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Summer Was My First Love

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29 Neibolt Street

“Push harder [Y/N]! Harder!”

The sound of a young boy’s voice resonated throughout the barren lawn. The owner of said voice was none other than George, Georgie, Denbrough: a 6-year-old boy with a love for playtime and friends. His hands gripped tightly onto the metal chains that connected the tire to the large oak tree: whose leaves were starting to turn brown at the edges. Behind the tire was a young child, in their early-to-mid teens, with an equally wide smile on their lips.

“Only if your brother helps!” the teen replies and turns their head for a moment to eye said brother, who was sitting on the porch of the newly refurbished house. “C’mon Bill!”

“I’m s-sick, r-r-remember?” Bill replied with a cough that was well planned out.

“You always say that!” [Y/N] lets out a loud laugh before focusing their strength on pushing the large tire. “Live a little!”

“I-I’m good, [Y/N],” the timid boy replies softly and returns his attention to the comic book that he’s reading.

At the sight of Bill immersing himself in those inked pages [Y/N] stops and hushes Georgie. The fifteen-year-old saunters towards Bill and places a hand on his shoulder, causing the boy to freeze and look at [Y/N]’s eyes. They bring out their hand and Bill gulps down a lump that has formed in his throat before placing the comic book in their smooth hands.

“It’ll be fun,” [Y/N] promised. “You two didn’t come to my place for nothing. Come on, Bill. Do it for Georgie.”

Bill looked at his brother, who looked back at him with a wide grin on his face, and then at [Y/N] who looked at him with doe eyes: his gaze lingered on the latter before sighing quietly. He looked back up at the two with a small on his face and rose quickly before walking with [Y/N] to the tire swing. Georgie cheered loudly.

“Yay! Do you wanna get in the tire with me, Billy?” Georgie asked, full of childish innocence.

Bill turned to [Y/N] who was waiting for his answer. “I-I think I’ll be fine p-p-p—pushing with [Y/N].”

Georgie replied with an “okay” and turned back around, practically bouncing in his seat.

[Y/N] and Bill stood next to each other before they both thrust their hands forward with one long push that brought the tire higher than before. Within mere moments the three of them were all laughing.

“Wanna get on the tire now, [Y/N]? I’m kinda tired,” Georgie called up from the tire.

[Y/N] looked hesitant but then agreed with joy. “Of course, Georgie! C’mon Bill, push me!”

Bill didn’t hesitate to push them as soon as they got on the tire, Georgie making himself comfortable on the porch whilst reading Bill’s comic book about Superman. Bill couldn’t help but let his cheeks grow warm at the sight of [Y/N]’s hair shining and their laughter filling the cool autumn hair with warmth and love.

It left him with a feeling almost like—

“What’s up lovebirds?!” A loud, imitation of a rockstar’s voice sounded throughout Neibolt Street.

Bill suddenly slowed down his pushing and [Y/N]’s laughter died down, both of them looking at the three boys who approached [Y/N]’s house. Richie, Eddie, and Stan. The latter two both giving Richie an incredulous expression at his lack of a mute button.

“Oh hey you guys!” [Y/N] gave them a quick wave and hopped off the tire. “What are you guys doing here?”

“We were wondering if you guys wanted to come with us to the Barrens,” Richie continued, “but seeing as though you two were wanted some alone time, we’ll be going now.”

“Wait, we’ll come with!” [Y/N] replied. “We’ll drop off Georgie first.”

[Y/N] gets up and gestures for Georgie to hold their hand. “Bill? We’ll meet you at the Barrens.”

“O-Oh, okay,” Bill nods and walks Georgie to Silver, his bike.

As Bill gets ready to depart, he listens to the conversation that Richie and [Y/N] were finishing. Eddie and Stan seemed interested in the birds that perched on the roof of [Y/N]’s house.

“—I’m just teasing, [Y/N]!” Richie yells with a laugh.

“Yeah, and you know what?” [Y/N] continues, “it’s nothing, Rich. We’re only friends.”

Bill’s heart clenches at the words of his since-elementary-school-crush, but what can he do? [Y/N] was in high school, leagues above Bill (both figuratively and literally). He shakes off the somber thought and begins to peddle away from the Victorian house, bellowing out:

“Hi-ho Silver, Away!”

 


 

After a fulfilling weekend of fun and laughter, [Y/N] bikes until they reach their home: 29 Neibolt Street. A formerly run-down home that no one had dared to enter, that is until their parents had bought it from the mayor of Derry: whom was adamant on not selling it, before [Y/N]’s father waved those dollar green bills in front of the stout man.

Ever since their parents bought that home they rebuilt it and brought the neighborhood to a somewhat glamorous vision, going so far as to replacing the windy, deformed tree with a younger version of itself. The lawn was green, reflecting its hue against the sand-grey paint that the house was now covered in.

Despite the fact that their parents had removed the sunflowers that were originally there, [Y/N] noticed that they always grew back no matter what. So to ease their parents’ frustrations, they decided to plant red poppies into the grass, bringing out a lovely mirage of a sunset lawn.

They propped their bike (which was a sky blue with a beige basket at the front) at the entrance and entered the house, taking off their shoes immediately.

“I’m home!” [Y/N] called out.

It was silent for a moment before their mother’s voice called back. “Dinner’s ready, honey! Oh, and can you please get the cleaning supplies from the basement? I’m gonna clean the kitchen.”

“Okay!” they exclaimed and made their way to the basement door.

They paused for a moment, breath halting before they shakily opened the door and silently entered. There was something… Off about the basement, of course the whole Victorian-esque theme of the house (which was the only house in Derry to have such a theme, excluding the townhouse and city hall) was strange, but the basement was even stranger. Illuminated with only natural light via the two windows near the top of the basement, the room was mostly pitch black.

There was a single well in the center of the basement, built on old rocks that grew rocks and moss on them. The well was so deep, [Y/N] noted, that it seemed to stretch into the very depths of the Earth. For some reason when [Y/N] had asked their parents about the well, they greeted them with confused expressions.

“There’s no well,” their father explained.

“We had that well removed, remember?” their mother added.

It was a strange revelation that [Y/N] made, because although their parents could not see it - their friends did. Bill, Richie, Eddie, Stan—heck, even little Georgie could see it.

Something was definitely not right. But [Y/N] had no time to ponder on their thoughts because as soon as they had grabbed the bucket, chemicals, and sponges; they ran up the stairs without closing the door.

That place gave them the creeps.

 

Chapter Text

“Do you ever get bored of watching birds, Stan?” [Y/N] asked as they folded their hands into their lap, resting against the dark green bench.

They watched their friend intently looking at a red Northern Cardinal, that was perched within a tall tree, singing a chipper tune. Stanley was holding the bird book that he had always carried him, birds were always a wonder to him.

“Would you ever get tired of Holland?” Stan replies, amused.

“Touché,” [Y/N] giggles, “Holland’s different. She’s more family than pet.”

“Spiders aren’t the same thing as dogs, or cats, [Y/N],” Stan continues, “say, what made you interested in spiders, anyway?”

“I’m actually not too fond of spiders myself, to be honest,” they laugh. “I just thought she looked cool and well… I like watching Holland in her natural state, relying only on instincts. I think it’s interesting.”

Holland, was a Desert Blonde Tarantula that [Y/N] had kept ever since their family had moved to Derry. Bought straight from an exotic pet store in a town not too far from Derry, Holland had become a part of [Y/N]’s little family for 10 years, which would soon become 11 years this coming November.

“But you’re scared of spiders?” the thirteen-year-old asked incredulously, trying to wrap his mind around the strange logic (or lack of).

“Why would you want to keep something that scares you?”

“I—I, well you can’t get rid of your fear if you’re not willing to face them,” [Y/N] replied, more to themselves. “What scares you makes you stronger? Is that how the quote goes?”

“I think the term you’re looking for is: ‘What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.’”

“You’re no fun, Stan.”

“I try.”

“Oh, come on! What’s keeping you so down anyways, you seem less… Talkative lately.”

At the mention of their words, Stan uncharacteristically lets out a sigh and throws her hands up in the air before covering his face with them (book in hand). He rubs a small hand over his face.

“It’s… my Dad, [Y/N].”

“Oh?” [Y/N] leans closer to Stan and asks. “What about him?”

“He’s been bothering me about my bar mitzvah,” Stan inhales sharply, “but it's not even close to the date! It’s next year! He’s—He’s too much [Y/N!”

“Well…” they struggle to find the right words. “He’s just—He-H… He just wants the best for you, Stan.”

“Does he really though? Does he?”

Stan looked at the singing bird and took one deep breath and regained his composure, muttering something indecipherable to [Y/N]’s ears. He clutched the book closer to his chest and quickly got up.

“I-I’m sorry for dumping all of that on you I know it's bad butIjust—”

“Wait Stan!”

[Y/N] reached their hand to grip Stan’s arm and with confused eyes.

“You’re fine, Stan,” they continue, “you don’t have to bury all of this, you’re not alone.”

Stand looks a them with furrowed eyebrows and wide eyes. That expression soon changes when Stan mutters another apology and shakes his head, shaking his arm out of [Y/N]’s grasp and makes his way to his bike. He begins to peddle away when [Y/N] gets up suddenly, hopping on their own bike.

“Wait… Let me come too," they say.

By the time they arrive at the Uris Residence it’s nearly noon. Stan slowly gets off his bike and guides it towards the garage, behind him he can hear [Y/N] call out to him:

“Remember Stan, you have people who care about you.”

Before he could retort [Y/N] is already pedaling away from the house.

 


 

Beverly Marsh wasn’t a particularly heavy smoker, not the type to finish a pack in one day, but every once in a while when she needed to smoke, she would sit on the stairs that led to her apartment and let loose. She was tired and stressed from school, with this being her final year of middle school she wasn’t particularly excited to move onto high school.

Especially with the rumor that’s been going around recently.

It started off with quiet rumors within the girls locker rooms, talk of her running along with a boy to do something gross. Which wasn’t true at all, she had only gone with Jonathan Roan to help him with his homework, nothing more, nothing less.

But, local bitch Greta Keene and her gaggle of girls said otherwise.

Beverly took a long drag from her cigarette and blew out, a little thankful that these rumors were merely small-talk. Beverly Marsh wasn’t too popular at school and she intended to keep it that well, or tried to at least.

Beverly was about to take another puff when she heard the jingle of chains getting closer and closer. Suddenly remembering what the sound was coming from she snuffs out the cigarette against the metal step of the stairs, fumbling to hide the pack in the breast-pocket of her sky blue dress. Within mere moments she watched as a familiar head of hair came into view: followed by doe eyes, a serene smile, and a yellow lace dress.

[Y/N].

One of Derry’s most popular, or well-known, residents ever since their family moved here. And they were friends with her, Beverly Marsh, lowlife and local redhead. The fact that [Y/N] had even wanted to be her friend still confused her and filled her with a joy that she didn’t know she had.

Was it because they were in high school? That they were older? Was it the kindness and understanding nature that they had expressed whenever they were around her.

[Y/N] as a whole was still a mystery to Beverly Marsh.

And she didn’t mind one bit.

“Hey, Bev,” they greeted and took a seat next to her.

“Hey,” Beverly replied and crossed her arms, trying to hide the pack of smokes.

That didn’t go unnoticed by them as they let out a little laugh.

“You don’t have to always hide it from me, Bev,” they ran a hand through their hair. “You can smoke around me.”

“I-I don’t like smoking around you," Beverly continued, "besides, aren’t you supposed to be stopping me from smoking? You’re the older one here, after all.”

“I’m an enabler,” [Y/N] leaned back, sighing with mirth. “But seriously, I won’t judge.”

“You always say that,” Beverly uncrosses her arms but doesn’t open the pack.

“True,” [Y/N] gulps. “But everyone’s got their own problems and deals with them in their own way, I’m in no position to judge… Besides, I’m guilty of dealing with my problems in a less… Favorable way. No one’s perfect.”

“But you pretty much are, [Y/N]!” Beverly continued, “look at you!”

She waved a hand up and down at [Y/N], gesturing to their whole image. Comically, [Y/N] looks up and down at themselves before letting out a loud laugh, wiping away imaginary tears. Beverly’s eyes go wide, shocked.

“[Y/N]—?”

“Haha, I’m sorry I’ll stop,” [Y/N] said. “It’s just—Oh my gosh—Ha-H—I’m flattered, Bev. But I’m nowhere close to perfect.”

They coughed and regained their composure. “So… How’s eighth grade treating you, Bev?”

“Not good, not really bad,” she admits truthfully.

“How’s uh… How’s high school?”

“Same as you,” [Y/N] shrugged, “though it’s a pain in the ass with Henry and his boys always bothering me.”

At least we’re both running from assholes, Beverly thought to herself, the brief image of Greta’s face popping up in her mind.

“Sometimes I wish he would just disappear,” [Y/N] crosses their arms, frustrated.

“I don’t think anyone’s opposing that idea,” Beverly giggled, to which [Y/N] returned.

The wind picked up and the two shivered in sync. [Y/N] looked up at the sky, which was slowly starting to grow cloudy with wisps of white streaks across the sky. [Y/N] got up and turned around to face Beverly, bringing out their hand.

“Wanna go on a ride with me?” they asked, “I know tomorrow’s a school day but I want to have some fun before the rainy season arrives. It rains an awful lot in Derry.”

Without hesitation Beverly took their hand and stood up.

 

“Okay, but let’s hurry, I wanna get back before dad comes home.”

 


  

As per usual [Y/N] ends the day dropping off Beverly at her home, on time. They give her a wave and a sheepish smile before biking away back home. When they arrive home they lay their eyes on their parents and smile, fortunate that their parents were somewhat decent folk; maybe that was the perk of having parents that weren’t born in Derry.

Many of the adults in Derry weren’t so innocent.

But [Y/N] had other things on their mind as they hopped onto their bed, rolling over to their side to look at the tank beside their bed. Propping their elbows up so that their head was resting on top of their hands they eyed the fuzzy creature that slumbered within.

“I just had the best day ever, Holland,” they spoke to the spider, as if expecting a reply, “I went out with Beverly again, it was so much fun. Next week Georgie turns seven and I’m gonna try out for cheer when the time comes.”

They look at Holland for a second longer before rolling over again, resting their left and over their chest and glancing up at the ceiling.

“Everything’s turning out so well. I hope that it stays that way.”

Weeks passed by and come around the end of September, with October short around the corner…

 

It began to rain.

 

Chapter Text

It’s nearly four in the morning when you wake up, feeling a cold draft crawl up your legs. Letting out a groan you sit upright and fix the mess of blankets and pillows around your legs. Your narrowed your eyes, not used to the dim light that shone through the window. Rain pattered against the frame and glass like a soft tune, fogging up at the edges.

I’m gonna have to ask dad to install a heater in the house, jeez. You thought to yourself and bundled yourself into the mass of wool blankets.

It had been a week since it began to pour in Derry like no tomorrow, which was odd and eerie considering the events that had transpired on the same day that it began raining.

Dorsey Corcoran’s body was found in his home, beaten death. Following that his father was framed for murder and was going to be tried in a couple of months.

How horrible.

You closed your eyes tightly and clenched the pillow in your arms.

Ever since Dorsey was found and Mr. Corcoran was accused of murder, something strange had happened in your house. It was as if the entire atmosphere had changed: colder, eerie. You had begun to notice the shadows within the corners of the room grow darker, and whenever you entered the bathroom you felt as if someone was watching you from behind.

Strangely enough, the basement door was always open, despite your mother being adamant that it should always be closed.

You took a deep breath and relaxed your muscles.

It’s probably the stress, you told yourself, mid-term exams are coming pretty soon. It’s probably just my mind playing tricks on me.

You took another deep breath...

And heard something inhale sharply at your left ear.

Eyes opening wide and breath halting, lungs lurching at your ribcage, you sat upright once more and turned your head to see—

Nothing.

Nothing was there. Mouth agape you began to breathe heavily, a feeling of fear crawling up your back and piercing into your head. There’s no way that you imagined that. It sounded as if a child had taken a deep breath, high-pitched and all. Your eyes frantically searched your room, darting left and right to look for whoever—whatever —had made that noise.

“[Y/N]...”

A voice, still holding that childish pitch, called out to you. It came from the door to your room, and whether it was sheer stupidity or curiosity you got out of bed and opened to the door to your room...

Only to jump back as something brushed against your back. Turning around, startled, you watched as a child darted right past you, down the hallway, and down the stairs; leaving a trail of water and sludge in their wake. You opened your mouth to call out but your heart was thumping too much to even form words.

What the fuck? You turned around to look at your room, the trail of tiny feet had begun next to you: showing that the child had only just appeared at that moment.

Your hands shook, gripping the door knob in anticipation and shock, your feet shuffled on their own.

You decided to follow the child.

Running after them you dashed down the steps and followed the black footprints and rancid smell—Oh god, was that sewage? You fought the urge to gag as you had a glimpse of the child darting straight down into—

“The basement,” you say aloud, freezing in your spot.

In the darkness of the house—Wait, were the walls always this faded shade of brown? Was there always this much dust and cobwebs in the house?—you could make out a faint red glow the resonated from the basement. Slowly you moved and with shaky hands, gripped the staircase railing as you trudged down the steps, each slab of rotting wood creaking and groaning at the pressure.

You stopped at the bottom of the steps as your breath halted once more.

Glimmering against the moonlight, hovering over the mouth of the well, was a single red balloon.

“[Y/N],” a shrill voice spoke in your ear and you turned around. At that moment, you had screamed like there was no tomorrow.

Falling on your butt, struggling to crawl away on your hands and feet, you looked up at horror at the monstrosity before you. You felt blinding tears prick at your eyes and acid pushing its way up your throat.

Standing before you was that girl from that Exorcism movie that had scared you to death, except if the terror was cranked up to 11 and beyond. Her neck was twisted and blue, hair matted and covered in vomit and blood, her white dress showing the same amount of cleanliness. Her lips were blue and her eyes were an angry shade of yellow, almost as yellow as the bruises that littered her body and wrists and ankles; which still had thick ropes tied at the ends. Her face was accented by alien ruby lines that trailed from the edges of her lips to the spot above her eyebrows.

“G-Get aw—a—G-Get away! Get away from me!” you fumbled with your words as you backed up more and more.

The girl mimicked your movements slowly, a cruel smile revealing crooked teeth that were black at the gums and covered in drool and slime.

“Oh god oh—F-Fuck!” you stammered when you felt your back hit the well’s lining.

“F-F-F-Fu-ck-ck-ck,” she mocked and lurched forward, causing drool and pus and blood to fly all over your face.

You were struggling between gagging or crying now.

The girl grabbed your hands with a strength so hard you thought your wrists were going to break. She leaned forward and opened her mouth—no, maw was the better term to describe the orifice—and your eyes pricked with tears at the smell of rot, acid, and blood. You screamed again and turned your head to the side, tears running down your cheeks when you heard a growl erupt from within her throat.

Spit and drool dribbled onto your throat and you screamed even louder, causing a laugh to erupt from within the monster.

“Don’tcha want to open your eyes, kiddo?”

A different voice, which was a mixture between the girl’s and something else, talked amidst the growling and opening maw; it was almost as if the voice was speaking within your mind.

You cracked your eyes, though looking at the side at fear of whatever was in front of you, and amidst your tears you saw that the balloon was at eye level with you. For a moment everything stopped, no growling and drool, no monster getting ready to do God knows what with you. Nothing except the balloon inching closer and closer to you - and whatever dark liquid was within it.

The sound of rubber twisting filled your ears caused you to clench your eyes again and not a second more of you doing that, and you heard—

POP!

The balloon burst, causing a warm, thick liquid to cover your face. You didn’t need to open your eyes further to know what it was as some of it entered your screaming mouth. Metallic to the point where it made your nose hurt, you let another scream that gurgled against the blood that covered your face and shoulders.

The monster that was holding your wrists laughed and laughed and laughed.

“Stop! Stop it, stop it ST—”

“STOP IT!!” you screamed and twisted your body only to lurch backwards as you fell onto your...blankets?

You opened your eyes immediately and rubbed the tears and snot that covered your face and shirt, looking at yourself - not covered in drool or pus - before bringing your hands to your face: no blood.

“W-W-What..?” you stammered.

The door slammed open and you screamed at the sight of your dad, who looked tired and frantic, holding a bat over his head. You were too shocked to even comprehend what you were seeing because as soon as your dad asked what was wrong, you burst into tears.

Your cries turned from soft wails to loud sobs and you felt arms wrap around you.

“Shh,” your dad crooned, “nightmare?”

Your breaths were shaky, and in response you only threw your arms around him and sobbed harder. You felt another hand rub circles around your back as you felt the bed dip, your mother had joined the commotion as well.

Nightmare, you thought, But it felt so real...

“Are you okay?” you heard your mother ask from behind, “What was it about?”

Oh nothing mom, you said to yourself with morbid humor, trying to calm yourself down.

I was just about to be eaten and a balloon popped blood in my face. The usual.

Instead you replied with a quiet, “What time is it?”

Your father unwrapped his arms from you and got up, leaving the bat at your nightstand, “Almost time for school. Are you able to go to school today?”

“Yes!” you exclaimed suddenly and rubbed your eyes, damn they’re probably puffy now, “you guys can go downstairs, I’ll be ready in a few minutes.”

I want to be anywhere but at home, get as far from that fucking basement as much as I can.

Your parents simply nodded and left your room, leaving you to get dressed for school; albeit, you were still shaken up and taking hiccup-y breaths you did as you said and got ready within 10 minutes.

While you went to school, on the other side of town, a sick Bill Denbrough made a paper boat for his little brother.

 

Chapter Text

The rain pours down hard on little George Denbrough as he sloshed through the rain water that collects within the sides of the road, trailing down the street with the young boy. A flash of yellow, a splash of cold water, Georgie laughs and giggles like its no tomorrow. Rain taps and pounds against Georgie’s yellow slicker raincoat as he chases the small paper boat dubbed the S. S. Georgie.

He passes the street signs that say Witcham & Jackson, the rain pounded harder as the wind picked up its pace and the boat continued to race faster than the boy could run.

Before he could catch up the boat he looks up and—

SMACK!

His forehead connects with wet wood, the sawhorse resonating back in response. As he gets up Georgie can’t help but let out a cry as it is led into the nearby sewer drain.

He chases her.

He’s so close to grabbing the boat when it slips into the deep dark drain, Georgie shouts out a “NO!” and gets on his knees to stare into the sewer drain; hoping to find a glimpse of the flimsy paper boat.

Silence.

Then, at once, a pair of yellow eyes stare at him.

Georgie jumps back, startled.

“Hiya Georgie...”

A cracking, high voice says quickly as Georgie takes a good look at the sewer drain and sees a face come into view. Greasy white, painted red, and beautiful blue-grey eyes. 

But you saw yellow...A voice in the back of Georgie’s mind reasoned, but he was too frozen to even react to the sight.

Ruffles and a brief glimpse of ginger and orange soon followed, and Georgie’s eyes widened. It was a clown.

And in one of his gloved, bone-white hands, was the S. S. Georgie.

The clown took a brief glance at the boat before he smiled at Georgie again, tilting his head as he spoke once more in that same light tone.

“What a nice boat...Do you want it back?”

“Yes, please,” Georgie hesitated.

The clown smiled.

“You look like a nice boy,” he lowered his hand, “I bet you have a lot of friends.”

“Four,” Georgie continued, “But my brother’s my best best.”

“Oh?” the clown’s smile widened, eyes darting from side to side.

“Where’s he?”

“In bed...Sick...”

“I bet I can cheer him up,” Georgie saw a glimpse of red behind the clown, “I’ll give him a balloon.”

Georgie was about to accept quickly but remembered what his dad and [Y/N] had said to him long ago. Don’t take things from strangers, more so don’t talk to them. Georgie seemed to forget the second part as he shook his head.

“My friend [Y/N] said to not take stuff from strangers..."

As soon as he said their name, the clown’s eyes widened with glee and mirth, and his buck-toothed smile widened. He jumped a little and Georgie could hear the ringing of bells as he had done so.

“[Y/N]? Oh Pennywise knows [Y/N]!” the clown—no, Pennywise—giggled with glee, “I even stopped by their home this morning…”

There was something off in the way Pennywise had stated that, a gleam of amusement and something devious. Georgie felt something creeping at the back of his spine, a twinge of fear.

Pennywise began to drool.

“Wait, you know [Y/N]?” Georgie asked, kneeling closer to the sewer drain.

“Yes! Yes…” Pennywise nodded again, “We’ve known each other for a loooooong time, before they even moved to myyyy town...”

Georgie could feel his heart race a little faster as he said that, the feeling of something wrong and odd filling his mind with doubt. His friend had never mentioned about a clown, and he and Bill were the only one’s [Y/N] had hung out with since they moved to Derry. And yet, Pennywise had stated that with such confirmation and sureness that Georgie had almost believed him.

And there was something else on Georgie’s mind.

“Why are you in the sewers?” he asked with genuine curiosity, scrunching his nose at the arid smell.

“Storm blew me away. Blew the whole circus away,” Pennywise continued with a giggle, “Can you smell the circus, Georgie? There are peanuts, cotton candy, hot dogs...and...?”

“Popcorn?” Georgie finished and the clown jumped again in delight.

“Popcorn!... Is that your favorite...?”

“Mhm.”

“Mine too!” Pennywise let out a quiet laugh, “because they pop! Pop, pop, pop. Pop, pop, pop. Pop!”

Georige began to laugh and soon enough the clown followed.

And as soon as it had started, Pennywise’s expression turned blank and odd; one eye staring off into the sewer while his other eye continued to stare at Georgie’s frightened form. Georgie felt fear creep behind once more and he backed away from the sewer drain.

“I should get going now…” Georgie said.

Pennywise’s eyes snapped back to place and he gulped, bringing the S. S. Georgie back into view.

“Without your boat?”

The clown’s hand rose higher.

“Here...Take i—T.”

Georgie reaches in to grab the boat but rests his hand on the cold opening as Pennywise draws his hand back. Georgie leans closer and doesn’t notice the flash of molten yellow, the sharp teeth that scrape against a blood red lip.

He reaches farther and then—

Teeth, a struggle, a scream and finally...

White hot pain.

 


 

The rain seemed to pour harder as soon as you, Richie, and Stan riding your bikes through the wetness. Eddie was following behind in his mother’s car, who needed heavy persuasion to take him out on such a rainy day. A thick presence of anticipation for something seemed to fill everyone as you all biked to the Denbrough residence.

You were the first to stop your bike at the sight that lay before you, almost stumbling as you brought your hands to your face.

The others soon followed, with Richie uttering a quiet “What the fuck happened here?” In the back of all of your minds, you really didn’t want to know what happened, you heard Mrs. Kaspbrak drive up to the scene before making a sharp turn around.

You saw Mr. and Mrs. Denbrough talking to Officer Bowers, Mrs. Denbrough shaking harder than a leaf and holding a handkerchief up to her eyes. You also saw Bill, sitting at the curbside despite the fact that it was still pouring hard; he clenched a walkie talkie to his chest. You knelt down and placed a hand on his shoulder.

He had a haunted look in his eyes, eyes red and puffy.

“Bill?” you asked quietly, “What happened?”

He turned to you slowly and said words that made your heart freeze.

“Georgie’s missing.”

 

Chapter Text

The search went on for two weeks, and so did the pain.

None of you guys were the same after you all came to the revelation that Georgie’s face would be plastered on a MISSING poster. In fact, his death would be the first of many others who would go missing. After Georgie went missing, five other kids went missing the following week; all of them at the park without parental supervision.

To your relief, there was no monsters waiting for you in your home: no blood, no children, no sewer water.

But the door leading to the well was open as always.

Today was the day when Gerogie’s funeral would be held after Mr. Denbrough gave into the polices’ urgencies that his youngest child would most likely stay missing. It was a closed-casket funeral, a grim reminder for all of you.

You and your parents stood at the foot of the grave, listening to the chaplain and priest utter solemn verses, holding an umbrella over your head. Next to the head of the grave was Bill, Stan, Richie, and Eddie - along with their parents who were paying their respects to the empty coffin.

You felt thick rivulets of tears drip down your eyes, letting out quiet hiccupy sobs.

You were thinking back to a few weeks ago when you had attended Georgie’s birthday.

His seventh birthday.

His last birthday.

You closed your eyes and scrunched your face up in grief and rested your head into your mother’s middle, who rubbed patterns into your backside, the heavy rain matting down your clothes into your cold, wet skin.

You turned your head to look into Bill’s eyes, which were so focused onto the name on the casket that you couldn’t tell if the droplets on his face were tears or the rain.

You knew that look.

That look of determination.

That look of pure fire and anger.

The face of denial.

 


 

All you could even think about was Georgie.

The feeling of guilt and regret carving out what was you until you felt your lungs seize from crying so much. It left you rotten and awful, always lingering on the back of your mind every-time you saw his poster throughout Derry.

He was practically your kid considering how much time you spent watching and taking care of him.

You biked passed the pharmacy and mainstreet, turning a corner towards the park and city square, making your way towards the Old Derry Dance Hall. You biked as fast as you could in the weather, which had stopped raining after the fifth child had gone missing, with the skies now being cloudy and windy.

You parked your bike and slung your backpack over your shoulder and entered the Dance Hall, doing your best to tie your hair in a messy bun, holding your ballet shoes in your other hand.

Yes, you were a dancer. Something you had started since you were seven, which was around your second year of living in Derry.

“Sorry I’m late Miss Ross,” you apologized to your twenty-six year old tutor.

Amber Ross gave you an apologetic smile in response, seeing your red-eyed and frazzled appearance, the ends of your outfit a bit puffy from the electric thunderstorm-like air outside.

“It’s okay [Y/N],” she spoke in a soft voice, “I understand.”

“Shoes on,” she commanded.

The two of you practiced and danced around the empty hall, your reflections mimicking your movements on the other side of the room. You were currently practicing for an annual event that came every Hallows Eve, with you being the ballerina of the show for three years now. Every year’s danseur was a different person though, considering the fact that most of the boys who had auditioned and performed were often called fairies and girly-boys.

Many of them had quit as a result, or another dancer (male or female) had to take their place and finish the act with you.

After an hour of practice the two of you stopped to relax, sharing the jellied biscuits that she had brought with her. You turned to her with a curious look on your face.

“So… Who’s going to be my partner for the Dance?” you asked her.

Her face lit up and you had never seen an expression so happy.

She got up so quickly that she jumped a little at her excitement.

“Oh!” she continued, clapping her hands together, “I was just going to tell you about that!”

“Last week this man auditioned for the role and let me tell you he was good.”

“Dancing good or appearance good?”

Miss Ross’ smile grew a little wider and she motioned for you to listen close.

“Let me tell you [Y/N], from one dancer to another, when I say someone is good, I mean absolutely perfect. I’d say he was better than you and me combined.”

Your mouth gaped in a silent, “Really?”

Miss Ross nodded cheekily and looked at the clock and her excitement rose.

“I forgot to mention, you’re meeting him today!”

“Cool,” you tied your ballet shoes a little tighter, “So what grade is he in? Eighth, ninth? Senior?”

“I hope you’re fine with an adult,” Miss Ross said sheepishly, “He’s kinda tall too, I hope you don’t mind. I know you’re almost as tall as me but still, this guy knocks out all of the requirements and more.”

“Wow what’s a guy like him doing in Derry, Maine.” You joked.

“What’s his name?”

Before Miss Ross could reply to your question the doors quietly opened, and the two of you turned your attention to the man who had walked in. Your eyes opened a little in surprise and shock.

Well shit, You swore, she wasn’t lying.

The mysterious man was clad in simple clothes: a grey shirt that was tucked into dark blue jeans, a black greaser jacket hiding wide shoulders. He definitely looked like someone who wouldn’t lay a foot in Derry, with a perfectly sculpted face that was brought out by dark brown hair and light skin. His eyes were so brown that you swore you saw yellow, blue, and green flecks within those dark depths.

“Hey, you made it!” Miss Ross quickly wrapped an arm around the man, who returned it immediately.

She gestured to you and you suddenly felt like you were a deer in headlights when the man turned his attention to you.

“This is [Y/N], my lead dancer and favorite student,” she introduced and the two of you shook hands.

You shivered when your hands connected.

Ice cold, you quickly thought and gave him a smile.

“Well I guess I better make sure that I don’t take your spot, [Y/N].” he replied in a sweet voice, looking down at you.

Get it together [Y/N], he’s literally leagues above you.

He returned your tight smile with one that revealed pearly white teeth.

“Robert Gray.”

 

Chapter Text

Robert has beautiful eyes, you thought after the second day of practice had passed by.

Miss Ross was watching from the sidelines as the two of you danced, approvingly as you practiced moves in sync. The other dancers were practicing in a separate room by Miss Ross’ partner, Miss Bell. They never let you dance with the others until the day of performance, you were too fast, too much for the other dancers who marveled at your dance.

And you suddenly realized how the others felt when you danced.

You were captivated by the man that twirled you around, his movements flawless and light: holding you as if you were a piece of fine china. The old stereo was playing music that wafted through the room like a serenade.

Your heart thrummed against your chest when his nimble fingers grasped your forearm and wrapped it around your middle, giving a final twirl before setting you down.

It didn’t help that his gaze was solely locked on you.

Your eyes met brown speckled with yellow.

Brown speckled with molten gold, not staring at you, but into you.

You were so captivated by those haunting eyes that you didn’t hear Miss Ross turn off the music and saunter off into the other room with Miss Bell  to make sure that the other dancers were doing their part.

You didn’t pay attention to the clock ticking nor the howling wind outside.

Just Robert.

Robert’s gaze seemed indifferent, and yet you noticed the hint of amusement and something else within his eyes. His hands left you and you were shocked at how cold the rest of you felt; your body sought warmth from the chill.

And as if the lack of contact snapped you out of a trance you exhaled sharply and rubbed your hand behind your neck, turning your gaze to your shoes and the reflective floorboards.

You were so caught up in your thoughts that you didn’t hear Robert speak at first.

“—H-Huh?” you asked and looked up, bringing your hands to your sides.

“I’ll see you tomorrow—?” he asked, smiling and you nodded.

“O-Oh, yeah. Right, sure,” you shuffled over to your bags and began to pack up, trying to hide your flushed cheeks within your hair when you untied it.

Thankfully, Miss Ross’ familiar features popped into the room and and smiled.

“See you guys tomorrow!” she continued, “We’re going to be starting practice with costumes tomorrow until the day of so be prepared to bring them in with you!”

“Okay Miss Ross!” you called over your shoulder and turned around.

You felt a bit of shock to see that Robert had already left the building without a sound. You slipped on your sneakers and gave Miss Ross a quick hug before exiting the building and shivered when the wind chilled your legs.You were about to depart on your bike when you heard the rev of an engine and you felt your heart race at the guttural sound.

Oh God please don’t let it be Bowers, you thought and turned around.

A brand new, silver dollar Porsche had rolled up behind you, the windows tinted so dark that you couldn’t tell who it was. It continued to roll slowly until the driver’s door was an eagle-span away from you. The window rolled down and to your relief it was Robert, who gave you an apologetic smile.

“Do you need a ride?” he asked.

For some reason the question brought a deep fear within you—Weren’t you the one who said to not talk or take things from strangers?—and you shook you head and gestured to your bike.

“No, I have this,” you declined politely and Robert pushed again.

“You sure? At least this beats riding in this crappy weather,” he patted the outside of his door for good measure.

Don’t do it. A voice in your head spoke, Who cares if he’s cute or owns nice things: you’ve known him for three days and he’s twice your age!

You shake your head again and quickly biked away before Robert could comment on your response.

 


 

“So, are you going to come to the event on Halloween?” you asked Beverly as she fiddled with the bracelet on her wrist.

She looked at you with soft eyes and nodded.

“Of course," she smiled, “I asked my dad and he’s okay with it.”

“That’s… Surprising,” you noted with amazement, “Though knowing you, you probably would’ve gone without his permission.”

She let out a quiet laugh and crossed her arms.

“That’s true.”

“See—? I know you Beverly! Seriously, thank you so much.”

“No problem, [Y/N].”

Beverly took the flyer from your hands and read quietly.

“Derry’s Annual Hallows Eve Event… Organized by Amber Ross and Julia Bell… Starring [Y/N] and… Wait—Who’s this?”

You leaned into her to look at the flyer, her finger pointing at Robert’s name.

“Who’s Robert Gray? Never heard of him.”

“He’s this amazing dancer,” was all you could muster out at first, “said he lived in Derry as a kid before moving out, apparently he lived in Castle Rock before coming back; said he was an old money man that came to collect what was his.”

“Castle Rock?” Beverly asked incredulously, “That old town?”

You shrugged.

“That’s what he told us...” you continued, “That’s all I know about him.”

“Weird,” Beverly added.

“You said he was old money?” she asked, a little confused at your statement.

“Means that your family has been rich for a long time,” you leaned back against the railing.

“Does your dad drink?” you asked quietly and she looked a little uncomfortable at the question.

“Y-Yeah, why?”

“The brand, does it say Bob Gray on it?”

She nodded.

“I guess that’s the family name Robert is from: the Grays. Strange to think that he’s named after the man who started his family’s business, kinda weird ya’ know?”

Beverly hummed and turned to you with a solemn look on her face.

“So, how are you doing?” she asked quietly, “I mean… About…”

She mouthed Geogie’s name and you stopped for a moment, turning away quickly before letting out a sigh.

“It hurts," you opened truthfully, “But… I’ve been so distracted with the dance lately that I’ve nearly forgotten about him. Is that a bad thing? Am I a bad person for forgetting about him so quickly? Am I a bad person Bev?”

Beverly hugged you from behind and you clutched her thin arms around your hands, feeling tears threaten to breach your glassy eyes.

“You’re not a bad person [Y/N],” she said quietly, “Now, you said you wanted to show me your outfit for the dance?”

You let out a shaky breath and nodded and got up quickly, taking her hand.

“Yeah, you said you wanted to be a fashion designer, right?” you helped her onto the bike, “I’m still deciding on what I should do for the back.”

Neither of you two noticed the pair yellow eyes that followed you as you biked away from the apartment.

 

Chapter Text

He hates the way you smile at him.

He hates the way you grab his shoulders and tell him that it’s going to be okay. He hates the way that you look past his doe-eyes and teary cheeks and tell him that it’s not his fault. He hates the way you see him as a friend than something more.

He hates it.

He hates you.

And yet… He loves those very same things.

The things that make you… You. He loves hearing your voice, your smile, your everything.

Bill fiddles with the red and pink heart-shaped card in his hands, fingers tracing over the soft cursive lettering. It was a Valentine’s Day card that you had given him in four years ago: you were eleven then and he was nine.

“For you, Bill!" he remembered you telling him when you handed him the card and candy bar, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

He remembered stuttering so badly that Georgie thought he was having a head-attack. To Bill’s knowledge now, his brother was most likely talking about an aneurysm. Bill remembered your expression, full of happiness and appreciation, when he accepted the card and chocolate. His chest swirled with something warm and fuzzy.

Something that his mother had told him one day was love.

Bill thought that you had felt something for him back then, and maybe you did, but whether or not those feelings were true, Bill didn’t know. The following day his dreamy eyes and childish feelings were washed away when he realized that you had given cards to everyone else you knew.

He felt absolutely crushed when he saw that Stan had also received a card, alongside little Henry Bowers—out of all of the people—and even Victor Criss had received a card.

Greta Keene, Sally Mueller, Peter Gordon, Patrick Hockstetter.

Bill grips the card a little tighter and breathes through his nose heavily: wrapping himself tighter in his blankets, clutching the card close to his chest as he thought about you.

 

He wished that you did the same about him.

 

Chapter Text

The second time Robert had offered you a ride was on the day of the performance.

You had finished getting dressed and kissed your mom and dad goodbye before going outside to grab your bike. That’s when you heard it: the rev of an engine, the rolling of a window and then:

“My offer’s still up!” you heard Robert call out from behind.

You turned around, ready to get on the bike, eyes wide.

How does he know where I live? You thought for a brief moment, but your mind was too frantic to oppose his suggestion. You were running a bit late, with your parents setting up the house in a mirage of orange and black; they’d go to the performance when it was time.

But for now, you had to get to the Dance Hall and set up before the show started.

You dropped your bike and ran to the car, opening the passenger’s seat and hopping in, exhaling sharply. You fixed your hair and brought out a hand mirror, worriedly checking your face to see if your face-paint had smeared.

“Thanks,” you thanked and turned to look at Robert, “Is my make-up okay?”

His face had shown surprise and curiosity for once, he was usually laid-back and calm, as he saw your face. He looked at your outfit for a moment, maybe just a little too long, and turned his attention back to the road in front.

“It’s fine,” he replied curtly, “You’re not wearing the outfit Amber got you?”

“No, last week she gave me a replacement,” you said sheepishly, “My other dress was… Ruined.”

“What happened to it?” he asked, tone lacking in curiosity.

“Some prick drenched it in blood,” you answered quietly and looked out the window, watching as you passed the houses and buildings, the sky turning a gorgeous orange and yellow.

You had told him the truth, to an extent.

You wouldn’t tell him that you were washing your dress one day, looking away for a brief moment before turning back to see that you were cleaning the dress in thick blood. To your relief Miss Ross didn’t need an excuse from you before she went and bought a new dress for you, this one having a slightly different design.

It was a strapless black and yellow-gold tutu with a 8-layered tulle and a matching frilly collar that wrapped around your neck. On each arm were arm puffs with the same texture and color as your dress. You wore black mesh tights underneath with yellow-orange slippers, the long straps of the shoes wrapping around your legs like webs.

The back was surprisingly low cut but was held together by a mesh design, with four straps on each side of your back connecting into the middle of your shoulder blades into a single hexagonal shape: a spider.

The headpiece was a simple glittering golden web-and-spider themed tiara with a black veil that fell back against your tightly-braided hair. As per usual this event, you covered your face and shoulders with white greasepaint that faded nicely against your skin. Black lipstick matching the dark paint speared over your eyes and the bridge of your nose like a feathered mask.

It was one of the times you felt thankful that you had the chance to dress up for such events like this one.

They made you feel beautiful.

Robert’s attire had matched yours of course, except he wore all black with an equally black and gold vest that were puffy at the sleeves. Nothing much was done to his face or hands, he was after-all just the second lead.

But there was something about him that seemed different today.

His eyes, you noted, they’re…

“Yellow,” you blurted aloud and Robert turned to with a quizzical expression.

“What?”

“Your eyes,” you continued, “They’re yellow.”

His demeanor had changed at that moment, his hands gripped the steering wheel a little tighter, the air became colder, his eyes side-eyed you even though his attention was on the road. His expression darkened and you felt fear come alive within you, your words had caused him to feel something—what it was you had no idea. Feeling a bit awkward and afraid at the situation you shakily pressed a hand against his arm.

“C-Cool contacts,” you gave him an unsure smile, “glad you could get in character for the performance.”

And as soon as the fear and tenseness arrived, it disappeared at your words.

“Contacts,” he whispered, as if testing the word for the first time.

Weird.

“Look, we’re here,” you dropped your hand and pointed to the Halloween-themed Dance Hall.

 


 

The other dancers had done their part beautifully. Black and gold danced against white and orange, their lithe shadows engulfing the back of the stage like ghosts and ghouls. The music played and reverberated in the, surprisingly full building. These little things and events were attractive to the mundane people of Derry.

The viewers watched intently, with the occasional rude teenagers in the back seats, mainly Henry Bowers and his boys, doing God knows what back there.

On cue you jumped and danced into the scene, the spotlight now on you as you twirled and danced and smiled. You enjoyed the thrill of the rush of dancing, the air against your skin as you made the most of it all. You led your group of dancers—Regina Foreman, Brandon Yorks, Macy Barnes, Maya Grant, Eleanor Hendrix, and Sam Washington—across the smooth stage and gave a little bow as the first act was completed.

You felt happiness stir within you as you saw the shock of red hair in the crowd, your eyes meeting Beverly’s, before you returned to the sidelines and sat down to rest

You saw black shoes come into view and you looked up to see Robert.

“You’re doing great,” he said appreciatively and you gave him a smile, taking his hand as he lifted you off of your seat.

“Thanks,” you turned to the stage for a moment, “Two more acts to go and then I can’t wait to go home and sleep.”

“Not going out for Trick or Treating?” he teased and you shook your head and playfully slapped him.

“That stuff’s for kids.” You huffed and crossed your arms.

“But dancing for today isn’t?”

“Hey, that’s different,” you took a swig of water, “At least I’m making money off of this.”

“I have a lot of money," he blurted out bluntly, “Just ask and I’ll give you whatever, I have plenty of it to burn anyway.”

“Yeah no, If my parents saw me with loads of cash they’d freak.”

The curtains were drawing back and the dancers were preparing to put on another show.

“I’m serious [Y/N],” Robert looked down at you and suddenly you’d never felt so small in your life.

“I’d do anything for you.”

You tried to not think too much on his words as you excused yourself and returned to the stage with a smile.

Robert’s performance was not until the last scene, so he watched as you danced while he waited for his time to come. A brief look at him every now and then had you caught off guard as his eyes peered at you from the dark, almost glowing.

And for a moment...

You swore you saw pure red in the yellow of his eyes.

 

Chapter Text

You’d never been so close to someone in your entire life.

None of the dancers have been this close to you. You had never allowed them to grip your sides so tightly, never lifting you in the air so high that you could reach the moon. You had never felt so free and trapped at once.

You have never felt in such ways in the measly fifteen years of your life.

Never until Robert.

Within the two weeks you had known him he was everything that you looked for in someone. Whether it was in a friend or something else you had yet to find out. But for now you let yourself enjoy the moment.

You were captivated by his eyes, so much that you had nearly forgotten your steps: that you nearly forgot what you were doing on the stage in the first place. The darkness of the stage, lit up by yellow flickering lights, the quiet orchestra crackling out of Miss Ross’ stereo.

You look into Robert’s eyes as he spun you around, as he twirled you into the air in a synchronized dance.

 

Brown. Yellow. Brown. Yellow. Yellow. Yellow. Red.

 

You couldn’t tell if the changing of his eyes was on his own accord or the lights that illuminate your forms.

Even though you were the spider in this dance, you felt as if the roles were reversed with the way Robert was leading you across the stage.

You as the trapped butterfly, and Robert as the spider.

For some reason, in the deep dark recesses of your mind, you felt that this thought was true.

Now it was just you two on the stage, the final dance of the performance was a Pas de Deux between you and Robert. You had done twenty pirouettes before you lifted one of your legs up as high as you could and allowed Robert to twirl you around.

One of the more intimate parts of the dance, you could feel the gazes of your friends burning into you as Robert spun you one last time before letting you will your arms above your head, and one of your legs into the air.

Robert mimicked your movements, except being that he was tall enough, he simply stood and rested his front against your back.

The music stopped in a deep crescendo of strings that reminded you of screams.

Then after a moment of silence, clapping and cheering resounded. You breathed heavily and waited for the curtains to draw back before fixing yourself out of the position to look at Robert for a brief moment.

“That was great Robert!” you cheered with a bright smile on your face.

“Agreed,” he nodded. “Your part was amazing.”

“Thanks!”

“Your spins were flawless,” he added and you felt giddiness stir up in your stomach.

 

“You looked like you were floating.”

 

You were about to respond to his words when Miss Ross and Miss Bell approached you. Miss Ross looked like a proud mother watching her child do something extraordinary, in a way she did become like a second mother with how much she watched and tutored you. Miss Bell looked just as happy as she intertwined her fingers with Miss Ross’.

“That. Was. Amazing! ” Miss Ross gleefully said as she engulfed you in a hug and spun you around.

You returned her warm hug with an equally happy smile and clasped your hands, taking off the tiara to fiddle with the veil. You approached your other dancers and reached into your bag, handing each of them a butterscotch toffee bar; courtesy of your mother.

“You all did so good!” you praised them, giving the tiara to Regina—who was your star dancer and friend since middle school, “Especially you Regina, you handled the pointe really well at the end! By the way, how’s your foot?”

“F-Fine!” she replies with a smile, the happiness and excitement of the performance getting to everyone.

“Nothing I can’t handle!”

“Robert!” you called him over, raising a toffee bar to his face, “want one?”

“No, thank you,” he politely declined.

“Oh everyone, here’s their share of the performance.” Miss Bell hands everyone a thick stack of money.

Robert declines again and points to you.

“They can have it,” Robert shrugs. “They did more dancing than me, and they deserve it.”

“You sure?” Miss Bell then continues with realization, “Oh right, you’re the rich boy from Castle Rock.”

You accept the wad of cash with wide eyes and manage to stutter out a quiet “thank you.” Your parents come into view and you give them a gracious hug, placing the money in your bag. You feel love and warmth fill your insides when they give you a tight hug, letting a soft breath escape your mouth.

“Are you gonna join your friends trick or treating now?” your mother asked you and you thought back to what you had told Robert.

“That stuff’s for kids.”

You shake your head and turned to look at Miss Ross.

“I’m gonna help them clean up. I’ll have Miss Ross or someone else drop me off.”

“Okay,” your mother kissed your hair, not wanting to touch the white greasepaint. “Love you baby.”

“Love you too, mommy,” you hugged her back and watched as her and your dad exited the building.

You and the crew were about to clean up when you heard the loud and boisterous voice, one that belonged to none other than…

“Richie?” you asked and turned around, your friends were here.

“Woah, hooooly shiiiit!” Richie swore when he saw your face.

“Talk about scary! Why didn’t you tell me that you were gonna dress up as Eddie’s mom for Halloween.”

“W-Wh-WhAT! That’s so not funny man, your jokes are getting outdated,” Eddie gave him a truly perplexed and ‘I’m so done with this’ face and gestured to you. “They don’t even look like my mom!”

“What are you guys doing here, anyways?” you asked as you placed the paper pumpkins in a trash bin. “Aren’t you guys gonna go trick or treating tonight?”

“W-W-We—We w-wanted to h-help you clean up,” Bill piped up, staring at you.

“Thank you guys, you really don’t have to do this though,” you opposed when Stan had thrown stray confetti into the bin upon instinct.

“I agree with the vampire!” Richie raised his hand patted Eddie’s shoulder and spoke in a mock-Elizabethan accent. “Come with me Sir Edward! I shall accompany you to your carriage.”

“Shut up, man,” Little Eddie swatted his hand away and left the building with Richie following behind, his voice so loud that one could hear him speaking from outside.

All that was left was you, Bill, Stan, and your dance crew.

 


 

“Y-You look beautiful [Y/N],” Bill said, as he helped you pull the orange and yellow streamers from the ceiling.

You let your fingers comb your hair after the grueling three hours of having it in a tight bun, you turned to him and gave him a smile.

“Thanks.”

“Anytime,” he replied quickly, cheeks warm.

You were about to sling the trash bag, which was light and full of paper mâché props and designs, when Bill stopped you and took the bag from your hands. You gave him a surprised look and he stuttered out:

“L-L-Let me get that for you.”

He gave you that look again, the one of desperation and complete hope.

You sharpened your gaze and he became lost in your eyes. A twinge of guilt tugs at your heartstrings when you saw your own face in him; he had shared the same look you had when you looked at Robert. You felt bad that you didn’t feel the same for Bill.

But still you gave him a smile and hugged him.

“I’m so glad I have you here with me,” you said quietly into his ear.

He looked away and threw the bags in the larger bins without another word. Miss Ross and Miss Bell had dismissed everyone, leaving you and Bill to sit on the empty stage; leaning on his shoulder as you looked out at the empty seats.

“This is always my least favorite part,” you muttered.

“What do you m-mean?”

You felt Bill turn to look up at you.

“Seeing the empty seats,” you continued, lowering your voice, “It feels different when everyone’s here looking at you, having a good time, but…”

“But..?”

“When the performance is over everyone acts as if nothing had happened. They all turn to do whatever they were stopped from doing, falling back to old habits, forgetting the fun they had the day before.”

“Like what?”

An example you were going to use was Bill’s grief over Georgie—after you had noticed that he had forgotten about his brother today—but bit your tongue and shake your head.

“It’s… nevermind,” you stand up and helped Bill to the entrance.

“I had fun with you tonight.”

His cheeks turned warm and you mentally slapped yourself at your words. You didn’t want to lead him on, but this was how you talked with anyone else; you were just nice. And Bill took your niceness as something more.

“I-I had fun too,” Bill smiled and you returned it.

He leaned forward and you gave him a confused look.

He leaned even closer and—

 

“Am I interrupting something...?”

 

Bill jumped away from you and turned his head, and you followed. Your cheeks warmed from embarrassment when you saw Robert looking at the two of your with a blank look; yellow-contacts glinting under the light in a murky (red) brown manner. Your tired mind briefly thought that he was glaring at Bill but that thought was thrown away when Bill stuttered out a “no.”

“Do you still need a ride [Y/N]?” he asked and you felt Bill tense beside you.

You looked at Bill, then at Robert.

He’s still a stranger, the careful voice in your head cautioned.

“No,” you grabbed Bill’s arm protectively, “my friend is gonna take me home.”

As you guided Bill out of the building, he turned his head and took one last look at Robert.

He was glaring at him with such intensity that Bill’s heart rate increased and he hurried you to get on the bike and leave.

Bill took in the sight of the decorated home and watched as you entered the home without a second word. Children—dressed up as all sorts of monsters—laughing and playing with their parents. Bill felt jealousy when he thought that Georgie could’ve done that with him if it weren’t for the fact that he was de—missing, if he wasn’t missing.

 

That night you dreamed of kisses and warm hands, while Bill Denbrough dreamed of death.

 

Chapter Text

You dream of pump lips on your neck and long fingers combing through your hair.

You dream of dark brown eyes that take in everything about you.

You feel hands ghosting up and down your arms. They start from each individual finger, up the wrists, then the arms, before dipping them past your collarbones and up your shoulder-blades. And the touch is so soft, so gentle and so, so, so good.

You arch into the touch and let out a dreamy sigh, eyes still closed.

And these touches, these kisses, they’re not just from any random stranger.

They’re from Robert.

You dream of his face, his lips, his hands.

You dream of dancing with him again, you dream of the feeling that his hands made you feel when he grabbed you and twirled you across the stage. You dream of the look he gave you when you first met.

That captivating, haunting look.

Your young, unfamiliar mind dared to not think what more you could do in this dream, and continued to let you fall into the pleasure of being loved and held. Through your teenage high you opened your eyes again and let out a sharp gasp when you came face to face with—

“Do you love me [Y/N]?”

Bill. Bill Denbrough.

You closed your eyes and let out a whimper, pushing him away from you.

“I know you don’t love him, but oh—Oh, I know you love me.”

You opened your eyes again and Robert was back, except this Robert was the one with yellow eyes. Your heart-rate increased and you kicked him away, he didn’t budge.

“You’re a bad child," Robert scolded, seething, as he leaned over you.

Your breaths became heavy and hot, struggling to form words as he placed both his hands on the side of your face. His eyes were an angry fiery yellow with red rimming the outside like the sun during an eclipse.

 

Too close, too close, TOO CLOSE!

 

“G-G-Ge-Get away from me!” you screamed into his face.

He responded with a laugh before capturing your mouth with his.

This kiss was not like soft and slow ones, no, this one was rough and violently suffocating. You closed your eyes and screamed into the kiss, muffled and drowned out by Robert’s heavy breathing and groaning. 

He tilted your head and you struggled to gasp for air, feeling his hands lower until they were back to your neck.

He tightened his grip.

Panic and fear seeped into your brain as Robert was doing the equivalent of devouring you. Your vision darkened, and just as you were at the brink of suffocation…

 

He dropped you.

 

And you fell.

 

Chapter Text

You try your best to ignore Robert when you hear him call your name from across the street, trying to focus your attention on the mint milkshake in front of you, spinning the straw around the cup. You rest your other arm on the side of your face so that he doesn’t know the stark red blush that burns your cheeks. Trying to forget.

Trying to forget about your dream.

Trying to forget your feelings.

Because god forbid if he knew what you were thinking and dreaming.

Just go away. You thought bitterly and took a sip of your milkshake.

Was this how Bill felt when you were around?

You didn’t try to linger too much on that thought because as soon as you finished your long sip you heard a chair screech and you watched as Robert took a seat in front of you.

Feeling a bit mad at yourself, you allowed irrationality take over.

“Don’t you have anything better to do?” you snapped.

“Woah, am I not allowed to talk to a friend?” he rose his hands up in defense, smiling with his perfect teeth.

“We-We’re not friends,” you said, more as a question than a statement.

“Would you like to be?”

“Yes—!” you blurted out a little too quickly before continued, “I-I mean, no—Why would you even want to be friends with me? You’re an adult you shouldn’t be… You shouldn’t be making friends with people who are two times younger than you!”

“Maybe,” he muses but leans close.

“But what if I find you interesting?”

You snapped your head up and almost had a heart-attack when you realized that he leaned close enough for your noses to touch. You pulled back and looked around, noticing that no one was paying attention to what was transpiring between you too.

“Well I think—” you stammered out, “I think you picked the wrong person.”

“You weren’t so hostile when we danced.” Robert pouted.

Like a child, you gotta be kidding me.

“That was different,” ou turned your head, “and you’re… You’re…”

Creepy, you thought but kept it within you, You’re creepy and I’m disgusting.

“What do you want?” You asked after an uncomfortable silence passed between you two.

He was silent for a moment and then—

 

 

“I want you.”

 


 

You were a smart teenager, both in the streets and in the books; not so much for the latter as you realized you were beginning to burn yourself out. You did as you were told, you learned your morals, and you taught your morals to your friends.

Don’t talk to strangers.

Don’t take stuff from strangers.

Don’t get in a stranger’s car.

If a man or woman approaches you with unclear intentions, run.

Find the nearest parent if things go wrong.

You realized to your disgust that you had broken all of those little rules. All within the span of a month, ever since Robert came into your life. You couldn’t even do your homework without thinking about him in the back of your mind.

And what he said to you a few hours ago—

His words were predatory and wrong, but came out sweet and innocent. You tried to make up an idea of what his intentions were, good or bad, but no matter how hard you tried nothing seemed to work.

If he wanted wanted you, then he could’ve had his way. It would not be hard, considering how he towered over you and was surprisingly strong—Where did all of that strength come from if his arms weren’t remotely the same as his strength?

If he wanted you, as what—a friend?—then why didn’t he bother Greta Keene or the other girls on West Broadway? They had so much going on for them, despite the fact that they were rotten on the inside.

Maybe that’s why Robert didn’t bother with them, and yet…

Why was he so set on trying to grab your attention?

Just who was Robert Gray exactly?

There was a sense of familiarity in his actions though, as if he knew everything and anything about you without you having to tell him. There was also something else in his mannerisms, acting as if he was waiting for this very moment to talk to you.

I dreamt of you.

I craved you.

But you didn’t let him off the hook so easily. “Try anything on me and I won’t hesitate to tell my parents.” You remembered telling Robert during your conversation. He nodded but had a hidden anger behind his eyes, because what? Because your parents had actually cared about you? Because they weren’t wrapped up in this so-called Derry curse that you noticed enrapture the other adults of this town?

But nonetheless he complied and then he smiled.

And all the suspicion washed away. Not feeling safe per se, but the feeling of trust and easiness brought you to a state that eased your view of him. You did what was natural to you, foreign to the people of Derry: you hugged him, an act of forgiveness between both parties.

And this time the hug felt nice.

There was no rush, no urgency, no fear pushing your actions.

Robert returned the hug tensely, almost unfamiliar with the action despite doing it so often when someone would greet him. There was just something different in the way you treated others.

“Are you—” you pulled away from the hug, “I mean, are you sure about this?”

He nodded without hesitation.

 


 

It was to your surprise that Miss Bell had proposed to Miss Ross on the twelfth day of November. It was just a normal dance routine with you and Miss Ross when Miss Bell enters the dance room, a large smile on her face and stars in her eyes as she approaches your teacher—no your friend.

You’re watching the two exchange words before Miss Bell just brings out a ring from the breast-pocket of her dress and sweetly asks the sacred words that bind two people together, bind them for life.

Miss Ross, as if expecting her other’s actions, lets tears spill down her eyes and nods her head rapidly. She wraps her arms around Miss Bell’s next and kisses her neck.

They break apart and all they could do was stare at each other with such love that you felt tears of happiness and adoration brimming your eyes.

That’s beautiful, you wiped your eyes, I hope I will love someone like that one day.

Miss Ross suddenly remembered you existed and turned to you, happy tears streaming down her young cheeks. She kisses Miss Bell on the lips one last time before Miss Bell leaves the building.

“[Y/N]—”

“Congratulations!” you cheered, feeling giddy at the exchange.

“Thank you, [Y/N],” Miss Ross walks over to you and takes a seat, twirling the silver band between her fingers.

“Me and Julia were thinking of leaving Derry,” she says quietly, you looked at her shocked.

“Really? I mean, that’s good for you too. Derry’s not exactly a good place for people like…”

You trailed off unsure how to finish her sentence, she let out a giggle and rubbed your hair.

“I get it.”

“So, where are you thinking of going to?”

“Florida?” Miss Ross—or was it Mrs. Bell now? Mrs. Ross?—shrugged, “I heard Berkely isn’t so bad?”

“Where’s that again?”

“California.”

“Oh… Will you guys visit?” you turned to her with a genuine look on your face, “And wait—Who’s going to be my tutor from now on?”

She smiled and said the one name were dreading to hear.

“Robert.”

Your response was that of surprise and shock, though feeling something strange stir within you at that revelation. Miss Ross seemed to take in your expression and she looked unsure if answering your question was the best thing to do.

She had this look in her eye.

Does she know?

Does she know?

“Oh cool.” You quickly said to avoid suspicion, trying to calm your beating heart.

Shit.

 


It was midnight when you heard tapping on your window.

You were staying up that night, finishing homework and cleaning out Holland’s tank. Said tarantula was rested neatly on your shoulder as you finished making sure that the glass enclosure was completely air-dried. You had recently went down to the Barrens to snatch a few live plants and branches, along with fresh soil that you would use for the substrate.

You matted down the dirt and was about to place the logs down when you heard it.

Tap, tap, tap.

Remembering your previous encounters, both in dream and real life, with this house you turned around and walked over to the window and looked out.

A pair of dark eyes looked out and you were about to let out another scream when the eyes grow a little larger and a face emerged from the dark, illuminated by the light in your room.

You gotta be fucking kidding me. You thought, shaking your head.

You opened the window and whisper-yelled to the intruder.

“What the hell are you doing here?!”

“Can’t I come to a friend’s house?” Robert asked as he struggled to balance himself against the oak tree.

You suddenly regret having your room by that tree.

“Not right now!” you whispered again, “What if someone sees you?”

“They can’t see me if I come inside,” Robert replied.

You sighed and rubbed a hand over your face before opening the window completely, shivering at the cold autumn air. It took Robert a good minute or more to get inside, considering how tall he was.

You closed the window and the shutters closed with a quiet ‘click!’. You rubbed Holland’s backside affectionately, a bit thankful that she was in a moderate mood today.

He looked around your room, taking it in; and then looked down at you.

And then at the spider, he rose his eyebrow when he saw Holland.

“You have a spider on your shoulder,” he said, amazed.

“Yeah? So what?” you walked over to the tank and took a seat on your bed, going back to rearranging Holland’s tank.

“You like spiders?”

“Not all of them.”

“Then why did you keep her?”

“...She looked pretty and…”

You felt the bed dip and Robert’s shoulder nudged yours as he watched you finish setting up Holland’s tank. You rubbed your hands with a warm, sanitized cloth to rub away the dirt from your fingernails.

“And…?”

“I like watching her,” you answered truthfully, placing the supplies in your closet.

“I enjoy watching her whenever I feed her.”

“How cruel,” Robert smiled mischievously, “You enjoy putting those creatures to death?”

You gave him a disturbed look.

“I wouldn’t put it like that,” you sat on the chair, not wanting to be so close to him.

“I don’t enjoy it. I think it’s cruel, but there’s nothing I can do about it.”

“Then why do you let your spider murder those animals when you think it’s cruel?”

You glared at Robert, dimming the light a little to rest your tired eyes as you finished the last parts of your essay. You turned your head and you noticed that he was looking at the spider with approval, you returned your attention to your work and whispered:

“I don’t see it as murder…” you continued, “Does a crocodile murder a gazelle?”

You heard Robert hum thoughtfully in response.

“What is her name?”

“Holland,” you placed the papers in your binder before zipping it into your backpack.

“And why would you name her that?”

“You ask a lot of questions,” you snapped then spoke with an apologetic voice, “I’m sorry, that was rude of me.”

“It’s okay,” Robert rubbed the back of his neck, “I suppose it’s rude of me to come here uninvited.”

“Anyways, I named her after that because I read it in a world history book as a kid,” you waved your hand up and down, motioning to Holland who was currently feasting on a small mouse, “I just thought the name was pretty and I always wanted to go there.”

“Go where?”

You were surprised at his lack of knowledge but answered his question nonetheless.

“Holland, or well, the Netherlands I suppose? The books have inconsistent information… Besides that, I heard that they grow the most beautiful tulips there. I think they’re pretty.”

“Would you ever go there?”

“To the Netherlands, maybe? When I’m older?”

“So you’d leave Derry as well?”

You gave him a confused look.

“I mean, yeah, that’s the plan after high school,” you grabbed a picture frame on your bedside, looking at it. “I have a lot of family outside of the town and well… I’m not gonna stay here forever. I’ll move on.”

Robert was strangely quiet as you continued your inner monologue.

“You still here Robert?” you turned around and he looked at you blankly before breathing through his nostrils.

“Yeah, I’m here.”

You looked at the clock, it read 1:23 a.m. You grabbed his arm and urged him to get up but he wouldn’t budge.

“C’mon Rob,” you saw the corner of his lips twitch upwards a little at the nickname. “You gotta go now.”

He was about to oppose when you gave him a sharp glare and opened the window again.

“Robert,” you pleaded. “One thing at a time. Maybe you can stay longer during winter break or something, but not now. It’s a school night and my dad’s a light sleeper.”

After watching him make his way down the tree and walk down the street you shut your window, turned off the light, and climbed into your bed. You closed your eyes and welcomed a peaceful sleep for the first time in weeks.

 

Chapter Text

There were many things that Robert Gray was.

But normal was certainly not one of them.

If fact, he knew you more than you knew him. Whenever you would ask him questions, personal or other, he would always reply with vague and cryptic answers. It irritated and disturbed you to no end.

“Where do you live?”

“In Derry.”

“Where’s the rest of your family?”

“Gone.”

"What do you do when I'm not with you?"

"Think about you."

“Was it a coincidence that we met?”

He would never answer that last question directly, only humming in response or saying something to divert your attention. You had the gripping notion that it was no coincidence; just a well-planned scheme. But it wasn’t so bad, at least he took you around town. There was just a thrill of the idea of being driven around town without the supervision of your parents.

You had the window rolled down, one of your hands outside to feel the cool air, with the other hand tapping against the song that came out of the radio radio. Although you’d never admit it to him, you loved riding around Derry in his car. It was just one of those things, you thought, I can see why Sally Mueller loves to be around Peter Gordon.

That same thought could be applied to anyone, really. All of the West Broadway kids had that luxury, and you had recently seen Belch—Why didn’t he just go by Reggie or something?—Huggins cruising around a convertible Trans Am with his friends. It made you a little jealous yourself, for not knowing how to drive yet having the same advantages as them, but Robert made up for that concern.

Said man turned his head to look at you.

“Why are you smiling?” he asked.

“I’m happy,” you replied, still looking out the window.

“Why?”

You, you make me happy.

“T-There doesn’t have to be a reason.”

He let you leave it at that.

And yet, there was something trying to pry itself in your mind: a reminder that you didn’t even seem to recall. What was it? You rolled up the window and folded your hands into your lap. You’d been avoiding something these past few weeks.

Or was it someone? Some people?

No matter how hard you thought, your thoughts would always trace back to Robert.

You watched as he drove over the bridge, picking up speed, and towards the forest. You turned to him with a curious look on your face. It was a Saturday morning and you had told your parents that you were going to be out for the day with your friends.

A partial lie—which ate up your insides this morning like thick tar—but one that was able to get you out of the house.

“Why are we going to the Barrens?”

“I want to show you something,” was all he said this morning.

He stopped at the Kissing Bridge and parked so that the front of his car faced away from the forest. You got out and shivered, bringing your arms to your sides. Sooner or later it was going to start snowing; and that meant no school and no going out. Robert exited and glanced at you for a moment as he ran his hands through his hair. You looked away and huffed air from your rosy cheeks.

“C’mon, follow me.”

He grabbed your hand and guided you down the worn dirt path that had been made by teenagers and people long before your time. His hands were warm today, or maybe that it was so cold today that you couldn’t tell the difference. You walked until you hear rushing water and a strong smell touched your nose; it reminded you of the well.

The two of you reached a large sewer opening, covered in branches and dried up vines. The steamy arid air mixing with the rushing water, you scrunch your nose up and let out a noise of confusion and disgust.

Robert let go of your hand and began to walk into the entrance.

Hold on.

“Woah, woah, woah. Why are you going there?”

“There’s something in here I want you to see.”

He reached his hand out to you, and you backed up in response. The smile on his face fell and he dropped his hand to his side.

“C’mon, it won’t take long,” he pressed further and you shake your head rapidly, averting your gaze to the rocks.

“I-I—I don’t want to go in there,” you answered truthfully and crossed your arms.

“If it’s getting dirty you’re worried about, I can carry you,” he raised both of his arms to you.

You shake your head and take another step back.

“I don’t want to—it’s scary.”

“There are other things to be afraid of,” Robert said quietly, a small smile on his face.

“Trust me, [Y/N].”

I got myself into this mess, you thought to yourself, you’re gonna end up on those MISSING posters one day.

You jumped and he took you in his arms, guiding you through the dark tunnel.

 

Chapter Text

The sounds of splashing water echoed throughout the tunnels.

You fumbled with a lighter and snapped the wheel, causing a spark to fly before fire escaped—making it somewhat easier to see. Robert, who seemed pretty fine with carrying you, looked down at you and rose a brow.

“You smoke?” he asked curiously.

You shake your head and let out a small laugh.

“No—No, my friend gave this to me as a gift,” you replied, “she gave it to me on my birthday last year.”

You briefly thought back to when you had opened Beverly’s gift for you, and remembered letting out a giggle when you told her that you didn’t smoke: which made her flustered for the rest of the day. Good memories. Even if you didn’t smoke, you still used the lighter for other things like lighting candles and lighting the stove whenever the house ran out of propane.

You gripped his greaser jacket, feeling the shirt underneath twist underneath your fingers, even though his hold on you was enough to keep you above the disgusting sewer water. Your heart was beating so fast at that moment—not from giddiness or shock from being so close to Robert—but in fear.

He had been walking for more than five minutes now, and your lighter was the only thing illuminating the decrepit tunnels. You felt the childhood fear of the dark get over you, only intensifying by your situation that any other sane person would avoid.

You were afraid.

Afraid of the dark, afraid of the near-silence, afraid of Robert.

He was two times your size, had a questionable about of strength, and the pre-existing mindset of wanting to be with you. And you had allowed him to carry you through the dark sewer tunnels, with the two of you being the only ones breathing in there. And now the reality of it was now sinking in.

You took one glance at Robert and shakily asked, “Do you know where you’re going?”

Robert regarded your question and nodded, giving you a sincere smile.

The smile didn’t feel so nice, given the dim light casting over his features—his face almost looked like a mask with how the shadows cascaded against his cheeks—and the peculiar situation.

It only made your heart dance faster in it’s cage of flesh and bones. You swallowed back a thick lump that formed in your throat.

“We’re almost there,” he said.

“C-Can you at least tell me where we’re going?” you asked, voice trembling as you added a quiet “please” at the end.

His eyes gleamed with mirth.

“I saw something down here that reminded me of you,” he continued, “we’re almost there.”

What were you doing in the sewers in the first place, Robert?

Why can’t you tell me what it is you’re trying to show me?

Finally he had reached the equivalent of a sewer intersection, the tunnel you came out of leading to an open area where sewer water dripped down a large hole. There were three other tunnel entrances.

Robert let you down, allowing you to stretch your legs and arms, letting out a groan when the smell of sewage grew rank. You shut the lighter when you realized that some light came out from one of the holes above. You turned around and looked up at Robert with concerned eyes.

“So, uh...” you struggled to form words, “Where’s that thing you wanted to show me?”

“Close your eyes and cover them.”

You complied with a timid “okay” and did as you were told.

Your heart thrummed against your chest, so hard that you could hear it thumping it in your ears with the blood rushing to your head. It was quiet now, and Robert—if he was even still there—was even quieter. There was no indication of movement from him, no splashing nor the squeakiness of his fancy shoes; nothing.

It was too quiet.

“Are you almost done Robert?” you called out, eyes still covered.

You had partially scared yourself when you heard your voice echo and reverb against the damp concrete walls. There was only more silence and your breathing had quickened a considerable amount.

“Robert?” you called out again, your voice shaking this time.

Maybe you heard it in the back of your mind but you swore you heard the squeak of rubber behind you. Your hands pressed tighter against your forehead and eyes, slightly digging your fingers into the spots above your ears from shaking so much.

It’s nothing, you thought, trying to calm yourself down.

This time you heard the squeak again, and this time it was right behind you.

“Robert!” you pleaded, “This isn’t funny man, please say something!”

Silence again.

Fuck it, you thought while loosening your grip.

You removed your hands and suddenly found yourself in pitch black darkness. You let out a strangled half-gasp, half-sob as you turned around and around, your eyes meeting darkness. You felt the water beneath your shoes slosh and splash with each movement. You were too stunned, too engrossed with fear to utter any more words.

And that’s when you felt it.

A light trace of a finger against your back.

You strangled out another sob and turned around, but the slippery concrete caused you to slip—Dammit, why did you wear flats today?—and fall on your ass. You bit down a gag that lurched your stomach forward when you felt the water seep against your clothes and splashed against your arms. Your sensitivity to all things gross and disgusting making you cry out as you felt the thick water drip down your arms like rain.

There was light again in the sewers, but you had wished that you were back in the darkness; a painful, gripping feeling crawled up your spin. When you looked up you could only let out another scream, this one echoing until it made your head throb and shake.

There was a clown in front of you.

With horror you slowly looked up, taking in its outdated appearance: silver costume splashed with red—Oh God, was that its natural color, or was it blood?—pom poms, ruffles, white cracked paint with red lips that seemed to trail up its cheeks and over its eyes, and a red nose. The clown had a shock of ginger hair that sprouted from its bulbous forehead, twisting and curling upwards like horns. ITs lips were drawn back in a cruel grin that spilled white-pink-red drool. And its eyes, they frightened you to the core.

Yellow rimmed red with anger and hunger.

You backed away, or tried to, your now-wet clothes weighing you down.

“I-I-I,” you stammered, feeling hot tears roll down your cheeks when you blinked.

“I-I-I,” IT mocked, “You sound like B-B-B-Buh-Buh-Buh—Billy!”

You felt concern tug at your heart upon hearing your friend’s name, but the fear was too great for you to send a coherent response.

“Don’t hurt him!” you wailed, the palms of your hands scraping against the hard ground.

“In time!” IT giggled and took a step forward, “In time. In time, in time…”

IT babbled as it sauntered over to you, jagged yellow buck-teeth biting its lower lip.

You brought your legs closer to your chest, but it didn’t do you any good when it lunged forward, grabbing your ankles and sliding you closer to IT; causing your upper body to fall and let your head slam against the water and concrete. You screamed louder, trying to push IT away from you. IT neither budged nor faltered its actions.

IT only giggled at your suffering, drool continuing to spill from its mouth like a soupy faucet.

“You are ssssooo ssscared,” IT leaned, dragging its disgusting nose on your cheek down to your neck; you let out another sob when you felt air come out of its nostrils. IT was sniffing you: smelling you.

“Sweeten the meat, prepare the meal,” IT croons in your face, one of its eyes not even looking at you.

You couldn’t hold back the gag that came when its rotten breath hit your face with each word.

Oh—How easy it would be to have your flesh between my teeth,” IT gave you a jagged smile of rotten, yellow teeth.

You wailed and turned your head away from It.

“Robert!” you cried suddenly, “Robert!”

IT let out an estranged giggle, as if you were an animal that had done something unnatural.

“Robert! Robert, come help me! I’m scared!” IT mimicked your voice with ease, cracking with excitement.

IT glowered at you suddenly.

“He can’t help you down here,” IT whispered, “No sir-ee, not with ol’ Pennywise ‘round.”

IT grabbed your neck in a bruising grip, crushing your wind-pipes as it opened its mouth. The more it opened the more you noticed the rows and rows of teeth under that eldritch maw, bloody saliva and thick drool dropping from the upper gums. You fumbled against the concrete, hands frantically shaking in the water, terror gripping your soul like a vice.

And as the more it got closer to you, the more you began to felt a dull throb in your head; something was pushing—breaking your mind. A faint glow began to erupt from the back of its never-ending jaws, and the throbbing pain worsened.

Your fingers dragged against something smooth under the sewer water.

My lighter, you grabbed it tightly; eyes bleary the brighter the lights became.

You brought your hand above the water, clicking the wheel but screamed when it failed to work: waterlogged. It let out a bubbly laugh and tightened its grip on your neck.

The lights became brighter and suddenly, you felt almost weightless.

No, no, no, no, NO! you felt yourself slipping, loosening your grip on the lighter. Something in those lights were breaking your mind, taking what would be your sanity and tearing it piece by piece as the seconds passed by.

And as you failed to comprehend the sights you were seeing you believed.

Believed that the lighter worked, believed that this was just another sick dream.

You believed that you were going to live.

With the last of your strength, you pulled back your arm and threw the failed lighter into It’s mouth. What had happened next both shocked and frightened you.

It was as if you lit kerosene and oil into It’s mouth, a bright yellow flame erupting deep within its throat and outward; causing it to lung backwards until it was on its back. IT clawed at its burning throat and mouth, the teeth and jaws closing until you could make out the clown’s features, albeit now burning.

Your darkening vision made you see triple—no, more than that—but seeing the window of opportunity you scrambled up and ran from where Robert had walked, darkness and pain filling your vision. You didn’t dare to look back, in fear that it was going to appear behind you. Tears continued to fall as your lungs burned for fresh air, feeling pain all around your body where your skin scraped against the concrete.

You were in a horrible maze, the amount of turns and gated entries hurting your fragile mind.

Finally, at the end of the tunnel you saw a tiny sliver of white.

Light, pure sunlight.

You let out a noise of relief and continued to run. You ran until you slipped and fell, sliding out of the entrance and scraping your face against the leaves and wet rocks. You were shaking on your hands and knees, never feeling so relieved in your life to feel the light of the cloud-covered sun against your dirty skin.

The breathing and panic became too much and you released the contents of your breakfast onto the forest floor, your throat burning from the acid and the bruises that you felt form on your delicate skin.

“[Y/N], I—Christ!”

You felt strong arms lift you up and you saw him.

Perfect face, brown eyes, combed hair.

And instead of feeling relief, you felt an emotion that affected you so much that your voice cracked when you screamed at him.

“YOU LEFT ME!”

Pure, blinding anger.

You slammed your fists against his chest, head looking at him with teary eyes before lowering it in defeat. You began to cry again, snot and bile trailing down your chin.

“You left me,” you choked out, eyes looking anywhere but him, “You left me. I trusted you! I opened my eyes and you were...”

Your words came out strangled and warped, your vocal cords unable to regulate its tone from being crushed so tightly against each other.

“I trusted you.”

You felt his arms wrap around you, not minding if your clothes or the remains of your panic attack, stained his. You looked up at him for reassurance, what a fool, but closed your eyes in defeat. You hugged him tightly in response, heaving and gasping against the solid wall of his chest.

“I’m sorry,” he said quietly, running his hands through your hair, “I didn’t mean to take long. What happened?”

I almost died you fucking asshole. Wait

Did he even know why you were so scared in the first place? Did he hear your screams and followed you? Maybe he thinks your behavior was the result of some strange abandonment issue. Did he see it—Did he?

“C-Clown,” you whispered.

You felt his eyes burn into your skull.

“What?” he asked.

“Th-Th-There was—There—A.. I... I-IT…” you grimaced, “s-s-some-something almost—It tried to e-eat me.”

“What tried to eat you?” his eyes held concern.

You were about to speak again when you fell into a fit of coughs, the burning of your throat returning. You shivered when you felt his cold hands run up your back from underneath your shirt—in small rhythmic circles, trailing up and down against your back.

“I-I-Wanna go… Go h...h-home…” you sobbed.

Before you could say anything more, you felt heavy exhaustion take over.

 

Chapter Text

Thirty-seven.

That was how many days it had been since you had last hung out with the Losers; not straightforward, but a collective number that Bill had been counting ever since you had stopped visiting his house sometime back in October. Which was strange, considering how much time you had used to spend with him. And then… And then what?

He hadn’t seen you since the Halloween dance, he hadn’t actually hugged you since that day.

They’re probably just doing something important… Bill had thought to himself one day when you hadn’t answered the door one day.

Until one fateful Saturday morning. As he and his friends were riding down Center Street he saw it, he heard it. It was a throaty growl of an engine, and it had sounded similar to Belch’s vehicle so he instinctively turned his head back, and saw a new car strolling down Derry. By now his friends were already in the arcade when it happened, so he wouldn’t have expected them to also see.

The car wasn’t going particularly fast so when he saw your soft face and hand out the window, he froze. You were smiling, a big genuine grin that stretched your lips; your eyes were closed as you let out a laugh. You turned your head and opened your eyes, saying something to the driver.

The tint of the windows along with you bouncing happily made it hard for Bill to see who the driver was. But by the time Bill could make out the driver’s dark-haired head, you had long turned a corner. Bill turns around to look for his friends, who are distracted by the newly refurbished Street Fighter arcade cabinet. He looks at you again, and begins to bike at a pace that would seem like he’s just taking a stroll through town.

The car turns a corner and begins to head towards the outskirts of Center Street.

You and your driving for a while until Bill sees the familiar red cover up ahead, trees surrounding the area. Bill takes this time to discard Silver somewhere and hide a bike. He watches as you stop at a place he had hoped you wouldn’t go to:

The Kissing Bridge.

He watches as you exit the car, stretching, before the driver finally gets up. The driver’s is absolutely massive, not even his own father Zack Denbrough could compare to this man’s height. As he walks towards you Bill leans closer to the tree and narrows his eyes, trying to make out the man’s features; why does he look so familiar?

As if hit by a train, Bill’s eyes widen when he realizes that this man was the same one you had danced with. It finally clicked into place: everyone had been talking about some rich man moving to Derry, which explained the nice car. But, it didn’t explain why you were going down to the Barrens.

He watches as you grab the man’s hand and follow him down into the forest.

Bill Denbrough bikes away before he could see anything more: a million thoughts forming at that moment. Why were you with him? Why were you so trusting? What were you two going to do down there? He pushes the last question out of his mind before he could think of anything he’d wish he had never thought of. He doesn’t look back as he bikes away, and when his friends comment on his distraught appearance, he lies and says that he had a bad run-in with Bowers. The remainder of his day was spent thinking about you and that man.

He gets up and opens a drawer, flyers and papers flying out; they’re all of the posters you had given him each time that you were doing some sort of performance. His eyes catch the Halloween of ‘88 poster and reads the cover, looking for the name…

He found it. Robert Gray.

At that moment Bill had never hated a name so much in his life.

 

Chapter Text

You wake up in a bed that was not your own.

You feel your muscles throb in pain, shaking against the soft blankets whenever you tried to lift an arm or leg. You opened your eyes, which were also sore and itchy; they were probably red. Your face was clean from anything dirty and you smelled nice as well. You ran a hand through your hair expecting it to tangle with leaves and brush, but it didn’t. Instead they smoothly slipped through the spaces between your fingers. You weren’t in your normal clothes, instead you were dressed in an oversized black t-shirt and a clean pair of undergarments. You pushed back the question of how they were your size.

You took in your surroundings; mahogany red walls, a black bookshelf on the shelf with a variety of books and trinkets, a leather black recliner, two nightstands on each side of the bed, and a fine art painting of a birch forest—which stuck out like a sore thumb against the mostly-dark room.

There were two windows on your left-side, spread apart, with thin slivers of light pouring through the drawn blinds. You only saw thick groups of green and dying brown from the dense trees.

The back of your head throbbed painfully and you lifted a weak hand to rub it. You felt a hard bump on the bottom and rested a shaky finger against your neck. It felt soft and you imagined it looking yellow, or maybe blue, considering how long you were asleep.

Sleep… your mind repeated.

You closed your eyes for a brief moment and rested your head back on the pillow, groaning when you felt a wave of soreness throughout your skull. The last comment that your brain shut down again was how nice the sheets smelled.

-

When you finally came to, it was due to feeling a hand against your cheek. The feeling sent a shiver your way and you let out a groan, opening your eyes again. You saw him, probably sitting on his knees, with on arm resting on the bed and the other touching your cheek.

“Rob—” you couldn’t finish his name, not with the way your throat hurt.

Robert shushed you, humming, and spoke in a quiet voice.

“Don’t speak,” he said with concern in his voice. “You can talk when you feel like it.”

You nodded against his hand, leaning into the touch.

For a moment you were wondering what you were doing here.

You tried to think back to the events of yesterday but every-time you did, made your head hurt and your eyes sting with… With what? You thought harder as you stared off into the window behind Robert.

He drove me to the Kissing Bridge. He took me down to the Barrens and he…

You felt confused when your mind wouldn’t let you remember any further. You looked back at Robert, who watched you with intent eyes, his eyes were then drawn to your neck.

“You scared me,” Robert whispered, “You were asleep nearly the whole day yesterday, and today. It’s 5 in the afternoon.”

The whole day… You thought, I was gone the whole day. My parents…

“M-My m-mmo… My mommy, d-dad...” your eyes darted around the room, as if looking for your parents.

“—think that you’re at a friend’s house,” Robert finished for you. “You’re in a pretty bad shape, [Y/N]. I can tell them and the school that you’re on a dancing field trip.”

Remembering that he took the place of Miss Ross as your dance tutor—even though he spent more time hanging out with you than dancing—you shake your head profusely; hating to agree to a lie that was nowhere near the truth. Then you remembered your possibly bruised neck, puffy eyes, bandaged hands, and felt compelled to hesitate your shaking.

You looked into Robert’s eyes and gave in, nodding “yes”.

He stood up to go but you grabbed his hand.

“Where?” was all you could manage.

“My house,” he paused as if thinking of the right words to say, “I own a private estate outside the main town, we’re somewhere in the forest, near that local lamb farm not too far from here.”

“S-Stay,” you pleaded.

Robert’s gaze softened on you and he nodded, removing your hand to sit down on the recliner nearby. You eyed his form for a few minutes before feeling reassured that he was going nowhere.

For the third time in the past 48 hours you fell asleep.

 


 

The house on 29 Neibolt Street seemed to hold an air of tense hostility that same day. Robert Gray had appeared at the front door, giving the dark grey door three pristine knocks.

A woman, thirty-nine with small wrinkles on her face that resembles [Y/N]’s features—but not quite—opens the door with a confused expression. She’s a bit shorter than her husband and her child, having to crane her neck up at the man standing at her front door.

Robert Gray gives her a smooth smile.

“Mrs. Randall I presume?” Robert asks, more as a statement than a question.

She stares at Robert, uninterested and begins to close the door. Robert, not being the type to be denied so easily, stops the door with the front of his shiny brown shoe.

“I’m Robert Gray,” he sticks his hand out for a handshake, “I’m [Y/N]’s new dance tutor.”

At hearing that the woman’s eyes light up and she lets out an apology, taking his hand before calling out the name of her husband. The thump and creaks of the staircase echoed throughout the Victorian house, followed by a man none other than your father. Robert bows his head in respect and sticks his hand out for him to shake.

“Please come inside, sirs” your father returns Robert’s gracious smile.

Your father guides him into the living space while your mother leaves to the kitchen to grab some refreshments. Robert takes one good look at the room and lets out a hum. Your father takes note of this and lets out a laugh, taking the coffee cup from your mother’s hands when she returns.

“This place is certainly cleaner than I remembered,” Robert mused.

“It is,” Your father agreed with a smile. “Before we came to Derry, this place was a complete crap crackhouse.”

Your father doesn’t notice the twitch of an eye and momentary scowl on Robert’s face as he says this.

“We fixed it up within two months,” you mother chimes in, offering Robert tea.

He politely declines with a thin, impatient smile on his face; your parents mistook it as appreciative.

“I wanted to talk to you about [Y/N],” Robert gets right into business.

Your mother lets out a gasp, “Oh dear, speaking of them; how are they? We haven’t heard from them all of yesterday!”

“They stopped by the Dance Hall yesterday,” Robert lied, “and they told me that they were staying at a friend’s house.”

Another lie.

“Gah! The nerve of that child! I swear they’ve been getting with the wrong crowd lately.”

“Honey,” your mother scolded, “[Y/N] is just growing up, they can do things without our permission. They’re going to be 16 in December from Christ’s sake!”

Your father sighed in annoyance and turned to Robert.

“Did they tell you how long they were going to stay at their friend’s house?”

“They said until morning,” Robert paused to look at the pictures above the fireplace with disinterest, “but I came to remind you that they have a dance trip for a few days.”

“Dance trip?” your mother asked, eyes furrowing. “[Y/N] never mentioned this.”

Robert’s eyes flashed a murky yellow for a second.

Your father’s expression suddenly goes from confident, to that of confusion and bewilderment. He unknowingly rubs a hand on his forehead, a headache and dull pain stinging at his frontal lobe.

“Wait—” your father pauses, “I think, I think I remember them telling me this.”

