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All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again. But this time it happened in Maine. On a quiet little street in Derry, in that corner house that was known to be the home of the Darling family. But in order to begin this story, we must understand those who lived in the house, and how these events came to be. 

So to begin this tale, we will start with Mrs. Sonia Darling. She was a practical woman, who had a very constructive lifestyle and view on the workings of the world, and therefore didn’t believe in the likes of childhood fairytales. 

She was also a heavyset woman, to put it lightly, and was very protective and wary for her only child. For her views made her believe that a mother’s job was to protect their child from anything that would harm them no matter the cost. And while it may have been an admirable attempt, she did not know when to restrict herself and therefore came off as overbearing to any who met her. 

She also did not believe that fairy tales and stories had any value, and so she had no use for them, and paid them no attention. 

Mr. Darling, however, deviated from his wife in the sense that stories held importance as well as in the sense that he wanted to prepare his son for the world. He believed that tales and wildish things helped one grow and have faith, and so he told his son such wonderful tales. 

Stories of princesses and knights and pirates and dragons. Stories of mysterious cottages in the woods and of ethereal mermaids singing songs in treasure-laid coves. All such fantastical things fascinated the small child, and so he was more than happy to listen to them intently. 

And so Eddie Darling, wouldn't be considered to be an ordinary boy. 

He didn't have many friends, being a small and regularly sick child, it made having friends inconvenient and troublesome. He had too many food allergies, got sick way too easily, and his overbearing mother made it difficult for him to have adventures. Like the adventures that he oh so loved to hear from his father. 

He wanted to fight pirates, and explore jungles and climb mountains and find new places. But alas that was not a likelihood for someone like him. Little Eddie Darling, the tiny, asthmatic, germaphobe, hypochondriac boy. 

So, Eddie contented himself with listening to his father's stories, and tucked away his dreams in a drawer for another time. But unbeknownst to anyone else in the household, there was another boy who listened to these stories. A boy who never aged and once learned how to fly. 

He pressed his ears to the window and loved listening to the wild adventures of heroes and thieves. Undoubtedly enamored by the Voices that came with them. Each tale new and exciting and always telling something important. And then afterwards, when the tale was done and the house was dark and quiet, he would fly back to his friends and tell them what he heard. 

His friends always enjoyed the stories, and therefore always asked for more in the end. But the wild boy didn't have anymore to tell, and so every time he said the same thing. 

"Don't worry. I'll go back again tomorrow. I'm sure there'll be another one." And he was right. 

Until one day, there was no story. 

The house was dark and cold with no one inside it, and the flying child squinted curiously at the usually lit window, suspicion and caution guiding his way. The small fairy flying beside him looked back and forth between the boy and the house and viciously shook his head 'No'. Golden dust falling from him and a bell-like sound emanating from the fairy. 

"Sshh!" The child hushed. He stepped onto the window sill and peeked inside. The bed was unmade, the room was dark, and the door was wide open. The treasure chest in the corner was untouched, and no lamps were lit and no story books were lying open. 

Which didn’t seem to be a good sign to the raven-haired boy.

He leaned up against the window, and gave it a light push. It didn’t budge an inch. He tried again, but when he saw that the window didn’t move underneath his touch, he turned to his side and grasped the dagger that always laid there. He unsheathed the blade, the metal glinting white in the moonlight, and went to slip the dagger between the two window panes. It slid through easily. And unlocking the clasp was mere child’s play. 

The window opened with a rush of wind and the boy flew through the opening, floating over the floor and curiously gazing at the unsettling surroundings. He adjusted the glasses on his nose and glanced at the bed.  

“What do you think happened here, Stan?” he whispered to the fairy beside him. The fairy shook his head and shrugged, neither of them having any clue as to why the normally bright house was suddenly dark and foreboding. The child poked around the room some more, not daring to go any further into the house in fear of awakening or disturbing something. He flipped through a few books and looked at pictures hanging from the wall, but nothing gave information as to what happened here. And also… maybe he enjoyed being in the room. 

He had gazed into it so many times, but had never dared to enter. Even when everyone was asleep and not even an earthquake could wake the house. 

Sure, he had thought about hovering in the air and watching it’s inhabitants sleep, and yes he had wondered if it was just as warm as he always imagined it to be. But something held him back each time. A small whisper in the back of his mind, doubting and scolding him for even thinking about going into someone’s room. Least of all this one. 

For Richie had always thought that the boy living in this house was cute. With his big brown eyes, and soft, wavy hair, and the cutest little freckles that reminded him of constellations in the night sky. The one who lived here and who’s name was Eddie Darling. 

The first time he had heard it, he had thought that he was being called a ‘darling’. It hadn’t occurred to him until later that that might’ve been his name, when the woman also living there had scolded him for running around. But the discovery of the name only enamored Richie even more, for what else would his name have been? It was a darling name for a Darling boy. 

And he thought it was quite fitting.

