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before this river becomes an ocean

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Patty's actually been asking if she and Stan can babysit for a couple of weeks before Eddie finally caves. He doesn't necessarily distrust Stan or Patty, specifically. It's that he doesn't trust absolutely anyone besides himself or Richie to take care of Riley and Audrey, and that includes literally every single person on the planet Earth that isn't Richie or Eddie. No exceptions.

However, this doesn't stand up well as the days go by and, before he knows it, it's been a month since Riley and Audrey came home, and Eddie realizes this means it's been a month since he's gotten Richie's dick inside of him, which is a tragedy. He'd never tell Richie something like that, because, God, it would go right to his fucking head, but he misses Richie fiercely. It's nice, that they sleep curled up together, and they lounge together on the sofa, and they try to keep their ankles connected when they eat dinner.

It's nice, but Eddie's starting to get itchy whenever they touch each other, starts to burn at the back of his chest when Richie's skin brushes his.

He starts to feel like a fucking virgin again, they go so long without fucking, and just thinking about Richie's mouth around his cock is enough to make Eddie need to put his head down on his desk and exhale slowly until he can work again. It's getting to be a problem. It's getting genuinely distracting, and he keeps thinking about it while he's supposed to be working.

The fact that he works from home now is massively unhelpful, because Richie spends the first half of the day at home muttering to himself as he paces around the house, or shouting and laughing as he plays with the girls, or spending the very early morning draped over Eddie and drinking his coffee. It’s all so fucking endearing and it’s getting under Eddie’s skin in the worst fucking possible way. It doesn’t get any better, either, because there’s no opportunity to do so. They’re hardly ever both awake and at home at the same time and, when they are, they’re parents, which is strange and wonderful and fucking time-consuming.

So, Eddie burns.

He watches Richie as he vacuums with one hand and bounces Audrey in the other. He leans his chin into his hand to stare as Richie holds Riley up to the window and points out all the dogs that walk by. He buries his face in his palms when Riley spills juice down Richie’s front and he pulls his shirt off, and Eddie watches the long lines of his body through the cracks in his fingers. His shoulders are so fucking broad, and the muscles in his back pull so fucking nicely when he moves. Eddie fucking burns. He can’t fucking take it anymore.

“I’m calling Stan,” Eddie announces. Richie stops halfway through using the damp shirt to mop the rest of the juice off of himself.

“Okay?” Richie says, glancing up at him. “What, did you want me to say hello? I’m a little busy—”

“No, I mean—” Eddie says, then stops. He glances at Riley, sitting on the sofa with her sippy cup in her hands, looking back at him expectantly. He knows she understands some of what he says, but not all of it, but he also knows she’s prone to mimicry, and he doesn’t want to add more fuel to that fire than the “fuck” she dropped the other day because of him. He hesitates, then says, “I think we should let Stan and Patty take the girls overnight.”

Richie frowns at him. “Are you sure? You’ve been pretty anal about that so far.”

“I am not fucking anal about it, I’m defensive about my children, so fucking sue me,” Eddie spits. Richie’s frown disappears, and he smiles instead, tossing his shirt aside and striding over to Eddie’s desk. He puts his hands down on it and leans over Eddie’s laptop. Eddie’s eyes dart over his shoulder at Riley, but she’s curled up on the sofa cushions, sippy cup abandoned, already half-asleep. Eddie returns his attention to the more pressing situation at hand, snapping, “If you drip juice on my computer, I swear to God, Richie.”

“You’ll what?” Richie asks. “Kick my ass?” Richie grins at him, then cranes his neck a little bit to look down at Eddie’s screen.

“I might,” Eddie tells him.

“Save your shit,” Richie says. Eddie frowns at him, because he’s at a low-level simmer at all times and anyone telling him what to do makes him bristle. “Eds, save it or you’ll lose it.”

Eddie saves his documents, because he trusts Richie enough to know to take him at his word. Sure enough, as soon as his hand leaves the trackpad on his laptop, Richie’s pushing his laptop shut with a soft snik. He leans in closer and kisses Eddie on the cheek, over the knot of white scarring tangled into his skin. Eddie shuts his eyes.

When Richie pulls away, Eddie whispers, “Oh, you— you motherfucker, Richie.”

“Is this what you wanted?” Richie asks. “Is this why you’ve suddenly decided that you’re okay with someone else taking the girls out of the house overnight? Because before you’ve always gone really kind of purple in the face just thinking about it.”

“Look, if you don’t want to fuck, then I can just—” Eddie starts to snap, shoving away from his desk, but Richie grabs his wrist.

“I miss you, too,” Richie murmurs to him, pulling him gently across the desk, letting him remove himself from his grip if he wants. Eddie doesn’t pull away, lets himself be pulled for the moment until their lips meet. Richie tips his head, opens his mouth and coaxes Eddie’s open slowly, too. Eddie reaches out, skims the space over Richie’s collarbone where he usually fists his hand into his shirt to hold him in place. He finds only warm skin, so he slides his fingers over the jut of his bone and up over his broad, bare shoulder. Richie makes a soft noise into his mouth.

“Fuck,” Eddie murmurs into his mouth. Richie huffs a laugh, then pulls away until they’re just a breath away from each other, their foreheads barely brushing. He tips his head, their noses bumping up against each other, then sighs.

“I love you,” Richie says quietly. “And your hot, tight little body, you horny goblin.”

“I hate you,” Eddie spits huskily. Richie kisses him again, bites at his bottom lip, and pulls away completely. He stretches his arms above his head, popping his shoulder joints in disgusting snapping sounds. Eddie forces himself to look away, but he’s so fucking hard that he can’t stand up yet. He exhales sharply, rubbing at his face.

“What’s ailin’ ya?” Richie asks, his voice moving further away as Eddie presses the heels of his hands into his closed eyes until he sees stars.

“You know very fucking well what is ailing me, you dickwad,” Eddie says. Richie laughs, and it doesn’t help, for some reason. At some fundamental point in Eddie’s development, Richie crossed a bunch of wires in his brain, and now he finds the stupidest shit that he does attractive. That’s what Eddie gets for marrying a guy he spent his formative years with. “Go in the other room, get out of here.”

