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Burn Away The Winter's Cold

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Richie knew there was someone trying to wake him up. He could hear their voice through the haze of sleep and could feel them nudging his arm. Deep down he knew it wasn’t time to wake up and he turned around in the bed, hoping that was enough to discourage whoever was trying to get him to open his eyes.

It wasn’t.

“Richie. Hey, Richie, wake up.”

His sleep addled brain recognized Eddie’s voice and he wondered why on earth was Eds trying to wake him up in the middle of the night. He tried to ask him that, but his question came out like an unintelligible mumble.

Eddie ignored it. “Wake up, Rich.”

“Go away, Eds.” Richie groaned, covering his head with his blanket, trying to block Eddie out. He was tired, damn it and he wanted to sleep.

Eddie huffed, but his nudging only turned more insistent. Richie sighed into the pillow, it was clear that Eddie wasn’t going to leave him alone.

He was gathering the strength to open his eyes, when he felt cold fingers sneak under the blanket and press against the back of his neck.

“Goddamnit!” He cried, trying to get away from Eddie’s fingers and opening his eyes to glare at his friend. “What the hell, Eds?”

“I’m sorry.” He said, but he didn’t sound sorry at all. “I’ve been trying to wake you up for ten minutes.”

“Why are you waking me up in the first place? It’s-” He unlocked his phone and squinted at the numbers on the screen. “One in the fucking morning.”

Eddie sighed, “The space heater in my room stopped working.”

“What do you mean, stopped working?” Richie asked, stretching his arms and letting out a yawn. It didn’t seem like he was going back to sleep anytime soon, so he grabbed his glasses from his nightstand and put them on. The light that filtered from the street through his bedroom window was enough to see Eddie clearly. He had a blanket wrapped tightly around his shoulders and his nose was red, probably from the cold. Richie had to resist the urge to pull him into bed with him and snuggle him, with how adorable he looked. It would be inappropriate, not to mention he was supposed to be angry at Eddie for waking him up in the middle of the night.

“It was working and then it stopped.” Eddie said, matter-of-factly.

“Really, Eds?”

Eddie sighed, exasperated. “I don’t know what you want me to say, Richie. It was working just fine, then it started making these weird rattling noises and then it just, died.” He explained, shrugging. “And now my room is a fucking freezer.”

“And you want me to-” Richie trailed off, not knowing exactly what Eddie wanted from him.

“Can you come take a look at it? See if you can fix it?”

“Eds, I have no idea how to fix a space heater.”

Eddie pouted, “Please.”

Richie sighed, he could never say no to Eddie, especially when he was looking at him with the biggest, most adorable doe eyes ever. “Fine, Eds, but I can’t make any promises.”

Eddie smiled at him, grateful and turned around trusting Richie would follow him. And he did, stepping out of his bedroom, across the hall and into Eddie’s own room that, true to Eddie’s words, was freezing cold.

Ten minutes later, Richie was sitting cross-legged in the cold floor, with Eddie kneeling behind him. There was a frown on his face as he studied the broken space heater. Eddie stared expectantly at him, hoping that by staying silent Richie would magically know what the problem was.

“Aha!”

“Did you find what’s wrong?” Eddie asked hopeful, peering over Richie’s shoulder at the heater.

Richie shook his head, “Nope, I have no idea what’s wrong.”

“Then why did you say ‘aha’?”

“Oh, I just had the best idea for Bev’s Christmas present.”

Eddie swatted the back of Richie’s head, “You’re supposed to be figuring out how to fix it, not Christmas shopping in your head.”

“Eds, I could look at this for the rest of the night and I still wouldn’t have the slightest idea of how to fix it.”

“You’re an engineering major, aren’t you supposed to know about this stuff?” Eddie asked, raising his a challenging eyebrow at his friend.

Richie snorted, “You’re a pre-med student, if I started coughing up my lungs right now, would you know how to fix it?”

Eddie rolled his eyes, ignoring Richie’s quip. “Isn’t there someone we can call? Maybe ask someone in the building for help?”

“It’s almost two A.M, Eds, no one will help us. Besides, you know very well that everyone in the building but us has left for the holidays.” Richie explained, patiently.

“Maybe if we- uh.” Eddie frowned, and then half-heartedly hit the heater, expecting it to just start up again. It didn’t work. He tried hitting it harder, one, two, three times.

“Okay, okay.” Richie said, grabbing Eddie’s hands to stop strike number four. “Clearly that’s not working, Eds. I think it’s time to let it go. Mr. Space heater is dead. Let him rest in peace.”  

Eddie sighed, dropping his head on Richie’s shoulder. “You know who is not going to rest in peace today?” He asked. “Me, because I’m going to freeze to death.”

Richie patted his head, comfortingly. An idea occurred to him, but he hesitated, not knowing if he should suggest it or not. He didn’t see any other options though, it was either that or leaving Eddie to sleep in a cold room.

