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The air in Eddie’s apartment feels electric as he approaches the door. Normally he would dismiss it as a constant anxiety that leaves his skin crawling, but nothing in the past day has been normal.  So now, as per Susie’s advice, Eddie takes a deep breath and focuses on that electricity. 

Eddie felt it the moment he laid the salt on the windowsills across the front door, as if whatever it is in his home reeled back. That electricity clings to the fine hair on his forearms and nape of his neck, making it stand straight up, and to the petrichor scent that has hung in the air for weeks now.

Eddie used to be afraid of that scent. Now it comforts him. It has felt like the only consistent thing in his life since―

He shakes his head. There’s no use in purposely making himself feel more way over his head than he does already. Instead, Eddie wraps a careful hand around the doorknob and opens the front door.

What Eddie expects is to see Richie. That is not what he sees.

Eddie sees― 

The first words that pop into his head are: I have seen this before. 

The next words are: What did you do to him?

The thing standing in Richie’s place towers above him. All light seems to bend away from its form, or be sucked in like a blackhole. It steals the breath from Eddie’s lungs, the mobility from his limbs, but not the electricity in the air. In fact, it becomes stronger.

Eddie stares at its wide, blood-red eyes, crinkled from the dagger-sharp teeth upturned into a grin, stark against the nothingness of the rest of its face. Even more stark are the goat-like horns curling off its head like an uncanny crown. 

His feet carry him backwards on their own accord. Eddie’s sock catches on a crooked sliver of the floorboards and he stumbles. The thing in front of him doesn’t move, just keeps watching him like a predator observing its prey, with that knowing smile that stretches across its entire face.

“What―” Eddie hears himself say, hoarse as if he’d just screamed. He doesn’t think he did, but it wouldn’t surprise him. Somewhere in the back of his mind he hopes Piper doesn’t wake up.

Those round eyes blink rapidly, cat-like in their movements. When they refocus on Eddie, the eyes are somehow wider than before, almost in something like worry. Eddie watches as the rows of sharp teeth disappear and its mouth turns downward into a cartoonish frown. He realizes that this thing is worried. Maybe even scared, as it starts to reach out with its claws but thinks better of it, bringing its arms close to its chest.

Eddie knows that look, knows that motion of bringing one’s arms close to their chest.

“Richie?”

The thing’s expression turns from worried to crestfallen. It nods. 

Eddie thinks he blacks out for a moment. All the blood comes rushing to his head far too suddenly and the strength leaves his knees. But he stays rooted to the spot in his apartment, unable to take his eyes off the thing― Richie― in front of him.

“What happened to you?” Eddie whispers. That’s all he can manage around the lump forming in his throat.

Richie opens his mouth to speak, teeth gleaming, then closes it. When he finally speaks, his voice is smaller than Eddie has ever heard it. “Can I please come in?”

Logically Eddie knows he should be more reserved at the sight of this. He absolutely should not rush forward and break the line of salt across the doorway at the sight of this. He should not see this and hug it, arms around its waist and fists clutching its clothing that he realizes is a hoodie.

But it’s Richie, so he does all of that.

Richie is the one who seems shocked by it, letting out a gasp that seems to be punched out of him. Eddie just holds him closer and tighter, brain gone to empty static. Despite not exactly looking like him, Richie still feels the exact same― broad, warm, safe. The petrichor scent is even more intense as he buries his face into Richie’s shoulder. He realizes that the scent has been coming from Richie this entire time. 

A few moments pass and Richie finally wraps his arms around Eddie. His whole body begins to shake. Eddie makes a soft noise in the back of his throat and spreads his palms out across the expanse of Richie’s back. Richie hides his face in Eddie’s shoulder as if he’s ashamed. The horns protruding from his head brush Eddie’s cheek, heavy and there, but Eddie can’t find it within him to mind.

“Was this―” Eddie starts, then stops. He takes a breath. “Was this what you were going to tell me when you were ready?”

Richie nods.

Eddie’s stomach drops. “Fuck.”

