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ferris wheels, cotton candy, and a bloody nose

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The evening started when Richie asked him out to go to the fair. He wasn’t asking him-asking him out, not like a date, are you crazy? They couldn’t ever do that, not in dear old Derry. Just a simple outing to the fair, with the two of them. Alone.

Yeah. Definitely not a date.

Eddie answered the phone when it started to ring off its hook, plucking it off and smushing it against his ear with his shoulder. “Hello?” He asked, no ‘Kaspbrak residence’ or anything like that, because the only people who knew the house phone was the doctor, his friends, his aunts, or perverts looking through the phone book. Or so his mom said.

“Eddie!” Came Richie’s booming voice, making Eddie lurch and squint his eye closest to the phone. “What are you doing?” He asked, dragging out the ‘o.’

“Washing my dishes from supper, why?” Eddie asked, flicking off the sink and reaching as far as he could to the dishwasher without pulling the phone’s cord too far.

He could hear Richie’s beam. “Aww, what a housewife,” he cooed, quickly speaking when Eddie threatened to hang up, “wanna go to the fair?”

“The fair?” Eddie echoed.

“Yeah, the fair. With carneys, shitty booth games, mirror houses, rides, enough greasy food to give you more pimples, and—“

“I know what a fair is, thank you. I mean, why would we go?” Eddie asked as he leaned against the wall near the phone, tapping his foot and wondering just where this was going.

The question seemed to make Richie pause, if just for a second. He scoffed. “Because it’s fun, duh,” and if they were together right now, he just knew Richie would try to tousle his hair or throw an arm around his neck to tug him down. Or both.

“Yeah, so does getting stabbed by some lunatic who got cut in line. No thanks, Rich, I’ll pass.” Eddie said, lifting the phone to hang it up when Richie all but barked for his attention.

“Come on, Eds! We haven’t gone in so long, it’ll be fun. Promise. Pleeeease?” Richie pleaded, even making a noise akin to a whining puppy.

“Is this a new Voice of yours?” Eddie asked then quickly pushed that aside, not wanting to let Richie unlock the entire stash of Voices he had. “Whatever. Who else is going?” He questioned, twirling the curly cord around his finger as he looked around the small kitchen in boredom.

Richie, thankfully let the mention of Voices go in favor of answering, as casually as ever. “Nope! It's just gonna be you and I, Eddie my love.” He said in the same patronizing voice he used when he pinched Eddie’s cheeks and insisted he was cute cute cute!

“Goodbye, Richie,” Eddie huffed and actually took the phone away from his ear, but again, Richie’s slightly deeper yet frantic voice caught his attention, making him pull it back silently.

“I didn’t hear the click, Eds, so anyway, as I was saying, it’s just gonna be us. Stanley and Big Bill are hanging out, Mike, Ben, and Bev are trotting about somewhere, and we got left behind.”

“Mike, Ben, and Bev have a group assignment together,” Eddie corrected with a sniff, folding his arms over his chest. “Why don’t we wait until everyone can go together?” He asked curiously, wondering why Richie was intent on making it just the two of them. Not that he minded...

He could hear Richie’s shoulder shrugging against the phone. “I dunno, just ‘cause. So, what do ya say, ay-wot?”

“Ay-wot? Why are you saying shit from the 50s?” Eddie asked incredulously, rolling his eyes. “Fine, whatever, we can go to the stupid fair.” He finally conceded and Richie cheered.

“Meet at my house! We’ll stash your bike in the garage, you can stay over if we’re out till dark. Bye!” Richie said with a harsh, solid sounding click, leaving Eddie to gingerly hang up his own phone and sigh.

He walked back to his room and changed into more appropriate clothes to leave the house in. It had just barely turned to autumn and it was already chilly enough to need jeans and a pullover at best, a long sleeve if you were tough.

He tugged on a solid colored pullover, dark rinsed skinny jeans, and his well-loved brown Doc Martens that his mom nearly fainted when he had managed to save up enough to buy himself a pair. She called them ‘target’ shoes and he still wasn’t sure what she meant by that. He combed his hair, stuffed what bills he had into his front pocket and trotted out the door, locking it behind himself.

Richie was lucky to catch him on a night that his mom was gone to one of his aunt's house, so he didn’t have to worry about leaving a note or having to lie to her about where he was going. A skill he was unhappily good at, now.

