Actions

Work Header

This is fine. I'll be fi- THREE HOURS!?!?!

Chapter Text

Ben's POV

"-shit!" Maggie says. The screen is back at the end scene, with Bev talking about their future. At least she's not in those things anymore. Ben can barely stand to think about it without coming close to crying. She doesn't deserve whatever happened to her with those lights. 

"Pause it!" Mrs. Denbrough orders. Maggie clicks it off. "What just happened? I thought this was the movie." She holds up the tape in her hands.

"Maybe it's a copy?" Maggie suggests. "Like it shoved out a copy and that's making the tv act all weird."

"But look, it says this scene is at the beginning." Mrs. Denbrough points to the screen. The line at the bottom has the circle at the far left, meaning it's at the start of the movie. She presses the forward bottom. It's all unfamiliar scenes. Things that definitely weren't in the movie. "What is this?" 

"The talking turtle said there was a second movie, remember?" Richie says. "You know; 'I'm a Mister Talking Turtle, blah blah blah, you're watching a duology, blah blah blah, I'm gonna name Richie Tozier King of the Universe with my almighty turtle powers." 

They all stare at Richie incredulous, but Ben does recall that turtle using the word, 'duology.'

"Oh shit, he's right." Eddie groans. Richie's face lights up, and Eddie's eyes widen. "Not about the last thing, Richie! About there being another movie!"

"Another movie!" Maggie laughs looking kind of crazed. "This is fine. I'll be fi- THREE HOURS!?!?!"

They all turn to the screen, and see that Bill's mother has forwarded the movie all the way to the ending, the time stamp revealing that it ends in two hours and fifty minutes.

"Ugh!" Bev flops onto the couch on the opposite side of Ben. Which is good. "Welp! Okay then! What're you waiting for? Your bathroom breaks aren't coming any time soon."

They all, or at least the majority of them, groan as they retreat back to their movie seats. The Losers Club all in one couch, except now Bev on the other side with five boys between them. Bill can't even look at him, but for some reason doesn't sit right next to Bev either. He stays perfectly in the middle, holding on to Georgie.

Bill's mother rewinds the movie back to the circle scene and presses play. Richie and Stan both ask about their future appearances, making Ben confused. "We're those lines part of the last movie?" Ben asks. He doesn't recall hearing those the first time around, and it wasn't exactly that long ago.

"I... don't think so." Stan says, looking bewildered as well. "That's weird... I guess they were cut?"

"Why?" Richie asks. "Don't say for time. We're trapped here for another three fucking hours, the first movie didn't need to be spared a couple seconds."

To his relief, the scene cuts off before Bev and Bill can kiss again. Instead a narration begins.It goes over various places in the town, like the school, or that place with all the missing posters. Even that drainage where Georgie met Pennywise. Ben tries not to shiver at how... empty it all looks. 

"Sometimes... We are what we wish to forget."

Ben frowns. He wouldn't mind forgetting a few things that he just witnessed. Bev in those lights, Stan and that painting, the headless boy. But... that doesn't mean he is any of those things.

A time stamp to twenty seven years later flashes on the screen, and matched with the narration it makes Ben believe that this is a story about... Memories? Or the past? Or... There was Bev's scene.

"Are we gonna appear in the future?" Ben asks as the scene shifts to a carnival. The future. Wow, they'll be adults. Obviously. Oh god, what if Bev and Bill are married in the future? If that's the case... Then he's happy for them! They're still his friends, even if he really doesn't want to think about them right now. 

"Probably." Stan murmurs. "I wonder what I'll look like."

Ben shrugs. For a moment he makes brief eye contact with Richie before the other boy quickly looks away, but Ben can still see lingerings of the queasiness he saw from his previous conversation. 

Oh shit, what if Richie is okay with being gay in the future? That would be really good for him, obviously, but right now he really doesn't seem like he can handle anyone else knowing. Even if everyone's cool with, and is relieved that he doesn't have to make anymore annoying-

Two men kiss onscreen. Next to him Richie chokes.

XXX

Leroy's POV 

"Holy shit!" Eddie shouts, gawking at the screen as if the men are some kind of zoo attraction. 

"That's good!" Andrea says with the smile of a school teacher addressing a child. "This means the world has gotten more inclusive. It's a good thing."

"Good? What if they have AIDS!" Eddie says fretfully. Leroy shakes his head. Of course these children still have their own prejudices. He almost expected better.

"Uh, I'm pretty sure AIDS only happens when... you... Just being gay doesn't make you have AIDS." Ben says, at least trying to be fair. He looks nervous, eyes shifting around the other boys. He must not want the other kids to think worse of him for standing with a hated people. Even the more open find themselves weak to pressures.

Of course, because the two men on screen were practically flaunting their differences like fools, they find themselves getting harassed. Leroy finds it hard to watch, especially considering his family.

There are things about his grandson that make Leroy wonder, and then he tells himself not bother because they are living in a white man's world and the less Mike does to make himself a target the better. The world is cruel and unfair, Mike doesn't need this kind of thing on top of the thing about himself that he can't hide.

One of the men, Adrian his name was, he mouthed off. Leroy has to shake his head. When he and Mike are back at their farm he'll make sure he knows that you never poke the bear when someone threatens you. 

"I just wanna be with you. I don't care. New York. Derry. Whatever."

"Aw." Richie says. "You have to admit that's sweet, Eds. Not that I'd ever do that. You know my heart belongs to your mother."

"Beep. Beep." Eddie says distractedly. "But my mom said-!"

"Your mom said a lot of things." Richie points out. "My mom said I was a good singer. Moms lie."

"It's true, I lie to him all the time." Maggie nods. She is a very strange woman, isn't she?

".... All the time?" Richie asks, but he quickly seems to change his attention when the harassers from earlier reappear to jump the couple. Once again the shorter of the men refuses to use his senses to leave the situation and only makes it worse for himself.

"... Can we skip this?" Ben suggests, looking nervously at the screen, where the one boy is being punched mercilessly. The hate in the hearts of these townsfolk run so rampant that Leroy has to disagree with Ben's request. It's important for them to know just how cruel the world can be even in their small town.

"Why?" Eddie asks. "I mean it's horrible but we've seen so much crap already. Why now?"

"Exactly, we've already seen so much, and.... I really did hope we wouldn't have to see so much awfulness after the last movie." Ben says. Leroy thinks he looks deflective, as though he's coming up with excuses. He's known people like that, and it never ends well for them.

"I d-don't think anyone here wants more violence, but-" Bill stops short of his sentence when Ben looks over at him, more annoyed than he's been since meeting them.

It's all for naught anyways. The attackers throw Adrian over the bridge and leave his partner desperately crying like they were nothing. It burdens Leroy to know that the evil in this town will never die.

