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don't wanna break when i bend

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Richie stares into the bottom of his whiskey glass, the last swallow of amber liquid swirling slightly when his hand trembles. The sound of the other Losers, sitting sprawled around the couches next to the townhouse’s open bar, is like muffled white noise in his ears. 

A hand falls to the middle of his back, warm and firm, and he looks up, blinking a few times to clear his head. It’s Eddie, peering at him with mild concern furrowing his brow. “Hey,” he says. “You okay, Rich?”

Richie clears his throat and knocks back the last of his drink. “Peachy keen, jellybean,” he says. Eddie rolls his eyes, which is what Richie was hoping for. “Just tired,” he adds. It’s not entirely true — he feels just as restless as he does exhausted, like he could shake right out of his skin. 

Eddie nods. “Fuckin’ tell me about it,” he says. “I almost fell asleep standing up in the shower earlier.” 

Eddie’s still a little flushed from the shower, actually, his hair flopping over his forehead. More than once, Richie’s glanced over at him to see him touching absently at the spot on his cheek where Bowers stabbed him — shortly after they’d all climbed out of Neibolt, they’d realized that both Eddie and Mike’s Bowers-induced injuries had vanished, as if they’d never been there at all. Eddie, disconcerted, had poked at his cheek enough that Bev joked he was going to put a new hole through it if he didn’t stop messing with it. Now, he’s only doing it whenever he thinks no one is looking at him.

Richie’s been shooting a lot of covert glances at Eddie. He feels rattled; he’s half-focused on reconciling his entire life with the barrage of memories that have been dropped into his head, which is pushing him toward a minor mental breakdown. The other half of his focus, however, is solely on remembering being intensely in love with Eddie from the ages of twelve to eighteen. 

He’s not sure how to define what he feels about Eddie now. Eddie is married, and basically a stranger, but Eddie also saved him from the deadlights and nearly died for him, and he has an extremely beautiful face and big sad eyes that make Richie feel pinned like a bug in a display case. 

“I think I’m going to bed,” Stan says from across the room, standing up. “I need to sleep for like, twelve hours at least.”

“It’s nine a.m.,” Ben points out.

“We’re already day drinking, we’ve clearly fucked ourselves over for today,” Mike says. He stands up too, stretching. “We should probably all go to sleep. I guess I’ll head back to the library…”

“Oh, no, Mikey, you can stay with me,” Bill says very quickly, hopping to his feet and swaying slightly. He’s either had much more to drink than the rest of them, or is much more of a lightweight. Either way, he grabs onto Mike’s arm for balance and then squeezes his bicep a little more than necessary. Richie’s not sure if anyone else clocks this incredibly gay behavior, but he has to commend Bill for his boldness. Richie can’t even bring himself to touch Eddie’s hand.

“Eddie,” Ben says then, “would you like to sleep in my room? I’ll be bunking with Bev, so it’s empty if you’d rather not… you know. With all the blood and everything in yours.”

“Oh,” Eddie says. He already showered in Ben’s room earlier, after they all came staggering back from Neibolt and before Richie and Bev raided the townhouse’s unattended bar. “Uh, yeah, I guess so, if you’re sure you don’t mind. Thanks, Ben.”

“No problem,” Ben says, smiling. He hands Eddie the key to his room, and then he stands up and offers Bev a hand to pull her to her feet as well. No one comments on how blatantly they’ve announced they’re going to be sleeping together — to be fair, they probably will literally just be sleeping. Bev looks nearly asleep on her feet. 

Everyone starts trailing up the stairs, Stan in the lead and the rest following after. Richie takes up the rear, and he stares at the back of Eddie’s head like he’s trying to laser a hole through it with his mind. At one point, Eddie glances over his shoulder at him, and Richie quickly rearranges his expression into one of casual exhaustion instead of whatever intense gay expression was probably happening before. Eddie shoots him a tired little smile. 

When they make it to the top of the stairs, Richie watches as everyone splits off to their separate rooms — except Eddie. He’s holding Ben’s key, frowning slightly, and standing next to Richie, who has one hand on the knob of his own room. Eddie looks… distant. Like his mind is racing with too many thoughts. Richie knows the feeling. His own mind’s been going a hundred miles an hour pretty much since they crawled out of the cistern. 