He biked the few minutes it took to get to Richie’s, spamming the bell on his handlebar until the willowy, coke bottle framed wearing bastard came bouncing out of his house in a gaudy, bright colored windbreaker that swished with each movement of his arms, light rinsed torn skinnies, and white Chucks.

“What took you so long, brushing your crabs?” Richie taunted, quickly getting a punch to the shoulder. “Ow, fuck, I was joking! Come on, let’s stow away your bike and get going.” He said and tugged at Eddie’s arm to get him off of his bike, almost making him fall with it.

“Give me a minute, Jesus!” Eddie barked but climbed off of his bike to hand to Richie, who gladly walked it off to where his bike lay against the side of the garage.

Richie came back and clapped Eddie’s shoulder, holding it as he started to walk them down the street. “Didn’t bring your fanny pack?” He asked. “You’re so brave,” he cooed dramatically, placing his free hand on his chest.

That made Eddie jostle his shoulder to get Richie’s hand off of it. “Stuff it, trashmouth, I don’t need to hear it from you.”

“Woof, fiery,” Richie teased, grinning as he held his hands up in surrender and stuffing them in the pockets of his windbreaker. “Shame the others are losers and doing their work, huh, Eds?”

Eddie shrugged. “I guess so. Not like we can’t go tomorrow or something.”

His answer seemed to make Richie smile again, this time actually reaching his eyes and making his nose crinkle beneath his thick framed glasses.

The fair was set up towards the middle of town so it didn’t take too long to get there. Richie bought their wristbands to get onto the rides and helped put Eddie’s on and vice versa.

“I still don’t get how slips of paper are so strong,” Richie mused, tugging hard at his bracelet as they made it into the crowded area.

“They didn’t need to make them war-proof, really.” Eddie agreed, knowing he would have to cut the paper off when he got home and tuck it away in his bedside drawer as a momentum of his totally-not date. “What did you want to do first?” He asked Richie, walking behind him to avoid bumping elbows of anyone everyone taller than him. He had grown just another inch over the past three years, while the other losers seemed to have grown between two to three, leaving him a solid head beneath them. At least he had Ben to be short with... for now.

He was shaken from his thoughts when Richie answered him. “I don’t know, we can look around first and see what catches our eye. I wanna go on the teacups for sure!”

“The teacups, like at Disneyland?” Neither of them had been to Disneyland, but Bill had the chance to go about a year ago during summer. Even though he said it was a little awkward with his parents, he said it was the most fun he had had in a really long time, and made sure to show the losers all the pictures they took.

“Yeah! But they’re not as cool as those ones, obviously, but they’ll do. We can’t be like Big Bill and go get to see the mouse himself.” Richie said, bopping on the balls of his feet to peer even higher above the crowd to see if he could find said teacups.

“Sure you can hold your stomach?” Eddie teased, getting shoved in return once Richie settled back on his feet.

His cheeks burned slightly. “Fuck you, yes I can, it’s only when I’m super stressed or nervous do I barf my guts. Keep talking shit and I’ll blow my supper in your lap.”

“Don’t you even joke about that!” Eddie said with an earnest gag, covering his hand with the back of his mouth. He still wasn’t completely free of his mother’s ingrained worries and fears about, well, most everything. Public bathrooms, rusty benches or chairs at school. Anything. No doubt the rides and the threat of Richie’s weak stomach would sent his thoughts into a tizzy.

He was once again pulled from his thoughts, this time quite literally, by Richie grabbing his wrist to pull him through the crowd. He asked where they were going but got no verbal reply, just a shrug. Winging it was fine, he supposed. Sometimes Richie would have a good streak of winging things... but sometimes he didn't.

Eddie was pulled to a stop when Richie stood in front of a booth game, basketball hoops sat high in the air above some sectioned off nets. He raised an eyebrow at Richie, who was already digging in his pockets for a quarter he had stuffed into any and all of them. "Your aim is shit, dude, what are you expecting from this?" He asked, watching Richie push his glasses to the bridge of his nose, stick his tongue out of the corner of his mouth, and shoot the ball, even hopping off of his toes for an extra boost. The ball struck the rim and bounced out, making Eddie snort. "Good one."

"I need silence from the asshole peanut gallery, thanks," Richie said, repeating the movements and shot another one, actually making it in. He turned to Eddie and blew a raspberry at him, shooting off the last three balls and making two of them in. He pointed out a small prize from the row that the carney said he could pick from, handing Eddie a small cream colored bunny with a red “I <3 Derry” shirt. “My love,” he said, bowing his upper half with his free hand on his chest as he presented the stuffed animal.

