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Reborn

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 The blaring vibrated within his ears and hurt his head. He moaned in annoyance and rolled in his bedsheets. As the blaring continued, his hand swung out from the sheets. It crashed against the alarm clock and he opened his eyes. 

6:30 am

The freckled boy sat up in bed and rubbed at his eyes. The room was dim as his dusty drapes were sealed tight. Even in the dim room, he could sense it was early morning. “Get up Eddie. You have to.” 

His fingers worked into his tangled brown strands, as he attempted to fix them. He pulled back the brown drapes and the sunlight poured in. He sprang to his sore legs and began his morning stretches. "You got to stretch. If you don’t, you can get arthritis at a young age" 

He pulled out an outfit he prepared from a chestnut-colored drawer. It was a pair of red shorts, a yellow top, and his black fanny pack. When he was dressed, he examined himself in the mirror. “Good enough for school. I want to impress someone.” 

He grabbed his inhaler and other medication, which he shoved promptly into his fanny pack. He ran down the stairs that creaked under his weight. “Good morning mother. Good morning father.” 

The kitchen and living room were empty. His parents weren't insight, and the smell of coffee lingered. He strolled to the yellow fridge, finding a note pressed by a magnet. 

Your father and I got called to work. Breakfast is in the fridge and do not forget your vitamins. Have a good first day Eddie bear. 

“Of course they couldn’t stay. At least mommy cooked breakfast,” Eddie muttered as he crumpled the letter. He flung it into the trash, as he opened the fridge. A platter of eggs and toast was in the fridge, along with a carton of milk. “Same old same old.” 

He heated the plate and watched it spin in the microwave. He ate his meal and grabbed his backpack from the closet. As he dashed to the bathroom, he swung his backpack over his shoulder. As he brushed his teeth, he took his mother's glittery lip gloss. Once he finished, he applied it making his lips sparkle. 

He grabbed the house keys and tucked them into his fanny pack. He stepped outside and inhaled the cool morning air. In Derry, it was early September, and the heat was scorching. Although the morning felt cool with a fresh breeze. His nose became light pink from the cold and he shivered. 

Eddie hauled his bike from the shrubs and sat on the torn seat. Its shiny gray polish had become rusty and the paint flaked. Whenever he made a turn, it shrieked horribly. His parents told him to throw it away, but he insisted on keeping it. The ride to school was roughly ten minutes, therefore he made it at 7:00. Class didn’t start until 8:00, so he had time to spare. 

 As he chained his bike, he studied the campus. The place seemed huge as he stood in front of the concrete steps. His legs wobbled like jelly as he clutched his inhaler. “It’s okay Eddie. You are going to be fine.” 

He took a deep breath and walked to the glass doors. Bustling corridors, noisy chatter, bright displays, and voices overwhelm Eddie. The red lockers are slammed by miserable students, banners cover the walls advertising school clubs, and he cowers in a corner.

 The world seems closer to his eyes, as the air becomes more soupy, harder to breathe. His thoughts scatter like there's an electrical storm in his head, too many short-circuits to make any sense. He triggers his inhaler as he brings it up to his lips. He could hear his father's voice thundering in his head. 

"How pathetic that you have anxiety. That's not even a valid sickness Edward. Is this why you don't have friends? All you have is that shaggy dog, Charlie. Then again I realized you stopped hanging out. Did he abandon you too?" 

He ignored his words and began maneuvering through the crowd. He does his breathing exercises as he searches for locker 662. “I should’ve taken a copy of the school map.” 

Eddie realized he was lost, so instead made his way back outside. His eyes darted, in an attempt to find a friendly-looking student. His eyes settled on someone who seemed okay. He was tall, had sturdy shoulders, and short dark hair. He was wearing a black leather jacket, a pair of black jeans, and brown boots. “Excuse me?" 

“Oh, hello! Do I know you?” 

He studied Eddie with his soothing hazel eyes, and a warm smile. He felt like an angel had just blessed him. Eddie was conscious of his feelings towards boys, but it had been a while since he felt this. “I’m s-sorry to disturb you. I’m new here.” 

He leaned close, as Eddie was unaware of how faint his voice was. “Well, welcome to Derry! I’m Mike! What’s your name?” 

“I’m Eddie. It's nice to meet you." 

"You need help with something, Eddie?” 