He opens his mouth with the intention of asking if Eddie’s alright, but what he says instead is, “You wanna come in for a nightcap?” and inclines his head toward his door.

Eddie raises his eyebrows slightly. “Is it still a nightcap if it’s morning?”

Richie shrugs. “Time is fake,” he says. He opens the door to his room and then steps aside. “So?”

“Yeah, okay.” Eddie moves past Richie into the room, and Richie follows him, shutting the door behind them. He’s grateful that none of the rest of his friends saw them going into the room together, even though most of them paired off as well. He feels like they’d take one look at the way Richie gently pulled the door shut and know exactly what his stupid little heart is hoping for here. 

When he turns from the door, he sees that Eddie is standing somewhat awkwardly in the middle of the room. Richie’s duffel bag is open at the foot of the bed, rummaged through from earlier when he changed out of his sewer clothes. Otherwise, the room’s barely been touched. After a moment, Eddie sits down on the floor, leaning back against the bed. He pulls one knee up and hooks his arms loosely around it. It makes him look strangely young, the boy Richie remembers superimposed on the man he grew into. 

“I don’t know if I actually want to drink any more today,” Eddie admits. “I’m way too old to get drunk before ten a.m.”

Richie nods, crossing the room to sit down next to him. “I don’t have any booze in here, anyway,” he says. “I just wanted to hang out. You okay?”

Eddie shrugs. “Yeah,” he says automatically. Then he frowns. “Well. I don’t know. Are you?”

Richie laughs. “Fuck if I know, man. I feel like — like I didn’t realize I used to be this entirely different person before I left this stupid town. And I don’t know if that guy and the guy I’ve been for the last twenty years can coexist, you know?” 

Eddie nods, his eyes very intense. “Yeah, fucking — exactly, dude. I…” He breaks off, dropping his gaze, and clears his throat. “I feel like I really fucked my whole life up, Rich.”

Richie’s been feeling the same way, but something in Eddie’s tone makes him want to offer comfort instead of just commiserating. “C’mon, don’t say that.” He reaches over tentatively to touch Eddie’s shoulder, and Eddie’s head jerks up to look at him again. God, those fucking eyes knock Richie out every time. 

“No, man, I’m fucking serious,” Eddie says. “I have this soul-sucking job and this sad fucking life and I’ve never done — I’ve never done anything important. I’ve been living like a machine. Just living to survive, you know? How fucked up is that? How did I go from someone who kicked a fucking space clown in the head when I was thirteen to this?”  

“Eds…” Richie doesn’t really know what to say. He squeezes Eddie’s shoulder and then, feeling bold, runs his hand down Eddie’s arm to rest his fingers against Eddie’s wrist. Eddie’s eyes track the motion. “I think we’ve all just been living to survive, man. That’s not your fault, the fucking clown did that to us.”

“Yeah, I know.” Eddie sighs. He cuts his gaze back to Richie and swallows hard before saying, “I feel like I’ve lived forty years and I’ve never done anything I want.”

There’s something about the way Eddie’s looking at him, something about his tone, that makes Richie’s stomach swoop like he’s on a roller coaster. They stare at each other for a second that seems to stretch out, and Richie can feel the rabbity pace of Eddie’s pulse under his fingertips. 

“Well, what do you want?” Richie asks. His voice comes out breathier than he meant it to, which is fucking humiliating, but before he can do much more than wince slightly, Eddie surges forward, grabbing Richie’s face, and smashes their mouths together.

The kiss is intense but brief, their lips pressed together so hard that it’s almost painful. Eddie has absolutely no finesse, but his fingers are holding Richie exactly where he wants him, and that’s certainly doing something for Richie. Richie’s lips part slightly when he gasps out a breath, and almost as quickly as it began, the kiss ends. Eddie pulls back, leaning away from Richie and staring at him, wide-eyed. His breathing is labored, and his hair is flopping even more over his forehead. 

“I’m so sorry,” Eddie says. He reaches up and touches his own mouth, seeming to not even notice that he’s doing it. “Fuck. Sorry.” 