Eddie squinted and plucked it up by the arm. “Thanks, jag off,” he said, even if his face was warm under the skin.

“Okay, we can look through the booths or go through the barns where all the podunk kids have their animals or start on some rides?” Richie listed off, resting his hands behind his back as he looked around.

“Gross, I can smell them from here, I don’t want to go anywhere near them.” Eddie sneered and shook his head. “We can do some of the small rides or something.” He said, motioning over to the rides.

“That’s the spirit, Edward,” Richie said, clapping Eddie on the back and they started walking over.

They got in line for the teacups, Eddie pointing out the theme that most of the rides seemed to be spinning and whirly, once again teasing him for his stomach. It wasn’t often that Richie blew his stomach, but when he did, he was always the subject of being teased by the other losers.

“I’ll be fine! They’re not even a minute long,” Richie scoffed, showing his band to the bored looking man running the ride, Eddie doing the same.

The pair sat down and the employee walked around, closing the small door as they buckled themselves in. The lights blinking and flashing all along the fairgrounds started to become brighter with each inch the sun crawled further beneath the horizon, pulling Eddie’s attention to look at all of the lights with a smile. So maybe Richie had actually had a good idea with coming to the fair, but he wouldn’t ever admit to that and stroke his ego more than it already was.

The ride clicked to life and Eddie reached to hold the wheel in between them, turning up his smile to Richie, who was already looking at him. “Ready, Rich?”

“Ready, Eddie,” he replied with a thumbs up, using his free hand to hold his glasses to his face. The other came down half onto Eddie’s hand and the wheel as their teacup started to spin, slowly at first before gaining speed as Eddie rotated the wheel. Lights blurred more and more the faster they went, Eddie laughing all the while and Richie just trying his best not to get too dizzy.

He turned to look at Eddie and something seemed to slow down time. Eddie’s neatly combed hair was getting tousled in the wind, clear enough in the foreground of the blurry multicolored lights, almost like he could pluck a single hair. His mouth was open in a joyful smile, shoulders hiked up slightly in order to keep himself as stable as possible while the teacup whirled them side to side. His nose was crinkled as he beamed, freckles hiding within each crease and Richie’s heart seemed to fly into overdrive. Things slowly started to come back to life when Eddie looked over and opened his eyes, lights glinting off of his brown pits, bringing out flecks of lighter and darker flecks around his irises.

The ride lulled to a stop and Eddie unbuckled their seatbelt, waiting for the employee to open the door and let them out.

“I love that one! That’s probably my favorite ride, it’s not as bad as the sketchy roller coasters or the Ferris wheel.” Eddie spoke as they scampered away from the ride and back into the fray. “What’s next?”

“Uh, maybe a funhouse?” Richie suggested with a hand on his chest, nodding to the yellow and red themed building.

Eddie pulled a face, spotting a couple clowns lingering at the front of it. He knew that It was gone, not gone-gone, but currently not around. It had gone to sleep for many years to come, but he still felt a cold sweat starting on the small of his back. “I guess, then I can kick your ass at some more booth games.” He said, fretting with the hem of his shirt.

Even Richie and his supposed fear of clowns didn’t blink at them when they slouched to look at them in the face, standing on stilts if their massive height weren’t a dead giveaway. “It’s like a maze!” He exclaimed, almost happily, to Eddie’s gut-fallen fear.

“Oh, good. You better not fucking ditch me, Richie— Richie!” Eddie quickly shouted as Richie bolted off ahead of him, easily leaping over obstacles, thanks to both his long legs and his newfound love of hurtles. Eddie was unsurprisingly lagging behind, having to shuffle around the obstacles and duck under plush swinging hammers. As soft as they were, probably made with foam and cheap vinyl, a voice in the back of his mind told him that he didn’t want to get hit by one.

And as fate would have it, the obstacle course opened to a mirror maze, with only white lights filling the black painted room.

He could feel his throat and chest start to tighten, his inhaler sitting on his waistband but he didn’t reach for it. Not yet. He was trying to get better, after all. “R-Richie?” He shouted out, looking around as his voice echoed through the oddly silent room and hating how it wavered. Why weren’t there more kids in here? He had noticed a steady flow of them rushing in and back out in no time flat.

He was overreacting, surely. He breathed from his mouth and kept an arm draped over his head to open his airway better, trailing the back of his free hand along the mirrors to find where the trail lead.

