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You knew running off to join the circus was a bad idea.

You stare up at the tall man with clown white smeared over his face who’s just blundered into the changing tent to find you there, shirtless, fabric wound about your chest, and you let out a long, pained sigh, knowing what’s about to happen.

You thought the circus would give you a new start. That you could be who you knew you were, here. And this was all it would take to bring that crashing down.

Bob Gray’s mouth is pursed wide and thin in surprise. “I… didn’t know,” he mumbles to the air.

“Don’t tell anyone. Please,” you beg him. “This body… doesn’t fit who I am. I mean. I may not know what I am, but I’m NOT a woman.”

His silence starts to be agonizing.

You weren’t expecting him to sweep you into a hug. You make a small noise, the wind knocked out of you by this lanky giant, and stretch your arms across his back as well.

“The circus is HERE for us folks who don’t belong,” you hear his deep voice rumble. “I won’t tell nobody, I swear it. And anyone else finds out who’s got a problem, you bring ‘em to ME.”

Tears you didn’t know you were carrying around start to fall from your eyes, hearing that. “Thank you,” you tell him. Over and over, until you’re silently mouthing the words against his chest.

All the clowns in the circus treat you differently, after that day. It’s like having eyes all over the carnival grounds, on your behalf. Someone will stop and sneer at how babylike your face is while you’re trying to tend to the trash baskets, and there a clown will be, sometimes Bob himself, towering over the person, asking if everything is all right.

Bob treats you differently. Every chance he gets, it seems, he’s making idle chatter with you as you’re doing your janitorial duties. It’s nice. He’s nice.

You surprise yourself with your boldness when the words slide from your throat one day, asking him for some time alone together.

He chuckles, but there’s no malice in it. “Aren’t I the one who’s supposed to…” and he catches himself, saying, “No, no. It’s s'posed to be the man asking the woman. But with the two of us, I s'pose we can make our own rules.”

You’ve never loved anyone the way you love him, upon hearing those words.

Before long, and with enough evenings spent talking and walking the festival grounds together, hand in massive hand, the two of you are inseparable.

He finally brings up the spectre in the room. “I’d… like… to be intimate with you,” he says, twisting thin fingers in his shirt tails. “I’d like that a whole awful lot. But I don’t know if YOU’D want that.”

You consider this.

“If it’s you… I’d like that, too,” you finally declare, reaching to place your hand in his, and he beams like he’s the luckiest man on Earth.

You spend that night in his tent, exploring each other’s bodies, clutching and smoothing your hands over scars, and stretch marks, and all the parts of you you thought you hated, until Bob saw them and declared them handsome.

He stumbles over his words, asking again and again if this is okay, as his erection butts up needily against your back. As he guides it into a part of you you swore would feel wrong, but to your surprise, for once, it doesn’t.

“You take a dick better'n any man I ever met, my love,” he purrs to your back, as the two of you begin to huff against each other with your thrusts, finding a jerky rhythm inside each other. His long bones and sinew. Your smooth, hairless curves.

You’ve never come with a man before, and you don’t that night, either, but he watches you curl against the palm of your hand after your coupling, twitching, keening through your own thrusts, and you feel his hand suddenly on your back, pressing gently, guiding you into the best release you can remember.

Those sweet summer days.

Not that much changed, after the circus came to that sleepy little Maine town. Not enough for you to be able to put your finger on, for a while. Just that Bob seemed… different, once the tent pegs were set in Derry.

You figured you know why, at first. That was when the sickness came for you. After the bearded lady from the sideshow came to your aid while you lay helpless and retching into a bucket in your tent, and wondered aloud-- no, it couldn’t be.

You never saw a doctor to confirm it. You don’t have to. The weeks go on, along with the show, and your shirt buttons get tighter and tighter, until one pops right off while you’re struggling to close it, and Bob at last notices the swell to your stomach, and hugs you, and won’t let go.

“I’m asking so much for you to keep it. I KNOW I am,” he tells you that night, as you lie there, your mind still reeling. “But I always did want children.”

