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got a feeling this year's for me and you

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Christmas Eve is on a Tuesday this year, and so, apparently, Richie’s producers assumed that he wouldn’t mind doing a live Christmas Eve show, because why would he mind when he’s Jewish, and Richie had responded with, “Because I have a family, dickwads,” and so he got out of the rest of December if he pulled through on the live Christmas Eve show.

In California.

Because of course they scheduled his one fucking live show to be filmed in fucking California. Of course. The one place Richie should be on Christmas is on the opposite fucking coast of his family.

Eddie has said all this multiple times, but it doesn’t change the fact that Richie has to go. Richie cries about it, a couple of times, but cries about it again when he leaves at four in the morning on December twenty-third, kissing Eddie goodbye fourteen different times. Eddie’s fine with the girls by himself, even if it’s stressful, and he makes it through to Christmas Eve before he starts getting really lonely.

It’s mostly because the girls go to sleep at seven-thirty, after Eddie read A Visit from St. Nicholas with Riley and she fell asleep halfway through. They’re all asleep in the nursery while Eddie curls up on the sofa with the television on low volume, turned to NBC, just waiting for Richie’s live show to start so he can see Richie and go to sleep.

The longer the silence stretches, the more Eddie misses Richie. It starts to become a physical ache, deep in his chest, that Richie’s not on the sofa with him. It feels wrong, that Richie’s not talking about everything and absolutely nothing simultaneously into the quiet, probing Eddie to make him laugh. There’s a preview on the TV for Richie’s live show, and his voice piercing the room makes Eddie’s heart pound with love and fucking loneliness.

“Hey, friends and family!” Richie says on the TV. He’s wearing a deep red suit and a Santa hat, and he looks hot as fuck in the suit, or maybe Eddie’s just aggressively lonely-horny. “Am I at your party right now? Nice. I know I make a great Santa, being so strikingly Jewish and all. That’s right! It’s actually the third night of Hanukkah!” Richie spins, and his red suit is blue. He laughs. “Aha, I tricked you! Happy Hanukkah! Also, if you’re into this sort of thing, Late Night is gonna be live tonight at eleven. Whatever, though, no biggie.” Richie waves, and the next commercial starts. Eddie starts to wonder if there’s something wrong with his fucking brain that that made him weirdly horny.

He grabs his phone up before he can (over)think too much about it and texts Richie.

 

Hi.

hey

How are you?

ok

 

Eddie frowns. Richie’s probably on set, or something, and trying to text without getting caught, which makes Eddie’s heart trip in his chest. He also wants more of a response, though, so he texts again.

 

Miss you.

miss u 2

Christmas sucks without you.

i know lol

I love you.

 

There’s a beat where Richie doesn’t reply as quickly as he had been. Eddie’s just frowning down at his phone when it vibrates again.

 

love u 2
so so much

Okay, thanks, bye.

fuck u dumbass
fuckwad
what r u wearing

 

Eddie laughs. He glances at the clock to see it’s only ten-thirty, which means there’s still half an hour until the live show is supposed to start. It’ll be eleven o’clock on the east coast (for Eddie), and eight o’clock on the west coast (for Richie, in theory, but he’s only been out there a day and a half, and he’s jet-lagged as hell, his words). 

Aren’t you supposed to be working?
I swear, I just saw an ad for Late Night with Richie Tozier.
Live from Los Angeles.
Dick.

i would much rather be home with u

Then come back home.

2 more days

 

There weren’t any flights available out on Christmas when Richie had tried to book his ticket home, so he won’t be coming back until the night of the twenty-sixth. He’s missing fucking Christmas, and even if he is Jewish, they agreed to celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas, and he’s missing both, and he had no choice but Eddie’s still frustrated in so many different ways about this. They’re just going to do Christmas on the twenty-seventh, and it doesn’t really matter, especially since the girls are still so young. Too young to remember, Eddie has assured Richie, the first time he’d cried over it.

 

Two more days.
How long can you keep texting me?

all night long, baby

Seriously.

yeah, srsly
i can text during the show
just watch me

 

Eddie glances up at the TV, skeptical, as if Richie will appear like Sirius Black in the fireplace and tell him he’ll be home soon. Eddie would burn his face trying to kiss him, in that situation, probably. Richie tends to burn his face when he’s home, but that’s for an entirely different and far superior reason.