“Come on, Richie, don’t scare me, asshole!” Eddie barked again but to no reply.

Well, there was a reply, but it wasn’t Richie. He didn’t giggle like that.

He could hear skittering footsteps and a groaning, scratchy exhale, like someone in desperate need for some water, but he couldn’t find anything. Of course!

Eddie hated the pathetic sounding noise his own throat let out, turning his head every way he could and even half turning around when the footsteps sounded like they were coming closer. He let out a yawp when one of the mirrors banged behind him, making him smack ass first into a corner and his eyes widened in fear.

It was a mirror so he did see himself in it, but it wasn’t him, either.

The reflection was wearing what Eddie was wearing, his arms clutching at his chest just as Eddie was, breathing hard and tight, but the reflection had greyed skin, red eyes, and improperly tousled, greasy hair. It was a more crass and rude version of himself, he realized, especially with when the reflection broke his stance and pressed his front against the mirror separating them.

“Hiya, wheezy, gotcha tongue?” His reflection asked in an almost Jersey accent, smirking wide and lazily before opening his mouth and licking along the glass, thick black goo starting to pour from his mouth.

Eddie, foolishly thinking he could keep his cool at 16 instead of meek 13, started to scream. He started to feel for the hallway he had come out of but he was in a box and the black goo was starting to eat away the glass that was keeping himself away from. Well. Himself.

A greyed hand broke through and scratched the glass, that smirk gone and replaced with an expression more mean. Feral.

“Stay away from me!“ He shrieked, covering his face with his arms as an animalistic growl came from his reflection, followed by a viscous, wet gurgle that made Eddie himself gag.

He screamed again when hands grabbed his arms, kicking a leg at who or whatever was grabbing him.

“Eddie, Eddie, chill out, it’s me!” Richie’s voice shouted over his screams, gripping his face and forcing Eddie’s eyes open to come face to face with coke frame glasses and Richie’s wide, frightened eyes. “What the fuck happened?”

“There was— in the mirror, did you not see it?” Eddie asked, voice high and shrill, breaths coming out in hard wheezes and gasps as he grabbed at Richie’s stupid windbreaker like his life quite literally depended on it.

Richie looked over his shoulder and saw their reflections, normal as could be, staring into his concerned eyes before looking down to Eddie, who had his face tucked against his shoulder. “Come on, Eds, let’s get out of here,” he said, feeling a guilty twinge in his stomach for suggesting they come in here. He had no idea what he saw, but he also knew it probably wasn’t something savory.

They made it out of the maze without anymore problems, Eddie only puffing from his inhaler once, still holding his chest as they walked out, hands jittering hard from both fear and the rush of medicine.

“What the fuck was that?” Richie asked curiously, concern still in his tone.

Eddie shook his head, looking over his shoulder as if his reflection had gotten out and would follow him home. “It was me, but it wasn’t me. I looked all grey and fucked up and-and I threw up this black shit that started to burn through the glass.” He explained quickly, running a hand through his hair and tipping his head back to look at the darkening sky, trying to quell his jitters.

Something seemed to flash in Richie’s eyes. Recognition. “Did he have kind of a douchey accent?” He asked and Eddie’s stomach dropped again, nodding.

“Yeah!”

“Holy fucking shit, I saw him— you? —at the Neibolt House. Billy and I saw him lift his head out of this disgusting mattress and was like, “you wanna play loogie?” then started barfing up this acidic shit and started twitching all crazy before vanishing off.” Richie explained, keeping a firm hand on Eddie’s shoulder, something he appreciated as he felt like he was about to pass out at any second.

He didn’t reply, only grabbed the side of Richie’s windbreaker and tugged him through the crowd until they found a bench to sit on. “Fucking Neibolt,” Eddie said, running his hands over his face and into his hair. “Fuck that house, we should have just lit it on fire and ran.” He hissed.

Richie shrugged a shoulder. “I think that would get rid of the house, but not the well and all the shit inside. Even then, I’m not sure fire would really kill It.”

Eddie didn’t reply, holding his hands on his face and tapping his foot into the dying grass for a few moments until he smacked his hands to his knees and stood up. “No.”

“Huh?”

“We are not letting some chucklefuck clown ruin our night. Come on, let’s go on the rollercoaster.” Eddie said, his voice and expression leaving no room for argument. He grabbed Richie’s hand and pulled him along, bobbing between schoolmates and adults alike until they got to the line.

