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never get to heaven on a night like this

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It’s crazy to think just how much Eddie has Henry Bowers to thank for.

Firstly, Henry’s sick violence is what led Ben and Beverly joining their little group of losers, the former running straight into them by chance, and the latter helping them steal the supplies they needed to patch him up.

Second, being a gigantic fucking racist had Henry and his goons close to killing Mike before Eddie and his friends served up some justice in the form of an apocalyptic rock fight.

Third, Henry broke Eddie’s arm chasing him downtown that same crazy summer, which led to it being in a cast, which led to Greta Keene not only mocking him for only having six measly signatures but informing him, rather gracelessly, that all of his medication were placebos. Bull shit. Even his inhaler was only filled with water and camphor, for a “medicine-y scent”.

And that revelation led to Eddie confronting his mother about everything; exactly what was his sickness, mom, and did he ever really have asthma? Just what exactly was he actually allergic to? Was he really? Was he truly as fragile as she always said? Or was all of this nonsense only fed to him to strip him of his independence and keep him under her control? Because that would be pretty royally fucked up, mom.

So, Eddie got to join P.E. that coming school year, after his mother had forcefully removed him from what would normally have been a required class, because of his “condition”. Eddie was finally able to buy an iPhone, because despite his mother’s wild insistence he knew that they did not actually cause cancer and that the government probably had better things to do than spy on a thirteen-year-old kid. He started to ignore a lot of the things his mother had told him were dangerous before, opting to find out for himself what would help him, what would hurt.

Most importantly, Eddie joined track with Ben. It was rough for the both of them at first, being almost entirely unused to the rigorous training and running for any reason not involving Henry Bowers with a knife. But Ben slimmed out; still heavy, but with muscle, and his times were never too far behind Eddie’s, who began to soar when finally let loose. All the pent-up energy he had stored in his body for the majority of his life could finally be spent, without him worried about his allergies or asthma getting in the way of his progress.

So really, Eddie had to thank Henry Bowers’ psychotic nature for quite a lot of great things that wound up happening because of it. Maybe he ought to send a Thank You card to the prison Henry is wasting away in after killing his dad.

But that was seven years ago.

By now, Eddie’s successes are brought about from his own hard work. Eddie is the one who received an athletic grant to Boston University. Eddie is an honor student who passes all of his classes with flying colors. Eddie maintains his record times and good rapport with the rest of his classmates, his equals on the track field.

And now, Eddie is going to finally seduce his best friend and roommate, Richie Tozier.

“Oh my god, don’t put it like that,” Eddie pleads to Beverly’s bright face over the FaceTime connection. She laughs, because she’s a terrible person.

“But that’s essentially what you want to do, right? Seduce him?”

“Are you insane?” Eddie tries again, whipping his head around to look out his open bedroom door. There is no reason to, of course; he has the apartment to himself. A rare thing, sure, sharing the off-campus student housing with three other idiot twenty-year-old boys, but Eddie knows he is home alone. He can’t help but worry all the same. “Call this literally anything else, please.

Bev holds up her hands over the video. “I’m calling a spade a spade, Eddie. What else am I supposed to do?”

See, it’s like this:

Eddie has pretty much been in love with his friend Richie for what he believes to be the majority of his life.

Probably has been in love with him before he even found out it was okay to like boys instead of girls. Certainly, he is sure he knew - or feared that he knew - before he discovered and exposed the lies his mother told him about being a sickly little boy who needed his mother's protection. Some time B.C., or "Before Clapback," as Richie commonly referred to those years as. And yeah, that is the idiot Eddie has fallen for, of all people.

But this thing for Richie? Definitely been around long “B.C.”. It is practically a part of him, an appendage, like his arms or legs. The nose on his face. He was born with those, of course, so perhaps he was born with this, too.

Okay, maybe not quite so dramatic as that.

But while Eddie loves the rest of his close friend group, the rest of the “Losers”, he knows with Richie, it is not even remotely the same. Never has been.

Richie is the one who makes him laugh the most, even when it might be inappropriate, and always when he needs to. Richie is the one he wants the attention of, wants to please the most. Richie is the one who teases him relentlessly while Eddie throws it right back to him. Richie is the one Eddie clings onto when they would watch scary movies at Bill's house, or the one who clings right back.

Richie is the name he whispers at night, when he is stroking himself, when he has one finger inside, when he comes harder than he thinks he ever has before.

So yeah, it is more than fair to say that Eddie likes Richie.

He used to feel guilty, touching himself while thinking of his best friend. But even when he tried not to, he would remember the way the sun lit up Richie's face that day. Remember his laugh. Think of his thin wrists. His smile, those lips. Think of the way he says Eddie’s name sometimes. The more he tried to avoid thinking of his friend, the more he always did, so Eddie kept quiet and figured he would go on hopelessly loving his closest friend until the day the feeling would fade. Someday, far off from now. Besides, what Richie didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him.

Except Eddie recently discovered that maybe it is not such a hopeless case after all.

Something shifted between them once they got out of Derry. Maybe the town never let them be who they wanted to be. Maybe it was going to Boston Pride for the first time and seeing how many fucking people were like or supported them. Maybe it was due to living in such close quarters; sure, there were sleepovers when they were kids, both planned and impromptu, but living together, especially now, is different. Sharing a kitchen, sharing a bathroom, seeing each other every night before bed. It’s different.

Sharing the table on the rare days Richie actually wakes up to eat breakfast with Eddie. Lounging on the couch together late at night, Eddie’s head on Richie’s lap or vice versa. Mixing up each other's shirts in the laundry, Richie watching Eddie like a hawk when he realizes Eddie is wearing his faded Guns N’ Roses t-shirt without shame. Eddie's eyes catching just a touch too long on the lines of one of his striped tees, fitting snug across the expanse of Richie’s chest.

He doesn’t act that way on the rare occasions he would accidentally take something of Bill’s or Ben’s. He would always return Ben’s track shirt, Bill's sweater the moment he discovered the mistake. When it came to Richie's clothes, however, they were as up for grabs as Eddie’s were for him. If pressed, he would vehemently deny it, but Eddie loves the way Richie’s shirts still smell just like him. Knows he sleeps better wearing one. Knows he can never truly get enough of him. Knows he wants so much more.

Knows about R + E.

He had seen it once on the Kissing Bridge back in Derry, just before leaving for Boston. One last hurrah around the town, one giant excuse to get out of the house for as long as possible. Eddie stopped at the bridge and idly considered each and every one of the carvings - but there was one that stood out. R + E. Maybe it was Rebecca + Ethan. Maybe Ryan + Elizabeth. Dozens of other possibilities - and then his mind would helpfully add, “but maybe,” and he could not help but quietly hope it stood for Richie + Eddie. Like a giddy school girl.

After that, Eddie paid even more attention to Richie, as if such a thing were even possible. Collected all those little moments around the apartment, memories of quiet interludes between the two of them through the years, the carving on the bridge – and pinned them together in his mind. A new pin every time Eddie thought he noticed something between them, like the kind of crazy wall maps you always see in action movies. It was silly, but the closer Eddie inspected each experience, the more he discovered things had shifted, even if only by a margin, between the two of them.

Their bickering. Oh, the bickering. It has gotten dangerous lately. Their daily spats can barely be referred to as “arguing” so much as blatant flirting - and maybe they really always have been. Instead of Sonia Kaspbrak featuring in the majority of Richie’s terrible fucking sex jokes, it’s Eddie himself. And Eddie gives it right back, as good as he gets as always, sparing innocent sisters from the punchline. If Eddie was fair game, so was Richie.

Most blatant of all, however, Eddie knows he has someone paying very, very close attention to his 2” running shorts that he still prefers over anything longer. Knows there is always someone watching him stretch at track whenever they visit. Knows that on the rare occasions Eddie is still wearing his shorts at home after practice, Richie is all too curiously careful to avoid him in such close quarters. Suspiciously stays out of Eddie's way when any other time he absolutely lives to get in his face. Only looks when he thinks Eddie is unaware.

Eddie worried he was seeing things that were not even there, until Beverly more or less confirmed his “Richie research” a few weeks ago. In fact, Eddie had only just confided his own feelings to Bev, who had not seemed even a little surprised; she merely told him something like “it's about damn time, please go fuck each other so the rest of us can enjoy some peace and quiet for once.”

Bizarrely, Stanley had said something similar a few days later. Mike was surprised to hear that they were not already together, while Bill and Ben remained as the only two Losers oblivious to whatever the hell was going on between Eddie and Richie. Well, and R + E themselves, he supposed.

Eddie still had his doubts until he really started to put things together. Took a hard, studious look at the crazy action movie wall map inside of his head, adding his friends’ testimonies to the evidence.

And it was a lot of evidence.

If Beverly wasn’t setting him up for the world's meanest prank, then she was telling the truth. And so was Stan, so was Mike. Eddie’s feelings were mutual. All this time orbiting each other so carefully, not knowing where the other stood, not wanting to make the first move and risk ruining everything. In truth, they have only ever delayed the inevitable.

And Eddie had decided that he was done waiting.

