“Five minutes Tozier, and I want you in the wing with a minute spare.”
“Yeah, yeah. Four minutes,” Richie waved his manager off; pressing accept on his phone as he stepped out onto the small deck. Unknown number, from Maine. He didn’t remember much from his childhood but he knew that he had grown up in the state. Leaving the day after graduation. He hadn’t thought about it since. “You’re speaking to the one and only; Richie Tozier.”
“Richie? It’s Mike. Mike Hanlon.”
For a moment Richie racked his brain, “I don’t know a-”
It only took a second for Richie to realise what was happening. He didn’t understand, but he knew. “Right, Mikey,” his voice was shaky and the hand was clenching the wooden beam that he was leaning on. “What’s up?”
“It’s back, Richie. It.”
“Couldn’t call with some good news?”
“You’ve got to come back,” Mike continued calmly without acknowledging Richie had said anything. “You promised. When we were younger.”
“When we were kids,” Richie muttered.
Mike made a noise of agreement. “I know this sucks, and I’m sorry. But you have to come back.”
“I’ve found all the other Losers, remember? Stan and Bev and Bill and Ben? I just have to find Eddie. Do you remember Eddie? I can’t find his number anywhere. You wouldn’t happen to know where he is, or his number? You two were close.”
Richie felt sick. “No, I don’t know where he is. For all I know he’s in India or something. Look, Mike, I’ve got to go. I’ll come to Derry tonight and, shit, I don’t know.”
“Thank you, Richie. I’ll see you soon.”
The phone beeped and as soon as he heard the dial tone, Richie leant over and vomited. He groaned, wiping his mouth as the door next to him swung open. “Richie! What the hell? Are you okay? Oh, god, are you getting sick?”
“No,” Richie forced a smile onto his face. “I’m fine.”
“Who were you talking to.”
Looking into his face, Richie knew he had to lie. Lie his heart out. “No one, Eds. Wrong number and I got nervous. That’s all.”
“You sure?” Eddie asked, reaching over to check Richie’s temperature.
“Let’s get this show over so we can go home.”
“Alright, but you’ve got to go to sleep early if you’re sick. No staying up to watch reruns of shit shows like you’ve done this entire week!”
Richie laughed at Eddie’s pout, kissed him on the forehead and grinned when Eddie started complaining about how gross he was. They went inside, hand in hand. His manager was already by stage, staring at his watch as they came up to him. He glared at Eddie - they had never liked each other - before turning to Richie. Who had been given a bourbon and was happily drinking it. There was a countdown, Richie handed his drink to Eddie who started drinking it himself, and then an announcement, welcoming Richie on.
“Have fun,” Eddie said.
“Always do,” Richie replied easily before walking onto the stage. Grinning through the dread he felt. “Hey, hi. Welcome, thanks for coming. Now before we actually start the show I wanted to tell you about what my husband did the other day. I love him, I do, but oh my lord he is one crazy little fucker. Anyway-”
Somehow he was able to make it through his show without any major mishaps. Someone had yelled out some insults but he was able to turn it around. He never knew if they were trying to be funny or actually insulting him. Either way, Eddie did it first. His manager had congratulated him (and promised another Netflix special soon - Eddie beamed, he wanted to redo their kitchen) and then they were off, heading home. Richie still hadn’t told Eddie that he was leaving that night. Still didn’t know what to tell him.
‘Hey, so I’ma go and fight a killer clown that nearly ate us as kids but I want you to stay here, okay? Also, isn’t it crazy that I am starting to get my memories back? Love you, might die but see you soon!’.
Eddie would murder him before the clown.
“Pizza will be here in ten,” Eddie said, flopping down so he was half on the sofa and half on Richie. “Now, are you going to tell me who called you?”
“I already said-”
“You lied,” Eddie interrupted. “I’ve known you forever. I know when you’re lying. You can’t look me in the eye and you always look me in the eye.”
“Not true, I stare at your ass a fair bit.”
Rolling his eyes, Eddie poked Richie’s stomach. “Tell.”
“Mike Hanlon.” Why the fuck couldn’t Richie lie to Eddie? It was ridiculous. They had been married for almost ten years, together since before Richie couldn’t remember, and he couldn’t lie to the man, even if meant Eddie could survive this upcoming week. “From Derry.”
“Derry? Wait, I recognise that name. Why do I know him?”
“We grew up together. Us, him, Bev and Stan and Bill and Ben.”
Richie could see when Eddie remembered. His eyes went wide, surprised. And then he looked scared. He looked like he did when they had gone into that fucking crack house as children. Richie was just surprised he could remember what Eddie looked like when they were thirteen; they hadn’t been able to remember anything before graduation aside from their parents and the fact that they were in love.
“No wonder we both had panic attacks when the clown tried to give us a balloon.”
“That’s what you’re going to say?” Richie asked. “After remembering all of that, you land on the time we both had a panic attack at the circus?”
Eddie shrugged. “So, what did Mike want? Oh, oh. It’s back. Isn’t it?” Richie nodded once, not looking at his husband. “And we promised that we would go and kill It. Shit, why the fuck did we do that? Could have gotten aids then and now we have to fight a demon clown.”
“Your brain works weird.”
“When are we going back?”
“I’m going back tonight.”
“You are?” Eddie asked, raising an eyebrow at Richie. “Without me? I seem to recall that I was there when we fought the alien. Wait, why hasn’t Mike called me yet?”
Richie pursed his lips. He wanted to make a joke, lighten the situation. But he couldn’t think of anything to say. “I told him that I didn’t know where you are. He can’t find you so you don’t have to go back to that hell hole of a place.”
“Why can’t he find me?”
“He’s looking for Eddie Kasprak. We never released your last name so he doesn’t know that we’re still together.”
“I’m still going with you, Rich. I’m not staying here while you run off and fight that fucker alone.”
Sighing, Richie pulled Eddie close to him. He knew, deep down, that Eddie would never stay back in California. He knew that but by god he wanted it to be true so badly. Could you blame him? He wanted his husband to stay safe and not be near the fucking demon clown that had already tried to kill them once before. Eddie intertwined their hands, smiling at him, knowing what he was thinking. There was no way Eddie wouldn’t come with him. Eddie was one of the bravest people he knew. Especially when it came to his friends.
“I love you,” Richie said with a sad smile.
“I love you too, but I’m not dying.”
Richie pouted. “Whenever you say that you love me you say but afterwards.”
“I love you, Richard Tozier.”
“And I love you, Edward Tozier.”
They have a full day in Derry and they spend the entire time making out in their hotel room because they’re in love. Then, as the sun was setting, they made their way over to a newer restaurant. Mike had sent Richie the address, still having no idea that Eddie was there. ‘It’s awkward now’ Richie had complained when Eddie told him to tell Mike and then they started kissing again. And then it was dark and they were on their way.
“It’s almost amazing how little this shit hole has changed,” Richie said as Eddie drove through town. “Is the demon clown or the fact that Derry is stuck in the ‘50s?”
“Yeah, that sounds right.”
“This is going to be so weird,” Eddie muttered. “We were best friends and then we all forgot each other. I didn’t even know that I lived here.”
Richie hummed, “we didn’t forget each other.”
“You’re too annoying to forget.”
Eddie shrugged, “well, you always annoyed me more than the others -”
“-because I love you!”
“-so maybe that’s why I remember you.”
“Also the fact that we’re married.” Eddie hummed non-committal and pulled into the carpark, grinning when Riche made an upset face at him. There were a few other cars already parked but it wasn’t like they could know if their friends were already there. It was six-fifty three and they were supposed to be meeting at seven. Another car pulled in, Richie was typing on his phone. “Please tell me that is not fucking Dave.”
Richie shook his head, “it is not Dave. Still, don’t know why you hate him, he’s a good manager. I’m searching up our friends to find out the gossip.”
“So we know what we’re getting into - what the fuck? Okay, you know those horror books that have bad endings?”
“Fucking Bill wrote them. We lived them a bad horror movie plot and he still can’t write a fucking horror story, I can’t believe it.”
Eddie laughed, “okay stop stalking our friends. I think that’s Bev.”
“Who’s the hot guy beside - holy shit, is that Ben?”
“Ben got hot.”
“Babe, I love you but -” Richie trailed.
“I know. Ditto.”
Richie grinned, “we are the perfect couple.” He leant over and pressed a small kiss to his husband’s lips. “Alright, let’s go and see our childhood friends! It’s gonna be so fucking fun.”
They linked up with Bev and Ben (who were both really fucking hot, what the fuck?) before heading inside. It felt odd, the modern restaurant in the middle of Derry which Richie was thinking of nominating for ‘less modern town in America’. This had also been a clothing store when they were kids (that they were banned from thanks to Richie, Bev and Stan) so it was strange seeing it dressed up with Chinese symbols. It was all weird. No one felt comfortable with anything.
One of the wait staff led them into a small enclosed room. Richie’s eyes went to the gong and before Eddie could tell him not to he, he banged it. The four people in the room turned to look at them. It was an uncomfortable silence before Mike broke it: “Eddie! I thought you had died or something!”
“Nope,” Eddie said with a forced laugh. “I’m here.”
“Mike said he couldn’t find you,” Stan said. Richie grinned as soon as he heard his best friend’s voice. Going over and pulling him to a hug before Eddie could respond. Richie pulled Mike and Bill into it as well, and not a moment later Bev, Ben and Eddie were moving over to join in. They pulled apart, smiling and a few of them (Richie and Mike and Ben) had tears in their eyes. “Good to see you too, Rich.”
“You too, Stan. Okay, let’s eat because the Town House has shit food.”
“Isn’t it!” Bev agreed and just like that, it was normal. They sat down at the table. Bev and Ben beside each other, Richie and Eddie beside each other as well. It was as if no time had passed. Like they were still fifteen and sitting in a circle at the barrens, complaining about teachers and homework. Life was better then. When they had each other. It, the reason they were there, wasn’t mentioned. None of them wanted to be the one to bring it up. Break the happy mood the group was in.
After Bill had explained that he was on his way back from England when he got the call he turned to Eddie. Both he and Richie knew what was about to be asked. The group did too, apparently, because they all leaned in to hear. “So, why couldn’t Mike find you? I mean, I was in England and he knew where I was. I think he was stalking us.”
“I, uh, I got married, so my name is different.”
“Oh shit,” Bev said, “congrats!”
“Thanks,” Eddie smiled genuinely. He didn’t miss the look that Stan sent Richie.
“So, for future reference,” Mike asked, “how should I find you?”
Ben looked confused, “if you didn’t find Eddie how did he know to come here?”
“I thought Richie told him?” Bev asked. “They arrived together.”
“Richie said that he didn’t know where Eddie was,” Mike said.
“We’re right here,” Richie muttered. Everyone ignored him, staring at Eddie.
Eddie smiled, “for future reference, my name is Eddie Tozier.”
“You married Richie?” Stan asked. They nodded, holding up their left hands where golden bands lay. “When?”
“Day after it became legal. Went down to the courthouse,” Richie said. “People know I married someone called Eddie but we kept his maiden name a secret.”
“Please don't’ call it my maiden name. I hate that.”
“It’s what it is.”
Mike frowned, “why did you say that you didn’t know where he was?”
“Panicked, didn’t want him to come to Derry.”
“I was coming no matter what.”
“Yeah, well sue me for not wanting my husband to die!”
“We’ve been over this!”
The other losers still looked confused. Watching the two of them bicker. “So, you remember each other?” Ben asked, “because I didn’t remember anything. Like at all, I didn’t even remember that I lived in Maine.”
“Kind of?” Richie shrugged. “I remember all the sweet loving I gave to Mrs K-” he paused for them beep him before continuing “-and the fact that Eddie and I grew up together.”
“We were dating when we left for college,” Eddie continued, “so we just kind of kept going.”
“So romantic,” Richie said.
Eddie threw a piece of cabbage at him, “you just made a joke about fucking my mom.”
“She was a lovely lady.”
“So you two didn’t change,” Stan interrupted. “At all.”
They smiled at him and replied; “nope.”
The rest of the dinner went smoothly. They caught up some more; talking about work and life and what they had been up to in the last nearly three decades. It was so simple, all of them there together again. Bev talked about her fashion line - which had dressed Richie, Eddie and Bill for different events. How Ben owned his own architecture firm and how Mike was the owner of the Derry library. Stan’s wife and his life in Atlanta and then Eddie and Richie’s life in California.
Until the fucking fortune cookie. Bill was the first to open his, frowning at the message inside of it. “Please don’t tell me it’s something like ‘oh you’re gonna die soon’ because that’s just shitty,” Richie said as Eddie and Ben opened their own, also frowning.
“Mine just says ‘little’,” Bev said, laying the piece of paper on the table. Ben put his beside hers, his said ‘you’. Soon everyone had opened a cookie and had received a word. Stan was the one to put it together. Eddie’s ‘are’ and Richie’s ‘ones?’ going at the beginning and end, Mike’s ‘ready’ and Bill’s ‘for’ in the middle.
“Are you ready for the little ones?” Stan readout. “What does that mean? What little ones?”
Richie made a face, “I don’t know but I’m going to guess that it absolutely sucks.”
After a brief run-in where Richie yelled at a ten-year-old boy for no reason and was almost yelled at by his father, they left the restaurant. “Do you not know your own material?” Bev asked once they were outside.
“I’m stressed,” Richie replied sullenly. “And it was old.”
Stan started teasing him, making fun of him with Richie shooting straight back. The tension eased a little. Not enough to make it like it was in the restaurant but enough so that they were okay. They started talking about what to do next - most of them voting to go back to the townhouse and sleep. Surely killing the demon clown could wait until the morning. He wasn’t going anywhere.
It had just been decided when there was a loud noise behind the restaurant, in the woods.
Someone, someone younger than them, was yelling. It wasn’t clear at first; as if there were a few people speaking at the time. Then it stopped, silence echoing around them before a very clear and distinct: “What the fuck?” Rang out. Then there was nothing again.
Eddie was the first to react, turning quickly to look and calling; “Richie?”
“Yeah?” Richie said. He was standing right there; what was Eddie talking about?
“Richie!” He called again. And then he was off, running and making the others run to catch up. The losers followed him into the woods, only coming to a stop once they had caught up to him. They were standing only a few trees into the woods, in a small clearing of trees.
And there they were.
Seven children standing side by side opposite seven adults. All of them looked confused and a little afraid.
No one moved and then in tandem both the Richies said; “what the fuck?”
“That’s us,” Bev said, the older one. “When we were-”
“Where the fuck as we?” Little Eddie asked, he was standing as close as he possibly could to Richie. Richie, in turn, looked like he was only a moment away from grabbing Eddie’s hand and not letting go. Big Richie thought about grabbing his own Eddie’s hand but how old were these kids? If he had seen himself holding hands with Eddie at that age he would have passed out. Little Eddie still looked halfway to a panic attack. “And who the fuck are you?”
“We’re you,” Big Eddie answered. His eyes flicking between all of them widely. “The Losers.”
Little Richie scoffed, “this is some weird clown trick.”