The responding laugh sounds miserable. Eddie slowly moves back with the intention to cup Richie’s face, but he startles at the familiar sight of dark, shaggy curls framing a wan face with exhausted blue eyes. Richie blinks, as if equally shocked, and brings a hand up to his jaw, fingers rubbing against the stubble there.

“Oh. I didn’t even notice,” Richie says faintly.

“Do you?” Eddie replies. “Do you notice? Does it hurt? Is this hurting you?”

“No. I― Eddie, I think you should sit down.”

Richie practically carries him to the couch, closing the door behind them. Despite the ice cold shock, the hands on Eddie’s arms are like pinpoints of heat, grounding him. Eddie can’t quit staring at Richie’s face, waiting for the moment it flickers back to the blood-red eyes and sharp smile. That doesn’t happen, even as they finally sit and Richie stares at the space behind Eddie’s shoulder instead of him.

The irony isn’t past Eddie. He could never forget the last time they were here, sitting like this, the weight of it all heavy on their shoulders. Now, still, Richie feels a million miles away from him even though he is right in front of him.

Eddie reaches out to put a hand on Richie’s knee. It trembles beneath him. The touch seems to set Richie in motion.

“I didn’t― Fuck, I really didn’t want this to happen this way,” Richie manages, a laugh bubbling out of him. Eddie doesn’t know if it’s nervous or hysterical.

“I didn’t know,” Eddie says. “I wouldn’t― I wouldn’t have done this if I had known.”

Richie looks at him. Behind his glasses, Eddie can see the tears brimming in the corners of his eyes. Richie bites his lip as if trying to will them back in. Eddie has become familiar with this expression for years, even more so these past few months. He never wants to see it again.

Eddie moves his hand from Richie’s knee to take Richie’s own. With both hands he cradles it, freezing and trembling.

“You have a right to be scared,” Richie finally admits. “I know it’s scary. You’re allowed to be scared of me.”

Eddie shakes his head. “I could never be scared of you. Richie, I’m scared for you.”

“I know,” Richie replies, voice wavering dangerously. “You’ve been so worried and I― I was so scared to tell you. I didn’t want you to see me differently.”

“I don’t,” Eddie begs, leaning closer. Their knees are pressed firmly together. “I never could. Can you just― just tell me what’s going on?”

Eddie watches Richie, and his heart aches more intensely than the rest of him. Richie’s eyes flicker between Eddie’s face and the space behind his shoulder, still shining from the tears. Finally, they break through the barrier and Richie sniffles.

“Okay,” Richie sighs. “Okay.”

“If you feel ready,” Eddie rushes to add. He realizes his thumb is brushing slow, steady circles across the back of Richie’s hand.

“No, you―” Richie wipes his left eye with his free hand, his glasses sliding up into his hair. “You deserve to know.”

Every muscle in Eddie’s body aches with the need to reach for him, hug him just as tightly as he did in the doorway. Eddie almost does it, but Richie finally begins.

“So, uh, you know how I was kind of going insane in the hospital when, uh―” Richie tugs on his hair. It curls past his ears and almost to his jaw, longer than Eddie has ever seen it in the thirteen years they’ve known each other. He thinks Richie is always handsome, but this just makes him look more frayed around the edges. 

Eddie nods. Richie sighs in something like relief.

“Okay. I said that I saw someone in there and I know that just sounded like me losing it but I really did. See someone.” Richie’s gaze skitters away from Eddie’s face. “S― They were standing next to Margaret and… I wasn’t supposed to see them. They weren’t hurting her, they were just standing there and all the sudden Margaret, uh― Yeah.”

In the middle of the night, Eddie’s brain will sometimes replay that day. He can’t do anything but helplessly watch as it plays in front of him. The sterile, cold tile and white walls. The rushing nurses in their blue scrubs. Richie in front of him, so close to collapsing in on himself as he struggled to breathe in the hallway. Richie after, blank and staring off into space. Eddie had believed him then, when he said someone had been in Margaret’s room, like you do when a kid says they saw a monster under their bed. He feels so foolish now for not realizing Richie literally saw someone.

Now, Eddie squeezes Richie’s hand. “I’m so sorry,” he says, and the words sound shallow. He doesn’t know what else to say. 