“The track shorts are a good idea,” Bev muses over the phone, looking far more contemplative than she should while trying to get her friends laid. “I think he likes those cute red ones best.”

While he is not sure exactly how “cute” they are, Eddie’s face heats up immediately. He may even match the color of the shorts she is referring to.

“Y-yeah,” he stammers out, taking his phone over to his bureau where the shorts reside. Every item of clothing is neatly folded and placed inside the dresser, divided into groups such as “sweaters,” "jeans”, “sleeveless”, “bed”, and so on. They lack physical labels, but that is really only because he knows how badly Richie would rag on him for actually labeling his items. Or worse, use Eddie’s label maker (because of course he does own one) for entirely inappropriate things. Again.

He kneels on the floor to go through the bottom drawer where unlabeled “gym clothes” share space with his unlabeled “lounging” clothes. Upon finding the shorts, he plucks them out and stares. Feels the fabric between his fingers. Holding them now, really dawns on him what he is actually planning to use them for. Eddie does not usually have to fight for Richie’s attention, but now he wants it differently.

Call a spade a spade, call it “seducing” if you like. This whole crazy plan had been a joke when he first suggested it to Bev, but she had avidly encouraged him to actually consider doing it. And then not just consider, do it. She had been alarmingly enthusiastic about all of it, in fact. And Eddie, fool that he is, had started to think that maybe it was the perfect chance.

Now, though, the ridiculousness of the idea is as plain as day. Not only is it stupid, but— Eddie doubts that he could actually…

He looks back to Bev and notes from his side of the video feed that yes, his face really does match the color and holy hell he is in waaaaay over his head here.

“Beverly—”

“Uh-uh, nope,” the redhead immediately chastises him just from the tone of his voice. "You are not backing out on this now, Kaspbrak.”

“Well, this is— isn’t it kind of a huge leap to go from ‘hey we’re just friends’ to ‘sleep with me right the fuck now’ in a single night?"

“You really think you and Richie were ever ‘just friends?’ Really?” Bev's face is very unimpressed. “And have you never seen a movie before? Read a single book? People jump right into bed all the time.”

Eddie has no idea what type of books Bev is reading. “This isn’t a movie, this is real life, and I could actually ruin my friendship with Richie if I fuck this up, and—”

“Oh my god, did we not already agree that Richie has wanted to jump that sweet ass of yours for years now?”

Eddie wills himself not to smile at that, because he is trying to be very serious here. About this very serious thing. “Then why hasn’t he?”

“Because he was bullied into the closet by his parents and like, the majority of Derry, for his entire life?”

“And I wasn’t?”

Bev pauses, because she has to give him that one. Unsurprisingly, Sonia Kaspbrak had very definitely not approved of her son’s preferences. Even after he had already told her and started to live “out”, at home “out” was vehemently not discussed, and he may as well have still been “in”. He should have saved himself the headache and tears that came with the confession, his and his mother’s. Should have saved himself the sad looks she sent his way at times, like she had somehow failed him. Or maybe he had failed her.

“Okay, fair. The difference here is that Richie is a coward, and you are not,” the redhead finally tells him, very firmly. She must notice the doubt clear on Eddie’s face, because she quickly continues. “You are, don’t deny it. Remind me - who was it, exactly, who laughed in Henry Bowers’ dumb fucking face when he broke your damn arm that one summer during middle school? Laughed in the face of a soon-to-be Dadkiller?”

Eddie sighs, fingers idly rubbing at the fabric of the shorts in his hands. He knows she is right, but having courage for the things that mattered hardly cured him of being nervous in other situations. Often. Although he supposes this matters a lot, too.

All the same, he cannot help but want to continue being difficult about the whole thing. It’s second nature to anything Richie-related. “Adrenaline. Adrenaline laughed in Henry Bowers’ face.”

“Don’t be a twat,” Bev scolds immediately. “You know damn well who you are.”

Ironically, he has had this conversation before, or one very similar. With Richie, no less, who had been stoned out of his mind at the time and sprawled on the couch opposite the one Eddie had been occupying. Occupying and waiting for some kind of medical emergency to happen, apparently, or at least that’s the reason he gave Bill and Ben for staying up so late with the imbecile.

Richie was going on and on about how “killer” it was that Eddie told his mom off for the “asthma bull shit”, as though Eddie had only done so the day before and not seven years ago. Eddie really had no clue why Richie thought it was such a big deal, but he just kept going, apparently determined to make Eddie see things his way. And likely weed-rambling.

“And coming out to her, even though you knew she’d fucking explode? Maybe even kick you out of the house? Man, that takes some huge fucking balls, dude.”

Eddie had waved his hand flippantly, looking away from his friend. “That was— I mean, even after everything she’d done, I couldn’t just keep lying to her. And she wouldn’t kick me out, not her.”

Richie tutted at the dismissal. “Whatever, Eds. You’re braver than you think.”

Brave enough to try whatever it is Eddie is planning on trying today, although likely Richie had not anticipated Eddie’s wielding his courage quite like this at the time.

“Fine,” Eddie relents, closing the drawer with his foot as he stands. “Sure, fine, whatever. But,” and he ignores Bev's reaction to the word “but” and barrels on, “isn’t it still a little— I dunno, I mean, it’s still a big deal to go from— ‘not ever just friends’ to…”

To what he has planned. Beverly exaggeratedly rolls her eyes. “It really isn’t. Go big or go home, Kaspbrak. It’s just sex. Stop doubting yourself and stop trying to talk yourself out of it.”

“Okay,” he breathes, trying not to sound as nervous as he still feels. “Okay, I’ll... okay.”

“‘Okay’,” she mocks lightly, then leans up to reach for her phone. “All right, I gotta go. Good luck tonight, Eddie.”

Bizarrely, that brings the heat back to his face. He can't think of anything to say aside from, “Thanks.”

Before she cuts the line, however, Beverly suddenly yells, “Get that dick, boy!” And then the call ends.

Eddie glowers at his darkened screen for a very long time before grabbing it to check the time. 7:47. Boston University had enrolled exactly four boys from Derry, Maine, and one of those boys wanted to get into comedy and loved to hear himself talk. Perfect for B.U.’s drama club, which was rehearsing this evening. Rehearsal began at 7pm, would end at 9pm.

Just over an hour before Richie comes home. At best. And that's before he showers, which he always does after getting home from a long day of classes and the grueling hard work that is acting. Apparently. As much as everyone teases him for it, Eddie is not the only one living here who likes being clean.

Groaning, Eddie flops backwards onto his bed. This will be the longest hour of his life.

But it has to be tonight. First and foremost, Beverly will probably castrate Eddie if he waits any longer. Maybe even literally. “You're clearly not using ‘em!” she’ll tell him.

Secondly, Bill is home visiting his family this weekend for his mom's birthday. Ben is... well, all Eddie was told is, “I’m heading out tonight after classes,” which is code for “I’m going to Bev’s after classes but for some reason I’m still floored that this relationship is actually happening so I don’t want to jinx it by saying anything even though Bev talks about me like I hung the moon constantly over the phone when not telling Eddie he needs to get laid already”.

Or meant something to that effect.

Either way, Eddie and Richie will have the apartment to themselves once he returns. This is not the first time such a miracle has occurred, but it is the first time since Eddie got it in his head that he was going to bridge this meaningless gap between the two them.

It is probably too early to change out of what he is wearing and into the shorts, but Eddie does anyway. Ripping off the band-aid, so to speak. Besides, maybe he should check and make sure they even look half as good as Bev seems to think. As much as Richie seems to. After he pulls them on, he looks at himself in the cheap mirror hanging on the back of his door.

If he had been expecting to see anything other than himself, shirtless in his track shorts, he would be disappointed; he looks no different than any other normal day. Eddie tugs at the elastic waist minutely, trying to determine if he is wearing them too high to be considered “sexy”, before grimacing.

These are just shorts. They are not meant to be worn for “seduction”. They are for running. Sure, the pair is shorter than the average dude bro pair of cargo shorts that Richie and half of their other friends wear all the damn time. But it is not like Eddie has changed into a pair of booty shorts with bold sequin lettering on the ass pockets. These aren’t girl shorts. He bought them in the men’s section of Dick’s just after starting college. They are not supposed to be sexy.

Richie has weird fucking taste. Eddie will probably never be able to wear these shorts to practice ever again.

Looking at himself just a moment longer, he suddenly gets a wild idea. He pulls the shorts back off and, with only a second of hesitation, pulls his boxer-briefs off as well. Tugs the red shorts back up.

He sees his reflection make a face. This is much less comfortable - and he’s lucky they are at least long enough to cover everything important - but the atmosphere is... new. A bit naughty. Somewhat daring. Definitely risqué. He looks no different than moments before in the mirror, but he feels sexier somehow. He imagines himself in Richie’s lap, being one less layer away from actually touching skin-to-skin. He imagines Richie reaching down the back of his shorts for more contact only to find him bare underneath, much more immediately than he probably would have expected. He would say something, tease Eddie with his mouth at his ear, and cup, squeeze his ass underneath the thin material.

Eddie shivers. He does not need to look in the mirror to know he is getting hard.

