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Chapter Text

Dear diary,
First day of senior year. My class has changed... So much. We've grown, it's mad I swear. But we're all so, mean, to each other-

Bill is interrupted from spilling his thoughts by an excited tap on his shoulder, "Ben!" He grins, standing from the lunch table to wrap his friend in a tight hug.

"Hey, man! How were your first few classes?" He asks as he pulls away from Bill's tight grip.

"The usual, awkward, kinda horrible," a smirk tugs at his lips, "yours?" He asks back, sitting down and moving his backpack to make room for Ben next to him at the table.

"About the same, same classmates as always so it's not too special, new kid in my math though, he's a bit odd," Ben says with a shrug, sitting next to Bill at the table, pulling his lunch box out of his backpack.

"Oh really? Name?" Bill asks, picking at the school lunch, poking his plastic fork at the overcooked pasta.

"Richard? Rich? Dick? I dunno I heard him call himself all of those things in the span of an hour. Sits a table away from me."

"Interesting," Bill nods, looking around the lunchroom, "can't believe it's our last year here, I can't fucking wait to get back, fucking Henry and Patrick," he grumbles with a frown, watching the two across the room.

"Ditto," Ben agrees, taking a bite of his turkey sandwich, pulling his book from his backpack.

"That one? Again?" Bill teases, spotting the attractive couple on the cover of the worn paperback book.

"What? I'm a sucker for a happy ending," Ben grins, opening to the page he'd folded over where he left off.

Bill smiles and goes to dump his tray, it doesn't seem like he's going to finish any of it. He dumps it out in the trash, putting the emptied tray on the cafeteria counter. He spots Patrick and Henry at a table near and a shiver goes down his spine. He quickly looks away, opting to head back to his table.

"Did you hear about Patrick's party?" Ben asks, never looking up from his book.

"Yeah, don't think I'm invited though, not really interested either," Bill shrugs.

"Eddie, Bev, and Stan are going, so it's probably only for 'the populars'," Ben sighs, using air quotes to emphasize his point.

"Yeah, they're untouchable- everyone has a crush on at least one of them- I think? Or all of them at once, I wouldn't know," Bill jokes, chuckling nervously.

"I did once, Bev," Ben says with a small smile, nudging Bill jokingly.

Bill hears a holy shit from the other side of the room just in time to see a boy with curly dark hair he'd never seen throw a punch. "Oh god," get says, tapping Ben's shoulder rapidly to get his attention.

"Oh damn, first day, fistfight already," Ben sighs, just looking back to his book.

Before they know it, lunch is over and the bell rings through the room, bringing frustrated groans from the students, not wanting to stop their catching up after summer just to return to the monotony of class.

Bill slings his backpack over his shoulder, saying a quick goodbye to Ben and heading to the bathroom, he pushes the door open to be met with exactly the clique he and Ben had been talking about.

He immediately goes to turn around and leave but they spotted him too quickly. "Well, well, well, if it isn't Bill Denbrough," Eddie says, straightening his red blazer. "What do we have here?" He asks Stan and Beverly on either side of him with a mischievous giggle.

"I uh- just need to pee, I can find another bathroom," Bill says softly, intimidated by the three of them standing in front of him.

The three don't say anything, just looking around at each other for much too long, making the anxiety bubble in his chest. He goes to leave again but the bell rings, and he knows he can't go anywhere else now.

Before he can even think about his next move, another person opens the door, that of Mike Hanlon. Mike Hanlon; studious, friendly, hall monitor.

"Do you guys have passes?" He asks, looking at mostly just Bill, he'd let it go for the other three, too scared of the havoc they could wreck on his life.

"Uh- yeah, headed back to yearbook committee, first meeting, we're all in it," Bill says quickly, pulling a crumpled note out of his pocket, little does Mike know that it's just a forgery, though Eddie's expression shows that he seems to know.

"Uh, alright, get there soon, sorry to bother you," Mike says quickly, glad that he didn't have to have actual confrontation with any of the four people in front of him. He slips out of the bathroom, ready to head off to his own classroom.

Bill looks back to them sheepishly, folding the paper up and shoving it back into his back pocket. "So? Good at forgery? You may be useful," Bev says, crossing her arms over her chest.

Bill just nods, his mouth hanging open awkwardly, holding onto the straps of his backpack.

"If you help us- maybe you can go to Patrick and Henry's party with us," Stan muses, locking his eyes with Bill's.

"Shut up, Stan!" Eddie shrieks, "Maybe if you help us you can come to the party with us," he repeats.

Bill just nods silently again, his knees threatening to buckle with nerves, especially hearing their muffled snickers and whispers to each other.

"Help us forge a note. Party invitation," Eddie says finally, obviously the one who insists on doing much of the speaking.

"Uh, yeah, I can do that," Bill agrees, less fuelled by wanting to go to the party with him but more by the idea of them being angered if he said no.

"Alright, now," Eddie insists pulling paper and a red pen from his backpack immediately, "Stan, bend over, he'll need a surface to write on," he commands.

Stan begrudgingly turns around and bends at the waist, Eddie shoving the paper onto the back of his yellow blazer, the pen being handed to Bill. "Do it, writer boy," Eddie says, a hand on his hip and a pout on his lips.

Bill awkwardly stands behind Stan, the pen poised in his hand to write what he's told.

"In Henry Bowers' handwriting. To: Ben, From: Henry. Party! You're invited! Can bring one plus one (if you can find one), got that, Denbrough?" Eddie dictates, pacing the bathroom.

"Uh- Ben's my friend," Bill says softly, not having gotten any farther than To: Ben.

"Do it, pussy," Eddie spits, "or we're going to have problems. Don't you wish you could be untouchable? Solid? We can do that for you, Billy Boy. Write out the fucking invitation."

Bill swallows thickly, copying Henry's handwriting to the best of his abilities despite his shaking hands, shoving the paper into Bev's grasp, "I did it," he assures as her eyes scan over the paper to be sure.

"He's not lying," she confirms, folding it neatly between her hands, her painted green nails that match her eyes reflecting off the fluorescent lights of the bathroom.

"See you on Saturday," Eddie says with a smirk, turning on his heel and leaving the bathroom, Bev and Stan following wordlessly. "Dress nice!" He calls as he goes down the hall.

Bill doesn't see Ben again until they're meant to walk home together, and Ben comes running up to him excitedly. "Bill! Bill! I got invited to the party!" He squeals, only resulting in a bittersweet side smile from Bill.

"Yeah? That's awesome!" He fakes, immediately going to change the subject to the beginning of the year English essay.

Chapter Text

Bill hears the lunch bell, walking over to Eddie's table, sliding into a seat next to them as he has for the past few days, donning a white and black striped shirt and a navy blazer, truly fitting in with them.

Ben watches on from his lonely table, having trouble focusing on his poetry book, he's been trying to get into it, wanting to impress Beverly.

Bill laughs with the group, complimenting how Bev's skirt looks today, though she seems to wear a similar one every single day. They talk and gossip and they treat him like an old friend.

Suddenly, another fight breaks out across the room, part of the daily routine. Bill recognizes one of the perpetrators as the same kid as the fistfight on the first day of school. His gaze gets locked on the fight, wanting to look away but his morbid curiosity takes over.

God, that's horrible, he thinks to himself, but that kid has muscles, and he's got a firey attitude, wouldn't want to get on his bad side, he sighs, biting his lip. He flinches at each punch, everything sounding like a sound effect in a bad movie.

He stands slowly as some teachers jump in to break up the fight, trying to get a good look at the teen's face. He's new, I don't know him, he concludes, Immediately making assumptions on him based on what he's seen.

He's violent... Did he get kicked out of somewhere? Maybe he tried to kill someone. I bet he tried to kill someone, he decides, his breathing quickening and he immediately sits back down, having scared his curiosity away.

Stan looks to him, fidgeting with the sleeve of his sunshine-colored blazer. "You good, Bill? Look like you've seen a murderer," he comments, hoping to snap Bill back into reality, wanting to hear more about Bev's date the night before.

"Yeah- No, I'm great," he assures, plastering on a smile, running his fingers through his hair with an awkward nod. "Just don't remember so many fights in our junior year," he says softly, looking a bit awkward.

"Oh Bill, sweet, innocent, Bill. You've just never been relevant to even know what's relevant," Eddie says, his tone smooth and condescending.

Bill closes his smile, looking down at his hands clasped together on the plastic table. He taps his feet in alternation, looking back up at Bev as she starts talking about how the guy tried to have sex on the first date, when everyone knows she doesn't put out until at least the third.

He looks back to the scene of the fight as he laughs along dryly, seeing that it had been broken up, hearing a teachers yelling echo from down the hall, probably at the murderer, he thinks to himself, turning back to his newfound friends as brightly as he can.

"Bev, I seriously can't believe, and you're way out of his league. Unless he's a college guy, he should complaining," Eddie laughs, talking as dramatically and theatrically as he can.

"I kn-know, it's idiotic!" She exclaims back, covering her mouth with the back of her hand as she laughs.

Bill has to drone out the noise, it's all too loud and all too overwhelming, he nearly cringes at how loud this all feels. He starts to stand, grabbing his try to put it back, despite the fact that it never had anything on it.

He puts it back, still feeling the roar of the cafeteria taking him over, he sucks in a deep breath, making the decision to rush to the bathroom. I just need to splash my face, he promises himself, pushing the door open.

He spots the new boy from the fight, going to turn on his heel to avoid him, but the teen had already caught his reflection in the mirror. "Hey," he says flatly, and Bill has to respond, why does this always happen to me?

Bill looks the other boy in the eye through his reflection in the mirror, stepping to the sink like he'd originally planned to, "Hi, bloody nose?" He asks, his spine chilled by the sudden quieter after the overwhelming noise of the cafeteria.

"Yeah, perks of getting into a fight, amirite?" The boy asks, putting his (hopefully) freshly washed hand out for Bill to shake, "Richie Tozier's my name, voices are my game," he smirks, using an awful accent through his entire introduction.