 

If you say so.
Keep texting me through the show, then.
So we’re not apart entirely.

very cute and very gay of u to love me so much, eds
i really miss u
girls 2
how are they?

Good, all asleep.
We lit the third candle tonight together.
They’re excited for Santa.
They miss you.
Not as much as I do.
Or, in a different way, I suppose.

fuck i hope so
i said it once and ill say it again babe
what r u WEARING???

 

Eddie looks down at himself. He’s not wearing anything particularly attractive, just the Christmas pajamas that Ben gave him a couple of weeks ago. He got matching pajamas for all of them; Richie promised to wear his tonight when he went to sleep, even if Eddie had blushed and swore the entire time while Richie had pinched his cheeks and swore to him he would.

 

My Christmas pajamas from Ben.

how monumentally sexy
take it off

You can type out “monumentally” but not “you” ??

sorry fucking merriam webster
want me to take my giant dick somewhere else?
ill find a man who appreciates me, youll see

 

Eddie huffs a laugh. After a beat of hesitation, glancing towards the entry to the hallway to make certain that it’s empty, he pops the top button on his pajama shirt. He pauses, then makes swift work of the rest of them before pushing the shirt off his shoulders. His phone vibrates while he’s tangled in the sleeves; he throws the shirt to the floor and snatches his phone up again.

 

eds?

Sorry, I got stuck in my shirt.
Also, I took off my shirt.
Obviously.

wow, ur even like that sexting
love that
love u
so much
send me a pic

 

Eddie looks to the hallway again, as if Riley were a private detective hellbent on cracking the case of what the fuck Eddie does at night instead of a toddler who has been asleep for three hours. When there’s no sign of her, he turns back to his phone and takes a selfie. The only fucking person he would do this for is Richie, because he feels like a dumbass kid taking pictures of himself shirtless.

 

[picture file]
There you go, horndog.

nice
now tell me im dumb

 

He can’t help himself; he laughs out loud. He freezes for a moment; there’s still no sound from the hallway, so he exhales.

 

[picture file]
now will u tell me im dumb?

 

Eddie opens the photo, and it’s a selfie of Richie in the bathroom of wherever his studio is in Los Angeles. It must be in his dressing room, because it’s got a shower in one corner of the mirror reflection. Most of the reflection, though, is taken up with Richie’s long limbs, his hand wrapped around his cock, visible above his fingers where they wrap around it coming out of his open pants. Eddie stares down at the picture, unblinking.

 

I’ll say anything you want if you send me another picture like that.

 

There’s another pause, but this one feels like it drags. Eddie can’t tell if it actually drags, or if it’s just because he’s just starting to get horny now.

 

You better not be gone already.

no sorry they were just asking me something
im gonna keep my phone in my pocket during the broadcast
itll be on vibrate

 

Eddie fumbles out of his pajama pants, shoving them out of the way so he can get his hand on his dick. He takes a picture and sends it back to Richie before he has to go on set and misses the text.

 

[picture file]

motherfcuker
im supposed to be going out there in 5 mins eds!!!!!

Then go.
Don’t stop texting me, though.

ill do what i can
gonna forget me if i dont?

 

Eddie frowns down at his phone for a moment, which is sort of frustrating, because his dick is still out. He debates for a moment, then sighs and puts his dick away.

 

You know I’d never forget you.
Are you worried again?

not worried per say
more just dwelling

I’ll keep texting you.
Every time your phone vibrates, I haven’t forgotten you.
Better?

💖💖💖
much better thank you eds
i have to go out now ughhhhh

The burdens of fame.
I love you.

love u
love u
love u
love u
love u

 

Eddie laughs when the last text comes through. He looks up at the ceiling, illuminated in the flickering blue light of the television and the dim multicolored glow of their Christmas tree. For a moment, he just breathes.

 

Alright, well, since you’re not seeing these, I’ll just send whatever.
🙂
Ugh no wait. That stare is weird.
Never mind.
Try and text me from your pocket.
You don’t spell things right normally, so it won’t even matter when you fuck it up.