“Where is the office? I’m sort of lost,” Eddie was very lost. He didn’t know shit about his new school. “I need a school map.” 

“I wouldn’t mind giving you a tour. Only if you want, of course." 

“No, it’s okay! I’m sure you are busy.” 

“I don’t mind Eddie. I just have to wait for my friends," The sound of a motor crackling made Mike smirk. “Well, here they are. Just give me a minute Eddie.”

Eddie looked over his shoulder in curiosity. A group of motorcycle riding students parked. Each of them had a Harley-Davidson FLSTF coated with polished black paint. They had large sparkling wheels plus large headlights. The only variation was design modifications and passengers. A few girls giggled and whistled in their direction. 

The first member had an alike figure to Mike. His tufts of brown hair fell back, as the breeze ceased blowing. He was chatting to the person next to him, who was taking their helmet off. Her ginger curls bobbed above her shoulders. Beige freckles adorned her body, the crimson lip gloss gave her lips a glow, her deep lashes flapped, and her eyeliner resembled sharp blades. Eddie had never seen such a beautiful being. 

Then, Eddie believed he died and met a real angel. His face flushed hot, and his stomach was heavy. His heart hammered in his throat, threatening to break out. His black locks spread beyond his shoulders, thick glasses rested on his nose, and freckles concealed his face. His lanky legs looked astonishingly hot, in tight black jeans and black boots. Eddie abruptly found himself in love and bit his lower lip. 

“Bill! You guys made it!” 

"H-Hi Mikey," Bill said swiftly approaching them. He pulled Mike into a tight hug. "I m-missed you." 

“Hey, that’s rude. We would never ditch school, Mikey,” The handsome boy remarked. “Hey, you brought a little friend.” 

“This is Eddie! He's the new kid,” Mike said as Eddie crouched behind Mike. His shyness had thrust on him harder than ever. “I was about to show him around the school. I was just waiting for you guys.” 

“Y-You aren’t g-going to hang o-out with u-us?” 

“Sorry Billy. I’ll see you guys at lunch.” 

“Woah Woah Mikey, you leaving us for a dweeb?” The girl spoke up as she leaned toward him. She pressed a lollipop within her fingers and frowned at Eddie. “It’s the first day of school." 

“Hey Beverly be nice. So, you're the new kid this year?” 

“Y-Yeah.” 

“I’m Ben, it's nice to meet you, Eddie. Sorry about my girlfriend she’s cold-hearted.” 

“Oooh Beverly, you hear that? Beat him up! I mean I overheard you doing it last night. Or was that you sucking him-.” 

“Beep beep Richie. Unless you want me to throw your pot off the quarry again. Fine Mikey. You should show the dweeb to Bowers.” 

“Hey that’s cruel,” Richie remarked as he licked her strawberry lollipop. “You got to chill doll. Look he’s even got a cute wee fanny pack.” 

“Shut up Trashmouth. Whatever kid don’t get attached to Mikey. He’s our friend.” 

“I won’t. I never allow attachment to happen.” 

“Sheesh, that got dark. Alright, let’s go I need to get my shit. I can’t be late to first period already.” 

“Whatever. See you later Mikey, love you!" 

She blew a kiss as she wandered off with the others. Mikey rolled his eyes at her and groaned. “Sorry about them. I swear they are nice people.” 

“They're nice people. I’ve seen and heard worse.” 

“I’m sorry to hear that. I’m especially sorry about Beverly. She can be way nicer once she learns to love you.” 

“It’s okay. She’s beautiful.” 

“Yeah, she is. A blessing to the Earth. But hey I’ll show you around now!” 

“Oh right! Thank you.” 

*** 

In the last thirty minutes, they toured the campus and figured out Eddie’s classes. Eddie learned a route to all his classes and thanked Mike for his help. They had learned they had the third period together, which overjoyed Eddie, as he adored Mike. 

The bell sounded and boys said their goodbyes. Eddie had PE first period, so he had to walk to the rear of the campus. Although Mike told him to just go to the gym. Apparently, they never did anything the first week. Eddie peeped into the gym and noticed the other PE classes. 

He found his PE teacher and perched in the corner of the gym. Most of his fellow pupils sat in their groups away from Eddie. They conversed about school drama, their new classes, or who the whore of the year was. Eddie pulled his knees up and glanced around. None of the students gawked at him, and this pleased him. He hurriedly drew out a comic book from his black backpack. 