You keep it. For his sake. And to his credit, as the days pass, and your belly inches bigger, fuller, rounder, your hips and chest following in its path… not one person working the carnival, not ONE, ever lets a “she” past their lips.

Our pregnant man, they all call you, and the event is celebrated-- the team finds two little glasses over supper one night, with champagne for Bob, apple juice for you. They all say, where better for a new family like yours to exist, but at a circus, where everyone’s welcome?

Bob openly fawns over you, regardless of who’s around to see, since you’ve agreed to your own sort of fatherhood. You get used to him smoothing his hands under your shirt, tracing the curve of your growing stomach with his fingers.

Sometimes doing so will lather him into a frenzy that surprises you. He’ll pull you into a corner, trailing kisses and drool down, down, down your body, and then, he’s uncovering his prick through the fly of his britches, pumping its dusky pink length in a curled hand. “Can we? Right here. Please?”

You have to admit, it gives you such a thrill that he sees you as even more desirable this way, if that were possible. So you nod, panting along with him as he guides himself through gates of flesh now considerably more puffy and engorged than before.

The circus becomes your mating grounds. At your breathless agreement, he’ll bend you over against a tent pole, or you’ll lead him to the hay bales by the horse stalls, grinding and humping into each other in barely-hidden secret.

“You’re amazing,” Bob will huff, once his seed is welling out to dribble thick and sticky down your thighs.

You grin back at him, sing-songing, “I know you are, but what am I.”

“Pregnant,” he replies with a buck-toothed smirk. His hands are on you again, arching around the new life inside you protectively. “Very… very. Pregnant.”

He’s not wrong, you think that night, watching him doze, spittle oozing down his lips to join the countless other drool stains on his buckwheat pillow. You haven’t been counting the months, so you have no idea whether nine of them have gone by or not, but it seems like you’re getting big enough to where your offspring could be in your arms any day now.

It terrifies you. CHILDREN terrify you.

“It’ll be okay,” Bob told you when you finally confided this to him. “I just want children. Somebody who’s a little part of me, out there in the world. We don’t need to be the ones to raise 'em, if that’d trouble you.”

“Can we DO that? Just… hand it off to someone, like that?” you asked. The idea had never crossed your mind.

“We’ll have to find the right parents. But don’t you worry none,” he said with a nod. “I’ll take care of that, my love.”

And so, you let it happen. Allowed your belly to swell, for this new life to ripen slowly inside you.

You’re surprised to admit it, but… you feel better when you’re pregnant than you ever have in your life, that first sickness aside. Full of hope, of potential… just… so FULL. A part of you wishes you could always be like this.

That Bob could find a loving family to raise your child, that you could enjoy this experience, free from the responsibility that comes with it… Seems too good to be true, somehow.

You’re not sure why you feel compelled to visit the fortune teller’s tent that next morning, but you do.

She smiles, as you settle heavily into her chair. “You like, to know… little one’s future?” she asks, through her heavy accent.

You watch as she flips the tarot cards over in front of you-- quickly at first, then slower, after seeing the first few.

So many swords. Upside down.

She remembers you’re right there, and masks the horror on her face.

Her words come slowly, with obvious thought. “Things, will be… very… difficult?” She lifts The Lovers card up to you. “But remember, what is important to you. And you will be protected, always.”

You thank her, trying not to dwell on that look that crossed her face.

Bob corners you in the tent you now share, after the day’s noon performance. He’s still in his Pennywise garb, kissing you, whispering praise, settling you down on his bed and spreading your legs, oh so gently. Kneeling, like he’s worshipping at the temple of this new, swollen form of yours.

You’ve grown fond of finding clown white upon your inner thighs, so you simply smile, and enjoy your private show, letting your jangled nerves relax at last.

His tongue is so long, and curves just right inside you, even now. You’re soon gripping the sheets, crying out with pleasure, as he busies himself fucking into you face-first-- giving you an entire chain of orgasms, one after another, like a string of quivering pearls.

You’re still panting, coming down from the floating feeling, when you see him gaze down, not at you, but at your massive bare belly.

“Soon,” he says quietly. His drool drips down onto your skin when he says it, pooling around the bump of your navel, and as if in response, you feel the tiniest, fluttering kick.