 

Another ad comes on for Richie’s show. This one just has clips of old shows playing in the background while the voiceover says the show is going to start in two minutes. Eddie’s phone vibrates again, but it’s just the push notifications he gets for the social media accounts for Late Night. There’s a clip of Richie laughing on the television, and Eddie sighs before unlocking his phone again.

 

I was gonna call and leave a voicemail.
I know you’d just call me an old man for that, though.
Fuck. I really do miss you.

 

The show starts then. It’s exactly eleven o’clock, and the familiar intro for Late Night starts, so Eddie rubs at his face and puts his phone down for a second. When Richie appears on the television, in that same fucking dark blue suit from the ad before, Eddie feels like he’s going to burst out of his skin. He listens to Richie, yeah, obviously— for the most part. He also notices quickly that Richie does have his phone inside the inner pocket of his blazer; he can see the line of it against Richie’s chest. Most people wouldn’t notice, but Eddie’s very familiar with the correct placement of the lines that make up Richie Kaspbrak.

 

You weren’t fucking with me, you really did bring your phone.

 

On screen, on a slight delay, he watches Richie smile a little bit. He doesn’t move to touch his phone or anything, because they’ve done this before and he’s a professional, but Eddie can tell his text came through. He grins to himself.

 

I’m just going to text you through the whole show.
Like Morse code, but avoiding forgetting your husband.
Because of a clown.
Or, whatever it was?
*It.
**IT?

 

All the way on the west coast, coming through Eddie’s television, Richie almost laughs. Eddie laughs, because nobody’s watching him, and resolves to just text him through the entire show.

And so he does. Through Richie’s opening set, through interviews with his guests, through Christmas-themed games with the guests, through the musical guests, through everything, Eddie just keeps texting him.

 

Ask whoever gave you that suit if you can keep it. It looks nice.
So little fits you.
They don’t really make clothes for giants with long gangly limbs like you.
Anyways, I Google-searched for good emojis to use while sexting.
These are those emojis:
🍆 🥕 🍌 🍒 🍑 🌭 🐫 ⚡ ✂️ 🔨 ♋ 👅 🦏
Okay, I get most of these. But why the camel and rhino?
Is it a furry thing?
Oh, wait. Camels have humps, I get it.
Rhino horns! Horny.
🦏🦏🦏🦏🦏
I won’t lie, actually seeing the scissors is kind of threatening.
Fuck, I miss you.
That suit fits you really well.
You don’t know jack fucking shit about Christmas trivia.
You should’ve let me train you or something.
God, you’re losing badly. Maybe they’ll fire you for playing this game so bad.
I wish you were home.
Show me that you love me.

 

Eddie yawns, then turns his face into his arm. It doesn’t really matter if he dozes off, because he’ll wake up in the same spot when Riley starts calling for him in the morning. It’s snowing steadily outside, he can see through the window, and that’s all Eddie needs to know that any hope of Richie getting home early is pretty much gone, and he’s deflated with it. The show’s wrapping up, anyways, with Richie doing his thank you’s, so he just settles in.

At the end, Richie says, “And thanks to my husband, Eddie, and my three girls, because they’re back home in New York while I’m out here and I miss them more than anything, merry Christmas!” Eddie smiles, shoving the throw pillow at the end of the sofa under his head.

“Merry Christmas, Rich,” Eddie murmurs. He shuts the television off, gets up to blow out the candles in the hanukkiyah, and lets himself fall asleep.


Against their better judgment, Richie and Eddie decided not to keep weapons in the house. Apart from household items like kitchen knives (like the one Richie has finally stopped keeping under the mattress while he sleeps) and baseball bats (never mind the fact that Riley can’t hold a spoon properly), they don’t have anything they could use to stop, say, an intruder, or a murderous clown, or just a regular serial killer. They thought that would be for the best.

When Eddie wakes with a jolt on the sofa to the sound of someone coming through his front door, he regrets this decision viciously for a moment. Luckily, he’s not entirely stupid, and they keep one of those aforementioned baseball bats under the sofa. He reaches down slowly, draws the bat out. It’s pitch-black, but his eyes are adjusted to the darkness. He can see someone moving closer to him, and so he jumps up, holding the bat up.