"Bill, here to wake myself up," Bill shakes Richie's hand back hesitantly, not knowing his rules of interaction now that he's with the popular crowd. He takes his hand back, pressing the stiff button to start the sink, catching the lukewarm water in cupped hands, time seeming to last forever until the water hits his face, shocking him back into normal speed.

"You seem to be having some trouble," Richie wonders out loud, a smug look on his face, his obviously very punchable face, Bill could feel that in this moment, but he remembers his promise to himself not to get on this boy's bad side.

"A little, my anxiety," he mumbles plainly, getting a paper towel and drying his face, not wanting to walk out looking like he'd been crying, especially since he hadn't been this time. This time; unlike that time in ninth grade I thought they'd never let live down.

"Ah, an anxious boy, are'ya?" Richie asks in yet another awful accent, making him seem even less intimidating, and even more punchable.

"Diagnosed, yeah," he says flatly, tossing the paper towel in the garbage by the door, not in the mood to bullshit his way through this, and something about Richie was nearly pulling the information straight from his brain and forcing the words out clumsily through his trembling lips.

"Ah! Me!" Richie agrees, punching his hands at the air theatrically, making Bill flinch, considering Richie's known track record.

Bill looks taken aback at how he admits it so excitedly, but it makes a lot of sense, considering how much Bill had already revealed to him, in their first conversation, in a school bathroom.

"It's kinda hard, changing schools again, y'know? Highschool is like prison," he says dramatically, leaning his head back and looking at the ceiling. "Prison rules, find the biggest guy in there and take him down- correction; second biggest, that was my mistake," Richie claims, wiping some more blood off of his upper lip.

Reference to prison, nice, he thinks to himself, his internal monologue dictating it in the most sarcastic way possible. "Uh, why did you change schools?" Bill asks, leaning against the cool tiled wall.

"Ah! Dad lost his job again, had to skedaddle, cheaper apartments available in Derry, so came here and got a good breath of that sweet derry-air," Richie responds with the same excitement of all his past statements, wiggling his eyebrows around suggestively just to make Bill more obviously uncomfortable than he already was.

Bill nods, crossing his arms over his chest with a sympathetic sigh. "Uh, nice?" He questions, unsure of how to respond, shifting awkwardly, "I really should get back to my friends, lunch is endi-," Bill starts before Richie interrupts him. Man, this kid likes to talk.

"Where is your mom? You may ask. Well, good sir, to answer that question, she left my dad and I for her scissor sister, Aubrey," he says with a grin, looking near proud of his tragic backstory.

"I'm sorry, that that happened, really, uh, hey-," he starts to excuse himself again but his intrigue takes over. "Do you miss her?"

"Sometimes, good fellow, also, unrelated, but you're a mighty fine blazer boy if I do say so myself," Richie says, licking his pointer fingers and rubbing them across his unruly eyebrows, something about it being disgustingly endearing to Bill. A teenage infatuation takes over, his eyes scanning over Richie's face again.

"Not so bad yourself," he admits, putting his hands in his dark jean's pockets. Really, the chance of something less monotonous was bringing a fresh wave of excitement to Bill's already raging hormones, his brain near manic with the need to constantly try new things.

He's hit what his goal has always been, popularity, being liked , now what? A relationship. He needs one, to find his own happily ever after, and Richie is the first to show genuine interest.

"Mind if I ask why you're sparking a cigarette in the bathroom, though? Pretty sure you can get in trouble for that," Bill comments, watching Richie's thumb flick the flame into existence, blue eyes trained on the orange glow.

"Dunno where the approved smoking areas are," Richie shrugs, "Always go for the bathroom. Only the bathroom, all school bathrooms are the same, safe zone, Billy boy," Richie shrugs, taking in a deep inhale, offering the last in his pack to Bill.

Bill does something he wouldn't expect, he accepts the gesture, standing against the wall next to Richie, letting him light it for him, taking a shuddering inhale of his own, the burn filling his throat and lungs, feeling more like it's filling his heart when Richie impulsively reaches for his hand.

Chapter Text

Bill pulls up to the house, one he's always dreaded even passing by. Bowers'. Henry's dad is out of town, leaving his house empty besides the teen who's been bullying Bill since early adolescence. The engine of his car sputters and wheezes, he doesn't usually drive the old junker but he thinks he better instead of showing up to a popular kid's party on an equally falling apart bike.

He sees Eddie's red blazer before anything else. The bloody shade pierces the crowd in a way that jolts into Bill's mind. An image he'll likely never forget. He puts on a happy smile, adjusting the navy sleeves of his jacket, meeting up with the group he'd recently joined.

"Hi," he greets smoothly, painfully sober for a situation he's automatically uncomfortable in.

"Oh finally, Bill, thought you wouldn't show up," Eddie teases almost flirtingly, tracing his finger down Bill's chest, the smell of booze just radiating off the boy.

"I'm here," Bill says with an awkward shrug, seeing someone walk by with a few red plastic cups, snatching one as quickly as he can. He's dabbled with alcohol, never too much though. And only when he was younger, being 17 now and not having drank much in the past two years.

He takes a confident swig from the cup, wincing at the "jungle juice" that Henry had put together, puckering his lips at the unexpected tart aftertaste. "So, wh-what's first?" He asks as he tries to regain his suave composure, one he'd only taught himself since meeting Eddie and the others.

"Partying- just in general," Stan slurs out with a smile Bill has never seen on his face before, the smile that only an uptight person can get when alcohol takes away their troubles if only for a while.

Bill returns Stan a slightly forced awkward grin, raising his cup ceremoniously to him before taking another swig, his goal being to blur everything together, making life look like an impressionism painting, a technique he's been working on in his art.

The swaying of the ground underneath him is more comfortable and usual feeling than he'd expect it to be, especially having been nearly completely sober for the last two years. He still is a lightweight, probably always be despite his continued drinking.

He stays in tune to the music even as the floor tilts and twists under him. At some point he wanders off to the living room instead of the kitchen. He finds the speakers, wanting to feel the waves of music course through his body and boom through his lungs.

His eyes close and he sees red flashing through his thin eyelids. He feels a certain comfort in the chaos, something he hasn't experienced in the longest time, maybe even ever.

He hears a moan from behind him, twirling around slowly, still stumbling under his feet. He trips on himself and catches himself with a quick and shaky step forward. He spots the pull out couch, his eyes blurring over like a camera lense until it focuses.

He sees flashes of sweaty skin mushed up against sweaty skin. The moans slide under the sounds of the music, muffled by something Bill can't see. He feels a tenseness in his pants that is a more newly awakened part of himself, having spent years alone and ignoring it.

He leans back against the wall, chewing his bottom lip, feeling pervy even in his cushioned drunken state, he shuffles his way out of the room, putting a hand on Eddie's shoulder clumsily, his drink still in his hand.

He falls forward slightly, his drink splashing over the edge onto Eddie's white v neck. "Ohhhh g-god, I'm s-s-suh-sorry," he slurs out, patting his hand on the wet part of Eddie's shirt, "Yikes th-that might stain," he mumbles out.

Eddie shrieks in response, sending Bill's heart pounding. "This is new!" He yells, backing away quick enough to send Bill nearly falling to the floor.

"You'll pay for this- God, this is why you don't take peasants under your wing," he shrieks until his voice hits a low grumble in his annoyance, summoning Stanley and Beverly to follow him as he storms off.

Bill is left confused, his state of mind making everything fuzzy, all he knows is that he's in trouble. The realization comes to him and suddenly he feels like he's completely sobered up for the sake of hearing this.

He sees Ben walk into the kitchen where he is, time moving in slow motion as he approaches Henry, very obviously thanking him for inviting him. Bill watches in fear as Ben gets nearly yelled at for showing up, and even more for thinking he'd been invited.

Bill's eyebrows crease in worry when he sees the rejection in Ben's face. Then he remembers- the note. He'd written that. He made that happen. He may as well have rejected him- he basically has.

In that moment he doesn't know how to tolerate himself, he's filled with a cocktail of upset feelings with more ingredients than the jungle juice he'd been sipping at earlier.

He straightens up and finally moves from his spot, getting out of there as fast as he can, even ducking at one point to hope that Ben won't notice him, he can't bear to face him.

He leaves, realizing he can't drive as he is. If his parents ever warned him about something, it was road safety. Because of an unsafe driver he still can't talk right on occasion.

He starts walking, a directive in his mind before he realizes he's not even sure how to get there, especially from Henry's house. He pulls up Snapchat, an app that can serve as a savior for him even though he never uses it.

He finds Richie's snap profile, relief washing over him when he sees that he has his location on. He lets the Snapchat map lead him, landing in front of an apartment building, as he would expect from the story Richie had been telling in the bathroom the other day.

He spots the fire escape, the most plausible option for himself to get up. He prepares himself for a climb, pulling up his pants and heading towards the wrought iron stairs.

He climbs clumsily, holding tightly onto the railings, he climbs up and up and up until he gets to Richie's window. He peers in to see Richie hunched over his laptop, looking at something like anime or who knows what.

He pushes open the window to find it unlocked, climbing in, falling to the floor as he expected he would. Richie spins around immediately, "What the fuck are you doing here? How'd you find my house?" He stage whispers, not wanting to wake his father.

"Th-that doesn't matter now, lover boy," Bill slurs out, approaching Richie and tugging him closer by the front of his shirt, causing them to share a first kiss.

"Fuck man, you're wasted," Richie breathes out when they separate. He looks into Bill's red rimmed eyes, not knowing what he should do, it feels the slightest bit wrong but Bill initiated it, going as far as to find his house.

"Mhmmm," Bill coos, helping Richie stand up despite his own instability, he seems to push Richie to the bed. Richi falls backwards onto the comforter.

He climbs on top of Richie, "You," he says, poking Richie in the center of his chest. "Aren't sl-sleeping tonight," he says, leaning down to suck Richie's neck.

Richie reacts by biting back a moan by chewing his lip. He arches his back up instinctively. Bill draws himself down Richie's neck, pulling down the shirt to get to Richie's collarbone clumsily before pulling away, "Shirt off," he says, fumbling with the edge.

Richie complies, full of adrenaline and excitement, actually being a virgin despite what he would say to others, he yanks the shirt off at near record speed, pulling Bill down into a kiss by the front of Bill's button up.

