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I’m quite alright hiding today

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As soon as Eddie gets the all-clear from his doctors, Richie gets him the fuck out of Derry. He would have done so earlier if Eddie had not insisted it was safer that he stay with the doctors who had treated him. Richie’s mind boggles at the thought that Eddie could consider anything about Derry safe, but he trusts Eddie and he’s already nervous at the state of his condition, so he doesn’t push it.

He still can’t quite believe that Eddie is in a position to argue with him at all.

Back in the sewers, deep under all the rotten soil of the town, Eddie had saved Richie’s life. After apparently launching a fucking fencepost down It’s throat—God, Richie would have loved to see that—Eddie had rushed to Richie’s limp body to find him catatonic. No more than a few seconds could have passed before Eddie had pitched forward and kissed Richie, reviving him the same way Beverly had been awoken all those years earlier. And then It’s claw tore through Eddie’s right side. It had only just missed impaling him squarely through the chest where Eddie had been kneeling moments before. Richie had come out of the deadlights to find Eddie bleeding all over him.

The asshole actually had the audacity to ask if Richie was okay.

“Eddie?”

“Oh good, you’re awake. Cause I think It might have got me, man,” Eddie said, holding the gaping wound at his side, blood running between his fingers.

They managed to kill the clown, but joke’s still on Richie, the joke’s always on Richie, because he didn’t know real fear until later. 

Terror. When Eddie finally passed out from the blood loss as the Losers watched Neibolt crumble in on itself; in the ambulance as Eddie’s heart rate thumped out a pitiful beat, much slower than Richie was sure it was supposed to; and still later, through the long hours spent waiting in the hospital while Eddie was treated in the ICU.

Richie can say, categorically and emphatically, absolutely fuck this town.

Finally, so many days later, Eddie is discharged and they’re free to leave. Richie finds an AirBnB rental in fuck all New Hampshire, and it’s quaint and cliche and Richie couldn’t care less because it’s enough for the fact that it’s miles away from Derry. He books it for three weeks out. He doesn’t know how long Eddie will want to stay, but he has the money, and anyway, he’s too scared to ask.

The house is small and nestled under cover of a canopy of trees where it looks out on a still lake. They have a fair few neighbors, far enough away to give them privacy, but not so far that it provides a good setup for a horror movie. There’s a small deck at the back of the house that’s even equipped with a hammock—bigger than the one Ben had installed in their clubhouse, but Richie still doesn’t plan to touch the thing with a ten-foot pole. 

The decor of the interior of the house is simple enough, looks like a staged home out of a catalog, honestly, but light shines in through the huge windows in the morning, and Eddie had let out a soft little “oh” when he’d stepped through the front door and saw the view to the lake, so as far as Richie’s concerned, it’s perfect.

On the first night they don’t do much of anything. They unpack (well, Eddie unpacks his massive bags while Richie tries to figure out how to sign in to his Netflix account on the tiny TV in the living room), and they order in, and they argue over what to watch while they’re eating, and Eddie falls asleep some hours later with his head tucked into Richie’s shoulder, and Richie tries not to think too much of it.

There’s been a lot of that, the last couple of days. Richie doesn’t know how to say, You kissed me to wake me up from the deadlights and I don’t know if you did it to save my life or if there’s something else too, but it’s kind of killing me, man.

So Richie doesn’t say anything at all.

Instead he wakes Eddie up gently, gives him shit for drooling on his shoulder, and they retreat to their separate bedrooms, and they sleep alone.

--

Richie’s manager calls him the next day.

Steve is yelling about canceled tour dates and Richie is mostly tuning him out while he rummages through the one duffle bag he’d brought to Derry in hopes of finding another pair of boxers hidden somewhere at the bottom. Fuck, we really need to go shopping, he thinks, and then fights to keep the smile off his face at the sound of the word “we”. 

And then he realizes that Steve is waiting for him to speak. 

Richie tries to tell him why he can’t leave, tries to tell him about Eddie, but is cut off.

“I don’t care who the fuck you’re shacking up with, Tozier. Tell your twink you’ll call him later, and get on a plane A-S-A-fucking-P.”

And because the universe hates him—joke’s still on you, Trashmouth!—that’s the moment Eddie walks by his open bedroom door. Eddie raises his eyebrows and cocks his head, points to himself and mouths, “Twink?” 

Richie gives him the finger and grabs his phone, taking it off speaker. 

Eddie hums, shrugs, and walks away.

“He’s not my twink, Steve,” Richie hisses, rubbing his eyes behind his glasses.

“Cut the shit, Rich. I’ve been your manager for fifteen fucking years, I think I know your type.”

