Actions

Work Header

It's A Strange Crossover

Chapter Text

Okay maybe it wasn’t the most logical, or even safest, decision he’d ever made. But damn it, he was never one to refuse a dare. Especially not with what the alternative could be.

So here he was, prepared to knock on the door of some random family that had just moved in. He lifted his hand to knock. Maybe I’ll be on the other side waiting for you , a voice that sounded eerily similar to a sadistic clown that haunted his nightmares told him. He shook it away, he was okay. He was safe. This was just another family that had the horrible luck to move here to Derry.

He hesitantly knocked on the door, then stepped back to wait. He heard footsteps coming toward the door and he tensed up. Half expecting a body to be hanging on the other side once it opened.

Instead, he was greeted by a woman looking utterly exhausted. She had kind eyes and a sweet smile, but he knew better than to trust anyone here.

His first impulse was to do some voice, maybe his british one to throw the woman off. But that would result in his friends telling him he messed it up and he’d have to do another dare. Wouldn’t want them to know your secret, would you? the voice warned him. He pushed it down again.

“Hi, I noticed you just moved in and I thought I’d be the first to welcome you,” he said, following along to the script his friends had given him with the dare. It was less of an actual dare, and more curiosity getting the better of them.

The woman extended her arm. “Oh, thank you.” She almost looked surprised. “I’m Joyce Beyers. And you are?”

He connected their hands, giving a short shake before pulling away. “Richie… Tozier.”

“Nice to meet you. I actually have a son and daughter around your age, maybe you’d like to meet them.”

“For sure! They could even hang out with me and my friends.” Richie didn’t bother to tell the woman that it would make her children on the Loser’s list at school. But at least Henry Bowers had been arrested a while ago.

“That would be awesome. They were so nervous to move here, worried they wouldn’t find any friends.”

“Well tell them not to worry! We’d be more than happy to have them.” As much as Richie said that he wasn’t actually sure. Of course, everyone in the Losers Club was nice and wouldn't turn someone down as a friend. But the ‘event not to be mentioned’ had made them quite close, and throwing other people into the mix might hurt their dynamic. Richie pushed it aside, the kids wouldn’t like them anyways. It would be fine. “But tell me Joyce, why did you move to Derry. It’s not a very well known place.”

“Oh you can call me -- oh, nevermind, I guess you got it.”

“Most parents tell me to call them by their first name anyways. Why not skip the boring part?” Before Joyce could respond, Richie prompted again, “So tell me.”

“We thought we should have a change of pace. Get out of the town we’d been stuck in. It was just time for change.” Richie could see the Joyce tense up, the same far off look him and his friends would get anytime It was mentioned.

“Cool, cool. Well, welcome to Derry! Watch out for the killer clowns,” Richie half joked and half warned, as he made his way down and away from the house.

Joyce gave him a tense smile in return. “Thank you, we will!”

Richie was at the sidewalk by the time Joyce had finished talking. He hated having his back turned anyone these days and always tried to walk away before they were done talking. He gave her a quick wave before jogging down the street.

It wasn’t a long jog considering he was only going to Ed’s house, which was down the block. But it was definitely one that would have put the man himself into an asthma fit.

The Losers were laying on the grass outside waiting for him. If they were at anyone else’s house they would have been inside, except Miss K said they couldn’t. Something about too many germs or some shit. Sure Eddie had stood up to her, but she was still the same person and his mom. So here they were.

“What’s up, Losers? Actually think of a good fucking dare while I was gone?” Richie asked, as he plopped down on the grass next to Eddie.

Don’t sit to close, the voice warned him again. But he wasn’t going to let the voice of a thing he killed haunt him. He simply pushed it aside, like Beverly had told them all to do. Apparently it was some sort of leftover from the trauma.

“Yeah actually, we dared Ben to go fuck your mom,” Eddie bit back. He was still his nerdy little self, but the whole event made him a lot more crass.

“Oh, that’s really funny. Ya know, I met the mom of the kids who just moved in. Tell Miss K that we’re gonna have to break up, because I’m--”

“Beep beep, Richie,” Beverly cut him off before he could finish the sentence. Richie shut up, knowing it was probably for the best.

“H-h-how did i-i-it g-go?” Bill asked, trying to switch the topic.

“Well, it was a little weird,” Richie said and before he could finish everyone had already tensed up. “Not like that kind of weird. Pennywise is long gone and--”

Eddie was the one to stop him this time. Slapping the back of his head and muttering a, “Beep beep, Rich.”

“You know you don’t want that, Eddie Spaghetti,” Richie shot back.

“We all agreed to not mention that name again,” Stan reminded him.

“I’m sorry, okay? I didn’t mean it. Ya know me, Trashmouth and all.” Richie was really sorry, that name haunted their memories. It’s voice, what It did. And they had agreed to not bring up, even though they all failed many times. It just couldn’t leave them, dead or not.

“I-i-i-it’s fine, we f-f-forgive you,” Bill smiled at him, placing a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

“Yeah we forgive you, Trashmouth,” Mike added, a smile on his face.

“Good. Because you’ll have to forgive me again. I told Joyce, the mom, that her children could hang out with us.”

No one was mad, maybe a little nervous to have new people talk to them and be friends with. Even so, they all groaned and pretended to get mad at Richie. Not very successfully considering the huge grins plastered on their face.

Chapter Text

A week had passed, and still no sign of the new kids who had moved in. Which was fine. Maybe they had been smart enough and left Derry. Even still, worry was creeping up on Richie.

Pennywise should be long gone. And even if he was still alive, he wouldn’t be back for another 27 years.

Then again, he was a killer clown that could transform into your biggest fear. Who’s to say he couldn’t still be alive? Maybe he was laying low, scared the Losers Club would kick his fucking ass, but had a little new kid snack. Realistically, it made sense. No one would even miss them. No one would know to look. No one--

Richie was snapped out of his thoughts by a persistent poking on his arm. He looked over to see Eddie, puffing his inhaler and poking him.

“What?” Richie asked, slightly annoyed about being interrupted. “Why are you using that thing, Eds? Isn’t it a ‘gazebo’?”

“There were so many things wrong with what you just said.” Richie had to bite down his smile as Eddie did the cute little thing with his hand. Whenever Richie annoyed him just as much, he got the pleasure of seeing it.

“Yeah, what were those things?” Richie bantered back, happy to be away from those thoughts of the new kids.

“First of all, asshole, don't call Eds. We talked about that,” Eddie said slowly, like he was explaining it to a child. “Second, my pills are gazebos, not my asthma. So this helps me.”

“You sure about that? I mean, I know other ways to achieve the same solution.” Richie’s heart pumped faster. If he had thought about it for a second he wouldn’t have let his mouth run. But of course, a Trashmouth will always be a Trashmouth.

“Like what?” Eddie looked almost hopeful. The sucker, falling right into Richie’s trap.

“Mouth to mouth. What ya say, Eds?” Richie even through in a wink at the end. He knew it was such a stupid move. He should have turned it into another ‘your mom’ joke. But again, he let his mouth run. He hoped Eddie would just brush it off as his usual flirty self.

“Beep fucking beep, Richie. Seriously! And again, no Eds! How many times?” Eddie continued to ramble on about how no means no and what not.

Richie obediently shut up, just watching Eddie get frustrated. The way he straightened his hand to get his point across, the stumbling over his words, and even the little puffs he took from his inhaler. All those cute little things.

As the bus came to a stop, Richie tried to stop Eddie’s rant. “Hey, Eds.”

“Literally, what did we just talk about?”

“We’re almost at school, you can continue your rant during lunch,” Richie said, starting to gather their things.

“Oh, I promise we will continue this,” Eddie assured him.

“I’m counting on it. But now, can you give me the homework?”




Chapter Text

Richie was just able to make it to class on time. Between trying to copy down the homework and Eddie still ranting even after they agreed to resume it later. If Richie was being honest, Eddie was kind of a little shit. Yeah, he put on his innocent act. But sometimes, if he was only with losers or only with Richie, he could be a little shit. And honestly, Richie loved those times the most.

Like when they had first seen the clubhouse Ben had built, and Eddie broke the paddleboard.

But Richie couldn’t dwell on those things. Instead he focused on making into class and into the first seat he could find. He had promised his mom he would do well this year.

He probably was focusing too well, because the person next to him screamed when he sat down. A curious glance over revealed a boy with an awful bowl cut who looked like he had seen a ghost.

“Hey, you okay, bowl cut?” Richie asked, trying to not offend him more.

The boy looked him up and down. If bowl cut wasn’t so scared, Richie would think he was checking him out. “My mom had told me… but I didn’t -- you look exactly like him.”

“I know I am incredibly handsome,” Richie rested his face in his hands. “But I have no fucking clue who you are.”

Bowl Cut turned to a girl sitting in the aisle across from them. She had short hair, way shorter than any girl Richie had seen, but she was cute. Not his type though. Maybe for Bowl Cut.

“El,” Bowl Cut said to her. Richie could swear he remembered that name from somewhere. The girl, El, turned to them. She instantly had the same look as Bowl Cut -- confusion and shock.

Before anyone could start speaking, the teacher was at the front of the classroom. “Hello, class. Today we have two new students,” Mrs. Adams started, gesturing for El and Bowl Cut to come to the front of the classroom. 

They obeyed hesitantly, still keeping their eyes trained on Richie. He had to admit he felt quite uncomfortable.

“Please give a warm, Derry welcome--” 

Yeah right, a ‘warm, Derry’ welcome, Richie scoffed.

“To Eleven and Will Byers!” Shit, of course Richie recognized those names. He just needed a bit more to confirm his theory. “Who came all the way here from Hawkins, Indiana!”

And there it was. The final piece of the puzzle, the reason for the staring, the reason he knew those names. Realization hit Richie like a ton of bricks.



Chapter Text

Although he knew exactly who those kids were, it didn’t mean he wanted to have a nice run-in with his past. He already had a past here in Derry he was trying to run away from.

That meant as soon as the bell rang, he made it his mission to find Eddie. Even with his ranting still going strong.

He found said boy at his locker, seemingly waiting for him. As he got closer, and more students moved out of his line of sight, he realized all of the Losers were there. Well the Losers minus Mike who was still homeschooled. This couldn’t be good.

And was that Bowl Cut with them? How did he even get there so fast?

Richie put on his perfected smile -- the one he made when his mom first started getting so sad over his failures, and the one he used to hide Pennywise’s effect on him. He tried to drag out the walk over as much as he could.

“Ah, Eds, waiting for me at my locker?” Richie asked, subconsciously adjusting his glasses.

“Not funny, dipshit. This is why we were having that discussion earlier!” Eddie was already getting mad. That might have been his new record.

“You get flustered so easily.” Richie smushed Eddie’s face in between his hands. “Cute, cute, cute!” 

“Beep beep, Richie!” Eddie said, swatting his hands away. Richie obeyed, pretending to lock his mouth shut. They all knew it wouldn’t last long.

“Who are you?” Suddenly Bowl Cut and El were crowding his space. Where did she even come from? Bowl Cut continued, “And why do you look exactly like my best friend?”

El tilted her head down. Despite her being shorter than him, Richie felt nervous. She’s was intimidating, sue him.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Richie tried to lie. He shot looks to what were supposed to be his best friends. It became very clear none of them were gonna help him.

Bowl Cut dug a photo out of his pocket, handing it over to Richie. It was of Bowl Cut and a boy that looked exactly like him -- except with much more stupid hair.

“Bullshit,” the boy responded, pointing to his clone. “What’s your last name?”

Richie tried to shoot anyone of his supposed friends another plea for help. They all wanted to know the truth too.

“No can do, senor. No to the english,” Richie tried a Voice.

“Do I even have to say it?” Stan asked himself. “Beep beep.”

“P-p-please, Richie. We’re all con-confused,” Bill tried to beg him.

Richie would have continued to play dumb, but Eddie was looking so confused. Richie loved pushing his buttons, but not like this. What if this made Eddie not trust him for some reason?

“Fine. Yes. I know your friend.”

“You didn’t answer my question,” Bowl Cut said. “What’s your last name?”

“Tozier,” Richie said confidently. More than ready to have this conversation end. Besides, the halls were starting to clear. They’d all be late to class.

“You’re real last name,” Bowl Cut asked. And damn, he could be intimidating too. 

Not scary, not powerful, not like El. He was intimidating like Eddie, or any of the Losers for that matter. The intimidation that came from taking someone or some thing powerful down. Seeing Hell and living to tell the tale.

“Wheeler-Tozier,” Richie answered. He avoided the looks his friends were probably giving him. He had lied to them. Kept a part of himself from them. Well, honestly he was keeping more than just one thing from them. But either way, he lied. “Happy now?”

“You’re real last name is Wheeler?” Eddie asked this question. But Richie still didn’t meet any of their eyes.

“Hope you don’t mind when your mom changes hers to Wheeler-Tozier.” He tried for a joke. Anything to make this less uncomfortable.

“Oh my god, shut the hell up, Richie,” Eddie hit him.

“That’s not what she was saying last--”

“Beep fucking beep,” Eddie warned him again. Richie held his hands up in mock-defense.

Bev made her way between them, knowing it would just keep going. “Okay, enough you two. I think it’s clear there's a lot to talk about.”

Ben made his way to stand next to her. Always the puppy dog. “To the clubhouse?” Ben suggested.

Bev nodded in agreement. The heat rising to Ben’s cheeks.

“Well, then,” Richie said in his horrible British accent. “Pip pip and Tally ho! To the Barracks!”


Chapter Text

The walk to the clubhouse was silent, except for Richie and Eddie’s bickering. Well technically, Bowl Cut and El were whispering to each other, but they were at the back of the group. Either way, no one was talking about Richie and his doppelganger.

Once they finally got there, Bev swung the trap door open and climbed inside. Everyone following behind.

