. She’s done this since third grade.

“Eddie, please! What if I say yes to,” she fake shudders, “pineapple on your pizza slice?”

Eddie turns back around slowly, stroking his chin in mock-deep thought.

“Better yet, what if I get you a whole pizza with pineapple on it?”

“You’d do that just for five minutes at a party?”


“Wow,” Eddie laughs. “You really are desperate.”


He doesn’t want to go. He really doesn’t. But he feels like he owes it to Bev. She’s been so accommodating, and he really doesn’t want to come in between whatever she and Ben have going on.

“Fine,” Eddie groans in defeat. “I will go to the party for five minutes- or more, depending on how good the booze is- but when I say it’s time to go, we’re out the door and on our way to the pizza place.”

Bev’s grin returns to her face, and she jumps up from the couch happily, pulling Eddie into a tight bear-hug.

“Thank you! So much! You’re the best!”

“I know.”

And that’s how Eddie finds himself sitting all alone at Ben’s holiday gathering. Five minutes turned into ten, and one shot turned into two spiced-rum and colas.

Ben and Bev have long since disappeared; the honeymoon stage of their relationship obviously hasn’t worn off yet.

The brightness of his phone screen flashing with a notification is what distracts Eddie from wallowing in his own miserable company.


Direct Message from @realrichietozier to @eddienoteds

December 8, 11:45 p.m.

hey eds


Eddie’s heart starts thudding wildly in his chest.

It’s been sixteen months and fifteen days since Richie last messaged him on the day they said goodbye.

With shaking fingers, Eddie types back a reply.


Direct Message from @eddienoteds to @realrichietozier

December 8, 11:47 p.m.

You tried it.


Direct Message from @eddienoteds to @realrichietozier

December 8, 11:47 p.m.

Please reference my username, which *literally* says “Eddie not Eds.”


Direct Message from @realrichietozier to @eddienoteds

December 8, 11:48 p.m.

good 2 c u haven’t lost any of ur feisty-ness


Direct Message from @eddienoteds to @realrichietozier

December 8, 11:48 p.m.

Since you can’t see it, I’ll let you know that I’m flipping you off


Direct Message from @realrichietozier to @eddienoteds

December 8, 11:49 p.m.

jokes on u


Direct Message from @eddienoteds to @realrichietozier

December 8, 11:49 p.m.



Direct Message from @realrichietozier to @eddienoteds

December 8, 11:49 p.m.

from what i can see, ur not flipping me off


Direct Message from @realrichietozier to @eddienoteds

December 8, 11:50 p.m.

ur just staring angrily at ur phone screen


Direct Message from @realrichietozier to @eddienoteds

December 8, 11:50 p.m.

that sweater looks fucking adorable on u, btw


Every cell in Eddie’s body pauses.

His jaw drops.

It feels like everything’s moving in slow-motion.


Direct Message from @realrichietozier to @eddienoteds

December 8, 11:52 p.m.

plz stop gaping @ ur phone. it’s kind of worrying me. i don’t think ur breathing


He’s not breathing. He’s completely forgotten how to breathe. He’s forgotten how to do anything.

It’s a miracle he hasn’t dropped the glass he’s holding.


Direct Message from @realrichietozier to @eddienoteds

December 8, 11:54 p.m.

i’m coming over 2 c u + make sure u don’t need cpr


Direct Message from @realrichietozier to @eddienoteds

December 8, 11:55 p.m.

spaghetti, plz look up from ur screen


Eddie lifts his head up slowly, taking in every detail of the boy now standing in from of him.

When his eyes reach Richie’s face, he almost bursts into tears.

The boy who’s haunted his heart and his mind and his dreams for over a year is now less than a foot away, looking even more beautiful than Eddie remembers.

“Hiya, Eds. Long time no see.”

Chapter Text

The next morning Eddie stays in bed way longer than necessary, but he figures he deserves the twelve-plus hours of sleep that he gets.

By the time he actually gets up for something other than a pee break or a quick drink of water, the clock that hangs over Bev’s vacant bed reads 2:10 p.m..

Eddie stretches, then picks up his phone from the nightstand beside his bed.

He instantly regrets that decision, and wishes he’d decided to sleep for another hour.

Notifications flood his home screen. Messages, missed calls, tagged posts, new followers.

He decides to start by dealing with the messages and missed calls.

Eighty-seven messages, three missed calls. Most, if not all, are from his mother.

God, he regrets introducing her to online tabloid subscriptions.

Edward Kaspbrak where are you?

Call me.

Call me.

Call me!

Call me right this instant.

I’m calling you.

Why aren’t you picking up?

Who are you with?

Is it that filthy Marsh girl?

