Bill had made a pretty impressive speech then and now, Stan thinks as the Losers head inside. Bill stands at the front, always the leader, with one of the UGF’s spears. Eddie and Richie stand behind him with their own spears, though Stan can tell they’re not as confident or as angry. Stan is right behind them, his souped up baseball bat from when he did field work already over his shoulder (though he was mindful of the razor sharp metal spikes that adorned the outside). In terms of anger, Stan doesn’t think he’s ever been as angry as he is right now. The fear is still there, but it is overwhelmed by rage. The clown had the audacity to show him the lynched body of his wife and Richie truly did say it best. It’s time to kill this fucking clown.
Lilo and Stitch followed behind Stanley, a life jacket tucked securely around Stitch. I don’t like how this clown can get in people’s heads, Lilo thought nervously, double-checking the ammo in her plasma gun. Lilo didn’t feel shame about a lot of things and therefore didn’t keep a lot of secrets, but her divorce was very personal. She had really only talked to Stan about it and that was easy because he was so far away and didn’t know any of her family. She crossed the threshold of the Neilbolt house and wrinkled her nose in disgust. The entire house had seen better days, but there was a smell that really drove home the fact that the alien chose to live in a sewer. “So do we have a game plan when we get in there? Do we immediately start the ritual or is there a place we have to be at first?” Her anxious rambles gave comfort to most of the Losers who remembered Richie and Eddie doing the same thing when they were young. “However, if the Shokopiwah also did the Ritual, why didn’t theirs work? What’s different about all of you?” And then the comfort was gone. “M-Mike?” Bill asked, cutting off Lilo’s chattering. When all of the Losers looked at him, Mike crumpled and confessed that the original people who attempted the ritual died and he thought that they would be different, but he wasn’t sure. As arguments erupted around him, Stan stepped back and away lost in his own nightmares, ones that had haunted him since his brief time in the Deadlights.
Eddie, grinning triumphantly at Richie when an enormous pincer shot through his chest. Beverly, drowning in blood as something that looked like her father pulled her beneath the surface. Mike, alone in the dark until someone strikes a match. Ben, desperately trying to get to Beverly to save her when the clown takes a bite of his neck. Richie and Bill, side-by-side, fighting through an army of undead children, but eventually get overrun. Stan’s thoughts raced and raced and the bravado, the anger, every emotion left him except fear. He’s trying to calm himself down, doing the breathing exercises that Patty taught him that she does with her students, when he happens to look in the mirror above the mantle. Right behind him is the clown.
He’s right behind him and covers Stan’s mouth with a gloved hand. “Let’s see how long it takes them to notice you’re gone this time Stanny.” He then proceeds to sit them on the ground against one of the deteriorating walls. “Let’s finish the job you started in your bath. Now, I’m thinking one line for every person you care about, then a nice long one up the arm for the finishing touch. What do you think?” The clown’s putrid breath assaulted Stan’s nose as he sat in shock, wrapped in Pennywise’s arms in a mockery of a lovers’ embrace. Stan tried to make a break for it, but the clown simply grew more arms to hold him in place. One was still covering his mouth, one was holding his arm out, one was gently resting on his throat and chest, another had fingers spread out across his stomach, and the last had gleaming black claws position above his upturned arm. A low chuckle was in his ears and Stan had never felt so helpless in his life. Across the room, not even ten feet away, the Losers were arguing and shouting and not looking over at him. “Forgotten again. I’m sure they’ll feel horrible when I let them see you.” The realization that this was one of IT’s many tricks did make him feel marginally better, which of course, was not acceptable to the clown. “I wish I had caught one of you like this back then. Your small body would have trembled with tasty, tasty fear.” Stan felt a tongue slide across the scars on his face and the implications of that statement dislodged any good feeling or thought Stan could have had. “Let’s begin. One line for the disgusting Trashmouth you call a best friend.” Stan let out a low groan for the pain that crossed his wrist, his eyes locking on the blood flowing out of the wide scratch left behind. “Another for B-B-Billy. Do you think he’ll cry for you as he did for his brother? One for pretty, pretty Bevvie. She saw your death from her time in my deadlights. She was so relieved that you were alive.” Here, IT cackled again, a hand gently caressing Stan’s cheek as another gently tapped his stomach. “Your original death would have been much cleaner if you hadn’t been stopped by your little k-” Stan let out a short breath through his nose. He had been called a variety of slurs in his life, both for his religion and his supposed sexuality, but never has anyone dared to call his wife that vile name. “What? Old Pennywise only speaks the tru-” But, Stan did not let him finish. With a bravery he thought he had lost long ago, he bit into the hand holding his mouth and threw his uninjured arm into the monster’s solar plexus. He shocked IT into loosening his grip and Stan ran to his friends, grabbing a spear from Ben’s hands to the shock of the assembled group, and turned, launching it at the clown. Unfortunately, he did not have the same gift for aim as Beverely, so he only grazed the retreating clown. With an angry growl, Stan turned to his friends who were looking at him in shock. His lips thinned into a tight, angry line and memories of how Stan only looked like that when he was pushed too far hit each of the Losers and Lilo. “We are done with this argument. Mike should not have lied, but all of us would have left if he hadn’t had a plan.” Stan laid a hand on Mike’s shoulder, squeezing gently, trying hard not to notice the blood that dripped from his arm onto Mike. “We almost killed that stupid fucking clown when we were kids by beating the shit out of it and not being scared. We have better weapons now and we have the most important thing,” Stan paused, looking each of the Losers in the eyes, “each other. Now, someone wrap my arm so it doesn’t get infected with greywater.” Mike was the first to hug him, which was not his intention, but as the others joined in he supposed he didn’t mind that his first clown-killing speech ended in a group hug.