“No, I mean he’s not my- Fuck, never mind,” Richie sighs. “Listen, I’m not coming home, man, not yet. I’m a piece of shit, I’m sorry, it’s not happening.”

Richie hangs up before Steve gets into the swing of a good rant. And then he turns his phone off for good measure.

If Richie were in a better mood, he might spare a thought for the fact that the rants he’s been listening to his manager sermonize over the last fifteen years are almost as lively and prolific as those given by a certain hypochondriac he has just come to remember—but he’s not, so he doesn’t.

He hunts for Eddie instead, pulls him away from the book he’s just opened, and drives them to the nearest superstore to find some new clothes and groceries.

--

The days that follow are largely quiet, save for the undercurrent of bickering that has always filled in the spaces of Richie and Eddie’s conversations.

They fall into an easy routine; Eddie wakes up early and puts on coffee, makes it too strong for Richie’s liking, but Richie sucks it down all the same when he stumbles out of bed an hour later. Eddie reads. Eddie reads a lot, actually, and Richie hasn’t been able to pinpoint a common thread. The books are left absentmindedly around the whole house, fiction and non-fiction alike; dry histories and spy novels and self-help books and once Richie catches him reading Jane Austen. There’s a path that winds around the whole lake, and they take walks in the afternoons sometimes. Richie cooks for Eddie, which Eddie is dubious about at first, and then shocked to the point of insult, frankly, when he realizes that Richie’s dinners are actually good. Which is stupid, Richie thinks, definitely not pouting; he’s lived alone long enough to figure out how to feed himself, shit. They watch movies together most nights, though “watch” is probably generous; they mostly take longer deciding on a movie than actually watching it, then talk over the whole thing anyway. 

It’s domestic as shit, and Richie loves it, and then reminds himself that it’s all temporary.

Every once and awhile, Eddie will disappear into his room or out onto the small deck and close the door behind him, talking to either Myra or his lawyer.

The divorce proceeds slowly, but much smoother than Richie had expected—smoother by LA standards anyway, where Richie had watched countless schmucks drink themselves silly over lawyers and paperwork and the ‘division of assets’. Eddie looks alright though. Not- not happy, exactly, but resigned, certainly. Maybe even content. 

“Prenup,” is the only thing he says by way of explanation, and right, obviously. Risk assessment.

He’s wondering where Eddie is now, wondering if he’s having one of those quiet phone calls, when Richie finds him sitting in his bathroom on the closed toilet seat, twisting around to his right to examine the large gash torn across his ribs there.

Fuck, it looks bad.

The tear is closed at least, stitched up tight and no longer bleeding. But the skin around it is still raw-looking, an angry shade of pink that’s mottled with blue and yellow bruising fanning out from the wound. Eddie winces as he twists to re-apply his bandage.

“Hey, woah!” Richie trips forward and Eddie jumps, then glares at him.

“How long have you been standing there?”

“All this on display, Eddie, how can you blame me?” Richie answers weakly, gesturing to the split skin.

Eddie flips him off, then reaches for the bandage again.

“You’re gonna open your stitches if you keep twisting around like that, Eds.”

Eddie huffs. “Thanks, Dick, but the bandaging isn’t gonna change itself, and I need to change it regularly or it could get infec-” Eddie stutters. “Infected.”

Because Richie has kneeled down on the bathroom floor in front of him and is gently wresting the bandage from Eddie’s hands.

“Here, let me.”

Richie tries not to look at the damage more than he has to and pulls the bandage across Eddie’s ribs, around to the front of his torso. A few moments pass before Eddie seems to come back to himself.

“You have to wrap it tight, Rich. Like, tighter than you think you need to-”

“I got it, I got it.”

Richie grabs the medical tape from the countertop, tears it with his teeth, and seals the edges of the bandage as best he can. His hand lingers for a moment, fingers resting on the warm skin just below Eddie’s sternum, and that’s when he registers- Oh, right. Eddie doesn’t have a shirt on.

He snatches his hand back quickly and very pointedly does not stare at Eddie’s bare chest.

Richie looks up from his spot on the floor and finds Eddie’s big brown eyes looking back at him. Richie had spent his entire adolescence wondering what Eddie was thinking when he looked at him like that, and he wants to laugh for the fact that he’s found his way back here again—would laugh, if it didn’t still make him so fucking nervous.

He wishes he could say that Eddie looking down at him like this, that the disparity in height difference doesn’t do anything for him, but that’d be a big fucking lie.

He swallows.

“How’d I do, Dr. K?”

Eddie blinks, then looks down.