"Richie, are you okay?" Eddie asks, the concern leaching through the confusion.

"WAIT!" Ben shouts, causing everyone to look at the boy. "Uh... My first cousin is gay..." He winces. "An-and I don't want that to happen to my first cousin, or-or any other... gay person ever."

"Oh, baby." Arlene says with her hand over her heart. 

"We're sorry you had to see that." Stan says. Everyone else voices their agreement and small words of comfort to Ben.

"Shit." Richie whimpers, sounding especially distressed. Pennywise has taken Adrian from the water, only to kill him himself. Leroy tries not to think about his partner's screams. Tries not to wonder if his son or daughter in law died before the other and had to feel that pain before perishing as well. 

A large array of red balloons flood over the water before cutting to a man asleep, and Leroy has to hold back his gasp as he sees his son alive again, standing up, looking through a window like he never died at all.

"Grandpa, there's a picture of you!" Mike says in surprise. Leroy knows he's not the only one coming to the realization of who they are watching.

"Sometimes... It comes back."

There was something about that voice from the beginning that rang familiar in Leroy and yet he couldn't place where. Now he does. 

He watches his son, no his grandson. His young grandson fully grown, and still living in a town where things like this happens. No matter what Mike might think, he knows there's a brilliant mind in him. He deserves better than this place, just like his father. He watches him find clues from the true evil in this town. 'Come Home'. 

It: Chapter Two

"This is gonna suck." Richie mutters.

Chapter Text

Sharon's POV 

She's inclined to agree, because she just witnessed a hate crime, her six year old just witnessed a hate crime, and she's stuck watching her firstborn and his friends be tortured by her baby's murderer for another three hours. So yeah, this is gonna suck. At least she gets twenty dollars. Sharon always believed in Meg.

A man sits at a... thing, typing. Sharon immediately knows that it's Bill, her Bill all grown up. He looks a bit like his father, especially when he's drawing a blank. She wonders what he's working on.

"What the fuck is that?" Bev asks, jerking her head towards the contraption he's staring at.

"Must be some kind of future tech." Eddie says. "I hope there are teleporters in the future."

"I just want a tv I can fit in my hand." Richie adds. "I'd carry it fucking everywhere!" 

Sharon rolls her eyes at their hopes for future technology. But at least these kids are actually acting like children. It's youthful banter like this that keeps her sane and-

"Maggie, don't you dare try to steal your twenty back." She bites, low enough to not draw attention. Maggie freezes, before retracting her hand with a pout. "You're the one who suggested gambling over Meg Ryan's relevancy." Sharon reminds her.

"Mr. Denbrough? They need you on set."

Georgie gasps. "Billy! It's you!"

"It is, l-little man." Bill says, a little dazed at the sight of himself. Sharon can relate. She has to remind herself that this is still a long way from now. That her son isn't already a grown man, with an assistant, who's needed somewhere like someone who does important things.

It already felt like Bill slipped out of her fingertips before all this. It was like she blinked and her son was already twelve. Twelve more and he'll be a college graduate. Maybe that's why she let things get so bad in the future that movie showed. That Sharon let her son feel so alone when dealing with grief. Georgie is her baby. Georgie is the one she always thought was close to her chest. It feels like Sharon let them both slip awa-

No. No, she can't make excuses for herself, she can't pretend it was acceptable for her to let Bill do everything he did in the first movie. Sharon should have been there for him, she should have made sure he stayed safe, and she didn't that's not acceptable.

Bill walking across a movie set, to a red headed woman covered in fake blood, clearly an actress. A worker whispers about her husband. Oh, she has a daughter-in-law! An actress daughter-in-law from a movie Bill is writing. It actually makes Sharon feel better knowing that Bill turned out okay as an adult.

"Is that Beverly?" Zach whispers to her. 

Sharon shrugs. They did have that kiss, which was sweet, and a not horrible moment, even if a part of her feels that they were too young for kissing. Though that might be Donald getting into her head. But she just.... She just wasn't expecting Bill to meet his future wife already.

The movie director and possibly Bev are pressuring Bill to finish his writing.... Do movies typically start filming before the scripts are complete?

"You grew up to be a horror writer, Bill?" Richie narrows his eyes. "You must be kidding me."

Horror. Her son grows up to write horror... Okay. Zach shakes his head. "After everything..." He says low enough so they aren't overheard by the kids.

"Maybe it's a coping mechanism?" Andrea suggests, her eyes already tired. She looks like her mind is going on overdrive. 

Sharon reaches over to hold her hand. "Hey, you're not a therapist." She says softly. "You shouldn't have to take the world on your shoulders. We all want to protect our kids."

She finds herself getting more and more concerned for Andrea moving forward. Sharon knows her friend cares deeply for the wellbeing of all children. She's probably even concerned for that horrible Bowers boy. That's just how Andrea works. All of this must be a workload on her, and Sharon doesn't want her to have another... Whatever she was going through before they met.

Sharon has no idea the things that she's been through, she just knows that Andrea's spent years in therapy before moving to Derry. 

It's kind of strange, how she could know both women for the same amount of time and yet know every detail of Maggie's past hardships while being so fuzzy about Andrea's. Then again, she's always felt more concerned about Maggie, who barely looked any older than their kids did now when they met, and yet had a baby herself. But Andrea... Andrea was someone Sharon could never quite figure out.

Bill and his wife are arguing on screen. Suddenly Sharon doesn't feel so good about her son's future.Then again, couples fight. She and Zach have arguments. Not frequently since he got into anger management and stopped screaming at random people he felt were threatening to her, but it happens. But the fact that it shows them arguing in the first scene they're together must be telling.

"What's wrong with being the woman I want you to be?"

"Bill!" Sharon scolds. "That is not- That is not how you talk to women!" She turns to Georgie. "Do not learn from him."

"You better hope that's not future me, Denbrough." Bev says in a warning tone. She and Richie high five across Eddie's head.

"It wasn't that b-bad!" Bill says a weak defense of himself.

"Billy, I know what you did wrong." Georgie shakes his head in disappointment, even though that is adorable.

So the argument dies soon after that with Bill walking out to take a call.

"Mike who?"

"You forgot about me?" Mike asks, sounding hurt. Sharon feels for him. From what she can tell he doesn't have a lot of people in his life supporting him besides his grandpa. The only one he's seemed to really bond with was Bill so far, even if the group as a whole seems to have accepted him. 

"I-I don't- I'm so sorry." Bill says genuinely seeming to be upset with himself. Sharon almost tells him that it's normal for childhood friends to grow apart, but she gets distracted.

His hand starts hurting.

XXX

Maggie's POV

"You need to come home."

Maggie isn't sure what to think about that line. They're all grown up now, and it's not like Maggie considers childhood home her 'home' even if she never left this shitty town. She's much happier in her home now than she was growing up. Then again at least she had a childhood home, she reminds herself, cuddling deeper into Went.

