Title: "In Love's Eyes"
Author: Pirate Turner
Rating: PG-13 for passionate kissing
Summary: Richie gets his dream!
Word Count: 1,810
Challenge: For a SmallFandomFest LJ comm prompt
Date Written: 15 June, 2012
Disclaimer: Richie and Howard Cunningham, Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzirelli, all other characters mentioned within, and Happy Days are ﾩ & TM their rightful owners, none of whom are the author. Everything else is ﾩ & TM the author. The author makes absolutely no profit off of this work of fan fiction, and no copyright infringement is intended.
It wasn't just the girls he was good with. He was good with the guys, too, and they both knew it even if Fonzie was perhaps even better than he realized with his fellow men. Every man in town either wanted to be his friend or yearned to beat him in a race so that they could have the honor of beating the Fonz and go down a legend. Richie was one of the few, however, who knew that, if any one ever did somehow manage to beat Fonzie, they wouldn't become a legend. Fonzie would still have his legend, no matter what anybody else ever did or said. He was the Fonz, and that meant he had the power.
Richie had always been enthralled by that power. He didn't know how Fonzie did it, but he could make any one want him with a single look. He made the world rock, and every one around him, except for Richie's father, hurried to please Fonzie and do whatever he asked. Even the machines at Arnold's seemed to want nothing more than to please the great Fonzarelli.
Richie knew, too, that Fonzie was puzzled as to why Howard didn't like him. No matter what help he gave or how many times he rescued Richie, Joanie, or any of the Cunningham family, for that matter, nothing he could do was enough to improve his image in Howard's eyes. Yet Howard was the only one who looked at him the way he did, and Richie knew it was his fault.
His father had always been able to read him like a book. He couldn't lie to him. He was a horrible liar, but whenever he tried to lie his dad, somehow, Howard always inevitably knew the truth from the very moment his lie began. He knew all of Richie's deepest, darkest secrets, and it was one of those secrets, the one he held most private and closest to his chest, that was the reason why Howard detested Fonzie so greatly. He knew Richie loved him.
Sometimes, Richie thought his father might have become wise to his true feelings for his best friend even before he'd recognized them for what they were. Like most of the young men in their town, Rich had had a serious case of hero worship for Fonz from the moment he'd seen him, but there was something about that handsome boy in dark, black leather of which Richie could not get enough.
He'd thought he'd be happy being his friend, but the closer he'd come to Fonz, the stronger his affection for him had grown. He still saw Lori Beth, but being around her was a drag. He hated listening to her talk and found himself bored watching the funniest movies with her or dancing. There was nothing about the girl that interested him whereas, with Fonz, it was just the opposite.
Richie clung to every word he'd ever heard Fonzie speak. He listened to his advice and took it to heart more than any other lessons he'd ever been taught. He ran straight from school to Arnold's every day, hoping he'd be there and feeling crushed inside on those rare occasions that he wasn't already waiting for him at his booth. He was ecstatic when he moved into the apartment above his home, and all along, Richie kept telling himself that it was because he had never had a friend like Fonzie.
That much was true enough. He never had had a friend like the Fonz. He'd never known anybody so brave or charismatic. There was more power in Fonzie's little finger than there was in the whole body of the rest of the people Richie knew. He wanted to be like Fonz, but he didn't want to be the next Fonz. No one could be the next Fonzie, no matter how many punks tried, because there was only the one Fonz.
Richie still doesn't know when exactly it changed, when he went from being Fonzie's best friend to wanting to be more. He doesn't know when he started yearning for Fonzie's approving smile or friendly hand on his shoulder to be a loving smile or a more tender touch. He knows it isn't right, and he knows, even as he trails after Fonzie to Arnold's after Fonz had another blow-out with his father, that he's the reason why Howard hates Fonzie. He hates him, because he believes him responsible for making his son gay.
Gay is wrong. He knows that. He's heard it at church and from the whispers of his mother's lady's club's members speaking behind their hands. He knows it makes him less of a person and that he'd lose every one, his family, his friends, and Fonzie included, if ever the truth about him was discovered. He knows it's uncool and that Fonzie would be disgusted if he knew he wanted to be the next one he took out to Lookman's Point or up to his bedroom.
He knows all this, and yet he can not stop the thoughts rampaging through his mind. He can not stop the heat from rising in his body when Fonzie looks at him as he slides in to their booth. He can not quit wishing that he was the record player Fonzie caresses and then hits to play his desired song without ever paying a dime. Fonzie turns from the player and quirks his finger, and Rich wishes with every fiber that he's the one to whom he's calling even though he knows Fonzie would never want to dance with him.