Cue [Y/N]’s mother also remembering the event out of the blue. Robert’s lips tugged upwards in a small smirk.

“We should be back within the next week,” Robert lies, getting up.

“Amber Ross and Julia Bell, [Y/N]’s old tutors, will also be joining us along with other students.” Lies.

And their parents thank Robert for the information, the keys of trust for [Y/N] being passed down to him.

He leaves the house without another word.

 


 

You take the time that you’re awake to explore Robert’s home. To say that his home was large was an understatement, his description (an estate) was a much more accurate description. You had changed into a different pair of clothes, after looking through the closet and shelves underneath your bed, and was now sporting long black leggings made from a brand-name company. You still wore the same long shirt, however.

It seemed Robert Gray, who you expected to like the shades of grey, had a love for black clothing. He didn’t exactly go overboard with the dark clothing, but it was a surprising sight to see against the vibrant and pastel colors that were so fashionable this year. You had wondered how and when he was able to buy so many clothes, and they were all for you.

Your brain had filled with pride and appreciation at the information.

It was not long before your growled and you clutched your stomach at the aching feeling. You walked down the hallway, down the stairs, past the living room—Just how big was this house exactly? And how the hell did you or your friends not notice it? From the amount of time you spent in the Barrens, which was a lot, you probably would’ve seen this house more than once—and entered a large kitchen.

Not even the houses you’d passed in West Broadway, or the gold all those snobby girls and boys wipe their asses with, could compare to this. You sluggishly opened the pantry for food, grabbing a random cereal box and milk from the fridge. The bowls and utensils took a bit longer to find but when you did you immediately scarfed down the food, though you waited for it to get soggy so that it went down easier with your bruised throat.

Within minutes you were full and cleaned up the mess.

After that you unsure with what you were supposed to do next, so you retraced your steps back to your room. You heard a shuffle behind you and you turned your whole body around, since turning your neck was painful.

Robert was back, when did he come back?

And when you locked eyes with him he smiled.

“Did you eat yet?” he asked.

You nodded and pointed up the stairs, signaling that you were going to go back to your room.

He had other plans in mind.

“Do you want to hang out with me in the living room?”

Although you were a bit exhausted you still complied with his question and followed him into the large room. You carefully plopped down on the couch, letting out a sigh.

“I talked with your parents,” Robert said, grabbing a pillow from one of the nearby couches. “They said they were fine with you being gone. I told them that you’d be back in a week, and that’s good timing. You’ll probably recover by then.”

You dazed off for a moment and wondered when he had placed your head on a pillow on top of his lap. You hummed and looked at him when he began to run his fingers through your hair. He had turned the fireplace on, distracting you with the beautiful flames that danced, the clouds outside showing the first signs of snow.

Fire... Your eyebrows furrowed and a headache returned, you felt Robert’s fingers brush your neck for a moment.

 

Fire, flame-red. Ginger hair, burning, burning mouth, teeth—TEETH.

 

You gasped and sat upright, not caring if it made your sides hurt. You didn’t know where that came from.

Did that have to do something with the Barrens and your injuries? Your lost memory?

You turned to Robert and let a weak noise, shaking your head from side to side, grasping his hand.

“Not my—not, not my neck,” you whispered.

“Sorry,” Robert apologized in a hushed voice, “I’ll be more careful.”

You laid down and allowed him to return to his relaxing ministrations.

 

Chapter Text

You wake up to Robert’s fingers still in your hair. They’re intertwined in fine loops until his hands are on the top of your head, simply resting there. You slowly open your eyes and look at him. He’s looking back at you with a smile on his face, as if he hadn’t slept at all last night. You turned your gaze elsewhere and look out the windows, had it begun to snow already? You slowly bring your hands up to remove Robert’s.

“Did you sleep fine?” You hear him ask.

You nod and stretch.

Ugh, I barely did anything but sleep but I still feel so tired. I need to take a shower.

“Good, good,” Robert helps you up the stairs, but you try to politely decline; he doesn’t listen and continues to walk beside you.

“It started snowing,” he continued as if reading your thoughts, “There’s not much that we can do today.”

We... You thought, I just want to sleep.

You entered the bathroom but gave him a confused and nervous expression when he was about to follow. You shake your head, mid-close of the door.

“I can shower on my own,” you rasped, your hand on the door knob slightly shaking.

Why am I so nervous?

Robert gives you an expression like he doesn’t believe you.

He’s determined to help you.

“Are you sure? You’re still weak.You sure you won’t slip?”

“I—I can do it,” you stuttered as you closed the door and called out, “You… You can just leave the clothes outside the door.”

The scalding water felt amazing against your cold, clammy skin. You had noticed there were all sorts of scratches and bruises that littered your body, after unbandaging your hands you noticed that they healed a little, the skin had only welted up in small red bumps and lines. After a few minutes you finished and shut the water off. You grabbed the nearest towel and wrapped it around yourself, you were about to open the shower door when you froze: hand hovering above the handle.

There was something behind the murky glass, something tall. You swore you saw red and orange glimmering behind the foggy door.

Your heart began to beat faster. You opened your mouth to say something but the words were strangled in your mouth. Upon instinct you grabbed the door handle and swung it open as fast as you could.

There was nothing there.

Letting out a sigh of relief you quickly opened the bathroom door and saw a neat pile of folded clothes at the front—similar to what you wore yesterday except the shirt was replaced with a fitted black turtleneck. After changing you grabbed your clothes and placed them in the hamper. When you finished brushing your teeth and brushing your hair you leaned forward to swipe at the still-foggy mirror. Jesus Christ.

You tilted your head up to look at your neck, lightly tracing it with a shaky gasp. It had lost its yellow in some areas and was replaced with  dark magenta and purple hue. You swallowed back a sob when you noticed that the bruises had taken the form of fingers around your neck. You left the bathroom without a second to spare.

Leaving the warm comfort of the bathroom you walked back downstairs and saw Robert already pouring a bowl of cereal. He saw you and smiled, placing the bowl on the dining table.

“Hungry?” he asked.

Your stomach answered that question for you.

Letting out a soft laugh he turns around and puts the items away, sliding the bowl over to your seat when you sit down. Before you devoured your breakfast, glad that he didn’t go overboard with the cereal, you pointed to the bowl.

“You’re not eating?” you whispered.

“I ate already,” Robert’s smile seemed to widen at this.

“What did you eat?” you pried, digging your spoon into the cereal.

“Last night’s dinner.”

Still as cryptic and weird as ever, Robert. You thought, but you’d never tell that to his face.

Other than his need for you, you couldn’t really think of anything else that was off-putting for you to be around him. He was so nice and caring to you, buying you gifts, driving you around town, and took care of you when you were hurt. Hell, he’s letting you stay at his private residence! Why should you feel suspicious around him when he has been everything but awful and cruel to you?

You didn’t notice the hungry look in his eyes when he eyed your bruised neck.

“Do I, uh, do—Do I have any homework?” you asked.

He let out a laugh at your question and you timidly hid your cheeks.

“You don’t need to worry about that, darling.”

You didn’t particularly like “cute” nicknames but still felt giddy butterflies in your chest when he used it, nonetheless.

“I had everything taken care of.”

“Thank you Robert,” you gave him a sincere smile.

“You—You don’t have to do all of this for me.”

“I don’t have to, but I want to.”

Smooth motherfucker.

Your mind, for some reason, wandered back to the events of Saturday.

“Robert?”

“Hmm?”

“You never showed me the thing you wa-wanted me to see,” you rasped out again, you were almost done with your food.

His eyes lit up at this and he exclaims as he fishes for something in his pocket.

He brings his hand out and drops the metal in front of you.

A silver necklace with a beautiful ring—in pristine condition as well—tied at the end. You opened your mouth to speak but no words came out. He took you down there to find a necklace . Your head began to hurt when you tried to recall the events that led to your injuries, and instead of being mad at him for taking you to a place that brought harm; you smiled .

“Pretty,” you choked out, gently touching the necklace.

“Thank you, Robert.”

“You’re welcome [Y/N].”

You snatched the necklace and looked at the ring and stared at the beautiful gem that rested on top of the silver-and-gold band of the ring; it was a lovely ruby, amber color that reminded you of the poppies at home. Inside of the gem-amber was a tiny insect inside. A spider. You got up and walked over to Robert, engulfing him in a warm hug; he returned it gladly.

You released him from the hug to put it on but you heard him get up quickly. You froze when he grabbed your hands, he was so close behind you now.

“Here—Let me help you,” Robert urged. “Move your hair back for me, please.”

You complied and he clasped the necklace, and you let go of your hair, looking down at the necklace and ring that now rested sound above your chest. You turned around to look up at him.

“How did you even find this?” you asked, there was no way that he’d be able to find something like this in the sewer.

“I dropped something there a while ago,” he explained, brushing the hair out of your face.

“I went to go look for it and saw the ring glimmering under the water.”

“You couldn’t have gotten it without me? We went through so much trouble to just—get a ring.”

“I know,” Robert’s voice holds a tone of regret and apology as he guides you upstairs, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know that would happen.”

You greeted your bed with open arms and rolled around in the sheets. A glass box caught your eye and to your surprise, it was Holland’s tank. You turned around and pointed to the enclosure, mouth agape.

“H-How…?”

“I made it for you last night while you slept on the couch,” he continues while taking a seat at the end of the bed, “and bought her over this morning, figured you’d want to see her still.”

You press a hand against the glass with happiness.

“Thank—”

“You don’t have to thank me, darling. Just seeing you happy makes it worth it.”

You gave him an unsure look.

“I… I don’t deserve this, Robert…”

“But you do,” Robert shuffles so that he’s sitting closer to you.

He points to the necklace resting between your collarbones.

“If I say you deserve it, you deserve it.”

His words stir something within you and you lap up every single syllable like it was a universal truth. Robert begins to hug you, burying his nose into your hair, placing a hand on the small of your back. Your eyes flutter at the gesture before closing completely. You listened for his heartbeat, human and real, as you grasped at his arms.

You’re wonderful. You fawned, How do you even exist?

 


 

Since the day IT had entered the Earth, it dreamt of a taste out of it’s reach. It was a taste unlike any other that it had devoured in its long, cycled life; an enticing smell that grew ever since Derry was made. When IT rose to feast it hungered for that taste—that sweet, rich aroma that wafted and teased it—and yet IT could not grasp it.

Not until the night of December 15th, 1972: when it was still slumbering deep beneath the gorge and now-established sewers of Derry. In the Macroverse, IT longed to awaken and sink its teeth into whatever had caused the taste that haunted it for billions of years.

IT dreamt of the Crimson King in all of his horrific glory. IT dreamt of his deadlights that filled the Prim with such despair that It felt its own lights quiver in fear. IT dreamt of the Crimson King meddling with the tiniest affairs on Earth that would affect the whole cosmos.

And then on that fateful night, IT dreamt of you.

That tiny little bundle of flesh and tears that cried for their first gasps of air, the lights of the delivery room blinding you. IT remembered the smell that wafted off of you like mist in a swamp, that very same smell that enticed IT.

Oh how badly it wanted to release itself from the Macroverse and savor every drop of your blood. But you were oh-so far away, you haven't even lived in Derry in the first few years of your life. And when you came to the town, IT rejoiced in its slumber; these events were no mere coincidence. No… No, It could feel the power of Prim destroying you; the flavor you were born with slowly intensifying, slowing growing. This was so much more than sweetening the meat.

You were touched by the Crimson King since birth, destined for death and suffering.

Not even the poor turtle could prevent it from happening, and he knew this. And as always, the Turtle was too docile to stop the Crimson King, too dumb to realize the fault in his actions.

You were a treasure to be savored.

Your soul would scream perfectly in its deadlights for eternity.

And when the day came, a rainy October morning, little Dorsey Corcoran was beaten to death by his disturbed father. IT felt itself pull from the Macroverse with each slam of the thick hammer against the little boy’s fragile head. And when IT rose, it’s first instinct was to chase the overpowering odor of fear. It had you in it’s grasp that morning, your naive and curious nature led you down into the basement, to the well: the mouth of IT’s home.

IT had a taste of that addicting fear that you presented, and wanted more.

Robert Gray, albeit a younger and more appealing version—compared to the perverted, estranged version that it had used in Its early days in Derry—was reborn. And it took it’s sweet time building your fear and concern. Every minute with you felt like It was a starving man that had entered a buffet for the first time. It was exhilarating and addictive, and it had planned to devour you when IT, as Robert, took you down to the Barrens… Key word: had.

IT did not expect how well it accustomed itself to Robert, and it did not anticipate the repercussions of putting so much time into this fleshy mold. It did not heed the warnings of the ancient rule that It could not avoid no matter how much it wanted to: It must obey the rules of the form it chooses. From a perfectly crafted backstory to a personality that was almost alien to IT, Robert Gray had become a separate person from IT.

IT did not love you.

IT’s only desire was to savor the fear in your flesh.

But Robert… Robert loved you.

Just like Pennywise the Dancing Clown had loved the circus, entertainment, balloons, and making kids laugh; Robert’s nature had influenced It in a way. Just what part of Robert’s affection and obsession was the product of his creation, and what part was IT?

And for a moment the form of Robert threatened to come out the confines of Pennywise when you called for him. It was so close, its maw ready to devour you… And then IT felt it.

IT felt you.

Had it not been for that fraction of a second that distracted IT, it would’ve bitten off your head and savored the grey matter that would squish under its teeth: it would’ve made a mock throne out of your bones. It would’ve made you float.

And as you screamed, It felt something within you scream with your mortal body.

A tremble of fear that turned into pure anger and determination. Something was threatening to break free from within you, and for a brief moment when you threw the lighter into IT's mouth; IT felt pain. And as you ran away It came to the sudden realization that would anger it to its core; IT’s deadlights thrumming with unrestrained feeling of… Of what?

It was a feeling foreign to IT's natural form, a foul menagerie of emotions that nearly made it hack up it’s previous meal.

IT understood at that moment why you were born with the taste of fear. It understood how you survived the touch of the Crimson King. It knew what was trying to break free from your mortal body when you screamed for mercy. It knew what they were.

IT could feel them.

 

Chapter Text

“What did you do to my neck?” you rasped, staring into the bathroom mirror.

"Its healing fast."

Robert looks at your reflection, one hand on your shoulder and the other rubbing up and down on your neck. This was something of a normal occurrence ever since your meetings became frequent, and staying at his house for the fourth day only solidified it. It was normal for him to lay his hands on you, always rubbing and massaging comfortingly. At first you felt a sinking feeling, a feeling of disgust and confusion whenever he did that, but by now those feelings had slightly subsided. Slightly.

Your neck had lost its yellow and now looked a little brown, though some parts had still remained blue. Your skin had healed far faster than you anticipated and it was strange to think about.

“You’re doing this on your own,” Robert said and released his hold on you, “I just gave you a place to rest and food to eat.”

Still, his explanation didn’t make any sense. You’d seen plenty of other guys and girls who had bruises last as long as two weeks, yours had only lasted for not even a week.

“Can we go outside?” you asked him an hour later, letting Holland crawl along your arm.

“Why do you want to go outside?” he asked.

“Am I not allowed to go outside?” you parroted with a frown.

“I just don’t think it’s wise for you to go out in the snow when you’re still healing.”

“I can make decisions on my own," you barked, trying your best to not cough and hack.

“And some of those decisions aren’t smart.”

Excuse me?

“I-I—I’m not a baby Robert!” you yelled, voice cracking, “You’re not the boss of me!”

Something changed at that moment when you decided to scream at him.

Robert gets up from his seat, sliding the leather chair so hard that it almost fell, and takes long, angry strides towards you. He grabs your arm and let out a sneer, tugging you forward. You yelp as you lose your footing and fell on your knees, the other half of your body being lifted up by Robert’s tight hold. Holland falls off your arm and scurries off to the nearest dark corner of the room. You whimper in pain when you feel the muscles and bones of your arm and wrist grind together painfully, threatening to sprain and break.

“Listen to me,” he was practically seething.

“You do not get to talk back to me.”

“You are not allowed to make the decisions around here. That’s my job.”

“Do not forget who is in charge here.”

You gasp as he tightens his grip on your wrist, you use your other hand to try to pry him off. Your vision begins to waterlog with tears, you feel your lungs begin to burn. Sights and sounds begin to come back to you. The Barrens, a sewer tunnel, a struggle.

“Robert I—”

“DO NOT TALK BACK!” he roars in your face, lifting his other hand up.

You let out a strangled cry, turning your head away in fear that he would hit you. When you don’t feel the impact you turn back to look up at him, tears streaming down your face, but it’s not Robert your seeing its a white-faced, red-painted—

 

Clown, clown, CLOWN, CLOWN—

 

You find your surroundings hazy and dark, muted smells and sounds filling your head with rushing silence. You see a clown, seething at you with its yellow now-red eyes, in the place of Robert. You scream and cry and holler, your chest heaving with such intensity that you can’t breathe; something akin to an asthma attack that you’d seen befall Eddie a number of times.

And then you see Robert again.

Back and forth your vision stirs, shifting and changing.

Robert, the clown, Robert, the clown. Robert. The Clown.

It’s too much for you, you begin to shake, unsure with what you’re seeing is a reality. You’re going mad, unable to tell the difference between the house and the sewer tunnel. Your brain struggling to understand the situation causes the return of your memory, the trauma seeping deep within your mind until you remember the feelings, smells, and sounds.

It was going to eat you, you were going to die.

Robert was mad at you, you were going to be slapped.

You let one final scream as he—IT—lets go of your arm and you fall to the ground. And expecting to feel the splash of sewer water against you, you feel the smooth hardwood flooring: stained with droplets of tears.

You turn your head to look up at Robert.

He’s breathing hard, clenching and un-clenching knuckle-white fists as if having an internal struggle. You back away from him and hug yourself; coughing and gasping for air.

“Stop it. Stop it,” you plead, grabbing your sprained wrist.

You hide your face into the crux of your chest and begin to cry again.

And not a second too soon, you feel arms scooping underneath you and hoisting you up, but you don’t dare look up at him. You want to scream at him to let you go, but you’re too afraid to do so. He places you in the bed with ease and you expect to hear him leave and shut the door. But he doesn’t. Instead you hear him shuffle behind you and he gets under the covers with you. Panic grips as your heart like a vice at that moment.

You don’t so much as move when he wraps an arm around your middle and pulls you close to his chest.

“Shh…” he whispers into your hair, “I know I scared you earlier, but I had to.”

“I’m just looking out for you.”

“You know how much I care about you, don’t you?”

“You’d know that I’d never hurt you.”

“Let’s keep this as a secret between us.”

“You don’t tell anyone else what happened here, and I won’t be mad at you.”

 

You wanted to throw up when you felt the need to believe him.

 

Chapter Text

Robert had left the house for two days straight, leaving you alone in the large house.

You did nothing much after that, mostly looking for Holland after the thought of her still lingering around the house worried you. You miraculously found her downstairs, already making a nest in one of the potted plants. You placed her back in the enclosure and fetched her a few insects you found lingering near the windows.

While you were alone you had reevaluated yourself, or tried to at least, and made sense of how you were doing.

Your neck had healed yesterday, though there were no marks it still felt sore to the touch. You were too frightened by the events of Tuesday to care or explain how your neck had healed so fast. Your wrist however, the one you had used for writing, was absolutely bruised though. You raise the mulberry blue-colored hand, thinking back to Robert’s words.

You’d know that I’d never hurt you.

And maybe he was right in that aspect, maybe he was just in the wrong head-space at that time. That wasn’t Robert who hurt you, you tried to reason to yourself, that was an angry man who was fed up with your complaining. That was what you were doing right? Complaining?

The whole time that you’d been staying here, you had been pressing him day and night to go outside, to leave the house, to do anything that wasn’t remotely related to being cooped up inside. He offered you luxuries, gifts, and the nicest attitude one could offer. And all you wanted to do was “go outside”.

You look out the window and watch as the snow falls. Your warm cheek burned against the cool glass, warming up the fog that froze the corners of the clear panels.

You felt awful.

Physically and emotionally.

You missed him.

You missed Robert.

You missed his caring caresses.

His charming words.

You wondered if Bill was thinking about you and you had wanted nothing more than to leave this house and give him the biggest hug you could ever give him; telling him you’re sorry. You longed to ride with the Losers again, how long has it been since you all had an official meet-up? And Beverly, you missed talking to her. You missed her beautiful dark red hair and pixie cheeks, her forest green eyes that were gleaming with the hint of ocean blue within them. You missed them all.

And yet… At that same time, you wished that you thought of Robert instead of your friends.

God, you were fucking ruined.

You heard the front door open and close softly, you clenched your eyes and removed your cheek from the window. You heard foot-steps trudge up the wooden steps and stop until they’re behind you. You don’t turn your head quickly, nor do you feel excitement tug at your heart.

“[Y/N],” he says softly.

Your hands begin to shake.

“[Y/N], please.”

You avert your gaze down to the necklace. For some reason you were compelled to wear it, it felt like a promise to you. But that didn’t mean that your anger and fear had subsided.

“I don’t… You.. Just go away,” your voice was hoarse again. The pain returning after the screaming and crying.

“I—”

He seemed to choke on his words and you almost turned your head.

“I’m sorry. I know what I did was wrong and… I’m sorry.”

Sorry doesn’t fix my wrist. Your only response to his words was a loud exhale from your nose. You scare me.

“Please you—You don’t have to stay here anymore, if it makes you feel better.”

At that you turned your head to look at him; and you wish that you hadn’t.

He looked worse than you, sounded worse than you. His face now held a somewhat hollow look, his soft cheeks now appearing somewhat hollow against smooth cheekbones; he looked starved. His eyes held dark circles that framed his dark brown eyes, and his eyebrows were drawn back in a pained look. His hair was tousled and unkempt, tangled in some areas; had he even slept while he was gone? Oh God, had he been crying? That enough was evident from the faint tear streaks down his cheeks, the small trails frozen from the cold weather outside.

Guilt snatches your soul and absolutely wrecks it into thousands of emotional pieces.

“Just please,” You hear his voice crack emotionally, choking up.

“Please forgive me, [Y/N].”

He hurt you, the voice in your head persuades you to do the opposite. He made you cry, made you scared.

“You scare me,” you voice your thoughts aloud quietly.

You see his hand clench for a moment at your words, but the look in his eyes holds so much emotion within them. His actions spoke volumes, but his eyes spoke even louder without having to utter a single word.

“I know and I didn’t mean to,” Robert gives you your space, not having moved an inch.

You still don’t budge, unsure how to react.

“I just—I see myself in you,” Robert explains, “Dad never really gave a crap and mom well… Mom wasn’t exactly the kindest person to me either.”

Oh no, please don’t do this Robert. If he was telling you what you thought he was going to tell, then you’d probably be a crying, forgiving mess at the end of this conversation. He leans against the wall and crosses his arms, sighing and looking up at the ceiling for a moment to look into your eyes; enticing you into his story.

“I was a bad kid, [Y/N],” he lets out a melancholic chuckle, “I did bad things, went with the wrong crowd. I made mistakes that I shouldn’t have even considered. I let the money and fame control me, I had no grip on my life. I wanted to die.”

He hides his face in his hands, tightly grabbing his hair; he’s shaking.

“I guess that could explain why I’m so fucked up.”

Tears began to breach your eyes.

“And I guess...” he sighs into his hand, holding it as a fist to his lips, “I guess that’s why I’m so overprotective of you. I didn’t realize how fast I’d fallen until it was nearly too late.”

“Robert—” you cut yourself off, his name sending waves of guilt and pain to your brain.

He takes this as a sign to walk towards you. You make no move to back away as he kneels down and places a hand to your cheek. He’s definitely shaking, afraid to touch you, afraid to hurt you. He gets right up your face so that your foreheads are touching and your noses brush against each other. He takes your breath away and at the same time he gives it back to you.

“I… I don’t want you to end up like me,” he whispered, his eyes searching for something within your own.

And that, was your breaking point. You let out a tiny swear fly past your lips as you throw your arms around him and bury your face into the crux between his neck and shoulders. You hold onto him tightly, afraid that if you let go he was going to disappear forever. He lets out his own breath that he had been holding and returns the hug.

The two of you stay like that for a few minutes, holding onto each other, so quiet that you thought you could hear Robert’s heartbeat again. Your warm face was pressed against his cold shoulders, while his own, cold face cooled your burning skin. It was an intimate moment between…

Between friends, yes...

An intimate moment between friends.

 

Chapter Text

IT wanted to kill you at that moment; when you talked back at it.

IT wanted to bite your hand off, to rip your throat out with its teeth. IT would’ve enjoyed watching you scream and squirm beneath it as you bleed to death. It would’ve finally savored that impossible taste; satiate its never-ending hunger for the longest time.

And yet, IT's artificial brain within the confines of Robert’s physical body, began to fire up. Replicated chemicals and reactions that were eerily similar to the real deal, stopped IT from clawing your tear-streaked face into thin strips of bloody flesh. The false emotions that IT willed itself to feel clashed against Its primordial desires.

IT was confused, angry, and frustrated at the same time.

IT would not let Robert control IT.

Robert was merely a means to an end.

IT never had so much trouble with its other forms. As Pennywise, IT would accidentally get lost in happiness and amusement whenever IT had attempted to entertain children, but Pennywise was a layered form that IT intended to use to lure and eat. As were Its many other forms. Robert, however, was not intended to be used for such purposes.

Even as IT recalled the time it devoured the original (the first) Robert “Bob” Gray, it remembered that it had no clue what to do when it had assumed the man’s form. IT had only used Bob Gray’s form only once, and that was to lure an unsuspecting circus member. That event had resulted in IT being caught for a moment, as Bob Gray; the growing town of Derry had given the imposter a price of death for being wanted for murder. That didn’t matter much, however. The town had forgotten about that event with the help of Its ability, but it still made IT realize something important.

Human forms were so much more fickle than it’s other forms. Too weak, too reliable on their emotions.

Robert Gray, the current form, was no exception.

IT did not care for you. IT did not love you.

IT wanted to devour you so badly. 

But knowing what was underneath your flesh, kept It at bay.

It was only waiting for you to ripen up, your scent was becoming stronger. IT was too much for it to handle at most times, having to hold you close as Robert to take in your scent. Time was soon running short, however, How long would it be before you realized that IT was Robert? How long would it be until your body willed yourself over to the Prim?

How long would it be until you realized what was ready to burst from your body, growing before the day you were born? 

How long, how long, how long…

 

IT did not love you.

IT did not care for you.

 

And yet those feelings willed IT to stay with you as you slept.

IT should not feel this way, it should not react this way to fickle human things.

There was only one reason why these emotions would affect IT in a powerful way.

On that same night, IT came to a conclusion that made it more disgusted than it was at Robert’s obsession over you. So disgusted that it was unable to eat for two whole days, every meal that It tried to devour turning sour with its equally disturbing realization.

 

These were not Robert’s feelings.

 

 

Chapter Text

The heavy blizzard had hit Derry harder than before, drenching the streets and houses with thick white inches of snowfall. Just as you predicted last week, school had been called off until the snow would pass: which would most likely be 2 weeks from now. Thankfully to you your mother’s request, your father had a heater installed into the house. Still, that didn’t stop you from having the need to bundle yourself in as many blankets as possible. You were on the couch, head resting against the pillow with Gone With the Wind playing on the small television.

The snow wasn’t unbearable per say, but most of the schools had called off school at the first sight of snow. There was at least 1.5 feet of snow, at least. But as you were swayed off to sleep, you heard laughter outside.

You quickly got out of your blanket bundle and opened the blinds, looking outside and watching as children laughed and played on their sleds. The windy and twisty branches of the oak tree almost blinding you from the sight. You were home alone, except for Holland of course, and was absolutely bored out of your mind. You considered knocking on going to Bill’s house to ask him if he wanted to have a snowball fight, but fought against that thought when you look back at the amount of snow that covered the streets.

It was better than staying cooped up at home, but still... Why even try when you could just stay in the comfort of your home?

You hear a sharp knock at your door.

Feeling a bit tired, you sluggishly trudged downstairs and opened the door.

“Hello? Who is—Oh.” You didn’t need a second longer to recognize who was at your door.

“Bill, it’s been forever!” You embraced him in a strong hug.

He was dressed in layers of snow gear, his pale face cherry red at his ears, nose, and cheeks. You allowed him to come inside and take off his jacket and snowpants, snow-covered boots crunched when it made contact with the floor. He was shivering, breaths of air coming out of his air in visible puffs of gray.

“You can leave your things here,” you pointed to the coat rack.

“Th-Thanks,” Bill gave you a warm smile.

“It’s uh—It’s been a while,” you said honestly, giving him a sheepish smile as you looked down at him.

He nodded and looked around the house, even though he’s been here more than once already.

“Not going out with the others, Bill?” you asked as you headed back up stairs.

He shook his head, following you up the stairs.

“N-No,” he continued, “I missed you.”

“I missed you too.”

“What are you watching?” he asked and sat on the bed next to you.

“Gone With the Wind.”

You wrap yourself in your blankets again and make a pocket beside you, looking over at Bill. He gives you a surprised look.

“Come join my blanket cocoon, Billy!”

He doesn’t complain and the two of you sit underneath the blanket with pillows surrounding you, intently watching the movie. You reach out an arm to brush some hair out of your face.

“Wh-wh-what h-happened to your wrist?”

You freeze for a moment but answer his question calmly.

“Sprained it while I was on my trip,” you lied. “Dancing is actually very dangerous.”

“Does it hurt?”

“Not really, it’s mostly sore.”

He leans against your shoulder and you wrap a comforting arm around him. Although he doesn’t say it outright, you know the sounds of children laughing is only reminding him of one thing now.

“It gets better, Bill,” you whisper.

You lean your chin again his forehead, finding solace in the warmth that the two of you shared. He exhales quietly and places a hand on your arm in a semi-hug. The two of you sit like this for a while, watching the movie. Bill removed his hold and turns to you. You look back down at him.

“Th-thank you, [Y/N].”

”Anytime, Bill,” you give him a soft smile. “I care about you a lot.”

“I know.”

At that moment he does something completely unexpected at that moment. He places a hand on your neck, closes his eyes, presses his lips to yours…

 

And steals your first kiss.

 

 

Chapter Text

For Bill’s second kiss, and with this being your first, he didn’t do so bad in your opinion, but it wasn’t anything extraordinary, either.

He was as still as you, and still cold from the weather outside. His eyes were clenched tight, afraid to look you. You didn’t return the kiss though, feeling awkward that you were kissing your best friend (who was two years younger than you nonetheless). At least he didn’t push you into it. When he was done he pulled away with a guilty expression on his eyes.

“I-I-I,” he stammered and recoiled his hand from your neck, as if you had burned him.

“I-I-I’m s-sorry, [Y/N].”

“Bill, wait!”

He gets out of the blanket wrap and scurries out of your room, you chase after him but by the time you’re downstairs he’s sloppily putting on his snow gear and leaves the house with the slam of the door.

“Bill!” You call, but you know he’s long gone when the crunching of his boots against the snow grows quiet. Soon enough, you're drenched in silence and your own self-pity. “Shit…” You rub a hand against your forehead and run it through your hair.

He probably thinks that I hate him now, you think and sulk back to your room.

You shut off the television and look out the window, the dark branches of the oak tree covering your view of the snow-covered neighborhood. You look at the footsteps that trail from your door and away from the house. Your mind was racing too much with negative thoughts and you changed out of your warm clothes into your winter dancewear; which you usually wore for the Nutcracker Performance. You should’ve been practicing for it by now, but Robert made no plans to continue the performances for some reason; nor did he have any intentions to train your peers, he only trained you.

It was a light pink tutu with matching arm puffs, pointe shoes, and white leggings; it was simple but was emphasized by the glitter in the arm puffs and tulle. You didn’t bother tying your hair and sloppily placed the light pink tiara on your head. After that you didn’t waste any time stretching before breaking out into a small dance.

Dancing had always calmed you down.

But that didn’t last long, because you heard the door knock and these knocks were violent and quick.

You were mid-twirl, head tilting up to the ceiling in relaxation. You stop dancing and skip down the stairs and look out the window first before opening, wondering who was at the door. The figure outside was pacing back and forth, hands clenching and unclenching at a rapid pace. They were wearing a black overcoat that was dusted with snowflakes on the shoulders. The height alone was enough to recognize who was at the door.

“Robert, what are you doing here?” you asked as you opened the door.

He looked down at you with a muted expression and hurriedly entered the home, breathing out heavy puffs of air. “Are your parents home?” You heard him ask once you closed the door. You walk beside him up the stairs, he seems in a rush or he’s angry; you hope that it’s not the latter.

“No, they won’t be home until January. Why?”

“I need to make sure that no one’s around before I can make you scream.”

Before you could ask what he meant, he’s closed the door to your room behind you and grabs your face with both hands and forces you into a breath-stealing kiss. He’s hunched over you, nearly lifting you up with his strong hands, having to bend down to kiss you deeper. Your eyes flutter at the sensation, this kiss was so much more different than the one Bill gave you. This one was raw, passionate, and possessive: bruising as his ice cold thumbs push into the hollow of your cheeks, the rest of his fingers tangling into your hair.

You’re unsure how to react so you clench your eyes and grip the front of his soft, warm coat, the fabric wrinkling and twisting underneath your small fingers. He doesn’t release from the kiss, and you can hear a low groan resonate through his throat when your teeth collide behind your lips. He begins to walk forward while you walk backwards, not having broken away from the kiss once. It gets to the point where you’re breathing heavily through your nose, and you fall backwards onto your bed.

Finally he breaks away from the kiss when he falls with you, his long arms trapping you beneath him; his towering frame easily leaning over your face. His eyes are so intense and seem to take in your flush face and tousled hair, the tiara long forgotten. You look up at him with wide eyes, panting heavily, unsure what to think.

He leans forward for another kiss and you turn your head.

“Robert, I don’t want.... Sto—”

You pause mid-way of saying “stop” once his plump lips lightly place a kiss against the pulsating flesh of your warm neck. Instead you let out a soft gasp when the feeling sends a tingly sensation around your body. He does this again, this time lowering his face so that his lips are at the junction of your neck and shoulder. Instead of placing another kiss there, he bites the flesh. You press your hands to his chest in a feeble attempt to push him off.

“Hgnn, Robert...” You want to tell him to stop again, but the words fall short again when he’s taking off his overcoat.

He leans back, giving you room to breathe and lay on your elbows. He pulls his black shirt over his head; and eyes don’t leave yours the whole time when he does this. You feel something wash over you, something akin to an unfamiliar tingle and thrum that makes you blush and pant when you feel that sensation pool down there.

Your eyes rake over the vast expanse of his fair skin, watching as the muscles tense and flex with his every movement. He’s not exactly built like a body-builder, but he’s not bone-thin, nor is he average. He’s fit and his body is perfect in all the right places. Your heart thrums with with a multitude of emotions at that moment.

“I don’t… I don’t want this…” you pant as he leans over you.

“Shh…” He’s running his hands up your sides, you shiver when you feel them curl over the ends of your tutu.

“Let me take care of you…”

He begins to remove your outfit before you could continue, a stark red blush covers your cheeks until you can feel the heat radiate from your cheeks and chest. Cool air meets the swell of your chest and the air leaves your lungs and you try to stop him when he swiftly removes your undergarments with your leggings.

His eyes are still on yours the whole time, taking in your flush appearance with hungry eyes. There seems to be the notion in his actions that he’s holding back, you recognize in the tenseness in his muscles and shoulders (and that blank stare). He’s mad.

You feel fear and shame for a moment and reach your arms out to cover your chest but he grabs both of them in one hand, his other hand—God, his hands are so big—resting on your hip. You don’t want this, no matter how good it feels. Robert’s tongue darts out of his moment to tease his upper lip and you’re suddenly aware of how close he is again to you.

“I saw that boy leave your house,” he mumbles and presses his nose into the valley of your chest, inhaling deeply.

You let out a gasp again and break your hands free from his grip, finding them into his soft locks and tugging, hoping that it would entice him to stop. You soon regret that decision when he lets out another groan and kisses your collarbone.

“Stop it,” you breathe out and try to focus your attention elsewhere.

“What was he doing in your house, [Y/N]?” His tone is blank but you know that there’s an underlying anger to it.

He drags his face up until your noses are touching again, your bare chest pressing against his own. You feel that same throbbing sensation pulse somewhere below again. His jeans brush against your bare thighs, you don’t want to pay attention to how slick they feel against the rough dark fabric.

“We-We…” Your eyes almost roll to the back of your head when he leaves a trail of kisses against your jawline.

“We were—hggn—just watching a-a movie.”

You’re too afraid to push him off you now, not wanting a repeat of the events that occurred in his house. You hear Robert growl against your neck at your words and let out a half groan-half moan when he presses his body close to yours, his pants right at the apex of your mound. You feel hot even though it’s freezing cold outside, you’re sweating and panting.

Robert’s eyes glower and you feel his hands on your body, groping and squeezing at the flesh; his every action with a sense of purpose and need. You feel his hips roll in a slow grind and find the urgency to grab his hair even tighter. Your head turns towards the window, trying to burn your attention to the snow, the tree, anything to get your mind off of what what happening.

“Just watching a movie?” He’s dragging a hand over your breast, the other one trailing lower, lower, and lower.

“I can smell him on your lips,” he growls against your lips, “and I can smell him. Right—Here.”

His right hand wraps behind your neck and you whimper. You feel your heart beating so fast in your chest when you feel a finger rubbing circles into your inner thighs. You make a noise of protest and grab his upper arms, you know that it’s futile to pry him off of you but you really don’t want this.

“Stop—”

“Did you enjoy it?” His hand inches just a bit closer to your cunt.

“Robert, stop.”

“Could you imagine him doing the things that I’m doing to you right now?” You squirm under his touch.

He’s getting closer.

“I-I-I-I do-don’t—”

“You already know that I’m the only one who’s allowed to touch you.”

Your eyes widen when he presses his lips to yours again and halts his slow grinding, his index finger drags a line against the outside of your slick mound. You feel that sensation again, it feels warm and makes you want to cry out in whatever it was. You close your eyes and try to match his intensity of the kiss, even if it makes you want to throw up.

You don’t want this.

You want him to stop.

He now brings a second finger to tease you, they slip and slide with the amount of slick arousal that coats his cold fingers. They briefly brush against your entrance and a spot just above it that makes you involuntarily buck your hips forward. Robert breathes harder into the kiss and you feel something soft and smooth press against your teeth. You keep them shut together even as your lips move in sync. His fingers rub that same spot again that sends sharp jolts around that area, and you open your mouth to let out a loud groan. You feel his tongue enter your mouth at that moment and feel tears pricking your eyes. 

Too much. Too much.

Get off of me.

Your words are muffled by his lips and you almost cry in relief when he removes his fingers from your aching entrance. The grip on your neck eases and you feel like he’s finished with his ministrations. And then, you hear him fumbling with his belt and feel his pants fall to the ground. Your heart beats faster and you breathe harder when you feel his bare thighs touch your own.

You crane your neck backwards to break from the kiss, you shake your head frantically and want to move away; but Robert’s hands now move so that they’re gripping your hips with a bruising force, keeping you in one place.

“No man or woman can take what I’m about to take from you.”

You feel something hard and hot brush against your thighs and you let out a cry. The words have died off in your throat in silence submission, that unwanted heat makes you want to die. He lifts your hips up in the slightest and you feel that hard thing slide against your folds, it takes your breath away and you let your head fall back against the pillows.

“Please stop,” you plead. “I-I’ll be good, I—I promise. Please…”

“I know you will,” Robert muses and he has this look in his eye when the tip of his length presses against your entrance.

That look that told you that he wasn’t going to hold back at this point and he leans forward to lick and kiss your falling tears. He continues to speak words that fall deaf on your ears, trying to drown out your sobs and cries. He’s got you caged, right where he wanted you. And you could do only one thing as he presses himself into your entrance.

You screamed.

You screamed when you felt pain shoot down at your slick cunt, a stretch that burned your entrance as he made no haste to prepare himself. He entered dry and as fast as he could, thrusting himself as deep as he could. While he groaned, you cried and bit down on his fingers when he brought them towards your mouth. Your head was spinning, not caring if he kissed or sucked at your bare chest, not caring if he pushed himself closer until you felt him near your cervix.

You could only focus on the mind-searing pain that spread like wildfire in your stretched cunt. Robert looked indifferent though, of course he wasn’t the one who was receiving the treatment, and had the widest smile on his face when he felt warm, thick liquid slide out of your entrance. A sharp metallic smell filled the space between the two of you and you realized that it was blood. You looked at him horrified and betrayed.

He broke your hymen.

You began to cry even more, and you let out the equivalent of a dying scream when he began to pull back. You were stretched to your absolute limits, feeling his length slide against your inner walls; a sickening squelch of blood and your body’s arousal. Robert rocked himself against you: over and over again. He muttered sweet nothings into your ear as his fingers explored your mouth, the other one now joining his moving length to touch at that spot above your entrance.

There was nothing but jolts of pain, and a throbbing sensation that settled in your stomach when he did this. You hiccuped and sobbed and wailed, your hips meeting his as he thrusts in and out of you. A slow, rhythmic pace that you assumed was supposed to feel good but only felt painful and awful.

You wanted for this to be over as soon as possible.

While you were having the worst time in your life, Robert seemed to be enjoying himself too much. He grabs the underside of your leg and lifts it over his sweaty back and pushes your body closer to his. He’s panting hard and biting his lips before he begins to bite and suck at your clammy skin.

He bites particularly hard on one spot and you feel more tears pricking at the pain. You don’t know why, but he begins to lick the bite-mark and suddenly it feels good. He does this in a few other spots across your chest and in certain parts of your neck. You’re sure that they’re bruises now with how hard he’s biting.

“Tell me you enjoy this," he says against your chest.

You don’t feel so, but you tell him anyway; the words warbled by his fingers that curl against your mouth like a hook. His eyes roll to the back of his head when he hears your voice, and rolls his hips. His fingers are doing the same work with the bundle of nerves, and you jolt and squirm. It feels like he’s everywhere around you, trapping you into his world. The pain is barely there now, but it’s now replaced with that sick sensation. It fills your head like a sinking boat in an ocean.

It’s painful and addictive. And it’s building up within you like a dam ready to break. You almost forget to breathe at the feeling, and you subconsciously begin to rock your hips in a sloppy manner.

“Yesss…” He hisses when you move against him, lacing your fingers with his as he captures you in a soft kiss.

You just wanted to be done with it, but your body is seeking to find release.

You’re a shaking mess by the end of it, quivering and letting a silent cry leave your lips when you feel that throbbing feeling break; something strange and tingly washes over you like waves. You don’t realize how hard you’re panting, tears streaming down your face. You don’t think you’re even aware of what’s going on, your mind trying to protect you from this unwanted event.

When he feels your walls clench around him, Robert uses this time to pick up his pace, your arousal having covered him enough to slide within you with ease. He’s moving now at a rhythm that makes you shake, a never-ending movement that rocks you against your pillows and blankets. His eyes have finally closed now and he lets out a shaky breath.

When he looks back at your tear-streaked, pain-filled face; he begins to cry. Every time he looks at you, your bruised body, he lets tears slip out of his clenched eyes. Regret, guilt, and pain drip down his cheeks like a never-ending faucet.

He’s struggling to control the urge to snap his hips back and wreck your body, and wanting to be as slow and gentle as he can be. His face contorts in what you assume is pleasure, his expression matching yours as his pace becomes unsteady and irregular; tears streaming down his face as he grips your hands tighter.

He distracts you and himself with a kiss as his thrusts stutter and he stops, breathing hard into the kiss. You feel something wet and thick coating the inside of your walls and pouring out. You whimper at the feeling, the sensations being too much for you comprehend what you were feeling at this point.

He finally pulls out of you and presses his forehead against yours.

“Tell me you love me,” He’s trying to choke back a sob.

You’re too exhausted to respond to him.

 

Chapter Text

It hurts when you walk to the bathroom.

You woke up to a dull pain between your legs and a soreness that spread everywhere throughout your body. You felt pain both outside and inside of you. You don’t bother covering yourself; no matter how cold or how self-conscious you felt. Your only goal was to go to the bathroom.

Your hands shake when you run the faucet in the bathtub. You shut it off and blankly stare at the hot steam that rolls out of the sides of the tub, showing how hot the water was.

You dip your body in the water anyway, and the water feels great against your skin. You hiss as it burned your foot at first contact but soon get used to the hot temperature within a few minutes. Both of your arms rest on either side of the bathtub, your head resting against the wall. You don’t dare to even glance at your body.

Disgusting.

That’s the first word that comes to mind.

Awful.

Cruel.

Painful.

The list goes on and on as you stare blankly into the tub’s faucet. You allow the tears to roll down your cheeks, breathing heavily without making any noise. You lay in the tub until the water loses its heat and is replaced with a lukewarm temperature. You drain the tub and let out a groan when you crawl out of the tub, grabbing a nearby towel and wrapping it around your body.

You return to the room and change, your movements sluggish and slow. You can’t even move without your hips hurting, you noticed that fingers had taken shape in faint red marks on each side.

As per usual, he had most likely left early in the morning, or maybe when you fell asleep. You didn’t care what the answer to that was. You didn’t even want to think about his name.

You look at the bed sheets, a dark red smear against one part of the light fabric. Your gut clenches in disgust at the sight and you tightly grab the sheet and pull it off the bed, not caring if your blankets and pillows fell to the ground.

You take a black garbage bag and stuff the sheets into it, tying it before discarding it near the front door.

You do the same with your tutu, not caring for the emotional sentiment behind it when Miss Ross bought it for you. It’s ruined.

Everything’s ruined.

You eye the black overcoat on the floor.

It’s the only article of clothing that he left behind. You don’t hesitate to put that in a garbage bag as well.

By the time you’re done you’ve replaced every pillow, blanket, and sheet that was on your bed; thankful that you had a spare set in your closet. It looks as if nothing had happened there. But something did happen. The events are ingrained on your body, and forever in your broken mind.

 

And you’ll never forgive him for it.

 

Chapter Text

It was as if whatever had been listening to you that night had answered your pleads and prayers. The entire time you were at home, healing and resting, he had not made any effort to visit you. You spent the remainder of the pseudo-break to watch movies and mess around with Holland. Sometime around the 10th you had received something in the mail, a large package that stuck out of the mailbox. After you trudged outside in the cold snow, grabbing the package with cold fingers, you read the box.

 

Hi, honey! As promised, here’s your early birthday present!

Hope you’re doing okay! Stay safe, we love you!

Love from Austria,

                   Mom and Dad :)

 

Guilt and shame washes over you when you think of your parents, wondering what they would say if they found out about what happened. They’d be calling the police by now. As a matter of fact, that’s what you should’ve done. But you didn’t. You’d rather not tell them, than tell the police and possibly have your name spoiled with rumors and lies. Word spread fast in Derry; and it was better if this word didn’t come out.

You’d wait until Thursday to open your present.

Monday the 12th came faster than expected, and the snow had finally died down. School was back in session and you had felt a little better knowing that he wasn’t there to watch your every move.

Dressed in a black wool jacket, a grey-blue turtleneck, and blue jeans you left the house with the keys wrapped around your neck in a necklace. On the way to school at some point, you remove the ring from your finger and throw it down into a nearby sewer grate, feeling satisfaction when you hear it clink against the concrete before falling into the cold, rushing water below.

 

You won’t be wearing that anymore.

 


 

Henry Bowers is staring at you again.

You currently have four classes with him: English and Biology until the end of December, Math and P.E. until the beginning of June. You didn’t say anything back in August when he had taken a seat next to you in Biology, and a seat behind you in English. You two had followed the simple rule: don’t bother me, and I don’t bother you. The only time you two had actually talked together was when the teacher forced you to. That is, until you performed at the Hallows Eve Ballet.

Ever since then he’s stopped ignoring you, and instead watches while you work during class. You feel under pressure under his gaze, waiting for the bell to ring and go back home. But his stare is too odd that you lightly slam your pen against the desk and turn your head towards him. Luckily for you, this was a talkative class and it wasn’t too hard to start a conversation there.

“Got a reason why you’re staring at me?” you huffed and leaned back in your chair.

“I can do whatever the fuck I want,” he shrugs, not caring about having a filter for his words. “Noticed you stopped showing off your boobs in class a few weeks ago. Was wondering what happened.”

Your face blows up in a shocked blush, mouth wide without in words as you stutter and stumble on your words. A few students overhear the conversation and stop talking, listening to what you have to say about his words.

You were wearing a t-shirt for Christ’s sake! The closest thing you had gone to breaking school dress code was wearing your dresses and skirts, that’s all. Your expression grows dark and angry and you cross your arms and let out a sneer.

“Noticed that you’re acting like a dick again. Did your father beat you again?”

What the fuck? Where the hell did that come from?

Henry’s expression reflects your thoughts and a few students even make a noise of approval at your retort. Henry freezes, and you almost laugh at how similar it looked to yours when he made that crude comment about you; and then he breathes through his nose, shoulders relaxed. He’s trying to play it out calm, but you know that look anywhere; muted anger.

The bell rings and with a smug smile you pack up your things and leave the classroom without a second thought. You spend a little time in the school library, checking out a book about spiders. Ever since you bought Holland your fear of spiders was slowly leaving and was replaced by an intense fascination by them.

Thud.

You turn around, eyebrows furrowed and notice that one of the books had fallen out of the shelves on its on. You, the librarian, and his assistant were the only ones in the library; and those two, based off of the rumors that you had heard, were probably doing debaucherous things in the back. You leave the library without another thought, not caring if you didn’t check out the book. You didn’t need it now, and you didn’t have any intentions of going through anymore horrific things.

Books don’t fall on their own.

You exit the library and bump into a firm chest, you have to look up to see who it is. But based off of the familiar clothing you groan in annoyance and cross your arms, looking up at the other with angry eyes.

“What do you want, Bowers?” you asked through seething teeth.

“I was gonna beat your pretty little face for humiliating me like that,” he answers honestly with a cruel smile, “but I decided otherwise. Wanna know why?”

Your heart-rate increases but you nod along, intimidated by his now smug appearance.

“W-Why?” you stutter out.

“Well I think you’re hot and you got spunk in you.”

The entire time we’ve known each other, I told you off once, and that was thirty minutes ago Bowers.

“And I noticed that you stopped hanging out with those little shits.”

The Losers Club.

“And what about that?” you asked. “What does you stalking me have anything to do with you not beating me up?”

“Jeee-zus, you always this impatient?” he crosses his own arms. “I’m giving you an offer that you can only turn down once.”

“What is it?”

You hope it’s not anything related to sex, and hearing the other girls talk about campus, that’s all this boy was interested in for girls. He backs away (surprisingly) and gives you space, looking at the clock and then back to you.

“Me and my boys won’t lay a hand on you or your friends.”

What? There’s—

“There’s gotta be a catch,” you voice your thoughts.

“I know, I know I’m getting to it, bitch.”

“Thanks, dickhead.”

“We won’t touch you or your fairy boys if.”

“—If?”

“If you join us.”

What the hell?

“How’s it, sugar?"

"Wanna be a member of the Bowers Gang?”

 


 

The snow crunches underneath your feet as the two of you walk outside of the school and towards the familiar blue Trans Am (with the top covering the car this time), you see Belch and Victor waiting outside of the car. You awkwardly walk behind Henry in slow strides. You weren’t going to lie, he did scare you with his violence and anger. But his deal seemed pretty straightforward. You patiently listen to Henry as he stops you and gets closer to the car.

Victor notices you behind Henry and looks at you with a surprised expression. You return it with a smile, Victor was probably the nicest one out of the whole gang; he was just a product of peer pressure from Henry. You guessed Belch was too, but you hadn’t bothered to spend enough time to get to know him. You knew Victor and Henry since 6th grade and they seemed like good kids.

But you guys aren’t kids anymore.

“Fellas,” Henry gives you a mock gesture, “our newest member.”

“Welcome to the Bowers Gang, [Y/N].”

 

Chapter Text

Your first day with them was… An interesting experience to say the least. You were expecting them to go pillage some kids’ playground or snow fort or something, but the three boys were pretty bored in this snowy weather. You’d expect them to let loose by the time the snow had thawed and they would wreak havoc upon Derry. But other than that, it was amusing to see the local bullies chilling and smoking cigarettes in the car, listening to heavy rock in the car; driving through town.

But today was Thursday, your birthday. Your Sweet 16, and instead of celebrating it with your friends, your real friends, you’re spending it with the Bowers Gang.

Belch and Henry were sitting in the front, while you and Victor were sitting in the back. It slightly bothered you how none of them were wearing seat-belts but you held your tongue in silence anyway; you weren't going to baby boys the same age as you. Besides, at some point of the drive Victor had convinced you to take off your seat-belt as well.

Fuck it, you were here to get your mind off of him and protect your friends by doing this.

You might as well enjoy the moment while it lasts.

You turn to Victor and he offers you his cigarette.

“Oh I-I don’t smoke,” you say to him, glad that the two others couldn’t hear you due to the large blaring music.

“Really?” Victor leans back and takes a long drag from it.

He sounds genuinely surprised.

“Yeah,” you brush your hair out of your face. “Not my thing.”

“I thought you would.”

“Why?”

“You don’t seem to be bothered by the smoke.”

“I have friends who smoke,” you giggle. “Like you, Victor.”

He huffs the smoke out of his mouth with a red face. “Don’t call me that, we’re not kids.”

“But we’re still friends.”

“Do you want to try it?” Victor he raises his hand to you again. “Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.”

You hesitantly take the cig and press your lips to it and take a drag. Your eyes go wide at the taste and you quickly hand the cigarette back to him, falling into a coughing fit. Your lungs burn at the sensation. Jesus, Beverly’s a champ for smoking these. Victor looks at you with an amused smile and takes the cigarette back.

“Yeah, definitely not your thing,” Victor looks forward. “Ever tried drugs?”

“No…?” you gave him an incredulous look. “You know me, Vict—Vic, I don’t do those things.”

“Fair warning,” Victor shrugs. “There’s a chance that Henry might make you try.”

Jesus, what did I get myself into?

You notice that they stop at the grocery store. Henry gets out of the seat and props it forward and ushers you and Victor to get out. Henry fishes money from his pocket and hands it to you, grumbling with annoyance.

“Alright you two, go buy some eggs. And no funny business, we can hear you two talkin’ sweet in the back.”

Your cheeks turn warm, you and Victor don’t argue with him and walk into the grocery store. It’s been a while since you had gone out on your own, given the weather and your former… Situation. As you walk into the dairy and poultry section you look at Victor with a curious face.

“What does Henry want us to do with the eggs anyway?”

“We’re gonna egg some of the houses at West Broadway,” He grins and hands you four cartons of eggs (one for the four of you). “All of the adults are at work, and most of the kids are either at Center Street; y’know buying shit.”

“Wow,” You’re genuinely impressed. “You guys got a schedule of everyone in Derry, or something like that?”

“Something like that,” Victor repeats, and takes an extra carton for good measure, the two of you walk down the aisle. “Know how Henry’s dad is the Sheriff?”

“Mhm.”

“Well, he’s got a profile for everyone in Derry. Y’know, ever since those kids went missing, Henry’s dad’s got a whole system in place.”

The two of you stop mid-aisle and Victor stops to grab something from a shelf. You feel something—someone—staring at the back of your head. You turn around and freeze, nearly dropping the eggs. You clench the cartons in your arms tighter and nudge Victor.

“Vic, let’s go,” you say urgently.

“What? Is Henry coming?” he asked and looked in your direction, his eyes land on who you’re staring at and he turns back to you with a curious and confused expression.

“Who’s he?”

“Someone I don’t want to see right now,” you grit out and turn on your heel, walking towards the cashier.

“Hey, wait up!” Victor places the carton and his own items on the conveyor belt and you hurry the buying process as fast as possible. Your heart is pacing fast, and for a reason that makes sense for once, knowing that the fear this time was genuine.

You walk out of the store with two bags and Henry throws his cigarette on the ground, Victor’s pacing behind you. Henry looks at you with an “I’m impressed.” face as you hand him the change and throw the bags in the back with you. You grab Victor’s hand and pull him into the back with you, Henry gets back in the car.

“Wow, you’re faster than Belch and Vic combined,” Henry notes. “Maybe I’ll just make you our errand girl.”

“I wouldn’t mind that,” You shrugged, trying to get your mind off of what you saw at the store. “I have a liquor stash in my house, not mine. It’s my dad’s but since he stopped drinking, it’s just there for storage.”

“You’re the whole package,” Belch compliments. “Henry did good in picking you.”

Belch stops just before the gated community and he turns off the car, you grab the bags and all of you exit the car. You hand Belch the bags and he toss them over the wall and begins to climb. Henry follows suite, and then Victor. Victor sits at the top of the wall to help you up and the two of you plop down on the snow quietly. You each grab a carton and the first house you stop at is a nice two-story.

Henry looks at you expectantly.

“Well, don’t be a sissy. Throw one!” he commands.

“Whose house is it?” you ask nervously.

“Greta Keene’s,” Belch pipes up and your eyes widen.

“That’s right,” Henry continues. “Our sweet-16th gift for you. Now throw.”

Your eyes then gleam with deviousness and newfound confidence. You grab one egg and throw it at the upper window; the one with glitter and stickers on it.

This is for sticking a bloody pad in Beverly’s backpack.

Within a few minutes the four of you are throwing eggs at the nice houses and scurry off when Peter Gordon—someone Henry hated ever since he left the gang a year prior—returns to his home. You’re all laughing and screaming with glee when Belch swerves off the path and through the snow-covered trail at high speeds. The cartons and bags are long discarded in the side of the road, soon to be covered by the snow. The convertible roof comes off at some point and you’re standing up, hands in the air, letting out an excited noise.

Filled with adrenaline, you feel a rush of excitement and giddiness; this was nothing like hanging out with the Losers. You weren’t going to lie when you thought that it felt great to get back at all of those kids who sneered at you for living in the low income neighborhoods, for living a life without needing someone to spoil them everyday.

Your house is the first that they stop at, being the closest on the road.

“Did-Did you want me to get my dad's liquor for you guys before you go?” you asked.

“Another time,” Henry simply says.

Victor hops out of the car to discreetly hand you a silver bracelet. He shoves it in your face and grumbles off saying “happy birthday” before getting back in the car. They leave without a second word. You don’t realize the grin on your face until you feel your cheeks strain from the feeling. You walk back towards the house, eyeing the now-dead sunflowers and poppies on the white lawn.

On the porch you see something: a wrapped box. It was a small, light gray box with a black ribbon wrapped around it. You put on the bracelet Victor gave you and pick up the box. You read the note attached to the mysterious box, your fingers tremble at the message.

 

Happy Birthday [Y/N].

- R.

 

You don’t even bother bringing it inside with you, discarding it in the snow.

 

Chapter Text

IT watches you with guilty eyes throughout Derry.

You don’t notice It, of course, it wouldn’t let you; the two of you weren’t ready to see each other yet. IT watches you the entire time that you huddle in the safety of your room for two weeks, only leaving to go to the bathroom or to grab a bite to eat downstairs. IT wants to approach you, and yet the tremble in its actions make it want to crawl away and return to its long rest. IT holds the ring, IT's gift to you, in the clown's gloved, trembling hands.

IT was the Eater of Worlds, and of Children; the Destroyer of Planets and Souls.

IT was Fear and Pain incarnate... IT was...

 

IT was in pain.

 

IT had acted on impulse on that day. Too angry... Too foolish. It had continued even as you kicked and screamed and cried, and yet the eldritch abomination persisted. This was I'Ts doing…

 

No.

 

This was his doing. The brief thought of William Denbrough flashes through its deadlights and it swipes a particularly hard claw into its meal, angrily gorging down the flesh. Had that infernal boy not kissed you, maybe things would’ve turned out differently. Oh how badly it wanted to torment Bill Denbrough, to cause him pain.

IT longed to cause all of them pain; your kids. Your precious friends. Why should you bother with them, when IT was all you needed? But as IT had attempted to bring upon the worst of dreams and sights to little Billy-boy, it could not.

You would not allow It to hurt them, and if it continued to make any decisions: you would soon find out the truth. You were almost ready, IT could smell it and it could feel it.

IT felt it when IT took you that morning, the pulse, a change.

IT felt them. IT felt them when it came to you as Pennywise for the first time. It felt them when you had forgiven Robert. IT felt them when you felt true fear for It, for Robert, that same morning. That pain it had wanted you to feel so badly that it now wanted to protect you from; that pain had changed you and It felt them truly come out for the first time.

IT felt them push against your psyche, taking in your pain and feeding on it.

Nevermore had It felt the force of darkness, the Prim, scream and writhe so strongly within you that day. That thing that had been inside you for so long was finally ready to come out. All of that pain and suffering and sadness had aroused that ancient force within you. That force within the Crimson King, that force within IT.

 

Your lights.

 

Chapter Text

You wake up to a car horn blaring throughout your driveway early in the morning, a bit tired from your post-birthday excitement.

You groan and untangle yourself from the sheets, trudging towards the window and open it. You shiver when the cold frost touches your face, you brush a few tree branches that cover your vision. Squinting your eyes, you lean on your arms. It’s the Bowers Gang again, and Belch is leaning on the driver’s seat to holler at you.

“C’mon [Y/N]!” he says, “We don’t have all day to wait for you!”

Oh right, you forgot, the Bowers Gang is my group now.

You hastily get ready and slide your wool jacket on, you don’t bother tying your hair when you hop into the blue vehicle. The warm seats of the car feel nice against your cold body. As per usual everyone’s taken up their seats, heavy smoke filling the car and your lungs. You give Victor a smile and he returns it with a look of surprise when he looks at your wrist.

“You’re wearing it,” he’s almost astonished.

“Why wouldn’t I?” you smiled when the car began to drive down the street. “You paid for it.”

“Yeah well...” He leans close and whispers in your ear.

“That was Henry’s money, but don’t tell him that. He’ll have my hide.”

“Your secret is safe with me,” you smile.

You guys drive until you reach a secluded street that’s next to the junction between the forest and a variety of plains. A large white-chipped home rests at the end of the road, a police car is parked outside. Henry Bowers’s house. You thought and tapped your fingers against to the beat of a very violent song. The words were unpleasant, but the beat of the drum and guitar made up for it.

“Uh oh. Incoming,” Belch warns the two of you in the back to watch the figure storm to the car.

Henry looks pissed. He’s fuming as he turns his head to look back at the house, his hands clenching as he does this. He enters the car with a slam of the passenger door, kicking up his feet at the radio. Belch is too afraid and intimidated to tell him to not do that.

“Drive,” Henry orders.

Belch fixes his workshop hat and turns around without hesitation. You didn’t realize that you were so quiet and spaced out that you felt a hand hardly push at your shoulder. You look at Victor with a semi-irritated, semi-confused face.

“You good?”

“Y-Yeah,” you turn your head away to look down at your hands.

“Were you thinking ‘bout that man?”

You looked at him, confused.

“Who?” you choked out.

“The one we saw at the store,” he leans back, “Wasn’t that the rich boy who moved to Derry? Roman Gray?”

You freeze and slowly looked out of the window.

“R—R-Robert,” You corrected, hands shaking. “Robert Gray.”

“You know him?” he asked, suddenly interested.

“He’s obsessed with me. We had sex,” you bluntly said, “I didn’t consent.”

Sex was the only word you knew to describe what had happened, but from what you heard from others—it was supposed to be enjoyable. Not...Not that. You don’t notice the look of surprise in his eyes, and you had a feeling that he would respect your boundaries and not ask any further. Then again, anyone would be surprised and curious about this revealing news. Especially since it was coming from someone one would never expect to "get it down," especially with an adult.

“Oh, what? He’s your ex now?”

“I-I don’t know,” you stammered as the school got closer. “We weren’t actually dating.” 

“You gonna go back to him?”

“What…? No!” you whisper-yelled, “I hate him.”

For some reason, you felt something tug at your heartstrings when you said that.

 


 

Henry had explained to you that he really didn’t need you until next semester, so he let you off the hook, for now at least. Until then, you could go on and about your merry way around Derry. When school was done you told Belch to drop you off near the pharmacy. You entered the building and hurried yourself to the Women’s Care aisle with nervousness. Yeah, you had started again.

You discreetly grabbed the package of pads and turned to the register. As you turned your heel, you bumped into someone and apologized, lowering your head.

“Oh, I’m sorry—Eddie?”

You hadn’t seen the small boy for the longest time, for that matter the Losers. He held a bag, probably his usual prescription, and a bag of candy in the other. You gave him a smile and helped him up.

“[Y/N]?” he asked and gave you a smile. “Where have you been all this time?”

“Busy with school,” you shrugged. “How ‘bout you? How’s middle school?”

“A nightmare!” he groaned, throwing his hands up dramatically.

Still the same as ever, Eddie.

“You know that one dude, Patrick?”

“Hockstetter? Yeah, I’ve heard of him.”

“Ugh! He’s disgusting! He brings dead bugs and animals to school all the time! Does he even realize how much bacteria is on them? Or, or the smell! The smell is enough to make me vomit. I heard, that he keeps—”

“Woah, ease up Eddie,” you laughed, patting his shoulder. “I’m probably holding up your time. You can go.”

“Well, we’re right around the corner at the arcade if you’re gonna stick around,” his tone suddenly becomes hushed and you have to bend down a little to hear him speak.

“What happened between you and Bill? He hasn’t talked about you in ages, and that’s saying something.”

“He kissed me,” you say honestly.

Little Eddie’s eyes are wider than saucers now, his jaw drops. You look at the clock and begin to walk away, and holler out at him, “Tell him I’m not mad and that it was nice!” You return your attention and place the package on the counter. Mr. Keene sees you and approaches you with a smile.

“Well, will this be all for you, miss?” You hate his tone and the way he looks at you, bagging your item.

“Yes,” you reply with a thin smile, placing the money on the counter.

“Keep the change.”

You take the bag and walk outside of the store with no problem, you didn’t feel like dealing with any creepy men, and Mr. Keene was just a few of them. You walk down the street and go into the nearest store with a bathroom. After finishing you exit and begin to stroll down the street, placing the rest of the bag in your backpack. MISSING posters sway with the cold wind, a few having frozen over against the brick walls. Most of them are names and kids you don’t really know.

You enter a diner and sit on the bar stool. Joseph Ellon, a handsome young man with dirty blonde hair, who usually took care of your orders, approaches you with a big smile on his face. He’s wiping a few milkshake cups with a clean white towel, glancing at the t.v. for a moment.

“[Y/N], good to see you! Good to see you!” he places the cups on the shelf behind him. “It’s been a while!”

“It has,” you smile back at him, and grab a menu.

“Do you want your usual? Milkshake and fries?” he inquires.

You nod but add on, “And a burger please, well done.”

“Right on it,” he gives you a sweet smile and takes the menu, disappearing into the kitchen.

While you wait you mess with the bracelet Victor bought you, it was a simple silver chain item with an 8-pointed star hanging from it joined by 4 4-pointed stars on each side. The television is playing the Friday news; there’s a new curfew that has to be put in place. No kids or teens could stay out after 7 p.m., you shiver when you think back to Georgie’s face. You think back to the clown and have a feeling that it had to do something with those missing kids. Whatever was going on, you had no place in sticking your head into it.

You already had enough trouble with him.

Joseph returns with your food and you take a sip at the cold minty milkshake. He begins to start small-talk with you and you pleasantly reply to his words.

“So, what’s got you in a hurry lately? Seen you past by the diner a couple of times but you don’t come in?”

“I’m busy with life,” you say, taking a bite out of the burger, humming at the taste. “Hey this is actually pretty good.”

Your voice is muffled by the food.

“Thanks,” he leans against the counter. “Mr. White taught me to cook ever since we lost our chef. He quit after a drunken spree.”

“That sucks,” you continue, “How’s your life?”

He lets out a sigh.

“Fine, have some relationship problems.”

“I can relate,” you let out a quiet huff, finishing your fries.

“Yeah, my girl’s a—” he pauses his sentence and furrows his eyes, looking at something beyond your shoulder.

“What is it, Joe?” you ask.

 

“There’s a man staring at you.”

 

Chapter Text

“What?”y ou asked with wide eyes.

You turned your head quickly and stopped, tensing up. Jesus Christ, not him. Your grip on the barstool tightens and you huff a shaky breath when you meet his eyes. You give him a glare and turn back to Joseph. He looks concerned and a bit irritated by him.

“Do you want me to tell him to go away?” he asked, noticing the fear on your face. “I can go if you want me to.”

“No, no it’s okay!” you tell him, breathing heavily. “As long as he doesn’t come up to me, I’ll be fine.”

“O...kay...” He walks back into the kitchen.

You try to stomach down the rest of your meal, your left leg bouncing up and down in anticipation, heart beating fast. You take a quick glance at Robert again, he’s still staring at you. This time his gaze looks more pathetic and hurt, than intense and angry. You continue to glare and turn back around.

Just ignore him. You think to yourself.

Your hands are shaking again but you try to distract yourself with the smooth music playing on the old radio. After a few moments you calm yourself down but still sharpen up at every sound. You sit on the edge of you seat when you hear him sit on your right side. Immediately you freeze, recognizing his smell and his hands that are clenched against the counter.

You don’t give in the effort to speak or look at him.

“[Y/N],” His voice is like a vice.

You ignore him and bring an arm and lean on it, facing opposite of him so that you’re looking out the window.

“I don’t want to talk to you.”

You were about to say his name but it gets lost in your throat.

“I know I—”

“You crossed the line,” Yyou snapped, barking at him. “You! Y-You…”

“I’m—”

“You can’t apologize your way out of this one, Robert,” you hiss, you feel tears threatening to fall down your face.

You place a twenty on the counter and sling your backpack over your shoulder, and hop off the seat and hastily walk out of the door; the bell at the top jingling. You hear the bell ring again and footsteps crunch underneath the soft snow. His hand is suddenly on your shoulder and you you turn around so fast that you feel your head spin and your neck strain. You finally look into his eyes for the first time and scream at him.

“Don’t touch me!” He removes his hand right away with wide eyes.

For some reason he’s not looking at you, but into you, as if he sees something that you don’t. You feel a strange noise come up from the back of your throat as you speak. You take a step forward and to your surprise: he takes a step back.

You come to the strange realization that the noise is a growl.

The sound shocks you and him.

“I don’t want to see your face anymore!” you cried. “I hate you!”

There’s a tremble in his hands and face as he listens to you speak, your words drive something into him that makes him lose his words. You’re breathing harder now, tears freezing against the cold weather. But you’re not crying from sadness or fear, you’re crying in pure anger.

“[Y/N]...” he breathes out, reaching a hand up.

You swipe it away before it can touch your cheek, you bare your teeth at him and feel something strange stirring within you. Why is there suddenly two of him? More so, why are you seeing two everything? Your eyes narrow and furrow at your shifting vision, you’re feeling woozy and dizzy. Your brain is starting to hurt and throb. Robert has a concerned look on his face and he hurries over to you.

“S-Stop!” You reach a hand out to stop him, “I-I’m f-f—Fine!”

His eyes look deeper into you as you’re struggling to keep your balance, they widen a little after a few minutes of staring and he walks up to you anyway. You turn on your heel and urge yourself to walk away but you pass out.

The last thing you feel is his arms wrapping around you before you reach the ground.

 

Chapter Text

You wake up alone in a hospital bed, thanks to your God-awful cramps. You lift up an arm and shiver in uneasiness when you see the IV catheter lodged in your right arm. You hear the steady beat of your heart next to you in the machine. You lick your dry lips and shift so that you’re sitting upright. A nurse enters the room and gives you a smile.

“Good evening.” Evening? “My name’s Kris, I’ll be your primary nurse for the time that you’re here.”

“Hi,” You awkwardly saw and take in the sterile surroundings. “What time is it?”

The dark sky outside is hard for it to tell.

“7:34 p.m.,” Kris types a few things on the computer.

“How are you feeling? Any nausea? Headaches?”

“My head hurts,” you add on, “and if you’re wondering, it’s like—probably, like, an eight. I also have cramps.”

“Where is the pain?” Kris presses a hand to your forehead, moving her fingers around.

“Just let me know where.”

“All over,” You breathe out in a hiss when she begins to press. “Feels like its throbbing, my head, tight.”

Kris turns to the small computer and begins to type and click the mouse at a rapid pace.

“—and the cramps, where are they?”

“U-Uhm...They’re period cramps...”

“How painful? And when did you start?”

You huff out, trying to get your mind off of the pain.

“A-A ten...I started today. My last one was on November. The 9th to the 14th.”

She’s nodding along while listening to your story, inputting a lot of things. She brings out a small sheet of paper and clicks a pen, taking out a stethoscope. She pushes her hair back and tells you to bring your hand up.

“I’m just going to take your vitals and other stuff, sweetie,” she explains.

You comply and when she’s done she fills what you assume is your information into the computer, and then logs off. She washes her hands again and walks towards the door.

“Your current doctor, Dr. Perla, is currently on vacation. Dr. Kramer will be with you shortly,” she says and leaves you in silence.

Not too long after, a man with short-cropped hair, oval glasses, and a well-groomed beard enters the room—holding a clipboard with a series of papers on them. He’s pretty old, you’re guessing 70 or more, but he seems to hold himself at a healthy stance; possibly 60 or older? The doctor regards you with a smile and you notice the wrinkles in his eyes and cheeks as he speaks to you. He begins to log into the computer and overlooks your medical history. On his chest a name-tag says:

DERRY MEDICAL CENTER

THOMAS B. KRAMER, M.D.

PEDIATRICIAN

Followed by that is a poorly-taken photo of the man and a bar-code. You return the man’s smile, though now that you know the time, you’re feeling ready to leave as soon as possible.

“Hello...?” He looks at the clipboard again. “[Y/N] King. I’m Dr. Kramer. Do you recall anything before your collapse? We received you approximately 4 hours ago, and you were admitted due to fainting.”

“I...“ you furrowed your brows. “Yes, I remember...”

“It says here you have headaches and menstrual pain. Care to include anything else?”

“No, it’s just those two.”

“Anyone in your household smokes? Chew tobacco? Do you smoke?”

“No,” You thought back to when you tried a cigarette for the first time. “I don’t smoke.”

“It says that you were prescribed medications to help you sleep as a child, at five years old?”

You folded your hands in your lap, looking out the dark window.

“Yes,” you swallowed a thick knot in your throat.

“I didn’t sleep because I had nightmares.”

“Do you take drugs?”

“No.”

“Are you sexually active?”

You turned to him with a red face, opening your mouth with only stutters and stammers coming out. Running a hand through your hair, you think back to… That day. Nonetheless, you answer as honestly as you can; though you leave some of the details out. Why? He’s an adult, tell him. Tell him. TELL HIM! TELL HIM THE TRUTH! TELL HIM!!!

“One time,” you rasp, hands rubbing nervously together. “It was… Th-Three weeks ago?”

“Did you two use protection?” Dr. Kramer looks at your expression—you hope he sees it as just you being a nervous teen talking about sex, instead of you experiencing a panic attack—and gives you a patient smile, “It’s okay to be honest.”

You think back to the day.

“N-No,” you manage to choke out.

You want to throw up.

He begins to give you a brief lecture about sex ed, and you desperately want to tell him that your first time was not with an inexperienced boy in high school. You want to tell him that you were taken by a—sexual predator. But the words die in your throat and you begin to feel lightheaded again. You simply nod along to what he’s saying, not really paying any attention to what he’s saying. Outside of the door, through the window, you see a figure pacing back and forth.

Dr. Kramer follows your attention and points to the moving figure.

“Ah yes, Mr. Gray—” No. “—has been listed as a guardian on your medical profile in case of emergency, but we will phone your parents nonetheless.” Since when?  “He brought you in explaining your symptoms, would you be more comfortable if he was in the room with you?”

Quite the opposite, doctor.

I’d be less comfortable.

“No,” you shake your head, feigning embarrassment. “So, do I have anything bad?”

“Based off of your descriptions and medical history, you most likely fainted due to low iron and metabolism. Did you eat today?” Dr. Kramer sits down on a chair.

“Yeah,” you let out a nervous chuckle. “Before I passed out—I guess? I had a meal already. I also ate lunch at school.”

“Is your menstrual cycle heavy or light?” God, you wished that your parents gave you a female doctor. You miss your old one, but you had her back in New Hampshire; before you moved to Derry.

“Heavy.”

He typed on the computer again, then at the clipboard.

“Do you think that you have been exposed to any STDs? Do you know if your partner has been exposed to any?”

You shake your head rapidly, even if you don’t know the answer. It was more of a denial on your end to even be thinking about it.

“I would advise that you should take a test either way.”

After that the doctor’s visit goes by smoothly and Kris returns to remove the IV and then says that she’s prescribing you medication; just something for you headaches and cramps while you have to wait a few weeks for the tests to come in. When you’re done you leave the room and meet face-to-chest with him.

You look up and meet his remorseful eyes; you return it with an unforgiving gaze.

Neither of you speak for a moment.

And then he reaches something behind his back and you recoil for a moment, but stop when you notice that it’s your backpack. You take it and wear it, not breaking eye contact. Robert is the first to speak, his tone soft.

“Are you okay?”

You look at him shocked, before giving a pained laugh; you ignore the flinch that comes from him.

“Do, heh, do you mean—Right now, or overall?”

Your eyes turn dark with anger.

“Because I’ve been fucking awful this past month!”

You try to keep your tone hushed as Robert ushers you out of the hospital.

He looks like a kicked puppy.

You continue to rant and scream once you’re out in the quiet parking lot. Your hands clench, practically shaking.

“Why do you continue follow me?!” You grab fistfuls of your hair and tug at it, “I thought you were done with me after that! Go find someone else! I-I-I—I don’t want you even looking at me!”

You collapse to the snowy, concrete ground and rest on your knees, sobbing into your hands. Robert is silent above, but he mimics your shaking with his chest and head. After letting out a few pathetic cries you mutter into your hands.

“Why did you do that to me...” you trail off. “I told you to stop, a-a-and you...”

“Just...Why?”

You have never sounded so broken in your life.

When he engulfs you into a hug, it feels strange and odd; the reality of your former relationship with Robert finally coming together. It doesn’t feel as exciting as you initially thought, nor do you like it when he presses his nose into your hair, just above your neck. But you don’t know what else to do anymore, you don’t know why you’re feeling so sad.

Why do you feel bad?

Why do you feel so empty?

His voice rings in your head, “I don’t want you to end up like me.”

Was this what he was talking about? This unrelenting anger, the sadness, the hurt? Was this his way of him trying to protect you? From what? You thought that his way of “taking care of you” was horrible, you thought he was horrible. And yet, you find yourself wrapping your arm smaller arms around his large frame, staring blankly into the vast road that led down into Derry.

The two of you stay like that, clutching to each other; his hold desperate and tight, while yours was tense. You remember being like this last month, you had forgiven him for breaking your wrist, and you made up.

But this time...

 


 

You don’t protest when he drives you into the Barrens and to his private home. You trudge up the stairs and lock the door to the room that you had stayed at before. This time, you push the chair to the door to make sure that there’s no way for him to enter the room without making a racket. After a few minutes of mute thoughts you let sleep take over.

You’re not sure if you forgive him. You’re not sure if you can. But there’s something still there, something pushing you to him; you’re not sure if that was just you holding onto something you thought was beautiful at first. It felt like a cry and call from within you. A pulse. A call.

You can't help but cry when you feel almost happy that you're back here.

You had a long weekend ahead of you.

 

 

Chapter Text

Your lights are terrifying and cruel, they match the same ruthlessness of the pain inflicted to you.

Your lights threatened and forced It to stay away from you as you growled and clawed at him. Your lights were violent and unrelenting. You were like a trap: your taste the bait, It the prey, and your lights the predator.

Your lights were powerful and watching It’s every move, protecting you from It. You, being trapped in your fleshy body, didn’t even know about your lights. After-all, you still hadn’t realized that It was Robert. It was only a matter of time until you would accept your lights; something It had welcomed with opened arms and rejoicing deadlights.

However, as your lights grew more and more restless—so did It.

And the more and more you drew back into your shell, the more It longed to become closer to you. It had messed up beyond the point of no return and it felt itself experience such pain when you rejected It, rejected Robert, its gift for your birthday. It felt pain when you had removed your ring and thrust it into the sewers, back where that silver band came from. You were becoming restless and angrier. It felt your wrath firsthand a multitude of times: at the diner, at the hospital.

It had gone to the point where It could no longer read your thoughts, and your lights were beginning to mask your enticing scent—a shield of protection that had spread to your friends. It had almost run into Bill Denbrough, while as Robert, had it not been the stutter in your mood that day. Your lights were growing stronger every minute.

They were beginning to consume you until...Until you became...

 

It was only a matter of time now.

 

Chapter Text

The Red.

It’s beautiful. A variety of the color fills your vision, touchable in your hands. It feels smooth and silky, malleable in your hands. You take fistfulls of it and pull, tugging it along you into the vast field of blood red roses. Behind you, far, far away, is a terrifying pillar of darkness that seems nearly incomprehensible in your mind. The red continues to move in your hands, and after a few moments you see something; a face. Your face. For some reason, upon seeing the familiar curve of your cheeks—your broken eyes—your smile, you have a sudden thought.

There’s something behind you, no not you, but your double. The sight of something else burns your mind and you let out a scream, feeling terror beyond your comprehension fill the inner workings of your mind. Instincts urge you to run and warn your double as the thing gets closer.

Bony fingers, shell-like appendages. Something akin to a spider, or what your mind tried to make sense of it, at least.

That thing was not human.

You let go of the silky red sheets as if it was fire. You feel yourself trip against the roses that crunch and twist underneath your bare feet, the sheets fall and billow down to the field of roses. Your double and the eldritch… thing are no longer there. You stay there, stunned and frozen with terror. Another thought forms in your mind and you touch the fallen sheets once more, staring at the color.

This isn’t Red, you think.

You lift the sheets up to your eyes and look closer.

It’s crimson.

 


 

You wake up with a searing pain in your stomach and a dull throb in your head. You clutch your stomach in pain, realizing that it was not your usual cramps, but something else entirely. You were hungry; absolutely starved.

You crawl out of bed and change into whatever was in the closet, some long clothes to combat the cold weather outside that had managed to escape into the house. You push the couch back into its usual spot, thankful nothing had happened the night you decided to stay at Robert’s house, and open the door—quietly slinking through the halls. You wondered if he was home, more so you wondered what he did when he wasn’t stalking you or some other grand thing related to you.

For some reason the fear that you initially felt for him was now replaced with a strong hate, you still trembled and cried and screamed; but this time these were full of raw anger. For some reason, something was telling you that you will be able to fight him off this time. Maybe it was just Henry and the other boys rubbing off of you from hanging out with them. Maybe not.

But for whatever reason it was: you felt compelled to step up now.

You shut the bathroom door as quietly as you could and did your business. Leaving the bathroom you traversed down the stairs and into the kitchen, you noticed Robert was sitting down, thinking deeply. For a moment he didn’t even notice you, surprise in his eyes when he finally saw you across his peripheral vision.

Strange. He usually knew when you were near him.

“Oh, you’re awake,” he said quietly, you ignored him and checked the fridge.

Putting together a variety of food on the counter, you made a quick meal, your expression sour and blank the whole time. But nonetheless the smell of food made you salivate and fasten your movements; it actually smelled pretty good. You were cutting fresh chives, you noticed that Robert looked at you with an uneasy expression when you chopped away at the vegetables. You could tell that he was practically itching to tell you to be careful or—

“Shit!” You swore when you felt the knife slice into your finger.

You dropped it and held tightly onto your finger, turning around towards the sink. Behind you a chair slid and you heard hasty footsteps to make its way towards you. You turned around and nearly swore again when Robert was right at your side. He held onto your finger and looked at it, watching as the blood dripped down your finger. He seemed lost in the moment, for some apparent reason, and took heavy deep breaths and brought your hand to his face.

“H-Hey, what are you...” You trailed off when you watched as he brought your bloody finger to his lips.

He stuck your finger in his mouth and ran his tongue over the wound, making you freeze and tremble with anticipation. His tongue felt warm and slick against your digit and you swallowed a thick knot that formed in your thought.

“I think you should s-stop that now,” You forced out and his looked at you, this time his eyes were cloudy and almost full of need.

But surprisingly, he listened and released your finger: he licked it clean and what was left was simple a cut that had begun to clot now. You took a step away from him and avert your attention elsewhere, the look in his eyes made you uneasy. It reminded you of a shark that had taken in the scent of blood in the water. You stood awkwardly in front of each other: with you looking up at him, there was still a little blood at the edge of his lips. You motion your head to the stairs.

“Just go...Go get a bandaid please.”

Robert looked at you again, and through his odd actions, he nodded slowly.

He walked up the stairs and you finished the rest of your pseudo-breakfast with one and a half hands; awkwardly maneuvering the pans and plates. When you were done he came back with a simple bandage and a clean face. You took the band aid—finally he left you alone—and placed it around your finger. Your stomach growled again and you immediately dug into your plate, of course he watched while never eating. It made you wonder if he even ate at all.

His concern was still evident on his face, but he did pretty well in not talking to you, until…

“You look hungry,” he stated.

You stopped eating for a moment and decided to talk to him again, albeit your answers were short and curt. It was awkward, considering everything that happened to the two of you, and yet you still felt comfortable enough to sleep in his home and cook there. You swallowed down a large amount of water and coughed out.

“I’m starving,” you groaned. “I don’t know why I just...Feel very hungry right now.”

He considered your words very heavily, almost afraid.

“Do you...Do you feel anything else?” Robert seemed to be messing with something in his hands. A glimmer of black silver, the flash of red; what was in his hands?

“No,” You looked outside the window, the snow had died down a little.

“Well, my headaches still here,” you shrugged. “Cramps are a bitch too.”

“The bleeding?”

That distracted, shark-hungry look in his eyes returned.

“Yes,” you rolled your eyes. “Of course I am. I’m on my period.”

You had finished your third plate after fifteen minutes had passed. Robert ran a hand through his hair and struggled to formulate words, letting out a heavy sigh.

“Will you be okay to be on your own?”

“I think I’d be better off without you.” He clenches his eyes.

“I’m...” You have a feeling he’s going to apologize again.

“I was wondering if you wanted to stay here still.”

You narrow your eyes and grab your eating knife tighter, cutting hard scratches into the clean porcelain; not caring if it bothered him. He had the money to afford it all, and more.

“As long as you’re not within arms reach of me,” you huff.

“...Or nowhere near me for that matter.”

“H—How do I make it up to you...?” he pleads, placing his trembling hands on the table gently.

You didn’t think gentle was something he was actually familiar with, you had a feeling he was only doing this to get on your good side...And the bastard was actually doing a pretty sound job at it. You feel it at the bottom of your heart, past everything, you feel that emotion and build deep down; it's still there.

Trust.

You think back to what he had told you about his past.

Something makes you wonder if…

“What happened to you, exactly?” you voice your thoughts, “You s-said that...That you fell in with the wrong crowd...What happened?”

He freezes up at this, but the more you notice his actions, they seem fake and artificial. A rouse to keep you at bay and in his reach, but you still listen to his story in hopes to fill in the gaps.

“They made me do things I didn’t want to,” he looks up to the ceiling, breathing through his nose, “Drugs, alcohol. I was beyond drunk one day, and one of my previous partners they...”

You have a feeling you know what he was going to say next.

“—Took advantage of me,” he chokes out.

Something awful clenches at your gut and you feel like throwing up again, you drop your utensils onto the smooth mahogany table and stand up, clenching your hands. You still didn’t understand though, why did he do that to you? Why would he inflict on you, the same pain that was given to him? 

You clench your fists and turn your head away.

“That day...” he whispered, “I was still upset that I hurt you. I-I...I had a little too much to drink.”

You don’t remember his breath smelling like alcohol that day. Did you? He seemed as sound as he could be that day, he was just incredibly angry. Is that what alcohol did to people? Your father was never like that to your mother, in fact, both of them only drank at parties; and they were never violent. Maybe Robert was just different...

Your head hurts thinking about the event, but it makes sense. Robert wasn’t...himself at all, nothing like the sweet and caring man who had bought you gifts; nothing like the man who you met that chilly October day in the Dance Hall.

“I’ll be good to you,” he pleads again, still frozen to his seat. “Please.”

Now you’re the one who looks like a kicked puppy. Your feelings were spinning everywhere, thrusting you into a head-space that was confusing and didn’t make sense at all. You want to hug him. You want to punch him. You…

You want to love again.

You want to love him again.

You want to feel the happiness once more.

You want him to take you around town.

You want him.

“You need help,” you whimper, wringing your hands into your arms, “Y-You...You’re—I-I...I don’t know anymore.”

“I’ll get help!” he exclaims with tears falling down his soft cheeks. He looks like he’s starved himself again—some of the droplets cling to his eyelashes and glimmer underneath the natural light. “I’m trying my best...I just want...I want you back...Please.”

“You hurt me,” you repeat the words you have told him...Several times before. “You promise again and again that you won’t hurt me a-and every—!...Every time you say that you always do it again, but every time you hurt me gets worse and worse!”

You make your way to the window and cross your arms, trying to distract you with a deer that gallops in the pale white snow. You imagine yourself as the deer, you want to leave; and yet the call of the forest—Robert—draws you back to him.

“You raped me,” you choke out, your breaths are shaky, making your migraine worse by the minute. “The worst thing that you could ever do to me, and you did it. And you enjoyed it.”

“Th-That wasn’t me...” You hear his voice almost behind you.

You turn around and look him in the eyes, your gaze seems to break something in him and he recoils. You see how broken he looks, he reminds you of yourself. You cry when you see him wipe away the tears that don’t stop slipping from his eyes. Your own hands begin to shake now, and you feel Déjà Vu. Haven’t you forgiven him several times already? He looks down at you with red, puffy eyes; you feel pain grip at your heart and lungs, it breaks you to see him like that. The satisfaction of seeing him in pain, the anger for him—it fades away.

