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Debunking Derry (Or, according to Richie, Ghost Gays!)

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There was a monster in front of him, and Eddie shrieked.

“HOLY FUCK!” Richie yelled from beside him, yanking his hands away from Eddie’s sides. Eddie turned and slapped at him, furious.

“Do NOT fucking touch me when we’re watching these fucking movies!” He screamed, only getting red as Richie laughed, eyes wide.

“I didn’t mean to!” He protested. “I didn’t know you were that into it!” Eddie was next to Richie on the tattered couch. He squirmed to the side, trying to move farther away, but Richie pulled him close with a lanky arm, not letting him. “Like, I thought it might have scared you, but I really didn’t think something that dumb would work.” Eddie huffed and pushed away, crossing his arms. Richie shuffled, but left his arm on the back of the couch. Eddie turned away so he couldn’t see him blush. “Wanna watch something else? I’m not really into this anyway.” Richie reached for the remote, switching the channel. Eddie bit his lip.

Liar, he thought. I know you’ve been wanting to see that.. He didn’t say anything. Richie finally settled on some ghost hunting show. Eddie could watch these because they were so...so...

“God this is fucking cheesy as hell,” Richie droned, laughing when someone gasped about a temperature change. Cheesy. That was the word. Every single possible thing that could be, was considered a ghost. Stubbed toes, breezes, the squeak of a shoe, and on one wonderful, but fucking annoying because Richie never shut up about it, occasion, a fart. “Hey,” Richie chuckled, “Remember that episode where the guy farted and he just, freaked the fuck out?” He cackled and Eddie rolled his eyes.

“Ugh,” he scrunched up his nose, “This is so bad. I can’t watch this without being stoned.” Richie hummed and scooted forward so he could reach the cluttered coffee table. They were in Richie’s basement since his parents had never really given a shit, not even when they were kids, but now that RIchie was in college, almost graduated, they really didn’t give a shit. His mother thought he was with Bill, because she would be breathing down his neck until the day he died. Eddie shivered and focused on Richie. His long fingers pushed his glasses up his nose before going back to rolling the joint. Richie always looked so… pretty when he rolled. He was practiced at it and his hands never shook like Eddie’s would. He just always got too stressed about tearing the paper. Eddie looked away, feeling his cheeks flush.

It’d been a long, long time since Eddie Kaspbrak had come to terms with the fact that he was in love with Richie Tozier. It had been late middle school when it really hit him. It’d been the first time the guys had gotten dates to go to the school dance. Well, everyone but Eddie. Even Richie had been asked out by some girl in his Math class. The guys had suggested he come solo, that he wouldn’t be left out, but for once in his life, Eddie appreciated his mother’s overbearing presence. Richie had pressed him when they were on their own about why he was giving into his mother and Eddie had thought, Because I don’t want to see you dancing with some girl, when you should be dancing with me. He’d just turned away from him, saying he wanted to get in her good graces so maybe he could escape for fun on more week nights for a while. Richie hadn’t pushed it and Eddie had had a minor crisis.

Eddie had just kind of, well, dealt with it. Richie was incredibly affectionate and Eddie was selfish and a coward. He didn’t want to risk Richie pulling away from him, so he just continued to shove his feelings down as much as he could. Which he had done for the past 7 years. He’d even tried dating, but no one could deal with his crabby, germ obsessed, asshole personality, so he just stopped. Plus, none of them were Richie.

“Ta-dah!” Richie’s voice pulled Eddie out of his thoughts. He showed the joint with a flourish, making Eddie roll his eyes. Richie just continued to smile and lit the joint. “When are the rest of these fuckers supposed to get here again?” Eddie had come over early, unable to stand his mother a moment longer, but Ben and Bev were out on a date, while Stan, Mike, and Bill were dealing with family stuff.

“I think at like one?” Eddie responded. Richie nodded, taking a deep pull and then turning to Eddie. Eddie blushed but leaned forward. Back when they had started smoking weed, Eddie couldn’t take a hit without coughing up a lung, so Richie had mentioned shotgunning. Eddie was only human. Any excuse to have Richie press his mouth to Eddie’s. Richie exhaled into his mouth and then pulled back, taking another hit for himself. Eddie didn’t smoke much, nowhere near as much as Richie, so it only took a few for him to feel it. Plus, he could only quasi-kiss Richie for so long without physically yearning for more, so after a couple of hits, he stopped. Richie kept smoking, watching it dissipate with only mild interest.