Their lips meet, sloppy and spitty and inexperienced. Finally, Bill starts pulling off his blazer and starting to unbutton his shirt as quick as he can with his non sober spindly fingers.

He goes down to Richie's chest, skin against skin, the heat filling him with a fuzzy feeling so much better than the feeling of alcohol settling in his stomach, this made him much less nauseous.

He leaves hickeys down Richie's neck down to his peck before fumbling with the fastens on his pants. Richie offers his assistance, looking Bill in the eye as he unzips and unbuttons. "You sure you want to?" He asks Bill, helping the pants off of Bill's hips.

Bill nods happily, pulling at Richie's pajama pants, his hands landing on Richie's bare ass. He didn't prepare for this: condoms, lube, actual knowledge, but he's not giving up now.

"T-turn," he directs, moving from his straddled spot so Richie can turn onto his stomach. Bill settles his hands on Richie's hips, he pushes himself into Richie's ass, hearing the groan from the other.

With the little preparation, this is likely to hurt but neither of them know that, and probably don't care. Bill is drunk and impulsive, and Richie is horny all the time.

Richie moans whenever Bill pushes further, moving his hips closer up towards Bill, feeling the stretching down below to accommodate.

Bill leans as he pushes further in, thrusting only slightly, trying to map out how this is meant to go. He leans forward to Richie's shoulder, nibbling at the skin there in a way that he hopes is erotic.

Richie continues to moan out incomprehensible sounds, obviously trying to say whatever in some awful English accent. Bill wouldn't expect it, but that almost turns him on more. He feels himself tingle all over, nearly trembling as he thrusts in again.

"They're g-gonna kill me y'know?" He whispers to Richie's ear, nibbling at the lobe intermittently as he speaks.

"Oh really?" Richie groans out, "I won't let them," he promises, a plan forming in his twisted mind though he doesn't even know what Bill means by they yet.

Bill thrusts in one more time, and Richie feels a warmth fill him, for a moment he doesn't know what it is, then he realizes and it turns him on even more, feeling his own trembling as Bill squeezes his hips.

Bill squeezes around Richie's ass hard enough to leave fingerprints in the skin, that was the goal. Bill is definitely the possessive type. Richie's neck looking as if he'd been mauled by a wild animal.

Richie feels himself come finally, something that's never been directly caused by another person, he'd always just been with his right hand, and occasionally cheating on her with his left.

Bill pulls out slowly, and the pain sets in on Richie's end, a hissing moan escaping him as he turns back onto his back to look up at Bill, "Wow," is all he can say, a slight wince from the burn down below.

Chapter Text

The night drags on after they both finish, clumsy, sloppy cuddling; Bill’s hopeless attempts to kiss Richie’s mouth and genuinely failing. It’ll have to wait until he’s sobered up some more. While Bill’s sweaty form snores up against Richie’s bare back, Richie lies awake in the early hours of the morning, watching the sun rise through the open crack of his curtains.

“They’re gonna kill me, y'know?” Bill had said the night before during their endeavors. He knows he can’t let that happen. There was a houseparty last night, Richie knows that much despite his lack of invitation. Bill had probably been there, though, knowing his popularity and newfound status with the singular most popular trio- now quartet, in the entire school.

He couldn’t let them hurt him in any way, the first person to pay attention to him in any sort of positive light. Bill is like a beacon in his eyes, almost like a tool to get to where he needs to be. He’s perfect. Now, he knows one thing. “They” are going down. He pops his knuckles with a tired satisfaction, sighing in relief at the release of pressure in his hands. It feels like go time due to his own impulsive nature, though he has a lot to collect before he acts upon the urges. He puts his hands on Bill’s arms that found themselves wrapped around Richie’s waist. There’s nothing he can do until the dipshit wakes up and explains, for now, Richie may as well let himself fall into his own slumber once more.

Bill is a much heavier sleeper than he would expect, probably a combination of the anxiety and alcohol of the night before, along with the loss of his virginity. The funny thing with that being that he will hardly even remember it when he wakes up. Though it may be a blessing, for it truly was just a mess of skin on skin and awkward movements, neither of them knowing how to do this in a way that will automatically feel good; considering they’re both teenage boys who have never made anyone but themselves feel good in that way.

It takes several hours for a point when they both reawake at the same time. There had been short periods between when one or the other had awaken, though each time they had decided that they didn’t want to wake the other. Their mutual respect became some sort of undoing for the two of them, though, not fully being out of bed and sliding back into their clothes until late afternoon. Bill pulls his flannel over his arms, hunching his shoulders to get it fully straightened out on himself.

“So what did you need me to tell you?” he asks, rubbing his temples foggily. This is regarding the first conversation of the day he’d had with Richie. Richie had seen that Bill had been awake and had bolted up with a crazed look on his face, claiming immediately that Bill has some information that he must spill. After a few moments of hungover processing, he’d promised to as soon as he had a shirt on and was on his way to an aspirin and a drink of orange juice.

Richie whips around again as he pulls up the fly of his jeans. “They, Bill, you gotta tell me who,” he says in a dead serious voice, his eyes narrowing and his bushy eyebrows furrowing and his face creasing up. “The ones who said they were going to kill you last night, they can’t do that, Bill,” Richie says, his expression crossing even more as Bill cracks a confused and uncomfortable smile.

“I don’t have any clue what you’re talking about, Rich,” Bill chuckles, starting at his adam’s apple to button down his shirt, his signature plaid look gone from red to a shade of navy blue. His normal red scheme of life turned a blue, a sea of “going with the flow” of whatever the popular kids want of him.

“Last night, when we had sex. You told me they want to kill you, I don’t take threats to my boyfriend lightly,” Richie states with a voice that quivers with an anger Bill doesn’t quite realize. He’s in too deep. His heart has grown too large for this boy, the one who will lead to nothing but trouble in his already messy life.

“The poplar kids, Eddie mostly,” Eddie says after wracking his brain for a moment to even remember what happened the night before during that party. One of his first major high school parties and he doesn’t even get to remember if there were any good parts. “I spilt a drink on the guy by mistake and he said I was going to pay for it. His shirt probably cost more than my entire life, that’s why he said he wants to kill me I think, but that’s just a guess because I just know he said he wants to kill me.” He explains it in its entirety in a relatively monotone voice, his eyes staying locked with the ceiling as he pulls the memory from the back of his head.

“Eddie said he’d kill you?” Richie repeats, his muscles tensing in an instinctual anger, his hands form to an automatic fist until he reminds himself that there’s no immediate danger, only the one he loves standing simply in front of him telling him of his struggles. “We should go talk to him tonight. Together, I’m not letting anything happen so you’re not going alone,” he says surely, hoping his ulterior motives don’t bubble to the surface. He doesn’t know what he’d do with himself if he scared Bill away from him.

“Yeah? I suppose,” Bill says with a nod, a slight smile at the bit of protectiveness that comes off Richie’s aura in waves, his own eyes filling with love, pupils dilating to take him in even more. He pushes the belt through the loop and ties it off finally, fully clothed and ready to live his life now. “Aspirin now?” he asks, changing the subject now that it seems to be more final with a plan set into place.

“Sounds good, Billiam,” Richie says, the anger washing away and the more normal sparkle returning to his eye. The one that makes nobody question him. The difference with Bill is that he isn’t faking it, it’s genuine and warm, the boy letting him let down a guard he seemingly hasn’t let down since when he was a young child and his life had a normality and schedule to it. Now, nothing is measured but his fixation on people he cares about. Every town it’s someone new, sometimes none and sometimes more than one. It all depends on who he ends up surrounded with after the move.

The two walk downstairs to the kitchen, Bill realizes that he’s never seen the lower level of Richie’s house, remembering how he had tumbled in through the second story window that night. He walks down the stairs carefully, the walls shifting around him in a hungover haze. The walls are bare, little nicks where the past family may have hung portraits or paintings, but nothing is on the walls now. There are no rugs on the wood floor that looks very obviously in need of being revamped, they’re dusty and and grayed and it honestly feels more like an abandoned house than a family home. It feels more like his own house than the houses of friend’s he’s been to.

He doesn’t know how to feel about how deeply he relates, it’s a breath of relief in one way; he finally has found someone who understands, but that means that Richie has dealt with what he has. He never wants someone to go through anything like he has, losing his brother was the worst thing he’d ever gone through, so he’d thought before his parents drifted and drifted until the state of today to a place where they don’t even do things as simple as saying good morning to each other.

“So, where’s your dad?” slips out, Bill’s face flushes deeply, he doesn’t mean to hurt or embarrass his boyfriend. Boyfriend, Richie, the two have become synonymous for them already. It had never been discussed but Richie had said it earlier and it felt right as soon as the words hit the air.

“Ah, work?” Richie says, trying to sound sure of his answer but it comes out more as a question. He never really know, Wentworth is the biggest workaholic he’s ever known. His dad cares, so much, he knows that, but the man is simply too busy trying to be successful and make a life for his single son.

Bill simply nods at the answer, accepting it easily. His original question had come out accidentally, and he’s glad to let the subject slip away from the two of them, it wasn’t meant to be a conversation topic. They hit the kitchen finally and Richie immediately goes to the cabinet across the room, Bill lingering in the doorway watching, his eyes squinting at the light.

“Ibuprofen or Advil? I don’t usually take stuff for headaches,” he asks back with a shrug, holding both the bottles in his hands and looking over his shoulder to look at Bill’s tired expression, his hand shielding his eyes from even the dim light streaming through the windows of the kitchen, windows that don’t have curtains. The Tozier family has lived here for two months now and they still don’t have curtains or much more than paper plates and plastic spoons and forks.

“Advil, that’s the one I usually go for,” Bill says with a grateful nod, making his way to stand behind Richie and take the red bottle. He struggles with the top while Richie grabs a Mountain Dew from the box on the floor next to the fridge.

Bill pops three of the red pills in his mouth taking the can as it’s tossed to him, “Is it gonna explode on me?” Bill asks with a cocked up eyebrow and an attempt at a grin in Richie’s direction. Richie offers Bill a weak smile in return.