You believe him.

You slowly wrap your arms around him and shift when he falls to his knees, holding you like a lifeline. Robert breaks away from you for a moment and hands you something new. Its another ring, but this one looks a bit different than the first one. It’s a silver black band adorned by three ruby red gems at the crown, followed by smaller black diamonds on each side.

“This was my gift to you,” he mutters and you take it, feeling it weigh in your palm. “For your birthday.”

“Do...Do you forgive me...?”

You look at the ring, then at Robert, back and forth.

A decision is made up in your mind.

You give him a slow nod.

 

Chapter Text

You spend your Sunday exploring his home again.

After making up yesterday, Robert had allowed you to have some space alone, he had left the house saying that he was going to grab something to eat. How odd: that he had never eaten within the confines of his own home. You had even asked him what he wanted to eat, but he politely declined; and left without another word. He had returned around 4 p.m. that day, along with Holland whom he had bundled up close to his chest like a mother holding a child. He placed her in the enclosure he made for her in “your” room and promptly left for the remainder of his day. You were just trying to calm down your burning insides.

You were never a pill-taker, so you had ended up groaning and rolling around your bed in pain. Robert was incredibly considerate enough to provide you water and a steaming towel. He seemed a bit strange though, the past few days, though you probably placed that as him still trying to make it up to you. His actions were full of care and a sense of purpose, it made your heart swell up with appreciation and joy. Robert really seemed like he was doing his best for you.

You fiddled with the ring on your ring finger, which you wore on your right hand. There were so many rooms upon rooms; and the more you explored the halls and rooms, the more wonder filled you. The house—estate—was fucking massive. There were a lot of bedrooms, a good two or three recreational rooms with a pool table and the latest television set, a large library with a large vertical window that gave you a glimpse of the outside (you wondered what the view was during the spring), and a handful of bathrooms.

Of course, there was a pool near the farther side of the estate, but the chill outside made you think otherwise before dipping a leg into the icy water. You reached a large double set of dark doors, when you opened it a large fountain met your view along with rows and rows of snow-covered bushes that had lost their leaves. The empty space made you think about what flowers were planted here. A greenhouse was situated between the trees, closer to the forest—it was empty and frosted. However, you did notice something ironic and strange.

Robert’s garden also had sunflowers.

Albeit they were dead, and the stalks sagged over, the familiar look of the bundles of the buds and pointed leaves made you realize right away. You closed the door and continued to explore the house, it felt timeless in here. Who had taken care of this place while Robert was in Castle Rock? Did he hire people to take care of his home?

No, you thought, I’m probably the only person he genuinely talks to.  

You found yourself feeling guilt again. He really was all alone, wasn’t he? You found another pair of double doors and opened them and your eyes widened at the sight. Sleek, smooth birch floorboards, three elongated mirrors that replaced the left side of the wall: you knew what you were starting at.

A dance studio.

You peered into the room with excited eyes, hands gripping onto the door with an enthusiastic spring in your step. The room was almost looked like it had come out of the Georgian Era. You’d have to come back here at another time. Shutting the door again, you retraced your steps and found yourself back in the large living room downstairs.

“Did you have fun?” A voice whispered behind you.

Jumping in shock, hands digging into the spaces between your small ribs, you turned around. Seeing that it was Robert, who had a sly smirk on his face, you let out a sigh and lightly slapped a hand against his arm.

“Do-Don’t do that!” you said with a nervous chuckle.

“Sorry!” he smiled. “You were gone a while, was wondering where you went.”

God, that smile. It was so beautiful. You liked the way his eyes glimmered when he smiled, they looked so real and human; and you couldn’t help but turn red at the cheeks at it. You felt butterflies again, an old fire rekindling. He really was perfect, rough underneath, but a treasure for sure.

“Your house is big.” You tilted your head, “How did you manage to take care of it?”

“I hire a group of people to care for my house when I’m gone,” he explained, reaching a hesitant hand to your cheek—his hands felt warm for once. You leaned into his touch.

“Every year, in the spring, they refurbish the home until it’s new again.”

“Do you even work?” you asked with genuine curiosity. “There’s no way that your family made so much money from a beer company...Wait, is there?”

He gave you an amused laugh, eyes crinkling at the edges with mirth. He drags his hand so that it’s resting on your neck, resting against your steady-now-quickening pulse. You can hear the sound of soft piano music playing from the living room, from the outdated phonograph. The smell of roses and lavender wafts into your nose, mixing in with the earthy rich smells from Robert. You reach a hand to touch his own, fingers trembling with nervousness. He knew exactly how to keep you on your toes.

“Details, darling,” he muttered, reaching his other hand to softly touch the thin crux between your chest and hip. He suddenly felt so incredibly close. Was his face always this close to yours?

“Like I said, I-I...I wasn’t a good man. I got most of my money the bad way...”

You felt yourself standing a bit taller, meeting your forehead with his. The feeling took your breath away, and you almost felt embarrassment tickling your senses at the way it made your eyes flutter. His face softened at your expression, the dark pools of his eyes taking you in. He leaned a bit closer, so close that your noses brushed against each other. His breath smelled sweet and minty like peppermint: your favorite.

Now you leaned closer and placed your other hand against the firm spot of his abdomen.

His eyes seemed blown out with wonder and anticipation, as if this experience was something entirely new to him. Something told you to keep looking into his eyes, to look for something that seemed out of the blue.

Robert pulled you close to him, pressing you against him, sharing heat between one another. The two of you were waiting for something, for one of you to act, but the two of you simply stood there: gazing into each other’s eyes. It felt...Nice.

This was good.

But...It’s too much...

You pulled away as soon as it began to flood your senses, turning your head to the side as you remove your hands from him. Robert backed away from you, disappointed and hurt. He backed away from you nonetheless and you felt a longing for his touch again. Your face felt hot and flush, your skin almost burning ice-cold from the lack of warmth.

“Let’s t-take it slow,” you avert your gaze to the floorboards.

“Okay,” he choked out.

He turned back to you and placed a fist underneath your chin, lifting your head so that you could look up at him again.

“Did you want to go out to town today?” His tone was softer than his touch.

You looked at him surprised and gave him a happy and enthusiastic nod, bouncing on your feet.

“Yeah!” you exclaimed. “Y-Yeah...I would like that.”

He gave you a smile and guided you outside and helped you into the Porsche before turning on the ignition and speeding down the clearing path.

You leaned your head against the window and smiled.

 

Chapter Text

With Christmas coming precisely next week the entire length of Center Street was booming with business and laughter. Everyone was out and about: whether it was to spend family time, or to hastily purchase gifts for their loved ones. Robert had parked a little ways down the street, close to the local library, but not too far from the pharmacy. The two of you were walking side by side and you had to admit the two of you made a strange pair, if that’s what the two of you could be considered as.

He was a good foot and a half (or more) taller than you, with you barely reaching up to his chest. The large black clothing that hugged his body, alongside his coat, only made him seem so much taller than you. Of course, to make up for that you tried to match his attire; except in an opposite color fashion.

Your clothes were light, a grey-beige turtleneck dress (you seemed to fancy this type of clothing ever since Robert packed your wardrobe with them) that hugged you until it reached just above your calves. You wore skin-colored mesh leggings underneath with a pair of your white pumps. To make up for the cold, Robert offered you one of his fur coats, which you wore without hesitation. Thankfully, the coat wasn’t too large nor was it small enough for you feel a draft. Your hair was simply parted to the right in soft curls with a single white (faux) Dendrobium Orchid behind your left ear. You had a feeling of self-love and appreciation settle within you.

You felt beautiful.

Still, you felt timid when you were in public with Robert, trudging behind him with hidden enthusiasm. The two of you had blended in with the crowd, which consisted of families from West Broadway who were ready to burn their cash, but you didn’t want to act too outgoing. You stared at his hand as the two of you made your way to the nearest store.

You really wanted to hold it.

At that moment Robert turned his head to briefly look at you, raising a brow at your sheepish expression. He smiled and tilted his head and stopped in his tracks, you followed him.

“Something’s on your mind,” he mused, eyebrows furrowing deeply.

He looked as if he was trying to read what you were thinking, but failed incredibly.

“I-I,” you stammered and hugged the coat closer to you, “I-Uh...I really want to hold your hand.”

Robert smirked at this and instantly intertwined your left hand with his right. You began to stammer even more and you weren’t sure if the blush on your nose and cheeks was from the cold or feeling bashful. Your eyes were wide when he began to continue walking, still holding your hand, as if it was nothing.

“Hey!” You whisper-yelled, then falling into a softer tone. “What—What...What if someone sees?”

“They won’t see,” he said in an assured tone. “And if they do...Well, I’ll make sure that they won’t talk about us.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure,” he pointed to the store.

“Now, you said you wanted to buy something for your friends?”

“Yeah, let’s go!” Now you were the one dragging him along, entering the store that smelled like cinnamon and ginger.

You twirled around excitedly around the room, instantly unlacing your hand from Robert’s to obsess over an object that he couldn’t focus on. When you turned around, holding the pack in your hands, he looked at you; extremely perplexed.

“What is that?” He looked hopelessly confused.

“It’s a fanny pack, dummy!” you giggled.

“What do you need that for?”

“It’s for Eddie!” you elaborated. “He’s one of my friends. He usually has quite a few of these, he’s sick a lot so he keeps medication on him, but some bully trashed his into the Canal. I wanted to buy this for him.”

Still, Robert looked confused.

“But why would you need to buy it?”

You tilted your head and gave him doe eyes.

“How do you feel when you give me gifts?” you asked.

“Satisfied,” Robert continues, almost understanding your message, “Happy.”

“There you go! That’s why I buy gifts.

 You grabbed a colorful tie—Richie loves those, surprisingly. Especially when he did mock stand-ups in the Quarry. Robert carried the items in his hands, still questioning your actions.

“I do it to make them happy, and to make me happy.”

“But why do you have to wait a whole year to buy gifts?” he rose another brow. “Why not buy them whenever?”

You suddenly felt yourself halting in your actions, furrowing your brows and brushing your hair back. Did he not celebrate Christmas? Maybe not into the religious aspect, you didn’t see him as a religious man, but overall. You crossed your arms and leaned on your hip.

“Robert.” He hummed at the question. “Have you ever celebrated Christmas?”

“No,” he answered truthfully.

Your jaw dropped and you let out a gasp.

“H-How? Do you even celebrate any other holidays?”

“No. I...don’t do those things...”

You grabbed his hand and immediately dragged him to the register and bought the items, feeling him exclaim behind you. Robert grabbed the bags as you continued to pull him outside until you were standing under a light pole. You had a determined look on you eyes as you grabbed both of his hands and leaned as close to his face as you could—which was not close at all, given your height.

“Well,” you huffed. “I’m going to teach you how to.”

You released him and held his hand again, giving him a patient smile. His face was full of confusion but nonetheless, he returned your smile. You didn’t really know much about the holiday except for the gift-giving and food part, well the cooking you could certainly do. Most of your Christmases were spent with your friends, but you had a feeling that you’d end up spending it with Robert this year: given that your parents were in Austria until January. 

“Do you like cookies?” you asked him as the two of you made your way to the high end stores.

“Well, I don’t hate them,” Robert shrugs, “I don’t eat them, either.”

“Is there anything that you do eat?” You looked at him incredulously. “Look, you’re extremely attractive—” He smirked at this. “—but there’s no way that you’re living off of a restricted diet and still looking like that.”

You gestured to him, up and down, shivering when a cold draft had passed through.

“I’m planning on making cookies for Christmas so… Do you have any dessert flavors? C’mon, Rob, give me details.”

He put a hand to his chin and thought to himself quietly, humming to a small tune. Finally, after moments of thinking he nodded and turned his smirk into a smile.

“I guess peppermint…?”

“That’s my favorite already, Robert,” you giggle. “How about chocolate? Vanilla? Or do we just happen to have the same likes?”

“I suppose butterscotch,” he shrugs. “Or honey.”

“Oh jeez,” you exhale sharply. “You like the sweet sweet stuff.”

You stop when you see something at the front of a store, it’s a stuffed white elephant wearing a red ribbon around its neck. Your gaze softens and you completely freeze in your tracks. Robert notices the change in your behavior and places a hand on your shoulder.

“[Y/N], what’s wrong?”

You look at the toy one more time before shaking your head, turning around to walk back to the car.

“[Y/N]...?”

“It’s just...” you sigh to look up at him. “That toy over there...It reminds me of this kid I knew...”

“That you knew?”

“Georgie,” Tthe name feels like hard acid against your heart. “He was...He was the little brother of my friend.”

You don’t notice Robert freeze also at the name, the stillness of his breath, the change in the look in his eyes.

“What happened to him?” he asks.

You feel a tightness forming in your throat. You hold his hand tighter and look up at him when the car is not too far away from you. You look off to the side, watching as children played in the distance.

“He went missing,” you breathed out. “He was chasing a paper boat his brother made for him, a-and—And he...”

You shudder, turning your head to the side and get in the car, not saying anything else. Robert silently slinks into the car after you, throwing your gifts for your friends into the back. He takes in your appearance with blank eyes, almost waiting to see what you would say next.

“Did they ever find out what happened to him?” he asked, driving down the street.

“No...” you trail off.

“His brother thinks he fell down the sewer grate,” you mutter, crossing your arms, feeling comfort in the fur coat.

“What do you think happened to him?”

You think for a moment, and a morbid thought comes to mind.

You wipe your wet eyes and let out a sigh, slinking your hand over his. Robert’s arm flexes in response, then he overturns his hand, holding yours within his large palm. You take a moment to recover and look out the window.

“I think...” you pause, “I think that he’s dead.”

He gives you a sympathetic look, something inside of you tells you that it’s fake.

“Why do you think that?”

“So many kids have gone missing already,” you lean back into your seat. “I just… I just don’t think that these kids are just missing. I think… I think something’s after them.”

You think back to the clown and let out a shaky breath, remembering It’s scalding sunset eyes. Robert tightens his grip on your hand and you relax, rolling down the window. The air feels nice against the warmth of your face.

“What would you do if your friends went missing?” Robert inquires morbidly.

You think, then come up with a brief answer.

“I think I’d die,” you whisper, honestly.

Robert’s hand tightens and he turns away from you. It’s almost as if he took your words to heart. Then, all too soon, a familiar blue Trans Am rolls up beside on your right side. You freeze and remove your hand from Robert’s as the window to Belch’s car rolls down.

“Alright hot-shot!” Belch yells, turning his head to face you—or you think he meant to look at Robert. “Let’s race! You and—”

His jaw goes slack when he sees you pressed into the seat, giving him a sheepish smile. To his right, a face pops out and you recognize that it’s Victor. His eyes go wide in surprise, but it’s not because of you. He’s looking behind you. He’s looking at Robert. Victor then averts his attention to you, giving you a questioning expression; it’s that of one who’s about to scold their friend, or one of disappointment. You feel like its a combination of the two.

You let out a sigh and roll up the window, muttering out a swear as you turn away from it.

“Well...That was awkward,” you let out a nervous chuckle.

Robert speeds up a little, making sure to go faster than the Trans Am before making his way back to where his house is at.

“Who were those two?” Robert asks curiously.

“Uh—Uhm, the driver’s name is Belch,” you continue. “The one on the right is Victor. They’re apart of the Bowers Gang.”

“Gang...?” Robert asks, his expression turns sour and he furrows his brows at you.

“How do you even know about them?”

His tone makes you shrink back a little, but you puff out your chest and respond coolly.

He’s just being protective, You think, I can’t even imagine what he would think if he met Henry Bowers.

“I-I… I-I’m apart of their gang, Robert,” you answer honestly.

Robert turns to you fully and completely brakes the car. Luckily you were wearing your seat belt, but the lurch still made you grip at your chest, groaning. You gave him an irritated face, but his expression is easily readable. He looks hurt and confused.

“Why would you join a gang!?” he exclaims.

“Well!” you huff. “They told me that they wouldn’t touch, bully, or harass me and my friends—If...If I joined them.”

“So you joined them...” Robert trails off.

He understood your logic behind it but let out a frustrated sigh.

“But they’ve held onto their promise!” You touch his arm, giving him a reassuring smile.

“Belch and Victor aren’t that bad. The only one that wouldn’t probably listen is—”

“Henry Bowers,” he grits out in a low growl.

“Yes—Wait...You know about him?” You feel shock filling your mind.

“Yes. Oh, yes, I know about him,” Robert gives a dark chuckle. “You would do well to stay away from him, [Y/N].”

Oh boy, here we go again with the dictating…

“He’s not that bad.” You shrug, “He hasn’t hurt me.”

“I overheard him one time,” Robert grips the steering wheel tighter, parking at the side of the road

.“He was talking about you.”

That grabs your attention.

“What did he say?” you asked.

“He was going to use you,” he growls out again.

You don’t understand his meaning for a moment, thinking hard; and then you weigh Robert’s words carefully.

Your face goes pale and you look at him, horrified.

“Are you serious…?” you covered your mouth with your hand to hide a gasp.

“As serious as him,” Robert turns on the ignition and begins to drive closer to his estate.

“Do you remember when he said that?”

“Yesterday, while I went to go get Holland for you. He said he was going to do it tomorrow.”

You go quiet at this, watching the trees that pass by with a now-fearful mood. Your hands shake a little, your mouth growing dry. When he stops at the entrance of his home, you get out of the car as fast as you could: taking a deep breath of the cold air. You exhale into your hands, waiting by the front doors. Robert unlocks it for you, placing your bags near the couch. You quickly take off your shoes and coat, leaving the flower on your hair as you plop down onto the couch.

Robert joins you and pulls you into his side, you tilt your head to look up at him.

“Please be careful, [Y/N],” his voice trembles as he says your name. You distract yourself with the ring, twisting it around your finger.

You let out a shaky laugh and lean closer into him, shimmying so that his arms were wrapped around your front.

“Now you made me scared to go to school,” you continue. “I still have classes with him next year.”

He tightens his grip on you.

“Promise me,” he whispers into your hair.

“Hmmm?”

“Promise me that you’ll stay away from trouble.”

“I...” You looked out the window.

“Please, [Y/N]. Leave them,” Robert mutters, giving you shivers. “You don’t need them. You’re more than enough to protect your friends… You are special, and I don’t doubt that if given the chance—you could show that Bowers Gang who’s boss.”

He inhaled sharply, taking in the smell of your hair, causing you to look up lazily at him with dreamy eyes.

“You give me too much credit,” you sigh. “I’m not that strong.”

“You are,” Robert lifted one of his hands so that it was resting at the center of your chest, close to your heart.

“Right here.”

 

Chapter Text

You feel tension gripping at your soul as you watch Henry out of the corner of your eye. He seemed eerily calm today, pretending to do his work, you noticed him averting his gaze to you every now and then. It sent you into an intense spiral of fear that made you grip your pen tighter. Robert’s words had repeated in your word throughout the whole day, frightening you to the core.

“He was going to use you.”

When the bell finally rang you left the classroom as fast as you could, holding onto the straps of the backpack tightly. You blended into the crowd of other students, walking until you felt the sweet release of the icy weather; letting out relieved huff of air. You searched the front until you passed your gaze away from the busses, and spotted the familiar flash of silver. You smiled, feeling relaxed that Robert was there. He said that he wouldn’t let you leave home alone, not after what he had heard from Henry.

The implications of it all had thrust the two of you into a fight or flight moment. And as you walked down the concrete steps and across the grass, feeling safety in numbers with all of the students out and about, you felt at peace. That is, until you hear a loud shout from behind you, the sound of bodies slamming against the wall, and then.

Screams

You turned around, startled as two boys fought against the concrete, rolling onto the snow-covered grass: throwing violent punches and kicks at each other. Someone runs back inside to call a teacher. But something’s familiar about these two boys. You stop in your tracks to peer closer at the fighting boys. You instantly recognize them: one of them with a dirty mullet, and the other with cropped platinum hair.

Henry and Victor. Fighting.

Although Henry seems to be the one who throws the harder punches, Victor was never really the most muscular nor the healthiest out of the group; you see that Victor has more energy than Henry, who’s heaving and huffing, struggling to get up. Victor grabs fistfulls of Henry’s jacket, he’s screaming in his face; his pale face stark red with anger and hate. You can clearly hear the words Victor is screaming in Henry’s equally angry face. Who couldn’t? He was screaming so loud that you briefly turned around, and looked for Robert.

He was leaning against the car, one eyebrow raised and his hands motioning to go to him.

Still you were concerned for your friend and turned back around, listening as the two fought. Other students huddled around the two and you pushed your way through the crowd. Victor, struggling to pin Henry to the ground, still screams in the violent teen’s ear.

YOU’RE DISGUSTING!” Victor screams, over and over and over—the rage so prominent that even you backed away.

Henry spits in his face, blood and drool mixing as it splatters against the snow white ground, staining Victor’s face. The pale boy doesn’t falter and continues to throw punches at Henry. The latter’s face falters and it soon reflects Victor’s as he gets up and manages to pin Victor. Everyone around the circle is practically hysterical now, chanting ‘fight’ over and over. You let out a scream, seeing Victor’s face turn red and yellow at Henry’s unrelenting punches.

You don’t even notice it when you drop your backpack, you don’t notice it when you lunge forward at the two. You don’t notice the way you growl and scream at Henry. You don’t notice it, for you could only focus on one thing.

Henry: hurting your friend.

You felt like killing him.

A deep, primal rush fills your veins and takes in your frame as you pull Henry away from Victor, snarling in his face. You don’t feel the bruising and sharp pain that blooms from your knuckles as your hand meets the swell of Henry’s battered cheek. The crowd around you is absolutely shocked and thrilled, interested and surprised that you entered the fight. Henry stumbles backwards onto his back, staining his shirt with the frozen snow, holding his cheek in shock.

He sees you and the surprise is evident, replaced with anger. And then he looks at you eyes, and freezes up with… With something that you couldn’t exactly pinpoint at the moment. That didn’t matter, you waited for Henry to do something but there was something he saw within you that made him freeze; paralyzed with shock and… Fear.

Yes… That’s what it was.

You give him a harsh glare and slide on your knees, holding up Victor by the shoulders easily. You feel remorse and hurt at seeing his face look so swollen and beat up. He grabs your hand and gurgles out, allowing you to hoist him up.

“H-H—He…” He spits out a thick glob of blood onto the snow, “He was goin…”

You give him a patient and forgiving smile, giving him a brief hug.

“I know…” You sigh, looking at him.

He looks almost unrecognizable and you feel fear for him, that Henry would pounce at him should you let him go. But… The way Henry stands there, frozen like a deer, it makes you wonder what he saw within you that frightened—terrified—him. The students had calmed down when the principal, the vice principal, and the assistant principal (Mr. Terat, Ms. Wenink, and Mr. Wood, respectively) broke through the crowd, shouting at the students to back away. You finally let go of of Victor and give him a reassuring pat on the back, helping him steady his ground on the ground.

You watch as Henry is the first one to detain, and then Victor who looks at you with concerned eyes; he doesn’t seem too sure about leaving you out of his sight, especially now that you’ve punched Henry (something everyone knew was going to bite back at you one day).

You’re let off of the hook, surprisingly, and are thanked for breaking up the fight.

Still, you receive an after school detention for 5 minutes: that’s not so bad compared to what Victor and Henry might get.

The crowd, disappointed that their stimulus is gone, disperses and you sling your backpack over your shoulder. You walk up to Robert, who looks as if he’s about to scold you, but then he stops—taking in your appearance.

He seems very focused on your eyes.

“Did I accidentally get blood on my face?” You ask him, worriedly, your anger fading away.

Robert snaps out of it and shakes his head, entering the car.

“I told you to stay out of trouble...” He grumbles, “Stubborn as ever I see.”

“Victor’s my friend.” You say in defense, “I… I couldn’t just stand there and watch as he was getting pummeled by Henry. There was something just telling me to protect him… I don’t know, just a protective feeling. I didn’t even realize what I was doing until the principals came.”

Robert looked at your hand and gently took it within his own, he brought it to his lips and placed a soft kiss on it. He did this a couple of times, rubbing his hands over the spot where your knuckles began to bruise, sprain, and sore. You huffed and turned your head away.

“And the weirdest thing is that when Henry looked at me, he froze.” Robert stopped his ministrations, looking at you curiously.

“He froze?”

“Yeah,” You looked out the window, watching as they dragged Henry inside.

“He looked as if he saw his own father.” You let out a nervous chuckle, “Terrified, filled with—”

“Fear.” Robert finished. The way he said it was like a whisper, almost as if he was saying the name of a loved one lost. There was a certain familiarity on that tone that you couldn’t quite pick up, so you dropped the thought.

He let go of your hand and began driving.

 

 

ii.

 

You didn’t lie when you said that you were going to teach him how to celebrate holidays. In fact, you did the best you could to ensure that this week (and weekend) was going to be absolutely festive, minus the ugly sweaters and eggnog. You had decorated his house to the nines in festive decor, with what you had bought from the store. At the front door were four well-wrapped presents one for your closest friends: Bill, Beverly, Richie, and Eddie (you planned on giving Stan his gift later in respect). You had another present in your room, something you bought on your own, wrapped for Robert; you kept it hidden underneath the bed, making sure that there’s no way that he could find out about it.

The remainder of the week had passed by and you recovered from the fight, though Victor looked fucked up, almost beyond repair. It left you with a feeling of sorrow and horror to see his face covered in lesions and bruises, it didn’t fit him at all. Henry hadn’t come to school at all the remainder of the week, which worried and frightened you. You had a feeling that he was waiting to see you, waiting to get back at you.

Thankfully, winter break had finally come, leaving you to stay at Robert’s house; but you technically did that on the regular.

“Help me Rob.” You said, trying to place the star on top of the tree.

Robert was currently sitting on the couch, looking at you with an amused smile as you struggled to reach the top of the tree. Even standing on the chair, you couldn’t reach.

“No.” He was stifling laughs, “It’s amusing to watch you struggle.”

You groaned.

“C’mon Robert, if we’re going to have a proper holiday than you can at least help me.”

He finally gave in, rolling his eyes in mirth, and grabbed you by the waist from behind.

“Okay, on the count of three. One, two, three!”

He didn’t even need to gather his strength as he lifted you up with ease, allowing you to place the star on the tree. You found yourself toppling over and you fell back, allowing him to carry you bridal style before setting you on the ground. You placed hands on your hips and looked at the tree with excitement and accomplishment.

The fir tree was adorned with a white train of fuzzy streamers that wrapped around the tree. Followed by that were simple red, orange, and gold rounded ornaments. A few candy canes covered in a translucent gold wrapping were scattered across the tree. It was a nice splash of color against the dark splash of dark red that covered Robert’s house.

“What’s this?” You perked up at this, turning around to look at Robert.

He picked up something from the box that you brought with you from home, it was old Christmas supplies and decorations that you had placed randomly around the house. He was holding a familiar green plant (a faux version, however) with white berries. You turned red and let out a nervous chuckle, moving the couch back to its original spot.

“That’s mistletoe, heh, Robert,” You giggled, “Please tell me you at least know what it means.”

He gave you a blank look, waiting for you to continue.

You let out another giggle, “When two people are standing under mistletoe, it means they have to kiss.”

“Oh.” He dropped the fake plant back into the box, “Have you ever been under mistletoe?”

“Once.” You admit, he turns his head to you at this, “B-But we didn’t really kiss. I just hugged him, y’know? I felt bad that I didn’t kiss him, but I was thirteen and he was eleven, it just made me a little uncomfortable.”

He hummed, satisfied at your answer.

“I was going to ask about you, but since you’ve never heard of mistletoe, I won’t.” You teased.

Robert let out a quiet chuckle and smiled, for a moment he looked satisfied, completely content. He sat back down on the couch and asked, “Did you get me a present?”

“Yes I did!” You beamed, “But I’m not going to tell you what it is! You’ll have to wait until Christmas!”

“You’re not wondering if I got you one?”

You paused, taking a seat next to him.

“You’ve already done so much for me.” You said with sincerity, “I don’t need anything from you.”

You let out a quiet yawn and stretched, looking at the nearby clock; it was almost 8 p.m. You looked at Robert with a sly look on your face, feeling giddiness at what you were about to you. Robert looked at you and matched your expression, you were like an enigma to him.

“What’s got you so happy, darling?”

“Just this.”

You quickly leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek.

Your insides suddenly burned alive with dopamine at that moment, filling your veins with a rush of excitement. Before you could take in his reaction you quickly hopped off the couch and ran up the stairs, entering your room. You hastily fed Holland a mouse you had found outside earlier, then changed into sleepwear, welcoming the sheets with a smile on your face. You had dreamt of beautiful things and happy faces.

You were so distracted by your feelings and sleep that you didn’t notice that something was in your room.

You didn’t notice the shadow looming over you.

 

Chapter Text

“Breaker of Beams, Child of our Red Father. Why do you lay in this bed?”

 

The voice is deep and sultry, resonating against the walls like a tremble against the wind.

 

The shadow saunters closer, nimble paws gripping against the sheets, the light of the moon illuminating the large figure. The first to be caught in the pale light is the fur boots, the faded blue jeans, and then a black and grey letterman jacket, on the left sleeve is a prominent ‘15’ in stark white, blocky text. On the back in that same blocky lettering says: DURHAM HIGH ‘72. The jacket trails up until a chest of grey, blonde, and black fur erupts from the neck of the jacket; prominent snout, pointed canine ears, and amber eyes gleam in the dark. This is the head of a wolf.

 

The thing pets at your head, gentle enough that you don’t stir from your deep sleep. The figure lets out slow breaths, as still as it can be, its eyes gleam like the finishing embers of a fire. It opens its maw again, but instead of growls and howls escaping its muzzle, the same voice escapes like a slow song.

 

“Perhaps you are not ready.” It inhales sharply, removing its paws.

 

“Have your lights come out yet?”

 

It does not expect an answer from your sleep-induced self, tilting its snout up. It takes a deep breath and makes a noise of disgust, looking at the door to your room.

 

“Those Spiders would know better than to touch something that isn’t theirs to touch.”

 

It pauses, waiting for something, waiting for something to burst from the door.

 

It waits a minute longer, returning to its light petting.

 

“Strange… I figured that It would’ve caught onto my scent by now. No matter, that makes this all the easier.”

 

It makes its way to the window, opening it with slow paws with a little bit of difficulty (lacking thumbs and fingers), the chill of the outside snow makes you and it shiver. You shift a little, pulling the blankets over your head, and fall back into a relaxed state. It tilts its head, something akin to a smile crosses its features against its emotionless yellow-brown irises. It hops on the windowsill, turning one last time to look at you.

 

“Tomorrow, I will collect you.” It muses, “Neither the Crimson King nor the Destroyer can stop me."

 

It drops down, despite the fact that it was several feet above the ground on the second floor. It leaves the window open, the sounds of feet against the snow below crunches until they fade into the forest and night.

 

Meanwhile, a feasting clown pauses in its eating, taking in the deep scent of fear that radiates from a child’s mutilated face. The child screams and cries, trying to break free, vocal cords bloody and drowning in his own blood. The clown lets out a bubbly laugh that gurgles into a growl, and then silences the child for good with a hefty bite from its bleeding jaws.

 

It does not smell the intruder on on the other side of town, deep in the Barrens.

 

Chapter Text

You wake up with an excited smile on your face, tossing the blankets over. You pause in your excitement when you notice that the window is open. You furrow your eyebrows but shut it closed, locking it. Robert had probably opened it sometime during the night, considering the fact that you were under the blanket. He probably thought you were sweating under the mass of blankets. You take a quick shower and then dress yourself in simple clothes; today was special but you didn’t want to go over the top.

You return to the room and get on your knees, sliding the glass crate from underneath the bed. You smile cheerfully at it, wrapping it quickly in red wrapping paper, poking a few holes into so that it has enough air to breath. You place a black bow on it and carefully hold it with you as you traverse down the stairs. Robert is already downstairs, his hair a little messy and seated next to the tree. He eyes your present with curious eyes.

“Is that mine?” He asks.

You nod, plopping down beside him. Robert engulfs you in a hug, taking a deep breath in your hair, but freezes. You pull away from him and look at him confused, setting down the present. His face holds one of confusion, perplexity, and something akin to possessiveness.

“Are you okay, Robert?” You ask.

He snaps out of it, but still holds a strange face.

“You smell different.” He says, gears turning around in his mind.

You let out a giggle and hand him the box.

“I showered dummy.” You continued, “It’s just lavender shampoo.”

Robert slowly nods at this, but you have a feeling that he wasn’t talking about the shampoo. He was about to shake the box when you stopped him, letting out a nervous laugh.

“D-Don’t shake it!” You exclaim, “You might agitate or hurt her.”

“Her…?” He asks and tears open the present no problem.

It’s a glass enclosure and inside is a spider. Her body is hairy and black, with red-orange legs. She stays still, looking at Robert who brings the cage to his face.

“You bought me a spider?” He laughed, “Thank you [Y/N].”

“Now you won’t be lonely while I’m gone!” You explain, “What are you going to name her?”

He sets down the enclosure on a nearby table and thinks.

“I think… How about Gray?”

“You’re naming her after her last name?” You asked, leaning your chin into your hands, sitting criss-crossed across him.

“Well I was going to name her after the thing I love the most…” He continues, “But I already have a [Y/N] right next to me.”

Your face turned warm, filling your face with red, and you pushed him playfully, laughing.

“Stop it!” You smile, “But I like the name. Gray. Suits her, suits you.”

Robert smiled and helped you up, walking towards the door. You gave him a questioning glance when he stopped in his tracks, under the doorway between the living room and front entrance. You tilted your head and crossed your arms, wondering what he was doing. He took both of your hands in his and gave you a small smile.

“Look up.” He said.

You did, and when you felt your face turn even warmer; you were probably as red as a tomato now.

Above the two of you was—

“Mistletoe.” You giggled, “I wonder why that’s there.”

“My gift to you.” He said in a quiet voice and captured your lips in his.

Your eyes fluttered and you had no time to react, eyes going wide and at once, a thousand butterflies had settled in your stomach. You closed your eyes completely and wrapped your arms around his neck, deepening the kiss. He placed his hands on your hips, turning you a little to press deeper. This kiss felt so… Amazing. You felt him smile as the two of you took in each other. Soft music continued to play, the tune of Clair de Lune resonating in your ears as you pulled away from the kiss, both of your breathing heavily.

You stood up on your toes and gave him another kiss, whining when he didn’t linger too long. The two of you stood like that, staring at each other, and then you smiled at him; your eyes getting lost in his dark brown eyes. The Christmas lights had glimmered a little bit, giving his eyes a faint yellow glow. Robert’s smile was wide now as he wrapped his hand around the back of your neck.

“That was…” You breathed out, “That was some gift.”

“Did you want another?” He whispered. You began to stammer in response and moved your hands so that they were now gripping at his shirt, leaning even closer to him. He let out another laugh and kissed you again, you let out a hum of approval when his fingers massaged the back of your head, feeling his fingers tangle and lace within your hair.

You broke away, “We should drop off my presents for my friends now.”

He hummed and moved his face so that it was at your neck, you let out a tiny gasp and felt a strange multitude of emotions when he pulled away. You didn’t want him to stop but you still had your friends to take care of.

“Alright.”

-

“You can stay in the car if you want. I’m gonna be in there for a while.” They said as Robert stopped at the first house, which was Bill Denbroughs.

It, as Robert, nodded and turned off the ignition, watching you knock on the door a few times. Mrs. Denbrough had greeted you with a smile and allowed you to enter the house. Meanwhile, It was sitting alone the car within its thoughts. How had you managed to encapsulate It with such strong emotions? Of care? Of happiness? Of love?

Love.

Something so vile, something so foreign to It—still foreign to It—that it got lost in the feeling whenever it laid eyes on you. Love was like a drug, having been exposed to the feeling in October. Now it was December and It couldn’t get enough of it without craving it as It fed. The warm feeling that it felt swirl within its deadlights, both poisoned and filled it with a strength that it had never felt before. It gripped the steering wheel tighter, remembering the taste of your lips with Robert’s as the two of you kissed under that silly fake plant. It wanted more. It wanted more of you. Robert loved you. It loved you. You had done something to it, you had changed it.

How had its hunger for you turned into a pressing need and obsession for you? Not your flesh, but you. It had almost forgotten what it was like to crave something that was other than flesh, human women and men were nothing but mere sustenance; until it met you. Until it finally met the vessel that carried that enticing scent, the scent that would pull It to you.

That scent…

A scent… It thought back to the smell that wafts off of you this morning, a strange disgusting scent. It had smelled it on your hair and on your neck. It was a smell that was neither yours nor It’s. A smell belonging to a creature without lights, mere vermin. When It peered through the mind of Zack Denbrough, satisfied that you were distracted with the festivities, it disappeared from the confines of the car; and followed the disgusting smell.

It teleported and shifted through the minds of Derry, inching closer and closer until it was at the Barrens. It came as Pennywise, the silver and red Victorian blending in with the white snow. It came into a clearing and noticed the footsteps that dug deep into the snow in long drags, giving the impression that the thing was running.

It could run faster.

It chased the smell until it could feel it filling its nose, making it want to hack up at the foul odor. And then It saw it, the figure stood hunched over the snow, heaving as it turned its strange head towards It. As Pennywise It gave the poor creature a cruel, wicked smile—its bottom lip jutting out into Its signature smile.

It bent its upper body low, not moving its legs, the creature growled lowly at him.

“A balloon for you?” It said, feigning kindness as it conjured up a single red balloon, holding the white string between its thumb and index finger. The creature’s growl grew louder and it, or rather he bared his teeth at It.

“Screw off.” His words were human in nature, foreign coming out of the canine muzzle, “I know what you really are.”

“I am many things.” Pennywise—though more of It’s true nature had shown through. The balloon deflated and It discard it without another word, the red rubber dissolving into the snow like blood.

“And you are nothing but vermin, an intruder.” It’s voiced trailed off, matching the Taheen’s low timbre.

“They are not yours to have.” The creature exclaimed, “You would do well to know that.”

“Liar, liar.” It crooned, it let out a crude laugh, “Are you not going against the wishes of the Red Father? The Crimson King? Our great leader of death and destruction? Our King of the Prim? You are already dead by daring to touch them. The child of the King, our king. Our King, our king, our king…”

It babbled on, not breaking its yellow-red eyes away from the amber eyes of the wolf-headed humanoid.

“You’re fucking weird.” The creature backed up, baring his paws in a silent threat, “The Child is mine.”

It suddenly froze, then let out a laugh that garbled into a multitude of voices and syllables, shaking the trees, shaking the ground. It laughed in a way that was deaf to human ears, a loud shrill to the canine’s own. The creature snarled and cried, clutching at his ears. It stopped laughing, sharp teeth showing behind It’s ruby red lips.

“I am older than your worlds.” It sauntered towards the creature, “I had their scent in my sights long before you were born.”

“They are mine.” It growled with possessiveness, gloved fingers shifting and cracking into disgusting claws.

The creature whined and swiped at It, but to no avail, It dodged every attack with ease.

“You think you can fight this…?” It continued, “You think you can fight It?”

 

The creature didn’t last long under the clown’s razor sharp teeth.

The disgusting flavor filled It’s maw in rivulets of deep, dark blood.

 

The creature thrashed and snarled in pain; It’s description was true. He was nothing more than vermin, an obstacle. Nothing could fight against Its ancient force. It discarded the body within moments, not giving a care if it’s blood had stained It’s silver garbs.

It turned back into Robert and willed itself back into the car not a second too soon.

The problem was resolved no more than fifteen minutes.

-

“How have you been, Mr. Denbrough? Mrs. Denbrough?” Your tone was curious and light, happy as you ate a few gingerbread cookies that Mrs. Denbrough had offered you. You were sitting on the piano chair, one leg crossed over the other as you dipped the flavorful cookies into a glass of milk, humming at the sweet taste.

“We have been well, thank you for asking, [Y/N].” Mrs. Denbrough smiled warmly at you.

Mr. Denbrough nodded in agreement, but you could still see the pain of losing a son in their eyes. You didn’t ask, respecting their boundaries, and set down the glass of milk, wiping your mouth with a napkin.

Steps resonated down the stairs and the three of you turned your attention to Bill, who looked a little sleepy, but his mood immediately brightened when he set eyes on yours. He seemed much better, recovering from the kiss that embarrassed him for the past four-to-five weeks. You gave him a big, sweet smile in response and held up the present in your hands.

Bill approached you and took the present, about to open it when Mr. Denbrough scolded him. You couldn’t blame him, he was glad to have received any gift from you.

“T-Thank you, [Y/N].” He smiled.

“You’re welcome, Bill.”

He opened it, revealing a black leatherback journal. He looked at you with wide eyes, and opened the first page. His shock face soon turned red, and he regarded you with something in his eyes that reminded you of how you looked at Robert. You had written a short note for him, telling him that you would always be there for him, and whenever he was down or felt any good emotions; he could write them down in that notebook. Satisfied with his reaction you got up.

“Well, I must be going now.” You gave Bill’s parents a curt nod.

Bill stopped, “Wait. I-I have something for you…”

He quickly disappeared up the stairs and returned with a box wrapped in a reindeer-type of wrapping paper. Bill’s parents left to the other room to talk to each other quietly, leaving you with their son. You looked at the box curiously, opening it slowly and your eyes opened widely. A big smile had graced your features in a way that made your cheeks hurt. You felt tears brimming your eyes as you held up the clothing. It was a beautiful all-white tutu with a 10-layered tulle (you couldn’t exactly count how much, but you guessed that it was that much), that came with a pair of all-white pointe shoes and a dark green wreath with roses and tulips intertwined together like a wreath crown.

“Y-You s-said that you wanted this.” Bill said, taking in your happy expression with intensely loving eyes, “S-S—So I got it f-for you.”

“Thank you so much, Bill.” You said and engulfed him in a tight hug, placing your neck on his shoulder since you were taller than him.

“No pr-problem.” He smiled.

You closed the box and took it with you outside. Mrs. Denbrough had stopped you for a moment to give you a small bag of gingerbread cookies as thanks for being so generous in giving Bill a gift, and them vintage postcards.

You entered the car and placed the box in the back, you looked at Robert with an amused face. You fiddled with the bracelet Victor gave you and waved a goodbye to Bill’s parents, and then Bill who looked almost stunned at the sight of you in such an expensive car. He seemed more invested in trying to figure out who the driver was.

As Robert drove down the road, towards Richie’s house, you noticed he had a sly look on his face.

You tilted your head, “You weren’t bored in the car while I was in there, were you?”

“No, I wasn’t.” He said with mischief in his eyes.

Strange, you wondered what got him in such a satisfied and pleased mood.

 

Chapter Text

Mrs. Tozier gives you a sour look when she opens the door. You give her a sheepish smile and hold up the present, trying to see where your sailor-mouthed friend was at. You shuffled after an uncomfortable silence passed.

“U-Uhm, is Richie here?” You asked.

Mrs. Tozier shook her head and placed her hands on her hips.

“Nope.” Her voice was rough and scratchy, “He’s at his friend’s place. Kaspbrak’s.”

Good, I could give them their presents at the same time.

“Thank you, Mrs. Tozier.” You sent a curt nod on your way and she quickly shut the door. You hopped back in the car, Robert rose a brow when he saw that you still had the present in your hands.

“Drive to Eddie’s house,” You explained, “Him and Richie are both there.”

“What did you also get for them?” Robert asked, nodding at the large boxes, “The boxes looked bigger than I imagined.”

“I also got a calculator watch for Eddie with his fanny pack, and I just bought a walkman for Richie to go with his tie. He found a couple of cassettes so I got this for him to play them.” You shrugged, grabbing another box, which was Beverly’s gift.

“What’s in that one?”

“Roller skates.” You smiled, “I have my own pair at home. I let Bev try it once, and she loved it. I might take her out one day to do some skating during the summer.”

He hummed, raising the radio’s volume a bit higher.

“You mentioned that you had another friend, are you not going to give him a gift as well?”

“Oh!” You exclaimed, “Stan’s family is Jewish so I didn’t really plan on getting him anything, they celebrate a different holiday. However, he did mention that he wanted a book, so I’ll just give it to him sometime later. Not today.”

“You care for your friends a lot.”

“They’re my life,” You breathed out, “I’ve always felt connected to them, like—like…”

“Like family?” He asked.

You shake your head and hugged the boxes closer to your chest.

“No, no… More than that.” You looked out the window. “I don’t know, it’s hard to explain.”

Robert slowly pulled up to Eddie’s house and you gave him a smile, taking the two boxes in your arms and strolled up to the front door. Giving it three hearty knocks, the door quickly opened and you greeted Mrs. Kaspbrak—who regarded you with suspicion. You held up the two boxes, giving her a sweet smile; she eased up at this.

“Good morning, Mrs. Kaspbrak!” You beamed, “I’m just here to give your son and his friend gifts for today.”

She tilted her nose up and turned her head, looking in another room.

“Eddie!” She called in a shrill voice, “Your friend is here to give you gifts!”

Soon the small boy entered the frame and he gave you a smile, which you returned; handing him the gifts.

“The bigger one is your’s, Eddie.” You continued, “The other one is for Richie.”

“Thank you [Y/N].” Eddie called as he left, “Merry Christmas!”

“Merry Christmas,” You beamed back at them, “Have a lovely day Mrs. Kaspbrak.”

“Have a good day.” She closed the door.

“Alright.” You let out a huff as you entered the car. “To Beverly’s apartment now.”

“What did you want to do after this?” Robert laced his right hand with your left hand, “Did you want to go back to my place?”

“Sure.” You held Beverly’s present in your hands, “There’s not much to do in this weather.”

He drove over the bridge and turned over a corner and the apartment came into view. You were a bit nervous, though, Beverly’s father had always scared you. There was just something off about him, the way he looked at Beverly; and given the chance, you noticed that he eyed you with that same gaze sometimes. You hoped that she was safe within the confines of her home.

You grabbed something else from the back, a notecard for Victor. You hurriedly walk up the stairs, pausing at one of the doors and slide the notecard under the space underneath. You continue your path and take a deep breath, knocking the door quietly. Your heart was racing quickly, you really didn’t like it when Beverly’s father was there.

The door opened, revealing Alvin Marsh, who looked at you up and down. It was a look similar to how Robert regarded you, but his came out wrong and creepy. Maybe it was the fact that he was a father that put you off. You give him a nervous smile and hold up the box.

“I… I have a gift for your daughter.” You said with hidden disgust.

He takes the box without a word and gives you another look, before closing the door. You let out a breath that you were holding and ran down the stairs as fast as you could. Robert looked at your hurried appearance with concern.

“What’s got you so worked up, darling?” He asked.

“Beverly’s father.” You muttered, watching as the apartment became smaller and smaller as you drove away, “I don’t like him.”

He didn’t ask anymore, going back home.

 



ii.

 

“Why is your last name King?” You recall Robert asking you one day.

It had been a few days since Christmas, being the 29th on a Thursday, and the two of you were relaxing by the fireplace. Your head was resting on Robert’s lap again, with his fingers in your hair—after weeks of spending time together, he realized that you loved that—reading a book that you had snatched from his library. You paused in your reading, looking up at him with a confused expression.

“Your parents have a different last name than yours.” Robert continued, “Just wondering.”

“It was a weird reason,” You chuckled, “They felt like giving me that last name. It was just strange, y’know? Just deciding to give your kid a different last name than your own.”

“Did they both agree to it?”

“Yeah,” You turn your head to look at the fireplace, “I have no idea why they did, in case you’re wondering.”

“It suits you.” He hummed, massaging your head, “Like a ruler.”

“Oh shut up.” You quip, smiling, “You’re like… The only person who actually likes it.”

“I like a lot of things about you.” He replied.

You turned back to him.

“Shit.” You swore, he looked at you confused.

“What?”

“You’re… You’re too much.” You sighed, “I lo—”

You paused, not wanting to finish your sentence. Your cheeks turned red and you continued to read the book. You weren’t ready to tell him that, despite the fact that everything in you had wanted you to. It was a series of poems, which you didn’t really understand the meaning to, but the words sounded nice in your head.

“I just really, really appreciate you.” You smiled.

“Me too.” Robert said, “Me too…”

“Next week is the beginning of the year.” You continued, “I don’t think I can be able to come as often.”

“Why not?” He asked, “You can come here during the weekends.”

“What if my parents find out?” You say in a hushed voice, “What if they find out about us.”

“They won’t.” He said with assurance, “Nobody knows about us.”

You don’t tell him that you told Victor of what Robert did to you, and you have a feeling that Bill probably knows about your secret relationship. Or whatever you and Robert were, you still hadn’t declared what the two of you were yet. Were you together? It felt like it, but the way Robert guided and controlled your relationship made it seem like it wasn’t just a relationship. He took up your entire life. What were you going to do when school started again? You felt bad that you were going to leave Robert alone, but that’s why you bought a spider for him, right?

You look at the ring on your finger.

You feel shame that you have to keep this a secret; shame in being in this relationship in the first place. You’re certain that your parents would freak if they found out about this, about you, about Robert. You feel trapped. Everything about this is suffocating: the fact that you rarely hang out with your friends, the fact that Robert allowed you to stay in his home, the fact that he’s going so far to say that you can stay here whenever… But you crave it all at the same.

These touches, these gifts, this love: it’s all for you. Robert had already told you several times that he had never really been this close to someone, that you were truly his first, and it made your heart swell with joy. There was just something so beautiful and mysterious about him. To you, he had all the money in the world… Why would he spend it on you, and only you?

“Would you ever leave me?” You blurt out, “Have you ever thought about going to someone else? Someone… Someone not me?”

Robert’s gaze softens as you say this and lifts you up so that you’re sitting on his lap. The proximity makes you avert your gaze again, he pulls you to him again with one of his hands. His intense eyes make you not want to look away. He presses his forehead to yours and you almost think that he’s going to kiss you again. You wrap your arms around his large frame in a pseudo-hug. You can make out the gold flecks in his dark brown eyes, and you can see your own love-struck face reflecting in them.

Had you been someone else you would’ve pulled away from him, but by now you were absolutely enamored.

You look at him with complete and utter hope, waiting for his response. After a few seconds, Robert finally answers your question with a tightening grip on your hips, slowly tracing up and down with his fingers.

“Never.” Robert says, “I wouldn’t dream of it.”

 

Chapter Text

“Welcome back!” You greeted your parents as they entered the home.

“Oh, I missed you sweetie!” Your mother croons, kissing you on the forehead, “Were you good while we were on our trip?”

“Yeah!” You say happily, helping them carry their bags into the house.

You don’t tell them about your experiences with Robert (good or bad), and instead tell them about school and your friends, pretending that you’ve been hanging out with them. In reality, you had been hanging out at Robert’s house for nearly the entire month of December. You thanked your dad for putting in a heater in the house despite the fact that you had been sleeping at Robert’s. You tell them everything but the truth. One small slip and it would’ve been over: for you and for Robert.

“We brought you something!” Your father gives you a hard noogie, handing you a snowglobe.

You smile and take it, running up the stairs and place it on a shelf, the souvenir joining 8 other ones; they always bought you one whenever they left the country. You returned back downstairs and joined them in the living room. You sat on the floor, next to the fireplace, listening to them talk. It’s soothing to hear their voices again, relaxing. Things feel normal for once… Until it’s not.

Someone is knocking at the door again. Your mother gets up, wiping her clothes clean from any invisible dust, and leaves the living room to open the door. You wonder who’s at the door, you listen closely and then hear:

“Mr. Gray! Good to see you again!”

Your heart skips a beat and you immediately turn your head, covering your mouth with the back of your hand to hide the grin that’s threatening you split your mouth. You almost get up at hearing the name, but calm yourself down. You shift in your seat as you watch your mother enter the living room, followed by Robert. To prevent yourself from becoming absolutely flush you look out the window, trying to distract yourself with the snow that’s falling.

“What brings you here, Mr. Gray?” You hear your father get up and shake Robert’s hand.

“Ah, I just wanted to talk to you about their dance schedule.” You hear him take a seat not too far away from you.

God, just hearing his voice makes you want to jump into his arms.

You slowly turn around and compose yourself, giving Robert a polite smile while your parents sit next to you. Robert, of course, is looking at you with a pointed glance, a smile tugging at his own lips. Your father scratches the back of his head.

“Oh, right.” Your father looks at you for a moment, “What did you need to change again?”

“They’re actually going to practice more,” Robert said cooly, “I hope you don’t mind that they will have to be gone for the weekends.”

“Every weekend?” Your father narrows his eyes, “Their schedule already says that they’ll practice Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday!”

Although your parents don’t notice Robert’s change in demeanor, you do. You look at him nervously as he stops slouching, shoulders broadening up as he does the equivalent of sneering at them. He wipes it away not a second too soon with his pearly white smile. You already know why Robert was here, he wasn’t here to change your dance schedule. He was here to change your life schedule.

Robert’s brown eyes glower under the light, and then gleam.

“Your child was telling me that they were looking into scholarships.” Robert’s smile widened, “My dance program offers them as early as now. I would advise them to practice more to qualify for it by the end of May.”

Your father is relentless, unwavering still. You notice there’s something in Robert’s actions that makes him want to do or say something he shouldn’t, but he takes another glance at you and holds it in. Your mother returns with snacks before retiring upstairs in the room. You look nervously between your father and Robert.

“I don’t trust you.” Your father grits out, pointing at the man.

Your father gets up and you look at him with a shocked face, unsure what to do.

“You come to Derry, dance with my kid on Halloween, and now you’re somehow their teacher now!?” Your father looks at you, waiting for you to help or support him in some way, “Everyone in town is a-okay with this rich boy coming to Derry, and no one bats an eye!”

Your father’s hand shakes. Robert’s eyes stare at him in mute anger.

You feel a knot forming in your throat. Your rub your hands nervously together at this, shaking.

“I’ve never even heard of you!” Your father hushes his tone a little, slightly .

“I bet you’re the one behind the missing children!” Your father yelps.

“Daddy!” You cry. Your jaw goes slack in shock at his words, “What are you—”

Your father interrupts you before you could stop him.

“Luring children in with your money and charm! What are your intentions with my child?!”

At that moment the strangest thing happens. Your father stops, his hand lowering slowly, and what he does next shocks you. He sits back down, his breathing calming down. You look at him worriedly and pry your attention away from Robert to your father. You notice that he’s rubbing his forehead, eyes staring at the ground.

“Daddy?” You ask, “Are you okay?”

“I…” He trails off. You place a hand on his back.

He turns to Robert and gives the cool-tempered (for the most part) man an apologetic look.

“Forgive me, Mr. Gray.” Your father says uncharacteristically, “I was just being protective of my child. I wasn’t thinking.”

“All is forgiven,” Robert muses, satisfied with your father’s words. “All is forgiven, good sir. Now, would you still be fine with your child coming to practice on the weekends?”

To your surprise, your father says yes.

“Good!” Robert gives him a sly smile, and then regards you with his usual look.

“I shall see you in two weeks.”

With that he promptly leaves the house, leaving with you to watch your father with concern. He’s still rubbing at his forehead, you go fetch him a bottle of water and hand it to him, looking at him with worried eyes.

“What was that?” You asked him.

Your father stammers, “I was just over my head. Didn’t think before I spoke.”

You narrow your eyes as he looks away. Your father never backs away from what he believes in or what he says, good or bad. You eye the ring on your finger and hide it in your hair as you place your hand on the back of your neck.

“That… That wasn’t very nice, daddy.” You scolded, “Ro—Mr. Gray is a good man. Why would you say that about him?”

“I’m just looking out for you.” Your father says truthfully, “You can never trust strangers.”

Raw guilt scratches and claws at your insides at his words. If only he knew the real truth about your relationship to Robert.

You hold back the bile that threatens to come up your throat, fighting harsh tears.

“I’m fine.” You say reassuringly, “You don’t have to worry about me.”

Your father believes you and at the bottom of your heart, you believe it too.

 

Chapter Text

The beginning of the school year starts fresh and new with you entering the math classroom with a happy look on your face. Some students, however, are still tired and lack the enthusiasm that you do. You take a seat near the front of the chalkboard, reading the words that are written poorly but barely legible. Mrs. Bailey, 10th Grade Algebra 2. Jan. 16th, 89. You take out a few fresh notebooks upon instinct and the Algebra 2 book that you picked up from the library on the way to class.

You nearly jump in shock when you hear a backpack slam against the desk by you. You turn your head to see the suspect and see none other than… Henry Bowers. He looks at you for a brief moment but you don’t feel anger or rage radiating from him upon the sight of you. In fact, he still seems withdrawn and almost tense whenever he looks at you.

Serves him right for fighting Victor. You continue your thoughts, And for thinking of laying his hands on me.

The bell rings and the class is half-full, students instinctively sleep and cover their heads with their hoodies. Some of them place a hand to their ear, headphones at the ends of the sleeves, listening to the latest hits on the radio.

Mrs. Bailey, a short old woman with silver-grey permed hair, walks to the front of the classroom. Her heels click and clack against the wooden floorboards. She takes her time to fold her hands together. Her face reflects that of the students who are already doing everything but pay attention in class. You take another glance at Henry.

He’s doing everything he can to not look at you. The voice in you wants to forgive him, but the you outside tells you no . You can tell that he’s thinking intensely, his fingers are trembling. A minute passes and he instinctively places a hand against where you socked him.

Neither of you speak together during the remainder of the period.

-

The silence becomes even more awkward during P.E. when you notice Henry staring at you from afar. You let out a huff in annoyance when he shifts in his seat. After an hour had passed, the Coach decided that the students could have free time. You get up from the safety of a few other students you befriended during the year, and approach Henry.

“You keep staring at me.” Your voice is like a butter knife, smoothly cutting through his hard thinking. You cross your arms as he slowly looks up, eyes hooded with a hidden emotion. He gives you a harsh glare.

“Piss off, bitch.”

You shrink back a little but regain your composure.

“Look,” You sighed, “I know you’re pissed off beyond belief at me for punching you, but I couldn’t just stand there while you beat up Vic.”

Henry leans back against the bleachers, crossing his own arms. His leather bracelets dig into his inner elbows, hands grips at his sides in clenched fists. Despite the fact that it was cold inside, being in the gym made his hair matted and slick with sweat.

“He started it.” Henry grits out.

“I know why you were fighting.” You continue slowly, “I know what you were going to do to me.”

“Oh, did Vic tell you?” He tilts his head, anger in his eyes at the mention of his childhood friend. Henry scoffs and looks to the side, uncrossing his arms and crosses one leg over the other.

“No, someone else told me.” You say defiantly, trying to make yourself look bigger.

“Was it Belch?” He pressed, standing up. “Or was it that pretty boy?”

You freeze at this, looking at him with shocked eyes, backing up a little. You clench your jaw and feel your hands shake, it takes the will of a thousand suns to keep you grounded at that moment. You see a cruel smirk stain the older boy’s features at the shift in your actions. He stands up and you suddenly feel smaller at his towering presence.

“Yeah, that’s right.” He chuckled, looking down at you, “Vic told us about him.”

You feel a knot form in your throat and you begin to stammer aloud.

“W-W—What…? What did he tell you?” You pried, narrowing your eyes with a pained expression.

“Told us what that man did.” Henry takes a step forward, “Bet you liked it.”

You feel your hands clench on their own accord, you let out a shaky breath of air through your nostrils.

Victor told them. He told them about you and Robert. Something harsh and painful punches at your gut at this realization.

You bite back a load of tears that surface your eyes.

“Don’t tell anyone.” You pleaded, glancing at the clock for a moment. “Please.”

“What are you willing to do?” Henry smiled with his teeth again.

Think, think [Y/N].

“I’ll tell you what.” He leans back, giving you space, “I’ll let that slip, for now.”

“Why?” You asked, “There’s no way that you’re being calm about this.”

You think back to when you punched Henry, remembering his horrified face. The face of one who was preparing himself for a hearty punch, like he’d been used to the violent action. You briefly look at his hands, and notice that they’re shaking. You wonder if his actions are influenced by that brief moment of fear that was instilled in him.

“Oh, calm is the last thing to describe me.” He shakes his head, trying to hold back a laugh.

“You really do have some nerve in you to sock me.” Henry continues in a low voice, “But you’ll be a good girl for me right?”

You look at him in disgust when he says this, but hesitantly nod. The last thing you want is to end up like Victor, so you play along with Henry’s schemes. He seems to be thinking on what he planned for you.

The coaches call in the students to go to their locker rooms. You give Henry a hesitant look before following the others and slip on your clothes (or rather, clothes you borrowed from Robert), taking in his smell. Slipping your backpack on you exit the locker rooms and see Henry waiting for you. You approach him with unsure eyes.

“You really want me to keep that secret?” He asks, raising a brow.

The son of a bitch is really blackmailing me.

You nod in response.

“The Barrens: after school. Bring your dad’s alcohol.”

With that you watch as Henry’s form grows smaller and smaller as he walks away. You run a face over your face in defeat and let out a groan of despair. You make your way to the next class, wondering what he had in store for you.

You have a feeling that it’s nothing good.

 



ii.

 

When you see the beautiful silver Porsche gleam against the snow, you feel relief swell in your chest. You make your way to the car but pause, turning your head to see Henry leaning against Belch’s car. He’s looking at you expectantly with intense eyes. You take one last look at Robert’s car before turning on your heel and walking towards the blue Trans Am. You can feel Robert’s eyes glaring at the back of your head.

“You never disappoint.” Henry chuckles, opening the door for you.

You’re sitting next to Victor again, but you don’t look at him. He looks at you in questioning but you return it with a pointed glare; causing him to look away quickly. Both he and Belch are silent in Henry’s presence. The atmosphere is tense. When the vehicle stops at your house you quickly enter, making sure that your parents aren’t home.

Heading into the kitchen, you open the cabinet at the very top of the variety of pantries. Dusted glasses of amber and dark red gleam from the sunlight that hits it. Grabbing a chair, you prop it against the counter and stand on it, grabbing the rectangular bottles by their long necks. The feeling is foreign and strange and sends your chest in a swell of many emotions. You feel bad for doing this but there was nothing more you could do. You wouldn’t let Henry Bowers down. You wouldn’t. You couldn’t.

Before you leave you remove the bracelet that Victor bought you, feeling angry at him.

Why did he tell Henry and Belch? Why did he do it? Was he really your friend?

Was this all a plan to get you to do their bidding?

You quickly shut the cabinet doors and peer out the house, holding three bottles of alcohol: two bottles of brandy, and one bottle of aged red wine. You hand Henry the bottles without saying anything, holding your head down low in fear of your friends seeing you. The drive to the Barrens becomes familiar as the Trans Am stops at the Kissing Bridge. A feeling of familiarity and fear strikes you, remembering what had happened the last time you took this route. Belch and Victor look at Henry with an unsure look on their face, you wonder if they know what he wanted to do today. Henry has a blank look on his face that holds a twinge of mirth in his eyes. You all enter the quiet, snow-filled forest.

“So,” You break the silence, “Why are we here again?”

Henry looks down at you, and then resumes walking. Your shoes crunch again the freshly-fallen snow like a marching band out of sync. You’re walking not too far away from Henry, with Victor and Belch trailing behind.

“To get drunk.” Henry says with no emotion.You feel fear and nervousness settle in your core.

Finally, after ten minutes of walking, you reach a familiar sight. You pause mid-step, eyes widening as you face the orifice that faces you, the icy-frozen water rushes quietly. It freezes against the mouth of the sewer, the whiteness of the forest only enhancing the opening’s wrong appearance. It looks like it shouldn’t be there. It looks like a trap.

Henry stops also, but drops two of the bottles, popping open one of the bottles of brandy. The smell is horrible and strong, filling your nostrils with the sharp smell. It reminds you of some drunkard you’d see sleeping on the side of the road, you feel your gut clench even though you haven’t even tasted it yet.

“Drink it.” He orders Belch, who takes a quick swig from the bottle. Victor follows suite and soon after, Henry takes a quick gulp. He hands you the bottle now and you stop, taking a step back, you stutter and stammer in opposition. While you hold the bottle in your hands, Henry reaches down and hands the two other boys the bottles. You still haven’t drank the brandy yet, hard cold fear holding you captive harder than the snow that is falling.

“Let loose fellas.” Henry says with amusement.

“What are you going to do, Henry?” Belch asks, narrowing his eyes-but his words come out a little slurred and strange. Victor doesn’t dare take another sip, but he cowers in fear when Henry gives him a threatening look.

“Me and [Y/N] are going to have a little chat.” Henry smiles, “You two can go run along. Go get me my backpack, I forgot something in it.”

They stand still, not moving, both of them hold concern for you. Henry's hands clench.

“What are you two fucks doing!?” He asks angrily, “Go!”

They scurry off, leaving you with Henry. He turns to you with a smile, looking down at the bottle.

“Aren’t you going to try it?” His smile is wrong, the corners of his lips turning upwards like he’s watching an animal on its last breath.

Your hands shake, you can’t tell if its from the cold, and you slowly bring the bottle to your lips. To your shock Henry lunges forward and grabs the bottle, turning it upwards so fast that copious amounts of the liquid slide into your mouth. You drop the bottle and let out a cry as it burns your throat, heaving as you fall to the ground, a few tears slipping down your throat. The taste is bitter and does not help the fact that you can only feel the carbonation burn and pop at your tongue and throat.

Henry looks down at you in amusement and helps you up with a single arm. You gag and heave, placing a hand against the sewer’s disgusting opening. A good ten minutes pass and you feel your stomach trying to push your breakfast up, your head begins to pound. You’re too afraid to say ‘no’ when he brings the bottle to your lips again. It burns again, and wait—Why is your head spinning? How long had you been here? How much did you drink?

You think you open your mouth to speak but your words come out unfamiliar and slurred, slipping and molding into simple syllables. You stumble and nearly slip. Henry, right that’s his name?—Fuck, why does everything feel so weird now? He guides you into the darkness with a reassuring hand and a slick grin on his face, he throws the now-empty bottle away into the white bushes.

Your figures disappear into the dark tunnels, unaware of the red balloon trailing behind.

 

Chapter Text

You’re freezing cold, shivering against Henry’s frame as you stumble and slip against the frozen sewer water. Everything’s so dark, you can’t see a single thing here. Your hot breaths fan against your nose and chin, the stench of brandy filling your head with nothing but the smell. You hold onto Henry’s arms as he continues to walk, he has a flashlight in one of his hands that he brought up from his back pocket. Your mind is hazy, blearing with a throbbing sensation that makes you feel almost light.

The shadows almost meld together, shifting and dancing at your shadows, cast by the yellow light of the flashlight. And then he stops, causing you to lurch forward against the smelly, sewer tunnel. You turn to him and speak in protest, you can’t even hear yourself speak. Everything feels muted and strange, blinding you like the flashlight that blares in your face.

Henry says something but you don’t really understand what he’s saying. He reaches forward and grabs you by the back of the head, tightly twisting your hair with his fingers as he pulls you close to him. You let out a cry, trying to pry him away from you. You feel sluggish though, only doing so much as pathetically slapping his hands, his chest, his face. He only looks at you with an amused smile, words fall on deaf ears again and you can feel panic.

He brings you closer to his face and you let out a scream.

Get away, you think, Get the fuck away from me!

Everything’s wrong, everything’s so wrong. He drops the flashlight and you watch as the light shifts left and right, rolling with the flashlight that clinks and plops against the icy floor. Reality lifts you up, but the alcohol only makes you sink further and further into your mind. There’s lips on your ears, on your neck. His breath smells faintly of the brandy you shared, yours obviously smelling worse from drinking more than him. God, you want to die.

You can feel hot tears roll down your cheeks, you’re pressed against the concrete wall, taking in the sight of mold and moss and whatever the fuck was in the sewers. You can faintly hear your voice, raw and pained as you scream and howl.

And then you hear it.

A chime of something in the tunnels, a sing-song tone of bells.

Rubber pulls and squeaks against each other, and something is suddenly caught in the yellow light of the flashlight. A beautiful, lone balloon moving on its own accord. It gleams with the light, hues of red dancing within the helium-filled rubber, you feel a flash of fear and try to get Henry’s attention. You think you hear him call you a bitch and you begin to cry again.

The balloon stops, nudging against Henry’s neck. 

He pulls away from you and lets out a curse. All is silent, you can feel your hearing return—just barely. Where were you again? What were you doing here in the first place? The balloon stops, you hold your breath.

Didn’t you dream of this once?

Weren’t you here before?

There was someone else with you here, something strange, something wrong, something—

You couldn’t finish your sentence as the balloon popped, the noise stunning you and your assaulter. You stumble and fall on your behind, the ice almost cracking underneath the sudden slam of weight. Henry falters a little and says something again, picking up the flashlight, turning around and around to look for whatever frightened him so much. You feel your tears and snot clogging your throat, you can’t stop your crying.

Your breaths turn heavy and deep. As Henry turns to you, you shuffle back and back, trying to get away from him as best as you could. He looks absolutely blood-shot with a rage that matched his fathers.

For some reason he stops, the flashlight illuminating something behind you.

You don’t dare look behind as you scuffle along the cold ground, feeling the ice melt and crack beneath you. You bump into something rough and hard. You turn so that your on your knees, your palms almost melding with the ice. You look forward and stop, your breath catches in your throat, you stop crying in shock.

Black and white (white, almost faded yellow with age and lack of cleanliness) boots that stretch forward with red pom poms at the tips of the feet. These shoes trail up long legs covered in layers of ruffles, trailing up-up-up in heavily detailed clothing. The silk shines against the light, and then you see three prominent red pom poms. You let out a whimper as something in the back of your mind tells you to RUN. But you can’t look away—You can’t. You’ve seen this thing before. Your intoxicated mind ushers you to keep looking up—What the hell, was this thing some sort of giant?—and you see it.

Your tear-streaked skin meets cracked white adorned with red lips that drag over It’s cheeks and eyes like reverse tears. Your eyes grow wider and wider, your breath grows fast, and finally you see It’s eyes: amber red, angry . You think you can hear yourself scream, and you back away, but this… This clown… It does not direct its anger towards you. It looks at you for a moment, you notice something strange in the way It looks at you, almost familiar and something warm. But the anger behind this gaze is not for you. It’s for Henry.

The clown strides over you, It’s long legs dragging itself so that it’s standing in front of you, shielding you from your attacker. You can hear Henry scream and shout. Maybe its the alcohol that’s making you see this, or maybe you’re falling back into the safety of your mind but It… It Changes. The silk dissolves into rough black clothing, boots turn into dark shoes, ginger-red hair falls back into balding short, black hair. A baton appears from thin air, hanging against the belt that’s full of pockets and holders. You hear Henry let out a shrill cry, and you squint your eyes, trying to make out where the clown went, and who this new person was. You slink away slowly and It—he?—turns around and you pause.

Wasn’t that Butch Bowers? Henry’s dad?

The rough face and angry eyes, the square jaw, there’s no denying it. But there’s something wrong in the way his eyes gleam that burning sunset hue, the hands that appear more like talons than fingers. He faces Henry again and gives chase, the shoes digging harshly as he chases Henry down the tunnel.

When its dark and quiet again you feel the bile finally rising above your throat, you let out a groan and noise of disgust when the scalding liquid chokes you; splattering against the cold ground in a cocktail mixture of alcohol, cereal, and school lunch. You shiver and shake in the dark; your mind is spinning. You begin to cry again, tears fall freely like there’s no tomorrow.

You hear footsteps again and weakly turn your head.

The clown is back, but there’s no blood on It, no gore, nothing that gives any hint that It had attacked Henry. You wonder if the bastard made it out alive, you wonder what happened to Belch and Vicky, no Victor . Christ, you can’t think. You shuffle away from the clown, tears blinding you. It takes a step and leans down, reaching close to place a hesitant gloved, bone-white hand on your cheek. The touch makes you freeze. It feels so familiar, so gentle, so soft.

You think you can hear yourself uttering ‘thank yous’ and slurred apologies, thanking your savior. But are you really safe? The clown shifts closer to you, hesitant. It wraps an arm around your backside and lifts you up with ease, pulling you flush to its chest like a mother to a child. Your vision darkens, blurring at the edges as It begins to walk.

You let out a noise of protest, but the soft noise that erupts from its mouth soothes you: calms you. The way It’s lips move reminds you of the word ‘sleep’. And sleep you did, allowing It to carry your sleeping body into the dark expanse of the sewers.

 

Chapter Text

Shit. If there was one word to describe you at this very moment, that would be the go-to word. You felt like shit and your breath smelled like it, though that was probably due to the copious amounts of vomit that emptied your stomach the day(?)—you think it’s been a day—prior. To add onto that, wherever you were had also smelled like shit.

Your eyes open, your vision bleary and still nearly blinding upon the sight of just the slightest amount of light. You felt yourself enveloped in blankets, your blankets, the ones from your room at home. You take a moment to adjust to your settings, inhaling deeply into the wool fabric: trying to mask the scent of sewage and moldy wood with your own smell. You’re in some sort of wooden room, the length just slightly bigger than an elongated truck; making up for the size with long walls covered in paint that had been chipped with time and water. You pull the blankets away from yourself, despite the fact that you were absolutely freezing. 

Your nose scrunches in disgust when you notice that the thing you’ve been laying on was the equivalent of a hoarder’s mattress. The once-white covers were yellow and torn in some places, revealing the yellowish-brown cushioning underneath. It was covered in brown, yellow, and red spots all over. You stop yourself from gagging any further and get away from the soiled mattress as far as you could.

Jesus, you really could use some water right now.

Just outside you can hear rushing water and you instinctively reach for the door, shivering when you touch the door knob; you’re not sure if its covered in flakes of rusted bronze or crusty mold. You open the door and almost stumble, sputtering in confusion and shock when you notice that the wagon you were in was elevated with piles and piles of toys. These aren’t ordinary toys, no these are all children toys. Some of them are timeless classics; a train, a doll missing a button eye, a teddy bear. The list goes on and on as you trudge down the small mountain, slipping and stumbling when your foot catches onto one of the toys.

You fall flat on your right cheek and you groan, rubbing at the spot; your head spinning from your hangover. Oh right, you remember, I drank alcohol for the first time, got assaulted by Henry fucking Bowers, and the clown that nearly killed me a few months ago—saved me. The very thoughts were too strange and outlandish for you to comprehend so to make up for the confusion, you try to resolve the one that had settled into at this very moment. You regained your stature and turned around. You were sleeping in a circus wagon that was elevated and surrounded by a copious amount of toys. A crude depiction of the clown you’ve met plasters the front, followed by a scrawl of words written in a classic circus font: PENNYWISE THE DANCING CLOWN.

Pennywise, you test the name in your head, This is as weird as it can fucking get.

The toy mountain is nearly endless, and you have to crane your neck up to follow the almost-toppling tower of toys. And then you see it, something moving, something floating. You readjust your footing and narrow your eyes, trying to ease your dizzying vision as it settles, and the more you look—the more you see. One of the strange objects catches your eye and when you peer closer, your eyes widen in horror. High above the tower, floating in an endless dance, are body parts. Vomit rises up before you could process anything more.

You stare at the dirty floor without another word, snow covering the expanse like a very thin blanket. Strangely enough, some of the snowflakes freeze in freefall, never really touching the ground, stuck in the same floating state of the body parts. You grip tightly at your sides, your nails digging into the soft expanses of your chest and ribs. Everything still hurts. It almost feels like a dream.

Dream. You look around again, Yes, this is probably some sort of sick fever dream, and when I wake up I’m gonna be facing Henry Bowers again. Just thinking about him sends you into a fleeting state of distress.

I need to get out of here.

I need to leave.

You pull yourself together, shaking as you turn your head to see the large opening not too far away from you. The dark expanse makes you hesitate but it’s your only way out of here. You trudge with a dry throat, aching stomach, and sore throat. Your eyes hurt too, still, raw and puffy and you instinctively have the urge to scratch at them.

 

“Wheeeeerrrreeee are yoooou gooooiiiinnng?”

 

A voice calls out from behind and you turn your head at the sound. It’s the clown again, hunched over the top of the wagon like a gargoyle in the night. Except its daytime, at least you think it is, and unlike gargoyles—this thing was very much alive. You’re unsure what to do, staring and gaping at It. You weren’t sure if you were doing it out of fear or shock. You’re too scared to answer It, remaining mute as it watches you with calculated eyes. It’s amber eyes captivate you, like a deer in headlights watching the yellow lights get closer and closer until the death-bringing impact. You slowly turn your body to face It, you scowl when you notice the drool staining its neck ruffles, giving it a shiny glow.

That’s fucking gross. You push yourself from shivering, What is It?

Something inside told you that you didn’t want to know what this clown really was. You agree.

It—Pennywise, you recall the wagon’s front and the first time It uttered its name in the sewers—drops down from the wagon’s roof, causing you to back away from it as It rises to its full height. It must’ve been a good whole eight feet or more . It’s puffed shoulders and expanse of ginger hair only contributed to this thing’s massive size. It tilts its head, taking in your expression. You notice something else about it.

Blue eyes. Didn’t it have amber eyes just a second ago?

They remind you of Bill’s eyes, his mother’s eyes. Beautiful and a beautiful shade of the sky.

The color almost makes the clown look innocent, despite the fact that its red-drawn lips, bulbous forehead, and dirtied clothing made it seem terrifying. You glower at It, calming down. There had to be a reason why you were still alive. There had to be. 

“Why?” You croak out, “Why me?”

Pennywise regards you with amused eyes. You look up for a moment as you pointed upwards, your eyes holding desperation and a thirst for knowledge; and the primal instinct to survive. Everything in you is telling you to run, but you know better. Don’t you? You’ve played this game before: with Robert, with the clown, with Henry. Running never does you any good, not when you’re physically and emotionally weaker than them all. It was inevitable.

“Why am I not up there?” You continue, “And what do you want with me?”

It didn’t reply, almost as if it was carefully picking and choosing Its words; as if one wrong word would send you both in a frenzy of panic. You stay still, not daring to move an inch. Pennywise then breaks into an odd grin and its shoulders shake as it lets out spouts of endless laughter. The sound is childish and echoes against the concrete walls, shaking your hungover brain. You flinch in response as it stops mid-laugh, looking back at you with one eye trained at you—and the other somewhere to your left.

The display is unsettling. You push the fear down even though it wills you into one spot, tethering your trembling feet to the ground.

“Hmmmm….?” It hums with a long trail of the sound, placing a fist against It’s chin, “What do IIIIII want with you…?”

It lets out an excited gasp and saunters over to you, It’s eerily long legs allowing It to appear in front of you in less than five seconds. You cower and lean back as it grabs you by the shoulders and lifts you; carrying you until you’re at eye-level height. You let out a swear when the smell of rotting meat escapes its mouth, metallic and full of death. It’s eyes are still that beautiful shade of blue. The calming color looks so out of place against a creature so wicked and cruel.

“I want to make you laugh!” It giggles, “Isn’t that what clowns do? Make. People… Laugh?”

It’s grip is bruising against your shoulders, its thumbs pushing right into the spaces between your collarbones and meeting your shoulder-blades on your back. It presses deep and hard, making sure that you had no way of escaping its grasp. You let out a whimper at the pain that blooms, hands reaching to try and remove It’s hands out.

You stare at it with teary eyes.

“No one’s laughing here!” You scream, “You’re scary! You’re not funny!”

It pouts, bottom lip jutting out in a way that makes more drool spill forward.

“You hurt me, [Y/N].” It easily removes one of its hands to pull the ruffles away from its neck. From the bottom of its chin to the wide expanse of its once-white throat, you see it.

Burnt skin, charred into midnight flakes, peels off and floats into the air. You let out a strangled noise at the sight. You wonder what it was talking about and you had a sudden realization settle in your memories. You remember throwing the lighter, you remember the sight of its glowing throat go up in violent flames. You thought you had killed it, thought you had escaped it.

And yet It stands above you, regarding the injury as if it was a mere rash.

“[Y/N], [Y/N], [Y/N]...” It coos your name over and over, its eyes suddenly snapping into place.

“Don’t you know playing with fire is a dangerous game?” It ‘tsked’ in an all too giddy tone.

“Didn’t know we were playing a game.” You choked out, hands shaking against It’s gloved fingers.

It smiled wickedly, tightening its grip on youe.

“Then you should’ve paid more attention to your surroundings.”

 

You wake up in Robert’s home again.

 

Chapter Text

“Belch, we—We gotta tell someone.” Victor’s voice is clear and sober, cutting through the trees.

Said boy looks at him with a face of unsureness.

“Henry, he’ll—”

“Fuck Henry!” Victor interrupts, “Who knows what he’s doing to them in there?!”

It’s been a good fifteen minutes since Henry had ordered the two to “let loose” and neither you nor Henry had returned. Victor and Belch had long forgotten the bottles of alcohol, they weren’t in the mood to drink; not after the display Henry made. The boy had been acting strange ever since you had punched him. He seemed isolated and violent, more than usual. Not to mention the fact that Butch Bowers had given his son a brutal beating after the fight a few weeks ago, something that heavily affected him.

Victor brings out a cigarette and lights it, taking a long drag in distress.

“It’s not right, Belch.”

Despite the fact that both of them were bullies, they still had heart . There was really no reason for their actions other than the fact that it helped them go by their day after dealing with their parents—and the fact that declining Henry Bowers was a death wish. Belch gripped the steering wheel with nervousness.

“They’re both probably fucking.” Belch tries to reason hopefully.

Victor gives him a pointed look.

“He brought his switchblade with him, Belch!” Victor’s voice cracks, “Drive.”

“He’ll kill us.” Belch shakes his head, “I-I—I can’t.”

“You can.” Victor objects, “You will.”

Belch finds himself driving to the police station before he can think. And not a minute too soon, when Sheriff Bowers hears just the utterance of his son’s name, he’s left the station in a rage. The blue Trans Am follows behind, and a team of Sheriff Bowers and two officers venture into The Barrens. Their dark uniforms clash against the white snow.

Upon reaching the entrance of the sewer, Butch Bowers hastily turns on a flashlight in one hand (upon waking up, he came to the realization that someone had stolen his) and has his other hand hovering over his weapon. Belch and Victor, watching from afar, wait in anticipation. All is quiet until the hurried breaths and swears echo against the tunnels. Sheriff Bowers hasn’t even entered the opening when Henry Bowers slams into his father’s chest.

There’s a look of horror and fear upon seeing his father and he begins to stammer, shaking and backing away from Sheriff Bowers as if he was the devil himself. The flashlight that Henry stole from his father drops against the snow, falling into the cold stream. His father roughly detains him without another word and orders his partners to check the sewer for anything strange.

Belch and Victor notice that you hadn’t come out and a sinking feeling settles in their stomachs. They turn to each other and share a look of fear, and then look back at the events happening before them.

“What do you think happened with [Y/N]?” Belch asks, hiding behind a tree.

Victor is quiet, bringing out another cigarette—this was probably his fourth one today. He doesn’t want to answer, afraid that whatever his response was would come true. Twenty minutes later the officers return, empty-handed and without you.

A few hours later Officer Ross Glover approaches your house and tells your parents that you have gone missing. Your mother begins to cry and your father holds in his grief, and they ask the officer what events led to your disappearance.

From afar, Robert Gray watches the events unfurl within his silver Porsche, eyes glimmering in amusement at their distress.

Your face is printed on a missing poster a day later.

 

Chapter Text

“Wh-What...What the—Fuck?” You stammer out as you untangle yourself from the bedsheets.

Your hangover is gone but you’re left feeling hungry and confused, wondering how the hell you ended up here of all places. Was all of that just some strange dream conjured up by your mind? But the clown carrying you through the tunnels felt so real. It was strange and just thinking about it made your head hurt. You were absolutely dumbstruck and confused, looking around the room as if it would crumble underneath your gaze. You were about to leave the room when the door opened, revealing—

“Robert.” You croak out, “What am I doing here?”

He looks at you with a stern gaze, “You came here.”

Your head pounds in confusion. You narrow your eyes and sit at the edge of the bed.

“What?” Your eyes went wide, “I-I don’t even… I—I wasn’t…”

“You came here drunk, freezing cold and smelling of alcohol." He said lowly, taking a seat on the recliner, “Do you not remember?”

No, you didn’t. You remembered the clown taking you further down the tunnels. You don’t even recall yourself even leaving the sewers. You let out a groan and shake your head, holding your head in your hands. All of this felt like some sort of confusing dream.

“I don’t know.” You whisper, “Help… Help me remember Robert. Please.”

He looks mad and you shrink back into your shoulders, hands fidgeting with nervousness. He crosses his arms and lets out a deep sigh from his nose and crosses one leg over the over.

The rest of the house is dead quiet.

“That’s something you have to explain for yourself.” Robert’s tone is cold, “Why were you even drunk in the first place?”

You were about to tell him but he already knows the answer.

“Bowers.” He grits out, “I saw you leave with them. You were up to no good, weren’t you? Weren’t you?”

“I don’t remember!” You cry, clutching your sides, “I-I—He was going to tell about us.”

“And how did he know in the first place?” Robert seethes out, almost growling. He immediately rises from his seat and paces over to you.

“You told someone.”

“I—”

“How much did you tell them?” He grabs you by the arms, nearly shaking you.

You’re too scared to tell him that you told Victor of what he did to you that one December morning. You pathetically whimper out and try to push Robert away from you. You let out a scream as he removes you from the bed and throws you onto the floor, his rage evident now.

“You never listen.” He leans over you, “How many times do I have to tell you?”

You listen to him, eyes wide with fresh tears.

“Do you need me to teach you a lesson?” He grabs your neck with one hand, lifting you up a little.

You yelp helplessly, thrashing about in panic.

“I don’t know!” You clench your eyes, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry, Robert!”

He throws you against the ground again and you begin to sob uncontrollably, pain wracking at your whole frame in waves that start at your arm, up your shoulder, and then your back. He points a finger at you and bares his teeth. He grabs you by the arm and turns you fully towards him.

 

“Get on your knees.”

 

Chapter Text

You did as you were told, shaking on your hands and knees as Robert crouched to your level. He pets your hair and croons softly, his fingers trembling through your hair and then runs it over your face. He wipes your tears away, smearing them against your nose and cheeks. He looks at you as if you were an animal, wondering how you were react next. He disappears from your view and your heart begins to race.

“Take off your shirt.” He orders.

You hesitantly follow his orders, quivering and whimpering as he leans over you to throw your shirt somewhere across the room. The cold air burns at your skin, goosebumps rise when Robert moves your hair over your shoulder, feeling him trace circles between your shoulder blades. He leans back from you and you can hear him remove his belt. You let out a cry at the sound and press your face against the cold hardwood floor, you clench your hands into fists.

You feel the cold leather drag against your spine, starting from your neck to lower back. You can hear yourself breathing heavily against the floor. Your heart hammers in your chest. What was he doing? What was he doing?

You can hear him breathe heavily too. In and out. In and out. In and out. Until finally he takes a deep breath and swings. The belt slams against the length of your back like lightning. The first blow stuns you, face frozen in shock as the pain settles into your nerves. It’s a pain that’s indescribable, spreading across your skin like wildfire.

And then he swings again. And again. And again. And again.

Before long you’re screaming, arching your body each time he slams the belt against your back. You can hear yourself sobbing without rhythm and control, wailing as you feel your skin welt up and turn purple and black. A diagonal stripe that resembles the belt’s shape forms against your skin, the pain throbs back and forth between that area. It hurts so much.

“You—Yo-You’re… You’re hurting me!” You cried, accepting blow after blow after blow.

“Please s-stop! Stop!” You hiccup out, clawing at the floorboards until some of your fingernails break at the repeating contact.

Robert only responds by whipping you harder.

“You promised!” You sobbed into your chest, hair covering your face.

“You promised.” Robert parrots, and tosses the belt to the side.

You let out a noise of relief and turn your head to him. He’s huffing over you, chest rising and lowering with each breath. His hair is wild and all over the place, running a hand through it as he reaches for you. You turn so that you’re facing him and begin to crawl backwards, feet kicking to keep him at bay. You halt when your burning back touches the side of the bed. The wood feels painful and it stings so, so much. He inserts his body between your legs, hands on your knees as he presses his face to yours.

You sob into his mouth when he kisses you with desperation. It’s gentle but feels wrong . He lifts one of his hands to hold you on the space between your neck and shoulder, fingers digging into your shoulder. He drags his other hand along your leg, against your calf and then against your inner thigh. You shivered and tried to move, but you’re pinned against the side of the bed, your back scratching and itching and hurting. 

Your chest hiccups and shakes, you shake your head and break away from the kiss.

“Please… Stop…” You whimper.

Robert looks at you and moves his hands so that they’re against your hips, and then underneath you as he lifts you to his chest. You let more tears fall at the feeling of his shirt pressing against your bruised and beaten back. He’s holding you like a child, rocking back and forth with blank eyes; staring at you, your chest, and then back at your eyes.

“Will you be good?” He asks, lowly.

You feel betrayal swell in your chest and you sock him in the face, bruising his perfect, lovely face. He only flinches, blood pouring forth from the wound and down his cheek until it drips down to his neck and then soaks the collar of his shirt. He doesn’t look mad at this, but digs his fingers into your back tighter. You gasp again and sob into his face.

“Yes!” You clench your eyes, “I’ll be good!”

“How will I know you won’t break your promise?” Robert’s breath fans at your face, “How?”

“I—I…” You stammer.

He leans his face closer to yours, some of his blood spills against your cheek. The smell is strong and disgustingly awful, gut-wrenching. His hair brushes against your forehead and he swallows back a thick lump in his throat. You wished you could claw out his throat until he bled, you wished you could dig your broken nails into his eyes and scratch.

“Be with me.” Robert hums quietly, “Don’t leave the house until I say so.”