“You better back the fuck up or I’m going to beat the fucking shit—” Eddie screams, but the person yelps, stumbling backwards and tripping over the coffee table. Eddie hesitates, then snaps on the lamp beside the sofa to find fucking Richie laying on the floor. He abandons the bat, going to him and shouting, “Oh, Jesus Christ, Rich, I’m so sorry—”

“No, no, I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were on the sofa,” Richie says. Eddie hoists him to his feet, brushing him down. After a moment, he realizes what he’s wearing and frowns.

“Richie, why the fuck are you dressed like Santa?” Eddie asks. Richie steps back, waving him off.

“One thing at a time, hold on,” Richie says, dropping into his armchair and putting his head between his knees. Eddie crouches beside him, rubbing his back while Richie calms himself down. “Sorry, sorry, you just— You scared me.”

“I’m really sorry,” Eddie tells him softly. “To be fair, how the fuck did you get home that fast?”

“It’s almost four o’clock,” Richie says. Eddie checks the clock over the fireplace and, yeah, it says 3:38 in bright green letters. “I got on a plane as soon as the show ended. You’re the one who texted me ‘show me that you love me,’ so… I thought I’d sneak in and surprise you.”

“Well, you fucking got that part,” Eddie tells him, but he’s smiling, and so Richie huffs a laugh at him. He pushes Richie’s Santa hat up, kisses the side of his head. “You smell like an airplane.”

“How strange,” Richie replies. “As if I—”

“Shh, shut up,” Eddie interrupts him. “Where the fuck did you even get this? I thought we hadn’t decided on the Santa thing.”

“Wardrobe had one for tonight that they didn’t get a chance to work into the show,” Richie tells him. He sits up straight, the color coming back to his face a little bit. He doesn’t say anything for a moment before he laughs. “Were you gonna— You were gonna fucking beat Santa up with a bat?”

“I didn’t know you were Santa— Or, you, but I didn’t even see the costume! I just thought there was something in the fucking house— It’s not funny,” Eddie insists over Richie’s laughter. “It’s not!”

“Remember that movie where Tim Allen kills Santa?” Richie asks, still grinning. “Doesn’t he become Santa? If you kill me, do you have to host my show?”

“God fucking forbid,” Eddie says. “You still didn’t explain why you’re dressed like Santa. Or how you found a flight when there weren’t supposed to be any? And also because it’s fucking snowing, Rich, how did you get home?”

Richie looks over his shoulder, then leans in. “I don’t know if you heard, but I have a little magic—”

“You’re kidding, right?” Eddie asks. Richie just laughs. “Tell me you’re kidding. You can’t actually do that, can you?”

“As for the Santa suit,” Richie continues, as if Eddie hadn’t interrupted him at all, “you said the girls were excited for Santa.”

“They’re also Jewish,” Eddie reminds him. “I thought we were doing both today?”

“We are,” Richie says. “This is part of both. I thought it would be fun! C’mon, don’t you think it’s funny?”

Eddie looks him over. He looks almost nice, grinning at Eddie like he is in the stupid fucking Santa suit. With an excited gasp, Richie jumps up and digs through his bag left by the door, and resurfaces with a prop beard.

“How could I forget!” Richie exclaims. Eddie laughs as Richie secures the beard around his ears and puts his hat back on. “What do you think? Hot, right?”

“Not not hot,” Eddie allows. Richie comes back over to him, trapping him against the arm of the sofa and kissing him. The fake beard feels weird against Eddie’s face, so he laughs and shoves him off. It’s so fucking stupid, because Richie is a huge loser and a total nerd, but he’s grinning like a dumbass and he’s so fucking cute at the same time. Eddie’s incredibly exasperated while also simultaneously weirdly horny and also desperately attempting not to find this whole situation as cute as he does.

“Daddy!” Riley calls from the hallway, and Richie and Eddie scramble apart. She’s standing in the hallway without her glasses on, squinting at them. When she sees Richie, she shrieks, then calls, “Daddy!”