“M-maybe we should r-r-run?”
“I like that plan.”
Big Stan spoke after his little counterpart, “if you’re making a plan speak quietly. We can hear you.”
“Why don’t we go back to the townhouse?” Bev sugged, the big one, “all of us. And then we can discuss what’s happening.”
“We can’t go with them!” Eddie snapped, “they’re strangers!”
Bev, little, shrugged, “they kind of look like us.”
“We’re going to follow them because they kind of look like us?”
“Come on, Eds, and if they are paedophiles we can shank them and run,” Richie said brightly, already walking forwards. “What’s seven pedos versus a demon clown?”
“You don’t have a knife.”
“I’ll whittle one.”
“When will you get the time?”
They were still bickering but all of the small losers had started walking. They never came right up to the adults but followed them out of the woods nonetheless. Little Richie and Eddie still looked like they wanted to hold hands, which promoted big Richie to whisper to his Eddie, “we should properly keep the whole ‘we’re married and in love ‘thing a secret right now. I don’t think they’d handle it well.”
“I know. I was gonna suggest that to you as well.”
“Yeah, well I suggested it first so it was my idea.”
“That’s not how it works!”
“They never change?” Stan asked, frowning at big Eddie and Richie, as they made their way into the parking lot of the Jade. Big Stan laughed, along with Bill. Little Stan made a face, as did Little Bill. “Oh, that sucks. I thought they’d grow out of it.”
Little Richie threw his arm around Stan’s shoulders and started making kissy noises. Eddie tried to look annoyed but was clearly hiding a grin. The others were all just grinning at their friend’s antics. Richie let Stan go, who was grumbling and trying not to laugh as well. All of the young ones looked to the adults. Richie had stepped back so he was beside Eddie, and both big Eddie and Richie watched as Stan rolled his eyes as he did so. Stan so knew.
“What do we do know?” Little Mike asked.
“Each adult take their kid with them,” Big Mike said. “Meet back at the Inn and we can -”
“Eat!” Richie interrupted. “I’m starving.”
“Yu-you’re always hu-hungry.”
He shrugged and Ben, the little one, spoke up. “How do we know you won’t get us in the car and then kill us because you’re actually the clown?”
“Give me a car,” Richie said, “I’ll drive us all back.”
“You’re thirteen,” Big Richie rolled his eyes.
“You’ve only tried to drive once,” Big Eddie said and from the reactions of both groups, only Eddie (both) knew about this. Both Richies glared. “And you crashed your dad’s car into the pole opposite your house. You then blamed me and then, when you dad said that I wouldn’t so that, you said that someone had stolen the car, crashed it and ran. Your dad now hides the keys.”
Little Richie narrowed his eyes, “how do you know that?”
“I was in the car with you. We were listening to Footloose when it happened.”
“Is that true?” Little Stan asked, glee written across his face. Big Stan looked the same if they were being honest. Richie was still glaring at Eddie but he nodded.
“Yeah, and because of that incident, dad taught Eddie how to drive before he taught me, even though I’m older,” Big Richie muttered loud enough for everyone to hear. Both Eddies looked pleased with the outcome of it all. “Alright, Richie, Eddies. Let’s go. See you guys at the Inn.”
Doing as instructed, the three of them followed Richie towards their car. “Why are the Eddies with us? Not that I don’t love any quality time with my baby.”
“I am not your baby!”
“Try darling,” Big Richie suggested. “My Eds loves that.” His Eds did love that - not that he had ever said so - but that was a dirty movie. “And we’re in the same car because I drove Eddie out here.”
“So you do learn how to drive.”
“Of course I do, darling.” At Eddie’s and Richie’s blush, they both stopped talking and took to looking out of their respective window. The adults had to hold in their laughter at it. They could remember, now, what it was like to be going through it. Thinking the other would hate them if they came out and shared their feelings. Once his blush had subsided, Richie turned back around. “So, it’s 2016?”
The adults nodded. Little Eddie made a face, he looked nervous, “how are we going to get back to ‘89?”
“Ask the clown really nicely?”
“Yeah, that makes sense.”
Derry wasn’t that big so it didn’t take them long to pull into the parking lot. Most of the time was spent with little Richie asking a bunch of questions about the future - do robots do everything? Kind of. Was school still a thing? Yes, obviously. Was he famous yet? Yes, you are. How famous? You were on SNL for three years. Holy shit, really? Yeah. Eddie, did you hear that? How do we know they’re not lying to butter you up?
They arrived at the Inn first. “How sensible were we when we were thirteen?” Richie asked.
“Why?” Little Eddie asked.
“Do you two want to bunk with your older self or together?” Richie asked. Neither hesitated to answer: they wanted to be together. Because of course they did and both adults already knew that because they were them. “I’ll go and get you two a room, but if you’re annoying or shits we’ll switch it around. Got it?” They nodded. Both adults sighed because they would have nodded as well and they knew it meant absolutely nothing.
“I feel like this is some sort of karma,” Eddie said, “we were such shits when we were kids, so we have to deal with it.”
Richie laughed before leaving the room and getting them another room. Both Bills and Bens came into the lobby before Richie was back. Almost as soon as he was there the Bevs and Mikes came in. Stans not far behind. Somehow Richie had found candy and was sharing it with Eddie, Eddie had found a chair and Richie was perched on the armrest. Bev, the little one, sat down by Eddie’s feet and the other kids started converging around them as well.
“This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever fucking seen,” Big Richie said. “Pass me some candy baby, Richie.”
“Not enough for adults.”
Bill interrupted them, “I know we don’t have great memories but I don’t remember time travelling. Anyone else?” All the adults shook their heads. “So, why are they here?”
“What was the last thing you guys did before you turned up there?” Mike asked.
“We were in the clubhouse,” Stan answered. “And it was the day and then we were in the forest and it was night.”
“Oh god,” Eddie moaned. “Oh no.”
Both Richies snapped to attention, the little one speaking. “What’s up, Eds?”
“My mom is going to kill me. We’ve already been gone for hours.”
“Maybe,” Richie said as Eddie pressed his face into Richie’s thigh. Eddie, the big one, understood the want of touch. Any excuse was good enough - a blush? Perfectly reasonable to bury your face in Richie’s thigh. “I mean, in the movies at least, the original time is like frozen so no one even knows that the person is gone. We’ll defeat the clown fucker and then snap back to ‘89 and your mom won’t know that we left in the first place.”
“I doubt that the clown fucker is gonna be that nice to us.”
Richie shook his head, he spoke confidently but looked scared and hesitant, as if he was making it all up as he went but couldn’t let Eddie know that. Big Richie figured that was the case. It was what he would do. “I don’t think it was him. I mean, why would he want fourteen people fighting him? Even if the adults told us not to go and help them, we would. And we just fucking beat him like a month ago. I think it’s something else that wants us to win.”
“That makes a lot of sense,” big Mike said.
“It does,” big Bev nodded along. “Why would the clown want fourteen of us? He could just manifest the kids if he wanted to scare us.”
“But even then,” Bill said, “why would we be scared of us as kids. We would know it’s fake.”
“Unless-” Mike said but was cut off by Bev and Ben shaking their heads. That was a conservation for after the kids went to bed. “No, nevermind. So I’m guessing you kids are going to help? You don’t have to.”
They looked annoyed at the suggestion. Even Eddie, who hadn’t moved from Richie’s thigh, tensed up in anger. “W-we w-will help you g-g-guys. We w-won’t s-s-stand back.”
“Okay,” Bev said. “Good, just know that we won’t care if you sit out. Now, why don’t you guys go to bed? We’re going to have to do some stuff tomorrow and judging by the fact that all of you have yawned about ten times in the last minute I’m guessing you’re tired.”
Big Richie threw a room key to his younger self. “Don’t break anything. Go to sleep and no sneaking out. Usually, I wouldn’t care but there is a killer clown that eats kids out there.” Younger Richie nodded, pulling his Eddie up before the two of them disappeared down the hall - their bickering echoing around.
“You gave them their own room?” Stan asked, all of the adult losers were trying not to laugh and the young ones looked jealous at the fact.
“I’ve been sneaking into Ed’s house for years at this point. They sleep together all the time.”
“Is that why Richie never answered the phone in the morning?” Stan asked.
“Yeah,” Eddie said. “Please don’t call my house and ask for him though. My mother wouldn’t be happy.”
Stan looked very serious as he nodded in understanding. Their friends were good with that kind of thing. They always had been. All of the other young losers were given keys to their respective adult's rooms, and they were off. Yelling could be heard for a while after they had left. Richie poured himself a drink as Bev lit up a cigarette. He sighed as he sat back down beside Eddie. “Well, this weekend just got a whole lot weirder.”
“Tell me about it,” Ben muttered. “I don’t like looking at myself. And not even in an ‘I’m self-conscious’ way, it’s just weird.”
“I can’t believe we were so small,” Bev said.
“Eddie hasn’t grown,” Richie said. Eddie rolled his eyes. “So, what are we thinking? Do we abandon them or do we take them? What’s the play?”
“We can’t abandon them,” Mike said.
Richie shrugged, “I mean. We can. I guess we shouldn’t.”
“Glad you’re so reasonable,” Stan muttered. “Mike, before the kids showed up, what was your plan?”
“It’s called the Ritual of Chüd.”
“We should go downstairs,” Eddie said as Richie kissed up and down his neck. “They’ll be waiting for us.” Richie hummed. “And the little ones might get worried.”
“I’ll make some joke about us and then they’ll forget.”
“I don’t like it when you call him ‘you’.”
Richie laughed into Eddie’s neck, “I am he and he is me.”
“Come on then, me, we should get downstairs.”
“You’re no fun,” Richie groaned but did as he was told. The two of them getting ready quickly before making their way to the lobby. Where, as guessed, everyone was already waiting for them. The little ones were all eating while the adults drank coffee. Bev, both of them, looked like they wanted a cigarette. Eddie went to pour them some coffee as Richie threw himself dramatically onto the only available loveseat. “So, are we going on our little adventures today?”
Stan sighed, “we just discussed it. You would know that if you two had been down here.”
“Aww, Eds just can’t say no to me!” Little Richie said, nudging the Eddie that was practically sitting on his lap. Richie watched them - were they really that obvious?
“No! And don’t call me that.”
“And please don’t joke about my sex life, makes me uncomfortable,” Big Richie added. “Was I really that annoying?” All of the Losers - even the children - confirmed that yes, he is that annoying. Eddie handed him a mug as he nodded. “Whatever, so are we getting our tokens today or not? No one answered me.”
Mike made a face. “I - okay so last night I went back to the library to get the book and there were all these notes on my desk.”
“Wow,” Richie said, “notes on a desk?”
Big Richie scowled at him, “you should respect your elders.”
“They weren’t mine though. I had never seen them before,” Mike continued easily. “And, I don’t know. It’s weird.”
“What did the notes say?” Bill asked.
“That the ritual of Chüd wasn’t what I thought it was. I don’t know if the notes were left by you know-”
“-thank you Richie, or if they’re supposed to be helpful. After we talked about why the littles are here it made me think.”
Putting his mug down on a coaster, Stan spoke up. “Did it say that we shouldn’t do it?”
“If something is helping us,” little Bev said, “could they maybe make it a bit easier. They’re not that helpful.”
“What do you think we should do, Mike?” Big Bev asked.
He shrugged, “I was so sure, but now?”
“D-did the n-notes s-s-say not t-t-to g-g-get the tokens?”
“What would happen if we did the ritual anyway?” Big Ben asked after Mike had shaken his head at Bill’s question. No one answered him but no one looked averse to the idea. “I mean, he’s not going to get stronger, is he? And we can think of a backup plan so if the ritual doesn’t work then we can try that. If the notes are helpful then we know not to put all our eggs in one basket but if it the clown then we still do it.”
“Ben,” Big Richie said, “you’re the second smartest person in this room.”
“Thank you,” Little Richie said. Both Eddie’s rolled their eyes.
Mike cleared his throat, “we need to get our tokens. Which means we have to go back to that summer. When we separated.”
“You want us to split up?” Both Richies asked at the same time.
“Yeah, I don’t know about that,” Big Eddie said. “I mean, look at the odds of survival and stuff.”
“It’s not ideal but it’s the only way.”
“What about the little ones?” Stan asked.
Little Stan’s eyes were wide. “I don’t want to go anywhere by myself. Last time that happened I was nearly eaten.” None of the little losers looked happy at the idea of being by themselves. The big losers understood - they were hardly ever apart now. Ever since that summer, they had spent the majority of their time by each other’s sides. Sleepovers and long days spent doing nothing so long as they weren’t alone. Because when they were alone they got hurt.
“We can go with them,” Mike said. “Each kid can go with their respective adult to get their tokens.”
“Do we need tokens as well?” The other Mike asked. His older self nodded. “We’re not going back to that summer, though, it still is that summer for us. What tokens could we get?”
“Just so long as they represent something to you, and it isn’t the same as your older self one. It should be okay.”
“Should be,” Little Eddie whispered, he sounded breathless. “Should be okay.”
His Richie grabbed his hand. “Breath, Eds, it’s going to be fine. You’re gonna go off with your older self and have some fun in 2016! It’s like we’re in a comic book.”
“Well I know because I’m smarter so,” Richie shrugged. Eddie rolled his eyes but he was breathing easier. The other kids looked more at ease as well. “And if the ice cream shop is still a thing we can bully them into buying us some.”
“Come on then,” Big Richie stood, “may as well go now. If you behave I’ll buy you an ice cream.”
“If I behave? Are you my dad?”
Richie sighed, “no ice cream for you then.”
“I’ll get one,” Little Richie seemed very confident. “I’ve got a dollar in my pocket.”
“Ice cream is like five dollars now,” Big Eddie said. All of the kids looked personally offended that the treat had gone up in price.
One by one they left the lobby. The Mikes went first, the younger Mike asking to see the notes that had been left. Then the Bens and Bevs left together, the adults being weird and the youngers crushing. Both Bills and then Stans were next to go, apparently, they had some ideas of where they were going. Which left Richie and Eddie alone with their younger selves again. “Any idea where you two are going?” Big Eddie asked.
“I think so,” Big Richie answered. Little Richie made a face. “Yeah. You?”
“No idea. We’ll figure something out.”
They let the little ones go outside first, sharing a secret kiss like they were young again, and then they split up.
“How are you finding living with your aunt?” Bev asked as she walked down the street with her young one. They were on their way to her old house. A house she hadn’t seen in nearly 30 years and the other Bev had just moved away from.
“It’s alright,” the little Bev said. “It sucks that I’m out of Derry but she lets me visit a lot. I miss them when I’m there though.”
“They’re good friends,” she replied, pulling out a cigarette. “I’d offer you one but it’s not really allowed anymore. You can have on back at the inn.”
Little Bev shrugged. “What’s my life like when I’m older?”