No one goes out to the floor, however, and Rich's brow furrows. What idiot girl would ignore the Fonz? He turns his red head this way and that, scanning the restaurant to see who it is that Fonzie's calling, and then his face falls with deepened confusion. Arnold's is almost empty. It's as though some one's scared the other customers away, but he'd never think that Fonzie had told them to leave.
Fonzie clears his throat. Rich looks back to him, and Fonzie quirks his finger again. Once more, he looks around but sees no one to answer him. He's too busy looking for somebody who isn't there to see Fonzie's hand fall to his side and his eyes narrow and lips tighten in determination.
"Cunningham," he barks, and Richie jumps clean out of his seat. "My office now!"
He wonders what he could have done. Could Fonzie somehow know? He's been so careful, though. Only his father and he know how he truly feels about Fonzie, and Howard wouldn't tell him. He'd rather be shot than admit he has a gay son!
The bathroom door's swinging shut behind Fonzie, and Richie runs to catch up with him. He has no idea why's he angry with him, but he'll never keep him waiting for anything he can provide. He follows him into the bathroom and finds Fonzie standing before the sink, his fisted hands placed down upon the counter and his head lowered.
"Fonz?" Rich asks and winces as his voice squeaks. He licks his lips nervously, then speaks again, annoyed with himself that his voice is no stronger the second time than it was the first time. "Did I . . . Did I do something wrong?"
"I don't know."
Richie stares at Fonzie in shock. How could there be anything that the Fonz didn't know?
Fonz turns around to face him, but a full minute passes before he raises his head. There, in his dark and absorbing eyes, Richie's startled to find an expression he didn't even know his dearest friend capable of. Something has caused Fonz to doubt himself, and Richie's heart immediately hurts with that knowledge.
"Maybe I read you wrong, Richie, but I didn't think so." At last, Fonzie meets his gaze. They stand eye to eye, and then Richie's fully amazed as his hero asks him, "Don't you want this?", and gestures to himself.
Richie's mouth falls wide open. He blinks several times. He pinches himself, but he's not dreaming.
"The Fonz doesn't wait," Fonzie snaps in warning, his patience almost gone, "for no man or woman." Richie barely has time to realize that Fonzie really is asking him if he wants him when Fonzie snaps his fingers. He looks at him in complete and utter amazement and shock, his mouth still hanging wide open. Fonzie points at him and then to himself, and Richie understands.
He's being given a miracle! He rushes to Fonzie, who opens his arms wide and embraces him. "Next time, Cunningham," he says, "move faster," and then Richie's fondest dreams come true as he touches his lips to his in the most wonderful and sensual kiss he's ever experienced. His heart is floating as Fonzie's tongue gently presses against his teeth. His mouth opens again, and Fonzie's tongue sweeps into his eager, hot, and waiting mouth. He pulls him into a slow dance right there in the bathroom.
Richie's so elated that he almost cries, but he won't let the tears fall. Fonz won't understand they're happy tears and he'll think him weak. He doesn't know how he's managed to ever look so good in Fonzie's eyes that he could be allowing him to hold and kiss him, or to dance with him, how he could ever be so lucky for his dreams of loving Fonz openly to be coming true, but Richie won't do anything to cause this moment to end.
He's gay. He knows it's wrong, but he doesn't care any more. He's happy! He's in love! The man he loves loves him back, though he could never deserve him, and from this day forward, Richie will never lie about how he feels again! He'll always be gay, but as long as he has Fonzie, he'll be happy and in love and joyful, no matter what else happens or how wrong these feelings may be, forever more!
He whimpers and kicks himself for the weak sound when Fonzie lifts his mouth from his. His hands cup his face, and their foreheads touch as Fonz gazes deeply into his eyes. "It's not wrong, Cunningham," he says, and Richie nods slowly against him, wondering how he could possibly know what he was thinking but knowing, too, that that's just another uncanny, Fonzie ability. "It's not wrong, and I love you too!"
Their hearts soar together as they keep kissing, and from that day forward, no matter how many girls Fonzie dances with in the public at Arnold's, or the obligations to Lori Beth and his parents Richie fulfills, the two men will always know the truth. They'll always have each other and this special bond, and they will love each other, even if in hiding from the rest of the world, until the day they die and ever after.