“Don’t be,” Richie says, a little winded himself. He swipes his tongue over his bottom lip and Eddie’s eyes bug out as he follows the motion, which is — fucking insane, frankly. Richie might have been hoping this would happen, but that doesn’t mean he thought it really would. “Um. Are you good, man?”

Eddie runs a hand through his hair, slightly agitated. “I don’t know, I — Rich, I’m married.”

It stings a little, but Richie nods. “Yeah, I know that. You kissed me, I don’t think I’m the one who needs a reminder here.”

Eddie glares at him. “Shut up.” He sighs, and touches his mouth again. Richie wants to burst into flames about it. “Richie, I don’t love my wife,” Eddie says.

Richie blinks. “Okay.”

“I am not… attracted to my wife.”


“I’m gay.”

Richie gapes at him. Eddie might as well have smacked him over the head with a baseball bat. “What?” 

Eddie scowls again. “Where the fuck did you think I was going with that, dumbass?”

Richie flings his hands up. “I don’t fucking know!”

“Stop yelling!” Eddie says, completely oblivious to his own hypocrisy. “Jesus Christ, Richie.”

Richie takes a beat and just — processes all of this. Eddie is gay. Eddie said he’s never done anything he wants. And then Eddie kissed him. These are all leading to some very interesting conclusions. Richie says, “Okay, okay. Well. Me too.”

“You too, what?” 

Richie rolls his eyes. “I’m gay too, Eddie, come on.”

“Oh. Right.” Eddie’s cheeks are a little red, and Richie can’t tell if he’s still flushed from the kiss or from annoyance. “Well. That’s good.”

Richie snorts. He has very rarely in his life felt that his being gay was good, but right now, he thinks it just might be. It’s a nice feeling. Eddie looks very pretty when he’s blushing and mussed up, and Richie wants to bite him. “So…” he says, drawling out the vowel. Eddie eyes him warily. Richie smiles, raising his eyebrows. “Wanna make out?”

Eddie squints at him. “Are you making fun of me?”

“No!” Richie exclaims. “Dude, no. Look — we just went through hell, okay? I don’t know what the fuck I’m gonna do when I go back home, and I don’t think you do either, and if I have to think about any of that shit for one more minute I’m going to flip the fuck out. So if you want a distraction, I am more than fucking willing.” Richie’s not sure if he’s asking for a one-time thing, or if there’s even the possibility that it could be anything else, but in the moment, he doesn’t care. He wants to get out of his head, and he wants to make Eddie feel good. That, at least, feels achievable.

Eddie deliberates for a moment, his eyes roving Richie’s face. “Yeah,” he says finally. “Yeah, I — let’s do that.” He stands up, wincing, and shuffles to sit on the bed, kicking off his shoes as he goes. Richie follows suit, a thrumming of anticipation and desire starting to make its way up his spine. He kneels in front of Eddie on the bed, taking in the lines on his face and the way one curl of hair is sticking out over his ear, details that make his heart feel like it's in a vise. 

“I gotta tell you something first,” Richie says abruptly. “Just, like, cards on the table, I was majorly in love with you when we were kids.”

Eddie’s mouth falls open a little. “Oh.”

“Yeah. And obviously we don’t really know each other now, but… I think it’d be really easy for me to fall for you again. I don’t know, I just wanted to, uh, let you know. In case that changes anything for you.” He clasps his slightly sweaty palms in his lap.

“Oh,” Eddie says again. “Well, I mean. Me too.”

“To which part?”

“All of it?” Eddie shrugs. “When we were kids, and — yeah. I don’t think I could do no strings attached, when it comes to you.” 

Damn, Eddie keeps surprising him today. “No shit? When we were kids too?” Richie says. Eddie nods. “Wow. I really had no fucking idea.”

“Well it’s not like I was ever gonna act on it,” Eddie says. “With the way my mom was? And this whole fucking town? No way. But honestly I’m surprised you never noticed. I was obsessed with you.”

Richie laughs softly, incredulous. “No shit,” he says again, shaking his head slightly. He shifts a little closer to Eddie and grins when Eddie’s posture changes, the way he leans forward like a magnet is pulling him. “Hey,” Richie says. “C’mere.”