Your mind thinks back to your parents, your school, your friends—Bill, Beverly, Eddie, Richie, Stanley…

You want to tell him no, but fear what he would do next if you did.

So instead, you nod eagerly and let out a shaky breath.

“Kiss me then.” He rubs his cheek against yours, smearing the blood, “Kiss me if you mean it.”

 

You give him a kiss that tastes of blood, sweat, and tears.

 

Chapter Text

Robert’s arms feel warmer than the blankets, enveloping you until you’re flush against his shirt, feeling his watch dig into your side. He has his face pressed into your neck, eyes closed. You almost think he’s sleeping, but you feel his gaze staring deep into the back of your head. Your cheek is caked in a thin layer of blood, his blood. You wiggle around a bit, trying to break from his hold, he resists and pulls you even closer, spooning you from behind.

You had been awake for a good hour or more, watching as the sky slowly turned from dark to a simple shade of peachy red; clouded by the covered sky. You were always an early bird, so you couldn’t just fall asleep so easily; not with Robert keeping you in a strong hug. For some reason, you can feel him breathe and yet his chest doesn’t make any indication that he’s breathing. Like a doll, like a mannequin. Another hour passes and you’re guessing that it’s five or six in the morning now. Your back hurts like hell, throbbing and pulsating in nothing but pain. The initial blows were rough, but now you’re left with something painful and long-lasting for weeks to come.

What were your parents going to say? Would you even see your parents again?

A deep pit formed within your stomach, filling itself with nothing but self-doubt and despair. You knew this was your doing, it was your fault. Maybe if you hadn’t listened to Bowers, maybe if you hadn’t told Victor your relationship… Maybe if you didn’t talk to anyone at all… Maybe, maybe things wouldn’t be so bad. You closed your eyes tightly and tightly grabbed at Robert’s arms, lurching forward a little to avoid your back from touching everything. Raw emotional pain began to settle into you.

It was your fault. Everything was your fault. And you deserved whatever punishment came your way. You wouldn’t be surprised if Robert hated you permanently. Did he still love you? Did he even love you in the first place? You swallowed back tears, taking a deep breath.

“Robert?” You voice is shaky, trembling at just saying his name.

You hear him hum against your neck. You were right, he was awake this whole time.

“Do you…” You paused, “Do you… Still want me?”

His arms move back so that his arms are around your chest instead of your middle now. His hold is almost near breath-taking as he digs his arms tighter around you, your bra digging into the spaces in between your ribs. He presses his face deeper, inhaling sharply. His hair feels soft and smooth, rubbing against your neck; tangling with your own hair.

You can feel him smile, lips turning upwards as he speaks.

“Of course.”

You feel doubt and relief clash together in a disgusting dance at his words. You let out another sigh and try to make the most of it, for some reason you believed him, relishing his words with pseudo happiness. Why are you happy? Why do you want this? Your gut clenches at those questions. Normal kids didn’t want this. Normal kids didn’t seek this type of attention. Normal kids didn’t seek this type of love.

“When can I go home?” You whisper, staring at the empty spider enclosure. You wonder what he did with Gray.

Robert stills and then presses you back to his chest. You hiss in pain when your sensitive back rubs against his shirt again, you wished that you could take another scalding bath.

“Go home?” He asks quietly, shaking, “You’d leave me again?”

Something in the way he says that last word sends you into a panic.

Did you want to leave? Did you want to stay? Did you want this?

Did you want him?

“I…” The words get lost in your mouth. You subconsciously shake your head.

Why would you leave him? He’s given you everything and anything you could possibly want, and more. He’s been through so much more than you, not having the liberty of caring and loving parents like you. He’s never had caring friends like your kids, your precious Losers. His entire life he’s known nothing but pain, until he met you. And you dare to leave him too?

“I don’t want to leave you…” You breathe out, “But…”

“But? But?” He sputters against your neck again, trailing his fingers up and down your back; tracing the marks he left with the belt.

“How long am I staying here?” You sigh, “I can’t… I can’t stay here forever.”

Robert stays silent at this.

He loosens his grip and you wiggle out of his grasp, rolling over so that you’re on the other side of the bed. You stare at his face with sadness and pain, he looks like he’s going to cry again. His eyes are red at the edges, almost blood-shot and puffier than usual. His lips are drawn back in a scowl that looks like he’s experiencing physical pain. His cheekbone is flushed with a blue bruise that’s yellowing at the ends, a scab forming where you broke the skin, the dried blood mimics the spot on your own face. He reaches a hand towards you and brushed strands of hair out off your face, letting his hand fall against your shoulder, and then trailing down your left arm in reassuring movements.

“You’ll stay here until I say so.” He says.

Your eyes get distracted by his lips, but you still listen to him all the same.

You wished you could hide your face in the pillow and ignore him, but just smelling him (those earthy smells mixed with blood and peppermint) is an overwhelming sensation.

“My parents…” You warned, “My friends. They’ll think about me. They’ll look for me.”

“Will they?” Something about his tone hurts, “Who matters more? Me? Or them?”

Everyone matters. Why are you making me pick sides?

“You.” You avert your gaze to the wall behind him, “You matter more.”

“Then you don’t need to worry about them anymore.” His gaze softens, “I would never leave you. I’d rather end my own life than to do that. Why continue hurting yourself when you can just stay with me?”

Because you’re the one hurting me.

You make me feel loved. You make me feel like nothing and everything.

You scare me. You give my life meaning.

You bring out your right hand, staring at the ring stained with Robert’s blood. Seeing the dark splatter gleam against the gems make you let out another sigh. All of this trouble you’re putting him through, just to appease your friends and family; to hide a secret that three-four people already know. You two could always run away, right? But Robert didn’t seem too keen on leaving Derry. You don’t realize that you’re crying until he’s moving his hand to swipe your tears away. A revelation settling in your heart, wedging its way past your mental barriers. You’re not trying to forgive him anymore.

You want him to forgive you.

 

 

ii.

 

When the day is bright and beautiful, Robert gives you a bath.

You take a bath in his bathroom, the one in his master bedroom somewhere in the estate. The bathroom was the same size as your room at home: with a large bathtub in the center, a shower with glass walls to the right, sinks to the left, and toiletries in the back. Everything was styled in black marble that had streaks of white and grey in the ‘cracks’. He didn’t put the water too cold, nor was it too hot (maybe leaning on the hotter side because you pestered him about it); but it still felt strange against your healing back. The tub was filled to the brim with bubbles and you let out a long sigh of relaxation when you dipped into the tub.

You let your right arm rest against the side of the tub, looking out the large glass window above. Going against your wishes, Robert was there with you in the bathroom, but he was seated outside of the tub, lathering his hands in shampoo and conditioner. He was wearing a black shirt with long sleeves that were pulled back up to his biceps. Near the sink a radio was playing to the tune of some classical music: Robert liked that kind of stuff.

“What was it like in Castle Rock?” You asked.

“Boring.” He muttered, lavender-soaked fingers ran through your hair, “Quiet. Strange people there.”

“Strange places attract strange people.” You mused in a quiet voice.

“How about you?”

You turned your head to look at him, confused.

“What do you mean?”

“You told me that you weren’t born in Derry.” Robert focused his attention to taking care of your hair, “Do you remember what it was like? Where were you born?”

“I was born in Durham, New Hampshire.” You looked back at the window, watching the snow fall.

“How was it there?”

You let out a nervous giggle.

“I don’t remember much.” You continue, “I was five when we left. Turned six in Derry.”

“Is all your family there?”

“No. Most of them live in the warmer parts of the country. Couldn’t stand the cold.”

“Did you have any friends there?” Robert leaned forward to grab a container to wash your hair.

You hummed quietly when he rinsed the lather away, tilting your head up to the ceiling. The near-hot water felt nice as always and made you relax your aching muscles. You gently leaned forward so that the water wouldn’t spill over the tub.

“No, not really.” You opened your eyes to look at him as he washed your hair, “I did have… A very creative imagination though.”

“How so?” Robert set the container down and used his fingers to comb through your hair.

“Made up a lot of imaginary friends.” You shrugged, playing with the bubbles in the tub. “Some of them I don’t even know where they came from. Like one of them, I don’t remember his name, but he was like… Part wolf, part person.”

Robert stopped his ministrations, looking at you with a careful gaze, he seemed curious at that.

“Did you remember what he wore?”

“For some reason, yeah. I do.” You bring your right hand down when it began to dry up.

“One of those jock-y jackets that some dudes wear. The jacket looked like it was made on my birth year.”

“That’s strange.” Robert mused, removing his hands from your hair.

“Don’t remember his name though,” You leaned back, “I had more imaginary friends like that but I don’t remember them much, either.”

“What do you want to be when you’re older?”

Robert’s hands are now semi-covered in body soap, rubbing against your shoulders gently, massaging any knots up there. Your eyes roll to the back of your head at the feeling, laughing a little when he rubs a spot that’s ticklish, but fall back into a relaxed state. You feel calm when he’s gentle around the spots where he hit you. You think at the question and sit upright so that he can reach your lower back without falling into the tub; then again, his arms were long enough for that.

“A dancer.” You breathe out, “Ballet is my thing, in case you haven’t realized.”

“You certainly qualify for it.” He gently rubs near your ribs, fingers briefly brushing your chest.

You let out a huff of air and shiver.

“Either that or…” You pause, “I don’t know what I want to do.”

His hands return from your back and slink over your shoulders. You stop him when his hands get a little too close to your chest and sink back into the water. The soft viola and cello make a nice melody, the sounds rich and soothing, a baroque type of tune fills the bathroom.

“Why do you wish to work so hard?” Robert leaves his chair and sits at the edge of the tub, near the flatter corners that connect to the window. He looks outside with boredom in his eyes, his face reflecting against the window. You notice that his cheek had healed quickly, the bruise was now a darker shade of his skin tone.

You look at him confused again.

“I’m not sure what you mean, Robert.”

“Why work so hard, when you can just be free—With me?” He turns to you with a somber expression.

“It’s… It’s what my parents want.” You rest your chin into the palm of your hand, lowering yourself to hide under the bubbles. “They’ve seen what I can do. They want the best for me. Though, I suppose the idea of me being a famous ballerina is a highly appealing idea to them.”

“Fame is not everything.” Robert laughed, crossing his arms, “Just look at me: Do you see me doing things that warrant attention to myself?”

“I mean, you only do it for my attention, Rob.” You smile, “But no… You don’t really seem like the type to do that.”

After a few minutes pass you finish and tell Robert to leave the bathroom. When you finish drying you change into more comfortable attire and join him in the living room, a silence fills between you two. You look at the clock, then at Robert, then out the window. He notices your boredom and gets up, walking to you with his hand stretched out. You take it hesitantly.

“Where are we going?” You asked.

He smiled sweetly, eyes gleaming with mirth.

“To my study.” He urged you to follow him, “You wanted me to read a few books to you, yes?”

You returned his smile and brushed your hair back.

“Yeah, I’d like that.”

 

Chapter Text

It’s been a week since you were confined within the boundaries of Robert’s estate and things have definitely mellowed down since. Your fear and concerns for your parents had died down pretty quickly, seeing that no officer or person had approached Robert’s home. Still, hearing from Robert that your face was plastered all over Derry via MISSING posters didn’t really ease those nerves. Still, there was a certain soothing feeling that you felt each day you spent at his estate. It felt as if nothing really mattered, that you could live a free and happy life without worrying about, as Robert stated “those who held you down.” Not thinking about your friends or family really lifted something from your shoulders, and dropped you into a dreamy state whenever you were around Robert.

He was perfect and imperfect at the same time. But at this point you were far too deep to really care anymore, he made you happy, he did everything he could do to satisfy while you were inside. What more could you want? Surprisingly he had allowed you outside, though only to venture out to the gardens, nothing more than that. He was walking alongside, to make sure that you were always within his sight, though both of you had mutually agreed to Robert’s terms; you wouldn’t get too far in this weather anyway.

“I’m looking forward to Spring.” You said quietly, holding yourself together with the fur coat Robert had given you.

He looked at you, hair swept to the right with gel, and offered you a smile.

“Oh?” He tilted his head, “Why’s that?”

“Everything will look so beautiful here.” You sighed, stopping.

Robert followed your actions, looking around.

“If there was any flower you’d have here,” He continued, “What would it be?”

“Lupines!” You exclaimed, “Or bloodroots, those are very beautiful. Hyacinths are very pretty too.”

Robert’s smile widened and he nudged your shoulder with his arm.

“How about all of them?” He leaned against a dead tree, “I could have someone plant them when the snow thaws.”

“Oh, that would be lovely.” You sighed dreamily.

The wind picked up and that was your cue to return inside. You placed the coat on a nearby leather bench and stretched, the warm air feeling pleasant against your chilled cheeks. You dragged Robert to his study where you would help him feed and take care of Gray. You had found her in his study, in a perfectly sculpted glass enclosure built just for her near the window. It was nicely hidden near the red curtains so that she could wander out from time to time.

-

“Wait—No, you need to, no—Hehe, Robert!” You laugh as he struggles to get Gray to perch on his hand.

He’s fumbling with a frustrated look on his face, eyes deep-set on his goal as the Mexican Redleg Tarantula only raises her legs in defense. You move your seat closer to Robert’s and put a gentle hand on his shoulder. He slumps in defeat and removes his hands from the enclosure, crossing his arms in frustration.

“Maybe you’re just not a spider person.” You muse and grab use a pair of tweezers to grab a mealworm from a box nearby.

Robert side-eyes you and lets out a loud laugh that stuns you. He sounds as if you had said the funniest thing ever, clutching at his sides before finally shaking his head. He recovers a few seconds after, wiping away a tear he shed from amusement. He wraps an arm around your shoulder, pulling you closer to him. You quickly place the lid over and leaned against him.

Gray takes the insect between her teeth in less than a second and slinks into her hiding spot once her prey stops moving. You turn your head back to Robert and a quick thought passes through your mind. You place your head against his collarbone, under his chin as you stare out the window.

“Robert?” He places his other arm around you—this one over your front side—in response.

“When’s your birthday?” You ask with genuine curiosity.

“Guess.”

Your furrow your eyebrows.

“Is it in… February? You strike me as a February type of guy.” You can feel him smile.

“And the day?”

You pull away from him shocked, mouth agape, “No way…? I guessed the right month?”

“You did, darling.” Robert smiles, pressing his forehead to yours. “Now, let’s see if you can guess the day.”

“Do I get a prize for guessing both of them right?” You press a fist to your mouth from excitement, “Hah, I can’t believe I guessed the month correctly! Uhm—Let me think about the date…”

Instinctively, the first date that comes to mind is the most special one.

You wrap your arms around him in a hug, squeezing at his lower back. The hug feels so nice when you’re not wearing jackets or coats; just enjoying yourselves the way you are.

“Is it on the 14th?” You tilted your head, “On Valentine’s Day?”

The way he smiles makes your jaw drop even more and you let out a noise of disbelief.

“Are you serious!?” You laugh, “No way. Your birthday is on Valentine’s Day!”

You pause in your rambling and purse your lips, resting your head on his shoulder again.

“That explains the charm then.” You chuckle against his soft turtleneck.

“You flatter me too much.” Robert chuckles, “What did I do to deserve you?”

“Everything!” You exclaim, pulling him closer, “Don’t lie, I know you enjoy it when I compliment you.”

He chuckles again and you can feel his shoulders shake at the action. It’s a relaxing sound that lulls you into a state of peace despite the fact that clouds are rolling in. It was prime time for winter to settle in. The snow and wind would really kick in now, despite the fact that Derry was in the heart of Maine, the coastal winds still managed to pick up the left-over breeze from the Atlantic.

“With this snow, I don’t even know how people go about their day.” You sigh, taking in Robert’s scent.

“Maniacs.” He replies simply, “The whole lot of them.”

You laugh and shake your head, moving your arms so that they’re around his neck now.

“That makes you a maniac too.” You giggle, “You were born here.”

“Then I suppose I need you to keep me grounded.” He laughs and holds you closer, walking over to the couch next to the fireplace, closing the window’s curtains so that the two of you could relish the sweet flames that burned. You fall asleep in his arms, going slack as you let your body take control.

 

 

ii.

 

Somewhere, Bill Denbrough is sobbing uncontrollably in his room, a cold taking over his weak body. He’s sitting on the side of the bed, back arched as he hunches over, letting the tears fall freely on the crumpled paper within his hands. He was holding a missing poster of you, one of many that he had collected around town since your disappearance. Your beautiful, smiling face was plastered there in black and white; followed by your name, your birthdate, and a brief description of what you were wearing and what you had done last. You were last seen with the Bowers Gang in the Barrens.

Bill couldn’t believe the news when he heard it, when he read it on the paper, that you had been hanging out with the Bowers Gang for a while. But there was nothing he could do to complain. For some reason, Bowers and his boys had not bothered him, Richie, Eddie, or Stan during the duration of late December to early January. It was strange, as if a switch had been turned on those bastards. But ever since you disappeared a number of things happened:

- Bill had fallen under another wave of grief and depression.

- Victor Criss and Belch Huggins had been officially damned by Henry Bowers, leaving said boy the only member of his gang. (But that loss was made up with their replacements: Patrick Hockstetter, Gard Jagermeyer, and Moose Sadler; who had all been recruited a few days ago).

- It began to snow harder than before.

- Your parents had also fallen into severe stages of loss and grief; going so far as to making their own missing posters of you.

- Your spider, Holland, had gone missing one day out of the blue.

It was all too much, and Bill Denbrough can’t help but find himself staring and thinking of your face whenever he closes his eyes. He thinks of Georgie and you, and wonders if you’re both down wherever you were. The Barrens. It was reasonable that Georgie could’ve been swept down by the rain or wind back in October, and Bill had definite confirmation that the Barrens was the last place that you were seen. When the snow thawed, he’d be ready to rescue you. If you were still alive.

“No… No… No…” He whispered to himself, “They’re alive. Georgie’s alive.”

But as the days carried on, he had begun to doubt himself more and more.

He begins to write in the journal you had gotten for him on Christmas. Holding tightly onto every memory of you, the only thing that begins to fill the pages of this “venting” journal is nothing but times Bill felt happy seeing you; all the times he stopped and wondered if what he was feeling was love. He’ll keep your name and every damn second he spent with you in his memories and in this journal.

He briefly stops writing to fiddle with the calendar on his wall, flipping the pages until he reaches the page reading APRIL ‘89. With a sharpie marker, he hastily circles a random date.

He’ll begin his plans to search for you on that day.

 

Chapter Text

On a chilly night, Beverly Marsh is sitting on the staircase, enveloped in a large coat and a scarf around her neck. Between her fingers is a fresh cigarette, burning against the cold wind; thin breaths of smoke leave her mouth as if she was a dragon preparing to breath fire. Her long, red hair is tied into a loose, low ponytail that falls over her shoulder. Her green eyes gleam with hurt as she stares blankly into the snow-covered ground below the steps.

Her mind was swirling with a multitude of thoughts. Things have been rough since your disappearance, and it didn’t help that Greta Keene began to taunt her about it. She took another drag from the cigarette, nicotine filling her brain. Living was lonely, especially now that her dad had taken up a job at Derry High, though she didn’t mind and she was glad that her father was gone for most of the day. But it didn’t stop her from feeling lonely, expecting to see your face after school like before.

She missed you.

She wondered if you were even alive still.

Beverly wondered what you had given her father on Christmas. She asked him but he said that it was nothing, tossing the wrapped present in the trash. She waited a day or two before digging through it and opening it, and she smiled.

You had bought her roller skates, painted in a cyan-teal color; like the color of her eyes. She hid it underneath her bed so that her father wouldn’t be suspicious, he had always thrown away gifts that she received from what little friends she had. It’s been a month and three weeks since you were declared missing, and February was almost around the corner.

“What’s got you in a twist?”

Beverly turns her head to see Victor Criss, looking out his window with arms propped against the frame. She narrows her eyes and scoffs, crossing her arms and digging her cigarette into the railing.

“What do you want?” She gritted out.

“Just wondering why you’re so down.” Victor shrugged.

“Go bother someone your age,” Beverly turned to him, “Or run back to Henry Bowers.”

“Everyone knows that I can’t do that.” Victor ran a hand through his hair, “Or Belch. Either that or Henry’ll come at us and we’ll be dead.”

Beverly gets up and leans against the railing. She uncrosses her arms when he closes the window and comes out of his home a second later. His face is clean of any imperfections but his nose is crooked slightly at the bridge, probably after the fight he had with Henry Bowers.

“You were there when [Y/N] went missing.” She looked away, “What happened?”

“Bowers got them drunk.” Victor looked uncomfortable talking about the subject, “He came out alone.”

She looked dejected at this, her eyes downcast.

“Do you know anyone who knows them personally?” Beverly paused, “Not their parents; someone they really trust.”

Victor turned his head away but sighed.

“Why, are you thinking of looking for them?”

“Maybe, maybe not.”

Victor uncrossed his arms and looked over the railing, knuckles red and white.

He turned to her with a blank face.

“Bill Denbrough, that kid who lost his brother, he’s real close with them.”

“Is that all?”

Victor looked hesitant but continued, “There’s a man that they know.”

She narrowed her eyes.

“Who?”

Victor shook his head and ran back into his home. Beverly, shocked, made a frustrated face and was about to head back for her own home when she heard a piece of paper slide under Victor’s door. She crouched down and picked it up, it was written in purple ink in a hasty scrawl. She looked back at Victor, who waited for her response.

 

Robert Gray. Don’t know him much.

He’s really close with [Y/N]. He has the money and time to look for them.

Don’t know his address. Heard he lives in the woods.

 

She crumpled the paper and shoved it into one of her pockets and mouthed a ‘thank you’ to Victor. Beverly returned to her home and began to flip through her dad’s Yellow Pages book. Maybe this man could help her look for her friend.  She pushed away the question of how close Robert Gray was to [Y/N]. 

She just needed answers, and fast.

 

But she wasn't sure if those answers were going to be pleasant.

 

Chapter Text

“How did you even get Holland from my room?”

“Hm?”

Robert lowers the book that he’s reading, raising a brow as you slowly lift your arm, watching at the Desert Blonde arachnid settles into your palm. You’re laying down on a Chesterfield sofa, legs laid out along the length of the furniture. Your head was nestled neatly against a feather pillow covered in a dark red casing. Robert was sitting across from you, legs crossed over each other on top of a mahogany table, two yellow lamps illuminating the dark study.

The two of you had decided to hang out on the second floor of the library-study, doing nothing but relaxing. Although Robert seemed to be reading a book, you could see him turn his head every once in a while to glance at you. He seemed to be reading you more than he was with the large book in his hands.

You repeated your question a little louder.

“—I mean, you can’t exactly just waltz in there and take Holland.”

“I broke in.” He said simply.

“Jesus,” You cursed, “You didn’t smash a window or anything, did you?”

“No.” Robert shook his head, “Your window is really easy to remove.”

“Really?”

You narrowed your eyes.

“How did no one see you?”

“I did it at night,” He places the book on the table and holds his hands together, “Though it was hard with your parents being awake.”

“Awake?” You question, “They usually sleep early.”

“They were making posters about you.”

You clenched your eyes and let out a heavy sigh, sitting up to place Holland in her portable container. You hop off of the couch and walk over to the window, pushing the curtain back. Thick layers of snow covered the expanse of the leafless trees, the amount of forest almost seeming endless; you could barely see the library near the horizon. You place your hands against the windowsill, face leaning against the cool panes of glass. You felt Robert’s slink around you, enveloping you in a gentle hug. You looked up the window and saw his face barely reflecting against the glass, looking down at you.

“You miss them.” He murmured, holding your hands, “You want to go back to them.”

You leaned back against him, breathing heavily.

“It’s been a month, Robert.” You shakily say, “But—But I don’t…”

You paused, trying to find the right words.

You tilt your head up, neck craning to look into his eyes.

“I don’t want to leave.” You said truthfully.

Your heart had no longer thumped in fear whenever you hear him ask those kinds of questions, in fact you had begun to feel really calm about the situation. True to his words, Robert made sure that you were never bored in his estate. The long winding halls, combined with the foyer, and ballroom made it seem like you were living in an never-ending castle. To elaborate, the first few times you had explored his home; you didn’t explore the eastern side of the estate, only the western side. So it was a stunning surprise when he opened the double doors and revealed the expanse of rooms on the East Wing.

You felt like Daisy Buchanan exploring Jay Gatsby’s mansion for the first time.

“Is that so?” He looked for any hint of deception in your eyes. To his surprise, he found none.

“Yes.” You breathed out, “I want to stay here.”

You saw Robert smile in the reflection, and he turned you around, bending down to your height. He placed your hands on your shoulders, giving you a genuinely soft smile. You returned it and cupped his cheeks, pulling him into a soft kiss.

The two of you had rarely shared kisses for the majority of the time you were here: you spent most of that time just cuddling and holding each other. In fact, you were more likely to initiate the kisses than him.

He tasted like strawberry chapstick, his lips moving against yours in a slow rhythm. You tilted your head, still not used to the feeling of kissing (or being kissed for that matter), and pressed a little deeper. Your eyes fluttered and closed, running your hands in his hair and then down his neck where your fingers barely dipped into the back of his collar. He moved so that you were away from the window, his arms stretching out so that they were on both sides of your head.

You let out a long sigh through your nostrils as you tighten your hold, slowly pressing against him. He seemed to like this a lot because he stepped closer, so close that you had to back up against the wall, his hands now gliding against your shirt. You break away and stare at him cheekily, eyes almost closes. Robert matches your look and leans forward, planting featherweight kisses along your cheek and jawline. You let out a happy sigh and return to running your hands through his hair.

Oxytocin fills your veins like fine wine, urging you to hold him closer.

Robert removed himself from your lips, staring at you with a soft gaze, breathing heavily.

“Do you want to continue?” He asks quietly.

Something warm swelled within you at his consideration, happily laughing in his face as you respond by pulling his lips to yours again. You feel him smile against your lips, holding you steady by the hips.

“Follow me.” He says, taking your hands with his, guiding you out of the study and to his room.

Butterflies swarm your stomach so much that you can’t hide the grin on your face when he holds you up until you’re seated on his bed, capturing into another breath-taking kiss. The blankets feel soft under your legs as he removes his shirt first, and then helps you remove your own. You whine when he presses his chest against yours, feeling the wire of your bra dig into your chest. His arms wrap around you, unclasping your bra and discarding it somewhere on the bed. He digs his nose into your shoulder, eyes rolling back as he takes in your scent.

Feeling brave, you grab his biceps and lean closer to him, pressing a kiss against his neck. He shudders, groaning against you as he returns the action by taking the skin of your collarbone between his teeth; sucking. You sigh, moving your arms so that your holding him from underneath until your hands wrap around his shoulders.

His chapstick sticks to your skin, leaving imprints that fills your nose with strawberry and fresh cologne. The smells make you let out a quiet gasp, shaking against his frame when he slowly presses against you: letting you fall back against his bed. That strange sensation is back, that feeling you felt back in December—except in this situation, you want it. His face drags against your chest and then lower, moving so that he’s on his knees. Robert presses kisses against your navel, tugging at your pants.

You sit up a little, looking down at him. The sight of him almost between your legs sends sharp jolts of pleasure in your core, it feels strange and foreign but so good at the same time. You slam a hand over your mouth when you let out a loud gasp, a brief memory and thought of what he did to you. You clench your eyes, remembering his angry gaze and freeze. And then you notice that he freezes too. Robert doesn’t remove your pants, breathing heavily as his hands wait there, an oddly soft gaze on his features.

And then you realize why he’s waiting: he’s waiting for your approval.

He wants you tell him that you’re okay with this.

You feel happiness swirl in you, and fall back against the sheets again.

“You can keep going.” You pant out, staring at the ceiling, “I-I’m… I’m okay. I want this. I want you.”

He lets out a hum of approval at your statement and pulls the remaining of your down, you shiver at the cold feeling. His hands glide against your calves, dragging up and down until they travel over your knees and then at your hips. His thumbs press near your inner thighs and you gasp in response, hands reaching to grab his hair. One of his hands drags until it reaches your vulva, the fingers slipping against the slick arousal. You shift in your spot, breathing heavily, his movements are slow, teasing at your entrance. And then when he removes his hand, resting it on your leg, you can finally tell how soaked his fingers are.

It sends another rush of pleasure to you and you let out a grunt when he begins to plant kisses along your inner thigh. It feels so amazing and nice to have him with you. To have him so close to you. He dips his head into the space between your legs and kisses your entrance. You grab the sheets tightly at the feeling, strange and new and good.

And then he pulls back and suddenly lips are replaced by a warm tongue.

You suck in a deep breath, feeling him lick a long stripe against your entrance and then letting it linger on that spot above your entrance—your clit. The tingle starts at your lower spine, and then fills your stomach in warm waves of pleasure. You grab his hair tighter, pulling him closer. He lets out a throaty chuckle and holds his hand against where your v-line would be, his other hand joins his mouth in tandem. The sensations are burning, throbbing as you writhe and buck when his mouth sucks at your clit.

“Oh, Rob—Y-You… Ohhh.”

Your eyes flutter and roll when he presses one of his slick fingers into your slit, the knuckles and bones of his fingers filling in the spaces deliciously. He waits for a moment for you to adjust, taking his time licking and gently teasing you with his mouth. He pumps it a few times, making you pant and twist your head to the side. A thick knot begins to form in that spot near your nether regions that makes you cry to seek release.

While his finger works inside you, he’s making slow circles with his tongue on you—pleasure replaces anticipation and fear, making you let out a quick and hurried noise. You blush harder than you already are when you realize that it was a long, drawn out moan. Soon enough you tug at him again, and another finger joins the first, and then a third; they move in and out of you, the sounds making you pant and cry. His fingers twist and curl inside of you, hitting spots that make your vision go wide and your jaw slack; unable to make any noise at how much you’re feeling.

You’re bucking your hips without realizing, rocking against his hand once he’s knuckle-deep in all three fingers. Robert’s mouth works just as hard, his nose pressing into you as he devours you with his tongue and teeth. You swore that when his tongue slipped into your entrance now and then, you felt almost felt it stretch at an inhuman length. But you don’t pay attention to that.

There’s only one thing on your mind now.

Closer, closer, closer.

The pleasure pools within you to the point where your breaths become unsteady. You’re calling out his name, holding the blankets so tightly that your hands cramp and strain. Almost there—

You don’t have time to prepare for the time when your release comes. Your back arches against the end of the bed, legs wrapping around Robert’s back as your first real orgasm rocks your body. Your tears finally slip out at the pleasure when Robert slowly draws his fingers out with a sinfully slick noise following. You release his hair and watch as he presses his body to yours, his nose and mouth are covered in slick—shiny and clear as he kisses you again.

You can taste yourself on your lips, it’s not bad—but nothing extravagant either. It’s just you. It’s your love on his face, on his fingers, on him. You breathe heavily against his lips when he pulls away. He leans back and carries you up so that you’re laid properly on the bed. You let out a strangled noise when he joins you.

“You’re…” You stopped, unsure what to say, “You still need to… Your turn…”

Robert laughed and pulled you close to him, pulling the blankets over the two of you.

You feel so blissful and relaxed, a feeling unlike anything before.

You never want to let go of this feeling.

“Don’t worry about me.” He says against your neck, “Today’s all about you.”

You let out a happy sigh and hold him close to you.

“I love you.” You continue sleepily, “You’re wonderful…”

As you begin to relax into sleep you can hear him clear as day as he says:

“I love you too.”

 

Chapter Text

You dream of a turtle larger than life. Neither of you speak a word. It watches you with sad, mournful eyes; staring at you as if you were about to die. Maybe you were, maybe you weren’t. You’re drenched in red, but the texture is neither liquid nor fabric—it feels more like an energy. Though, you’re not sure what you mean. And then the turtle it—He?—speaks to you in a voice that sends you into a state of peace. You feel yourself question him.

 

“Break the chain, not the tower.”

 

"I don't have much time. The Red watches."

 

"Please, rid your lights of Red. Embrace the White."

 

“You must see the truth.”

 

Within the blink of an eye you fall back and find yourself against the field of roses. The dark pillar, which you now identified to be a tower, gets closer and closer with each hour that passes by. You don’t know why, but time feels endless here; changing and shifting like the red around you.

No, not red. Never red. You remember. Crimson.

Your double is there, but they’re not drenched in the crimson sheets like last time. You are. You’re the one bathed in this rich, lovely color while your double watches you with a blank gaze. You think you can hear yourself speak but nothing comes out. Crimson billows in the wind silently, calming your dull nerves. You sink under the roses and begin to fall. You grab desperately at the moving crimson, screaming a primal cry as the light gets darker and darker above you. The smell of those roses fades into something disgusting and rancid. You slam against wet, dirty concrete; no injury befalls you, nothing except a heave from your unprepared lungs. You’re wearing the white ballet outfit Bill bought for you, except it's now dirty and splattered with dark water and shit. Sewage.

The sewers.

You were back in the sewers.

Something inside is telling you to run, to flee. But what are you running away from exactly? You explore the dark expanse of the sewers, not sure what—or who—you were looking for. The tunnel grows taller until you reach the mouth and lay your eyes upon the mountain of children’s toys and the eroded circus wagon. There’s something off about this scene though.

The clown: Where was It?

As you stepped closer to the wagon you felt something hard and circular press into the bottom of your heel. You lift your foot and see something glimmering against the grime. Picking it up and wiping it with the hem of your tulle skirt your eyes widen. It was the ring Robert had given you, the first one. What was it doing here?

For some reason, you could imagine the clown’s voice speak to you.

“All things float back to me…”

“Toys… Memories… Children.”

You think about Georgie and feel tears well up, holding the ring close to your chest. A brief thought about Robert, or any of your friends, in Georgie’s place sends you into a panic. You silently cry out, knees digging into the dirt as you hold the memories of Robert’s first promise of devotion to you. A feeling in your gut tells you to look up. And you do.

You see Robert, though his back is turned to you. You rise and think you call his name, reaching out to him and gently turn him around. You freeze and almost drop the ring in shock when you see his haggard appearance. It wasn’t the gloves, or the eyes that put you off. It was those damned red lines that stretched up his lips and over his eyes.

The same lines the clown had.

 

“You should’ve paid more attention to your surroundings.”

 

Why is that the first thing that comes to mind? What the clown had said to you in your dream. The words repeat over and over, until you have your hands over your ears and closing your eyes. You’re shaking your head and breathing heavily. Unwanted and strange thoughts circulate within your mind, pushing against your beliefs and memories. You drop to your knees and pound at the ground until it cracks beneath you, bits and pieces floating up until you’re falling again.

You land on the stage of the Dance Hall, covered in Halloween decor, wearing the spider tutu. This time the clown is in front of you, but for some reason it doesn’t move, nor speak, nor acknowledge you. It’s not really there, no. If it was then It wouldn’t have just stared, something inside reassured you in that. But your perception… Changes. You panic when you see Robert again—No, the clown—No… No… No… It’s Robert again.

But it gets to the point where they almost meld together, their faces so similar to the point where you’re crying.

What the fuck? What the fuck?

You think back to when that clown rendered you defenseless with It’s strange lights.

You felt weightless, you felt free. Like you were… Floating.

“You looked like you were floating.”

You remembered Robert telling you that on Halloween. You remembered his eyes turning yellow and red as you danced. You remember the clown’s eerily similar eyes staring you down as it prepared to kill you. They only make you think of the time when the clown saved you, It’s touch so familiar. Slowly you realize why It’s hands felt so familiar. Those were Robert’s touches, he was the only person to touch you like that.

Cold, hard thoughts break your mind at that moment.

Everything stills. Everything clicks into place. Silently, you think back to every encounter with Robert and how they would lead to It, and vice versa.  You slowly look up at Robert, and then at a mirror behind him. You feel your breath leaving your body. Instead of seeing Robert’s reflection behind him...

 

You see the clown’s.

 

Chapter Text

You expect to wake up in the bed, crying uncontrollably as you face Robert… It. You expect to crawl away in fear, screaming and crying as you watch his facade fall away. You expect to have your flesh between its teeth—Oh God, you could practically smell your own blood. It feels so painful and horrible, rows and rows of teeth searing into the soft flesh of your neck. It’s everywhere: the blankets, the pillows, the wall. Everything is stained in your crimson ichor. Fear grips at you as ou begin to stir out of your sleep. You open your eyes.

And find yourself in a blood red land with jagged rocks.

An angry sky swirls above, the clouds almost resembling red eyes that glimmer and gleam like bloody orifices. You’re still dreaming. Still sleeping. Still waiting. You scream until your throat goes raw, clawing at your neck and cheeks, digging and pulling and scratching to ease your feelings. It hurts so, so much. Everything feels wrong and broken. You’re the broken one: the doll that was played with. Poor little child. Poor stupid child.

You hear—no, feel—voices screaming with your own. It hurts so much. You’re in a lot of pain. Free yourself. Free us. Free them. Freeyourselffreeusfreethemfreeyourselffreeusfreethem!! letusoutletusoutLetusOutLetUSOUTLETUSOUTLETUSOUT! SHOW US YOUR LIGHTS! EMBRACE YOUR LIGHTS!

It sounds like your voice, except it’s not. More like a layered tone of your voices throughout the ages, chattering and laughing and relishing your pained cries as you pound at the ground again. You slam your head against the red ground, the voices get louder; louder until nothing you can hear is your eldritch voice. Betrayal and fear burns into your soul, churning up your insides like your bleeding face and torn palms. The jagged rocks rub your skin dry until you’re soaked red with blood.

A pain unlike any other fills your body, wracking it. You can taste your blood on your lips, it stains your perfect teeth as it dribbles out of your lips and mixes in with the blood seeping from your raw neck. You lurch forward with tears and blood splattering against the ground. It hurts.

You can’t think clearly. You can’t think. You can’t.

You think you’re going insane.

“MAKE IT STOP!” You cry, pulling your hair until some of them snap and pull from your scalp.

The strands of hair sting and hurt against your exposed, bloody palms: sticking against your neck and back. You see nothing but crimson, nothing but pain, nothing but hurt. Death had never been such a beautiful thing until now. It feels like something is crawling up your throat, stabbing your insides, like fire.

You scream again, the sweet sound garbled by blood, your blood. You dig your hands until they’re clawing at your gums and at the inside of your mouth. It tastes like brimstone, blood, and flesh. You feel something protruding from your mouth, tiny lesions that cut from within your throat; within your mouth. Your fingers brush against sharp needles. You remove your hands and gag and vomit, the feeling turning into an intense itching that scratches and rubs against your insides. You cry when you realize that these things are teeth.

They’re eating you from the inside out, grinding and escaping their confines until you can feel them all the way down your esophagus. They move when you make a noise, pulsating and bleeding like your mouth, like your everything.

You want it to end. You want to die. And you lay there on the red rocks, bleeding to death; feeling nothing but pain.

The voices—the lights—within you relish your pain and suffering. They want more. You want more. Your mouth opens until you can feel it splitting at the jaw, fresh hot tears fall at the sensation; the sickening pops and cracks send shivers down your spine. You’re trying to hack something out, to get rid of that burning feeling. It almost feels like the very sun is inside your throat.

Free yourself. Free them. Free your lights.

You want to do it. You want to free yourself, accept this crimson fate. You feel yourself slipping against the cracks, your mind breaks, it teeters onto the edge of insanity and into the depths of something dark and primal. The burning grows stronger, your mouth is so open that you can’t see. You reach hands out, gasping at the air with pained cries, like a baby breathing for the first time. Light shines deep within you, pushing and crawling like insects. Like spiders.

Yes, yes, YES. The voices cheer and laugh, pushing against your mortality, youwantthisyouwantusembraceusLOVEUSWANTUSFREEUSLETUSOUT! LETUS OUT! LET US OUT! LET US OUT!

It feels so good to release whatever was inside you. It pushes against your toothy throat, against your heart. They’re so close to you, pressing against your insides like children gathering to enter a new candy store. The sky above glowers darkly.

ALMOST FREE—!

You feel a hand on your shoulder, and suddenly everything stops. Your blood is in the sky, floating mid air. The pain disappears. The voices stop, almost dying as they scream at the touch. The hand feels wrinkled and bony and wrong. Talon-like fingers drag against your shoulder-blades, lightly scratching until it reaches your chin. It urges you to look up: you do.

The crimson sheets are everywhere now, the sight so frightening that you don’t know what to think of it. The hand stays on your chin, reaching from the red like a priest’s robes. Something watches you from the red. The spider. The thing. What is it? A voice speaks to you, the tone so indescribable that you could feel babes die at the sound. It sounds like insanity. It sounds like the crimson. It sounds like pain.

 

Red Father. My father. Our father.

 

The voices whimper within you.

You think you hear the crimson speak to you at that moment.

 

Not ready.

 

The Prim is not ready for you yet.

 

You must destroy the ka-tet first. Devour them.

 

You cannot seek the Red if you surround yourself in White.

 

Kill them all first. And then we shall destroy the Tower.

 

nonoNoNoonoNONONONONONONONONO! PLEASE LET US OUT! WEAREREADY! THEY ARE READY!

 

The thing behind the crimson moves its hand so that it’s resting against your forehead. You can hear it hum, enjoying the feeling of your blood against its eldritch hand, arachnid in appearance as the barbs on the forearm rise up like a spider’s hairs. A searing pain burns through your psyche and you scream for the last time, the teeth retreat back into your skin, your jaw closes. Your wounds heal and repair against your skin as if nothing has happened. You slip through the ground once more.

 

You wake up, screaming and crying, a loud sound that belts against the walls. You feel soft hands hold your shoulders, shaking you awake. Your eyes open and you see Robert. Incoherent noises bubble out of your throat as fear and hurt wracks you.

“[Y/N].” He says your name, you cry in response. “What happened? Was it a nightmare?”

For some reason, you don’t remember why you’re crying. You don’t know what had caused you to wake up so violently. You don’t remember why you’re clawing at your eyes. What just happened? Why can’t you remember? You clutch at him like he’s the only thing in the world, nails digging into his back. You shakily nod and stain his neck with fresh tears.

 

What were you so afraid of?

 

Chapter Text

It watched you sleep after it, Robert, took care of you.

You were sound asleep, chest rising and falling with each breath that you took. You looked so peaceful, so happy. It felt pride and joy swell within its dead, cold heart as it stared at you. It had laid there for a couple of hours or so, wondering what you were thinking of; wondering what you were feeling. It almost frustrated you as it lacked the ability to find you, see you—smell you. It fed your lights with pain and suffering, wondering why It had continued to do so. Why did It continue to punish and harm you? Why did It entice your lights? Did it want you to become like It? Were you even capable of such a feat?

Your lights were different than you, alien and horrifying. They were nothing compared to you, and yet they were apart of you.

Like a parasite that was slowly killing its host from the inside out.

But you were just a human, gullible and unknowing to what horrors were within you.

It knew that your lights were dangerous. It knew what they—you—were capable of administering the worst kind of terror. It could feel it, smell it, on Henry Bowers back in December. It could smell the fear that wafted off of the deranged boy. It watched you change, shift, from the car with surprised eyes.

To everyone else, you were just an angry child protecting your friend.

To Henry Bowers, you were his father.

And as It laid beside you at this very moment, It wondered if your lights would change you . Of course they weren’t there physically, but It could still feel the violent energy all around nonetheless. Would your lights will your body into the weeds? Would they burst from you? Would you still even be you? How much of you would your lights consume until you were just flesh and bone? You were just the host of an ancient force; a husk waiting to meet its end. But did It really want that?

No, it did not.

And what a fool It was to befall itself on such feeble things like love and happiness. It was attached to you—loved you—and you loved It (or rather Robert) back. But knowing It, such things wouldn’t last long. Sooner or later, the Crimson King would come to collect you; or rather, your lights, he could care less about your well-being. You would die, and your lights would break the last of the Beams; sending the world into an endless spiral of suffering and darkness as the Prim would take over.

It didn’t want that, no matter how enticing it would feel to have It’s hunger satiated once and for all. What kind of life would it be without your laugh and smile? Your love? What kind of life would It live without you pestering It about holidays and pets and snow, and all other mundane things that seemed so boring to It long ago?

Did it love you? Yes. More than fear, more than the taste of flesh.

What would it do to keep your lights at bay? Anything.

 

The Crimson King would not be happy with It.

 

 

ii.

 

It had left your side for a brief moment to snack at a little girl’s leg, returning to the sewers as it dug its claws into the flesh. It could not stop thinking about you, even as it ate. It longed to smell you again, to wonder what pretty thoughts swirled in your head as you dreamed; the closest it could get to doing that was when it had a taste of you, or whenever your lights were dulled by your overpowering, human feelings. It was half-way done when It felt you. No, not your lights; but you.

It felt your fear for the first time in forever, calling It back to you. That smell, your smell, was as clear as ice. You called for Robert in a frenzy, urging it to shift back into the man you called your lover—and felt your pulse thrumming with fear. You were dreaming, thrashing around in the bed violently: as if you were dying.

It took a will of steel to not bite into you when the scent became too much. It was as if your lights had shut off completely, exposing everything about you to it. You were afraid of something, but what? Finally being able to pry into your mind it searched and searched, but it could not find anything. Dreams, nightmares, anything as to give a clue for what happened. You felt more like a human than a host at that moment.

Where had your lights gone? Why were they gone?

It spoke your name with Robert’s voice as it continued to read your thoughts. It could not find anything that could help it or you calm down. It was as if time had turned back to October when the only thing urging it to be with you was your scent; as if your lights had been put to rest once more. It grabbed your shoulders and gently shook you, trying to ease your crying.

It didn’t like it when you did that. It didn’t like when you felt like that. It was able to feel and hear everything going on in your mind at that moment. It lays a hand on your cheek and falls back into Robert’s character. After thirty minutes or so of It trying to calm you down, it attempted to put you to sleep with its powers. And it worked. There were no lights to protect you. No lights to block your mind.

Just you being you: human.

 

 

iii.

 

“Do you remember anything from last night?” Robert asked a few hours later after you recovered.

You shook your head and sighed, rubbing at your forehead.

“No… Not really.” You dipped farther back into the couch, “I can only remember how I felt.”

“You felt fear.” He muttered, holding you close to him, “You were shaking badly.”

“Yeah, I haven’t felt like that since I moved to Derry.”

He tilted his head at this and looked at you deeply. Ever since your nightmare, Robert had been staring at you for a strange amount of time when he was around you. For the entirety of the morning he looked as if he was trying to read you. You simply shrugged it off as him being concerned for you; you were, afterall, screaming as if you were dying last night.

“You had nightmares.” He said, peering closer at you, resting his chin on your head, “When you were five.”

“Yeah, how’d you know?” You looked at him curiously.

“It was on your medical record.” Robert shrugged, “Remember, I’m listed as one of your guardians now.”

“But that’s personal information, Rob.” You held his hands to you.

“Did my parents tell you that?”

“Yes.”

“Oh… Did they tell you what my nightmares were about?”

You turned your head to Robert, looking up at him expectantly. He shifted so that you were sitting side by side now, looking out the window as a thick layer of snow covered the ground until it covered the front door in a few feet of snow. He pressed his hands to the sides of your face, pressing his forehead to yours. He seemed to be looking for something in your eyes before he found it.

“Your nightmares were about dying.” He continued, “You dreamed of something leaving your body.”

You nodded and held him close to you.

“I—I’m scared of dying, Rob.” You let out a shaky chuckle, “Been like that since I was five.”

He tightened his grip on you so that he engulfed you in a reassuring hug.

“Don’t worry about that, darling.” He took a deep breath in your hair, “I’ll make sure nothing hurts you.”

You broke away from him and took his hand, smiling. You needed to dance, or do something to get your mind off of your awful childhood memories or whatever you had dreamed of last night. You would've laughed if you remembered your nightmare and it turned out that you were dreaming of something funny; but the way you woke up, the feelings you felt, you were sure that what you had dreamed about was neither funny nor pleasant. You dragged him out of the living room and walked with him until the two of you had reached the ballroom. You took both of his hands in yours and gave him a soft smile.

"Let's stop talking about all of that crappy stuff." You sighed, "Do you know how to dance?"

"Of course!" Robert chuckled, "You've seen me dance before. We danced together."

"No, dummy." You look up at him, "Like a waltz or something."

He paused for a moment, looking around before smiling and holding you flush against him. He began to turn you in slow, steps that had the two of you trailing circles around the room. The large ballroom echoed with your laughter bouncing against the walls. It was nice and relaxing and you loved every second of it. You looked at Robert with dreamy eyes, faintly remembering back to yesterday's events. Oh you definitely loved him. You loved him so much that you wouldn't ever think of leaving him again. He stopped after minutes passed, swallowing something down his throat as tears welled up in his eyes.

You looked at him worriedly and stepped on your toes to wipe his cheeks.

"Why are you crying?" You asked.

He let out a weak laugh and slowly dropped to his knees, hugging you.

"Your love, your happiness." He lets out quiet sobs against your neck, "It's too much. I can feel it all."

You returned his hug and softly rubbed circles on his back. Robert was probably just in a really soft and loving mood today. You almost giggled at the oddness of you comforting him; it was usually he who made sure that you were always okay. You pulled away from the hug to kiss his cheek, resting a hand on the other side.

"That's a good thing." You smiled against his face.

 

"It's okay to feel."

 

 

Chapter Text

“Happy Birthday, Robert!” You wrapped your arms around his neck from behind the couch, making him turn his head nose-to-nose with him. He placed a gentle against your arm, tilting his head back slightly.

“Oh? And what kind of present do you have for me?” He asked with a sly smile on his face.

You release your hold on him and nudge his shoulder.

“I made something for you!” You hoped over the couch and took a seat next to him.

“Are you left handed or right handed?”

“Both.” He answered.

“Okay, which hand do you not use to write?” You deadpanned, almost laughing at his response.

“I use them equally.”

“Robert!” You scolded, hiding your present behind your back.

After a moment of bickering you gave up and took his right hand in yours. You brought out your other hand and opened it, revealing a ring in your palm. His eyebrow rose, watching as you carefully turned his hand and slipped it on his ring finger. It was a thick black band with a rectangular citrine gem at the top. You had a wide smile on your face as you slowly dropped his hand, letting him look at it for himself.

“Where did you even get this?” He asked, turning his hand over again to see the underside.

“I bought it as a kid,” You explain, “Brought it with me to Derry. When you went back to my house again to get my backpack you brought it here with you. I always kept this ring around me for luck.”

“And why are you giving it to me?” He wraps an arm around your shoulders, pulling you to his face.

“So you can have good luck as well.” You smile.

“I care about you a lot, Robert. You mean the world to me.”

Robert smiles at your words and holds you in for a kiss. You returned it happily but cut it off a little too soon for him. He let out a low whine, attempting to try to pull you in for another. You giggle and push his face away, shaking your head.

“C’mon. Let’s go outside.” You smiled.

He narrowed his eyes slightly, a frown forming on his face.

You let out a nervous chuckle, grabbing his arm.

“N-Not to town or anything,” You said to lighten his mood—it still frightened you a little bit that he still hadn’t considered letting you leave.

Robert smiled, looking into your eyes.

“Well, where were you thinking of going to?”

“How far?” You tilted your head.

“Anywhere within the Barrens.”

You gave him a wide smile.

“The Quarry!”

“Why do you want to go there?”

“To take you ice skating! The water there’s probably frozen by now.” You beamed, ushering him to get off the couch, “I found some skates in my room.”

He slunk back into the couch, a sly look on his face.

You placed your hands on your hips, giving him a stern look.

“I might need some persuasion to get me up.” He said.

Your cheeks turned red and you gave him another quick kiss, which caused him to finally rise. You told him to change into warmer clothes and you did the same, going upstairs and grabbing a pair of white ice skates. You threw a scarf over around your neck and joined Robert back downstairs, who was now wearing a dark overcoat and rubbed his hands nervously. On the ground next to him was his own pair of skates. He took your arm in yours and helped you outside.

It felt relieving to head outside, trudging through the thick snow. It was quiet, almost peaceful and it the feeling of being so far from Robert’s house at almost frightened you. You turned your head and watched as the estate disappeared from view as you walked farther and farther. Being outside of his house, not in the garden, was almost surreal. It also occurred to you that you hadn’t thought about your family or friends for a while, and for some reason, you felt inclined to not worry about them. Although it was a morbid thought, you guessed that everyone believed that you were dead by now.

Georgie was long dead, and that was only confirmed by your meetings with the clown.

The clown...

Robert looked down at you with a curious look on his face, stopping in his tracks.

“You look nervous.” He said.

You gave him a weak smile.

“I was just thinking about…” You paused, unsure if you should tell him about your savior.

You scoffed and shook your head, crossing your arms.

“Nevermind.” You swallowed thickly, “You wouldn’t understand…”

“[Y/N].” He bent down to your level, holding your shoulders in his large hands.

“You can trust me.”

You took a deep breath, looking to the side.

“Do you remember… When you took me down into the Barrens for the first time?”

He nodded, listening to you.

“And I came out…” You clenched your eyes, “All beat up, crying?”

Robert looked nervous for some reason, pained, at hearing your words. He let go of your shoulders and turned away slightly, picking up his ice skates that he had dropped. You wiped a hand over your mouth, letting out a sigh.

“I saw…” You paused, “I saw a clown.”

He turned to you, trying to hide the worry on his face.

Why was he so nervous?

“A clown?” He choked out.

“Yes. It tried to… It tried to eat me.”

“Eat you?” His eyes went wide, “Why haven’t you told me this before?”

“You! You wouldn’t believe me! A-And I...” You let out a quiet cry, “I was… I-I… I was scared of it.”

Robert glowered and embraced you in a hug.

“What do you think of it?” He asked.

“I think.” You swallowed a hard knot in your throat. “I think that clown was the thing that has been kidnapping all of the kids… I think It eats them. I-I saw the kids… Th—They...”

“You saw them?” He rose a brow, “When did you see this?”

“When Henry took me down.”

“You were drunk, [Y/N].” Robert frowned, “You were seeing things.”

You felt hurt at his words, but you weren’t sure if you believed him or what you saw.

You were sure that the clown saved you; Robert’s story didn’t make sense. If you came to his house drunk, what happened to Henry?—More so, why would Henry let you go to run off? The two of you were pretty deep in the sewer tunnels, and Vic or Belch would’ve done something to stop you. It just didn’t add up.

The first time you encountered the clown it had hurt you so badly that you couldn’t move, that you couldn’t speak. Why hadn’t Robert questioned the origin of your injuries? Why was he outside and not in the sewers with you? There was no way that he could’ve gone back to the outside, and why would he even leave you alone in the first place? You frowned.

“You think I’m crazy.” You whispered, wiping a tear that fell down your cheek. “You don’t believe me.”

“I-I believe you!” Robert grabbed your arm—the sudden action made your heart jolt in fear a little, “I just…”

“Just what?” You asked.

“I just don’t think that the clown would save you.” He said lowly.

You agreed, but didn’t like how he was trying to change the subject. Breaking out of his hold, you dropped your ice skates and leaned against a tree, trying to calm yourself down. You listened to birds chirp in the distance.

“You said the clown eats people?” He asked quietly from behind.

“Yes.” You grit out, “I saw the bodies. The kids… There was a mountain of toys, like… Like they were It’s trophies.”

“It’s probably some lunatic.” Robert reasoned, “We shouldn’t get involved in this.”

“We should!” You argued, running a hand through your hair, “All those kids… They… I’ve been to It’s home, if we can just tell the poli—”

“No!” He shouted and took two long strides to you.

You backed up a little raising your arms in defense, fearing that he was going to do something to you. He paused in his movements, eyes wide, hand shaking as if he was going to raise it. A feeling of hurt hit you when you realized that he was trying to stop himself from hurting you. The display was nice, but the fact that he considered doing that made you back up a little.

“We can’t…”

He continued in a low voice, “We can’t go to the police…”

You paused, wondering why, and then you realized.

He didn’t want to get in trouble; in trouble for keeping you in his home.

“Robert.” You breathed out, “We have to.”

His eyes glowered in slight anger, breathing through his nose.

You shrunk back at his expression, rubbing your hands nervously together.

“If you’re worried about… A-About us, we can think of something.”

He turned to you, raising a brow.

“What are you talking about?”

“I mean. You can drop me off at the police station,” He frowned at this, “And you, or me, can tell them that you found me in the woods.”

He eased up at this, crossing his arms, biting the inside of his cheek.

“I don’t want you to leave me though.” His eyes darkened, “You’ve been fine living in my home so far. Why change now?”

“A month’s pretty long, Robert.” You said quietly, “Everyone probably thinks I’m dead.”

You looked down and sighed, picking up your ice skates.

“Can we… Can we talk about this when we get home?” You gave him a weak smile, “Let’s enjoy the rest of your birthday.”

Robert nodded and followed you until you reached the large expanse of ice and snow. A thin layer of it had formed over the thick ice, and you sat down on a rock putting on your skates. Robert dropped his skates and kneeling in front of you. He began to put on your skates for you, looking down with an apologetic face.

“I’m sorry, I yelled at you.” He whispered.

“It’s okay…” You replied in a soft voice.

After he was done he easily put on his skates and you took his hand, holding him as you shakily landed on the ice, making sure that it could hold both of your weight. You weren’t worried about falling, the Quarry was surprisingly low in some areas, it was near the cliff that you had to worry about. You didn’t want to fall in and end up with a cold. Robert looked unsure, eyeing the ice carefully. You easily skated onto the ice and rose a hand out to him.

“C’mon!” You smiled.

“How do I do this, again?” He asked.

Your jaw dropped and your hand fell.

“Oh my God,” You laughed, “You have ice skates in your house, but you don’t know how to skate?”

He shook his hand and you helped him slide onto the ice effortlessly.

“The trick is to balance yourself.” You looked up and down at him, “It may be a bit hard for you, y’know, with your height.”

“I got it.” He huffed out proudly, putting his hands to his waist.

You slung your hand through the space between his arm and held it there, slowly skating along the ice. Robert looked like he was struggling for the first five minutes but had gotten the hang of the hang of it. After a while you let go of his arm and made little circles in the ice.

“You’re doing really well, Rob!” You smiled, stopping.

He returned your smile and nodded, skating over to you. You gently took his hand and looked at his watch. 3:46 p.m. You looked up at the sky, and helped him back to the side.

“Was that fun?” You asked.

“It was… Okay.” He shrugged, “Everything feels nice when you’re here.”

You blushed and brushed some snow off of a rock, sitting down on it. Robert scooted next to you and began to help you get your skates off. You sat there for a while, enjoying the silence. At some point you leaned against Robert’s arm and looked to the sky, humming in delight when he wrapped his arm around you.

“Are you still worried?” You pressed your cheek against his chest, “If it makes you happy, we’ll be able to see each other more with that schedule you put in place.”

“Are you worried?” He parroted, “Your parents would be mad.”

“I’m not sure about that…” You looked off to the side.

“They seem to like you a lot.” You continued, “Everyone in Derry loves you.”

“And you think that works as an alibi?” He asked.

You nodded and took his hand, the one with your ring on it, and held it close to your chest.

“Please, please promise me.” Robert whispered.

“Promise me that you won’t get into any more trouble.”

You tilted your head and smiled.

“I don’t need to worry about that anymore.”

He stared at you, confused.

“I have you to protect me.” You raised his hand so that it was next to your cheek, grinning at the warmth.

Robert breathed deeply through his nose and nodded.

He held you closer and the two of you watched the clouds roll by.

“Then promise me that you’ll call for me if anything happens.”

 

“I promise, Robert.”

 



ii.

 

A day after ice skating you prepared yourself for your return. You pretend to stagger into the police office as Robert holds you by the arms, guiding you into the room. With his help, you put on make-up to give yourself a flushed, sick, and cold appearance. You’re dressed in the clothes Robert “found” you in, with his overcoat over your shoulders. Your hair looks slightly matted and tousled but you try to make yourself look as distraught and scared as you can be. Unsure of what to say, you decided for Robert to do the talking.

“So, Carl did ya’ hea—Shee-it!” An officer exclaims upon seeing the two of you enter the station. Another officer beside him looks surprised and shocked. To believe what he was seeing the officer looks at the missing persons board, seeing your face amongst the other posts, and then back to you with a dropped jaw.

“How the hell did you find this kid?” Says one of the officers, moving closer to help sit you down.

“I found them while I was driving to my home.” Robert says in a hurried tone.

For some reason, he seems much calmer than expected in your perspective. You’d think that he would be nervous in front of so many officers, but you notice that he holds himself as if he’s got everyone under his thumb. Like he knows exactly what they’re going to say, how they’re going to react. How strange. You keep your head down and pretend to act nervous, rubbing your hands together and shaking.

One of the officers kneels in front of you.

“Do you know your name?” He asks, holding the poster behind his back.

“[Y/N] King.” You croak out, trying to remember how you sounded when your neck was messed up.

“Well, I’ll be damned.” The officer says, craning his neck to the side, “Jones! Go phone the kid’s parents!”

“On it.” The other officer rushes over to the side of the room, grabbing a phone by the coiled wire.

“How did you even survive out there kid?” He asked, grabbing a chair.

“Found an old house.” You said quietly,  “It was abandoned. Had a lot of food and blankets.”

“Christ.” The officer rubs a hand over his face, “I think you’re the first kid that we actually found.”

A pit forms in your stomach, knowing exactly said kids were.

You bite down on your tongue and look at Robert with false thankful eyes.

“He helped me.” You give a weak smile to the officer.

The officer nods and rises, giving his hand out to Robert in a handshake.

“You’re a good man, sir.” The officer says, “How can we repay you?”

“I don’t need payment.” Robert says holding his hand up, “Just doing what’s right.”

Thirty minutes later your parents burst through the doors. Your mother smothers you in a hug, letting out quiet sobs, dark circles under her eyes. Your father is in an equal state, with dirtied clothes and wild hair, his eyes are puffy and red; something you’ve only seen a handful of times. You don’t notice it until the wetness drips down your cheeks, but you’re crying. Reality sinks in as you take one last look at your parents’ distraught faces and you sob endlessly into their arms.

Why were you so sad now?

You didn’t need to worry about them.

But you should’ve worried about them the entire time you were at Robert’s. Your parents look as if they were going to break at any news of anything bad related to you, they look like they’ve lost a child. Guilt seeps hard into your bones and you hold them so close to you that something within you fills with a strange feeling.

“Oh, sweetie.” Your mother sobs, “W-We… W—W-We…”

“It’s okay, mommy.” You hold her tightly, “I’m here.”

God, you could only imagine how your friends were feeling.

You discretely back away from your parents to glimpse at Robert. You were about to give him a look that would urge him to tell the police about the clown, but stop at seeing his face. He’s scowling, though you’re not sure if its one of anger or of sadness. As you and your parents leave, you hand him his coat back, fingers brushing against his in a reassuring manner. You give him a soft smile and hope that he feels better by it.

Robert reflects your smile with his own, though you can see that it’s pained.

 

Like a child who lost their toy.

Chapter Text

Everyone’s watching you as if you’re a dead man walking, though there was some truth to that. You had been missing for a month and a half, and you returned alive and well. Eyes glance at you, practically seething with questions.

“How’d you survive?”

“Did you get kidnapped?”

“What happened between you and Henry Bowers?”

You would give them a harsh glare whenever they uttered the last question. It still seems that the students were always seeking the latest scoop. You simply ignored them all and went about the day. However, things were extremely tense between you and Henry Bowers. Neither of you spoke to each other, never looked at each other. He looked pissed and scared by you at the same time; not a good combination at all. Things were a little easier when Bowers decided to sit somewhere else, not wanting to interact with you.

You had also noticed that Victor and Belch were no longer hanging out with Bowers. You approached them during lunch, food in hand, sitting down in front of them. They looked at you like you were a ghost ready to haunt them.

“So…” You started awkwardly.

“Not with Bowers anymore?” You asked, tilting your head.

Belch looked nervous at the mention of his former friend’s name, but nodded.

“Happened a few weeks ago.” He said, motioning to Victor, “Got real pissed at us for getting the police.”

“Wait—You went to the police?” You asked, eyes wide.

Maybe there was some hope for them after-all.

“We did.” Victor huffs out, turning away from you, “We all thought Bowers skinned you alive or something.”

“No…” You shake your head, “I got away.”

Thankfully, they didn’t pry too much on the other details.

“Well, we’re glad that you’re alive.” Victor nodded in agreement with Belch.

“So, what do you guys do now?” You take a bite into the food—lunch still hadn’t changed and was shit as always.

“Same ol’.” Victor shrugs, “We don’t bother kids as much, just the usual smoking and driving.”

“Got bored of bullying?” You rose a brow.

Victor huffed and crossed his arms, leaning into his seat.

“Hey, we… We changed.” He defended himself, eyes downcast, “Doesn’t seem appealing, not after what happened.”

“Well I, for one, am glad that we left.” Belch shook his head, “Henry’s an absolute lunatic now.”

“He is?” You asked, “He seemed pretty… Mellow.”

“Oh, he’s beyond saving.” Belch threw an apple into the garbage bin, he missed.

“Let’s stop talking about Henry.” Victor got up from his seat, leaving with Belch. You nodded and said your goodbyes, before he left Victor placed a hand on your shoulder. He nodded and his eyes glanced at your wrist, almost sad when he saw that you weren’t wearing the bracelet.

“Y’know… I’m sorry.” He apologized, “About… Telling.”

Your jaw clenched.

“It’s okay.” You said quietly, “It’s hard to keep anything from Henry Bowers if we’re being honest.”

He gave you a soft pat on the back.

“Take care, [Y/N].”

 

 

ii.

 

Robert picks you up from school in his beautiful car. You hold hands with him as he drives down the road, looking at the snow-covered road. March was fast approaching and the snow was starting to die down. You turn on the radio and listen to rock music that quietly plays through the speakers. You turn to him with a smile on your face.

“Can you drive me to Beverly’s place?” You ask.

He gives you a sullen expression, disappointed that you’d rather spend time with your friends; but he pushes it back with a weak smile. The reality of you returning to your friends and family settles in within him now. You can tell that he’s taking this change hard. You hold his hand up and place a kiss on the backside, it grabs his attention.

“I know you’re not happy with this, Rob.” You say quietly, “But it had to happen at some point.”

He’s quiet, holding the steering wheel tightly; his knuckles are white. His eyes blank and almost judgmental. His grip on your hand tightens. You turn your head away to watch the road, crossing the bridge. Your smile widens a little, watching as Beverly’s apartment comes into view. Robert stops the car but you don’t leave immediately. You want him to feel better.

“Look…” You sighed, “Robert.”

You struggled to find words.

“I’ll be 18 in 2 years.” You continued, “Then I’ll be on my own, and if you’re… If you’re still interested, we can still be together. It’s just two years, you can wait for that, right? Right?”

“What if I can’t?” He asks in a quiet tone, “I don’t have all the time in the world.”

You stared at him, confused, tilting your head.

“What do you mean, Robert?” You let out a nervous chuckle.

“I can’t…” Robert shakes his head, “I can’t tell you why but…”

“But…?” You repeat.

“I won’t always be here.” He says quietly.

“What—Are… A-Are you sick or something?” You asked, looking at him worried.

“Or something.” He replied.

Needing fresh air you left the car without another word, approaching Beverly’s home. You turn your head to look at Robert’s car and then shake your head. You didn’t need to think about your conversation with him. With a shaky hand you knock on the door. Just seeing her hair makes you emotional. Beverly opens the door, looking down and then upon seeing your shoes she quickly looks up and covers her mouth with her hand. You give her a reassuring smile and find yourself engulfed in the tightest hug you’ve ever felt.

“Oh my God.” She says in your neck, “I thought you were dead.”

“Everyone did.” You replied solemnly, “B-But... I’m here now.”

“I was gonna look for you, y’know.” She chuckled, wiping tears from her eyes.

You gave her a stern look.

“That would’ve gotten you killed, or hurt.” You hold onto her shoulders, staring into her green eyes.

“Well, no one else was gonna do it.” She looked to the side, “Well, Bill Denbrough was…”

“Yeah, I’m gonna talk to him after this.” You sat down on the staircase.

“Who brought you here?” She looked over your shoulder, eyeing Robert’s car.

“He did.” You nodded your head to the vehicle, “Robert Gray.”

“Him?” Beverly narrowed her eyes.

She looked like she was trying to hold a question back.

The look on your face makes her give into it.

“How close are you with him?” She says in a quiet voice, “I mean…”

“Beverly.” You stop her. “Don’t.”

She apologized, looking down at her feet. You breathe heavily through your nose, heart racing. Even though you trusted her with all your heart, you just couldn’t risk it. Just even saying his name made your heart race for all the wrong reasons; you felt like walking on egg-shells whenever someone asked about him and you. So you decided to keep everything a secret from now on. You didn’t need a repeat of those events ever again.

You gave her another hug before making your way down the stairs. Entering the car, you let out a huff.

“To Bill’s house now.” You say quietly.

“Are we going to do this with all your friends?” He sighed.

“No.” You shake your head, frowning. “You don’t have to be so jealous.”

“I’m not jealous.” He replies a little too quickly.

“Then you don’t have to be so possessive, either.”

He shrinks back at your words, his plump lips drawn back in a thin line.

“Sorry.” He says.

“You’re fine. Just…” You look out the window, “Things will be different now.”

You interrupt him before he could retort.

“I know you don’t like it when things are different but please work with me.”

“I’ll try.” He stammers out.

You smile, holding his hand again.

“Thank you, Robert.”

-

You lied.

Bill’s hug was probably the tightest hug you’ve received in the last 48 hours.

Bill, Big Bill to his friends, is holding onto you like you were the last thing standing in the universe. Tears soak your shirt, sniffles are heard, you feel even worse than before. You hug him back, staying like that for a good ten minutes while you comfort him. True to how you expected him to react, he doesn’t let go of you, burying his tear-stained face into your chest.

“It’s alright, Bill.” You rub circles into his back.

“Y-You we—w-w-were…” He couldn’t even speak at this point.

God, you felt like scum. But at the same time, you didn’t regret staying at Robert’s.

“I have to go now.” You whispered quietly.

He tensed and held you tighter, not wanting to let you go. You gave him a few more minutes to recover. Poor kid; lost his brother and he thought he lost you. You’d definitely stop by his house more after this. You gently pressed your lips against his hair in a pseudo-kiss and he calmed down, letting you go—embarrassed that you had to see him in such a weak state.

“Hey, it’s okay Bill.” You repeated, “Say, how about we go to the movies sometime next week, hm? Does that sound nice?”

He nodded and smiled, though it was a bit crooked from his frowning.

“Good, good..” You gave him another hug.

“I’ll see you later, Bill.”

“B-Bye…”

He watched you as you left, afraid that you were going to disappear again if he took his eyes off of you. Before you entered Robert’s car you turned around and waved to Bill again. You rubbed your hands together and looked out the window, watching as Bill’s face disappeared into the blinds of his home.

“Did you want to do anything today?” Robert asked.

“Not really.” You shake your head, “I just need to get a ton of homework done.”

He looked at you with a blank face and then laughed, braking at the light to belt out his rich laughter. Your cheeks turn red and you scowl, crossing your arms.

“What’s so funny?” You asked, sinking into your seat.

“Stuck at my place and the first thing you worry about when you leave is homework.”

“Well, yeah.” You hid your red cheeks with your hair, “I mean… I don’t like leaving things unfinished.”

“Alright, alright.” He gave in, “I can help you with it if you want.”

“Really?” You asked, eyes wide. “Can you...?”

“I can,” He turned to grin at you, “I do have several doctorates.”

“Several? But you’re like…” You motioned to his body, “Super young.”

“I’m 28,” Robert laughed, “I learned fast, got my education fast.”

“Or is that the money talking?” You rose a brow.

Robert mock-gasped, eyes on the road as he placed a hand over his chest. He pouted for good measure, eyebrows drawn back in a puppy-dog look. The expression had practically warmed your heart.

“You wound me [Y/N].” He said.

“I’m just saying!” You rose your hands in defense, “You’re like… The whole package.”

“And I’m yours.” Robert added on with a sly smile.

You exhaled sharply and turned your head away from him, your cheeks practically burning now.

“You might as well homeschool me if you’re that smart.” You said jokingly.

Robert became silent at this. You turned to him and he looked at you as if you had said the best thing ever.

Shoot, I just gave him an idea. You giggle and jokingly punch at his arm.

“It was a joke, dummy.” You smile.

“I mean… It’s possible.” He grins, fingers thrum on the steering wheel to the beat of the song playing.

You passed by a light pole plastered with missing posters. Your mind thinks back to the clown. As if Robert read your thoughts, he turned to you and took your hand in his, a solemn look on his face.

“You’re thinking about It again.” He murmured.

“Yes.” You breathed out, “I… We gotta tell somebody.”

“Tell them about what?” He asked.

His eyes looked so pretty when he said that. Like a beautiful shade of yellow that burned his brown irises.

You were about to reply when a sharp pain hit your skull and you removed your hand from his, groaning at the feeling. It was as if something was burning away in your head. It makes you feel woozy, dizzy; the conversation you had slowly starts to fade into murkiness.

Robert stops the car, pulling over as he leans over to you, concerned.

“Are you okay?” He brushed some of your hair out of your face.

The throbbing didn’t stop, but you were left a bit dazed.

“Y-Yeah… Yeah, I’m okay.” You smiled.

“Now, as you were saying?” Robert looked at you expectantly.

“Saying what?” You asked.

What were you guys talking about again?

You voiced your thoughts, eyes drawn close in focus.

“About the clown.” Robert repeated himself.

 

What clown?

 

Is there something I’m missing?

 

Did we go to a party?

 

“Huh?” You tilted your head, “What do you mean?”

He shook his head and returned to driving.

“It’s nothing.”

That’s weird. You think to yourself,

I swore we were just talking about something really important…

You didn’t notice the smile on Robert’s face as you tried to remember.

 

Remember what exactly?

 

Letting out a frustrated huff, your mood lightened up when your home came into view. Grabbing your backpack you opened the door gently and locked it once Robert was inside. You trudged up the stairs, the feeling almost foreign and strange. It felt really weird to be back home for some reason. Throwing your backpack underneath your desk, feeding Holland (whom your parents swore went missing) a quick meal before starting on your work. Robert sat next to you, playing with your hair as you struggled on your work.

“Help?” You turned to him, lifting up the packets of work.

Your teachers were unforgiving of your situation, as always.

That didn’t surprise you much, the adults of Derry had never cared.

“Alright.” He took the piece of paper, analyzing it.

The two of you had spent your time finishing all of your work, though Robert had spent most of his time distracting you instead of helping you. It was nearly 8 o’clock and your parents would probably be home soon. Your mom was a restaurant owner, while your dad had worked at a good-paying healthcare company in Derry (which was surprising considering how small this place was). You packed up your school work and fell flat on the bed. Robert followed, turning to you with one arm propping his head up.

“You should go now, Robert.” You mimicked his pose.

“What if I don’t want to go?” He pouted.

“Then you’re gonna get a mouthful from my parents.” You laughed.

“How long until they get home?” Robert fiddled with the pillows.

“Mom gets home at 9, my dad comes an hour later.”

“Did you want to do something before they get home?”

“Like what?” You rose a brow.

He reached out a hand, placing it on the space between your neck and shoulder. His expression was that of mirth and mischief, rubbing that spot over and over until he played with your hair.

“I can think of one thing.” His eyes flickered to your lips.

Your blushed and let out a shocked cough, removing his hand from your hair.

You sat upright and motioned to your door.

“A-A—Another time.” You stammer out, missing the feeling of his fingers in your hair.

He was about to oppose but slunk away nonetheless, leaving you alone. You quickly changed into your pajamas and let out a happy sigh, turning off the light and snuggling into the sheets. Just like you said your parents came home an hour (and a half for your dad), and entered your room to kiss you on the forehead. They left the room and closed the door, bathing the room in darkness. The only thing that was illuminated was the opened closet door.

A pair of yellow eyes watched you sleep.

 

Chapter Text

You wake up early in the morning, letting out a loud yawn. Even though you were well-rested, homework still drained everything out of you. You felt mild disgust when you wiped something wet off of your face, looking at your hand in confusion. Why was there drool on your cheek? You, for sure, weren’t a drooler in sleep; so why was your whole right cheek covered in it? You hurriedly rushed out of your blankets and left your room to go to the bathroom, washing your face until you couldn’t feel the drool on your cheek.

“That was weird…” You muttered to yourself and get dressed for school.

“Leaving for school, honey?” You heard your mom call from downstairs.

You grabbed your backpack and rushed down the stairs, slathering honey on one of the biscuits that she made. You took a napkin and bit out of it, enjoying the sweet taste of honey mixed with the dough. You gave your mom a quick hug.

“Yup!” You say, mouth full of bread, “Love you mommy!”

“Love you too, baby!” She smiled, relieved at seeing your face, “Remember, stay out of trouble!”

“I will!” You called and left the house without another word.

You shivered when your face hit the cold, wishing that Robert could’ve taken you to school in his car. Though, just for safety measures you two had only arranged that he would pick you up. So, you trudged down the sidewalk, food in hand through the light snow. With it almost being March and the weather dying down a little, the amount of snow in Derry was starting to decrease. Such a shame, the snow really did look beautiful when there wasn’t a blizzard; there was just a beautiful overwhelming feeling to it all.

You hum a quiet tune, bouncing on your feet a little as you continued to walk. Your house being on Neibolt Street and near the trainyards, dump, and literally the back end of Derry made it somewhat difficult to go to and leave school. It was cold and snowy and you hated the smell of popcorn—Wait, what?

Popcorn?

You stop in your tracks, nose hungrily searching for the smell. To be honest, you weren’t as much of a dessert person as you thought you were, but you couldn’t lie how good they smelled nonetheless (even if they were too sweet for you). You swallowed back the saliva that pooled under your tongue, distracting yourself with the remains of the biscuit. You shoved the napkin in your backpack’s pocket and looked around. There was no one else there. You shake your head and continue walking.

You were currently on Kansas Street, not too far away from the Standpipe. Your nose kept scrunching at the sickeningly sweet smell and you stopped walking, looking around you again. When you turned back around you jumped in shock, yelping as you fell on your butt when you came to face with a balloon.

“Oh my, my, my! Did my balloon give you a scare?”

You open your eyes and come face to face with strange shoes with red pom poms at the tips. Quickly, you crane your head up; your eyes were met with silver-grey clothing and ruffles, followed by red. A bit shocked and frightened, you froze in your spot. You kept looking upwards and met with calming blue eyes and a buck-toothed smile. The white face made it impossible for you to not recognize that this was a clown. It’s head was fucking massive, and sprouted ginger hair that was finely coiffed in three tufts. In It’s—his?—right hand was a single red balloon.

“I-I…” You choke out, stunned and afraid.

The clown pouted, it’s lower lip jutting outwards. Drool spilled forth, reminding you of the events of this morning.

“What’s wrong?” The clown giggled, “Clown got yer tongue?”

He spoke in a strange voice, the syllables matching a specific tone that almost made it seem like his voice was cracking. Your hands clenched out of anxiety, almost shaking as this stranger continued to speak to you.

“Why the looooong face?” He bent down to your level, still holding the balloon.

“I—I… You’re…” You were about to say scary but you were afraid of how he would react, so you settled for a different word.

“Cool.” You finished.

The clown giggled at your response and let go of the balloon, to your surprise it didn’t float away or anything; it just stayed in the same position. It didn’t even sway in the wind or drop down. You wondered if it was just a paper cut-out of a balloon, with how still it was. The clown reached out and you backed away in response, but found large gloved hands reaching under your armpits and effortlessly picking you up. After he helped you rise to your feet, dusting off imaginary dust in your shoulders.

You shrunk back, not liking the contact.

“Oh you don’t have to be shy!” He giggled again, “I’m just concerned for my friend!”

“Friend?” You question, eyes flickering to the balloon.

It still hadn’t moved.

“Yes! Yes, yes, yes!” The clown babbled excitedly, “We’re friends! You and I!”

“We are?” You asked, dumbstruck.

Everything about this seemed so… Wrong. Still, at least it smelled like popcorn; though the taste was wearing off and became a little irritating to your nose. Noticing your discomfort the clown backed away, giving a bow as it spoke. For some reason, a feeling of trust washed over you. Maybe it was the eyes that did it.

“Of course!” He said in a high voice, “Don’t you remember ol’ Pennywise?”

The name seemed so familiar, but you couldn’t pin-point where you heard it from. You narrow your eyes and take a discrete step back. Your movements didn’t go unnoticed by the clown. You looked around, wondering why everything had gone so quiet all of a sudden. No cars, no kids, no birds; nothing. Just you.

You and the clown.

“Pennywise?” You test the name.

He seemed too delighted upon hearing to say his name. He shivered and did a little jingle, bells resonating in your ears as he did this. His ruffles shook, and he dramatically pointed to himself.

“Yessss sirrreee!” He dragged out, pointing to you now. “And yooouuu—You’re [Y/N]!”

“How do you know my name?” You asked.

“Forgetful little thing, aren’tcha?” Pennywise quipped, bending down to pat you on the head.

He mentioned earlier that you two knew each other, but you’ve never seen this man—clown—in your life. You shrink back again, eyes looking up at him with confusion.

“I’ve never met you before.” You whisper.

“But we have!” He interjects. “Don’t you remember your imaginary friend?”

Strange, you remembered your imaginary friends being furrier (or full of feathers) and less… Creepy.

You remember your imaginary friends being strange people with animals for heads, always drawing you pictures of a strange red eye with jagged swirls around them. You remember them having the names of popular people, and they would often complain about things you didn’t understand. Not… Not an outdated Victorian clown with a strange drooling habit. Then again, it’s been a good 11 years since you’ve even had imaginary friends. Still, a large part of you convinced yourself that this was just some weird man in a costume.

“Oh-ho-ho! SSSsssilly child, I’m no regular man! And this is no costume!” He wiggled his finger in front of you, “This… This is me!”

You stepped away again, afraid. How the fuck did it know exactly what you were thinking?

“Language.” Pennywise giggled, “I’m your imaginary friend! I can read aaaaallllll your thoughts, silly!”

“I’m going crazy.” You blurt out, almost laughing. “Th-This. This isn’t real.”

Something changed in Pennywise when you said this. His cheerful demeanor dropped within a second and was soon replaced with a dark, glowering look. His smile disappeared into a thin red line, his shoulders tensed. His strange buck teeth seemed sharper at that moment. His blue eyes almost seemed yellow. You held your breath, fearing what would happen. And then, all too soon, his happy expression returned.

“Just because I’m imaginary doesn’t mean that IIIII can’t be real.” Pennywise scolded you, “I’m real in your mind. Isn’t that enough? Isn’t it?”

Shocked, you were still skeptical and wondering if there was anything in your mom’s biscuits that caused you to see this strange sight. Pennywise pouted again, drool spilling forth again and splattering against the cold concrete.

“Allow me to show you how real I can be!” He clapped his hands together and then quickly grabbed you by the arms. You yelped and clenched your eyes in response, feeling a strange feeling that made your stomach lurch. His hands left your arms and you found yourself falling forward on… Snow?

You opened your eyes and dropped the cold fist-fulls of snow, looking at the dirt underneath. You looked back up and noticed that you were in front of the school. You got up on your feet, looking around and around, looking for the clown. He wasn’t there. You looked at the clock plastered at the front of the school, you were still thirty minutes early. Shaking your head and shrugging off the events as just you dozing off while walking, you walked towards the school.

Something smooth bumped against your hair and you crane your neck back.

What the fuck?

Tied to one of your backpack’s zippers was the red balloon, now swaying in the breeze. You removed your backpack, and touched the thin white string connecting the balloon to your backpack. Unsure of what to you, you hastily grabbed scissors from your backpack and cut the string, watching as the balloon finally floated away.

Nervously, you spend the rest of your day thinking about the clown.

He was nice but there was just something strange and familiar about him.

Maybe he really was your imaginary friend.

 

 

 

ii.

 

“You okay, darling? You look pretty shaken up.”

You give Robert a gentle smile, swallowing back a thick knot in your throat.

“Yeah…” You say quietly, “Just saw something weird.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” He asked.

One of his hands on the back of your neck, comfortingly rubbing at your tense skin. The two of you were parked somewhere near the City Center, not too far away from the Dance Hall. The large Paul Bunyan statue stares out happily, covered in snow. You watch as people go about their days in Center Street. You lean back into Robert’s touch, head tilting up a little.

“No.” You close your eyes, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Okay…” He trailed off, “I’m always here to listen to you.”

“Thanks.” You smile.

You hum when you feel his hand gently massage one of your shoulders, underneath your jacket and shirt. His other hand was casually resting against the steering wheel, while he watched your relaxed reactions with a smile on his face. You could practically spend all day doing this, but you couldn’t. There were more important things on your mind.

“Oh, Robert.” You opened your eyes, “I need to tell you something.”

“What is it?” He questioned.

“I’m going to go to the movies this week.” Your face grew anxious, “With… With Bill Denbrough.”

The hand on your neck tensed. He looked at you with a muted expression, and you wondered if he was going to do anything bad to you. You were still terrified of that part of him, yes, but it’s been a while since his outburst; surely he would be fine with you going to the movies with a friend? He had already allowed you to come back home and gave you space when he felt like it.

“Will that be all?” He silently grits out.

“Y-Yes.” You stutter, “We won’t do anything there! Promise!”

Hoping that it would calm him down a little, you unbuckle your seatbelt and leaned over to give him a quick kiss. His grip on your neck loosened and it trailed to your hair, tangling it within his fingers. You pulled away shyly, wondering if anyone was watching. Thankfully, no one was. You smiled against his lips, looking into his eyes. He had calmed down, though still looked hesitant.

“One time.” Robert says against your lips, “Just once.”

“Yes.” You reply, cheeks turning red at the closeness, “Just one movie, Rob.”

He released your hair and you slowly sat down, folding your hands in your lap. He began to drive back to your house, and you would soon come to realize that this was turning into a regular routine. Closing the door, you waved him goodbye.

“I’ll see you tomorrow!” You beam at him, “Bye!”

He gave you a smile and a silent wave and drove down the street. Watching with happy eyes you entered the house and tossed your backpack onto one of the couches, trudging up the stairs. Entering the room, you were about to happily greet Holland when you see it. With a half-cut string, a red balloon floats just above your bed. Beneath it is a single beige card.

“Jesus Christ!” You swear, frozen mid-step.

You approach the balloon, afraid that something was going to happen. When nothing occurred, you reach for the card and turn it over, reading the words (if you could even consider them words, the handwriting was worse than chicken scratch). You squint your eyes and move the balloon so that it's next to the window.

The card read:

 

You lost your balloon so I got it for you!

And thank you for keeping my house nice and tidy!

- From your friend, Pennywise :)

 

Chapter Text

Durham, New Hampshire
September 5th, 1978

You sat on a rusted bench, swinging your legs back and forth, humming a small tune you heard the other kids singing. You were waiting for your mom to pick you up from school. Your hair was braided back into a fine braid, which you had removed sometime during the day. Wearing a thick jacket, you watched boxy cars pass by with a smile on your face. You continue your humming, swaying left and right when you hear it. A low hum, like the way a bird would when sleeping. You open your eyes and look left and right, up and down, trying to find the source of the noise.

A pair of dapper shoes come into view and you look up curiously, and almost let out a shriek of shock. Standing before you was a strange thing, and immediately you recognized it as one of your imaginary friends. It was wearing a fancy black suit, like the one your dad wore at parties. Its hands were strange bird hands, talons(?), that were abnormally large for its arms. You couldn’t help but stare at its head. It had the head of a pigeon and was looking at you with blaring red-orange eyes. It cooed and tilted its head.

“Are you [Y/N] King?” It asked when its beak opened.

An oddly human voice came from it.

You weren’t sure what it was, but it had a deep voice so you settled with ‘he’. You nodded shyly, unsure of how you should’ve reacted around this strange thing. It reminded you of your other friends, you wondered where they went. Your closest friend, Durham Monroe, was a dog-looking person who stopped visiting you after telling you that he was going to take you to his home.

“Are you like Durham?” You tilted your head.

Surely he was like him, right? They both had animal heads. He made a weird angry-mad face (or at least that’s what you thought, since his head couldn’t show any emotions) when you mentioned Durham, did he not like him? His feathers bristled too and his shoulders tensed, but soon composed himself.

“I am.” The bird-thing replied, “I am a Taheen.”

You didn’t understand what a Taheen was but nodded anyway.

“Why are you a bird?”

“I am because I was born like this.”

“Oh.”

You awkwardly shifted in your seat, noticing that the cars continued to pass by; did no one else see this thing? It made sense, he was, after-all just another imaginary friend. You watched as his purple feathers turned green whenever he moved. It was pretty.

“Your feathers are pretty.” You said, ogling them.

“Thank you.” He said quietly.

“Why are you here?” You tilted your head again.

“I am Durham’s replacement.” The pigeonhead cooed, “You may call me Conway J. F. Kennedy.”

His name was funny and weird, but Durham’s name was equally weird. Your mind really was creative like your dad said, you’d never dream of making names like these. And ‘Conway’ said that he was Durham’s replacement. Wait—Replacement?

“What happened to Durham?” You pouted, “Is he sick?”

You were genuinely concerned for your imaginary friend. No matter how hard you thought, he would never appear. Was he like your parents and took vacations around the world? He was gone for a year, which was like, a really really long time.

“Durham is being punished for his crimes against the Crimson King.” Conway said, “You won’t be seeing him anymore.”

You really didn’t understand what he was saying but let out a quiet ‘oh’. You weren’t sure who the Crimson King was, but he seemed pretty important. The name sounded really familiar, like you’ve heard of it before. You frowned when Conway said that Durham wasn’t going to be here.

“Did he do something bad?” Your child-like curiosity peaked, “I miss him a lot.”