“Stop that,” he scolds his dick. He resolutely ignores it and turns instead to grab the shirt he had been wearing earlier from off the bed. He is about to pull it over his head before thinking better of it and sniffing at the cotton. Naturally, the shirt smells fine, but he decides to toss it in the hamper anyway and pick out another shirt to wear. Never hurts to freshen up.

It is with that notion in mind that Eddie winds up spending the majority of the time cleaning - only after putting his briefs and other clothes back on, of course. The work is comforting in its simplicity and turns out to be a fantastic way to expend his nervous energy. Still a Kaspbrak after all. He tidies up his desk, rearranges the errant, out of order books on his shelves. Dusts off both. He unabashedly goes into Richie’s room to pick clothes up off the floor and deposit them in the just-barely-overflowing hamper. Clearly laundry needs to be done, but it can wait one more day.

Eddie is wiping Windex off of the bathroom mirror when he hears the front door open. In a panic, he looks at the time on the clock and— oh, holy shit. Shit. He rushes to finish his task and practically dives into his bedroom before closing the door behind him. He leans against it to listen for the intruder on the other side.

Well, it’s definitely Richie. He is loudly “da-da-dadada-da-da-daaaa”-ing the Tequila song as he walks down the hall to their shared bathroom. Right. Shower first. That gives Eddie more time to get back into his... shorts.

Oh, god, this is really going to happen. As long as he doesn’t chicken out, that is.

He needs to get changed. The shorts are an obvious pick but he failed to pick out a better shirt to wear, scrambling through the second drawer down for his “casual” tees. Eddie does pick out an inoffensive light blue tee from his own dresser - not a polo, just something simple. It is a close fit but a good one, and perfect for what he needs it for tonight. The briefs come back off, red shorts back on.

Eddie looks at the door mirror again. Listens to the shower cut off. To Richie still “singing” the Tequila song as he walks past Eddie's closed door. Jeez. It’s a good thing Eddie is not actually trying to sleep or anything with this loud mouth going off. Once he hears Richie's door shut, Eddie opens his own and gets three steps into the hall before stopping.

His heart is absolutely pounding. It is probably unhealthy for his heart to beat this loud, this fast. Maybe he should sit down, maybe this whole “seduction” thing is a bad idea - like he had been trying to tell Beverly before. It was a joke. The next step, if there is one, ought to be confessions. Going on real dates. Kissing, leading into making out, maybe. Feeling each other up eventually, after they've been a Real Thing long enough.

Going from sneaky glances and playful flirtation to outright... whatever might happen tonight? It is too much. Too fast. This is a terrible idea. Bev was wrong. Nothing happens this fast. Nothing should happen this fast. Eddie needs to - not do this, he needs to put some fucking underwear on and go about this rationally, like the adults they are supposed to (almost) be.

“Are you having a panic attack in the hallway?” comes the question to his right, and Eddie jumps when he realizes Richie is outside of his room in flannel pants and some faded band tee. He is currently looking at Eddie with his hands up in the air, like he is trying to catch him in case he passes out, or something. It’s not a terrible idea right about now. “‘Cause I can like, not be out here, if that makes shit easier. I dunno if it does or not— does water help? Should I get you some water?"

There is a small stretch of silence before Eddie finds himself laughing, because fuck. He is so far gone for this moron. This sweet, handsome moron. “No, no, I’m— I’m not having a panic attack.”

“That's good, ‘cause you kind of look panicked.” Richie wriggles his fingers toward Eddie, like the latter is supposed to understand what the hell he means by the motion. “And you always lowkey look like you’re going to attack someone. Hence, panic attack.”

“Thank you, I get the joke.” Eddie rolls his eyes. “And yes, for the record, water is never a bad idea.”

“Duly noted, Dr. K,” Richie grins. He adjusts his ridiculous glasses - hipster thick frames that he vehemently swears are not hipster - seemingly only to have something to do with his free hand. Seconds later he uses it to gesture vaguely at Eddie. Or, more likely, Eddie’s state of dress. “What's with the shorts? Going for a late night run?”

Eddie thinks of telling Richie everything. Tell him about how he talked to Bev for half the afternoon. Talking about his feelings for Richie, talking about how everyone – everyone but them – knows for sure it is not one sided. Tell him that he boldly talked about taking matters into his own hands, with Beverly wildly agreeing, and that the shorts were a part of that. Part of a ridiculous plan, an utterly ridiculous idea, a joke, and you know what Richie, just forget you saw anything and let’s get on with our lives.

What he hears himself say instead is, “They’re your favorite.”

Eddie is moving before he even knows it, walking casually closer to Richie. Richie, who has now given Eddie his undivided attention, even while he plainly looks like he has no idea what the hell is happening.

“I’ve seen you looking.” Eddie has no idea what the hell is happening either. He is still surprised to discover he really is the one speaking. He is the one saying this, he is the one padding over to where Richie is standing. The expression on his face is encouraging. “At practice, or around the house. I’ve seen you. You like these little shorts on me. You like to watch me when I’m wearing them. And these are your favorite pair.”

He stops. Eddie is close enough to Richie now that they practically share the same breathing space. In fact, Eddie can hear Richie breathing. In, out, in, out. He is so close and he smells so fucking good.

Richie’s hands reach up, planting on Eddie’s shoulders, and the latter immediately freezes in his grip. Oh, right, Eddie thinks nonsensically, this is actually a terrible fucking idea, remember?

Nothing happens right away. Eddie honestly can’t tell if Richie had grabbed him to kiss him in a fit of passion, or to shake some sense back into him, or to throw him bodily down the fire escape. He has no idea which option is best anymore.

“Edward James Kaspbrak,” Richie begins, and Eddie stares hard at the lips forming each word. Each syllable. Rose red lips, fuck, Richie is so fucking attractive. Eddie nearly misses the question that accompanies his name.

“Are you trying to seduce me?”

Why couldn’t he have just thrown Eddie down the fire escape? That would have been much kinder.

As it is, Eddie has no idea how to respond. His eyes are huge as he stares up at Richie, stammering out a few noises that might have been words if he knew what to even say. Should he say yes? Admit everything after all? Should he say no? He was joking? Holy shit, he fucked this up. He fucked this up soooo badly; what the fuck was he thinking, what was Beverly thinking? Eddie is brave, but he is hardly stupid, and this is stupid. Had been stupid from the start.

Before Eddie realizes it, he is struggling in Richie’s grasp, desperate to flee.

Richie grips him tighter. “Whoa whoa whoa, Eds, it’s okay! It’s okay! Contain the calamity that is your mammaries," and Eddie at least has enough control of his own body to shoot him a death glare for the ridiculous, immature command.

“You are such an idiot. Let me go.”

“Hakuna your tatas.”

“Richie—”

“Your honkers need to stop going bonkers.”

Eddie laughs despite himself; all of this is so ridiculous. Why does he like such an actual child? What is even happening right now? Is it even actually happening? Is this real life? He wilts in Richie’s firm hold.

“Please, just forget this happened, okay? For the love of god, let me go and just forget about everything.”

“I don’t think I could if I tried, dude,” Richie replies easily, “not after that performance. Ten outta ten, by the way. No one has ever given me bedroom eyes like that. Or like, ever, but you were on fire, Eds. Holy shit.”

“Beep fucking beep, Richie,” Eddie snaps, citing the sacred commandment agreed upon by the Losers of Derry. It more or less means “legitimately shut your damn trash mouth, Trashmouth”. This is mortifying. Maybe Eddie can fling his own dumbass down the fire escape instead. “Can you let me go now?”

“Uh, no. No, because if you ran right now, I’d have to chase after you and your best mile time is like, 4:33, and I can’t fucking run that fast. And you’re the only one actually dressed for a serious workout.” At Eddie's bristling, Richie is quick to backpedal a little. “Okay, sorry— sorry. Really. Fuck, Eds, I meant it though.”

He looks down, back up, very deliberately, and Eddie is quite sure his skin matches the color of his shorts again. “You’re so cute. I can’t believe you’re an actual real person standing in front of me right now.”

Eddie would like to argue that what he is doing is trembling, but he lets it slide.

“I was— this was...” He looks away from Richie to glare at the floor. He wants to say it was Beverly’s idea, but really, she had just been encouraging him to try his batshit crazy, this-should-be-a-last-resort-but-I-can’t-take-it-any-longer scheme. Loudly, forcefully encouraging him. But he had been the one who came up with the insanity, gone through with it, at least this far.

He feels one of Richie’s hands move away from his shoulder. It comes to rest under his chin instead, gently tilting Eddie’s head back up to look Richie in the face.

“You always beat me to shit like this,” he says, thumb idly stroking the line of Eddie's jaw. His voice is so soft. It is criminal. “I always thought— I dunno. I mean, just ‘cause we’re both into dudes and happen to know each other doesn’t mean shit, right? I figured you just weren’t interested. Like, in me, specifically.”

He looks like he wants to drag his hand through his hair, or adjust his glasses, or any one of his many nervous ticks that Eddie has catalogued over the years. But the desire to keep his hands on Eddie is clearly stronger, and that is information that the latter has no idea what to do with.