“If I have anything to do with it, not like mine,” Bev sighed sadly. How much could her younger self handle? She was a strong kid - had to be with her dad and pennywise and bullies - but everyone had a breaking point. Bev figured finding out that she ends up with another abusive man in her life was a contender for reasonable breaking point. Little Bev looked like she understood anyway. “If a man calls Tom asks you for a coffee run away. Run fast.”
“Why don’t we -” she cut herself off.
“I don’t know. He’s a good guy,” Bev sighed again. “I don’t know how I forgot him.”
The little Bev shrugged again, “not our fault.” They were nearly there. It looked the same as it had done when they had lived there. So many awful memories had been created in there, memories that both of them had tried their best to block out and never think about. And now they were going to go in there and try to remember all of them again. “I haven’t been here since that night.”
“Bill and Richie went to get your clothes,” Bev said almost like a question. The memory was hazy. Little Bev nodded. “I didn’t want to.”
“Yeah. The police took me and I couldn’t go inside. Richie and Bill offered to go instead. Bill was sensible and actually got my stuff but I think Richie just wanted to snoop inside my room.”
“That sounds like Richie,” Bev replied as they got to the door. One knock and then they were inside their childhood home.
Fuck their childhood home.
Across town, both of the Bills were standing outside of their childhood home. There was a new family there. A new child in Georgie's room and new bikes in the driveway. The family looked happy. Little Bill looked most upset; which made sense, seeing as he was looking at his current house.
“W-when do we m-m-move?” Bill asked.
“I went to college and my parents left about a month after me. They couldn’t be in the house with no-” he stopped.
“Sons,” Bill corrected. “They love you, they love you so much but they’re struggling. When he disappeared it, it ruined them. We know what happened but they don’t. They had no closure.”
Bill looked away from the house. “Did you f-f-fix it? D-do you t-talk to th-them nu-now?”
“At least once a week. It was hard through high school but it got better when I left for school.”
“D-do they s-s-still b-b-blame you?”
“They never did.”
Little Bill didn’t look convinced. They turned and continued walking. There would no tokens in that house. The Denbroughs no longer existed in there. Only a few minutes later they ended up at the drain. This was the last place that anyone had seen Georgie alive. Little Bill stared it at. Big Bill couldn’t force himself to look. They stood there, in silence, for a long time. Both of them couldn’t think of any words to say.
It was almost surprising that no one had come out to tell them off. But then again, most people didn’t leave Derry. They stayed and lived in the house all their lives. Under the influence of a space clown and in a town known for missing children. For all Bill knew these people had lived in those houses when he was young and knew why he was standing in the middle of the road, staring at a sewer. Or maybe they just didn’t care that a strange man and child where there. No one cared when Bill was young.
Big Bill closed his eyes, willing the tears to stay away. Little Bill sobbed.
“Why?” A voice echoed around them. Not theirs. “Because you weren’t there, Bu-Buh-Billy. It was so easy.”
“So easy,” the voice sang. In the distance, it sounded like carnival music, muted and changed. Bill recognised it; it was used in his first movie. It was the villain's song. A man who killed dressed as a clown, carnival music playing when he did it. “So easy,” he sang again, more child-like voice chimed in. Singing along with the clown that had killed them. Now only puppets to torment more people. Lure more children to their own deaths. It was all distorted and wrong.
None of this was fucking fair.
“Why weren’t you there?” The clown asked softly as water started trickling out of the drain. A paper boat with S.S Georgie floated out. Little Bill sobbed again and the other Bill reached forward to grab it. As soon as he had it in his hand the voices stopped.
“I-it d-d-doesn’t m-matter if m-my per-parents d-don’t blame m-me.”
Bill looked at the boat in his hands. It looked exactly the same.
“Come on. We’ve got to find your token,” was all he said. Because there was nothing Bill could say to relieve the painful and all-encompassing guilt that the younger one was feeling.
“Why didn’t you leave?”
Mike looked at his younger counterpart sadly. “Bev stays in contact with you for a year and then you stop hearing from her. Ben moved before senior year and you don’t hear from him again. We all figured that they wanted to move on or something. But then Richie and Eddie left, the day after graduation and they never sent a letter or anything. They had been friends with Stan and Bill for so long that they were convinced something was wrong. When Bill left he promised to send a letter. Nothing came. Stan had another year of school and the farm needed me so I stayed. Stan left and I never heard from him either.”
“And so you stayed.”
“When this is over you’re going to Florida,” the young Mike replied. He said it was such conviction that Mike, for a second, thought that he actually was. Tickets booked and bags packed. But that wasn’t the case at the end of the day. He was still stuck in Derry, in the library and alone. “I will make sure that you get out of here,” young mike continued. “I will, no matter what.”
Big Mike played along. “That sounds great. Have you chosen your token yet?”
“The rock that Bev threw at Henry Bowers when he was attacking me. It’s still there, I hid it. I had only meet Eddie and Richie before, and it was only for a moment, but they were all ready to fight Bowers for me. They’re good friends.”
“What about you?”
Shrugging, Mike kicked a small pebble on the floor. They were walking towards the creek, Mike now realised. The younger one had known all along. “I think I’ll burn my notebook, where I wrote all of this down.”
“That sounds good,” little Mike decided. “I like that.”
They were about to get off the road and head into the woods. They’d just have to climb down and then they’d be there. But, nothing ever worked out well because this was Derry. The clown was there, standing only a few trees deep. Both Mikes froze in place. They had already jumped the barrier so they couldn’t run back to the road easily. Not that it actually mattered.
“What do we do?” Little Mike asked.
“Awww,” Pennywise made a cooing noise. “Where are your friends, Mike?”
“Getting their tokens,” Mike replied, stepping in front of the younger one slightly.
“Or have they left? Like you never could, you got to stay with me. Wouldn’t you like to stay with me forever?” He smiled at them, bloodied teeth and all. Little Mike picked up a rock that was beside him, throwing it at the clown. His head whipped back, coming upright with a gash across the forehead. He was still smiling, blood running down and into his eyes. Mike had another rock in his hand and was about to throw it when Pennywise stepped back. “You’ll stay with me. Here in Derry, won’t you Mike? Both of you can stay with me forever.”
Mike pulled his arm back to throw the rock but before he could, the clown was gone. The rock didn’t leave young Mike’s hand until they were back at the townhouse, meeting up with Bev and Ben. Mike couldn’t blame him.
The Bens found themselves at the high school. They broke in, not that it was hard to, and ended up standing in front of their old locker. Eddie’s was three down from his, Richie’s next to Eddie’s. Stan and Bill had theirs down the hallway and to the left, close enough that Richie could yell to them if he wanted to. It was nice having his locker close to his friends. He could remember all of them going to their lockers together and then leaving together. He had never had friends before them, moving too much and being too insecure to make them.
Little Ben opened his locker. For him, it was the one he was using right now. There would be a notebook that he had forgotten and a few loose pencils. He hadn’t been to school with the losers yet, summer not over for him. Young Ben was still afraid that his newfound friends would stop talking to him the moment they stepped foot in the building. The combination was the same.
He pulled the door open and was surprised to find what he did. It wasn’t his empty locker and it wasn’t the girl’s who used it now. It was Ben’s from the last day he had used. The last day school of his junior year. Little Ben looked confused as he took it in. Everything was exactly the same as it had been that year; textbooks stacked along the bottom. Pencil case on top of them. Pictures stuck to the walls.
There was a picture of him with Bev, even though they hadn’t spoken in a year. A group photo from the first summer and a group picture from Eddie’s birthday party that year. There was a picture of him and Stan at junior prom, Eddie and Richie photo bombing in the background. Polaroids of different losers doing different things. A strip of all of them from a photo booth. A picture Bev has sent him from Portland. Mike and Richie singing on a roof, Stan and Eddie trying to make a cake (it wasn’t working for them). Ben and Bill arm wrestling, Ben winning.
“That’s us,” Little Ben said lamely as he took it all in.
“We stay friends,” Ben replied softly as if he couldn’t quite believe it, “through school.”
“Yeah, right until I had to leave.”
He reached in, towards a group picture of them. His fingers had just brushed it when a hand shot out from inside the lockers, grabbing his wrist tightly. Little Ben screamed and pulled his arm back. The grip didn’t loosen. Big Ben grabbed his younger counterpart and pulled back as hard as he could. From the blackness of the back of the locker, a face appeared. It hadn’t changed.
“What nice pictures you have, Ben!” The clown said with a happy smile. “How sad that they’re lies! They don’t like you, Benny Boy, you don’t have friends!”
“Yes, I do,” little Ben snapped, pulling his arm harder. “I do have friends.”
Pennywise crackled. “Oh? But they forget about you, and so easily. You don’t mean anything to them.”
“Because of you,” Big Ben replied, still clutching the little Ben. “You made us forget about each other. They are our friends.”
“They still forgot. I wouldn’t forget you, Ben if you came with me! We could be friends forever~” Pennywise sang. Little Ben pulled on his arm again, Pennywise letting go of him at the same time. Both of Bens fell back and hit the ground hard. Pennywise stepped out of the locker, looming over them and still smiling. “Don’t you want to be best friends forever? I want to be. I won’t forget you.”
Both of the Bens kicked out at the same time. Hitting the clown in the leg and chest. He hissed at them, his face morphing into something darker. “I do have friends! Bev and Stan and Bill and Mike and Richie and Eddie! They are my friends.”
Pennywise laughed, loud and gleeful. “Are you sure?”
“Yes!” Both of the Bens replied.
“We’ll see,” Pennywise replied quietly before disappearing. The locker snapping shut and locking. A picture lay where he had once stood. The group picture from Richie’s birthday party in their freshman year. It was the last time any of them had seen Bev. Maggie had snapped the picture without them knowing. Richie had manhandled Eddie onto his lap and Bev was sitting tucked in beside Ben. Mike and Stan were debating something calmly while Bill and Richie fought over the music. It was one of the best nights of Ben’s life.
“They are my friends,” Ben picked up the picture.
Big Ben nodded; “don’t forget that.”
Both of the Stans found their tokens in the clubhouse. They had gone their straight away, older Stan knowing what he wanted and younger Stan not but there was nowhere else for him to go yet. So they made their way to the barrens; driving because Stan had a car now; and then walking the rest of the way. It was surprisingly easy to find the entrance for the older Stan who hadn’t thought of the clubhouse since he was about to leave Derry. Mike and he didn’t go to the clubhouse often. It felt empty and cold knowing that the other losers weren’t there. They spent their days at the farm or in Stan’s room. It was only the two of them anyway; wasn’t like they didn’t fit in one bedroom.
The two of them lowered themselves down the ladder. It was so similar, nothing had really changed since he was last down there. Little Stan seemed to disagree. He looked around in distaste, kicking at the loose floorboard.
“Has Richie broken the hammock yet?” Big Stan asked. The hammock was still in the corner, swinging slightly. Little Stan shook his head. “Eddie was in and he wanted to get in so he climbed in.”
“Eddie does that all the time.”
“Yeah but this is Richie, so he jumps in and pulls the hammock of the posts. He and Eddie fall onto the floor with this huge crash. We thought they were dead to be honest because they didn’t move for so long. And then Eddie starts hitting Richie, anywhere he can, and calling him all these names. Richie found it hilarious until Ben refused to put it back up.”
“That sounds like them.”
Stan laughed, “Eddie begged Ben to put it back up and he did. I think it took about two days.”
“Do you remember these?” Little Stan asked, pulling a metal tin off a shelf. Big Stan laughed, nodding as his younger one pulled out the shower caps. There should have been eight of them because the pack came in two, but Richie and Eddie had used one to try and catch frogs once and they had thrown it away. Little Stan handed the other Stan a cap. It had love hearts on it - Bev or Eddie’s then. They were very fussy about it, no one else was allowed a love heart shower cap.
“Is there a floral one?” Stan asked, Little Stan, nodded and pulled it out. This was his. He put it on as little Stan kept looking at the stuff on the shelf. They had left so many things down there. Eddie had a mini first aid kit, there was a bunch of hand sanitizer, magazines and notebooks, homework and little games. Why hadn’t they taken their stuff with them when they all left?
Little Stan pulled out a book, “oh. I love this.”
“I forgot about that one,” Stan said, looking at the cover. It was one of his first bird books, a simple one that had made Stan fall in love with birds. “I used to take it with me where I ever I went.”
“I do,” little Stan muttered. The pages were faded now, torn and dirty and the cover was dusty. Nothing like the pristine condition that Stan kept it in. “I used it. When we fought.”
It took a moment for Stan to remember how he had used the book. Of course. He had started listing off birds, running through the different birds that he had read about in that very book. ‘I believe in them, I don’t believe in you’ he had said. He had used insults where he couldn’t physically fight the clown-like Richie or Mike. Sure, he had gotten a hit in but it was the insults that made him feel brave. He had looked Pennywise in the eyes and told him that he wasn’t real. That he wasn’t afraid.
“Found your token?” Big Stan said knowingly.
“I think so.”
As they climbed out of the clubhouse little Stan grabbed some sanitizer. He was covered in dust and dirt now. It made him feel itchy. Big Stan took a generous amount when he was offered as well. Stan put the bottle in his back pocket. Eddie would like to have some as well, and then he’d force all of them to put some on. Richie would complain loudly but he would do it, the others might roll their eyes but no one would put up a fight. Stan smiled at the thought as they walked to their car. Big Stan sent him a questioning look and Stan just shrugged in response. “I was just thinking about the losers.”
“Oh?” Stan’s phone buzzed. It was Patty’s ringtone, he smiled as he slipped it out. She had messaged to make sure that he was okay. She didn’t know why he had packed up and gone to Derry but she trusted him enough. Once it was all over he would tell her everything that had happened. The losers could back him up.
“Who’s that?” Stan asked. The young ones still didn’t quite grasp what a phone was but they understood it enough.
“Patty, my wife.” Stan pulled up a photo, the two of them had taken it one night when they were lightly buzzed on wine. He truly loved her. In the picture, he was kissing her cheek causing her to grin at the camera. “She’s amazing.”
Little Stan smiled, “she’s pretty. Are we happy?”
“Very. We’re very happy.”
The Richies were walking down the street, tokens in hand, and were heading back to the townhouse. Someone had come up and asked for a picture with big Richie which made the entire experience almost worth it in little Richie’s eyes. The little one was flipping his literal token, spinning it in the air and catching it. He had been upset at the state of the arcade, or at least he pretending that was the only reason that he was upset with the whole thing. Big Richie had chosen a token from his old house. They had snuck into the garden and Richie had dug up the knife he had buried before they left Derry.
“So, we never get fixed?” Little Richie asked as they walked.
“What do you mean?”
“I carved, you know, with that knife. That’s why you got it, right?”
Little Richie flipped the token again. “So it’s still an important part of our life. We don’t get fixed.”
“Richie, listen to me,” Richie said. They were about to go onto the Inn so he stopped. They had been a while; others could be back already. This conversation was private. “There is nothing wrong with us. With you. You’re not sick, you’re not perverse, you’re not wrong and I know that you don’t believe me but it’s true. Okay?”
“I think everyone disagrees.”
“Your friends don’t, your parent’s don’t.”