It’s odd, how you feel such sudden fear at the word. At the indescribable look in Bob’s eyes. In… Pennywise’s eyes.

“Soooon…” the clown man says again, with a lilt you’ve never heard from him.

Bob’s eyes are blue, you think to yourself numbly. You’ve never seen these yellow ones before.

He can see the gooseflesh rippling up and down your arms, and immediately, he’s ducking down to your eye level, nuzzling into your shoulder, telling you, you’re okay. It’s okay. You’re okay.

You can’t stop shivering.

“Show me your eyes,” you demand through clenched teeth, and he does, and they’re blue.

…Of course they are. Why wouldn’t they be.

“You’re under so much stress these days,” you hear Bob say as he’s rubbing your aching back, there on the bed. “Don’t worry, my love. It’ll be over soon.”

And it is. Not even a week passes before the World’s Smallest Man, the only one in the circus who has any extensive medical training, is handing you your newborn son, wrapped in blankets the sideshow members all pitched in to sew. Your delivery was so quick and so painless, it feels like it was all just a dream.

Bob hugs the baby gently in his massive hands. “Will you be okay?” he asks.

You’re not sure what it says about you, but… you know you will be. You feel nothing for this pink, wet thing, wriggling in your partner’s arms. You nod, and he nods back, taking the baby with him.

When he returns to your tent, a day later, it’s gone, and that’s all you need to know.

He leans in to kiss you, whispering, for your ears only:

“Would you like to do it again?”

You look up into yellow eyes.

“What did you really do with him,” is all you can say.

Bob’s smile stretches along Bob’s face, but it’s not Bob who answers. You KNOW it’s not.

“I took care of it. I mean. I took care of us,” Pennywise brags, his voice light and cheery. “I’ve gotten SO very good at this.”

You frown at this thing in Bob’s place. “Why Bob?” you ask.

“Why? Why, every child in TOWN loves this 'Pennywise’ Bob’s thought up!” A giddy smirk slides over Pennywise’s lips. “And now, every child here loves ME.”

You blink in shock. “Is… That’s it? Bob’s just-- gone?”

“Do you really care?” the clown grins back. “I can let you be pregnant, whenever you want, as many times as you want. Without anyone ever thinking you’re a woman.”

Any protest you thought of raising dies in your throat, at that.

“You are just as handsome to me as Bob is,” Pennywise nods, pointing to your empty stomach. “Loan me your body, and I swear: you and I will live out a long, prosperous happily ever after. Forever.”

He holds out a familiar-looking arm. “Now. My love. It’s been such a long day, and I’m awful dang tired. Let’s run along to bed. I’ll put another baby in that belly of yours, and we’ll get to keep having fun, hm?”

You stare back at him. For a long, long time. You don’t know how long.

------

As you rock gently on the back porch swing of your brand-new house, looking out over a garden vibrant with flowers, your hands smooth over the round, firm globe of your stomach through one of Bob’s old work shirts. You can’t help but marvel at the size of it. After all, you’re only a few months along, this time. You wonder if this might be twins again.

You’ve been so fertile, since you agreed to Pennywise’s bargain. All it takes is a simple “Let’s do it again, my love. Won’t you, please?” and Bob’s hands will be on you, his trusty cock thrusting and squelching inside you.

Bob knows he’s… “not always himself,” as he puts it, since you two settled down in Derry. And he’s told you quite plainly, he doesn’t care. All he wants is to see you happy.

And, if you’re being honest with yourself, you find you really don’t care if that’s Pennywise talking or not. You’ve never been happier in your life. Eternally full of potential, plump to the brim with promise… You glide through one grand day after the other, carrying a belly full of dreams.

You’re not a woman. Nor, as it turned out, were you ever a man. With this Pennywise fellow’s help, you’ve become something else entirely, you think, sipping from your cup of the deep red fruit punch Bob keeps making. Or whatever it is. Full of vitamins, he says. You lick your lips, letting free a blissful sigh. You do so love the flavor, by now.

You knew running off to join the circus was a good idea.