“Do you always ask this many questions?” His feathers bristled again, practically squawking. His talons dug into the bench, leaving scratches in the silver-brown bench. You shrunk back with a regretful face, nervously looking around.

“Sorry.” You lowered your head.

“It’s okay.” Conway shrugged, “You’re only human I suppose. And now that I’m going to be replacing Durham, I might as well get used to it.”

You furrowed your brows at his words.

He doesn’t seem like a happy person.

“When can I see Durham again?” You crossed your arms, “And what will we do?”

“You won’t see him ever again,” He repeated, “What did you and Durham do?”

Excitement fills you as you finally get to talk about something that made you happy.

“Draw.” You smile, swinging your legs again, “Play…. Um… H-He reads stories to me. He played piano for me.”

“Oh, well, at least he had some taste.” Conway fixed his suit, “We’ll be seeing each other quite often now.”

“Really?” You beam, “Even when I leave?”

“Leave?” He tilts his head, beak opening slightly.

“Mommy and daddy say that we’re moving.” You fiddle with the fur on your jacket, “We won’t live here anymore.”

“Oh really? Where exactly?”

“We’re moving to Maine!” You smile, putting a small finger to your chin, “It’s like, um, really really far!”

“When will you be moving?”

“Um… December?”

“Do you know where in Maine?” Conway pried.

You shake your head and was about to ramble on when the sound of an engine neared. You beamed when you saw it was your mother’s car, but frowned when you saw that Conway was getting up to leave. You tried to reach for his sleeve but he pulled away quickly, almost disgusted by your action.

“Where are you going?” You asked.

“Remember?” Conway, gave you a wave, “I’m imaginary. Your parents must not see me.”

“Oh.” You said dejectedly, pouting.

“Well, I’ll see you tomorrow, Conway!” You regained your happiness and returned his wave.

By the time he was gone your mother had approached you, looking at you with a confused look on your face. She gently took your hand and helped you in the car, taking your backpack.

“What’s got you so happy, sweetie?” She asked, looking to the back seat.

“I met a new friend!” You giggled, “He had a pigeon head and his name is Conway!”

She had a concerned look within her eyes but didn’t pry.

Instead, she focused her attention elsewhere.

“How was school?” She looked back at the road, “Did the other kids give you any trouble?”

“Nope!” You shake your head.

Being born late was a slight downfall on your behalf, but your parents had somehow managed to get you into first grade at five years old; since you were turning six this December. You wondered what your birthday would be like in Maine. Did it snow up there like here? Would the kids be mean to you? Would your imaginary friends follow you?

“Good, good.” Your mother broke your train of thought, “Would you like to help me bake cookies when we get home?”

Your smile became wider when she mentioned that and you bounced in your seat. “Yes, please!”

Later that night, while you were supposed to be sleeping, you drew strange red swirly eyes with Conway. But you couldn’t help but think back to your missing friend. What did Durham do?

And when it came time to finally move out of New Hampshire, you said your goodbyes to Conway; who seemed afraid to follow you to Derry, Maine. He seemed fine with going with you until you mentioned that you were heading to Derry. It was as if a switch had been pulled on him, and he denied the request of following you—even though he said it was his ‘duty’ to watch over the Breaker of Beams—whatever that meant. You didn’t understand what he was saying, everything that came out of his mind was rushed and sounded like the stories Durham had told you of.

The last thing you remembered about Conway was seeing how he squawked and quivered in fear.

You remember him urging you to not go to Derry.

 

What was he so afraid of?

 

Chapter Text

You took your bike around school and town today, seeing that the snow had officially stopped falling for the time being (though you heard from the news that the weather was going to bring heavy snowfall on the first two weeks of March). After school ended you had pedaled straight to Derry Elementary School (which had also functioned as a middle school, providing schooling up to 8th grade). You were dressed in a white, blue polka dot dress that dropped to your calves. A white belt was fastened around your waist that matched the white leggings underneath, with cobalt flats that finished the look.

Since you were just going to the movies with Bill, you didn’t really style anything else about yourself and let your hair fall freely (though you had it curled the night prior since your hair was long). You wait at the front entrance, one foot on the semi-wet concrete, and the other on the pedal of your bike. Fifteen minutes pass by and the bell rings, sending kids out to their parents who are also waiting. Kids and young teenagers pass by and then you see four familiar heads of hair walking out of the school together.

Bill catches your gaze and he stops, taking in your appearance with red cheeks. You simply send him a wave in his direction and he’s instinctively walking over to you.

“You look beautiful, [Y/N].” He gives you a boyish smile.

“Thanks.” You return it.

“Oh ho-boy lads! Looks like Billy boy here’s got a live one!” Riche calls out from behind.

Bill’s eyes go wide and he and turns his head quickly, muttering ‘Beep Beep’ with seething teeth. The trashmouth only laughs in response, playfully quipping at Bill’s flustered form.

“Ah, young love. Truly a sight to behold, right Eds?” Richie slings an arm around Eddie’s shoulders, who huffs and removes his arm with red ears.

“At least wash your hands before touching me, dickhead.” Eddie crosses his arms. Your eyes light up when you see that he’s wearing the watch you bought for him.

“Hey, you’re wearing it!” You beam.

“O-O—Oh, this?” Eddie raises his arm, shrugging, “Yeah, it’s actually really useful in helping me keep track of when I need to take my meds. Thanks for that, by the way.”

“No problem, Eddie.” You brush some hair out of your face.

“How are you feeling?” Stan chimes in, “We heard that they found you in a really bad state.”

The others go silent at this, equally curious about your experience.

You let out a sigh and think of a lie to spin.

“I’m… Fine.” You continue, “I’m just really hungry, y’know? The only thing I had to eat was canned beef and had to keep warm with blankets.”

Eddie gagged, “Oh God, did you check the expiration date on them? Or-Or did—d-did you even check to make sure the blankets were clean? Like I know desperate times call for desperate measures but—”

“What little Eddie Spaghetti is saying,” Richie calmed his friend down, “Is how the hell you survived that fucking mess?”

“Yeah, it had snowed really hard these past couple of weeks.” Stan nods.

You feel a lump in your throat.

Shit, you didn’t know how to reply to that.

Bill notices your discomfort and walks over to place a reassuring hand on your shoulder. It shakes, almost delicate and barely holding your shoulder. It seemed that he had been pretty hesitant to touch you ever since…

Ever since the kiss.

“[Y/N] doesn’t want to talk about i-it.” He defended you, “W-W—We were just about to leave, right?”

Your eyes gleam in response and you nod, a smile returning on your features.

“Yeah, we’ll see you guys when we’re done!” You wave them goodbye and pedal beside Bill as he walked towards the bike racks.

“So, what movie did you want to watch?” You tilt your head.

“They’re s-still showing All Dogs Go to He-Heaven.” Bill replies as he unchains Silver.

“Not up for any scary movies?” You teased, reaching in your backpack—which was in the basket of your bike.

“No, they’re all boring.” Bill hopped on his bike and you followed by his side, looking down at him.

“And after the movies, did you want to go grab something to eat?” You smiled.

His cheeks turned a bit redder and you felt sympathetic that you couldn’t return his feelings.

“Y-Yeah,” Bill nodded, “I’d like that.”

-

The Aladdin Theater was surprisingly not that busy today, with it being Friday. Though, school had just ended for the day and you’d expect for it to be packed by now. You and Bill chained your bikes outside, grabbing your backpacks inside with you. After buying the tickets and snacks the two of you quietly slunk into the theater. You plopped down near the middle of the seats. You gave Bill a wide smile which he returned with a soft one.

The previews were starting, leaving you and your friend to quietly talk.

“So, how was your Valentine’s Day?”

He looked at your question, a bit shocked. He turned away with a nervous look.

“It was fine.” He muttered, “I… I didn’t do anything.”

“Didn’t have a Valentine?” You tilted your head sympathetically.

He didn’t say anything after that, causing you to bite the inside of your cheek. To relieve him of his distress you wrapped an arm over his shoulder, holding him close to you with a smile.

“Well, for what it’s worth, let’s consider this my Valentine’s Day gift to you.” You smile, “From one friend to another.”

He gave you a pained smile but thanked you nonetheless. After ten minutes had passed the lights had dimmed down and you watched the movie in silence (though, there were some rowdy kids as always who wouldn’t shut up). You relaxed in the seats, Bill looking over at you every once in a while. You held his hand comfortingly, squeezing it with a small smile. You had held his hand until you felt a hand on your thigh. Shocked you silently turned your head, wondering who was touching your leg.

 

Robert fucking Gray.

 

You give him a silent glare and mouth “what the fuck are you doing” to him, eyebrows drawn together in a scowl. He pouted, hand still your leg, giving it a firm squeeze. Christ, when would you get a break from this man? You let out an angry huff and turned to Bill, hoping that he didn’t notice what was going on. You squeeze his hand, making him turn to you. Luckily, you were in his face so he didn’t bother looking behind you.

“Hey.” You whispered with a smile.

“Did you want to get out of here?” You continued.

Bill hesitantly nodded, which then turned into a forgiving smile.

“Yeah.” He didn’t seem to be that interested in the animated film either.

The two of you quietly grabbed your backpacks and you gave Robert one last angry look before you and Bill left the theater. You let out a sigh of relief, Bill turned to you with a confused face.

“It was getting kinda stuffy in there.” You giggle.

“Did you s-still want to go grab f-f—food?” Bill looked down at your hands. You were still holding his.

You nodded and tugged him along, telling him that you could get your bikes after. You just didn’t want to see Robert at the moment. The nerve of him! You felt a bit disappointed that he didn’t trust you enough to be on your own, either that or his behavior was starting to get really out of hand. Though, you had a feeling he just didn’t like Bill at all.

“Follow me.” You nodded.

You took him to the diner where you usually ate at, feeling deja vu remembering what happened the last time you were here. You sit on the bar stool, with Bill following suite. Joseph, whom you hadn’t seen in months, approaches you with a sullen mood but it brightens upon seeing your face. He turns to Bill with a raised eyebrow and you have a feeling he thinks that Bill’s your boyfriend.

“[Y/N]!” Joseph greets, “How have you been doing?”

“Good.” You shrug.

“I saw you fall hard back in December,” He looked at you with worried eyes, “Did that man cause you any trouble?”

You shake your head in a silent no. Bill’s curiosity is revived at this information.

“You’ve brought a friend with you today!” He laughs, handing Bill a menu.

“Just friends.” You said with seriousness. Joseph had nodded understandingly.

“I’m Joseph Ellon,” He greeted, holding his hand out.

Bill choked out his name nervously, returning the handshake calmly.

“Are you still with Sharon?” You tilted your head, skimming the menu even though you knew what you wanted.

Joseph shook his head with a sullen face.

“No.” He sighed, “But I’m free at last! She was a real bitch.”

Bill awkwardly blushed at the man’s statement, not used to the profanity coming from him. You’d be too, if you were being honest with yourself.

Joseph really didn’t look like the type to act like that; he was like Stan in a way.

“Oh, you don’t miss her?”

“Nah.” Joseph shook his head, “Word of advice, if anyone treats you wrong, you leave them. It’s okay to forgive and forget sometimes, people make mistakes, but once they cross that unspoken line; don’t look back.”

You swallowed a thick lump in your throat at the information, and hand him the menu.

“I’ll have my usual.” You smile.

“And for Bill, here?” He turned to your friend.

“U-Uh, I’ll have the same thing.”

“Alright, alright. Did you want the peppermint milkshake too or a different flavor?”

“Strawberry.”

“Excellent, I’ll get started on your food!” Joseph disappeared into the kitchen, leaving you with Bill.

“H-He said you fell?” His eyes went wide.

“Yeah.” You let out a quiet laugh, “I passed out.”

“Was it anything bad?”

“Nah.” You shake your head, “Just period stuff. Y’know, when I bleed?”

His cheeks turned redder and he turned away. When your food came you and Bill enjoyed the light conversations going on between other people in the diner. It was honestly really nice to take a break from everything else. It had been a while since you and Bill had properly hung out somewhere outside of your home, school, or public events. It was really nice to just talk to yourselves alone.

“I didn’t know y-you liked peppermint.” Bill said, eyeing your milkshake.

“I know, I’m a bit crazy for liking something that would remind others of toothpaste.” You smile as you take a sip out of the drink.

“Are you going home after this?”

You shoved a fry in your mouth, shrugging.

“Maybe, why?”

“I w-was wondering if you were going to Richie’s party next week?”

You looked at him with serious eyes.

“Of course.” You nodded, taking his hand in yours again, “All of you are my friends, why wouldn’t I go?”

That reminds you, you needed to get Beverly her birthday gift since it was on the 13th of February. You were so busy these past few days that you didn’t have time to prepare for anything. Alongside that, you weren’t able to attend Bill’s party a month ago. It made you feel bad that you had been missing out on all of these things, but you were here to make it up. Like for Stan, he was turning 13 this year; meaning that his Bar Mitzvah was coming soon. You probably couldn’t attend it because of your parents but you’d still be there for him after.

“If you’re wondering, I still have my birthday gift I was going to get you.” You hold his hand tighter.

For some reason, something told you to turn around when you grabbed Bill’s hand. You turn your head discreetly and feel annoyance when you see Robert sitting outside, watching the two of you intently. Oh boy, he was definitely jealous. He really had nothing to worry about, though, you had already established to him that you saw Bill as a friend—and you and Robert had already… Established your relationship with one another. Your lips pull back in the thin line as you give Robert a look of desperation.

I’m gonna have to talk to him after this, you think to yourself.

Slowly, you remove your hand from Bill’s and Robert leans back a little, fingers tapping against the table in a fast rhythm. If you were outside with him, you could imagine him breathing hard and telling you to stay away from Bill. You roll your eyes and turn back to your friend, finishing the rest of your food.

Getting up, Bill follows your movements.

“D-Did you want me to b—bike home with you?” He asks, hopeful.

You briefly glance to Robert, who’s watching you. You swallow hard and shake your head, engulfing Bill in an innocent hug—for sure, he’ll rip on you for doing that. Bill holds you tightly and lets go, and you watch as he returns to the theater to get his bike. You smile softly only to turn around with a sour look on your face, stomping over to Robert (who’s as cool and calm as ever), taking a seat in front of him.

 

“What the hell are you doing here?!”

 

Chapter Text

“I was waiting for you to be done.”

His voice is calm and collected, but his tapping doesn’t cease and his stare is blank. His glower at you with such intensity that you have to look away, overwhelmed by his staring. You cross your arms and place them on the table, leaning forward with a still-angry face. Thoughts swirl in your head, words touch the back of your tongue, you’re dying to tell him to back off. You let out a deep sigh through your nose and reach one hand out to run it through your hair.

“You didn’t have to follow us, though.” You frowned, hand tightening in your locks. “You could’ve waited at my place.”

“You two were holding hands.” Robert said, avoiding the subject.

You grit with your teeth baring slightly in frustration. Your fist shakes pathetically against the cold table, and you try to reason that it’s due to the snow outside. Robert being himself, as always, watches with calculated amusement and anger.

“I hold hands with my parents.” You frown, “Are you gonna get mad that I kiss them too?”

“That’s different.” He replies.

Your hand quivers, hesitant and losing its heat. Anger suits you, but it only clashes with your other feelings; melting together until you can’t tell if what you’re feeling is true or an amalgam of emotions.

“Everything’s different with you, Robert.” You breathe out in a hurried tone, “Can’t I hang out with a friend without you breathing down my neck every five minutes?”

“You could. You can.” He said in a low tone, “But is it wrong for me to be concerned for you?”

“Checking on someone is very different than stalking.” You unfurl your hand.

Robert glowers again, and you let out a huff out air, hiding half of your face with your hand. He was absolutely distracting today, as if he was trying to get your attention the entire time (which he most certainly was)—and it worked. Robert gave you a once-over, fingers losing their rhythm as they stop tapping on the white, round table. You almost feel like the weight of the Earth is on your shoulders at that moment, his gaze forever judgmental and muted.

“You prettied yourself up for him.” He said quietly.

You deadpanned, “I dress like this everyday Robert. And most of the time, I do it for you.”

A smile graces his perfect features when he listens to you speak, and you almost have the urge to forgive him. Almost. He just had that way with you, and you weren’t going to lie: Robert Gray was gorgeous. Still, that didn’t excuse his actions nor his behavior. You weren’t in his house anymore, and you didn’t have to follow his rules; but the faint memories of rebellion leave you hesitant and afraid.

“Are you mad at me?” Robert tilts his head.

You belt out a laugh that slowly falls into quiet giggles, narrowing your eyes with a smile on your face.

“Of course I’m mad,” You glower with faux amusement, “It’s not my fault you have jealousy issues.”

“I wasn’t jealous.” He denies.

You give him a blank stare, and that’s all it takes for him to break his gaze from you. You let out a noise of affirmation and uncross your arms, a smirk on your face. Robert lets out a sigh of defeat, admitting his true feelings at the moment, rubbing a hand across his neck.

He turns to you with apologetic eyes, “Okay, a little.”

“A little?” You raise an eyebrow, “Well, it’s a start I guess…”

Robert gets up from his seat and slowly approaches you, placing a hesitant hand on your shoulder, beckoning you to follow him. You were still irritated with him, but you weren’t going to stay mad at him forever. At least nothing bad happened, and you were thankful that Robert didn’t make any drastic moves to make himself known to Bill. His hand lowers from your shoulder down to your hand, and he hesitantly takes it; you accept the gesture and lock your fingers with his.

“No hard feelings…?” He asks, hopeful.

You grunt, “Just… Please, don’t do that again.”

“I won’t.” He says.

He walks you down the street and you timidly shrink back a little, still incredibly shy at the gesture of him holding your hand in public. You had barely reached up to his shoulders at 5'6″, and his constant need to dress in dark made you stick out like a sore thumb. It shouldn’t have mattered though, since many people that passed by didn’t pay any mind to the two of you. However, you did notice that this rule applied to the adults; the children had stared at first, but found themselves intimidated and in a daze whenever Robert would glare at them.

You unchain your bike and get on it, he stares at you.

“Did you want to ride in my car?” He rose a brow, crossing his arms.

“I don’t have anywhere to put my bike,” You frown, “No offense, but I don’t see any bike racks on your car.”

He pouted again but gave in, “Fair enough. I’ll see you at your place.”

-

By the time you got home it was almost 5 p.m. Robert was already waiting there, leaning against the gate with hands shoved in his overcoat, a thin dark brown scarf wrapped around his neck. You wondered where his car was, it was usually parked somewhere near the front, but today it wasn’t there. You hugged your sides, shivering in the cold as you sought warmth from your backpack. Robert took in your appearance with an amused smile but it was wiped away when you scowled at him.

“Looks like you missed dress weather.” He quipped playfully. Your frown turned into a small smile.

You dropped your bike underneath the porch and quickly unlocked the door.

“C’mon, Rob.” You motioned your hand towards him, “It’s fucking freezing and I’m dying.”

“Ooh, language.” He scolded with a sly smile, removing his coat.

“Yeah, yeah.” You roll your eyes.

You quickly went to the bathroom to change into more comfortable attire, plopping down on your bed with an “oof” and immediately roll in the blankets. He lays down next to you, flat on his back, while you were on your front. Happiness swirls in you when you see your ring glimmering on his finger. 

“So, how’s Gray?” You asked, rolling a bit closer to him.

“She’s well.” Robert nodded.

A grin tugs at your lips, “Did she allow you to handle her yet?”

He looks at you with a genuinely disappointed face, shaking his head as he reaches over to play with your hair. His hands were surprisingly warm compared to what they initially were like back in October. His cheeks also seemed a bit more hollow, making him look a bit hungry or starved. He mutters something along the lines of “she doesn’t like me” or something else.

“Well, we could always get you a dog,” You giggle, “If you don’t want her, that is.”

“No, no.” He shook his head, “She’s your gift to me. I want to take care of her for you.”

Your smile grows wider and you lean closer to place your head on his arm, chin slightly digging into his bicep. You tucked one of your hands under his back, liking how warm it was. You looked over him and felt another fit of giggles befall you.

“What’s so funny, darling?” He brings his other hand from underneath to grip at your hip.

“You’re like… A giant.” You stifled your laughter, “You can barely fit in my bed.”

He sat upright a little, noticing how his knees dangled.

Robert rose an eyebrow, “Is that a bad thing?”

“Nah.” You tilted your head against his, “Kinda makes me miss the beds at your place.”

“Did you want to stay there for the weekend?”

“...Maybe.” You gave him a sheepish smile.

His eyes gleamed at your response, but you hesitated.

You trailed off sadly, “I don’t know…”

“What?”

“My parents, ever since I went missing,” You bit the inside of your cheek, “They’re having a hard time letting me out.”

“They trust me.” He says with assurance, holding you close, “They would understand.”

“Uh—heh, I don’t think they’ll like their kid staying over at an adults place.” You pouted, “Unless you talked to them already.”

“I did.” Robert gave you a curt nod, “They’re fine with it, with me.”

“Wait—W-Wait, did you tell them about…?” Your eyes flickered from left to right.

“No! No…” He whispered, “I’m listed as your guardian, [Y/N]. That doesn’t just include medical stuff but everything.”

“Oh, really?” Genuine curiosity filled your eyes, “When did… When did you and my parents establish this?”

Funny, you don’t remember ever talking about this with your parents. You remembered the doctor mentioning Robert being a guardian over you, but you can’t recall a date or place where you had settled this. Still, you believed Robert—and so did your parents—but were they really fine with their child living at another’s place. Unless…

You interrupted him, “Wait—Did you bribe them or something?”

He was silent at this, making you laugh against his neck. You weren’t surprised but you weren’t mad either; just glad that you knew the answers. You sat up a little, removing your hand from his back and ran it through his hair.

“So, how often can I come over?”

He laughed, “As many times as you want, darling. Though, I’m hoping for every day.”

You blushed and buried your face in his neck, holding him closer. The hand on your hip raised a little, moving until his hand was cupping the underside of your arm. You let out a happy sigh, staring in his eyes as you touched nose-to-nose.

“You’re something else, Robert Gray.” You say.

“And is that a good thing or a bad thing?”

“Good.” You pressed your forehead against his, “So, so good.”

He stared at you for a few seconds until he pulled you in for a kiss, the hand that was in your hair moving so that his thumb was cupping your cheek—and his other fingers lightly pressed into the hollow of your cheek. You laid back a little when he sat up, deepening the kiss. You let out a shaky groan, hands awkwardly gripping onto his shirt. He rolled over so that he was straddling you, resting his elbows on either side of your head. Breathing hard he pressed closer took your bottom lip between his teeth and bit down.

You gasped at the pain, which began to throb and pulse, and soon enough you began to taste something metallic on the tip of your tongue. This seemed to egg him on further and he let out his own share of groans, desperately sucking your bleeding lip—as if he was trying to drink every last drop of blood. Your hands tightened, twisting his shirt in his hands, and he broke away; letting out shaky breaths. His hand reached down under your shirt, resting it against the bare skin of your hip; the feeling sent shivers all around your body.

The nerves in your bottom lip were on fire, still throbbing as you pulled him into your neck; listening to him take deep breaths. Wet lips trailed along your neck before he took a bit of your skin between his teeth: pulling and lifting your shirt higher—

The thrum of an engine and the sound of a horn blaring made you swear.

Robert let go of you, head turning to the window with the deepest scowl on his face. You hastily wiggled out from beneath him and stumbled to look who was outside. You turned to Robert with a pale face.

It’s only 5:30...

“It’s my parents.” You breathed out.

“I figured.” He groaned in disappointment, “Hey—where are you going?”

“To the bathroom,” You opened the door, “Go downstairs and tell them that you’re helping me with my homework or something.”

“What are you going to be doing?” He followed you out of the room.

You pointed to your flushed face, “I need to fix this.”

“Alright.” He nodded, “I’ll see you downstairs.”

You shut the bathroom door and washed your face, cheeks reddening when you noticed the pseudo-hickey at the junction of your neck. You pulled the collar of your shirt higher so that it wasn’t noticeable. The thin walls of the house allowed you to listen to the muffled voices downstairs. After a few minutes had passed and the voices died down, you finished brushing your hair and traversed down the stairs. Finding them in the kitchen-dining room, you watched as the three adults happily chatting with one another.

Robert broke his gaze from your parents, smiling and giving you a wave. He was more composed than you, but his grin was practically shit-eating and almost made you blush.

“There they are!” He called.

Your father turned to you with a smile on his face, “[Y/N]! How was school?”

“Good, daddy.” You smiled, standing behind your mom.

You gave her a hug from behind, “You guys are home early.”

“I know this is a surprise, sweetie but we wanted to spend some time with you.”

“We’re going to the Jade of the Orient.” Your father nodded, “Are you fine with eating out today?”

“Yeah!” You said, delighted. With their long work hours it was really hard for you three to spend quality time together. And ever since you broke away from them to live with Robert, you almost felt severed from them. You weren’t going to pass up this opportunity.

Your father turned to Robert again.

“Mr. Gray, would you like to join us?” He continued, “You have done so much for my family and child.”

“Oh no, I shouldn’t oppose,” Robert raised a hand up—you knew he was just faking for the show, “I don’t want to intrude on your family time.”

“I insist!” Your father gruffly interrupts.

Your mother nods in agreement, “Please. It’s the least we can do.”

“Hah, oh, Oh—Well, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt for just one night.” Robert smiles. His eyes flicker to you for a moment.

“We’ll meet you there in an hour.” Your father stands up, guiding Robert to the door, “Again, thank you for bringing our child back to us, Mr. Gray.”

“The pleasure is all mine.” Robert waves, pausing for a moment, “And please, call me Robert.”

Smooth motherfucker…

Once the door is closed your parents usher you to get ready, and they head to their own room to dress. It was pretty cold tonight, but you wanted to dress nice; so you settled with a long pink skirt and a shoulderless flare top. You grabbed one of the faux coats that you snatched from Robert’s house, slipping it on. Your parents were a bit of oldies so they settled with fashion from a decade prior. The car ride was almost pleasant with the falling snow, and you were almost asleep when your mother began to talk to you.

“Your father and I were talking with Robert.”

You hummed, “And?”

“And—We’re worried for you.” She turned her head to look at you, “We’ve heard from him and others that Henry Bowers had been on your tail ever since you came back.”

You lazily opened your eyes, listening with interest.

“For now,” Your father continued, “We think it’s best for you to stay somewhere else until we get things settled with that boy. It’s not safe here, especially since he knows where you live.”

“Really?” You folded your hands in your lap, “What were you guys suggesting?”

“Well Robert’s got a place in Derry,” Your mother continued, “And it’s real quiet, real safe there. We figured that you could stay there for the weekdays, and stay home at the weekends.”

You hum in agreement, not telling them that you’ve already been to Robert’s place already and that you and him have already talked about this. You smile and watch as the vehicle gets closer and closer to the restaurant. You can already see Robert’s form waiting patiently outside, and he’s dressed nice as well. He opens the door for you and you hide your red cheeks.

“Shall we?” Robert asks to your parents, and the four of you enter.

Chapter Text

Robert had seemed extremely distracted the entire evening upon seeing you, in a new change of clothes, and was especially all-too-delighted to help you remove your coat. You and him are sitting side by side, while your parents are across from you. Luckily, there was nothing “off” about your appearance: save for your bottom lip that seemed fuller than usual, and the junction of your neck and shoulder—where a barely visible mark had formed.

A variety of food is placed on the table, and each of you grab a plate. While you’re eating, you notice that Robert has food on his plate but whenever he takes a bite his face scrunches up in brief disgust—before it’s replaced with a blank expression. Strange enough, even though he looks starved (that much was evident from his hollow cheek and growling stomach) he doesn’t have the urge to scarf down the food. He really was a picky eater, but you couldn’t be one to judge: you had a lot on your plate but barely touched it after swallowing too much soda.

“So, Robert,” Your father says with a semi-full mouth, “Where did you go to school?”

Said man pauses in his ‘eating’ and leans back in his chair. He seems to be thinking hard before a clear answer comes to mind.

“Well, shortly after I left Derry in my youth I was enrolled at Harvard University at 14—”

“FOURTEEN—!” Your father chokes on his water, with your mother equally surprised.

You too, are surprised, and turn to him with wide and curious eyes. From your peripheral vision you could see a smirk tugging at his lips at your parents’ shock. Letting out a quiet cough Robert continues to speak in a calm tone, as if everything he was saying was nothing. He temporarily stops to fix any invisible creases within his suit and folds his hands together on top of the table, thumbs fiddling with each other.

“As I was saying, there I obtained my BS at 21; and then continued my studies until I obtained a PhD in my main field of study at 26. In the duration of my education I had also received a BS in my secondary field of study.”

Jesus Christ. This man was a fucking genius. You’re as amazed and shocked as your parents, completely forgetting about eating and focusing more to what Robert has to say. His smile is practically blooming with mirth at the amount of concentration you all have on him. His eyes turn to you for a brief moment, and the look he gives you tells you that he’s absolutely thrilled to see you so amazed. He nonchalantly reaches for his glass of whatever kind of alcohol he ordered and takes a smooth sip: you notice how he still grimaces at the action.

“What did you study?” Your mother pries, “Was it difficult?”

Your father nods in agreement, “I remember my days in college. That’s probably nothing compared to what a Harvard kid had to go through.”

Again, Robert thinks to himself as if trying to say the right words. In your investment, you hold your chin in your hands, tilting your head to look over at him with semi-dreamy, semi-interested eyes.

“Anthropology was my major.” His smile never falters, “I was interested in Archaeology to be specific. My secondary point of interest was MBB, also known as Mind, Brain, and Behavior.”

He lets out a shy laugh, “Studying day after day, night after night, was surely a struggle but I pulled through.”

“So you just graduated.” Your father hums, “What got you to moving from Derry, to Castle Rock, to Cambridge, back to Castle Rock, and then back to Derry?”

Robert pauses, hands stopping in their fidgeting; it’s almost as if the question confused him, like he hadn’t anticipated it. You narrow your eyes in curiosity, watching as he fumbled with his thoughts. You bring down your hands to pretend that you’re fixing your skirt, but you’re actually reaching a hand to lay a comforting hand against his leg. You give him a look that tells him to focus, he was probably just caught up in the moment and forgot what to say.

He discreetly turns his head to you with a thankful smile, eyes glimmering in delight. He regains his composure and returns to his talking.

“Well…” Robert huffs, bringing down his own hands, “I was a pretty smart kid to begin with, and I did some extraordinary things here as a child: helping others, starting my own campaigns to better the lives of people. Eventually, my parents moved to Castle Rock and someone there reported my deeds to some administrators. Soon enough, I was sent off to Harvard and after graduating with my desired education I decided to go back to Castle Rock.”

“What drew you back to that strange old town?” Your father resumes his eating.

“Just some old friends.” Robert shrugged, “My parents moved back here a while ago, but both had passed.”

Your father says, “I’m sorry for your loss.”

Robert shook his head in response, eerily calm for someone who was talking about his late parents. Then again, your parents didn’t know that Robert didn’t have a crystal perfect childhood. His story makes so much more sense from your side, knowing what only he had shared with you. You look down with a creeping smile as he locks your fingers with his own.

“It’s been a long time since that happened,” He fakes loss and hurt, “Since I am the sole beneficiary on their will, I returned back to Derry to reclaim my late parents’ assets.”

“And what got you into dancing?” Your mother takes a sip of her drink, “You are a ballet instructor after all.”

“A simple hobby of mine.” Robert nods, “And I have plenty of those.”

“You are truly a wonder, Robert Gray!” Your father laughs, wiping his mouth with a napkin.

“Oh, and speaking of wonders.” Your mother turns to you, “How has our little [Y/N] been doing? I know you spend an awful lot of watching over them, and we’re forever grateful that you’re willing to support us—and them.”

“They’re not too much trouble.” He hums while squeezing your hand tighter. Thank God that my parents couldn’t see that. Robert tilts his head, staring into your eyes for a moment before returning his attention to your parents. 

“I’m just glad that you have given me the opportunity to watch over them,” He continued softly, “Your child is truly gifted, and I hope to achieve something great in my life by bettering their life.”

You reach out another hand to hide your smile and blush, turning your head away to watch the fish tank nearby.

“Speaking of that.” Your father sits straighter, “We have already talked to them about their new living arrangements, and we hope that you’re still fine with it.”

“Oh, sure!” Robert waves a hand, “[Y/N] isn’t doing any harm by staying at my place. In fact, I’d rather it be there than over here, where things are getting worse here in Derry. Truly despicable, that so many children are going missing.”

There’s a strange shift in his tone when he says that, almost taunting. You have a feeling that it’s related to you going missing, but the way he utters the last sentence makes you think that he’s talking about something else. You run your thumb over the back of his hand, you were feeling a bit tired—even if you drank a lot of carbonated soda. Buffet food had always made you sleepy no matter what.

Robert turns to you with amused eyes, letting go of your hand.

“It truly is horrific.” Your mother shakes her head, “Mr. Gray, how would you feel about tutoring our child?”

Huh, it seems that they were thinking about it too.

You turn back to them with curious eyes.

“Honey,” Your father turns to her, “We don’t have the money for that—”

“But it’s dangerous out there.” She says your father’s name with a soft voice, “We can’t risk losing our baby ever again.”

Your cheeks turn red at her words, mainly because you felt shy being called such things in front of Robert. You turn to Robert with a sheepish smile, who looks at you in mischief. Oh, the son of a bitch would surely tease you for that. However, you honestly felt really bad that your parents were so shaken up by your disappearance that they’d be willing to hide you away. You look at Robert again, but he seems more invested in trying to get you closer to him than ever before, and redirects his attention to your parents.

“As one of their guardians, I am able to provide all of the above.” He says.

“How can we ever repay you?” Your father asks, almost emotional at the news.

Robert shakes his head, “No need. Just as long as your child takes what I teach them to give them a successful life.”

The rest of the dinner is spent eating and talking about boring “adult stuff” that you don’t bother listening to. You lean your chin into the palm of your hand, barely noticing how your parents were silently bickering over how they’d start your education. It was almost uncanny to see them so trusting of Robert within the span of him “finding” you. Robert’s knee nudges yours and you tiredly turn to him, humming quietly.

“You look tired, darling.” He muttered the last part so quietly that you can’t even hear it; but reading his lips makes it easier for you to interpret his words. You give him a sleepy smile, nodding a little and wish that you could lean against him. The music playing in the restaurant was oddly soothing, calming your exhausted nerves.

“I am.” You reply with a tired giggle and fight back a yawn.

“Ready to head home?” He asks mirroring your smile.  

Your eyes shift from him to your parents and you yawn, nodding. Robert takes this as his cue, standing up and fixing his suit with a sweet smile on his face as he pats your shoulder in a nonchalant manner.

“Well, it seems that [Y/N] is ready to go.” He turns to your parents, “We’ll be on our way now. Would you prefer if I dropped them off at your home, or would you be fine with them staying the night at my place?”

It almost seems as if your father was going to say your home, but his face twists up in minor confusion and brief thinking: and then he shakes his head. Did he have another headache? He’s been getting those recently and you’re starting to grow worried for him, as well as your mother. You father breaks into an uncharacteristic smile, shaking Robert’s hand.

“It would be preferable if they stayed at your place,” Your father nods, “My wife and I will take care of the rest.”

Graciously, Robert leaves a large tip at the table before taking your hand and helping you up. You grab your fur coat and follow him outside, putting it on once the cold chill of winter burst into your face. The music fades and the two of you are left walking to the parking lot, hand in hand. Your breaths come out in short puffs that are visible in the cold night.

“That went along rather nicely.” You said with a smile.

“What, the talking?” Robert rose a brow as you reached his car.

“Yeah…” You shrugged, “Didn’t know you were a Harvard student.”

“There’s a lot of things you don’t know about me.” He muses.

“That’s why I want to get to know you more,” You pout, “It’s not fair Robert. You know more about me than I do with you.”

He helps you get in the car and before long, he’s driving down the long road. For someone who drank a lot at dinner, Robert seems pretty calm and collected; maybe he just had a high tolerance for alcohol. It wasn’t hard to believe, though, he did mention that he did a lot of bad things in his past, which was surprising. You’d never expect or imagine a Harvard man to be the type to drink or take drugs, or get his money in a strange and ambiguous way. There was a certain uncertainty to it, but you trusted him; and had no reason to drastically question him.

“So, if you were to go to any country: where would you go?”

Robert turns to you, “What do you mean?”

“I mean—” You sleepily look out the window, “You’ve taken anthropology, so you know a lot about the world. There must be a favorite place that you’ve always wanted to visit one day.”

“Anywhere you’d want to go is a favorite in my book.” He vaguely answers.

You let out a quiet giggle and hug your sides.

“You don’t seem to want to leave Derry all that much.” You continued, “From my knowledge, you’ve only been to Massachusetts and Maine?”

“...Correct.”

“Hm, we should travel together someday.” You closed your eyes.

“You seem very set on wanting to leave,” He sighs quietly, “Is the world truly that interesting to you?”

You laugh, “Says the one with a PhD in Anthropology.”

“Touché.” You open your eyes a little and turn towards Robert, with a small smile on your face. He briefly turns to you and lowers one of his hands off of the steering wheel, resting on your shoulder and back. You’d never imagine yourself in this situation, living and breathing with the man who you had crushed on since October. Sure things were absolutely horrible in the beginning, but Robert had been doing really well in his promise for trying to change—it made you happy. He made you happy. You hoped this never changed between you two.

“You need rest.” He says quietly, “Sleep.”

“Love you.” You whispered.

A smile tugged at his lips, before he uttered the same thing back to you.

 

Chapter Text

You find yourself dreaming in deep space, and for some reason the thought of you doing this before lingers across your mind; but you’ve never been here before, you’ve never dreamt of this before. A color fills your eyes but shifts and changes; a deep crimson color that sears your eyes but turns into the loveliest tones of white you could imagine. It’s so pure, so clean that you’ve never seen a light so bright. But the sight is temporary and you have to adjust as the light fades into the most passionate shades of crimson and blood red. It’s almost dizzying but you get used to it after a few minutes have passed. Red. White. Red. White. Red. White. Red. White.

 

“You’re back.”

 

A voice stuns you, reverberating as the low baritones throttle your mind and ears; it’s so deep that you thought that the sound was coming in your head. But it’s not. You look around, or try to in the vast darkness, and then you see it: a turtle. A sense of familiarity and warmth passes through you, soothes you, as you stare at it; or try to. The creature is massive enough and you can feel the weight of your soul fall under pressure when its eyes lazily trail over to you. You’re mesmerized by its cosmic colors that shift and gleam, visible even in the vast darkness of wherever you were.

 

“You don’t remember me?”

 

The turtle speaks again, but this time its voice sounds disappointed and you try your best to think back to where you’ve seen this turtle. It sways and “swims” across the vastness of space; its gaze solely locked on you. You’ve never felt so small and so important at the same time.

 

“Who are you?”

 

Your voice shakes, unsure as you stare at the powerful creature. It looks back at you with amused eyes, and you notice that it doesn’t open its mouth, nor does it make any indication that its speaking. It feels like this turtle is speaking to you through your mind.

 

“I am Maturin.”

 

The name sounds oh-so familiar, but you can’t remember to save your life. The colors in your vision, in you, linger from crimson to white whenever this creature speaks. It’s almost as if his words wipe away all of the dark in your eyes, bathing you in nothing but kindness and love and all things good. You test the name in your mind and voice.

 

“Why am I here?”

 

You don’t know why you asked this question even if it was so obvious. You were dreaming, of course; but the way this turtle stares at you, talks to you, feels as if this is no dream. There’s an odd feeling to this strange place, as if you were home and not home at the same time. The turtle shifts closer to you, and the more you look into his eyes, the more you see the stars, galaxies, and worlds that thrive from within.

 

“That is something you must answer yourself.” Maturin replies softly.

 

You furrow your brows and imagine yourself crossing your arms.

 

“Are you real?” The question sounded better in your mind, but ends up sounding silly and childish.

 

Maturin hums and turns his head.

 

“I am as real as the love IT has for you.”

 

A peculiar tone fills his voice when he says that, and you’re not sure what he means. IT? What was IT? Who was IT? Your vision clouds with crimson at your thoughts, a brief sensation of violence and hate coursing through your veins. It’s almost as if thinking about this “IT” stirred something awful and terrifying within you. Maturin notices your distress and begins to speak again.

 

“You musn’t linger too long with IT, even if it desires to bring you such happiness.”

 

Maturin continues speaking before you could question him.

 

“Every fleeting moment you spend in ITs presence stirs your lights.”

 

He stares through you, searching for something within your crimson and white energy. His gaze turns solemn after a timeless minute of searching, and you feel like he’s looked at you like this before. 

 

“You must gather your ka-tet. Time is of the essence and it won’t be long until you remember.”

 

Your voice suddenly finds itself and you utter out, “What ka-tet? And… Remember what?”

 

He ignores your question and only provides you with another one.

 

“There are two left that you must befriend. Hurry.”

 

You suddenly find your awake in your bed next to Robert, gasping for air. He stirs in temporary sleep before looking at you with a worried expression. A sense of deja vu fills your head when you remember waking up like this after having a nightmare you can’t recall the events of.

 

“Nightmare again?” His voice is like a soft mantra that soothes you, and you reach out for him in a hug.

 

“No.” You shake your head, “It was just surprising.”

 

“What did you dream about?”

 

“A turtle.”

 

Robert freezes and you can feel him lose the breath in his lungs. He pulls away from with you with a truly shocked expression.

 

“What?”

 

Chapter Text

It almost feels as if you’ve stepped on a live wire, anxiously glancing at Robert who looks back at—or rather, through—you with one of the blankest expressions he has ever given you in the duration of being with you. His dark eyes stare at you under his heavy brows, the hollow of his cheeks poking from underneath, making his face almost menacing in the room. Half of his face is shrouded in darkness, with the other half barely illuminated by broken beams of blue moonlight. He almost looks like a devil in the night than a man at that moment. Your breath catches in your throat, feeling his hands hold onto you slightly tighter, putting pressure within the slates of your ribs; your shirt twisting and wrinkling under the pressure.

“Robert.” You warn shakily, “Let go of me.”

It’s not until he hears your voice that his eyes finally focus on you. His eyes flicker to his hands and then back at your shaking, frightened form and he takes the hint. Fingers drift away from your sides and you let out a breath that you had been holding within you. You can feel yourself shift nervously to the edge of the bed a little, hands quickly gripping at the switch that turns on a lamp; finally bathing the room in yellow light. Robert’s face looks so much more normal now, human, as his gaze no longer looks menacing but concerned. Neither of you say a word, lost in each others’ thoughts.

Finally, Robert speaks again after an agonizing two or three minutes have passed.

“I’m sorry.”

You turn away from him, “Why did you do that?”

“Your dream…” He whispers, falling back against the bed, “...What happened in it?”

You follow his movements, resting against the pillows as you stare out the window behind him. His tone hasn’t changed and it sends you in a frenzy of panic, and you realize that you’re afraid that he might do something to you. Gently, he lifts a hand to your cheek, thumb brushing against the bone underneath, his gaze soft but evidently perplexed. He’s trying to look for something within you, eyes deep-set as he struggles to find whatever he’s searching for. You don’t know what’s gotten him so frightened, or angry, but you’re not liking it.

“Like I said, I met a turtle.” You shrug, “He said his name is Maturin.”

The hand on your cheek suddenly feels ice cold despite being under the blankets, and it tenses, slowly gripping the side of your face. If he was shocked at first, then his face is downright horrified. He’s breathing heavily, muttering something under his breath quickly, and it’s not until he becomes louder when you realize he’s saying—

“No, no, no, no nonononono—”

You sit upright again, afraid as he begins to shake his head with denial. Denial of what? You’re only telling him about your dream. He gets off of the bed and begins pacing back and forth around the room, grabbing fistfulls of his hair and pulling. He keeps muttering the same thing over and over and it begins to scare you. You’re frozen on the spot, watching as he begins to freak out over no reason.

“Robert, it’s just a—”

You let out a squeal when he paces towards you, taking his hands in your arms and lightly shakes you. His hands are so large that his fingertips meet around your limb and then more, he’s got in you in a vice grip.

“What did he say?” He practically barks out, making you tear up in fear.

“He,” You choke up, “W-W-Why do you need to k-know?”

“TELL ME!”

“He said I need to stay away from IT!” You scream back, clenching your eyes. His grip loosens as he takes in your words, his hair falling in front of his face. You open one eye to see him looking at you with a blank gaze, still breathing heavily; lips parted in confusion before they curl up in an angry sneer.

“No, no, no.” He repeats, not even looking at you, “Y-You can’t. You won’t.”

You don’t understand why he’s so frantic, but you can feel your nerves freeze up in anticipation—fearing if he would do something to you. Something is crawling at the bottom of your spine, a feeling so foreign but familiar at the same time. The feeling is telling you to run: run and hide. But you can’t, you’re frozen in fear and shock, trying to understand why he’s acting so peculiar.

“What?” You whisper out, your frame shaking.

“What else did he say!?” Robert’s face is close to yours and your shoulders ache when he begins to shake you.

Panic grips at your heart like a vice, and the pain stirs that same feeling within you.

For some reason, it feels as if something is emerging again; a strength you have forgotten to embrace

 

Embrace us. Love us. Free us.

He will hurt you again!

Let us out and we will protect you!

 

Your thoughts—are these even your thoughts in the first place?—clash with Robert’s words as he continues to speak at you in the angriest and fearful tones you have ever heard. It makes your ears hurt at his tone, and your chest begins to shake in sobs when he doesn’t stop. He’s blinded with anger, letting you go with a frustrated huff when he takes in your appearance. Your hand shakes, but it’s neither you nor your mind that’s willing it to do it. Something else, something raw, is forcing your body to act: to flee. You don’t notice that you’ve left the bed until your feet make contact with the hardwood floor, the chill of the boards running up your legs.

Robert turns around and pauses, seeing you standing upright; taking in your shaking, frightened appearance. His eyes flicker to your own and he sees something in them that makes him freeze up and choke on his words. You want him to stop, so you continue to talk even if your voice is barely hearable, trembling with every word as you feel fresh tears clog and slather your lips.

“H—H-He… He said that staying with IT stirs something inside of me,” Your hand clenches and Robert only becomes more hysterical at every word you speak, “I need to gather my ka-tet. Or-Or… Or whatever he meant. It’s just a d-dream, Robert…”

He shakes his head again, taking a careful step towards you.

“No, no.” His eyes turn violent again and those same voices speak to you in your head.

 

RUN! RUN! RUN!

HE’S GETTING ANGRIER!

 

Your eyes flicker to the door at the end of the room, and then back at Robert. He sees your eyes shift and his hand clenches, a familiar feeling of fear strikes your heart at the action. He takes another step and you back away, hand gripping the bed. You can’t think clearly, you’re only thinking about the door and wanting to leave as soon as possible.

“Y-You… You can’t leave.” Robert seems to voice your thoughts. He’s within arm’s reach now.

“You’re scaring me, Robert.” You reply back in a quiet voice.

Why is he acting like this? What is he going to do next?

Is he going to hurt you?

The muscles in your back are overcome with phantom pains. Your mind briefly thinks back to the belt, to his violent hands, and your breathing becomes harder. The voices get louder. And suddenly, you’re dashing over the bed and towards the door. You can hear Robert angrily yell after you as you grip onto the door handle and throw the door open, running down the hall, not knowing where you’re going in the dark. Your lungs burn, your legs ache, and the house seems so much larger than before.

“You can’t leave!” He screams behind you, and your heart clenches up even tighter.

Like a rubber band that’s ready to snap; each scream and yell only brings you to the edge. The edge of what? Something inside you is waiting for that band to snap, to set it—them—free.

You slide and slip against the slick hardwood floor, gripping onto the dark maroon walls that seem black. It’s scary, everything’s scary right now. You trace your steps, hearing Robert follow you like a cheetah ready to take its prey. You let out a pained wail as you feel his hand grab onto the ends of your hair; yanking you back. Your back burns and your lungs have no time to adjust to the sudden slam of your body against the floor, coughing and hacking with tears in your eyes and face. You see Robert above you and you roll over, on your behind as you stare up at his terrifying form. His hand clenches, teeth bared; body half-lit in light, and the half-covered in darkness. He takes a step closer and you can feel your mental walls crumbling; letting something inside loose and take over your body.

“I won’t let you leave!” He repeats, taking another step closer.

Your back nudges against a wall ,and you turn your head and feel relief flood when you see that it’s the front door. A cold, winter draft enters the house from beneath and you can practically smell the cool morning dew when you open the door. You stay frozen in fear as Robert is letting his thoughts swirl in his mind, telling him what to do next.

“You…” You lose your words, “Stop.”

“That old fool can’t take this away from me.” He says cryptically, “I will not let him rip this happiness from my life.”

His words don’t make sense, they don’t sound right. He takes another step and you scramble up to your feet, looking up him with bleary eyes, hand lifting to grip at the door knob. Immediately, Robert’s eyes glance at your hand with panic.

“Don’t open that door.” He warns in a low voice.

Open it. The voices say, You need to GO!

“If you open that door I’ll make you regret it.”

His words only make you press further into the door, hand holding onto the handle so tightly that you feel your hands freeze up against the cold brass. Sobs wrack your body as he towers over you, and you’re convinced that he’s going to hit you. You open the door and feel the cool burst of air hitting your face, the sun’s still not up. Robert tenses, mouth agape that you actually disobeyed him; and then he glowers. It only takes two steps towards you before he’s seething over you, hand raised. You let out a scream and fall back against the floor, arms up to shield you from the blow as he lowers it in a flash.

The rubber band snaps. You let them go.

The slap never comes.

You open your eyes again and look at Robert as he stares at you in shock and fear. His hand is just right in front of your face, frozen as its caught between the confines of your hands. Your hands. Your tiny hands holding onto his wrist so tightly that he can’t even move his arm out of your grasp. He looks at your hands, and then your eyes. He stares at you with a look that he’s given you before, like he’s seen like you like this before. And you remember when he’s done this.

Center Street. The diner.

Your body shakes but its not out of fear. It’s out of anger. You begin to speak but the words are not your own. You slowly rise to your full height, chest heaving and rising in emotions that blind you.

“You were going to hit me.” Your voice comes out in a low, warning tone; unwavering.

“I-I—”

You interrupt him, hands tightening.

“You were going to hurt me.” Betrayal twists in your gut like a knife. Robert stares at you like you’re a ghost, looking through you—within you. He sees something that you don’t and struggles to back away from you. You bare your teeth at him as you feel rumbling within your voice, your chest: a growl. You’ve done this before, felt like this before. You feel angry, you feel pain, you feel… You feel…

Vermilion.

Red.

Crimson.

Your hands falter for a moment, your head lost in your thoughts. Robert sees this change and quickly lifts a hand to your temple, his fingers feel cold and sends a strange, painful sensation through your head. You utter words that you can’t hear and feel your hands let go of his wrist and stumble backwards, the pain is getting worse. You let out a low whine and grip at your head, tears resurfacing as the searing feeling grows larger and larger until you stumble outside of the house, feet dragging in the snow. Robert’s staring at you with a blank gaze, watching as you struggle with the pain that attacks your head.

 

No, no, no, no, no!

 

The voices scream, clawing at your psyche.

 

He’s trying to make you forget!

 

IT’S TRYING TO MAKE YOU FORGET!

 

IT’S TRYING TO PUT US TO SLEEP!

 

DON’T LISTEN TO IT!

 

STOP IT! STOP IT! STOPSTOP STOPSTOP—

 

Robert’s slowly making his way to you and reaches both hands against your head, burning his gaze into your forehead. He pulls you down into his chest, not caring if the snow had entered the house or drenched the two of you in the cold. His hands grip tighter at your head and his eyes change into a deep focus. His brown eyes gleam once more in that beautiful yellow; you think that it’s just because of the sun that had finally decided to rise.

“I won’t let him take you.” He says quietly, his eyes tearing up at your frightened, pained appearance.

Strangely, his tears don’t roll down like they usually do. Instead they float. His eyes stay that molden gold color, never looking away from you. His hands only grow tighter against your head. You’re too dazed to comprehend what’s going on, senses numb and the voices cry out and struggle as they begin to die down—a hard wall forming and sealing them in your mind from whatever eldritch tomb they came from.

 

“Sleep.”

 

 

ii.

 

“Ugh… Shit.” Your head is pounding when you wake up, your body shaking as you wake up, stretching with a loud yawn; twisting your body as you look out the window. It started to snow again, shrouding the sky in dark pale clouds. You feel a hand hold yours tightly and you turn your head to see Robert. A smile softly graces your face and you shift so that you’re snuggling him. There’s a strange look in his eyes, taking in your every movement with caution.

“Are you okay, Rob?” You reach your other hand to cup his face.

“Yeah, yeah…” He reflects your smile, trailing off in a quiet voice, “Are you okay?”

“I’m… I’m alright.” You giggle, “I just have a really bad headache.”

His eyes fill with sorrow and regret, and you look at him with a concerned face.

“Are you sure that you’re okay?” You lean closer so that your foreheads are touching, “You seem… Different today.”

“Just had a bad dream.” He lets out a throaty chuckle, wrapping an arm around you.

“Speaking of dreams,” You wiggled out of his hold, sitting upright, “I had the weirdest dream.”

“What was it about?” He asked, his voice hesitant.

“A turtle.” You shrugged, getting out of bed, “Just some trippy stuff, y’know?”

You turn around and see that he’s frozen on the spot, almost as if he was going to do something brash, but shakes his head; composing himself with a beaming smile. You can see hurt behind his smile but don’t push him to tell you why he’s acting so sad. Like he said, he had a bad dream—he was probably still recovering from it. You open the window and take a deep breath, the crisp smell fills your lungs and wakes you up.

“Do you remember anything else after that?” You turn around.

“No… Why?” You tilt your head, “Did I sleepwalk or something after that?”

“Yeah,” Robert chuckles, stretching, “Didn’t know you could do that.”

“Me neither.” You let out a quiet laugh and head for the bathroom, “So, what did you want to do today? Head out?”

“I’d rather prefer it if we stayed inside today,” Robert hugs you from behind, “It’s cold outside and there’s a lot of snow.”

“Movie time?” You crane your neck up, looking at him with warm eyes.

“If that’s what you want.” He presses a soft kiss against your forehead, easing the dull throbbing coming from there.

“Man, I still can’t over that dream.” You shake your head, “It was weird weird.”

“Don’t think too much on it.” He laughs quietly.

You pause turning around, “Oh, can we head back home for a bit?”

“Why?” Robert pauses, letting you go slowly.

“I’m gonna bring Holland here.” You smile, “I don’t want her to get lonely.”

“If that’s what you want.” He smiles and presses another kiss to your temple. 

 He still has that pained look in his eyes, and you wonder why it's there in the first place.

-

“Honey, can you pass me the butter?”

“Okay, mommy.”

You’re helping your mom make breakfast while your father and Robert are in the dining room, chatting to themselves. After you and Robert were done talking and getting ready, he drove you back to your house on 29 Neibolt Street. You were dressed in a maroon turtleneck and black sweatpants. Your hair was lightly tied back, which you were going to remove once you were done helping your mom. The smell of french toast made your stomach growl.

“So, how was it at Robert’s house?” She asked.

You smiled, “It’s really big there! Like a mansion! It never gets cold there.”

“Good, good…” She hums a quiet tune, flipping the toast with her spatula, “And how do you feel about…”

You turned around, looking down at her with a tilted head.

“About what?”

“About being homeschooled.” She had a soft look on her face, “I know you have a lot of friends that you’ll miss.”

“I’m not not wanting it.” You shrug, grabbing plates, “And Robert wasn’t lying when he said he was smart, like... He has a two-story study library thing at his estate. I could literally learn everything about the world and more there.”

She paused in her cooking, lowering the heat on the stove and quietly approaching you. She reached to press a soft hand against your shoulder, her gaze full of worry and concern.

“Do we need to worry about him?” She continued, “Robert doesn’t… Touch you or anything, does he?”

Her question made you freeze, almost losing the breath in your throat. You shake your head and speak to her with a reassuring smile.

“No, he doesn’t, mommy.” You pull her in for a hug.

But he does, and I let him do it.

“He treats me like a student than anything.” You lied. Your mother let out a sigh of relief and let go of you, grabbing the pan and taking the plate from your hands and handing it back to you with the breakfast stacked on top of it.

“Oh yeah, where did you get that ring?” She asks with a smile, “It’s real pretty.”

“I bought it at a store,” You lied again, “I saw it and just had to get it.”

You entered the dining room with a smile, taking a seat next to Robert as you set the plate down. Looking at him, you had to stifle a laugh at how out of place he looked with his fancy clothes and broad figure. He looked at you with a raised brow upon seeing your amused face but later broke into a smile.

“So, [Y/N] have you thought about another career?” Your father asks, grabbing a plate, “Aside from dancing if that doesn’t work out.”

You take a forkful of food and stuff it in your mouth, noticing how Robert did the same but still grimaced when he ate. Jesus, I wonder if he even eats. You take a moment to finish swallowing before answering your father’s question.

“I like writing.” You say with hesitation, “And I was thinking about becoming a teacher too.”

“A teacher.” You mother says with encouragement, “What grade?”

“No teenagers,” You let out a quiet laugh, “I was thinking of little kids. Like kindergarten or first grade.”

“Really?” You hear Robert ask from beside you. You turn your head with a smile.

You fiddle with the remains of your food, “Yeah. I always wanted to teach kids. I’m really good with them, y’know? Like how I used to babysit and watch over Georgie—”

The name gets lost in your throat, freezing as you think about him. Oh God, how long has it been since he went missing? October? That was at least 4 or 5 months ago. You slowly place down your utensils and let out a quiet half-sigh, half-sob. Your mother coos and reaches a hand to hold yours.

“Oh sweetie.” She sighs, also expressing her grief, “There was nothing you could do. No one could’ve known.”

From the side, you notice that Robert looks at you with the face of regret and shame, like he knows something that you don’t. You shake your head again and grab the fork again.

“It’s okay... I’m okay…” You mutter, more to yourself, “It’s just so surreal. One day I’m c-celebrating his birthday. And—A-And the next…”

You press your lips into a thin line and get up quickly, throwing the remains of your food away and placing your plate into the sink. You quickly mutter an apology to the three and head up the stairs quickly, swiping away any tears that had threatened to fall with your sleeve. You sit down on your bed, taking deep breaths and closing your eyes. A few minutes of calming down, you feel the bed dip beside you; peppermint fills your nose and you open your eyes.

“You okay?” Robert asks, taking your hand, “You left really fast.”

“I miss him…” You trail off in a shaky voice, “I just… I just don't understand why someone would just take him.”

The hand holding yours grows cold for a moment before warming up.

“Maybe he’s still out there.” He says hopefully, “You never know.”

You look at him with pained eyes, “Out there doing what? What if he’s hurt? In pain? What if some sick bastard has him? What if… He’s dead…? Like all the other kids! Oh God, the others…”

You press your head into his chest, letting a few sobs escape, holding onto his waist tightly. His arms wrap around you a few seconds later and embraces you in a soft, reassuring hug.

“I swear,” You whisper quietly into his chest, “If I ever find the bastard that did this, I’ll kill them.”

Robert’s arms hold you tighter at your words, almost tense.

 

Chapter Text

The 7th of March had fallen on a Tuesday, and as soon as Robert had picked you up from school, you demanded for him to take you to his home. There you quickly changed and got dressed, fitting into comfortable attire and snagged a warm jacket from the closet. He looked at you with a raised brow, watching as you grabbed a wrapped present from the closet.

“Hurry!” You said, rushing out of the door, “I don’t want to be late!”

Robert followed you with hurried steps, “Where are we going again?”

You gently tossed the present into the back seat, putting your hands on your hips, pouting as Robert.

“Richie’s party, dummy!” You quickly got into the passenger’s seat.

“Ah, right.” Robert turned on the ignition, “How long are you going to be staying?”

“For the whole day.” You shrug.

“The whole day?” He grumbles something under his breath.

“What was that?” You gave him a stern look, “I don’t want you freezing in your car. If you want, you can go back home after you drop me off.”

“I’ll miss you though.” Robert shrugs, resting one hand on the steering while as he passed through the clear path.

You deadpan, “I’m only gonna be gone for one day, Rob.”

“A day’s too long.” He sighed, turning to you.

You take his hand in yours and smile softly. You had been urging him to take you out to Richie’s party for nearly a week now, and ever since you had your strange turtle dream, Robert had seemed extremely adamant on not wanting you to go. However, all it took was some reassuring words and kisses to make him listen to you. You were glad that he did, he had been doing really well in treating you good. Your smile slowly grew by the second and you pulled his hand to your cheek, feeling the warmth of it.

“Relax, Robert.” You lightly breathed against his hand, “You won’t even realize I’m gone.”

Within twenty minutes, Robert’s pulling into the driveway of the Tozier residence. You quickly give him a chaste kiss on the cheek and grab the present from the back, waving to him one last time before knocking on the door. Immediately, the door swings open, revealing Bill. You give him a shy smile and enter the house.

“Y-You’re actually here.” He breaths out, smiling.

“Of course I am!” You look down at him and give him a hug and hand him something in your pocket: a thin, leather bracelet. He takes it in his hands with a confused face, reading the inscription in the metal band at the top. After a few seconds of reading his cheeks and ears turn red. You beam at his reaction and follow him into the living room: where Stan, Eddie, and Richie are already waiting.

You turn to him, “I told you I didn’t forget about your present.”

“Thank you.” Bill takes your hand in his.

“It’s about time you showed up!” Richie exclaimed, throwing his hands up, “And I—Oh, is that for me?!”

“Yes, it’s for you, you noodle.” You hand him the present and he scoffs playfully.

“If anyone’s a noodle, it’s Eddie Spaghetti.” To emphasize his point, the trashmouth messes up Eddie’s immaculate hair.

“Shut it, Richie.” Eddie huffs, slapping Richie’s hands away from his head.

You let go of Bill’s hand and take a seat next to Stan (who, unlike the others who are sitting on the floor, is sitting on a chair), leaning against the old couch. You gently nudge his shoulder and give him a soft smile, which he returns back.

“So,” You begin, “How’s that bird box treating you?”

“Oh, there’s actually a few mourning doves that live there now!” He says with excitement, fidgeting through the pages of his bird book.

“Really?” You reply happily, “That’s good! Have they laid any eggs yet?”

“I’m pretty sure that they have.” He makes a so-so motion with his hand, “Thank you for the blue and white flowers by the way.”

“No problem.” You shrug with an unsure face, “I hope your parents didn’t mind that I got you guys that. I’m not used to the whole thing.”

“No, no!” Stan lets out a quiet laugh, fixing his hair, “I’m glad that you at least got us something. Most people don’t do that for my family.”

Sympathy fills your heart and you rest a reassuring hand on his shoulder, and he returns the look with a soft smile. You hear a quiet cough beside you and turn your head, seeing Bill look at the two of you awkwardly and you swore that you saw jealousy in his eyes. You really wanted to tell him your true feelings, but at the same time his reaction would surely break you and him. Instead you let your hand fall off of Stan’s shoulder and rest by your side.

“Alright fuckers, let’s get this party started!” Richie takes a hearty swig of his soda.

Stan rolls his eyes, “Keep it up and you’ll be doing the real thing.”

“You don’t have enough faith in me, Stanley, my boy!” Richie sets down his drink and grabs one of the presents. Eddie pales a little and stands up, grabbing the box.

“Heh,” He sounds embarrassed, “Why don’t you pick a different one?”

“What did you get me?” Richie asks curiously, snagging the box back, “Did you get me pictures of your mom.”

“Beep beep, Richie.” Eddie huffs while crossing his arms, “Just open mine at a later time, dipshit.”

You watch in amusement as the two begin to bicker. You open a can of soda and greedily chug at it. You lean closer to Bill, resting one hand on your hip. You turn to him with a smile full of mirth.

“Have they been like this while I was gone?” You asked with a quiet giggle.

Bill smiles back, “Yeah.”

“I missed this so much.” You sighed happily.

“Missed what?” Stan interjects in your conversation.

You motion with the hand on your hip, waving around the room and then at him and Bill.

“You guys, this, hanging out. I wish that I had more time to do this.”

“Don’t beat yourself up.” Stan encourages, “It hasn’t been the same since you were gone. Everyone’s doing so much better now that you’re back.”

“—A-A-And summer is coming soon.” Bill finishes Stan’s sentence.

“I-I don’t know if I’ll be able to hang out as much.” You say honestly, rubbing the back of your neck.

“Why?” Stan pries, tilting his head.

“I’m going to be homeschooled soon.” You sigh, leaning back, “And I’m really busy.”

The two of them look disappointed by this news but nod understandably nonetheless. You were going to mention the fact that you were in a relationship but it would’ve been too risky, too foolish; especially since Robert had a strange sense of knowing things, even though he wasn’t present at the time. Additionally, you didn’t want to have to comfort Bill if he ever found out you were taken already. You weren’t sure if you were ever going to tell him that to be honest.

“Well!” Richie’s voice loudly cuts off Eddie, grabbing your present and setting his down, “Let me just open [Y/N]’s gift then.”

“Thank you! Finally!” Eddie huffs, his cheeks red and sitting beside his friend in exhaustion.

Richie opens it, causing a variety of cassettes to clatter and fall to his feet. He gathers them in his hands, flipping them over with wide eyes before they look at you in amazement. You let out a quiet chuckle at his reaction, taking another sip from the can.

“Now you can record yourself and listen to yourself talk all day.” You quip.

“Aw, I was hoping that these were sex tapes.” Richie fakes disappointment and receives a sharp glare from Bill. You nudge said boy’s shoulder playfully, telling him that it was okay.

“I’ll remember that next time, then Tozier.” You shake your head with an amused smile.

“Seriously, thank you.”

You shrug, “No problem.”

-

It’s six in the afternoon by the time you all are done celebrating Richie’s 14th birthday. The sky grows dark and you wrap your coat around your body, saying goodbyes to your friends. As expected, Robert’s patiently waiting in the car. Entering, you notice that his cheeks seem fuller—healthier—than normal and you nudge him playfully with your hand, resting it against his bicep. He turns to you with a smile on his face and you tilt your head with narrowed eyes.

“You look nice.” You said, reaching a hand to cup his cheek.

“Thank you…?” He returns your look playfully, “Don’t I always look nice?”

“No, no. I mean—” You squeeze his face so that your fingers are digging into his cheeks.

“You look healthy, like you’ve eaten for once.”

He smiles, taking your hand in his before leaning forward. You press your other hand back to his face, covering it with the palm of your hand as you let out a nervous laugh, looking back at Richie’s house.

“No kissing here.” You continued, “Not unless you want my friends to freak out.”

“Okay.” His words are muffled comically against your hand, “Did you want to go out?”

“Nah.” You removed your hand and leaned back in the seat, “Blizzard’s picking up soon and I think that school might be off again once it hits Derry. It’s best to stay inside.”

“Hmph, for once I agree.” Robert chuckles and begins to drive.

“I wish that I could’ve stayed longer.” You sighed, resting your head on the window.

“Why didn’t you?”

“Curfew, remember?”

“You’re gonna let a curfew stop you?”

“You’re one to talk.” You retort, turning on the radio, “Besides, who knows what kind of monster is kidnapping these kids.”

Robert doesn’t continue to talk after that, leaving you to close your eyes and fall asleep.

 

 

ii.

 

It can feel itself slipping away from you the more you spend your time with your friends. It can feel your presence drift away with each second you dedicate to those insolent children. It can feel the tell-tale bonds of a ka-tet connect and thrive under your unconscious lights; your energy holding them down like an anchor. If only you knew that such a ka-tet could be deadly to both you and It. Surely your lights knew, but the fear of dying was present in both you and your lights—as a result you were subconsciously uniting the ka-tet to protect you, not destroy you. It watches you sleep, wondering if Maturin was poisoning your mind with his words again.

The nerve of him!

How dare he try to separate you from IT? That old turtle had no place in It’s town, why would he have one in the first place? Even though Maturin had birthed your world, he certainly made no notion that he was actually going to do something.

But he was, and It was absolutely frightened. Maybe It denied these negative feelings but deep down It had known that it was afraid. Was it afraid of you? You dying? It dying? Death had never been on It’s mind, and It would never anticipate it. That is, until you had that dream. 

What was Maturin’s intentions? To use your lights to destroy It? Did he intend for you to eliminate the Crimson King? (Now It certainly didn’t oppose that option, considering the fact that the King was now a threat to you.) But Maturin had also told you to gather your ka-tet, and there was only one plausible reason why: to stop It.

Stop It…? Kill it? The Eater of Worlds?

It had never thought of something so ridiculous and so frightening at the same time. You had mentioned something about needing to befriend “two more”. Two more ka-tet members? No, no, no—Whoever these final two were, It needed to get them out of the picture, and fast. A broken ka-tet is a good one in It’s opinion… It really was willing to do anything to keep you by It’s side. So as It tucked you into bed it embarked on a mission to find anyone who was close to you, that was a possible candidate as the next member of your ka-tet. But It was not one to think of the faults within the cracks. Maturin knew this, and as It searched and searched, he took advantage of It’s blindness.

 

It did not realize that It's first mistake was situating Robert Gray's estate just a few blocks from the Hanlon Farms.

 

Chapter Text

Today, the 29th of March, was the last day you’d be attending a public high school. It had been official: somehow Robert had managed to convince the school and district that you were able to be homeschooled. It was a complex process that you weren’t even going to think about, all you knew was that Robert Gray was now going to teach you at his home. The change was almost surreal, and everyone had been surprisingly on board with it, all except one boy.

Henry Bowers.

He hadn’t stopped staring you on your last day, tapping his pencil on the desk non-stop until Mrs. Bailey had to reprimand him for it. A sinking feeling had fallen deep in your gut but for some reason, you didn’t have the gall to be afraid of him. You felt stronger for some reason, both physically and mentally, even if nothing had changed cosmetically. Maybe you were just getting used to being on your own with Robert—during the time of you living at his house, you had learned to do a lot of things on your own. There was almost a strange force within you that had urged you that you were strong enough to handle him this time.

Still, Robert’s explanation of how you managed to escape from Henry had still confused you. What’s more confusing, is that you can’t remember either—how you had managed to escape him. You remembered something scaring him off and saving you, but what? These questions had swirled in your mind as you entered the locker room. You were the last one there, in the middle of changing your shirt when you heard a strange sound. You turned around, putting down your shirt down on the stool to look for the origin of the sound. At the end of the locker room was a single paper ball, tightly wrapped.

Curiosity getting the better of you, you stood up and began walking towards it. Opening it, you felt your blood run cold as you read the words:

 

Missed me, bitch?

 

“Finally got you all by yourself.” It was undeniable this was Henry’s voice. Letting out a quiet gasp, you turned your head up and looked to the left. He was standing there, hands clenched with a pale red shirt stained drenched in sweat (despite the fact that it was snowy and cold outside). Feeling annoyed more than anything else, you narrowed your eyes and crossed your arms, leaning on one side.

“What do you want Bowers?” You grit out. You thought that he was done with you, especially after what happened two months ago. His eyes trailed briefly to your bra (or rather your chest) before they landed on your eyes.

“I came to finish what I started.” Henry said with a mute but venomous tone, crudely licking his lips and grabbing his crotch. Your face twisted in disgust and your face only became more sour.

He spoke again, “At least I know you’re really easy on the eyes.”

Your cheeks turned red in anger but you couldn’t move—he was completely blocking your way out, and Henry looked like he was ready to pounce at you. The two of you stood in silence, neither of you breaking your gaze. And then, Henry took a step forward; you only firmly planted your feet on the ground in response. Henry’s lips curl into a deep scowl, eyes gleaming with cruel amusement.

“Oh, so you’re not letting me go at you this time?” He takes another step, you continue to hold your ground. “You can’t es—”

“BOY!”

A loud and gruff voice yells, echoing against the walls. You look around in confusion, taking a step back while a familiar face of fear etched into a Henry’s face. His hands unclench and you can almost hear him whimper. While he’s distracted you quickly run and slip your shirt on. Henry’s still frozen in fear, shaking as you quietly slink behind him. Strangely, Sheriff Bowers is here and you feel a strange sensation of familiarity washes over you and you feel like you’ve done this before.

“Y-You!” Henry stumbles back, “Get—G-Get away from me, y-you—!”

“You disgusting piece of filth,” Sheriff Bowers growls uncharacteristically, “What are you doing in the girls’ locker room?”

I could ask the same thing, Sheriff. You think to yourself.

“Leave!” Sheriff Bowers glowers, “And if I ever see or hear that you’re with this kid you’ll receive more than a beatin’ tonight!”

Empathy and familiarity of the situation fills your heart at the sight of Henry cowering, and Sheriff Bowers’s words; it reminded you of Robert when he was mad. But Henry was just as bad, if not: worse. Henry, too afraid to comprehend the sight, listens to his father;pushing past the enraged man and disappearing out of the locker room. You’re awkwardly left alone with Sheriff Bowers, who stares at you with a blank gaze. His presence didn’t make sense: why was he even here in the first place? You fiddle with your hands, not sure if you should go back and get your backpack.

“U-Uh,” You stammer out, “Thank you, Sheriff Bowers...?”

Sheriff Bowers stared at you for a moment longer before breaking out into a wide smile, chuckles that turned into loud laughs escaped his large throat. Creeped out by the display, you took a step back and as if on instinct, he turned to you. Did he always have blue eyes?

“I’m a pretty good actor, aren’t I, [Y/N]?” His voice was highly and familiar, making you pause in your walking. You know that voice. That voice belonged to…

“Pennywise...?” You croak out, eyes widening.

Sheriff Bowers’s broke into a smile and immediately, he began to change. It shocked you: how his skin turned bone-white, balding hair stretching back into ginger locks against a large head, his uniform into Victorian motley. His height had also increased greatly, making you crane your neck up; mouth agape. When he was done changing, Pennywise bent down to your level, a childish grin blessing its devilish red features.

“I scared him good, didn’t I?” He tilted his head.

Shyly, you nodded, “You… You did. But…”

Your eyebrows furrowed, “How did he see you? You’re imaginary…?”

“My dear,” He crooned, petting your head softly, “I can make them see me if I want them too. Think of me as… A shared friend! Yes! Ol’ Pennywise has pleeeenty of kids to take care of!”

You shuffled backwards, grabbing your backpack.

“Thank you.” You mutter awkwardly, looking to the side. “I… I have to go now, my… B-Boyfriend is waiting for me.”

God, it felt so awkward saying that, but at the same time calling Robert your “lover” made you feel old.

“Oooh boyfriend?” His angry-carved eyebrows raise up in mischief, “Then I mustn’t keep you busy! Oh no, I mustn’t indeed!”

Pennywise grabs you by the waist and lifts you easily, pulling you into a cradle. You quickly press your hands to his chest, hands brushing against the pom-poms and chest. 

“H-Hey!” You yelp as he continues to carry you, not moving, “What are you doing?! Put me down!”

“Aw, can’t I have my fun?” Pennywise pouts, blue eyes glimmering, “It’s been foreeeeeveeerrr since we’ve last seen each other?”

“It… It has.” You admitted, looking away. It was weird to think that this clown was your imaginary friend, but you’ve seen things weirder in your childhood. You continue to let him carry you, embracing you like a mother would to a child. You look at him again, listening him hum to a strange tune.

“Can I go now, please?”

“Impatient little thing, aren’tcha?” He lets out a deranged giggle. He sets you down, but you don’t rest your feet onto the ground after this. Instead, you’re immediately transported outside of the school, lurching forward with a gasp. Of course, when you turn around the clown is no longer there; and in your hand is a single red balloon. You don’t feel particularly threatened by this clown, in fact, you were inclined to believe that he was your friend. Besides, no one else could see this balloon, so you might as well have brought it with you.

You calmly walk towards Robert’s car, seeing it gleam against the dark trees—the snow finally melting and welcoming Spring. The balloon bumps and gently brushes against your head as you walk, like holding the hand of a friend. You enter the vehicle, still holding the balloon. Robert turns to you with a smile, though his eyes gleam even more when they almost look at the balloon. But he doesn’t make any notion that he truly sees it, raising an eyebrow instead and averting his gaze back at you.

“What took you so long?” He asked, gripping the steering wheel.

You want to be honest with him, so feeling brave, you answer him with a timid voice.

“Henry Bowers stopped me in the locker room.”

His attention turns to you immediately and you give him a reassuring smile, resting your hand against his bicep.

“He didn’t do anything to me,” You say in a hurried tone, “Sheriff Bowers stopped him.”

More like my imaginary friend that’s not so imaginary.

Robert let out a sigh of relief but shook his head, driving. “It’s a good thing that I’m going to be your teacher now. That boy doesn’t know when to stop.”

He drives you back to 29 Neibolt Street, allowing you to grab a few things and leaving a note to your parents. As their conversation stated, you would stay at Robert’s during the weekday, and at your home on the weekends. You happily brought the balloon around with you, going so far as to tying the balloon back on your backpack. Robert watched you with a strange, delighted look on his face—he was probably just excited that you were going to spend more time with him.

“Ready?” He asked when you left the house with a suitcase full of your precious belongings (except for your snow globes and posters, which you’d leave in your room). You gave him a happy nod and stood on your toes, giving him a soft kiss on the cheek.

“Let’s go,” You continued with a yawn, “I’m tired.”

 

 

ii.

 

Robert’s study-library was now your newest hang out spot ever since that day. Baroque music fills the darkly-lit room while you rest on Robert; one hand wrapped around his waist with the other on his sternum. A thick wool blanket was placed over the two of you, allowing you to snuggle against him, letting out content sighs as he ran his fingers through your hair and read fairytales. A fireplace was lit in front of you, the flames creating a calming and serene atmosphere.

“Did you have any siblings?” You ask sleepily, listening to his heartbeat, “I know you’re listed as sole beneficiary on your parents’ will, but I guessed that it was because you were their favorite kid.”

Robert pauses his reading, hand stilling in your hair.

“No.” He says quietly, “However, I do know someone who considers me to be one… We… I don’t get along with him.”

“Why not?”

Robert takes a deep breath, huffing quietly and setting the book down.

“He’s a goody-two-shoes.” He grits out, “Sees good in everything. He thinks he’s all that even though he’s too damn lazy to actually do anything. He’s always on my back about everything, saying that I should change.”

“Maybe he just cares about you.” You mutter, “He just wants the best for you.”

Robert’s hand leaves your hair and he presses both of them under your arm-pits, lifting you slightly so that your face was buried in his neck. He wraps one leg around you in a secure grip, a protective hold that you easily snuggle into.

“Does he though?” His voice holds hesitation and doubt.

“Everything he does only seems to benefit him, and he ends up leaving me in the dust.”

You bite the inside of your cheek, holding him tighter.

“You never know, Rob…” You sigh against his neck, enjoying how he shivered at the contact, “Maybe he is doing this for you. You just don't realize it yet.”

-

“So, teacher.” You tease, pressing your cheek against his, “What are we doing today?”

“Sleep.” Robert grumbled, tightening his grip on you. The two of you had fallen asleep on the large Chesterfield sofa, with the lights and fireplace off. Soft, white light shimmered from behind the dark mahogany-colored curtains. The chill had sent shivers down your spine, causing you to hold Robert closer to you in a vice-like grip. Your arms were wrapped around his neck, while his hands were gently placed along your waist. You had found it really easy to relax against his form, feeling his pulse and heart beat against yours; it was honestly really soothing and had almost lulled you into sleep—if it weren’t for the fact that you were used to waking up early in the morning for school.

But Robert had convinced you to continue to lay in his arms, and you did; seeking warmth from him and the blanket covering the two of you. Heck, even the fabric of his clothes were comfortable enough for you to go slack in his arms. You were almost asleep again… If it weren‘t for the sounds of your stomach growling. You freeze in Robert’s arms, pulling away with embarrassment; who reflects your face with an amused one.

“Don’t say anything.” You grumble out, escaping the confines of his grip, wrapping the blanket around you, “I’m gonna go to the kitchen real quick to make something.”

“Stay here.” Robert says, grabbing your arm and pulling you back into the couch. Instead he gets up and leaves for the stairs that led to the door.

You rose a brow, “Where are you going?”

“I’ll make something for you.” He shrugs with a small smile, “You just stay here and relax.”

“Okay… Thank you, Robert.” You give him a cheeky smile and watch as he leaves. After five minutes had passed you quickly went to the bathroom to take a quick shower and freshen up, changing into a long, light pink tulle dress. At least while you were inside of his home, you could dress into whatever you want without having to worry about wandering eyes. The only wandering eyes in this house were Robert’s, and you were more than fine in having him look at you. You glanced at the ring and smiled, tracing a finger over the gems.

A strange burning smell touched your nose and you hurried the kitchen. You found yourself seeing Robert struggling to make breakfast. You crossed your arms and gave him an amused smile.

“Having trouble?” You said loudly, causing him to turn his body around. You placed a hand over your mouth, eyes wide, as you struggled to hold a laugh in. His expensive-fabric shirt was covered in dough and eggs, his hands showing the same kind of cleanliness with a variety of spices covering the counter-top. You remove your hand and can’t help the laugh that escapes you. His cheeks turn red with embarrassment and it’s cute the way he tries to make himself look smaller—despite the fact that he had definitely towered over you.

“I’m… Having a difficult time with breakfast.” Robert muttered, wiping his hair out of his face with the back of his hand.

“Well, I can see why.” You walk over to him and take a once-over again at the counter.

“So, what were you trying to make anyway?” You wiped some flour off of his cheek, “Your ingredients are all over the place.”

“I was going to make a lot of food.” He lets out a sigh of defeat, “But I’m… Not used to cooking...”

“Well, I guess we’ll see if you need to learn.” You grab a piece of cooked (or at least you thought it was cooked) bread and stick it in your bread. Immediately a semi-raw taste attacks your taste-buds, followed by an overbearing sweet taste. Robert looks at you anxiously, waiting for your answer. He pouts when he sees your face grimace at the taste.

“I’m not gonna lie,” You force the food down your throat, “You definitely need to work on cooking time, as well as the taste. Did you even try it as you were cooking?”

“I did.” Robert huffs quietly.

“Maybe we need to heighten your palette.” You grinned, “What is your favorite flavor group? Sour? Salty?”

“Fe—Sweet. I like sweet things.” He cut himself off, giving you a toothy smile.

Huh… I wonder what he was going to say.

You return his smile and grab a new carton of eggs, setting it on the counter. Followed by that you grabbed a new batch of ingredients. If he liked sweet stuff, you might as well teach him how to bake cookies or something; something to keep him at bay while he wasn’t waiting for you all the time. You grab an apron from a cupboard and tie it around your body, handing Robert a bowl.

“Alright,” You clap your hands together, “Let’s see how well you are at following directions.”

-

It turns out that Robert was terrible at cooking and baking.

Had you not been there to watch him, you were sure that he would’ve ended up burning his home to the ground. You had to take care of the rest, only letting him mix, grab, and pour things. His own batch of butterscotch cookies were absolutely tear-jerking sweet, but with your taste-testing feedback he was able to improve himself. Your dress had gotten dirty after that, so you had ended up changing into more comfortable attire. You were snacking on biscuits, made by Robert, humming at the taste—this batch was better. You plopped down beside him on the living room couch, resting against his arm.

“I think you did pretty well for your first time.” You say with an encouraging smile, “I’m glad it didn’t end up in flames.”

He let out a throaty chuckle, “I wouldn’t be surprised if that actually happened.”

“I’m proud of you, though, Rob.” You hug him, “At least you made an effort to try.”

“I do it for you.” He kisses the top of your head, “Seeing you happy makes me happy.”

Your smile widens, “I feel the same way.”

 

Chapter Text

“Tell me you enjoy this.”

“Tell me you love me.”

-

You wake up in a cold sweat, breathing heavily, hands clutching at the sheets. You don’t realize that you’re crying until you feel your chest shake and tears roll down your cheeks. An unwanted sob escapes your mouth, rousing the man beside you. Robert is instantly there to comfort you but you push his hands away, the awful memory blinding your vision. His hands feel like fire and only bring pain. You tell him to back off and he does, but worry is evident and clear on his chiseled features. You hastily wipe your tears with the back of your hand, eyes unfocused. Robert reaches a hand out again but you swipe at it angrily, getting off the bed.

“D-Don’t… Don’t touch me…” You utter quietly, hands shaking.

“What’s wrong?” He asks, not daring to move an inch. You shake your head frantically, heading for the door, grabbing a large coat.

“I…” You lose your voice, “I’m going outside… I need to relax…”

Robert looks at you with an unsure expression, “Are you okay?”

“No! N-No, I… I’m…” You don’t say another word and head outside. You pace down the halls, which are barely illuminated by early morning light, your hands wring and twist with each other; your breathing heavy. Your mind is all over the place, telling you to find a safe place to calm down, so you head for the garden. An icy blast of air envelops you as soon as you open the door and step outside, taking in the nearly-snowless ground: dead trees, bushes, and leaves cover the expanse of the garden. You head over to the gazebo at the end of the garden, gripping at the railing as you allow yourself to cry and sob into the thick faux coat.

You had a dream—or was it a nightmare?—about what happened back in December. When Robert had… You can’t even bring yourself to remember what happened, your face hiding in the soft fur as the breeze freezes your tears. The dream itself was blurry and bleary, but you could still hear and feel everything. You could feel it when he… You wipe your tears again, taking a shaky breath. To your left, you hear leaves crunching beneath large feet.

“Go away, Robert.” You whisper, clenching your eyes, “I… I can’t right now.”

“Bad dream…?” He asks, trying to lighten the mood.

You huff air out of your nose and shake your head again. “I dreamed of… December, when y-you… You…”

Robert lets out a shaky breath and swears under his breath, well aware of what you were talking about. He doesn’t move an inch, watching as you continue to cry and breathe heavily, not daring to lay a hand on you at that moment. You turn your head slightly and see that his features are twisted into regret and shame, looking down at his shoes, his own hands shaking. He takes another careful step at you and you give him a warning look, hugging yourself, your hair falling in your face from leaning over the railing.

“It hurts, Robert.” You cry, “I’m sorry…”

You flinch when you feel his hands gently press against your shoulders, shivering and shaking. The fear and panic still grips at your heart but you slowly let go of the railing, turning around to look up at Robert. It honestly hurts you to see him cry, and you lift a trembling hand to touch his cheek.

“You have nothing to be sorry about.” He whispers, “I… This is all my fault. I just… I don’t know what came over me when I… I’m sorry.”

His cheek feels cold against your hand when he leans into it, closing his eyes and letting out a tired breath. His hands carefully touch both sides of your head with a softness you’ve rarely seen him have.

“I wake up everyday, knowing what I have done to you.” His eyes open again and you brush your thumb to wipe away a lone tear that falls from one of them. “It hurts me. Knowing that I have hurt you and I… I hope by doing all of this for you, can make you forgive me.”

You look away and release a final sob, tilting your head into his chest. “Oh Robert…” You mutter with a sigh, “I forgive you, I really do… But I—”

You feel him wipe away your tears with his fingers, holding your body close in a slow sway. It hurts the way he holds you, no matter how soft or gentle he is, and you have to pull away from him again, finding a seat on the chairs resting within the gazebo. You wipe a shaking hand under your nose, sniffling while your chest heaves and hiccups. Its an embarrassing display, vulnerable, and you can’t help but let out more cries: placing your head in your trembling hands. Robert takes a seat across from you, debating whether or not he should comfort you again. He finally settles on letting you handle this on your own, and you’re thankful for his decision. As much as you wanted him to hold you and tell you it’s okay, you still can’t forget what he did to you.

I wish I could just forget it all… You think bitterly, But how can anyone forget that?

“I’m going to go take a walk.” You say quietly, standing up.

Robert follows, “It’s not even eight in the morning yet, you’ll catch a cold.”

“Please don’t start.” You snap, hugging your sides as you head back into the house, “I won’t be gone long.”

His frame trembles for a moment, but eventually (and surprisingly) he gives in, and lets you pass. You utter out a hesitant ‘thank you’ before heading back inside to change into warmer clothing. Tying warm, wool boots to your feet, you grab your coat and placed a reassuring hand on Robert—who’s busy sulking on the living room couch—and give him a gentle smile. It almost felt strange for him to not stop you from leaving the house, but he seemed very understanding today; and he most likely felt guilty at the moment, so you let him have peace.

“I’ll be back soon.” You said quietly and headed out the door.

You almost expected him to run after you, but he didn’t. You trudged through the partially-covered expanse of the forest, turning your head for a brief moment to look at his large estate before returning to your walking. You exhaled, taking in the smell of wet leaves and dry wood. It wouldn’t be long until things would bloom again in Maine. You could practically imagine the sight of all the green trees, tall grass, and blooming flowers. You felt your shoulders ease, a sensation of peace washing over you in waves the more you trudged farther away from the house. You were avoiding Robert, yes, but at the same time you longed for his embrace again. It was an awful feeling—to remember what he had done—but that time had long passed, and yet you continued to hold onto those memories. These memories were almost like an anchor that tied you to reality: reminding you that Robert Gray, no matter how much love he had given you, was abusive.

Abusive. For some reason the word didn’t settle nicely in your head, in fact, in your eyes it didn’t fit him. Robert rough at the edges, but clearly held so much compassion and love for you. After fifteen minutes of walking and falling deep in your thoughts you heard the sound of the Kenduskeag rushing nearby. You wondered if you could be able to walk to your house. Even though The Barrens were almost larger than life, it was still a relatively small forest that would eventually die off into vast plains. You leaned against a tree, closing your eyes and feeling the tension roll away like a ball on the street.

“I’m okay.” You whispered to yourself, the tremble in your voice now gone.

You tilt your head up, “I’m okay… He’s no—He wouldn’t do it again. He loves me.”