Richie and Eddie headed straight for the hammock. Eddie reached it first, smiling smugly. “Ha, Trashmouth! Even with my asthma I still beat you!”

“Scoot over,” Richie replied, already making his way onto the hammock. 

“Don’t mind them,” Bev told the new kids. “They are always fighting.”

“Why don’t they just take turns on the thing?” Bowl Cut asked.

“We actually do!” Ben answered. “They just--”

Richie decided it was his turn to come back into the general discussion instead of trying paying attention to Eddie’s abusive feet. “Me and Eds realized we could get more time if we shared!”

“Stop calling me ‘Eds’! How many times?”

“You know you love it!”

“S-s-stop guys! We need t-to f-f-focus!” Bill spoke up. Being the perfect leader he was.

“Agreed,” Bev said. “So how do you know their friend… what’s his name?”

“Mike,” El helpfully supplied.

“Don’t know him.” He didn’t know why he was being difficult. Yeah, he had a past he wanted to run away from. But no one here was going to let him -- plus they’re the ones he can trust. Eddie kicked the side of his head. “Fine. Yes I know ol’ Mikey.”

“What’s Mike’s last name?” Bev asked, seeming to be taking the role as leader on this. Not that puppy dog Bill would mind.

Bowl Cut answered this time, “Wheeler. Well, that’s what he’s told us. It could be Wheeler-Tozier.”

“And we were only told about the Tozier part,” Bev said. She shot a disapproving look at Richie as she took out a cig.

“Hey, don’t look at me like that!” Richie tried to put on his innocent face. No one cared, so he just turned his attention back to Eddie. Richie started poking his feet to get Eddie’s attention. “Eds.”

“No,” Eddie told him seriously. Too cute to be that serious, but he pulled it off. “We all just want to know the truth. Answer the questions first.”

“First?” Before Richie could finish the crude joke that was brewing, he got a mouth full of foot. He pushed Eddie’s foot away, and turned to the group. “Fine. Here’s the whole fucking truth--”



Chapter Text

“The Wheelers are dead to me,” Richie said with too much bitterness in his voice. 

It took the Losers by surprise. Richie was serious. And mad. Even when they fought It he had a sense of humour to him. Something that the Losers never thought could rub off. Yet here it was. Not even an ounce of joy in his voice.

Eddie was the one to speak first. He had a good feeling if Richie was gonna get mad, it wouldn't be pointed towards him. “What do you mean, Rich?” Eddie asked softly.

Richie turned toward Eddie. As soon as that anger had come, it was gone. The sarcastic prick was back.

“Nothing, Eds. They’re just not my family anymore.” Eddie didn’t bother correcting him this time.

Bev came over to them, placing a soft hand on Richie’s shoulder. “You said you’d tell us the whole truth. That wasn’t it.”

“Yeah, yeah. I know,” Richie said. He adjusted his glasses and took a deep breath. “I’ve been in Derry a while. Basically since I was 8. When I met Bill, Stan, and Eds. But before that I lived in Hawkins.”

“And y-y-you were a… W-w-wheeler?” Bill asked. Richie nodded.

“Well, Wheeler-Tozier. Karen and my Dad are from Derry -- Karen’s my biological mom,” Richie explained. He kept his eyes focused on Eddie who gave him reassuring smiles back.

“So why did you really move to Derry?” Stan asked.

“Karen disowned me.” Everyone stayed silent. Too silent for Richie’s liking. “Mutual agreement,” he tried to joke.

It didn’t work. How could it? Tears were threatening to fall down his face. Bev was the first to give him a hug. Eventually it became a group hug, even Bowl Cut and El joining in.

After a few minutes he pushed them away softly. “Okay, guys. I’m fine.”

“We know,” Eddie said.

They all went back to their previous places. The only one who lingered was Eddie, who changed to be holding Richie’s hand.

Richie would have told him to stop, but it felt nice. Especially right now.

After a few minutes of silence, Ben prompted him, “You can tell us if you want.”

“I don’t know if I can,” Richie tried to reason. “The people in Derry. I could get killed. I-I-I just can’t.”

Bev shot him a look he didn’t quite get. It looked like a knowing but pleasant smile.

“We’ve gone up against a killer clown,” Stan started, before glancing over at their guests. “ Metaphorically . We’ve got each other’s backs. You can tell us.”

“We won’t tell anyone, either,” Bowl Cut assured. El nodded in agreement.

“Well, this wasn’t exactly how I thought I’d tell you… well, actually I didn’t think I’d have to tell you,” Richie admitted. 

He squeezed Eddie’s hand tighter, not sure if this would be the last time he would be able to. The tears were falling now, but he let them fall this time. Eddie gave him a smile.

This was it. Now all their secrets would be out in the open. The Losers Club would know every little thing about each other.

Every little secret.

Every dirty little secret.

In true Richie fashion, he had to do everything with at least a drop of humour. That’s why that afternoon with tears still falling down his face and fogging up his glasses, he used his hold on Eddie’s hand to his advantage. Pulling the other boy closer, he smashed their lips together.

Fuck.



Chapter Text

It was short. Too short for Richie’s liking.

But it also felt long. Too long .

In all actuality, it lasted a total of five seconds.

Richie didn’t let go of Eddie’s hand, but used his free hand to card through Eddie’s fingers. Eddie tasted good. A mixture of strawberries and something that almost tasted like Bananas. 

Eddie had told him before that’s what an inhaler tasted like -- a chemically banana flavour. Well, at least that’s the closest thing Richie could identify.

Richie felt like Eddie might be agreeing to the kiss, and that’s when he pulled away. He didn’t want to know how the other boy felt. Especially not in front of his friends and some of Mike’s friends.

His eyelids fluttered open, quickly taking in Eddie’s face. Trying to find any emotion. Anger? Disgust? He found nothing. Well, nothing but a shocked Eddie Kaspbrak.

Looking around the rest of the room, he realized that was the general consensus. Time to make his departure.

He shot one more look towards Eddie. He realized some of his tears had attached themselves to the other boy’s cheeks.

Richie leaned over wiped them off. “Sorry you got caught in the storm,” Richie tried to joke. Not that that worked much with the storm still falling down his face.

His arm moved by itself. Oh right, still holding onto Eddie’s . He finally let go.

“I should probably go,” Richie said, already making his way to the ladder. He heard some protests, some footsteps toward him but he didn’t stop. He had to get out of there.

He couldn’t see more disappointed faces. Not like his mother’s. Not like his sister’s. Not like the people in town.

Ironically, Hawkins was much more tolerant. Here he could get killed. Here… now the only ones that cared about him would hate him.

He ran until it felt like he couldn’t breathe anymore. Maybe that’s what Eddie’s asthma attacks felt like. Like all the air had been squished out of his lungs.

Richie stopped running, breaking down right away.

He wrapped his arms around his legs, burying his head. He just wanted to escape, but he knew he couldn’t. He couldn’t see anymore. Glasses or not, there were too many tears.

Richie didn’t know if he was in the middle of the street. He didn’t care.

A voice broke the silence, “What are you doing, Trashmouth?”



Chapter Text

Richie could recognize that voice anywhere. It made him feel exposed and vulnerable, especially now.

He wanted more than anything to embrace a new life where all he could see was his knees and the concrete under him.

But that voice sure as hell wasn’t gonna let him do that.

Richie lifted his head. First, he took in his surroundings. The road that he was laying on, the bridge off to his side, the carvings on said bridge. Then he realized the situation was even worse.

He was crying, in the middle of the road, on the kissing bridge. Wasn’t that just peaches and fucking keen?

Then he took in the feet inches from his.

The pristine looking Converse. The almost-knee-high socks. The way-too-short red shorts. The yellow shirt. The inhaler held tightly in hand. The brown eyes.

Eddie Kaspbrak.

Besides people he would undoubtedly label as villians, Eddie was the last person he wasn’t to see.

“What do you think I’m doing?” Richie asked, as he started wiping the tears from his eyes. His breakdown wasn’t over, and they just kept coming, but it felt like the right thing to do.

Eddie took a seat next to him. “I think you’re running from the only people you can trust.” Eddie was too damn smart for his own good.

“I’m just… protecting myself,” Richie tried to reason. Tried to get Eddie to see.

“If you really didn’t trust us, you wouldn’t have told us in the first place,” Eddie said softly. Like when you barely touch fragile porcelain because you think it will break. “But you told us. Follow that gut feeling of trust. Because we will protect you.”

“My own family couldn’t even--”

“My mom made me take gazebos for years. Stan’s dad just cares about what looks good for the church. Bev’s dad… I could go on. Family doesn’t just mean biology. It can mean so much more.”

Richie let what Eddie was saying sink in. He was right. That’s why they were Losers, cause they had each other before anyone or anything else.

“I’m sure it will take a while for you to trust all of us with this,” Eddie said as he placed a hand on one of Richie’s knees. It felt like his skin was on fire. But he didn’t want water, he wanted more . “But you can talk to me about it. Cause I’m sure that that kiss wasn’t just to prove your point.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You don’t need to apologize. It’s okay. You’ve done a lot worse, Trashmouth.”

“No. I shouldn’t have just kissed you. You probably hate me.”

Eddie hesitated, and Richie expected the worse. Then Eddie laughed, and it felt worse. “That gave me some good chucks, Rich. I could never hate you. Not from that, for sure.”

“Well, I was just pretending it was your mom anyways,” Richie tried to joke. Maybe Eddie didn’t hate him, but that didn’t mean Eddie liked the kiss.

“We both know that’s a lie.”

Now his was nervous. Had Eddie known all along. “And what’s your proof, then, Eds?”

“That nickname,” Eddie said, like he knew everything about Richie. “For starters. Thinking about it now, how you never really told us what It would scare you with. That you went for me instead of someone else.”

“You were the closest,” Richie tried to lie.

“I don’t buy that.”

“Why? It’s the truth.”

“Because,” Eddie said. 

He got up, suddenly leaving Richie’s knee bare. He walked over to the railing of the kissing bridge. He walked a little ways down, scaring Richie with the thought he might leave. Then just as fast, he dropped down.

Richie couldn’t exactly see what he was doing, especially with teary eyes. So he walked over to get a better look.

Eddie was running his fingers along a carved out piece. When his fingers moved, it revealed the R+E Richie had carved a few months earlier.

“Because I know ‘bout this.”



Chapter Text

 

If he had any air left in his lungs still, it was gone. Long, long gone.

He stayed silent, trying to calculate his next move. What to say next.

It was one thing outing yourself to your friends, but having your crush know about it AND about your crush… Richie rather have Pennywise pay him a visit. Okay, that was a lie. But he was ready to say the extremes.

“And don’t tried to deny it either,” Eddie said. His hands were still trailing over the markings. The not-quite-there E.

“How?” Was all Richie could manage.

Eddie locked eyes with him. Richie could see his intensity. “I saw you.”

“I was careful.” And he was. God forbid, if Bowers had seen him.

Eddie laughed a little. “I didn’t see you carving it,” Eddie explained, still keeping eye contact. “But every time we walked past, on our way to or from the clubhouse, I’d see you look over here.” Eddie turned back to the carving, and smiled at it. “It took me a long time to figure out which one it was.”

“The R and E could be anyone, Eds. Don’t assume,” Richie tried to brush off, even though he knew he had been caught a while ago.

“True,” Eddie agreed. “But I did my research. Made sure it was the exact spot you’d look at every time. And then ruled out every girl in existence.”

“Why’d you do that one, Eds?”

“Because you’re a fucking virgin.”

“I’ll have you know, Mrs. K and I--”

Eddie turned his serious gaze on Richie again, effectively shutting him up. “You just, uh… came out. You can’t exactly say you’ve slept with any girls.”

“Well, that is fair. Mrs. K is a very nice woman.

“Do I even need to say it? Beep beep, Richie.” Eddie was obviously serious, but he wasn’t mad. Not yet at least. “And then of course at that point, after I had eliminated all girls, I thought of adding boys to the list.”

“People aren’t supposed to be--” Richie didn’t want to say it, but he knew Eddie knew what he was saying.

“People are just supposed to be… people. We make mistakes and hurt others, but we also love and create. And being you should never be something that makes you feel bad.” Richie could feel his tears starting up again, but he let them fall this time.

“You have any experience in that?” Richie asked through the tears.

“Yeah, I mean, standing up to my mom, for one. And I’m not exactly… I’m a loser.”

“We’re all losers.”

“True,” Eddie said, finally leaving the carving and coming over to Richie. Richie’s heart sped up instantly. “But the pills and shit weren’t the only things that made me go against my mother.”

“What else?” Richie softly said. He was scared for the real reason. Scared the moment he was imagining wouldn’t happen.

“My hope… that that E carved in next to the R stood for Eddie,” Eddie admitted, a blush painting his cheeks. “Now kiss me again, before people get out of school.”

Richie felt like it was a dream, but he followed his orders obediently. Now it felt like all the air was sucked out of him, but luckily Eddie had his inhaler on him.



Chapter Text

It was a few wonderful moments before Richie pulled away, but he still kept his hands stilled at Eddie’s side. “Don’t worry we will resume this, but I don’t want the Bowers gang to see us.”

“Good idea,” Eddie agreed, quickly pressing his lips to Richie’s once more. “But I’ll hold you to that promise.”

Richie finally let go, stepping away from Eddie. “So, really? You too?”

Eddie laughed. “Yeah, what can I say? You’re got nothing on your mom. Or sister.”

“You’ve never even met my sister,” Richie tried to reason. “But, seriously? When did you plan to tell me?”

“Never? I mean, when did you expect to tell any of us.”

“Okay, fair. But I left… hints!”

Now it was Richie’s turn to laugh. “Oh, really, Eds? Like what? Because, I’m always the one flirting.”

“You say you’ve fucked my mom!” Eddie bit back. The he moved to point to his shorts. “And I did this.”