“I tell them?”
He nodded, “yeah. When you’re fourteen. Stan figured it out though, he already knows. And mom said she knew, mothers knowledge or something. No one cares. I mean, dad makes really bad jokes about it but.”
“Next year? And they don’t mind? What about Eddie?”
“Eddie doesn’t care at all. He’s the first one you come out to.”
“That makes sense. Do I tell him that I have a - Oh! Eds! What the fuck happened to you?”
The Eddies came to a stop beside them. Both of them were covered in some weird black sludge and the little one looked two seconds away from bursting into tears. Both Richie’s stepped closer to their Eddie. “It was the leaper,” the little Eddie said, gasping. “He, he had my mom and he knew and he vomited on us. Eddie was strangling him and he just, he vomited on us. Again.”
“That’s really gross.”
“Yeah, Richie, I know!”
“Did you get the tokens?” Big Richie asked. The Eddie’s nodded. “So did we. Man, fuck that clown.”
“Did you have a run in as well?” Eddie asked and the little Richie tried to calm down his Eddie. It seemed to be working.
Richie nodded, “he sang that fucking song, he’s not even a good singer, and had this invite for my funeral. It was really fun for both of us.” Little Richie flinched at the mention of the song, Eddie caught it and was looking at him oddly, calmer now but still covered in vomit. “I told him to go fuck himself.”
“Same,” Big Eddie muttered before turning to his younger self. “Come on, let’s go and get clean. I hate this. Stupid fucking clown.”
“He’s not even a cool looking clown,” little Richie complained.
“You’re so dumb,” little Eddie replied but he was looking calmer than he was only a few minutes ago.
“Yeah, but he is ugly.”
Big Richie nodded, “he is. He has no style, it’s sad.”
Both of the Eddies rolled their eyes; both the Eddies hide their grins. Both the Richies knew this and grinned to themselves because of it.
Whooo we get some more internalised homophobia because that's fun.
I'm not sure if this would be considered homophobic or what you'd call it but spoilers now::::: little Eddie and Richie get outed to everyone without permission (an accident but still not fun for anyone)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Inside the lobby the Stans sat with the Bills, the four of them talking amongst themselves, they didn’t look that traumatised. Both of the Eddies disappeared before anyone could ask and the Richies moved to join their friends. Stan, the young one, moved to give his Richie space on the sofa he and Bill were sitting on. Richie sent himself a look, the older one nodding. Stan knew. Stan didn’t care. Richie sat down beside him.
“So, what happened?” Bill asked. “Get everything?”
“Yup, and got hate crimed for our troubles,” big Richie answered. “You guys?”
“T-t-the clown is a b-b-bastard. I w-want to hit him with a p-p-pipe.”
Little Richie high fived his friend. “And you will. I need to find that bat.”
“2016 is weird,” Stan said. “Did you guys see the Aladdin?”
“Th-there’s s-so many p-people in D-Derry now.”
“Well, I get famous so 2016 has that going for it.”
“Why would you tell him?” Bill asked big Richie. “He’s going to be annoying now.”
Before anyone could respond to that the door opened and the other six people came into the room. Bevs looked the worst out of all of them but Bens didn’t look great. Only the Mikes tokens were visible; a rock for the little one and a leather-bound notebook. They all collapsed in the lobby. The little Bev laying across the boys' laps, her head in Richie’s lap. The adult Bev lent her head on her Richie’s shoulder. She pulled out a cigarette, offering one to him but he shook his head. He had quit soon after he and Eddie had moved. Little Beverly and little Richie took one because they were from the ‘80s and not 2016 - Eddie was going to yell at Richie though, he always did.
Big Eddie came downstairs, clean and his hair wet. He sat on the other side of Richie. “Eddie is in the shower now.”
“What happened to you two?” Big Ben asked.
“Fucking leaper vomited on us.”
“Did you really strangle It?” Little Richie asked. Eddie nodded. “That’s fucking awesome!”
Eddie shrugged. He looked tired like the morning had drowned his energy. The little Bev took out a phone, the older one shrugging. She started typing, showing Ben what she was doing.
“So,” Eddie said, “did everyone get their tokens?” Everyone confirmed that they had, both young and old had done it. All of them bar Stan had run-ins with Pennywise but no one had gotten hurt. They went around and quickly explained what had happened to them, brief recounts of the encounters with the clown. Richie, the young one, was quick to tell everyone how brave he had been; saving the older one from the clown. The number of eye rolls from the older one suggested otherwise.
“So now we get to go and fight the clown. In the sewers,” both Stan’s and Eddie made a face at Big Stan’s comment.
“I say we just fuck it and go back to Califonia,” big Richie said. “I mean, I don’t really want to fight the motherfucker.”
“No one wants to fight him,” Bill said.
“And what about the kids?” Stan asked. “We can’t leave them here.”
“Adopt them. They look like they’re our kids.”
“I think Patty might have something to say about that.”
Bev shrugged, still typing on the phone. “I like this year. I’d stay.”
“Your aunt might be annoyed,” Bev replied.
“Kids go missing in Derry all the time,” she counted. “They’d forget about us.”
The adults winced and the kids noticed. Stan was the one to ask what happened and it was Stan that answered. “We forgot each other,” the little losers looked confused, the big losers could understand. When they were young they were certain they’d be friends forever. “When you leave Derry, you end up forgetting about Derry so we didn’t remember each other anymore. We only just started remembering.”
“We forget about each other?” Ben asked. Bev gripped his hand.
“You don’t want to,” big Ben replied sadly. “We just did, almost as soon as we left.”
“Well that fucking sucks,” Richie replied. The adults nodded, it really did suck.
“At least we know that,” little Ben said, “so that we won’t forget when we go back.”
All of the little ones beamed at him, nodding and agreeing that they wouldn’t. The older ones watched on in sadness. Once they were finished, Richie stood up. “Eddie’s taken about four hours which means one of two things: he’s dead, he’s having a panic attack about the whole demon clown thing or he’s freaking because he doesn’t have the right shower things because he’s weird like that. All you need is water.”
“You’re disgusting,” Stan muttered and Richie shrugged.
“That’s t-t-three t-things.”
“Not everyone is a math genius,” Richie replied as he started to walk out. The young ones got up as well, following him. Richie and the other young ones were sitting so they were facing the door out to the hallway, while the adults had their back to it, so quickly the kids disappeared from their view.
Bev pushed him, “you literally are?”
“Oh shucks, what a sweetheart you are.”
“We only know because you never shut up about it,” Stan replied. Richie probably made some other weird comment to annoy the others but it was lost as they moved down the hall and towards the kid Richie and Eddie’s room.
The big Ben sighed once they were gone, “at least they’re together.”
“I can’t believe they’re not freaking out,” Mike said. “I would be.”
“Clearly not,” Bev replied. Mike laughed, shaking his head at her. Bill smiled at him, and it wasn’t exactly a friendly smile. Bev and Eddie shared a look that no one else saw. That was interesting and they would be talking about it later on. Demon clown, fight to the death in the sewers and time-travelling kids first; friend’s potential love life after. Even if the later was much more interesting.
Richie flung his arm around Eddie, “I am so sick of Derry. When we get out of here we’re going to fucking New Zealand or something.”
“I’ve been asking you to take me there for so long. And all it took was a demon clown trying to kill us in our hometown? I should have guessed.”
“I can not believe that you didn’t change,” Stan said. “Nothing is different aside from the fact that Eddie doesn’t have a fanny pack.”
“And that’s the real tragedy here,” Richie replied.
Ben was smiling at them, “I’m happy for you guys.”
“Thanks,” Eddie smiled back at him. “We should have another wedding and invite you guys.”
“You should!” Bev said, “but I’m not coming if I’m not your maid of honour.”
“Whose?” Richie asked.
“Both of you,” Bev replied as if it were obvious. Richie and Eddie laughed, nodding in agreement. The other losers watched on their own smiles on their faces. They were in such an awful situation and facing death in only a few hours. It was nice to forget that and think about silly things - like Bev being both of the grooms' maid of honour. “And I think we should have Stan be the flower girl.”
Stan scoffed, “why would I want to come to your wedding?”
“You’re just jealous that Eds and I are a better couple. Middle school sweethearts.”
“You got together in high school,” Bill replied.
“Not as romantic,” Richie dismissed before changing his voice slightly. “Oh, I fell in love with my husband in middle school when we were both repressed little gays living in a homophobic town. What was that? You meet yours on Tinder? Lovely.”
The losers laughed. Even Stan, who liked to pretend that Richie wasn’t funny. The laughter was cut off quickly though. When, from behind them, there was a small: “what?”
Everyone turned to look at Richie, the little one, who looked pale. He looked scared. His Eddie didn’t look any better, his eyes wide and was shaking slightly. Richie wasn’t looking at the adults when he spoke though; he was looking at Eddie standing beside them. He repeated himself. “What?”
Before their older versions could explain both of them left. Eddie going back upstairs and Richie, having to push Bev and Stan away, left out the back door.
“Shit!” Richie said afterwards.
“I’ll go to him,” Eddie said standing. “You go upstairs.”
“Fuck!” Richie said again, already doing as he was told and heading towards the stairs. The door was closed but he could hear noises coming from inside. The number of times he had comforted a crying Eddie were uncountable. But they were always the same age then, not a fully grown man and a twelve-year-old. Richie had no idea how this was going to go. He pushed open the door anyway. Any variation of Eddie crying required Richie to make him laugh; even this one.
Eddie scrubbed under his eyes. His hair was still dripping and his inhaler sat beside him on the bed. “Hi.”
“Would you believe me if I said Bev was joking?” Richie asked as he sat down on the other bed. Eddie shook his head. “Figures, Eds never believes me either. You’ve always been too smart for me.”
“You’re married to him?”
“Have been for nearly a decade. As soon as it became legal we went to the courthouse.”
Now fiddling with his inhaler, Eddie took a moment to reply. “So I am gay.”
“I hope so,” Richie said, relaxing when Eddie laughed. “Yeah, you are. You’re just figuring out, right?”
“Richie’s already figured it out,” Richie said. Eddie looked surprised. “What? We’re gay as well. Which is good for you I guess since we’re married.” He still looked confused. “I figured it out last year, for you guys anyway. We were at a sleepover with Stan and Bill and were watching some dumb scary movie. You were holding my hand because you were scared but you didn’t want them to know. Me knowing, well you didn’t mind that. I think I fell in love with you right then and there.”
Richie nodded, “yup. You’re cute, it’s not my fault.”
“This must be really weird for you.”
“Oh, it’s awful! I can deal with a demon clown hell-bent on killing me and making fun of me but having to see the kid I fell in love with? Awful. The worst.” Eddie laughed again. “And just so we’re clear; I was also a kid when I fell in love with you. I’m not a creep.”
“I mean I’m currently talking to my husband, who is an adult and from the future because we have to fight a clown in the sewers,” Eddie replied. “None of this is normal.”
Laughing, Richie nodded, “I guess so. If it makes you feel any better I am not attracted to you.”
“Beep beep,” Eddie muttered, he didn’t even mean to say it. “Sorry,” he was blushing now, just realising that this wasn’t his Richie he was talking to.
“It’s fine, Eds beeps me all the time. Anyway, you’re cute but I’m kind of in love with your older self. He is my husband and all. Would it be cheating if it’s the same person?”
“It becomes legal?” Eddie asked, ignoring the question Richie had muttered.
“Yup. 2008. We’ve been married for eight years in a few months.”
Eddie’s hands stilled. “Does my mom know?”
“She does,” Richie said slowly. “You told her about two weeks before graduation.”
“I’m guessing she didn’t take it well.”
“You stayed with me and my parents until we left. She wanted to send you away and you just ran. Came straight to my house. I wasn’t even home, sorry, but mom was and she made you some of that fancy tea you like. They knew we were together.”
“And they don’t mind?”
“My mother yelled at us for about an hour because we didn’t invite her to the wedding.”
Smiling, Eddie placed the inhaler to his side. “I like your mom and dad.”
“Sometimes I think they like you more than me,” Richie said with a laugh but Eddie shook his head dramatically. “No? You don’t think so.”
“They love you so much,” he paused, “I should probably talk to Richie.”
“Is it going to be weird?” Eddie asked, ignoring the joke and looking worried again. “I mean we just found out that we’re going to get married and we didn’t even know we were gay! I don’t want us to be weird.”
Richie grabbed little Eddie’s hand. God, he had forgotten how small they had been. “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. He loves you. Richie won’t mind if you tell him that you just want to be friends. I promise. But if you want to go down there and kiss him I doubt he’d mind very much. Lord knows he won’t make the first move. Eddie had to with us, he just kissed me one day, told me it was to get me to shut up but I think it’s because he liked me.”
“It is,” Eddie muttered. “I think I like Richie. I do. That’s why, like, I thought I was straight but then I don’t think I am anymore. Bill and Ben, we’re talking about Bev and I just, didn’t really understand what the big deal was. But then I saw Richie and - and I just. It was the same as what they had said. That doesn’t even make sense.”
“Sure it does.”
“Should I talk to Richie now or after?”
“Whenever you want. Again, he will not make the first move.”
Eddie laughed, “I know. At least Richie stays hot, and he said that you’re famous so we’re probably rich.”
Before Richie could formulate a response to that he was gone, walking out of the room like a man on a mission. He had forgotten how inappropriate he and Eddie could be when they wanted to. Richie stood up and went downstairs as well. May as well have a drink after that fucking conversation. Eddie was right; it was really fucking weird having a conversation with his husband when he was twelve years old.
Me, a kiwi: I will mention New Zealand in this fic.
“I was expecting Richie to come.”
Eddie sat down on the step next to the young boy. “He’s up there with Eddie.”
“Good, that’s good. Is he okay?”
“He will be. Are you alright?”
“Richie, you can talk to me. And not because I’m an adult but because I’m Eddie. Just older.”
Laughing darkly, Richie nodded. “Yeah. You are. And we’re married.”
“You sound upset. From what I understand you have a crush on the Eddie upstairs already.”
“He has a crush on you too.”
Playing with the corner of his shirt Richie frowned, “Eddie’s not gay.”
“I mean, he is. He just hasn’t quite realised it yet.”
“No. He isn’t, something’s gone wrong because Eddie is good. Oh, fuck. I did something to him! I made him sick and he’s going to hate me and his mom is going -”
“Richie! Breath! You’re okay, it’s okay. I promise,” Eddie interrupted. He stopped rambling, still fidgeting and after a moment slumped against Eddie’s side. In turn, Eddie started rubbing his back. Richie was crying, sobbing into Eddie’s shoulder and muttering about wanting to go home. Eddie could remember how this felt, to hate what was happening in your own head and heart, and these poor kids had a whole lot more to deal with as well - even more than he had and that was saying something. “You’re not sick, Richie, and neither am I because being gay isn’t a bad thing. You didn’t turn me gay, you were the reason I realised I was gay, but that’s just who I am. Are you alright?”