“I’m just such a sensual recovering alcoholic,” Richie says in a faux-husky Voice. “You’re driven insane by my slovenly ways and the way I don’t take care of my body—”

“You have to stop doing that Voice,” Eddie says, still digging his hands into his eyes.

“Are you serious?” Richie laughs, and Eddie wants to strangle him, which also, inexplicably, doesn’t help. He’ll have to unpack that later. Tragically, Richie drops into his low Voice again, rasps, “Eddie, baby, you only want me for my body.”

“I will kill you,” Eddie hisses through his teeth. “I’ll fucking divorce you, Richie, I swear to God, go in the other fucking room.”

“Fine, fine,” Richie says. He scoops Riley’s sleeping body up as he goes, says, “I’m gonna go check on Audrey, you call Stan once you’re able to talk in a normal voice again, you maniac.”

“Go,” Eddie repeats, and Richie does. Eddie hears their bedroom door close, and he exhales, rubbing at his temples before he finally opens his eyes again. Richie is truly out of the room, so Eddie just takes a minute of thinking about literally anything else before he can stand up and grab his phone off the charging base. He considers, then dials Patty rather than Stan.

“Hi, Eddie,” Patty says, picking up after the second ring. “What’s up, hon?”

“Are you free tonight and tomorrow?” Eddie asks, skipping the pleasantries. Patty makes a humming sound.

“I think so,” Patty says. “Stan, sweetheart— We don’t have plans tonight or tomorrow, do we?”

“No,” Eddie can hear Stan call back to her. “Why?”

“Eddie’s asking,” Patty answers him, before her voice becomes clearer and closer to the phone again. “Why, what’s up?”

“I was wondering if you wanted to do a sleepover,” Eddie asks. Patty makes a soft little gasping sound that sounds like she tries to cover it with her hand.

“Yes,” Patty says. She moves the phone further away again and shouts, “He wants us to take the girls for a sleepover!”

There’s a beat of silence, then a click, and Patty says, “Eddie, honey, you’re on speaker.”

“Hi,” Stan says. “Are you sure, Eddie? Last time we talked, you seemed pretty adamant—”

“I just— I think it’s a good next step,” Eddie tries instead. “We should probably… push past our demons, and stuff. I don’t know, it just seemed like a good idea—”

“No, no, it does, it is,” Patty assures him. “No, we’re happy to do it, you know I’ve been wanting to. We’d love to. When do you want to drop them off?”

Eddie arranges to bring them over before dinner, and Stan makes certain a couple more times that Eddie is absolutely sure, until Eddie’s snapping heatedly at him over it.

“Okay, okay, we’ll see you soon, Eds,” Stan finally allows. “You’re so fucking tightly wound, I swear, if you don’t spend tonight getting—”

“Stop, stop,” Eddie interrupts. “I will see you soon, okay, you dickheads, goodbye.”

“What a way to talk to your friends,” Richie comments as he re-enters the room without any children. He leans in the open entryway between Eddie’s little office space and their living room, still shirtless, and crosses his arms across his chest.

“Hey, Rich,” Stan says, as Patty says, “Hi, Richie, Eddie’s being so strange—”

“Yeah, he’s looking pretty strange,” Richie says, making eye contact with Eddie and winking at him. Eddie furrows his brow at him, makes a slashing motion across his throat. “He’s got urgent business tonight, thanks for the late-notice first sleepover. I can’t help but feel like this is something I should feel the urge to make a photo album about? Is that what nesting is?”

“You’re so fucking irritating,” Eddie says. “Stan, Patty, goodbye, I’ll see you in an hour.”

“See you,” Stan replies, and Eddie hangs up before Richie can interject again. He looks up at him where he’s still leaning, all the long lines of him as he watches Eddie in return. Eddie sighs.

“We gotta get their shit together and drop them off at Stan and Patty’s,” Eddie tells him. Richie pushes away from the wall with his shoulder, comes around the desk and takes Eddie’s hands in his. Eddie lets him pull him to his feet, and Richie pulls him in, one hand at a time, pulling Eddie’s arms around his waist. Eddie holds him there, pulls their hips and chests closer together, and Richie drapes his arms over Eddie’s shoulders.

“We still have an hour,” Richie counters.

“Until we have to be there, dipshit,” Eddie reminds him. “They’re half an hour away.”

“Mm.” Richie drops his head down, pulls his arms back in so he can cup Eddie’s face in his hands. “Doesn’t mean we can’t spend a couple minutes pregaming, right?”

“If you really mean a couple minutes, then, no, that’s fine, we can—” Eddie says, until Richie cuts him off by pulling his head up and in to kiss him. Eddie goes, just for the moment, lets Richie be the service top he was born to be and cover Eddie’s body in his. Richie scoops him up like he’s melting, holds him together against his body and kissing him like he’s drowning and Eddie’s the only one who can give him air.

Eddie shivers, and his hands twitch up, but Richie’s hands slide up his arms before he can touch him. Richie drags his fingers back down Eddie’s forearms hard, tracks the movements of his muscles until he gets to his wrist. Once he’s got him held loosely in his grasp, he slowly and firmly pushes Eddie’s hands back down until they’re at his sides again and he can kiss him how he likes. Eddie lets him do it for a minute, a minute in which he feels Richie speeding up, the breath between them getting sharper, hotter, humid, gasping—

He turns his hands, grabs Richie’s wrists and pushes them back until Richie twists back, trying to catch his breath. Eddie releases him, and Richie grins as Eddie turns him around and shoves him into the desk chair Eddie’s just gotten out of. He climbs up onto Richie’s lap and frames his face in his hands before kissing him.

“Oh, fuck,” Richie says into his mouth, his hands sliding down to grip Eddie’s ass. Eddie straightens up so his spine is a hard line and he’s looking down at Richie, a head above him, and Richie has to tip his face back to look at him. Eddie pushes Richie’s hair back from his face, one loose curl catching on his fingertip. Richie’s hands drift up to the small of Eddie’s back, helping hold him so stiffly upright.