“Your little rainbow.”

“Yep.”

Richie ran his fingers along the little flag he had never really thought of. Correction , he had thought of it -- he just never let his hopes get too high. “It was always there, huh. How’d you find something like this?”

“I sewed it on. So, see. I did give you hints.”

“Fair enough,” Richie said. He shifted the hand that was touching the rainbow, to interlock with Eddie’s. “Now, Eds, enough crying for today. It’s time to get back to our friends.”

“Do you want to tell them, Rich? You’ve already done a lot today, and we’re not even sure what this is.”

“First, this is something we should take slow. Since it’s new and delicate. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love it. We just need time to figure it out.”

“I agree,” Eddie said, a huge blush growing on his cheeks. “So then, Richard W. Tozier, will you do me the honor of being my boyfriend?”

“Well, Edward F. Kasprak, I would love to. But only on one condition. That I get kisses whenever I want.”

Eddie nodded frantically. Everything was frantic about him. It was perfect , Richie thought.

“Then it’s a deal. Let’s get back to them, Eds.”

“Wait, Richie,” Eddie said, stopping Richie from walking ahead. “You can call me ‘Eds’ now. But not in front of the others. Since we don’t want to tell them just yet.”

“Okay, Eds. That won’t stop me, but you can get mad all you want.” And they finally made their way back to the others, hand in hand.



Chapter Text

They dropped each other’s hands before they climbed down the ladder into the clubhouse. One, because it would be nearly impossible to keep doing so while venturing down. And two, because they had agreed to wait.

Today had been a lot of emotional stress anyways. Plus, they needed to develop it themselves, without five extra people. At the very least. Then there was El, Bowl Cut, Mike would eventually learn too. And then parents. It was way too much.

Until they were ready, it got to be their little bubble of happiness.

Eddie went first, as requested by Richie. He was still debating not returning. So maybe they were okay with all of it. But maybe he wasn’t okay with it yet. Feelings were complicated.

Then Eddie was calling for him, and he had to suck it up. He went down, and then made his way to the hammock. Avoiding everyone’s eyes.

“Welcome back, Rich,” Beverly said gently.

“Eds told me you guys were falling apart without me. So I had to return.” Everyone was quiet, so Richie did what he always did. Kept talking. “So, any of you got any questions, then? I won’t make too many jokes.”

“Your mom, Karen, disowned you… because you’re…” Stan asked, leaving the actual question unasked.

“Is it true?” Ben also asked.

Apparently, kissing Eddie Kaspbrak in front of them hadn’t been enough. Huh. “Yeah guys. I… I don’t like…” Richie looked to Eddie, who gave him a reassuring smile. “Girls. I don’t like ‘em. Never have.”

“W-w-what about all the y-your mom jokes?”

“Well, Eddie’s mom is a special case,” Richie answered. They still looked confused so he dropped the act. “Since it was all a cover.”

“So, Mrs. Wheeler sent you here to Derry?” Will asked. “What about Mike? Or Nancy? Holly? Your dad?”

“My real dad -- everyone’s dad except Holly -- is from Derry. Wentworth Tozier. And Karen and dad got divorced after me and Mike were born. He doesn’t care about all of it. As long as I don’t make him get any shit from the town. And I keep it in my pants.”

“And Mike? And Nancy and Holly?” Eddie asked.

“They’re my siblings,” Richie explained to the Losers. “Nancy’s the oldest. Miss perfect prom queen, the whole thing. And she followed mom right up to locking the door behind me.”

“She did that?” El asked, genuinely surprised. Maybe Nancy had changed somehow.

“Yeah. She was 12, and did everything Karen did. Mike… I don’t know. We were close then. But he’s never reached out and I never tried. Maybe she didn’t let him, or he didn’t want to. I’m sure they all hate me though. From what Karen probably tells them. Except maybe Holly. Probably doesn’t even remember me.”

Richie wasn’t crying. He didn’t want to. He was just angry and bitter. But he wasn’t gonna cry again, he didn’t need to.

“Mike never talks about you,” Bowl Cut started. Before Richie could ask why the fuck that was necessary to say, he continued. “But he has talked about a friend he misses sometimes. One that he knew when he was young, and then moved away. He misses you.”

“I don’t even know him. He certainly doesn’t know me. You can’t miss someone you don’t know.”

“What if you did meet him though?”

“What do you mean?”

“Our friends from Hawkins promised to come at Christmas break to visit. I’m sure we could convince them to come sooner.”

“That’s a great idea, Bowl Cut. Let’s just call the people who would probably leak my secret so I can get carved up, great thinking.” Richie couldn’t help but let his bitterness leak through.

“Bowl Cut?” Will asked.

“He gives everyone nicknames. Some worse than others,” Beverly explained. “But I think you should call them. Richie will be fine.”

“Like hell I will!”

Eddie came over to him. Richie was about to either start blushing or push him away so the group wouldn’t notice them, but then Eddie hit him over the head. “Beep beep. Let us do this for you. Trust us.”

“I’m gonna regret this,” Richie stated. “But fine. Sure. Call my ol’ brother up!”



Chapter Text

As much as Richie wanted the grand announcement to immediately be fulfilled upon his word, it wasn’t like anyone had transportable phones. 

Richie could almost laugh at the idea. Phones, unless you were some huge bigshot, were meant at home. It kept it easy to disappear as a kid, and kept the adults sane.

So after his decree, everyone looked around for someone to make the next decision. 

“I’ll call him once we get back home,” Bowl Cut suggested. “But we’ll have to wait… my mom will be concerned if she knows we skipped school.”

“Thanks, Bowl Cut.” And Richie did mean it. Deep down. He was strangely excited to see his brother again. Maybe he did miss him. But only him. The rest of the Wheelers could win the lottery and he wouldn’t care. “Can’t wait.”

“Don’t call me Bowl Cut. My name is Will.”

“And then who would I be? I’ve known Eds for the better half of my life and--”

“Don’t call me, Eds, dipshit.”

“And my point has been proven.” Richie sent a cocky smile to Eddie. 

One that could be portrayed as a playful I won’t ever stop Eds by the group. Or we’re the only ones in on the secret by Eddie.

“So Bowl Cut it is.”

Will looked indecisive, like he was fighting an internal battle. Richie was sure most of the Losers could relate. To varying degrees, and different circumstances.

“Fine… just, fine. Sure. Whatever.”

“Richie,” Bev spoke up again. “Don’t bully our new friends.”

“They’re gonna have to get used to it if they’re gonna be around the Trashmouth,” Stan argued.

“I’ve been very well-behaved today,” Richie tried to argue, even though he knew it was a lie. “No ‘your mom’ jokes!”

“That’s so a lie!” Eddie protested, his hand straightening out next to his face. He really is adorable. “You literally made one when I went to check on you!”

“When then?”

“I asked you about… the kiss, and you said you were pretending it was my mom.” Richie could see Eddie’s blush growing.

Richie could never keep his mouth shut, so his next words were so not his fault, “Aww, you’re blushing, Eds! Cute, cute, cute! Was that your first kiss?”

“... Yes,” Eddie said, burying his head.

“S-s-speaking of that, w-what was t-t-that?” Bill asked.

“Do you like… Eddie?” Ben asked.

Bev shot them both a look. “You don’t have to answer that. But we are curious.”

“Who wouldn’t like, Eds?” Richie answered without thinking. “B-but, no. I don’t. A little too short for my taste. Little too fussy.”

“I hate you!” Eddie responded.

“Love you too, Eds.” Richie really just couldn’t shut up. “But why did you have him follow me?”

Most of the Losers shrugged before Beverly took charge again. “‘Cause you kissed him? And you two are pretty close.”

“I’m also pretty close with Stan the Man.”

“I do not associate with you,” Stan said, even though he had a light smile on his face.

“Well it worked,” Beverly stated, an almost knowing smile on her face.

Richie shot Eddie a wink, he hoped the others didn’t pick up on. “It did, it did. Though, maybe we should test the liking Eddie theory? Whatya say, Eddie Spaghetti, wanna make out some more?”

“I think you should shut the fuck up, Richie. Beep fucking beep!”



Chapter Text

“Fine. I’m quiet,” Richie said, obeying the group’s rules. “Though there are better ways to do so--”

“Nope,” Eddie said, cutting him off. “Beep Beep. Stop it.”

“What does beep beep mean?” Will asked, once Richie had shut up. “You keep saying it.”

“Oh, we really haven’t officially met each other,” Stan said, his brows scrunching together. “Beep Beep means Richie needs to shut up. That he’s about to, or already has, crossed a line.”

“See, Richie is our special Trashmouth,” Bev said, giving him a kind smile. “But he’s still a fucking trshmouth, and he has no filter.”

“So they say those words, and I go silent,” Richie agreed.

“B-but not f-f-for long,” Bill joked.

“True. I just can’t help myself.” Richie hesitated before asking his next question. “Is… does Mike do anything like that?”

“No,” El answered. 

“Must be the lack of childhood trauma, good for him,” Richie joked. “I guess, he’s my brother half.”

Richie’s eyes darted to Eddie. Eds was always the one he looked to when he cracked a joke. He wanted to make sure Eddie liked it.

Eddie did like it. Richie knew the signs. Eddie did his little thing where he didn’t let himself enjoy it. Not fully at least. He would roll his eyes and yell at Richie, but at the same time the heat rose to his cheeks and he avoided Richie’s gaze.

Seriously, how did Richie not notice sooner.

“But, Bowl Cut, El, who are you?” Richie asked. He was genuinely curious.

Like most times, Bowl Cut answered, “Well, I’m Will Byers. Mike’s best friend. Have been since… well I’m not sure. For a long time. And this is El -- or Eleven. And Mike’s… girlfriend.”

Oh. “Really? Liwwle Mikey has a giwlfwiend?” Richie mocked. But he was proud of Mike. And maybe a little jealous. Not having to hide it, or wanting to hide it. Nice for him .

“Yes,” El gritted out. Richie kinda admired how tough she was. And it wasn’t just a facade.

“Good for him. Nice to meet you guys. Any more of you back in Hawkins?”

“Yeah, we’re the Party.” Will light up, ready to go on for years. “There’s Dustin, Lucas, and Max. Then also Steve, who’s kinda like our babysitter. And then Erica, Robin, and Susie. They’re newer additions.”

“Wait, are you two related?” Stan asks, gesturing between Bowl Cut and El.

Will shook his head fast. “Nope. But kinda step siblings? It’s complicated.” Will shook the thought off, like something bad led them here. And the Losers let him drop it. “But you guys? Who’s everyone?”

Richie decided since he was the bridge between the Losers and the… Party that he should introduce everyone. “Well, I’m Richie. Trashmouth. You’ve heard it all. That over there,” he pointed to Eddie. “Is Eds, the love of my life.” Hey, it wasn’t the first time he’s said that!

“Am not. And it’s E. D. D. I. E. You got that?” Eddie bit out. The fire was there -- there was always a fire to Eddie -- but Richie knew he didn’t mean it. He was playing it up. “It’s so fucking simple, Richie!”

Richie loved it. The way Eddie let himself be free a little more after the whole fight. He just… let it go. Yeah, he had his moments. He was still Eddie Kaspbrak, the hyperactive hypochondriac. But when he forgot to be scared and nervous, he was perfect.

And he was so much more crass. The Losers had speculated maybe one medication was real -- some ADHD meds. And when he stopped taking all the pills, he had no off switch. Whatever it was, Richie loved it.

“You listening?” Eddie asked, pulling Richie out of his thoughts. There was a bit of concern in his voice. Cute .

“Yeah. Sorry, Eddie Spaghetti.” The heat rose to Eddie’s cheeks again. “Anyways, next is Stan the Man. Stan Uris. My  best friend since I moved here. Bill Denbrough, our fateful leader. Even though he leads us into the mouth of the monster.”

The Losers all chuckled, and then laughed more at their guests' confusion.

“It was just us at first. Then Ben Hanscom joined our group. Eddie had to perform surgery right away -- nasty wounds from some locals -- and it was official. Next, Beverly Marsh. Or Bev. The only girl in the group, but the only one that isn’t scared of shit. And lastly, Mike Hanlon. He’s homeschooled… speaking of which, what are we gonna call him? Mike 2?”


Chapter Text

“We’re not calling him ‘Mike 2’,” Stan answered, rolling his eyes.

“Well, I should probably get going,” Eddie announced all of a sudden, taking everyone by surprise. “My mom will definitely hear I left school early. But if I get there before that, I can answer the phone and say I was sick.”

“Good thinkin’,” Richie complimented.

“Hey, Rich. Could you walk me home?” 

It wasn’t abnormal for the Losers these days. They were on edge. For the right reason. And they all agreed none of them should walk alone. Unless necessary. So it wasn’t that weird. Plus Richie lived semi-nearby.

“You’re parents won’t be home for a while.”

“I’d be more than happy to.” Richie got up off the hammock, and walked to Eddie. “I’ll see you guys tomorrow. I don’t forget to call my brother.”

He didn’t mean it, but it seemed like the right thing to say.

Everyone waved bye, and the two made their way to the ladder.

Before Richie followed behind Eddie, he turned to the group. “Make sure to warn them about Derry. In case these dipshits forget though, just avoid the weather drains.”

He could at least give the newbies a fighting chance.

He went the rest of the way up the ladder. He expected to see Eddie standing there, maybe using a puff from the inhaler like he did sometimes after climbing. But he found no one. Eddie wasn’t there.

A rush of adrenaline shot through him as he looked around at the trees. Where was Eddie? It felt like finally get what you wanted most, only to lose it in a second.

“Eds? You there?”

He heard a rustle, and maybe a laugh? If it was that motherfucking clown, he was gonna kill it for real this time.

“Eddie!”

Something rustled behind him. He went to turn, when that something jumped him.