He pulled away, but not all the way. He was still pushed against Eddie. Rubbing under his eyes he nodded shakily. At least he wasn’t sobbing anymore. “Don’t tell the others that I cried. I need them to think I’m badass. That’s what other me said as well, about the gay thing.”
“He’s right. Neither of us are sick, okay? And we’re happy.”
Richie nodded again. “I can’t believe Eddie’s gay. Well, I mean, I can believe it but I never thought it would be true.”
“I do look gay, don’t I? I never even realised,” Eddie asked with the intention of making the younger boy laugh. Anything to make him happy. He worked; Richie started to laugh and grin, muttering something about fanny packs and short shorts with rainbow stripes. Eddie let him have his fun, rolling his eyes good-naturedly and batting his hands when Richie tried to poke him. “Are you alright now? I know that this is all a lot.”
“I’ll be okay. If I don’t die.”
“No one is going to die.”
“How do you know?”
“No one died last time, did they?”
He shook his head, “yeah, I guess not. So, we’re going to kill the clown and then we get to go home. When do we have to go to the sewers?”
“Mike said something about leaving tonight. He wanted to find some book before we left.”
“Cool, awesome. I’m going to, what did he call it?” Richie changed his voice, he wasn’t as good as the older one but it was still alright. “Hate crime that clown.”
“You’re going to bully Pennywise?”
Richie nodded, “yeah. Dumb ass motherfucker deserves it.”
“I guess,” Eddie laughed. “Have fun with that.”
“Stan’s good at bullying. Maybe I’ll get him on it. Tag team the bitch.”
“I forgot how insane you are as a kid. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t get much better, but you’re crazy.”
Grinning, Richie nodded. “I’ve been told as such.”
“We should go back inside, the others are probably wondering what happened.”
“I bet they are. They just found that we’re getting married. Oh god, is this like some weird arranged marriage thing?”
“No, because you don’t have to marry him.”
Richie looked personally offended, “why wouldn’t I marry him?”
“You seem pretty freaked out.”
“I totally would right now. Alright, future husband, let’s go.” They stood up, dusting off their pants - why were the steps so dirty? Eddie hadn't even noticed. Once the door was opened they could hear the others talking in the lobby. They couldn’t hear little Eddie or the other Richie so either they were still upstairs or sitting silently, the former seemed more likely. “I mean, I clearly get lucky. Rich, famous, hot trophy husband! It’s great.”
Eddie shook his head as he followed Richie inside.
All of the losers, minus little Richie and Eddie who had disappeared to their room, where back in the lobby. Bev had stolen Richie’s candy and the little ones where all snacking on it as they sat around (ie throwing it at each other and then eating it). Mike had a book open on the table, weird symbols and pictures adorning the pages. The big Bill was with them but was in a heated text conversation with his wife, and from the way it was going, soon to be ex-wife. The little Bill wasn’t too happy with that while little Stan looked rather pleased with himself.
Just as Mike was about to begin speaking there was a crash behind them, Eddie laughing and Richie swearing. A moment later and they were walking into the room. No one mentioned that both of them had been crying. Richie collapsed on his Stan’s lap, Stan tried to push him off but Richie lay firm. “I am so sorry, my Stanley, that you don’t get to marry me!”
“Who’d want to marry you?” Eddie asked, now sitting beside Bev who offered him some candy. He took two pieces, throwing one at Richie and keeping one.
“You, dumbass,” Richie replied after catching the candy.
“Are you t-t-two finally t-together?”
“Nope!” Both of them replied. Stan and Bill groaned, muttering about years of torment and suffering. Richie and Eddie just grinned at them. “We’ve got shit to worry about. Demon clown first, gay panic second. Speaking of, Stan, want to help me bully a clown?”
Shrugging, Stan stopped pushing Richie, “are you the clown?”
“He is one,” Eddie said as he high fived Stan. “But no, we mean the ugly one.”
“I t-thought that w-was R-Richie?”
“Okay,” Richie made a face at them. “Bully the gay one, I see.” Stan pushed Richie off him and onto the floor. Richie stayed there laughing and kicking at Ben’s ankles just to be annoying.
“We need to go to Neilbot street,” Mike interrupted what Richie was going to say, lord knows that kid would never stop otherwise. “Go down into the sewers and then there’s a tunnel that leads to a deeper part. It’s like a cavern. Once we’re down there we do the ritual and then it should be over.”
Bill looked annoyed, “please tell me you haven’t been down there? You seem to know where you’re going.”
“Uh, I went back once or twice.”
“What!” All of the adult losers looked pissed now. The younger ones were just watching them and eating their candy. Bill continued speaking; “why would you go back down there by yourself? What would have happened if you died or if It came back?”
Mike shook his head, “even if It wasn’t dead, It was sleeping. I was fine.”
“You went to the clown’s lair by yourself,” Richie said. “Jesus Christ, I struggle to go to the supermarket alone.”
“It wasn’t that bad,” Mike argued as Richie pouted at his husband. “He’s sleeping. Anyway, when we’re there you have to listen to me. If it doesn’t go right we’re just going to have a really pissed off clown wanting to kill us.”
“We have that now,” Stan replied.
“He’s going to be like extra angry then,” Richie said. Stan rolled his eyes.
Little Richie spoke up, still lying on the floor, “when do I get to call him names? I’m going to hate crime him.”
“Wh-what the h-hell, R-Richie?”
“Hate crime him because he hate crimed me,” Richie repeated as if that cleared it all up for everyone. “When can I do that, Large Mike.”
Little Mike made a face, “don’t call him that.”
“If I said Mike you might have answered.”
“We have common sense, we would have known that you meant the older Mike!”
Small Stan shrugged, “maybe. But I mean, Bev and Richie once jumped off my roof to see who could go further. I don’t know if we all have that much common sense.” Both sets of Bev and Richie high fived each other.
“Anyway, when can I hate crime him?”
“I’m not sure. I’ll let you know when it’s time,” Mike answered. Little Richie looked pleased with that answer. “We should go soon. Who knows when It’s going to target the next child or us. Don’t forget your tokens and maybe some torches or something. It’s pretty fucking dark down there.”
They split off, well the adults did. It wasn’t like the kids had come to 2016 prepared to fight the clown again. And while Eddie carried around a small first aid kit he didn’t have a torch or anything actually helpful. So the kids stayed in the lobby and at their candy, Richie still on the floor, while the adults scurried off to find and collect things that may help them fight the demon clown.
“Any of you guys gonna hate on me for being gay?” Richie asked suddenly, “because I would like to know before the clown fight. That way I know who to run away from if we require a sacrifice.”
“Me,” Eddie replied quickly.
“No,” Stan rolled his eyes. “We’re not going to hate crime you.”
Richie cracked up laughing, looking up at Stan with a grin. “Awesome, thanks. Means a lot.”
“How are you feeling?” Bev asked, “I mean. We all just found out you two were gay by accident. Both of you.”
“Yeah, I just found out as well.”
“I knew,” Richie shrugged as best as he could since he was still laying down. “So, are you guys surprised that Eds and I get married?”
Ben chuckled, shaking his head, “I thought you two were already dating.”
“What?” Eddie asked, looking shocked.
“Yeah, same,” Mike replied. “I mean, you act like a couple.”
Stan nodded, “they’ve been like this for years. No, I am absolutely not surprised that you and Eddie end up together. I would have been more surprised if you didn’t.”
“I t-though th-that as s-s-soon as they left D-Derry they’d s-s-s-start d-dating.”
“Older Stan said they started dating before they left,” Stan said. Bill looked surprised, but not that surprised.
“Back up,” Eddie said, “you thought we were dating?”
“You constantly share the hammock and go on dates all the time,” Ben argued. “The first time I meet you guys, Eddie went and got two ice creams. Richie didn’t even ask and you didn’t get anyone else any.”
“Maybe that’s why we get bullied at school,” Richie muttered. “Interesting.”
Eddie still looked confused. “I can’t believe that you thought we were dating.”
“Richie sneaks into your room every night,” Mike said.
“No, I don’t sneak in on Wednesdays,” Richie replied.
All of the losers looked at him, bar Eddie, like he was an idiot. Which he was used to, to be honest. But nevermind that. Okay, so everyone knew they liked each other and apparently they acted like a couple or whatever. At least they hadn’t dropped the two of them and had never, ever, made fun of either of them for their obvious crushes or the fact that said obvious crushes were of the gay kind. Richie could deal with that.
“Y-you’re h-holding Eddie’s a-ankle.”
Huh, so he was. He hadn’t even noticed that he was. Interesting. He didn’t let go. “I’m making sure he doesn’t run away from me to go and date Hot Ben.”
“Dibs,” Bev said. Young Ben blushed, ducking his head. “You’re hot too, Ben, don’t listen to Richie.” Ben’s face got even redder.
“Do you think big me and Eds are like, declaring their love right now or something?”
“They’re married, they’ve already declared their love,” Stan replied. “Are you and little Eds going to declare your love?” The others laughed, Eddie blushed (cute!) and Richie looked at the ceiling. He couldn’t look at Eddie. Not right now seeing as he would probably combust if he even tried to. Love. Very interesting.
“N-no t-time like the p-p-present.”
They were interrupted by some of the adults coming downstairs. Bill, Ben and Mike were first followed by Bev. The later throwing three flashlights at the younger losers. “Each room comes with one, I swiped those from the empty rooms.”
“You don’t lose your touch,” Richie muttered to the young Bev. “Okay, dibs on a flashlight.”
“I want one!” Eddie said, reaching forward.
Stan smacked at his hand. “You and Richie stand so close you don’t need your own. You two can share.”
“You can’t hit gay people, Stan,” Richie said as he threw his flashlight up to Eddie. He caught it and sent Richie a smile. “It’s homophobic.”
“I swear I am going to kill you before the clown can.”
Richie: is outed to his friends
Richie: let the Gay jokesTM begin
I have some ideas for this fic but like, they're a bit wild. Should I go a bit weird and fun or like stick to, idk, physics?
Me, writing 'the eddies' or 'the richies' :
My editing program: WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?!?!
TW::::::: They face off against Pennywise and like, sad stuff happens.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
All fourteen stared at the looming house for some time before any of them made the move to inside. The younger losers were standing in front of the adults, huddled together and completely ignoring the adults who were standing in a line behind them. Neibolt seemed even more fucked up now. Maybe it was because they knew how many dead kids were stashed under the grounds.
“Oh fuck,” Big Bev sighed. “I don’t want to do this.”
“You don’t want to go and fight a demon space clown in the sewers?” Richie asked. “It’s my favourite pastime. Eds and I do it all the time in Cali.”
“Chicago isn’t known for space demons.”
“Shame,” Richie muttered. “There is something that I would be happy to beat up for you.”
Beverly laughed, “I’ve got a Ben for that.”
“Eds packs a mean punch.”
“Only for you, baby.”
Little Mike wrapped his arms around Stan and only a fraction of a moment later all of them were joining in. They looked so sad. Like they knew something the adults didn’t. And, as it was, they kind of did. Their memories were still perfect; nightmares and flashbacks happening constantly. The adults had forgotten for years and still couldn’t remember a lot of their childhood. Especially if it was related to the clown. The adults looked away from the kids.
“You ready for this?” Bill asked.
“No,” Richie, Eddie, Stan and Ben all reapplied. Beverly chuckled without any real humour.
“We can do this,” Mike said. “We’ve done it before and we can do it again. We even have help this time.”
Richie leant down and kissed Eddie, intertwining their hands between them with their wedding rings clinking together when he did. Everyone looked away; giving them a moment of privacy. Richie rested his forehead against Eddie’s and smiled at him. Behind his glasses, tears had sprung up. He spoke softly and slowly so that it was only for them. “I love you so fucking much, Edward Tozier.”
“That’s not my name.”
“I love you so fucking much, Eds Tozier.”
“I love you so fucking much, Richard Tozier.”
Riche smiled, “you didn’t say ‘but’ after it this time.”
“Because I don’t need to. I never did. Loving you is the easiest thing to do.”
“Don’t get sappy on me, baby.”
Eddie laughed, “you love it.”
“I really do. After this, I think we should go on holiday. Somewhere sunny.”
“That sounds perfect.”
It was little Bill who squared his shoulders and stepped up onto the porch. The children all following him instantly.
“We just got shown up by children,” Richie said as the adults followed them into the house.
“I think you said it best last time we were here,” Beverly said once everyone was in the entrance to the house.
“You’re lucky we’re not measuring dicks?” Little Richie asked.
Big Richie flicked him in the back of the head. “Let’s kill this fucking clown.”
“That’s alright, I guess.”
There was a crash from behind them and then from in front of them. Many of the losers screamed, adults and children alike. Lots of them were holding hands now; not wanting to get separated. And, of course, they almost instantly they got separated and split up. Both Richies and Eddies in one room, Bills and Stans in the others. The Bevs, Mikes and Bens somewhere else in the house.
Big Eddie was currently standing in front of both children while his husband braved opening the only door in the room. It had no writing on it and just looked like a normal door but considering the fact the door that had come through had disappeared anything could go here. From somewhere else in the house they could hear screaming, little Eddie and Richie were holding hands and Big Eddie wished he was holding his Richie’s hand.
Richie swung the door open, stepping back quickly. “Subtle.”
In front of them was a closet. Richie’s closet from high school to be exact. His shirts hanging up, one of Eddie’s jumpers was in there as well. His school back and a whole lot of notes were scattered along the floor. Richie reached in and turned the light on. On the back wall of the closet were pictures of Eddie and Richie - both young and old. Like, really young; when they first meet young to in the inn that morning.
“Eds, we have a stalker,” Richie said before screaming and jumping back. Pennywise was standing there, grinning at them. “What the fuck!”
“You’re a creep,” Big Richie said. “Also, this doesn’t even make any sense because Eds and I are out. So your stalker photos are rubbish.”
Pennywise tutted, frowning at big Richie. Then he turned to the little one. “Want to play truth or dare?”
“Sure. What are you going to do? Dare me to tell Eds I like him? He already knows! Hey Eds, I have a crush on you.”
“I have a crush on you too, Richie.”
“You’re sick,” Pennywise said, still looking at little Richie.
“No, he’s not!” Little Eddie yelled. “We’re not sick!”
From inside the closest Sonia’s voice rang out, calling for EddieBear. Both of the Eddie’s froze up. One because he hadn’t heard that voice in years and the other because that was the voice of his very current abuse. She started one of her rants; about how Richie had made him sick. So very sick. Look at him holding hands with a boy, only sick little boys did that, didn’t you know that Eddie? Pennywise grinned at him.
“He isn’t sick!” Big Richie said, cutting Sonia off. Her voice disappearing as his started up.
“But he’s still going to die.”
The closet door slammed shut just as the door behind them slammed open. The door that hadn’t been there a second ago. The closet door swung open again, it leads to the hallway now. All of them screamed and turned around with a jump. Bev was standing there, Ben being held up by Mike and their littles behind them.
“You look like shit, Ben,” Big Richie said.
“Feel like it.”