“Jesus fucking Christ, Richie,” Eddie murmurs. Richie smiles at him, an almost drunk-looking expression as Eddie pushes their lips together again, tipping his head so their noses don’t crush together. Richie’s grip spreads out, moves to his waist and holds him tightly, so Eddie grinds down out of instinct. Richie gasps into his mouth, sharp, a little higher than normal, and Eddie groans, shutting his eyes. He drops his head onto Richie’s shoulder. Their hips are still crushed together, Richie’s cock a thick, hard line against the side of his own, and moving just slightly to the left so they’re no longer aligned sends an electric shiver down Eddie’s spine.

“We can’t,” Richie reminds him, but it’s said so fast, spilling out of his mouth, and that bursts the fucking dam. Eddie kisses him again, hard, forcing his head up, like he can lick the words up and push them back in. Richie’s kiss grows hungrier when Eddie’s does, until he’s biting at his mouth and his hands are gripping his back. The slow simmer deep inside of Eddie starts to burn hotter again, starts to be kindled by Richie’s big hands on his waist, by his flushed skin under his palms, by his gasping mouth and red flushed face and dark hair under Eddie’s hands. Eddie starts to ignite, deep inside, and the fire moves faster than the embers had, until he’s just going up in flames.

“Fuck, Richie,” Eddie gasps, pulling back so he can stand up and tear his shirt off over his head. Richie looks at him, wide-eyed behind his glasses and his curly hair all over the place from Eddie’s hands.

“We can’t,” Richie repeats desperately. “Eddie, we have to drive to Stan’s, we have to drive—”

Eddie groans, turns away and nearly shouts before he remembers the girls are asleep in their bedroom, and he whisper-spits, “Motherfucker.”

“I know, far be it from me to be the voice of fucking reason when you’re writhing in my lap like that,” Richie says, husky again but not on purpose this time. Eddie turns back to him, and there’s an electric zip between them when their eyes meet.

“Get out of the room,” Eddie tells him, just like he had before, but Richie doesn’t josh around with him about it this time. Instead, he gets up, skitters around Eddie in a wide berth so they don’t touch anywhere, and darts back into their bedroom. Eddie doesn’t hear anything else, so he holds his shirt in his clenched fist for a moment before he squeezes his hands together so tightly he’s surprised he doesn’t tear the fabric with his nails.

He takes a moment; breathes in. Breathes out.

Does it again, then starts to count out loud until his heart’s slowed down again and he can think more clearly. He pulls his shirt back on, frowning down at the wrinkles he put into it with his own tight, twisting hands. He tries to smooth them down, then gives it up as a bad job and his hands go up to his hair instead, pushing it back down into place. He shakes himself out, then goes to their bedroom, knocking on the door.

“Come in,” Richie says, and Eddie sticks his head in to find Richie on the edge of the bed on his side, one hand on Audrey’s bassinet as he twists around to look at Eddie. He’s helpfully put a clean t-shirt on. “Hey.”

“Hi.” Eddie steps fully into the room. Richie grins at him.

“You fucking horndog,” he says, and Eddie tries not to smile at him in return.

“Shut up,” Eddie snaps. “Help me get their shit together.”

“Don’t have to tell me twice,” Richie says, hopping to his feet and grabbing one of his old duffel bags off the floor of their closet. Eddie sorts through each and every one of the girls’ things while Richie figures out the food situation in the kitchen, and Eddie finds himself staring at two startlingly similar teddy bears that, somehow, in this moment, feel vastly different.

“I’m not thinking clearly,” Eddie announces, when Richie comes back into the room. Richie hooks his chin over Eddie’s shoulder and looks at the two bears with him.

“The one on the right,” Richie says. “That’s the one Auds’ll want if she wakes up in the middle of the night.”

Eddie looks at the bear on the right hard for a moment before he notices the neat little stitches Richie did on the side of the bear when Riley accidentally burst its seams. “Oh, right, yeah.”

“See, you’re fine,” Richie says. “You’re still trying to think with your dick. Think with your brain, dummy. You got a pretty good one.”

“High praise from the class valedictorian,” Eddie replies, and Richie hums, kissing Eddie on the cheek seven times in rapid succession before he pulls away and goes to finish packing the girls’ clothes. “Are we being selfish?”

“By dropping our kids off at our friends’ house so we can fuck in their absence? Yeah, but we’re allowed,” Richie answers. “We haven’t fucked in, like— Fuck, I don’t even have a days amount. I used to, but I lost track. I lost track. What kind of old fucking man am I?”

“The oldest,” Eddie answers, because he’s antagonistic by nature and Richie brings out the worst in him. “Are you sure?”

“Sure, I’m sure,” Richie tells him. He holds his hand out and wiggles his fingers, and Eddie passes him the bear in his right hand. He packs the bear and zips the bag up. He lengthens the strap for his body, glancing up at Eddie with a smile as he does so. “Using my bags again, pipsqueak?”

“Shut the fuck up, Kaspbrak,” Eddie says, and he’s finally getting the hang of it. Saying his own last name at Richie, letting Richie take ownership of the name, seeing him go red and look down like that, like he’s still not sure he’s allowed to have this — it’s all so fucking worth it. Richie tosses the duffel bag over his shoulder with the formula and food bag already hanging there.

“Done and done,” Richie tells him. He grabs the carrier part of Audrey’s car seat and shoves the bags behind himself to free his hands. Eddie’s distracted by him carefully lifting her out of the bassinet and placing her in the carrier. He’s so gentle, she sleeps through it. Eddie burns.

He distracts himself by doing the same with Riley, gingerly lifting her out of bed and leaning her up against his chest so he can take her outside to her car seat. Richie snaps Audrey into place and pulls the handle up on the carrier.

“Ready?” Richie asks, standing up straight, hoisting Audrey up with him. Eddie’s one step ahead of him, full steam ahead. Richie laughs behind him. “You’re such a fucking little powerhouse.”

“You must be fucking brain-damaged,” Eddie snaps at him. Richie laughs again. “We need to drop them off first, Richie. If you keep fucking distracting me, we’ll never get them there, and then we’ll never be able to actually fucking—”

“Whoa, I thought we were avoiding, uhh—” Richie starts to say, then clears his throat and opens the front door for Eddie. Eddie glares at him, stops right beside him before the doorway.