It was an edition of the Wonder Woman comics. Specifically, Wonder Woman Gods and Mortals. She was one of his beloved heroes and owned most of her comics. As he flipped the first page, he sensed someone lean over him. Eddie nearly squealed yet managed to hold it back. Instead, he gazed up with wide eyes, slamming the comic close. 

“Sorry, Eddie didn’t mean to scare you!” 

Ben Hanscom bashfully smiled and relaxed next to Eddie. “Why are you sitting all alone?” 

“I-I don’t know anyone in my class. My teacher is Mrs. Holly” 

“We have the same class," Ben said his smile stretching in excitement. "I’ll keep you company. Beverly has this period, but she’s with the other teacher. You like comics?” 

“Thanks and yeah. Do you?” 

“Yeah, I do! I regularly go to the comic book store with Richie! What are you reading?” 

Eddie’s eyes brightened at the remark of the comic book store. In Brooklyn, the store was an hour by bike and expensive. Everything in Derry was at close biking distance, and cheap.  

“How far is the store? And I’m reading uh...Wonder Woman.” A blush crept on his face and he sank into his knees. “I-I know she’s very feminine but she inspires me. It’s kind of ga-"

“Oh, I love her! She’s one of my favorite heroes too! The comic store is down the block. We can go sometime if you want!” 

"I know she's amazing! Are you sure you want to go with me?" 

“Of course Eddie. We're friends, right? When I was the new kid two years ago, all I wanted was friends.” 

“You mean that?” 

“Yeah of course! You're Mikey's friend so why not join him.” 

“What’s going on here Benny?” 

Beverly stood next to Ben gazing at Eddie. Her forest green orbs looked gorgeous with her ginger freckles. Eddie had to stop admiring people. It always made him feel gooey. 

“Oh hey, Bev. Aren’t you supposed to be with your class?” 

“Aw, do you want me to go away that badly? I missed you,” She said kissing his cheek as he hugged her. “I just wanted to see what you were up to.” 

“I’m just talking to Eddie. You remember him right? Mike’s new friend.” 

“Oh yeah. So he’s got you tangled up too?"  

“H-Hi Beverly.” 

“Is that Wonder Women?” Beverly said seizing the comic book from his lap. She studied it and flipped through the pages. “Good taste. And one of the best Wonder Woman issues. That’s all I’ll say.” 

“Of course it is. It’s Wonder Woman Bev.” 

“Beverly Marsh! Get back to your assigned class!” 

She rolled her eyes and stood up upright. She launched Eddie’s comic back on his lap and pecked Ben’s cheek. “Well, I guess they miss me that badly. I got to go Benny.” 

“Everyone always misses you. See you later Bev.” 

She twirled her hair as she walked away, whistling softly. Eddie looked at Ben wide-eyed. “I’m sorry about her. She can be overprotective of her friends. She has her reasons.” 

“It’s okay, I get it.” 

Eddie didn’t. Maybe it was just because he never had close friends. He hopes one day he can understand. 

*** 

Eddie virtually raced to his third period, U.S. History. He recognized Mike sitting by the back table. He waved at him and then pointed at the vacant seat beside him. “Hey, I saved you a spot! We can choose our seats, for the rest of the year. Guess you are stuck with me!” 

“Tragic news Mikey. Can I call you that?" 

"Of course Eddie. You're my friend." 

Eddie's heart blossomed with a warm sensation. He wanted to pull Mike into a tight hug and prep him with kisses, yet he realized how unusual that would be. Instead, he smiles and laughs. 

*** 

After saying his goodbyes to Mike, Eddie strolled to his fourth period. As he wandered into the classroom, he noticed the desks were in groups of two. He resented this setup more than the groups of four. It required interaction with another person. At least in a group of four, Eddie could be the reserved kid. 

And then Eddie was shot with cupid's arrow. Richie strolled into class giggling with Bill. They sat down together four tables away from Eddie. He had secretly wished they sat closer, but Eddie would never get work done. He would admire Richie the whole damn period, and get nothing finished. He was relieved when a tall student blocked his view of Richie. 

“Alright, class let's start by saying a fact about yourself." Mr. Le said and pointed straight at Eddie. His eyes widened and his cheeks flushed. "You go first." 

“Um...I’m Eddie.” 

“Eddie are you deaf?” 

“N-No.” 

