What’s In Your Head?
summary: So, the year is 1999. Eddie is 23 years old, telepathic, and lives with his childhood best friend, Bill, in Portland, Maine. He meets a young musician with a knack for speed named Richie at a bar. More details at 11.
warnings: mild violence with the Bowers Gang
A/N: this is based off of @trashmouthloser‘s mutant headcanons, so thank you for letting me write this! i hope it’s not too terrible!
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Growing up with mind-reading powers was pretty cool. Eddie always knew what smartass comeback to make when his peers would say something dumb. He always knew exactly what to say to get on adults’ good sides. When he was about 11, he figured out he could easily cheat on most tests, only fueling his classmates dislike for him. As a child, he made his best attempts to use his mutation responsibly, but children are, by nature, prone to mistakes.
While he used it for good in regards to his best friend, Bill, he tended to use it more selfishly with his classmates, earning him the nickname “Nosy Eddie” by middle school. Occasionally, he would attempt to alter people’s emotions towards him. But, what else was a small, asthmatic germaphobic boy with a desperate need to be at least somewhat liked to do?
Disliked throughout most of middle school and high school, Eddie vowed to restrain his powers and only use them to help Bill. Besides, he had been lectured by plenty of people, such as his mother and teachers, about invading others (especially adults’) privacies. He didn’t like reading adults’ thoughts, anyway. They thought vulgar, violent, and scary things, which young Eddie didn’t even want to comprehend the meaning of, like Mr. Keene repeatedly thinking his wife his a “dumb, lying whore” with the same viciousness of a rabid dog.
But, his mother particularly drilled it into his head ever since he began to develop his power that he was never to read her thoughts. Maybe he should’ve questioned it more, but Mrs. Kaspbrak’s word was law. It just was.
In his opinion, Bill’s mutation was ten times cooler than his. Sure, Eddie could know everybody’s deepest, darkest secrets, but Bill could move things with his mind. Well, it seemed way cooler when they were kids.
When they were 13, Eddie remembers an irritated Bill accidentally using his powers to throw a large rock through Henry Bower’s car window. They ran like hell, while Eddie cursed Bill for not being able to keep his “dumb mind powers” under control. He instantly regretted it after he saw the hurt in Bill’s eyes, because Bill, just like Eddie, was prone to misusing his power. Since then, Eddie has done his best to help Bill keep his powers under control. In return, Bill always lets him know when he’s being too invasive.
Anyhow, Bill thinks his and Eddie’s mutations are the coolest in Derry.
“How can they not be cool?!” Bill had once exclaimed when they were wandering through the barrens and talking about their most recent beating from the Bowers Gang “Mental mutations makeup only one percent of the entire mutation population! Who cares if Belch Huggins has super strength? You can literally read people’s minds, Eddie!”
Eddie never liked this conversation. He’s had it a million times with Bill. Like everything else about him, the Bowers Gang had taken a liking to making fun of Eddie for his mutation, dubbing it a “useless power” and proclaiming that “of course you can only read feelings like a girl.” He understood Bill was only trying to make him feel better, but his friend could do some real lasting damage with his mutation. During junior year of high school, Eddie was receiving one of the worst beatings the Bowers Gang had ever given him, when Bill stumbled on to the scene. Seeing Eddie curled up in a ball desperately trying to protect himself from the blows while his blood spilled onto the gravel, really set something off in Bill. In an instant without moving a muscle, he had broken one of Victor Criss’ hands, flew Patrick Hockstetter backward into a nearby guardrail, knocked Belch Huggins over the head with a piece of debris on the road, and pinned Henry Bowers to the ground.
The smaller boy couldn’t do anything but watch as Bill truly became a force to be reckoned with. Bill became somebody who could defend themselves and didn’t have to fear those stronger than him. Eddie just knew how to get inside people’s heads, and there was still plenty to fear, even more so after knowing the sort of things people thought.
Now, they were adults. They had left Derry behind soon after graduation, moving to Portland as roommates. Though it’s customary for students to leave behind their childhood friends after high school, Eddie knew he couldn’t do it. Bill needed him to keep his powers in balance, just as Eddie felt he needed Bill to “fight his bullies.”
So, the year is 1999. Eddie is 23 years old and lives with his childhood best friend in Portland, Maine. He has discovered the metropolis magic that is gay bars and being gay without fear in general. So far, he’s managed to remain pretty selective about who he uses his powers on.
Being a mind-reader wasn’t half bad when you used in on the right people.
Despite it being 7 o’clock in the morning and Eddie not needing to be at work until 10, he still felt pieces of fabric pelting him in the face. Groggily, he groaned and willed whatever it was to stop, but it didn’t. When he opened his eyes, Bill was propped at his door, dressed in a hoodie and sweats, flinging Eddie’s own dirty clothes at him with his mind.
This is definitely not how Eddie wanted to wake up this morning.