“Avoiding what?” Eddie asks.

“You know,” Richie says, “Oral discussion of maybe oral activities—”

“Jesus— Stop,” Eddie says, and Richie does, smiling down at him. He shifts a little, readjusts his grip on Audrey’s carrier handle, and Eddie leans in to kiss his cheek. “I’ll drive.”

“Oh, we’ll never get to fuck,” Richie sighs. “Well, it was a good idea while it lasted. Since we won’t get to Stan and Patty’s until we’re forty-five—”

“Oh, shut the fuck up.” Eddie opens the car door one-handed and deposits Riley in her car seat, buckling her one careful snap at a time. He checks on Richie’s work with Audrey’s seat while Richie tosses the bags in the back and makes his way to the passenger seat despite his fucking not funny protests. Eddie tightens two straps on Audrey’s seat, mostly just to piss Richie off a little bit, before he gets in the driver’s seat himself.

“I’m gonna turn the radio on,” Richie says, “because we can’t behave like adults.”

“Speak for your own fucking self, dickwad, I’m doing just fine,” Eddie snaps. Richie raises an eyebrow at him, then puts a hand on his thigh. “Motherfucker— Take your motherfucking hand off—”

“Thought so,” Richie says, slightly too smugly for Eddie’s tastes, so he reaches out and flicks Richie in the temple. Richie laughs, swatting at him, which is exactly the response Eddie wanted.

Richie turns the radio on anyways, finds an oldies station (“And since when did ‘Fast Car’ become an oldie, Eds, I ask you?”) for them, and turns it down to a soft strain so it won’t wake the girls. He hums along, fingers tapping against his leg as he looks out the window. Eddie has to force himself to keep his eyes on the road.

Stan’s place really is not that far from theirs, but it’s New York and there’s a shitload of traffic even at the best of times, so it takes just under the predicted half an hour to get them there. Richie’s humming picks up into soft singing by then, his fingers twitching through songs, and Eddie mentally calculates how many days until Richie’s birthday and wonders if maybe a guitar might be a good idea. He remembers the guitar Richie had gotten second- or third-hand from some thrift store when they were all fifteen, remembers Richie’s shaggy head bowed over the thing as he taught himself song after song, all that vibrating, maddening energy focused into the one goal of creating music.

Eddie snaps back into himself and focuses on the road again, instead of on Richie’s big hands, at his long fingers against his own thighs—

“Fuck,” Eddie mutters to himself. Richie’s singing breaks off as he turns to look at him, leaning his head back against his hand on the window.

“Hm?” Richie asks.

“Nothing,” Eddie says. Richie raises an eyebrow at him again. “Nothing.”

“Alright,” Richie allows, turning back around so he’s facing forward again and singing softly along to the song on the radio once again. He breaks off again to add, “Hey, pardon me for being an old fucking man again, but how the fuck is ‘Faith’ an oldie? Right? Remember when this came out?”

Eddie does remember. He remembers waiting for it to come on the radio with Richie and, as soon as it did, hitting record on his tape recorder so they could keep it and listen to it over and over. They would do that, too, would let the track loop while they laid in Eddie’s bed. They’d put their heads at the end of the bed, and their feet up against the wall above Eddie’s headboard. Sometimes, Richie would tangle their fingers together, and Eddie would lay there, simmering, wondering how Richie could just— just do that, just hold his hand like it doesn’t mean anything.

“I remember,” Eddie says. “I remember listening to it in bed with you.”

“Oh, yeah, on fucking repeat,” Richie laughs. “I remember that, man, that was the fucking shit. This song is amazing! I remember—” Richie stops. He doesn’t say anything for a quiet moment before he huffs a laugh. “You know what I remember, actually, Eds, is— I remember, sometimes I’d be laying there and it would take me just— hours to work up the courage to touch you, and I’d grab your hand, and you’d just let me lay there like that.” Richie sighs, like the memory is just as fond for him, too, just as warm and just as bubbling. “Fuck, Eddie, I thought about that shit, like— All the time. It’s a fucking miracle none of you caught on to me sooner.”

“It’s not,” Eddie says. “It’s not a miracle.”

“Wh—”

“Fuck, Richie, I wish I’d known,” Eddie tells him, “because every time you took my hand I’d just be laying there thinking, ‘Fuck, Richie Tozier wants to hold my hand but he doesn’t fucking know that I want to be the only one who holds his hand,’ and I didn’t know— Like, what the fuck was I supposed to do with that thought? In fucking Derry, in the fucking— eighties and nineties, God, all my mom fucking talked about sometimes was fucking AIDS, and I just—” Eddie stops, remembers where he started this tirade, and redirects himself onto the tracks. “I wish I’d known when we were kids.”

Richie shakes his head, then says, “We’re here,” because they are at Stan and Patty’s little house just outside the city. Eddie pulls carefully, so carefully, into the driveway, and parks. They sit for a moment before Richie turns to him in the same moment Eddie starts to speak.

“Go ahead,” Richie says, when they both stop.

“I wish we had more time,” Eddie tells him.

“Me, too,” Richie agrees, “but we’ve got more time than I ever thought we’d have, so let’s not waste it freaking out about shit we can’t change, babe. Live in the now. Let’s leave our kids with Stan and Patty and go get fucking laid.”

“Fucking vulgar,” Eddie says, with a smile on his face, but he dips in to kiss Richie over the center console before getting out of the car. Stan and Patty greet them on the front walkway, Patty taking the baby carrier right out of Richie’s hands, Stan scooping Riley out of Eddie’s arms the second he’s in range.

“This is going to be awesome,” Patty tells them, so sincere Eddie kind of wants to hug her. She hugs him anyways before he can even move, one-handed with the baby carrier in her other arm.