This time, it’s Richie who reels Eddie in, one hand on his cheek, the other against the side of his neck. He doesn’t push too hard, wary of spooking him, but Eddie opens his mouth immediately, deepening the kiss and muscling his way in closer to Richie like he’s trying to climb inside his clothes. Richie hums against Eddie’s mouth, letting him take charge and kiss Richie as hard as he wants. 

After a moment, Eddie pulls back with a soft gasp, their mouths making a wet noise when they part. “Can we lie down?” Eddie murmurs.

Richie’s skin feels hot, and he suppresses a shudder. “Yeah,” he breathes back. “Yeah, of course. How do you wanna —”

“Here, can you —” Eddie shifts, flopping onto his back against one of the pillows, and reaches for Richie again. “Can you get on top of me?” 

Unable to resist, Richie says, “You want me to top you? Wow, I didn’t think we’d be going all the way, Eds, but —” He breaks off, laughing, when Eddie grabs the other pillow and whacks him with it. “Okay, okay,” he snickers. “Incoming.” Gingerly, he crawls over Eddie and lowers himself down so they’re chest to chest. “Am I crushing you?”

Eddie huffs out a quiet laugh. “Yeah. It’s good though. I’ll tell you if you need to move.” He wraps his arms around Richie, holding onto his shoulders, and tilts his face up. “Kiss me more.”

Richie is all too happy to oblige. He leans back in and kisses Eddie open-mouthed, and lets himself get lost in the feeling for a while. Eddie’s hands roam over his shoulders and upper back, probably wrinkling his shirt to hell. Eddie is an inelegant but passionate kisser, licking over Richie’s back teeth and biting Richie’s bottom lip. And it’s even better like this, their legs twined together, their shirts rucked up just enough that Richie can feel a warm line of skin against his stomach. 

His arousal builds slowly, until his thigh slips between Eddie’s and his dick presses down against Eddie’s leg, sending a shuddering burst of pleasure right through his gut. He moans into Eddie’s mouth before he can stop himself, and Eddie pulls back. His pupils are blown wide, making his eyes look even darker than usual. He licks his kiss-swollen lips, and Richie almost makes another undignified noise at the sight of the beard burn on Eddie’s mouth and chin. 

“Rich,” Eddie says, his voice sounding slightly wrecked. “Do you wanna take your pants off?”

“Yeah,” Richie says. “Are we —? I mean, do you want to?”

Eddie’s gaze is searing. “Yeah,” he says. “Yeah, I really want to.” 

“Okay. Okay, hang tight.” Richie shuffles back so he’s sitting again, and unbuttons his jeans. He sighs a little in relief as he shoves them down past his hips, falling back onto his ass momentarily so he can kick them all the way off. Eddie’s doing the same, and by the time Richie’s clambering back to kneel over Eddie’s legs, they’re both down to their underwear and t-shirts. Richie’s gratified to see that Eddie’s hard, too, an obvious bulge in his briefs. Richie’s hard enough that the tip of his dick is poking out through the slit in his boxers. He glances at Eddie, who is staring at Richie’s crotch in complete silence. 

Squirming a little, Richie says, “Gonna need some verbal reactions here, Eds.”

Eddie looks up at him and raises an eyebrow. “You want me to use my words?”

“Yeah. Tell me your thoughts.”

“Okay. I’m thinking I want to suck your dick,” Eddie says, surprising Richie for the third and most astonishing time yet. 

“Really? Have you… done that before?” Richie asks, perhaps stupidly if the expression on Eddie’s face is anything to go by.

Eddie shoves himself up onto his elbows so he’s not eye-level with Richie’s boner anymore. “Yes,” he says, sounding offended.

“Wh— when?” Richie says, making a very embarrassing squeaky sound when Eddie trails his fingers over the length of Richie’s cock through his underwear. 

“In college!” Eddie exclaims. “I know I’m repressed, but I wasn’t that repressed.”

“Okay, well excuse me, some of us were,” Richie retorts without thinking. He watches in real time as Eddie processes this statement, and sees the annoyance in his features fall away, replaced by a slightly guilty look.