“Good,” he says. Then, considering, “I mean, it could be tighter, but-”

“Yeah, yeah,” Richie stands abruptly and backs out the door, the urge to retreat echoing loud through his head. “You’re welcome, dude.”

He turns away quickly, and as he walks down the short hallway he hears a faint “thank you” float out from the room behind him.

--

Sometime during the second week, Richie wakes up screaming Eddie’s name.

The nightmare still lingers, even as his panicked eyes dart back and forth across the room around him, taking stock of his surroundings. His eyes find Eddie’s in the dark and they stop their frantic searching. He watches Eddie’s face like he’s afraid he’ll disappear.

Eddie doesn’t disappear.

He’s half kneeling on Richie’s bed, his face close enough that Richie can see him fairly clearly even though he’s not wearing his glasses. Eddie’s got one hand keeping his balance on the mattress where he’s leaning over Richie, and, oh, that’s Eddie’s hand on his cheek.

Richie stares and tries to breathe and realizes, now, that Eddie has been trying to talk to him, that Eddie is rubbing his thumb across Richie’s cheek and is saying, “Richie? Richie, you’re okay. I’m here, you’re okay.”

“Eds,” Richie finally gasps out. “Eddie, you-”

Richie’s hand flies up and presses flat against Eddie’s torso, right at the center, right where he had seen It’s claw tear through from the other side. He can’t look away.

“You were dead,” he whispers. “It got you.”

Eddie watches him for a moment, and then another, then leans away, settling back on the edge of the bed. He takes Richie’s hand with his own and moves it over to his right side, pressing it gently there. Richie can feel the bandage bunched up under Eddie’s t-shirt.

“It wasn’t real.” 

Richie’s eyes dart up to look at Eddie’s face, hand flexing gently against the fabric of his shirt. “I’m okay, Rich. It wasn’t real.”

Eddie watches him, waits for him to realize that it’s true.

Fuck,” Richie says, and settles back into the mattress. His hand falls from Eddie’s grasp and he uses it to rub his eyes. “Fuck, dude, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you up, just-” 

I watched you die, he doesn’t say. I watched you die and it tore a hole open in me, too.

“Fuck that clown, right?” He finishes lamely. 

It still makes Eddie smile though.

“Right.”

A clock is ticking somewhere in the house and it’s the only sound in the whole place, save for their breathing.

“You don’t have to- I’m okay now,” Richie says, more to fill the silence than anything. “You don’t have to... keep watch all night.”

Richie expects Eddie to make a joke of it, but instead he takes a deep breath and smiles quickly at Richie, an odd look on his face that Richie can’t place, and then gets off the bed and retreats toward the door. He lingers at the doorway, facing away from the bedroom, hand resting against the doorframe. Richie holds his breath. 

Eddie’s head ducks down. He says, “Goodnight,” without looking back at Richie, and closes the door behind him.

Richie still has nightmares after that, but he manages not to scream out again. He presses his face into his pillows, thinks about Eddie sleeping soundly in the room next to him, and reminds himself over and over again that Eddie is alive. 

Eventually he falls back to sleep.

--

Some days later, Richie takes a brief trip into town alone. He’d intended to stop at the small strip of Main Street and its adjacent offshoots that constituted the town’s small “downtown” neighborhood, but had ended up driving around aimlessly with the windows down instead, enjoying the warm breeze and letting the chatter in his mind dull to a quiet buzz. Life in the little house with Eddie was a certain kind of bliss that was made all the more sweet for the fact that it wouldn’t last forever. Richie cherished it wholeheartedly, but even he could admit that the brief respite was needed.

Living with Eddie wasn’t hard, but it wasn’t easy either. Richie had come back to Derry and felt all of thirteen years old again—afraid, and confused, and desperately wanting. He’d seen Eddie in the restaurant and had been flooded with old feelings, entirely as consuming and frightening as they had always been. He’d expected them to come and go like everything else—another echo, a memory. The Losers had spent all night being forcibly reminded of who they were as children, shoved back into those roles and then left reeling from the sudden jolt, settling back into their older bodies, feeling different, right? They were different now.

His feelings for Eddie don’t snap back, though.

When he comes back to the house in the late afternoon, he finds Eddie curled asleep on the couch, a crick surely beginning to form in his neck. There’s a book propped up on the floor beside him, held vertical where it’s resting against his dangling fingers, arm hanging over the side of the couch.

Richie crosses the length of the living room and crouches down to gently retrieve the book from Eddie’s hand. When he begins to pull it away, warm fingers loop loosely around his wrist.

Thief,” Eddie whispers.

Eddie’s eyes stay closed so he doesn’t see Richie smile softly down at him.

Richie grabs the book with his other hand and puts it on the coffee table. He recognizes the title as one of Bill’s, one of his first.

