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What's the 'V' Stand for

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“What’d you add the ‘v’ for?” It was a cool summer day, on the cusp of settling into a crisp chill, Eddie was thinking about mold and the peeling paint on the outside of Richie Tozier’s house.

 

Richie was tapping on the words on Eddie’s cast and examining his fix-it marker handiwork.

 

Eddie was already on the edge of rolling his eyes and it wasn’t 5pm yet, “I know you’ve been called this enough to addle your small brain, but loser isn’t actually a compliment.”

Richie sniffs and Eddie hopes he doesn’t have a cold, “Lover though? With a red V.” Richie bounced his eyebrows up and down, “I see what you did there-”

“No you don’t.”

“Eyes on the prize, I get it. Too bad I’ve been getting your mom’s red V all al-” Eddie ran him casually into the wall.

 

“Wow,” He says blandly, “I can’t believe that evil fucking clown came back and no one ever heard from Trashmouth Tozier again.”

Richie shook his head with a tongue click, “Eddie, Eddie, Eddie,” he put an arm around his shoulder, “that’s the v talking.”

Eddie stepped on his foot.

 

There was one last hurrah for the Loser’s Club, it turned out Bev was leaving in the morning and they settled on doing something . Besides, after all they had been through there wasn’t much else to do but stare at each other dead in the face and forget you were almost eaten a couple days ago like kid patte.

 

They decided on a movie night.


It felt like a summer thing, a summer thing they should have been doing all along and now it didn’t feel exactly like they should be doing in the least bit.

 

Eddie arrived at Richie’s house first because that’s who he was and Richie held the movie night since his parents deeply didn’t care to the point of religion about seven strange kids in their house apparently.

 

Eddie makes his way into the next room and forces himself not to check the dark corners or over his shoulder for any hands hovering there. He distracts himself by itching the skin under his sweaty cast and stiffly walking the rest of the way into Richie’s house, it was cluttered, cluttered and messy and neglected like a sad dog you never pet. But lived in, that felt good for once.

 

“Do you need help preparing snacks?” Eddie asks politely because he wasn’t an animal just yet.

 

Richie looked over his shoulder at him, still nursing a bruised toe, “I don’t know, lover boy,” he articulates the nickname slowly, “ya bring any?”

He nods slowly. Of course he did, he always brought the snacks. “Just checking,” he says with lackluster, “Also, I don’t see the issue. Lover is still better then loser.”

“Look boy-o,” Richie slung his arm around Eddie’s shoulder again, he kept doing that. “The Lover’s Club is an entirely different ball park, capiche? I’ll tell you about when your pubes grow in.”

He rubs his temple, “shut the fuck up Rich.” He elbows him gently, “I know you have a keen interest in my pubes, but your sister asked first.” He saws sharply and Richie covers his mouth.

 

“I’ll warn my sister about the crabs you're giving her then,” he rolls his eyes, “but as your father-in-law I bet you brought milk chocolate nut clusters too, so I forgive you.”

 

Eddie shrugged, “I mean, yeah.”

Richie ruffled his hair, “this is why you’re my favorite.” Eddie has to stand there for another couple seconds before he reaches back to get his backpack and takes out the chocolate clusters. Eddie pauses, his favorite.

 

It took another ten minutes before anyone else started to show up, figures. First it was Mike with a couple extra blankets, then Stanley with a soda jug, Bev and Bill came together before Ben made it over with a handful of movies he dug up.

 

The films were mostly fun sparkly flicks that Eddie figured he might spend half the time zoning out on, which sounded ideal. He also brought a couple bright shiny new films Eddie hadn’t even been allowed to glance at with his mother around.

 

He blinks, “I’m for Back to the Future.” Several movies sat in pretty piles of ‘considering’, ‘no’s’ and ‘Richie stop bringing down weird films with suggestive foreign titles.’

 

The voting commenced awhile ago and then dragged on with all seven of them huddled around the table and staring each other down.

 

“Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” Mike offered, “could be...fun?” They almost all shrug in unison.

 

“What about Indiana Jones?” Bev offers offhandedly, both Ben and Bill sat up straight.

 

“I’m for Indiana Jones!” Bill’s voice cracks and Eddie snorts at his earnest expression.

 

“Now now boys and Bev,” Eddie jumps briefly as the lights flicker on and off, “I have the perfect solution to our problems.” His stomach drops, a small groan formed in the back of his throat.

 

Richie walks out on his tiptoes, wearing a cape and hiding what he could only assume is a VHS, “just the thing for it… ta-dah!” He swings off the long swath of cloth and shoves a bloody red cover at them.