“You could- uh. I mean, if you want, you can sleep in my room.” Richie said, shrugging just a bit too much, trying to act as if it was no big deal.

And it wasn’t or at least, that’s what Richie was trying to tell himself. It wasn’t like they have never shared a bed before, they had, several times but that was back when they were kids and when Richie didn’t have a hopeless crush on his best friend, or at least hadn’t realized it existed. But this wasn’t about that, this was him offering his warm room and warm bed to his friend, no hidden intentions and definitely, no need to make a big deal about it.

Clearly, Eddie didn’t feel the same way. Richie couldn’t see his face, but he felt the way he tensed up when Richie suggested they shared a bed and when he didn’t answer right away, Richie started to panic.

“I’m just saying, Eds, its cold as balls in here. You won’t get any sleep if you stay here. Not to mention your dick will probably freeze and fall off.”

Eddie snorted, and Richie felt his breath hit the back of his neck and it made a shiver run down his spine. “Are you so concerned about my dick that you’re letting me sleep in your bed?”

Richie laughed the comment off, trying not to give away just how much he cared about it. “I’m willing to take one for the team, yes.” He said and chanced a glance at Eddie’s face. He seemed to be considering it, even if he looked a bit hesitant. “Come on, it will be just like when we were kids, Eds.”

“Except you weren’t a six-foot giant when we were kids.”

“Funny how you’re still a five-foot midget, though.”

Eddie swatted his arm, “Ha-ha.” He said, voice dripping with sarcasm.

Richie chuckled and pressed on, as nonchalantly as he could. “You don’t have to worry though, my bed is big enough. You won’t even notice I’m there.”

Eddie’s pinched face led Richie to believe he wasn’t entirely convinced, but in the end, he nodded. “Fine, but if I feel your cold feet touching me at some point, I’ll kill you in your sleep.”

“Fair enough.” Richie said, standing and dragging Eddie up with him. They grabbed the pillows and blankets on his bed and made their way to Richie’s room.

A couple of hours later, Eddie was trying to wake up Richie for the second time that night. Richie felt a hesitant hand wrapping around his arm and squeezing slightly. Eddie’s fingers weren’t as cold as before, but they still made Richie flinch at the contact.

“Please tell me my heater didn’t break down too.” Richie said, voice hoarse and groggy from sleep.

“Uh, no. I don’t think so.” Eddie replied. Even if he wasn’t completely awake, Richie could hear the nervousness in his voice and he turned around to face his friend, curious. “It’s still cold though, not as much as my room, but still cold.”

“Okay.” Richie said, unsure of what Eddie expected from him. “Do you want me to get you another blanket?”

Eddie shook his head. “I already have two.”

“I- I really don’t know what you’re asking from me here, Eds.” Richie said, confused. Instead of answering, Eddie lowered his head and nervously picked on a loose thread from one of the blankets. The silence and being in so close proximity should’ve made Richie nervous but somewhere between falling asleep and waking up again, it seemed that Richie’s nerves had been transferred to Eddie.

They had gone to sleep on opposite sides of the bed, each wrapped in a cocoon of blankets. He noticed that while they slept they had both moved towards the center of the bed, closer to each other. Still, nothing worth mentioning had happened, of course. It wasn’t like Richie expected it would, but he had been anxious knowing that it could. Not anymore, though. Now, he wasn’t nervous, he was just confused that Eddie was acting so weird.

“Eds?” Richie prompted, but got no answer. He scooted closer to him, wishing that he could see his face but without his glasses, it was a struggle. He nudged him with his feet, causing Eddie to jump and squeal in surprise.

“I told you to keep your cold feet away from me!” Eddie gasped and Richie let out a laugh.

“I was tempted to wake you up like that, to get back at you for earlier.”

“Asshole.” Eddie muttered, but Richie could hear the smile in his voice.

He nudged him again, this time with his clothed leg. “So, did you wake me up, for a second time tonight may I add, for a reason or did you just felt like it?”

“I- uh. It’s just, other than your feet, you seem rather warm.”

Richie shrugged his shoulders. “I guess?”

“Is it okay if I- Can I get closer? To you? You know, for warmth?” Eddie muttered and through squinting eyes, Richie could see the way his cheeks began to pink up in a blush.

It made a smile appear on Richie’s face. “Eddie Spaghetti, did you wake me up to ask if we could snuggle?”

Eddie’s reaction was immediate. His shoulders tensed up, he pressed his lips into a thin line and he glared at Richie. “No! This isn’t- I’m just cold, Richard! And I thought- you know what? Forget it.” He said, turning on his side, facing away from Richie.

“Oh, come on, Eds. It’s pretty cute that you want to snuggle with me.” Richie cooed, pressing his face into Eddie’s shoulder. A few hours ago, he wouldn’t have dared to do that, worried that it would make things awkward, to be touching Eddie while they were in bed together but now, he felt at ease, joking and teasing Eddie like he was so used to doing.