The scene turns to a city, with a car going very quickly. At first she thinks Bill is high-tailing the fuck back to Derry, because of course Sharon's son would do that. It's not him though, it's Eddie.... Who is that person he's talking too?

Why Sonia Kaspbrak blonde? Why is Sonia Kaspbrak blonde?

"You're married!" Richie says with raised eyebrows. Oh god no, there's two of her. "That's.... Wow. That's so great for you. Though clearly I wasn't invited. Otherwise, your blushing bride wouldn't have stayed for the bells!"

"Shut up!" Eddie whines, sounding upset. On screen Eddie takes out his anger on some bitch honking his horn at him. Fuck, Maggie wishes she lived in a city. Well, if Maggie's mother was Sonia Kaspbrak, and then she grew up, and had to marry a blonde Sonia Kaspbrak, she'd be pretty fucking upset too.

Eddie's talking about some stuff Maggie's very sure he actually gives shit about, but she just has to think that at least a part of him is just using that crap to get her to shut the fuck up. She can actually see him straining to keep from calling her a bitch. Or maybe she's just projecting.

"He grew up to marry an expy of his mother." Andrea chokes, but none of the kids notice. Fuck, she's looking more like a kook by the minute.

Briefly, Maggie recalls overhearing Don's mother complaining to her mother about him insisting on marrying some 'crazy' girl he met in Vermont. At the time she was just impressed that the good, Jewish son was making Mommy cry, but now she's just concerned for her friend. Sharon clearly is too, so it's obviously not just Maggie, and-

"You didn't say 'Okay, bye, I love,' like you usually do."

Maggie hates this woman so much.

It doesn't matter that she technically has never met her before, or that she's probably like twelve in 1988, this Myra woman reminds her of one of the only people in town who still cares that she had a baby out of wedlock, she can go fuck herself.

As much as she'd like to join in on the kids oohing at the future car with future calling shit, Maggie's mind is somewhere the fuck else.

"Say I love you, Eddie." She's pathetic. "Okay, I love you, Mommy." Okay, that's hilarious.

Okay look. Look. Before they were kidnapped and learned that Sonia Kaspbrak was giving her son fake meds, Maggie did not like her. Before all of this, if they were all on a boat, and it sunk like the Titanic, Maggie would have gladly let that bitch sink with it. She'd still fight tooth and nail if Cutiepie Little Baby Eddie Kaspbrak would almost be left to drown with her. But Sonia could drown and Maggie'd be fine....

Was that too bitchy?

Eddie takes Mike's call and crashes his car. Jesus, she guess Eddie was right about driving on the... phone? Is that a phone? It doesn't look like a phone, but it has the same function of taking calls. So maybe it's a phone that you just have in your car. So you can have a phone in your house, and work, and now your car?

.... Richie!

Maggie smiles widely.

Chapter Text

Wentworth's POV

The first glimpse Wentworth sees of his son in the future is an above shot of his vomit. He finds nothing about this surprising.

"Ugh!" Eddie gags.

"Damn, he looks like you, Went!" Maggie giggles, looking giddy.

"Really?" Went says, feeling warm inside. He's always felt like Richie took after Maggie. He's never had anyone who looks like him before, it makes him feel... nice actually.

"You think I'm gonna grow another foot in ten years?" She scoffs. "No you magic beanstalk, just look, it's fucking uncanny."

Damn he does look like Went ten years older, except with jet hair and glasses and way fancier clothes then can be bought on a dental hygienist's salary. He watches Richie walking through some backstage place. Of course he works in entertainment. It's so weird. His twelve year old is a decade older than him! 

Something about this short man bossing his son around almost reminds him about Eddie. Went hopes it's just a type thing and not some weird psychological bullshit that'll only make the twitch in Andrea's eye even worse. Gays can have types beyond... Same sex, right? He doesn't see why not...

Sometimes he gets concerned that Richie's put too much of himself into what can't be more than a childhood crush, but he never wanted to be hypocrite. He did marry his first and only girlfriend after all, but they already had a kid, and there was no way any other girl was ever going to compare to Maggie.

He knows he wasn't Maggie's first boyfriend, though he was her first time. Fuck, just a few months ago he had an awkward encounter with her bitchy ex-boyfriend. Okay, maybe he showed Thomas Marley pictures of Richie out of spite. He gave Went a black eye when they were in high school! It was just nice to rub in the fact that Maggie was never his property.

She's Went's property- No, he's kidding! He's kidding!

Richie's assistant person sends him onto a stage, where his name is announced and he is met with cheers and applause. In reality jaws are dropping.

"Oh tell me he isn't-" Stan groans. 

"I'm famous." Richie whispers. ".... I told you so, bitches!" Eddie rolls his eyes. "You thought I was dumb, but I think that somebody's judgement was poor!"

"Your dreams aren't why we know you're dumb." 

Went thinks back to before they had Richie. He always assumed he'd never have children because he'd end up fucking the kid up to the point that he or she would have nothing but dirt and his or herself, just like him. But there's his son, in front of cameras, and being greeted like someone important. 

Two generations of Tozier social-climbing in and their name's already renowned, huh? Not bad.

"So my girlfriend caught me masturbating to her friend's Facebook page." 

Everyone but Maggie groans. Welp, good to know he hasn't grown out of those any time in the next three decades, give or take. Has Went just been awkwardly waiting for him to say something all that time? Or maybe he figured it was for the best anyways considering that first scene? Or since he's pretty sure Mags has no fucking awareness when it comes to Richie things, he just decided he was crazy and forgot about it? 

It's not Maggie's fault, Went's just met more people who were different. Though of course different was a death wish the way he grew up... What if he never got over feeling like different kills and Richie never told them as a result? Or worse- Richie thought it wouldn't be safe to tell him? Maybe Went told him a horror story about a particularly shit home.

"You think he's rich too?" Maggie snorts, and Went snaps out of it. "Oh, I bet we're total bums in the future, just leaching off of his success. Just like Mom always said.... Before decided Richie wouldn't amount to anything in life either. I must've given her the biggest I told you so in the future. I can't wait."

Went smiles at the fact that she wants to keep him around when Richie's all grown up, and wraps an arm around her, kissing her head.

Richie croaks, remembering people from his childhood calling him by his nickname. "You suck!"

Well that's just plain rude in Went's opinion.

Arlene's POV

Arlene often wonders what her husband would say if he was here. They were kidnapped, and she doesn't mean to beat a dead horse, but by a talking turtle, and are watching their children in a horror movie. Besides the standard heart attack at the fear that their child is gonna get murdered, David would have loved this. He never liked horror movies much, but he'd adore watching Ben make friends. As much as Ben loved him, his military career often kept him away from home, he never really got to see much of these moments with him before...