 

“Ah!” Someone covers their mouth as they gasp, he could feel the group forming a collective scowl.

 

“Nothing like that…” Bill mutters, quietly but firmly.

 

“Come on,” Richie held up Pet Sematary, “it’ll be canceling out our other fear...with different fear. The alpha fear, like a forest fire. And I’m smokey the bear, offering you some fucking cat zombies.”

Eddie was the first one to heave a giant sigh, “if you watch it alone by yourself first, sure.”

Richie shoots him a betrayed look, “et tu, lover?” He shakes the film, “not even my fear theory is going over tonight, tough crowd.”

“When Harry Met Sally it is.” Ben makes an executive decision for them and slips in the first romantic comedy of the night.

 

Eddie relaxes back into the cushions, ready to zone out and stop checking behind his back for teeth or the ceiling for blood spots. He had already thrown his watch away along with a lot of clothes he wore even remotely near those days.

 

He’s not sure it’s helped.

 

Mike settled in next to him with Ben at the other end and Bev perched on the arm of the couch. Stanley secured himself in the only recliner chair and that left Bill with the floor next to Bev’s feet and probably Richie next to him, that’s just the accepted configuration of the world he guessed.

 

Harry started to say something on screen and the camera panned over an apartment, Richie walked back into the room, having gone to stash away the horror movie he found. His eyes focus on Eddie with stern apprehension.

 

He frowns and crosses his arms, “Seat jacked.” He points at the couch, “ In my own house.

The other two on the couch just shrug and Eddie smirks at him, he knew perfectly well this was his seat. Richie picks his away across the room and shoves a chocolate cluster in his mouth on the way over, Eddie wrinkles his nose and thinks about cavities.

 

Richie pauses before him, Eddie raises an eyebrow, he looks him up and down, “you’re blocking the screen.”


“Alright...but you’re blocking up my couch.”

Eddy gives him a wry look, “maybe if you were faster motor-mouth.”

 

Richie raises an eyebrow, “oh?”

He nods and makes a show of settling back in Richie’s spot, widening his stance and sticking his chest out. “Trash sits outside.”

 

“Well then!” Richie turns around and puts his arms in the air, he flops down backward onto him,

 

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Eddie squirms deeper into the cushions as Richie fell onto his lap.

 

“You know what you walked into.” He said with his hand on his forehead, Eddie huffs and tries to push him off.

 

“A walking coronary disease.”

“C-come on Richie,” Bill tucked on Richie’s pants leg, probably trying to keep everyone in line. “Ssteady as it goes.”

 

“Aw, Bill, see? I’m following orders, lover,” he points at the words on the cast, “I am being the love. Forgiving sitting in my seat. Not talking about the elephant in the room. Courteously not bringing my legions of sweet tang to come over to our movie night.”

Eddie blew hair out of his face, “You’re going to die alone Richie Tozier.”

He turns back to him and puts an arm around his neck, “Not without you hun.”

That’s how Eddie Kaspbrak ended up with one Richie Tozier in his lap for the night, a worse predicament than he would have presumed, Richie was not still, and he was not quiet.

 

“I know he’s going to kiss her,” he shoves popcorn in his mouth, “now.” The couple keeps staring into each other's eyes, “nnnnow.” They keep talking, Richie shifts on his lap, “and now.

 

“I don’t think you understand the position you’re in,” Eddie grumbles at him and shifts Richie to the side, “I could end you.” Richie just throws him a thumbs up.

 

“Control your ‘love’ Ed,” Bev throws popcorn at them.

 

“I can’t,” Eddie says bitterly, “we’re not, and his mouth belongs to the garbage devil already. I don’t control anything.”

“Yeah , Eddie’s mom controls this mouth.”

He groans and puts his forehead on Richie’s back, “I think I must have done something pretty terrible in a past life.”

 

Richie chuckles against him and Eddie notices Bill looking up at the ceiling, “didn’t we all.”

 

They all go a little quiet and watch the end of the movie, Richie ends up guessing when Harry kissed Sally kiss on the 27th go. Eddie blows air out his nose and feels his bony ass dig into his thighs, he doesn’t kick him off.

 

-

 

They all drop off to sleep one by one, Stanley during Dead Poets Society, Mike during the guitar scene in Back to the Future and Richie during the credits. Ben fell asleep at the beginning of Ghostbusters II. Bev and Bill snuck off to talk in the other room, he knew it was talking because he kept hearing whispering about the US postal system and how much stamps cost.