Richie’s breath shudders deep in his chest. “That person, uh― They were a Reaper. They were there to reap Margaret. And I saw them do it.”

“Like,” Eddie replies slowly. “Like a Grim Reaper?”

Richie nods. Eddie would laugh at the absurdity of it, but there is nothing funny about the clenched muscle of Richie’s jaw and the unshakeable tremors wracking his body. So instead Eddie nods slowly, motioning for him to continue.

“And when you see a Reaper, you, uh, get an offer,” Richie explains. “To be a Reaper, too. I said no at first but then… well, I said yes.” 

Eddie’s reply is immediate. “Why?”

For the first time, Richie smiles. It’s like it was scraped out of him, hollowly curving his mouth upwards. “I didn’t know at first, but… It took me a while to realize. The thing is, Eds, I’m… I’m good at it.”

“Good at helping people die?” Eddie can’t help but sound incredulous.

“I know how it sounds. But it’s… it’s not as violent as you think. None of us are in charge of how people die, we’re just there to help them pass on to wherever they’re going. Of― Of course it’s sad but… I think I’m helping them.” At that, Richie looks at Eddie, and Eddie sees him clearer than he has in a long time.

The lump in Eddie’s throat returns so suddenly it knocks the wind out of him. He presses closer, shifting his limbs on the couch until the space between their bodies is nonexistent. 

“Richie,” Eddie says, trembling. “It wasn’t your fault.”

Richie’s sudden laugh is loud and sharp. “She was driving because of me.”

“Rich―” Eddie interjects, but Richie continues. The words spill out of him like water overflowing from a sink, and Eddie can’t move out of the puddle forming around his feet.

“If I hadn’t had her come get me she wouldn’t have been on that street,” he says, strangled and high-pitched. “She wouldn’t have been there when that driver hit her, and she would still be here. It’s my fault and I have to live with that. And― And I can’t stand that everyone is trying to help me because I’m the reason all this happened in the first place. I’m left with raising my niece, and she should have her mom, and my parents should still have their daughter, and I should still have my sister.”

Eddie lurches forward to hug Richie for the second time. Somehow Richie gasps again, startled by the action. Eddie pours everything his vocal chords can’t seem to help him say, You don’t deserve to carry this on your shoulders. Let me carry this with you. Just let me in. I love you more than anything. Instead, Eddie finds himself crying into Richie’s shoulder. And Richie does the same, shaky breaths blowing hot air against the crook of Eddie’s neck. 

“You weren’t the one driving that car,” Eddie manages after a moment. “You couldn’t have possibly known.”

Richie is silent. Eventually, in a hushed tone, he admits, “I wish it had been me. It― It should have been me instead.”

“Richie,” Eddie manages. Instead of forcing himself to say anything else, he rubs slow, gentle circles against Richie’s back with one hand and cups the nape of his neck with the other. Richie shudders against him, but doesn’t move away. 

Eddie thinks of every time this has happened, but the other way around. After they graduated university, in the house they shared with Ben, Bill and Mike. When his mother tried to drag him back with her, in front of everyone. After Eddie cut her off completely, years later. After Richie scraped Eddie up off the curb outside his old job, carrying him away from his old life. The debts Eddie owes Richie have piled up for the past thirteen years, leading to this moment. But even despite that, Eddie would hold Richie for the rest of his life. Eddie would carry Richie the way Richie has carried him. Because Eddie wants to be brave for him. 

“I hated lying to you,” Richie says suddenly, cutting through the silence. His voice is quiet and clogged and so, so tired.

Eddie’s fingers trail up from the nape of Richie’s neck to comb through the curls there. “I understand why you did it, though. I… I’m sorry I made you feel like you couldn’t tell me.”

Richie sits up at that, Eddie’s hands falling limply to the side. His glasses are fogged up and crooked on the bridge of his nose. 

“Eddie,” Richie starts. “You’ve done so much for me and I just sat there and lied to you. You can’t possibly think that’s your fault.”

“There isn’t some kind of handbook on how to go about this, is there?” Eddie responds. 

Richie blinks, brow furrowing. “No― but―”

Eddie puts his hands on Richie’s arms, firm and insistent. “Then don’t beat yourself up over it. If anything, I should be apologizing for lining the apartment with salt.”

