.

.

Don't laugh.

Richie's voice emerges faintly from underneath the car radio's buzz. He's leaning back in the driver's seat, his arm draped comfortably on the wheel, rolling them slowly over the asphalt. It feels like a dream. Sweltering summer heat blasts through the rolled-down windows, invisible and thick, hitting against Eddie's face.

August hasn't seen a heatwave like this since 1988 — it's bad enough when the AC doesn't work, but eggs melting on sidewalks and the skin between your toes squishing from the warm, sticky sweat — that's hell.

It's 1992 right now, full of night-shadows and the humming of the cicadas, and Eddie stares around at him.

Perspiration gleams high on Richie's forehead. The occasional dot of a streetlamp glows and passes them, brightening everything in a pale, sickly yellow, like Richie's glasses or the ends of his dark, soft curls.

I love you.

The car stutters to a halt on the gravel, its engine groaning and cranking, and Richie's eyes squint in his direction. He says nothing else. Eddie's stomach lifts, then does a Olympic somersault inside of him.

Are you fuckingwithme — Eddie's dismayed, awed sentence hovers on his lips, but unspoken.

Richie continues to look at him somewhere between this awful sense of calmness and a queasy expression. As if he thinks Eddie would just scoff, or sneer, or punch him right in the face.

They're both seventeen. Eddie remembers what it was like being nine and shoving an ice cream cone in Richie's face, laughing and gasping when Richie's vanilla treat smears against his cheeks and nose, infuriated by Richie's own laughter and chasing him full-speed through a open, wheat field.

He loved Richie when they play-wrestled onto the muddy grass, when they were nine-ten-eleven-twelvethirteenfourteen — every moment up to this confession, with every molecule and iota, every breath.

Eddie feels tears welling up. The quivering comes first, until he's sobbing loudly and full-bodied, throwing his head against the seat, burying his entire face into his hands. He's half-expecting Richie to say gotcha! or call him a wuss, or make up some kind of Voice to defuse the situation, but not for the other man scrambling to unbuckle his seat-belt. Richie shifts quickly like he's about to crawl over to Eddie, whispering his name.

The embrace happens within a split-second. He presses himself against Richie's front, skewing his glasses and feeling Richie's hands circle around him, hugging him tightly. Eddie kisses him, because he can, because it's been fucking years and he's dreamed up every possible scenario, and Richie never says I love you.

He loosens his mouth, opening it widely against Richie's hot, spit-slick lips. It's ugly and raw. Their tongues and teeth scrape, and Eddie's snot is everywhere, and they're beginning to grin. Eddie can't stop himself from gasping and crying and kissing Richie hard enough for whiteout stars bursting behind his eyelids. It's embarrassing how much he fucking loves him too — but here they are. In the middle of this, with Richie's tee-shirt damp and plastering to his, and unable to keep their hands off each other.

Love.

That's familiar — that's not worth hiding anymore.

.

.


IT 2017 isn't mine. I'm still a big big big fan of Reddie and I got pretty emotional over this little ficlet. Thoughts/comments appreciated! :)