Despite what his friends told him, Richie Tozier didn't have a type.
More importantly, he didn't have an unconventional type in boys, even when Stanley pointed out that he liked them small, shy, and sexually repressed ("...And sweet and smart and sensitive," Stan had continued, insisting the alliteration that made Richie roll his eyes hard). See, he didn't have a type. Type was for schoolboys in grade school creating hullabaloos about sports and sex and Transformers, as if that mattered at all (it didn't, last time he checked). Besides, he dated Cora back in eighth grade anyway and she was tall and outspoken, and just everything opposite to what Stanley was trying to say.
"Cora doesn't count," Stan retorted cheekily. "You didn't even date. You just kissed her once in that party we crashed in and she avoided you since." He let out a throaty laugh. "It wasn't even a good kiss."
Stanley Uris was a motherfucking asshole.
"Shut the fuck up," Richie grumbled, crossing his arms in front of his chest. "It doesn't even matter, all right?"
See? Asshole, and Richie was this close to strangling him to death, Jesus Christ.
When he dated Eddie Kaspbrak a few months back - Eddie, who was small and shy and sexually repressed - it had been good. Kind of messy, but good nonetheless, like a fucking rollercoaster ride and well, Richie loved rollercoasters, and that itself was an explanation enough.
So, right. He dated Eddie - so what? That didn't mean he had a type even though he was currently dating Will Byers who was small and shy, and fucking hell, sexually repressed, despite what Stanley had said. Stanley was an asshole anyway, and Richie knew better.
"So, it's Eddie, then the Byers kid," Stan casually commented, as if anything was casual about it at all. "Who's next? That Simon kid?"
"What's next is you shutting the fuck up," Richie gritted out, lacking of good responses to throw because this was old news and he was exhausted, and Stan wouldn't just let it go.
Bev and Mike laughed beside him. It wasn't even fucking funny.
"Ease up, Trashmouth, we're just having fun," Beverly grinned, looking at Richie with an amused expression on her face.
"Speak for yourself," Richie mumbled grimly.
Beverly let out a low chuckle. "Whatever, Tozier. Where's your boyfriend anyway?"
"Probably snorting gazebos," Stan chimed in, earning a loud cackle from Mike and a roll of an eye from Richie. "Oh, shit. Wrong guy? Sorry, kind of hard to tell."
"Stan," Beverly warned, but was stifling a laugh, the traitor.
"Whatever, I'm out of here," Richie deadpanned, not daring to look at Stanley. "I have to go meet Will before class anyway."
The truth was, Richie had moved on from Eddie - really. Sure, there were times he regretted breaking up with him, but only because it was the main cause of the division of the group, which fucking sucked, he supposed. Still, he knew he was over Eddie anyway, and it wasn't like Eddie cared about him - not anymore, at least.
He made it sure to make resiliency a top priority from a long time ago.
With a sigh, he let himself walk to the art room, where Will usually was during breaks. Richie tried telling him to spend lunch with him and his friends, but Will insisted on staying in the art room for some reasons, because yeah, he loved a weirdo like that.
So, imagine his surprise when he came face to face with someone else when he opened the door of the art room.
It was Eddie, gaze piercing through him, eyes empty and voice cold. At least, he had the decency to not punch Richie in the face.
"Eddie," Richie deadpanned.
"Richie?" Eddie repeated, raising an eyebrow.
"Eddie," Richie snapped, shaking his head slightly. What the fuck was Eddie doing in the art room? "Where's Will?"
"He's not here, obviously," Eddie responded, voice dripping with annoyance. He still looked kind of mad so, maybe he actually was mad, for reasons Richie didn't really feel like thinking about.
"Yeah, but where is he?" Richie asked irritably.
"Hell, if I know," Eddie mumbled with a glare.
"Right," Richie sighed, rolling his eyes hard and congratulating himself for a fucking job well done, Tozier, Kaspbrak still looked at you like he wanted to gauge your eyes with a motherfucking spoon.