“Oh,” Eddie says. “I’m sorry, Rich, I wasn’t trying to…”

“It’s fine,” Richie says, because it is, mostly. “But I was definitely not fucking in college. I was like, jerking off in the shower and crying.” 

Eddie’s expression falls even more. “Richie…” He’s no longer fondling Richie through his boxers, which is unfortunate. He runs his hand over Richie’s bare thigh, a comforting gesture. It’s kind of embarrassing, but it still feels nice. Eddie’s touch is soothing and easily distracting. 

Richie huffs out a quiet, self-deprecating laugh. “Sorry,” he says. “Did I kill the mood?”

Eddie scoffs, reaching up to pull Richie in toward him again. “No, stupid. Come here.” He kisses Richie with a tenderness that’s enough to make Richie melt, all the tension draining from his limbs as he lets himself flop on top of Eddie again. Eddie’s fingers push through Richie’s hair, and kisses him so slow and sweet it makes Richie’s toes curl. The way his tongue slides over Richie’s bottom lip almost feels like an apology — not for what he said, but more like I’m sorry life has been shitty for us both. Sorry we had to spend so long not getting what we want. 

After a minute or two of this, Eddie pulls back just enough to speak against Richie’s mouth. “Can I get you off now?” 

“Eddie my Eds, you read my mind,” Richie says. “Oh, hang on —” He leans over the side of the bed, fumbling for his discarded pants, and fishes his wallet out of the back pocket. He pulls a condom out of it and holds it up triumphantly. “Ta-da. I knew this would come in handy.” 

Eddie rolls his eyes and drags Richie back down for one more long, heated kiss, and then shoves him away again. “Get on your back,” he says. Richie shivers, clambering off of Eddie to do as he says. 

“Loving the confidence, Eds, very sexy,” he says, as Eddie settles between his legs and places his hands on Richie’s thighs.

Eddie squints at him. “Shut up.”

“I’m being serious! You’re hot!” Richie exclaims. Eddie still looks suspicious, but a smile quirks the corner of his mouth anyway. He reaches for the waistband of Richie’s boxers, and Richie finds himself holding his breath as Eddie works them down to Richie’s thighs. His dick springs free, red and already leaking at the tip, and Richie watches as Eddie swallows hard. Then he takes the condom and tears it open, rolling it down over Richie’s dick. Richie huffs out a breath at the touch and closes his eyes. 

“I might be a little rusty,” Eddie tells him. “It’s been a while.”

“Hey man, judgement-free zone here,” Richie says. 

Eddie laughs quietly, and then he ducks his head and licks a stripe up the shaft before sucking the head into his mouth. Richie yelps much louder than he means to, and is suddenly very grateful that they’re only sharing a wall with Ben’s currently vacant room. 

Richie looks down at Eddie between his legs and reaches a shaky hand to smooth back a flyaway curl at Eddie’s temple, tracing his fingers over the shell of his ear. Eddie’s eyes flick up to meet his, his gaze hot and intense, and he presses his fingers hard into the crease of Richie’s hip before he starts sucking him off in earnest. 

As with everything else so far, what Eddie lacks in technique, he makes up for in enthusiasm. Richie is instantly able to focus on nothing but the heat of Eddie’s mouth, the drag of his tongue, the pressure of his fingers against Richie’s skin. His hips twitch up despite his best efforts, and Eddie nudges his legs further apart so he can take him in deeper. Richie feels the crescendo building, a slow but steady burn, and he tugs on Eddie’s shoulder to get his attention.

“Eds, hang on,” he says breathlessly. Eddie pulls off, looking at him with concern. “It’s fine, I just — I’m getting close, man, and I wanna touch you too. Can you come back up here?”

Eddie raises his eyebrows. “You don’t wanna come first?” 

“I wanna touch your dick, is what I want,” Richie says. “Get up here.” 

Eddie scrambles upright, shoving off his briefs. Richie sits up too, kicking his underwear off all the way and trying not to blatantly stare at Eddie’s dick, even though it’d probably be fine if he did at this point. “How do you want to —?” Eddie asks.