He had been practicing some fighting skills. And not just on Street Fighter. Okay, maybe he had taken some of the moves from the game and had learned them. But he was still practicing, in real life.

He used a move he didn’t quite know the name of, and flipped the thing. That way he had the upper hand and the thing pinned below him.

The only issue is, the thing turned out to be Eddie. Eddie with a huge grin on his face, but not an evil one. And his eyes weren’t going two different ways, a thing the Losers noticed about It.

Eddie was lucky Richie didn’t have his bat on him. The bat that he had kept after their first fight. Mainly because if it could hurt It, it could hurt anything. And because it reminded him he wasn’t weak or scared. And it was kinda cool.

“You’re an asshole!” Richie shouted. Which wasn’t necessary since Eddie was inches away from him. “I was so scared.”

He heard his voice break and he felt a tear fall, but he didn’t care. He was just glad Eddie was okay.

Right then, Richie was stradling Eddie. Knees on the side of Eddie’s waist. His hands on the side of Eddie’s face, holding him up. He leaned down, pressing a quick kiss to his lips.

“I thought that stupid clown had gotten you.”

“I’m sorry,” Eddie said, face not grinning anymore.

Richie balanced on one hand, using the other to quirk Eddie’s lips up. “It was funny though. I think we should hold a prank war.”

“That’s an awful idea. It could come back at any time… we wouldn’t know…”

“Okay, no pranks like that. Maybe just little ones. Oooo, we could see how close we can get before the others realize. Y’know…”

“So we’re pranking them?”

“That’s an even better idea, Eddie Spaghetti!” Richie leaned down to hug Eddie. His knees the only thing keeping him from crushing Eddie. “But just so you know… I hate you! I was so scared!”

Between the shouting and laughing that could be mistaken for crying, all the Losers rushed out. Richie was just lucky they didn’t come out beforehand, when he was kissing Eddie.

So that’s how the Losers and their guests found them. Richie hugging Eddie on the ground. Not the best, not the worst.

Bev was the first to speak, “Are you okay?”

Richie pulled away from Eddie, but didn’t make any moves to get up. “Yeah, Eddie scared the shit out of me. Pulled a disappearing act.”

“I got some payback for, well, everything Richie does.”

“Fair enough,” Stan agreed.

“Is there a reason someone could disappear here?” Will asked, moving closer to the two boys. “And why do we have to stay away from the drains?”

“Okay, yes. T-t-there is,” Bill stated. Giving away the trade secrets.

“But we’re not telling anyone, not until your whole group gets here,” Richie jumped in. “We only want to explain it once. And also, what we’re scared of won’t be back for another 27 years.”

“Shouldn't be back… it still might, though,” Stan unhelpfully replied.

“It’s nothing to worry about,” Eddie said, trying and failing to move Richie away. “But, yeah. We’ll explain it once Richie’s… brother and your friends get here.”

“But you guys are really okay?” Ben asked.

“Yes, we are,” Eddie answered. “Sorry for scaring everyone.”

They all dismissed him. Most saying it was fair as payback to Richie.

“And Richie and I should probably get on our way. Before the school calls my mom”



Chapter Text

It took a few more reassurances before the others let them leave, but finally it was the two of them again.

“Wow, they didn’t say shit,” Richie commented, mostly to himself.

Eddie nodded. “Well, they have seen us in worse positions in the past.”

“True.”

Richie’s hand brushes against Eddie’s, sending currents up his arm. It wasn’t even the first time they’ve touched. They were just hugging horizontally, after all. This should be nothing. But they were also alone. And boyfriends .

Richie silently smiled to himself, as they kept walking. Eddie talking about his newest binge of his favorite movie Footloose .

They had just reached the spot on the bridge with the carving, when Eddie stopped abruptly.

“What’s wrong, Eddie Spaghetti?”

“Nothing,” Eddie muttered, as he walked over to the carving. He ran his fingers over it again.

“You like it, huh? I tried hard on the carving. Which was hard y’know--”

“I do know.”

Richie was confused. How could Eddie know how hard it was to carve on a bridge?

Eddie’s hand dropped down and to the left.

It was smaller. A little R with a heart around it.

What?

“I totally forgot to show you this earlier. We kinda got caught up in kissing…” Richie couldn’t see Eddie’s face, but he could see the pink going to his ears.

“Did you carve that?” Richie hesitantly asked. Even though they were together, he was nervous about the response.

“Yeah, I did.”

Yeah, Eddie was perfect.



Chapter Text

WILL’S POV

 

After Richie and Eddie had left, the Losers filled Will and El in on the real tea. And the never-ending quest to try to set them up.

“And now that we know for certain that Richie likes boys,” Bev had commented excitedly. “I mean, sure. It would have to be so on lock down. This town… but they’d be so cute.”

“And annoying,” Stan argued. But it was clear that he was going to be happy for them.

And as much as Will knew it would be hard for them, he could see they’d be good together. I mean they bickered like an old married couple already. Plus the Losers gave him all sorts of reasons to. He liked Richie and Eddie.

Hopefully Mike would be okay with it all… not like how Richie described Mrs. Wheeler or the others. Will pushed that thought away, Mike could get annoyed but he was a good person.

After the briefing on Richie and Eddie, and a quick but stern warning to be safe, Will and El made their way back home. They would have stayed longer, the Losers were like them -- outcasts -- but they had a mission.

Bring the Party to Hawkins.

The town gave Will the creeps. It was nice enough… but maybe too nice? Something was off.

Soon enough, they had made it back home.

It was weird to call Derry home, or this house for that matter. Besides the small town vibe, it was nothing like Hawkins.

Sure, Hawkins had evil leaving under its ground. But Derry had evil within -- it was the town that was evil.

Will unlocked the door for them. Jonathan and Mom were probably still out looking for a job, so it was no use ringing or knocking.

“They were nice,” El commented as they walked in.

“They were.” Will closed the door behind them, leading the way to their shared room.

It was a three bedroom house. As much as Jonathan and Will could have shared, they refused. Jonathan was getting older… and Will did not want to be around to witness anything.

“They were very inviting,” Will went on.

“He looks like Mike,” El said, completely entranced.

Will laughed. “Yeah he does. But they are identical twins.”

“Your mom was right.”

Joyce had told them right after Richie came knocking on their door. Joyce had seen a lot of Mike, and had thought it was a prank at first. Then it wasn’t, and she was confused. She told the kids right away and sent them to investigate.

Will couldn’t wait to tell her it wasn’t anything fishy.

“She was. But now we have a mission to fulfill!” Will announced. He was kind of nervous, but he was also excited. He was gonna reunite people!

“Call him!”

The two had a landline in their room. It was one of the compromises when they moved to Derry.

Will dialed the number, hoping Mike would be home from school by now.

“Hello?” Came Mrs. Wheeler’s voice on the other end. It made Will bristle. He wasn’t sure how he felt about her anymore.

“Hi, Mrs. Wheeler,” Will greeted. He was still gonna be nice, if just to get Mike to Derry. “Can I speak to Mike?”

“Sure, sweetie.”

There was some rustling on the other end.

“Hey?” Mike’s voice came in. Will pushed down the butterflies he felt.

“Hi, Mike.”

There was a beat of silence, before, “Will! Man, how have you been?” It was nice talking to Mike again. Now, he was able to pick apart the similarities and differences between Mike and his twin.

And as much as they were different, they were very similar.

“I’ve been good, really good… how have you been?” He thought about telling him there, but he wanted to talk still.

“Good. It’s been weird without you and El.” Oh, right. El. His girlfriend.

“El and I both miss you!” Guess now was the time to tell him. “Though it’s kinda like we never left you.”

“What do you mean?” Mike asked, confusion clear in his voice.

“Well, we met some people already. They call themselves the Losers,” Will explained. More than happy to beat around the bush.

“You’re trying to replace us?” Mike laughed. He has a nice laugh.

Will twirled the cord in his hands. “No, never. They are some pretty interesting people, actually.”

“How? Tell me all about it.”

“Okay, well there’s a lot of them to go through. Seven, to be exact.” Might as well tell Mike about the other first, before the bomb is dropped. “There’s Bill, who’s the leader.

And Ben, Bev, and Stan. And then Mike, who I haven’t met yet.”

“Another Mike?” Mike was laughing again.

Those moments used to be farther apart when they were battling some monster of the year. And after hearing Richie laugh so much, he was sure they were the exact same ones.

“What are we gonna call me? Mike 2?” And there was that same awful joke. Maybe they’re were more similar than Richie had thought.

“Ya know, it’s funny. One of them cracked the same joke.”

“Really?! Oh right, you’ve only told me five.”

“Right… there’s Eddie. He’s super nice.”

“You’re stalling. What is it?”

And here we go .

“The last one person we met. His name’s Richie.”

There was another pause. Mike’s voice was strained. “Oh. Is that all?”

“No. We actually learned, um, his last name too. Well, we learned all of them. But it

was so weird. His last name was Wheeler-Tozier.”



Chapter Text

WILL’S POV

 

“Ah,” Mike said on the other line.

“Yeah… you know who that is, right?”

There was another pause. “Uh, yeah. I do. Richie’s my… brother. Wow, I haven’t said that name in years. How is he?”

“He’s good. Has good friends. Loved.”

“So you know why he left, right?”

“Yeah.” 

“And our dad treats him right?”

Will went to nod, the remembered Mike couldn’t see him. Maybe one day they’d create a phone with a camera. That would be the future.

“Yeah. He has a family. I’m not sure about your dad -- I mean, I know he’s okay. But his real family is the Losers.”

“What are the chances you’d move to where he is. I didn’t even know where he lived.”

“I know. I think it’s time for Operation Unite The Twins. What do you say?”

Another dreadful pause. “Really? That would be amazing.” Was Mike crying? “I would really like to meet my brother again. I haven’t seen him in years.”

At least they could cross of Mike as being a homophobe.

“And Nancy should… wait. No. I don’t think he’d want to see me.”

“Why not?”

“I didn’t do anything. Didn’t stop mom, didn’t try to talk to him or make sure he was okay. He probably hates me.”

“He doesn’t--”

“No. Will. I can’t. I can’t ruin things for him or bring his past to Derry. I’m sure he wants me gone.”

This was going to take a lot more work than he thought.

“I know he wants to see you. Well, I don’t know actually… but he told me and El to call you up.I’m sure he wants his brother back… we’ve almost lost each other, the whole Party, more than once. Don’t lose more people.”

“It’s not too late?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Okay, I’m coming to Derry.”

“How?”

“Easy. Convince Steve and Nancy that you guys are in danger. Say it’s something that followed you there. We should be there by the weekend.”

“That might not be a lie, though. The Losers said there was something… that they would explain more once you guys got here. Just stay away from the weather drains?”

“Why would I need to stay away from weather drains?”

Chapter Text

Richie decided to ignore the brother issue, and the coming out issue, for as long as he could.

It was a Thursday that the secret had been spilled. The same day he and Eds made it official. Friday was no problem. Nobody talked about it, not that they’d be able to at school. And Bowl Cut and El sat with them at lunch, which was a little weird. But nice to have some new people. New people to bully too.

Oh, and they hadn’t been able to tell Mike the gossip.

They meant to -- well, not Richie -- but Mike was stuck working. He got caught skipping classes and was punished.

So Richie ignored it. Until it came knocking on his door.

At first he thought it was just Eddie. The Losers apparently smart enough to use a decoy.

Luckily before he could acknowledge his boyfriend, Bev popped out in front of Eddie. Wow, it was great to be able to say that .

“What are you two doing here?” Richie asked warily.

“We decided to get you before you left for the arcade,” Bev said, in an almost-condescending tone. But she had a sweet smile on her face.

“Oh, I see. Eds wanted to ask me to a romantic rendezvous, but was too shy. Thanks Bevvie.”

“I hate you,” Eddie spat out, a blush growing on his face.

“Love ya too.”

“And don’t call me Eds!” He added on, remembering a second too late.

“Ya sure.” Richie then turned his attention to Bev. “So if not for my Eddie--” Richie could see Eddie’s face heat up even more. He made a mental note, he’d have to use ‘my’ more . “Then why?”

“Easy,” Bev commented, pulling Richie out of his house. Eddie closed the door behind him. “Guess who just got to town?”

So this was a trap.

“I dunno. Jesus?”

Eddie slapped the back of his head before taking his other arm captive. This was definitely a trap.
“My brother?”

“Bingo!” Eddie congratulated as they started walking down the front steps. “And the rest of their group from Hawkins.”

“Well, this is gonna be interesting.”

Bev and Eddie lead him with a firm grasp to the Beyers’ house. Eddie’s house was only a block from his, so it wasn’t that far a walk.

They made it to the front door when they stopped. Eddie turned to him, a soft look on his face. “Are you ready, Richie?”

“As I’ll ever be.”

It was go time.



Chapter Text

The Byers house was nice, still filled with boxes. But it had a nice feeling to it. Like there was love between the inhabitants. Richie liked it, but it also made him feel sick.

“Everyone’s here,” Bev started explaining. “Well, except for Mike -- since he’s still grounded. But everyone who knows is here to support you.”

“We’ll be here the whole time,” Eddie said, squeezing his arm a little.

“And everyone they could get from Hawkins is here,” Bev continued. “Well, their friends. Not parents or anyone.”

“Except Joyce,” Eddie commented. “Will’s mom.”

“And they don’t know anything. Not even really about you. They think… I’m not sure what they think.”

They finally reached a door. Richie assumed that behind that door was his twin brother.

Bev was the one to open it, revealing a basement.

God, he hated basements .

They started making their way down. Bev at the front, then Richie, and then Eddie. That way Richie couldn’t run away.

All eyes were on him. Studying him. There were probably close to 30 people in the room. But Richie was only looking at one person. Mike Wheeler. His twin.

“What the fuck?” an older boy with big floofy hair said.