Richie settled onto the ground, bare feet against the freezing wood, and he stared at the bed. Was it really as soft as it looked? Were the covers really that silky? 

He raised a hand to feel, but before he could, he was drawn out of his thoughts as the sound of the front door opening and slamming rang in his ears. The boy gasped, head jerking at the sudden din, and shoulders tensing as he realized that someone was home. Footsteps thundered against the stairway and Richie scrambled as he raced back to the window, feet barely touching the floor, if at all, as he jumped off of the windowsill and flew into the cool night. 

But something was wrong. 

He couldn’t just leave. He had to shut the window. 

The dark-haired boy darted back, and reached inside to grab the open window panes. Stan following behind him in a frantic trail of gold. The light was on in the hallway and even from where he was floating, he could see the golden warmth seeping through the crack beneath the door. He faintly heard voices and noted with a prick of his ears that Eddie was one of the voices. Good ol’ Eddie, darling. 

The brass handle on the door jiggled, and Richie gasped. He shut the window with a loud thud, much louder than he had intended, and leapt onto the roof just when someone entered the room. The young boy held his breath as his sensitive ears heard light footsteps wander around the room, and he ducked his head behind the roof’s rough tiles when he heard the tell tale shink of the window panes opening once more. 

The boy held still against the top of the house and glanced at the fairy beside him who had covered his mouth with his hands. The air was silent, aside from the rustling trees and hush of the wind, and after a minute or two of nothing happening, Richie began to wonder if the window had even opened in the first place. He gulped down a breath and slowly moved to peak over the edge of the roof, and apparently he was wrong. 

Eddie Darling stood over the windowsill, soft, brown curls wavering in the night air and a draping robe fluttered lazily around him. He stared out at the scene in front of him, curiosity and weariness in his eyes, as he glanced over everything he could see. Something had banged against his window the second he stepped into his room, and he was looking for the cause of it.

Was it a bird that had accidentally hit the glass? Maybe it was a branch from a nearby tree. But whatever it is, it was gone now. Eddie sighed and hung his head. 

The small boy closed the glass panes and clasped it shut. He shuffled over to his bed and slowly crawled beneath the sheets, not even bothering to pull the blankets over his shoulders. He breathed heavily into the pillow and closed his eyes. He was so tired, he just wanted the night to be over. 

For what a horrible night it had been.   

And it wouldn’t be until later that Richie found out why the house was quiet that night. When there were no more stories to hear, and no more warmth in the house. When the golden light was replaced with a dull grey and when the small brunet living in the home rarely opened his treasure chest anymore. 

Mr. Darling was gone. 

Richie didn’t know what exactly happened to him, but he knew that it was painful. 

And that there were no more stories. 

 


 

“Eddie, that is enough ! I don’t want to hear any more of these childish things! They are nonsense!” 

“But Dad didn’t think so a-”

“NO! You will not speak of him, you understand!”

“Bu-”

“NO! Just stop it Eddie! I am sick and tired of listening to all of this bullshit. It doesn’t mean anything and there is no place for it in this household anymore. It’s time for you to forget all of these nonsensical stories and grow the hell up. I’m taking all of this away in the morning and you better be ready to forget all of these things by then!”  

Eddie’s door slammed shut and the walls shook with its force. The small boy stood there, frozen and shaking, staring at the offending white wood that seemed to mock him, before bringing up a hand to wipe at the water that had gathered in his eyes. His face scrunched up in frustration at the tears, and brown eyes blazed with anger. The tears burned as they threatened to fall over his cheeks and Eddie shook his head, before marching over to the window and throwing it open. 

He wanted to scream at the sky, or at the very least throw something at it, but he was paralyzed by anger as his arms trembled and fists clenched. So he went for the next best thing. 

He cried. 

Hot, burning tears and frustrated cries filled his room as he tore up his sheets and threw a book or two. He didn’t want to give up. He didn’t want to forget about the things his father had told him and he sure as hell did not want to forget the stories. The wonderful stories that filled his head with such wonderful dreams and colors and had kept his loneliness at bay for so long. He wanted to remember them and keep learning them and wanted to hear so many more. 

But he couldn’t. 

For if he knew his mother, and he did, she would get rid of every single childish thing in his room and send it off to the nearest charity without a second glance. She wouldn’t care if he cried about losing his favorite book or if he didn’t want to grow up just yet. He was thirteen for Pete’s sake? Why should he start growing up now? 

And growing up meant leaving behind his father’s memories. He would be forced to leave it all behind before he was ready. And in no way was Eddie ready for that. So he cried about the things he would lose in the coming morning, and he wished with every bone in his body that he wouldn’t have to grow up. Not just yet. 

Eddie sat down on the cushioned bench beneath his window and stayed there, and he barely showed that he heard the front door open and close shut as his mother left for the night. She mentioned something about seeing a friend, but Eddie didn’t care enough to pay attention. 