Big Richie pulled his Eddie into a hug. Eddie, who hadn’t moved since he heard his mother’s voice, got shocked into returning it. Once Richie was satisfied his husband was at least a little bit okay he turned to the young ones. “Are you two okay?”
“Yeah,” Richie replied shakily. They were holding hands again.
“We need to find Stan and Bill,” big Mike said.
As he spoke they stumbled into the room from the other door. Big Stan looked pale and little Bill was crying but none of them looked physically hurt. Little Eddie pulled away from Richie to hug Bill while Big Richie slung his arm around Stan. “What happened, Stan the man?”
“Patty. He showed me a dead Patty.”
“She’s not real,” Bev said sternly. All of them had moved closer together. “She is safe and in Atlanta right now, she is not in Derry no matter what he says. Alright?”
Stan nodded, evening out his breathing. “Still hurt.”
“Bill?” Eddie asked gently, the adults turned to watch them. All of the kids had converged to stand around Bill and Eddie, “what happened?”
“Georgie was calling out for me. I couldn’t save him.”
“I know this isn’t what you want to hear but it’s the truth,” Stan said to his friend, he walked a fine line between stern and soft. “Georgie is dead. He’s been dead for a long time, Bill. And it wasn’t your fault but you don’t believe that so there’s no point in me saying it to you. But he is dead. Don’t let him use Georgie to hurt you anymore. Georgie wouldn’t want that for you, because he loved you. You know that.”
Bill stopped crying and nodded, whipping at his eyes. “He’s dead. He’s not here.”
“And he loved you, so much,” Richie said. Stan and Eddie nodded.
“And I love him. But he’s gone and that’s, it’s okay.”
“Let’s go fuck up that clown,” Eddie said, “we can get a few hits in for him.”
The young losers split off, turning to face the adults. “So, what happened to you, big Haystack? You’re bleeding.”
“Pointing out the obvious there, Richie,” Eddie muttered.
“It decided to use me as a carving board,” Big Ben told all of them.
“Traumatic,” little Richie nodded. Both little Stan and Eddie elbowed him but big Ben just laughed at the comment.
“What happened to you guys?” Big Mike asked Richie and Eddie.
Big Richie shrugged, “homophobia. Shall we?”
The sewers were as gross as they remembered. They waded through waist-high water with both Eddies muttering about greywater and diseases and other nasty stuff. But they got to the nest-thing without too much happening; aside from Bev nearly drowning but that was pretty standard to be fair. Eddie, the older one, had a moment of panic when he couldn’t throw himself into the water like the others. Richie had pulled him to the side and talked to him.
‘You’re braver than you think.’
Mike pulled out the box and they threw their tokens in. One by one. An inhaler, a boat, a notebook. Everyone had their go. Then the lights were too fucking bright and they were yelling while holding hands. That’s when it turned to shit. The ritual didn’t work. Like at all. And now, as guessed, they were facing a really pissed of clown who was hell-bent on killing them all one by one. Horribly, as well. So that’s fun.
They all ran in different directions once they were chased. Big Mike and Bill stayed close, so did both sets of Richie and Eddie as well as Ben and Beverly. Everyone was screaming and yelling.
It got quite. Beverly was still screaming but it sounded far away. And Mike was yelling to Bill but it wasn’t as bad as before. Pennywise was still there; waving his tentacle-things around and taunting them as best that he could. Abusive parents or partners? You bet he was bringing it up. Internal hatred? That was there. Fear of abandonment? Check. Terrified of losing your loved ones? Hey look, there’s your dead partner right in front of you. Don’t like spiders? Tough fucking luck, look, he’s a spider now motherfucker.
Richie was standing on a ledge, Eddie not far behind him. Pennywise wasn’t facing them so they got a moment of peace. But Pennywise was facing their younger selves. Who were clutching each other and screaming. A god awful tentacle was raised above him like he was going to swing it down and hit the children. Richie wasn’t letting any more kids die at the hand of this ugly motherfucker. So he did what anyone would do. He threw a rock.
“Here’s the truth: You’re a sloppy bitch!”
Pennywise turned to him. He saw the kids escape and heard Eddie call his name. Then he was floating. It was silent suddenly, and he wasn’t in the sewers anymore. He was in their house in California, Eddie was reading over some of his new material and Richie was ordering their dinner. It was all Richie wanted to do; be with Eddie and be happy. They had been happy, before the call. There had been something missing but they had been happy at the end of the day.
And then the fantasy was gone. Popped like a red balloon. He was flung backwards, hitting the floor and groaning. He was alone for a second before Eddie straddled him. Eddie was smiling and in Richie’s confused state he was just happy that Eddie was happy. “I think I killed it!”
From then on Richie’s memory becomes hazy and unfocused. Like he was asleep for some parts of it. Actually, no, he can remember Eddie being lifted off him, tentacle through his body and his broken; “Richie?” Can remember the overwhelming dread he felt as he watched the love of his life being lifted off him and blood pouring out of his mouth. The urge to reach out and grab him and how frozen he was against the rocks. And he can clearly remember Eddie being flung through the air.
Then it becomes hazy.
He must move at some point because now he’s kneeling over Eddie. All of them are there now. Big Bev is covered in blood and Big Ben is covered in dirt but it doesn’t even cross Richie’s mind that they are. Because Eddie is dying right in front of him. He pushes his jacket onto the wound but even he knows that’s a piece of shit idea. People are yelling at him but he doesn’t listen to them.
This part is clear as well:
Eddie lifted his hand and placed it on Richie’s cheek. Richie sobbed. “I love you.”
“I love you too. But you’re going to be fine! Don’t worry and don’t move.”
“You said but.”
“Sorry. I’m so fucking sorry, Eds.”
Evey blinks becomes slower. “I made him small. In the chemist. I made him small and he got hurt.”
This bit isn’t as clear again: “We need-” the others are talking again. Richie isn’t listening to them at all. For all, he knows they’ve won. It doesn’t matter to him. He’s focusing on his Eds and nothing else. Vaguely he’s aware their kids are crying beside him; both of them. “-laws of nature-” Richie brushed some dirty of Eddie’s face. People are moving behind him, and then they’re screaming. “-more than one way-”.
Clear: Eddie is staring at Richie as well. God, Richie was one lucky bastard.
“You need to help them,” Eddie said. Richie hadn’t even noticed they had gone. All of them aside from their young ones. “All of you. It won’t work otherwise.”
“I’m not leaving you.”
“I’m not going anywhere.”
Not clear: they bully the clown. Richie rips a tentacle off. Little Richie is crying. Big Richie isn’t. The clown is talking and Richie isn’t listening. Mike reaches forward and pulls out his black and small heart. It’s finished.
Clear: Richie running back to Eddie.
Very clear: Eddie isn’t moving. Why the fuck isn’t he moving?
Not clear: Ben is carrying Eddie and someone is dragging Richie. Both Beverlys are pulling young Richie and Eddie up and away from big Richie, Ben and Eddie.
Not clear: how the fuck they get out of there.
Clear as fuck: Eddie’s still breathing.
Yes, the clown is defeated. Yes, I am currently writing chapter 16. Yes, the story is now about the Losers. RIP pussywise
An early chapter because I love you all
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
When Eddie first opened his eyes he was blinded by white light causing him to groan and snap his eyes closed again. There was some movement bedside him and then a hand on his cheek. It felt warm against his cold skin. He felt like was stuck in the fog that covered their house on some winter mornings. Nothing was clear as he laid on a soft surface with a sore body and a hand on his cheek.
“You’re alright, we’re in the hospital and I just called the doctor in, okay?. We won, Eds, we won. Everyone’s okay and are waiting for you at the inn. You just need to rest now, okay? So that you can get better.”
Won what? Why did he need to rest or get better? Why wasn’t Richie making any sense to him?
Every part of Eddie’s body hurt and he couldn’t focus on anything. Least of all Richie’s random message. There was some more movement and low talking that he couldn’t make out. Didn’t have the mental capacity to try either. He still hadn’t opened his eyes, the light in the room still bring even with closed eyes. The hand didn’t leave his cheek and another one had started stroking his hair. Eddie liked it a lot.
He was so tired and his body felt like it weighed a thousand tones. His stomach was sore and his head hurt. So Eddie decided to go back to sleep. As he drifted off the hands stayed close to him, and for that he was grateful.
As soon as Eddie had gone back to sleep he text the group chat that had been started. It was a weight off everyone; they had all been so worried. The kids and adults alike. Beverly promised that she would tell them that Eddie was okay. Big Mike and Ben were downstairs in the cafeteria and were quick to come up. They had been taking it in turns to stay with Richie as he sat with Eddie.
It had been four days since It had happened.
Richie had climbed into an ambulance with Eddie, pleading with him to wake up and be okay so they could go back to California together. So they could go to New Zealand and have their second wedding: a big one with all their friends there. The other losers had gone back to the hotel. It wasn’t like they could all wait in the hospital and all of them were filthy. He hadn’t left the hospital yet. He had sat in the waiting room for hours, still covered in sewage and Eddie’s blood before Stan had arrived with a new change of clothes and had convinced the nurse to let him use a patient shower.
Since then there was always one adult loser with him, aside from at night when he lay down next to Eddie in the bed and ignored the looks he got from the nurses. He wasn’t leaving Eddie’s side ever again.
“Here,” Mike said as he handed Richie a sandwich.
“We talked to the nurse on our way up,” Ben said as Richie unenthusiastically ate the sandwich. He only ate it because he knew Bev or Stan or both would yell at him if he didn’t, from experience. “She said they’ve put Eddie back to sleep. Won’t wear off for at least five hours.”
“I know, they told me.”
Mike and Ben looked at each other before Mike turned back to Richie. “Go and have a shower and a power nap. If he sees you like this we’re all going to be in trouble for not looking after you. And I don’t want Eddie to yell at me, he’s kind of scary.”
“He’s really scary.” Richie paused, sobbed, and then said, “he’s the best.”
“We don’t need to worry him,” Ben said as he rubbed Richie’s back. “Go and get presentable for him.”
“Promise me that you’ll call if anything happens,” Richie demanded. Both of them nodded seriously. Richie pressed a kiss to Eddie’s forehead before fixing the bedsheets around him and straightening his gown. “And keep the lights down low and don’t be too loud. I’ll be back before he wakes up. I love you, Eds.”
Apparently the others knew that Richie was coming because as soon as he pulled into the inn little Richie and Eddie ran out, Big Bev hot on their heels. Through the door, he could see everyone else waiting. He parked the car and sighed before getting out. Beverly had managed to stop the young ones a few feet away from the car but that wasn’t stopping them from speaking. “He’s okay?”
“Yeah,” Richie nodded at his younger self. “He woke up for a little but they put him back to sleep for a few hours.”
“Why did they do that?”
“He’s not ready to be awake yet.
Beverly interrupted little Richie from asking another question. “Why don’t we go inside? I think Richie needs to have a shower and you guys didn’t finish your lunch.”
“You’re a good mom.”
“You should see Ben with them.”
They got inside and Richie was pulled in for a hug by Stan. He took it. It was nice for the person he was hugging to actually hold him back. Apparently the inn was abandoned and so the losers had decided to take the lobby as their own space. The kids were sitting on the floor with take out in between them but were watching the adults, little Richie and Eddie going over to join them once they were inside. Little Eddie whispered something to them and they all looked happier for it.
Richie collapsed onto one of the vacant sofas and folded his arms over his face, the adult losers sitting around him. A phone beeped but it wasn’t his so Richie ignored it. “If you want to ask me a question ask me now or I will fall asleep on this ugly sofa. And if the question is any variation on ‘how are you?’ I will vomit.”
“Have you talked to your manager?” Stan asked.
Nodding, Richie took his arms away from his face. “I called him yesterday. Said that Eds was hurt and we were stuck in Maine. He was pretty pissed before, seeing as we kind of just ran away and had to cancel a show but with Eddie hurt he can use that. Say that he got hurt before the show or something. And I called the hospital where Eddie works, they’ve given him extended leave, we’ll see what happens there later.”
“What did the nurses say will happen now?” Bill asked.
“That he should wake up in five hours and that he may be paralysed but they can’t know that yet. He’s going to have to have another blood transfusion at some point because he lost a lot of blood and he’s going to be sore but he should be okay. They’re making sure it doesn’t get infected.”
“Did they say when he can go back to California?” Bev asked. Richie shook his head. “I guess you have to wait until he wakes up.”
“The sooner the better. If I have to buy a private plane, I will.”
“We can afford a private plane?” Little Richie asked, leaning closer to the adults. The other little losers rolled their eyes but looked interested in the answer.
Big Richie shrugged, “yeah, we could if we wanted to I guess.”
“And we haven’t?!”
“We married Eddie. He cares about taxes and bonds or whatever.”
“That makes sense,” Richie nodded, causing little Eddie to look rather offended while the others laughed. “When can we go and see slightly larger Eddie?”
“I’ll see how he is when he wakes up. He might be up for visitors or he might not. We’ll have to figure it out as we go,” Richie replied as calmly as he could. The idea that Eddie was in such a bad way that he couldn’t see people made his heart hurt. Little Richie nodded in understanding as big Richie stood up. Hie entire body popped - that’s what happened when you were forty and didn’t move for four days. “I’m going to go and have a shower before heading back. If Eddie wakes up before I’m there I am suing.”
Stan looked confused, “who? Eddie or the hospital?”
“Suing Eddie would be dumb. We have a joint account.”
“Right,” Stan nodded as if it all made sense and then Richie disappeared up to his bedroom to shower. “Do you think he’ll be okay?”
“Yeah,” Bev said.
Bill smiled at Stan, “he’ll be okay once he knows Eddie is. Was that Patty before?”
“Yes. She was just checking in to make sure I was okay.”
“What did you tell her?” Little Stan asked.
“The truth. She doesn’t believe me but I told her everything.”
“She’s gonna commit you,” little Richie declared. “She’s gonna think you’re insane.”
Stan laughed lightly, “I’ll show her a picture of little Stan. And she’s a fan of Bill so I’ll get his autograph to make up for it.”
“I do it for Patty and not for you.”
“I know I’m no Mike but we are best friends.”
Blushing, big Bill stuttered out; “S-shut up S-Stan.”
Richie was actually clean for the first time since the sewers and got to choose his own outfit as well. And sure, it was nice, but was it worth being away from Eddie for (so far) 54 minutes? No, absolutely not. No way in hell. His hair was freshly dried and he was heading downstairs so that he could go to the hospital and try to kick Mike and Ben out. He was stopped in his tracks, however, when he heard crying coming from little Richie and Eddie’s room. It was Eddie, he could tell. It was hardly even a decision to go over and knock on the door. He had only been gone for 55 minutes and Eddie wasn’t due to wake up for 245 more.
“Eds? Are you okay? Can I come in?” Richie called out, getting a small reply that he could come in. Eddie was sitting on one of the two single beds. Only one looked slept in. And he was crying with his inhaler sitting beside him. Richie sat down beside him. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m scared,” Eddie admitted after some time remaining silent.
“Because of big Eddie? Because he’s going to be fine.”