Of course, the good feeling lasted as long as it could. They tried the ritual anyway, thinking it might weaken the alien, but if anything, it just made IT stronger. As they fought, many of them got separated from each other, following different paths in the cistern.
Beverly was trapped in a bathroom full of blood. Ben, in the clubhouse, sucked down into the mud with more dirt piling on top of him. Bill was in the basement of his childhood home, staring down the likeness of the little brother he lost. Mike was in the Barrens, facing down the Bowers Gang by himself, feeling desperately alone as he tried to fight them off. Lilo was desperately keeping Stitch afloat as the room filled with water, the voices of her family and friends calling her disgusting and unnatural.
Richie, Eddie, and Stan were still together by luckily running down the same path. They stood in front of very familiar doors, titled ‘Not Scary At All’, ‘Scary’, and ‘Very Scary.’ Crossing the cave to quickly pull open the ‘Very Scary’ door (despite the protests of his counterparts), Richie was shocked to see a small, empty room. With an unattractive snort, Stan solved the mystery. “It’s a closet. Very funny clown, but I’m not scared of that.” Stan said at the sky, then looked at Eddie and Richie in turn. “I like men. Not just men, but like,” he gestured to the closet, “that was for me.” Richie took in a sharp breath, but Eddie just giggled. “Guess IT guessed wrong on your fear.” A demonic laugh shook the cave walls, but IT did not speak. Stan frowned and finally got a look at Richie. “Trashmouth, I’m pretty sure you knew already. So unless you got homophobic by moving to LA of all places, I’m not getting the laughing.” Eddie crossed his arms with a scowl. “His sets aren’t exactly friendly, but Richie you couldn’t be homophobic, right?” Feeling nauseous and anxious, Richie looked at his friends with a straight face. “I don’t write my own sets and I like men too.” With that out in the open, IT did not give his friends a chance to speak, and sent his arm through the closet, ready to chase after them once again. With a glare, Stan swung his baseball bat at the clown’s wrist, embedding one of the spikes into the joint and causing a scream to be heard.
Beverly, Ben, and Bill had broken out of their prisons and rushed to help Mike. Mike was on the ground once again, Henry Bowers with a knee on his chest and a rock about to crash into his head. Instead of seeing the clown when he looked to the side, he saw the dead bodies of all of his friends staring vacantly at him. As tears formed in his eyes, Mike dropped the arm that had been keeping Bowers at bay and waited for death. Instead, with a dull, wet thunk, Bowers dropped off of him, a spear in his head. His true friends did not wait and grabbed him, pulling him up and out of the small section of the cistern he had been in, ignoring the strangled scream that echoed throughout the cavern.
Lilo had to do battle by herself and Stitch ( not that she would ever blame the Losers for only being concerned with each other. Only a few days with them and she has rethought the word ‘soulmate’ and if you only have to have one) , but that’s something she is pretty used to. Used to only being able to rely on the angel she had wished for so many years ago. Her strong legs were treading water, as natural to her as breathing with how much time she had spent in the water. There were tears streaming down her face though, that she couldn’t wipe because her arms were keeping Stitch out of the water (she knew he had a life jacket, but really, she didn’t want to test his density, remembering his body sinking beneath the waves after Jumba had grabbed him). She heard so many voices. Nani ( honestly Lilo, when are you and Keoni going to give me some nieces and nephews ), Jumba and Pleakley ( if we had the chance to have children we would take it with both hands, you selfish, selfish, girl ), and Myrtle ( you were never normal and you’ll never be normal ). The worst was Keoni, her one time husband who hadn’t meant to break her down throughout their years together, but did with overwhelming efficiency ( I was just curious why we weren’t like other couples? Why couldn't there be one part of our life together that was normal? We weren’t divorced, but that didn’t stop you from finding a man at a bar? A man who happened to be my friend) . Unbeknownst to Lilo, Stitch was also hearing these voices, and although he was scared (of the water anyway), he was also angry. He had tried getting her attention in several different ways, but finally, despite his fear, he pulled himself out of her hands and plummeted into the water. Breaking free of IT’s voices in a snap, Lilo dived after him, hefting him out of the water once again. “Are you okay?”
“No,” Stitch began, “Lilo is Lilo. She makes mistake, but still Lilo. Still ohana.” The water began to drain and the voices began to stop. “Broken, but still good.” With a sob, Lilo clutched Stitch to her chest as the room she was in vanished.
The Losers met in the cistern, IT still a monstrous spider-clown creature, but they were together and they were no longer as scared. They believed it to be a trick of the light, but their fear lessening had caused the alien to shrink. The group separated again as IT attacked them with his claws. Across the room, Richie saw Mike about to get hit and yelled at the monster and called it names. He was especially proud of calling it a sloppy bitch, but then he was in the Deadlights and he knew only pain. Eddie, braver than he thinks, throws his spear into the open mouth of the monster and goes to check on Richie in triumph. In another story, this results in his death. In this one, it merely results in his bruising as Stan tackles them both out of the way of a piercing leg. The entire group finally reunite in a tunnel off to the side, too small for IT to crawl through in its current form. They brainstorm, when Eddie tells them about the leper and how he was able to choke it. They go back into the cistern, all of them exuding Richie Tozier confidence as they trashtalk an ancient, world-eating monster. Only when they each hold IT’s heart in their hands do they smile and squeeze and punish the alien for existing.
They make it out onto the street as the house falls around them and run into what seems like government trucks surrounding the house. With an excited yell, Lilo races towards an older black man in a suit and wraps him in a hug. She later tells them that the UGF was able to rescue their alien turtle and they would take care of the cleanup. As for the present, they laugh and swim in filthy lake water, feeling like they were 13 again without a care in the world.