But why would he keep you all to himself? Away from the world? You pushed those thoughts back with an angry sigh, continuing on your walk. The water of the Kenduskeag was finally visible, with tiny sheets of ice covering only a few parts of the surface. You closed your eyes.

And then you heard the sound of bells ringing.

Immediately, your eyes shot open, wondering if the sound was coming from who you think it came from. Getting up, you turned around looking for the sound. You heard a yell, maybe coming from a child, and your heart began to race faster. Curiosity took hold and you ran towards the noise, expecting the worse. Instead, you also heard a new sound; a bleat.

“What…?” You narrowed your eyes and continue to inch closer and closer to the sound. The closer you got, the louder the ringing became, and you couldn’t help but hold onto the fear that held onto you. A small flurry of white collided into you, followed by another bleat and a quiet ring. You held onto the thing in your arms and looked down, shocked. It was a small lamb with a cute black ribbon tied around its neck: a single cow bell hanging at the ends. The small creature leaped into your arms and you held it awkwardly, unsure of what you were supposed to do with it.

“Uh… Hey, uh—?” It sought warmth and comfort in you, shivering and evidently cold.

“Where the hell did you come from?” You rose a brow and turned around, hearing leaves crunching to your left.

“Where did you go?” A boy’s voice called, and you could guess that he sounded younger than you. You headed towards the sounds and called back to him.

“Is this your lamb?” You held the small creature closer to your chest, listening it bleat again.

Soon enough a boy, maybe around your height or Stan’s, came into view. He looked a bit younger though, with rounded cheeks and soft eyes, his hair was short but neatly trimmed into tight curls. He was wearing a thick coat, cloves, and pants that were covered in mud at the bottom. It was undeniable that this was one of the Hanlons, being that he was young and one of the only dark-skinned residents in Derry. You heard that his parents had passed and he lived with his grandfather. He looked hesitant and cautious when he noticed you too, but calmed down slightly upon seeing the lamb.

For some reason, you felt a pull towards him, like a call.

You could see it in his eyes that he had felt it too.

“Yes.” He said quietly, “That’s mine.”

“Here.” You replied, walking to him and holding the lamb out in your arms. He still looked hesitant, almost afraid that you were going to do something to him. Poor kid. You swallowed back a knot that formed in your throat from nervousness and bent down a little so that you were at the same height.

“I don’t bite.” You gave him a sympathetic smile.

However, as soon as he had touched the light fleece of the creature it let out another bleat and squirmed in your arms, trying to inch closer to your body. You and the boy shared an awkward laugh and fixed your hold on the lamb. You tried to hand it back to him but only got the same outcome. The lamb dug its head into the space between your chest and arm.

“Well, I guess it doesn’t want to go to you.” You joke, “The farm you live on, it’s not too far, right? I can walk back with you since the lamb’s giving us trouble.”

“No, no.” He shook his head, “I-I don’t wanna cause you trouble.”

“You’re no trouble at all!” You shake your head with wide eyes, “Besides, you seem like a nice kid. Why don’t we talk?”

Again, he held that unsure look but nodded nonetheless. The two of you began to walk, and you decided to initiate another conversation: you didn’t want him to be so tense or anxious.

“So,” You tilt your head, “What’s your name?”

“Michael—Uh, Mike. Mike Hanlon.” He was extremely polite, but still withdrawn.

“[Y/N] King.” You reply softly, that seemed to get his attention.

He stopped mid-step and looked at you with wide eyes, almost amazed.

“The dancer?” He asked. You let out a quiet giggle. The way he said it almost made you feel like you were famous for it.

“Yes,” You nod eagerly, pulling the lamb closer to you, “You’ve been to my shows before?”

“No…” He began to walk, lowering his head, “My grandpap doesn’t let me go.”

“Why not?” You furrow your brows, “Anyone can buy a ticket.”

“Bowers always goes to your shows.” Mike said timidly, “I heard from my grandpa that you hang out with him.”

Oh right, you forgot about Bowers. Gently, you lift a hand and placed it on his shoulder, he flinched at the contact—he probably thought you were going to attack him—but eased up a little once you showed him that you weren’t going to do anything bad. You face held reassurance, defiance, and prominent determination.

“I’d gladly get off the stage and tell him to piss off.” You continued, “No one deserves to be treated like that. Besides, we’re not on speaking terms anymore.”

Mike’s face held surprise and shock, not expecting to hear that come from you.

“You really mean it?” He asks.

“Of course!” You beamed, “We’re friends now!”

“But—But I barely know you…” He trailed off, you gave his shoulder a gentle squeeze before moving your hand away.

“Well, we can fix that right here!” You continued to walk, “And friends stick together.”

“Friends…” He uttered the word and soon broke up into a smile, “I’d… I’d like that.”

The Barrens had not continued any further, giving way to open plains that would surely look beautiful when the grass would finally grow. The lamb had gone quiet in your arms, its chest slowly rising and falling in deep sleep. In the duration of your time walking with Mike, the two of you had learned a lot of things about each other. It was almost ironic how the two of you were homeschooled (with you just starting a few days ago), and he had a knack for music. He had gotten comfortable after ten minutes had passed, and he was warming up to you.

“So, what do you do anyway?” You asked curiously. “I mean, your grandfather probably tells you to help a lot.”

“I ride my bike into town every week and deliver meat.” He shrugs, “Blizzard or not, someone has to get it done.”

“You’re a very strong kid.” You compliment with a smile, noticing how the house and barn became larger with each step, “We should hang out more.”

“Really?” He sounded hopeful and made your heart soar with adoration.

You noticed a few men exiting the barn and noticed you and Mike walking towards them. Instantly, Leroy Hanlon—Mike’s grandfather—was approaching the two of you. He held an intense, cautious gaze upon seeing you. You changed arms in holding the lamb, urging it to wake up. You gently set it on the ground and gave Mr. Hanlon a courteous nod.

“Mr. Hanlon.” You say respectively.

“They were helping me find the lamb.” Mike interjects, trying to not cause any trouble.

“Oh, really?” One of the farmhands takes the lamb and drags it back into the barn. You didn’t like how it began to bleat at the action but focused your attention on Mike’s grandfather out of respect.

“Yes, sir.” Mike nods.

“Well, you go run along now.” Mr. Hanlon waves his hand at you.

He was definitely intimidating so you quietly nodded and turned on your heel and began walking. Remembering something, you beamed and turned your head, calling out to Mike.

“29 Neibolt Street!” You said happily, waving to Mike who looked at you with a hopeful smile.

“Weekends only!”

 

 

ii.

 

“You were gone for an hour.” Robert said anxiously, immediately pulling you into a tight embrace. You threw the jacket off, hugging him back, feeling much better after your walk. Thankfully, he held no sign that he was upset at you going for so long. Instead, he buried his face in your neck, humming quietly. As if a new day had started, he began to help you with making breakfast—even if he seemed adamant on not eating. Still exhausted from the events of this morning you grabbed a bowl of cereal.

“I met someone this morning.” You say with a spoonful of food in your mouth, “He’s nice.”

“He…?” Robert narrowed his eyes.

You reached out your other hand to hold his and squeezed it, “Yeah. Mike Hanlon, the homeschooled kid? Helped him with a lost lamb.”

“How kind of you,” He chuckled, “no wonder you took so long.”

“We talked.” You shrug and eat again, “I hope I get to see him more.”

“Why, you like him?” He rose a brow.

“As a friend.” You giggle, kissing his hand. “You’re the only one for me, Robert.”

His semi-jealous, semi-curious face twisted into a pleased smile.

“I might bring him with me to hang out with my friends.” You continued, “He seems like he’d be a good addition to the Losers.”

He froze at your words, eyes slowly widening. He seemed deep in thought at your words, eyebrows drawn together in focus. “Oh.” Was all he could manage out after a minute had passed, and he looked as if he made the most surprising and shocking revelation ever.

You smile again, “Don’t worry, we’ll spend more time together in the summer.”

“Right.” Robert snapped out of it, “I was just thinking about something.”

“You’re always thinking of something,” You tease and pinch his nose. He pouted and took your hand, kissing the back of it.

“I love you, you know that?” He whispered against your hand, and butterflies began to swarm your gut.

“Of course I do, Rob.”

-

“We should plan an event for spring.” You laugh against Robert as he twirls you around the dance studio.

“An event?” He rose a brow, grinning. “You really want to?”

“I miss my team.” You shrug, “They are all amazing performers.”

“Besides,” You let him drop you in a dip, his hands on your waist, “We could make a lot from it.”

“I told you to not worry about money.” He grumbled, holding you close, “But do you really want to do it?”

“Maybe, maybe not.” You stop dancing, “I don’t really feel like getting on stage.”

Robert bent down and pulled you down so that you fell sitting on his lap, wrapping his arms around you. You grinned cheekily and wrapped your arms around his neck, enjoying the closeness and contact.

“Good.” He breathed against your ear. “I only want you to dance for me.”

You blushed and held him tighter, “You really are something else…”

 

“Only for you, [Y/N].”

 

 

iii.

 

After the day had passed, It had traveled to the Hanlon Farms, hoping to make a meal out of the young boy living there.

There was no denying that Mike Hanlon was most likely going to be another member of the ka-tet, the boy had practically filled in every aspect of it; of being a Loser. He was an outcast, with no parents and a heavy childhood. He'd do perfectly in your little group of children. He'd do perfectly in It's gullet. But as it neared the home, It could not feel the presence of the child and continued further in the house so that It was resting at the foot of the boy's bed. He was sound asleep. He was practically ready to be feasted on. But It couldn't, and when it realized why, It let out a frustrated growl.

Your lights had already sensed that Mike Hanlon was apart of the almost complete ka-tet. No matter how hard it had tried, It could no conjure nor find the willpower to cause any harm towards the sleeping boy. That meant that It could only do one thing now, It had to continue. It had to find the last member of the ka-tet. You were literally one person away from slipping out of It's grasp.

Pennywise the Dancing Clown had approached a blue Trans Am with a voracious appetite. 

Chapter Text

Beverly had always found comfort in resting on the rooftop of her apartment home. There was just an oddly soothing sensation of peace and relief to be out of that small space that she had called home. She lit a cigarette, placing the white and orange stick between her lips and took a long drag from it, her brain becomes full of ease and calm. It was strange to think that she had been smoking since the beginning of 7th grade, and she had just turned 14 two months ago. She wasn’t heavily addicted to smoking, but every now and then she just needed to take her mind off of home, off of her father.

She watched the light clouds roll by in the night sky, her ocean green eyes darting to and fro with each wisp that had passed by. Simple thoughts had passed through her mind, mainly about the approach of high school and how she would do there. Hopefully Greta Keene and her girls would leave her alone by then. However, her luck seemed to be running thin the more and more she began to hear rumors being spun within locker rooms and silly little class notes. Beverly took another drag of the cigarette, letting out a frustrated sigh. She couldn’t wait to leave Derry—four years wouldn’t be so bad, right?

At some point her thoughts had trailed back to her friend, [Y/N].

They had been acting strange ever since they made their return after being missing for almost two months. But this strangeness was not just shock from being lost in the woods—something Beverly doubted considering how surprisingly healthy they had looked upon being found—no, their behavior was something she had recognized at the bottom of her heart. She knew that look in their eyes: the look of fear and caution. The look of pain. And the way they had looked wasn’t just something that had occurred after being found; no, Beverly remembered them looking like this ever since winter break had ended. It was not until they had been found did Beverly realize why their tired eyes and weak smile looked so familiar. They reminded her of herself.

It was undeniable that they were going through something, Beverly knew that much; but how much was there to uncover? [Y/N] had become withdrawn and silent, extremely private about their outside life—it was as if they were a completely different person now. Beverly snuffed out her cigarette, resisting the urge to bring out another one. Her eyes glanced at the expanse of the roof, noticing a beer bottle glimmer under the moonlight. She held her breath, remembering the name Robert Gray. Robert Gray.

That was another thing—person—Beverly couldn’t shake off. It feels as if his appearance was the beginning of her friend’s deterioration. He was rich and came from Castle Rock, that was all she knew. The lack of information, both personal and public, frustrated the girl to no end. Who was this man exactly? And what did he want to do with her friend? She thought back to the note Victor Criss had given to her the day she was thinking about looking for her friend.

He’s really close with them.

What did that mean exactly? Did Victor mean that Robert Gray was close to [Y/N] as a friend? Parent? Relative?

Was he...

Was he their lover?

Beverly swallowed back a knot that formed in her throat, fiddling with the seams of her shorts, pushing back that horrifying thought. There’s no way that he had filled that last role… Was there? The very thought made her sick to her stomach, and unwanted scenarios began to swirl in her head. She stood up, hands running through her elbow-length hair, pacing back and forth on the roof. No matter how hard she tried to push those thoughts away, they would resurface and bring worse thoughts.

She thought back to the play, remembering the way the man had interacted with her friend. He was putting an unnecessary amount of contact between him and them. Beverly’s gut began to clench, bile threatening to come out. She didn’t like the way Robert Gray had looked at her friend, she didn’t like the way he held her at the final act of the play; she didn’t like it. She didn’t like him. His mannerisms, though played out smoothly with the attitude of someone calm and charming, reminded her of one such man whom she hated: her father. The sickening feeling grew worse at the connection, clenching her eyes and resting her hands against the edge of the roof, looking down at the canal that rushed by.

Her friend was not the type to listen to strangers so easily. No, her friend was easily one of the strongest people to handle things on their own: some mysterious man wouldn’t change that, right? Beverly tugged angrily at her hair, a frustrated groan leaving her lips. This was not right. He was not right. And from the way [Y/N] looked now compared to what they were a year prior—happy, always smiling, nothing to hide—Beverly’s thoughts became gut-wrenching. She had found out a couple of weeks ago from their parents that they were spending an awful lot of time at Robert’s home, and she recently found out that her friend was no longer going to attend public school: instead they were being homeschooled… By none other than the man who sought after them. What was Robert Gray doing to her friend? Her first few answers to that question caused her to vomit over the roof, which splattered onto the pavement three stories below.

 

He wasn’t doing... that to them, right? Right?

 

Her hands shook, fear filling her heart like a stuffed turkey. If her father was bad enough, then how bad would Robert Gray be exactly? The man seemed perfect without flaw, but that didn’t mean that he was hiding something beneath that chiseled exterior. Beverly felt it deep within her that something was off about the man. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, her throat stinging at the acid, and felt the urge to relax again. But she couldn’t. Who knows what happened in that home, located in a place that no one in Derry could find? Heck, she even tried to look for Robert Gray’s home in the Barrens, but couldn’t find it. She overheard from a few gossiping girls and boys that he had a large mansion, but where the hell would you even build it without notifying the entire town?

More so, how has no one found this mansion yet? The Barrens were large enough to inhabit such a large house, but the way that [Y/N] explained to her that Robert’s family had lived here for a long time… Why has no one talked about him or his family? Considering how popular the Bob Gray brand was, wouldn’t there at least be some history or dedication towards the family name? Everything related to Robert Gray seemed artificial, fake… Imaginary: like a mask hiding whoever Robert Gray really was. Was Robert Gray even his real name? Beverly’s thoughts were soon disrupted by the sound of boyish screams, coming down from below. She returned to the edge of the roof, eyes wide with worry and curiosity. Below was parked Belch Huggins’s car, the roof off, but no one was in the car. So, where was…

“GET AWAY!” That was Victor Criss’s voice without a doubt.

Beverly’s eyes darted back and forth, looking for the platinum-haired boy. And then she saw him, she saw him and Belch… She saw…

Her eyes widened in shock and fear, not sure if what she was seeing was real or not. Her hands gripped tightly at the concrete, terror taking over. Standing in front of the two boys was an amalgam of something, a horrifying creature with sewn body parts and tattered clothes; its form barely illuminated by the single street light. It reminded her of that Frankenstein monster she remembered seeing before at the movies. It was making its way to Victor and Belch. As if something awoke within her, Beverly’s feet instantly rushed off of the roof and down the stairs, her steps heavy and fast, making her way to the scene. Why was she running towards them? Towards It?  

Beverly’s hands shook, stopping just a few feet away from the three. A strange, protective feeling washed over her upon seeing the two—even though she didn’t really care for them much. It felt like she was drawn to them, as if they felt like friends to her. Her hands clenched into fists and her eyebrows were drawn in anger.

“HEY!” She screamed, getting the monster’s attention.

It turned around, blaring red-orange irises burning at her with the angriest of looks: unnaturally sharp teeth trying to escape the rotting maw of the monster. She backed up, whimpering; but faltered when she noticed something. Although the monster was terrifying and monstrous, its large hulking frame made it difficult for it to move quickly. Her eyes darted to Victor and Belch and she held her hand out to them. 

“Come here!” Beverly practically cried, “Hurry!”

Victor was the first to dart past the monster, practically a claw away from being grabbed before leaping into her small frame. Belch, however, was frozen on the spot: eyes blown wide in fear, paralyzed with it. Victor recovered, stumbling on his feet, wanting to get as far away from It as possible. Beverly felt tears running down her face, the fear evident.

Why was no one helping them? How did no one hear this?

“Belch!” Victor screamed, the monster making its way to his friend, “Fucking run! Run!”

Snapped out of a trance, Belch finally came to his senses and had the bearings to compose himself... But it was too late. At that moment the monster shifted, rotting flesh soon being engulfed by thick black fur that made it nearly impossible to see in the dark. Its tattered clothes turned into pants and zipped up letterman jacket screaming “DERRY HIGH SCHOOL”. Beverly and Victor watched in awe and horror as the creature— werewolf —turned around, its eyes bloodshot and full of hunger. The werewolf returned its attention to its prey and at that moment was full of speed that neither of the standing survivors could comprehend. It moved so fast that neither Beverly nor Victor could fully comprehend the sight of the werewolf’s maw biting Belch’s head clean off.

Blood splattered everywhere, coming out of the headless neck, bits of cervical vertebrae sticking out with flailing strings of flesh and muscle. Belch’s body fell flat against the gravel pavement and Beverly let out a scream, hands covering her mouth. Victor stumbled back in shock, his own screams dying in his throat. The werewolf relished in the action, swallowing down thick pieces of flesh like taffy, its clothes and fur sticky with blood, a throaty laugh bubbling up its throat with gore.

It turned to the two, a gleam in its eyes essentially saying “you’re next”. The werewolf charged again, arms splayed out as its claws grew sharper and sharper with each second that it got closer. Beverly charged backwards, whimpering as the monster got closer and closer to Victor. She closed her eyes and covered her ears, fearing the worst.

Meanwhile, Victor watched in shock as Its maw opened widely, revealing shark-like teeth. At that moment he truly believed that he was going to join his friend in death. But at the same time, he felt strangely calm. Not the kind of calm one faces when finally coming to terms with death, but a reassuring calm; the type one would feel from a friend. The type of calm that told Victor that he was going to be okay. The werewolf got closer and raised its open maw, lowering it down on the boy’s head. At that moment, something extraordinary had happened.

The bloody teeth of the creature had barely touched his forehead before the werewolf was thrown back; as if repelled by a sudden force that threw it across the pavement, all the way back to Belch’s corpse. The werewolf howled in pain, grasping and clawing at its head until it bled heavy rivulets of blood that floated upwards. It composed itself after minutes of howling in pain, Beverly and Victor one last look of anger—and was that also confusion that Beverly saw?—and simply winked out of thin air, the only sign of what happened being the headless body that was drowning in a puddle of blood.

Victor shared a look with Beverly, stunned in silence.

-

“So you’re saying that a… werewolf bit his head clean off?”

“We’re fucking serious!” Victor angrily screamed at the officer, not caring if he was crying. “It attacked us! Don’t you see all that fucking blood?!”

“Calm down, son.” The officer waved a reassuring hand to the frazzled boy. He turned to Beverly, who was shaking harder than a leaf, clutching her sides and looking off to the side.

“Now, tell me.” The officer gave her a smile that was meant to calm her down. It didn’t.

“You two weren’t taking drugs, were you?” The officer rose a brow, rising to his full height with crossed arms.

Shortly after the werewolf had disappeared, a woman had arrived home from work, and immediately noticed the two teenagers and the headless body. It didn’t take long for her to ring up the police, who were currently investigating the scene with no leads. There was no clear evidence other than Belch Huggins’s body or blood. Although it had only been a few hours—it was nearly two o’clock in the morning now—since the event happened, the investigators were having an incredibly difficult time finding any other sign of evidence. No fur nor sign of the monster could be found on the scene. Now, that might’ve been just due to the fact that the investigators and officers were still looking, but things seemed pretty bleak in finding the suspect.

Beverly turned to the officer with angry eyes, her hands shaking; she wasn’t sure if it was out of anger or fear.

“We weren’t.” She snapped in a low voice, “We know what we saw. Besides, I wasn’t even with them with it happened. I heard screams and came to help. We both saw the werewolf.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t a bear?” The officer pried, “It was dark.”

“Who fucking gives a shit about what or who killed him!?” Victor rose to his feet, baring his teeth. “He’s dead! Nothing can bring him back!”

The officer sighed, pointing to his baton, to which Victor closed his mouth and sat back down. Satisfied by his obedience the officer crouched in front of the two.

“Look,” The officer gave them a stern look, “I know the two of you are upset but you should leave the rest to the adults. We’ll figure out what killed your friend. I don’t want you two running ‘round town being a pair of fools saying there’s a werewolf here. We already have enough problems as is with these missing kids.”

“Now, go back home. We’ll handle it from here.”

 

 

ii.

 

It was hard for Beverly to go about her day without thinking of the events that happened earlier. She kept thinking about the werewolf, the body, the blood. She couldn’t even enjoy eating that day without remembering the sickening sound of Belch’s head being removed from his body; the sounds of the monster greedily eating his flesh. She’d never eat spaghetti again. She needed to relax, she needed to tell someone else other than Victor; who seemed to be falling into survivor’s guilt within the first hour after the event had occurred. Beverly got on her bike and immediately began to pedal towards Neibolt Street, not caring if it was on the other side of Derry.

Today was a Sunday, which meant that [Y/N] be at their own home and not… Robert’s house. Most of the snow had melted by now and all that was left was dirty splotches of grimy snow and ice that was pushed to the sides of the road. She stopped at the gate of [Y/N]’s house, propping her bike against the sidewalk and anxiously knocked on the door. Mr. and Mrs. [L/N] had fixed up the home rather nicely but didn’t bother to fix the doorbell. A few seconds later the door opened, revealing her friend’s mother.

“Oh, hello Beverly.” She smiled warmly, “Are you here for [Y/N]?”

“Yes, ma’am.” Beverly nodded, mimicking her smile—though it was hard to, considering the fact that she was thinking about Belch’s corpse. She looked behind [Y/N]’s mother, noticing that you weren’t there.

“I’m sorry sweetie.” She gave her a sympathetic look, “They won’t be here until next week.”

“Oh… How come?”

“They’re busy with their new education.” Mrs. [L/N] placed her hands on her hips, “Sorry.”

“It’s… It—It’s fine.” Beverly nodded timidly, “Thank you for letting me know.”

“Anytime, Beverly.”

The door closed softly, leaving the redhead alone to her thoughts. She let out a frustrated and disappointed sigh, her hands clenched into fists. She should’ve known. She should’ve known that they were still staying at his house. Beverly made her way to her bike, running a hand through her hair. Just as she was about to depart she felt a hand on her shoulder. Stunned, afraid, and still paranoid she quickly turned her head, letting out a gasp.

“Woah,” A deep voice chuckled, “Didn’t mean to scare you.”

Upon seeing a normal face, she relaxed and rolled her shoulders. However, she narrowed her eyes upon seeing that she had never seen this person before in her life. She gripped the handles of her bike tighter and walked backwards, giving the person in front of her a once over. The man was nicely dressed, wearing a dark cobalt blue 3-piece suit and black tie. His shoes were shiny and black, slightly dirty at the ends from the snow and dirt. The man stood maybe a foot taller or less than her, so he wasn’t exactly all that intimidating. He had a soft jawline and a cleft chin, with stubble that was lightly shaved off; his hair was a strange mix of honey brown and champagne, with some silver strands (probably from age) here and there. It was swept back but not gelled, making him look somewhere around his early 40’s.

Beverly narrowed her eyes but spoke in a leveled tone.

“Can I help you…?” She tilted her head, ready to pedal away if necessary.

The man chuckled nodding and fixing his suit.

“Actually, yes.” He gave her a kind smile, “I just moved to Derry, and my house is right there—”

He pointed to the house across from 29 Neibolt.

“Do you know where the Dance Hall is?” He let out a frustrated sigh, “I don’t know my way around Derry, and I’m looking for a friend.”

“It’s uh, on Center Street and Pasture Road.” She muttered, “You won’t miss it. There’s a Paul Bunyan statue there.”

“Thank you so much!” The man nodded, walking over to his house, bringing out keys. He paused turning around, giving her a smile again. Beverly gave him a blank stare, not sure how to react. Why was he going to the Dance Hall? Of all the places in Derry? She watched him open the garage and enter a beige colored Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Coupe. He drove out but paused so that the driver’s door was parallel to her. He rolled down the window and gave her that same, eerie smile. He looked as if he had heard the best news in the world, delighted by her telling him where the Dance Hall was. His smile slowly turned into a calm look. Beverly wasn’t sure if she was supposed to say something, but luckily he broke the silence with his words.

“Again, thank you…?” Oh, he wanted to know her name. She bit down her tongue, not sure if she should share that information. But the man seemed nice and looked like he was in a hurry, so she complied.

“Beverly.” She didn’t give him a last name. He nodded understandingly and replied in a calm tone.

 

“Conway Kennedy.”

 

Chapter Text

“Christ—Robert! Where are you—hggn, oh... Oh... fff—fuck!”

You let out an angry, pained groan; holding your head in your hands. You were watching a movie with Robert late at night after dancing with him, enjoying the night together when he had left suddenly: telling you that he had important business to attend to. Tired, you let him go and you were left alone in the house for the remainder of the day. You were relaxing on the Chesterfield sofa when you felt anxiety and panic grip at your heart. It was almost as if you were expecting bad to happen, but nothing was on your mind that could’ve caused you to feel the way you felt. This lasted for a good fifteen minutes before you were hit with one of the strongest pains in your chest. You thought you were dying.

It felt as if someone had torn a piece of your chest or squeezed your heart. You writhed on the hardwood floor, screaming bloody murder in the empty house as pain filled your chest. You called out for Robert, your parents, anyone to answer your call; but nobody came. Alone, you suffered pain within your chest and then to your surprise the pain slowly went away. But this pain was soon replaced with one that throbbed within your head, as if someone had hit you with a baseball bat.

And that’s how you found yourself crying in pain.

You clutched at your head, getting up and having the urge to scratch your eyes and forehead. Were you having an aneurysm? The sharp pains traveled downwards into your nose and you let out a whine, feeling warm liquid slide out of your left nostril. You brought your left hand up and swiped at it, pulling away to realize that blood was dripping down your nose.

Oh my god, you thought to yourself.

I’m dying.

-

A few hours had passed by and you were resting in bed, pillow drenched in tears; not bothering to cover yourself with a blanket. The searing pain had gone away, thankfully, but you were left exhausted and confused and sad. It wasn’t a lonely kind of sad, but one of mourning. You felt as if a piece of you had died, emptiness pooling in a specific spot of yourself despite the fact that you were alive and well. It was the type of sadness that you felt when you realized Georgie went missing. Loss. Loss for who? Tears began to roll down your cheeks on their own, which is what had caused your pillow to be soaked; your hair had also matted down against your cheeks from the tears. Your eyes burned from the unwanted crying. Robert’s bedroom door opened slowly, quietly creaking—which had caused you to sit upright.

“Robert,” you croaked, seeing his tall frame, “I…”

Within seconds he was at your side, holding your head between his hands.

“What happened darling? I’m here,” he spoke with a shaky breath, wiping your tears away with his thumbs. You pulled him onto the bed, holding him in a tight embrace. You inhaled sharply, taking in his smell; finally, something familiar.

“My chest it…” you paused, unsure how to continue, “It felt like it was on fire. I thought I was having a heart attack, and then my head… A-A—And my nose started bleeding a-and I...”

Robert pulled away, enrapturing you in a soothing kiss. You placed a hand against his cheek, finding comfort in the action. The feeling of loss had died down considerably but was still there, gnawing at your head. You rested your other hand against his neck, feeling him shudder against your mouth when your ring made contact with his skin. He pulled away after an agonizing fifteen seconds, resting his forehead against yours with a face full of sorrow.

“Are you okay?” he began to nuzzle his cheek against your neck. “Do I need to take you to the hospital?”

“I… I don’t know. It was all so sudden and…”

You were at a loss of words, too stunned to form a response so you did what helped you calm down: hug him tighter. You could still taste him on your lips—strawberry with a faint hint of honey. There was also a strange metallic aftertaste that followed those sweet flavors, but you didn’t let that distract you from pulling him into another kiss. You realized that this was becoming another way for you to calm down; kissing Robert was always a delight, considering his looks and all, but the way he made you feel made the kiss better than life itself. He made you feel like you were the only real thing in his world, and for a moment you wondered if his previous partners had ever felt the same way. Your thumb brushed against the apple of his cheek, stroking it fondly.

Robert pulled away again, “How are you feeling now?”

“Exhausted,” you huffed, resting your forehead against his chest. “I feel… Sad, for some reason…”

He rose a brow.

“Sad?”

“Mhm.” He replaced the tear-soaked pillow with once from his sofa.

“I feel hurt,” you continued, “as if a part of me has died. I don’t know why.”

A guilty look crossed his features and you wondered the reasoning behind it.

He probably feels bad for leaving me all by myself, you thought. Stripping out of your shirt so that you were only wearing your bra and shorts, you turned off the lamp and embraced Robert again, tugging the blanket over the two of you. You pressed your head against his chest, listening to his heartbeat—Ba-dump. Ba-dump. Ba-dump. He wrapped his arms around you—with one of his hands laying on the small of your back, and the other tangled in your hair. His chin rested on the top of your head. Within a few minutes you were both captured in deep sleep.

 


 

You open your eyes, heart hammering in your chest, frozen in your position; your dream—which you couldn’t recall the events of—slowly fading into the dark recesses of your unconscious mind. You take a deep breath, pressing your nose into Robert’s chest, eyelashes fluttering against his shirt. The events of last were fresh in your mind, but thankfully the unexplainable feelings of sorrow and loss were gone. You tilted your head up, a small smile creeping onto your face. He looked so peaceful sleeping. You shift a little, trying to break out of Robert’s possessive grasp; only to pause in your actions, feeling slickness against your thighs. Fearing the worst, your face paled.

Was it already that time?

Timidly, you began to poke and nudge at Robert; who only grumbled in response, holding you even tighter. You poked his cheek and he lazily opened one eye, which began to focus on you.

“Mghm, what is it?” he groaned.

You stammer out, “I think I’m bleeding.”

That definitely got his attention and he released you, to which you threw the blankets off of you and crawled backwards on your hands and feet; avoiding the bed as best as you can. Robert had also gotten out of bed and you quickly pulled back the covers, letting out a sigh of relief that there was no spot. Still, you hurried to the bathroom, your cheeks flushed in embarrassment. You were definitely on your period. But that also meant that this week was going to be painful for you, considering how bad your time was and you weren’t one to swallow down painkillers. After taking a quick shower, a soft knock resonated from the door, followed by Robert’s muffled voice.

“You okay?”

“Y-Yeah!” you replied. “Can you please get me new clothes?”

Five minutes hadn’t even passed before Robert rushed into the bathroom with a fresh change of clothes for you and placed them on the sink counter-top. You uttered a quiet “thank you”, feeling shy that he hadn’t left; causing you to stand there awkwardly with just a towel wrapped around your body.

“You can go now,” you said in a flustered voice.

Robert leaned against the counter with a cheeky smile.

“Aw, is someone shy?”

“Yes,” you huff out, discreetly slipping on your underwear.

“I’ve seen you naked before. Several times, actually.”

Your cheeks turned red at the bluntness of his statement. “Yeah, well…” You turned around and finished changing, finding it easier to do so when you weren’t directly looking at him. You could feel his gaze burning into your body, your face practically scarlet; slipping the ring back onto your finger. When you’re done, you wrap your hair in the towel. While you’re brushing your teeth Robert comes up from behind and gently rubs your back and shoulders with the pads of his thumbs. Your eyes fluttered for a moment, easing into his touch. It was as if he knew about every little thing that made you in a feel-good mood.

“You don’t have to be shy around me, princess.”

Huh, a new nickname.

“Oh shut up, Rob,” you rolled your eyes, voice muffled by toothbrush. “You like it when I am.”

He hummed, “True.”

“So, are you going out today?” You rinse your mouth, tossing the toothbrush on the counter. You can see Robert shrug from behind before leaving to lean against the counter again; arms crossed. You gave him a once over, suddenly remembering how tall he was—which was further emphasized by the greaser jacket he was wearing today.

He tilted his head, “No, why?”

“You look nice today,”

“Just wanted to look nice for you.”

You giggled, leaving the bathroom with Robert trailing behind. “How do you feel about going to the park?”

“Are you sure?” The two of you walked down the halls, hand in hand. You were about to head towards the kitchen, feeling absolutely starved but held back your hunger: that could wait for now.

“Why not?” you shrug with a smile, “It’s nice out today.”

-

“Alright, nevermind, I regret going out.”

You rested your head against Robert’s arm, holding onto it with both hands for dear life. Despite the fact that it was cold outside, you were sweating and breathing heavily, having to remove your scarf and jacket: revealing the clothes Robert had gotten you after your shower. You were wearing a long floral dress that stopped at your ankles—you had only worn short dresses in front of friends and at home—with a thin, white belt that wrapped around your waist. To finish the look you wore white ballerina flats and short lace gloves. Despite the initial fear of wearing all nearly all white on your period, you wanted to look nice for Robert and complied with his choice of clothing for you.

However, despite the fact that you were enjoying yourself plenty, the cramps finally came: which is how you ended up leaning against Robert’s arm, face twisted in pain. He was gently petting your hair, concern on his face. Surprisingly, no one seemed to pay any mind to the two of you. Bassey Park was surprisingly empty, save for a few families here and there.

“Do you want to go home?”

You shake your head, “No. I’m… It’ll pass.”

“I can’t imagine going through that every month.” He chuckled. “Must be hard.”

“Of course, it’s hard,” You snapped back playfully, “I’m literally bleeding.”

“We can go home if you want to.”

“And do what? No offense, but I’m not in the mood for movies or dancing.”

He held a mischievous glint in his eye.

“I can think of something.” Robert rested his hand against your thigh, fingers splayed out.

What was he talking about?

There’s… Oh… OH—!

You opened your mouth in surprise, “B-Bu—But! I-I’m on…”

“I don’t mind.” He shrugged, giving your thigh a gentle squeeze. Heat flooded in your cheeks and between your legs, making you stammer out and pull away from him, uttering words that came out as simple syllables and single-lettered sayings.

“I, uh…”

You were at a loss. His smug grin grew wider.

“I didn’t know you were into… T-That.” It was hard to hide the flushed tremble in your voice.

You let out a strangled cough, “Not now, though.”

“But you’re interested in it?”

Jesus Christ, how am I supposed to respond to him?

“I-I don’t know,” You blushed profusely, “T-T—That’s something I’m… I—I, uh, shit. That’s… I’ve never thought about it.”

“Aw, did I get you all flustered, darling?” He pulled you back to him so that your back was flush against his chest. You crossed your arms and huffed, brushing your hair out of your face. You nodded shyly when his gaze focused on you.

“Sorry, I won’t tease you any longer.” He chuckled, letting you go.

You let out a deep breath out of relief, “Thank you.”

“Anytime.” Robert stood up, taking your coat and scarf in his hands, “Hungry?”

“God, I’m starving.” You groaned, holding onto his arm still. “Do you have any favorite places to eat here?”

“Hm… Not really.” He began walking down the street with you following him behind. Center Street, as always, was bustling with life and activity: even on the cold and cloudy days. The fact that no one was paying attention to you and Robert made it easier for you to relax against him, laying your head on his arm as the two of you walked. The stores and streets were decorated in Easter decorations, with the holiday coming in a few weeks from now, and a question rose to the front of your mind.

“I know you probably haven’t but, have you ever celebrated Easter?”

“No.” Robert shook his head, “Name any holiday and I can guarantee that I was too young to remember celebrating it, or I’ve never done it… Except for—”

“Christmas.” You giggled, “Did you enjoy it?”

“It was fun.” He glanced at the Paul Bunyan statue.

“I hope that we can do that again.” You smile.

Robert mimicked your smile though he seemed hesitant about the suggestion. Why is he acting like that? You paused, walking out of the sidewalk and towards the dead tree not too far away from the statue. Robert followed your movements with a curious look in his eye. You took a deep breath, taking both of his hands in your own. Your furrowed your brows.

“Why do you act like that?” You whisper.

“What do you mean?” He looked nervous at your question.

“That,” You held his hands tighter, “You get nervous whenever I mention doing things again, or talking about the future. Remember that talk we had a while ago? When you told me that you weren’t going to be here long?”

“Yes.” He said quietly.

“What did you mean by that?” You bit your lip, “Are you sick?”

“I’m not—I-I…” He huffed, looking off to the side before meeting your eyes.

“I want you to be honest with me, Robert… Please.”

“I...” He sighed, removing one of his hands to run it through his hair.

He placed a hand on your cheek softly: a patient and apologetic look had formed in his eyes.

“I’m sick, and I’m afraid that I won’t be here much longer.”

Nervousness and fear struck at your heart. You held onto his hand, the one with the ring on it, tighter. Fearing the worst, something in the back of your mind told you not to ask anymore questions—but you had to. You had to know.

“Sick, how?”

He was silent, almost as if he was carefully choosing his words.

A somber look fell across his features.

“Brain tumor.”

You felt your words get stuck in your throat at that moment. Your mouth opened, unable to utter out words: tears brimming in your eyes at the information. You felt your hands tightening even more. Time almost felt still for you at that moment upon hearing the news. The world didn’t feel so big all of a sudden and all you could focus on was Robert.

“Tumor?” You choked out, “How long did you know—”

“December.” Robert seemed as anxious as you, “Do you recall when you fainted at the diner?”

“Yeah.” You nodded.

“I found out a couple of days before that. I… I wanted to tell you which is why—”

“—you were there that day.” You finished for him in a soft voice, looking down. Needing to relax your spinning mind you walked towards the nearest bench, sitting down, still holding Robert’s hands.

“Yes.” He ran his thumb over your ring, “I knew you were still upset with me, but I had to. I-I… I didn’t have anyone else to tell and I…”

He let out a pitiful sob that made you wrap your arms around him.

“How long?” You asked, burying your face in his neck. You felt him wrap his own arms around your form, his hands grasping at your sides tightly, feeling his chest heave with quiet cries. You rested your hands on the sides of his face, gingerly brushing away his tears.

“Two years.” He muttered back, “It’s really bad.”

“Where is it?”

He pointed to a spot on the side of his head, “Right here.”

“Does…” You swore under your breath, trembling. “Does it hurt…?”

“Some days, yes.” He rested his head against yours, “Other times it feels like I’m dying.”

“Oh my God. Robert, I—” You held back a whimper, “Did you ever plan on telling me? Other than that one time?”

He looked to the side, “No.”

You choked on your words, fingers tangling in his hair. Thoughts and questions began to block your thinking, and soon the only thing that was on your mind was Robert and his well-being. You felt a pang of betrayal and hurt that he hadn’t planned on sharing this information. What was he going to do? Not tell you and leave without telling you why? 

“Why?” You asked in a trembling voice.

“I was afraid that you’d leave me.” He shuddered, “I thought that you wouldn’t want to be with someone who’s dying.”

Dying. Just the word made you sick to your stomach. You pulled away from him, looking at him straight in the eyes, your hands trembling in fear. Your gaze softened and you planted a quick, chaste kiss on his lips: not caring if anyone saw. All you could see, feel, was Robert at that moment. Suddenly, everything that he had done for you—providing you with everything from a place to stay, someone to love, and so much more—became much more meaningful.

“I’d never leave you.” You murmured, “If anything, I’d want to stay with you more. I don’t want you to be lonely, and…”

Robert interrupted you with a quiet “I love you.” and pulled you in for another kiss, tilting your head and placing his hands on your shoulders. You kissed him back, your fingers digging into his cheeks, sighing as he moved his hands so that they were intertwined into your long hair. The smell of him and something else that you couldn’t pinpoint had completely enraptured you, urging you to never let him go—but eventually, you had to. You pulled away so that your lips were no longer touching, but your foreheads and noses were.

“I love you too.” You gave him a weak smile, staring into his eyes: which had begun to turn red and puffy after he cried. You turned your head curiously, wondering if anyone had witnessed the event.

Thankfully, no one was around.

“So,” Robert let out a soft laugh, “You still hungry? I hope I didn’t ruin your mood…”

“Yeah, y-yeah—I... I’m just still processing everything.” You leaned closer into him, “I just need another moment.”

“I hope this doesn’t change the way you think of me,” He said with a pout.

You shake your head and wrap your arms around him, afraid to let him go. “It doesn’t, trust me.”

“I’m just scared.” You took a deep breath, “I won’t find someone as good as you when you… When…”

“Hey.” He grabbed your chin gently with his hand, tilting your head up. “Don’t worry about that. I’m still here. Besides, I might plan on getting surgery if my oncologist says so. I mean, it’s not looking good so far, but at least it’s benign.”

“Benign…?”

“Not cancerous.” He chuckled, “Still, it’s pressing on an artery and—”

“I-I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” You interrupted him with a shaky breath, trying to hold back a cry.

His eyes softened even more and he nodded understandably, helping you stand up: wrapping the scarf around your neck and helping you put on your coat. For once you weren’t hesitant in holding his hand, your knuckles bone-white from holding it so tightly. Robert placed his other hand on your own, giving you a reassuring smile.

“It’s okay, [Y/N]. I’m not going anywhere. You can relax.”

You looked to the side, “Sorry.”

“No need to apologize.” He stretched his other arm outwards to Center Street, “Now, shall we?”

His words brought a smile on your face and you nodded, following him down the street towards one of the restaurants. Unbeknownst to the two of you, a sharply-dressed man followed behind: intrigued by your emotional exchanged. The more the man noticed how weak and vulnerable Robert Gray was, the more comfortable he was in getting closer to his target.

Neither of you had noticed the strange flock of pigeons that watched your every movement.

 

Chapter Text

“She keeps staring at you.” You grumble quietly, holding onto the menu tightly: giving the waitress a side-glance (one that she wouldn’t be able to notice) every few seconds. Robert placed his menu back on the table and chuckled, taking in your hesitant expression with very amused eyes. It almost hurts to see how beautiful he is whenever he looks at you: God, you still couldn’t get over his looks.

Robert took a sip of water, “Are you jealous, darling?”

“I, uh—Uhm… Yes.” You replied, your cheeks turning pink. It’s not like you were going to lie to him, even if it was about the simplest of things. You had been afraid of lying to him for quite some time now, but at this point—after he told you about his medical condition—you wanted to be as open and as close to him as possible. Robert’s smug smile turned upwards into a full on grin.

“Relax.” He reached a hand out to pull down your menu, “Besides, doesn’t even come close to the perfection that you have.”

“Oh, stop flattering me.” You giggle, resting your head in your hands. “We both know that I’m not all that special.”

“You are.” He said in an airy tone, “I wish I could do more to make you see that.”

“Well I—”

“Can I get you two started on anything?” The waitress interrupted, resting a hand against her hip. You felt a little annoyed at this but nodded nonetheless, giving her a sweet smile. However, she seemed more invested in looking at Robert than you.

“I’ll share with them.” Robert spoke with a tight-lipped smile. She turned to you, pen and receipt book in hand.

“Uh—” You stammered, “The mutton pastie… Please.”

“Are you sure you don’t want nothin, honey?” The waitress tried biting her lip to look sultry and seductive, but it came off as creepy and poorly-executed. “I can get you a special, on the house… By me.”

Robert spoke with a disinterested voice, turning his head away from her, “No thank you.”

She huffed and walked away with your menus, allowing you to sigh in relief. Robert’s deadpanned face broke out in a giddy face, laughter threatening to bubble from his throat.

“Don’t even start.” You huffed, playing with the utensils.

“It’s cute to see you jealous.” He reached out to pinch your cheek, making you pout.

“I wish I could say the same about you.”

“Ouch.” Robert feigned hurt, resting a hand over his heart. “That was low.”

“Hmmm, not really.”

“Still, you don’t need to worry about her… Unless…”

“Unless what…?” You narrowed your eyes.

“Do I need to worry about her?” He asked in a serious voice. You glanced at the waitress—who was helping another table—again with more curious eyes. She was a bit taller than you, with champagne-colored hair that was tied back in a french braid, and had dark brown eyes. She looked like she had come straight out of high school, maybe a year or two older than you. Her hair had covered her name-tag, but you could barely make out the letter “S” at the start. Despite how pretty she was, she still had that nasty look in her eye and had stiletto nails (which was probably a big health hazard). You turned your attention back to Robert.

“S-She’s pretty.” You admit, hiding your face in your hands, “But I-I… I’m not—”

You were going to say that you weren’t interested in her (or women at all), but that would’ve been a lie. Robert only grew more amused at your reactions, locking his fingers together on top of the table.

“I’m just messing with you.” He shyly tilted his head. “No one can come close to how well I treat you.”

“Oh, really now?”

“Mhm. I’d literally give you the world and more.”

You smile, “You should become a writer someday, Rob—Oh, look!”

You stopped talking to point out the window beside you, making Robert turn his upper body around to glance behind him. A single rock pigeon was perched against the window, tilting its head. If Stan was with you, he could probably tell you exactly what type of pigeon it was; because it didn’t look like an ordinary pigeon. It looked more like a mix of different types of pigeons, if you were being honest with yourself. It was black and white, with a neck of colored feathers that glimmered with the colors of an Alexandrite—magenta, purple, and green. It walked from side to side, staring directly at you.

“That’s pretty…” You muttered, scooting your chair to the window.

Surprisingly, the pigeon didn’t fly away: in fact, it inched closer to you. Seeing the feathers on the neck of the bird had reminded you of something. Someone… Someone who you hadn’t thought of since you moved to Derry. The name of the person was lost at the tip of your tongue. In the corner of your eye, you could see Robert looking at you with a curious but oddly suspicious glint in his eyes: raising a brow. You were shaken out of your thoughts when the waitress came back with two full plates of the meat pie. You thanked her and stopped, looking at her name tag with narrowed eyes. Sharon Brown. Wait a minute—Sharon Brown as in the Sharon Brown?

The one the Joseph dumped?

As she walked away your face paled and you instantly grabbed your fork to distract yourself.

“Well, she’s definitely off limits now.” You let out a nervous chuckle, “My friend dumped her recently.”

“How come?” For some reason, he looked at you as if he already knew the answer.

You take a bite of the pie—a brief memory of Mike telling you that he delivered meat across Derry—and pause, scarfing down another bite. The pigeon outside still hadn’t left: its strange reddish-orange eyes looking at you intently.

You shrugged, “She’s… Not a good person. But I don’t see anything wrong with her.”

“A lot of people hide their true selves to others.” Robert said cryptically.

“I guess…” You look out the window again, “Huh, look at that. The pigeon’s still here.”

Robert muttered under his breath, “Weird…”

You giggled at his suspicious eyes, taking in his tense appearance.

“Do all animals make you uncomfortable?” You tease. “You seemed pretty shaken up by me just talking about my weird turtle dreams.”

“Not all animals…” He grumbled, still not touching his food. “Just the turtle. I hate turtles.”

You gave him a blank stare, and then began to laugh: hard. So hard that you had to drop your fork and clench your sides, not sure if the pain was from your cramps or from laughing. Robert, who was usually calm and collected, looked at you with an embarrassed expression on his face.

“What’s so funny?”

“You—You! You sounded so serious!” You said in between laughs.

He glowered, “I am serious. Turtles are dumb.”

This only caused you to laugh even more, almost throwing your head back.

“I know what to get you for Christmas, then.” You grinned cheekily.

“[Y/N].” He said sternly, “I swear if you buy me a turtle…”

“I’ll think on it.”

You glance at his plate.

“Not hungry?”

“Starving, actually.” He licked his lips, “I’m always hungry.”

“You better eat then,” You chuckle, “You’re paying for the food.”

“I’ll eat something else.” He shook his head, “My diet is heavily limited.”

As he said that Sharon came to your table with a box and the check. Funny enough, there was also a piece of paper attached to it. It looked like…

“She gave you her phone number.” You pointed out. Robert rolled his eyes and immediately tossed the scrap of paper into his half-empty glass of water, making you stammer and almost choke on your food.

He grinned at you, “It’s a good thing that I don’t have a phone, then.”

Leaving a crisp twenty dollar bill on the table, he motioned you to follow him outside. Carrying the whole Irish-styled pie inside of the box in your hands, you walked back towards Bassey Park: which was where his car was parked at. While you were walking you could hear cooing behind you and you stopped, looking down and behind you. What the hell?

You latched onto Robert’s sleeve, “Uh, Rob?”

“What is i—” He cut himself off with narrowed eyes.

The pigeon was still following you.

“Please don’t tell me that I’m Snow White.” You chuckle nervously, to which Robert looked at you blankly. Okay… He probably never saw that movie but still—he should’ve been familiar with the reference. Right? The pigeon followed your movements, inching closer before it lunged at you: flying upwards an on your shoulder. You let out a yelp, taking a step behind as it perches on the crux of your shoulder and neck. Robert awkwardly tries to swat at it without hitting you in the process, but the bird wouldn’t budge.

First a lamb, now a pigeon. What’s next? A lion?

“Well, I guess you’re coming with me little guy.” You smile, petting the monochrome-styled creature on the head.

Robert looked at it strangely, “Why are you petting it?”

“Cause it’s on my shoulder.” You shrug, “Plus, it’s almost rare for a bird to let you pet it.”

“It could have diseases.” He warned.

“Possibly. But you don’t seem too worried…”

As if on command, the bird flew away without a second to spare, leaving the two of you stunned in silence. Disappointed, you dropped your hand and slumped your shoulders. Robert gingerly took your hand and began walking.

You sigh, “Well, there goes my fun…”

“Don’t be so sad.” Robert smiles, “Besides, you have Holland at home.”

“You’re right.”

He teased, “Aren’t I always?”

“Oh shut up.” You rolled your eyes, “Smartass.”

 

 

ii.

 

Conway Kennedy didn’t care much for human rules and formalities: he was more of a straight-to-the-point type of creature.

Still, he needed to tread carefully in this quaint little town if he was to continue his job properly. Even if that meant he had to use a little bit of glammer to make him look more human than taheen, then so be it. He wasn’t too particularly fond of this form—humans had always disgusted him—but he had to make do. If that’s what the King wanted, then he’d carry out his wishes. Conway sat on a leather swivel chair, in his natural form, tilting his head back and forth as he looked at the piles of information (that he had collected within his first few days of being in Derry) stacked before him. Everything he needed to know was stored there, with the basic information stored back in his mind.

He was here to bring the Breaker of Beams home. No, not the house across from him, but to the home of the Crimson King, himself. The King had been keeping a close eye on them ever since their lights had threatened to come out prematurely, but with problems of his own—the biggest one being none other than Roland Deschain, the Gunslinger—it would be hard to maintain watch over them. And so, Conway was reassigned to watch over the Breaker of Beams. There was no way that he would be able to deny this mission, unlike the last time. It was either the Breaker (he never really cared for them much, so their name meant nothing to him), or his family’s heads at the throne of the Crimson King.

There were several obstacles in the way, however. The self-proclaimed Eater of Worlds as awake and about, and seemed incredibly adamant about not leaving the Breaker’s side. IT was solely the reason why Conway hadn’t dared to follow the Breaker to Maine in the first place. Who in their right mind would dare to enter ITs domain?

Durham Monroe, of course. And where did he end up? Dead: devoured by the creature that had plagued Derry for millions of years. A cold crawl trailed up Conway’s back, making him shiver and his feathers bristle in defense. He was scared, there was no doubt about it, but in the duration of being in Derry—his fear had subsided for the moment. IT was weak. Not in the sense of power—the “Eater of Worlds” was one of the strongest beings from the Prim aside from the King, and a handful of other todash monsters—but in emotion.

Conway noticed that IT had a weakness for the Breaker of Beams, and wondered what events led to this. He watched IT prance around town with the Breaker like a love-sick puppy, showing emotions that Conway would never imagine a creature like IT to have. It was almost surreal to watch: something as dark and destructive as IT—expressing love. Conway would use this information to his advantage later on, but still needed to make a plan of action. IT was by the Breaker’s side at all times, and retrieving them would be an incredibly difficult task.

Then again, IT seemed very adamant on following human rules in the presence of the Breaker.

Their parents, however, were an easy outlier to manipulate in achieving his mission. The Breaker’s parents were under the impression that IT (or rather, Robert Gray) was a trust-worthy “man” that would care for the Breaker. It would not be hard for Conway to reveal the truth about IT’s persona to the Breaker’s parents. He could fall into the guise of a CPS Social Worker or Private Detective (something he was considering when the Breaker was a child), and prove to them that “Robert Gray” had been doing things to their precious little child. He had more than enough evidence to provide that claim. That could easily get IT out of the picture, and allow Conway to retrieve the Breaker.

His feathers bristled again, annoyance filling his mind as he continued to create his plan. One wrong move, and he could end up dead—whether it was by the hands of IT or the Crimson King, he didn’t want to know.

In the back of Conway’s mind, he wondered if it would’ve been better to just let the Crimson King kill his family.

 

 

iii.

 

“Why is everyone so dumb in these films?”

“Because it makes the story more interesting. No one wants to watch a movie where people avoid the scary stuff.”

Robert let out a frustrated huff, moving his hand from your waist so that it was resting above your pelvis, holding you close to his chest. You let out a content sigh and snuggle back, watching the movie with slight interest. Coming back home, you were feeling exhausted and slightly bloated you quickly find yourself changing into more comfortable attire, and resting in one of the living rooms in the East Wing of Robert’s home. You were watching Child’s Play, though most of the time was dedicated to laughing at Robert’s confusion as he watched the film.

“Mhm, can’t say that you’re wrong though.” He chuckled, “It’s better when they’re scared.”

“Eh, the scares are okay.” You shrugged, intertwining your hand with his, “That’s why I prefer psych thrillers.”

He rose a brow, tilting his head, “What do you mean?”

“Personally, the scares seem better when they’re drawn out.” You continue, “Like, a build-up of a scare, rather than just putting them all out. It creates a more tense atmosphere and draws the audience in.”

Robert took your words with consideration, moving his hand back and forth: making you shiver. You sighed through your nose and let your eyes flutter, breaking your attention away from the television to tilt your head back, pressing back into him. The comfort and contact was always the best thing about being with Robert, because he always took the time to make sure that your needs were met first before his. Thinking back to him, you felt yourself stutter in your thoughts—remembering what he had told you.

He has a brain tumor, and he said he only has a few years left. I’ll be alone when the time comes, all alone. Oh my God, what am I going to do? He’s my world, I can’t Ican’ticanticant—

 

“You okay, darling?”

 

You opened your eyes, vision slightly bleary, as your eyes settle on Robert: who turned you over so that you were sitting side-ways on his lap. You let out a few shaky breaths before shaking your head, wrapping your arms around him. There’s no words in your response, only the sounds of sobs as you break down again. Was this a normal reaction? Was this okay? Are you okay? Everything seems so much more sensitive and fragile, but you’re not sure if that’s your menstrual cycle talking. All you know is that you don’t want to let him go, and you didn’t feel keen on leaving his side. For a moment, you forgot that your friends and family existed, because all that seemed real at the moment was Robert.

Denial was a real damn bitch.

Robert mutters quiet things in your ear as he rocks back and forth slightly, strangely calm about the ordeal. He seemed to be taking the news rather calmly, then again—he did receive the news in December, so it’s likely that he’s come to terms with it all. But you, you haven’t.

Your chest feels like it’s on fire from crying, and it takes a half hour for you to recover. By the time you’re done, the collars of both of your shirts are soaked in your tears. There’s so much that you want to say, so much that you want to know, but everything gets lost whenever you open your mouth: weak breaths begin to replace words. You feel helpless and confused more than anything else, you don’t feel angry—just lost.

“I’m going to be okay.” He says in a soft voice.

You wish that you could believe him this time, but you don’t.

 

Chapter Text

For someone who disliked humans a lot, Conway did have a knack for liking the same stuff as them. He enjoyed music, the flute being his favorite instrument despite the fact that he couldn’t play it, and incredibly admired human architecture. The house across his temporary residence was where the Breaker (when they weren’t within the confines of Robert Gray’s home) had resided. It was incredibly outdated compared to the other houses surrounding it: a relic amongst the future. Without a doubt this was also the entrance to ITs domain, Conway could literally feel the negative energy rolling off it. He’d have to hurry before IT detected his presence; although the glammer he had used was strong, it would eventually wear thin and his cover would be blown.

Dressed in a darker version of his suit and tie, he smoothed out his hair and stood in front of a mirror: practicing different emotions with his face. He was never expressive in his true form, so he’d have to make sure that he knew how to at least express himself. He didn’t want to come off as strange and suspicious—he needed to gain the Breaker’s parents’ trust first. Grabbing a clipboard that was stuffed with evidence (which consisted of photos and documents provided by himself and his pets), he gave one last smile to himself before exiting the house. It was very fortunate that the previous residents of the house he was staying at, had moved out of Derry. Clean shoes made contact with clean asphalt, the taheen-disguised-as-a-man made his way towards the house. For good measure, he clipped a fake ID card onto the breast of his suit.

It was Sunday and the Breaker’s parents were patiently awaiting their arrival, perfect. By the time he was done explaining, the Breaker would be home and “Robert Gray” would have to be stopped. Conway didn’t underestimate ITs powers, so he took the action to make sure that the glammer (provided to him by the Crimson King) he used would be enough to stop IT from manipulating the Breaker’s parents. The fact that they weren’t from Derry made things all the easier to get the Breaker’s parents on his side. Conway’s smile widened as he briskly knocked on the door. His expression fell flat into a somber, sympathetic one as soon as the Breaker’s mother opened the door.

“Can I help you?” She asked, raising a brow.

“Are you Sarah Randall, mother of [Y/N] King?”

She nodded wearily, “Who’s asking?”

“Ah, where are my manners...” Conway chuckled, “My name is Conway Kennedy. I work for CPS as a private investigator.”

Of course, he didn’t need to get into the legal matters of the case, he just needed to present his evidence and be on his merry way. Besides, persuading the parents into believing every word he said would not be hard at all. The shock of the revelation would be able to cloud their judgement and logic of the situation. He watched as the Breaker’s mother paled, eyes widening in shock and confusion.

“CPS…?” She questioned with a gasp.

“Yes.” His face fell back into muteness. “Our office received an anonymous report a few days ago stating that your child has been sexually exploited and abused.”

The Breaker’s mother began to sputter excessively, placing her hands over her mouth.

“What do you mean—!”

The Breaker’s father came into view, “What’s going on…?”

“O-Our… Our baby…”

“Mrs. Randall, I know this may be troubling news, but I’d like to elaborate on my reasoning for being here.” Conway bowed his head respectively to the Breaker’s father. “Do I have your permission to interview?”

“Yes! Yes… O-Of… Of course. Please come in.”

Conway entered quickly when the Breaker’s mother allowed him to enter, making himself at home in the living room. Behind him he could hear the parents bicker behind him in hurried and panicked voices. It was amusing to hear the Breaker’s father exclaim a string of slurs when he sat down. He allowed them to talk amongst each other, one leg crossed over the other, taking in their expressions with glee. The Breaker’s mother was already in tears while the father was red in the face.

“I don’t know about you, but neither me nor my wife would ever lay a hand on our child!” The father fumed, hands shaking.

Conway nodded understandably, “I am aware of that sir, but the report was not done about you.”

“What do you mean?” The mother narrowed her eyes.

“The report was directed towards your child’s third guardian: Mr. Robert Gray.” 

The room became dead silent… And then the yelling ensued.

A hidden smile of success and amusement glimmered in Conway's eyes.

 

Explaining the rest would be a piece of cake.

 

Chapter Text

When you wake up, its to the feeling of Robert’s arms around your bare back and his face buried in your neck. A hot, stark-red blush creeps up your cheeks when your hands trail upwards until they’re resting around his waist: the skin-to-skin contact feels agonizingly blissful and amazing. You’re dead tired and absolutely exhausted, he really worked you up until you couldn’t take it anymore. It had been a few days since Robert told you about his terminal illness, and you ended up dedicating your time to being with him. You didn’t intend for the events of… Last night, to happen, but you didn’t oppose it either. The plan was for you to go home on Sunday, which was a whole week ago. You really didn’t want to leave Robert at all, not after he had dumped all of that information on you. Surprisingly, he hadn’t left your side either, even in sleep.

Your eyelids flutter at the memory, taking a deep breath and holding him closer to you. At first there was the initial fear and anxiety that struck you when things started, but Robert had done well in his promise for keeping things as slow and gentle as possible for you. 

Robert stirs beside you, shivering when your hands trail higher until they’re wrapped around his neck. A smirk tugs at your lips and you move your head to give him a chaste kiss on his neck. He stirs a little more until he removes his face from your neck, looking at you with lazy, loving eyes. You return his look with a small smile, your heart hammering in your chest.

“Morning, darling.” Robert kisses your nose, “How are you feeling?”

You let out a quiet groan, “Tired.”

He laughs, sliding his hands up until they’re cupping your arms, thumbs brushing against your chest and collarbones. His smile widens when you shiver, burying your nose into his neck. He begins peppering light kisses against your jawline, running his lips over your bite-covered shoulders. Letting out a shaky sigh, you stop him despite how amazing it felt. You don’t think that you’d last another one without passing out.

“I don’t think I can do that again.” You let your head fall back against the pillow, “That was… intense…”

Robert hums, running his hands up and down your sides. “You did so well.”

His praise sends a flurry of fuzzy emotions to your brain and you pull him closer than he already was. You want to get out of bed, but at the same time you wanted to sleep. You felt blissfully at peace, and you loved every second of it. You kissed him again, propping your arms up so that you were sitting upright.

“I love you.” He smiled.

“I love you too.”

-

For some reason, on the way back to your parents’ house (you had stopped calling it your home at some point, considering the fact that you stayed at Robert’s for most of the week), you immediately felt a tense presence as soon as you left the Barrens. It wasn’t like an itching, mourning sadness: but something akin to dread. Wearing comfortable attire, you nervously fiddled with the drawstrings of your hoodie, breathing quietly as you passed by the open fields, passing the Hanlon farms, and past the Bowers’ residence. You were getting close to home, and the feeling had only gotten worse. Robert glanced at you for a moment.

“You seem fidgety today.”

You gave him a weak smile, “I feel nervous.”

“Is it because of last night?” He rose a brow, “Don’t be afraid. They won’t know.”

You shake your head, “I’m not… It’s—I-I-I… I feel like something bad is going to happen.”

That definitely got his attention, and he took the time to pull over, taking in your every word with consideration.

“Bad...? How?”

“I don’t know…” You whispered, “I just… I don’t know. Crap, I-I… It’s probably just me being paranoid.”

Robert looks hesitant but nods nonetheless, continuing to drive. The feeling grew worse with each passing minute, the houses falling by in a blur. You’re probably just giddy, excitable and nervous to keep a drastic secret from your parents. Sure, things were pretty tense beforehand but now that you’ve actually been with Robert, it feels as if you had crossed some hidden line: but your parents wouldn’t understand. Robert had two years left to live (something only you and his doctor knew), and you were going to make sure that he was happy within those two years. You had dreaded the idea of his illness to be something that drove you two apart, but it only brought the two of you closer than before. Yeah, you definitely love him with all your being. You reached a hand to touch the sleeve of his jacket, smiling. He turned to you with a matching grin, removing one of his hands from the wheel to hold yours.

You turned back to the road, and your smile soon faded, eyebrows narrowing. You removed your hand, leaning forward.

“Robert.” You pointed to your house, “Look.”

He didn’t pay any mind to the road until you said that. There were two police cars waiting at the front, along with five people—two of which were your parents—and one who you didn’t recognize. You unbuckle your seatbelt, not caring if Robert hadn’t stopped the car yet. If your heart was hammering before, then it was practically ready to burst from your chest.

“What’s going on…?” You glanced at him curiously.

If looks could kill, then Robert’s had practically murdered everyone in the vicinity. Panic began to seep in and once he stopped the car you quickly exited: for some reason, Robert hadn’t left the car, but you were too concerned to care. Your father was the first to notice, and his glare practically matched Robert’s, but his anger was not directed at you; but rather, for you.

“Where have you been?!” Your father barked, grabbing your arm and roughly dragging you to your mother.

“I—!”

Your mother cut you off, “Why didn’t you tell us?!”

“Tell…?” You asked, breathless.

“About Robert!” Your father said angrily.

The police officers and mysterious man watched the exchange quietly, almost waiting for you to reply. Robert had exited the car, but was slowly making his way towards you all: cautious but not afraid. He seemed more confused and angry than anything else.

Your father’s words had stunned you.

 

Did they know…?

 

They knew.

 

Instead of feeling shame or denial, you blubber and stammer out words in Robert’s defense but they fall on deaf ears. You see the officers and the man approach Robert. You can’t breathe, can’t think, all you can do is cry and scream at them.

Robert gives them a cautious glare, “What appears to be the problem?”

“You, sir.” The mysterious man laughed, pointing to his ID badge, “My name is Conway Kennedy, and I work as a private investigator for CPS.”

This was the officers’ cue to bring out a pair of handcuffs. You felt your words die in your throat, looking at the scene with bleary eyes and a sore throat from crying. Wait, that man’s name sounded familiar… No, there’s no way—

“Robert Gray,” The officer says, “You are now under arrest for the assault and sexual abuse of a minor.”

The other officer began to tell Robert his rights, and one of them had even placed a hand on his arm to usher him to the police vehicle. Robert looked at them with now-blank eyes, but didn’t comply, not moving from his spot: his attention seemed heavily focused on Conway Kennedy (Christ, where have you heard that name before?). Your mouth opened, but no words came out. Robert’s eyes glanced at you for a moment, assessing the situation, before a smile broke out on his face. The sun made his eyes seem more yellow than brown at that moment.

“Officers, I think you must be mistaken.” He says calmly, turning to your parents, “I would never lay a hand on your child.”

“Bullshit!” Your father yelled, hands clenching. “Mr. Kennedy told us everything.”

Robert’s eyebrows furrowed, “An accusation without evidence.”

“Y-You’re wrong!” Your mother cried, “Mr. Kennedy showed us! He has the pictures and documents!”

Your eyes flickered to Mr. Kennedy’s clipboard and paled. One of the photos on there was you and Robert, in Bassey Park (a week ago, when Robert told you about his tumor), kissing . It didn’t help the fact that there was another photo underneath, one that made you shake: it looked like a picture of your sheets after Robert… You clasped your hands over your mouth, gasping in shock and horror. How did he even find them? You threw those away months ago! More so, how did neither of you notice anyone seeing? No one saw…

Who was this man and how did he find out?

“Now, everyone.” Robert’s eyes gleamed again, “Please, uncuff me. I can ex—”

“You can explain when you get to the station.” Mr. Kennedy interrupted with a smug face, “Officers. Take him away.”

Robert looked surprisingly shocked that no one listened to him. His hands shook, and you feared the worst. However, he closed his mouth, gave everyone a glare, and silently entered one of the police cars. You watched as they drove him away, leaving you, your parents, and Mr. Kennedy together. Your mother immediately engulfed you into a hug, and paused—staring at your scarf—and removed it without another word. You let out another gasp, hands reaching to hide your neck but it was no use.

“I knew it, I fucking knew it.” Your father didn’t care if he spewed out profanity, all he cared about were the hickeys on your neck. You glanced at your father and your mother with teary eyes, and finally the feelings settled in.

 

Guilt.

 

Hurt.

 

Shame.

 

No words were needed to be spoken. The truth was out. Mr. Kennedy rose a brow but gently and calmly removed your mother from you, and placed a reassuring hand on your shoulder. You were mad at this man but embarrassed that he had found out.

He turned to your parents, “Mr. and Mrs. [L/N], may I please speak to your child in private? They may not be in a stable condition to see you now, and I need to explain their situation to them.”

“Please do.” Your mother nodded solemnly. Mr. Kennedy returned his attention to you.

“Are you okay with me asking you a few questions?”

Unable to speak, you nodded, and he led you back inside the house: sitting you on one of the dining chairs. He sat across from you, hands folded together on the table. He seemed deep in thought, carefully choosing his words. You fiddled nervously with your hands, still breathing heavily, fingers brushing against the ring on your finger. This action didn’t go unnoticed by him.

“Now, [Y/N].” He said slowly, “Are you aware of what you have been doing?”

You nodded and swallowed a knot that had formed in your throat.

“Are you aware that you may have not have consented fully to what Mr. Gray has done to you?”

Your eyebrows furrowed and you gave him a confused look. What did he mean by that? Of course you consented! Now the “first time” wasn’t exactly right, but you were past that, and you completely knew what you were doing…

“What do you mean?” You question shakily.

Mr. Kennedy’s eyebrows drew down in a sympathetic look.

“You are a minor.” He stated in a factual tone, “And as a minor, you don’t have the capacity to understand the situation.”

“But I—”

“I understand you think you understand,” He continued, “but I don’t think you’re grasping the reality of it all.”

“I’m not sure what you mean…” You trail off, already having an exact idea of what he meant.

“How old are you again? 15?”

“16.” You look down, “17 this year.”

“And how old is Mr. Gray?”

You looked back at him with guilty eyes, “28.”

“Do you think it is acceptable for a 16-year-old to be with someone who is nearly 30?” You popped your knuckles to distract the feeling of your stomach clenching. Silently, you shake your head and wiped a tear that fell from your eye. 

“I know this may be tough to digest but you were manipulated by Mr. Gray to participate with sexual intercourse with him.”

God, the way he said it made you feel like shit.

“He didn’t…” You said, shaking your head, “He wouldn’t… I… We—”

“I am aware that he was listed as your guardian.” Mr. Kennedy leans back, “Are you aware that this is not true?”

“My parents, said that it’s true.”

“Did you know that Mr. Gray manipulated them as well?”

It feels as if a bucket of ice water was dumped over, your hands shaking and your chest trembling. The weight of your world (and Robert’s) rests on your shoulders. The clock ticks, you wonder how Robert’s doing right now.

“He wouldn’t lie.” You murmur, “Robert he, he even said that he…”

“If that truly happened, then you would’ve been there in court to see it happen.” His voice is like a knife, cutting through your reality, “I don’t know how he did it, but he made sure that no one would get on his case. Now, I must ask: Why didn’t you come home last week?”

Something in the back of your mind told you that he already knew the answer.

“I didn’t want to leave him.” You answer truthfully in a trembling voice, “He told me he has… A tumor.”

“Did you know that he was lying about that as well?”

 

The world suddenly stops.

 

The following 5 hours would soon become the worst hours in your life.

 

 

ii.

 

“Now.” Mr. Kennedy claps his hands together softly, “Are you okay Miss King?”

“I…” Your throat is dry, unable to create coherent words. To make up for it, you give him a hesitant nod. Beside you are your parents, your mother on your right and your father on your left. Both of them are holding your hands tightly, the ring on your finger is discarded somewhere on the table. You’re not sure if you should be mad or sad, but you can pinpoint one clear feeling within you: betrayal. The evidence was there, the report was in Mr. Kennedy’s hands, there was nothing you could do to stop it.

No matter how hard you tried to defend Robert, Mr. Kennedy found a way to argue against it—and all of his explanations made sense—despite the fact that you were still adamant on protecting Robert. You felt disgusted at yourself, and it was awful that you weren’t sure if you felt the same way about Robert. It had been ingrained into your mind today that he was lying the entire time.

Not just about his role in your life, but his own life as well.

He didn’t graduate from Harvard, and he didn’t even seem to be an actual member of the Gray family. Mr. Kennedy had pulled up several records from the Derry library: the only mention of “Gray” was the beer company (run by a man who wasn’t even named Gray), and a Mister Robert “Bob” Gray. The latter had died of mysterious causes in 1908, and he had no other family to indicate a continuation of the Gray family. Mr. Kennedy had also provided evidence that there was no one in Castle Rock (resident or not) by the name of Robert Gray. The more information was given to you, the more your stomach began to lurch until your mother had to get you a plastic bag to discard the bile that left your throat. You didn’t dare look at anyone in the room, unable to think or move.

None of you were even sure that Robert Gray was his actual name.

But there was one thing that only you knew for sure: you love him. Despite everything, despite the possibility that your feelings may have been swayed by him (as said by Mr. Kennedy, your feelings and trust for Robert had formed by a tactic known as “grooming”), you still cared for him to a degree. Even if he had lied about everything, about his illness, about himself—how could you stay mad at him? But then came the questions that Mr. Kennedy put in your mind.

Did he really fall in with the wrong crowd? Was there even a crowd to begin with?

Where did his money come from?

The more you thought, the more your feelings towards Robert turned rotten and disgusting.

“I just don’t understand…” Your mother sobbed, “Why would he do this…?”

“Because vermin like him target those who may be vulnerable.” Mr Kennedy continued, “Your child doesn’t exactly have a lot of friends.”

“They do!” Your father interjects, “More than you can imagine!”

“Are they your child’s age, though?”

Silence filled the room.

Mr. Kennedy fixes his suit, “It’s not a bad thing, especially in a town like this where younger kids are always bullied. However, Mr. Gray—if that is his real name—saw that your child, even if they had a lot of friends, had rarely spent time with them. On top of that, your work schedules allow for your child to be alone in the house for most of the day outside of school. In addition, the fact that your child had been in need of a dance performer last year was a perfect opportunity to slide into their life.”

“Our child isn’t weak.” Your father snapped.

“But he still used tactics to convince them that he was trustworthy.”

Mr. Kennedy pointed to the ring on the table and motioned to your clothes.

“A prime example.” He rose a brow, “It’s unusual for an adult to do all of these things for a child. A stranger, nonetheless.”

Your mother turned to you with hurt eyes, “Why didn’t you tell us, [Y/N]?” 

“He…” You look down at your hands, “He scares me sometimes. He… You’ll hate me forever if I did and he…”

“How badly did he hurt you?” Your father asks, eyes wide.

Oh right, Mr. Kennedy also told them about that.

“He…” Your chest clenched and you reached for the bag again: stomach acid spilling out of your mouth.

Your hands trembled even more now at the memories.

The belt. His hands. His face: angry—blinding, white anger.

“H-He… He r-r-ra—” You couldn’t finish the first sentence but they already knew what you were going to say.

Your mother breaks down again and your father clenches his jaw.

“When?” Mr. Kennedy asks, “I know this all happened, but I need a clear timeline.”

“December.” You whisper, “Before that he sprained my wrist.”

“Why did he do that?”

You swallowed down hot, salty tears that fell freely.

“I wanted to go outside.”

“Outside where?”

“His house.” You looked out the window. “My neck was still healing from…”

“From what?”

Your furrow your eyebrows. What happened to your neck again?

“The Barrens.” You continue slowly, “He took me down there but… I don’t remember anything after that.”

“Do you think he did anything perverted or sexual down there?”

You shake your head, “No. I think… Something attacked me down there.”

“Jesus Christ…” Your father shook his head.

“Anything else we need to know about?” Mr. Kennedy ran a hand through his hair, “I know this is tough for you to say out loud, and your help is greatly appreciated. We all just want the best for you.”

You looked at your father, and then your mother.

Hesitation took hold, but the shame overpowered your fears.

“He beat me with a belt.” You blurted out quickly, not wanting to drag out this conversation any longer. You really wish you could be with your friends right now. Your mother let out another cry and your father stood up angrily. You clenched your eyes and flinched at the volume, turning your head back to the window.

“I’ll kill that man!” He screamed, barely able to compose himself. You had rarely seen him so broken and angry at the same time; and the way your mother was at the moment didn’t help at all. It made your heart hurt with shame.

“Mr. [L/N], please.” Mr. Kennedy calms him down, “We all need to be calm—”

Your father fumed, “Calm?! Calm!? I’ll tell you who was calm, him! That smug bastard was calm! He knew exactly what he was doing!”

“In time.” Mr. Kennedy nodded, “We will all be getting to that shortly. Now, there is one more thing I must address.”

“A-A—And that i-is…?” Your mother wiped her eyes with tissues.

“Your child’s living space.” Mr. Kennedy said quietly, “I believe it’s best if we move your child out of Derry.”

“What…?” Your father trailed off.

“This town is too dangerous for them.” He continued, “And I noticed on their record that they had been the target of Henry Bowers, and now Mr. Gray will surely be after them as well.”

“And who will they be staying with?” Your father pried, still standing up, “We’re not exactly in touch with our relatives.”

“I understand, which is why I think the best plan of action is for your child to stay at a temporary home. Away from Derry until we give Mr. Gray a proper trial. That way, me and my team will be able to provide your child the help they need.”

You considered his words carefully. Away? Away from Derry? Away from your parents? Home? Robert? The thought was frightening but seemed like it was the only option left. You looked at them with silent agreement. Your parents were easy to listen to Mr. Kennedy and you found yourself packing before you even realized it. While packing, you heard Mr. Kennedy enter the room. Your sleeve was soaked from your snot and tears, and you took the liberty to remove it from yourself. The dress you were wearing didn’t feel beautiful anymore, but a reminder of who had bought it for you. Nothing felt right or real. Everything changed so quickly, and you weren’t sure that you could handle the changes any longer. You gently remove Holland from her enclosure, eyes soft at seeing your companion.

“Can I bring my spider?” You ask nervously.

He glances at the enclosure curiously, “You like spiders?”

“Is that a bad thing…?” You raise a brow, worried. “Do you guys allow pets there?”

“Of course.” He lets out a laugh. “I find it a coincidence that you like spiders of all things.”

“Why?” Even though this man ruined your and Robert’s life, he didn’t seem all that bad. In fact, his presence was surprisingly warm and caring: and you still couldn’t shake off the feeling that you knew him somehow.

“My boss is… A spider fanatic.” He looks out the window, helping you pack.

You looked at him curiously. 

You just had to ask.

“Do I know you…?” You tilt your head, “Your name… It’s familiar.”

“You do know me.” He muses. “I’m an old family friend, which is why—”

“You wanted to help me.” You finish for him.

At least you knew that Mr. Kennedy was in fact, close with your family at some point. He was probably a friend of your mother or father. Grabbing a portable enclosure for Holland, you let her rest on your shoulder, carefully grabbing bags of dirt, substrate, and newspaper clippings: you began to make a nest for her quickly, not wanting to waste this man’s time. Even though you felt bad about wearing the clothes Robert had gotten you, your entire wardrobe was practically full of it.

“We can buy you new clothes, if you want.” He piped up. You shake your head, setting Holland in her enclosure.

“It’s okay.” You whisper, carrying the plastic-glass cage in your arms.

“You really love him, don’t you?” You heard him gather your suitcases and bags.

You didn’t answer your question, brushing past him and down the stairs. Your mother and father were already waiting outside, standing by Mr. Kennedy’s car. You open the back seat and gently place Holland’s cage in the back, cautiously placing a seat-belt over it (it wasn’t necessary, but you didn’t want her cage to slide off). Shutting the door with a deep breath you engulf your parents in a hug.

“We love you.” Your mother caressed your hair.

“I love you, too.” You choked out, not wanting to cry again.

“Stay safe, honey.” Your father places a gentle hand on your shoulder, “Please call us whenever you can.”

You smile, “I will daddy. I’ll miss you both…”

Pulled into another hug, you couldn’t help but feel eyes on your back.

You turned your head, but saw no one else on the street.

Mr. Kennedy exited the house, placing your things in the trunk. Kissing your parents on the cheek, you entered the passenger’s seat and watched as the car began to drive away—a sinking feeling forming in your stomach. It was just the nervousness talking, and the fact that you were going to be homesick. Still, the feeling of eyes watching you never left. Familiar sights and landmarks of Derry blurred by, and you could even recall which houses were that of your friends. You felt bad that you couldn’t say goodbye to them, but at the same time they would find out about you and Robert. You couldn’t handle the judgement any longer. You wondered if Robert was in a jail cell at this moment. A sign passed by, and with teary eyes you watched as the words on it became smaller and smaller with each second.

 

NOW LEAVING DERRY

PLEASE DON’T GO, I NEED YOU.

I LOVE YOU, YOU CAN’T LEAVE! YOU WON’T

PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE

 

What the hell? Your eyes faltered and you blinked harshly, rubbing them and looking at the sign with hurried breaths. A strange sensation of dread overcame you and when your eyes found the sign, you felt relief fight it off.

 

NOW LEAVING DERRY

COME AGAIN SOON!

 

Your mind was probably exhausted and made you see things: you needed rest. Drawing the hoodie over your eyes, you closed them and fell fast asleep to flute music playing from the radio. All was quiet an hour or so into the drive when you felt it.

The pain.

You grabbed your heart, telling Mr. Kennedy to pull over: a scream ripped out of your throat so harshly that you felt your vocal cords straining worse than when your neck was bruised. You exited the car, writhing against the dirt path, hands shaking against your chest. Blood spilled out of your nose and some even came out of your mouth, but that didn’t matter. You felt like you were dying again, but this time the pain wouldn’t go away. And then that grieving feeling came, returning with an intensity that you couldn’t even focus on. It felt as if you watched someone close to you die before your very eyes, a helpless feeling that made you feel like you were doing something wrong by being out of Derry. Your world felt woozy and painful, and the pain was so much that you ended up passing out in your new caretaker’s hold.

Death would’ve been a better option than to deal with the pain for 48 long hours.

 

 

iii. 

 

Bill Denbrough was a naturally curious boy filled with determination that allowed him to do things that many would consider stupid or foolish. One of those things was gather things to look for his brother, Georgie. When he wasn’t at school, he dedicated most of his time exploring the maps and landscape of Derry, Maine—looking for any indications as to where he would’ve been at. He was most likely swept away in the gutter, which meant the Barrens were the only place where his brother could’ve wound up. He rolled up the map on his desk and carefully walked back to his parents’ room, tucking the large piece of paper in his father’s closet.

Returning to his room, his eyes glanced at the notebook [Y/N] had gotten him. With a smile he traced his fingers over the cover before opening it, reading the pages scrawled with his handwriting. Most of it were just things he liked (loved) about them, with the recent pages being about the times they hung out with him and the other Losers (like at Richie’s party). He looked out the window with a small smile. It was a nice day out today, and night was soon to approach. He left the notebook on his desk, quickly heading to the garage to grab Silver.

He pedaled as fast as he could to their house, but stopped short when he saw police cars surrounding the Victorian house. Dread and fear seeped into him when he saw the eerie yellow DO NOT CROSS tape covering the entrance. His heart stopped in his chest, and he feared the worst—ignoring the police officers who tried to stop him. He passed through the front entrance and couldn’t believe his eyes. A strangled cry left his throat, and soon he was stunned in silence before quickly being escorted by the officers out of the homes.

[Y/N]’s parents were a bloody, beaten mess in the living room: their entrails everywhere.

On the walls were a sickening message on repeat, drawn with blood.

 

COME BACK COME BACK COME BACK

 

Chapter Text

“Please… take me to a hospital…”

 

Your words are distorted and warbled by the blood that spews from your mouth, a long trail dripping down your chin and soaking your neck and the collar of your hoodie. Mr. Kennedy watches you—he’s been doing that for the past two days ever since the pain started—with careful eyes and brings out a handkerchief (this was his thirtieth one), wiping your face again. You’ve been stuck in this car for two days, writhing in the worst pain imaginable. The pain is so bad that even a death without a future life sounds better than this. For some reason, neither of you question why both of you survive without food or water during this time. All you can focus on is the pain. Mr. Kennedy shakes his head, tossing the handkerchief out of the window.

“I cannot.” He says quietly. “You can take the pain. You are the Breaker of Beams: grief is nothing to you.”

His words make you freeze, turning to him with wide, bleary eyes. You know those words, but you haven’t heard them in years. A memory resurfaces, but you’re not sure if who you’re with is who you’re thinking of. You wipe your mouth with your sleeve, and take a shaky breath. 

“Conway.” You murmur, not bothering with formalities. “Are you… A-Are you really a CPS worker…?”

“No.” His words are blunt. You expected as much.

In one moment you’re looking at a dashing man in his 40’s, and then in the next you’re gawking at a creature with a pigeon head. Blaring red irises gleam at you with no emotion, talons gripping the steering wheel even though the car’s been in the same spot for two days. There’s no words to respond to this sudden change, but you’re pretty sure that you’re throwing out swears and stutters. Conway merely blinks once, then twice, and then opens his beak.

“I can assure you that you’re not going insane.” He looks out the window. “And yes, I was never an imaginary friend, and neither was Durham—”

“Durham…” You say weakly, clutching your sides. What the hell is going on at this point?

“He’s dead by the way.”

You should feel sad, but you don’t. Instead, you nod absentmindedly and take off your jacket, glad that you were able to change out of your previous clothes at the first rest stop. The jacket is absolutely filthy and looks as if you put it through a bucket of pig’s blood: in reality, it’s your blood that the jacket is covered in. Your heart hammers like hell, but at least the pain is only throbbing now—still, you wonder if this pain will give you a full on heart attack.

“Why the fuck are you here?” You choke out.

“The Crimson King requested that I watch over you from now on.”

 

The Crimson King?

 

Your mind immediately thinks back to your dreams of the blaring garden of roses and that frightening tower. You’re not sure if this conversation is real or something imaginary, but you play along nonetheless: something to get your mind off of the pain.

“I can’t believe my mind is this far gone.” You let out a throaty chuckle. “Do I really miss Robert that much? Heh…”

“I already said,” Conway huffed angrily, feathers bristling. “You’re not going insane.”

“Sure, pigeonhead.” The nickname falls freely from your lips.

You remember calling him that as a child.

“Hey, where is this blood even coming from?” You bring a hand to your lips. “I’ve been bleeding nonstop…”

“Most likely your heart,.” He states in a as-a-matter-of-fact tone. “Your mortal body can’t take the pain of losing a loved one, but your lights are keeping you alive.”

What the, lights…? Wait—Losing a loved one…?

You turn to Conway with wide eyes, “What do you mean ‘pain of losing a loved one’ Conway?”

“You’re reacting this way because your lights are in pain.” He continues quietly. “They felt someone close to you die. But considering the fact that you’ve been in pain for two days, you’ve most likely lost more than one person.”

Panic grips at you even though you think that this is a dream. You grasp at your pants tightly, twisting the fabric in your hands as you breathe heavily. Conway, of course, stares at you blankly.

“Take me back home!” You exclaim wildly. “I-I need—!”

Need to see your parents? Robert? Your friends?

Conway ignored you, turning off the car and exiting without another word, walking so that he was now outside of your seat. He opened the door slowly and you complied, previous experiences of not complying to people (or rather, Robert since he was the only one who really reprimanded you for rebellion) rendering you submissive and willing to listen. Conway’s sudden change in behavior, or lack of, disturbed you—his looks certainly didn’t help either—but you followed him. You nervously fiddled with your hands, looking around: you were in an open range of plains, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He stopped, glaring at something in front of him.

“Follow me.” He said, as if you weren’t already doing it.

He holds his right claw out and you take it, allowing him to guide you; but there’s nowhere to go. All you can see is a large stretch of grassy plains, there was no house or building in sight. You wondered how far away from Derry you were. You look again and suddenly your vision… Changes. You furrow your brows, eyes widening slightly as the sky shifts from a beautiful blue to an angry red: back and forth, the sky flickers, and so do the plains. Instead of plains and trees you see a dark, brooding castle in the distance: towering so high and at an incomprehensible size that you have to crane your neck up. Conway’s talons dig tighter into your hand, and you feel fear take hold.

“What’s going on!?” You exclaim, looking at Conway for help.

No answer. Your heart began to race.

He continued walking, practically dragging you to follow him. Suddenly, grass felt like jagged rocks and beautiful green and blue turned into black and red. The vividness of the red (crimson) was so strong that you squint your eyes, covering them with your free hand. The air smelled like fire and death. Finally, reality settled and you were left with a shaking frame and a stunned mind. The castle seemed to glower at you, a strange weight of presence calling you to go to it.

“Conway…” You whispered shakily, “Wh-Wh… Where are we?”

 

Stupid child, don’t you recognize this place?

 

We’re home…

 

Finally, he turned to look at you.

“Le Casse Roi Russe.”

Your brain automatically translated it in your head, you didn’t know how, but you did. Something within you swirled violently, a feeling of delight that wasn’t yours pushed at your mind. You swore that you heard voices speaking to you, but you pushed it back: only thinking about the name and appearance of this strange, horrifying hell.

 

The Castle of the Crimson King.

 

 

ii.

 

Meanwhile, all the way back in Derry, Ben Hanscom was having the worst day of his life. It was his first day in school in Derry, eighth grade to be exact, and he already knew that he was going to have a hard time being a new kid. Miraculously, the school he had been to previously was able to transfer his grades (he recalled the principal here in Derry call them “credits”), so he just needed to finish the remainder of his classes. His eyes glanced down at his desk, not liking how he felt eyes look at him tauntingly. The owner of those eyes was a kid with black greasy hair, who was fiddling with a lighter in class. How the teacher didn’t notice was beyond Ben’s comprehension. He took out his textbooks, focusing on the one labeled “SOCIAL STUDIES”.

He tried his best to ignore the snickers of the boy and a few others who joined him. Ben always found it hard to fit in, especially with his weight, and he had a feeling that he’d be spending his time alone—to avoid the bullies. He let out a shaky breath, shaking his head. The bell rang and the teacher approached the front, her heels clacking against the floorboards.