Richie ignored him, making his way to his brother. Said brother was just staring.

“You have stupid hair,” Richie told him. And then, when they were right in front of each other, he swung his arm back.

Honestly, he didn’t know what he was doing. Didn’t even fully realize until his fist connected with Mike’s jaw.

Oops.

Chapter Text

“What the fuck?!” Eddie asked this time.

Mike was clutching his jaw. At least it didn’t look broken.

“I-i, uhh,” Richie tried to explain. But how could he? It was just his first reaction. “I don’t know, okay? I’m overwhelmed!”

“Overwhelmed? Yeah, we’re a little overwhelmed too,” the boy with the floofy haired said. “Anyone mind explaining what the fuck is going on?”

The boy looked in his late teens? Not a parent for sure, though he was acting like a paranoid mother.

“And you better apologize to Mike right now, you clone !” he started again.

Mike put a gentle hand on him. “Steve, it’s fine. He’s completely justified in what he did.”

“Like hell!”

“So I’m not the only one seeing double?” a black boy asked. That was gonna be hard in Derry. Then again, everything was hard in Derry.

“I have no idea what’s going on,” a boy with big, curly hair peeking out from under a hat commented.

“I’ll explain,” Mike stated, still holding on to his jaw. He shot a careful look to Richie. “We’ll both explain.”

“And who exactly is he?” a red-headed girl asked. “Because he looks a lot like you.”

“You’ve already met his friends, the Losers Club. He’s just the last one.”

“Actually, no. We’re missing one more of us. He’s also named Mike. We’ll have to catch him up,” Richie corrected. “But besides that, yes I am the last one you’ll meet today.”

“Okay, whatever,” Mike brushed off. “This is--”

“Richie ‘Trashmouth’ Tozier! Nice to meet you all.”

“And you two are?” Steve asked. At least that’s what he thought Mike had called him.

“Twins. I’m his brother half, and definitely the more handsome.”

Eddie stepped forward now, hitting the back of Richie’s head on his way. “And the more annoying one.”

“Ooo, so you do think I’m the more handsome one. I’m flattered Eddie Spaghetti.”

“Don’t call me that, asshole!”

“You know you love it,” Richie told him, Eddie’s blush right on cue. “Any-who. Where’s Nancy? Or did she not want to see me?”

Richie secretly wanted Nancy to be a no-show. That way he wouldn't have to put up with her.

“She’s upstairs with Mrs. Byers and Robin. They’re getting snacks.” Richie had no idea who Robin was, but he guessed he’d meet her too.

Richie also took the moment to scan the room. It was nicely decorated, but still in the process of getting things out of boxes. The Losers that hadn’t kidnapped him here, were occupying the space on the floor. On the large couch the black boy, redhead, El, and Will were all squished together. On a sofa couch was the curly headed boy and a little black girl on the arm.

Behind him, Bev was still at the base of the stairs. Mike and Steve were to his left, and Eddie was on his right.

“Also, we had no idea any of us would see you,” Steve said. “We were told there was something dangerous here. That we’d know more once we came?”

“Oh, right. Good, good. There’s kinda a killer clown out to get us,” Richie commented like it was no big deal. Even though the ‘no big deal’ made him shiver.

Everyone outside of the Losers Club looked beyond shocked.

“Don’t worry,” Richie continued. “I mean do, but it can wait. Besides, I'd like to get to know you all.”

He really didn’t want to, but might as well say it. Not like Pennywise was gonna be coming back any time soon.

“A killer clown is more of a pressing issue!” Mike protested.

“Technically, it’s a cosmic killer clown,” Eddie unhelpfully supplied.

Richie could tell the signs. Eddie was about to have an asthma attack.

Deep breathing that never seemed to get enough air inside. Fidgeting hands. Unfocused eyes that also seemed to hyperfocus on everything. The weezing. The look of panic.

Richie pulled the inhaler he kept for Eddie out of his pocket.

Eddie always had a few extras lying around his house, so every few months Richie would swipe another. Eddie never noticed or asked for them back. Plus, sometimes Eddie would freeze up and forget to take it. So it only made sense.

Richie shook it a few times before handing it over to Eddie, who took it like his life depended on it. And in some ways, Richie guessed it did.

Eddie took it, but the placebo effect would only do so much. Eddie did actually have asthma, even though Richie liked to say it was fake. And as much as the placebo effect gave Eddie some immediate relief, it still took a few minutes for the medication to actually work.

Richie rubbed Eddie’s back to try to calm him down. If Eddie had a panic attack on top, he’d be rushed to the hospital. Which would also mean not seeing the Losers for a good month.

“Is he okay?” Steve asked.

“Yeah,” Richie answered for Eddie. It wasn’t like Eddie had the air to talk anyways. “Has asthma. Can’t blame him for it starting up after talking about a thing that almost killed us.”

“So it’s really real?” Mike asked. Off of Richie’s nod, he continued, “Maybe we aren’t so different actually.”



Chapter Text

“What do you mean?” Richie asked. He highly doubted his twin brother and friends had fought a cosmic killer clown.

“Well…” Mike started, before shaking it off. “Once the rest of the girls get down here, I’ll tell you. Plus, we need to fill them in on… what’s it’s name?”

“It,” Bev said. It was like she was speaking of a legend. And in a way, she was.

“I know, what is it’s name?” Mike asked again, clearly not getting it.

“We call it It,” Richie clarified. “But it also calls itself Pennywise. So either of those.”

Mike nodded. “Oh, you should meet everyone. Or they can introduce themselves?”

“You already know me, El, and Mike,” Bowl Cut said. “Uhh, why don’t you start?” He gestured to his right.

“Sure. I’m Max,” the redhead next to him answered. She looked tough. Kind of like Bev. But different somehow. “And no that is not short for Maxine.”

“Well, technically--” the black boy started before Max hit him on the shoulder. “Yep, got it. Just Max. And I’m Lucas.”

“My annoying boyfriend,” Max stated. Though Richie could see the love in her eyes.

“I know the type,” Eddie said. Immediately all eyes were on him, along with all the confused faces.

RIchie assumed he must have said it without thinking. Trying to help cover, RIchie asked, “Ooh, you got an annoying boyfriend Eds? I’m heartbroken.” Richie put a hand over his chest.

“Nope. Only a boy who wants to be my annoying boyfriend.”

“Oh, good still me. And I never said I wanted too--”

“Don’t even try to lie about it, RIchie! You fucking kissed me.”

“Okay, fine. I admit. But, if anything that should have shown you I’m a very good kisser.”

Eddie’s face went as red as a tomato. “Shut up.”

“You know it’s true, Eddie Spaghetti.”

“Don’t bully him any more, Richie. I’m surprised he wasn’t even more mad about the kiss in the first place.”

“Wait, so you… kissed Eddie?” Mike asked.

“Oh,” Richie said, remembering it wasn’t just the losers. “Yeah, well. I had to prove a point.”

“What was the point?”

“That I’m… I don’t want to say it. But you can assume.” Tears were starting to well up again. Richie wanted to push them down but they just got worse.

“It’s fine, you don’t have to tell us,” Mike said. He placed a hesitant hand on RIchie’s shoulder. “But for the record, we don’t care.”

Richie wiped the tears away. “Thanks. I’m good. Just… in love with my Eds.”

“Shut up, Richie!” Eddie’s blush somehow grew stronger.

“Use the magic words!”

Eddie got a wide smirk on his face, almost rivaling Richie’s. Oh yeah?” Eddie took a long pause before, “Beep beep, dipshit.”

Eddie walked away to join the others on the floor, flipping Richie off in the process.

“No fun. But fine, rules are rules.” Mike looked confused, but Richie pushed through, “ So introduce me to the rest of ‘em! Don’t mind the banter between me and Eds.”

“Stop calling me that!”

“See, we do it a lot.”

“Yeah, they really do,” Stan said, rolling his eyes.

“Well, I’m Dustin,” the boy on the sofa chair said, a big smile on his face.

“Nice to meet you Dustin.”

“And I’m Erika. Lucas’ sister. But I’m better than him.”

“And nice to meet you Erika. And I’m sure you met all the Losers?”

“We did,” Mike answered.

Steve cleared his throat. “Yeah, thanks for forgetting about me. I’m Steve. And I’m in charge.”

Richie was about to protest before he heard the door to the basement opening.



Chapter Text

“Oh shit,” Richie was able to mumble out before he saw Mrs. Byers making her way down stairs.

Next was a girl Richie didn’t recognize. Must be Robin, Richie put together. He could actually be pretty smart when he wanted to.

Then there was Nancy. Richie wanted to scream, run to the nearest sewer drain to get away from this.

“It’s weird seeing you two next to each other,” Mrs. Byers commented, putting a hand on each of the boys’ shoulders. She looked to Mike first, then Richie, then laughed. She continued over to Will.

Robin-maybe put two bowls of chips down on the table. “I didn’t know there was two of you.”

“We’re nothing alike,” Mike was quick to comment.

“Yeah, I’m a lot cooler,” Richie finished.

“I understand why you and Will fight now.”

“Banter,” Richie corrected. “And because we’re very in loooove.” Richie shot a wink to Eddie who flipped him off again.

“What the hell is going on here?” Nancy asked, finally had made it over to Richie.

“Oh, hi big sister,” Richie said. He couldn’t help the scowl that made its way onto his face. He hated the Wheelers, and Nancy was no exception.

If there was an exception, it would be Mike. He didn’t seem to hate Richie, and had no problems about Richie having kissed Eddie.

He was still on thin ice. Richie didn’t trust anyone. He’d made that mistake too many times. It took awhile for the Losers to earn that. They only had the exception from fighting an evil clown together… and all being outcast losers.

And even then, he had just told them his big secret.

“Richard?” Nancy asked. Her voice was soft, almost not there.

“Actually it’s Richie now. Would’ve changed my whole name but dad isn’t too bad.”

“How? What?”

“Oh, I’m sorry little Nancy is shocked,” Richie chastised. “Didn’t expect to see her long lost brother who she gave up on! Who she turned her fucking back on when he needed her most!”

Richie really didn’t mean to get so worked up. But he was mad, and he wanted to tell her.

“God forbid she be a good big sister. But no, she just had to follow mom’s footsteps! Yeah ‘cause her brother is a fucking faggot! But you know what? Fuck you Nancy! I don’t need you! I don’t need any of you Wheelers!”

He was breathing heavy, but there weren’t any tears. He knew they’d come later. Right now, he just felt cold. Hot because of the anger. But cold, no emotions.

“I’m sorry,” Nancy tried to start.

Richie cut her off, “You don’t get to be sorry! Sorry isn’t going to fix any of this. I needed you! But it’s fine, because I have a family now. A whole lot better than you!”

Everything felt too hot now. He needed cold air. He needed out.

So he ran.

Not even worrying about the footsteps behind him.



Chapter Text

Richie stopped once he got to the front steps in front of the Byers’ house. He was out in the open air and already feeling better. Just hollow.

Richie felt like he wanted to close up, fold in. So he did.

He hugged his knees as tight as he could, burying his head.

His thoughts were swimming, going everywhere. Yet also nowhere. Like a static at the back of his mind he couldn’t pick up on.

After a few minutes he heard the front door creak open.

“Hey, you wanna talk?” Richie heard Bev say from behind him.

After a long pause making it clear Richie wasn’t talking, Eddie took a seat next to him. “I don’t know, Bev. He almost never shuts up,” Eddie commented. “Maybe we should leave the Trashmouth mute.”

“You know you’d hate that,” Richie responded, leaping into the trap Eddie had placed. He still kept his head down though.

“And that’s why I brought you,” Bev said. “Ya sure you don’t like Eddie, Richie?”

“Eddie Spaghetti? I love him.” Eddie didn’t tell him off, so Richie took the moment to lace their fingers together.

Richie wasn’t sure where Bev was, but since Eddie let him she must not be able to see.

“That was quite an introduction,” a girl stated. He wasn’t sure who it was at first.

She placed a hand on his knee and Richie decided to look up and see who it was.

Robin.

“What can I say? I’m one of a kind.”

“You definitely are,” she agreed. “I couldn’t help but overhear. You like guys better than girls? And not in a friendship way?”

“Yeah, you got a problem with that?” He wasn’t afraid to yell at another person.

“Not at all. In fact, I happen to have a crush on a girl named Tammy Thompson.”

“Used to,” a voice Richie started realizing was Steve said. “She’s way too good for you.”

“Used to,” Robin corrected. “But she’s not the only one. I won’t bore you to death with the list.”

“You… you’re?” Richie couldn’t finish but hoped she understood.

She did. “Yeah. I don’t know about Nancy. But Steve here, Mike, our friends… they won’t care. And you’re no different. You’re just a human being.”

“Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me for the truth,” Robin said. And Richie could tell she was genuine. Nice. Then she got a wicked smirk on her face. “Any crushes? You don’t have to tell me, but I am curious. I wonder what you’re type is.”

Richie shot a quick look around, to check who was here. He saw Robin and Eddie obviously. Bev and Steve he saw for the first time, but wasn’t surprised since he had already heard them. Then he noticed Mike was here too. Interesting .

“Well,” Richie started, then noticed Robin had noticed his and Eddie’s intertwined fingers. “Short. Adorable, cute, maybe even a little hot. And firey. Not scared to tell me to fuck off. And maybe a little bit of a hypochondriac.”

“Just because I’m conscious of germs doesn’t mean--” Eddie started, before he shut up. Richie was pretty sure everyone out here knew about him and Eddie, but he realized he didn’t care.

Yeah, he wanted to prank the others somehow. Might as well have some fun. But he didn’t care if they secretly knew the whole time.

“I see,” Robin said. “I think that’s a perfect match for you.” She ruffled his hair, giving him a wide smile. “We haven’t officially met, I’m Robin.”

“Nice to meet you Robin. I’m Richie.”