Eddie’s eyes slowly blink open and meet Richie’s own. His head tilts toward Richie and Richie becomes acutely aware of how close their faces are. He tries not to look at Eddie’s lips, his own mouth feeling dry.

“You gonna give me back my hand there, Eds?”

Richie expects Eddie to drop his loose grip, but Eddie doesn’t do anything for a few moments. He just watches Richie, a stubborn kind of look on his face. Richie doesn’t know why it feels like a dare.

Richie watches him right back, feeling queasy, and eventually Eddie drops his hand.

Eddie leans back on the couch, runs his fingers through his hair, and asks, “What time is it?”

Richie clears his throat quietly. “S’almost 5,” he says, rocking back on his heels. “How about an early dinner tonight, you up for it?”

Eddie hums in acquiescence and turns his head back to look at Richie, “Want any help?”

“Um, no. No, I’m good. You just rest.”

Richie doesn’t wait for Eddie to argue. He rises to his feet again and retreats to the kitchen, thinking maybe he should have spent longer in town.

--

Before Richie really knows what’s happened, it’s halfway through the third week.

Eddie’s injury has healed up pretty well by now. He still favors his right side, and he probably doesn’t need to keep wearing the bandage, but he’s Eddie, so he wears it anyway. 

He doesn’t need Richie’s help to change it anymore, though.

Richie had just gotten off the phone with Bev. They'd chatted for a while, trying to make each other laugh with stories about their respective new roommates. (It’s not the same, though, a voice whispers in Richie’s head. Ben’s the success story, and you’re- well, you’re not.) Bev had asked what his plans were at the week’s end, and he’d bit out some joke in response, but honestly he’s got no idea. She had just hummed at him, a little too knowing for his liking, so he’d rattled off an excuse and hung up quickly after that.

Richie knows what he’d like to do after this.

He’s got an apartment in New York, has had it for years. Nothing too lush, not by a long shot. But it’s comfortable, it’s been somewhere to rest his head that’s not another cold hotel room, and he’s in the city so much anyway, it had just made sense.

Eddie doesn’t know about it, though.

He’s been trying to figure out how to tell him for the last three weeks, been trying to figure out how to ask Eddie if he would stay with him.

Hey, Eddie, I know this is pathetic and maudlin and gay, but I’m not sure how I lived my life without you up until now, in fact I’m pretty sure I was operating on autopilot until I found you again, and I really don’t want to go back to that empty house alone. So, like, wanna be roommates?

It’s honest, sure, but where’s the sex appeal?

Richie puzzles this out while standing at the sink, rinsing out a glass. He watches the soapy water disappear down the drain and doesn’t come to any useful conclusions.

Eddie pads across the living room.

“I’m turning in, Rich. I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Night, Eds,” Richie says, absentmindedly.

“Not my name, asshole!” Eddie calls back cheerily, not turning around as he heads back toward his bedroom.

Richie shakes himself.

Sack up, Tozier.

“Eddie, wait!”

Richie finds him stalled at the door to his bedroom. He looks up at Richie impatiently.

Richie doesn’t say anything.

“...Yeah?” Eddie says after a moment, eyes darting around like he wants to be let in on the joke.

“Um,” Richie says, and shoves his hands into his pockets. The joke’s not lost on him that he can’t stop shit from spilling out of his mouth most of the time, that only now he really wants to say something he finds he’s dummied up.

“Eddie,” he says, purposefully, and it feels like a good start. Eddie looks at him like he’s crazy.

“I’ve been meaning to, uh, tell you- I mean, I guess ‘ask you’ is more-” Richie closes his eyes, tries again. “I have an apartment, in the city,” he tells him, pauses, then clarifies, “New York City.”

He opens his eyes. Eddie still has the same look on his face.

“Cool?”

“Oh, my God.” 

Richie adjusts his glasses, grits his teeth, and says carefully, “I was wondering if you wanted to stay with me, after this. At my apartment.”

Eddie just looks at him.

“In New York City?”

Richie wants to scream.

Yes, fuck, Eds, I’m asking if you want to come live with me in my apartment in New York City. I just- I don’t know, you don’t really seem like the type of guy who wants to have fun in the sun in California, and I mean- I assumed you’d want to go back to your job eventually, so I just figured, you know, to make it easy, why don’t we just- live in my apartment. Together.”

Eddie is still looking at him, and he doesn’t look so confused anymore, which Richie guesses is a good sign, but there’s some other emotion crossing over his face now, something that looks suspiciously like anger, and oh, fuck-

“What the fuck is wrong with you, Richie Tozier?” Eddie punctuates this question by shoving Richie’s shoulder, hard.