“Uh, yeah, what was that about?”

“I’m sorry,” Eddie says. “I― I was talking to Susie about all the noises and the smell and I thought the apartment was haunted. When I saw her today she told me to line the apartment with salt.”

“It was just me,” Richie says. Then he blinks, considering, before adding, “And also the creep who came in last week. He was a Reaper, too.”

“I―” Eddie starts, but it dies on his tongue. He remembers watching him in the doorway, watching him stare right back at Eddie with those cold, unnerving eyes. Eddie’s stomach turns in on itself just at the memory, just like it did in that moment.

“I’m sorry,” Richie murmurs. “Connor is a dickhead, but I took care of it.”

“There’s something you should know,” Eddie blurts out. He’s met with Richie blinking again. “When I saw Susie today she told me― well, normally I would tell you you’d think it’s stupid but, you know― she told me that I’m clairvoyant.”

Richie’s mouth drops open. He promptly clicks it shut so quickly his teeth clack. “You’re fucking joking.”

Eddie shakes his head. “That’s why I’ve been… sensitive to everything going on. Being around, uh, Connor made me so sick because of what he is.”

“Do you feel sick around me?” Richie asks. Eddie can hear the tightness in his tone.

“No. It freaked me out at first but… you feel different.”

Richie’s head tilts to the side. “Different how?”

Somehow Eddie has the mind to blush, his cheeks warm despite himself. “You feel safer, I guess.”

“Oh,” Richie says simply.

This isn’t the time, Eddie tells the yawning, craving void deep inside his chest. It aches in the shape of Richie, wanting him close the way Eddie had for so long then lost. It aches more intensely than it has in a long, long time, maybe more than it ever has. 

The throb of it almost makes him gasp when Richie moves his hands to lay over Eddie’s arms. They slide, slow and deliberate, over his forearms and catch his wrists. Richie and Eddie both watch, as if detached, then look up at each other. Eddie helplessly hopes that Richie can see how much he wants this.

“I should tell you something, too,” Richie admits. Eddie’s stomach tightens.

“You can tell me anything,” Eddie assures him.

Richie glances down at the ring on Eddie’s left pinky. It glints in the low, yellow light of the lamp beside them. 

“When I said that I got you this as a thank you,” Richie begins, looking back down at the ring. “I meant that. I was telling the truth, but… um, I charmed it. It has a protection charm on it. That’s why Connor couldn’t get close to you and Piper the other day. I made sure no one could hurt either of you.”

The weight of the ring feels heavy on Eddie’s finger. He opens his mouth to speak, but nothing comes out. All Eddie can think is, fondly, God, you idiot.

“I know you can defend yourself,” Richie rushes to add, tips of his ears pink. “I don’t want to make you feel like you need to be protected, because I’ve seen you with that baseball bat. But… I didn’t want any Reapers to hurt you. If something happened I don’t know what I would have done with myself. I can’t… I can’t lose either of you.”

“I can’t lose you either,” Eddie chokes out. That craving chasm in Eddie’s chest seems to split him open, baring himself for Richie to see.

Richie has always seen Eddie, even if Eddie tried so hard to have him not to. That hasn’t changed, despite everything. It’s still you and Richie, Ben’s voice reminds him.

“I’m scared,” Richie says, clinging to Eddie’s wrists like a lifeline. “I’ve been scared this whole time. I― I want to be good enough for Piper. I want to be good enough for you.”

“For me?” Eddie asks, the ache almost swallowing him whole from the inside out.

Richie watches him, eyes wide and helpless. It’s an audible click in his throat as he swallows. “Yes, you.”

Eddie’s whole body flushes. Richie sounds almost reverent. 

Richie lets out a desperate noise. “Eddie, you know I―”

Then both his hands are cupping Eddie’s face and Richie is kissing him. Eddie can’t help but gasp against Richie’s mouth. Richie pulled away, his expression pained, almost as if he’s bracing himself. 

Eddie murmurs, “Wait, no, I―” and leans back in. He loops an arm around Richie’s neck, hand buried deep in his hair and cupping the back of his head. 