“Sometimes I thought you were, but I didn’t know if I was projecting or whatever, and— I dunno. You always know exactly who you want to be, and how to get what you want and say what you want, and I— fuck.” He does let go of Eddie this time to toss his arms into the air in an exaggerated shrug, but Eddie does not run. He is cemented in place. He needs to hear this.

Richie looks like he is struggling with what to say for probably the first time in his entire life. Finally, he settles on, “I guess I figured what you didn’t want to be was the boyfriend of some trash mouth idiot.”

Eddie exhales. Why did he wait so long to do this? Not— not this specifically, with the shorts, but this. Feelings. With Richie.

“Well, you definitely are an idiot,” he says, unable to hide his smile. He feels light, like he could drift away with a breeze. “But that makes two of us. We’re lucky to have one brain cell between us.”

"Feels good to share, right?" Richie grins, then outright beams when Eddie breathes out another small laugh. His hand returns to Eddie’s chin momentarily before trailing lightly up and down the curve of his jaw. He licks his lips – because he is a bastard – and tilts his head when he notices Eddie had tracked the movement of his tongue.

“Can I—” Richie rarely looks embarrassed, but he is. It is not a bad look for him, Eddie thinks. “Can I kiss you? I’d like to kiss you now. Bad idea? Good idea?”

“Best one you’ve ever had. But first,” the shorter boy starts, bizarrely charmed when Richie has to straighten back up after his haste to lean down, "just know... I’m the same. I was always waiting for you to make the first move, because... well, I just thought maybe you never saw me this way, either. Tonight was— I was sick of waiting for you to either let me down easy or for you to— for us to—”

He points back and forth between the two of them, unsure of how to explain himself. He thinks, hopes Richie understands, and says, “Now I just feel stupid for waiting for so long.”

“‘That makes two of us,’” Richie echoes in what is probably, to him, a good impression of Eddie. It really is not.

But Eddie is smiling anyway when their lips press together, slow and still careful. Eddie had to look up to meet him, but the height difference barely matters – they fit together so well just about everywhere else. Richie is still gently caressing his jaw, but when neither pull away immediately his fingers trail up to cup Eddie's cheek instead. His own hands are twisted slightly in Richie’s shirt, and he is not quite sure when he put them there. Does not care.

They break apart, but not for long. The switch has been flipped.

Eddie’s arms reach up around Richie’s neck as the latter’s other hand snakes around his shoulder to his lower back. If Eddie had any sort of inkling as to how amazing this would feel, he would have done this so, so much sooner. Shorts and all. Just— god, the time they have wasted already. Always waiting for the other one to make the first move. He lets Richie pull him closer - better yet, Richie lets Eddie push him against the wall to deepen the kiss. The inside of Richie’s mouth is minty fresh, Eddie is happy to note. Likely he brushed them before showering.

Why hadn’t Eddie thought to brush his teeth before this? Does he taste okay? How are you supposed to check for that kind of thing? What was the last thing he ate?

His worried thoughts burst like bubbles when he feels Richie suck on his tongue. He lets out a small, delighted noise at the sensation and can’t help but press Richie harder against the wall. How could he have ever thought the two of them, R + E, could take things slow? He wants more. So much more of - of everything. He needs to feel all of Richie this new way, now that he is allowed to. When he tangles his fingers in Richie’s hair, he tugs, and the moan he receives in response is encouragement enough to do it again, harder.

Maybe Beverly had a point about skipping quaint confessions and hand holding and just jumping straight into it. He can feel Richie getting hard against his stomach. It makes him feel hotter than he’s ever felt before, even hotter than the nights he touched himself, explored himself in the dark. All while thinking of the person he has pinned against the wall, no less. The knowledge is somewhat bittersweet; he knows now that nothing will ever feel the same, nothing will ever compare to the real thing.

He shivers when Richie pulls away after a few decades, or something like that anyway. Eddie has no idea.

“Can I tell you something?” Richie asks. To Eddie’s slightly dazed nod, he smiles brightly. “I definitely was watching. I like your tiny ass shorts, like, a lot. I mean, I like you. You’ve got great legs, Eds; anyone ever tell you that? And in those shorts, holy fuck.”

Impossibly, Eddie heats up even more from the compliment. It causes him to miss the mischievous shift of Richie's smile into something more of a shit-eating grin.

“But you know, I think those shorts would look even better on my bedroom floor.”

“Oh my god. That was terrible. You’re terrible. I actually hate you.”

Richie hardly looks concerned with the statement. “You know, I’ve heard hate sex is so much hotter than regular boring, ‘wehhh my heart burns for yoooou’ sex.”

“You are actually an imbecile,” Eddie retorts, pushing at Richie’s chest when the idiot starts planting big, wet kisses on his cheek, complete with little “mwah!” sounds. “You know that, right? Text book, dictionary definition imbecile. I knew I recognized your picture from somewhere.”

“You’re cute Eds," is all he says in return before abruptly leaning in again, as though he needs to prove the validity of his statement. They pick up exactly where they left off; Richie kisses him deep, slow. Kisses him like he wants to consume him whole. Kisses him like he wants to fuck him, and Eddie shivers at the thought of it.

When they break apart again, their eyes meet a moment – and the questions suddenly hang between them. How far can this go? How far should it go? How far do they want to go? One of them just needs to ask.

“Were you serious?” starts Eddie. He should not have paused, because immediately—

“About the hate sex?”

Eddie reaches up and flicks his forehead. “About any of it. Any of the sex.”

“Oh, say sex again please.”

“Rich.”

“Yes,” Richie says, maybe a little too quickly. His eagerness makes Eddie smile, even though he tries not to. Richie soldiers on regardless, “I’m serious about anything you want.”

Eddie shivers again. There are many things he wants. Still. He cannot help but ask, “This isn’t too sudden, right? I mean, we’re…”

“Yeah, you’re right. It’s not like I’ve wanted to bone you since I was thirteen or anything.”

That is a very familiar, mutual desire. Eddie bites his lower lip at the easy confession, completely unaware of the affect the small gesture has on Richie, and Richie’s dick in particular.

“Eddie,” the name is slightly strained, and Eddie knows he has to make this decision now. He knows he could keep things light. He knows Richie would live another day if Eddie backed out. He is even fairly sure that he would, too. Life would go on and they could do – this any other time. They would have time enough, armed with the knowledge of where the other stands. It could be later.

But Eddie is standing here now, his dick a hard line against the fabric of his little red shorts now, feeling Richie hot against him now and completely at his mercy, always. Since he was thirteen. “Go big or go home,” Eddie remembers Beverly telling him. And fuck, he wants. He wants more, dizzy with the notion. He does not think he could stop if he tried.

Eddie tugs at the front of Richie’s shirt, voice more casual than he feels when he answers, “I already told you. I’m sick of waiting.”

The kiss he receives in reply is sweeter than he expected. Slow, soft. Persistent, still going as Richie extracts himself carefully from between Eddie and the wall. It only stops when Eddie feels Richie’s hands close around his wrists, tugging. Pulling him into the bedroom, backing into his own bed before stopping, leaning down to share another kiss. That, too, ends once Richie reaches for the bottom hem of Eddie’s shirt and tugs, taking it off with some cooperation from the latter.

To Eddie, the motion is bizarrely sexy, and thinks maybe he could do with getting manhandled a little more often.

After Richie takes his own shirt off, he grabs for Eddie again - not his hands or wrists but his waist, and draws him in. Catching the hint, Eddie is all too content to straddle his lap and sits just shy of where he knows Richie is so hot beneath him. It's a fucking tease. Shockingly, the comfortable, coy silence between them continues, Richie instead opting to occupy his dangerous mouth with Eddie's once more. His hands slide down Eddie's bare frame straight to his lower back, to his little shorts.

Without fanfare, Richie’s hand slips under the hem to explore; it is uncanny how similar to Eddie's earlier fantasies this is starting to be. He is just thinking about how grateful he is for his ridiculous idea to skip the briefs when he feels Richie’s hand stop. The taller boy leans away from Eddie to look directly into his face.

“You— you’re not wearing—”

Eddie thinks he might be on fire. Contrarily, his voice is cool when he responds, “The shorts were the important part, right? Didn’t need anything else.”

Richie hums, his hand resuming the gentle exploration of bare skin. “How very pragmatic,” he says, but Eddie barely hears him. Richie’s fingers are trickling down, down, down, before they stop to tease a spot dead center, above the cleft. Eddie is surprised to learn that such a small, otherwise silly spot is alarmingly sensitive. Before he can stop himself, he lets out a quiet moan into Richie’s shoulder. The other must find the noise encouraging, because he hums again, curious, and continues his light petting. At some point, his other hand comes to rest underneath the curve of Eddie’s ass, slipping under the bottom hem instead.

When he feels the squeeze, Eddie surges forward on impulse, not-quite-so-unintentionally sliding their cocks together, separated by exactly two layers of thin clothing.

Fuck,” but Eddie has no idea who says it.

If the switch was flipped before, this is where the entire levee breaks.

