"Have you seen Richie?" Eddie asked Bill. Bill had shook his head and said he was pretty sure Richie wasn't in school today. Jesus, Eddie thought. It was the week before Christmas. You had to be a real slacker to bail out of school on the week before Christmas. They had a break coming up anyways.

"Alright," Eddie said. "Thanks, Bill. I think I'm gonna go visit him and see if he's alright. I'll tell him you say hello."

"You do that," Bill said, seeming disinterested. Maybe he wouldn't tell Richie hello after all if Bill was going to be like that.

Eddie didn't have a bike because his mother was worried he'd hurt himself and running was out of the question because he would get short of breath, so he had to just walk very, very fast to Richie's house if he wanted to make good time. Something in him was itching to see his friend, like being away from him one day had made him feel oddly incomplete.

You sound like a drug addict, he thought to himself wryly. That's how addiction is, right? You go into that thing, what's it called, where you get all sick about the thing because you don't have it. He couldn't remember, despite his mother having given him that talk a hundred times. It wasn't relevant anyways. It wasn't like he was addicted to Richie. That sounded weird.

When Eddie finally reached Richie's house and rang the doorbell, he was glad to see that Richie's mom looked normal. She didn't look like Richie had died or anything. "Oh, hello, Eddie," she said.

"Hi," he said, trying to be friendly. People's moms always made him fidget and not know what to say. It was like they were always judging you to see if you were up to snuff to be their child's friend. Not that he had much experience with that. "I was just worried, because Richie wasn't in school today. I wanted to, I don't know, check on him."

"Oh, he's sick, but I'm sure he'd love to see you-Don't look like that, he's not contagious. It's just a simple cold, not even in his nose. Laryngitis, I think. Come in."

Eddie recalled that being something about your vocal cords, but if it wasn't contagious, he'd be fine, right? If he got sick he could just pin it on…he didn't know, Ben or something when he told his mother. "Oh, alright. Thank you." He quickly marched up the stairs once inside the house; he'd only been to Richie's house a few times but to his knowledge kids' rooms were almost always upstairs.

"Richie," he called. "It's Eddie. You're sick, right?"

No response. Eddie decided that the big closed door was probably the parents' room and the slightly open one was probably Richie's, so he just invited himself in.

Lo and behold, there was the Trashmouth himself, covered by a large, red comforter with a cup of tea and a saucer on his bedside table and a bowl of soup resting in his lap. There were a few stains on the bed next to him. He spilled it, Eddie thought. That dumbass spilled it.

"Eddie," Richie said. Eddie stepped back. Richie's voice…it was…he didn't know how to describe it. It was just…gone. It was a croaky, whisper-y sound, but not like the deliberate kind of whisper. It was like his voice had just stopped working. Eddie couldn't help it. He snickered. "What the hell are you laughing at? And here I was thinking you were coming out of the kindness of your-" He broke into a coughing fit.

"No, it's just…You can't do the Voices! I'd love to hear your Irish cop voice now."

"Make fun of me one more time and I'll get you sick," Richie croaked, looking almost comically put out.

"Your mom said it wasn't contagious." Eddie couldn't get used to hearing Richie talk like that. He sounded like there was steam in his throat or something. Richie moved one arm to try to give him the finger and ended up upsetting his bowl of soup and sharply yelling. Eddie couldn't help it, as much as it would have been typical boyish humor to just laugh at him, Eddie wasn't like that. He crept over and set the bowl down next to the tea and pulled the comforter off Richie.

"It burned me! The shitty soup burned me!"

"Oh, come on, don't be a baby about it. Drink your tea or something." He noticed Richie hadn't bothered with any sort of pants and was just lying there in his boxers and a too large T-shirt. "You're so sick you couldn't even put your pants on?"

"I'm not at school anyways, I'd might as well live a little." He coughed again. "I want some more soup, Eds."

"You sure as hell aren't getting more soup if you call me that."

"Oh, come on." He sat up and punched Eddie in the arm lightly, but the effort of the action seemed to make him start coughing again. His face was all flushed and red and his glasses looked foggy. Eddie felt himself sweat a little. If he got sick, his mother would have his hide for sure.

"Jesus, you're really sick, aren't you? Are you totally sure it isn't contagious?"

Richie bolted up in bed and before Eddie could say anything Richie had given him a quick peck on the cheek. Like the pretty blonde girls did in those films where they rode in elegant sports cars and wore floppy hats. Except this wasn't a pretty blonde girl. This was Richie Tozier suffering from laryngitis.

"That's for laughing at me," Richie said, grinning. "You're sure to get it now."

"It isn't contagious!" Eddie yelped. "Laryngitis isn't contagious!"

Somehow it wasn't weird when Richie did that. Sure, the cheek-pinching and the Eds might have been annoying, but whatever the hell that was? That was just Richie. Richie was Richie. Eddie didn't really mind. Hell if he told Richie, but Eddie had honestly kind of enjoyed it. It had been..exciting.

Exciting, except that now maybe he was going to get Richie's cold.

"Anything can be transmitted through kissing!" Richie looked delighted.

"That's only mono, you dipshit!"

"I'll just have to get mono then, I suppose!" He grinned. What Eddie didn't want to admit was that he probably wouldn't object to Richie giving him a full on the lips kiss even if he did have mono.

But what Richie didn't know wouldn't hurt him.

Fun fact: I have had laryngitis and it's unpleasant. I am also sick right now and although my voice isn't quite gone, my throat hurts like shit. Yay for sick fics?