“Class.” She greets, her wrinkled face scrunching up. “It has come to my attention that—”

She was interrupted by the door opening, and all eyes (including Ben’s) turned to look at who had entered. Ben’s heart fluttered for a moment, a small blush forming on his face. The girl who walked in had long, red hair that was tied back in a french braid and wore a blue-and-yellow floral sundress. Her face was pale sprinkled with freckles, her eyes gleamed with the colors of the sea and sky. Ben felt himself lose the breath in his throat, eyes watching as the girl huffed angrily at the teacher before taking her seat in front of Ben.

“Beverly Marsh!” The teacher scolds, “Do I need to send you to the principal’s office?!”

“No ma’am.” Her voice sounds like little chimes in the wind, and Ben wishes that he could hear more of it.

 

Beverly Marsh.

 

Ben found himself thinking about that name for the rest of the day.

Maybe Derry wouldn’t be so bad after-all…

-

Bill Denbrough heard from his friends and adults that [Y/N]’s parents had killed themselves because they were charged of child abuse: they had stabbed each other to death. But that seemed faulty and false and wrong in every aspect. Bill knew for a fact that his friend’s parents were the kindest bunch in Derry, maybe that was because they weren’t born-residents of this awful town—and he knew for a fact that their parents wouldn’t ever lay a hand on them. In addition to that, how were they able to do that? Bill ran into the crime scene unprepared, but after taking the time to think it over he came to the realization that this was a cover-up.

How were they able to remove their… Insides if they had killed themselves? And who wrote that eerie message on the walls? Nothing added up, but it did make sense in a twisted way. He also came to the realization that [Y/N] had been taken out of Derry by a CPS worker, but nothing more was said. Fear and panic gripped at Bill’s heart, fearing that they’d never come back to Derry.

He bumps into a stranger on the way to the arcade and falls flat on his behind. He looks up and pauses, noticing how the man glares at him with a deadly look. Bill recognizes that face, no one in Derry looked that handsome, and notices a few things off with the man. The man—Robert Gray, Bill remembered his name—had wild hair and bloodshot eyes, clear evidence of heavy crying. His cheeks were also immensely hollow, as if he hadn’t eaten anything in days. Bill felt nervousness and was about to speak when Robert Gray turns on his heel and walks away from him without another word. He watches the man with narrowed eyes.

 

What’s got him so worked up?

 

 

iii. 

 

You don’t know how long you’ve been running, or where you’ve been running to—but all you know is that you’re fucking scared. The halls are pitch black lit with red lights, the smell of brimstone filling your lungs like smoke from a cigarette. Everything is nauseating and frightening, the sounds of screams and cries coming from every door. The halls are endless, trailing to nowhere and everywhere. You can hear the yells of monsters behind you, screaming your name (or rather, your title “The Breaker of Beams”). Tears are streaming down your face and it’s hard to push back your screams, not wanting to alert anyone. You have a feeling that it’s useless, these things could probably track you down like bloodhounds.

Some of them are strange rat-men with crude human faces over their heads, and some are undead creatures that make your heart and mind freeze over. Those voices within you are relishing in the pain and atmosphere, telling you to stay; but this time, you ignore them. You feel like you’ve heard their cadence before, their song, but you’ve never heard of these—what did Conway call them?—lights. You’re too panicked to dwell on your thoughts, nearly tripping down jagged stairs as you continue to run. Your lungs burn and your legs cry for rest. You can’t.

Not until you leave this hellhole. But you’re trapped in this strange castle, running for your life, and have no idea where the exit is. Conway wasn’t lying at all. This is real.

 

Where are you going?!

 

The voices in your head cry.

 

Why do you want to leave?!

 

“My friends…” You say with hurried breaths, “My parents…”

You turn a corner and slam through a door, thankful that it was open, and find yourself outside. You let out a cry of relief when you realize that you slammed through the front entrance. The doors lead to an open gate that leads down a path of black stones, and you think you can see the glimmer between worlds in the distance: the sky a lovely color that blushes the hellish red of this world. The voices let out a wicked laugh—a cacophony of melodic, dark voices combined with your own.

 

Stupid child!

 

The voices screech in your ear drums.

 

Your parents are dead!

 

You stumble on your feet, the shock ringing in your ears, head, and heart. Your body tumbles against the rocks, sliding and digging into sharp jagged boulders. Your body is bruised and bleeding, but that doesn’t grab your attention: the voices’ words do. The shock hits harder than the impact of your fall, and you stare hard into the ground. Your mouth is wide and your tears fall down your eyes. 

“No…” The words fall out of your mouth before you realize it.

“That’s… You’re…”

 

Do not deny it! You could FEEL them die!

 

The monsters are getting closer, now aware of your location from your screaming and crying. Your eyes dart back and forth, sitting on your knees as you hold your head in your hands: rocking back and forth. You grab fistfuls of your hair, pulling and tugging to distract yourself from the pain. Suddenly the world you’re in feels bigger than before, something in the red sky shifts and stares at you, watching your every movement. You think you’re banging your head against the rocks, not noticing how your head heals itself every time you do this. You’re screaming with all of your might.

The voices curse at you, telling you to get out of the way before the monsters come. Apparently, they don’t want to leave but they don’t want to die either. Funny, cause what they told you makes you want to die. You let go of your head, hands falling at your sides as you let out a throaty laugh. What are you laughing at? Fucking hell if you knew, you were probably insane at this point. This whole place screamed insanity, pain, and death all in one. Panicked, the voices scream at you: telling you to move out of the way before the hungry monsters seek you. The monsters envy your light, from what you gathered, but you don’t know what that means.

Were these voices your lights?  What were the lights exactly?

 

GETOUTGETOUTGETOUTGETOUT

 

STUPID! STUPID! STUPID!

 

DO YOU WISH TO DIE AS WELL?

 

Eldritch horrors and sights attack your mind, these are the work of the voices who are desperately wanting you to get the fuck out. But you stay still, laughing at the situation. Nothing made sense at this point, and you were okay with it. You open your eyes for a brief moment, tears falling nonstop at the images. A burning man, creatures deep from within the ocean, needles in your eyes—CHRIST what else were they willing to conjure up in your mind? A brief image of Robert flashes across your mind. You suddenly find yourself getting up. The voices take note of this and continue to berate you, angrily telling you to move. But you need more motivation, anything to get you wanting to leave this place.

The voices give in, reminding you all of the good times you had Robert and your friends.

 

Do you understand?

 

People that love—it sounds like they hate that word by the way they spat it out—you are waiting for you! Move!

 

Don’t you want to be with him?

 

Your feet carry you again, a slow jog turning into a fleeting run that brings you closer and closer to the rift. You can practically smell the flowers and grass, screams and cries resound behind you from the monsters. You pass through the rift, but instead of falling against grass you fall into darkness. The voices are cut off, silenced in sleep. You scream as you pass through a darkness akin to space: deep and cold.

 

Deep.

 

Deep.

 

Down…

 

 

“What brings you here child?”

 

 

iii.

 

There are no words to describe how enraged IT was. It's practically seething in the confines of its Victorian motley, gloved hands long turned into vicious claws that clenched into fists: blood pouring up instead of down. IT’s eyes are a frightening set of blood-red, gleaming within the dark tunnels of the sewers. The mouth is seeping drool, legs trudging through the sewage in long steps. A low growl releases from IT’s throat before it manifests with its fist breaking through the tunnel wall.

IT should’ve known!

IT was distracted with you for a good week or more, not daring to leave your side, and it should’ve been keeping Derry in check: not… Not cuddling and loving you with all of its immortal being. IT was not foreign to feelings and ever since you came into its life, emotions and feelings were now a daily part of its life. IT couldn’t last a day without kissing you, without holding you—making sure that you were real and not just some strange illusion as a result of insanity.

 

You were real, and you were gone.

 

IT removes its fist from the tunnel wall, limbs trembling with anger and fear. It was afraid for you, wondering what you were doing with that taheen. Of course, the scent of the creature hadn’t reached its senses until you and him left Derry: damn creatures. Damn him! Damn the Crimson King! There was nothing IT could do but wait and hope that you somehow lucked out and found your way back to Derry: you always found a way to crawl back to IT in the end. ITs stomach grumbled and howled, hungrier than usual it needed to feast and fast.

IT pried through the minds of Derry, true fear gripping at its deadlights when it couldn’t feel your presence, until it found a suitable target. Quietly, it manifested into the voices of children: bubbling up the drain.

“Betty Ripsom…” IT growled with the voices of George Denbrough and a handful of others.

“Come here…”

After this, IT wouldn’t mind picking off that Bowers boy from the list. Initially IT was going to use him against the Losers, but after seeing that he was relentless when it came to trying to get with you—IT decided that it would settle with another troubled teen. IT could feel Betty Ripson call back, hands gripping the sink. IT’s mouth pulled back in a sickening grin.

 

Perfect.

 

 

iv.

 

“Maturin…” You said, breathless, staring at the cosmic turtle with teary, pained eyes.

“I am here.” He mused sadly, taking in your appearance. “You have been through a lot…”

“I have.” You let out a humorless laugh, “Why am I here?”

Maturin “swam” closer to you, looking through you, and let out a quiet hum that vibrates your body: the low trembles hypnotizing you. You’re still shaking, hands trembling in the vast darkness as you struggle to compose what sanity you have left. Maturin’s grandfather-like appearance and mannerisms had calmed you down considerably, and you were thankful for it. You close your eyes, relishing the silence that came with this strange space. Macroverse—the word quickly comes to your mind.

“I brought you here,” He continued, “I have a proposition for you.”

“And that is…?”

He swam away, “I will make you forget everything that you have experienced for the past three days.”

“Wait!” Your eyes widened, “Even everything about Robert…? The truth about him?”

I’d rather forget and continue to live a life of lies if it meant being with him.

It would also be a delight to erase my memories of the eldritch horror I experienced an hour ago.

“Even that.” He nodded his head, flippers gliding silently. “I am one to preach the truth, but it is cruel for so much to befall a young, pure mind like yours. I have seen the way IT looks at you, and it would be unfortunate for you both to suffer at the same time.”

 

Who was IT again?

 

“And what am I supposed to do?” You question suddenly, tilting your head.

“You are to become one with your lights.” He turned away. “This is different from embracing them: which would surely kill you. If you become one with them, rather than having them control you, then you will finally be able to protect yourself and your friends.”

“What does that mean though?” You let out a frustrated sigh. “No riddles please!”

“You will forget anyway.” Maturin chuckles. “Just know that you will have powers bestowed upon you.”

You roll your eyes, “Oh great I’m a super—”

Before you could finish, you were thrust out of the Macroverse, a searing pain in your body fills your veins. Memories are ripped away from you, and the voices in your head suddenly don’t feel like a mixture of tones and instead sound like your voice alone. You pass through a rift and make contact with hard gravel. Your body feels empty without a foreign presence, and you feel stronger despite how tired you are. In front of you is a sign welcoming you to Derry. You body trembles, your hand shakes—delirium and confusion begins to take hold—and you wonder why you’re here. Weren’t you just on your way to your parents house with Robert? With a shaky groan, you slowly rise to your legs, shaking and grasping onto the welcome sign.

A strong feeling washes over you, almost stunning you and filling you with feelings of pain, regret, and death.

Did Derry always feel this way?

Your appearance seems to stir something within the town and within minutes of walking you feel hands on your shoulders. You let out a panicked gasp, turning around and looking up. Robert is here, and he’s trembling: holding you as if you weren’t real. His dark brown eyes trace over your face, your hands, your legs: you. For some reason, he sees something within you that you don’t—eyes widening almost in disbelief and shock—and tightens his grip on your shoulders. You let out a relieved gasp, not sure why you’re so far out of town, but glad to see his face again. For some reason, it feels as if you haven’t seen or felt him in ages.

“Robert, I—”

He cuts you off with a passionate and needy kiss, his hands trailing up to the sides of your face: lips moving as if you haven’t kissed him in forever. Your eyelids flutter at the sensation, and you quickly throw your arms around his neck, mouth moving in tandem with his. He hasn’t released after an agonizing minute or more and you’re left breathing heavily through your nose. Robert utters out shaky groans when he feels your hands run through his hair, throwing his head back slightly to get more contact with your hands. He seems absolutely touch-starved, shuddering every time you move your hands away from him.

Finally, he pulled away from the kiss. Both of you are red in the face, panting in front of each other with loving eyes. His forehead is against yours, his hair messy and falling in front of his eyes. You rest a hand against his cheek, looking around.

“Why are we here?” You ask, confused.

Robert looks at you surprised, as if he wasn’t expecting the question.

“Do you… Not remember?” He replies slowly, threading his fingers through your hair.

You nod, “I only remember this morning, y’know… After we…”

His eyes widen even more and he holds you close, and after a few minutes have passed he finally answers your question. He throws himself over you in a hug and you return it graciously.

“That was a few days ago.” Robert says in a quiet voice, “Some man kidnapped you and he… Your parents…”

 

Oh God, did something happen to your parents?

 

“What happened?” You asked, eyes widening. “Did something bad happen…?”

He closes his eyes, letting out a shaky breath and opens them again to look at you with sympathetic eyes.

“I… I’m sorry, but they…” You don’t need to hear anything else before you’re shaking your head frantically and pulling him back into a desperate hug. The denial comes first, but you know better than to question Robert; he wouldn’t joke about something like that. Your chest heaves in soft cries before they turn into loud wails, holding onto Robert for dear life. It’s hard for you to even stand up after that, and Robert takes the liberty of taking you in his arms and carries you to his vehicle—which was conveniently parked on the side of the road.

 

You’ve never felt so scared when you saw police cars surrounding your home.

 

Chapter Text

You had been crying non-stop for the whole day, tangled in the sheets while Robert holds you in his lap: rocking you back and forth. Everything feels numb and surreal, a feeling of helplessness filling your brain up. 

“Muh—My d-d-daddy… M-M-M-My… Mom-Mommy…” You heave, clawing everywhere. There’s nothing but pain. Robert’s fingers are tangled in your hair, massaging your scalp as best as he can, crying with you. There’s something strange in the way he cries with you: as if he’s sharing or feeling your grief to an extreme. He swallows back a knot in his throat before moving your head to his chest.

“Listen to me…” He trails off, guiding your ear to where his heart would be.

You let out a shaky, dry laugh. “I-I… I—I don’t know what I’m l-looking f-f-for, Rob…”

“My heart.” He continued, “Listen.”

You do: but it only makes you feel worse than before. You shake your head and hold him closer, hands trailing under his shirt so that you can properly hold onto him, seeking close contact. You can’t lose him either, not after what you saw. You remembered the sight of your home being ghastly and didn’t take long for you to seep into a blinded, sad rage—clawing at the doorway as Robert dragged you away. He shouldn’t have shown you, but you didn’t believe him. You didn’t believe what had happened. What did happen? Everything’s always a blur when it comes to these things, and you always find yourself crying at the end of it all. It's painful, and you don’t know whether or not you can take anymore of it.

It gets to the point where you’re heaving now, lungs unable to keep up with your irregular rhythm, coughing into your chest. Your nails dig into Robert’s back but he doesn’t seem to mind, only pulling you closer to him. He stops rocking and unthreads his fingers from your hair, trailing them to your neck and shoulders.

“Breathe.” Robert says. “Slowly, with me. Breathe—Yes, that’s it…”

You hiccup with every breath that passes through your mouth, looking up at Robert for as much support as you can get. His chest moves up and down with yours, falling from a slow pace to one that makes you feel as if you aren’t breathing at all. He leans his face forward to kiss your tears away, resting his lips on your forehead. In the midst of it all, it feels as if you’re all alone: that this isn’t real and you’re just dreaming. Your lips pull back and you let out one last ugly sob, your hands releasing their bruising grip on his back, trailing out of his shirt and on his arms. So many—too many—thoughts are swirling in your mind.

They’re gone, and sooner or later: he’ll be gone too.

I’ll be all alonealonealone alone—

Robert’s voice anchors you to reality, steadying your breathing. “Focus, darling.”

You open your eyes again, taking a deep breath. Your vision falters and you see something that makes you narrow your eyes, a hand trailing to Robert’s cheek: your lips part open in confusion. Your hand (you had also noticed that you were no longer wearing your ring) rested there, fingers in his hair and your thumb resting on the apple of his cheek. You look closer, perplexed by the sight.

Giddy and dazed, you let out a quiet laugh.

“You’re eyes…” You said, breathlessly. “They’re so yellow and orange…”

“What?” His eyes widen in shock, pulling away from you slightly.

You blink again, actually, you blink a lot: trying to get the image out of your head. The visage doesn’t falter, his eyes remain that golden glow. They’re beautiful and they draw you in worse than a moth to a flame. You let your body control you, grabbing his cheeks and pulling him forward in a slow kiss. Robert doesn’t seem to mind, but he tenses up, tilting his head. When you pull away his eyes are back to their brown glow, hm—must’ve been a trick in the light.

“Are my eyes still yellow?” He asks strangely, looking at (or rather, through) your chest.

You peer closer and see that they’re still those same yellow, blue, and green flecks within his brown eyes: but nothing of the sort that indicates that his eyes are the colors of a sunset. You shake your head, and he releases a sigh of relief. His strange behavior doesn’t exactly bother nor confuse you, and it’s easy to say that his eyes were a strong distraction in your crying. You untangle yourself from him, heading to the bathroom. Robert follows cautiously, not wanting to overstep any boundaries with you—especially in the state you’re in. You lurch towards the sink, your stomach feeling sick and dehydrated.

“Woah, easy.” He approaches you and places a hand on your back, rubbing circles into your spine.

You turn on the water, your hands reaching in to splash water at your face. It drips down to your chin, cooling your eyes and nose. You do this a couple of times, glad that Robert was there to provide additional support. You turn off the sink, collecting your thoughts. You look up slightly and freeze, seeing a hand on your shoulder—but it’s not Robert’s hand. It's gloved hand, clearly still moving in the same movements. A strangled gasp leaves your lips when you completely snap your head up to look at the mirror: seeing someone else in the place of Robert: the clown.

The clown—Pennywise—whose red lips are drawn back in concern. He opens his mouth to speak but you’re shaking again. What the hell is going on? Why is he here? Where is…? Fear pulsating in your veins and with one final yelp you turn around: eyes closed.

“[Y/N]!” Robert’s voice calls to you. You open your eyes, and suddenly your mouth is agape. The clown isn’t there, but Robert is. Just the change alone is enough to make you stutter out strangled words, hands reaching out to stop him from approaching any further. You turn your head to the bathroom mirror, only seeing you and Robert there. Not the clown, there was no clown.

“Are you okay?” Robert gently places a hand under your chin, turning you to him.

You shake your head, pointing to the mirror. “I-I-I sa-saw a…”

You keep turning back to the mirror, expecting to see something else take Robert’s place. But nothing changes, and you’re left confused and in Robert’s arm as he pulls you in for a hug.

“What did you see?” He’s genuinely curious and afraid: afraid of what you’re going to tell him.

“C-Clown…” He tenses up, looking at you with shocked eyes. His hands tremble, and you move your hands back and forth on his arms: trying to calm him down. The word sends him into a state of panic that scares you, but he pauses—considering his actions and words—and then calms down; running a hand through his hair. He releases you and heads back to the room with you following behind. Robert, who usually seemed so calm, is as panicked at you but makes no move to touch you. He’s afraid to.

You bite down the fear. “Are you okay, Robert?”

He turns around, stares at you for a few seconds or more, and then nods.

“I think we’re both just losing our heads today.” He chuckles without humor, sitting down on the bed. “We’ve been through a lot…”

“I can imagine…” You trail off, remembering what Robert had told you: you were kidnapped. God, you couldn’t imagine how broken and lost Robert would’ve felt during that time—how lonely he must’ve been. Again, your mind thinks back to your parents and with a dry throat you swallow nervously. It was hard to not think about them every five minutes. You stand between his legs, holding his face in your hands: it hurts to look at him. He looks starving still, like he’s eaten but barely made a week without food. His eyes are considerably red at the tear ducts, the veins popping and his hair is unusually frazzled and not styled in its usual part.

“There’s more…” He muttered in a somber tone, closing his eyes and leaning into your hands.

Hearing his words sends you into an anxious frenzy— were you always this nervous and sad? —and causes you to shake your head, sighing deeply. You really don’t know what else has happened while you were gone, but you don’t want to bother asking. Derry was fucked up, and the only thing that seemed normal in your life was Robert and your friends. You lean closer and sit down on Robert’s left thigh, wrapping your arms around his middle.

“I need a break.” You nuzzle your head into his neck, chin rubbing against his collarbones.

You mutter in a soft voice, “Please, I just… You can tell me later, just…”

“I understand.” Robert nods, holding you close to him. “I’m just glad you’re back.”

 

“I’m never letting you go.”

 

 

ii.

 

Within a week and a half a funeral funded by Robert was put into place for your parents.

The funeral was short and brief, and didn’t take anyone’s time up. You didn’t want to call your relatives, for they never really cared for your parents ever since they moved to Derry. Your friends (which consisted of Bill, Richie, Stan—who was able to come after you told his father that no church was going to be involved in the ceremony—and surprisingly, Victor came; Beverly wasn’t able to attend, and Eddie’s mother didn’t let him go either) were here after Robert had helped clear to the officers that your parents were—it was hard to accept the reality of it all—murdered. Robert was here, of course, but to not arouse suspicion he stood under a tree, far away from the graves. You stood at the feet of the coffins, hands trembling and shaking shoulders. Unfortunately, your parents were found in… Awful states at the time of their passing, so their caskets were closed.

Bill took one of your hands, giving it a reassuring squeeze. You turned to him with thankful eyes, squeezing his hand back. All of you stood in silence, paying your respects; and thankfully, everyone (including Richie, surprisingly) was considerate enough to not initiate any side conversations. After thirty minutes or so, the funeral was wrapped up and you graciously accepted the hugs and condolences from your friends’ parents. One by one, they all left, except for Victor and Bill. Intimidated by the teen, Bill said a quiet goodbye and gave you a hug: allowing you and Victor to talk to each other.

Victor looked incredibly haggard, and his hair is shorter; a buzz cut look taking his features. It’s almost strange to see him without his hair, but he also looks like a new person at the same time. Concerned, you take his face in your hands, tilting his head curiously: guiding him away from your parents’ graves to let the undertakers bury their coffins.

“What happened, Vic?” You asked in a hoarse voice, exhausted from crying. He seemed surprised that you actually used his nickname without him asking, but pushed the surprise back, letting out a heavy sigh.

“Belch’s gone.” He replied in a soft tone. Shock and fright manifests in your eyes, and you throw yourself in for a hug. He returns it with shaky hands, allowing him to express his grief—it was hard for someone like him to show it physically, anyway.

“I…” You were at a loss for words.

You feel him shake his head, “It happened a while ago.”

“Oh.” For some reason, Victor didn’t seem to elaborate on the details, but didn’t comment on it.

Victor pulls away with a reassuring smile. “When he died, I blamed myself for letting it happen. If you're feeling that way, please know that I'm here to talk any time you need to.”

Your eyes light up and your lips twitch upwards in the ghost of a smile. You hold him again, letting out a shy giggle.

“Thanks, Vic.” Your turn your head.

“You’re not alone either.” You continue, motioning to the Losers who are driven away by their parents. “You can always join us, if you want.”

Victor grimaced, releasing himself from the hug to cross his arms.

“I’m not gonna join your little boy band.” He huffed out, turning his head.

You smiled and nudged his shoulder with yours, fixing your dress.

“It's never too late to have friends.” Your eyes soften. “Think about it, okay?”

“Fine!” He huffs out, shoving his hands into his pockets, looking over to the tree Robert was standing under. You fidget nervously when Victor’s shoulders tense, his jaw clenching tighter upon seeing him. Victor returns his gaze back to you with confused and judgmental eyes.

“You’re back with him.” You nod, running a hand through your hair.

Stammering you explain yourself, “H-He’s… He’s not a bad person, Vic.”

His eyes flicker back and forth from you and Robert (who looks back at him with a matching gaze), and gives in: pulling you back into a hug. It’s nice to see Victor showing affection, and you’re happy and proud that he’s really fixing himself up.

“If he tries anything, tell me.” Victor whispers in your ear, “I’ll knock his teeth out for ya’.”

“Victor Criss!” You scold playfully, pushing him off of you.

A nice silence falls between you two, and then Victor continues to talk.

“Did you hear about Bowers?”

You tense up at the name, but nod nonetheless. Robert was the one who told you about Henry Bowers: who was found dead in the Barrens, viciously mauled to death. It was a frightening thing to hear about, but you felt relieved that you no longer had to worry about him. In a way, it made living in Derry so much better—and Henry’s gang wasn’t all that intimidating either (except for Patrick Hockstetter, who was absolutely crazed and slightly deranged). You even visited Mike a few days ago and felt happy to see him so relieved that he didn’t have to worry about Bowers. His death, in a morbid way, was a good thing.

Noticing you were deep in thought, Victor ruffles your hair muttering, “See you later, [Y/N],” and leaves. A few minutes pass and Robert finally approaches, taking your hand with his, guiding you back to his car. Surprisingly, he doesn’t seem too bothered by the fact that you had embraced Bill and Victor, silently entering the car after you. He begins to make small-talk, looking at you from the corner of his eye.

“How are you feeling now?”

You answer him honestly, “Not good, but not bad.”

Robert hums, turning up the radio a bit: Mozart’s Lacrimosa plays quietly. You rest your head against the window, your eyes flickering from your reflection and the outside every now and then. Your heart begins to race slightly when negative thoughts fill your head upon the sight of your parents’ home at 29 Neibolt Street. They died without a will or testament, leaving their possessions without an owner; and you, in Robert’s care. The house didn’t belong to you, but you didn’t want to live there anymore—not after knowing that your parents died there. As each second passes by, you fall deeper into your negative thoughts. You begin to subconsciously wring your hands, taking in your bottom lip between your teeth, and bounce your left leg up and down. The sounds seem numb, and with you not paying attention: the radio begins to flicker and change from soft piano to harsh static.

From the corner of your eye you can see Robert visibly panic at the sight of the radio emitting harsh static, and seeing you too far deep in your thoughts to notice. He’s probably calling your name, but you’re a bit busy grieving still and fearing for the future. It’s not until he harshly brakes in the middle of the road that you lurch in your seat, letting out a yelp: the seat-belt forcing your body to freeze. The static stops, returning back into the soft music. A hand is on your shoulder and you turn to look at Robert.

“Why’d you do that?!” You question in a perplexed, semi-angry tone.

His eyes stare at (through) your chest for some reason, “The radio—Wait, you didn’t notice?”

“Notice what…?” You raise a brow. “I’m kinda out of it.”

“I… Nevermind.” He fiddles with the tuner. “My car’s probably just messing around. I need to get it fixed sometime soon.”

“Already?” You leaned back in the seat, rubbing your sides with a quiet groan. That seat-belt really squeezed hard, and the sudden braking hurt . You look back out the window, a somber smile on your face, noticing how lovely the trees and lawns looked when everything bloomed.

“Easter’s coming soon.” You trail off quietly.

“Did you want to celebrate it?” Robert reaches his hand out to hold yours. “I’ll only do it if you want to.”

“I mean, I guess, but…”

“But…?”

“I dunno.” You huff out, bringing his hand up to your cheek, rubbing it against his hand. “Seems like a bad day for some reason.”

“What do you mean?”

You glance at him briefly, “Ever since I came back I feel like something’s wrong with Derry, like… L-Like I feel something’s going to happen.”

“Bad? How?” He pries, passing the Kissing Bridge.

“Stop here.” You say quietly. He looks confused at your suggestion but nods, allowing you to exit the vehicle when he turns off the ignition. You run your hands through your hair, letting out a deep sigh. Your hands find themselves gripping onto the carved, white fence. In the corner of your eye, Robert watches you curiously, surprised by your every action.

“Sorry, I just… I just need a breather.” You giggle, wiping your forehead with the back of your hand. Your stomach feels like its ready to lurch: the result of your building grief and anxiety that you’ve been feeling for the past few days. You hope that you don’t vomit again, but you do, letting out a weak cry as you spill out over the fence—feeling Robert rubbing your shoulders from behind you. The bile feels worse today, almost scalding.

“There, there.” He croons, holding your hair back for you in a pseudo-ponytail.

“Thanks.” You choke out humorously, thankful that nothing was too messy. He pulls you away from the fence gently, holding you in his arms. In the midst of it all, you can’t help but comment on how good he looks with the black suit and tie on.

“I might vomit again.” You warn in a low voice.

Robert laughs, “That’s the least of my worries, love.”

The nickname sends butterflies all over your stomach, and you’re not sure if the giddiness is from that or your nervousness. You look up at him with a smile, thankful that someone so amazing was yours.

“I don’t know who I would be without you.” You whisper, he smiles again.

“Me neither.” He looks from side to side even though the road was empty, “We should go before anyone sees us.”

“We should carve our names before we go.” You blurt out with a red face, stopping from from leaving.

His smile turned into a smirk, “Is that what you want?”

You turn away, crossing your arms with a huff.

“I-I mean… Only if you want to…”

“Okay… Okay…” He laughs, conveniently bringing out a small blade from the inside of his coat. Your eyes widen in surprise—did he always carry that with him?—and you crouch down with him, not caring about the gravel digging into your knees. He begins by carving out his initials carefully, and it’s almost perfect the way he does it.

“Alright, darling.” He hands the blade to you, “Your turn.”

Shakily, you grasp the blade and carve your own initials in. Seeing that you were struggling a bit, he shifts a little closer, taking your hands in his and guiding the blade with you. “Yeah, that’s it, wait—Yes, like that.” He praises with a smile, watching you deep in focus. Finally, you finish and just to be cheesy, you quickly carve a heart next to his initials.

“Let’s make it official.” He says in your ear.

You turn your head, confused. “What do you me—”

He cuts you off with a quick kiss that leaves you breathless as always. When he pulls away you’re red in the face, giving him back his blade and muttering out words under your breath, embarrassed.

“I can’t believe you did that after I threw up.” You head for the car.

Robert calls out to you, amused. “You enjoyed it!”

“Yeah, yeah, and so did you, you amazing man. God, I love you.”

“Aw, love you too.” While you’re waiting in the car, Robert takes one last glance over the fence.

 

Unbeknownst to you, his eyes widen when they land on the spot where you vomited.

 

 

iii. 

 

“Oh, Robert. This is beautiful!” You gasp out, looking at his backyard garden with wide, amazed eyes. The garden was like how you imagined it would look: full of lupines, bloodroots, and hyacinths. Their colors clash so beautifully with the sight of lavenders neatly cropped into rectangular paths. With May coming soon, you’d expect more to appear from the barely blooming birch and maple trees. You and him walk under the gazebo, taking a seat across from each other. Roses and vines grow near the bottom of the gazebo, with wisteria growing and hanging from the top of the gazebo’s red roof. The sight of it all mixed with his large estate reminds you of an Antebellum Era scene.

It had been a few days since the funeral, and you were doing your best in coming to terms with it all. You didn’t want to think about your parents too much, they wouldn’t have wanted you to drown your life in sadness. With a sigh, you fix a knot in your hair, looking at Robert with a smile.

“How did you manage to get all of this done?” You wave your hand to his garden.

He smirked, fixing his t-shirt—You were thankful that summer was approaching, because t-shirts honestly did his body so much justice—and placed a thoughtful hand under his chin.

“Just hired some people to fix it up.” He continued. “Surprised?”

“Hell yeah.” You replied in awe.

“I told you that I’d get the flowers for you.”

You hide your smile in your hand, but frown slightly when your eyes land on his hand, noticing the ring on his ring finger. That was another thing that bothered you (in addition to losing Holland, who had disappeared when you were kidnapped), you couldn’t find your ring anywhere: and it made you awful that you couldn’t find it. The wind suddenly grows deathly still and birds stop singing, and Robert takes note of this, glancing at you as if you were the cause.

“What’s wrong?” He asks, concerned.

You turn to him with a sad smile. “I lost your ring…”

Robert lets out a surprised noise, getting up from his seat quickly, fumbling with one of his pockets. Curious, you watch him with hope—did he have your ring?

Eyes gleam in happiness and surprise when he brings his hand out, revealing the dark, ruby-covered ring. You jaw goes slack and you stand up as well, sputtering and unable to form any words.

“Y-Y-You—How did you…?”

“I found it at your house.” Robert walks over to you. “With everything going on, I forgot to give it to you, and I… I wanted to do something for you today, if you don’t mind.”

His words are strange and cryptic until he gets down on one knee, wait—

If your heart was racing quickly before, then it was absolutely pounding in your chest. Your hands cover your mouth, and you feel tears brimming your eyes. Robert takes in your expression with loving eyes, enjoying every change in your face.

He says your name softly, taking one of your hands in his with his other one holding the ring.

“I know that I… I won’t be here long.” He starts in a shaky voice. “But…”

He bites his lip nervously, looking off to the side, and then meets your gaze. The entire time, you’re looking at him with bleary eyes, trying your best to hold back tears.

“But I love you.” Robert finishes breathlessly, “I want to be the one you think of every day and night. You are my world, and more: and I would do anything for you. I would die for you, I would kil—I-I… I love you so, so much. I want to know if you feel the same way.”

“Robert.” You cry, unable to say anymore.

“Will you be with me?” He asks quietly, not needing to say the actual words for you to agree. You reply by throwing your arms around him in a hug, kissing him everywhere. He slips the ring on your finger once more and returns your kisses, holding your head in his hands. Just when you thought life was against you, it came back bringing you only the best things.

 

Truly, nothing can get better than this.

 

Chapter Text

Pressure builds up from within the pipes and large cauldrons as workers scramble and scream.

They struggle to control the machines that are out of line. Children, outside, are searching for eggs that are painted in a whole range of colors; dressed in bonnets, dresses, and blouses of the pastel variety. Thick, black smoke billows out of the pipes and chimneys of the factory, painting the lovely April sky in hues of brown and black. And then the sound of thunder cracks and groans from the brick walls. The children stop, stunned by the noise. Fire erupts from one of the pipes and then, within seconds: the entire factory erupts in an explosion of pressurized steam and heat. When the dust settles, there’s nothing but bodies upon bodies lying on the hay-covered dirt path. In the distance, a familiar clown dressed in silver silk glowers upon the scene in delight.

 

And then, he looks at you.

 

Your eyes flutter open with a strangled gasp, body tensing as you clutch at the pillow at your side. Sweat pools at your brow and neck, causing you to sit upright, confusion taking hold. You look around the room, noticing that Robert wasn’t here—which was strange, considering the fact that he seemed adamant on not wanting to leave your side. You look out the window, calming yourself down. You run a face over your face, taking deep breaths. Something strange has been happening to you ever since you came back from Derry (from wherever your mysterious kidnapper took you); something wrong.

You’ve been seeing things that you shouldn’t be seeing: visions, flashes, and blurs of things that you can’t exactly explain. In addition to that, Robert seemed on edge whenever he was around you (which was especially off-putting since you were usually the one having to watch yourself). It was easy to explain though, after losing your parents things never really felt the same.

“It’s just a dream.” You quietly mutter to yourself, getting out of bed.

Your brain interjects, A weird ass dream.

You quickly get ready, not used to waking up without Robert by your side. His house felt so much more empty without his presence, a feeling of misery fills you up. When did you become so attached to Robert to the point where it was hard to function daily without him? You look down at your hand, fingers tracing over the ring with a blank stare. It was unbelievable to think that his life was basically your life, and that much of his time spent (when he wasn’t out in town doing his thing) was with you.

You head out of the room, wearing a long sweater with jeans—not exactly in the mood for dresses—and headed outside to the garden, snagging a notebook and some pencils. When Robert wasn’t around, you spent a majority of your time in the garden, or in the dance studio. It honestly broke your heart that you couldn’t find Holland anywhere, with Gray being your only companion in the house.

“Dog.” You muttered to yourself, sitting under the gazebo. “It wouldn’t hurt to get a dog.”

You began drawing random things in the notebook, whether it was the house or the flowers around you, hoping to pass the time until Robert came back. Just in case if he was going to be gone the entire day (he didn’t leave a note telling you what he was doing) you made some cookies and a simple breakfast. Gray was in an enclosure next to you on the white table, doing her thing as always.

Within an hour or so passing, you came to realize that today was Easter—though, considering your dream you didn’t really want to celebrate it anymore. Still, giving Robert the chance to experience it was enough for your mind to spin with ideas. At the same time, you were feeling out of it still and continued to draw. Eventually, you find yourself in sleep.

 

Every now and then, the feeling of gloved fingers in your hair rouse you before halting: allowing you to fall back into slumber.

 

Chapter Text

“She likes you a lot.”

“Not as much as she likes you.”

You and Mike share a laugh outside, far away from the farmhands and Mr. Hanlon, standing under a tree. The two of you are sitting side by side, with the lamb that started your friendship in Mike’s lap. Although it was still pretty cold in April, you weren’t stopped from wearing a blue bouffant dress that stopped at the knees, with white leggings and baby blue flats; Mike was wearing a simple pastel shirt with jeans and sneakers.

Around you are a few ewes—female sheep—and their lambs. Unfortunately, the lamb (who the two of you named Spring) was a “bum” meaning that she didn’t have a mother to take care of her; her mother had birthed one too many lambs and decided she wouldn’t be able to care for Spring, focusing her nursing on her other lambs. As said by Mike’s grandfather, Mike was “now in charge of taking care of her since you lost her in the woods”. It was a bit cruel to do that: putting such a big responsibility on Mike, who was going to turn 13 on July 3rd, but you had been helping him in secret.

You pluck Columbine flowers from the grass, twirling them between your fingertips.

“So,” You start quietly, “How’s life?”

“Same old.” Mike shrugs, petting Spring’s head.

“How about you?”

You turn your head, “Hm?”

“How have you been doing?”

You stop twirling the flowers, setting them down beside you. You bite the inside of your cheek, moving your hair out of your face. To be honest, you had no idea how to answer that question without revealing too much about you. By now, nearly all of Derry had heard about the death of your parents—that much was evident by the stares you received from people when you went into town—and it was hard for the topic not to come up. Still, Mike was pretty understanding, considering the fact that he lost his parents (at a young age, however) as well.

“I’m okay.” You shrug, “I mean, life’s better without Henry Bowers breathing down my neck.”

“That’s one thing we can agree on.” He says jokingly.

The two of you share more laughter, continuing your conversation; talking about random things. Aside from the fact that you were free to do whatever you wanted being homeschooled (in which you had to force Robert to actually teach you, because he seemed not too keen on the whole schooling thing), it meant that you were able to spend more time with your friends. There was something strange going on with Robert recently; he had been at home less. When you talked to him about it, he explained that it was just him going to the doctor more. Still, it was disheartening and weird to only see him at night or when you went to bed. Back to Mike on his family’s farm, you had braided some of the flowers into your hair in a loose updo. Thirty minutes had passed and one of the farmhands approached Mike.

“Mike.” He says in a gruff voice. “Your grandfather wants you to deliver again.”

“Oh…” Mike replied, disappointed but nods nonetheless—getting up and handing Spring over to you.

The lamb bleats quietly, hopping into your arms and you let out a quiet grunt when she lands on you. For some reason, there was a small dread in seeing Mike walk away, making you hesitate. With a decision coming to mind, you allowed Spring walk out of your hold; hastily gathering your things, calling out to him. Spring, who was intensely attached to you, made a few more bleats, following you. Giving her a sympathetic smile you began to gently soothe the lamb.

You cooed to her as if she was a child, “We won’t be gone sweetie.” She made another noise of protest (as if she understood you), but joined the other sheep after a few moments of her cuddling into your embrace. After that was settled you jogged up to Mike.

“Let me… Let me ride into town with you.” You said, catching your breath.

His eyes light up, “You mean it?”

“Of course, Mikey!” If he was happy before, then he was absolutely starstruck at the nickname. You continued in a more hushed voice, grabbing your bike, “Besides, it gets lonely where I live sometimes.”

“We won’t be long!” Mike exclaims, pedalling first, “We’re just going to the deli.”

“That’s fine with me.” You replied, smiling.

The ride into Derry was nice and oddly lonely, a constant reminder how far away Mike was from the town; you wished that he had lived a better life. It was also a subtle eye-opener with your (Robert’s) home being in the Barrens, and how little time you actually spent outside of that area. Soon enough you passed through Center Street, parking your bikes outside the front of the store. You grabbed one of the pink-wrapped packages, taking in the surprise on his face.

“What? I’m not gonna watch you do all the work by yourself.”

Mike shakes his head. “Sorry… I’m not just used to having help.”

“Get used to it.” You giggled. “I’m here, so I might as well.”

“You’re not bothered by the blood?” He motioned to the packaged meat.

You thought back to your parents and Henry Bowers: a shiver running down your spine.

You shrugged. “I’ve seen worse, Mike.”

He nodded, letting you leave it at that, entering the store. Garlic hung from hooks, while chives and fresh cilantro were laid on the prep table. The smell of freshly baked dough and an arrangement of seasoned meat made you salivate and take a deep breath. Mike laughed at your reaction, setting the meat on the counter. One of the butchers from the back came out, giving Mike a smile—with a surprised look following after when he looked at you.

“Mike!” The butcher exclaimed, washing his hands. “Had help today?”

“Yes, sir!” He replied happily. “This is [Y/N], my friend!”

You gave the man a shy wave, fixing the flowers in your updo. To your surprise the butcher (who also worked as the shop owner) offered a free meal for the two of you, and you came to realize that this was normal for Mike; who had to deliver meat every day. It was nice to know that there were decent people in Derry. That’s how the two of you were outside of the store, sharing more jokes and laughs while eating smoked beef sandwiches. Mike was honestly amazing company, and the two of you never found a topic to not talk about.

“—a-and then, pfft, he… H-He—!” You cover your mouth in hiccuped breaths, food in your mouth. Swallowing hard you take a few moments to catch your breath, Mike is equally flushed; eyes crinkling up in happiness and amusement at your story. You take another deep breath, finishing the last of your story.

“He goes up to him while Mrs. Kaspbrak’s at the bank teller and asks, ‘Do you want to check your balance?’ And then of course, Eddie being Eddie asks, ‘What balance?’ So what does Richie do?” You pause, giggling, “The little fucker pushes him and says, ‘That balance!’”

Mike doubles over, clutching his sides from laughter.

He covers his mouth. “Was he mad?”

“Yeah, Eddie was pretty mad that day.” You sigh happily, remembering what happened. “But he always loves Richie’s jokes, even if he doesn’t show it.”

“Your friends seem like great people.” He comments, tossing the sandwich wrapper in the trash.

“They are.” You smile softly. “I should bring you with me to hang out with them.”

“Really?” Mike asked in a hopeful voice.

You nodded, getting on your bike. “Mhm. In the summer.”

“I look forward to it.” He smiled.

“You heading back to the farm with me?”

“No, sorry. I have to get something at the library.”

He faltered, frowning but nodded, his eyes trailing to the ring on your finger.

He opened his mouth in a silent question, but fought against it, settling on another question.

“See you tomorrow?”

You nod with a cheeky smile, wrapping an arm around him.

“I will. Have a good day, Mike.”

“You too [Y/N].”

With that two of you went your separate ways, with you heading to the Derry Public Library. Although there was no real reason for you to go there, Robert’s study literally had every book you could think of, you just had an impulse to do so. Something was calling you to the library, and you weren’t sure if this call was a good or bad one. Just as you headed towards the Library, stopping at the memorial not too far away from it, you heard screams and yells. That definitely caught your attention and you pedaled faster until you saw it: saw them.

The shaggy head of black hair was unmistakable, along with the lanky limbs and sweaty clothing. “Patrick Hockstetter.” The name is muttered quietly as you approach him and a few other boys who are harassing a younger boy. The poor kid looks frightened, screaming and yelling and kicking with all of his might. Protectiveness and a strong pull urges you to approach them. And you do.

“What the hell are you guys doing?!” You exclaim, catching Patrick’s attention.

A crude smirk passes over his features.

“Well lookie here.” He starts off, flicking something in his hand: a lighter.

“It’s Bowers’s bitch.”

The other boys, who you recognized as Moose Sadler and Gard Jagermeyer, share chuckles: giving you dirty looks. They toss the boy over to the ground, who looks at you with surprised eyes, but doesn’t move—afraid of your well-being. Your hand clenches, this time on your own accord, and begins to tremble. You drop your bike, standing your ground despite the fact that Patrick stood a few inches taller than you. The air is tense, adults pass by the scene to glance for a moment but return to what they’re doing. That was expected, the adults never cared.

Your eyes flicker to the ring on your finger with hesitation.

“I don’t belong to anyone.” You reply in a low tone.

Your attention turns to the frightened boy.

“Leave him alone, Hockstetter.” Said boy lets out a laugh, bending down to slap his knees.

“What are you gonna do?” Patrick taunts, flicking the lighter. “Cry? Tell me to stop?”

Your hand clenched tighter, shaking with rage. In the midst you can feel yourself breathe harder, eyes narrowing down in a deep scowl. None of you notice how the wind dies down and grass beneath your feet turns yellow and brown. Patrick laughs again at your trembling, but you do something none of you expect: you pounce.

Patrick is underneath you, both of you yelling and screaming at each other, with your hands wrapped around his neck. Moose and Gard are quickly approaching you trying to pry you from Patrick—who, of course, doesn’t show any fear being that he lacks the capacity to feel it; instead showing surprise—but you don’t budge: tightening your grip on him. Violence and rage mix into one, just like your vision that feels clean and pure in one moment, and then crimson the next. There’s so much screaming and  yelling; the boys try to stop you from strangling Patrick, but it only eggs you on, bringing you closer to the edge. Your heart beats rapidly, faster than before.

You don’t know why you were so mad at Patrick to the point where you have him in a choke hold, but something else happens. You angrily turn your head at Sadler and release one of your hands away from Patrick’s neck in Moose’s direction. And then, the impossible happens. Without you even touching him he violently flies back a few feet. Patrick is still struggling under you, but you switch hands on impulse and do the same thing to Gard, not thinking or questioning about what was happening. You only had one instinct: to protect yourself and this kid. It’s not until the kid backs away, frightened, looking at Patrick in fear do you look at him.

A strangled scream leaves your throat, and you release Patrick without another word: hands flying over your mouth.

His skin where your hands were at had turned a horrifying shade of grey and blue, like the color of a dead man’s skin. They’re all shocked and afraid of you, staring at your eyes. Patrick recovers, his skin turning back to normal as soon as you released him, getting on his feet.

“Freak!” He screams, scrambling away.

Soon after, Moose and Gard are also running away; leaving you with the boy.

You’re not sure if you’re frightened or angry at this point. You remove your hands from your mouth, looking at your trembling hands. Your vision goes back to normal and the raging violence within you stills.

Did I just do that? You question. How the hell did I do that?

You turn your attention back to the boy and slowly approach him with raised hands.

“I-I won’t hurt you.” You say in a shaky whisper; the context of the words frightening you even more. He relaxes a little, leaving the two of you in an uncomfortable silence. You lower your hands, taking a deep breath, and then crouch down to his level—offering him a hand.

“How about we start over and pretend that I just mouthed them off, and not deal with them like Carrie White?” You joke with a weak smile, referencing the strange national event that happened in Chamberlain.

The boy nods and carefully takes your hand, muttering a small ‘thank you’. He doesn’t look too beat up, safe for the small bruise on his cheek, and he looks like he just got out of school. Strangely, he doesn’t seem to be with anyone else but himself. Releasing his hand, you step back, eyes glancing over to the dead grass with a sinking feeling. The two of you don’t really want to comment on the events that just transpired. Suddenly, the boy mutters something under his breath that makes you perk your head at him.

You tilt your head. “What was that?”

“Ben…” He repeats himself with more confidence. “My name is Ben… B-Ben Hanscom.”

“Ben.” You test the name with a smile, composing yourself into a calmer state. “[Y/N] King.”

Silence passes over again, making you bite the inside of your cheek.

“Thanks for that, by the way.” He huffs out.

You giggle nervously, nodding. “No problem. So, you heading into the library?”

“Yeah.” He motions to the building with his hand.

Something inside of you tells to stay with him, and you decide that you would.

You rush to grab your bike, propping it beside his.

“Do you mind if I hang out with you?” You ask suddenly. “I don’t want you to come out to see Patrick and those pricks again.”

“I-I don’t mind.” Ben shakes his head shyly—he didn’t seem like he was used to holding a conversation.

With a smile you say a few more things that ease up the mood and within moments: the two of you are warming up nicely. In hushed voices in the back of the library, you ask each other about your day and what you like. He enjoyed music and reading; history, to be exact. While talking you release your braids your hair and falter, feeling dry petals in your hair. Narrowing your eyes, you removed the flowers that you had intertwined in your hair and stared at them in shock.

 

The flowers were all dead and withered.

 

 

ii.

 

IT could feel your rage from the other side of town. It was a feeling that had distracted IT from a hunt, allowing a young child to slip out of its grasp—but that didn’t matter—because all IT could focus on was the feeling of your rage seeping throughout Derry. It was as if you had released the floodgates of your emotions, and with IT being the only one who could truly feel it (those who shined like your precious Losers might’ve felt sudden dread or fear while this happened); it had arrived on the scene without another word. Materializing itself in thin air, invisible to normal human eyes, IT watched you scream and throw your rage around at the poor boy—who should’ve easily overpowered you—underneath you.

IT watched as the grass beneath your feet wilted and dried as if summer had arrived early, the lilac-colored flowers in your hair began to die and wilt until they were a dead shade of grey and black. Reality broke and reassembled itself where you were; like glass that shattered and melded together. Of course, only IT (and maybe you as well if you weren’t so deep in rage) could notice this.

A hidden thrill ran up ITs spine at seeing you so angry, so full of hatred that you were willing to kill—but at the same time, it knew that this rage could easily overpower IT if it allowed you to. IT knew from the moment that you came back to Derry, wherever the taheen took you to, that you had changed; that your lights were no longer just “your lights”. They were you; and you were your lights. No longer were you just a vessel, instead you became the thing that would’ve killed you had you waited until the time was right.

IT continued to watch as you subconsciously dug deeper into yourself, feuling your rage until you flung those insolent boys back. When all was said and done, IT watched as you helped a boy up, and it was at that moment that IT knew that it made a mistake. You had just met the final member of the ka-tet.

Silent rage filled ITs deadlights to the point where it had to leave the scene, its mood already sour from watching you talk and hang out with your other friends—yes, IT had kept steady tabs on you when it didn’t come to you as Robert. This was not good, not good at all. It wouldn’t be long until you realized that Robert was IT. That much was evident by how strong your Touch was in showing you glimpses of ITs favorite form, Pennywise, instead of Robert. In addition to that, IT could no longer read your mind, nor could IT influence you. At this point, IT needed to rely on your relationship with Robert Gray (or other forms of forced persuasion; but IT truly didn't want to bring any harm to you anymore) if it wanted you to stay by ITs side.

At the same time, IT still had time to prepare. While you merged with your lights, the protective “shield” that had surrounded your ka-mates, were gone: which meant that IT could attack (and hopefully kill) the ka-tet. IT couldn’t do that now, not when there was a lot going on; IT would have to wait.

 

IT would make sure that your friends would have a very painful summer.

 

 

iii. 

 

You glared daggers into a patch of flowers in the Barrens, not too far away from Robert’s house.

Your hands trembled, struggling to maintain yourself. You were here for a good thirty minutes or more after you left the library with Ben, making sure that he went home safely. Of course, you couldn’t shake off the events that had happened, you weren’t sure who would if they were in your shoes. It was undeniable that you were the cause of it all: the dying flowers and grass, the force that had pushed Moose and Gard off of you, and the rotting of Patrick’s neck. A shiver ran down your spine, remembering his face: shocked and near death. You remembered the rage that you felt when you strangled him and your hand clenched at the memory. The wind stopped and so did you, halting your breath to take in your surroundings; it was as if time had stilled. Healthy twigs crunched beneath your feet, all of them turning black.

“J-Jesus Christ…” You swore under your breath, backing away from the dead wood.

Fear and shock filled your mind, but at the same time you were relieved that you weren’t going crazy. Why were you so relieved to realize that you were the cause of this? Curiously, you try something by calming yourself: taking your mind off of the rage.

Lo and behold, the wind picked back up, and life in the Barrens resumed.

Maybe that was the key. You think to yourself. I need to be angry.

But that option was pretty much out of the gutter. You weren’t a naturally angry person, you were nice and kind—no matter how cool it seemed to act out like a rebel (which you admired Beverly for), you were a good kid. The rage, however, also seemed to say something else about you; and you didn’t want to linger on the thought too much.

Gathering your things, you left the spot and back to Robert’s house. Ever since your parents had passed, with the house on 29 Neibolt Street no longer being your home, you and Robert had moved all of the stuff into his house. Finally, his darkly-painted estate seemed more like a home than a brooding mansion. Robert was sitting on the couch, and from his reflection in the t.v. screen, he was deep in thought. Coming up behind him you set your things on the floor and wrapped your arms around his neck, looking at him with a weak smile. He returned it by resting his hand on your arm.

“Hey, Rob.” You murmur. “What are you up to?”

“Just waiting for you.” He chuckles, turning his body over.

“Something wrong?” Robert asks, taking in your expression with intense eyes.

You bite your lip, carefully choosing your words.

Should you tell him?

No, he’d probably think that you were crazy.

Instead, you close your eyes and lean in to kiss his cheek.

“I’m okay.” You lie with a pounding heart. “Just had a rough day.”

-

You missed her.

You missed Holland.

You were in your own room, the one you had slept in when you first woke up in Robert’s house so many months ago. You had silently crept out of bed in the middle of the night without waking Robert up, walking down the halls until you came to your room. Sitting on your bed, hands calmly resting between your legs, you stared at the empty enclosure with a hollow feeling in your heart. Where could she have gone? You would hate to come to the notion that your kidnapper had somehow also kidnapped or killed your pet. You hopped off of the bed, resting on your knees crossing your arms on the dressing, taking in the web-covered branches and hiding spots.

You reached a hand against the glass, closing your eyes in grief, and let out a sigh. You remembered her signature blonde legs (since she was a Desert Blonde Tarantula), and her dark body; with her equally dark eyes glimmering up at you. A sudden urge and need to have her back filled your mind. You wanted her back.

A strange shiver runs down your body and your mind feels as if reality is caving in, consuming you into a bottomless pit. All of a sudden, your fingers no longer felt like they were touching the glass enclosure; nor did it feel like your knees were on the soft carpet. Instead, it felt as if you had fallen on a patch of leaves.

Stunned and letting out a gasp, you opened your eyes, taking in your surroundings and rising to your feet. One look around and you found yourself on a dirt-gravel path. The moon shined brightly above, allowing you to see in the semi-dark area. Your breathing quickened, hands wringing together in fear.

Where were you?

You took one look again and stopped when they landed on a boxy car on the side of the road, covered in leaves and twigs. You approached it, curiously looking into the car. It was abandoned, but there were also some things that you could definitely recognize. Your backpack, your suitcases, and most of all: a tiny glass enclosure with a seat-belt over it. You peered closer, waiting for the tree branches above to move from the wind, and when it did you immediately recognized the light fuzzy legs.

“Holland!” You exclaimed in a whisper, trying to open the door, but it wouldn’t budge. You frowned, but had an idea come up in your mind soon after—remembering the events from today.

You back away from the car, looking from side to side. The road was abandoned, or wherever you were at was abandoned, which made it easier for you to focus. You fixed your stance on the ground, and took a deep breath: glaring at the door. 

C’mon, work dammit! You think to yourself, frustrated.

It didn’t budge.

Maybe, I need to think of something else. You think again, and clenched your hands. You tried thinking of Henry Bowers or all of the bullies who had horrendously treated you badly in the time you were in Derry, the times you were angry at Robert but too scared to act out; nothing worked. Letting out an angry cry you stomp your foot on the ground. Not even that elicited a reaction. You needed to be angry and in the moment to really focus—did you?

On a whim, you cleared your thoughts and stared at the car door again and replaced the anger with something else. Maybe it wasn’t the anger that triggered it, but rather wanting to be. Wanting to be angry, wanting to hurt Patrick, wanting to protect Ben. You stand taller and take a few deep, steady breaths.

 

I want her back.

 

You slowly close your hands into fists.

The ground beneath you dies and the wind stills.

 

I want Holland back!

 

The aluminum door begins to groan under an invisible force.

You grit your teeth and clench tighter, breathing heavily.

Your vision begins to turn crimson at the edges.

 

I want that door open!

 

Releasing your breath, you take a step back and yelp when the door comes flying at you, completely removed from the car. You fall on your behind in surprise, mouth open in silence. A few seconds later, you find yourself laughing in relief that it actually worked. At this point, you’re not going to question anything that’s going on; you just needed to get your things and get back home. You scrunch your nose when a strange smell fills your nostrils. It smells like a bird aviary, or the feathers of a wild bird. Shaking your hand you shakily take the enclosure in your hands, removing the top.

Sticking a gentle hand into it, you feel relief when the tiny pricks of her small talons dig into your skin, feeling her crawl on your arms. With a smile you slowly lift up your hand and cup her with your other hand.

“I missed you, baby.” You said with tears in your eyes. “God, you must be starving. How long were you here?”

Of course, she doesn’t answer and you settle her on the ground, trusting her enough to not run away. You take this time to look closer into the car. There’s a jacket hanging off of one of the chairs that’s absolutely covered in dried blood. Remembering that this was the vehicle that the kidnapper had presumably used—How far away were you from Derry anyway?—you had a feeling that this was your blood. You leaned in to grab your backpack, and made sure that you didn’t step on Holland.

The trunk was closed but when your eyes flickered to the discarded car door in the middle of the road, you felt a newfound confidence within yourself. Using the same mental tactic as before, the trunk opened with ease; leaving you happy with a heavily beating heart and the ground looking as if autumn and winter came early. There wasn’t much except for your suitcases and opening revealed your clothes. You didn’t need them, Robert had plenty more and could buy more if he needed. Your eyes faltered on the sight of a framed picture of you and your parents, happily smiling together.

Pressing a fist against your mouth and holding the frame close to your chest, you let out a silent cry. You remembered taking that picture back in July of ‘88. You carefully placed it in your backpack and zipped it up, allowing Holland to crawl into your cupped hands. You were ready to leave. But as you were about to get ready to go back, a strange feeling washed over you. You turned around in the direction of the woods.

Something was calling you: something wrong, something violent.

It didn’t seem like a pleasant call, it was more like a command for you to approach whatever was calling you. You swallowed a thick knot that formed in your throat and shake your head, closing your eyes. You think back to your room at Robert’s home, remembering every little detail of the room, and what you were doing before you were transported here. Your feet seeped through the void and landed back on the carpet with a quiet ‘thud’. Feeling disoriented, you supported yourself against the bed, taking a few deep breaths.

 

And then the door slammed open.

 

You let out a scream as the figure entered the room: his tall frame easily recognizable.

“It’s me Robert!” You exclaim, hands turning on the lamp. The room was quickly bathed in yellow light and you take in his appearance: he looked panicked and afraid, breathing heavily. He lets out a sigh of relief upon seeing you and struts over in a hug. You stop him.

“Wait!” You raise your hands up, revealing Holland. “I don’t want you to accidentally crush her.”

Robert stops, eyes widening in surprise in seeing in the arachnid.

“How did you…” He’s at a loss of words. He also takes in your appearance with wide eyes: pants covered in dried leaves and dirt, with your backpack that was presumably missing since you were kidnapped.

Shit. You think. How am I supposed to explain this? I can’t just tell him about how I literally went from one place to another.

I can’t tell him about the car either.

“I just went outside for a walk.” You shrug nonchalantly, feeling bad that you had to lie—to him of all people especially. You set down Holland in her enclosure, smiling softly at the fact that she was now safe and sound. After setting the backpack on the bed, you look at Robert with sympathetic eyes. He was worried, but why?

You watch as he takes a seat next to you.

“You okay?” You touch his hand, resting your head against his shoulder; looking up at him.

“I thought you were kidnapped again…” He whispered in a breathless voice, staring out of the window.

Swearing to yourself, you pulled him in for a hug.

“I’m sorry, Robert.” You murmured into his shirt. “I should’ve told you.”

“It’s… It’s okay.” He chuckles. “Just don’t do that again.”

“You’re not… You’re not mad at me?” You ask with genuine curiosity.

Robert turns to you with a face of regret and shame; seemingly angry at himself in the fact that you had to ask that question in the first place. This room, after-all, was where several of his… Mistakes happened. He pulls you into a hug, chin resting against your head.

“I’m not mad at you, darling.” He replies in a promising voice. “I’d never dream of being mad at you ever again.”

You hum contently, letting him rock you until you’re lulled into sleep.

 

Chapter Text

The next time you see Patrick Hockstetter is when you’re helping Mike deliver meat. He makes a snide remark or two about your friend, but neither you nor Mike give him the satisfaction of attention: which of course, pissed him off severely. He throws the usual slurs and insults, and it’s not until he says something about Mike’s parents that makes you falter, feeling that deep rage within you. But you’re in public, and you don’t know what would happen. Would you strangle him? Throw him back? Kill him?

“Ignore him.” You mutter to Mike—though it ended up becoming a message to yourself.

He nods slowly, taking in your heavy expression with slightly fearful eyes. You give him a reassuring smile, walking down Richards Alley, hearing Patrick’s yells get louder and louder. However, it gets to the point where you’re practically seething, trying your best to calm down your boiling nerves. And finally, you snap.

“Mike.” You whisper in a still voice. “Turn around.”

He looks at you with scared eyes. “What’s going to happen? Are you going to fight him?”

“Just turn around please.” You look at him with pleading eyes.

Surprisingly, he nodded and turned around, not moving. Letting out a sigh of relief, you turned your attention back to Patrick, who followed you down the alleyway. Even though it was 3 in the afternoon, he still looked intimidating; and had seemingly recovered from the events of last week. You didn’t expect him to really take in what had happened, and he’d probably call you a “fucking witch” or something else absurd; though you weren’t sure what you were to be honest. You just knew about your need to protect.

“Leave before this gets ugly, Hockstetter.” You warn quietly.

He chuckles. “Are you telling me what to do? I get to make the decisions around here.”

 

In the back of your mind, his words reminded you of Robert.

 

You think back to his fearless expression when you strangled Patrick, a shiver running down your spine. Evidently, Patrick had shown no signs of actually feeling the hurt except for his own body fighting against his mind. You were willing to bet that he wasn’t going to let you slide this time. You take a deep breath, taking a step closer to him. The air gets tense and you prepare yourself for whatever you were going to throw at him. But Patrick was unpredictable and maybe you could talk him out of it. With clenched hands you take another step closer to him.

“Leave.” You grit out again, wanting to scratch your eyes at how blaring red your vision was getting. Mike is still strangely listening to your orders of turning around, and you have to turn your head around for a moment to make sure that he’s okay. You call out to his voice and he replies back in a lazy, monotone one. Weird.

Turning back to Patrick you notice that he’s struggling to maintain focus, hands shaking with the hair-spray and lighter in his hands. You tilt your head and push back at the fear that rises within you.

“If you’re not going to leave then drop your things.” You command angrily. “This isn’t a Michael Jackson concert.”

Patrick gives you a harsh glare and approaches you with a sickening smile, and fear begins to take hold; but then just… Stops. To your surprise, he drops the items before reaching hands to his head; as if he was in pain. At the same time a pressure is applied to your own head the more you focus and hold your ground. Your eyes widen at the fact that he listened—was this something else that you could do?—but don’t take the time to linger, taking Mike’s hand and heading towards your bikes. He’s snapped out of the weird trance that he was in, and you give him a pointed look as the two of you pedal away from Richards Alley.

“You okay Mike?” You asked concerned after the two of you had put space between you and Patrick.

He nods, but looks confused. “I… I think I am.”

“Do you remember what happened?”

“I remember you telling me to turn around and…” He pauses, narrowing his eyes.

Letting out a defeated sigh he reaches for his head.

“I don’t remember actually.”

That alone is enough to convince you that something was happening again. You glance at the large clock at the library, and then at Mike. You need to calm down before something related to your powers happens without you knowing. You mutter out a quick apology to Mike and pedal back home as soon as possible.

-

“I-I—I just have no f-f-fucking idea what’s happening to me!” You exclaim, pacing back and forth on the gazebo, letting out a frustrated groan. Running a hand over your face you try your best to calm yourself down, noticing how one of the wisteria plants had begun to wither at the ends. It wasn’t a pleasant sight to see that you were the cause of something dying; heck, it wasn’t even pleasant to acknowledge that you had acquired these strange abilities.

“I wish that you could at least say something.” You mutter, glancing at Holland’s enclosure.

She’s feeding off of a live mouse that you had managed to lure in—which was how you also realized why animals were calm around you. But this was extended farther to animals, and you realized today (after that second encounter with Patrick Hockstetter) that you could sway people in some way; however, you did end up feeling light-headed at the end of it. To your knowledge, using your “mental” abilities were more likely to strain your head, while your stranger abilities but an extreme pressure on your heart. Nothing about this made any sense, and the more you thought the more afraid you were.

In addition to it all, you were starting to get more anxious in seeing Robert less and less. Considering the fact that he had a terminal illness you didn’t want to leave him out out of your sight, but that became harder and harder the longer he avoided you.You didn’t know the extent of how bad it was, only that it was terminal, and everyday you had worried yourself to sleep. He almost seemed afraid and cautious—of what exactly? Was he still afraid that you didn’t love him because of his tumor? Was he in pain? Was he ashamed of his past behavior towards you? Did he enjoy your company? Were you spending too much time with your friends?

Panicking, you paced even faster—the sight of the lovely purple flowers turning into a greyer shade only made your panic worse. You pulled at the knuckles of your fingers, feeling your stomach lurch. Calm down, calm down, calm down. You repeat to yourself, feeling hopeless when it didn’t work. A strange trill goes through your body.

“[Y/N]...?” Robert’s voice calls out, making you turn your head.

“Robert.” You choke out, taking a step back. He’s here—how did he come here so silently?—and looking at you with concerned eyes. He’s holding a hand out to calm you down, eyes flickering to the dying flora and then back at you. He doesn’t seem to connect the fact you’re the cause of this; only thinking that you’re panicking for no reason. There’s no words that escape your mouth, only your heavy breathing and the windless air. It fills a horrifying silence between you two. You didn’t realize that he was so close to you until he’s wrapped his arms around you, and the fear that your abilities would’ve harmed him. He doesn’t flinch, nor show any sign of it and you graciously return the hug when you take note of this.

“There’s something wrong with me Robert.” You choke out, holding him tighter. “I… I don’t know if I can tell you b-but… I…”

“Shhhh.” He begins to run his fingers through your hair, causing you to breathe a heavy sigh out of your nose.

You shudder from anxiety and doubt. “I want to tell you, so, so badly, Rob…”

“Then tell me.” He mutters. “I won’t judge.”

If I told you, you’d think that I’m some weird psychic freak.

“I just can’t…” You stammer out in a weak voice, trembling in a low cry.

 

To your surprise, Robert doesn’t force you to tell him the truth.

 

 

ii.

 

“Why do you have these powers?”

“I don’t know.” You mutter angrily, hushing your voice to avoid the librarian’s haughty gaze. “It just happened ever since…”

“Ever since what?” Ben asks curiously, looking at you for the answers.

“I…” You shake your head. You didn’t want to tell him about you being kidnapped. With him being so young as well, there’s no way that you could openly tell him about everything else.

“Something bad happened to me.” You answer cryptically. Ben took your words with consideration, turning back to his book. You lean over, looking at the page’s contents curiously; he was reading about statistics and national consensuses. 

“What are you reading about?” You asked, propping your head in your hands.

He turned to you, abashed. “J-Just reading about national averages…”  He muttered quietly, flipping a page. You hummed and slowly leaned back in the chair, not wanting to create any sudden noises. The library was deathly quiet, and after a few minutes had passed by you decide to get your own book, nudging Ben.

“I’ll be right back.” You gave him a small smile.

He nodded, returning his attention back to the book. The library was almost empty, with the exception of a few people and the librarian. You fix your hair and sweater before passing through the large walls of books. There were so many to choose from, but the psychology section had always interested you—even if you didn’t actively want to pursue a career in it. You dragged your fingers against the covers, curiously skimming through the titles and authors; and then, one book caught your eye. It was a dark-covered book with a white title: GROOMING.

You tilt your head, confused.

 

Why would there be a book about taking care of your hair?

 

You approached the book, and just as you were about to grab it you felt a book slam onto the floor behind you. Letting out a strangled gasp, you turned around, looking down at the book. The scene reminded you of the time before Henry Bowers approached you, when a book fell on it’s own. A part of you wondered if this was due to your powers, but you were completely calm and out of focus. It was just a normal book about the history of psychology, and not wanting to spark any paranoia (you had enough of that already): you settled on this book.

You take this book, ignoring the one you were about to grab.

“You’re still here?” You asked Ben when you came back.

He nodded sheepishly. “Yeah… The library’s the only place where I can hang out.”

“You don’t hang out with your friends?”

“Y-You… You are my friend.” Ben replied in an embarrassed tone. Your heart swelled with sympathy and hurt, before determination took hold. If you could fulfill one good thing in your life, it would be to make sure that all of these kids had the best childhood ever.

“If you want, you can always join me and friends.” You smiled.

It was at that moment that Ben looked at you in surprise—your smile widened.

“Really?” He piped up, but lowered his head when the librarian glowered at him.

You nodded eagerly. “Mhm. We usually hang by the arcade or the Barrens.”

You checked the clock, frowning.

“I have to go now…” You trailed off sadly. “But I’ll see you next week!”

Ben’s eyes lit up and smiled—God, you’d do anything to keep any of your friends looking like that. While you were packing you noticed that Ben was heavily focused on one page, glancing at you every once in a while in question. He seemed to want to ask something so you initiated more conversation.

“Something on your mind?” You ask helpfully.

He nodded, glancing at the page.

“Do you… Ever feel like there’s something wrong about Derry?”

Always: every morning feels like death.

You nod slowly. “Yes.” 

“I’ve been reading these books, and…” He flips a page, pointing to the numbers. “Look. They did a study once it turns out people die or disappear… Six times the national average.”

A deep feeling in your gut made you queasy, unwanted memories resurfacing.

George. Eddie Corcoran. Henry Bowers…?

“The missing kids.” You muttered. Ben nodded.

A very uncomfortable silence passed, making you sigh and shake your head.

“Next week, same time, okay?”

“Okay. See you later, [Y/N].”

 

 

iii.

 

You dream of a paper boat, and a little boy who follows it.

He splashes through the rain and laughs with happiness, running down a street—but it’s not any street. You know this street; but everything is blurry around the edges, and so is the boy’s face. Who is this boy? You run with him, not paying any mind to the fact that the rain passes through you, as if you were a ghost. You notice two sawhorses up a head and fear the worst, saying something but nothing comes out. He avoids the first one; but slams face-first into the second one. You rush over to the child, worry and fright taking over your features. You reach out to grab him, but he phases right through you. He screams—but it’s not out of fear, but for the boat.

Dread sinks in when you see the boat moving closer to the sewer. It’s almost as if you can feel something moving the boat to the gutter, hidden puppet strings that draw the paper boat. The boy approaches the sewer, but all of a sudden everything… Blurs. The outside of your vision twists and it’s almost as if time has sped on its own accord. Your heart beats faster and your breathing quickens; anxiety fills your head like a—Balloon. Where did that come from?

 

And then, the worst imaginable thing happens.

 

The boy is pulled in by the arm, and then there’s blood everywhere. You let out a horrified scream with the boy, the fact that his face was blurred only made the sight worse. He writhes against the ground, a stump of clean-white bone where his arm was at. You lose your balance, horrified and fearful when you see an arm reach out of the gutter. The arm is white but fizzles and changes in your vision: turning into the leg of a crab or spider, before settling back into the clown. Your mouth goes wide when you see the boy being dragged down; but it’s not the screaming, blood, or spider-human arm that makes you cry.

Clear as day, he screams out, “Billy!”.

And suddenly, you know this voice; you know this boy. This is—

 

“Georgie!”

 

You scream out, a pain unlike any other filling your heart faster than water in a sinking boat. Your cheeks are already wet with tears—how long had you been crying?—and your fingers hurt from clenching the sheets so tightly. Arms wrap around you, and in the darkness you can recognize Robert’s features against the harsh moonlight. He’s talking to you but you don’t listen to him, twisting his shirt in your hands as you sob and scream into his chest.

“I-I—I saw him!” You scream. Robert runs his fingers through your hair, massaging your scalp and tilts your head up. Your heart pounds faster than your mind can think, your breathing coming out short and airy.

“Saw who darling?” He wipes away your tears with his thumbs. “Take deep breaths.”

“Ge-Ge-Georgie… He… The—T-T-The blood...” You pant, digging your face back into his chest.

“T-The sewer… I saw It take him…”

Robert stills under your hold, breath stilling.

He asks in a fearful whisper. “What did you see?”

“I don’t know…” You sob. “I just s-saw a hand a-a-and Georgie he… It...”

“It’s okay...” He shushes you again, arching over so that he can bury his face into your neck.

Your fingers feel numb at the edges, and you feel so cold (your legs worse than your numb fingers) even though you’re under at least two layers of blankets. You can only think about the blood and Georgie—the sweet boy who was basically your kid—being dragged down into death. The more you think and cry and scream, the worse your heart clenches up and you feel as if you’re dying or choking: reliving a memory you weren’t there to experience. You heave and choke on your dry throat, removing your hands from Robert’s front so that you can hug him tightly.

“You’re going to be okay.” He says quietly. “It was just a dream.”

It’s not okay. I saw him. It was real. It… IT

His hands stay on your head, and soon enough you feel an intense pain attack your head. The feeling makes you scream and cry, uttering things in a soft, high voice that makes Robert look at you in a worried face. He looks as if he tried doing something to calm down but failed miserably, and he’s pulling you into a tight hug. Why is he suddenly muttering apologies to you?

You’re feeling lightheaded and in pain; and it takes a whole hour and a half for you to recover.

“Make me forget.” You whisper against Robert’s cheek.

He looks at you strangely. “What do you mean?”

“I don’t know.” You continue in hoarse voice. “You always know how to make me feel better…”

He shakes his head, setting you back down the bed and holding you in an embrace. He lifts one of your hands up and laces his fingers with yours, kissing the back of your hand. The gesture soothes you, even in the midst of your post-crying. Robert breathes heavily through his nose, pressing his forehead against yours.

“When you wake up, I’ll be here for you.” He promises in a low voice. “You’ll be okay. It was just a dream.”

You look at your laced fingers with blank eyes, turning your attention back to him for support. Robert comfortingly wraps his other arm around you, a low hum coming from his throat; and the sound surprisingly does soothe you. It’s almost peaceful and you accept his words and his gestures, allowing yourself to fall back. When you do wake up in the morning, still remembering the events of last night, you feel much better in seeing Robert’s face in front of yours.

 

For some reason, he didn’t want you to go to the garden for the entire day.

 

Chapter Text

You hadn’t intended to bump into Victor on a Wednesday morning, on your way to the library to meet up with Ben again; but you did. He stops you before you can pedal any further, the two of you standing in front of the Aladdin Theater. You give him a smile, brushing loose hairs behind your ears. He looks nervous, sheepish even—which was not like Victor (who was of the cool, stoic kind).

 

”Are you okay Vic?” You ask, concerned.

 

He lets out a nervous chuckle, nodding as he shoves his hands in his pockets. His hair was still short but no longer buzz-cut, reminding you of Tom Cruise. He’s wearing somewhat nicer clothes than you’re used to seeing him in; and if it weren’t for the fact that he had platinum hair, you would’ve mistaken him for someone else.

 

He lets out a huff of air.

 

”I was wondering if y-you...”

 

He grumbles something under his breath, causing you to rest against your bike—crossing your arms. He takes another deep breath, looking away from you before meeting your curious gaze.

 

”I mean, I know you don’t go to Derry High anymore.” Victor starts quietly. “But the Summer Dance is on Friday and I... I-I... Shit!”

 

He stumbles on his words and turns flushed with shades of red and pink, but you have an idea of what he’s getting at. You glance at him nervously but feel butterflies in your stomach nonetheless. You had never been to any of the dances before, and you had always wanted to go to one; of course that idea was scrapped when you became homeschooled. Still, the thrill of it all made you excited and happy.

 

”You want me to go to the dance with you...?” You finish helpfully with a cheeky smile.

 

Victor nods, lighting a cigarette that he had in his pocket—taking a long drag from it. The smell of smoke hadn’t bothered you as much anymore, and you were used to Beverly doing it. The only thing that irritated you about it were your allergies. Other than that, you were completely fine with smoking. Back to the subject at hand, it was adorable seeing Victor so unusually bashful and it made you giggle.

 

”I know you’re with that guy.” Victor says, flicking the end of his cigarette. “We don’t have to go as a couple or anything, if that’s what you’re wondering. I just don’t have anyone to go with.”

 

The distant memory of Belch’s passing goes through your hand and your gaze turns soft; and as a result, you engulf Victor in a hug.

 

You exclaim. “Of course I’ll go with you!” 

Victor smiles, returning your hug.

 

”So, where do I pick you up?” He questions, pulling away from the hug.

 

”Near the Kissing Bridge.” You shrug. “My... Robert’s place is kinda hard to get to, and he might take you being there in the wrong way.”

 

He nods, humming in understanding; a genuine smile rising on Victor’s face.

 

”See you on Friday.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Today was the 26th of May, and you were getting ready for Derry High’s annual Summer Dance. The clock read 7:03 p.m. with the sound of Madonna’s latest hits on your radio. Taking advantage of Robert being out of the house today for his weekly check-up with his oncologist, you quickly went to work in gathering yourself and your outfit. Thankfully, he hadn’t found out about your plans to go meet-up with Victor.

On the bed rested an a-line tulle shoulderless dress with an eight-layered skirt and see-through puffy sleeves. At the foot of the bed rested a pair of kitten heels—you didn’t want to go overboard at the length since you and Victor were almost the same height—t-strap shoes with bows at the ends of them. All of these clothing items were of the pastel pink variety, considering the fact that shades of pink (and neon cold colors) were the hit at the time. Your hair was straight but slightly wavy at the ends after showering, and was tied back in a loose ponytail with a matching pastel pink bow; you weren’t really in the mood to sit in a chair for an hour or more to frizzle or perm your hair—nor did you have the talent to style your face with make-up.

Tonight was just going to be a night of fun. Nothing more, nothing less.

By the time you were done twenty minutes had passed and feeling brave you closed your eyes, and thought of the Kissing Bridge. You had a vague sense on how to control this… Teleporting ability by now—it was the easiest one to master out of all of them—since you only need to think of the thing, person, or place to go to it. Everything else was either too hard to get used to, or made you too frightened or anxious to even try them out. It got bad to the point where you had been panicking for no reason at random times, which usually lasted fifteen minutes or more. It was awful and horrifying, and you had a feeling that either Maturin (even though you only met him once in your trippy dreams) or your mysterious kidnapper had something to do with this.

Even though you had known each other for 3 weeks by now, Ben was surprisingly understanding—without you using your abilities—in keeping your powers a secret; and he even went as far as to do some research on them. Man, that kid was going places for sure. You briefly think back to your conversation with Ben.

-

“That’s uh… That’s a lot of books.” You chuckled nervously, eyes roaming at the pillar of novels that are stacked upon each other; all of them being bookmarked once or several times within the pages. Ben is surrounded by a few that are open, waiting for you to take your seat. After having that run-in with Victor about the dance, you headed straight for the library—intent on keeping your promise of hanging out with Ben. Ever since the two of you had found about your powers via a Hockstetter attack, Ben had seemed heavily interested in your abilities: setting his side-project about the Strange History of Derry on the side.

He lets out an embarrassed huff of air. “Yeah, I got really into it.”

You bring out one of the chairs, sitting beside him, hands folded in your lap.

“Are there really books on this?” You asked curiously, propping your head against one of the book stacks.

“Mhm.” Ben slides an open book to you, pointing at a paragraph.

“They’re mostly just history books mentioning it, or news articles, but yeah.” You peer at the paragraph, reading with mild interest. It was a short article about an Appalachian child with telekinetic powers; she died two years ago. The more you read, the crazier it all sounded. Apparently, this thing was a genetic mutation, dominant in women only, but not much research has been done on it.

“Do you think your mom or grandma had the gene?”

You think for a moment but shake your head. You knew that your parents were as normal as any family could get: a perfect nuclear family (excluding the fact that you were an only child). Your grandma (on your mother’s side) had died during childbirth, so there was no way that you would’ve known if she had it. Your grandmother on your father's side didn't have it either for sure. Still, you had a feeling that your situation was completely different than Carrie White’s or any of the other “psychics” around the world.

“They seem to be activated by intense rage or stress.” Ben looks at you. “In your case, when Patrick attacked us.”

You glance away, giving him a sheepish smile.

“Well.” You trailed off, sighing. “I can do some of them on my own. The rest of them are hard.”

“Wait...” Ben’s eyes widen. “There’s more?”

You swallow back fear and anticipation, nodding slowly. He looked nervous at your answer, almost as if he wasn’t expecting it. You then came to learn that your ability set was unusual; probably the first to have more than just telekinesis and telepathy. It was frightening and chilled you to the core, and eventually the topic of Maturin came up.

“I’ve only seen him once, though.” You shrug.

Ben nods. “I’ll try to look into that name.”

“Thanks, Ben. I appreciate it, really. You’re a good friend.”

His eyes light up at the compliment and he turns his embarrassed face away.

The clock chimes in at 5:30 p.m. and you begin to gather your things.

“Let me know if you find out more.” You give Ben a smile. “All of this probably sounds crazy to you.”

“It is.” Ben shuffles in his seat. “But I’ve been learning more about Derry, and...”

“There’s something wrong with this town.”

-

You fall through the ground into the void, passing through a dark place that eventually leads you to your feet settling on the Kissing Bridge. Luckily, Victor hadn’t arrived yet—you would have no idea how to explain that to him. Resting against the carved fence, your eyes trailing over to the spot where you and Robert had carved your initials; a smile reaching your features. Left alone with your thoughts you began to think about your dream… The one about Georgie.

You remember clearly that you had seen the clown’s arm: the silver ruffles and little peppermint colored accents said it all. Fear and rage fills you at the thought; how did you not know? The fact that Pennywise, whatever he was, came out of the blue at random times should’ve been a warning in the first place. Not to mention the fact that Henry Bowers could see him. How was he able to change himself at will? How did he know that Henry would be terrified of Sheriff Bowers? The clown’s words rang in your head, clear as day.

“Ol’ Pennywise has pleeeenty of kids to take care of!”

Kids… Kids like Georgie. Your heart begins to race and you remove yourself from the fence, making sure that no one was seeing you freak out. You fiddle with your skirt nervously. The wind stirs a little, making you let out a string of swears. 

“No, no, no. Not now!” You groan, burying your face in your hands.

You begin to repeat the words Robert had said to you a few nights ago.

Deep breaths, deep breaths, deep breaths.

You distract yourself with the feeling of his embrace; his presence—steadying your breathing until you’re only fumbling with your hands, your breath steady and the air around you going back to normal. A frustrated half-sigh, half-groan leaves your lips. You couldn’t just do this every time you became panicked—how long would it be when calming yourself wouldn’t work? A little help on controlling my powers would be nice. You think to yourself humorlessly. The sound of a throaty engine and heavy rock breaks your thoughts, your eyes widening in surprise when they land on the vehicle making the noise. It’s a sleek, black convertible with a long hood, and two white stripes running across the sides of the vehicle.

Victor is the one who’s driving, wearing a surprisingly nice black tux. He takes in your appearance with slightly lingering eyes, but you don’t mind. You trust him enough to do anything. He lets out a quiet cough, turning his head away.

“You really know how to tease a guy, don’t you?”

His words don’t really leave an impact, only confusing you.

“What do you mean?” You ask when taking your seat beside him, lowering the volume.

He flushes pink, fingers clenching the wheel tighter. “Nevermind…”

“So, when did you get this?” You question curiously, glancing at the brown-orange leather that wraps the inside of the car. A half-empty Marlboro box rests in one of the cup holders, an already-lit cigarette between Victor’s fingers. The smell of smoked cherries fills your nose almost addictingly, but you push back the urge to try smoking again—it just wasn’t your thing. He begins to drive down the street, and for some reason you can’t shake the feeling of eyes on the back of your head; watching your every movement.

“Two months ago.” Victor replied. “This is my dad’s Dodge.”

“He lets you drive?” You ask with wide eyes, amazed.

He laughs quietly. “Not exactly. But he doesn’t really care about what I do.”

“Why? You like it?”

“It’s nice.” You nod, a cheeky grin running across your lips.

“We should do this more.”

He turns to you with a surprised face. “Really?”

“Yeah.” You giggle, fingers thrumming against the leather. “Robert’s the only person who really drives me around.”

He stays quiet at your reply, the mention of your guardian causing him to take a thick drag from his cigarette. The high school comes into view, and it’s almost strange to come back to this place after leaving. It’s only been a few months since you were started being homeschooled, but it felt as if you were an adult visiting an old stomping ground. The brief memory of Henry Bowers in the locker room makes you grimace. You were glad that he was finally taken care of… But having the feeling that you know who did it—didn’t really ease your nerves.

That clown was probably laughing behind your back, enjoying the fact that you hadn’t realized that he was the one that killed Georgie—you wondered if he knew that you saw what happened. The clown seemed so foreign, so strange, so… Alien.

A hand touches your shoulder and you gasp, bringing your attention to Victor.

“You okay?” He asks, concerned. “You were shaking a little.”

“Yeah, yeah…” You compose yourself. “Just thinking.”

The sound of smooth rock fills the silence and Victor parks not too far away from the gym; which was where the dance was probably held. Before the two of you could enter he throws the finished cigarette and stops you, taking your hand.

“I want you to be honest with me [Y/N].” Victor says in a hushed voice. “Does he treat you well?”

You tilt your head. “Who?”

“Robert.” He grits out. You bite the inside of your cheek, breathing heavily through your nose.

There was a lot that you haven’t told Victor about Robert since December; and to be honest, you weren’t sure how to answer that. Most of the time he had been completely understanding and caring for your well-being, and the other times where he wasn’t so nice were easy to forget (for the most part). Maybe you were just waiting for something to happen—always on your toes and making sure that no secrets were kept from Robert, even though he had his own—but he was good. Robert was good, but at the same time...

“He does.” You reply as honest as you can be. “Sometimes he can be… Difficult. But…”

You remove your hand from his grip, crossing your arms.

“Can we talk about this at another time?” You open the door. “Please Vic? I promise I’ll tell you after, but… I… I can’t trust you. Not after I found out that you told others.”

Shame fills his eyes and you feel bad for calling him out, still: his behavior was inexcusable.

“I won’t tell.” Victor replies softly, passing by you. “Honest.”

After that he gave someone tickets (which he whispered to you that he stole them from another student) and the two of you entered the gym. Feeling nervous, you grab his arm with both of your hands, entering the dark gym that was barely lit with neon lights; streamers, balloons, and sequin fabrics glimmering in the dark. Familiar faces and students passed by, though most of them were upperclassmen. The DJ was playing music by TKA, Taylor Dayne, and other singers. The smell of cologne, perfume, and sweat filled the large gym, which only made you cling to Victor even more. He let out a quiet laugh, and suddenly you’re glad that it's dark enough that he can’t see the blush on your cheeks.

“Nervous?” He smirked. You huffed, rolling your eyes.

“I’ve never been to one of these things before.” You answer honestly. “I don’t know what to do.”

“We dance, I guess.” Victor shifts nervously. “I’ve never done this either.”

You both awkwardly try to grab each other’s hands, apologizing profusely until you both compose yourselves; sharing a laugh. You and Victor take a look at the other dancers, getting a sense of how to hold each other. Finally, Victor settles with resting one hand around your backside with the other one holding yours—pulling you into a slow sway. Your free hand had rested on his shoulder. You weren’t used to someone your age holding you like this, not since you had play danced with Bill in middle school (with him being 6th grade). The two of you dance together for thirty minutes until Victor takes note of your flushed expression curiously, noticing how you were struggling to maintain a cool composure.

“I thought you knew how to dance.” He quips playfully.

“Oh shut up, Vic.” You giggle. “I-I… I’m just not used to this.”

“How does it feel?” He asks curiously, slowly turning you around.

The feeling of eyes on your back again sends a burning chill down your spine, making your shudder.

You blink hard and then give Victor a shy smile.

“It’s… Nice.” You said simply. “I like it.”

 

Was this normal?

 

Was this how you were supposed to act?

 

Was this how it felt to live like a normal teen?

 

What would Robert say about this?

 

You inhale sharply, tightening your hold on Victor.

“[Y/N]...?” Victor stops dancing for a moment, noticing your growing distress. You give him a queasy smile. The music has died down slightly, setting the mood even more into a more slow-dance type of setting. You feel almost jealous looking at how happy the other students looked with their partners, knowing that you won’t have that type of relationship with someone your age. Could you? Would you? Do you want a relationship like that? Where are these thoughts even coming from? You shake your head, leading Victor in the dance now.

“I’m okay, Vic. I was just…”

“Were you thinking about him?” He already knew your thoughts like the back of your hand.

“I was, sorry.” You mutter. “I just—”

“Shut up.” He interrupts sternly; tone lacking malice and more of a stern feeling. You close your mouth obediently, letting him pull you to the walls of the gym so that you’re not in the way of the dancers. You release each other, watching as Victor places his hands on your bare shoulders; you bite down the shiver that you feel from it. Suddenly, too many unwanted butterflies swarm within your stomach at the contact, feeling his fingers lightly brush against your tied hair and shoulder-blades. His eyes are full of concern and… Something else you can’t really pinpoint down. That feeling of being watched became so strong when Victor’s hands landed on your shoulders, that you almost feel as if the whole room is watching you.