Eddie plants his knees firmly in the bed on either side of Richie, using them as an anchor to rock slowly against the taller boy, agonizingly so. Richie returns the favor by re-positioning both of his hands to cup underneath Eddie’s ass in an attempt to pull him impossibly closer. He has no idea what he is doing. Neither of them do, not really, he only knows that it feels— it feels fucking incredible. Indescribable. Richie is a molten hot line beneath his own and moving against him quite so deliberately is absolutely dizzying. He knows how loud he is being, loud even for the two of them, but he cannot help himself.

Besides, Richie doesn’t seem to mind, rolling his hips up with perfect time to grind them together. Sliding together, so perfectly, so absolutely meant to fit together, and Eddie can only imagine how this would feel without his silly shorts, without Richie’s flannel pants – but he does not have to “only imagine” it. Not anymore.

They should get undressed. Really. But if Eddie wants to get the both of them out of the rest of their clothes, it would mean having to stop, and that – that he simply cannot fathom being able to do. He chases the pleasure with every undulation of his hips, skin alight everywhere Richie is touching him. Teasing him. At some point, his head must have fallen back, because he feels Richie’s wet mouth kissing at his neck, sucking gently at the blazing skin.

Eddie has never felt such bone-deep pleasure, broiling dangerously in the pit of his stomach. He had been controlling the pace well enough before, straddling Richie’s lap, but he is so fucking keyed up he is starting to lose the rhythm. His fingernails dig, scratch at Richie’s back as the latter continues rocking up into him and – he could come, he could come just like this, probably even will—

His eyes fly open. “Wait,” he hears himself saying, feels himself try, forces himself to try and go still. “Wait, Richie— stop.”

At the word, Richie does so at once, his face worried, stricken as he tilts back to get a better look at Eddie, frozen in his lap. Distantly, Eddie is touched by the immediacy of the action.

“What’s wrong? Eddie?”

“You’re fine,” Eddie stammers, sitting back, pointedly further away from where they had met so easily moments before. He is absolutely aching, is sure Richie is feeling the same way, but he has to ignore it. Has to concentrate. Forming words is an impossibly difficult task, but between deep, panting breaths, he apologizes. “Sorry, I’m…”

He shudders, which is ridiculous, because nothing is even happening, and tilts forward to place his forehead against Richie’s shoulder. Grounding himself. He feels one of Richie’s hands petting the back of his neck and has no idea when it got there. The gentle touch is nice.

“I’m still,” he starts, floundering for a moment to try and explain suddenly putting the brakes on everything. “I’m still wearing my shorts.”

Richie’s slow blink is magnified by his stupid glasses. “What?”

“I was about to— I think I was about to—” Why can’t he say it? Is he a child? “—but I’m still wearing my shorts, Rich, and I can’t— not in these, oh my god.”

There is a small stretch of silence.

“You don’t wanna jizz in your shorts? Is that it?”

Eddie grimaces, but what else could he expect from this idiot? “Yes. That. I am not ruining these shorts, not even for this.” As if they haven’t been ruined already. But he is not about to make such a spectacular mess in them, either.

He feels Richie start laughing before he actually hears him. It is loud, abrasive, wonderful in the space between them.

“Holy fuck, Eds, I thought I really fucked something up,” he admits, and Eddie makes a face. He hadn’t meant to insinuate anything of the sort, hadn’t meant to be quite so dramatic, either, but he will not ruin these shorts.

“I’m sorry,” he says again, “I didn’t mean to freak you out. I just don’t want to get these dirty, and—”

Richie is already leaning back, his hands planted behind him. “Shine on, you crazy diamond. I told you they’d look better on my floor, right?”

Eddie rolls his eyes, somehow managing to slip back, carefully, off of Richie’s lap and pad back onto the carpet below. He gets one finger underneath the hem when Richie is already speaking again.

“Uhhh, for the record, I’m open to whatever is on the table here. Seriously, whatever you want. I had my gay panic years ago and I am happily on this dick train for the rest of my life, so like, I’m good. With anything. As long as you are, I mean, you knew before me. So. We could, uh, do whatever.”

He is rambling. A nervous tick, of course, one he and Eddie both have in common. The latter leans over in an instant to place a small kiss on Richie’s cheek.

“Don’t hurt yourself,” he teases, but Eddie supposes they probably should make it clear what exactly the other wants. His gaze falls, suddenly embarrassed, looking at the ridiculous shorts he is still sporting a slightly wilting tent from. “Um, I have… I have condoms, so…”

Richie looks floored with this information. “What? Really?”

“Yes?” Eddie has no idea what is so hard to understand here. Did Richie really think that he, of all people, would not want to practice safe sex? Would start this whole thing without being completely prepared?

“Okay. Uhhh, wow, okay, I don’t have any, so that’s… good.” Richie looks uncomfortable for approximately half a second more before shooting finger guns at Eddie. Sad finger guns. “I guess I thought I would always be doomed to a sexless existence, hopelessly pining after my best friend.”

Eddie’s face flares. Richie had not been surprised at the idea of Eddie having condoms for safe sex, but that he was bringing them “to the table”, as Richie had put it before. That Eddie was on the table, so to speak. That he was suggesting they really go all the way here.

And why the fuck not? At this point?

“Sounds pretty gay,” Eddie replies, grinning when Richie reaches over to pinch his ass. “I’ll go get what we need.” Before leaving, however, he plucks at Richie’s pajama pants. “Get undressed.”

Richie salutes, because he is still a moron. “Sir, yes, sir!”

He turns on his heel and leaves, awkwardly padding back to his own room despite his flagging boner slightly impeding his progress. Once he enters, he pauses briefly, bringing both hands to his face like a total freaking girl. He does not care, allowing himself to be giddy about everything out of Richie’s sight.

Holy shit, this whole thing – this absolute insanity had actually paid off. This is happening. Beverly is going to be so fucking proud.

Eddie reaches into his top drawer – socks, boxers, briefs, or a combination thereof neatly folded – and further back to feel for the hidden items buried amongst the otherwise innocent laundry. There is a silk bag he feels but ignores – why use a toy when the real thing is waiting for him in the other room? – and opts instead to grab what he knows is a bottle of lubricant. Moments later, he tugs open the small box of condoms and plucks a single sleeve from inside.

He frowns at the packaging. Are these going to be big enough? Eddie had only been able to make an educated guess based on infrequent, stolen glimpses. Accidental bathroom walk-ins. He shakes his head – only one way to find out – and finally slips off the little red track shorts.

There is a thin line of pre-come inside when he inspects the damage. Well. For all his protesting, he knew damn well he was never actually going to wear these to practice again anyway.

If sporting a hard-on in the shorts was embarrassing enough, there is absolutely no word for how it feels for Eddie, completely nude and cupping himself awkwardly, to not walk so much as dash down the hallway back to Richie’s room. Seeing Richie naked on the bed stops him in the door frame.

Shit. Were these going to be big enough?

“Look at you, so well prepared,” Richie says, but Eddie knows from the tone that he, too, is still nervous as fuck. He takes a deep breath that he hopes is not too obvious before finally joining the other on the bed, not on his lap but at his side. The items lay, daunting, between them. Richie picks up the condom packaging to inspect them more closely, pink high on his cheeks.

Eddie’s face is similarly colored. “Um, are those— going to work?”

“So, I’m on top?” is what Richie says in lieu of an answer, before clicking in slight reprimand with his tongue. “What a size queen.” He grins at the unimpressed look he receives in response. “There is so much more to me than what is between my legs, Edward.”

“Not really.” If nothing else, Eddie has learned one thing from this evening’s proceedings: kissing Richie is one surefire way to shut him the hell up. He does so, slinking his arms around the other’s neck once more and pulling him down toward the bed.

Compared to their fervor just a short while ago, these deep kisses are positively chaste in their sweetness, their tenderness. Even as Richie reaches down and takes Eddie in hand, the latter keens softly into his mouth. The rough pad of Richie’s thumb feels incredible, paying such close attention to the head before swiping down the underside, and Eddie involuntarily rocks up to chase the touch. He tilts his head back, sucking on Richie’s bottom lip for as long as he can until the distance parts them.

The click of the bottle’s pump twisting, unlocking, is like a gunshot in the otherwise quiet room.

“Shit,” Richie jumps, glaring at the lube as though it personally offended him in some way. “Was that really loud to you, too?”

Eddie chuckles, airy and light. Richie stares at the bottle a little too long, and Eddie thinks he understands what has him so hesitant. Neither of them have done what they are about to do, but Eddie at least has… some experience with this next step. One of his hands finds Richie’s cheek.

“I can do it,” he tells him. “I’ve done this before.”

Which is the truth – maybe not with so much intent behind it, other than to get off. But he has. Richie looks stunned with the information regardless.

“You’ve— uhm, you’ve—”

Bless him. Eddie spares Richie the torture. “Touched myself?”

Fuck, Eds. You can’t just say shit like that.”

“Oh, sorry. How do you put it? ‘Tickled my pickle?’ Is that better?”

“Your pickle is not what I am so surprised you have tickled.”

Biting the inside of his cheek to resist laughing, Eddie refuses to grace the statement with an answer and holds out his hand expectantly. Richie still looks incredulous, as though he really cannot believe that Eddie is a healthy twenty-year-old male just like him.