“Ow! Eds, what the fuck-”

Don’t call me that.” 

Eddie has said those words to Richie so many times, they’ve sort of lost all meaning, but the way he says it now makes Richie take pause.

“Eddie,” he tries, “I- I’m sorry, okay. Whatever I said, I-”

“Shut up! For once in your life, just shut the fuck up!” 

Richie’s mouth snaps closed. Eddie turns around, muttering something to himself that Richie can’t hear. He runs his hands through his hair, taps his foot, then rounds back on Richie again. Richie flinches.

Eddie’s got both hands on his hips, glaring defiantly up at him. His face is flushed red with anger, his eyes bright, and his hair is just a little wild from having run his hands through it. Richie would be more distracted by how hot he looks if it weren’t so intimidating.

“We have spent weeks dancing around each other in this tiny fucking house, Richie, weeks. I mean, I kiss you, and then you blow me off, but also whisk me away to some cliche love den in the middle of fucking nowhere, and don’t say anything about any of it for three fucking weeks, and then you ask me to move in with you?” Eddie’s eyes look wild. “‘In New York City,’” he adds, mocking. “It’s bullshit, Richie.”

Richie goggles at him.

“Wait, wait. Eds-”

Eddie glares at him.

“Eddie. I didn’t- I didn’t blow you off.”

Bullshit.

“Eddie,” he says, trying to make him understand. “You saved my life.”

“I kissed you on the mouth, you gigantic fucking prick.”

Richie stares at him, at a total loss. Of course, of course he had wondered, had been wondering this entire fucking time if Eddie could have possibly meant anything by that kiss. But the days had carried on, one after the other, and it became easier to just accept that he didn’t. That he couldn’t. And if it wasn’t what Richie wanted, at least it was familiar. Because he’d been telling himself the same fucking thing since he was thirteen years old. 

Richie takes a step toward Eddie, then rethinks it, Eddie looks so mad, and takes a step back.

Eddie yells. Richie’s pretty sure he’s about to get punched, actually.

But Eddie grabs his face with both hands and kisses him instead.

And it’s nothing like Richie had expected, nothing like he’d ever thought it would be, but Eddie is kissing him, Eddie is kissing him!, and he is helpless to do anything but kiss back.

“You are so fucking stupid,” Eddie breathes into his mouth, despairing. “How are you so fucking stupid?” He bites Richie’s lip.

Hnngh, ‘m sorry,” Richie says against Eddie’s mouth.

After that there’s less talking.

There’s more teeth than Richie is used to, but he thinks maybe that’s because Eddie is still mad at him, and he really doesn’t mind, because Eddie is kissing him, and it’s all he’s wanted since he was old enough to know what it meant when his stomach twisted any time Eddie laughed at one of his dumb jokes. Eddie could be the worst kisser in the world and Richie would still be ready to follow him anywhere.

Eddie’s pushing against him insistently now and Richie stumbles backwards, hands on Eddie’s face, hands in Eddie’s hair, hands anywhere he can reach him.

The backs of Richie’s legs bump up against the bed, and, oh, they’re in his bedroom now. 

Eddie tears his lips away and Richie instinctively chases after him, leaning forward as his eyes flutter open. 

Eddie puts a hand on Richie’s chest, effectively stopping him, and then shoves him backward onto the bed. And then the only thought that passes through Richie’s head is, Oh, shit.

Eddie climbs into his lap, straddles his thighs, and ducks down to kiss him again.

And that’s it really, That’s it for Richie Tozier, folks!, Richie thinks deliriously, because he’s got Eddie’s tongue in his mouth and his hands on Eddie’s ass, and there is no way, there’s no way that his life will ever get any better than this.

And then Eddie unzips his pants.

Eddie shoves his hand into Richie’s jeans, rubs the heel of his palm against Richie’s dick over the thin fabric of his boxers, and Richie whines into his mouth. It’s a high, keening sound that he will deny later, but is in no right mind to deny anything right now, least of all to Eddie. Eddie who is looking down at Richie with dark eyes, who is breathing through parted lips, and who is pushing down Richie’s boxers.

Eddie’s got his hand on Richie’s dick and Richie’s brain stalls, sputters, then starts whizzing at a hundred miles per hour. Richie has thought about this a million times over, spent so many nights thinking about Eddie like this, feeling guilty and exhilarated in equal measure, but has never, not once ever thought he’d actually make it this far. And it’s like every feeling he’s harbored over the last thirty years comes careening back to him in that moment, too big and too heavy for him to comprehend, entirely overwhelming, and- oh shit.

“Richie, are you- are you crying?”