“Also, I heard your parents haven’t been the best… see that guy over there?” She gestured to Steve. Richie nodded. “He’ll probably try to adopt you. He’s a sweetheart. Don’t be fooled by his appearance. He’ll be there if you need him.”

“I don’t adopt kids. I’m just friends with a lot of ‘em,” Steve tried to correct her.

“He adopts them.”

“I could use some new folks,” Richie informed him. “Though Eddie might need some new ones first. And liking your brother would be weird.”

“I don’t… okay maybe I need some new parents,” Eddie agreed.

“Adopt the other Losers,” Richie decided. “Eds, all of ‘em. That’s what would make me happy.”

“First off, I’m taking all of you in,” Steve announced. “Second, Mike and El are dating and they’re both my kids.”

“Third,” Eddie joined in. “We’re not dating, Rich.”

“Yet.”

“See, you do adopt kids,” Robin stated. She looked very happy at winning.

“Hey, Richie,” Mike finally spoke up. “Can we talk?”

“Uh, sure?”

“Why don’t we go back inside,” Bev offered. “I’ll fill everyone in on, well everything. And you two talk. Come back in when you’re ready.”

Everyone started getting up and leaving them alone.

Eddie gave him a big hug, whispering in his ear, “I’d kiss you, but well everyone’s still here. And it might be a bit awkward as a way to break the news. But you got this. I’m inside if you need.”

And then he was closing the door behind all of the others.

Time to talk to someone he hasn’t seen for years. Yay feelings.

Chapter Text

“So…” Richie started, having no idea what to say. “I finally met someone I can’t make a ‘your mom’ joke on.” Richie forced a laugh.

Mike didn’t join in, but he did give a small smile. “You really make those?”

“All the time. Great flirting technique.”

“I’ll remember that.” Sure it was awkward but Mike was pretty easy to talk to. A sort of awkward easiness. “It’s nice to finally see you, and meet you. I’m sure you’re a lot different since you moved.”

“Yeah, I probably am. Between just changing for the hell of it -- ya know, trying to make Karen mad even if she didn’t care,” Richie tried to joke, even though every word was true. “And then the killing the cosmic killer clown. And the Losers. They kinda picked up the pieces of what was left of me. I mean sure, at first it was just me, Stan, Bill, and Eddie. And they did an amazing job. But also Bev, Ben, And Mike. And together, they made a Trashmouth whole again. Feel whole again.”

“I know an apology won’t make it better, especially not from me,” Mike said softly. “But I’m sorry about what mom did. I’m sorry about what Nancy did. I’m sorry about what I did. I didn’t quite understand it at first. But I should have reached out to you.”

“Karen wouldn’t have let you.”

“Maybe not. But I’ve done a lot of things she wouldn’t have allowed.”

“Oh right, you said something…” Richie tried to remember. “You said you’d tell us later.”

“Right. It’s kind of a long story,” Mike said.

“Not longer than a cosmic clown.”

“Fair enough,” Mike laughed. “Well there’s this thing in Hawkins. It’s called the upside down. Well, I guess it’s everywhere technically. But there’s a lab in Hawkins. And monsters come from it. And they go after Will a lot. He’s the one who first went missing. Oh, and El has powers ‘cause she’s from the same lab.”

“That’s a lot to catch up on, but dude. Your girlfriend has powers?!” Richie couldn’t help but get excited. “That’s awesome!”

“Yeah, she does,” Mike said like it was nothing. Richie couldn’t help but notice his cheeks weren’t heating up talking about her. “But Will also has some. Kinda. I mean, he can tell if something evil is nearby. Well, at least with things from the upside down. I’m not sure about your clown.”

“Don’t worry. The clown makes sure he is known. He doesn’t really like sneak attacks.”

“What’s the worse he’s done?”

That was a hard question. Everything that sadistic prick had done was awful. But it wasn’t hard to pick a favorite. Or least favorite. However that worked.

“Well, he’s pretty shitty. But the worst was probably when he broke Eddie’s arm. Well, he made Eddie fall and crash through a table. And then tried to eat him. And then I had to snap his arm back into place. And his mom hated everything of that, and we didn’t see him for months. Not until Bev disappeared and we had to go save her,” Richie retold. He said it like it was nothing. Even though that day scared him the most out of every encounter with Pennywise. “So, Eds almost dying. I mean, we all almost died at different points. But that day was bad.”

“You really care about him, don’t you?” Mike asked. “I mean, you say you all almost died at different times. But the worst was when he was in danger.”

“Oh, yeah.” Richie hoped his cheeks weren’t giving him away. “I mean, we’ve been friends forever. And he’s so fragile, he needs protecting.”

Even though that wasn’t entirely true, it felt like the right things to say.

“Bullshit,” Mike stated, surprising Richie. “How’d you almost die? Actually, no, how’d all of you almost die?”

Richie was confused, but answered anyways, “Well, okay. Stan almost died from this woman like eating him? I’m not sure what was happening, but it was from this creepy painting in his house. And she attacked him while we were in the sewers.”

Richie left out the part of them leaving Stan when that happened.

“Ben encountered him in the school. He didn’t really tell us the details. But he said he was alone and got chased. And Bev got abducted by him, and got caught in these things called the deadlights. They kill you basically. They also make you see stuff.”

Richie didn’t want to get into detail about what she saw. It freaked him out.

“Mike got attacked in the alley by his grandfather’s meat store. Bill… he saw him a lot. Mostly in his basement.”

Bill might have gotten the worst of it. With Georgie. But then again, they all had it the worst.

“I got attacked by a huge statue, it’s in the park actually. And it tried to crush me… then again, every encounter with Pennywise could have killed us. This whole town wants to eat us up and never spit us out.”

“And still you chose Eddie. You really like him, don’t you? Like, like like. But more. Love, maybe.”

Damn Mike Wheeler and his observation skills.

“You do, don’t you? And you cover it up with jokes about his mom… you’re cute together.”

“You think so?”

“Yeah,” Mike admitted. “I mean, like you said before. He’s not scared to throw what you give out back. He obviously likes you too.”

Richie obviously knew this fact -- it was his boyfriend after all -- but it still felt nice to have someone agree and point it out. Bev kind of did that.

But this was also his brother. His brother that he hadn’t seen in forever. That could have hated him for what he was and what he liked.

Loved.

Mike was right. He loved Eddie. He really did.

But also in that moment, he loved his brother. Obviously in a very different way. But he realized he missed him and loved him.

He enveloped Mike in a hug, taking his brother by surprise.

“Thank you, big bro,” Richie said to him. The tears were falling once again. Maybe being true meant crying. But it felt good.

“I’m the older one? I mean, not surprising…”

“Yeah, our dad told me once.”

“Cool. I get to be a good big brother to you, then.” They hugged in silence before Mike spoke up again, “Also, what does ‘beep beep’ mean?”

“Oh, that’s a funny story.”



Chapter Text

The twins talked for a few more minutes, Richie explaining ‘beep beep’ and talking about both their friend groups and such. Catching up.

Eventually they decided they should head back inside. They’d have more time to catch up while Richie was here.

They went back down to find everyone else talking. Mostly to their own friends, but there was some cross contamination.

Nancy got sight of them first, and made her way over. Richie couldn’t help but tense up.

“Richie,” Nancy tried again. And Richie could almost hear the sincerity in her voice.

Almost.

“Don’t,” Richie informed her. “I’m not ready to talk this through with you. You hurt me. I need more time even getting used to the idea that you can be my sister.”

“I was always your sister. And I always will be.”

“You weren’t my sister. You haven't been my sister since I told Karen I liked boys better.”

Richie pushed past her. He wanted to see his real family right now. The Losers.

“You have to prove it to him,” Richie heard Mike say to Nancy.

And it occurred to him Mike was right. If she wanted to be his sister again, she had to prove she meant it.

Richie walked over to where most of the Losers were sitting, and more importantly, where Eddie was sitting. Richie plopped down next to him, and leaned over.

“Miss me, Eds?” Richie whispered in his ear. “‘Cause while I was crying I had the time to think… I planned some not-so PG things for us.”

Eddie blushed brighter than normal, but pushed Richie away. “Gross! Beep beep.”

“Come on, you know you don’t want that.”

“What did he say now?” Bev asked.

“Uh… he said ‘Miss me, Eds? Anyways… I wanted to know if your mom was free tonight for some not-so PG things,” Eddie lied.

“Eww,” Bev said, throwing a chip at him. “You are so gross.”

Richie gave a glance over at Eddie. “Yeah, guess I am. Can’t blame a Trashmouth for being a trashmouth, though.”

“Okay, everyone!” Steve announced, somehow quieting them all down. “Since there isn’t actually anything dangerous here, except maybe a cosmic killer clown -- but I’ve been told that isn’t an issue. As it won’t be back for 27 years. So, we’re gonna stay here for the rest of the weekend, go back to Hawkins on Monday.”

“What about sleeping arrangements?” Max asked.

“I don’t mind sharing with Eddie,” Richie commented, earning him a smack in the head.

“Good question Max, unhelpful comment Richie,” Steve continued. “Joyce has two spare beds and two couches. Any volunteers?”

“I’ll stay here,” Mike said.

Max, Lucas, and Dustin all raised their hands as well.

“Perfect. Max, Lucas, Dustin, Mike -- you’ll be here. That just leaves me, Robin, and Erica.”

“I can p-p-probably sneak s-someone in,” Bill said. “I have a b-b-blow-up m-mattress I can get out.

“What about Georgie’s ro--” Richie started to say.

“No. Blow-up mattress.”

“Right. Of course.”

Bill had mostly accepted it. But that didn’t mean he was over it. How could he really be? So it made sense. Anything Georgie was off-limits.

“Erica? Why don’t you take that?”

“Sure. But I get the bed.”

“S-sure.”

“I can have some people over,” Ben offered. “My parents want me to make friends -- I haven’t told them about the Losers. ‘Cause then I’d have no friends. But I can take two probably?”

“Cool. Me and Robin?” Steve asked. Robin nodded in agreement. “Awesome.”

“That still leaves me,” Nancy said hesitantly.

Richie knew he was the only one left to be able to take anyone. Stan’s parents wouldn’t let him have sleepovers with girls. Richie and the others barely even got by. Mike was an obvious no-go as he still didn’t know about any of this. Bev’s aunt wouldn’t let anyone sleepover. She said it wasn’t proper for a lady. And Eddie obviously couldn’t. It was up to him.

“Sure. I can do it.”

“You sure about that?” Steve asked.

“Yeah. I’m sure dad would want to see you. It’s fine.”

“Thank you, Richie. That means a lot to--”

“Don’t. I’m just being a good person. It’s not for you.”

Chapter Text

It wasn’t long until everyone was going their separate ways. It was 3 pm and school would have let them out by now.

    Anyone that had someone staying over would also have to have them approved soon. None of the parents would allow some random kid -- or two -- to stay over if they showed up late at night.

    Not that the parents really cared, but if they thought it would make them miserable they’d try to do it.

    So most of the Losers were standing outside. Anyone staying at casa Byers having stayed inside.

    “Hey, Rich. It’s gonna be okay,” Eddie assured him softly.

    Richie ruffled his hair. “Yeah I know, Eds.”

    “Don’t call me that, dipshit.”

    “I should get going,” Richie said, picking up his bike. Eddie’s already at his side. Richie pulled Eddie in by his fanny pack, and whispered in his ear, “Leave your window open tonight.”

    “I always leave it open for you,” Eddie admitted, whispering back.

    Richie pulled back so it wasn’t suspicious. He thought of adding a dumb joke to it too, but the moment was too nice. Even for a Trashmouth.

    “See ya later, Spaghetti.”

    “See ya, Trashmouth.”

    Richie gave a teary-eyed smile. He wished Eddie could come with him, but that might make it worse. Nancy didn’t seem too put off by their bantering/flirting. But she had been in a group setting those times.

    Richie took a breath, turning to Nancy. He could feel his expression turn could without thinking about it.

    Richie hopped on his bike, without making sure Nancy was ready. He didn’t peddle fast, just a slow pace so Nancy could keep up while walking.

    He felt Nancy catch up with him before she even talked. “Thanks for not going too fast. I’d get lost ‘round here.” She was trying to make small talk, Richie could tell.

    “Eds can keep up, and he has asthma. Thought it would be fine for you.” Richie was testing her. Seeing how many times he could mention Eddie before she said something… or before she flipped out.

    “Right, I met him. He’s nice.” Richie tried to read her voice. It wasn’t cold or angry, but it wasn’t overly nice. Not open.

But then again, it was awkward. Just like with Richie.

Might as well test further. “He’s the best,” Richie said. As he said it Richie realized he meant it. Eddie was the best thing that ever happened to him.

“I know… do you like him? I mean, like I would like a boy.”

“Like? I love him. I’ve loved him for a long time.”

“And you’re in love with him? Like I mean… you want to date him?”

This was the final test. Well, Richie guessed maybe if she knew they were dating or saw them kiss that would be the final test. But this was at least a big test.

Maybe even Nancy’s test for him.

“Yeah, I’m in love with him. Like the dating way.”

“I don’t really get it all,” Nancy admitted. “I mean, I just wasn’t raised that way. And little towns… no one talks. But I know love and caring for someone else. So I’d like to learn. If you could just give me a chance. Which I know is a hell of a lot more than I’m owed. But I’d really like to try.”

Richie stopped his bike. And really thought about it.

As much as he hated to admit, he missed his sister. Missed being able to wake her up when he had nightmares, and lay with her while she’d sing softly to him. Missed having someone to go to for advice. He missed her.

He had the Losers, and he wouldn’t trade them for the world. But it was still his sister. In fact, they were probably all tied for his love. He couldn’t pick favorites.

Probably ‘cause Eddie would win.

And she had let him down big time.