She immediately perks up when she sees the cut to a door entitled 'Hanscom and Associates'. A business! He grew up successful. Arlene was staring to get scared that all their constant moving was doing to take a toll on his grades, even if he is incredibly intelligent. 

A slightly overweight man with balding hair is speaking. Dammit, she told Ben he'd grow into his looks one day. They have a whole business meeting, and then another man's voice is interrupting.

"With all due respect Mr. Hanscom-" "Ben, please."

Oh... Well obviously looks won't be an issue in the future. And neither will money, or future career prospects, because he's clearly the higher authority of the room... Well not that he's actually in the room, he's on a television. The future is very interesting.

"Holy shit!" Richie says in wonder. "Benny Boo, I am as straight as my wang but oh my god you grew up hot!"

Arlene fully expects Ben to turn beat red, but instead he just stares at Richie for a second before cracking up. "I'm not laughing at the joke!" He makes sure to clarify before he allows himself to chuckle. Understandably. "I just- that reminds me of... My cousin."

Arlene assumes he means Roxanne, the cousin they were living with the year before moving to Derry. After her falling out with her sister over their cousin's coming out as lesbian, and whether or not to cut her out of their family, Arlene decided it would do Ben good to live in a more open city for awhile. Roxanne took them in, still reeling from losing half her family. All of this was kept from Ben of course. Arlene has never liked living in a city, but she hopes it did good for her son.

"What about your c-cousin?" Bill asks when he calms down. Ben's blinks, looking at loss for words. Arlene shifts wondering what the change in demeanor is about.

"Oh, jokes are never funny when you explain them." Richie brushes it off.

 "You know what people wanna do in prison? Get out."

"It's true." Maggie says.

"When did you go to prison?" Donald snaps, glaring at her.

"My childhood was a prison!" Maggie whines, and Donald has the most exasperated look Arlene has ever seen in her life on his face. She assumes they've known each other for awhile.

"Wait..." Bev says, staring at the screen where Ben is looking at a piece of paper in his wallet. "Did you... You kept that yearbook thing?" 

She cracks a smile, looking at him almost hopefully. Arlene wants to tell her not to. Not to play with her son like that. Ben clearly has feelings for this girl, but Bev kissed another boy. She doesn't want to get in the way of things, but Ben deserves better than to be strung along like a second option now that she sees he indeed grows into quite a looker in the distant future. And rich too.

"Why wouldn't I?" Ben says back, and she feels her heart break. 

"Clubhouse."

"We should get a clubhouse." Richie gasps. "We'd have a slide. And a pool. Full of spaghetti. It would be amazing." 

"Uh, let's start with a something smaller first..." Ben suggests. "Like a hammock or something."

"Lame." Richie says in disappointment.

Ben gets the call from Derry, and excuses himself from the meeting, standing up to reveal he was wearing sweatpants the entire time. There's a small chuckle from someone, but Arlene has to admit that she had some future-y way of working from home, she'd be wearing home clothes as well.

The shot pans out, revealing his entire house. Oh wow. That is a lot fancier than any house Arlene has ever brought him too. And there have been many.

"It's all windows?" Eddie asks sounding worried as always. "Is that really safe?" Oh god, is it? Wait, no, he probably has lasers or something to protect him.

It pans out to the night sky, and then zooms in on a star. Wait-no a puzzle piece... Oh that's a cool  transition.

Chapter Text

Donald's POV

He sees his son's face through the puzzle piece. He is taller, as Beverly informed them earlier, and his hair is darker. He's working on a puzzle made up of several birds. Donald knows they share a passion for the type of animal, and he's glad Stanley kept the interest into adulthood.

"Should I just book it?" "It's summer, why not!"

"Well, we all know how much Stanley loves enjoying his summer." Richard mocks, drawling a chuckle from William, who had previously complained as much.

Donald ignores them, instead focusing on his son and apparent future daughter-in-law. Unlike his friends, he actually appears to be happy with his future spouse. The woman seems nice enough, though he's hardly able to make a fair judgement on her so soon. He naturally assumes she's Jewish, but that's not really a question.

Stanley's ... phone makes a noise when he bends over, and he answers it. Like Bill, he has slight trouble remembering Mike, but it doesn't take much for him to remember. He does have to sympathize with Mike though, since he apparently stayed in their town out of dedication in defeating It and now two of his friends have been shown to be unconcerned with him.

Sad, but he's sure Stanley's been busy in his life. He seems wealthy, and his marriage is happy, Donald is glad he's moved past the traumas of his childhood.

"It's come back, hasn't It?"

Donald straightens his back in interest. The other scenes had cut away at this point, though he assumes they asked the same questions regarding It.

Mike is honestly a bit blunt with Stanley when his son voices his concerns, but Donald knows that these are incredibly important matters. They end their conversation, and it cuts to Stanley... taking a bath.

"Gross." Maggie mutters.

"Oh shit." Beverly crosses her arms. "Nothing good happens in bathrooms."

Richard turns towards her. "What about-"

"Nothing."

"Why is it focusing so much on him?" Andrea asks, sounding worried. Donald squeezes her hand, but has to ask the same thing. To his relief, Stanley has so far had a minor role compared to the other children, so why now is he so important?

He begins having memories of that unnecessary blood oath. He still doesn't believe they had to cut themselves in order for them to make the promise. The memory focuses in on William.

"This is pretty gay!" Richard blurts out with usual tact.

"Shut up!" Stanley snaps at him. Donald ignores them, but finds it hard to look at the focus on Stanley's hand getting cut as a child.

"I swear, Bill."

Only then does Donald notice that the water is tinted red, and then the camera zooms in on Stanley's hand, covered in blood.

"Oh my god!" Sharon says, covering her mouth.

"What?" Donald asks. Her eyes are filled with tears. He looks to Zach, whose eyes are shifting between the screen and Stan in shock. The movie pauses on the blood drops on the floor. He turns to Maggie, who holds the remote, but for the first time since George's death she's at a loss for words.

"What the fuck?" Richard asks, posture shuddering with every word.

"No." Edward murmurs, then louder he says. "No! You- you didn't- it's fine! You're fine, Stan!"

"What was it?" A creeping feeling of realization edges in on him, but Donald fervently ignores it, knowing it to be ridiculous. He turns to Stanley to confirm that he's alright, because his friends' reactions were staring to worry him, but of course nothing was really wrong.

His eyes are wide. He looks young, incredibly young, and scared. But scared of what? Scared of It? "Dad." Stanley whispers. "Mom."

Andrea begins to cry. She's not the only one.

"What?" He demands. Most of the children are sobbing, and it becomes impossible to deny what he had just witnessed. "... Stanley."