Richie sighs, a gentle Oh. Eddie kisses the shape of it. He wraps his other arm around Richie’s waist, tugging him closer, their chests flush against each other. Eddie knows his heart is pounding in his chest, and wonders if Richie can feel it. 

You’re just like I remember, Eddie wants to tell him because they have been here before. Eddie would know the shape of Richie even if he were blind. He has felt him close in ways he has never felt anyone else. He knows the shape of Richie’s mouth, the way it moves intoxicatingly slow against his. It’s still the same now, as they fall back into the pull and tug as if they had never stopped.

But Richie is different. They both are, now. Five years is a long time, Eddie thinks, as they both break apart for air. Even though Richie has that familiar, glassy look in his eye that he gets after he’s been kissed, Richie is different from the first time they kissed in his dorm room. Crows feet etch themselves at the corners of Richie’s eyes, which are deeper and sadder. Strands of gray streak across the hair at his temples. Eddie finds himself reaching up to brush his fingertips against it, next to Richie’s right temple.

Richie turns his head slightly, just enough to press his lips into the palm of Eddie’s hand. His eyes flicker up when Eddie gasps despite himself. When Eddie doesn’t speak, Richie kisses it again, then trails his lips down to the inside of Eddie’s wrist. He kisses that too, right at the pulse that thunders against the delicate skin there. 

“I’ve missed you,” Eddie confesses softly. “I’ve missed you so much.”

“Eddie,” Richie whispers, his breath skating across Eddie’s wrist.

He should say more, should explain himself, but Eddie has lost all common sense. Nothing feels real, everything Eddie has ever known thrown out the window. The only thing Eddie can cling onto is Richie, so he does just that, pulling Richie back in. It isn’t on purpose, but his lips part, and the kiss shifts so suddenly Eddie’s stomach swoops. Richie lets out a low noise at Eddie running his tongue across his bottom lip. 

Two hands slide down Eddie’s sides, slower than molasses, and grip at his waist. Eddie groans, and suddenly Richie is pulling Eddie into his lap. The muscle memory kicks into gear and Eddie’s thighs spread apart to bracket against Richie. Richie feels searing hot everywhere Eddie touches him, and he tightens his grip on him, wanting to keep that warmth pressed against him. 

Richie’s head tips back and Eddie chases after his mouth, rising above him to kiss him. Eddie runs his fingers through Richie’s hair and can’t seem to stop, clinging to it as they kiss, slow, languid, open. Richie clings to him helplessly, holding his waist and letting out small gasps into Eddie’s mouth. 

This is nothing like their kiss after the funeral, Eddie realizes in a daze. Then, they kissed like they were running out of time, reality speeding closer and closer towards them. When he thinks about it, that’s always how they kissed. The real world was a hovering presence above them, a brutal reminder of the bubble they were hiding inside even if they tried to pretend it wasn’t there. It has never been like this: unrushed, like they have all the time in the world. Eddie hopes they do; that he can kiss Richie like this tomorrow and the day after that, then the day after that, and after that. 

Somehow, Richie knows what he’s thinking. His mouth smears across Eddie’s jaw, pressing open kisses to the skin there. “I’m not going anywhere,” he says, low and hoarse. 

“Good,” Eddie gasps out. It trails off into a moan as Richie nips at the skin at the underside of Eddie’s jaw. Richie hums and keeps biting a line down Eddie’s throat, soothing each nip with his tongue. 

There has been a low, churning heat in the pit of Eddie’s stomach that he was distantly aware of, but now it rises in intensity. Warmth spreads up to his chest and out across his thighs, making them tighten around Richie on their own accord. When Richie’s right hand slips under Eddie’s shirt, Eddie’s hips rock down. 

“Fuck,” Richie pants out against the hollow of Eddie’s throat. That’s all Eddie needs― Richie’s rough voice full of want― to realize how hard he is. He should be embarrassed from how easy it was, but he hasn’t gotten to touch Richie in five years. When Eddie grinds down again, he realizes Richie is hard, too.

Richie’s head falls back, and Eddie is met with a windswept, frenzied expression. Richie’s hair is an absolute mess, his mouth red and raw. He’s breathing heavily, cheeks rosy. 