“Probably noooot,” he draws out nervously, “Just try it, you’ll be good,” he teases, kicking the box closer up to the fridge again to ensure that neither he or Wentworth would trip over it, they’re both a bit anal about their space being relatively clear, it’s all about the convenience for them, as long as they keep things the way they are, they have a completely content father-son relationship.

Bill pops open the tab, getting less sticky splatter on himself than he’d originally expected, he’s gotten lucky this time. He takes a swig of the sugary drink, feeling the liquid rush to his head in his obvious post-party dehydration. “Thanks,” he says, gesturing the can up to Richie before setting it on the counter. “What’s the plan again?” he asks tentatively, genuinely having forgotten what they’d already discussed in this simple span of minutes.

Richie sighs slightly, rubbing at the center of his forehead in a joking frustration. “We’re gonna go to Eddie’s tonight, and just have a little chat, explain things, make sure he understands you never purposefully hurt him. He needs to be careful about what he says to you,” Richie says surely, his fists instinctively clenching again, but he pulls himself from the mindset, letting his muscles relax and soothing himself by drowning in the deep blue of Bill’s eyes.

Bill nods back slowly, picking up the can to take another swig, squeezing his eyes shut as he rehydrates himself, taking a step backwards to keep himself up against the lingering dizziness. “You’ll defend me if you need to, right?” he asks again, his anxious tendencies rising up within him once again. He hadn’t been home last night to take his meds. “Can we meet there? I need to go home and take care of some stuff,” he suggests sheepishly, feeling a bit embarrassed to need to take a medication to center himself.

“Yeah, definitely, and do what you need to do, I gotta shower and get my plan together,” he says carefully. He only mumbles the second part quietly, he doesn’t know how well Bill will take to his “plan”, but he knows it must be done, he needs to protect Bill, and protect everyone else too, from the evil that he’s seen in Eddie Kaspbrak.

- -

The hours pass with the two in their own separate homes, preparing themselves for the same expected situation in completely different ways. Bill takes his medication and suits up in another blue blazer and pair of black skinny jeans, slicking his hair back with water, making James Bond references to himself to try and create a safer mindscape for himself. Richie, however, showers and gets into his normal t-shirt and jacket, letting his wet curls dangle in their normal mess. They aren’t even apart for a few hours before they feel a near magnetic need to be together again. The truest sign of infatuation. It should be Bill’s warning sign for what he’s falling into, but he’s too blinded by his so called love for this new boy.

After what feels like days to the two of them drags on, the moon makes her ascent into the night sky. Go time. Richie texts Bill that he’s ready and Bill jolts up from his spot on the couch with no hesitation. He gets in the car and makes his way back to the Tozier residence purely by memory. He doesn’t even need to leave the vehicle or contact Richie, the boy is already sitting sprawled out on the front step of the house and he’s up on his feet before Bill can even process it.

He slides into the passenger seat, fastening his seat belt like a “good boy”. “Hello, loverboy,” he hums with a smooth wink. He’s not the smoothest but Bill melts like butter the moment he speaks.

“Hey Rich, straight to Eddie’s?” he asks, chuckling nervously now at the implication that this is actually happening. He’s really going to confront the other man for the experience they had when they had both been drunk. Eddie may not even remember, but it still leaves Bill on edge and doesn’t even know how to spark a conversation. What’s he to do? Just show up on the doorstep and demand to be let in and demand a mutual apology? He feels in over his head.

“Yes, sir, I’ll do all the talking,” Richie says, seeing the anxiety building through Bill’s bones, his shoulders tensing up completely to where he’d even having difficulty turning out onto the road. Richie doesn’t like to see him like this. He can’t let these people hurt him so much. He feels even more assured in the original plan, because though Eddie hasn’t laid a hand on Bill, he’s obviously hurting.

Bill finally lets a deep breath out, turning onto the street to go down from Witcham to Jackson street where he knows Eddie lives. He drives up and down the road several times before finally letting himself park on the street instead of going into the driveway, that feels next level creepy of him.

He sighs out one more time, looking at Richie next to him, he’s avoided his eyes up until now. “Are you ready to go up there?” he asks softly, chewing his lip in anxiousness in his second thoughts. He already fishes in his pocket for another one of his meds, he hadn’t expected to get to this point so quickly.

They nod to each other silently, both clicking their buckles off and exiting the car in near unison. Bill takes it as a sign that they’re soulmates. Of course he’s already felt that, but he feels even more sure in his thought, his decision to be with Richie feels to be his favorite of all of them.

Bill takes the honor of knocking his knuckles on the red door. Red. Eddie Kaspbrak is red. It takes several minutes for the boy to come to the door. Eddie has a mask spread over his face and a light and fluffy pink robe draped over his shoulders to show his silky red pajama set underneath.

“Bill? Can I help you?” he asks, a slight edge to his voice especially as he eyes Richie’s presence suspiciously. He doesn’t know this kid, and he’s at his house. This already feels wrong for Eddie despite Bill finally cooling down thanks to the Xanax he’d popped in the car.

“Uh yeah, can we talk?” Bill asks, swaying a bit in his spot. He doesn’t know how many he’s taken by now, he is prescribed, but it’s supposed to be used on a “need to” basis and today has been difficult, and he’s no less than at least slightly high on them now, not processing anything around him to his full potential.

“Uh, I suppose,” Eddie says, looking behind him to the living room to be sure his mom is still snoring in her chair. He can’t imagine the trouble he could get into with her if she knew about this. She already hardly trusts him to leave the house or sleep over at Bev’s or Stan’s, if she knew that random kids that she doesn’t know were coming into her house late at night she would have him by the ear.

Bill and Richie come in quietly, following Eddie’s tiptoeing up the stairs to the boy’s room. Bill looks around as he walks just as he had in Richie’s. He sees something in the Kaspbrak household that he hasn’t seen. A hoarding of objects he can hardly recognize aside from a few packages that look like they match photos in magazines and some with the label “as seen on tv” pasted on them in big, red levels. Eddie Kaspbrak is red. He remembers that well.

They all sit on the bean bag chairs in Eddie’s room, Bill only looking at his hands until he draws one to his mouth to chew on the skin around his fingernails. He hasn’t done that since he befriended Eddie and his group, it truly does make him feel guilty.

“So uh- Eddie, you don’t plan on any harm coming to my boy Bill here, yeah?” Richie starts, having a reckless bluntness, he doesn’t care if he gets in trouble, he just needs to protect Bill. Eddie only adopts an expression of confusion, not remembering Friday night due to the “punch” goggles.

“Uh- no?” Eddie says, his eyebrow up in confusion. Richie takes it as a lie, as Eddie only trying to protect himself due to Richie’s immediate aggression. It only builds on Richie’s anger. Bill simply only sits in his spot and chews his finger lazily; he’s obviously disassociating.

Richie stands, “Can I have a drink?” he asks kindly, putting on a new facade. His plan sets into action, Eddie nods, just wanting to keep up his reputation of being a good host. He doesn’t want people at school to think he’s mean. His mom, Sonia, is mean, he does not want to be mean.

He disappears out of the bedroom door and all the way down to the kitchen, pouring a glass of blue gatorade for the other man. He brings it back upstairs with a sigh, “Here, how soon are you going to leave? I can only have my mask on for another ten minutes before my face starts cracking up,” he complains as the glass is passed into Richies hand. Richie smirks.

“Oh don’t worry, it won’t be a problem, I’m sure of it,” he says, his voice sliding almost into a devilish gravel. He wants his voice to match his thoughts, deep and something for others to be fearful of. And he can see the fear in Eddie’s expression, he feeds off of it. It only builds his need. “I’ll be back, all this gatorade makes me need to take a leak,” Richie says, despite the liquid in the cup having gone untouched thus far.

Before Eddie can even respond, Richie skirts off to the bathroom, hoping to find the bleach, which he smirks in success when he immediately finds it on the ground next to the sink. Perfect. He picks it up carefully, groaning at it’s weight. He pours in a fair amount, noticing that the level of the liquid rose a too noticable amount, pouring some down the sink to make it even again.

He smirks at the glass, looking in the mirror gladly at himself. The power he feels in this moment is near unreal. He’s felt it before. He almost can’t wait for the adrenaline of going uncaught. Happens every time in every town he improves. The bad must go. The shallow, the evil, the mean, the catty. Gone. It’s an ideal world with people like him around to fix it.

He flushes the toilet to signal to the other two that he’s about to come back, turning on the sink for no more than six seconds before opening the door for himself to go back to the room across the hall. He finds Eddie sitting nervously in the chair, looking up at Richie with wide eyes.

“I think the gatorade tastes weird, have a sip and let me know?” Richie asks, holding an innocent expression again; for only a split second his maniacal expression returns. Eddie nods purely out of intimidation.

“Yeah, uh, sure,” Eddie says, sitting up straighter and taking the glass, he holds it to his lips before letting the sour liquid run down his throat, feeling his throat choke up. “It- it definitely- not right,” he says, pushing himself up to stand, stumbling around choking, blue liquid dripping from his lips.

Bill snaps from his own little world back into reality at the sound of the coughing, “Eddie- Richie! What the fuck?!” he shrieks, jumping from his own seat only to watch eddie fall to the ground, his entire face pale and his lips blue from lack of oxygen as well as the gatorade that lingers mixed in with his saliva.

“Quick, quick Bill, find his stationary, the paper he’d use himself,” Richie says, his full body coursing with adrenaline. He scrambles over to Eddie’s neat little desk, lifting a notebook from the top, tossing it in Bill’s direction, whose shaking hands catch it clumsily.

“Write it down, tell the world why he couldn’t be in it,” Richie purrs, having heard of Bill’s forgery skills from a kid in the hallway. “Make sure his handwriting looks right, we can’t get caught. I’ve never been caught, Bill,” he says in a rushed and quiet voice. He bites the cap off Eddie’s favorite red pen, throwing that to Bill now.

Bill catches the pen, looking down at the paper and over to Richie, “What the fuck?” he asks again, his voice trembling with tears.