"I'm sorry." He says, before Bill stands up and pulls him into a hug. They all stand to join a hug, a normally sweet moment that Donald is unable to appreciate because it occurs to him that his son is dead. Or will be dead. Or would have been dead. Or-

Andrea is still sobbing. Sharon and Maggie quickly rush to hug her, murmuring words of comfort and support, but Donald struggles to find any sense of... of anything other than a numbness, but  behind that there's a darkness that hurts. Hurts so bad that he chooses to stay in that numbness rather than acknowledge it, except it's crashing in on him, and he can't ignore it.

Oh god.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" Stan cries. Sorry for killing himself, Donald knows. Sorry that he is dead, and not at the hand of a monster, at his own. Sorry that he's dead. Because he's dead.

"Y-y-y-y-you h-h-h-h-h-h-have n-n-n-n-noth-thing t-t-t-t-t-to b-be s-s-s-sorry f-f-f-for." Bill says, his stutter more terrible than it's been in awhile. Perhaps that's what he would have sounded like if he tried to speak when Georgie died, but he didn't then.

"Donald? Donald, it will be okay!" Zach is in front of him, frowning in concern. "Just breathe."

"He-" Donald tries to say, but can't. "He-"

"Hey." Went says. He throws an arm around his shoulders. Zach is quick to join. Donald glances towards their wives, they're in a similar position except Andrea is openly sobbing. Normally he'd find it humiliating to be in such a vulnerable position, but he still makes no move to hold back the tears pooling in his eyes.

Andrea finally tears from the other woman and runs towards Stan. She holds him to her chest, and Donald wants to join them but he can't move. He can't do anything. He can't-

He hears a whimper. "I'm sorry mommy."

Oh fuck.

He stands up.

XXX

Stan's POV

He is not okay with this.

Stan feels his dad join him and Mom, and the unbearable need to explain himself grows, but also the shame that he made his family sad, and yes, the fear that comes when you watch yourself die in the future.

"I'm sorry." He repeats again, because he doesn't know what else to say. That's the only thing he's sure of at the moment, Stan is fucking sorry. Mom pulls back, her eyes red and unbelievably pained,

"It's okay, baby. It's okay." Mom brushes her hand through his hair. "You're okay."

"Promise you'll never... do that." Dad demands, looking completely desperate, as though Stan making this promise is more important than any other demand Dad has ever made of him.

"Of course not." He says immediately. He never wants all this to happen. He never wants his friends and family to be this sad because of him.

"You've never felt the need to hurt yourself before." Mom says, shuddering. "Right?"

Stan hesitates. It's horrible, but he hesitates. He didn't want to watch himself fight It again. Yes still he died, but he still died on his terms. But he can't tell him that, it will only make things worse. So instead he says. "No."

Maybe he waited a second to long, or maybe he didn't say it convincingly, because Mom cries harder, and Dad looks crushed, pulling Stan closer to him.

"Okay Stan. We believe you."

No they don't.

To his surprise, Mom pulls back first. She steps away from them, looking like she's shaking with every step. "Andrea-" Dad protests. She trips a bit on her feet before she sits on the floor. She curls in on herself, hugging herself.

Dad keeps Stan close to his chest, and tries to direct him towards her, but Stan stops him. "I have to talk to them." He nods towards his friends.

Dad looks like wants to protest, looks like he's dreading leaving Stan but he has to talk to his friends, he just has to. Dad jerks his head towards his friends. "Look after him." They all nod fervently.

Stan sits back down, and Richie and Bill both wrap arms around both his sides.

"We love you." He hears Bev blurt out. He turns to her. "I know I'm new, and we haven't really spoken in the past few that we've known each other, but I love all of you, and... I don't want someone else I love to end up... doing that to themselves."

"I won't guys. I won't." He assures them.

"I won't call you in the future." Mike says.

"You know it wasn't your fault, right?"

"You were happy before I called you." Mike shakes his head. "You were making vacation plans and everything! You weren't going to do that until I wanted you to come back."

"No, i-if it's anyone's f-f-fault, it's m-mine!" Bill protests. "I m-made h-him t-take that oath, I m-made him do that."

Stan wishes they'd stop calling what he did 'that'. He's not sure what he wants them to refer to his future suicide as, but something more human than, 'that.'

"It's neither of your faults." Stan interrupts them. "Neither of you were the ones who slit my wrists." They all grimace. "It's my fault. That's kind of the point of a suicide."

"What if it's not?" Bev asks. She has a hundred mile stare. Then she turns to him with wide, blank eyes. "What if it's a monster's fault? What if it's fear, and hate, and a monster, and that's why you died?" They're all silent, staring at her and taking in her words. "What if you can just push all the blame onto one cruel being, and say that it's that's fault? Wouldn't it be easiest to just... blame the monster?"

"Yeah." Stan murmurs. "It's the monster's fault."

Chapter Text

Andrea's POV

She looks up as Donald approaches her. She wants to ask why he left Stan, even if she did the same. Even if he's in the hands of his friends. But she doesn't say anything as he sits next to her.

Dammit. Dammit, they told her not to. She knew she shouldn't have tried to be like a normal person, with a normal family, that's just happy and normal and okay and everything she wasn't. 

"Do you ever wish you just married someone else?" Andrea says weakly. "Someone who wasn't crazy."

Donald winces, and Andrea can only think of a million slights his mother has made against her in the past. "That is the only 'crazy' thing you have ever said to me, Andrea."

Andrea stares at him hard for a moment. "It's my fault, you know."

"It is not!" Donald says immediately, which she knew he would, but that doesn't make it less true.

"He killed himself." She says blankly. Donald looks physically pained at the words. "Only crazy people do that." And Andrea's crazy. She gave it to him, it's her fault.

"Don't say that!" He urges her. "You would never say that it if was someone else."

"How many people in your family do that, Donald?" She asks, eyes brimming with tears. "How many people in your family have done half the crap my family has done?" Donald must know she's talking about that relative. The relative she only told Donald and her old therapist about. "Your parents were right. And so was everyone else. I'm crazy, and now Stan is too. You'd have been better off without us." 

"What would you have said if you heard anyone else speaking like that?" Donald says harshly, but Andrea knows that if he never met her he'd've married some other girl and had kid who doesn't grow up and do that to himself. He softens. "Andrea, we can't- We can't let this tear us apart. Stan is still alive. Be grateful. We have to be there for him. How can we do that if we aren't united?"

She's silent, partly because she has to observe his words but also because she doesn't trust herself to open her mouth without fully open mouth sobbing. Andrea fails anyways, the cry escaping her without her consent. Donald takes her in his arms, and she lets her head rest on his shoulder.

"I love you." Is all she says.