“You’re gorgeous,” Eddie finds himself saying. He reaches up to run his thumb across Richie’s bottom lip as he repeats it, reverent. “You’re so gorgeous.”

Richie moans softly at that. The hand that still clutches Eddie’s hipbone squeezes. 

“Can I―” Richie asks, hushed. “Can I please―”

Eddie nods, almost frantic. “Yes. God, if you didn’t I was going to be really pissed.”

Richie grins, crooked and bright. Eddie’s heart clenches at the sight, and he lets Richie go to grab at the hem of his shirt. Richie lets out a stunned noise as Eddie starts taking it off, faster than he feels like he ever has in his life. It catches on his chin and everything disappears behind the thin, frayed material of Eddie’s t-shirt. 

“Fuck,” Eddie swears, tugging it up to no avail.

Richie laughs, and Eddie tugs even harder because he’s missing what Richie looks like when he laughs. 

“Are you stuck?” Richie asks, laughing again.

“Fucking obviously,” Eddie bites out.

“Obviously,” Richie muses. Eddie feels a new pair of hands tugging at the shirt, and he lets out a relieved gasp when it finally slips off and goes flying behind him. He’s met with Richie grinning at him. Eddie half-expects Richie to mock him, but his expression is so fond Eddie leans forward to hide his face in Richie’s shoulder. 

Richie immediately pats his back. “Aw, are we embarrassed?”

Eddie finds himself laughing into the warmth of Richie’s skin, unable to help himself. It sounds a little hysterical, but the tension and desperation spills out of Eddie’s shoulders, leaving him limp. We haven’t changed, Eddie thinks for the second time.

“Come on,” Eddie finally says, sitting back up. “Yours needs to come off now.”

“Are we redirecting the attention?” Richie asks with a quirked eyebrow.

“Yes,” Eddie admits. “But also I want to touch you.”

Richie’s ears turn even redder. “Fuck, yeah, okay.”

Eddie clambers off Richie’s lap, hungrily watching as Richie shrugs off his hoodie and pulls his shirt over his head. He watches the muscles of Richie’s broad shoulders, the offensive swell of his biceps and the expanse of his chest, dark, thick hair spread across it. Eddie finds himself reaching out to touch it, running a hand across it. Richie’s chest is so firm, and Eddie lets out a low groan.

“Jesus,” Richie says. When Eddie looks up, all he can see is the small ring of blue as Richie’s pupils are blown, before Richie is kissing him. It’s immediately open, the both of them panting and moaning into each other’s mouths. Richie has always been such a good kisser, Eddie remembers, even though they were each other’s first kisses. He guesses they had a lot of practice, after.

Richie guides Eddie down till his back is pressed flat against the couch, kissing him the entire time. He braces one arm next to Eddie’s head, the other cupping his cheek with a gentleness that is leagues different from the way Richie’s tongue currently licks at the roof of Eddie’s mouth. Eddie scrambles to grab at any part of him and drag him down, bringing their hips flush against each other. 

Richie pulls away with a sharp, “God. You feel so good.”

“Rich,” Eddie gasps out, rolling his hips up for emphasis. “Please.”

“What do you want?” 

“I― I don’t know, anything,” Eddie babbles. “I just want you.”

Richie stares at Eddie for a long moment, enough for the panic to begin somewhere between his ribs, before Richie kisses him again. It’s fast and firm, the heat of Richie’s mouth like a brand against Eddie’s skin as it continues down his cheek, his jaw, his throat. Eddie hears himself panting, fast and loud, into the air of the living room. Richie sucks at a spot above his collarbones and Eddie’s eyes flutter shut. 

“You blush so much, you know that?” Richie murmurs against his chest. “It goes all the way to here.”

“I know it’s stupid,” Eddie says.

“No,” Richie objects, pressing a soft kiss just a brush away from Eddie’s left nipple, making him shiver. “It’s really hot.”

“Are you going to wax poetic all day or are you actually going to do something?” Eddie snaps, but the shakiness of his hands as they slide into Richie’s hair betrays him. 

Richie looks up at him, eyes bright. “Can I suck your dick?”