“I’m not sure I’m ready to say goodbye,” Richie says, half-laughing. He’s looking at Riley sleeping in Stan’s hold. “I talked to her about it before she fell asleep, but if you need one of us when she wakes up, video call us, it’s fine. And if we need to come pick them up—”

“Let Eddie’s voice come out his own mouth, please,” Stan interrupts him. Eddie shoots a glare at him as he continues, “We know you’re good at impressions, showing off is just so fucking tacky, Rich—”

“You fucking suck, Stan, you know that?” Eddie says. “You just fucking suck.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Stan replies. “Say goodbye and go back home to do— whatever it is you’re going to do.”

“Have sex,” Richie says, in his teasingly-sultry, jokingly-husky Voice again, and Eddie snaps, “That’s enough—”

“Oh, my—" Patty starts to laugh.

“Make love,” Richie continues in that same fucking Voice . “Make the—”

“Richie,” Eddie hisses. He turns to Stan, says, “Seriously, though, if either of them needs us, we’ll come right back, this really isn’t that important—”

“You know, I’m starting to think this is that important,” Stan tells him. “Now, say goodbye, boys.”

“Goodbye, boys,” Richie says obediently, and Eddie smacks him on the arm. Richie laughs before he leans in and kisses Riley softly on the top of her head. Eddie softens, watching him, and so he does the same with her. He ducks down to kiss Audrey’s forehead where she’s laying sleeping in the baby carrier, but Richie’s limbs are too long to squat down that low. He scoops the carrier up instead, lifts it to his face and tilts it carefully to kiss her cheek, and Eddie touches his hip.

“She’ll be okay,” Eddie assures him. Richie nods, not taking his eyes off Audrey before he kisses her cheek twice more, softly, and passes her back down to Patty.

“We’ll call you before bed,” Richie says.

“Alright, you’ll call before bed,” Stan repeats. “Fine, now, get off my fucking property, Richie. You, too, Eddie, you follow him, I’ll fucking chase you with the broom if I have to. I’m not afraid of either of you.”

“Nor should you be,” Richie tells him. “I may be a necromancer but, honestly, sometimes even thinking the word necro makes me gag, so—”

“Some fucking witch you are,” Eddie comments, sliding into the car and shutting the door. His mouth is still arguing, but his eyes are on Stan and Patty, on the girls in their hands, and how they disappear behind the front door and out of their sight. It’s the first time they’ve been this far away for any extended period of time, and Eddie feels, abruptly, tense.

“They’ll be okay,” Richie says. He leans his head back against the headrest of his seat and sighs. “But I get it. This fucking sucks. It’s like I just cut off my arms and left them in there with Stan and Patty for no fucking reason.”

Eddie exhales. “Yeah. It is like that.”

“Missing limbs.” Richie takes Eddie’s hand, squeezes it, releases it just as soon. “Take me home, country roads.”

“You got it,” Eddie replies, throwing the car into reverse and backing down the driveway. He looks one last time up at the house, and he’s momentarily glad Stan and Patty didn’t stay outside to wave, because he’s not sure that his resolve wouldn’t have crumbled if he’d seen Riley or Audrey again. Luckily, he supposes, he doesn’t, and they leave, and they leave their limbs behind.

The further they drive, the more aware Eddie becomes of Richie. Now that Riley and Audrey aren’t there as two sets of eyes constantly watching their every move, he’s hyper-aware of Richie’s body, of the way he’s holding himself, of his movements. He keeps bouncing his leg mindlessly, then stopping once he’s aware, then starting all over again once he forgets. He keeps drumming his fingers on the arm of the door, too, and bobbing his head, and singing along with the music. An ever-moving haze of motion, always doing something, making some sound, hands working, legs moving. Constant motion. Eddie’s so magnetized to it.

The drive back takes half the time and twice as long, somehow, because Eddie’s thrumming with electric energy that seems to be coming off of Richie in waves. He’s sure he’s sending his own signals right back, and so he turns up the radio. Richie glances at him, but Eddie stares straight ahead. He can’t afford to break his focus now, this close to their place, and Richie seems to grasp that, leaving him alone and returning to humming softly.

They pull into the basement garage of their building, Eddie smoothly parking in their designated spot, and they sit in silence for a moment.

“I’m afraid,” Richie begins, and Eddie’s heart thumps hard in his chest, “that if I touch you right now, I won’t make it upstairs and we’ll have to fuck in the back seat of the car, and I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“Because we might get caught or because we should be responsible?” Eddie asks quietly, still looking straight ahead, hands still white-knuckling the motionless steering wheel. He glances at Richie when he doesn’t answer right away.

“I was thinking more along the lines of, we’re old and might hurt ourselves,” Richie says, and they lock eyes. Richie smiles at him, warm and burning, too, Eddie can tell, just like he is. “Can I walk you home, cowboy?”

“Not even sure what that means, but yeah, sure, why not,” Eddie answers. He finally releases the steering wheel and climbs out of the car. Richie offers him his arm once he’s standing, and Eddie rolls his eyes, but he takes it, sliding his arm into the crook of Richie’s elbow and letting him tug him towards the stairs.

The juncture of their arms is heated, skin against skin, and Richie pulls him a little bit faster than Eddie’s leg length can allow, but he jogs a little to keep up. Unfortunately, this has the unintended consequence of speeding Richie up slightly, too, and then Eddie has to match, and before he knows it, they’re chasing each other through the hallways and stairwells of their building, trying to catch one another and missing.

Finally, Richie gets his hands on Eddie in a stairwell, on the center platform between floors, and he crowds him into the corner where the walls meet.

“Gotcha,” Richie says breathlessly. Eddie slides his hands up Richie’s chest, up his neck, into his hair, and they kiss, hard. Richie grabs his hips and yanks them together. Eddie twists his head and nips Richie’s bottom lip lightly in return. Richie shudders.

“Get up the stairs,” Eddie tells him, and Richie turns, sprinting up the stairs with Eddie on his heels. They burst out at the next floor and wait for the elevator to take them the rest of the way up, because it’s further than they thought and not entirely logical. Richie keeps himself a full yard away from Eddie while they wait, and he keeps bouncing on his heels.

The elevator can’t come soon enough. Once they’re in, and the doors click shut, and Richie’s pressed the button for their floor, it feels like the air physically thickens. Eddie makes eye contact with Richie in the reflective surface of the door, so he turns to look at him over his shoulder. Richie’s eyes dart down to him, and he exhales hard, looking away.