 

Eddie really wanted to nod off too, he didn’t want to listen to Bev try to remember her new address or Ben mumble anxiously in his sleep. And the main concern. The very concerning concern.

 

Richie was still on his lap, propped up against his chest and dozing softly with his mouth open; Eddie was watching, he wish he wanted to do something else, anything at all but watch. Richie’s glasses were askew and his long eyelashes caught the light.

 

He almost wanted to take the hulky bottle cap glasses off and put them safely to the side, instead he just watches them tilt dangerously close to the tip of his nose. He watches his chest gently rise and fall and his glasses teeter on the edge of the abyss. Eddie stares off into nothing.

 

The jolt comes around 2am, right when he was imagining his mom’s expression when he left that night and almost drifting off, Eddie felt a violent twist on his lap.

 

“Ri-”

 

Richie jerked in place and his face screwed up into contorted panic, his legs kicked out. He was breathing heavily and pawing the air frantically, Eddie grabs his shoulder roughly.

 

“Richie…” He shakes him, “Richie!”

Richie starts awake, eyes wild and sweat forming on his brow, he was still panting, he swings around messily for a moment before his eyes lands on Eddie and his shoulders un-tense.

 

“Oh,” he settles back down, “man,” he rubs the back of the head and looks all around the room before settling back on Eddie. Richie coughs, “Too much fight training. I was about to sock you.”

 

Eddie could feel Richie’s heartbeat pulsing through his whole body, he meets his eye “The arcade doesn’t count.” He says wearily, “And you don’t have to... I have them too.”

 

Richie contemplates him for a moment, thinking, looking Eddie over. He nods and relaxes against him.

 

“This sucks.” He finally says.

 

“I know.”

“I mean this really fucking sucks,” he tilts their heads together, inches apart, “I’m gonna be on some loony TV show soon. Young boy is a scientifically proven beaver magnet, also had some evil clown shit ruin his brain.”

“We’re young,” Eddie says and rubs his weary eyes, “I was reading about PTSD in my book. It goes...away. At some point. Maybe with some high end therapy and a lot of dream journaling.”

“Goes away sometime soon though?” Richie raised an eyebrow, “‘cause I could use my dreams about hot pockets again- or really anything else really.” Eddie watched Richie’s movement’s, bobbing up and down and swaying.

 

“Maybe,” He reaches over takes Richie’s glasses off of his nose.

“Hey!”

 

“They were falling off,” he tucks them over on the table next to them. “And we just have to remember it’s gone,” he furrows his brow, “and if not we’ll just fucking kill it again.”

Richie gives a faint smile, “that’s what I like to hear Eds.”  Eddie makes a face at him, Richie faces him, “that’s what I like to hear lover boy?”

 

Eddie groans, “For one, no Eds. For two, honestly, what would you have me change it to? It’s a pretty obvious one assmouth.”

Richie taps his chin, “Lomer.”

“Lomer is not a word.”

“Sure it is, I lome here, I lome there. Eddie is a huuuge lomer.”

He sighs, “and so is Richie.”

He shrugs and then tilts his head, “Sure.” They spend another long moment looking at each other, the movie Ghostbusters II flashes in the background as the soft credits roll. Richie examines him, “How about liver?”

 

“Right,” he pokes Richie’s side, “Liver. Shortened to ‘live’ maybe and I could have been some dumbass walking irony when I walked into the clown’s cave.”

 

“Hey, but we did live Eds,” Richie cheers and Eddie gives a small smile and ignores the nickname for a moment.

 

“Who’da thought.”

“I smacked that honking chucklefuck with my metal bat, remember? Pretty sick,” he bounced his eyebrows up and down.

 

Eddie tilted his chin up, “Yeah, I don’t think you’ll let us forget.”

“Hey, getting covered in clown jizz-vomit and yelling ‘I’m going to fucking kill you’ is a close second.” He settled down deeper into Eddie’s lap, “good stuff.”

 

“I’m still washing my hair,” he mutters.

 

“Is that what you’re nightmares are about?” Richie asks, softly, loosely as he looked at the ceiling with the flashing lights of the screen. “Hot showers where your hair is still a mess.”

He cringes, “sure Richie, hot shower nightmares.”

He chuckles, “am I there?”

“Definitely a nightmare.”

 

Richie laughs a little more and then goes still, “you know what my nightmares are?”

 

Eddie holds himself motionless and looks him in the eye from the side, “what?”

 

Richie nods over at the lit kitchen door, “Not falling back asleep in time before we start hearing Bev and Bill moaning up a storm out there.”