“We could do better than that,” he mumbled.

“What?”

“That, ghost hunting shit,” he said, waving his hand. “I mean, Derry is full of weird creepy houses and was the location of like, so many tragedies, if there’s anything out there, there’s definitely something here.” Eddie rolled his eyes again, a habit of his whenever Richie said pretty much anything. Richie sat up, frowning. “I’m serious! That house on Neibolt has got to be haunted.”

“Do I look like I want to go anywhere fucking near that house?” Eddie asked in disgust. “It’s infested!”

“But definitely haunted!” Richie leaned into Eddie’s personal space, shit eating grin on his face. “Dude! I could be the funny guy and you could be the stuck up one who’s scared of everything!” Eddie flushed, this time with rage.

“THE WHAT?!” He screeched.

“Got here just in time for an argument, huh?” Mike came down the stairs, smiling, with Bill behind him.

“Yeah guys, y-you didn't get it a-all out b-b-before we got h-here?” Bill added.

“Oh, Eddie’s just upset that if we did a ghost hunting show, he’d be the anxious one who jumps at everything,” Richie said, waving his hand dismissively.

“I would not!” Eddie objected.

“I hate to agree with Richie,” Mike said, “But he has a point.”

“Yeah , Spaghetti!” Richie teased, “I have a point!”

“Don’t call me that, and fuck you, Mike!” Mike held up his hands in surrender before sitting on the bean bag by the couch and reaching out for the joint.

“Who would I be?” He asked, exhaling as he did so. Richie crossed his legs and furrowed his brow in exaggerated thought.

“The ever suffering camera man who barely puts up with us.” Mike laughed.

“Honestly, accurate.” Richie turned to Bill.

“You’d be the asshole who keeps jumping into shit without thinking.”

“H-Hey!” Bill protested.

“You were the one who always took us to abandoned buildings in high school,” Eddie said flatly, “So don’t even fucking argue.” Bill blushed, but smiled gently. The four of them sat in silence, all but Eddie finishing the joint.

“Hey! I hope you waited for me!” Bev’s voice called down the stairs. She hopped over the last few steps, Ben calmly walking down behind her. Bev squished her way in between Eddie and Richie, while Ben sat on the floor between Mike and Bill.

“We most definitely did not, but, oh no, guess that means I gotta roll another!” Richie said, in a horrible scratchy sing song voice that Eddie hated and didn’t like one bit. He ran a hand over his face. Get it together, Kaspbrak, he told himself. Bev shot him a look and he flushed.

Bev knew, because of course she did. She’d approached Eddie when she visited over one winter break their junior year of high school and flat out asked him what was up with him and Richie. Eddie had tried to play it off, but the flood gates had been ready to open. They had talked for hours, Bev trying to get him to talk to Richie about it, because she was convinced he felt the same, and Eddie refusing to do anything to jeopardize his relationship with him. Bev had finally relented after Eddie had agreed to at least come out. Which he hadn’t done until the summer after.

Everyone was fine with it, of course. Nothing changed. Eddie still didn’t date and still didn’t like to talk about it. Ben, ever the romantic, had tried to set him up with some of the other guys who were out, but Eddie always turned it down. Now, Bev knew about his Pining and kept trying to convince him that Richie felt the same way. But after Richie had come out in college as bi, he never made a move on Eddie. So… that was that. They were just two queer friends and Eddie was not waiting for Richie Tozier. He was just waiting for a Richie Knock-Off (not that he’d admit that to anyone, even under torture).

“So,” Bev’s voice pulled him out of his thoughts, “We’ve got our camera man, research guy, funny guy, idiot--”

“Hey!” Bill protested.

“Sorry, Bill, and the cool one, which is me, obviously. Would Stan and Eddie both be our scaredy cats?”