“You’re right, you don’t deserve another chance,” Richie stated in complete seriousness. It felt different. “But, I am willing to give you one. Because I don’t just abandon people.”

Nancy nodded like she wanted to say more, but just nodded obediently. Waiting for Richie’s next words.

“I’ll tell you, describe it to you, try to make you understand. In return, all I ask for is respect. And respect for Eddie. And you don’t talk outside the friend group about any of this. It’s already bad enough. If people in the town got word for it -- and not just from Bowers… I wouldn’t have to worry about a killer clown anymore.”

“Who’s Bowers?”

“Old bully. Carved up Ben. Tried to kill us all. Not a friendly guy.”

“I’m sorry about that.”

“And stop saying sorry. In fact, at home I’ll make a whole list for you of rules. But the work is up to you. I’m not just going to accept you back.”

“Thank you. I won’t let you down.”

“Yeah, yeah. We’ll talk more at the house. It’s not safe in public.”

Chapter Text

It didn’t take long until they reached the Tozier house. His dad’s car was in the driveway, which sent a shiver up his spine.

Richie had nothing to be worried about realistically, but he didn’t trust a lot of people. His parents -- all of them -- fit into the ‘I don’t trust you’ group.

Richie opened the door but didn’t bother holding it open for Nancy. She’s a big girl afterall, Richie thought to himself.

“Richie? Is that you!” His stepmom called out from the kitchen probably.

“Yeah, mom!” Richie didn’t like calling her mom. Well, he didn’t really care. But it wouldn’t have been his first choice. His dad was the one who insisted, and if that was the second rule to live there he could agree.

His dad didn’t have many rules. Don’t let people know his secret, more for his safety than anything else. Don’t fool around with another boy. Again, safety. Do your homework and get good grades. Call her mom. Don’t stay out too late. And most important, don’t get caught.

So Richie could deal with calling her mom.

Richie could hear her coming towards them and immediately tensed up.

She wrapped Richie in a hug before she turned her attention to Nancy. “Welcome. And you are?”

“Nancy,” their dad’s voice said behind her. “What are you doing here?”

“Well, Mike and I came out to see Richie. It’s been a while.” Nancy looked uncomfortable and Richie almost felt bad for liking that. Almost. 

“Oh. And…” his dad didn’t finish his question but he didn’t need to.

“Yes. I know. And I… I don’t care. I don’t agree with mom.”

“Good.” His dad put his hand on Richie’s shoulder. “I know you’re both my kids. And I love you both. But I protect this kid. I would definitely have a bias if things went down.”

Richie sometimes wondered how the town’s curse didn’t reach his dad. He wasn’t home often and he wasn’t big on bonding. But he cared. And that was more than Richie could say for most of the adults out here.

“Of course. And I intend to protect him to.”

“In fact, Nancy was wondering if she could spend the night? Well, a few nights really,” Richie cut in. Better to get this done sooner. That way he could go to Eddie sooner. “Mike’s staying with his friend in town. But she needs a place to stay.”

“Of course,” his mom answered. She was probably trying to figure out how soon she could adopt another Tozier. Too bad this one was still a Wheeler.

“Pull out the blow-up mattress Eddie uses,” his dad said.

Richie put on a look of fake horror. “Dad. How dare you?! I would never make Eddie sleep on that thing, I always take it.”

“We both know if Eddie were here he’d say no.”

“Okay fine. Yes, I make him take it. But not all the time!” Richie was pretty sure his dad knew about them. Or about how they both felt. But he wasn’t sure. As long as they followed his rules, he wouldn’t care.

“Okay, run along. I have a game to catch,” his dad stated.

Richie nodded, making his way to the stairs. He could hear Nancy following behind him.

He led them up to his room, closing the door behind him.

“Shouldn’t you get the mattress out?”

“Nope. Wouldn’t matter. I’m not staying here tonight.”

Nancy’s brows knitted together. “Why not? Where would you go?”

“I’m going to Eddie’s house,” Richie stated. He got a backpack out and started filling it up with clothes.

“Oh. Did you guys already plan it?”

“Nope.” Now he was putting in a few comics.

“So his parents know then?”

“He only has a mom. But no. Mrs. K doesn't allow sleepovers.”

“Then how does that work?”

“I sneak in through the window.”

That got Nancy to laugh. “Wow, I didn’t know one of my brothers’ was a badass. Breaking the rules, huh?”

“I break all of them. But it’s worth it. Ya know, for Eds.”

“And both of my brothers are also hopelessly in love.’

“I’m not hopelessly in love. That implies the other doesn’t love you back. Eds loves me plenty.”

“I don’t think that’s what it means exactly. Also how would you even know that?”

Richie dropped his bag onto his bed next to where his sister was sitting. “Well, Nancy. That’s very simple. Me and Eds are dating. And he’s told me so.”

“Wait. You guys are really dating? Like boyfriend and… boyfriend?”

“Yep,” Richie said, watching for any reaction she gave. “Made it official a few days ago. But we haven’t told anyone.”

“Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone,” Nancy said. “And that’s really cute. You guys are good together.”

“Thank you.” Before it could get any sappier, Richie pulled out his notebook. “Now, the rules.

 

Rule #1 : Don’t say sorry - just make it up for what happened

Rule #2 - Don’t talk about anything outside of safe walls (Tozier house, Bowl cut’s house, clubhouse)

Rule #3 - Respect Eds and me (Richie)

Rule #4 - Don’t tell anyone I’m dating Eddie

Rule #5 - Don’t talk to anyone outside of the Losers Club or Party (FYI that’s a stupid fucking name)

Rule #6 - Don’t trust anyone outside of those groups

Rule #7 - Don’t trust the sewers or clowns!!!

Chapter Text

By the time they had finished their list, it was dinner time.

Even though it was a very short list, Richie wanted to make sure everything was covered. He didn’t want something that would bite him in the ass later because he didn’t think about it.

So Richie and his parents and Nancy ate dinner. Well, heated up leftovers anyways. Then Richie said they were gonna turn over for the night, and led the way up the stairs.

Richie made it there first and immediately picked up his backpack.

“So you’re staying there all night?” Nancy asked. She had closed the door behind them but still hovered near it.

“Yep. I’ll hop out of the window in the morning then ring the doorbell like I just got there.” That was always the drill. Except for the times Richie didn’t wake up soon enough and got stuffed into Eddie’s closet when Mrs. K walked in to wake Eddie up.

“Okay, then. Be safe,” Nancy said.

“Okay,” Richie said. He didn’t need the reminder to be safe in Derry. But it was appreciated. “Cry if I go missing.” He tried for a joke.

When Nancy didn’t get it, he started to climb out his own window.

That wasn’t exactly safe, but he had done this since he moved here.

The first time was his first night here. He snuck out and that’s when he met Stanley.

Stan had been out late because of some service at the synagogue and they’d crossed paths.

Then when he was in school he met up with Stan again, and that’s how he met Bill and Eddie.

Now he always parks his bike at the base of his window. Always ready for a midnight escape.

It wasn’t a far trek to Eddie’s house, but it did leave him gasping like Eddie. He was tempted to use the inhaler he kept for Eddie, but then remembered it would do shit for him.

He quietly climbed up the wall, and made a not-so-graceful fall into the bedroom. Luckily, only Eddie was there. Laying on his bed with a textbook open.

“You know what the singular of spaghetti is?” Richie asked as he fell in.

“Holy shit,” Eddie screamed before remembering his mom was in the house.

“Eddie! No swearing! What’s the matter?” Sonia Kaspbrak asked from downstairs. Probably being interrupted from watching TV.

“No Ma! Nothing! I just… stubbed my toe. Sorry!”

“At least I wasn’t the one who screamed,” Richie said, pulling himself up from the floor. “Though, there are better ways of screaming, Eds. And I could help you.”

“Beep fucking beep.” Eddie followed it up with throwing a pillow at Richie’s face.

Richie took the pillow and used it as a shield while tackling Eddie. He pinned the other boy down under him.

“Oh come on, there are much more effective ways now.” Richie put on a smug look. He respected his dad’s rules, sure. But maybe he’d just have to fool around with a boy a little. Or at least kiss him.

“Oh right,” Eddie said, equally as smugly. “I could punch you.”

“That. Or, your tongue could punch it out with my tongue?” Richie added an eyebrow wiggle in for extra effect.

“I like the idea, but I think I’ll pass.”

“No fair! I biked all the way here and climbed up your tower. I deserve a reward.”

“The reward is not telling my mom there’s an intruder in the house,” Eddie bit back. They were always there best when bantering. “But what were you saying when you got here?”

“Ah, changing the subject,” Richie said. Even though he caught the change, he let it continue. “I said, do you know what the singular of spaghetti is?”

“Oh, well, that would just be--”

“Exactly. Spaghetto.”

“No, that’s not what I was going to say. That’s not even factually correct,” Eddie started ranting, then realization dawned his face. “Wait! Don’t you dare--”

“Eddo Spaghetto!”

“I hate you.”

“You love me.”

“Somehow,” Eddie said like he was disappointed. But Richie knew better. “How’d it go with your sister?”

“Eww, don’t call her that, it’s weird.”

“Call her your sister?” Eddie was very obviously confused.

“Yeah! I mean, I know she is. But like hearing other people say it,” Richie trailed off as a chill went up his spine. “But it went good. We didn’t talk much. But she said she wants to understand and yeah. Also I told her about us.”

“Being together?”

“Yeah. I know we should have told the other Losers before, I just--”

Eddie suddenly pulled Richie down and connected their lips. He had almost forgotten that he was still on top of Eds.

It only lasted a few minutes before Eddie pushed away to get a breath of air.

“It’s okay, Rich,” Eddie assured him. “Also you’re right. That works way better.”

It took another second before Richie’s brain caught up again. “You’re sure? I know we weren’t gonna tell anyone.”

“Yeah, but it’s okay to tell family. Or, family that will most likely understand.” Eddie didn’t say what they both were thinking -- Mrs. K.

“I just wanted to test her I guess? I mean, I wanted to make sure she would be okay with it.”

“I’m glad you told her. She’s the scariest of the people we can trust.”

“True. And she took it well. Said we were cute.”

“Well I know I am,” Eddie stated, matter of factly.

“Of course you are,” Richie agreed. “Cute cute cute! ” Richie pinched Eddie’s cheeks until Eddie pushed his hands away.

“You spending the night, Trashmouth?”

“Sure am, Spaghetti. If you’ll have me.”

“Of course. You already brushed?”

“Yep, just gotta change,” Richie said. He got up and off of Eddie and went over to where he left his backpack on the ground. He dug out a Guns N’ Roses shirt and a pair of shorts. “Mind if I change her?”

“Better than risking my Ma walking in on you in the bathroom.”

“And you’d like a show?”

“Nope. Beep beep. Change and shut up.”

“Fine.” Richie turned around to quickly change. As much as he talked, he wasn’t ready to give Eddie any type of show.

If Eddie had asked, maybe. But not of his own volition.

After he was done, he turned back to Eddie. Who was back into his textbook.

“Come on, Eds. It’s getting late. Put the book down and come to bed.”

“I’m the only one in the fucking bed.”

“You know what I mean, you aren’t even changed yet.”

“Fine,” Eddie obliged. He pushed the book aside and walked over to his dresser. “Go sit down Richie, and turn around!”

Richie nodded and did as he was told. “Oh, and Eddie?”

“Yeah, Rich?”

“Will you put on you short shorts?”



Chapter Text

MIKE’S POV

 

They were just settling down when the first issue happened. Apparently Mrs. Wheeler had thought that Jonathan would be out tonight.

He had made a few friends who he hung out with sometimes, believe it or not.

So now they only had one spare bed and two couches.

“Why don’t Mike and Will share?” Jonathan proposed once he had been caught up on all the drama. “They used to do it all the time.”

“That’s a really good idea,” Mrs. Wheeler agreed. “Do you boys mind?”

“Not at all,” Mike had said.

And he really didn’t think he would mind. Not until they were laying next to each other. Lucas had come up too, but was already fast asleep.

Max and El wanted to talk and gossip together. Girls. 

But Mike couldn’t sleep like Lucas. He just kept thinking about Richie.

Richie was out. Only to his friends and family, but still. He knew he could get hurt badly, but he still was himself. He didn’t try to cover it up.

Then Mike thought about Will. He had missed him so much when he was lost, and wanted him to just be there again. But that could have been just friends. Then there was the whole ordeal of when they had a friendship break up. Which hurt a hell of a lot more than his breakup with El.

He didn’t even really like her that much anymore…

No he couldn’t think like that. He didn’t want to get disowned too.

Maybe he’d ask Richie. Though he didn’t know if he could trust him to keep quiet.

Mike was pretty sure that Eddie liked Richie as well. Richie definitely liked Eddie. He’d have to watch them more.

If he could correctly peg Eddie, and Eddie was… different too… maybe he’d ask him about it.

Or maybe Bev. She seemed nice.

Or even Robin. He had heard what she said to Richie. Maybe she could help.

He shot a quick look to Will, who seemed to be asleep. Then he let himself drift off too.



Chapter Text

It was 5 am when Richie was rudely awoken. Then again, the alternative would be Mrs. K walking in on them cuddling. Not a bad way to go.

Eddie was quietly shoving him and whispering, “Rich. Hey, Rich. You need to get up.”

Richie opened his eyes, and gave Eddie a sly smile. “You don’t usually wake me up this early.”

“Yeah, well… I wanted to talk about before I push you out the window.”

“Ooh,” Richie said. He sat up to look Eddie in the eyes. He took the others boy hands. “What do you want to talk about?”

“Well… I thought we could have some fun.” Off of Richie’s eyes lighting up, he continued quickly. “Not that kind of fun, Richie! I mean the PG kind.”

“So boring. What were you thinking of?”

“We talked about pranking the others, so why don’t we? And the more the merrier with everyone here.”