“Don’t look at me like that,” Richie says, choked. “Fuck, Eds, warn a guy before you start flashing your fucking doe eyes at him like that.”

Eddie turns around completely, gently pushes Richie into the corner of the elevator himself, mimics their positions in the stairwell except he’s doing the pushing this time. Richie looks down at him so fucking warmly, so fucking endearingly, and Eddie has to kiss him for it. He slots one leg between Richie’s and slides against his thigh, making a soft little moan into his mouth. Richie groans, hips twitching, and the elevator door dings open.

“Oh, you ass,” Richie laughs. Eddie pulls away completely, backs out of the elevator and starts heading for their apartment while keeping his eyes on Richie. Richie follows him, stalks him down the hall; he tries to get his hands on Eddie, but Eddie avoids him like an eel, slipping out of his hands until they get to their front door and Richie finally hooks him. He wraps his arms around Eddie’s waist and tucks his face into his neck, kissing his throat.

“Let me unlock the door, you fucking caveman,” Eddie says.

“Drag me in by my hair,” Richie tells him. “Have your way with me, Mr. Flintstone. Wait, wasn’t there a song—”

“I swear to God, Richie, I’ll end you if you get distracted right now,” Eddie snaps at him, digging his key out of his pants pocket and unlocking their front door. He puts his hand on the knob, then twists to look into Richie’s eyes, so close to his. “What do you want?”

Richie blinks those big fucking half-blind eyes at him. “What do you mean?”

Eddie hesitates, then turns towards him more fully, hand still on the doorknob. “How do you want this? Because once we’re in there, I won’t be able to keep my fucking hands off of you anymore, so you may as well tell me what you want now.”

Richie stares at him for another second before his face starts flushing red so fast Eddie’s almost worried he’s going to pass out. As it is, he says, “You fucking— You’re so horny right now, what are you, twenty?”

“Fuck, I wish we could’ve remembered each other when we were twenty,” Richie says. “I wish you could’ve seen me in my mid-twenties. I was in my prime.”

“I don’t know, I’m partial to— Fucking, Richie, you’re distracting me, fucking focus,” Eddie snaps. Richie reaches out, lays his fingers on Eddie’s cheek, his thumb on the other cheek, Eddie’s chin nestled snugly in his palm.

“I want you to do whatever you want,” Richie tells him. “Carte blanche, you’ve got permission.”

“Richie—”

“You heard me,” Richie says. He puts his hand over Eddie’s on the doorknob and pushes the door open with him. “Go nuts, babe, I’m all yours.”

Eddie’s mouth is a little dry as he considers the options and implications laid out before him. Fucking sue him, he was a risk analyst for years, he can think through a dozen possible options at once. In the end, just looking into Richie’s face, at his grin and his messy hair and his broad shoulders and further down, to his big hand over Eddie’s and his long legs and there’s so much, so many options, that Eddie chooses none of them. He makes no plan, prepares no course of action, and decides to just feel, to live in the moment and see what comes.

“Get inside,” Eddie says, and Richie does, lets him go and pushes past him into their apartment. Eddie shuts the front door softly behind himself, leans against it for a moment and watches Richie roughly slide his shoes off and kick them onto the shoe mat by the door. He turns and the two of them face off for a moment.

Richie gives first, spreads his arms and smiles. “Well?”

Eddie considers him, then locks the front door and pushes away from it. He walks right past Richie, and Richie follows him all the way to their bedroom. Eddie leaves the door open, because he can, and he turns on Richie once they’re both close to the bed.

“I just want…” Eddie says, slowly, then puts his hands flat against Richie’s chest and looks up at him. Richie grins again, his eyes big and dark this close up, his pupils blown, and he runs one hand down Eddie’s spine to the small of his back.

“What do you want, Eds?” Richie asks, voice rough and low. Eddie shivers again, turns his face into Richie’s chest. He tips his chin up, after a moment, and Richie gets the hint, dropping his head down and catching Eddie’s lips with his.

“You,” Eddie says, and flips them around in one strong, fluid movement, shoving Richie backwards onto the bed. Richie scoots backwards, scrambling until he’s up against the pillows, and Eddie slinks up after him, climbing up over his legs and his hips and his waist until he’s caught his face. He settles back, his ass right over the hard, obvious line of Richie’s cock straining against his pants, and Richie fucking whimpers when they make contact.

“You have me,” Richie tells him. “Eddie, fuck, you fucking have me—”

“Good,” Eddie says, and rolls his hips, grinds down, and Richie’s eyes slam shut. His head tips back into their pillows, but Eddie wants this to last. He pulls off, gets up and off the bed. “Stay there,” he tells him, and Richie does, sitting up against the pillows and watching Eddie with wary eyes. Eddie stands at the foot of the bed, then says, “Take your shirt off.”

Richie looks at him and, for a moment, Eddie wonders if he won’t do it. It’s only a second, though, because then Richie’s moving, crossing his arms and gripping the hem of his shirt so he can pull it up and off over his head in one fluid motion. He tosses it to the floor and looks to Eddie again.

“Now your belt,” Eddie says, so Richie does. He undoes the buckle, then tugs it loose, the leather slithering through the loops as it comes free. It joins the shirt on the floor, and they look at each other again. Eddie only pauses for a moment before coming to the decision to remove his own shirt, and so he does, Richie’s eyes tracking his every movement behind his glasses. The shirt joins Richie’s in the growing heap beside the bed.

“Socks,” Eddie says next. Richie leans over, tugs his socks off while Eddie unties his shoes and slips them off, too. He shoves them under the bed and unzips his own pants, stepping out of them and watching Richie’s hands tapping furiously against his thighs as he watches Eddie undress. Eddie looks up at him, then, the both of them left only in boxer briefs each, and Richie’s nearly vibrating with barely-contained energy. It’s a testament to his willpower, Eddie considers, that he hasn’t moved to touch him yet, because that’s hard for Richie in normal situations, let alone heated ones like these, electricity thrumming, Richie’s eyes on his, burning holes through his skin—

“Eds, stop thinking about it and start doing it,” Richie insists. “Fuck, you’re just standing there getting fucking— harder, I can see you—”

“Shut up,” Eddie says, and Richie does. “Not really, I don’t mean it. Keep talking, motormouth.”