“No, it’s— it’s Santa!” Richie says, in a deeper Voice. It’s not his best work, but Riley’s glasses aren’t on and it’s nearly four in the morning, and also, she’s not even two years old, so it works. She stares up at him, eyes as wide as fucking plates.

“Daddy,” Riley says softly. Eddie goes around the sofa and scoops her up. She keeps staring near Richie, even though her eyes can’t focus properly without her glasses. “Santa.”

“That’s right, it’s Santa,” Eddie tells her, rolling his eyes at Richie. Richie grins stupidly at him until Riley turns back to him again.

“What do you want for Christmas?” Richie asks, in a better version of the Voice, finding it easily. Eddie sort of marvels at his ability to do it, if only because he not only doesn’t have the skill, but he also has absolutely none of the desire to try.

“Daddy,” Riley repeats.

“I’m here,” Eddie says.

“No, Daddy,” Riley insists.

Eddie looks up at Richie and sees when he realizes, and his face lights up a little bit behind the stupid fucking fake beard. “Well— I’ll make sure he gets home before morning, then. So he’ll be here when you wake up.”

“Thank you, Santa,” Riley says politely. Richie laughs and reaches for her, and she goes to him, resting her head on his chest.

“You’re welcome, Riley,” Richie tells her. He motions that he’s going to take her to bed and leaves the room with her. Eddie takes advantage of her distraction to pull the girls’ Christmas presents out of the hall closet because Richie’s home, so there’s no reason to postpone Christmas morning.

When Richie comes back out, Eddie’s already nearly finished. Richie strips off the fake beard and the hat to help him with the last few gifts under their tree.

“I already told the guys when I left L.A.,” Richie tells him, as Eddie tries to neaten the living room up from his sleep. “We moved dinner up to tonight at our place. I’m gonna cook, it’ll be our Chrismukkah dinner.” Eddie smiles down at the blanket he’s folding into a crisp square. “Hey. What’s with the smiles?”

“I’m just glad you’re here,” Eddie tells him. Richie grins and opens his arms, so Eddie falls into his hold.

“Me, too,” Richie says softly into his hair before kissing the top of his head. “I haven’t slept at all, though, so your horny energy is gonna have to wait until I take a quick power nap.”

“What about Riley?” Eddie asks. He turns around and kisses Richie softly, just once, before getting up off the sofa. He offers Richie a hand, and Richie groans as he stands. “Old man.”

“Mm,” Richie says, throwing an arm around Eddie’s shoulders. “I told her Santa needed her not to break out of her crib anymore, first of all, so we’ll see if that sticks. Second of all, I told her to go back to sleep, because Christmas morning can’t start until seven in the morning.”

Eddie glances back to the clock; it says 4:22 now. “We can still get a couple hours.”

“Race you,” Richie says, immediately before he almost trips on the hall rug; his arm around Eddie saves him when Eddie yanks him back upright.

“Or just chill the fuck out,” Eddie suggests, and Richie laughs, soft and warm, right in his ear. Eddie flushes and dumps him in bed, crawling up under the covers and curling up around him once his costume and his glasses are both off.


The next time Eddie wakes up, it’s to Riley shrieking, “Santa!” from the nursery across the hall. Richie groans, rubbing at his face.

“I changed my mind, I don’t wanna celebrate both holidays,” Richie says. His voice is sleep-rough and tired still. Eddie rolls onto his side to kiss his shoulder. “Just Hanukkah. Tell her to go back to sleep. Remind her she’s Jewish, she won’t mind.”

“Too late, dumbass.” Eddie kisses his cheek and gets up, stretching his arms above his head. He’s not a morning person, but Riley’s still shrieking Santa on a loop from the nursery, and Audrey’s starting to get louder in her objections to her sister’s screaming. “Get dressed and come out.”

“Mm,” Richie says, burying his face in Eddie’s pillow. Eddie rolls his eyes and abandons him there. Riley nearly leaps out of her crib when she sees him, but she holds back from actively trying to climb out until Eddie can reach her. He takes her out to the living room and sits her in Richie’s armchair, tells her to stay put while he retrieves Audrey and Nora and gets them ready for the morning, at least, too.