"I love you too." Don says softly. Then she feels a hesitation and braces herself. "And... You never tried to-"

"I'd have told you if I did." Andrea promises. She's long past hiding the fact that there have been thoughts in the past, in the darkest days, for a marriage wouldn't have worked if she hid those things, and she would have told him if she actually tried to act on them.

"You don't think like that anymore. He'll be okay."

"You make it sound so easy." She shakes her head, before moving to stand up. 

"You're ready?" Donald asks. 

"There's over two hours left, what good is this doing?" Andrea says. She needs something to distract her, to make her feel less empty and dark. Even if only for the sake of worrying over the crap the other kids are going through.

"Andrea, if you ever need to take a break-" 

She walks back to Stan with his friends, and without words, they start hugging again. She leads him back to the couch. Maggie and Went were there when they left, but now they sit with the Denbroughs, leaving room for Andrea and her family.

"I really am sorry." Stan says.

"Stop apologizing, dear." She kisses his forehead. It's not his fault. Crazy Mental illness is in her blood and she passed it on, it's her fault. Andrea nods at Maggie. "You can start the movie."

It takes at least ten seconds, which she's sure are filled with hesitation and whatnot, but the movie does click on.

The dripping blood (her son's blood) moves across the room to Beverly. Andrea's not sure if that's just magic, or another odd transition, or who knows, but she shudders. 

She can't tell if that's the same woman Bill will be married to because of the lack of fake blood, though honestly the less blood on that poor girl, or any of these kids the better. She gets the call, and answers it in her bathroom. Andrea recalls that her bathroom was her safe place as a child, even if she now claims that nothing good happens in them (she agrees), which doesn't make her feel very good about her future.

"Haven't you ever wondered why you can't seem to remember the things most people should? About where they're from, about who they are, why you have that scar on your hand. No one else remembered either."

He starts listing their names as Bev stares at the scar like seeing it for the first time. 

"We forgot?" Ben asks. "He's making it sound like we were cursed of something."

"Oh!" Bill perks up. "Th-that explains w-why I didn't re-recognize you."

"Right." Mike nods, looking relieved, but then frowns again. "And why I didn't leave Derry."

"Fuck." Richie breathes, and who can blame him? Andrea fully intends on moving her family anywhere else that's not this stupid town when all this is over and Pennywise is finally dead, but forgetting all of this?

Maybe it won't be so bad. She could certainly live with forgetting the image of Stanley, lifeless in that bathroom but forgetting doesn't seem to have done any good. Eddie married a carbon copy of his mother, Bill is a horror writer, and it took one fucking phone call for Stan-

Bev runs to her closet, packing her clothes and shoes, but her husband, clearly not Bill, stops her. She explains that he has to go, and he seems understanding. But Andrea's not fooled into hoping any of their futures are okay. Besides, this standup guy act is the same thing her father used, the same thing countless monsters use, the the same thing Andrea's unc-

The husband grips her wrist, and the looks of relief from those around her drowns out of them quicker than she thought possible.

"I just... don't understand why you'd lie to me."

He keeps his hand firmly on her wrist as she tries to explain the promise, but he won't listen. No, men like that will never listen. He's making her feel like she's the bad guy, but she's not. Bev's trying to calm him down, this isn't the first time it's happened, but the husband's not backing down.

He grips her ear, looking so aggressive. She's helplessly shoved back against a wall. Still an abuse victim. Andrea tries not to think about how she could have ended up in the position if things had been different for her.

The man wants to have sex with Bev, and Andrea doesn't doubt that he'd take what he wants by force. She knows that victims of abuse can fall into patterns with their chosen significant other, and Andrea just thinks of the boys she used to date in her youth. Boys who looked at her like prey the way her uncle did. Boys who took what they want. Boys who she'd seek some sort of validation from, and when she didn't get it...

"It's okay. I love you." Donald whispers to her. She smiles at him. She feels Stan look up at them questioningly, but she just combs her fingers through his hair. 

That man is hurting Bev. Husbands shouldn't hurt their wives, fathers shouldn't hurt their daughters, and uncles shouldn't hurt their nieces.

"No one else is gonna love you like me, you know that right?"

"Bullshit!" Richie screams, looking more angry than Andrea's ever seen the easygoing kid. "We love her!"

Bev smiles, looking ready to cry. "And I love you." She says, voice cracking. Andrea leans further into Don, gripping Stan tighter.

"Yeah!" Eddie agrees. "Fuck you!" He screams at the screen. Bev is just managing to hit him and escape his grasp, but immediately stammers out apologies that remind her so much of the way she used to feel around men that it hurts. 

The husband grabs a belt and starts to slash her with it. He punches her back into the bed when she tries to hold back, and then he- 

Nononononononono- Andrea's stronger than this. She's moved past it. She's the person who helps other people now. She's fine. It's fine.

"And Ringwald makes another headshot!" Richie cheers as Bev gets away from him.

"You're nothing without me, you know that right?! Tell me I'm wrong!"

The words slap her in the face. They're all the same, aren't they?

"He's wrong." Ben says immediately, staring at her fiercely. "You are so much without him, Bev. And guys like that. Like your dad. You deserve a lot better than that." Everyone, child and adult, voices their agreement at this statement.

Andrea couldn't agree more. He's wrong. He's wrong. He's wrong. He's wrong. He's wrong. He's wrong. He's wrong.

Chapter Text

Bev's POV

Bev smiles as they all try to assure her that she deserves better than that, and she does her best to believe that. After all, she's always wanted better, but a part of her always thought she'd just be a fucking slut as always.

She grew up, got fucking rich if the look of that staircase is anything to go by, and she still had to deal with shitheads like her father. Except unlike now, she has a choice in the future, and she stayed for who knows how long.

"Hey." Eddie whispers to her. She looks at him. "You're not the only one who married their shitty parent. It sucks but... We can be there for each other?"

"Yeah." Bev whispers back, her heart swelling. "Fuck our parents. And our spouses."

"I'm glad you got away though." Eddie points out as the screen makes a point of showing her taking off her wedding ring and leaving it, and she nods.

"Me too." Bev says, but then remembers something Mike said when Stan... did what he did. She worries that he'll only feel more guilty since his call set that dumbass off, so she turns to him. "Thank you." Mike looks at her in surprise and confusion. "I don't think I was gonna leave that bastard anytime soon before that call. So thanks."

"Oh..." Mike says with wide eyes. He doesn't look like he knows what to say. She sees Bill beam at both of them. 

Bev wishes she knew how to feel about all of this. At the end of the first movie, she was at least sure that she loved her friends, and that as long as they saved Georgie and defeated It everything would be fine. She hates that she can't remember them as a grown up, but maybe if they kill Pennywise now, that can be prevented, and her marriage and Stan's death won't have to happen but it feels so much harder now. She did think it was a miracle the seven of them survived the first movie, but now one of them has already died. 