The intense burst of emotion that had coursed through him now dwindled and fizzled out. His limbs feeling heavy and his head hurting from sobbing. His chest felt like there was a lead weight on it and the boy was overwhelmed with a feeling of Tiredness. Not the normal tired one became after a long day or a rough night, but the kind of Tired that weighed down your bones and hung off of your eyelids. 

It was this kind of Tired that Eddie felt, and so he laid on the bench, not even bothering to find a blanket for himself, and closed his eyes. He was so Tired. He didn’t care. 

And then slowly and quickly, he was enveloped in the warm darkness of sleep. 

And as fate would have it, Eddie would get his wish. For once more, a familiar flying boy dropped by the house and hovered over the windowsill. The moon hung high in the sky, and it was at that time where you could feel the silence of the world. Where clocks seemed to stop and the air was thick with apprehension of the coming dawn. It was at this time when Richie came back, and peeked into the room. 

The window was still open. 

His breath visibly floated through the air, fogging up his glasses. The child removed the spectacles quickly and wiped them on the edge of his shirt, placing them back on his nose. He peered into the room again, taking note of the fact that the usually shut window was now wide open, and this time he noticed just how different it was than before. As if that alone hadn't been a red flag.

Blankets strewn everywhere and books lying on the ground with their pages bent against the floor. The lingering sense of hostility and tenseness. Someone had clearly been angry, and it didn't take much for Richie to figure out who. 

For he was still sleeping on the bay window beneath the flying boy. All curled up into himself with nothing but a soft robe to keep him warm from the cool drafts. Richie bit his lip and glanced at the interior of the room once again. He had to do something important, but he wasn't quite sure how to do that without waking up the smaller boy. The curly-haired child thought of a reasonable course of action, before his head popped up and he snapped his fingers as an idea came to mind. 

He glanced to the side and waved his hand. Quickly calling over a fairy who flew up to Richie in a flash of gold. The small pixie glared at the boy and crossed his arms, crinkling the leaven clothes adorning him in a clear way of saying "What?" 

Richie whispered to the fairy and pointed to the room. And once he had finished explaining, Stan rolled his eyes, and nodded along. Because what else was he going to do? And he also knew that if he didn't help, then his friend would get into even more ridiculous schemes and most definitely get caught. 

Richie smiled at the fairy, and floated off of the outer windowsill, carefully flying into the Darling boy's room. While Stan immediately took off. Darting here and there and shooting around the room like a rocket. Searching behind books, underneath sheets, and drawers and rifling under the bed, as if what they were looking for would be there. 

Richie searched the walls and opened up the chest in the corner of the room. What he had left behind had to be here somewhere! The sounds of the rustling grew louder and louder and the searching became more and more frantic as time went on and the wild boy still couldn’t find what he was looking for. And it wasn’t until Stan’s voice chimed through the air, that Richie stopped his frenzy and looked over to see what had made his friend call out to him. 

The fairy pointed at a drawer in a small cupboard with a giant grin on his face, and the flying child couldn’t help it as he mirrored the fairy’s eagerness. He floated over to where Stan hovered, and with triumphant smiles, turned back to the drawer. 

“In here?” Richie whispered. Stan nodded and rubbed his hands together, golden dust falling from his fingertips. The curly-haired boy placed his hands on the drawer handle and felt himself stiffen in apprehension and excitement. “One….” he said, “two… THREE!” 

And in one second, three things happened. The first thing was Richie swiftly opening the drawer, allowing Stan to dived into the drawer to flush out whatever was inside. And the second thing was an inky shadow flooding out of its contents. Clinging to the wallpaper as it ‘stared’ at Richie in what could only be identified as shock. 

And the third and final thing, was Richie mindlessly snapping the drawer shut. Trapping the small fairy inside and causing him to tumble around with the sewing supplies kept inside. 

“HA!” Richie exclaimed. 

The shadow on the wall flew up to the ceiling, and the wild, flying boy followed. Tailing it as they circled around each other and tussled through the air. The shadow dove behind a chair, consumed by even more shadows, and Richie could do nothing but vainly follow it to the edge of darkness. There was so much dark in the room that it was near impossible to catch the darn thing. Richie crawled around the chair, searching for any sign of his shadow. And when he saw a flicker in the corner of his eye, he turned to see the damned thing creeping along the wall away from him. 

“Hey!” he yelled at it. The shadow leapt into the air comically, and began racing away from its owner. Richie rushed after it, not hesitating to lift off into the air again to more easily pursue his target. The shadow tripped over a stool and the boy took his chance to launch after it and tackle it to the ground. 

They tumbled through the air and crashed into the foot of the bed, causing a loud thud to echo within the small room, and both the boy and his shadow began wrestling with each other carelessly. The deafening thud that had filled up the room jarred a sleeping Darling to awake from his restless slumber, and as he sat up straight, the shock of the sudden wakefulness disoriented him. Causing his head to spin as his body tried to adjust to the difference in position. A hand shot up to his head and Eddie tried to shake away the throbbing. 