And there’s that feeling. 

You weren’t careful enough, his mind hisses. He’s gonna find out. He’s gonna know. 

It’s arresting and painfully familiar. He’s felt it countless times about any number of things—eyes caught staring across the room, blush rising to his face even as he hastens to look away, fingers that linger longer than they should, and words, always words, spilling unbidden from his mouth. 

But there’s something else now, too. He looks up at Eddie leaning over him, his hair messy from Richie’s fingers, his lips shining from Richie’s mouth, and for the first time ever Richie thinks maybe it’s okay. Because for all the times he’s thought he said too much, Eddie hasn’t wavered. Eddie hadn’t wavered right up until the moment he forgot Richie. So maybe it’s time he tells him. Maybe it’s time he knew. And so what if it takes Eddie’s hand on his dick to finally come to that decision. 

Eddie’s always been the brave one.

“Yeah, don’t- don’t make a big deal out of it, okay?” He wipes the tears from his eyes with both hands, then lets his head fall back against the bed, looking up at Eddie. “It’s just that I kinda realized that I’m in love with you. I think I’ve been in love with you my whole life, Eds.”

Eddie stares at him, eyes wide, but he doesn’t move away.

“That’s a lot of pressure, Rich,” he whispers, nervous, inches from Richie’s mouth. “I’m not gonna measure up.”

Fat fucking chance,” Richie says, and pushes forward, kissing him again.

There’s less teeth now and Richie thinks maybe he did something right.

Eddie’s hand resumes its steady rhythm, thumb swiping up across the head on every other stroke, and it’s too much and not enough all at once. 

Richie wraps an arm around Eddie’s left side, grips tight, and flips them over in one smooth motion, careful not to disturb Eddie’s bandages. 

“How did you do that?” Eddie asks, indignant. Richie just grins at him.

He looks down at Eddie, who looks like a fucking angel beneath him, and says, fingers brushing feather light over his right side, “Let me know if, uh, if anything hurts.”

“You’re not gonna hurt me, Rich.”

A noise rises from Richie’s throat that is definitely not a whimper.

He leans forward and presses one kiss to Eddie’s lips, then one to the corner of his mouth, then more across his jaw and down his throat. Richie unbuttons Eddie’s shirt, one by one, and presses a kiss to each new inch of skin exposed there. He gets down to his naval before Eddie grabs at him, urging him back up, pressing their lips together again hungrily. Their hips grind together and Richie groans into Eddie’s mouth. Eddie makes quick work of the last few buttons, and then all of a sudden his shirt is off and Richie just stares and stares.

Eddie has certainly lost the last of his baby fat since Richie’s seen him last. He’s fit, like stupidly fit for men their age, every bit as trim as the tight polos he’s been sporting all these weeks have suggested. Eddie’s skin is flushed scarlet across his chest in a way that makes Richie’s mouth go dry. Dark hair dusts his chest, rising and falling with heavy breaths, and continues down past his naval, disappearing below the waistband of his jeans. The bandage is smaller than the one Richie had last seen, and he can hardly make out the bruising in this light. 

Richie moves down between Eddie’s knees. He presses a kiss just above the waistband of Eddie’s jeans before popping the button and tugging down the zipper. Eddie lifts his hips at Richie’s gentle nudging, and Richie pulls his pants and briefs down below Eddie’s hips.

Eddie’s dick rests flushed and hard against his stomach. Richie grips his hips and just admires him for a second.

Richie.

Richie huffs, “Bossy.” But he smirks, and wets his lips, and then he licks up the length of Eddie’s dick, and swallows him down in one.

The sound Eddie makes above him is gorgeous.

He feels Eddie’s hips flex under his hands, but he holds him tight to the mattress. One hand tangles in Richie’s hair as Richie sets a slow rhythm. Richie hums around him and Eddie whimpers, grips tighter. Richie hollows his cheeks and sucks and Eddie gasps. Richie thinks he could spend forever learning what Eddie likes, figuring out which trick triggers which little sound.

He grips the base of Eddie’s dick with one hand, tongues the head at the slit, and watches Eddie’s fingers clench and unclench in the sheets beside him.

“Richie- Richie-”

“Fuck, yeah, baby?” Richie asks against Eddie’s skin.

“I want you,” Eddie says, and he looks down at Richie, holding eye contact. His pupils are blown wide. “I want you to fuck me, Richie.”

And Richie’s brain definitely stops working then.

He closes his eyes, pressing his hips down into the mattress beneath him, looking for some kind of friction but also staving off anything premature. 

Fuck, Eddie,” he growls. 

“Yeah, that’s what I said,” Eddie says lightly, sounding out of breath. 