On screen, they're back in the sewers. She sighs, Bev had hoped that they wouldn't have to see that shitty place for awhile at least, even if she knew they'd likely go back there anyways since that's basically It's secret evil lair. Water flows through it, as dead bodies pile out of an exit, causing some whimpers from the audience. Finally though, a decidedly not dead body emerges from the water.

"Oh my god, It raised Henry Bowers from the dead!" Richie screams. Then he blinks, seemingly deep in thought. "Twenty seven years later... Wait, we'll all be adults. He'll be so tiny."

"Trust me, age does not make that kid any less freaky." Went tells him. 

He walks away, all the way back to his home which is swarming with cops. "Shit." She breathes. "It's a flashback. He was never dead."

"I didn't kill him?" Mike says, looking relieved, which Bev knows she can't blame him for, but she certainly would not say that psycho not already being on the burner in Hell fills her with anything close to 'relief'.

"Guess not." Bill smiles at him.

Bev grimaces as they move to handcuff him. She's pretty sure Bowers isn't the only one who murdered, or at least assaulted their own father. Except Bev got away with it, didn't she? No one gave a crap that when the janitor's daughter beat the shit out of him, just ship her off to Portland. It's the first time she's ever been grateful for the shitty life she had with her piss poor father.

"I'm done yet. I'm not done yet. I'm not fucking done yet!"

Shit. Well, Bev certainly believes him. This movie wouldn't be showing this shit if it wasn't relevant. So Bowers is still gonna be an issue nearly thirty years from now? Glorious. Just fucking glorious.

One of the cops decks him in the face, to Bev's delight. Some of the boys even laugh, but Bev sees Mrs. Uris frown. Dazedly, she says. "That was uncalled for."

"He deserved it." 

"They don't know- That man is in a position of power. He's abusing it." She shakes her head.

"He's an abuser." Bev reminds her.

"And we aren't. It's not a case of if he deserves it or not. It's a matter of the cop. If he's the type of person who hits any minor without a self defense plea, even a rotten one, he'll hit an innocent one as well. That's why I'm concerned." She explains, but runs a hand over her face. Bev tries to understand what she's saying, but just can't. "But you're all right. It doesn't matter, the cops are corrupted, but they're still cops, so who cares!"

"Andrea." Mr. Uris squeezes her shoulder as everyone slowly realizes she must be having a whole mental fucking breakdown.

Even so Bev takes in her words and realizes... Dad could totally fit in with those cops.

XXX

Richie's POV

Mrs. Uris is scaring him, but in a way that makes him scared for her, even though she's not being targeted by the murder clown. Richie doesn't like it.

Speaking of murder clowns, mental breakdowns, and Richie not liking things, there's a balloon in the sky.... even though It should be either dead or dealing with them at this point.... and then it backs up to some ratty dude. It looks like he's in a hospital or somethi- Fucking Bowers!

Okay, wow, somebody peaked in high school. And not just in looks department (though Richie knows what it's like to look disgusting as an adult). The weirdo is jumping up and down on the walls, cheering and making all the other prisoners, or maybe patients, go crazy. 

Wait, did they put Henry Bowers in a mental hospital? Huh. Richie's not sure if he's pleased they finally got him instituted (for twenty seven years it looks like) or pissed they actually caught him after murdering his psycho dad and didn't give him life when they had the chance. 

Bowers looks so stupid that Richie has to snort, and then Bev's cracking up, and then most of them are laughing at how crazy Bowers grew up to be. It comforts Richie, especially after everything that's happened in the past few scenes to just laugh at their bully with his friends.

But then Richie sees the twitch in Mrs. U's eyes, and is brought back down.

They drag Henry away from the crowd, that stupid red balloon following him through every window. Until finally he's back to his room and the balloon is gone. He looks like a toddler denied his favorite toy.

A squeaking noise, and a pulled back blankie later, and the balloon is back though. 

He pulls at it. Something is gonna happen when that balloon pops. The balloon is going to pop, and there is going to be something bad that happens. Richie knows it's coming. He knows it's coming, and he wants to be ready for it, and yet he still jumps at the sound of it popping, and gasps when there's a fucking zombie behind it.

It forces Bowers back and crawls to him, but then offers Bowers that knife from earlier. All the better to kill them with! If It is like one of the worst villains ever, Bowers is like the Big Bad Wolf. Oh, Richie's glad Pennywise never bothered him with werewolves before.

Then there's a brief, momentary flashback to; "Hockstetter."

"Ugh. That guy." Richie crosses his arms, trying to hold himself together. He was scared of him before, Richie doesn't like to think about it much and he never let his friends know, but when they aren't around Hockstetter would get up all in his business and whisper stuff he doesn't even understand, but he knows is threatening in some way. He just tries to avoid him mostly. 

Bowers takes the knife, looking just as ready to stab them all as he did when they were little babies- wait, the first movie still took place in their future, he just called himself a baby, fuck.

Chapter Text

Eddie's POV

Adult Bill steps out of his car, and Eddie tries to ease off his fears of seeing Bowers with a knife... Again. He walks to a restaurant, which Eddie assumes must be created at some point in the future because as far as he knows there are no Chinese restaurants in present Derry. 

Mike immediately goes in for a hug, and Bill looks incredibly confused in the movie, but he smiles in real life. 

"Sorry if I'm making you uncomfortable." Mike says, looking downtrodden.

"No! It's f-fine." Bill frowns. "We're friends. Future me is just having trouble r-remembering."

"An oath is an oath. Losers.... gotta stick together, right?"

Mike is glad that he's remembering stuff, and so is Eddie cause this whole amnesia thing freaks him out, and then Mike asks him what else he remembers. And because this is still a movie, Eddie walks in, listing off his allergies when he sees them. "Holy shit." He frowns, never wanting to feel so surprised to see his friends. Never wanting to go so long without seeing any of them, especially...

Bev's arriving, and looking almost conflicted as she pauses right in front of the door. Ben, still looking amazing as an adult, comes out behind her. "Is there a password or something?"

"You remember that?" She raises an eyebrow. "That was twenty seven years ago for you. Plus a long bout of amnesia." Even Bev takes a second to recognize him, though to be fair, Ben did get incredibly hot as an adult, so Eddie can't blame her.

Ben shrugs, looking almost embarrassed even as she smiles. "It's when we met for the first time. Most of the time people either ignore me or call me names. It must've stuck out."

Her smile widens, and Ben finally gives in and smiles back, a moment made only sweeter as they hug on screen over a small clip of them meeting for the first time.

"Wow. You two look amazing. What the fuck happened to me!?"

And as always, Richie butts in. But something about that joke just doesn't sit well with Eddie. "That joke doesn't even make sense, dumbass."