I never liked her.

You lied to me about Christmas break.

This will not be tolerated.

You have lots of explaining to do.

Do you want me to spend my Christmas alone, Eddie-bear?

Young man, you are in a lot of trouble.

How DARE you break my heart like this.


Bev sends Eddie the same link, but the messages that accompany it are less accusatory and more worried.

Oh god, Eddie

I didn’t know he was going to b at the party

Ben didn’t know either,, Richie never rsvp’d

He’s sorry

So am I

I shouldn’t have dragged u to the party

R u okay?

I’m staying for a few hours to help Ben clean up

Plz let me know if ur okay

Getting worried :/

I’m fine :), Eddie texts back.

Haven’t read the article yet, but I’m about to.

With hesitant fingers, Eddie clicks on the link. The first thing that greets him is a blown-up photo of him and Richie talking awkwardly on Ben’s couch.

Pictures Released From Party Of Richie Tozier & Eddie Kaspbrak Getting Cozy

He laughs. The title is such bullshit. Anyone who has eyes can see the tension between the two of them in that photo.

After months of radio silence, it seems like Richie Tozier and Eddie Kaspbrak are back on! Photos released from Ben Hanscom’s holiday party show the two of them looking dreamily into each other’s eyes as they chatted it up.

The article goes on like that for another page, talking about how this is what all the fangirls, current and former, want for Christmas and blah blah blah. Eddie knows it’s a load of shit.

Ignoring his mother’s messages, he opens Instagram. Old Losers Club and “reddie”- whatever that means- fanpages are spamming him with tags and @s. His DMs are loading, slowly, but the first message is the only one that catches his eye. It was sent ten minutes after they said goodbye last night.


Direct Message from @realrichietozier to @eddienoteds

December 9, 2:28 a.m.

we *just* said goodbye, but i miss u already :-(


Eddie’s breath catches in his throat, and he can feel tears pricking at the back of his eyes.

I miss you too, he wants to send back, but he doesn’t. Instead, he closes the app and focuses on dragging himself to the coffee pot.

Chapter Text

Bev pauses Love Actually, and studies Eddie’s face by the light of her laptop screen.

“Why’d you pause it? You know this is my favorite part!”

She rolls her eyes. “Oh, please. Any scene with Hugh Grant in it is your favorite part.”

“But, like, this scene in particular,” Eddie gestures wildly towards the screen with his ice cream covered spoon. “The song, along with his dancing down the stairs, is a gay man’s kryptonite.”

“Yeah?” Eddie nods vigorously. “Well, I guess gay man’s kryptonite will have to wait until this gay man talks to his best friend.”

Eddie groans, flopping backward on Bev’s bed. He pulls the pillow from behind his head to his chest.

“You still haven’t told me what you and Richie talked about,” she starts. “Ben says that Richie texted him the day after the party saying that he hasn’t been this happy in a while.”

“Good for him.”

“It seems to me, though, that you haven’t been this sad in a while.”

“I’m not sad.”

Bev snorts. “Yeah, right. Like I can’t hear you crying yourself to sleep as Whitney Houston’s saddest hits plays.”

“You hear that?”

“Love, I’m pretty sure everyone in the entire dorm-complex hears that.”

Eddie takes the pillow and places it over his head.

“We didn’t talk about much,” his voice is all muffled. “I’d just forgotten the effect he has on me.”

“And what effect is that?”

“The way I fall for him when he flashes me that stupid, crooked grin of his. The way my stomach goes all butterfly-ish when he bats his eyes. The way I have no filter when he tells a dumb, vaguely inappropriate joke.”

“Hmm,” Eddie can hear the smile in Bev’s voice, “it sounds to me like you’re back to being in love with him.”

“Bev, I don’t think I ever fell out of love with him in the first place.”

“That’s a goddamned Christmas miracle.”

Eddie removes the pillow from his face so he can blink at her. “What’s that supposed to mean?”


“No, tell me.”

“It just means that I don’t think he ever fell out of love with you either.”

“Why do you think that? And how do you know he was ever in love with me to begin with?”

“Eddie, I love you, but sometimes your blindness to love baffles me. For fucks sake, the guy offered to pack up his whole life and move to Gambier with you!” Bev pulls Eddie into a sitting position and puts her hands on his shoulders, looking into his eyes. “Now he’s here, and you’re here, and you both like each other. So, what are you going to do?”

“God, I don’t know!”

Bev shakes her head in mock disapproval. “Lucky for you, I know exactly what to do.”

“I’m listening.”

“Has he contacted you at all?”

“Well yeah, multiple times.”

“And have you responded?”

“No,” Eddie mumbles, looking down at his melting ice cream. “I haven’t really known what to say.”