Richie frowns and darts his eyes over, “they better not…” He rests a hand on Richie’s knee, “that’s so many fucking germs in one place.”

Richie was tutting, “I’m sure even you’d like it if you tried.”

“Tried what?” Eddie was still distracted by the prospect of mono or the clap in Richie’s kitchen.

 

“Kissing.”

 

“I wasn’t actually referring to kis…” He trails off, Richie’s was looking at him intently, eyes naked and focused. Like a laser pointer to a cat. He was the laser. He pauses and gulps dryly, “yeah.”

 

A human mouth has over 100 to 200 different germs living in it at any given time.

 

Richie takes the sides of his face, “Even you.” He smiles teasingly, “after you hate it for a while of course.”

 

He takes in a sharp breath, he peers up, “I’d probably hate it, period.”

Richie inches toward him like the longest moment of his life, “totally and completely.”

 

Richie was hovering before him, mouth slightly open, eyelashes reflecting the light and the soft buzz in between the both of them. He approaches like the slowest moving meteor, Eddie waits patiently as the stationary earth before everything builds inside him to a point, he closes the gap.

Eddie closes the gap because why the fuck not, and all his nerves light up, his thoughts turning to white noise and breath catching in his throat. Richie’s mouth is warm and surprisingly soft, like cocoa butter or high-end chapstick. It tastes like bad chocolate.

 

The touch sends electric tingles to his toes as his brain tries to process the moment, kissing stupid Richie Tozier, and all it took was several encounters with clown-shaped death itself.

 

Richie is tentative in the way normal Richie is not, his confident limbs sticking out at different abstract angles and his mouth slow, large against his, hesitant. He still has a swarmy look on his face, but it’s broken up by something delicate and digging its nails into Eddie’s arm.

 

Eddie grabs him and readjusts him on his lap, getting him properly facing him and his arms wrapping around his waist, Eddie pushes up into a harder kiss. Richie makes a soft sound and they meet like they might fall apart the next moment, Richie grabs his neck and pulls him closer.

 

He’s sugary sweet and makes his heart pound in his wrist as the whole dark night felt a little softer.

 

“Oh,” they hear the opening of a door beside him, “okay, wow.”

 

Eddie pulls back right away at the noise and his face heats up by an entire nine yards, Richie pulls away much slower and seems to just sit their plainly in a daze.

 

“Th-that’s not what I e-expected.” Bill and Bev were back at the door, they stare back at each other.

 

Richie got his bearings back gradually and then turns to them first, “what?” He wipes his mouth and makes eye contact with Bill, “Jealous I got some before you did?”

Eddie whacks him on the shoulder, “you didn’t get anything.”

Bill sniffs, he crosses his arms, “w-we al-already did that.”

Richie shakes his head, “Well I just got to fifth base.”

“Oh my God,” Eddie goes to push him off.

 

Bev laughs and starts to walk over, “fifth, huh?”

“It’s the next dimension, fucking fifth base fifth dimension with turtles of some shit.” He leans sideways, “led there by Eddie K’s mouth.”

He rolls his eyes, “ignore him.”

“Ignore me?”

“At least I’m trying to.” Eddie responds slowly and looks the other way, his face still flushed from being walked-in on.

“That’s not what you said when your tongue was in my mouth,” Richie hugs his arms around Eddie’s shoulder, “in fact, you didn’t say anything. Your tongue was in my mouth.” He hums, “those were the days.”

“No tongues were in any mouths.”

“Come on,” He pouted, “we just fucked in the fifth dimension!”

 

Eddie groans, “and someone doesn’t want it happen again!” He threatens.

 

Richie chuckles and leans down and kisses Eddie’s cheek, “alright, lover.”

 

There is a slight drop and Eddie is looking at Richie’s eyes, they are both grinning this time, Richie mouths something but it’s almost inaudible. Cute

 

“I’m g-going to have a lot of th-things to forget now.” Bill walked over stiffly to the coffee table and surveys the piles of movies. “A lot.”

 

Bev clears her throat, she approaches slowly, “how about All Dogs Go to Heaven?” She picks up a random VHS.

 

“Anything,” Bill almost moans and Bev holds up the VHS cover, Richie waves them by.

 

“Whatever.” Richie was looking at Eddy still, his hand ghosting over his cheek.


“Yeah.”

Eddie did not want to be the type of couple to gross out people in public space, but he was also a loser- and he assumed they could do what they want now and then. They kiss through the singing dog movie and manage to fall asleep for what felt like the first time that week.