“I’m not going fucking anywhere,” Stan piped up. Eddie jumped. He hadn’t even heard him arrive. Richie snickered.

“Yeah, honestly, Eds has got that job secured.”

“Fuck off, Tozier. And don’t call me that.”

“Well, then what would Stan do?” Richie asked. “Everyone has to be involved. There must be something we’re missing!”

“An editor?” Ben offered quietly. Richie’s eyes lit up.

“Oh hell yes!” Richie cheered. “Stan could make us look so cool!”

“But would I want to.” Stan rolled his eyes, a small smile tugging at his lips. “Besides, it doesn’t matter. It’s not something we’re actually going to do.” There was silence from Bev, Bill, and Richie. “Oh no,” Stan began. “No no no no no no no.”

“It’s not l-like we have a-anything else to d-d-do this summer,” Bill said.

“And I’d love to have something to remember our last real summer together,” Bev added. They paused a moment, trying to ignore the reality that after next summer, they’d be graduated and ‘doing something’ with their lives.

“I wanna be youtube famous,” Richie said with a shrug. “And Derry is weird as hell. Like, how is this anything but a good idea?”

“You want a list? My mom, where do we get a camera, a good one, where do we get software to edit it, and don’t these guys have like, ghost hunting machines and shit?” Eddie ranted. “We don’t have the money to do it, and I’m just gonna toss this one out there again, my mom will literally fucking kill me if she hears I even said the words Neibolt house.”

“Well,” Ben said, “I’m sure there’s stuff we can get cheap at a pawn shop.” Richie pointed at him.

“Yes! Plus, can’t we like, pirate shit or something?”

“Probably,” Mike added. “And as for ghost hunting equipment, I mean, if we did our research we could maybe make some of our own?”

“I’ve g-got some money s-s-saved up from my school job!” Bill said, getting excited. “Guys! It’ll b-be so c-cool!!” The group turned to look at Stan, who shrugged.

“As long as I don’t have to go to any of these places, I’m fine.” They then rounded on Eddie.

“Oh fuck all you,” he griped. “I’m making sure we always have a first aid kit because you idiots always hurt yourselves.” Richie cheered and leaned across Bev to try and hug Eddie. It was horrible and it sent thrills up his spine. “Yeah, yeah, get off me you oaf.”

“Oh Eds, you don’t gotta sweet talk me,” Richie cooed. Eddie flushed and punched his shoulder.

“Fuck off! And stop calling me that!” Richie laughed and sat back.

“What should we call ourselves? The Losers Club is like, nice and all, but doesn’t have much to do with ghost hunting,” Richie said.

“Ghostbust--” Bill began.

“NO.” They replied in unison.

“And copyrighted,” Ben said.

“Ghost Gays!” Richie shouted.

“You and Eddie are the only ones who are gay,” Mike pointed out.

“Yeah and?”

“Who else has an idea,” Stan groaned.

“Derry Dudes?”

“Shut UP, Richie!”

“What about Debunking Derry?” Ben said. They paused, thinking about it. “I mean, it’s not a group name, but if we’re focusing on ghosts here, that’d be a good show name.”

“Debunking Derry,” Richie said, over enunciating and drawing out the vowels. “You may be onto something there, Hanscom!”

“Let’s put it to a vote!” Bill suggested. “All for Debunking Derry?” Everyone but Eddie raised their hands. Eddie held his up in faux disgust.

“I’m not choosing anything for this ridiculous bullshit.”

“Then it’s unanimous!” Richie cheered. “We’ll spend this summer hunting ghosts! And,” he waggled his eyebrows, “Maybe a demon or two!”

“Why must you be like this?” Stan sighed in exasperation. “We don’t want to come across a demon. That’s literally asking for major trouble.”

“Plus, we’ve already met you,” Eddie teased.

“If there’s any demon in this town, Spaghetti, it’s your mom, ‘cause damn is she a demon in the sack!” Bev got off the couch, sitting next to Ben as Eddie launched himself at Richie. They wrestled, Richie gaining the upper hand as he laughed joyfully. Eddie pretended that he was really put out by being trapped under Richie and tried to convince himself he wasn’t at all excited for their next adventure.