“Forget something?” Richie asks, when Eddie’s returning to the living room. He sets Riley’s glasses on her, and she nearly vibrates out of her skin when Richie lifts her up. Eddie almost does, too, but for entirely different reasons. It looks like Richie ran a comb through his hair before just throwing half of it up into a sloppy bun, leaving the other half curling down. He’s got the soft, slightly-too-small pajama bottoms from Ben on, but no pajama top, and Eddie nearly makes a comment before remembering Riley’s repetition habit. He doesn’t know how he’s just supposed to not comment on Richie’s huge dick obvious in his pants, but he manages, somehow.

“Merry Christmas, Richie,” he says instead. Richie sets Riley down next to the tree and hands her one of her gifts.

“Merry Christmas, Eds,” he says. He comes over, takes Audrey out of Eddie’s grip and kisses him softly once he has her. “Show me that you love me.”

“You’re insufferable,” Eddie tells him. Richie sets Audrey down next to her gifts and hands her one, too, before he takes Nora from Eddie and collapses in his armchair. He looks exhausted, as he watches Riley tear her gifts open and Audrey play with the wrapping paper from her gifts, but he’s also beaming. “Have you ever— Is this your first Christmas morning?”

“Think about that question for a sec, Eds,” Richie tells him. Eddie flips him off while none of the girls are looking; Richie just grins, looking down at Nora chewing on his thumb. “Yeah, it’s my first Christmas morning. Well, unless you count that time I was staying at Ben’s place for a few nights in high school and one of those nights was accidentally Christmas Eve.”

“I do not count that, weirdly,” Eddie says. He climbs down onto the floor between Riley and Audrey, takes the wrapping paper out of Audrey’s grip and helps her open her next present. She’s so excited, her whole face lighting up when she sees the soft stuffed turtle inside. Eddie rolls his eyes, handing it over to her.

It’s not Eddie’s first Christmas by a long shot, because it’s really his forty-first Christmas, but it’s the first one he remembers being really happy during. He barely remembers Christmases before his dad died, and Christmases with his mom were always a little weird, and got worse every year until he moved out. Christmases with Myra had always just felt oddly stilted, because everything with Myra had felt oddly stilted. This is the first time Eddie thinks he’s enjoyed a Christmas in a long, long time, since he was a little kid.

It’s different, now. He didn’t have great or normal Christmases when he was a kid, so he’s not sure what that experience is like, but he knows he wants his daughters to have it. He’d asked Richie for it almost sheepishly, because he had no real reason to want it, but Richie had agreed so easily with dismissive comments of “Eddie, they’re our kids, we can do whatever we want, and plenty of Jewish families do Christmas stuff, it’s more about the season than anything else—” and had kept going until Eddie had put his hand over Richie’s mouth and thanked him. Richie had licked his palm and then kissed him, then.

Eddie gets up, leans over Richie’s armchair and kisses him again, now. Richie tips his head up to kiss him properly in return; when Eddie pulls back, he smiles.

“What’s up?” Richie asks. Eddie shakes his head, shrugs.

“Happy to have you here,” Eddie says, and not strictly meaning home for Christmas, either. Just here. With him. It’s enough.

Richie smiles. “Me, too.” He pushes Eddie back a little bit, then gets up, going to their bedroom and returning in moments with a bulky wrapped box. He passes it off. “Merry Christmas.”

Setting the gift aside, Eddie gets on his knees and digs his gift for Richie out from under the sofa. Richie laughs when he takes it.

“Merry Christmas,” Eddie says in return. They open their gifts in the same moment. Richie’s gotten him a French press and a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Eddie looks up at him, brow furrowed.

“I figured it’d be good, since you work from home and stuff,” Richie tells him. “Help with the distractions and stuff. Plus, you love your fancy coffee. You’ll probably burn it like you burn everything, so I’ll learn how to make it, but. Fancy coffee for my fancy husband.”

Eddie has to lean in and kiss him, because Richie is stupid and thoughtful and dumb and he loves him so much. When Eddie pulls back, Richie finishes opening his box, and he laughs when he sees it.

“A ukulele?” Richie asks, smiling as he removes the instrument from the box. Eddie had found it in a secondhand shop downtown; he cleaned it thoroughly, but he left the old stickers on it. He figured Richie would find them amusing.