They end up with Richie straddling Eddie again and grasping both of their dicks in one hand. He peels the condom off so his precome gives it a better slide, jacking them off together. Eddie groans, his head flopping back against the pillow, and covers his face with his forearm. 

“God,” Eddie says, fucking up into Richie’s grip. “Big fucking hands.”

Richie grins, smug, and Eddie peers at him from behind his arm and has the audacity to look annoyed even as Richie pulls another wheezy groan from him. Richie likes him so much. He leans in, unable to help himself, and kisses the closest bit of Eddie he can reach, which winds up being his forehead. Eddie drops his arm in favor of pulling Richie in for a proper kiss, panting into his mouth. 

“Is it good?” Richie asks, his hand working faster as he feels himself getting closer to the edge again. 

“Yeah, yeah, really fucking good, fuck, Rich,” Eddie says. He kisses Richie hard, mostly teeth, and then bites Richie’s chin. 

Richie’s orgasm hits him very suddenly; he makes a stupid noise and an even stupider face and clonks his head against Eddie’s. He comes all over his hand and Eddie’s dick and both of their shirts.

“Jeez,” Eddie says, laughter in his voice, and then he lets out a shocked whine when Richie uses his come-slicked hand to jerk Eddie off faster than before.

It takes less than a minute for Eddie to come with a bitten-off groan, his face pressed into Richie’s neck. As Eddie’s trying to catch his breath, Richie rolls off him and flops onto his back on the bed, his limbs too jellified to hold himself up anymore without crushing Eddie. It doesn’t matter anyway, because a second later Eddie is rolling over on top of him, burying his face in the crook of Richie’s neck again. 

“I think I’m dead now,” Richie tells him. 

“Mm,” Eddie mumbles incoherently. His lips buzz against Richie’s skin, making him shiver a little with oversensitivity. “We fucking ruined my shirt, dude.”

Richie huffs a soundless laugh. “You can borrow one of mine.” 

He falls into a drowsy, half-asleep state for a while after that, too blissed out and exhausted to think about much of anything at all. He’s vaguely aware of Eddie sitting up at one point to strip out of his shirt, and then he’s being manhandled into a sitting position so Eddie can remove his glasses and pull off his shirt for him, too. He uses Richie’s shirt to wipe them both clean, which Richie would complain about if he was awake enough to form a sentence. Then Eddie pulls the blankets up over them and curls up against Richie’s side again. The room isn’t dark — it’s the middle of the morning, and sunlight is streaming in through the crack in the curtains — but it feels warm and safe in a way that shouldn’t make sense in a place like Derry. Richie wraps his arm around Eddie and dozes off almost immediately. 

Some time later, he wakes back up again to the sound of Eddie saying his name. “Huh?” he says, cracking one eye open. Eddie’s still curled up against him, but he’s propped his chin in one hand so he can look at Richie. “What’s up?” 

“I just — listen. My life is going to be fucking insane when I go back home. I need to get a divorce, first of all.”

“Yeah, you think?” Richie says, and Eddie flicks him between the eyes. “Ow! Okay, sheesh, I’m listening.” 

“I’m trying to say, I don’t really know how that’s going to go or how long it’s going to take or anything, but. When that’s done, I want to… I want to give this a shot.” He gestures between the two of them. 

Richie feels warm and melty inside, and he grins. “My handjob game’s that good, huh?”

Eddie swats him lightly on the chest. “Will you quit deflecting? I’m being serious! My life has been really fucking bad for a really long time, and I think it’s probably going to keep being bad for a while, but I want you with me on the other side of it. Does that sound okay to you?” 

Richie reels him in and kisses him gently on the nose. “Eddie, baby, wherever you want me, I’m there,” he says earnestly. “My life also sucks. We can figure it out.” 

“Yeah?” Eddie says, smiling hopefully. “Okay. Good.” He smushes his face against Richie’s shoulder again, and Richie can feel that he’s still smiling. “You can go back to sleep now,” Eddie adds, muffled. “I just wanted to say that first.” 

Richie runs his fingers through Eddie’s hair. He doesn’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, but at this moment, he feels nothing but happy. He hopes Eddie feels it, too.