“Bill- it was a mistake, but you don’t want to go to jail, do you?” Richie pleads, putting on the manipulative puppy dog-eyed face again. He’s really learned his way around acting, especially theater in Florida two towns ago, he really perfected the trembling lip then. A year or so ago a therapist told him he may have a personality disorder, his solution was to hide it even better.

Bill nods, looking scared in an almost childlike way. It makes Richie feel even better, makes him like Bill even more. His beautiful, innocent, pretty little boy. “Write it. Popularity killed Eddie Kaspbrak.”

Bill scribbles in the corner of the page to get the pen started, a few tears drop to the page as he writes. Good, the tears will make it a more realistic suicide note, he tells himself, before cringing even more. He doesn’t want to be crazy, he doesn’t want to be a part of this. It’s awful. He just wants to go home and take a long shower, cleanse himself of the day.

Dear Derry High,
I’m more than who you think I was. I’m more than snappy comments and my homosexuality. I like more than clothes and parties.. Even if it never seemed like I wasn’t so shallow. The expectations to be who I was got to be too much, I can’t do it anymore. Leave my clothes to the homeless shelter, makeup to the women’s shelter. Society broke me but it doesn’t need to break you.

Bill swallows thickly at what he just wrote. He feels so dirty, so awful. He wishes he had the knowledge to write more, more truthful. He just wants to make this better, but Eddie is already dead, it’s not his fault. It’s not his fault. It’s not his fault. He repeats it over and over, though he knows it’ll tear him up inside, but he wouldn’t do well in prison.

School still comes on Monday, and everyone already got the news from Twitter, Bev had made the tweet. She’s not at school today. She claims it’s for her grieving but her Instagram shows she’s at a spa. Who is Bill to judge though, she’s dealing with it her own way. It’s not my fault, he tells himself one more time. Don’t be involved.

The school does nothing but talk about it all morning, the teachers frankly are getting sick of it. Everyone sits down at lunch finally, talk on their own time. Bill sits with Stan, who’s very obviously shaken. He’s never missed a day of high school, not since he was gone so much in middle school. He feels the need to make up for his attendance.

“Hey, Stan,” Bill says softly, his own voice shaking. The guilt is eating him alive just as he thought it would, but he feels a sense of sadness just over Eddie not being there. Eddie was a good guy, he really was. And it’s almost like losing a brother. Like losing Georgie. It feels weird to think that way though, he can’t bring it up. He’s only really known Eddie for a few weeks.

“Hey Bill, this is- I’m sorry,” Stan says, his voice mumbly and low. He’s always been a mumbler, Bill knows this much. “This is a lot, I miss him already,” he sighs, looking down at his empty tray. He’s too sad to eat.

They’re interrupted from their awkwardness when another boy sits beside them, making them both jump, they’re used to the four of them. With Bev gone for the day and Eddie gone for.. Forever, they hadn’t expected another table mate.

“I- you might know me, I’m Mike, I’m really sorry, you guys. I know all you guys were close,” he apologizes, looking down at his own clasped hands in his lap. “I just want you guys to know I’m here for you, the counselors office is open too, they’re giving grief counseling for the next week, but I’m an aid in there, come see me any time,” he says softly, Bill nodding back at him.

“Thank you, Mike, it really means a lot,” Bill says, his lip quivering at the thought of even trying to talk about how he feels. He’d get arrested for what he knows, so he can’t even open his mouth about it. He’s stuck with the guilt. He looks across the lunch room to where the garbage cans are, seeing Richie sitting right there, going about life as normal. It just feels wrong.

Chapter Text

By the time that Bill makes it to math class, his last hour in school before he gets to escape to the comfort of his own home. No more time to sit here sweating and trying to hide his guilt. He sneaks a look at his phone from inside his sweatshirt pocket. The first thing that catches his eye is that Stan sent him a text relatively ten minutes ago. “Hang out tonight?” he’d asks. Bill chews his lip, he doesn’t know if he could stomach that. Hanging out for a night with someone who genuinely liked Eddie, at least it seemed so. They were close, and Bill would be lying if he said he hadn’t seen them get cozy, and even kiss on occasion. They were a couple, Bill doesn’t know if he can keep his mouth long enough with Stan.

He sighs and looks at his calculus worksheet, chewing his lip for a moment before looking back at the lit screen, pressing the home button with his thumb to unlock it. His thumbs dance anxiously over his keyboard on the conversation. He finally lets out another sigh and types out simply. “Sure, I’ll meet you at my locker after the final bell.” he presses send and swallows thickly before picking up his blue pen once again to finish the problem he was working on before. He finishes before everyone else, there’s a reason he’d almost skipped a grade. Maybe he should have. He could have narrowly missed the year of the undoing of Derry high school that is soon to come, it’s already starting to unravel like a ball of twine. Red twine. Like the kind they use on tv in detective shows to show evidence- fuck, Bill tells himself yet again. He doesn’t know how to stop the thoughts, he didn’t even do anything, only witnessed.

Time seems to move like molasses, more though Bill feels as if moving through life is like swimming through molasses. He has to push and push to keep going, he feels like he’s been holding his breath. He just wants to finally let go but he fears the entire story will come tumbling out with as simple as a sigh. The bell rings, cutting through his hazy mind and signalling his reaction by reflex to put away his things and sling his backpack of his shoulder. He has to provide himself with his next mission. Meet Stan at his locker, make it through an evening with Stan. Then, he can spill everything to his diary that he’s held in since the weekend. It feels as though it’s been weeks, he doesn’t know how killers do this, he doesn't understand how Richie can do this.

Richie. He’d almost forgotten. Richie is so tender with him, treating him lovingly as if he’s made of glass, that he must be protected. He wracks his brain for any answer to how Richie could do this at all. He said he’s never been caught, which means he’s done this before. The confusion leaves Bill near tears as he navigates the hallway. He knows well enough how much it hurts to lose someone to murder, Georgie. The young boy comes to mind, he’s surprised he hasn’t already. He can’t believe he’s been involved in this, causing this kind of mess to someone. He hates himself. He can almost hear Richie’s voice in his head though, “C’mon, Billy, you wouldn’t want to get caught, would you?” the voice whispers as he finds himself right up to Stan’s locker. He sucks in a fresh breath of air and smiles weakly for Stan.

“Hey, how are you holding up?” Bill asks quietly, reaching his hand to rub Stan’s arm comfortingly. New mission, ignore his own feelings to help Stan, the other boy had obviously reached out to him for a reason. Of course he’s hurting, Bill is only being selfish. Bill Denbrough has a habit of ignoring his own problems, he probably will never admit out loud that he’s truly been traumatized. He didn’t instigate the murder, he never told Richie to do it, he didn’t want to be involved even after it happened. Everything he’d done there had been completely for the sake of covering their tracks.

Stan stays quiet, his eyes trained on the floor, his face pale but calm. He seems to still be in shock, he’s not feeling it completely yet, it’s truly a blessing to not be any further through the stages of grief. Soon he’ll be crying and falling apart and blaming others and then blaming himself. Bill can’t imagine how hard it will be for Stan. From what he knows, not only were Stan and Eddie secretly together, but Stan has never lost someone this way. He’s never been to a funeral of someone he’d actually known, only random second cousins and distant relatives several times removed. It may have been easier if Eddie hadn’t always been so tender with him. The way Richie is so tender with Bill. Richie is no saint, it’s coming to view finally now that Bill lets it sink it, Eddie wasn’t either. At least Eddie hadn’t been a killer.

“I’m- alright,” Stan says softly, holding his books closer to his chest, adjusting them so he can keep them up in his arms as they’d been slipping. “It’s just so sudden. I didn’t know he’d been so sad, I wish he would have let me help,” Stan says, still keeping his eyes aimed at the tile of the hallway, licking his lips compulsively. He’d obviously been crying the night before, his lips were more chapped than Bill has ever seen them, Stan is a religious moisturizer and keeps himself hydrated. The normal Stan wouldn’t dare stand to be in this state, especially in public.

“You wanna go to your house? Or mine? Or anywhere, I really don’t mind,” Bill offers, his voice soft and soothing as usual when he talks to people he wants to comfort. He’s always been really good at that. It’s one of the reasons he and Ben had gotten along so well. Ben, oh how Bill longs to go back to him, back to normal. He wants to rewind the world he’s living in back to September first of 2018 and sit down at the lunch table and joke about the new romantic comedies on Netflix despite the fact that they would watch these later that night and cry and laugh openly.

“There’s actually going to be a candlelight vigil tonight at the park, for Eds y’know,” Stan says in his normal mumbling tone, seeming even more bittersweet. It’s even more a wake up call that Eddie is really gone for him. “I was thinking you would go with me, I’m not sure if Bev is going, and us two are friends, y’know?” Stan goes on, not finding the courage for his hazel eyes to meet Bill’s concerned blue ones yet.

“Yeah, of course we can go, I’ll drive.” Eddie always drove. Eddie had a hotter car than Bill had, it was safer and cleaner and flashier, one of Eddie’s prized possessions. It feels almost wrong of Bill to offer to, but he knows that Stan doesn’t drive and doesn’t have a car of his own. Stan simply nods, “We can hang out at my house until the sun goes down when it’s time to go, I won’t let us be late,” Bill promises, reaching to link his arm with Stan’s.

“Thank you, Bill,” Stan says with a sure nod, finally letting his eyes meet Bill’s. He finally seems to be calming, his shoulders relaxing and his face staying soothed. They walk outside to Bill’s car, dropping their bags in the back seat and sitting up in the front, chuckling slightly as the car groans and wheezes to a slow start. It’s always a gamble of it the car will work again this time, but they get lucky enough to pull out of the parking spot and out onto the road on the way to the Denbrough residence.

The two plop themselves on the couch in the living room, watching various cartoons on the television. It was a measured plan on Bill’s part, watching tv meant he wouldn’t have to talk, knowing how little Stan talks unprompted, and Bill knows he wouldn’t know what to talk about, the death still plaguing his mind in a thick black fog that leaves him unable to do anything else. He wants nothing but to forget completely.

Finally, the time comes when the sun has gone down and it’s time to go back to the car and drive down to the park for the vigil. Bill eyes the clock and looks back at Stan before picking up the remote and shutting the tv off, “Hey, we should probably get going,” he says in a hushed voice to Stan. “Eddie always liked being on time,” he says with a weak smile, wanting to help lighten the situation.