But his attempts were cut short when he heard the scuffling coming from the other side of his room. Eddie quickly turned to see what was causing such a commotion, and what he saw made his eyes widen in shock and his mouth drop open in surprise. 

There, right next to his torn up bed, was a boy around his age seemingly trying to hammer nothingingness into his bare foot with a book. 

“What the fuck!?” Eddie screeched. The boy jumped up at the sound and stared wide-eyed at the brunet. His hands ducking behind him as if he had just been caught stealing cookies from the cookie jar.

“Who the fuck are you and what the hell are you doing in my room!” Eddie screeched, his voice reaching a higher pitch than it normally did. Meanwhile the raven-haired child just stared at him in surprise. 

“I-uh-erhm, sorry, uhhh” he muttered unintelligibly. Eddie glared at him as he donned an expression of righteous anger. 

“If you dont tell me who the fuck you are im going to call the police!” 

The boy held up one of his hands and he stepped forward. “No wait! Please don’t!”

“Then tell me what the fuck you’re doing trespassing in my room!? In my house!?” 

“I just came in so that I could find my shadow! I left it here on accident last time I was here and I needed it back!”

Eddie froze for a moment. “ You’ve been here before!?” 

The boy cringed at the shriek, and resisted the urge to reach for his sensitive ears. “No! Well, I-uh, yes I have but it’s not like that I-” the raven gulped down a deep breath, trying to steady his nerves and calm down the screeching match that had risen. But just then, when the air was silent for a heartbeat, something pulled away from the boy and Eddie watched, bewildered, as he tried to wrangle something unseen into submission.

“No! Come here you dumbass motherfucker! You’re not getting away from me this time!” he yelled. 

Eddie’s face scrunched up in confusion. “What the hell are you doing?” 

The dark-haired boy grunted as he tried to pull back the nothingness, blatantly ignoring Eddie’s question, and he picked the book he had dropped up off of the ground and began hammering it against his foot again. 

“WOAH, HEY WHAT THE HELL!” 

“I’m trying to get my shadow back on!” 

Eddie scoffed, his anger briefly forgotten by the absurdity of the statement. “Well that’s not how you’re going to do it, asshole.” 

Richie turned to glare at Eddie. “Yeah, well then what do you suggest I do, dipshit!” 

The brunet bit his lip and crossed his arms as he thought about it. How exactly would you attach a shadow back on? He looked around his room, before his eyes landed on a small drawer in the corner. An idea came to mind and he grinned smugly at the boy in his room. 

Then without a word, Eddie strode over to the desk and opened up the drawer quickly, snatching a small box out of it and barely noticing the flash of gold that flared inside the drawer as he opened it. He turned back to face the stranger, opened the box, and held up the supplies. He felt a strange satisfaction as he saw the boy’s face pale and eyes widen. 

“You’re gonna have to sew it on.” 

The boy shook his head and slowly began to backpedal away from Eddie as he started walking towards him with the sewing supplies. 

“Oh no. No no no no no, absolutely not!” he exclaimed. 

Eddie scoffed. “What? What’s so bad about it? You got any better ideas?”

The boy crossed his arms. “I could just tie it back on.”

“That’s not going to last long.” 

“Well it’s a better idea than having a fucking needle stabbing me.” Richie retorted, crossing his arms defensively.

“No it’s not! Come on, stop being a wimp and sit down!” 

“No!” and with that said, Richie, still holding his shadow, jumped into the air and flew to the farthest corner away from Eddie and scrunched up against it. Eddie froze and gaped at the boy with wide eyes. Richie stared back at him. 

“What?” he asked after a beat of silence. 

“Y-you’re...you’re flying…” he said quietly. Said flying boy glanced down at himself and then back at Eddie. 

“Yeah, no shit.” 

“Bu-but! How!?” the brunet sputtered, dropping his hands down to his sides. Richie shrugged. 

“I don’t know, I just do. There’s nothing to it.” 

Eddie guffawed, staring at the dark-haired boy incredulously. “‘Nothing to it’!?!?”  

“Well, yeah, I mean, it doesn’t take much.” 

The brunet shook his head and pinched the bridge of his nose. “I find that very hard to believe.” 

“Why?”

“Because nobody can just FLY!” 

“I can!” 

“GAH!”

Richie laughed mockingly and smirked at Eddie from his spot on the ceiling. “And since you can’t fly, how do you think you’re gonna get me down from here smarty pants!” 

The Darling boy glared at Richie, his lips twitching downward in a frown, and Richie could tell that he was getting on his nerves. A warm feeling spread throughout his chest, and the flying boy found that he quite liked that feeling. His smug expression remained on his face until Eddie looked up at him with a mischievous glint in his eye and a slight blush on his face. 

“If you come down here, I’ll give you a kiss.” 

Richie’s eyebrows scrunched up in confusion and he slowly began to float down onto the floor, the shadow still clutched in his hand with no way of escaping. 