“Well, well, look who decided to join the party.” Richie teased with a slow growing smile.

“Shut it, Richie. We deserve this after all the shit that clown put us through.” Eddie huffed, seeming to not remember that he was holding Richie’s hand until he had to lift up his wristband, only then letting go.

He wasn't going to argue against that, only nodding and following to sit beside Eddie, pulling down the safety straps and settling back against the hard seat. He watched Eddie set away the stuffed bunny he had sitting in his back pocket, now resting in the mesh bag in front of them, smiling for the fact that he actually kept it.

The carts started to shuffle along the track, clacking and being generally noisy, the only sound filling the silence between the two boys besides other people screaming on different rides and sirens going off on games, loudly declaring a winner for all of Derry to hear. The other riders behind them screamed in excitement for the first drop, both boys more somber than before, but Richie's head turned when he felt Eddie's hand land on his again, pulling it from the handlebar on the safety straps and resting their laced hands between their legs. He smiled, turning forward and feeling a weird weight that had landed over him start to lift, Eddie slowly feeling it too, with each bob, weave, and loop of the ride, eventually had the two barking and yelling out along with the others.

They stepped off, and still holding hands, weaved back into the crowd. They took turns playing games and watching one another, bickering and laughing all the while as the rest of Eddie's shot nerves finally began to settle down, allowing him to have fun again. They each won more prizes that they either ended up passing along to younger kids or just ditching for someone to find, but Richie kept his hold on the first one Eddie had won and passed to him. "You kept the first I gave you, so why can't I do the same?" Richie sniffed when Eddie teased him for holding a tie-dye colored bear that was already missing an eye.

Eddie didn't say anything, only shaking his head and smiling. He and Richie were still holding hands through the hours they played games, squished between their legs to hopefully keep it hidden from others or walking with their sides pressed together and their hands in front of each other. Their stealth had run out when they heard a familiar gruff voice, one they hadn't heard since before Bowers was locked in the looney bin. The dreaded f-word, and it was getting barked directly at them.

"Rich?" Eddie asked, cheeks flushing up to his eyes while Richie's face paled.

"Just act cool. We'll turn this corner and run for the barns." Richie said, trying his best to duck his head.

"Hey, faggots, I know you can hear us! Where the fuck you think you're going?" One of them snarled, making a few people around the bullies look around for the ones in question.

"Okay, don't act cool, hurry." Richie corrected himself, he and Eddie picking up the pace but still not letting each other go.

They could hear running footsteps behind them, which only re-added fuel to their panic, shoving and bumping into adults with their friends or kids alike, faces hot in fear and shame. Derry sure knew how to make their residents feel at home, alright.

Eddie pried his hand away from Richie's only in favor of getting around other fair goers easier. He gasped when he felt a hand almost close in his hair, only pulling out a few strands of hair. He took a hard right and managed to lose the bully.

Richie, however, was knocked out of the flow of fair traffic and into an empty area between the bathrooms and the exit. His shoulder hit the gravel road and he hissed, keeping a tight grip on his bear as he quickly got to his knees. The collar of his shirt was grabbed and a fist came solidly with his cheekbone, knocking his glasses askew. "Hey, come on, guys, we can talk about it," he said with a chuckle and got himself another hit.

"I don't wanna hear shit out of your mouth, Tozier." One of them sneered, the other two goons coming back with Eddie held between them, dual streams of blood creeping from his nose, over his lips and chin, and down his neck to stain his pullover's collar. They shared an equally apologetic and scared look. "You cock suckers were able to walk around for this long without getting the shit beaten out of you? What a fucking shame." He said, holding Richie up by the front of his shirt and spitting on his cheek.

Richie grimaced and shook his head to try and shake it off. "At least I'm getting more action than you ever will, pizza face," he said with a couple thrusts of his hips as he poked his tongue out, quickly earning him a foot on his chest, stomping his back against the gravel and biting his tongue, howling a curse as blood filled his mouth. Maybe he deserved that one.

"Richie, for fuck's sake," Eddie groaned, licking away blood from his lips then quickly spitting it out.

"Shut the girly boy up!" The leader snarled and Eddie got a meaty fist to his stomach, knocking the air out from his chest. He started to wheeze and cough but he went on, leaning down at Richie as he pulled a knife out, the silver reflecting off all of the faraway lights of the fair. "I don't wanna have to gut you open like a fish, but I will if I have to. So we'll consider this your warning, okay? Next time I won't be so forgiving." He said, pressing the blade against the underside of Richie's jaw.