“Yeah, he’d kill us if we were late to this,” Stan says with a small grin of his own, sitting up before pushing himself all the way to his feet. Bill mirrors the same, the two of them linking their arms together again, locking the front door behind them. The drive to the park is uncomfortably quiet. Stan has known Eddie as long as he can remember, Bill has only come into their lives this year.

As they step out of the car, the air is as cold and unforgiving as the cup of poisoned gatorade Eddie had downed merely days ago. Eddie may not have been the best person, but it almost seems that the weather dropped nearer to winter temperatures since he’s been gone. Bill and Stan huddle deeper into their coats, pulling their arms over their chests to hold their warmth in. They join the small group in the grass, being offered the most pitiful expressions they have to date. At least Stan, Bill knows those looks. The same from the funeral of one Georgie Denbrough.

They’re handed small tea candles, having them lit by a match. They’re surprised to find that this has all been organized by Mike Hanlon. Mike never knew Eddie well, but at least Eddie’s taunts for him never included his skin color. Eddie believed in equality, he’s treat almost everyone as bad as everyone else, simply a complex of feeling more important. His mindset stemmed from traumatic experiences, not much different than Richie’s mindset, but Richie is far too gone. Eddie would never get worse, or better. His potential for improvement was robbed from him. Mike put this together because he knew nobody else would. Not many people were fond enough of Eddie, and the few who are were too close to him to be in the right mind to do this for him.

“Thank you,” Bill says as Mike lights the candle cupped in between his hands. He holds it gently and looks at the flickering flame. He’s never noticed before that the fire can be a metaphor for life. It can flicker and die out with a simple breeze, or it can roar with a violent passion, destroying everything that comes in it’s past. Eddie’s flame had been blown out, and Richie’s was thriving under the exact circumstances.

Stan looks down at his own candle, maybe thinking the same, of course without the metaphor to Richie, or even knowing that Eddie’s death was any more than a suicide. Bill can’t get over the fact, Eddie Kaspbrak has been murdered, and the sole part he had in the murder was making everyone believe it wasn’t a murder. It’s nothing less than an offense on the life Eddie had lived.

A few people step up and speak sweet words, Bill can debunk every one of them. None of these people really liked Eddie personally or otherwise. It’s all bullshit, they’re making grieving trendy, something they all need to do to continue to fit in to any status quo and not be seen as a monster simply for resenting someone who treated them badly. Everyone is so insincere. He doesn’t hear a testimony true to how someone actually saw the popular boy. That was when Stanley Uris pulled out enough courage to stand in front of the crowd and speak in a shaking voice.

“I’m Stan, as you guys know, Eddie and I were close,” he says before taking a gasping breath between statements. “He and I were together, I never knew he wasn’t happy, I didn’t know how much he was hurting. And I do blame myself for that,” he continues with a sniffle. “When I heard the news I cried because the description of the scene sounded like one from a horror movie, like how you feel when you see something like that on the news but someone telling you in real life. I was numb after that, it doesn’t feel real. Until I was here now,” he says with a near silent sob, “With all these people listening, it just felt like he was staying home from school. I know he wasn’t always kind to you guys and-” he takes another breath, “I want to apologize on his behalf, he didn’t mean it, truly, I promise that,” Stan finishes, deciding he can’t go on any more with how much his voice quivers with the tears he’s holding back.

Stan finally stands down from the spot, dispersing back to his spot with Bill among the others. He hopes he made the right choice, he doesn’t want backlash, and he doesn’t want to hear anything more negative about his late boyfriend, it’s disrespect for the dead which is just as bad as the fact they speak badly of the one he loved. He knows Eddie was no saint, but the boy wasn’t evil either, and he didn’t deserve the fate that came to him. Nobody deserve to be so trapped in their own mind that they take their own life, nobody deserves to scream so fucking loudly that nobody can hear them. He’d probably been screaming so long that he lost his voice, couldn’t keep it up.

Bill feels someone bump their arm against his and stay there, trying to lace their fingers with his. He half expects to turn around and see Richie Tozier also at the vigil for the boy they killed, but it ends up being someone who makes Bill do a double take, pulling away quickly. Patrick Hocksetter, probably one of his least favorite people. The kid has bullied him since kindergarten and only tolerates him now because of who he hangs out with, it’s gross.

“Got an issue, William? Your little boyfriend isn’t here, pretty boy,” the other man teases, trying to grab for Bill’s hand like the sleazy asshole he is. Bill yanks his hand back again, more force this time now that Richie is brought up. Richie may not be the best or the best influence, but Bill Denbrough has no interest in being unfaithful to him.

“I’m not a cheater,” Bill says assuredly to the bully, his eyebrows set in a position of dominance, as if he’s taller and more powerful than the kid he hears walks around with a makeshift flamethrower, a lighter and hairspray. Bill will have to remember that. He doesn’t know how to keep himself civil, murder on his mind and pulling his strings until he’s on edge enough to snap.

“C’mon, buddy, he doesn’t need to know, a good guy is only a bad guy who hasn’t been caught,” Patrick purrs, pushing them out of the circle and closer to the forest. Bill doesn’t know how everyone else doesn’t notice, he feels vulnerable. The scene he sees over Patrick’s shoulder just looks like fire, not candles, not people, only golden flames that leave an awful burning smell with the floating embers.

That all is, until a groan escapes his harasser, a shove had come to him at the hands of none other than Richie, the “boyfriend who wouldn’t have to know.” “Tell me why your grubby hands were on my boyfriend’s waist?” Richie asks in a tone that just begs Patrick to test him.

“What about it, psycho?” Patrick hisses, stepping back swiftly to escape any other attacks from the infatuated man. Infatuated, that’s the word to describe it. Richie can’t take his eyes off of Bill half the time, he can’t bear to be apart from him. He needs him, he’ll simply die without him right there next to him.

“Keep your hands off of him if you know what’s good for you, Cocksetter,” Richie says, his tone one that nobody in their right mind would want to reckon with. Bill, however, isn’t in his right mind, though he wants only to do positive things with this man, wanting to just go back to Richie’s and make him his again.

Patrick finally backs away, going back to the crowd only to escape Richie, obviously not in his right mind himself, but he knows well enough to stay away.


After the vigil, Bill and Richie end up in Bill’s car, Stan had gotten a ride with someone else, realizing how shaken Bill is from what happened with Patrick, and Stan knows well enough how it feels, the Bowers gang has always been pretty awful to him, but Henry and Patrick are the worst.

Richie sits in the passenger side, his cigarette smoke floating off the tip out the window in curling ribbons as the nicotine calms him. Bill can’t resist the look on Richie’s face, he can’t resist Richie’s face, period. He climbs over the space between their seats, settling in Richie’s lap, straddling his legs over his thighs, dipping his body down to meet his lips to Richie’s. He can taste the smoke in lips and lingering on his tongue.

Richie catches Bill’s lips in his own hungrily, his hands gripping tightly at Bill’s sides, he’s always in the mood for a good makeout session. Suddenly his eyes pop open, his lips cease to keep moving, Bill pulling away sensually with a doe look in his eyes, wanting to go right back to what he was doing.

“I have an idea, lovely,” Richie purrs, running his hands up and down Bill’s sides in a way that makes the boy shiver with pleasure, “For us to get back at Patrick and Henry,” Richie adds, seeing Bill’s expression shift to one of interest, listening closely. “We can prank them, expose them for how they really are,” Richie smirks, pulling the idea together in his head, compiling how he will have to describe it to Bill, he’s unsure if Bill will trust him anymore.


The night comes and goes, the boys had returned to their acts in the car. Bill can says he’s really broken in his car now, and he’d say it with a smirk and then an awkward laugh. “They’re called que no es de fiar aparentar bullets, got them at a prank store,” Richie says, hiding his lie smoothly behind a buttery false Spanish accent.

“So they’re fake?” Bill asks, a confused expression on his face, his big blue puppy dog eyes bringing Richie in further to him until they are touching again.

“Completely false, gonna knock the boys unconscious, we’ll just leave them naked for the police to find before they come to, they’ll be the laugh of the school now,” Richie smiles. “They deserve it,” he reminds him softly, brushing his thumb against Bill’s cheek.

Bill nods back hesitantly. He’s always been one for revenge, but he doesn’t know about this. Patrick and Henry have always terrorized him, he’s still scared of them. He almost feels like this will make him feel like he has too much power. He knows what power does to people, it’s almost never a good result. He takes the loaded gun from Richie’s hand, letting his finger run over the trigger, a shiver running down his spine. He doesn’t know if this feels extremely right or extremely wrong, but it feels like something that threatens to take him over. “They should be here soon, I called them a bit ago,” he says solemnly.

Richie nods back, taking his own identical weapon in his hands, holding it like he has before, the adrenaline is always the same. He almost craves it, but he’s learned to control it more when he’s on his own, but around Bill, oh he feels powerful. It’s his duty now, he has to protect this man. Even if that means bloodshed, the world is too full of corrupt people anyways, he justifies to himself as he starts to walk away. Orange leaves crunch beneath his shoes as he walks through the woods, fidgeting from all his restless energy.

He watches as the two boys approach Bill with their usual confident gait. It only makes him smirk to himself, they wouldn’t be so confident for so long. He watches Bill in his acting, flirting with them and then having them strip down, standing apart, then he watches Bill’s gaze flicker to his direction and he knows it’s go time.

He aims the weapon, he pulls the trigger. It hits Henry as he expected it to, he watches the bullet leave Bill’s gun and narrowly miss Patrick. Shit. he takes it upon himself immediately to take over that job too, getting Patrick just as he tries to get away. He feels the same adrenaline as he had with Eddie before but softens when he hears a scream come from no other than Bill.

“Richie- are they supposed to bleed this much? Are they- are they dead?” Bill asks, looking and sounding on the verge of tears as his voice wavers, wrapping his arms around Richie as soon as he approaches him, hiding his face in Richie’s chest.