“What’s a kiss?” he asked. 

A look flashed over Eddie’s face, one that Richie wasn’t able to interpret, and the mischievousness faded away, but the blush remained.  

“You don’t know what a kiss is?” 

The dark-haired boy outstretched his hand, palm facing up as if he was waiting for something to be handed to him, and technically, he was. “No, but I’ll know what it is once you give it to me.” 

Eddie crossed his arms. “Hmmm, alright then. But first, you have to let me sew your shadow back on.” Richie dropped his hand and shuffled his weight from one foot to the other. He glanced nervously around the room. 

He didn’t like the idea of sewing at all, and he would rather not have to deal with needles in any way, shape, or form. But , he did want his shadow back and after what Eddie had said, he was more than curious to know what a kiss was. It seemed important and from the way the boy had phrased it, it seemed like he should know what it was. 

He screwed up his face in thought, and after a total of five seconds, nodded his head. Dark curls bouncing around his face. 

Eddie perked up at the agreement, and before Richie could do anything, went over to his desk and turned on the lamp so that now the room was flooded in a warm golden light. The color immediately soothed Richie, for it reminded him of when stories filled the house and of when the Darling’s were still a happy family.  

The brunet snapped his fingers and motioned or Richie to sit down on the floor. Eddie kneeled on the ground, looking ever so proper in his silky robe and pastel pajamas, as he began unravelling the thread and needle. Richie sat up against the base of the bed, as did his shadow, who clung to him from behind. 

“Alright, this may sting a little.” Eddie said a little nervously, holding up the needle and taking one of Richie’s feet as well as the shadow’s. Lining them up with each other so that it’d be easier to attach them back. The other boy tensed up and placed a hand over his shadow’s in an attempt to find some comfort. 

And then slowly, and carefully, Eddie began to sew. It did sting at first, just as he had said, but then after a few stitches, the discomfort began to lessen as Richie became more and more tolerating of it. 

The raven hissed in pain as Eddie accidentally dug a little deeper than intended, and he squeezed his eyes shut. The smaller boy winced apologetically and ducked his head. 

“Sorry.” he muttered. There was a beat of silence, before the Darling boy decided to fill it. Maybe it would help distract this strange kid from the sewing, and it was worth a shot to figure out who he was, right? Because people don’t just show up in your room, much less flying boys with sentient shadows.

“So,” Eddie began carefully. “What’s your name? You never said.” 

Richie peeked out from his closed eyes, ebony black meeting chocolate brown, and it was in this moment that he realized that he had never told Eddie his name. He already knew Eddie’s because how could he not? He had come here so many times that he knew the boy about as well as one of his other friends. But the sudden reminder that this darling boy did not know him was both bitter and sweet at the same time. Richie shifted against the bed frame and his shadow looked at him curiously. 

“I’m Richie.” 

“Richie…” Eddie repeated thoughtfully. “That’s a good name. I’m Edward Darling, but people usually call me-”

“Eddie.” the raven finished before he could stop himself. The other boy looked at him curiously and stopped sewing for a moment.  

“Y-...yes. How did you know?” 

Richie’s eyes widened and he rubbed the back of his neck nervously. “Well, uhm, I just, uhm, do?” 

Eddie gave him a glare. “Very informative and not at all suspicious.” He returned to his stitching and they fell into silence once again. “So how exactly did you lose your shadow? It doesn’t seem like something that you can just accidentally drop or forget.” 

Richie shrunk in on himself and chuckled nervously. “Oh well, uhm, it’s a funny story actually.” Eddie hummed attentively but remained focused on his sewing. “I lost it over by your window.”

“And what on earth were you doing over there, exactly?” 

“I came to listen to the stories.” 

Eddie froze. The needle hanging in mid-stitch and the small brunet tensed. He cleared his throat nervously and blinked rapidly, as if trying to process what Richie had just said, and then presumed his task. Albeit this time he was a bit more reserved than he had been before. 

“Why?” he asked. His voice short and clipped. 

“Well,” Richie began, “I like to listen to them and then go tell them to the Losers.” 

Eddie’s face scrunched up. “What losers? Isn’t that a bit mean?” 

The raven chuckled, relieving some of the tension in the air with his light and airy laugh. Eddie even felt some of his own rigidity relax at the sound. “No, the Losers. With a capital ‘L’. They’re my friends where I come from and I always tell them about the stories that I hear from here.”

A small smile grew on Eddie’s face. “And where exactly is it that you come from?” he asked with a curious lilt in his voice. 

“Neverland.” the flying boy said simply. Eddie’s eyebrows drew together in confusion, and Richie couldn’t help but think Cute, cute, cute at the expression . The Darling boy scoffed and turned back to his sewing. 

“That doesn’t even sound real, it sounds like a country you just made up on the spot.” 