He shook his head. “I don’t want to go home.”
“You don’t want to go home?”
“My mother has lied to me my entire life. When I first found out I thought it was because she loved me and just had a weird way of showing it. But you love me, or the big me anyway, and you don’t treat him badly because of it. I guess it’s just freaked me out. And knowing that Richie and I can’t be out or we’ll be killed at worst but fucked over no matter what. My mother would probably be the one that killed me if she found out.”
Richie wrapped Eddie up in his arms. These poor kids. “I can’t say that your mother loves you. I can’t say that she was anything but abusive to you and the effects of that ever go away but I can say that you’re brave. You’re brave and Richie loves you and the losers all love you as well. Living in hiding is the worst, I’m not going to lie, but at the end of it you come out and the majority of people are okay with it. You’re happy Eds, I promise you that.”
“Why can’t we stay here?” Eddie sighed sadly. “No. Richie wouldn’t be happy; he’d miss his parents too much.”
“You little weirdos have grown on me,” Richie confided. “I’m going to be sad when you go home. Maybe I can convince Eds to let me get two cats and call them Little Eddie and Little Richie.”
Eddie laughed, “make them dogs so that you can call for them. And then if someone recognizes you they’ll know you named your dogs after yourself.”
“That’s a perfect idea. Where are the others? How is little Richie not here annoying you until you stop crying?”
“They’re getting ice cream. All of them went because Richie tried to get on the roof and big Stan thought that he needed to go on a walk.”
“He would always make me go for a walk when I got too crazy.”
“Yeah, I know. And it works.”
Richie laughed, nodding once in agreement. “Come on, Little Eds, grab your shoes. I’ll drop you off at the ice cream store. Wouldn’t want you to miss it.”
“Big Eddie will be okay, won’t he?” Eddie asked as he did as he was told.
“Promise. You’re both so brave and strong, no way is pussywise going to kill him.”
“That was Richie’s joke.”
“No ice cream for you. And I am Richie so it’s mine as well. That’s how it works.”
Laughing, Eddie stood up after putting on his shoes. Someone must have taken them shopping because he was wearing new, modern, clothes and not his sewage and vomit stained shirt. “We watched the Ice Age series last night.”
“Richie was so happy when we figured out you were in it.”
“I was in Ice Age?”
Eddie nearly turned purple the way he laughed. Poor kid must be fried; it wasn’t even a joke.
So, Eddie is not going to bounce back and be good. He's got some physical therapy and he is going to be in a wheelchair. However, I am not in a wheelchair so if I do/write anything that's not cool or offensive please let me know and I will change it asap because I am not trying to be a dick about this!
The second time Eddie woke up was a lot nicer. Not only were the lights turned right down but he was actually lucid. He knew that he was in the hospital before he even opened his eyes and he knew that Richie was sitting beside him. So yeah, overall, a much better experience.
“Eds,” Richie whispered. “You’re awake.”
Eddie hummed. His throat felt like he had screamed for three hours straight before swallowing sandpaper. Not pleasant. So he wasn’t about to start talking. Richie shifted and then Eddie was being smothered. Richie had started sobbing; hot, wet tears falling into Eddie’s neck. He reached up slowly, so slowly, and ran his hands through Richie’s hair. He had been doing that exact same thing since he was a child and it has always worked. Today was no different.
A nurse and doctor came into the room and Richie was forced to move. They checked some charts and asked Eddie some yes or no questions to which he could answer after he refused to talk. They spoke in low tones, thank god, and let Richie stay right by his side so they could keep holding hands. He didn’t think they’d ever never stop holding hands. Eddie would be on stage with Richie, just sitting on a stool but they’d be holding hands.
“Rest up, Eddie,” the nurse said after the doctor had left. “We’ve got you on some pain meds but try not to move or do anything too intense. And Richie, try not to suffocate him, we spent a long time in surgery and I don’t want my hard work going down the drain.”
“I can’t promise anything,” Richie replied. The nurse laughed, shaking her head before walking out. Richie turned back to Eddie, the biggest smile on his face. “Thought I lost you for a bit there.”
Eddie shook his head, smiled back at his husband. How lucky he was.
“We won, Eds, we finished it. We bullied the clown to death,” he laughed at Eddie’s annoyed look. “I am dead serious, we bullied him! You can ask Stan or something. Turns out you can make a clown small and then rip out his heart. So we killed him and then Ben carried you out, you lucky bastard. What I would give to be carried by that man. Oh, and everyone is fine and at the inn waiting to see you.”
Placing his hand on Richie’s cheek, Eddie nodded. He understood.
“The kids are still here.”
Now Eddie was confused. Why wouldn’t they go back? They had bet the clown, they had done what they had come to do, shouldn’t they be allowed to go home? He tried to communicate this, and luckily Richie was good at reading him.
“We don’t know. Mike’s been tits deep in research the past few days but so far we’ve found nothing. Ben thought that maybe they would be able to go back once they knew you were okay, almost like they haven’t finished. I think all of them are happy they’re still here though, they were really freaked out about everything. Which is fair, I am as well. You should see Beverly with them, she’s a little mom but Ben, oh my god, he’s literally just a dad. It’s weird. I think I’m okay with them. I was able to calm little Eddie down and when we got ice cream before, only because they forced me not because I wanted to be away from you, I actually spent some time with them. Man, you put up with a lot when we were young.”
Eddie tapped Richie’s cheek: You’re rambling.
A smile: It’s fine.
“God Eds, I missed you so much. I think I had about three mental breakdowns a day. Oh, and I called work for us and explained as much as I could. No need to worry.”
Tap: Thank you.
“It’s fine. I was so worried. I thought I had lost you. I cried so fucking much, it was so embarrassing for everyone. I think the nurses think I’m insane or something.”
Wink: You are.
“Yeah, yeah. Tease your husband who just slept in a hospital for four days,” Richie muttered, Eddie didn’t look too happy with that. Right, he didn’t actually know how long he had been out yet. Richie kissed his forehead, not letting the hand drop from his cheek. “Yeah. It’s been four days. Sorry for not telling you sooner. Uh, and there’s some other stuff that I really don’t want to say but I’m your husband so I guess it’s my job to tell you. Even though it really fucking sucks and I would happily fight the clown again if it meant I could kill it again.”
Double-tap: Richie, calm down.
“Right,” he took a deep breath. “The - the claw? Tentacle? The thing? Yeah, the tentacle hit your spine and when Ben carried you up he didn’t make it any better you know? They’re going to have to make sure so don’t freak out too badly but it might be that, shit, fuck! It might mean that, I’m sorry Eds, I-”
Tap: I got it.
“It’ll be okay.”
Smile: yeah, it will.
“To be honest I will be really happy if I have to carry you ever were.”
Eye roll: Like you could.
“I love you.”
“Love you too.”
“The nurses are going to hate us,” Stan muttered as all twelve of them walked up to Eddie’s room.
“They already hate us,” Beverly shrugged.
“One of them has a crush on big me!” Richie said happily. “So she doesn’t hate us!”
They got to Eddie’s room then, big Richie waiting for them outside. He looked antsy like he didn’t want to be away from Eddie for any amount of time. But he still grinned when he saw them walking down the hall. The adult losers all had their time hugging him before he spoke to them all. “Keep your voices low, loud noises are still a problem. And try not to crowd him, hugs are okay but be gentle. And Richie, please don’t ask any more dumb questions. I will throw you out the window.”
“Wh-what d-d-did you d-do?”
“Nothing, Big Richie totally overreacted.”
“I did not.”
“Okay,” Mike interrupted. “I know you’ve seen him but I’d like to see my friend now.”
That was true. Eddie had been awake for two days and so far had only seen little Eddie and Richie and big Bill and Bev. And Richie. He’d wanted to see the others but could only manage two at a time (three, to be correct, seeing as Richie never left) until today when he decided that they could all come. Richie nodded, “yeah. He’s excited to see you guys as well. Okay, let’s go.”
Eddie was laying in his bed, because he was not allowed to sit up yet, so he was still flat, but he was smiling. All of them filed into the room, big Richie going to his chair beside Eddie’s head on the left side. He was suddenly very thankful that he Derry hospital had private rooms. It wouldn't work as well if they were in those tiny rooms downstairs. Eddie found his hand on the bed but was still looking at their friends.
Stan was the first to break, sobbing as soon as Eddie spoke. He moved to stand beside Eddie’s other side and grab his other hand. “Hey, Eddie. How are you?”
“Me? I’m great. Nothing like a good puncture to make a holiday perfect.”
“I see you haven’t gotten any funnier.”
“You can’t be mean to him while he’s on a hospital bed,” Bill said. All of the losers had created a loose semicircle around the bed. Little Richie and Eddie up by big Richie. Big Mike and Bill were standing close together as well, hands almost touching. Big Eddie and Bev shared another look; that was new. Richie caught it this time, laughing at them and shaking his head.
“That means I’m directing all of my hate towards Richie.”
Ben laughed, “maybe save it for later. When we can’t get kicked out before we even arrived.”
“So wise,” Richie replied. "And so handsome."
“Did the results come back?” Little Eddie asked, clearly annoyed that they were chatting when that was at hand. His Richie rubbed his back but looked just as worried. “Do you know yet?”
“Kind of,” Eddie nodded and then sighed. Only Richie and he knew the news. They hadn’t told anyone anything yet. Not only was it hard to say but Eddie had wanted everyone together when he said it and Richie wasn’t about to make him do anything he didn’t want to, ever. “It’s not great. They’ve suggested physical therapy but they weren’t positive that it would even help. They’re running more tests now because the first ones weren’t conclusive but. And I’m going to be here for a long time, more than I should be due to the nature of the injury. I won’t bore you with the technical stuff.”
A silence fell over the room before little Richie said; “we can paint your wheelchair. Make it awesome. Maybe a clown on one of the wheels.”
“Beep beep!” Nearly everyone in the room shouted at the child. The Eddie’s didn’t; both of them were trying not to laugh. The older one wasn’t very successful and Richie sent a proud look to all of the adults in the room. Older Richie looked on in distaste, “was I really this bad?”
“Yeah,” Stan and Bill said. The others nodded.
“Still are,” Eddie replied.
Eddie rolled his eyes, “you were thinking the same thing.”
“I was not.”
“You’re really going to lie to your husband who is on a hospital bed after nearly dying?”
Richie sighed, “fine. I think it’s a great idea.”
“How are you still married to him?” Stan asked seriously. Eddie laughed.
The door opened and a nurse walked in, stopping in her tracks when she saw all of the people in the room. She pointed at big Richie with a sigh; “you owe me an autograph and a bar of chocolate.”
Later on, after everyone had gone back to the inn, Richie lay in Eddie’s bed. Sure, they weren’t actually allowed to do this but they hadn’t been allowed to do it when they were kids either so that didn’t matter to them. Richie was playing with Eddie’s hair while Eddie twisted his wedding ring around and around on his finger. “Please tell me you’re not about to pull it off and dramatically throw it away.”
“I will if you stop playing with my hair.”
“Deal. What’s on your mind?”
“Are we going to have to move house?”
Richie looked down at him, “why would we need to do that?”
“We don’t have, like, a ramp or anything.”
“I showed Ben some pictures. He said it would be an easy fix. No worries.”
Eddie nodded against Richie’s chest. “Sucks that we can’t have sex though.”
“Yeah, that is worries.”
“That doesn’t make sense.”
“Hush. Let your husband be funny.”
“I would, if he was,” Eddie replied quickly but he was smiling. Richie knew that Eddie found his funny. And yeah, his career relied on others finding him funny, but if only Eddie found him funny then Richie could die happy. Eddie laughing at his jokes was the highlight of any week he ever had. Richie flicked him though because that’s what they did. Eddie poked him in retaliation. God Richie was so fucking lucky. “Are you worried about the kids?”
Richie frowned, “in general? I’m worried about myself, yes. Little freak.”
“No, how they’re still here. Bill told me that you guys have no idea why they’re here or how to get them back.”
“Fucking Bill. I told them to keep it light.”
“I know, I pestered him.”
“Of course you did,” Richie sighed. “Yeah, we’re a bit worried. The kids aren’t, they’re having a blast. I think the only problem they have is that stuff is expensive now. Did little Eddie tell you?”
Eddie nodded, “about their date? He was very excited.”
“Baby Riche told me that they wanted to go on one date before they went back to ‘89 and couldn’t. He has spent so much of our money.”
“Baby Eddie doesn’t want to go back.”
Humming, Eddie pushed closer to Richie. “I can see why.”
“Mike’s still looking into it. We’ll see what happens.”
“Whatever happens, it’ll be okay.”
“Very positive for someone who was skewered by a clown.”
“Jesus Christ, Rich, what the fuck?”
“I don’t know, I’m tired.”
Eddie hummed again, “go to sleep then. I’ll be here when you wake up.”
“Better fucking be. And that ring better be on your finger.”
“Death do us part, right?”
Laughing, Eddie looked up at him, “no?”
“You died for a bit, Eds, and we’re still married. So no. Nothing do us part, ever. You’re not allowed to leave me because I would literally die. I don’t know how much cough medicine to use. I’d probably overdose on over the counter cough syrup. And that would suck because that shit is nasty. I can see the headlines now,” he switched his voice so he sounded like a ‘20s radio host: “Recently divorced and now failed comedian Richie Tozier found dead in his apartment, overdosed on Robitussin, more at ten.”
“You didn’t even make the six o’clock news.”
Richie nodded sadly, “my life took a downward spiral. There was some drama because I threw things at a car on the freeway.”
“Yeah. I am not having a good time in this timeline. I cry myself to sleep every night.”
“I guess I can’t leave you, then. There go my plans for tomorrow I guess.”
“Thanks, baby. You’re the best.”
“Don’t forget it.”
The next few chapters are of Eddie in the hospital but they WILL get out of Derry.
Coming up... a flashback and Richie trying to deal with seven small bastards.
Hey so hi
yeah it's been a hot minute but basically I'm currently in Ireland (Dublin tbh) and am about to go to France, remember I am from New Zealand so like it's a while from home.
I've been busy lmao but here's a chapter and I'll update the next one when I have wifi next!
Oh and Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Great New Year!!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Derry, Loser’s Clubhouse, 1989.
“Do you guys dream?” Stan asked them suddenly. They’d been sitting around, messing around and being the eleven-year-olds they were, when he had asked. All of them turned all of their attention to the boy sitting hunched in on himself on the bottom rung of the ladder under the hatch. “About, you know, It.”
“Yeah,” Mike said.
Ben nodded, “I do. Most nights.”
“I’ve had dreams that we’re adults,” Bev admitted. “And we fight it again. When we’re older, I mean.”
Stan, laying in a red-tinted bathtub. Eddie propped up against a dirty wall with Richie sobbing over him.
“M-most nights I d-d-dream about Ju-Georgie. S-sometimes It is t-there.”
Georgie, begging for Bill to take him. Someone laughing in the background, telling Bill to be a good big brother.