It wasn't his fault Eddie couldn't move on.
He let himself out of the art room to avoid unnecessary awkward tensions, and determined to find Will when he heard Eddie call his name from inside the room, making him glance back and raise an eyebrow expectantly at the other.
"Nevermind," Eddie mumbled, turning his back to gather the painting tools on the corner.
Richie let out a sigh.
It was going to be a long day.
The moment he saw Will that day, standing in between the shelves of library looking fucking cute under layers of clothing, he quickly engulfed him in a tight embrace, earning a surprised sound from Will.
"You're particularly sweet today," he heard Will said with a soft chuckle, feeling him embracing back. "Did something happen?"
Yes, he had wanted to tell Will. Stanley was an asshole and my ex boyfriend might or might not be plotting the perfect crime yet for my bloody demise. I also really fucking missed you but I didn't see you in lunch, so there was that.
"Nothing," he mumbled through Will's hair, breathing in his scent - he smelled like fucking strawberries for some reason and Richie was addicted. "Just really fucking missed you. Didn't see you in lunch."
"You big sap," Will laughed, before slowly pulling away. "Sorry, I was here. I took an extra work from Mr. Weekes for credits."
"S'fine," Richie replied with a shrug, placing both his hands in his pockets.
Will sighed. "We can go to my place?"
"Yeah," Richie's lips broke into a smile. He'd like that, actually, it had been a while since he last saw Mrs. Byers, and he would really, really want to kiss his boyfriend already. "We can eat pancakes?"
Will laughed. "You and your obsession with pancakes."
"And with you," Richie reminded with a grin.
"And with me," Will agreed with a playful roll of an eye. "We'll leave once I find that book I need, all right? It'll be real quick."
"Of course," Richie nodded before leaning in to give a quick peck on Will's cheek. "Don't let me stop you, Willy Wonka. I'll be there in that table if you need me, yeah?"
Will smiled. "Yeah."
Richie decided that in that moment, all the headaches and bad lucks that hit him like a fucking train that morning finally dissolved, with just one fucking smile. The same one that always managed to get him every time, rare yet blinding.
Will Byers was a fucking supernova. Shattered and broken but really fucking bright, and maybe, Richie thought, what a match. He considered himself a black hole after all. Maybe Will would be the one he was waiting for, to maintain balance for both of them like the sun and the moon, or yin and yang, if he was being particularly nerdy.
Fucking hell. The things that boy was doing to him, really.
He loved it though.
"Hey," Richie looked up to see Will smiling down at him, holding a book close to his chest. "You good?"
"Awesome," Richie grinned, standing up. "I'm just thinking of the pancakes we're about to eat at your place." He laughed when Will playfully rolled his eyes and added, "And of you, of course. I'm thinking of you."
"And of me," Will echoed with a chuckle.
"Shall we then?"
Will's smile was an answer enough.
Richie had the best fucking Friday of his life. He had pancakes, a Star Wars marathon, and he was able to make out with Will. It was a fucking nirvana, and he was busily telling all about it in front of Mike and Stanley as they loiter in front of the old Derry Bookstore, when Stan decided to ruin it.
"You can't date Will Byers."
"I've been dating Will for seven months, Stanley," Richie huffed out, rolling his eyes. They were not having this conversation again.
"Yes, but you can't," Stan insisted.
"Says the law of relationship," Stanley explained matter-of-factly. "You can't date Will just because he reminds you of Eddie."
That wasn't fair. It wasn't fucking fair and it was nothing but atrocity. He wasn't even dating Will because he reminded him of Eddie. He was dating Will because he was Will, and Stanley wasn't making any fucking sense.
"That doesn't even make sense," Richie stammered, eyes glaring dangerously at Stanley. "Stanley, what the fuck."
"I'm just saying," Stan started, but Richie cut him off, snapping with much venom dripping in his voice, "Well, shut up about it. It's not even fucking funny anymore."