Richie shrugged. “Well if it does have a name, then I sure as hell don’t know what it is. So, I’m gonna keep calling it Neverland.” 

“Well okay. And where exactly is Neverland then?” 

“Second star to the right and straight on till morning.” 

“Okay, now you’re just fucking messing with me!”

Richie laughed again, that light, bubbly laugh that seemed to draw a smile out of Eddie every time. "No I'm serious! That's actually how you get to Neverland." 

Eddie hummed. "Sounds fake, but okay. Other foot." 

Richie traded off his foot for the other and continued to try and convince Eddie that what he was saying was in fact true. 

“I’m just saying that using a star of all things to get to some imaginary island is very improbable and childish.” 

“Since when have you ever cared about things being childish or not?” Richie challenged, and Eddie got that strange look on his face again. Something between sad and remorseful and a little bitter. But just as quickly as it appeared, it was wiped away with a sweet smile. 

“Well, my point still stands.” 

“Uh, no it doesn’t! Look, I’ll prove i-”

“Done!” Eddie announced suddenly and forcefully, shutting Richie up immediately. He threw his foot onto the floor and began packing up the sewing supplies, while, Richie stared dumb-founded for a second before shaking out of his thoughts and looking down at his feet. The inky blackness now stuck onto them, and with a jump upward, he landed on the floor with a joyous laugh. 

He flicked the shadow against the wall and couldn’t help the smile that lit up his face as he saw his shadow moving with him. He turned to Eddie, the grin still glaring brightly, and he noticed with a pang of curiosity that there was a dust of pink decorating Eddie’s cheeks. The raven-haired child wondered why, but he was too excited to think about it for long. 

But meanwhile Eddie took this as his moment to really look at Richie, and he was almost embarrassed for all of the things that he hadn’t noticed earlier. He wore simple shorts and an awfully patterned Hawaiian shirt over a simple tee, and he had glasses that looked beyond dusty. How was he able to see out of those things? 

He also saw that Richie had vines and plants wrapped around him in comfortable tangles and that his hair was a wild mess of fluffy curls. He noticed the filthy dirt that clung to his skin and the way his smile seemed to light up the room, and just the sound of his laugh was contagious. He watched as Richie happily leapt into the air, floating so easily and looking like he belonged there. 

Then all of a sudden, Richie turned to look at Eddie with a smirk, and darted forward until their noses were nearly touching. Child-like wonderment sparked in his eyes and Eddie gulped as he stared into the pretty obsidian. 

“Does this mean I get a kiss now?” 

A deep blush crept up Eddie’s neck and cheeks, as he began to stutter over his words. 

“Uh-uhm, I mean, well-uhm, maybe, I guess.” 

Richie smiled and landed on the floor. Placing his palm up between them again like he had before and he looked at Eddie expectantly as he waited to see what a kiss was. Eddie fiddled with the box of sewing supplies, and he glanced around his room nervously, kind of wishing that there was some way for him to get out of this. He hadn’t actually expected for Richie to ask for a kiss, yet here he was. 

He cast his gaze downward and he stared longingly at the box in his hands, wishing that it would give him the answers he needed. But then he realized, that it was the answer he needed. 

Eddie smiled and flicked his gaze back to Richie before opening the box. He rifled around the contents, avoided the sharp ends of the needles, before wrapping his fingers around a small, metallic object. It would work perfectly! 

The small boy brandished the object, holding his head up high and making a big show of it as he held it up for Richie to see. 

“There. A kiss.” he said as he placed the thimble in the middle of Richie’s palm. The boy made a face as he looked at it, and he picked it up carefully, inspecting it as though he was expecting there to be something more fascinating about it. 

“That’s it?” Richie asked, “I got stabbed for this?” 

Eddie scoffed. “Oh come on don’t be a wuss about it, I didn’t stab you.”

“Uh, yeah you did! You were jamming that fucking needle up my foot!” 

“I was sewing!” 

“Like there’s a difference.” 

“Oh, fuck you, dude.” 

“Your mom’s already doing that!” 

Silence filled up the room as the two boys stared at each other, one in complete shock and the other absolutely mortified, but also a little proud of how quickly he said that comeback. He was about ready to begin apologizing, and begin begging for forgiveness for saying such a crude joke, but before he could, Eddie’s lips turned up in a repressed smile and he softly snorted. He covered up his mouth, trying to hide the small laugh that had begun to trickle through, and Richie felt his mortification melt away. 

He was making Eddie laugh. 

And what a wonderful sound it was too! 

“You asshole!” Eddie exclaimed, a wonderfully, sweet smile dazzling on his face, and Richie felt his own lips turn upward. 

“Well of course, Eds,” he goaded, “for what else would I be?” and that only seemed to make him laugh even harder. The sound of Eddie’s laugh made Richie dizzy with happiness and he couldn’t help it as he began floating off of the ground. 

“Don’t call me ‘Eds’. That’s not my name.” the brunet said after his laughter had died down a little. 