“Calm down, baby, just another evil defeated,” Richie purrs, running his hands through Bill’s hair tenderly, “We should get going, don’t wanna get caught, do we?” he says, pulling away and grabbing Bill’s cold hand in his own.

It’s only now that Bill realizes exactly how crazy Richie might be, tears streaming down his own face, he can’t do this any longer. He can’t keep being so violent. He can’t mess up himself and his future so badly. He’s only hardly grown up, freshly eighteen and with so much ahead of him. He needs to put an end to this.

Chapter Text

The following day it’s announced at Derry High School that Patrick Hocksetter and Henry Bowers had died the day before. They called it a suicide, just as Richie had planned them to see it. The boys had been found naked and each with bullet wounds in their chests. A note was left, Richie had Bill write it in the car just in case the police came earlier than they expected them to. It had detailed how they were gay and hid their relationship for fear of retaliation from the gay kids they bullied, ironic what Richie had made Bill write really. It really is like that, except not by Henry and Patrick’s own hands.

When the announcement comes during homeroom, Bill puts his head in his arms on his desk, closing his eyes and breathing out, Richie’s words playing through his head over and over. “Just another evil defeated.” but it doesn’t feel like an evil defeated, only one created, building up inside he and his boyfriend up and up until it all blows up. Maybe they’re too perfect of a match, that’s why their flame burns so violently, taking it’s toll on the school.

The announcement ends and the speakers crackle into quiet, leaving a quiet classroom behind, nobody dares say anything. The bullies definitely hadn’t been liked, much closer to hated, but the pure amount of trauma in the past week has left them all on edge. Bill sighs, he has always been an angsty person, but now his teen angst bullshit has a body count. He finally lifts his head as his teacher starts speaking, talking of condolences to the families and friends of the boys, and announcing when and where the funeral will be. Bill already knows he won’t go, it would be too much to have to see their parents, he’s never actually known much about either of their families… except Patrick’s late younger brother, he knows plenty about that.

The funniest thing is that the day goes on like normal, nothing really happens. The whole time Bill feels like a police officer will come and retrieve him, like he’ll be caught. But he never is, nor is Richie. It feels wrong that he isn’t being punished for his crime, he knows he shouldn’t have done this, and he knows he never wants to do it again, ever. It was enough with Eddie, and now the guilt chews away at him like a piece of beef jerky.

He and Richie meet up again after school, sitting in the car in silence, Richie smoking a cigarette to try and self medicate his anxiety. He offers one to Bill, who takes it in his pale and shaky hand, to hesitant lips, letting the fire in his lungs take over, hoping it’ll choke his brain and the thoughts will end. The smoke trails off in thin ribbons out the window, blowing away in the wind. The guilt still doesn’t end. “Richie, we can’t keep up like this- I want to turn myself in,” Bill says finally, his voice trembling at the thought of even talking to a police officer after all that’s happened.

“Bill, no, you can’t do that, I’ll get in trouble too, you wouldn’t,” Richie says in a gravelly voice, one that Bill hasn’t ever had directed at him from him, he thought he cared too much about him to be like this. “You need to stay strong, Darling,” he says, getting calm with him again, letting the words drip off his tongue like sweet honey, the one reserved only for the ones he loves. He saw the fear in Bill’s face, he can’t make him look that way. When Bill is scared, he’s scared. When Bill hurts, he hurts. “We don’t need to do any more.”

“Richie- I just want us to be normal, we’re still practically kids, we’re legally adults- but we’re not grown up, we still have so much time to grow up,” Bill pleads, taking another drag off his cigarette to soothe himself as best he can, reaching his other hand to take Richie’s in his own, a desperate look in his eyes, almost as wide as when he’d seen Eddie hit the ground.

“Billy, baby, don’t ever suggest that either of us are normal or ever will be, I saw how well you did, you did so good,” Rich purrs, manipulating Bill even when he doesn’t mean to, it’s in his nature, not having ever received help for how he is. He hardly even knows how he is. He just knows he’s different. He’s special. And it’s his job to fix things as he goes, the world is full of sinners of so many kinds, but the only one he worries about are the ones that hurt others, which wouldn’t make sense to anyone he tries to explain it to, they think that him getting rid of people one by one is hurting others, he simply sees it as making the world less and less of a dirty place. The perfect and popular people have to go, they’ve had their reign. It’s time for people like he and Bill to have the power.

“Can we at least pretend? At least for a while? Can we just watch movies and cuddle, and go on dates that don’t involve killing people?” Bill pleads, almost scared of the look in Richie’s eyes and his words, he doesn’t know what he’s gotten himself into but he’s slowly learning.

“Bill, we’re special, we both are. It has to be our job to fix this world. At least Derry. We can do it together, they’ll love us when they realize,” Richie says with a scarlily bright smile, his eyes wide with pride as he looks at his boy. “You’re so beautiful when you smile, please smile,” he says when he sees Bill looking uneasy with him yet again.

“Richie- no,” Bill says, realizing Richie has his hands in his own, pulling back, hitting his back against the car door. “I can’t live this kind of life, okay?” Bill pleads further, his usual puppy dog look on his face. Anyone who would pass would look in and it would look almost like a kidnapping or a sexual assault, Bill looking so uncomfortable and radiating the want to escape. He wants to escape his own mind.

“We can take a break from it, watch a few movies, have some sleepovers, but Bill- we’re special,” Richie pleads back. “Our love is powerful, strong, it’s unbreakable. Strong enough to break everything else instead. We can make everything right again,” he ends in a soothing whisper, tracing his thumb on Bill’s cheek like he has so many times before.

Chapter Text

Stan can only sit in his room in silence. He’s always had perfect attendance though high school after his health issues in middle school. He has to make up for it for his college applications. But now, after the death of his boyfriend and the deaths of two boys he’d hardly known, the world feels like it’s crashing down around him and he’s now unsure, unsure which parts really matter in anything. He stays home from school one day, and then another, it doesn’t feel worth it, everyone is only dying after all, there isn’t much else to learn in a classroom. Only in the real world.

He finally comes to school by Thursday, his mother’s voice ringing in his head. “Living life is like riding a bicycle, if you just stop, you fall off entirely,” she’d told him on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, and the phrase that has pushed him to school on Thursday. He can’t let a few incidents in his senior year of highschool dictate his entire course of life, he wants things to get better. He floats his way through the day, his legs like jelly and a seasick feeling in his stomach. He’s the weakest link, he’s decided that much. The weakest link who’d been at the top until the tower came crumbling down.

The ones who are or were once popular are most at risk for suicide it seems, becoming more evident with every note they find next to a body. The non popular kids seem near unaffected. Stan gets it. He can almost feel Eddie’s pain, and Henry’s, and Patrick’s. It all becomes too much sometimes and the school bell rings in his ears like a harrowing scream, leaving him pale and shaking as he goes to hide in the boys bathroom instead of going to chemistry, one of the classes he’s had with Eddie before.

Bev hasn’t been speaking to him, Bill seems as out of it as he is. He hates that with Bill being so new to the group that all this was here to welcome his senior year, the year they were going to make the best of his life, but they’re far past that now, there’s much larger things going on, much bigger problems to solve. He wonders how much Bill understands. He vaguely remembers one of the years he’d mostly been off of school that he heard about a kid losing his brother to a killer, that kid had been Bill Denbrough. He’s a guy who definitely understands loss, but he doesn’t know how to approach him for help in a time like this, both of them hurting.

He doesn’t know how to approach anyone for help, he now realizes that he’s basically in this alone. He looks himself in the mirror, deep dusty half moons under his eyes and a complexion that rivals that of Casper’s. He sighs, turning the knob on the sink with a silence breaking shriek, letting the cool water pool in his palms, bringing it to his face, trying to splash some more healthful color back into his skin. He closes his eyes, his hands not leaving his face, his movements slow and achy.

He finally removes his hands, letting his eyelids slowly rise to see if his reflection has changed. All he sees behind him is Beverly, immediately swiveling around to view her. She’s always followed he and Eddie in here, it’s just habit to now. “Stanley,” she starts, her tone rough and sharp as ever, a bit jarring to Stan’s half awake state, bringing him right back to reality.

“Hey, Bev,” he smiles softly to her, shoving his hands into the deep pockets of the sweatpants he has on, he’d never dress this way in public usually, but putting in effort to his appearance feels too much, drowning too deeply into the deep dark sea of depression he’s only understood once before, when his grandfather had passed away, and even that doesn’t compare to the deep feeling of tragedy currently running through his veins. It’s not like his grandfather, his grandfather had been old and deteriorating, he’d been ill. Eddie hadn’t, he’d been young and boisterous and passionate in everything he did. Especially in how he loved. How he loved his friends and how he loved Stan, and even in how he loved himself on occasion.

“What are you wearing?’ is the exact next sentence out of Beverly’s mouth, obviously not in the mood to be gentle and tender. Some people react to grief by wallowing in sorrow until they become emotionless, others fill with a rage that cannot be matched by someone who is not dealing with a loss. Her own aesthetic has stayed the same, the piercing emerald green of her skirt matching the green of her eyes. Her eyebrows carved perfectly into an aggressive arch that matches her stance near perfectly.

“Uh-” Stan scratches the back of his neck nervously, not liking the version of his best friend in front of him. She’s much too tense. She’s always been strong and powerful and knows what she wants, but she’d never scolded him this way, especially in times of trouble. She’d usually been there with Eddie and with a carton of ice cream for them all to finish together, though they’d always put in extra hours at the gym the next day. They can hurt, but they can’t fall out of their reputation, it’s taken too much to uphold all these years to slip up. “Pajamas, taking an off day,” he admits softly, picking at the skin around his fingernails.

“Since when does Stanley Uris take an ‘off day’?” she asks, her voice raising and begging him to test her, “Your reputation is my reputation, we don’t take off days, Stan,” she warns him, “You’ve already been out of school and you lost all your snapchat streaks and you’re just not you, Stan. You’re being dumb, don’t let this take over your life,” she demands, a layer of thin concern beneath her voice, though she’d never dare let it rise to the surface and show. She doesn’t want to be weak, it’s one of her biggest fears. Ever since she moved in with her aunt, she’s taught her only to be proud of herself and speak her mind, and that she just needs to keep going. Like with Andrea Uris’ bike analogy, she can’t just fall off.