"Richie," Mike said with a warning tone.
"No, Mike, this has gone far too fucking much," Richie gritted out, head this close to exploding, and he was so fucking mad he was seeing red. How dare Stan, really. Sure, Richie could take a joke or two - hell, Richie could take all the fucking jokes but this? This was fucking low, even for him.
"He didn't mean it, Richie," Mike tried again, but Richie wasn't having any of it anymore.
With a scowl, he stormed out of the way, ignoring the desperate calls of Mike Hanlon for his name and went straight to the quarry. All he thought was fuck this shit, and fuck Stanley Uris.
He had to endure two whole years of pain and desperation, waiting for Will to move on from some asshole named Mark Wheeler or something, who happened to be stuck in his own little world of obsession about some girl who didn't even like boys. And Stan fucking Uris had the nerve to tell him he was only dating Will because of Eddie Kaspbrak?
"Let me guess," he heard a voice dangerously familiar said behind him as he threw another rock at the water. "A sulk for not winning an argument, or Stanley decided to be a jerk?"
"Both, maybe," he grumbled.
Eddie sat a few inches beside him, slowly, throwing a rock of his own before finally muttering, "Stanley didn't mean it, you know that, right?"
Eddie glanced at him, pressing his lips into a thin line before softly saying, "I didn't know you'd be here."
"Well, I am," Richie retorted.
"I know," Eddie answered with a long sigh. "You did not have to be an asshole just because Stanley decided to be one."
And Richie couldn't fucking contain himself, he was just getting angrier because all of a sudden, Eddie decided it was fun to talk to him as if he wasn't murdering Richie with his glares just a few days ago, blabbing things as if he still knew Richie, as if it was okay to be friends with your ex.
He felt like his life was a joke and it wasn't even one he appreciated, and that was saying something.
"Can you stop that?" Richie scowled, glaring daggers at Eddie. "Stop acting like we're fucking friends because we're not."
"I'm not doing anything."
He heard Eddie sighing once again, before saying, "You know, you don't have to act like a fucking baby about it because it makes you look fucking stupid." Richie still didn't know how Eddie managed to say that much profanities in such a calm voice.
Maybe Eddie was right.
"Fuck off," he let out, stifling a laugh just a little.
"It's not like it's not true, Tozier," Eddie commented with a small grin. He looked at Richie seriously before adding, "And I'm sorry, I guess."
Richie furrowed his eyebrows.
"For just being a grade A jerk," Eddie mumbled with a shrug. "I was kind of fucking bitter, but now I know better, I think." He let out a sigh. "I like Byers. He's really nice."
"He let me do his face paint for our art class and specifically requested for a ninja turtle - said his favorite is Donatello," Eddie told him with a low laugh. "He's kind of a dork, but I like him. He won't stop telling me how much he loved his face paint despite Bill ruining it."
"Yeah, he'd do that," Richie agreed with a smile.
"He even asked me if he can do my face paint too," Eddie added, throwing another stone. "He painted Robin, for some reasons." Another sigh. "You really like him, do you?"
Richie nodded almost instantly. "I do."
"That's good," Eddie stated with a smile. "He deserves it. I think he really likes you, too, and he seems happy anyway."
"Are you happy?"
"Halfway," Eddie told him honestly. "I'll be there anyway, it's not like I'm fucking dying tomorrow." He finished with a chuckle, "Besides, I'm kind of okay with us being friends now. I kind of forgot how to get fucking mad when we stopped talking for months."
"You don't fucking say," Richie chuckled.
"Whatever," Eddie rolled his eyes playfully. "Hurt Byers and you'll take it from me, I swear to fucking God, Tozier."
Richie had to blink. Hard. Of all the fucking people, he would be actually getting the talk from Eddie fucking Kaspbrak? He didn't even get it from Joyce, let alone Jonathan - hell, he didn't even get it from Hopper and that ol' cop gave him the scare.