“You always liked playing the guitar in high school,” Eddie says. “You never get to anymore, and I heard these things were kind of easy to learn. I figured it might be a good way to get back into it.”

Richie grins and reels Eddie back in, kissing him as hard as he can before Riley notices they’re distracted and comes for them. He gets a full forty-five seconds, Eddie thinks, before Riley’s tugging on the leg of his pajama pants, and Eddie pulls back to smile at him again before he leans down and scoops her up again.


Richie leaves his hair half-up when he gets dressed in a tight, rose-colored shirt for dinner. He washes flour off of his face in the bathroom off their bedroom while Eddie dresses the girls in their room, so when Eddie gets back and he’s all scrubbed clean and dressed, his mouth’s a little dry. He’s still a little fucked up from never getting off the night before; it’s making his brain go slightly out of whack.

“I don’t know why I bother wearing shirts,” Richie says, voicing Eddie’s innermost thoughts on Richie’s wardrobe.

“What?” Eddie asks, a little choked. Richie glances up at him.

“Because they’re always going to fuck them up anyways,” Richie tells him. “It’s just asking to get puked on, wearing a nice shirt like this.” In spite of his words, he scoops Riley up out of Eddie’s grip and kisses her loudly on the cheek.

“Because we’re human beings and we have to wear clothes?” Eddie says, because he can’t keep thinking of Richie with his shirt off or he’ll go feral or something. “Oh, hey, did I show you what I got for the tree?”

Richie laughs when Eddie hands him the Star of David tree topper, insisting that Riley needs to be the one to put it up on top of the tree. Eddie nervously spots them while Richie holds Riley up to put the tree topper on, even if she does a shitty job and Richie has to fix it the second she’s done, anyways. Ben comes in while this whole production is going on.

“Hi, guys,” Bev calls over his shoulder, while Ben says, “Knock, knock.”

“‘Knock, knock?’” Richie echoes incredulously. Ben waves his hands.

“No, no, don’t make fun of—”

“Who the fuck says knock knock?” Richie demands, talking right over him. He brings Riley back down to rest on his hip while he drags Ben and Bev into the apartment. “Get in here, come on, merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah—”

“Stan was right behind us,” Ben tells him. Eddie falls back to wait for Stan; Patty kisses his cheek when she comes in ahead of him.

“I brought you a new hanukkiyah,” Stan says, holding a box aloft. “Little gift. New family, new hanukkiyah. We can light it up after sunset.”

“Thanks,” Eddie says. “The old hanukkiyah is—”

“Stop,” Stan says. “Try again. Hanukkiyah.”

“Hanukkiyah,” Eddie repeats. Stan grimaces. “What.”

“Hanukkah menorah, just call it a Hanukkah menorah,” Stan insists.

“Hanukkiyah,” Eddie shouts.

“Eddie, stop trying,” Stan shouts over him, laughing. Ezra frowns up at him from his baby carrier held tight in Stan’s other hand; Stan bounces him apologetically, then sets the carrier down on the ground.

They decided to have a Losers-only dinner, for Christmas, and Eddie’s happy to find that it’s only the Losers who come over even though Richie’s moved it up. It’s not that he doesn’t like their other friends and family members, but these are his favorite friends and family members. Preferred circle, or something. Besides the seven of them, it’s just Patty, the kids, and Parsley, and that’s pretty much just the way Eddie wants it.

Richie’s made them dinner, roasted chicken and potato soup and mashed potatoes and challah bread he made and rose himself. He’s also made desserts, too, and far more of those, so when sunset comes, he breaks them out and covers every available surface in the living room in plates of food.

Stan helps Eddie unpack and set up their new hanukkiyah in the living room window of their apartment. When Richie comes back with his last plates of sufganiyot and latkes, they’re finally ready to go.

“Alright, gimme my kids, c’mon,” Richie says. Ben passes Riley over to him, and he brings her to the hanukkiyah. Eddie holds onto Audrey and Nora, lets Richie deal with the candles.