“Billiam,” Eddie said in a sleepy haze, glaring at the ceiling, “you better have a good reason for this.”
“Don’t forget you promised to come to the bar with Mike and me tonight,” he replied with enthusiasm, something Eddie was truly lacking this morning. “You need to get out of the house.”
Mike was a co-worker of Bill’s at a local newspaper. They were both just intern’s, but they had writing skills which looked promising. Eddie quite liked Mike, because he was polite and did not patronize Eddie about his germaphobia or hypochondria. In fact, Mike was pretty popular among certain circles in Portland, and Eddie didn’t know why he hung around Bill and him.
The bar was some hole in the wall downtown, but Mike somehow knew everyone in there. While looking for a table to sit at, he would stop to chat with someone every five seconds. Eventually, they made their way to a semi-dirty table, much to Eddie’s chagrin, near the stage. The place was dimly lit with poolhall overheads, and the red vinyl tables and chairs have definitely seen better days. Around the time the waitress brought out their drinks, a band was preparing to set up on stage. Mike prattled on about how they’ve been gaining popularity rapidly in Portland and how talented they were. Eddie secretly loved rock and roll when he was growing up, but his mom rarely let him listen to it in the house because it was “demonic” and would “corrupt his young mind.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he spied a tall thin man with dark grey hair plugging his guitar into the large amp. He was instantly less annoyed about how Bill woke him up this morning and praised whatever god was listening for bringing him to this bar tonight. Without realizing, he had stared for too long, and eventually, the man turned around to make eye contact with him from the corner of his eye. From the smirk on the man’s face, Eddie concluded he must’ve looked like a lovestruck teenager.
Then after looking around the bar, he realized how out of place he must’ve looked. He was wearing an oversized baby blue sweater that made him look like a kid who was trying on their dad’s clothes for the first time. Picking at the label on his beer, he considered reading this stranger’s mind to know what he thought of Eddie. But, he thought better of it when Bill nudged him in the side.
“Making heart-eyes at the lead singer, are we?” Bill snickered, trying to contain himself at the rampant blush on Eddie’s face.
“No!” Eddie insisted, burying his head in his arms.
Mike giggled, “I think he’s looking at you too, Eddie.”
Despite his friends teasing, he didn’t lift his head from the table until the band’s set began and, boy, Eddie wasn’t disappointed. His head instantly shot up and the gray-haired man was strumming the opening for Zombie by The Cranberries on neon pink guitar. Eddie couldn’t get a good look at him before with everybody’s shuffling about on stage, but he could see him very clearly now. He was wearing a bright pink tank top, a grey leather jacket, tight black jeans with rips along the legs, and silver engineer boots. Everything about him seemed so interesting, and Eddie felt himself quickly sinking in.
His dark curls bobbed back and forth while he sang the lyrics in a raspy voice. Every once and awhile, he’d sneak his attention back to Eddie to make sure he still had his eyes – which, of course, he did, he always did.
The song ended too quickly for Eddie’s liking, but it was followed by another, an original, and yet another one. Eddie knocked back drink after drink, not taking his eyes away from the man. He couldn’t even if he wanted to.
Around midnight the set ended and the band began to dismantle their equipment. Mike and Bill’s teasing be damned! Eddie had just enough of the hooch in his system to have the courage to go onstage and talk to the mystery man, and damn it! He was going to!
Nervously, he approached the edge where the lead singer was working on untangling cords and packing his guitar away. The man instantly noticed Eddie approaching him and broke out into a wide grin.
“I was wondering if you’d get the balls to talk to me,” he says bluntly, still grinning at Eddie.
Normally, Eddie would be offended, but the amount of beer in his system said fuck it.
“I mean with those looks you were giving me, I’d be stupid not to talk to you,” Eddie said with the most confidence he has ever mustered in his entire life.
The man raised one eyebrow and bit his lip, looking entirely amused. “You mean my eye-fucking looks? Yeah. Those were most definitely intentional.”
Eddie felt a hot blush spread from his cheeks to his back at the man’s vulgarity, but the light’s were so dim it would have been difficult to notice if you weren’t paying close attention.
The man was definitely paying close attention.
“I’m Richie,” he said, moving his legs to swing over the edge of the stage.
“Eddie,” the other hiccuped quietly, gravitating closer to Richie and the space between his legs.
Eddie swears he can hear his friends hooting in the distance, but he really doesn’t give a fuck because he never gets hit on.
He and Richie are barely inches from each other’s lips, before there is a voice calling Richie from offstage.
“Shit,” he says, glancing from Eddie’s eyes to his lips, “I gotta go. Will you give me your number?”
Eddie fumbled through his pockets, praying for a pen for a hot minute, until Mike swooped in to save Eddie’s love life with a Sharpie.
Sloppily, he wrote his number on Richie’s hand and then watched Richie disappear with his guitar case in a literally actual flash.