“Can you just leave me alone? I need to take a piss,” Stan says, his own voice becoming sharp and angry and near cruel in return. He doesn’t want to cope with this anymore. Like he’s known since it happened, he’s the weakest link here. Beverly scoffs and storms out, the door swinging back and forth in her wake as she stomps out and back to class, “Goodbye, Stanley,” being her last words to him. She doesn’t want him anymore. He can only think of how much of an embarrassment he is.

He looks at himself in the mirror again and he sees a monster. The monster is him. He can’t save his boyfriend and he can’t be of comfort to his friend either. Weakest link. He doesn’t know how to go on. Weakest link. He can’t uphold Eddie’s legacy. He’s the weakest link. He reaches in his bag for his anxiety medication. He’s the weakest link. He hears it over and over in his head, like a million departed souls chanting in his ears as they await his arrival. Weakest link, weakest student. Unworthy. He uncaps the orange bottle, he fills his hand with water, swallowing a few of the pills and letting his anxiety make the room spin and swirl around him, washing it down with the handful of sink water. Weakest. He takes another handful of pills and lets the powdery circles drag down his throat. He drops the bottle, and drops to the floor. Link.

Chapter Text

The days pass painfully for the population of Derry High School. With the deaths of nearly all the most popular kids in the school, the hierarchy falls into shambles, nobody really talks anymore. Most kids don’t come to school, teachers and students alike. Mike makes soft attempts at getting people to talk out how they’re feeling but it never seems to go as planned, he simply doesn’t have the power at school to get kids to talk to each other.

He approaches Bill at one point, but the boy looks near sheet white and scurries away before giving much of a coherent answer. He doesn’t know how to solve this, but he doesn’t know why he wants to so badly. It’s not his responsibility, and it’s hurting him too, but he feels like he should be solving it. Instead classes go by quietly. It feels nothing unlike the tragedy they already hear about on the news, and school stays in session. The system is too desensitized to death. Mass suicide doesn’t raise as many alarm bells as it so deserves.

Bill doesn’t know how he’s held up this long. He’s even told Richie that he doesn’t think he can do it anymore. Richie told his mom he can’t do it anymore. She’d tried to talk to him but was as distant and cold as always even when she hadn’t meant to be. The final wack of the hammer into his psyche. His life is going wild. He hears that Richie plans to come over and he knows what he needs to do.

He sets it all up, the pills on the floor and the note and it’s all ready long before Richie even arrives, whistling sweetly as he climbs in the window. Bill sits on his bathroom floor, a few stray pills spread across the floor, slumped sitting against the wall. Richie finds him in a matter of minutes after arriving. He slides to the floor himself.

He does something he nearly never does, he cries. Hot tears run down his face and hit his collarbones and neck. He’s not so used to this, feeling so hard, especially for someone else, and especially regarding death. He can’t handle this, he just needs to keep going, stop crying. Stop crying. He stands again, brushing the discarded pills into his hand to flush down the toilet, at least leave the scene looking more peaceful than how he found it. It’s what Bill deserves.

He flushes the toilet and starts to walk off. After this development he has some steam to blow off. Bill didn’t deserve this, he deserved the world, everything happy. But he got this, it’s Richie’s fault. It’s Derry’s fault. Richie’s never felt this way before. So full of rage and the need to correct this. He already wanted to fix Derry, but now he’s angry enough to leave it in shambles before he runs away again.

Once Richie leaves in his normal stiff stance, Bill sits up slowly. He’d never really been dead, that’s what he wanted Richie to think, maybe it would put him off killing people. If someone he loved died maybe he’d understand finally. Little did he know that he was fuelling the worst thing he possibly could. This relationship isn’t working healthily. It never was.

He stands after a while, the pins and needles of his legs being asleep crawling up him in waves of discomfort. He remembers that at the beginning of the year he promised Ben he’d have some school spirit. The pep rally starts in a half an hour. Bill always stays true to his promises, no matter how outdated. He splashes water on his face in preparation, trying to awaken his senses from being motionless on the floor for so long.

He dresses himself carefully, feeling almost refreshed and like he’s taken care of the situation. If only he wasn’t as wrong as he is. He finally tiptoes down the stairs, grabbing his backpack on the way out, driving his way to the high school they’ve all come to detest.

Walking in feels like stepping into a different universe, something feels off. Really off. He can feel it in the air. He approaches Beverly as soon as she comes into view, looking as good as ever. “B-Bev, what’s up?” he asks, making a face at his stuttering, something he’s utterly shocked hasn’t come back yet with all this stress. Something really must be up that he can sense. He wishes he just knew.

Bev’s eyes go wide in surprise, looking sincerely surprised at Bill’s presence in front of her, almost as if she’s seeing a ghost. “Richie- Richie just told me you killed yourself,” she says in a shaky voice, her confidence wavering visibly for nearly the first time since all this started. She’s so good at coping and pretending nothing bad is happening, but now it’s looking her closer in the eye than it has yet.

“Richie? W-where is he?” Bill asks, suddenly looking shocked and scared himself. He thinks his plan worked to an extent, but he still wants to keep an eye on him. Someone who was once a killer can’t be trusted.

“Asked where the boiler room is, I told him to piss off and ask someone who knows,” she answers, still looking on edge from the fact that she’s currently talking to someone she’s accepted as dead and no explanations have been made.

“Thank y-you,” Bill says, huffing at the stutter, he just wishes it would go away and stay away. He pats Beverly’s shoulder as he walks off, immediately making a break for the boiler room where he expects to find Richie.

He steps down the stairs into the darkness, Richie illuminated by a single light bulb across the room. “Rich,” Bill says tentatively as he steps down from the last step to the floor, watching Richie’s gaze flick up to the boy he thought he was dead.

“Bill- you’re dead- stop bothering me,” Richie says softly, genuinely just believing he’s just delusional from grief. He toys with a box shaped object in his hand, “I’m gonna make this all better, Willy, promise,” he says softly, grabbing a roll of duct tape from seemingly nowhere, wrapping it around the box and around himself, the dim light showing a tearful sheen on his face.

“What i-i-is that, Richie?” Bill asks, his worry increasing even more as he watches. He thinks he knows what it is. This can’t be happening: he knows Richie couldn’t go that far. Richie really wouldn’t, he’s too soft and loving to him. Bill has been through too much for this to be his next experience.

“If we’re all gone maybe it’ll be worth it, Billy,” Richie says as he goes. He still thinks he’s just talking to a hallucination, a true break in his mental state. “Derry is too broken. I can’t fix this one. I’m too broken. Nobody can fix me either. Baby, it’s all so bad,” Richie says i a wavering voice.

“Richie- you can’t kill these people. Most of them haven’t even done anything,” Bill tries to rationalize with him, trying to explain that at least most of them haven’t hurt anyone, since Richie’s logic seems to say that people who hurt others are deserving of death or pain, Bill can’t correct that in this moment but maybe he can play to the bit of heart that Richie seems to have for the innocent.

“But so many of them are bad,” Richie says in a voice near a whimper, stopping the ripping of the duct tape for a moment of pause as he looks in Bill’s direction, his expression vacant as if he isn’t really looking at him, he’s not really. Bill couldn’t be there. Bill is dead on the floor in the bathroom of the Denbrough home.

“Richie- killing people is bad,” Bill pleads, stepping closer and closer until he’s in front of Richie. He’s got hardly anything to lose. “Richie, please. Deactivate the bomb, I’ll call the hospital or something- I’ll even come visit you, please-” he begs, tearful himself.

Richie shifts quickly, pushing past Bill, “Fuck,” he mutters under his breath, already walking swiftly up the stairs and pushing the door open, leaving Bill to the dark to run after him. Bill follows quickly, watching Richie keep his arms wrapped around himself to cover the device.

Bill follows, Richie obviously making his way to the gym. He grabs Richie’s arm. “Football field, now, or I’m calling the police,” he threatens, finally deciding that desperate times call for even more desperate measures than he was already taking.

Bill pulls him off, he figures that if this still turns out badly it can’t be ask badly as it would have. At least Richie won’t be in the gym or under it, maybe he’ll get Richie to stop the countdown and maybe he won’t, but at least he can take the damage outside. If Richie’s beyond fixing, at least the school will be repairable.

They end up all the way in the middle of the football field, both of them sobbing. Bill hugs onto Richie comfortingly as he can, “Please unstrap it, RIch,” he begs. He knows the relationship isn’t healthy but can’t help but still love him.

Richie suddenly pushes Bill off of him, “I love you,” he says, closing his eyes and bracing himself as Bill stumbles off, Bill sees it and crawls backwards quickly. He wanted to fix this and make this better, but instead he’s forced to watch what happens next, messy and awful and more traumatizing than any event in the past week, though the others fall close second. He’ll never be the same again.

Bill stands shakily again. He has to keep moving. They may be dead but he’s alive and he needs to keep going for everyone else. They deserve that much. He pulls his legs back across the football field and to the school again, hearing cheering in the gym, only adding to how overwhelmed he is. He see Ben sitting outside the gym. Exactly who he wanted to see in this moment. Exactly who he needs.

He walks up to Ben, nearly falling into Ben’s arms in tears, earning extreme concern from his childhood best friend. “Bill?” the boy asks quietly, he hasn’t spoken properly to him in who knows how long, and now he’s sobbing in his arms.

“I’m so s-s-s-sorry,” he hiccups out, pulling away slightly, but Ben pulls him right back against him. “I can’t do this anymore, Ben, please b-be my friend again,” Bill says softly, chewing his lip and looking up at Ben with wide and scared eyes.

“Billy, I never stopped,” Ben smiles softly, his forgiving personality really shining though. Bill needs it now. He may not deserve it, but it’s exactly what he needs. Now that hopefully, most of this is over, his life can calm down again.

He doesn’t exactly know how everything else will go, he could easily be convicted for murder or at least for not reporting it. But for this moment, it’s just he and Ben in the hallway, Ben as a warm and comforting presence, helping dent away at the littlest bit of stress from the past weeks.