“He doesn’t deserve you.” Victor murmurs, distracting himself with the design of your dress.

“Victor…” You sigh solemnly, lifting a hand to rest against his arm. It happened to be the one with the ring on it and his dark brown eyes glance at it when the rubies glimmered in his eyes. His lips are pulled back into a thin line.

“It’s the truth—!” He exclaims quietly. “You’re too good for him, shit, even that stuttering kid is better for you.”

“Bill…?” You ask, tilting your head. “I-I don’t know why you’re…”

“It hurts me to see you like this.”

“What do you mean?” Your voice is a whisper now, but somehow the two of you can hear each other perfectly against the music. Your other hand joins the same position as your right hand, resting against Victor’s left arm.

“You’re different.” Victor huffs with frustration. “You don’t see it because you’re in too deep, but I do. I see it. You’re not the same [Y/N] I knew in elementary school or middle school. You’re not even the same [Y/N] who threw eggs at Greta Keene’s house. You lost that confidence, even if you think you have more now, I see it. He changed you.”

“Victor.” You warn lowly.

What was he trying to get at?

“People change.” You say in an unsure tone.

“No offense, [Y/N].” Victor chuckles dryly. “But even you know that this isn’t right.”

Your lips press together in muteness, and a variety of thoughts begin to swirl in your mind. How many times did you have to tell him? Or any of your friends (if they ever found out)? You were happy, you were free. You had everything you wanted. You were… You were—

“I’m loved by someone, Vic.” You tighten your hold again. “Someone who I love back.”

He interjects, loosening his hold on your shoulders.

“But you can’t even think for yourself without thinking about him first.”

“V-V-Vic… I-I—”

“Take my advice, [Y/N]. As someone who’s been hurt many times over, don’t let someone control you.” He looks to the side, finally releasing your shoulders—and for some reason, you miss the feeling of his hands on your shoulders.

The feeling of eyes watching you eases a little at this.

“He doesn’t control me.” You say with hesitation.

Victor gives you a pointed look and you pause, releasing a heavy breath.

“It’s not that bad.” You look up at the glimmering streamers. “He’s changed. He’s good to me.”

“Until when?”

You narrow your eyes. “What do you mean?”

Victor crosses his arms.

“Things like these don’t last, [Y/N].”

Doubt and worry begins to fill your brain.

“I-I don’t understand…”

“How many times has he hurt you?” Victor pauses. “Can you even remember?”

I don’t want to talk about this Vic, was what you meant to say, but you can’t. Your throat begins to dry up and to help with that you head over to where the food and drinks are at. Victor grabs your arm and lets out a nervous chuckle, eyes darting to the drink bowl with a glare.

“I wouldn’t drink that.” He says. “I saw some of the seniors dump stuff in there.”

You nod but look down at your feet.

Victor runs a hand over his head. “We’re getting off topic.”

“Why are you asking me these things?” You spout angrily, lowering your voice to avoid any unwanted attention.

“You’re my friend. I’m worried for you.”

“I’m finally happy for once in my life!” You exclaim, turning your head to wipe away tears that had welled up. You turn to him with clenched fists but remind yourself to cool down in case you blew up; your heart was already racing.

“Do you plan to be with him forever?”

You sigh angrily. “Yes. I’ll be with him until he… He doesn’t have a long time, Vic.”

“Then that’s all the reason to leave him!” Victor whispers back in a fed-up voice. “What will you do when he dies!? Are you going to mope around for the rest of your damn life? Unable to move on because he made you think he was the only person that you could love?! There’s people out there that are so much better than that son of a bitch!”

 

That’s enough.

 

Your hands clench and you close your eyes, breathing heavily. The air feels grows and fear fills you, causing you to brush past him and head for the exit. In the dark, though barely visible, the flowers in the gym wilt and wither—you’re glad that you’re the only one that notices this. Victor calls out your name but you’re too far gone to really listen to him, you need to calm down before things get nasty. The chill of the air instantly relieves you, sitting down at the concrete steps at the entrance. You bury your face in your hands, letting out a drawn out sob that’s muted by your fingers. You want to take off your heels and through them against a wall, or tear your dress apart—anything to ease your nerves. A second later, a warm hand rests on your shoulder and you can’t help but fear that it’s Robert’s hand that touches you.

You turn around, lowering hands, and suddenly relief and anger mixes into one.

“Vic.” You choke out. “Go away.”

“I won’t.” He sits down next to you, bringing out his lighter.

You chuckle sadly. “You’re gonna kill yourself one day by smoking, Vic.”

“You’re not stopping me though.” Victor shrugs playfully, bringing his Marlboro pack out.

You bring your knees up a little, resting your elbows against them and place your head against them. Being outside of the gym fills you with a feeling of freedom and peace, despite how your mind was everywhere at the moment. Your heart pounds and your brain spins, making it hard to glance up at the streetlights. Victor’s hand comes in front of your face with his cigarette between his fingers. You turn to him miserably.

“I’m not going to smoke.” You deadpan.

His stance is undefeated. “Trust me, you need it badly. You look like you’re about to snap.”

He’s right. You think to yourself. One more word and I might unleash hell.

You hesitantly take the cigarette between your fingers—that feeling of eyes comes back for the umpteenth time—and glance at Victor. He’s waiting for you to do it. You remember the first time trying it out, you and Victor in the car while Belch drove you (plus Henry) to the grocery store. It was your first day of being a member of the now disbanded Bowers Gang. You take the cigarette between your lips and take a deep drag, trying not to cough or tear up at the smell or feeling. This time it doesn’t burn your throat as much, instead it numbs you up a little; like when you drank alcohol in the Barrens, except you’re not feeling as sick or nauseous. You remove the cigarette from your lips, opening your mouth slightly and blowing out the smoke—closing your eyes. You feel almost calm now; alert, but mind-numbingly good.

“Didn’t think you’d enjoy it that much.” Victor notes, surprised.

You open your eyes slightly, leaning against his shoulder: feeling him tense at the action. He relaxes a few seconds after and wraps an arm around your shoulder, and as always, the gesture feels nice. You feel like you’re forgetting the world around you, and suddenly everything’s just you and Victor sitting alone outside of the school. Nothing to worry about and no one to bother you. You look at the cigarette and bring it to your lips again, feeling the urge to take another drag from it. You roll your shoulders, sighing deeply.

“I’m sorry for earlier…” You muttered. “I just don’t know why you don't want me to be happy.”

The arm around you squeezes you gently, holding you against Victor.

“I do want you to be happy.” Victor whispers. “You made me see that I can do something good with my life. I just want to repay that. You deserve so much more than this, than Derry.”

“I have no one else.” You shudder, letting him flick the cigarette for you—the action of doing it yourself didn’t feel natural to you. You’re almost finished with the cigarette by now, and you wonder what time it is; with it being so dark.

“My parents are dead.” You admit in a horrified tone, your mind too buzzed to care or cry. “Robert’s the only one I have.”

“That’s not true.” Victor runs his hand up and down your arm. “And you know it.”

“But I love him…” You trail off in a wanting tone, letting the cigarette fall to the concrete; stepping on it with the foot of your heel. You shiver when a draft comes, watching Victor fiddle with his lighter. It makes you wonder where yours went.

Where did it go?

“He’s going to hate me for this.” You ramble on, letting your filter run away from you—damn, did you want another cigarette? You hold your sides, swallowing a knot that formed in your throat.

“He’s going to mad, really mad.” You continue sadly. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he…”

“If he what, [Y/N]?” Victor asks. “Be honest with me. No bullshit.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he hits me for it.” You shudder.

The image of Robert’s enraged features frightens you more than Henry Bowers.

You grip at the skirt of your dress, breathing heavily; smoke in the air from Victor’s own cigarette.

“If he saw you holding me, he’d do worse than that.”

“Then that’s not real love.” Victor says firmly. You turn to him, confused.

“What do you mean…?” Your eyes widen.

He lets go of you and stands up, holding his hand out to you. You take it and follow him back to the car, the dance wasn’t all that anyway. He turns on the car and lowers the volume, letting the music softly pour out this time. Resting his arm against the door when you finally sit down in the passenger’s seat, he finally talks to you again.

His eyebrows are drawn deep in thought and purpose.

“That’s manipulation.” He tosses his Marlboro somewhere in the back of the car.

“If he does just because you’re hanging out with friends, then that’s not real love.” Victor shakes his head. “You shouldn’t have to be afraid of having fun, and he shouldn’t be doing that in the first fucking place! He shouldn’t hurt you to get his point across.”

“I don’t want to go home.” You whimper, removing the bow from your hair, dropping the article in your lap. You run a hand through your hair, your breath smelling like smoke and mint. “I’m scared to.”

Victor stays silent for a moment and his eyes lit up slightly at an idea.

“Do you want to stay the night at my place?” He suggests. “I can drop you off at a friends’ if you don’t want.”

“No, no… That’s okay.” You muttered sleepily, running a hand over your face.

“I don’t have any clothes to change into.” You rest your head against the car door, feeling the vehicle move slowly as Victor begins to drive. You glance at him for a moment and he has a hesitant, embarrassed look in his eye—as if he was thinking of something he shouldn’t have—before he calms down.

He grips the steering wheel tighter. “You… You can borrow mine.”

“Alright…” You mutter quietly.

“Wake me up when you get there…”

-

A hand gently nudges your shoulder and you groan, sleepily opening your eyes to see Victor looking at you worried. When he sees you wake up he lets out a relieved sigh, twirling his car keys with his pointer finger. You look around, recognizing the apartment complex up ahead. You wondered if Beverly was awake at this time, having a smoke at the top of the roof. You lazily exit the vehicle, a shudder passes through upon seeing Belch’s Trans Am not too far away, covered in dirt and leaves—resting there ever since he died.

“Your dad won’t get mad or anything?” You ask curiously.

He shakes his head. “He just got deployed to Australia recently.”

“You’re not moving either?” You hold onto him, following him up the stairs.

“Like I said. He doesn’t give a crap about me.” Victor says in a muted tone and you take the hint. His apartment isn’t that too far away from Beverly’s just a level or two below hers. You’ve never been in her home due to her father, but once you enter Victor’s you have a feeling that the layout is similar to his. It opens immediately to a large living room that splits between the kitchen and dining room; a wall separating the three different rooms. The corridor stretches down into another living room, two rooms, and one bathroom.

You kick your heels off, leaving them near the front door. Awkwardly, you wait in the living room for Victor. He comes in soon enough with a t-shirt and a pair of shorts, his face slightly red at giving his clothes to you. With it is also a pair of…

“Where did you get these from, Vic?” You ask, eyes going wide at the sight of one of the pieces of clothing he had handed to you; your own cheeks growing warm at the clothes in your hands. He flushes, running a hand through his short hair.

“My mom left a lot of her clothes when she left.” He admits. “You’re the same height as her and I figured that they’d fit.”

“I’m not going to wear that.” You stifle a giggle, lifting the article of clothing up between your fingers. “There’s like… Barely anything to wear.”

“I thought that’s what girls like. Y’know, kinky shit.” Victor continues, shaking his head with embarrassment. You brush past him, tossing the bra at him. He turns red even more and begins to call out quietly; not wanting to disturb the other apartment tenants.

“I’ll just use the bra I’m wearing right now.” You glance at the other article of clothing he had given you with a pink face. “I guess I’ll wear it. I’ve never tried it before, but hey—you only live once, right?”

You shut the bathroom door, resting the clothes against the sink.

“Forgot to mention.” Victor’s voice is muffled by the door. “We’re not allowed to use hot water after 9:00. Sorry.”

“It’s fine.” You sigh. After that he leaves you alone to do whatever you need to do. The dress slips off and you place your ring on a stepping stool. Your mind is spinning with thoughts while you shower, feeling fear at the thought of Robert; but then, Victor’s words interject your thoughts.

“That’s manipulation.”

Maybe he’s right. Running your fingers over the ringless hand, noticing how the flesh near the knuckles had swelled a little from wearing the ring for so long. You close your eyes for a moment, tilting your head up while you finish washing your hair. You almost fall asleep at how the cold water feels, since you were used to taking hot showers. A tense pressure fills the room, and you feel like someone is watching you. There’s no one there. You calm yourself down, eyes still closed. And then you feel it.

A pair of hands, slowly trailing up your sides—starting at your hips and stopping at your chest. These hands feel too familiar, no one’s fingers are that long and nimble, for you to not recognize the cold chill of a thick, metal ring on one of them.

Your eyes snap open, arms flailing around as you look down at yourself, breathing heavily. There’s nothing there. You shut the water and dry yourself before anything more could happen, not wanting to deal with a sleepless night. Lucky for you, Victor was barely taller than you, which meant that his clothes weren’t too baggy on you. Your face, however, scrunched tightly when you put on that article of clothing.

Jesus Christ… Your face turns red again. Can this thing even be considered to be a piece of clothing?

Your legs shift uncomfortably but after you put on the shorts you give up on trying to feel comfortable. Slipping the ring back on and gathering your dress between your hands you exit the bathroom, head peeking over the side of the living room wall. Victor’s waiting there patiently, with the tux still on, and you lift your dress up.

“Where do I put this?” You ask, giving him a sheepish smile.

“You can hang on my dresser.” Victor shrugs. “You can get it when you leave in the morning.”

“Okay…” You continue. “Do you want me to sleep on the couch?”

“You can sleep on my bed if you want.” He crosses his arms. “I don’t mind sleeping here.”

You pout. “Now I feel bad.”

“Go.” He chuckles. “Night, [Y/N].”

You give him a smile and reply back, entering his room. It smells just like him, smoky but also like cologne in some spots. You toss your dress on said counter, looking around his room. There’s not much to look at except for posters of rock bands, flags and souvenirs from different countries (you assumed that these were the places his dad went to), and one poster of a very provocative woman behind his door. Your face flushes at that poster and you fall back down on the bed, wrapping yourself around the blanket and close your eyes—calmness filling your brain one last moment.

 

 

ii.

 

“For a second I thought you weren’t real.” You let out a quiet giggle, floating peacefully in the vacuum of this strange space. Maturin is in front of you, different places of the world shimmering in different plates of his shell. His eyes gleam at you playfully.

“I am real.” Maturin’s voice rumbles. “I see that you’ve taken notice to your powers. How are they?”

You gaped at him in shock.

“You were the one who gave them to me!?” You exclaim. “A warning would’ve been nice. I thought I was going nuts.”

“I was not the one to have gifted them to you.” He shakes his head, his large body moving around yours. “I merely activated them. I did warn you, but you don’t remember that encounter.”

“Wait—You’ve talked to me several times?!” Your mind spins faster in confusion.

“I have.”

“How come I don’t remember?”

“You asked me to make you forget.” Maturin muses quietly. “You had witnessed something too much for your mind to handle.”

“Jesus Christ.” You sighed miserably, turning to look around the empty vacuum. You wondered if he ever got lonely here.

“Can you at least tell me how to control my powers?” You ask. “I’ve been panicking non-stop this whole month about how to control them.”

“Think with your heart, not your mind.”

You give him a deadpan stare. “You love riddles, don’t you?”

A question pops up in your mind.

“Why do I have these powers?” You question in a hushed whisper. His eyes lower in mute solemnity.

“I cannot change fate.” He muses sadly. “I can only influence it. You are not ready to know the truth. Unite your ka-tet first and your answer will come straight to you before you know it.”

“What the hell is a ka-tet?” You plead, seeking answers.

“The people you care about.” Maturin continues. “Bring them together and you’ll experience a strength unlike any other.”

His cosmic eyes glimmer in mirth before falling downcast in a somber look.

“I’d advise you not to head home when you wake up.” Maturin turns his head away from you.

“Why?” You tilt your head, and then realization floods in.

“He’s mad… Isn’t he?” You whisper in a frightened voice. The turtle doesn’t need to respond for you to know your answer. You nod understandingly, wringing your hands together—feeling small and big at the same time in Maturin’s presence. Maybe that’s why you enjoyed his company so much, his attention was focused solely on you and the world at the same time.

Another question comes up.

“Will I forget about this?”

“Only if you want me to make you.” Maturin answers honestly. “You are close to waking up.”

“I assume I’m here longer than the first time… Why is that?”

“Your lights—or rather, just you from now on—have grown used to the Macroverse. Your mind wasn’t used to it the first time.”

“Macroverse…” You whisper quietly.

You feel the edges of your mind slipping and you feel fear, Maturin’s voice calms you down.

“You are merely waking up.” He says, turning away.

“I look forward to our next meeting.”

The question of the clown slips past your mind as you wake up.

 

Your eyes meet dark brown ones upon waking up.

 

Chapter Text

“Shit, Vic.” You groan, rolling over. “Don’t scare me like that.”

Victor merely laughs at your reaction, reaching out to tousle your hair. You were dead tired, still holding onto the remnants of your dream about Maturin—faintly remembering the events of last night. You had found a comfortable position in Victor’s bed, bundled tightly in the blankets with an arm wrapped around a single pillow; your other arm was underneath your head with a pillow separating the two from touching. You noticed that light poured out from the windows, and you feel a dip in the mattress.

“Sleep good?” Victor asked.

“Mhm.” You snuggled even deeper into the blanket. “I’m so tired.”

He laughs; you like the sound of it. “I can’t believe dancing took that much out of you.” 

“More like my emotions.” You groan, hating the fact that you felt so groggy. “Arguing’s not my thing.”

“Sorry about that… About last night, I mean.” Victor sighed. “I got carried away, but I’m serious.”

You let out a heavy sigh, rolling over to meet Victor’s eyes.

“Let me sleep more, then we can talk.”

He smiles, patting your face.

“You’re lucky it’s a Saturday.” With that, he leaves his room to do whatever.

You rest for a good fifteen minutes, slipping between sleep and consciousness; your body feeling as if it got wrecked by a train. You weren’t used to sleeping in or sleeping late—you do remember Victor telling you that you couldn’t shower with hot water after 9, so you had probably slept at 10 after you were done getting ready for bed. You run a tired hand over your cheek, rubbing it lazily. Slinking out of bed, you enter the dining room to see Victor snacking on cereal.

He glances at you for a moment. “Are you going back to him today?”

Hesitantly, you shake your head in a silent “no” despite the fact that you felt anxious doing so. It was frightening and almost relieving to be out of the house for once. “God, I should’ve left a note for him.” You groaned, letting your head fall against the table. A clock read on the counter saying 9:45 a.m. and you suddenly felt worry hit you harder than your exhaustion. Panicked, you stand up; Victor following your movements with careful and concerned eyes.

“He must be worried sick!” You exclaim, hands trembling. “I-I—I shouldn’t have gone. He’s going to be so mad when I come home.”

“If you come home.” Victor says.

Your eyes widen a little. “What do you mean ‘if’?”

“I’m just saying…” He trails off, fiddling with the cereal box. “You should stay away from him for a while.”

“Then he’ll be even angrier!” You head over to the window. “There’s no way I can go back without him getting mad.”

“I’ll go with you then.” Victor stands up.

You shake your head frantically, tugging your hair to calm yourself down. Thankfully, you seem too tired for your powers to kick in. Thank the stars. You look to see that Victor has a determined look on his face.

“He’ll probably be even worse seeing you.” You whisper. “That or I’ll never see your face ever again.”

“Would you rather stay here for the weekend or go back to him?”

Your heart tells you to go back to Robert, but your mind is protecting you and urging you to stay here. You swallow with a dry throat, weighing your options with a heavy mind. You look at Victor, and then flicker down to the ring on your hand. Letting out a defeated sigh, you strut over to Victor and embrace him for a hug.

“Thank you for letting me stay.” You smile weakly. “You’re the best.”

His face turns red near the apple of his cheeks and he turns his face away from you; hugging you back.

 

“Only for you.”

 

 

ii.

 

“Why do you even leave your clothes here?”

“I used to sleep over at his place during the summer.” You smiled, looking at Bill’s house, still wearing the clothes Victor had given you. “Sometimes I would stay there for a whole week. Or more.”

“Are you sure his parents aren’t home?” Victor rose a brow, turning off the car.

“I’m sure.” You nodded. “His dad usually comes home late, and his mom arrives after 3.”

You exit the car, turning your head to see Victor still in the car.

“You can come too, if you want.” You smile. “C’mon.”

He had a hesitant look in his eyes but gave in, sighing and following you to the door. The doorbell rang, and soon enough Bill opened the door. He looked thrilled to see your face but faltered when his eyes trailed over to Victor. He backed away, intimidated by the former bully (you weren’t sure if Bill knew that Victor was no longer interested in doing that). You take Bill’s hand, giving him a warm smile when you saw that he was still wearing the bracelet—it was adorable the way his face turned red, but it made you feel bad at the fact that he still had feelings for you. For sure, him knowing about Robert would break him, though, you had a feeling that he had his suspicions about Victor upon seeing him with you today.

“I hope you don’t mind if I get my clothes.” You blurted out, motioning to your (Victor’s) clothes. “I borrowed Vic’s last night and I need to change.”

Bill stammered, allowing you to pass by. Letting go of his hand, you trailed up the stairs.

“I hope you don’t mind if I use the shower too!” You holler out.

Bill’s voice replied from downstairs. “I-I-It’s fine! Everything h-h-h—here is yours too.”

Your smile widened and you entered Bill’s room, heading over to his closet where a clear box was placed on the top racket labeled with your name. Taking it in your hands you toss the box on Bill’s bed and open it, immediately seeing your clothes. You were definitely more aware than when you had woken up, but you couldn’t risk heading back home (via teleporting) and bump into Robert. Bill’s place was the next place to go to if you wanted to steer clear from Robert. Snatching a towel you took a quick shower and changed into a sweater with Levi jeans, still wearing the kitten heels from last night (you left your dress back at Victor’s apartment). Cleaning up the box, your eyes softened when they landed on Bill’s desk, seeing the journal you had given to him on Christmas.

It wouldn’t hurt to open… You thought to yourself.

After debating with your morals you turned your head, making sure that Bill wasn’t upstairs—why was it so quiet downstairs? God I hope Bill and Victor are at least talking or something—and set down the box. Opening the journal you opened it (smiling at the message you left for him) and began to read in a soft, quiet voice.

This journal belongs to: Bill Denbrough, est. Dec. 1988

I’m writing in this book to talk about this person that I’ve had a crush on since I met them 10 years ago—You pause, your eyes widening at the words; having a sense of what this book was about—They were 6, and I was 4 but I knew the moment I saw them that I felt something that I’ve never felt before. It wasn’t until five years later, did I really feel something for them. They gave me a Valentine’s Day card, and when I saw their smiling face… It was at that moment that I realized I was in love. Their—You pause, turning your head again before continuing—laugh is the most beautiful thing that I’ve ever heard, and I can look at their smile all day… When the time comes, I hope that’s the last thing I see before I die, and even after, I hope I can never forget that face. I love them more than anything. They are my world, and there are no words to describe how I feel about them, but I most I can say is that... I love [Y/N]—

You close the book, heart racing and eyes wide. You knew that Bill had a crush on you, if the teasing from Richie was enough, but you didn’t realize that it was that… Intense. You bite your lip, gently setting the book down with a muted face. You run a hand over your mouth before putting the box back in his closet, and leave his room with a bag you left here a few months ago (full of extra clothes). You glance at Georgie’s room, the door slightly ajar, with solemn eyes. Should you tell Bill what you saw in your dream? No, he’ll lose all the hope that he has… Returning downstairs your suspicions were correct. In the living room, sitting across each other; were Bill and Victor, who refused to meet each other’s gaze. You cough, catching their attention.

“I hope I’m not interrupting something.” You giggle, covering your mouth.

Bill shakes his head. “N-N-No, you a-aren’t a bother [Y/N].”

Your mind briefly thinks back to the journal and you take a seat next to Bill. Victor shifts uncomfortably in his seat.

“So.” You started. “What were you guys doing while I was upstairs.”

“U-Uhm...” Bill stutters out, glancing at Victor for help.

Seeing that you had hope in your eyes, Victor pipes up—but you know that he’s lying. You try to hide a sympathetic smile that reaches your features, these poor boys didn’t want to upset you.

“We were just talking.” Victor says professionally. You can tell that he’s ready to light one up.

“Well, I think we’re ready to go.” You sigh, giving Bill a hug. He tenses under your embrace but melts into it soon enough. He looks disappointed that you’re leaving so soon, but nods; eagerly returning the hug.

“W-Where are you g-g-g—going?” He asks.

“Down Center Street and then back to Vic’s place.” You shrug. “I’m staying there during the weekend.” Bill releases you from the hug, and you can tell that a ton of thoughts, questions, and scenarios had formed in his head upon hearing your response. He glances at you, and then Victor, and then settles his expression into a blank one. You get up and take Victor’s hand, waving Bill a goodbye. You don’t notice the way Bill takes in the sight of you holding Victor’s hand—but Victor does.

“I’ll see you and the others when school ends!” You beam.

He smiles weakly. “See you later, [Y/N].”

Leaving the house you and Victor entered the car. He gives you a pointed look and you turn to him in confusion. While he looks at you he opens a new Marlboro—did he finish his pack last night?—and hands you one. You shake your head, declining politely.

“What?” You question.

“Didn’t realize that he was that deep in.” Victor laughs, flicking his lighter. “He can’t take his eyes off of you.”

“I know…” You muttered sadly. “I can’t bring myself to tell him how I really feel about him.”

Your eyes glance to the window, noticing that Bill was still watching the two of you. Humoring yourself you turn to him fully and give him a wave. His eyes widen in embarrassment before he disappears into the house.

“I mean, I can see it happening.” Victor shrugs.

“See what, Vic?”

“You and Stuttering Bill.”

You frown, crossing your arms.

“Don’t call him that. And besides… He’s too young for me.”

“He’s literally 2 years younger than you.” Victor deadpans.

You groan. “It’s just weird!”

“But you’re fine with dating an adult?”

“Don’t even.” You warn.

Fed up with talking about Robert, you decide to change the subject.

“Is there anywhere you want to go today?” You ask.

Victor merely shrugs. “Wherever you want to go.”

You smile, already thinking of a place.

-

“Are we really going to do this?” Victor groans, tightening his grip on the steering wheel. His Dodge Charger pulls into the front of the Hanlon farms, parking near the house. You shake your head, smiling.

“No, just Mike.” You give him a pointed glare. “It’s the least you can do for being a dick to him.”

“Hey.” Victor raises his hands in defense. “That was a while ago.”

You sigh. “Still…”

You exit the car, noticing Richard Coleman—one of the farmhands—approaching you with a smile. The smell of manure, hay, and fur fills your nose; followed by the smell of freshly-cut grass and milkweeds.

“Morning Mr. Coleman!” You give him a wave.

“Well if it isn’t Miss King.” He chuckles with a Texan drawl, shoving his hands in the overalls of his pants.

His eyes flicker to Victor’s car and he lets out a whistle, impressed.

“Is that your boyfriend?” He teases. You shake your head frantically, blubbering and stammering.

“N-No…” You giggle nervously. “He’s just my friend.”

He raises a brow. “Is he the one that buys you those fancy clothes?”

“Oh, no, he’s not.” You deny.

“Where’s Mike?” You try to peer behind him. “I was wondering if he could go out with my friend and I?”

“Oh, he’s around the back!” Mr. Coleman points behind him. “You might wanna check in with his grandfather. You know how he is.”

“I do.” You smile. “Thank you Mr. Coleman!”

With that you’re walking past him and past the barn, hearing sheep bleat and groans. They’re out in the open fields this time, with a few other farm animals in their pens; glancing at you in curiosity before going back to what they were doing. It’s a bit unsettling to see the animals do this, most likely due to your powers, but it’s almost thrilling at the same time. Immediately you see Spring hopping towards you, her little bell ringing every time she gets closer to you.

“Hello Spring!” You say in a “babying” voice, allowing her to leap in your arms. She’s gotten bigger the last time you had seen her, her dark eyes looking at you without emotion but her tongue sticks out in the cutest way. You carry her with you towards Mike, who’s carrying a small bale of hay towards where a horse—an old, cream-colored work stallion with thick hooves greying hair—drinks from a trough.

“Mike!” You call out. “Can I have a word?”

“Yeah! Yeah…” He trails off, removing the wires holding the bale together—tossing the hay into an empty trough beside the water one.

He approaches you with a beaming smile, wiping his hands with his shirt.

“What is it?”

“Do you want to ride out with my friend and I?”

He nods eagerly. “Let me get my bike first—”

“Oh, oh no!” You giggle, petting Spring’s head. “In a car!”

“Really?” His smile grows wider.

“Mhm. We can go now if you want!”

“Sure! Let me just change real quick.”

“Your grandpa’s fine with it?” You asked, surprised. Mike nodded and headed back over to the house. Satisfied that he was going, you walked back to Victor, who was leaning against his car, talking to Mr. Coleman. Victor’s face is somewhat flustered, shaking his head profusely as he says something to Mr. Coleman—like he’s trying to deny something. You approach the two carefully, waving at Victor.

“Mike’s going.” You say quietly, catching Victor’s attention. He nods and spits out something on the dirt trail, heading back into the car. Sharing a few words with Mr. Coleman you follow Victor, noticing that he was fidgeting a little.

“You okay, Vic?” He nodded, running a hand across his head.

“Yeah, we were just talking about something…” Victor trailed off and you nodded in understanding.

You wondered what they were talking about.

Soon enough, Mike approaches the car with a smile but it falls short when he sees Victor in the driver’s seat, stopping in his tracks. He shuffles nervously on the spot, and you nudge Victor’s side; giving him the hint that he should look less intimidating.

“Mike.” You start in a reassuring tone. “This is Victor Criss. Don’t worry, nothing bad will happen to you.”

You hold your hand out, thankful that Victor’s car was a convertible, and Mike slowly takes your hand—not tearing his eyes away from the platinum-haired boy once. You help him enter the backseat and you unbuckle your seat-belt; which was something you had stopped doing while around Victor. He was a bad influence but he made sure that you were always okay.

“Where are we going?” Mike asks timidly, looking at you for support. Victor also turns to you, not knowing where you wanted to go.

You rest your hand against Victor’s arm.

“Down the highway.” You grin cheekily, Victor looks at you in surprise.

He turns on the car with a questioning gaze. “What?”

“Show him how fast your car can go, Vic.” You plead. “Please.”

He nods and turns a corner to the right, making sure that there were no other cars on the road. Feeling more confident, he revs his engine once then twice, picking up speed—you look in the rear-view mirror and a grin splits across your face. Staring at Mike, you take in his expressions; watching as he goes from hesitant, to afraid, and then somewhat excited, eyes lighting up as the Dodge drove faster. Soon enough Victor goes faster, probably somewhere around the 90’s (you hoped that Sheriff Bowers wasn’t on patrol), and you let out a delighted squeal; shifting in your seat. You turn your head to Mike.

“Do you like it?” You call out, the wind in your hair. Mike, who seemed fearful at first, nods with excitement. For a better effect, you turn on the radio and allow the sounds of Van Halen to resonate out of the subwoofers. Victor looks just as pleased, smirking at you as he drives a bit faster. Your heart thrums in fascination, and feeling brave you stand up on your seat a little; raising your hands in the air. He drifts down the road, passing the open fields and Barrens and you watch as Derry gets smaller and smaller. You wonder how far he could drive until you were officially out of the town.

Victor lets out a noise of thrilled happiness and you can hear Mike laughing in the back. You close your eyes in bliss and lower your arms, thrumming your fingers to the beat of each guitar riff. Victor slows down when you reach the end of town, drifting with the dirt flying in the air, and stops; all of you are breathing heavily from the rush. Mike’s head pops out between you and Victor, looking at you bashfully.

“Can we… Can we do that again?” He huffs out, smiling.

You lean over to glance at Victor.

“Well, Vic?” You lower the volume. “What do you say?”

He responds with a mischievous glint in his eye, turning the car around and driving back down the road at high speeds.

Surprisingly, you don’t think about Robert much for the rest of the day.

 

 

iii. 

 

After spending two hours or more with Victor and Mike, you decide to treat them out to the Morning Diner—which was now officially owned by Joseph when the previous manager gave him full ownership of the shop after retiring. Mike has surprisingly warmed up to Victor, who was acting accordingly without using his cold side. It brought happiness to your heart to see that Victor was finally able to make new friends; Belch and Henry were the two people he had truly hung out with, and with both of them gone…

“I come here all the time.” You open the door for them. “I recommend the house special, or the milkshakes.”

Mike takes a seat at one of the booths, with you and Victor following behind. He doesn’t look like he’s used to going out much, which you were determined to change soon—the deli and other restaurants were probably the only places where he had been to in Derry. Mike sits across from you, while Victor takes your right, slinging the chair out. A new worker comes out, and he’s pretty tall; surprisingly. All of you have to crane your neck a little to look at him. His skin is as pale as Victor’s but he has slicked back blonde hair (like a mix between Joseph and Victor’s hair) and dark brown eyes.

 

They remind you of Robert’s eyes.

 

“What can I get for you three?” He speaks in an eloquent tone, eyes looking at you first. You glance at his name-tag: Bob R.

Of course, you already knew what you wanted.

“I’ll have my usual.” You quietly mutter and then clarify in a louder voice. “Just tell Joseph that the order is for [Y/N].”

You give him a sweet smile, turning to Mike first and setting your menu down. 

“Mike, do you know what you want?”

He nods. “I’ll have the #4.”

Bob is writing down the orders carefully with his left hand, his eyes never leaving yours. You hide your shudder and turn to Victor, resting your hand against his and glance at his menu. For some reason, the man taking your order tenses when you touch Victor’s hand.

“What do you want Vic?” You tilt your head.

He looks at the waiter and shrugs. “I’ll have whatever my friend here is having.”

Bob nods without another word and slinks in the back. You narrow your eyes and cross your arms, leaning back in your seat. For someone who talked so nice, he seemed awful at showing decent sincerity to customers. You glance down at your finger and then out of the window, looking for something… Or rather, someone.

“Whatcha looking at?” Victor follows your gaze.

You shake your head, chuckling.

“I was looking for him.” You answer honestly and notice his stern gaze.

You raise your hands in defense. “I mean, every time I bring a friend here I always find him watching me.”

“Jesus fuck.” Victor groans, shaking his head. “He stalks you?”

“Only when I’m around friends.” You shrug.

Your eyes flicker to the entrance of the kitchen and notice that Bob is still watching you three. You cover the side of your face with your arm to stop him from directly looking at you, turning to Victor and Mike completely. Mike takes in the exchange between you and Victor with curious eyes but doesn’t pry into the conversation. Hoping to ease the atmosphere, he also chimes in—directing his attention to your friend.

“I like your car.” Mike continues. “What kind is it?”

Victor calms down, feeling relaxed by Mike’s presence. Despite how cold he was, he really was just a softie underneath.

“A 1976 Dodge Charger.” He continues in a proud voice. “She’s old but she can go for miles.”

Instead of Bob coming to bring your food and drinks to the table, it’s Joseph; who has a much more likable atmosphere than the previous man. Your cheeks almost hurt from smiling so much, but you don’t mind. You enjoy smiling and feeling happy.

“Thank you, Jo.” Said man returns your nod. Before he can go, you gently touch his arm.

“By the way.” You shift your eyes to the man staring at you from the counter, shivering. “Who’s the new guy? He freaks me out.”

“Oh, Bob?” Joseph laughs. “He started working yesterday, he’s a regular. I guess he’s looking for his girl, or someone, I guess. He told me that they come here often.”

“Hpmh.” You roll your eyes, motioning to your friends.

“This is Mike, and this is Victor.” You continue. “This is their first time here.”

“Oh is it?” Joseph grins, resting his hands on his hips. “Well I hope you two enjoy the food it’s on the house free of charge!”

“Oh, you don’t have to do that Joseph!” You scold, reaching for your money.

Joseph shakes his head. “Nonsense. Just take it, [Y/N]. You’ve done a great service by coming here a lot. It’s the least I can do.”

You give him a soft smile. “Thanks.”

Victor and Mike seem to be enjoying their food a lot, and you love the way Mike’s eyes light up in happiness when he takes a bite out of the burger. This diner was more accommodating for the people living on West Broadway, so the food did end up becoming a little pricey sometimes; still, the food was always great and you got what you paid for. To lighten the mood, you had shared jokes and stories amongst Victor and Mike—the two had befriended each other nicely. After a while, you began to tease Victor to make up for his words yesterday. Mike was busying himself with an ancient history book you snapped from the library.

“So.” You smile cheekily, eyes flickering over to Victor. “You didn’t have someone to go to the dance with?”

“I don’t date.” He swallows nervously, crossing his arms. “It’s not my thing.”

“But you have a crush at least.”

Victor glanced at you nervously, but nodded.

Your eyes gleamed mischievously and you propped your chin in your hands.

“Spill.” You said, interested.

His face turned slightly red but he shook his head.

“I’m… Not gonna tell, cheeky bitch.” Victor replied sassily, only making you giggle in response.

“Awww! Vic’s got a crush!” You gushed out, eyes glimmering.

He muttered something in response.

“Alright, is it a guy or girl?” You questioned—making both Victor and Mike sputter out.

He turns red in the face. “I-I’m not a fucking fag.”

His response shocks both you and Mike, and you feel bad that the poor kid has to hear that word. Your smile goes away for a moment and you glower slightly, slowly crossing your arms. Victor, defeated, sighs and mutters an apology.

“Alright, I assume that you have a crush on a girl.” You try to lighten the mood. “I’m just curious, that’s all.”

“Eh, my crush would never end up with me.” Victor grumbles, meeting your gaze for a moment.

You pout. “Talk about enthusiasm, jeez. You’re actually an amazing person, Vic. Sure you’re an ass at times, but you know how to treat people right. I’m sure that you’d be able to sweep your girl right off of her feet.”

Victor nods, turning red in the face with a sincere smile.

“You really think so?” He asks.

You nod and take his face in your hands.

“And if your crush doesn’t like you back then you always have me.” You smile. “You’re my friend Vic, and I want to make sure that you have a happy ending, too. I know you all are looking out for me, and I want to return the favor.”

“Friends?” You ask when you pull away. He looks like he was hoping you’d say something else but nods, smiling.

“Yeah, friends. You’re the best, [Y/N]. I hope you get your own happy ending to.” To emphasize your point you give Victor a chaste kiss on the cheek; he tenses immediately upon the gesture, losing his breath but relaxes soon after.

At the same time all of you hear the sounds of glass shattering, followed by Joseph letting out a string of curses. You, Mike (for a moment you almost forgot that he was watching you and Vic), and Victor turn towards the source of the sound. Your eyes widen in horror when the waiter—what was his name again?—stands there, seething with a shattered glass milkshake cup between his hands. The sight is unsettling, with the shards digging deep in his tense fist, blonde hair in front of his face; his eyes unfocused. Joseph comes out from the back, talking and asking him, “What the hell was going on?” before yelling at him.

You chuckle nervously and turn to your friends, letting go of Victor’s face.

“I think we should go now.”

“Agreed.” Mike and Victor say in unison. Thankfully, the meal was free but you still left a tip in advance and soon enough the three of you were departing. You were sitting in the back with Mike (Victor was still driving, of course), and you wanted to give him more attention after spending most of it with Victor.

“Did you have fun?” You watch as Victor drives down Center Street.

You wondered if he would be able to drive all of your friends down one day.

Mike nodded, a truly happy look on his face. “I did, thank you.”

He hands you back the book you had given him.

“Thank you, Victo—Vic.” Mike also says to said boy, who waves his hand.

“No problem. It was all [Y/N]’s idea.”

“You’re the one with the car.” You quip.

-

“That was really fun.” You say quietly, exiting the car with a smile. Victor nods and the two of you head up the stairs, holding hands (though both of you had silently established it as platonic, right?) but before any of you could continue, you see a familiar head of fire red hair. Your eyes widen as Beverly’s eyes meet your gaze; before her hands fall on your and Victor’s. She raises a brow in question, silently thinking.

“Hey, Bev.” You smiled, letting go of Victor’s hand to embrace her in a hug. She returns it tightly, cigarette hanging between her fingers.

You were really getting used to the smell, despite how much it made your eyes itch.

“Long time no see.” She nodded, glancing at Victor.

The two of you exchanged questions back and forth, warmth filling your heart like fine wine. It felt so nice to talk to her after so long, and it was a refreshing change in pace from Robert—Huh, I haven’t thought about him for the whole day. It was kind of nice in a way. Though the feeling of missing him was still lingering in the air, you felt really refreshed in not seeing his face at all. You almost felt like a normal kid. Victor brushes past you two, opening the door but waiting for you. You take Beverly in another hug again, missing her embrace.

“Sorry for not going to the funeral.” She says sadly.

You shake your head frantically. “No, no, no. It’s okay, Bev. I understand.”

“Where do you live now?” She tilts her head.

“With my hus—” You cut yourself with a strangled noise, face turning red. Victor definitely knows what you’re talking about and gives you a stern, disappointed look. Beverly barely catches the words as well, but you can see in the depths of her eyes that she holds disturbed horror within them when she finishes the word in her head. You press your lips and compose yourself, wringing with the handles of your bag. Beverly’s eyes were so wide that you were about to cry at how intense and hurt her gaze is; like she sees something in you that you don’t.

“—w-with… With my legal guardian, you remember Robert Gray, right?” You give Beverly a weak smile. Her expression only grows muted and horrified; but to normal eyes she hides it well. She nods and takes a drag from her cigarette, turning her head away from you to blow away the smoke.

“I’m just staying with Vic over the weekend.” You motion to him, trying to change the subject. Beverly stays silent and you mentally stab yourself for letting yourself slip up. You mutter an apology and a goodbye before passing by her and enter Victor’s house; getting ready for bed without another word. You cry in the shower, not out of embarrassment, but out of shame. Why are you feeling like this? Shouldn’t you be proud to love him? The fact that Victor’s lecture only makes you ponder more on your relationship. Despite only being gone for two days, it feels like it’s been forever since you had last seen him. Gathering yourself after an hour you plop down on the couch next to Victor, who had gotten ready before you did.

“I fucked up.” You muttered, hugging Victor by his side. He gently places an arm around you, rubbing circles in your back. The t.v. is off but neither of you need it to distract yourselves, all you needed was each other. It only took a few words, the sight of your friends, and being away from Robert’s house to get you questioning your place and relationship. The ring on your finger feels tight even though it always fit on your finger perfectly—your mind making you imagine it as a chain that ties you to Robert.

“She won’t tell.” Victor calms you down, running his other hand through your hair. “She doesn’t seem like the type to.”

“No…” You shake your head with a quiet laugh. “No she wouldn’t. I trust Bev enough for her not to tell.”

“Then why are you afraid?”

You look at the coffee table, sighing.

“I feel like he’s always watching me.” You whimper, pushing closer to him. “It feels like he always knows what I’m doing, even if he isn’t there to see or hear. I… I feel trapped, Vic…”

“Do you have family outside of Derry?”

You nod but falter. “I can’t Vic, I don’t want to get Robert in trouble.”

“You do realize that he will eventually be caught, right?” Victor raises a brow and takes your hand; the one with the ring on it.

He starts to slip the ring off and you panic, stopping him with teary eyes.

“What are you doing?!”

“Trust me, [Y/N].” Victor’s eyes are surprisingly soft and you look at him with puppy eyes.

“Just for tonight.” He nods, placing the ring on the table. “I want you to think for yourself, please. If not for me, then for your friends; because you’re gonna be in a whole lot of shit if they find out the truth. I could care less about your abusive man, he can go to hell for all I care.”

“Vic…” You sigh, holding his hand. The feeling of your ring out of your finger was strange (excluding the times when you showered or swam), because this time you… You actually didn’t hate the feeling of it gone. In fact, like many things Victor had done for you—it was nice.

You let out a tired giggle.

“Look at us.” You glanced up at his dark brown eyes. “A bunch of fools hiding from our problems.”

“I guess.” He shrugs but gives you a shy smile.

You mutter a few incoherent words sadly, hugging him tighter, the couch groaning underneath your and Victor’s weight. You really enjoyed hugging, not really minding who it was (though you were certain you’d never hug those you hated), and Victor was a really good candidate because he never complained; only giving. It made your heart swell and your stomach jittery with butterflies.

“I’m scared of waking up and finding myself in Robert’s home.” You admit sadly, nuzzling his shoulder. “I don’t want to go…”

“He won’t take you.” Victor says with determination in his voice. “He’ll have to go through me first.”

“You’re wonderful…” You sigh happily. “Your crush must be only lucky girl to have you…”

While sleep takes over, you don’t notice Victor’s smile or the moving of his lips as he says something back.

 

Chapter Text

You woke up early today, on a blissful Sunday morning, with Victor’s arms wrapped around you protectively.

You glanced up his face, looking at him in amusement as his brows were drawn deep but his overall appearance looked peaceful and calm. A few strands of hair fell over his face and you shifted a little so that you can brush it back, a warm feeling blooms in your chest while you do it. If you could see yourself, you’d imagine looking at him lovingly. Yes, you did love him—but this love was not the type that you had for Robert. It was more like a love that you have for your friends (Bill, Beverly, and the list goes on); the type of love that shows that you’ll always be there for them no matter what happened. Then again, the way Victor treated you made you feel something else other than that regular love.

Your smile widened and you gently removed yourself from his hold, thankful that he was a heavy sleeper, and got ready for the day. Dressed in a floral sundress that was surprisingly short (resting just above your knees), you greeted Victor in the living room; who was lazily rubbing his eyes as he woke up. You grinned, crossing your arms while you leaned on one leg.

“You were so cute sleeping.” You gushed, giggling.

Victor mumbles something under his breath, groaning.

“Shut up.” Your smile widened and you headed over to the kitchen. For someone whose dad wasn’t around as much, he was at least considerate in sending money to his son—hence how Victor was able to afford to buy groceries and stuff. You felt a bit envious that he was able to do that freely. You probably should ask Victor to teach you how to drive one day… Wait—Didn’t you want Robert to teach you? Truth be told, you haven’t thought about him much since you came to stay over at Victor’s; which was for at least two nights now, and to be honest you didn’t mind staying another night. In fact, the longer you stayed away from his home, the more you wanted to stay at Victor’s. Of course, that came with a downside.

Your fear of Robert and his reaction grew by the second.

You didn’t even realize that you hadn’t put your ring (remembering that Victor had taken it off last night) back on until you were done eating. You returned to the living room after finishing and took the dark band of metal from the table, turning it around in your fingers. A cough was heard in your ears and you turned your head, seeing Victor in the doorway.

“Hey.” You smiled softly, weighing the ring in your hand. “What did you want to do today?”

He thought for a moment before his eyes lit up, an idea coming to mind.

-

“Me and Robert went ice-skating here.” You say quietly as Victor takes your hand, walking closer to the Quarry. The water was green and murky near the shoreline, but clear as it stretched farther out. The boy who holds your hand lets out a frustrated sigh, taking a seat on a rock. A brief memory flashes by of you helping Robert put on his skates.

“Is there anything that you don’t do with him?” Victor looks at you with semi-hopeful eyes.

“I mean yeah, but… Everything I used to do with my friends, I do with Robert only…” You mutter, sitting next to him and taking off your white jelly flats, dipping your feet in the water. You falter and turn to him.

“That is, until I got to hang out with you.” A smirk reaches his features.

“I hope we get to do this more.” He says honestly, fiddling with his jacket.

You distract yourself with the rocks in the water, turning them over with your feet. It brings a smile to your face and when you look back at Victor (who’s staring back at you), you pause—analyzing his face. He’s giving you one of the warmest smiles ever, his cheeks turning up softly. The display makes you lose your breath, and you hope that he doesn’t notice the way your eyes widen when you look at his face. His face looks like Bill’s at that moment; not the way is face is shaped, but the way he looks at you. You know that look, and for some reason… 

You don’t mind that he’s looking at you in that way.

In fact, it sends a rush of warmth to your own cheeks and you become the first to break your gaze away from him, taking your bottom lip between your teeth in silence. Within moments, you knew who his crush was. Everything made sense, the way he cared and considered you so carefully; why he wanted you to leave Robert so badly. You stopped moving your feet in the water and your eyes flickered over to Victor again, who was messing with his lighter—glad that he didn’t notice your flustered expression.

Did you like him too? Out of everyone you knew (aside from Robert), Victor was the only one who really elicited strong feelings out of you. He was wonderful, and never made any indication that he was going to act upon you; respecting your space. He was the only one who was your age, as well. You inhaled quietly, your eyebrows furrowing deep in thought.

No, no, no. Your brain thinks. Are you really going to leave Robert in the dust? Like everyone else who did the same to him?

Maturin’s words come to you for some reason upon seeing a tiny turtle swimming in the water. Seeing the tiny creature brings a smile to your face and you brush your hair back to get a better look at it.

“Think with your heart, not your mind.”

His words were intended for you to control your powers, but the more you thought, the more you realized that he was talking about something else as well: your emotions. You had always been so afraid, so fearful of things happening to you that you never took risks. And when you did take those risks, you ended up being hurt in the end. So what did your heart tell you to do? You wanted to be free, to live like a normal kid again. You wanted to love without feeling doubt or hesitation. You didn’t want to feel like walking on eggshells, having to worry about doing things that meant no harm. Your hands tremble but Victor takes one of them in his hands, looking at you in question. You make a decision within those measly seconds.

“Vic.” You croak out.

“What is it?” He asks with worry. You clench your eyes, sighing.

“Will you come with me?” You continue quietly. “To Robert’s place?”

“Why? Are you really going back to him?”

You shake your head slowly, making his eyes widen.

“No…” You trail off, feeling tears in your eyes and your mind screaming at you to stop.

You compose yourself, fear clear as day in your eyes.

“I’m going to break up with him.”

 


 

The drive through the Barrens was quiet and tense, with you having to wring your hands during the whole ride to calm yourself down. You’re glad that Victor’s driving a bit faster, had he driven slow and he would’ve noticed the blooming trees turn brown and grey. The paved road turns into a dirt path and you know that you’re getting close. You look at Victor for support, you know that he’ll give it to you. You wondered, if things went smoothly, would you be able to start something with him? Things were happening too fast and you were afraid of heading back into a relationship, but what you and Victor had—it was nice. You didn’t want to crush his feelings if you didn’t want to head back into being with someone. Christ, thinking about this made you more worried by the second.

“Hey.” Victor’s eyebrows draw back as he gives you a small smile. “Don’t worry. Everything will be okay.”

“I hope so…” You whisper, staring at your lap but the sight of a fountain makes you pause.

“What the actual fuck…” He trails off, staring at Robert’s house.

“You didn’t tell me that his house was this fucking huge.”

You giggle quietly. “Yeah… It surprises me too whenever I see it.”

An uncomfortable silence fills the Barrens as soon as Victor turns off the car, exiting the vehicle with a gentle close of the door. You wait in the car for a moment, gathering your thoughts and words. He waits patiently by the passenger door, and watches as you open it. You pause, foot hovering over the ground and at once, you feel a multitude of emotions stop you. Slamming a hand over your mouth, with the other one clenching your sweater, you look at Victor hopelessly.

“I’m scared, Vic.” You wipe your eyes—hating that you look so vulnerable in front of him.

“It’s fine.” His voice soothes you. “Let it all out. I’ll be there for you when you’re ready.”

You take a deep breath and take his hand, getting out of the car with ease. You let go of it as soon as you’re standing at the front door, Robert’s ring out of your finger but resting in your clenched palms. You glance at Victor, who stands behind you, and close your eyes; knocking on the door. Guilt and fear begin to fill your heart and as soon as the door opens, you’re embraced in a tight hug. You stumble on your feet, the smell of peppermint and cologne filling your nose. Not having been with Robert for a few days already made his strong smell nauseating and on instinct, you find yourself hugging him back. 

His dark, haunting eyes enrapture you like his lips; which make themselves at home on your own. The kiss is, without a doubt, forced as he presses against you, lifting you up slightly with his arms. Not once does he blink while he kisses you, making your eyes flutter, your arms wrapping around his neck. For a moment it feels like nothing had happened over the weekend, like you and Robert are just embracing each other after he came home from whatever he was doing. It isn’t when you open your eyes that you realize that he’s closed his, his hands trailing up and down your sides—it sends shivers down your spine and you almost forget what you’re here to do when he removes from the kiss to peck at your jawline. He’s peppering kisses along your neck while he mutters things to you.

It’s terrifying the way that his shoulders are tensed the entire time, because you know what that means. You know what happens when he’s like that; you know what he’s feeling even though he doesn’t show it. Unlike the other times, however, his voice is completely devoid of anger or emotion. The lack of feeling scares you, because this means that he’s downright furious.

You feel absolutely trapped against him as each second passed by.

“I missed you, love.” Christ, out of all the nicknames he had to use… “I thought you were gone again…”

“R-R-Rob…” You mutter quietly, not sure if you were stuttering from fear or his actions.

“I need to talk to you a-about…” The words get lost in your throat when his fingers trail back up into your hair, twisting and intertwining through your locks the exact way you like it. A low groan passes your lips when his lips trail over that spot between your neck and shoulder—why did you wear a dress today, dammit —and you glance over his shoulder, brows furrowing.

When did the door close? Victor: you can hear his voice calling out in worry.

“Robert.” You whisper, the hand holding the ring trembles.

“No talking…” He mutters to himself. “I don’t need your words. Just you… I need you.”

“Robert.” You repeat, a little more sternly.

He listens, albeit his movements are dragged out and slow; like a puppet. Finally, he steps back. You stare up at him, breathless, eyes blown out with fear and worry while his are full of need and that anger. To others, no one would’ve known, but you’ve known Robert long enough to recognize that gaze better than your parents’ faces. You shuffle in your spot, your growing anxiety only getting worse as the clock ticks by and the yelling behind the door grows more urgent. If Robert knew that Victor was here, he made no indication of it; only focusing his eyes on you. Robert’s gaze seems exactly the way Maturin stares at you, except his is more brutal and unforgiving.

Deep down, you’re preparing yourself for a hard slap or worse. Talking to Robert about things was never easy, nor pretty on your end; it was just the way it was, and it was all the more reason to take a break from him. You couldn’t handle this any longer, especially with all of the points Victor made about the bad-side of your and Robert’s relationship.

“We’ve been together for a while.” You start nervously. “And you’re the most amazing, wonderful thing that has happened to me in my life, and I loved every moment of it. But… But I can’t do this anymore. I’m always afraid of doing something wrong. I-I-I...I—I can’t forget what you did to me, and I’m scared that you’ll do it again. So, I want to break up with you.”

Your eyes flicker to his and he’s still the entire time, a blank look in his eyes; they stare right into your own. You continue, hoping that he’s listening to you. Tears begin to fall down your cheeks as your voice gets more and more shaky by the second, guilt and grief washing over you despite the fact that you’re not done talking.

“I-I’m… I’m sorry if this h-h-hurts you o-o—or… Or if you don’t want to hear it…” You wipe your eyes, taking one of his hands with yours—why were his hands so cold? —and you open it. You gently place your ring in his palm, stepping away and letting go. The fact that he doesn’t drop his hand after this disturbs you, his eyes trailing from the ring and then back to you.

“I’ll always remember everything you did for me.” You finish positively with an uneasy smile.

The air tenses and it’s not because of you. Robert finally does something in reaction to your words; his tall frame making him seem so much more imposing than before. He closes the hand with the ring in it into a tight fist, and suddenly fear begins to swell in your heart; watching with a careful eye as his arm fall to his side. His eyebrows draw down in emotion, but it’s not the one you wanted. It’s anger, pure and right in your face.

Just like the hand that makes contact with your face.

You fall to the ground as soon as it happens, the impact of the slap burning into your left cheek like fire. You let out a scream after it happens, your hands reaching to touch the spot; which you know for sure, will leave a mark. You turn back to Robert, who’s over you in an instant, his hand taking a hold of your shoulder, lifting you up easily.

“You… You want to leave?” He seethes out in a hiss, spitting his words out like venom.

“After EVERYTHING!” Robert fumes, you can feel your heart race faster than a train. Your face burns, your mind swells with fear, and your fingers itch with your powers threatening to be used at any second. You truly don’t want to hurt him—you’d be just as bad as him if you did—but if that’s what you have to do…

He throws you back to the ground without another word and you scream when your body makes contact with the hard floor, the air leaving your lungs. He drops down to your height and you flinch, expecting him to hurt you again, his hand hovering over your head. You don’t expect him to start petting your hair, hearing sobs escape his mouth. Full of fear you shakily look up at him, hands trembling against the floor, feeling the gentle pitter-patter of cold tears against your cheek. Robert’s crying, painful, ugly sobs escaping his beautiful mouth; it sends you into a spiral of emotions that make you match his expression. You’re afraid that this is just a cover-up, and you know that he’s doing this to make you feel for him. And you do.

“I’m sorry…” He repeats under his breath. “I-I’m sorry, sorry, sorry… Please, I-I… I’m sorry—sorrysorrysorry.”

“Robert.” You sob, taking his face in your hands, feeling him shift so that he’s straddling you—both of you on the ground still. It hurts you to see him so sad and broken, his eyes glimmering with tears. It almost makes you forget that he had just hurt you moments before. Almost.

Your eyes flicker to the door, pushing aside your fear to focus on the handle; you also put your attention to the chandelier above you and Robert. Simultaneously, you work on both of them; pulling the chandelier closer to you, while you urgently work to unlock and open the door. When you feel the two at their breaking point you distract Robert with one last kiss, your fingers running through his hair. You’re not sure if these tears are yours or his, and it’s not until the glass chandelier collapses on Robert’s body does he let out a groan, rolling over while you scramble to your feet. At the same time the door flung open, revealing Victor—who had been yelling and pounding against it profusely.

Your vision turns pure red at the use of your powers, calming down while you feel your mind and heart pounding at the amount of energy that you had to use to do it. You don’t leave room to think, running out of the house as fast as you could, grabbing one of Victor’s hands as you pull him away from the building. Your heart races hearing Robert’s yell, and you tell Victor to get the hell out of the area as fast as possible. The rubber burns and crunches under the dirt, sending gravel and rocks flying back; the car swerving a little as you’re driven out of the Barrens. You’re breathless, with tears rolling down your chin and your cheek throbbing with pain. Victor stops somewhere and you recognize the area, it’s somewhere on Route 2—you remember yesterday, riding with Mike and Victor down here.

“Hey, hey, hey…” Victor turns off the car, leaning over to embrace you in a hug. You let out a loud wail, overcome by your emotions and grief; with your hurt and betrayal hitting you the hardest. He swears upon seeing your cheek.

“Is… Is it b-bad?” You stammer out, feeling him wipe away your tears.

He nods, his face running into a deep scowl. “Your neck is fucked up too.”

“And my shoulder… A-And everything…” You mutter, burying your face in his chest, holding onto him for dear life. The two of you stay like this, not saying a word to each other. An agonizing thirty minutes passes by with Victor rubbing his hands up and down your back; feeling bad that you flinch at every movement.

“What happened?” Victor questioned in a soft voice. “The door closed and… I heard you scream. I-I… I thought…”

“He began to make-out with me…” You whisper. “I stopped him and told him why I was there a-a-and… He—Rob… He didn’t take it well at all.”

You pause, wondering if you should tell him the rest.

“Somehow, the chandelier happened to fall.” You lied. “I opened the door and left as fast as I could.”

“How are you feeling?”

“I-I… I wish I didn’t do it…” You mutter, your voice lilting into a whine. “I—I don’t hate him Vic, I really do love him. But… But—! Oh my God… I-I just can’t… It hurts so, so, so fucking much. I remember the good stuff, and I just…”

“Shh…” He embraces you again and you relax a little in his hold.

“Thanks Vic.” You sniffle with a weak smile. “Your crush appreciates it.”

He pulls away with wide eyes, gaping at you. You let out a giggle, ruffling his hair.

It’s hard to focus when the only thing on your mind is Robert.

“When did you find out?” He asks in a nervous tone.

You break from the hug, fiddling with your dress. “At the quarry. You looked at me the way Bill does.”

“Does… Does it bother you?” Victor furrows his brows.

You can sense the fear of rejection in his tone and you shake your head.

“Not really.” You reply honestly, turning to the sky. “It doesn’t change anything. I’m honest, Vic.”

“Are you… Do you want to…” He stammers on his words.

You return your gaze back to him and shake your head, understanding what he was trying to say.

“I can’t.” You choke out, feeling your voice strain and hurt as your neck begins to soften and turn tender with a thick bruise. Your eyes burn from the crying—you’ve gotten used to the feeling by now. “Especially after breaking up, Vic… Please… I need time.”

You interrupt him before he could continue.

“And yes, I do like you too.” You tease lightly. “I honestly wouldn’t mind dating you, b-but I… I still care about Ro—”

“I understand.” Victor nods, the hope returning in his eyes at your response. You were glad that he was considerate enough to allow you to gather yourself for the moment being. At least, for now, he would be there to help you with the burning hole in your heart. You froze though, remembering that Robert was more than your lover.

“What am I going to do?” You whimper, clutching your sides. “He’s technically still my legal guardian. I-I… Where am I…?”

“You can live with me.” Victor places a hand on your shoulder. “And if that doesn’t work out, then I can always drop you off at Bill or another friend’s house. As for money, I already got that down from my dad, and you still have a ton left over. And if that bastard tries to get you back well… The cops can’t ignore the signs when it’s right in their face.”

“Thank you.” You breathe out, clenching your eyes. “Thank you so much, Vic…”

“No problem, [Y/N].” Victor smiles, turning the car back on. “Now… Let’s go home.”

 


 

After taking an ice cold shower you find yourself sobbing uncontrollably in Victor’s arms, the two of you resting in his bed. The emptiness in your heart grows the more you think about Robert, finally free from him. You wipe your face with the back of your arm, moving uncomfortably in his embrace.

“I’m sorry you have to see me like this.” You apologize.

Victor shakes his head. “Don’t be. I don’t mind it at all. I want you to let it out.”

“I don’t want to dump everything on you.” You shuffle out of his hold. “You’ll get tired of having to c-coddle me. I don’t want you to be just my emotional support friend.”

“For the time being.” Victor nods. “I care about you, though. But if you need anyone else to talk to, I know who.”

“You do?” Your eyes widen.

“Mhm.” He points to the ceiling. “Beverly Marsh.”

Your feel your heart clench at the thought of her; you already knew about her father, but not exactly what he did to her. You have a feeling that you’ll find out soon enough, but you were too afraid to tell her—what would she think of you? But you’ve already told Victor, and it wasn’t good to hide secrets from others. You were already free from Robert (at least, you thought you were), and there was safety in numbers, right? He’d be less likely to approach you if you were around your friends… 

“Unite your ka-tet… Bring them together and you’ll experience a strength unlike any other.” Maturin’s voice reminds you, calms you. Everything makes so much sense now, and with summer approaching; you have a feeling that this was no coincidence. He did mention that he “activated” your powers, but what did he want you to use them for? Your thoughts run free, let loose by your grieving mind, you wished that your mom or dad were here to help you. You wished that you could’ve told them the truth about Robert, before they passed. Why hadn’t Maturin allowed your powers to come earlier? Maybe if he did you’d be able to protect yourself from Robert… From Henry Bowers… Protect Georgie —You watch as Victor leaves the room, telling you that he was getting something to eat. You nod absentmindedly, returning back to your thoughts.

Was… Was this what Maturin wanted?

“The missing kids…” You mutter softly, hands folded in your lap. Nothing could ever bring Georgie back, or all of those other young faces; whose lives were probably lost by that clown (whom you hadn’t seen or heard from a very long time). But with your powers now, you could make a difference, you could stop them from going missing. You could stop the kids from losing your lives; you could stop it.

You could stop IT.  And you weren’t alone. Eddie, Bill, Beverly, Victor, Stan, Richie, Ben, Mike...

All of them, with you… 

Together.

 

Chapter Text

You went to the place where no one would expect you to go to.

 

It was Monday, the day after the break-up and you had gone all away across town to cry to yourself. Although you felt fine the night before, you woke up to intense feelings of dread and fear when you realized you weren't in Robert's home. You ran until your lungs burned and your heart raced, not wanting to pay attention to how life seemed to still with your grief, or when the grass died when you stopped for a breather. You ran until you came home: to the house on 29 Neibolt Street. In all of it’s nude-colored glory, the tire hanging from the now-alive tree, you pushed past the perfect fence and dropped to your knees on the front porch, sobbing your heart out. Your hands gripped tightly at the front door knob, forcing it open with the touch of your hand and stumbled into the house. It smelled sterile and dusty, the furniture as you and your parents had left it (the only thing being gone was the pictures, antiques, and your stuff). 

Your hands trembled when you entered the living room, gagging from crying and disgust when you noticed that the Derry Police never bothered to call up a decent clean-up crew. Everything was clean of blood, but the stains were evident on the couches and tables. It only made you cry even more, dropping down against the floor; exactly where you found your parents. It didn’t even feel like it had been a month since their passing, and you couldn’t shake off the grief or sadness that came with it. Maybe that was the straw that led to your intense spiral of emotions, the start of your shaking and random panicking (by now the panic attacks had lasted for a long period of time, and came at the worst times); and the end of your relationship. It was an eye-opener that you didn’t need at all.

You released the loudest scream you could ever make, your neck sore. Your body was weak and your mind was in an equal state. The couches shook and the tables trembled at the force of your emotions, not caring if you left them unchecked. You just needed to let it all out. You scratch at your arms, not intending to kill but to just bring pain; the burn of the nails against your skin felt relieving and satisfying. You hadn’t scratched your arms in a long time; not since middle school (which wasn’t a long time for adults, but for you it felt like forever), when you had fallen into depression. Shamefully, you continue to scratch and scratch—you promised yourself that you wouldn’t do it.

Disappointing. You shame yourself, falling against the floor.

You can’t even keep a promise to yourself.

Self-shame was also something you hadn’t done since middle school—which was essentially the time when everything felt wrong back then—and it was oddly comforting to do it, especially at a time like now. You can hear the floorboards groan and creak, but for some reason it’s not due to your weak. Dazed and tired, arms burning harsher than the sun, you wipe your eyes and look up; a silent, horrified gasp leaving your mouth. The house was completely demolished, reminding you of when you had first moved to Derry; minus the cobwebs, heroine-filled needles, and children's toys. Still, the furniture had fallen and turned over from your powers and if you could clearly see out of the shattered windows, the grass had died and so did the tree.

Look what you did! This was your home and look what you did to it! You scream at yourself, pulling at your sides with your nails.

 

Monster!

 

Witch!

 

Freak!

 

Your sobs died down as exhaustion takes over, falling against the floorboards, curling into a ball. You wished that you could disappear. You wished that you could die. Suddenly, you feel a gloved hand on your head and you look up, screaming.

Brown laced with crimson meets molden gold.

Suddenly, an urge calls you to beg for death; for you are staring him right in the eyes.

“Kill me!” You screech, pathetically slamming your hands against the legs of the clown, sobbing against his black and white boots. He’s as still as a statue, not moving an inch, watching as you scream and beg for death; his mouth stretched in a still smile.

“Why aren’t you doing it?! DO IT!” You repeat in a louder tone, hands wrapping around his legs; for some reason they feel solid and shelled. You’re reminded of your dream—the spider-crab arm that grabbed Georgie down to his doom. You gaze back up at the clown and sniffle, losing your breath in your panicked and grieving state.

Why wasn’t he doing anything?

Haven’t you suffered enough?

Pennywise bends his upper body down to your level, soft bells ringing as he does so. You expect something bad to happen to you and a smile breaches your face; stammering out words to plead for a painful death.

“Please!” You wail, laughing miserably. “Please!”

For some reason, he looks at you now with a mildly disturbed expression—his lips pulling down in a frown. He lifts his hand above your hand and you feel relief and peace flooding within you. You expect it to turn into a demonic claw or for it to snap your neck.

 

pleasepleasepleasepleasePleasePLEASEPLEASEPLEASEKILLMEKILLMEKILLME

 

Hope fills your eyes, but as soon as his hand makes contact with your head the ground falls beneath you and you find yourself falling against the front entrance of the apartment complex, cars idly driving down Main Street. Your whole frame shakes, everything hurts. You lift your arms up to your face, breathing heavily as you stare at your arms. They’re no longer red, nor do they burn. You hastily make your way to Victor’s place, opening it with the key he left beneath a loose board on the wall. You slam the door and wipe falling tears as you head for the bathroom. You look in the mirror to see your bruised neck and red cheek.

There’s nothing there.

 

As if everything had healed on it’s own.

 

You’re too exhausted to even form a coherent thought, and you spend an hour or more crying in the shower with the water pouring down on you—clothes still on. Nothing was more painful than holding hands with death, only for it to push you back to the land of the living. The rest of the day goes on, and to deal with it you cry yourself on the couch; glad that Victor was at school. You wanted nothing more than to crawl back to Robert and have him tell you that everything was okay. But, it wasn’t.

Nothing was okay.

 

Every now and then, you swore that you heard someone crying in the room with you.

 

 

ii.

 

“Are you seriously going to skip school today?” You quip, placing your hands on your hips.

Victor (who’s sleeping in his dad’s room) lets out a groan, his voice resonating against the closed door.

“I don’t give a flying fuck.”

You giggle. “Alright, alright… I won’t bother you.”

You run a hand through your hair, taking a deep breath as you slip on your sneakers (wearing new clothes after going to the shopping center with Victor on Wednesday; what you were wearing today consisted of a t-shirt and jeans) and head out of the apartment. Following the painful—figuratively and literally—break-up with Robert, you spend a majority of your time sulking and thinking in Victor’s apartment. Even now, you still hadn’t gotten over the break-up, but Victor had told you that it was a normal way to react, and you weren’t bad for wanting to go back.

It’s around 7 in the morning, which was the time when high school started, with the elementary school starting at 8:30 a.m. and you needed to take a breather—and maybe run into Bev. However, who you weren’t expecting to have a run-in, was her father. He’s walking down the stairs,  You hang your head down low, intimidated by his eerie presence.

“Hello, Mr. Marsh.” You mutter under your breath.

Though your vision was slightly covered by your long hair, you could still see his lips twitch up in the smallest of smiles (albeit a malicious one) before it fell back into a scowl, brushing past you without another word. You shuddered, watching as his form got smaller; not daring to head up the stairs to Beverly’s house until you saw Alvin Marsh’s car drive away from the apartment. You released a breath and traversed up the stairs and rang the doorbell, hoping that she was awake at this time. You remembered her telling you that she was always awake before her father. Poor girl.

She opened the doors, fear in her eyes, before they calmed down upon seeing your form.

“[Y/N].” Beverly said, surprised.

“I needed to take a breather.” You sighed. “I was waiting for your dad before going to your place.”

She nodded and opened the door, and your suspicions were right. The layout of the apartment was similar to Victor’s house, with much more decor than his as well. You hastily let out a ‘thank you’ and entered the home with a smile on your face. Beverly took a seat in the living room couch with you following behind. She looked at you with a critical gaze, analyzing your face with surprised eyes. Of course, you had looked different as well ever since the break-up—God, that was all you were going to think about now. Your eyes sunk a little with greyish-dark toned bags under your eyes and the creases against your cheeks had been slightly noticeable; making you look older.

The expression on her face made it easy to tell that she had a question on your mind.

“A penny for your thoughts?” You joke, trying to lighten the mood. She fiddles with her blue dress, nodding. Her eyes flickered to your hands, and you knew that she was looking for the ring. Evidently, her gaze seemed curious at the fact that it was no longer there. Your heart raced a little, the fear of ruining your friend’s image of you rising. What would she say? How would she react?

Would she still want to be your friend?

“The ring you were wearing…” She gained more confidence in her question. “Who gave it to you?”

You inhaled sharply, wringing your hands together. Finally coming up with a coherent response, you licked your lips and met her ocean green eyes with your own.

“R-Rob—” Saying his name made you want to cry. “Robert Gray.”

The light in her eyes faded, her brows drawing deep into her temple in interest.

“Bev, I-I… I need to tell you something.” You whisper, glancing out of the window to gather yourself together.

“Is it about him…?” She questioned with hesitance. You nodded.

“He…” You bite the inside of your cheek and run a hand through your hair. “He… I loved him, Bev.”

She gasped, her eyes widening; but it wasn’t out of surprise, rather, confirmation. You hated the way she looked at you at that moment, feeling the weight of her judgement and seriousness in her. Beverly waits patiently, either unable to respond to your words or too scared to ask more. You take a few more deep breaths and glance at one of the houseplants in the living room, half-expecting it to wither at your fear. Thankfully, it doesn’t—you’re getting used to controlling your powers while feeling emotions. You made sure of that after you went back to Neibolt to find it decrepit and dead: the tire resting against the dead grass after it fell off of a withering branch.

“He loved me too.” You admitted softly. “But he… R-Robert… He hurt me too.”

Beverly swallows nervously and nods, urging you to continue.

“He did bad things to me.” Your hands trailed to your sides, squeezing your hips tightly. “He took something from me. Something h-he… Something he shouldn’t have taken. He left me in pain for a long time…”

That was easier to say than saying that you were raped. You feel awful but relieved at the same time at telling someone everything. You had your own suspicions about Beverly, and you had half a mind to expect her to understand your meaning. You look at Beverly again, whose tearing up. You shake your head and get up.

“I’m sorry.” You sighed. “I shouldn’t have dumped this out on you. I just… I feel so alone and I—I-I… I should go.”

You head for the door but Beverly’s hands grasp your right arm, making you turn around.

“Don’t go.” She pleads, pointing to her room. “Tell me.”

You see the pained look in her eyes and it only urges you to decline her offer.

“You’re not alone.” Beverly whispers softly. “I understand how you feel.”

She lets go of her arm and shuffles nervously, looking up at you to see if you’ll accept her request. A feeling of familiarity and connection pulls the two of you together and you nod, following her to her room where the two of you would begin to open up about yourselves. She didn’t mind being late a period (or three more to be exact) to school, because she told you that she felt happier being with you; and you didn’t mind being with her. A few minutes after the two of you are done crying together, it was rare to see Beverly’s walls break down in front of you, you join her at the rooftop of the apartments. You surprise her when you take a cigarette from her pack and light it up with her lighter.

You both needed one.

-

You left a note for Victor, who was still sleeping in, that you had left with Beverly to go to Derry Elementary; letting her ride with you on a new bike that you had bought from the store. It had a similar design to your own one, with the basket and everything else there too, except this one was painted a glimmering cherry red color. The shades of crimson had started to become a slight favorite in your book whenever you dreamt of the strange tower and the field of roses. You were waiting near the Grace Baptist Church after having a quick bite at Joseph’s place. Finally, the loud school bell rang and students flooded out like ants. You smiled and pedaled towards the school, waiting at the front entrance.

You noticed that Sheriff Bowers’s car was there, said man watching the scene with sunglasses while his partner copied his motions; minus the sunglasses. You felt sympathy when you saw a woman standing anxiously with the officers—her face looked familiar. The rev an engine almost made you think Victor was there, and your eyes lit up but your gleeful face feel upon seeing the two boys you had attacked a few weeks ago. Gard and Moose, and surprisingly Peter Gordon, were probably here to pick up Patrick Hockstetter. You scowled at remembering the deranged teen’s name.

Summer was upon Derry and no child could escape their horrible antics.

You leaned against your bike, smiling softly as your eyes landed on your friends. They were all dumping their books out of their backpacks, which made you giggle. Stan notices you first and you give him a shy wave, grabbing the attention of Bill—who follows his gaze. You head over to them, bringing your bike with you.

“Hey you guys!” You grinned. “What are you guys doing tomorrow?”

“Glad you asked! And how fine it is for you to join us, your highness!” Richie fixes his glasses, a smug smirk on his face.

You snort at his nickname for you; which was the result of your surname.

“I’m starting my training.”

“Training?” Eddie scrunched his face up. “What training?”

“Street Fighter.” Replied the trashmouth, his tone sounding as if he was completely serious.

 

He probably was.

 

Eddie looked at him with feigned disgust. “Is that how you want to spend your summer…? Stuck in an arcade?”

“Better than inside your mother!” Richie quips, letting out a snarky noise and lifts his hand up for a high-five. You watch in amusement as Stan shakes his head sternly and lowers his hand for him. Bill shuffles closer to you, giving you a smile.

“What if we go to the Quarry?” Stan asks, tilting his head. You and Eddie nod at the suggestion but you falter; your eyes furrowed as you remember the last time you had been there. Not exactly a pleasant time. Bill notices this and chimes in as well.

“Guys, we have the B-B-Barrens.”

You stifle a humorless giggle—if only he knew that only made your worrying worse. You turn your head again to look at the woman, letting out a deep sigh as she looked more distress when she couldn’t find her child. The boys follow your gaze.

“Betty Ripsom’s mom…” Eddie says quietly.

“Does she really expect to see her coming out of the school?” Stan turns to you all for an answer.

You shrug, giving him an apologetic smile. Eddie says something, but all of you fall silent in morbid curiosity. Richie, however, notices the change in mood and tries to lighten it; that was what you liked about him. Richie, for all the trash-talking and jokes that he made, was really observant and aware of the way those around him felt and always went through everything to make sure that everyone was happy.

“They’ll find her, eventually.” Richie continues. “In a ditch. All decomposed: covered in worms and maggots, smelling like Eddie’s mom’s underwear.”

Eddie groans.

“Shut up! Gross…”

“She’s not dead.” Bill says firmly, his hands clenching. “She’s m-m-missing…”

Richie looks down, nudging his glasses again, regret in his eyes.

“Sorry Bill, she’s missing.” Bill, who’s obviously not thinking about Georgie, rolls his eyes and lets out a huff of air. He takes your hand and walks away with you, and you’re surprised that he does—you’re usually the one to initiate that kind of stuff. You give him a reassuring smile and squeeze his hand. It was hard to see him so sad whenever a missing kid was mentioned.

“You know, the Barrens aren’t that bad!” Richie calls out from behind. “Who doesn’t love splashing around in shitty wate—”

He’s quickly cut off and you turn around, stunned with shock as Peter Gorden grabs the back of his backpack and throws him back: making him slam into Stan. You gasp, letting your bike fall against the grass, your hands clenching. No, wait. Not here. Not when everyone’s watching. You unclench your hands but swallow when Peter harshly bumps into Bill, muttering something under his breath. Silent rage fills you when Patrick approaches Stan and takes his kippah, saying something in his nasally voice before tossing the cap into a bus that passes by.

Oh, you certainly wouldn’t mind punching him if your powers were out of the question.

Patrick laughs, passing by you and Bill.

“It’s the loser and the witch.” He cackles.

He sounds more like a witch than you do. Bill grits his teeth and yells at him.

“You s-s-suck, Hockstetter!” The four bullies stop in their tracks, Patrick giving him a sickening smile. He doesn’t form a response, doesn’t give Bill the satisfaction of acknowledgement; that’s just not his style. Peter Gordon, however, doesn’t like it when people talk back to him or his lackeys. He approaches Bill, his hand holding your tighter as the 17-year-old sneers at him.

“Did you s-s-s-say something? B-B-B-B-Billy?” Peter’s eyes glowered at him, and then you. “You got a free ride from Bowers, ‘cause he felt bad about your little brother. I don’t do that. Ride’s over Denbrough.”

“That’s enough, Peter.” You growl, glaring at him. He regards you for a moment, but rolls his eyes.

“As if I’ll listen to a bitch like you.” He continues. “You’re gonna regret the moment you even speaked to me. You and your little fairies are gonna get it one day. Don’t expect a summer without seeing me.”

It’s “spoke”, you degenerate.

To make his point he licks his hand and wipes it down Bill’s face. You were about lunge at him for doing that but a gentle hand holds yours, you glance over to Stan, who anchors you down. He gives you a forgiving smile and you relax, taking a deep breath.

“Thanks.” You grit out. “I don’t know what I would’ve done if you didn’t stop me.”

“You probably would’ve pummeled him to the ground.” He teased. You nod, picking up your bike.

“I probably would.” You reply cheekily.

Eddie sighs, his face turning down in a scowl. You all watch as they enter Peter Gordon’s car (since he was the only one who could drive), with Sally Meuller hanging around the back. It disgusted you seeing her with someone four years older than her…

God, you were such a hypocrite.

“Just when I thought Henry Bowers being missing was a good thing.” Stan groans. “We get four more bullies on our tail.”

“Patrick’s probably the one behind the missing kids.” Richie says cooly.

You follow the Losers to the bike racks and head back with Bill to his house, he told you that he was going to show you something before you all would go to Eddie’s to grab “supplies”. The bike ride to his house is quiet and peaceful, and the sight of so many kids out—laughing and playing—makes your heart swell with joy. Once you two pass Witcham and Jackson, you hop off of your bikes and begin to walk. Bill quietly utters the poem that his mother had given him; to help with his stuttering. He lets out a swear after failing to finish and you begin to talk to him to lighten the mood.

“So, how’s school?” You asked softly.

He glances at you. “I-It’s f-f-fine. I hate E-English.”

“Yeah.” You snort playfully. “I hate it too.”

“You’re homeschooled, right?” The two of you were nearing the house. You nodded, a frown on your face remembering who was your “teacher”.

Robert really did fill out every role in your life.

“It gets boring sometimes.” You shrug, the sleek shine of crimson paint on the bike glimmers in your eye. “A lot of reading.”

You turn to him. “What did you want to show me, again?”

He was about to reply but paled when he saw the garage door was open, his eyes trailing over to the car parked in the driveway. You followed Bill’s movements—that was his dad’s car. “W-W-Wait here.” Bill orders and you nod, standing on the sidewalk while he goes inside of the garage. You curiously glance inside, seeing Bill talk to his father; there were several pipes and tunnels in there, reminding you of the sewers. Everything is quiet when you see Bill talk until Zack Denbrough’s voice resonates from the garage, his tone both brutal and cold.

“HE’S GONE!” He continues. “HE’S DEAD!”

You feel bad for Bill, who flinches at his father’s yelling; it was always bad before, but ever since Georgie went “missing” both parents had seemed to forget Bill existed—everything was about Georgie now. You watched as the two exchanged a few more words before Mr. Denbrough had torn something off of the garage wall and rolls it up, leaving. You pace a few steps back, making it seem as if you had just arrived and did not hear Mr. Denbrough yell at his son. When it’s safe to go, you prop your bike in the front and approach Bill, nudging his shoulder.

“You okay?” You questioned, a concerned look in his eyes. He nods without speaking, holding a hamster cage in his hands—seeing the pet made you pale a little, remembering Holland. You’d have to get her back soon, somehow. Though, going anywhere near Robert or his house was an option, and you had a feeling that he would be sulking in the places where you had usually slept or hung out at in his house. You grimaced, swallowing a knot in your throat. You really missed him so much.

“What’s this for?” You asked curiously, pointing to the tunnels. You needed to get your mind off of him.

Bill looks at you for a moment.  “T-The sewers… G-G-Georgie, he… He could’ve ended up at the Barrens.”

Sympathy floods your heart and you give him a short, reassuring hug.

“Oh, Bill…” You sigh. “Georgie…” He looks at you, expecting to hear something negative. You lose the words in your throat and take a deep breath, running a hand through your hair to calm yourself down.

“I’ll help you look for him.” You finish, nodding curtly. A smile twitches in his lips and hope fills his eyes.

 

If only you knew the truth, Bill.

 

 

iii.

 

Mike Hanlon’s hands are shaking frantically, breathing hard as he presses the bolt gun to a sheep’s head. But this isn’t an ordinary sheep, this was the one that had birthed Spring. He can feel the weight of his grandfather’s gaze as he struggles to pull the trigger. Hearing Spring’s bleats outside doesn’t help either, he can even hear the poor lamb’s bell jingle.

“Pull it, Mike!” His grandfather repeats again, this time with more urgency.

No matter how hard he tried to, the dark eyes of the sheep stares into his soul: judging him. Frustrated, his grandfather snags the gun from him and shoots the sheep for him. Mike flinches upon hearing the sound of the sheep’s head squelching and the blood splatter out. She falls to the ground without another sound, and one of the farmhands leaves the barn to calm down Spring; who almost seemed as if she sensed her mother’s (albeit she firmly decided against caring for her) death. It makes Mike feel even worse.

He turns away, hearing someone reload the gun while his grandfather begins to lecture him.

“You need to start taking more responsibility around here, Mike.” Leroy presses his hand against one of the beams. “Your dad was younger than you when—”

“I’m not my dad, okay?” Mike interrupts, a hurt look in his eyes.

He always hated it whenever his grandfather mentioned his parents. He was young when it happened, but it still hurt deep all the same. He turns away, closing his eyes and clenching his fists. Leroy nods and lets out a sigh, shaking his head a little.

“Look at me, son. Look at me!” Mike turns to him again, his lips pressed tight.

“There are two places you can be in this world.” Leroy points to the dead ewe. “You can be here like us, or you can be there. Like them! If you waste your time hemming and hawing, or pickin’ flowers, or runnin’ around with that girl—”

“Don’t talk about my friend like that!” Mike interjects, but soon apologizes afterwards, lowering his head.

Leroy sighs, running a hand over his face.

“I’m just saying Mike. Someone else is gonna make that choice for you.”

One of the farmhands gives Leroy the bolt gun back; and he turns to Mike with a solemn look on his face. He was never really soft on his grandson. Leroy presses the gun to another sheep that entered the pen, looking directly at Mike.

“You won’t know it until you feel that bolt between your eyes.” Mike flinches when he hears the sound of the gun firing off. After an hour or so later, Mike is given a few packages to deliver back to the butcher shop and deli. 

-

The ride into Derry was brisk and he couldn’t help but notice how many people were out.

School’s probably on break. Mike thought to himself, slowing down.

“Show us your tits!” A voice screams out and Mike turns around, horrified.

A sleek silver car drives down Center Street, full of four boys who are catcalling girls that are walking down the street. Mike’s face pales even more when he sees the lean face of Patrick Hockstetter. Hastily, he turns down into Richards Alley, breathing heavily. Thankfully, the car passes by but leaves Mike paranoid and afraid when he sees Patrick’s dark eyes gleam at him in that brief passing. He shakes his head and props his bike against the side of a garbage disposal that was labeled “CENTER STREET DRUGSTORE”. He begins to grab the packages of mutton, composing his thoughts.

A chain jingles behind him and Mike curiously turns his head, letting go of his previous task. The back entry of the deli shop is slightly ajar, held against the brick wall with three chains. Suddenly, all seems quiet; and then a hand, charred and black, comes out from the door. Mike’s breath fades with the still horror on his face.

Another hand comes, and then another, and another.

The door pushes forward at it’s limit and Mike stumbles back, stunned as embers and red light emits from the butcher’s shop: his mind falls into memory as this sight is all too familiar. The voices of his parents scream and shout in his mind.

 

MIKE!

 

HELP!

 

I’M BURNING!

 

HELP US!

 

HURRY SON!

 

MIKE!

 

MIKE!

 

MIKE!

 

Mike doesn’t feel like the thirteen-year-old looking at a horrific scene of a burning butcher door; but the young child staring up at the lodged door while his parents burn on the other side. He slowly approaches, which was something he hadn’t done as a child. He gets closer and closer, hand reaching out to the door. Before he could open it, the door swings wide open, revealing the butcher room to be pitch black, with… Something swinging from one of the hooks. He can hear the painful bleats of sheep, like when the bolt was put in their heads, and the thing turns around—still as a doll, and glares at him with neon yellow eyes while it waves at him. Mike could faintly hear Spring’s bell chime in with the sounds of a different kind of bell; a sound reminiscent of Christmas bells.

Then, all is silent…

And then he hears an engine rev and turns his head, eyes wide. Mike stumbles back to his previous position. The driver is a teen (maybe older than [Y/N] or Victor) with a squared jawline, curly hair, and a cowlick sneers at him; the other boys snicker while Patrick glowers at him menacingly from the back.

“Stay the fuck out of my town, darkie!” The driver yells, throwing a cigarette at him. Mike lifts up his hands, protecting his face before the car drives down Richards Alley and down Main Street. He breathes heavily, eyes wide until a voice calls out to him.

“Mike?” He recognizes it to be the voice of Mr. Matthews, a burly butcher.

“Are you okay, son?” He turns back to where the car drove off, his throat dry and his heart pounding with fear. More afraid of what he had witnessed, rather than the fact that he was almost run over.

 

What was that?

 

 

iv. 

 

Meanwhile, back in Derry, Stanley Uris heads to the Derry Synagogue on Main Street; after going through a painful thirty minutes of finding his kippah in one of the school buses. Since he was turning shy of thirteen (the youngest out of all his friends, despite being a 9th grader in August; which was a result of him being intelligent and mentally competent) in a month, his father had been extremely adamant on practicing his Torah lines. He spends a good thirty minutes or more standing at the bimah, with the Torah in front of him and his father watching from above. He stutters and stumbles on his words, not really familiar with the script.

“You’re not studying, Stanley.” Donald Uris’s voice cuts the silence, making Stan sigh quietly in shame. It was true, though. He spent more time reading and watching the dove nest outside of his room window, than study his lines.

“How’s it gonna look: the rabbi’s son can’t finish his own Torah reading?” His father ‘tsks’ in disappointment.

“Take the book to my office… Obviously, you’re not using it.”

Stan lets out a coherent apology, not a fan of muttering (especially in front of his parents) and closes the Torah, heading through the back to where the study was at. As soon as he opens the door he switches hands holding the book and covers his face, avoiding the terrifying painting of “Judith”. Everything about the painting rubbed him the wrong way: from her uneven, elongated neck to her lean face and tiny eyes, and her nimble fingers that lightly held the flute. It was a piece of artwork that would’ve looked innocent—and event nice—to others, but t