"Right, what you gon' do 'bout it?" Richie snorted. "You and what gazebos, Eddie?"
"Fuck off," Eddie deadpanned.
Richie let out a loud cackle. And well, yeah, Stan may have had been a huge fucking idiot, but at least Eddie was back. That small boy with a big fucking mouth - unbelievable.
He couldn't wait to tell Will.
"I don't get it," Richie mumbled through a mouthful of Hot Pockets, earning another disapproving look from Will because apparently, Richie, you couldn't talk through this scene, it's the most important part. "Sorry, sorry," he said half heartedly, before insisting, "But I still don't get it."
Will let out a sigh, pausing the film. "What is it?"
Richie pouted, earning a roll of an eye and a quick kiss from Will. Yep, totally worked every time.
"I mean," Richie continued, swallowing the food on his mouth. "I mean, how come you're not jealous of Eddie?"
"He's nice, Rich," Will replied simply.
"Hey, it's fine," Will told him reassuringly, flashing a warm smile. "I understand what happened, and it's in the past, right? Besides, I don't see you getting jealous over Mike anyway."
That fucking Mike guy.
Richie would nail that fucking Mike guy in a cross.
"Right," Richie mumbled inaudibly.
"Eddie is good. I'm glad we're friends," Will told him, letting out a low chuckle. Richie was kind of glad he didn't notice the internal vow of murdering guys named Michael. "And he likes Hüsker Dü, Richie. Jonathan would be proud."
"Hüsker Dü isn't even good."
"Tozier, you dirty liar," Will laughed, throwing a pop corn at Richie. "You've been singing 'Don't Want to Know If You're Lonely' for weeks now, it's making my ears fall off."
"Right," Will nodded, still laughing a little. "But seriously, Rich. Don't - I mean, I like Eddie. Don't let this make things awkward, yes?" He flashed a small, sincere smile. "He painted a Donny in my cheeks, Rich. He's a sweetheart."
Richie chuckled. He remembered that.
And see, this was where Richie knew he was right about. This was where he had to thank the stars or some higher deity or whatever bullshit for having Will in his arms, or more importantly, in his heart. He was afraid that one day, Will might just fucking - God, bump his head or something and started seeing the light his pretty little mind had been deprived of. Richie thought that maybe, if that happened, Will would run away with the fucking circus asking himself what the hell happened that he went on for someone like Richie.
It was a terrifying idea.
And well, remember what Richie said about Will being a supernova? Turned out he was right about it because Will was so fucking bright he put all the stars to shame, and Richie was so fucking elated he might as well die.
At least, he heard Stanley Uris apologized before his graceful death.
"I can hear you thinking from here," Will commented, and looking at him, concerned, "What is it?"
"Sure does put you in a trance."
"I'm just thinking," he started, wrapping an arm around Will's shoulder, pulling him closely. Richie couldn't point out the time strawberries started becoming his favorite scent. "About how I can't live without Hot Pockets."
"And without you."
"And without me," Will smiled warmly, pressing closer to him as he placed a small kiss on the top of Will's head.
"And I also cannot stop thinking about how much I love watching Star Wars with you," he added before glancing at the screen and seeing Anakin Skywalker in the middle of saying something, frozen. He whined. "Why did you pause it? I love Star Wars!"
"You also love talking through it."
"And you," Richie remarked, smiling down at Will. "I also love you."
Will smiled back. "I love you, too."
Richie thought back to the times he was constantly mocking all those cliché chick flicks Beverly had foced him to watch, and thought maybe, they weren't so bad.
See how fucking cheesy that sounded?
And yeah. Maybe, Stanley Uris was right, too. Maybe he actually did have a type, and maybe he was really fucking glad about it, because it was sitting closely next to him, watching nerdy films and making his heart hurt, but in a good way. Unconventional, but authentic.
Richie swore he could hear Stan grinning from somewhere.