“Then I believe you need to pay extra attention. Give me a fun fact, not your name. Do you need a hearing aid? We can go up to the office and get one." 

A portion of the class snickered including Richie. Bill slapped his arm and scowled in disapproval. Eddie began to fidget with the zipper of his fanny pack.

“Sorry, sir. I’m new to Derry and just transferred from New York.” 

“You're rather boring for someone from New York. Alright, who's next?" 

Eddie sighed and stared down at his lap. Large droopy tears swelled in his eyes, and he wiped furiously at them. His lip quivered as he held back a sob or a whimper. Eddie considered himself a crybaby. Not only was he quite sensitive and shy, but he was always crying. His overwhelming anxiety was usually the cause of it. He managed to keep in the tears that day, yet he didn't know if he'd be so fortunate next time. 

*** 

Lunch was awful, yet that was nothing unusual to Eddie. Arriving at a different school, hardly having friends, and an easy bullying target only suggested one thing. Never having anyone to be with throughout lunch, so he had a hiding place. He went to the bathroom, into the largest stall, and silently ate his lunch. Students rarely ever came in and or didn't even regard him. 

Eddie did have Mike and Ben as his friends, yet he didn't want to bother them. They were with their friend group, and he didn't want to force himself in. He had prepared himself a sandwich with strawberries. As he was chewing, he studied the stall wall. It was covered in different writing of all sorts of things. 

Fuck Henry Bowers! 

FEAR IT 

The Losers are the best! 

He giggled at the peculiar writings as he cleaned the strawberry juice off his lips. He didn’t know any of those people or meanings, but they sure were funny. 

Richie Tozier sucks flaming cock. 

“Richie? Wonder if that’s true.” 

An image of Richie on his lap grinding against Eddie's firm cock invaded his mind. Both boys gasping as their hands explored one other. Eddie closed his eyes and ignored the perverted ideas. He didn’t want to think of Richie that way. Richie had more to offer than just being remarkably handsome. 

Then Eddie remembered Richie laughing at him in class. He understood not to overthink it as he meant no harm. He simply thought the teacher's gags were hilarious. Eddie sunk into the floor and pulled his knees up. He could feel the hot tears but blinked them back.  

"Goddamnit Richie." 

*** 

Eddie decided to immediately go home as he didn’t need to check his locker. He advanced down the north hallway towards the nearest exit. 

He unchained his bike and went down the path observing other students. Numerous of them were in groups gossiping and laughing. Some on bikes, motorcycles, or in a car. He started turning the corner into his neighborhood, his face turned away. 

He crashed into someone and was thrust forward. He landed on the cement and scraped his knees. “I’m so sorry!” 

“Watch your path fuckface!” He stared up at the taller boy rising to his feet. He launched Eddie’s bike across the grass and seized him by his shirt collar. “I haven’t seen you around. Are you new?” 

“Y-Yes. I’m Eddie.” 

He slobbers on Eddie's face and launches him to the ground. His virescent eyes pierce daggers into Eddie, and he trembles. 

“The name is Henry Bowers. Remember that name fuckface," Henry said as Eddie's cheeks flushed. Henry wore black jeans with a bright pink leather jacket. "I think you deserve a welcoming gift!” 

He struck Eddie firm in the face and began dragging him away. Eddie hacks up blood and whimpers in distress. He hadn’t suffered a beating in a while and neglected to clench his teeth. Doing this avoided the risk of a broken jaw and less pain.  

“First off, don’t fuck with me or my gang! Unless you want a beating all the time! We call ourselves the Bowers! Understand pipsqueak!?"

"Understood," Eddie hastily replied as Henry kicked him in the stomach. More blood splattered from his mouth and he curled up in pain. “Fuck!" 

“Second, don't ever let me catch you talking shit on us. Now let's see if you're a queer," Henry said pinning Eddie against his figure. His hands skim Eddie's chest and he cowers. "Fucking queer." 

Eddie kicks Henry and shoves him away. He begins tearing at Henry, slashing his face with full force. Henry released him with a grunt and clutched his face. His face was drenched in his blood and claw marks. Eddie rarely clipped his nails, therefore, they were long and sharp.  

“Oh...oh you are so fucking dead!” 

Henry sank to the ground from a sudden punch. Eddie scrambled back his adrenaline subsequently faded. “You trying to start trouble Henry?! You need to leave this goddamn kid alone!” 

The familiar voice was from Mike.