“You are really ruining my whole ‘cute blushing virgin’ fantasy, you know.”

Finally, he passes the bottle over. It feels heavier somehow, important. Makes this real. As he pushes the pump down on the spout, Eddie’s face betrays him, heating a bright red once again.

“I am still all three of those things,” he grumbles. He hears Richie snickering in response and smiles, slow, in spite of himself. He has been doing that a lot this evening.

After he finishes pouring what he thinks is a generous amount of lube into his hand, Eddie drops the bottle unceremoniously back on the bed. Wets the tips of the fingers of his other hands in the cool liquid – completely aware that Richie is watching him very intently.

The notion had excited him before, but now Eddie is not so sure. He has never had an audience for this sort of thing – and he needs to go about it differently. He actually, legitimately needs to prepare himself, stretch himself, for what comes next. The angle feels all wrong, suddenly, and Eddie knows from experience he can get deeper on his hands and knees, ass in the air. The prospect is as frightening as it is embarrassing. As frightening as it is erotic.

“Not a fucking word,” Eddie warns his partner as he rolls over to get into the better position. For once, Richie looks like actually might follow the instructions, tracking Eddie’s hand with rapt attention as he slips it behind himself, reaches for his backside. His fingers circle his entrance slowly, intent only on slicking the area up for now, and for what feels like the fifth time this evening feels like his skin is on fire. He is so hot, hotter still inside when, after some small amount of time, he finally, carefully breaches himself with a single finger.

He hears Richie make a noise somewhere at his side, but Eddie he has no idea how any of this could look particularly attractive. He tries to focus instead on working further in, curling and twisting his finger the deeper he is able to push in. The room is dead quiet apart from his heavy, broken breathing, the sounds of him working himself open. He wishes the lights were out, wishes he could do this privately.

All the same, he starts to ease in another finger, a sharp gasp echoing in the room when he scissors it opposite the other.

“Fuck—” and Eddie knows he is the one who says it this time. Sweat is lining at his forehead as he fucks himself gently on his own fingers. In, out, in. Making wrecked sounds, the likes he has never heard himself make before. Maybe having an audience is not so bad after all. Maybe it’s what makes this even better.

He starts to feel similarly to how he had before on Richie’s lap, keyed up and shivering – and he notices that the arm he is holding himself up with is, in fact, actually trembling. He ignores it, pushing deeper, stretching himself around the continued thrusting of his fingers. Tries to make room for one more. He groans Richie’s name when the other’s hand settles lightly at his lower back, making idle, teasing touches with his fingers.

“You really have done this before,” he observes, and while he is only stating the truth, it has a strange, arousing effect on Eddie. His pace quickens as Richie continues, in awe. “Holy shit, look at you. You are so fucking sexy, Eds. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect fucking— jesus, Eddie.”

“Rich,” Eddie cannot help but whimper at the praise, crumpling over when the bent, shaking arm beneath him finally gives out. This is suddenly all too much; Richie’s attention, his words, the gentle stroking of his fingers on his back. The movement of his own fingers, deep inside of himself. His free hand still rests beneath him, but he can find no strength to push back up.

He hears the pump of the bottle, the slick wet noises of it coating fingers. With some trepidation, his own fingers are taken gently away and are almost immediately replaced by two of Richie’s.

It should be too much, but Eddie’s preparations have hardly been for naught.

Still, his voice comes out in a surprised, ragged moan at the sensation, at the stretch, at the foreign touch. He feels Richie placing little kisses on his back, hips, the flat of his ass, and hears himself whispering for more. More. Relinquishing control entirely, rocking back onto Richie’s fingers with ease, crying out the harder he impales himself.

“Eddie,” somewhere behind him. A voice, wrecked. Everything else is so out of focus, though; Eddie’s entire world has narrowed down to one particular place, one particular sensation. Stretching, exploring, pressing deeper inside.

Even the hand closing around his neglected length is a surprise.

The noise Eddie makes is completely new, unfamiliar, and unabashedly loud. “Rich, Richie,” he repeats, breathlessly, endlessly, like he knows no other way to communicate. He groans high in his throat when he feels a third digit tease his rim, prodding the entrance carefully. Slipping inside. Richie hardly seems nervous any longer, the thrusting of his fingers confident, the pumping of his other hand over Eddie’s length sure, almost practiced, as if they have done this before.

Eddie’s only regret is that he can hardly chase both sensations at the same time, overpowered entirely by all of it. He feels entirely surrounded by Richie, dizzy from the pleasure, and comes hard with sharp cry. The world really does fall away this time, but he can distantly feel himself shivering head to toe when Richie’s fingers do not stop.

He outright whines, oversensitive from his release and the persistent scissoring, stretching. It makes it very difficult to focus.

“Rich,” he pleads, voice raw, involuntarily moving away from the attention. Thankfully, Richie does seem to take the hint, because he stills at last. Eddie swears his stomach hollows out when Richie’s fingers leave him, even when seconds before it had just been too much.

Richie seems to be moving. Eddie has no idea where to until he feels himself being gently rolled onto his back, still trembling. The kiss is sweet, welcome, but not nearly enough of a distraction from the wetness Eddie feels somewhere beneath his thighs.

“Oh, shit, your sheets!” Speech has returned, words tumbling out as fast as he had been panting only moments ago. He looks up at Richie in a panic. “I’m so sorry, I should have brought in a towel or something, oh my god!”

“Trust me, it’s not an issue,” Richie says, amused at Eddie’s evident return to crazy-town. “It would not be the first time these sheets have gotten jizz on them and it will not be the last.”

Eddie scrunches his nose. “That’s disgusting. You are disgusting.”

Playfully, Richie kisses that very same nose. Eddie is very determined not to find it as cute as he actually does. His eyes flick down to his lube-soaked fingers, then to Richie’s. He opens his mouth—

“Are you about to tell me I have to go wash my hands? Right now? Seriously?”

—and closes it. He must still look uncomfortable because Richie sighs, addresses his poor, neglected dick (“sorry buddy, hang in there”), and gets up off the bed to slip out into the hallway.

The problem is, Eddie is unsure he can even get up right now. Not just yet. Curiously, he does not hear any water running down the hall and is surprised when Richie returns, holding a light blue hand towel and something in small orange packaging.

“Baby wipes,” Richie explains, presenting the item like a magician would show off the rabbit in his hat. He hops back onto the bed. “Good enough?”

Eddie stares at him, nodding quietly with a dumbstruck look on his face. His heart aches, feeling more admiration than ever before for the young man cleaning their hands. He deliberates over the knowledge for a moment before finally, “I love you.”

Richie stops, looks up at him.

“Don’t make it gay, Eds.” But he leans down to kiss Eddie before the latter can smite him with furious indignation, sweet and tender once again. “You, too,” he whispers, surprisingly shy, and they stay like that for a moment, sharing soft kisses before Richie reluctantly pulls away. He looks sheepish when he finally admits, “Always have.”

Eddie wants to tease him back, but words fail him at the moment. He watches as Richie unfolds the towel he had also nabbed from the bathroom. He places it delicately over the spot where Eddie had… made a mess beforehand, as though he were merely dabbing an errant spot with a napkin.

“Ta-daa. Good as new, right?”

The smaller boy ignores him. Runs his eyes down Richie’s firm chest, to his flat stomach, and further down. He winces slightly, suddenly feeling horrendously guilty for how one-sided this has been so far. Carefully, he eases himself up into something resembling a sitting position and leans into Richie’s space to kiss him. To distract him just long enough before reaching over and teasing the head of his length without fanfare. Richie makes a noise into Eddie’s mouth and the latter immediately touches him more earnestly, sliding the back of a bent finger up and down slowly on the underside.

The weight of it is surprising in his hand when he wraps his fingers around it completely. Eddie had been very thoroughly stretched, that was for sure, but this – the thought of this inside of him, Richie inside of him… How will it feel for Richie? How can Eddie make it feel even better?

Fire burns inside of his belly as he pushes at Richie’s shoulder with his free hand. When nothing happens immediately, Eddie does it again, more firmly. Richie pulls back, looking perplexed at the persistent nudging.

“Eds?”

“Lay down. I’m going to— I want to be on top.”

Richie’s eyebrows shoot up somewhere near his headline. “What? Are you sure?”

“Wouldn’t have said it if I wasn’t,” Eddie replies firmly. It is only half a lie; worries and doubts bounce around in his head at lightning speed. But he also knows he will have a much better time of this if he can control the pace himself. Probably. He thinks, hopes it will be better for Richie, too. Has evidence of that fact by the way Richie’s dick twitched in his grip when he explained himself. Is sure of it when Richie slowly leans back, repositioning on the bed so his head is able to rest comfortably on his pillow.

Richie’s face is indescribable when Eddie once again moves to straddle his lap, sitting just above where he will need to be. The cleft of his ass is a teasing press against Richie’s cock behind it – and it feels fucking incredible. Feels real. Experimentally, he rocks backwards and sighs gleefully when Richie’s fingers come to bury themselves in Eddie’s thighs set around his waist. Evidently, this is a very good idea.