“Every night I dream about him when I was alone and he had - my face and it always scares me. I wake up and can feel It, as if I’m still down there. I can’t stop dreaming it though. It’s the same every night,” Stan rushed out, not looking at any of them. His shower cap was on his head and tears were gathering in his eyes. Mike moved over and put his arm around Stan’s shoulders. “I can’t stop the fear that I feel when I wake up.”
Laying against the cold, wet floor, screaming as teeth latch onto his face and three lights blind him. Alone and scared.
Mike sighed, “I’m sorry, Stan. Usually I just dream that we’re wandering around the sewers, I don’t know what we’re doing down there.”
Spilt up. Together. Holding random objects and running. All of them yelling and crying. No way out of the sewers. No way out.
“I dream that we lose. Sometimes one of us dies,” Ben admitted quietly.
Beverly doesn’t know him, she’s covered in blood. Drowning in dirt while she screamed in the distance. Stan’s not there, Eddie’s not breathing and Richie’s not leaving.
“What about you guys?” Beverly asked, looking over at Eddie and Richie who were sitting silently together in the hammock, like they always were when they were in the clubhouse, as a group or just the two of them. Richie was holding Eddie’s ankle and Eddie had his legs tucked around Richie’s. Both acutely aware of the skin pressed together and neither going to do anything about it. “Do you ever, you know, dream?”
Blow you for a nickel. A dime. Hell, I’ll blow you for free.
Don’t touch the other boys, they’ll know.
Richie telling him that’s he’s sick.
Eds turning away from him.
Dirty little secret.
“No,” Richie shook his head. “I don’t.”
Eddie shrugged, “I don’t either.”
“Lucky you,” Stan replied. Staring at them like he knew that they were lying.
“Lucky us,” Richie muttered back.
A beeping broke the silence that had started. Eddie’s watch flashing on his wrist. He and everyone looked at it. Pill time. If he didn’t take his meds he could get sick. Get hurt and then his mother would be right. He’d become a burden on her, because he would be unwell. Like she always said. His watch kept beeping. Eddie stood up, pulled his watch off, placed it on the ground and then stood on it as hard as he could. The beeping stopped.
“I didn’t even like that watch,” Eddie sat back down in the hammock.
Richie burst into laughter, high fiving Eddie as the others started laughing as well. “That was badass, Eds.”
“Don’t call me that.”
“Oh, you love it!”
“Do not!” Eddie argued, smiling.
“I n-need to g-g-go home. Who’s le-leaving n-now?” All of them stood. “Al-alright.”
Mike went up the ladder first, pushing the hatch open, banging it against the ground. He received a chorus of loud swear words in reply. It was dark. Eddie’s watch had just beeped for his midday meds. They’d only been in the clubhouse for a few hours. It shouldn’t be dark outside. There was no way that it could be dark outside. Once they all got out of the house there were only more questions to answer, like why they weren’t where the clubhouse usually was. And where was the entrance to the clubhouse? Because doors don’t just disappear.
Almost immediately there was talking, all of them yelling over each other trying to ask their questions or get their point across. A car passed them, not far from where they were standing. There was no road near the clubhouse. Ben, who also wore a watch that he didn’t just smash in a fit of absolute rage, proclaimed that it was saying that it was only two past midday. Which everyone could see wasn’t the case because it was dark.
“Let me just ask the obvious, what the fuck?” Richie asked.
“Well shit,” Beverly said. “This isn’t great.”
Stan looked two seconds away from a panic attack. “No! Beverly! It’s not!”
“Is this, you know,” Ben raised his hands that he had shaped like claws.
“Good Pennywise impression,” Richie said. “Probably though.”
“We probably just fell asleep,” Stan replied.
“For the whole day?” Eddie asked. If he had his inhaler then he’d be using it. Even if he knew it was fake. “That doesn’t make sense. What the fuck!”
Mike grabbed Stan’s hand, grounding him. “I’m sure there’s a reason behind this.”
“Yeah. Sewer clown,” Richie replied.
“Richie!” Eddie hissed.
“What do we do?” Bev asked, quieter now.
“The real question is,” Richie said, matching Bev’s tone, before yelling out: “What the fuck?!”
Ben went to reply when a noise caught their attention from beside the road. Someone had spoken. The group unconsciously stepped closer together. Whatever it was, whoever was speaking out there. They could face it together. A united front because being alone meant they got hurt. They knew that.
All of them looked confused for a moment, gaze flicking between the tree line and the Richie beside them. Frowns on faces. Richie looked even more confused than the others, muttering out a small: “Eddie?” His Eddie looked at him but didn’t reply. He knew that Richie wasn’t talking to him. He stepped closer to Richie. Not a second later and seven adults were bursting into the small clearing they had found themselves in.
Seven adult losers.
also me: posts like half the word count I normally would
Again, sorry for the delay.
Back to 2016!!!
Life sucks and life gets in the way. It had been two and a half weeks since the fight, almost three days since they had arrived in Derry. And now the adults realised that they couldn’t just hole up in Maine until everything was sorted because they were, unfortunately, adults.
Stan had to go back to his wife and job after a week, promising that he would be back as soon as he could. No one knew how long that would be. Bill had gone back to LA the next day to divorce his wife, because yes, they were divorcing. Luckily it wasn’t bad, both wanting it over quickly and deciding to split everything down the middle to be over with it. He also had to deal with his movie but he’d practically finished the writing after It, and Mike liked it so he was just going to give it to them and be done.
Ben didn’t need to leave Derry but he still was. His job could be mostly online and through skype so he could do it from Maine, and he had no wife waiting for him back home. However, both he and Beverly were going to Chicago together. They had gone a week after Stan and Bill had left. Her divorce was not going to be as nice but she wanted to do go for it and he wasn’t about to make her go at it alone. She also had to sort out a short-term replacement at work but luckily she had some ideas already.
They had all promised to be as quick as possible.
That left Mike and Richie to look after seven children. Eddie was still in Derry hospital, so he wasn’t much help. And their parent’s philosophy of ‘let their kids do whatever they want whenever they want’ didn’t work in the twenty-first century. Mike was amazing with them and insisted that it was fine but both Richie and Eddie felt guilty that he was with them while they were in the hospital. This, sadly, led to Richie having to leave Eddie at least once a day to relieve Mike of his child care duties.
Ben, thank God, had rented a house in Derry and they had moved into that. Richie had no idea how he had gotten it so quickly but then again, Ben was loaded and money was a motivating factor. The house made everything easier as Richie and Mike could leave the children there, alone. Richie had ordered in some gaming equipment that they all loved. Mike took them on walks every morning and they visited the hospital every afternoon. There was a TV and stereo and they had a yard and a ball. They were from the ‘80s, they were fine.
Afternoons and dinners were Richie’s. He left the hospital with the kids, promising to return to Eddie after dinner, so that Mike could have some time to himself. It really fucking sucked.
“This really fucking sucks.”
“You’re such a baby,” Beverly replied through the phone. Richie could hear Ben laughing in the background. “They’re not that bad.”
“They really are. And now my Eds is pissed off because little Eds told him that I get them take out or oven dinners every night! So I had to go to the supermarket with all seven of the little bastards and get fucking carrots or whatever. I can’t cook, Bev, Eddie cooks! What am I going to make them for dinner?”
Now Ben was really laughing. Apparently he was on speakerphone. Beverly wasn’t much better. Ben spoke to him, trying not to laugh as he did so. “What did you get?”
“Wait, what was it like at the supermarket with all of them?” Bev asked.
“Uh, awful. Little me tried to steal like a hundred things but he’s so fucking bad at it and I kept having to remind them that they were being tapped. And then Richie got the fucking whipped cream can and squirted it on all of their faces and of course, Stan was encouraging him. So I had to buy an empty can of whipped cream with seven kids who had cream all over their faces. And someone recognized me and asked why I had seven children with me so Richie fucking pipes up and says that they’re all orphans.”
“What did you buy, Rich?” Ben interrupted, laughing at the trials Richie had gone through.
“I don’t even know, fries and chicken bites and fish and like a pizza. And then cucumber and apples or something. I think we bought ice cream as well.”
“Put the fries and chicken in the oven and then give them cucumber and apple. If they eat it they get ice cream,” Ben said. “Give Richie and Eddie and Stan the most vegetables.”
“Why? I don’t hate those ones.”
“And you hate the other ones?” Bev asked.
Ben laughed, “because Eddie and Stan care. And Eddie cares if Riche has them.”
“What would I do without you two? Amazing parents you are.”
“I know,” Bev replied.
“Good luck with them.”
“Yeah, and good luck with Terrible Tommy. Tell him I said that. Say; World Famous Comedian Richie Tozier called you Terrible Tommy.”
Both of them laughed and Richie could picture them shaking their heads. “Will do. I’m sure my soon to be ex-would love that.”
“You better marry Ben quick or I’m dumping Eds and jumping him. Just FYI. Actually, I’m pretty sure Eds would be down to jump him as well. Maybe it’ll be a threesome.”
“Thanks for the heads up,” Beverly said and Richie could practically hear the eye roll that came with it. He grinned. “I’ll keep it in mind. We might have to get married before we get back so that doesn’t happen.” Ben spluttered in the background and Richie laughed. They said their goodbyes - which now included ‘love you’ in them which Richie was over the moon about - before hanging up so that Richie could go and start on the little one's dinners.
Mike had just gotten back to the house, and thank god for that. Richie was about to go feral.
“I am about to kill a minor.”
“You can go, I’m fine here. Oh, but did you see the message Bill sent?” Mike asked after laughing, Richie shook his head. He had no time to check his messages or phone in this madhouse. “He’s going to Stan’s now to help convince Patty that we’re not completely crazy and then he’ll come back up here. And Stan’s quit his job so in a week he’ll be up as well.”
“Awesome. That is awesome.”
From downstairs, the basement that had been turned into the kids hang out, there was a lot of yelling and then something fell over. “Let’s go and see what you’ve left me with.”
“I’m really fucking sorry.”
“Go and kiss your husband for me.”
Richie saluted, “absolutely.”
The husband in question was sulking when Richie arrived. It was later than Richie normal came but the jelly was still sitting on the side table, waiting for him since Eddie didn’t like it and he was an amazing husband. He had headphones on and had been rolled onto his side so he wasn’t looking at the door and didn’t notice that Richie had come inside. Richie could tell that something had gone wrong the moment he had walked in and he was on a mission to find out what happened, fix it, make Eds happy, and then eat his jelly. Maybe the jelly could happen during step one?
He walked over to the bed quickly, his face uplifting when he saw what Eddie was watching on his phone. The camera angle switched and there he was; close up face shot as he closed one of his jokes. It was his Netflix special from last year. It was his second one and was one of the longest sets he’d ever performed. God, he’d gone over his material so much in the previous weeks. And now his husband was watching it. Richie, as quietly and quickly as he could, snapped a photo of it.
Because he was a little shit, Richie couldn’t just tap his shoulder to let him know that he was in the room. Instead, he waited a moment until he knew what phone-him was saying, bent down and talked along with the phone.
Eddie hit him in the face.
“You shouldn’t have scared me!”
“It was in my vows to never lie.”
Richie pouted as he sat in the chair so Eddie could actually see him. He also took the jelly then. Yeah, he had no patience or self-control so it was being eaten now. “Was it funny?”
“Why were you watching it then?”
“Because the results came back and I was upset.”
They held hands on the bed. “I’m sorry I wasn’t here, baby. I should have been.”
“My entire life my mother told me that something would go wrong and I’d end up being sick or injured. A burden on her so I need to behave and do as she said. I messed up and now I’m a burden on you. She was fucking r-”
“Don’t you dear finish that sentence,” Richie interrupted. “I don’t want to hear it because it’s wrong. The only time your mother was right was that one time she called you cute. And the only good thing she did for society, aside from birthing you, was letting you buy those little red shorts. Your mother was an abusive bitch and she was never, ever, right. You are not a burden.”
Richie grabbed his hand. “I am going to spend the rest of my life proving to you that you are not a burden. You being in a wheelchair is nothing, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s you.”
“Yeah. Promise. And I mean it’s not like your height is going to change.”
“But you love it.”
Eddie sighed, “I guess I do. You’ve worn me down all these years. I know it sucks about the demon clown and me nearly dying but the fact that I remember how we meet is worth it. And the time that you proposed to me when we were like ten.”
“It was a dare.”
“You put your heart and soul into it.”
“I was practising. And I remember embarrassing stuff about you as well just so you - actually that’s a lie. I thought everything you did was the height of cuteness. You could have stabbed me and my dying thought would have been ‘cute’ if I’m being honest with you.”
“You’re such a dork. Did you know that? I hope you know that.”
Leaning down, Richie kissed his husband. “I did. Oh, that kiss was from Mike.”
“Good. I would hate one from you.”
Richie kissed him again. He could feel Eddie’s smile through it. Mission accomplished.
It was three-thirty and Mike was just about to arrive at the airport. He’d dropped the kids at the hospital earlier than normal in order to go and pick up Bill. In Eddie’s room, he’d offered to take some of the kids with him, so Richie didn’t have to look after all seven, but Eddie had smiled and said they were fine. Richie looked like he was going to protest but Eddie sent him a look and he shut up. Weird.
Visiting hours were over now which meant that they’d be somewhere in town. Richie was probably buying them ice cream because he couldn’t say no to them. And Mike was pulling into a parking spot. Bill was supposed to arrive in the next ten minutes and, to be completely honest, Mike was extremely happy that he was about to be back in town. Don’t get him wrong, he was happy that all of his friends were back in town. But Bill was slightly different; don’t ask him why. He didn’t know.
He had just arrived at the arrivals gate when Bill came out. He looked tired but happy, grinning and speeding up when he saw Mike standing there. They embraced for a long time, neither wanting to be the first to let go. God, it felt right to have Bill in his arms.
“How are you?” Mike asked as they walked back to the car. Each of them had a suitcase in hand. Apparently he’d packed up the majority of his belongings. He and Audra were selling the house but she was staying there for the time being.
“Good. I am happy to be back. Never thought I’d say that about Derry.”
“I’m happy you’re back, and this time it’s a lot nicer. Everything went okay, then?”
Bill nodded, “it’s been a long time coming. We both knew it and this just gave me the push to do something about. We’re not in love anymore but we’re still friends. I mean, we were in the same house for a week and it was fine. We basically acted the same way but without any slightly awkward kisses.”
“Did you get everything done?” Mike asked, “you know, legally?”
“Yup. Signed so many pieces of paper. Plus I got the movie finished, Audra and the director liked it so that’s good. I’m never writing a script again.”
“I like your books.”
Mike nodded, “yeah, they’re great. I’ve read all of them.”
“Thanks,” Bill replied and for the life of him, he couldn’t understand why Mike’s casual review meant more to him than anyone else’s. Ever. “I’m just glad everything is over and now I can focus on the fact that my thirteen-year-old self is still here.”
“Well, it’s good that it’s all okay now.”
“And I’m ready to get on to the next chapter of my life.”
Mike didn’t know what Bill meant by that but he one hundred per cent agreed.