Eddie moans just at the words. “Please, just― just do it, Jesus Christ.”

Richie makes quick work of moving downwards, closer and closer to Eddie’s dick tenting in his sweatpants. When he’s eye-level with it, Richie stares at it for a moment before leaning forward to mouth at it through the layers. It’s brief, only lasting a second, but Eddie’s breath still hitches. Richie glances up at him. Then he tugs down Eddie’s sweatpants and briefs in one, fluid motion. 

Eddie shivers at the air hitting his bare skin, the hair standing straight up. He feels like he’s harder than he feels like he’s ever been in his life, and knows he definitely isn’t going to last long. Especially not with how Richie looks at Eddie’s dick, so hard it’s curving up against his stomach and leaving a trail of precome against it. 

“Richie―” Eddie pleads, not even the slightest embarrassed from the clear desperation in his voice. Richie seems to snap out of whatever reverie he was in, and puts his mouth over the head of Eddie’s dick.

“Oh,” Eddie gasps out, one hand flying to the armrest of the couch. His fingers dig into one of the pillows instead. He ends up pulling it over his face as Richie sinks down further, the warm heat of his mouth making Eddie’s hips twitch. When Richie’s hands move to pin Eddie down by the hips, they both moan, long and muffled.

Richie pulls back upwards, slow and with hollowed cheeks. Eddie’s fingers tighten into Richie’s hair. With his face buried into the pillow, all Eddie can feel is Richie around him, completely surrounding him and holding him down. Eddie couldn’t move away even if he wanted to. Richie is so big, he always has been―

“Eddie,” Richie says suddenly, and Eddie almost comes just from the sound of his voice. “I want to see your face.”

The pillow gets thrown onto the floor immediately. Eddie is met with the sight of Richie between his legs, chest heaving and mouth shiny. His own face must do something for Richie, because he rushes to get his mouth back on Eddie. It’s achingly slow, Richie undoubtedly easing back into the feeling. It’s a minute before Eddie feels his dick hit the back of Richie’s throat.

“God,” Eddie pants out, staring at his fingers buried in Richie’s hair. “You’re so― I’m not going to―”

Richie’s eyes lock with his as he eases back up and Eddie recognizes that look. Go on ahead.

It really doesn’t take that long after that. From the moment Richie took Eddie’s dick in his mouth, that heat in his gut expanded, burning him up from the inside. It grows insistent as Richie settles into a rhythm, the sound of it obscene and hot in the empty living room. Richie must be into it as much as Eddie is, letting out small moans whenever Eddie tries to buck up into the heat of his mouth. Eventually an urgent crackle begins at the base of his spine, and Eddie clings to Richie’s hair and tugs it. 

“You― I’m―” Eddie gasps. “Richie― Richie, Richie, I’m―”

Richie does something with his tongue and Eddie’s hand flies over his mouth to muffle the shuddery gasps falling from it as he tips over the edge. The world goes white as Richie takes it all, moaning around him and at the small tugs of Eddie’s other hand. 

When Eddie comes to, Richie is pulling off his dick and pressing small, gentle kisses to the insides of his thighs. Both Eddie’s hands fall to his sides as he tries to catch his breath. 

“Jesus fucking Christ,” Eddie says eventually.

Richie hums as he kisses Eddie’s hipbone. Eddie can feel his smile.

Eddie’s fingers are still trembling as he runs a gentle hand through Richie’s hair. When Richie looks up, he stops in the middle of kissing Eddie’s pelvic bone. 

“Richie,” Eddie says slowly. “Get up here.”

Even as he moves up, giving Eddie space to sit up too, he replies, “You don’t have to―”

“If you were going to say that I don’t have to touch you, I will fucking bite you,” Eddie snaps. 

Richie’s smile is sheepish. “You’re just going to do that anyway.” 

“Uh huh,” Eddie replies, kicking his pants and briefs down past his ankles and onto the floor. “Now let me take your pants off.”

Richie settles back against the cushions as he lifts his hips, easing his pants over and down. Eddie leans up onto his knees but stops, taking in the sight of Richie straining through his boxers. At the head of his dick, a wet spot has grown there. If he could, Eddie would be getting hard all over again. He shivers instead. 

