“It was raining the first day we kissed, do you remember Eds?” Richie looked down at Eddie, their fingers interlaced. Eddie didn’t respond.
It was the summer after Pennywise. Everyone had vowed not to talk about it. He was gone, they had won. And as far as they were concerned that was that.
The two had just left the Aladdin and were sprinting home to beat the rain. Of course, the downpour had started a few blocks from Eddie’s house. “Great, Now I’m going to get sick. Then I’ll catch consumption and die.” Eddie whined, covering his head as they took cover under an awning.
“You’ll be fine!” Richie told him. “You won’t die from getting wet.”
Eddie glared at him. “And how would you know? You’re practically allergic to showers.”
“Just to taking them alone,” Richie winked at him and got one of Eddie’s patented eye rolls in response.
“Beep beep Richie.” Eddie looked down the street, sighing. “My mom is gonna kill me for getting my new clothes wet.”
“Here,” Richie had peeled off his sweatshirt and handed it to Eddie.
“You’ll be cold.” Eddie said, looking at Richie’s t-shirt.
Richie shrugged. “It’s better than listening to you complain the rest of the way.”
Eddie scrunched his nose but accept it, pulling the sweatshirt on. It was large on Richie and gigantic on Eddie, who hadn’t his growth spurt yet.
“Let’s go, standing here won’t help.” Richie said. They took off running, racing each other to Eddie’s house. They touched the front door at the same time, both panting as they stood in the doorway. Richie was soaked and shivering but thrilled, his cheeks red and a grin plastered on his face. Eddie was drenched too but the sweater had done it’s job and protected his clothes.
“Well, thanks.” Eddie said, pulling it off and handing it back to Richie.
“For you Eds? Anything.” Richie started to turn away but felt a hand on his. He looked back and saw Eddie biting his lip, looking at him. “What? Did your mom want to invite me in but she was too nervous? You can tell her the Tozier train is always-”
Richie was cut off as Eddie’s lips clumsily smashed into his. Their noses hit and both pulled back, Eddie bright red and Richie smiling. “Sorry, I just-” This time Eddie was cut off as Richie leaned in for another kiss, a softer slower one.
“That was a good day, huh Eds?” Richie asked present Eddie, smiling at the memory. Eddie’s chest rose and fell slowly. Richie knew, logically, he couldn’t hear him but Richie wanted to keep talking for as long as he could.
It had lead to them dating for a few months, until Mrs. K moved and took Eddie with her. Eddie had promised not to forget but he did, just like Bev had. It had hurt Richie for a long time but then he moved for college and he forgot too. He only retained the vague feelings happiness and safety.
It was decades before they saw each other again.
“It was raining then too Eds, when we killed It.” Richie said, looking a the blank space where Eddie’s arm used to be.
Pennywise was defeated and they were all were exhausted. Richie was carrying Eddie, his mangled stump in a tourniquet made from Bev’s jacket. Eddie had passed out. Richie was grateful, the pain would be unbearable otherwise.
They emerged from the sewers, bruised but not broken. If anything, Richie felt more whole than he had in a long time. He couldn’t believe he had forgotten them, his best friends, his fellow losers. All of them straggled out, moving slowly, into the rain.
“Eddie’s going to be pissed he got wet.” Richie commented, looking up at the gray sky.
Mike shook his head, “He’s probably got bigger worries now.” Everyone had been trying not to look at the space where his arm had been but their eyes were drawn to it. Richie didn’t know how Eddie would cope. But he didn’t know much about Eddie now, except that he was married and unhappy. And that Richie was still undeniably in love with him.
They went to the hospital, everyone got patched up and went home except for Richie. He refused to leave Eddie’s bedside until he woke up. The doctors told him he may never wake up, Richie told them they didn’t know his Eds. He was nothing if not someone who overcame the odds.
It rained for three long days. Richie talked to Eddie, telling him what he had been up to, about his life, about anything he could think of. He just wanted Eddie to hear his voice and come back to it. It was one of the few times his gift of gab really paid off.
On the fourth day Richie had been telling Eddie about his plans to build an ark, except he wanted to put only gay animals on it. “It’ll be a party ark Eds. You’ll love it.” Thunder ripped through the room and Richie saw Eddie flinch.
“Eds?” Richie asked hopefully, watching for another sign of movement. It came slowly. Eddie’s eyes fluttered then opened, blinking several times.
“Richie? What are you doing here?” Eddie’s voice was scratchy from lack of us and he looked around, realizing where he was. “What am I doing here?”
Richie had explained, slowly, carefully, what happened. He had held Eddie as he cried and insisted on taking him to California to live with him. Eddie had gotten the best prosthetic they could afford and they held each other through the nightmares that gripped them every night for the better part of a year.
Richie pulled himself out of the memory and looked down at Eddie’s pale hand, thinking he’d rather face the clown a thousand times than this. Pennywise had been real, he could punch it, hurt it.
But cancer, cancer you couldn’t do anything against. Cancer just spread, attacking the healthy cells and leaving behind mangled ones.
Oh, Eddie had fought it. For a long time he had fought. They’d done several rounds of chemo. They’d flown to Switzerland to try the newest cure. All of it had bought them more time together, a few more months worth of dinners with friends, of waking up next to Eddie.
But it was over. Richie knew that as he looked down at Eddie, who was sleeping. He was in too much pain to wake up. Eddie had assured him it was what he wanted, to simply fall asleep and not wake up. Richie and the losers had said their goodbyes as the nurse administered the drug. Now Richie was alone, waiting for the medicine to take full effect and for Eddie to slip away.
Richie blinked back tears and drew a shaky breath. “Rain has always been our thing huh? It even rained on our wedding day.”
The wedding had been small, just them and the losers. It was on a beach in California and as the ceremony started thick, heavy drops began to fall.
“But you made us stay.” Richie said, his voice thick. “You insisted we stay.”
So they had, the rain making patterns bloom on their suits and Bev’s dress. By the time they kissed everyone was soaked. Everyone had taken off their shoes and run to the reception together, laughing and whooping with excitement, Richie stopping every few steps to kiss his new husband. He couldn’t imagine their wedding day any other way.
“The rain never let us down Eds.” Richie looked outside again, the rain was slowing. “But today it did.” He looked at his husband. He’d gotten twenty years with him, twenty years longer than he expected, than he deserved. They had gotten to grow older together, to foster dogs, to buy a house. He had been happier than he thought possible, sitting on their porch, watching thunderstorms roll through.
The rain stopped. And as it did the spikes that measured Eddie’s heart rate became an uninterrupted horizontal line. Richie knew he was gone before the nurse came in. His Eddie had left with the rain.