“Fuck you,” Richie laughs. “It’s Trashmouth, can’t believe you forgot my name, Eds.”

For some reason, it’s the last fucking straw, that laughing face turned on him, still flushed red and turned on and so fucking in love Eddie could cry. He was right earlier, his wires are crossed, and they have been for a long, long time. He doesn’t care, though, and he doesn’t dwell in his own thoughts. Instead, he all but rips his underwear down his legs and advances on Richie. Richie catches on fast, scrambles out of his own and tosses them aside. He moans, wraps one hand around his cock, and Eddie decides he doesn’t want that. He climbs back onto the bed, up and over Richie.

“Hands off,” Eddie says, so Richie lifts his hands up above his head.

“My apologies, officer,” Richie replies. Eddie kisses his throat, then his collarbone, then reaches in their nightstand drawer and pulls out lube. Richie’s hand is on the bottle before Eddie can even ask, snapping the lid and coating his fingers. He reaches behind Eddie, looks up at him, says, “This okay?”

“Yes, fucking, do it,” Eddie snaps, and Richie does. He slips one finger in, careful at first, but Eddie pushes back and he goes a little bit faster. He has such long fucking fingers, and Eddie’s head drops forward against Richie’s shoulder when he crooks his finger inside of him like a fucking heathen.

“Oh, you like that,” Richie comments.

“Fucking obviously, dickhead, it’s evolution or some fucking shit,” Eddie spits at him. Richie laughs.

“Such magnificent pillow talk,” Richie comments. He slips his finger out, then two fingertips come back, and Eddie shudders. “My husband, snapping at me about the evolution of the prostate while I’ve got my hand inside his ass. It’s so charming, I could just fucking—”

“Apparently not fucking focus,” Eddie interrupts. Richie slips both fingers in all the way, starts to scissor him open so fucking tenderly that it’s somehow more obscene than if he’d just fucking gone for it. “Richie.”

“Mm?” Richie lifts his head from where he was watching his hand work, smiles up at Eddie. “You rang, babe? What’s up?”

“Keep fucking— going,” Eddie says, voice catching, and Richie tips his chin up again. Eddie just has to kiss him when he does that, kisses him hard, rocking up and then back down against Richie’s fingers. Richie takes the instruction to heart, adds a third finger and pulls back to assess as he works on opening him up around the three. Eddie tenses, then forces himself to relax, hands on either side of Richie’s head against the mattress. He holds himself up, and relaxes his muscles, and Richie has better luck opening him right.

“Breathe,” Richie tells him softly, so Eddie does, slowly, in, and out, while Richie adds a fourth finger and makes an assenting noise. “Babe, breathe. You keep holding your breath.”

“I’m so fucking horny, you dick,” Eddie hisses, but he exhales once he’s done, then inhales again. “Fucking— God.”

“Alright, alright,” Richie says, like he’s calming him, steadying him. Eddie relaxes a little more. Richie slips his hand out, and Eddie shivers. “Hold on, I’ve got— Hold on—” Richie’s hand fumbles, slicking his cock up with more lube from the bottle, and he lines them up, one dry hand and one slick hand on Eddie’s hips. “You ready, Eds?”

“Yes,” Eddie tells him, and that’s all the prompting Richie needs to guide the head of his cock into Eddie’s ass, stopping to let Eddie adjust. After that, Eddie puts his hands on Richie’s chest and takes the lead, pushes back inch by fucking inch until he’s fully seated, relaxed, open and hard and hot and aching. He leans back, shifting until Richie’s cock is lined up fucking exactly where he wants it, and he lets out a sigh that comes from the very marrow of his bones.

“Fuck, I’ve missed you so much,” Eddie tells him, the words coming out of his mouth before he can think about them. He wonders if Richie feels like this all the time. “Oh, God, fuck, Richie, I love you so much, I’m so fucking— I’ve missed you so fucking much, watching you around the house, I’m just so fucking— Turned on all the time—”

“Eds, fucking— I didn’t know you thought about me like that just all the—” Richie says. Eddie leans forward again, readjusting his position. His knees are on either side of Richie, his shins flat against the bed. He pushes up, and in, and grabs Richie’s broad shoulders with his hands, and fucks himself on Richie’s cock. Richie’s eyes snap open, and he looks up at him, glasses smudged a little at the top of the lenses with his sweat. Eddie feels that fire really ignite him again, really well and truly, starting in the very back of his stomach, at his deepest core, and working its way up and out through his limbs until he’s fucking dizzy with it.

“Richie,” Eddie says, because it’s all he can think to say, because it’s all he can think about, is Richie. Richie’s falling apart under his hands, fingers tangled in the fucking bedsheets because Eddie had pushed his hands down, so Eddie says, “Fucking— touch me,” and Richie does. His hands slam up into Eddie’s hips, pulling him down, his hips starting to shove up to meet Eddie’s, graceless, rhythmless, hard.

“Fuck,” Richie whimpers, head falling back against the pillows as he bucks up. “Fuck, fuck, Eddie, you have no fucking idea how good—”

“Yes, I do,” Eddie tells him, ducking his head down and fucking himself down onto Richie hungrily. “Yes, I fucking do, Richie, shut the— fuck up—”

Richie laughs breathlessly, says, “Fuck, I love you, you freak,” keeps meeting Eddie’s thrusts down with thrusts up of his own. He holds Eddie, and Eddie holds him, the two of them shoving harder, closer, skin sliding slick against skin and hands in hair, on hips, tangled in hands, until Eddie’s forehead is pressed to Richie’s shoulder.

“Oh, fuck,” Richie says, and Eddie shivers, his cock still untouched between them. “Eds, I—”

“Yes,” Eddie answers. Richie’s long fingers wrap around his cock again, and he fucking clenches his teeth, like his jaw is wired shut, and tries to stifle the embarrassing fucking sound trying to work its way free of him. Richie jerks up, twists, slides down, and up again, and the sound comes out fucking anyways. Richie smiles at him, then gasps as he fucks down again, so his hand twists, a vicious cycle. Richie fucks into him, Eddie fucks himself, fucks into Richie’s fists, Richie jerks him off, it begins again.