“Let me,” Eddie interjects when Richie starts pulling off his boxers. Richie’s fingers twitch before his hands press flat against the couch. Eddie slides forward, not missing the way Richie bites his lip.

“Hey,” Eddie says. His nose brushes along the line of Richie’s jaw. 

“Yeah?” Richie whispers. 

Instead of an answer, Eddie just tilts his chin up and kisses Richie. Richie melts against the couch cushions, pliant as Eddie kisses at the seams of his mouth, gentle and coaxing. Richie sighs against Eddie’s mouth, and Eddie takes that moment to pull Richie’s boxers down his thighs. 

Richie shudders, even harder when Eddie swings a leg over Richie’s and settles in his lap again. Between them is the heavy hardness of Richie’s dick. Eddie pulls away for a moment to look down at it. It’s just as big as Eddie remembers, a handful as Eddie wraps his hand around the base. 

Richie gasps, watching Eddie’s face with a tender, bright eagerness. Eddie can’t help but lean forward and kiss Richie’s waiting mouth. Richie whines against him as Eddie starts stroking, slow but firm. Eddie should have thought to get lube earlier, but Richie is already wet and nothing could drag Eddie out of Richie’s lap right now, especially with how Richie is already bucking beneath him. They aren’t really kissing anymore, just breathing heavily into each other’s mouths, Richie letting out quiet, keening noises. 

Eddie twists his wrist just beneath the head, and Richie slouches forward, burying his face into the crook of Eddie’s neck. His breath is warm against Eddie’s bare skin, and Eddie feels himself flush. 

“Eddie,” Richie gasps out, slightly muffled. Eddie just turns to kiss the side of Richie’s head, the rhythm of his hand gradually speeding up. Richie’s hands fly up to Eddie’s back, clinging to him and bringing him closer. 

“Are you close?” Eddie murmurs. 

Richie nods with another whine. 

With his free hand, Eddie cups the nape of Richie’s neck. He kisses the side of Richie’s head again, just because he can. 

“Come on, Rich,” he says. 

Richie’s breath hitches in the back of his throat as he whimpers, “Eddie ―” and he’s coming all over Eddie’s hand. Richie shudders beneath Eddie, moaning into his shoulder. Eddie strokes him through it, holding him close. 

Finally, Richie lets out a shaky gasp and goes limp against him. There’s nothing in the apartment except the sound of their heavy breathing, and the traffic in the streets below. Eddie’s clean hand runs through Richie’s hair. He can feel the sweat across Richie’s hairline mingling with his own that’s pooled at his collarbones.

After a long moment, Richie raises his head. It falls back against the cushion, exposing the long line of his neck. Eddie leans down and kisses right above his Adam’s apple.

“That was worth the wait,” Richie says, breaking the silence.

Eddie’s heart pangs at that, but Richie smiles at him so softly it eases in an instant. Eddie kisses Richie’s jaw and lets his mouth linger there for a moment.

“Yeah, it was,” he replies softly.

Eddie feels Richie’s smile against his temple and he moves up to kiss Richie fully this time. A fondness in his chest grows at the feeling of getting to kiss Richie’s smile and Richie’s hands moving up to cradle his face. There isn’t any urgency or heat in their kisses now, but a simple sweetness that Eddie missed fiercely.

Somewhere down the hall, Piper cries out. A moment passes and she lets out another, more insistent this time.

Eddie scrambles off of Richie, falling flat against the couch. Richie shoots up, blindly reaching for his clothes.

“Fucking Christ,” Richie mutters as he tugs on his pants. 

“Do you want me to get her?” Eddie asks frantically.

Richie waves a hand. “I’ve got it, just― I got it.”

“Are you sure?” Eddie says, then realizes he has Richie’s drying come on his hand. 

Richie must see it too, because he smiles. “You should probably get cleaned up.”

Eddie blurts it out before he can hesitate. “Will you join me? When she’s asleep again?”

Richie stares at him for a moment, shirt only half-on. Then he grins and swoops down, kissing Eddie so sweetly it makes his knees go weak. 

“I’ll pencil it in.”