Richie pinches Eddie’s hip, and then he rolls off the side of the bed, searching for his duffel while Eddie shimmies fully out of his jeans. And thank fuck Richie brought the same bag he uses when he travels for shows because there’s lube and condoms kept in the side pocket that he definitely wasn’t thinking about when packing for Derry, fucking, Maine.

He returns to the bed, dropping the condom and lube somewhere by Eddie’s left hip, and holds Eddie’s face carefully in his hands before dipping down to kiss him again. And Eddie should hate it, Richie’s mouth was just on his dick, but he doesn’t really seem to mind.

Richie pulls away and resettles himself back down between Eddie’s knees. He gives his own dick a few pulls to relieve some of the pressure, then slicks two fingers. He grabs Eddie’s dick with his left hand and swirls his tongue around the head before sinking down again. Eddie’s hips twitch up toward his mouth. Richie slides one finger inside of him. His mouth keeps a lazy pace on Eddie’s dick, stretching him out all the while.

About thirty seconds in Eddie tells him, “Not gonna hurt me, Rich.”

Richie looks up at him. Eddie is propped up on his elbows, looking at him with raised eyebrows. He’s still breathing heavily, though, and his eyelashes flutter every few seconds.

Richie grins against his dick, and then gives him another finger.

“Uhhn,” Eddie says, and falls back down onto the bed.

Richie follows him and presses another kiss to his lips. Then he attaches his mouth to Eddie’s collar bone and scissors his fingers, working them more insistently now.

“Richie, if you give me a hickey I will fu-ucking kill you,” Eddie tells him, shuddering on the word when Richie crooks his fingers. Richie smirks against his skin.

Eddie is pretty well worked up now, huffing short little breaths with one hand tangled in Richie’s hair. 

Richie pulls away and Eddie whines quietly in the back of his throat, eyes slowly opening to look up at him, and Richie’s never wanted anything more in his life.

Richie reaches back and fumbles in the bed sheets, finds the condom and begins to tear it open. Eddie grabs his wrist lightly. 

“No,” he says, like it’s nothing. “I want to feel you.” 

Richie is not entirely confident that his brain isn’t melting out of his ears. 

“I’m- I mean, I’m clean. Are you...” 

Yes. Yes, fuck, Eds.”

Richie kisses him, pulls back, and then kisses him again anyway.

Then he sits up fully, hands fumbling at his shirt’s buttons because how the fuck is he still wearing clothes right now.

Eddie’s hands come up and still his own, taking over for him, cool as anything.

“Where the fuck did you come from?” Richie whispers, in awe.

Eddie gives him a nervous grin, and fuck, Richie really loves him.

Then the shirt is off, finally, and Richie rolls over to take off his pants, and underwear, and socks, and how, how is he still wearing so many clothes.

But then they’re gone, and he’s back on top of Eddie, mindful of his bandaging. 

Eddie leans up and kisses him again, and Richie will never, ever tire of it.

Eddie’s hands reach down and Richie hears the snap of the lube bottle opening. Eddie slicks him up, pumping Richie’s dick as if he hasn’t been hard this entire goddamn time. Richie pulls back, lines himself up.

He looks back at Eddie and brings a hand up to his face, cradles his cheek. Eddie leans into it, looks at him, and nods. 

“I love you,” Richie tells him, then kisses him, then pushes slowly inside him.

Eddie gasps into Richie’s mouth when he bottoms out. Richie is sure it was probably the cutest sound in the world, is sure that Eddie looks more beautiful than ever right now, but it’s kind of hard to concentrate when all his nerve endings feel like they’re on fucking fire.

“Fuck, baby, you’re so good,” Richie whines into Eddie’s neck, leaving a sloppy kiss there. “God, you feel so fucking good.”

“Richie-”

“Yeah, baby, yeah?”

Richie opens his eyes, looks at Eddie to find him smiling at him, breathing heavy.

“Shut up,” he says, laughing. And then he breathes, “Move.”

Richie lets out a short, hysterical laugh, and does as he’s told. He pulls out and thrusts hard back in and Eddie moans below him. He’s careful for one thrust, and then another, and then he doesn’t worry about being careful anymore. His mind reels with the realization that this is clearly not Eddie’s first time doing this, and he wonders who and when, and then he dismisses both of those thoughts and focuses on the man gasping below him.

Eddie’s hips move with him, meet every thrust, and his back arches slightly, neck exposed where his head is pressed back into the bed. Richie bites at Eddie’s neck, sucking a small hickey there. And Eddie smacks his back lightly, if not belatedly, and he laughs around Richie’s name, and Richie thinks it’s the sweetest sound he’s ever heard.