“What we’re doing is lo moridim ba-kodesh,” Stan says softly. He’s sort-of talking to Eddie, sort-of talking to Ezra in his arms, which Eddie finds kind of endearing. “One does not decrease in holiness. And we light our candles where they can be seen outside, making sure people know we’re publicly proclaiming the Hanukkah miracle.”

“And this,” Richie says, lifting the shamash, “is the helper. Just like you, Riley.”

Riley watches Richie light the candle, then light the four candles along one side of the menorah. Stan leads the blessings and tells the stories, because Richie barely remembers most of them, but Eddie finds himself watching Richie through it all, anyways.

“When was the last time you go to do any of this, either?” Eddie asks him, when Patty is trying to teach Mike and Riley how to play dreidel with handfuls of chocolate gelt she brought with her. Richie’s surveying the food on the tables, making sure they still have enough of everything. He shrugs.

“We never really did much for Hanukkah when I was a kid,” Richie says. “It wasn’t a big deal. I think it’s bigger now ‘cause of Christmas or something, I don’t know, Stan could probably tell you. My parents weren’t really big into holidays anyways.”

Eddie hesitates, then wraps his arms around Richie from the side. Richie drops his arm around Eddie’s shoulders and kisses him on the crown of his head.

“It’ll be different for them,” Eddie tells him. Richie nods, dropping his cheek on Eddie’s cheek to watch their friends and their kids — their family, really, this is more Eddie’s family than most people’s biological families are to them — as the night wears on. Parsley’s actually the first to fall asleep, curled up in Bev’s lap, and Bev falls asleep after her.

Ben and Bev get the guest room, since Bev can’t get up off an air mattress once she’s on it, so Stan and Patty get the air mattress in the nursery, and Ezra gets his travel cot they brought with them. Bill and Mike are left on the sofa, Richie kissing each of them on the forehead and promising to leave the light on for them so they don’t get scared. Riley waves goodnight to Parsley where the dog’s asleep under the tree before Richie hauls her off to her crib in the nursery before coming back for Audrey and Nora.

Eddie takes the dishes. It’s easy for him; he falls into a rhythm and just thinks over his day, so he’s almost startled when Richie wraps his arms around him from behind.

“Everyone’s in bed,” Richie murmurs lowly near his ear. “Your turn.”

Eddie finishes the last dishes, because he’s not a heathen, before he lets Richie drag him to their bedroom. The Christmas tree lights are still on, but Bill and Mike are still awake, whispering in low tones, so they just creep through until they make it to the hallway. When they’re in their bedroom, Richie shuts and locks the door behind himself.

“Stan and Patty are in the nursery, which means they’re legally the girls’ parents for the next six-to-eight hours,” Richie says. He digs in his bedside table before victoriously coming up with his stash of weed and his glass pipe. “Merry Christmas, Eddie!”

Eddie laughs, climbing into bed with Richie while he grinds and packs a bowl for them. They share one quietly, then another, their heads bowed together while Richie waves his hands to disperse the smoke before the smoke alarm goes off. Eddie leans back against his pillows, his hand in Richie’s while Richie puts everything away one-handed.

“I missed you,” Eddie tells him. Richie shuts his drawer and lays on his back on the mattress, tugging Eddie until he climbs on top of him.

“Show me how much, handsome,” Richie says. Eddie ducks his head down, kisses him hard as he pushes the rosy-pink shirt off Richie’s shoulders. He’s warm, content, licking and biting almost lazily at Richie’s skin as he exposes it inch by inch. Richie opens him up for him and kisses him through it, grinning most of the time, making it impossible to kiss him properly. Eddie doesn’t even mind, whimpering softly when Richie withdraws his hands.

“Love you,” Richie tells him, when he slicks himself up and slips into Eddie. Eddie drops his head, fucks himself down on Richie until he finds his own prostate. Richie comes before him, but Eddie finishes himself off quickly after, across Richie’s chest, splashing against his chin and his mouth. Richie laughs, pulls Eddie in to kiss again.

“Love you,” Eddie says breathlessly. He cleans them off with baby wipes from inside the nightstand before stripping the rest of their clothes off and pushing Richie onto his side. “Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Go to sleep.”

“Don’t gotta tell me twice,” Richie murmurs. Eddie curls around his back, tucking his face into Richie’s hair, sighing.