“Fuck, Eds, c’mon,” Richie all but growls in that low fucking voice he gets, rasping with the smoker’s lungs he’s given himself. Eddie tightens his grip on Richie’s shoulders, holds down and gives in. He’s so close to Richie now his cock brushes Richie’s stomach when they’re close on a thrust, Richie’s hand still twisting up, down, his angle hard, his grip slick. “Kiss me.”

Eddie lifts his head and kisses him like he asks, not just with his words, but with his body, with the way he responds and moves with him. He takes Richie’s face between his hands and tips his own head, lets Richie’s glasses dig into his face so Richie can see, keeps kissing him. He keeps moving, but he lets Richie do the work for him, fucking up into him with one hand braced on his hip, the other still wrapped around his dick for him, unwilling to stop either one and risk Eddie leaving his mouth, he assumes. He smiles against his lips at the thought and licks along his bottom lip; Richie sighs, a little bit of a catch at the end.

“Fuck,” Richie sighs again, “fuck, Eds, come on, c’mon—”

“Richie,” Eddie says, and bows his head, lets the fire spread; when Richie’s hand twists up again, at the same time his hips buck up, and their teeth clash, and their breath meets, Eddie comes. He comes then, eyes closed, foreheads pressed together, less kissing and more sharing air as Richie jerks him through his orgasm. It’s one of the most fucking intense orgasms of his life, made all the more fucking fierce by the seeming month of fucking foreplay beforehand.

“Eddie, Eds, please,” Richie’s saying, over and over, when Eddie finally focuses enough to hear again. He’s still seated on Richie’s cock, but he stopped moving somewhere at the end of his orgasm. He looks down at Richie, centers himself again. Richie’s stomach, his chest, the underside of his chin, his lips, his cheeks — all stained with Eddie’s fucking cum, and all the breath punches out of him at the sight.

“God,” Eddie says, running his hand up Richie’s chest to his shoulder. He slides his palm along the bone there, up the muscle to his neck, then tangles in Richie’s hair. Richie twitches up at the feeling, inadvertent, instinctual. Eddie takes his glasses off, holds them up and sets them aside; then, Eddie tugs on Richie’s hair again, and drops his head down.

“Kiss me,” Richie asks, once more. Eddie does, kisses him hard, lets Richie fuck up and into him as deep as he wants until he’s losing his rhythm, hips stuttering as he gasps against Eddie’s mouth, whispers, “Fuck, fuck, fuck, Eddie—” and then knocks his head back. Eddie kisses the long line of his throat, and Richie comes with a whimper, throwing one arm over his eyes as he does, hips jerking up so deep that Eddie knows he’s probably gonna still feel it tomorrow, and he’s fucking thrilled about that.

“Oh, fuck,” Richie whispers in a rasp as he comes down, still shaking, muscles twitching. Eddie shifts slightly, slowly slides along and rides him through the last of it, until Richie’s laughing wetly and putting his hands on Eddie’s hips, murmuring, “Alright, cowboy, up and off.”

“Don’t be such a fucking weirdo,” Eddie says quietly. He slides off of Richie slowly, because the empty feeling he leaves behind is almost unbearable, for a moment. He pauses, then starts again, Richie’s hands coming up to hold his waist again as he does, to help him off if he needs. Eddie falls to the bed beside him, chest rising and falling as he catches his breath; Richie does the same. After a long moment, they settle, and Richie reaches down, tangling their fingers together.

“Well, I guess it would be nice,” Richie says, a little breathlessly.

“What?” Eddie asks. Richie brings their joined hands up, kissing the back of Eddie’s.

“If I could… touch your body,” Richie continues, and Eddie groans. “I know! Not everybody has got a body like you—”

“Richie, shut the fuck up,” Eddie complains, but he’s already laughing as Richie turns onto his side, wrapping his arm around Eddie and reeling him in.

“I gotta think twice before I give my heart away,” Richie keeps going, but softer now, into the few inches left between them. “I know all the games you play because I played them, too.”

“Richie—”

“Oh, I need some time off from that emotion—” Richie starts to belt, and Eddie reaches under their heads for a pillow to smack Richie with. He shoves the pillow into his face, and pins him down, back against the mattress, but Richie just flips them and knocks the pillow to the floor.

“Hi,” Eddie says. Richie grins at him. “What’re you looking at, freak?”

“You can touch me now, Eddie Kaspbrak,” Richie tells him. “We can share a bed and hold hands and listen to George Michael—”

“—I’d much rather listen to George Michael,” Eddie interrupts, but Richie barrels right over him— 

“—and we can kiss and make out and fuck,” Richie continues, “and we can get married and have babies and grow old together.” Richie kisses him on the nose, then says, “Hey, Eddie Kaspbrak, how’s that sound?”

Eddie should be getting up right now. He should be grabbing wet wipes, at the very least, but probably showers for both of them, and he’ll have to wash the bedsheets and at least one of the blankets, and their clothes, and he knows he has to call Stan and Patty soon to check in on the girls, and there’s so much buzzing around the back of his brain.

The thing is, though, it stays at the back. For the moment, it’s just Richie, looking at him from inches away with that stupid besotted expression he gets sometimes, smiling at him like he’s the fucking moon and the sun between his bedsheets. Eddie puts his arm around Richie and pulls him in just a couple inches closer, drawing them together along their sweat-cooling bodies. Richie’s still sticky, covered in Eddie’s cum still, and it itches at the back of Eddie’s brain for a moment before Richie kisses him softly and it, too, buzzes away.

“That sounds good, Richie Kaspbrak,” Eddie answers against his mouth. Richie smiles, tipping his head and kissing him softly, mouth closed, his hand coming up to cover Eddie’s face, to hold him in place. Eddie tugs him in closer, lets him kiss him for a moment longer before he pulls away, just a centimeter. “Now, fucking take me to the shower before I skin you alive.”

“I love you,” Richie says fiercely, and Eddie kisses him again, tangled up, inextricable.