Not for the first time, Eddie wishes he could take Richie’s stupid glasses off, more clearly study the expressions on his face. But he knows the idiot would barely able to see him without them. And Eddie wants to be seen. Maybe this is the perfect way to finally convince him to get contacts.

He rips one condom off from the roll and presses the package into Richie’s hand, busying himself instead with reaching blindly for the discarded bottle of lube. He leans up on his knees, trusting his legs to keep him up as he reaches behind himself once again to coat his entrance. Goes to do the same to Richie and is immediately shocked when he is already slicked up.

Oh, right. The condom. That was fast.

“Someone’s eager,” Eddie teases, sounding much more composed than he actually feels. He plants one hand on Richie’s shoulder, the other holding his length steady underneath him. It feels really weird with the condom on. It feels weirder when he starts to ease down, trying to keep himself as relaxed as possible, and is at least grateful that the slickness of the condom makes this somewhat easier.

They both gasp when Richie first slips in, then both chuckle nervously at their mirrored reactions. Richie is massaging the side of Eddie’s hips gently as he continues to slowly descend. The feeling— Eddie moans raggedly, coming to a brief stop before his hand tentatively comes away from Richie’s length. He shifts and leans back instead, fingers a vice around Richie’s thighs as he continues to lower himself from this new angle.

“Ah— ah, fuck,” he pants, voice sounding completely alien. Richie feels huge despite all the preparation. Eddie has to slow, stop his progress to adjust here and there, but Richie does not seem to mind. Shocking as it is, he seems to be at a complete loss for words. The only sounds Eddie picks up from beneath him are low, throaty moans. Encouraging, just like the way Richie’s blunt fingernails digging into his hips is encouraging.

Eddie lets out a ragged gasp when he discovers he has taken him in entirely.

“Eddie,” says Richie, sweet underneath him. But Eddie is paralyzed, the length feeling too much, too thick inside him, regardless of how much he has prepared. Regardless of how much he has dreamt about doing exactly this. Nothing could ever compare to this, this feeling. Nothing could ever compare to Richie, hot and buried deep.

Then Eddie moves.

Slowly, so slowly at first, dragging himself back up the way he came and back down. Richie is frozen underneath him, likely terrified that he will hurt Eddie if he moves even a fraction. Seated fully again, Eddie shifts once more, leaning forward to settle his hands back onto Richie’s chest for balance when he starts to move again. The angle is completely different, and Eddie feels less like he is impaling himself on Richie’s dick and more like— more like he is actually being fucked.

His legs burn as he moves, but he ignores them. They are strong enough for this, despite getting quite the workout already, and Eddie is far too eager to set some kind of rhythm to his twisting hips to stop now. He finds he is able to drag them up a little easier, a little quicker. He feels Richie finally move, likely involuntary, chasing him as Eddie slides upwards. His eyes roll slightly into the back of his head and he wonders for the first time if maybe he should have given Richie a bit more control.

Not a fucking chance.

Eddie eases down low, rolls his hips, and gasps, somewhat choked, at how it good such a small, normally insignificant motion feels. He loves this, loves grinding down with Richie so deep inside, loves how well he fits. Wildly, he wonders if the two of them were built specifically for this, for each other. It’s silly, stupid. Nevertheless, the notion has him clenching tightly around Richie, coaxing a ragged groan out from him. It sounds suspiciously like Eddie’s name.

Surging with confidence, Eddie uses the leverage of his folded knees to slide slowly up and down Richie’s cock before taking another small minute to grind back down with the other fully inside. Once again, Richie is completely at his mercy. Likely Eddie will have bruises in the morning from where he is being gripped so tightly, but the scratches being left on Richie’s chest, shoulder, arms are enough retaliation.

Richie feels amazing inside of him.

Fuck, but he really, really does. Eddie can only hope this is as good for Richie as it is for him, risking a glance upward at the other’s face. Something heats low in his gut when he discovers that Richie is watching, completely enraptured by the sight of his cock disappearing into Eddie’s body. Encouraged again, Eddie plants himself down and grinds, feeling impossibly full, impossibly hot, tight around Richie. When he lifts up, he is rewarded when once again, Richie swings his hips up to chase the feeling.

Eddie tilts up, up, up, eager to let Richie pursue – and is absolutely shocked when his hips are wrenched back down with considerable strength. His wide eyes find Richie’s – who, of course, meets his gaze with a devilish grin. Eddie crashes down to kiss that smirk away, only to break away with a cry when he feels Richie slam into him again. Apparently, the latter is done with being an idle participant in the proceedings. He grabs Eddie’s ass and squeezes hard, keeping him in place momentarily to grind deep, rocking him with the force of it.

Not wanting to be outdone, Eddie clenches down inside, thrilled when Richie groans, voice like gravel, and goes pliant again beneath him. Eddie tries to stay tight as his pushes back up, ignoring the tremor in one of his legs as he does so, and nearly finds it to be too intense even for himself. He settles again, slowing the pace and catching his breath now that Richie has stopped fucking up into him for the time being.

This time, a sharp pain shoots through his right leg when he pulls up.

Eddie tries to ignore it again, but once he slides down, back up again he can feel his legs absolutely scream at the strain. Stubbornly, he keeps going, unsure if Richie has an inkling that something might be wrong – not that anything is. Not long after, however, he feels his arms tremble again too, just like they had earlier when he was fucking himself on his own fingers.

“Rich,” he manages, but he gives out right after, slapping down against Richie’s skin but unable to drag back upward. His heart is pounding in his chest as if to burst and he groans, aggravated, into Richie’s shoulder. This cannot be happening. He stretches daily, he is a trained athlete, and he has never exhausted himself so thoroughly, never actually collapsed on the track. Why here? How could he fuck this up so bad?

He tries to push up with his arms, fails. “I can’t— I can’t move.”

“Hey,” he hears, gentle, “it’s okay, babe, I’ve got you.”

Embarrassingly, Eddie whines at the nickname. Before he can try pushing up again, Richie is moving underneath him, legs bending, feet planting on the bed behind Eddie’s trembling form. Eddie hums at the slight change in positions, trying to sound encouraging around the sting of his failure.

“Stop trying to take on everything by yourself,” Richie scolds him, just before using his newfound leverage to rock them together carefully. Eddie can’t help but groan at the feeling, eyelids fluttering as Richie lowers the both of them back to the mattress. This is not quite as exciting, but maybe it is exactly the sort of gentle pace Eddie needs to recover, his arms still shaking where they lie pressed up against Richie’s chest.

Richie’s hands come to rest around the sides of his stomach instead, fingers spread wide across his skin. Eddie’s smile fades, replaced with worry, when Richie starts to lift him up, away, while Eddie slides inch by excruciating inch back up Richie’s length. He is about to ask what the hell Richie is doing – is he taking him off? – before the fingers around him tighten, holding him in place, and Richie’s hips thrust up.

Eddie bounces again with the force of it, crying out. He feels Richie fall away, rock up again, repeat. Experimental. Incredible. His big hands have his smaller waist in an absolute vice grip, and Eddie surrenders completely in his hold. A particularly hard thrust has him dig his fingernails into Richie’s shoulders, whimpering high in his throat. Holy shit.

“Better?” asks Richie, voice light and casual as though he has not started enthusiastically pounding Eddie like a god damn jackhammer. It should not be possible to feel like Richie is fucking even deeper into him than before, having already taken him in entirely, but it does. Eddie lets out a sharp “yes!” at a particularly deep thrust, not exactly meaning to actually answer the question but doing so anyway. Richie hums low in response, probably very pleased with his ingenuity.

Maybe the angle is better somehow, maybe Eddie is just grateful he didn’t ruin everything. Maybe allowing Richie to take the reins is more liberating than he could ever imagine. All Eddie can do is hold on.

Whatever the reason, Eddie finds he does not care. He sees stars behind his eyelids. He can barely speak. Each audible slap in the room is accompanied by a noise that is likely meant to be Richie’s name before breaking apart like glass.

Whimpers that would be embarrassing any other time tumble out easily as Richie’s length pistons into him. There is a wild mix of short quick thrusts and deeper, harder ones in a pattern Eddie cannot follow. Likely there isn’t one, and Richie is moving on complete instinct, guessing at how to angle his thrusts, where to hit Eddie best, when to go slow, when to go shallow. They are very good guesses.

“Eds,” Richie is having much better luck actually talking. No surprise there. “Eddie, fffuck,” he pants, still keeping Eddie in place. “You look amazing like this. Absolutely fucking incredible.”

The praise goes straight to Eddie’s dick, trapped between the two of them. The tip slides roughly against Richie’s stomach, back and forth. Maddening, just enough stimulation to drive Eddie even further insane. He is dripping with pre-come, and would probably be more concerned about the mess he is making on Richie’s stomach if it didn’t feel so god damned good. He thinks he could come like this, unsurprised by the idea that he could come again. Not with Richie moving like this.

“Feels,” Eddie gasps, incoherent and without really meaning to. His eyes roll back once more at a particularly deep thrust and he tries again. “Rich, you—”

What the fuck. Has English always been so hard to speak?