“Show me the messages, please,” Bev releases his shoulders long enough for him to grab his phone. When he finds it, he hands it to her so that she can find exactly what she’s looking for. She’s quiet for a few minutes, busy reading and scrolling. “He’s DMd you three times in the past two hours.”

“Is that a good thing?”

“You tell me,” she hands his phone back to him with the latest messages on-screen.


Direct Message from @realrichietozier to @eddienoteds

December 11, 9:08 p.m.

u haven’t responded 2 any of my messages + i’m starting 2 think i did something wrong. if that’s the case, i’m sorry 4 whatever i did


Direct Message from @realrichietozier to @eddienoteds

December 11, 9:53 p.m.

i miss u so so so much eds. i’ve been listening 2 my emo tunes on repeat


Direct Message from @realrichietozier to @eddienoteds

December 11, 10:30 p.m.

i need 2 c u again. idc how or where or when, but i’m going 2 c u again


“Shit, Bev. He thinks I hate him or something.”

“So tell him you don’t. Tell him you miss him and cry over him while listening to I Will Always Love You. Tell him you hoard every magazine that has a picture of him in it. Tell him you follow two Richie Tozier update accounts.”

“Okay, okay. I get your point.”


Direct Message from @eddienoteds to @realrichietozier

December 11, 11:13 p.m.

You didn’t do anything wrong, I just needed some time to process seeing you again.


Direct Message from @eddienoteds to @realrichietozier

December 11, 11:13 p.m.

I’ve missed you, Rich. So much it sometimes makes me feel like I can’t breathe. However, on second thought, that could just be my psychosomatic asthma acting up.


Direct Message from @eddienoteds to @realrichietozier

December 11, 11:14 p.m.

But for the record, I want to see you again, too <3


Eddie turns off his phone after sending the last message. He looks to Bev and gives her a half-smile.

“There, I did it. Now can we please get back to my gay man’s kryptonite?”

Bev grins at him and presses play. “I’m proud of you, Eddie. Maybe you won’t die single now.”

“Shut up, Red. You’re talking through my favorite scene.” He means to sound menacing, but for the first time in a long time, Eddie feels light as a balloon.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Eddie wakes up to Bev poking him urgently. He groans and half-heartedly smacks at her hand.

“C’mon, Bevvie. Let me sleep.”

“I totally would,” Bev yanks the covers off of Eddie, “but there’s something you need to see.”

She practically drags him out of bed and to the window. He blearily looks down at the street below.

“Whoop-dee-doo. It’s snowing. Can I go back to bed now?”

“No, Eddie,” she huffs impatiently. “Look at the curb.”

Eddie looks at the curb, just to please her. A few people are walking, one woman is waiting for her dog to finish sniffing a fire hydrant, another is trying to balance three trays of coffees, a guy is building a snowman below the window in only a thin jacket and skinny jeans. Idiot. The snowman doesn’t even have a carrot nose.

He freezes mid-step away from the window as recognition hits him. Rushing back to the scene below, he presses his nose against the glass to get a better look at the guy he’d dubbed an idiot and amateur snowman-builder. The guy has curly black hair, and dark sunglasses on. He’s tall and lanky, with an easy grin gracing his features as passersby give him strange looks. The idiot building the snowman is Richie-fucking-Tozier.

“No way,” Eddie breathes, his breath fogging up the glass.

“Yes way,” Bev replies from somewhere in the dorm. There’s some shuffling, and then she’s standing behind him holding out a hat and gloves. “Go down and give these to him. Start a conversation.”

“Why is he here?”

“You think I know?”

“You seem to know a lot more than me these days!”

“Well, this time I don’t know much. What I do know is that he’s here for you.” She shoves Eddie’s coat in his arms and pushes his slippers over to him with her feet. “Let’s go, Eddie. Romance doesn’t wait forever.”

Before he knows what she’s doing, Bev has Eddie out the door and heading down to the street below.


“Hey,” Eddie hesitantly taps Richie on the shoulder.

Richie pivots around to face the smaller boy. “Hi, Eds”

“You’re out here trying to build a snowman in a very thin jacket and skinny jeans, even though it’s snowy and cold, and I could see you shivering from Bev’s window, so here’s a hat and gloves,” he hands the aforementioned objects to Richie, mentally slapping himself for rambling.


“You also don’t have a carrot for the nose, but Bev doesn’t have any.”

“Shit. I should’ve grabbed one on my way out this morning, but I forgot,” Richie slips the gloves and hat on. The hat sits crooked on his curls and Eddie resists reaching out to fix it. “I should probably mention that this is my first time building a snowman in a solid twelve years.”