“Oh, of course. My apologies Eddie Spaghetti.”

“That’s not my name either!” 

“Well then what is your name?”

“I told you, it’s Eddie Darling.” 

Richie grinned. “And what a darling name it is too! Just cute, cute, cute!” The raven said as he reached out and gave Eddie a small pinch on the cheek to emphasize his point. Eddie yelped and jumped back, trying to avoid it, but he was just a millisecond too late. 

Richie was so caught up in keeping Eddie’s attention, that he failed to notice the flash of gold that came from the drawer. And it wasn’t until Eddie had darted to the other side of the room to get away from Richie, and to put away the sewing supplies, that he had noticed the oddity. 

“Hey, what’s that?” he asked warily as he pointed to the drawer. The raven followed his finger and when he saw what he was gesturing too, he suddenly remembered the small companion that had bizarrely disappeared. 

“Stan!” he yelled. Richie leapt over the bed and opened up the drawer, finding his friend tapping his foot against the wood annoyed and glaring at the boy. Richie shrunk back in embarrassment and rubbed the back of his neck. 

“Sorry, Stan. Forgot.” 

The fairy opened his mouth to speak, but only the sound of bells filled the space of where a voice should be. Richie blushed and looked away. 

Eddie leaned forward and his mouth fell open in surprise when he saw the small fairy standing there, glittering gold and glaring at the boy beside him. 

“Holy shit!” Eddie said. “Is that a fucking fairy! What the hell, that’s so cool!” 

Stan turned to look at him, his glare wavering at the unexpected compliment. The fairy fluttered off the ground and went to hover in front of Eddie’s face, inspecting him crucially with narrow eyes before turning to Richie. The sound of bells filled the room once more as Stan spoke to the flying boy. 

“W-what!” Richie exclaimed. “N-no! Shut up Stan!” The fairy rolled his eyes before flying up to settle in Richie’s hair. The boy sighed as Stan buried in the dark and fluffy curls and seemed to ignore Eddie, who still stood shocked at the sight of such a magical thing. As if a disembodied shadow and a flying boy weren’t enough. 

The sound of bells rang again and Richie gently shook his head. “Yes, of course, sorry. Eddie this is Stan, my fairy companion and best friend. But he’s also an asshole so don’t be scared to insult him.”   

“Uhh, okay?”

“And Stan this is Eddie.” Bells rang again and Richie got an irritated look on his face. A realization suddenly dawned on Eddie. 

“Wait, you can understand what he’s saying?” he asked curiously. Richie turned to look at him and nodded, jostling Stan as he did so. 

“Yep!” Stan spoke again, and that irritated look returned to Richie’s face.  

“What did he say?” Eddie asked, now more curious than ever. The raven gave him a look, before turning around to glance at the still open window behind them. Eddie had forgotten all about that.

“He, uhmm, he said that we should probably get going soon. We’ve been gone for a while and we shouldn’t miss our way home.” 

Eddie’s smile dropped and he cast his eyes downward. The excitement he had just previously felt now gone. “Oh,” he mumbled. “Well okay. If you have to go then I won’t keep you waiting.” 

“Oh don’t worry Eds! I’ll come back again tomorrow!” 

“Yeah, well I don’t know. Tomorrow I’m supposed to grow up. My mom says that this is my last night with all of these ‘childish things’. She’s getting rid of them in the morning.”

“What!?” Richie shouted, startling Stan out of his hair and jumping into the air in shock. Eddie flinched back, not having expected such a passionate response. “Are you serious!?” Richie said, his eyes as wide as dinner plates. The brunet simply nodded and went to sit down on his bed. 

“Well we can’t have that!” Richie proclaimed. He scratched his head in thought and looked between Eddie and the window, with an idea coming to mind. “Why don’t you come with us? To Neverland?”

“What?”

“It’s the best Eddie! There you’ll never have to grow up, and you can be with me and the other Losers! There’s pirates and mermaids and natives and we have adventures and play games all the time! It’s amazing!” 

Eddie looked to the window and then back at Richie, who was floating off of the ground comfortably and holding out his hand for Eddie to take. The boy bit his lip and his eyebrows drew together in thought. The idea was so tempting. To be able to just leave and not look back, to grow up, and to forget all of this? How could he not find that appealing. He stood up from his bed and Richie began flying to the window, hovering just above the windowsill, a pleading look in his eyes. 

Eddie looked to his bedroom door. What would his mother say if she was here? She would tell him to stop being so nonsensical. So grow up and forget such childish ideas and stay with her. She would beg him to stay with her. Saying that he would get sick out there or get hurt and then where would he be without her? 

She would tell him that he wouldn’t be able to do it even if he wanted to. 

Eddie glared at the door, his hands tightening into fists. He looked back to Richie, to the open night sky above him, and the glowing fairy fluttering beside him. 