He opened his mouth and Eddie, through his shaky breaths said, "Beep-beep," so Richie clacked his mouth shut and nodded, tearful eyes glaring up at the older boy.

He smirked and pocketed his knife, smacking Richie on the cheek roughly as he stood. "Come on, let's get outta here before we catch what they got." He said, the other two laughing, one of them dumping their cup of ice, lemon slices, and used cigarette butts on Eddie's head before pushing him to his knees on the gravel.

Richie quickly got to his feet and hurried to Eddie's side, sitting on his legs to hold Eddie's cheeks that were wet with tears, from fear, pain from his nose, his stomach, he wasn't sure, maybe all three. "It's okay, Eds," he assured, flicking away a cigarette butt from Eddie's hair and slicking it back with the lemonade and water mixture, also flicking away a lemon seed.

"I'm sorry, Richie," he muttered as he reached for his inhaler, puffing it for the second time that evening, already an improvement from just three years ago. "I should've let your hand go," he added with a sniffle, tentatively reaching up feel the damage to his nose, the throbbing making his eyes water with fresh tears.

"No, fuck that, you aren't apologizing for those homophobic assholes. We weren't doing anything," Richie glowered to himself as he wiped at Eddie’s cheeks and tried his best to ignore how his own eyes swam. 'It isn’t fucking fair,' he thought to himself as he grabbed napkins from the nearest food stand and sat at another bench with Eddie, further out from where they got their asses handed to them on a shiny plate, and cleaned each other up. It was not the first time they’d been beaten down like this, Bowers had taken them down many a time. Eddie for saying something smart down in the quarry ended up he exact same way he was now, crying with a busted up nose. Richie actually got off easy this time, if his bleeding cheekbone was considered easy. He would have taken this over getting ripped off of a fence and getting the proper shit beaten out of him. At least his classes were intact.

“Come on, let’s just go home,” Eddie said, napkins stuffed up his nostrils and making him talk funny.

“No, we still have the Ferris wheel to go on, and it’s not a fair if we don’t go on it. And get cotton candy.” Richie added, handing Eddie a dollar bill as he held a napkin to his cheek.

Eddie shrugged and walked to the nearest stand with cotton candy, plucking the bag from the pole they were on and sighing from the concerned look the employee gave him. He met Richie in line for the Ferris wheel, taking turns plucking pieces of cloudy sugar in mutual silence. Once they were seated in the car, they let out a harmonious sigh.

“Are we ever gonna catch a break?” Richie sighed, uncharacteristically upset and quiet, not much of a surprise considering what had happened and what was said.

Eddie shrugged, taking a final piece of cotton candy before handing the bag to Richie. “I don’t know, but still, I’m sorry. I should’ve known not to try and do that with a huge crowd around. We were just asking for it.”

Richie sighed again, closing the bag of cotton candy and moving to sit by Eddie, not a lot of room even for his skinny ass, tugging Eddie’s knee over both of his. He put his hands on his knee, palms supine. Eddie could see the crusted sugar on Richie’s fingertips where he had licked the cotton candy off of them, but he couldn’t bring himself to care, placing his equally dirtied hands into Richie’s. “I promise you, Eddie, we’ll be able to hold hands one day and not get beaten stupid like this,” Richie vowed, running a sugar-sticky thumb over the top of Eddie’s hand, who squeezed his in return.

“Think so?” Eddie asked, getting a nod from Richie. “We’ll have to move out of Derry for that. This shithole will never get it.” He said and glared out of the grimy, smudgy windows of the car, a passing thought of how many hands and even children’s mouths have touched it.

“We’ll move out the fucking second we graduate,” Richie plotted aloud, giving Eddie a smile and getting one in return. “You’ll go to school and do something smart and awesome and I’m gonna be the funniest comedian the world’s ever seen!”

Eddie raised an eyebrow. “Is that right? Gonna have to work hard for that, you know.” He teased, laughing when he got a swat to his still-damp hair. He caught Richie’s hand again and moved in to peck his uninjured cheek, sitting back quickly in case it was the wrong move.

Richie’s eyes were wide behind his thick lenses and his face warmed up, but he laced their fingers together and shuffled as close as he could. He leaned in and pursed his lips dramatically, making Eddie and himself laugh before they kissed, just in time for the car to come to a swinging stop at the top of the rotation.