“I mean, I’m on board. But why?”

“Today’s gonna be hard, I’m sure. Maybe even uncomfortable. Why not make them as uncomfortable too?”

“It’s only gonna be uncomfortable for me.”

“Which will make it uncomfortable for me.” Eddie squeezed Richie’s hands a little. “Please let me do this. We’ve never had a fight. Even with your awful jokes. They won’t know how to react!”

“Okay, I’m in. Only to make them as uncomfortable as we will be. And to have some much needed fun.”

“Perfect, I--” Eddie was cut off by Richie pulling him in for a kiss.

It was their longest yet, and Richie might have tried for some tongue action.

Eddie pulled away first, for air.

“Sorry, you were saying,” Richie said.

“I was going to say… what’s our story?”

“Well, Nancy knows so we’ll have to fill her in.”

“Damn, she’s the one who deserves the most uncomfort.”

“I know, Eds. But I guess we could say I snuck after dark, like I do.”

“Like you did,” Eddie pointed out.

“Exactly. But maybe… you found it weird after I, ya know, came out?”

“So I’m a homophobe?” Eddie asked like he was insulted. “Nope. You had to have done something to warrant that.

“Okay… maybe I snuck in, made a few dirty jokes that you let slip. And then I tried to make another move?”

“And then I got mad at you?”

“Exactly. And I went home last night. And we’re not on speaking terms. That sound good?”

“Very good. This is gonna be so much fun!!”



Chapter Text

It was 8 am when Richie was pushed out the window. The boys had been talking when they heard the loud footsteps of Sonia Kaspbrak.

“Shit,” Eddie mumbled.

They were in a rather precarious position. They had been going back and forth with talking and making out. And they had been making out again when they heard her coming.

Eddie was under Richie, hands under Richie shirt.

Mrs. K would be freaking out if she saw her little boy being defiled.

“Shit is right, Eds.” Richie was already picking up his backpack at the other end of the room.

Eddie walked over to him as he made his way out the window.

“I’ll see you soon, Eddie Spaghetti. Today’s gonna be fun.” Richie gave him another quick kiss and then disappeared.

Eddie barely had time to recover before Mrs. K walked in.

Richie heard her ask what Eddie was doing which he replied with reading aloud. He wasn’t sure if she bought it but she let it go.

Richie made it to the ground quick. He had a lot of experience climbing in and out of Eddie's window.

He slipped onto his bike, and made his way toward his house.

He unlocked the door, and went up to his room. He didn’t bother trying to be quiet, his parents knew that he would wake up early to pick up Eddie sometimes.

Richie climbed the stairs and found Nancy sitting on the bed reading a book.

“Hi,” she greeted him. “I didn’t expect to see you this early.”

“Mrs. K woke up,” Richie brushed past it. “But today Eddie and I are gonna pretend to be in a fight.”

“Why?”

“For fun. Also, I stayed the night here because Eddie kicked me out last night. That’s all you need to know.”

“Okay? I’ll play along.”

“Perfect.”

Richie didn’t stay long after that. He didn’t need to.

Instead, he found himself at Bowl Cut’s house.

Richie rang the doorbell intensity until the door opened, revealing Mike on the other side.

“Oh,” was all his brother said to him.

“I would have waited until later to come bug you, but I didn’t want to hang out with Nancy alone.”

“She didn’t do anything, right?” Mike actually looked concerned. Huh.

“No, she didn’t.”

“That’s good… you can come in?” Richie nodded, following him into the house. “When is everyone else gonna get here? Or, at least Eddie?”

Richie had to keep his grin down as they walked to sit in the living room. “I don’t know when he’s coming. Or even if he is.”

“Why?” Mike asked this while staring into Richie’s eyes. They were both on the living room couch. Richie avoided his gaze.

“Something happened. It’s not important, I’ll tell everyone later.”

Mike looked unconvinced but nodded.



Chapter Text

It didn’t take that long until everyone woke up and got there. Or at least it didn’t feel long. Mike and Richie actually enjoyed talking together.

They caught up on their traumatic experiences with cosmic entities, their friends, even boring stuff like school. Richie was happy to know he had higher grades than Mike.

Now everyone was sitting in the basement again.

“Wait,” Stan said out of nowhere. “Something’s wrong.”

“Like It wrong?” Ben asked, instinctively moving to hug himself.

“No,” Bev answered. “I noticed it too.”

“Me too,” Max joined in.

Steve went to stand at the base of the stairs. “Like running wrong, then? Is something gonna burst in here?”

“No,” Bev said again. “It’s…”

Bill finished for her, “Richie and Eddie!”

“What?” Eddie let out softly, but enough Richie could hear it from across the room.

“Even I can feel it, actually,” Bowl Cut added in.

“Richie,” Bev said from next to him. She was pointing at him. She then pointed to Edd across the room. “Eddie.”

“Shit,” Stan said.

The rest of the group cursed as they put it together.

“What the fuck happened?” Bev asked. Bill may be leader, but she was the queen.

Eddie stayed silent, so he answered. “Nothing.”

“Wanna try again? ‘Cause you’re freaking us out.”

“Fuck. Fine,” Richie said. He ran his hands through his hair and looked down. It wasn’t because he was thinking or mad, he just had to keep from laughing. “Me and Eddie got into a fight.”

“D-d-did he just s-say Eddie?”

“What is going on?” Dustin asked. Did everyone already know they were two halves of the same idiot?

“It’s not a big deal. We just have some stuff to work out.”

“Our two groups have become one,” Mike started. “You can trust the Losers. You know that. You can trust me. I hope you know that. And you can trust the Party. I hope you know that too.”

“Mike, I--”

“And you said. When you first got here I asked what was wrong, and you said you’d explain when everyone got here.”

“Okay.” Richie’s eyes darted to Eddie’s to make sure he was still in agreement when Richie noticed something out of the ordinary.

It was a hickey on his Eds. It took a second for him to register he left it. It was semi dark. Right on his throat.

Richie vaguely remembers that, and the previous dialogue of “don’t you dare leave a hickey on me, Tozier!”. Oops.

He glanced back to the group. “Fine. Here’s what happened. I went over to Eddie’s last night, like I usually do.”

“Can you please just call him ‘Eds’, it’s weird when you don’t,” Bev informed him. Then she turned to Eddie. “And I know you hate it, Eddie. But please.”

Eddie gave her a small nod, like he was sad. Richie knew it was fake but still wanted to comfort him.

“So, I went over to Eds. And it was normal.”

“You were being an ass,” Stan corrected.

“Yeah,” Richie agreed. “And I tried… to make a move of sorts.”

“A move?” Ben asked.

Richie shot another look to Eddie. Who must have gotten he should start speaking. “He tried to kiss me. Like full on tongue.”

“Yeah, and I said I’m sorry. Okay?”

“So what?! I told you I don’t like you that way. I-I let it go because you’re you. And you were making a statement. But then last night…”

“You kissed him, Richie?” Bev asked softly.

Richie nodded. Time to lie some more. He got excited but pushed it down so he could act. “Yeah. I mean, I tried to.”

“And when you didn’t, what did you do? Huh?” Eddie’s voice was dripping with passive aggressiveness.

“I… I gave you a hickey.” Thank God for that hickey. “You said not to kiss you on the lips so I just… I kissed where I could reach.”

“Why would you do that?” Bev again.

“I don’t know. I just… I thought maybe we could be something.”

“Ya know what Richie? I thought about it a lot last night,” Eddie said. “Now I don’t even know if we can be friends! I don’t want to be friends with someone who just kisses me when they want to! Not to mention the germs.”

“Fine!” Richie said, getting up. “I’ll just… go somewhere else then! Mike, meet up with me later. I need to cool off.”

Richie stalked up the stairs as fast as he could, passing Mrs. Byers on the way. She greeted him hello and he ignored her. After she had joined the others down stairs, he stayed to listen.

He heard them talking, very quietly.

“You can’t just stop being friends, Eddie.” That was Stan. “He… meant to be friends!”

“I can’t!” Eddie.

“Just talk about it through, please. We need the Losers to stick together. We’e at our weakest when we’re apart.” Bev.

“Fine. I’ll go find him.”

Richie ran out then. He wanted Eddie to catch him or find him.

Richie knew where to go. ‘Cool off’ wasn’t an expression he’d use. Ever. But it was one that was secret code for them. It meant to go to the cliff.



Chapter Text

Eddie’s POV

 

“Fine. I’ll go find him,” Eddie said, pretending to be frustrated.

“You better,” Bev said. “Richie is… what he did wasn’t right, but he’s Richie.”

“I know. I should go before he gets too far.”

Eddie left soon after that. Richie had an unfair head start, not having asthma and all.

Eddie and Richie had lots of codes. All of them more than a few years old. ‘Cool off’ meant go to the quarry. Or as Richie says the cliff. ‘I’m gonna hang out alone’ means to meet at the hammock just the two of them. ‘I’m gonna go blast the cure’ means to meet at Richie’s house. ‘I’m gonna go do chores’ means to meet at Eddie’s house. ‘See ya later Tozier’ means sneak in later. ‘See ya later Kaspbrak’ means I’ll sneak in later. ‘Is it getting hot in here or is it just me?’ means you’re about to have a panic attack. And ‘poughkeepsie’ means drop everything and run.

So Eddie knew exactly where to go.

It took him 20 minutes to finally reach the cliff, but he was confused when he didn’t see anyone there.

Eddie looked over the cliff and into the water. Maybe Richie had jumped in.

But he wasn’t there. He was anywhere.

Eddie stayed up top, he wasn’t about to jump in alone.

Then he caught sight of something he never wanted to see again.

A floating red balloon.

Eddie fell backward onto the ground, that’s when he saw a note someone had made in the dirt.

A small little carving. ‘Poughkeepsie’.

Eddie knew all too well what he had to do.

Fucking run.



Chapter Text

Eddie’s POV

 

It miraculously only took Eddie ten minutes to reach the Byers’ house.

He bursted into the basement and immediately started using his inhaler.

“What the fuck happened?” Stan asked. Eddie couldn’t even register the swear.

“If you and Richie didn’t make up,” Bev warned.

“Shut up!” Eddie screamed. “It isn’t time to argue or ask questions. We have to save the love of-- we have to save Richie!”

“Did he just say?” Steve asked quietly, but he was close enough for Eddie to hear.

“What happened?” Mike asked.

Eddie turned to Mike. The only one asking the real questions here. “I went to find Richie. I knew where he was, so I went there.”

“How did you know where he was?” Eddie was having a hard time processing who was talking, but he thought it was Robin.

“Code words. We have a lot. He said he needed to ‘cool off’ that means meet at the quarry.”

“You h-have code w-w-words?” That was Bill.

“Yeah. And they play a huge part in this story. So I go to where he said he was. And trust me, he doesn’t say it unless he means it. And when I get there.” Eddie had to stop to take a breath and a shot of his inhaler. “He wasn’t there. And I saw a red balloon. So I fell back, and in the dirt I found a note that said ‘poughkeepsie’.”

Eddie was breathing heavy by the end of his speech, and everyone was silent for a few seconds.

Poughkeepsie ?” Mike asked, since Eddie was still looking at him.

“Right. Another code word we have. It means drop everything and run. If the other person is in trouble or knows that the other is on their way to trouble they say poughkeepsie. And I ran here when I saw it.”

“And you know Richie wrote it?” Mike again.

“Yeah. I know his writing. And he was there. I’m sure of it.”

“Why would he want to meet you there if he was trying to walk out?” That was Will.

“I…” He couldn’t just tell them, could he? “I don’t know, okay?! But he’s in trouble!”

“Do you think it’s It?” That was Ben.

“Yeah, I do. We need to go save him.”

“Let’s go pick up Mike,” Bev stated. “You and me Eddie. Everyone else, get ready. Be prepared. We’re going to fight.”

Eddie couldn’t help but add, “And kill this fucking clown.”



Chapter Text

Eddie’s POV

 

They didn’t bother going to the quarry. For one, they trusted Eddie’s idea about Richie being taken from there. And second, because Eddie wouldn’t let them go anywhere but Neibolt. More specifically, the well and sewers.

And a pit-stop to pick up Mike. He was confused but once he heard ‘Pennywise’ he was on board. They still had a lot of explaining to do.

It took them a solid 15 minutes to get there which left Eddie clutching his inhaler.

“We’re going in there?” Erica asked.

“Trust me,” Mike said. 

At that moment, Eddie realized he’d have to have codenames for them. For his friend, it would have to be Mike. And even though he didn’t want to let RIchie have this one, the twin brother would have to be Mike 2.

Mike continued, “I don’t know what’s going on. But to save my friend, we’ll have to go in there. Eddie’s the biggest germaphobe I’ve ever met, but even he’s going in. You’ll survive.”

“Are we sure about the surviving part?” Steve asked. They were still standing right outside of the sewer’s entrance. “It’ll mess up my hair.”

Robin elbowed him in the ribs. “Your hair will survive. We need to save Richie.”

Eddie was the leader right now, even though that made him nervous. He climbed the stairs like Bill had done once.

“Okay, everyone. Pennywise or It will want to split us up. Stay as close as you can. We

are trying to get to the well.” Eddie could explain more, but he was sure they didn’t need the full directions to the well. “Party members. Let us lead. This is our fight. You don’t need to get dragged into it.”

“Bullshit,” Nancy said. “That’s my brother in there. We’re a family. All of us are. I’m sure you understand that concept.”

“Plus, we have saved the world a few times,” Mike 2 added. Damn Richie for that nickname.

“Fine. But be careful. He’ll try to play tricks on you.” Eddie turned to the house. 

He remembered Bill’s speech and his dramatic exit. Eddie remembered when Richie broke the beer bottle. He remembered the first time he ever went into there.

“We’re right behind you,” Bev assured. He heard her pick something up.

“Let’s go save my idiot.”