“Fuck off, Richie.” Eddie said, voice muffled as he pressed his face against his pillow.

Richie didn’t answer, letting the silence stretch for a couple of minutes. Then, “Eds?”

“What?”

“Look at me, please.”

Eddie sighed and turned around, begrudgingly.

“Hey.” Richie said with a sweet smile, any trace of his smirk gone from his face.

Eddie tried to keep his face blank, but the corner of his mouth curled up in a smile, “Hey.”

“You know, I’m feeling a bit cold suddenly, I could use a cute boy to keep me warm.” Richie said, sincerely.

Eddie narrowed his eyes at him, expecting a joke but when it didn’t come, he relaxed. “I doubt I can do a lot for you.”

“No one makes me all kinds of hot like you do, Eds.” Richie said, and the words sounded a bit too real for his liking, but he didn’t let his smile falter. He lifted his blankets, so that Eddie could move closer to him. “Come here.”

“Fine, if you insist.” Eddie sighed, and scooted closer, curling around Richie’s side. His head was tucked under Richie’s chin, and his arms wrapped around his waist. Richie tried not to flinch at his skin made contact with Eddie’s, knowing rather well that the reaction had nothing to do with the fact that Eddie was cold. He wrapped his arms around Eddie’s frame and the blankets around the two of them.

“Better?” Richie asked, after a minute of silence.

Eddie hummed, nodding his head. Richie assumed that was the end of it and he closed his eyes, waiting for sleep to take him, but before it could, he heard Eddie’s voice, but it was too low to make out what he was saying.

“What was that, Eds?”

“Uh, earlier you said, this would be just like when we were kids.”

“Oh. Yeah, we used to share a bed all the time when we had sleepovers.”

“We didn’t do this, though.” Eddie said, face pressed against Richie’s chest.

Richie hummed in thought, knowing what Eddie was referring to. They never cuddled when they were kids and if they woke up closer to each other than when they went to sleep, they never said anything about it.

“Yeah, I guess that’s different from when we were kids.”

“That’s not- it’s not the only thing that’s different.”

Richie’s breath hitched at Eddie’s words and what he meant with them. It didn’t help that his fingers were tracing random patterns on his skin, where Richie’s shirt had ridden up.

“What do you-” He paused, his voice sounded strained and he cleared his throat before he continued. “What do you mean, Eds?”

“I think you know what I mean, Rich.” Eddie said, he borrowed his face further into Richie’s chest. “At least I hope you do, because if you don’t then I’ll feel like an idiot.”

“You’re not an idiot.” Richie whispered, trembling hand running up and down Eddie’s back. “You’re right. It’s- it’s not the same as when we were kids. The way I feel about you, I didn’t feel that way back then.”

“I feel that way too.”

Richie let out a shuddering breath, one he didn’t know he had been holding. He smiled at the ceiling, “Cool.”

Eddie snorted, shaking his head in disbelief. “Cool?”

“I- yeah, it’s cool. That you feel the same way.” Richie said, shrugging. He felt rather than heard Eddie laughing at him. “Well, what did you want me to say, Eds?”

Instead of answering, Eddie propped himself up on his elbow, looking at Richie with a smirk. “Actually, I don’t want you to say anything.”

Richie’s brows furrowed, confused. “You don’t want me to- oh.”

The last word was muffled by Eddie pressing his lips against Richie’s, softly but with intent. Richie responded eagerly, smiling into the kiss. Eddie pulled away shortly after, having made his point and smiled down at Richie.

Richie was smiling back at him, adoringly. “Just so you know, you’re welcome to shut me up like that anytime you want.”

“I’ll keep it in mind.” Eddie chuckled, returning to his previous position, with his arms wrapped around Richie, only this time there was no hesitation in his movements.

Content, Richie hugged Eddie, pulling him as close to him as possible. It might’ve been the kiss or Eddie’s proximity, but suddenly he was feeling warm all over. He figured Eddie had to feel the same way. Who needed a damn heater when they had each other?

Richie’s eyes flew open, he could tell Eddie’s breathing had slowed down as he drifted to sleep, but he spoke nonetheless.

“Hey, Eds?”

He received a tired hum in response, Eddie was probably close to falling asleep.

“Did you break the heater in your room on purpose just to get in bed with me?”

Eddie mumbled an answer, but Richie couldn’t make sense of it. When he asked again, he didn’t get any response at all. Well, he could always ask him in the morning.

He knew it was silly, to think Eddie would do something like that, especially since he couldn’t have possibly known the way everything would play out, but Richie allowed himself to think that’s what had happened. He would definitely tease Eddie about it and Eddie would probably say that was something Richie would do, not him. And he would be right.

Either way, it didn’t matter. Richie couldn’t care less about the broken space heater right now. He would gladly make a trip to the store tomorrow and get a new one, if it meant that tonight had really happened.

Or better yet, he could skip that and just ask Eddie stay in his room the following night as well, the two of them snuggled up together for warmth.