Everything is hot around Richie, he feels like tiny fires are sparking at every place he and Eddie touch. He stalls in his rhythm, grips Eddie’s hips, and pulls out, almost all the way, before sliding slowly back in and grinding against Eddie. Eddie gasps, keens, and whispers, “Fuck, Rich, right there, fuck.” So Richie does it again, pulls out slow and fucks in harder this time. He forces himself to loosen his grip on Eddie’s hips, afraid of leaving bruises.

Richie has been hard since Eddie first kissed him, has been wanting this for so much longer than that, and at the rate they’re going he’s not going to last long. He tells Eddie as much, gasps it into his skin, and Eddie just urges him on, whispering dirty words in his ear.

Richie gets a hand around Eddie’s dick and Eddie cries out, one hand grasped tight on the back of Richie’s neck, the other scratching against his back with blunt nails. Richie picks up the pace again, fucking into Eddie smooth and quick while his hand works his dick. He feels his glasses fall down his nose and he shoves them back up with his shoulder, not wanting to miss a thing.

Eddie is breathing in short little gasps now. He looks up at Richie with glassy eyes, mouth parted and lips wet. Richie pushes forward, kisses him, and twists his wrist, saying, “Come on, baby. Come for me.”

And Eddie does.

He whimpers into Richie’s mouth and Richie swallows it down as Eddie comes over his hand.

“You’re so good, baby, so good,” he tells him again, squeezing his eyes shut, hips moving faster now.

“Richie,” Eddie whispers, sounding like a prayer, and it sends Richie over the edge.

Richie pulls out at the last second, and Eddie whimpers at the sudden loss, but then he’s got a hand on Richie’s dick again and he coaxes him through it as Richie comes over his stomach.

“Fuck, Eddie, baby…” 

Richie falls forward, right arm braced beside Eddie’s head. He kisses him and Eddie kisses back dirty, tongue roaming as he presses forward. 

Richie pulls away, looks at Eddie beneath him, says, “Holy shit,” and kisses Eddie again. Then he collapses at Eddie’s side, right hand held aloft away from the sheets. His chest heaves and he watches Eddie next to him. Eddie watches him right back, soft smile on his lips, and then pointedly looks down.

“Yeah, yeah, here I go.”

Eddie’s laugh follows him as Richie runs to the bathroom. He rinses his hands quickly, then grabs two hand towels and waits impatiently for the water to run warm before soaking one. He all but runs back to the bedroom where Eddie is waiting, spread out on the bed, looking like every single one of Richie’s wet dreams.

Richie grabs his wrist first, wipes his hand clean with the wet towel, and then mops up the mess on his stomach. Eddie hisses at the cold, to which Richie whispers a soft “sorry,” and presses a kiss to his damp skin. He towels Eddie dry with the second towel and then hurries out to the hall closet, tossing them both into the hamper. 

Richie steals quietly into the kitchen and fills a glass with water from the tap. He just stands at the sink for a moment, stares out the window above it into the darkness outside, not really seeing anything. He feels dazed and overwhelmed and so full of love he doesn’t know what to do with it, heart aching in a way that feels new and somehow familiar all at once. He shakes himself and returns to the bedroom to find Eddie curled into himself facing the wall, blankets pulled up to his chin, apparently asleep.

If Richie’s heart stutters in his chest at the sight, well, at least he’s used to it by now.

He just watches Eddie for a moment, feeling nervous again. 

He doesn’t know what just happened, or if it will happen again. He doesn’t know what he’s allowed. His feelings have always felt too big, too much. Too much for a thirteen year old just starting to figure out that he’s maybe not like everybody else, and too much for him at forty, realizing he’s got happiness right in front of him, too scared to take hold for fear that it will startle. 

Because technically, Eddie hadn’t actually answered his question about the apartment. And it kinda seemed like a heat of the moment thing, at the start. And Eddie was so mad at him for a second there. And he knows, he knows he’s ridiculous for being nervous about sleeping together after having had Eddie’s dick in his mouth not at hour prior, but- but still.

He contemplates sleeping in Eddie’s room, but, no, that’s weird, don’t be weird . And just as he decides, fuck it, time to be brave, Trashmouth-

“Stop staring, you creep, just get in here.”

So not asleep then.

Richie pulls back the covers and smiles at the back of Eddie’s head when he grumbles about the draft. He hesitates for just a second longer, and then wraps himself tight around Eddie, arm coming up around his waist, knees slotting together. Eddie tangles their hands together, and Richie presses a kiss into his hair.

And then, out of the quiet-

“Richie?”

“Yeah, Eds?”

“I love you, too.”