Eddie continues to babble. Distantly, he wishes he could lean up for a kiss, give his mouth some use, but not only is he still trembling from his previous exertion, he is also getting very thoroughly fucked. He still cannot move, but it’s all right this time, all too content with letting Richie do that for him. He wonders if he will ever be able to move again, pliant as Richie fucks him, and realizes it would not be so bad if he couldn’t.

Richie must take Eddie’s failure to make words happen as a compliment, because his movements become erratic, his hips jerking at different angles. It takes Eddie far too long to actually recognize why – how close Richie must be, and the realization spurs him into action once more. He bears down on Richie, clenching impossibly harder around him and delights in the sounds he elicits.

“C’mon Rich,” he breathes, happy to have conquered speech again. The roles have flipped – now Richie is the one making unintelligible sounds while Eddie is coming back into himself more and more as they continue. Willing his shaking legs to cooperate one more time, just a little longer, he pushes up – and drops back down to meet Richie’s thrusts. He spills slowly onto Richie’s stomach, his second orgasm nearly robbing him of his newfound senses.

“Richie,” he tries again, in a bid for clarity. “Please, Rich. You feel so good, please—”

Richie’s hands slip down to Eddie’s ass, pulling and trapping him in his lap. Buried so deep, and would be completely still if not for the trembling. Eddie frowns slightly, feeling robbed of the sensation of Richie coming inside of him, filling him up. The notion ought to scare him, ought to gross him out. Next time, he thinks regardless. Next time.

Neither move for a time; Eddie feels completely unable, a dead weight laying on Richie’s chest, while Richie opts instead to drag his hands up Eddie’s slick back until he reaches his neck, his hair. Buries his fingers in it, petting him idly as the two of them catch their breath. Eddie smiles when he feels him tilt down and kiss the top of his head.

“I thought,” Eddie starts, glad he has not lost his capacity for speech again, “you didn’t wanna make this gay?”

“Secret’s out,” says Richie, smile evident in his voice as he leans up, taking Eddie with him. “I have the absolute worst case of homo ever. I’ve been subscribed to Jeffree Star for my entire life. I know the words to every Ariana Grande song. I’m secretly a Symmetra Main. What should I do, Dr. K?”

“Kindly get your dick out of my ass.”

“How romantic,” Richie tuts. “Did you read that in a Hallmark card?”

Despite the teasing, he is very careful when he eases Eddie off of him. He makes gentle “shhh” noises when the latter whines regardless at the movement, still oversensitive. “It’s okay, babe, I’ve got you,” he whispers, and despite the hollow, empty feeling he gets when Richie has withdrawn from him entirely, Eddie admittedly melts at the tenderness of his voice.

Seconds later, his face pinches up in pain as he assesses the damage. His legs really are on fire. He has no idea when he will have feeling in his arms again. Not to mention how sore his ass is. He flops uselessly on the bed as Richie takes off, ties his condom. To Eddie’s distant horror, the idiot tosses it toward his trash bin across the room.

“Kobe!”

Hopefully that meant he made the basket. “Why are you the way that you are?”

The baby wipes come in handy once again even though Eddie knows he really ought to clean himself off properly, with hot water and real soap. It sounds like such an unobtainable fantasy, boneless as he is, and he is grateful Richie is kind enough to help him clean up what he can. He hums contentedly when Richie lays back down and throws an arm over Eddie’s hip.

“How you feelin’?” Richie asks, trying to sound casual but Eddie knows him better. He seems genuinely concerned for Eddie’s wellbeing, which is unsurprising after he had collapsed not once, but twice in the past however-long-it-has-been. He wishes he had an excuse, but he doesn’t. He just— gave out. It had been too much all at once – and it was his first time, after all, regardless of whether or not he had necessarily expected such a severe workout. He is very grateful there are no track meetups this weekend.

“I’ll be fine,” he answers, seriously, truthfully. “I do feel kinda gross though.” His nose crinkles as he feels the sheets beneath him, as if for the first time, damp with sweat and… other bodily fluids. “And your sheets are disgusting. This is actually really unsanitary. You have another set, right? We should replace these before we go to sleep.”

To Richie’s utter silence, Eddie looks up. Glares. “… These are your only sheets?”

“Why would I need more than one?”

Oh, the bastard is lucky he is pretty. “We are not sleeping on this gross ass bed.”

“Eddie,” Richie sounds openly exasperated, but Eddie pushes his shoulder all the same.

“C’mon, get up. We’re going to my room.”

“I thought you couldn’t move?”

That is a dilemma. Eddie chews on his lip, clearly conflicted, until Richie sighs dramatically, rolling away from him to get up from the bed. “I’m gonna have to drag you down the hallway, aren’t I?”

“No bridal carry?” Eddie asks, trying very hard to do this whole get-out-of-bed thing. Richie looks around his floor for his discarded pajama pants, apparently unconcerned with the state they’re in. He tugs them on quickly before returning to Eddie – who has made considerably less progress.

Feeling like an invalid, he winds up needing Richie’s assistance to get up off the bed, to move afterwards at all. His right leg feels like it could give out again at any moment, and he leans all too happily into Richie as the latter leads him out into the hallway, down the wooden floor, into his clean room. Embarrassing as it is, Eddie cannot help but feel heartened by the care, and rewards Richie by pulling him down for an open-mouthed kiss once they reach the mattress.

Richie helps him into the pair of boxer-briefs he had been wearing earlier that evening. Forever ago. Before he ran the both of them through the ringer. “Sorry I’m so high maintenance.”

“Well, you were right,” Richie removes his glasses, placing them carefully on Eddie’s nightstand as he slips under the covers. “We kinda made a mess in there.”

“I’ll do laundry tomorrow,” Eddie says, business-like, and is entirely perplexed when Richie laughs at this response. “What?”

“Do you have any idea how cute you are?” He wraps his huge arms around Eddie’s frame and squeezes, planting a sloppy kiss upon his cheek. The boy swats back at him playfully, heart aching with gratitude that nothing has really changed between them, not really. They will still bicker, he is sure. They will still do everything in their power to get under the other’s skin, monopolize their attention. Clearly Eddie is still Eddie, and Richie is still infuriatingly Richie.

They are still R + E.

Some time later, Eddie’s final thought before sleep takes him is that he really needs to tease Richie about that silly carving.

--

Richie wakes up first.

He blinks awake, feeling bone-fucking tired even though he also feels like he just got something like seven hundred hours of sleep. Give or take. He squints in the dim light for a moment before realizing that no, his shitty eyesight is not playing tricks on him, he is really in Eddie’s room. With Eddie wrapped up behind him, the curling boa constrictor to Richie’s sprawling spider monkey. He swallows, trying not to move or make a sound when he realizes he has taken up the mantle of “little spoon” and desperately wants to savor the feeling without getting caught doing so.

Last night was not some wild, crazy, fucking incredible dream. It was wild, yes, very crazy, and the fucking had indeed been incredible, but the point is that it actually happened. The boy Richie has been in love with since he was thirteen – probably much sooner if he is honest with himself – had spent the majority of last night riding Richie’s dick with an enthusiasm bordering on religious.

Told Richie he loved him, too. Somehow, even though Richie knows it is sappy as absolute fuck, that part is even better.

Something dings loudly on the nightstand. Richie somehow manages to free an arm from Eddie’s sleepy, heavy grip and reaches for the object to silence it. By some miracle, Eddie does not stir behind him. Richie glowers at the item – Eddie’s phone, of course – and it tells him it is almost noon. Wow. Eddie is going to kill him when he wakes up.

Richie flips down the silence nob on the phone – and he really does intend on putting it back. Despite contrary belief, he is a functioning adult. He is not going to nose around Eddie’s business like a stalker. He can barely read what is on screen without his glasses anyhow.

But it’s right there on the lock screen. Richie squints at the letters.

It is a text from Beverly. It reads, how’d it go last night? 🙏🏻 🙏🏻 👀

So, Bev was in on this? He will have to send her flowers. The whole fucking store. Especially if those hot little fucking shorts were her idea specifically. God damn those things. He really hopes Eddie does not actually plan on ever wearing them to practice – or ever again period. It would be torture seeing them without being able to touch. Actual torture.

Intrigued, he swipes at the screen, entering Eddie’s password easily (his birthday numbers, rearranged). So maybe he is a little bit of a stalker. Whatever. He opens Bev’s text and reads it again, smiling. He goes to type something in response before thinking better of it – tapping the camera option instead.

Careful not to wake Eddie and lose his chance, Richie holds the phone up to a perfect selfie angle. Blurrily sees himself in Eddie’s bed, wrapped up in his pill bug arms. Sees Eddie’s face pressed right up against his shoulder, mouth slack. In fact, he is drooling just a little. Out like a light.

He presses the volume button, capturing the scene. Sends it off to Beverly, along with an eggplant emoji, and drops the phone somewhere near him on the mattress. It buzzes again immediately, and again, rapid fire messages coming through. Richie ignores them and settles back under the covers, feeling pleased with himself.

Richie might be a nonstop trashmouth, but a picture really is worth a thousand words.