He wanted to have adventures. He wanted to explore the world, and he wanted to have friends. He wanted to know what it was like outside of this stifling house and he wanted more than anything to know what it was like to not have to grow up. He was only thirteen after all! He was still a kid! So shouldn’t he have the chance to be one! That’s what his father wanted for him. 

And Eddie would make sure that his father would get his wish, despite what his mother would say or do. 

Eyes hard with resolution, Eddie strode over to his dresser and snatched his inhaler, tucking it into the breast pocket of his robe. He slipped on a soft pair of slippers and tied the robe a bit too tightly against himself. 

He walked over to Richie, his head high, and an air of defiance emanating off of him. “Okay,” he said. “Let’s go.”

Richie smiled widely and he pumped his arms in excitement. “YES!” 

He grabbed Eddie’s hand, causing a blush to appear on the boy’s cheeks, and before the brunet could say anything, he wrapped his arms around his neck so that Eddie was clinging onto his back like a koala. “Alrighty then, here we go!” 

“W-wait, wait, wait is this saaAAFFFEE!”

Richie jumped off of the windowsill, much to Eddie’s horror. But unlike what he thought, which was that they would plummet down two stories and collapse into his mother’s rose bushes, they flew. 

They fucking flew. 

The cold night wind dug through Eddie’s robe and into his skin, and pulled at his hair. He clenched his eyes shut and didn’t even dare to try and open then. The small brunet clung to Richie like a lifeline, because he very much was, and trembled both out of fear and the cold. He wrapped his legs around Richie for a more stable hold, and that did help him feel better if only slightly. 

“Fuckfuckfuckfuckshitshitshitshitdamndamndamndamnhellhellhellhell-” he muttered under his breath as he felt the air gradually thin and get even colder than it was before. 

“Hey Eddie, you okay back there?” he heard Richie ask. He was clinging so closely to the flying boy that he could feel his voice vibrating through the cotton of the robe. 

“NOPE!” Eddie screeched. “ABSOLUTELY THE FUCK NOT!” 

“Hey! You’re okay! It’s okay. Don’t worry, I got you. I won’t let you fall. And if it makes you feel any better, Stan could help you out.” 

Eddie heard a now familiar sound of bells echo close by and Richie whined. “But Stany,” The chiming echoed again. 

“hhhHhhhoHmYgOdIdonTwantToDiie!!” Eddie screamed against the wind, which just tore away his voice. He felt Richie sigh against him, and Eddie did everything he could to not panic even more as he felt him fly even faster. The air bit his cheeks and the cold had become unbearable, leaving the small boy shivering and clutching onto the only person that was keeping him alive. But the only thing that actually did make him feel better, was when Richie reached up and held Eddie’s hand. Giving him a reassuring squeeze and gently running his thumb over his skin. 

“Almost there, Eds. Promise.” 

“We better be you asshole, otherwise I’m gonna fucking kill you!”

Richie laughed, and now two things helped to relax Eddie from the overwhelming fear. 

“Alright! You’re gonna wanna take a look at this Eddie Spaghetti!” 

“I told you, that’s not my fucking name.” Richie just ignored him. 

“I’m serious though, you’re not gonna wanna miss this!” 

Eddie was suddenly struck with enraptured interest. “What is it?” He could practically hear the smile in Richie’s voice as he spoke back to him. 

“We’re reaching Neverland.” 

Eddie, now too curious for his own good and struck with a small dose of bravery, peeked open one of his eyes, and looked around at the open sky in front of them. He gasped. 

They were so far above the ground now, that he could see the streams of lights that marked with the hundreds of houses were lined up in Maine. He could see the clouds wisping around them in silver streaks and he was surprised at how much bigger the moon was at this height. 

Brown eyes widened in wonder and Eddie couldn’t help the excited yet nervous laugh that left him. This was all too bizarre and strange and wonderful for it to be true. 

“There it is Eddie! Second star to the right and straight on till morning! Just like I told you.” 

Eddie turned to look where Richie was pointing and his eyes widened even more if that were possible. For a bright and glimmering star shone down on them and as Eddie continued to stare at it, he saw how it shifted in colors of blue, red, pink, yellow, green, orange, gold, and practically any other color you can think of. 

And as they drew closer, it became harder and harder to look at, until Eddie had to close his eyes again. Shutting them tight and ducking his head into the back of Richie’s neck in an attempt to block out the brightness. 

He felt weightless and heavy and pulled and pushed and hot and cold all at once, with only the comforting grip of Richie’s hand on his to keep him grounded from all of the conflicting emotions. 

And as soon as it began, it had ended. The bright light had faded away and the discomfort was gone, with the only thing to remain was Richie’s hand. Eddie tried not to feel too happy about that. 

“Psst, Eds, open your eyes. We’re here.” 

Eddie cracked an eye open, and what he thought he was going to see out of everything in the world… this was not it. 

Richie spread out his other arm in an attempt to display the sight before them, a confident smile on his face and his chest puffed up dramatically. 

“Welcome to Neverland!”