“Well, I mean, it’s pretty good then. All things considered.”

“Yeah. All things considered.”

There’s a silence that follows Richie’s statement as the two of them stare at each other. The snow’s still falling, leaving sprinkles of white in Richie’s hair. The taller boy’s cheeks are red from the cold, but this eyes are soft and warm. He’s still the most gorgeous person Eddie’s ever laid eyes on, that much hasn’t changed.

Their staring is interrupted by a banging noise. Looking up towards the sound, Eddie sees Bev banging on the window. Squinting, Eddie can make out that she’s miming drinking something.

“Oh, um, do you want to come in for a drink?”

“What kind of drink did you have in mind?”

“Coffee? Hot chocolate? You’re probably cold, so I figure something warm would be preferred.”

“You figured correct.”

“So is that a yes to coming in for a drink?”

“Um, that’s a hell yes. As long as you don’t mind..?”

“Of course I don’t mind,” Eddie smiles shyly. “However, I am wondering why you’re here.”

“Like I said in my message last night, I was determined to see you again.”

“Yeah, but how’d you know that I was here , specifically? And how’d you know Bev’s address?”

“I took a wild guess. Figured that if you were in the city, it was because you were visiting her,” Richie shrugs. “Then I just bugged Ben for her address for a few hours. He finally gave in when I threatened to stand outside his window and sing Africa.”

Eddie laughs. “Really?”

“Yep,” Richie smiles at Eddie’s laugh. “Now, not to be pushy or anything, but my balls are fucking freezing in these skinny jeans and if I’m not mistaken, you offered me a hot beverage which I would now like to recieve.”

“A, please never say that to me again. B, you aren’t mistaken. Inside we go.”

Eddie holds out his hand timidly. There’s a split-second where he can see Richie debate with himself, but something must click, because he takes Eddie’s hand with a huge grin, letting the smaller boy lead him closer to warmth and the promise of hot chocolate.

Chapter Text

Direct Message from @realrichietozier to @eddienoteds

December 12, 8:48 p.m.

tell bev i said thx 4 letting me stick around 2day . i had a gr8 time w u 2


It’s just a message. A simple, stupid message, but it’s enough to set Eddie’s stomach off in a swarm of butterflies.


Direct Message from @eddienoteds to @realrichietozier

December 12, 8:51 p.m.

I’ll let her know :)


Direct Message from @eddienoteds to @realrichietozier

December 12, 8:51 p.m.

Seeing you today was amazing.


Direct Message from @eddienoteds to @realrichietozier

December 12, 8:52 p.m.

I was genuinely happy for the first time in months.


Direct Message from @realrichietozier to @eddienoteds

December 12, 8:52 p.m.

i’ve missed u so much eds


Direct Message from @realrichietozier to @eddienoteds

December 12, 8:53 p.m.

u don’t even know


Direct Message from @realrichietozier to @eddienoteds

December 12, 8:53 p.m.

when can i c u again ?


Eddie considers telling Richie to get in his car and speed like hell to Bev’s dorm, but he knows that would be taking things too fast.


Direct Message from @eddienoteds to @realrichietozier

December 12, 8:57 p.m.

Maybe you could see me right now?


Direct Message from @realrichietozier to @eddienoteds

December 12, 8:58 p.m.

? no entiendo 


Direct Message from @eddienoteds to @realrichietozier

December 12, 8:58 p.m.

I mean, Instagram has a video thingy. We could talk on there.


Direct Message from @eddienoteds to @realrichietozier

December 12, 8:59 p.m.

Unless you don’t want to, of course.


Direct Message from @realrichietozier to @eddienoteds

December 12, 9:02 p.m.

hmm . give me a sec


Direct Message from @eddienoteds to @realrichietozier

December 12, 9:02 p.m.



Richie sees Eddie’s message right away, but he doesn’t reply. Eddie feels his heart thud nervously in his chest. What if Richie thinks his idea is dumb, or too… invasive?

Eddie’s screen times out, and he’s getting ready to die in a hole of embarrassment when his phone buzzes.

Incoming Video-Chat from @realrichietozier

Eddie pressed the answer button quickly, running his fingers through his pre-bed head as he waits for the call to connect. When it goes through, Richie is leaning up against his headboard. A beanie is stuffed over his curls, and he’s wearing the glasses that magnify his eyes.

Something about his appearance is softer than usual. Eddie fights a smile from rising on his face, opting to play it cool.

“Hiya, Eds. Long time no see?”

“It’s been less than three hours, you turd.”

“You miss me.”

He wants to say no, just to spite Richie, but when he opens his mouth a soft, “Yeah,” comes out instead.

It’s almost worth it to see the grin Richie wears after hearing him.