"Spare me, Eddie Spagetti, I look like a cross between a goblin and a baby that was left out to scorch in the hot African sun." Richie scoffs, and Eddie is so- so flabbergasted that he can't even smile at Richie hugging both of them. Softie. "Compared to Ken and Sixteen Candles, mirrors must be breaking when I'm around."

"That- that is literal- I don't even know! What the fuck are you talking about?" Eddie asks, because what the fuck is he talking about?

"Hard truths, my love." Richie shakes his head. "Hard, painful truths."

He hears Maggie whisper to Went. "He's just kidding, don't worry about it." And Eddie tries to let it go. Just stupid Richie getting him fired up as always. But right now it just really fucking gets on his nerves for some reason. Probably stress.

Richie rings a gong and declares a meeting, even though he must see that there are six and not seven, but of course if most of them are already there then no one would blame them for starting with one member noticeably late...

"Look at these guys!"

That is awkward. Eddie takes a second to cringe at the awkwardness of his face and that line-delivery. He doesn't understand why that moment is so weird for him. He looks almost nervous. Must be because he hasn't seen them in so long. But then Richie points at Ben and mouths something as if to remind everyone how fucking hot Ben grew up to be, and then the party is on.

"Alcohol!" Richie squeals in delight, looking like Christmas came early. 

"We're adults, we can do that!" Bev reminds the grown ups, who look ready to start protesting.

Of course Richie wouldn't be Richie if he didn't immediately start negging him as soon as they were reunited, and now that they're adults, apparently he's graduated from Mom jokes to Wife jokes... Okay, Eddie did marry a woman shockingly like his mother, but that doesn't make it okay for Richie to laugh about it.

Eddie married his mother.

"To like a woman?"

That's just unnecessary. He elbows Richie's side, glaring at him, but he catches Ben giving Richie a different look. A look that's more knowing than anything else and becomes confused. Do they have a secret that Eddie doesn't know about? Well, he's glad Ben's getting closer with the group, but what is with that knowing look?

Eddie's still planning on getting Richie to tell him what they were talking about between movies, but he's not gonna push it if he's keeping Ben's secret, though Eddie can't imagine any secrets he would keep... He's not exactly subtle about his crush on Bev. And of course, Eddie knows every one of Richie's secrets.

His thoughts are interrupted when they ask Richie about his marital status, and everyone rightfully assumes that he's a lonely, lonely old man, and he replies with-

Richie got what?

Oh, well that's so good for him. He feels bad for the poor woman though, because he can't imagine any woman, except for Bev and Richie's mother, putting up with that dumbass for the rest of her life. Eddie barely knows how he does it. 

"Your mom and I are very happy together."

"Motherfucker!" Eddie snaps in frustration, as everyone laughs for some reason.

"Yes, Eddie Spagetti, yes I am." Richie says confidently, and why the fuck did Eddie give that to him? He just made another mom joke and Eddie calls him- 

Aw fuck, he actually learned how to do a decent Jabba impression. Okay, more than decent. Not that he'd ever admit to that. Ever.

Richie points out Ben's hotness, and how is Eddie supposed to disagree with that? It's true. But he sees how much Ben is blushing ... And how much Richie is blushing? Why is Richie blushing? 

Eddie is this close to asking him what the fucks wrong with him when Movie Ben says something that makes his words fail.

"Is Stanley coming or what?"

Before this everyone was smiling at the screen, but now a dark cloud looms over them, reminding them all that there's one Loser that won't be making it to this reunion. Fuck, Eddie wishes Stan was next to them for Eddie to throw an arm around. He didn't get the chance during their group hugs, with everyone else also desperate to cling onto him and just feel that he's still there.

Onscreen, everyone is clearly confused by his absence, but Eddie and Richie brush it off and move on to reminiscing about the first movie. 

Guilt floods his stomach as he turns to Stan, still with his parents. "I'm sorry."

"Why?" Stan asks, leaning in to his parents' embrace. "I'm not there, no one's first thought is gonna be that I killed myself." Eddie flinches.

"Don't talk about it like that!" Mr. Uris demands. Stan blinks up at him, he opens his mouth for a second, but then closes it again, not saying anything. Eddie doesn't say it, but he has to agree with Stan's dad.

Richie makes fun of his job, which is such bullshit because in Eddie's opinion his future career seems a whole lot more fitting for him than Bev's doctor preference... Then again, he's not really sick, so maybe working in a hospital wouldn't be that bad...

The music kicks up as Bev proposes a toast, and they're all feeling a little more okay again. Eddie tries to enjoy the scene, and not- Bev pulls Richie closer to her sensually.

WHAT THE FUCK IS BEV DOING?!

Oh, it's just a joke.

Eddie and Richie arm wrestle. In the present, he's always lost to Richie because he's so much taller, but in the future he better win, everything else is second to that goal.

"Let's take off our shirts and kiss!"

Ben starts laughing. 

What was Eddie talking about? Oh shit he lost- What? 

"Eddie Spagetti!?" Richie gasps overdramatically, despite the blush painting his face. "That is no way to treat a dame in a public venue!"

"Shut up!" He says, feeling his own face start burning. "I- it's just the alcohol!" All his mother's warnings on the dangers of drinking and drugs were clearly right, even if some of her other preachings were shit. "I was obviously trying to trip you up, dickwad. You've only done the same like five hundred times."

"Five hundred?" Ben asks, smiling.

"Five hundred." Eddie repeats. Richie's always doing bullshit to make fun of him. Always calling him 'cute' and shit. He's not cute!

He tries to focus on what Bill and Bev are talking about instead. Apparently, whatever Bev and that asshole from earlier did to get that giant-ass house was pretty big. Bev's clearly uncomfortable talking about that dick, who Eddie is going to make sure never comes anywhere near his friend, and changes the topic to Bill's movies.

Oh thank god, Richie is not the only famous one. There are so little chances of three of them being celebrities, it must be magic. All is right with the world!

... Well, except for the clown.

Ben cuts in on their conversation, pointing out how everything's coming back, and Richie tells them about his gross vomiting.

"I feel fine now. I feel very relieved to be here with you guys... Why is everybody looking at my like this?"

"It's not Thanksgiving you chipmunk-looking parasite!" Richie shakes his head.

"You are not ugly in the future!" Eddie snaps. Someone shushes them as they start listing off their reactions to their calls.

"Sorry, I interrupted you." Mike says as his counterpart informs them that they were all feeling afraid.

"No biggie." Bill says distractedly as they all realize he knows something. He talks about their amnesia, about how he never left and never forgot. Finally, it seems to click for them, or at least for Bev.

"Pennywise."

Everyone visibly reacts to the name with fear and unrest. Bill remembers that he was asking for help, and Mike tells them that he called them all to Derry to defeat Pennywise, and then starts listing Pennywise's new victims. By now, Eddie's heart is racing so he doesn't blame them all for getting upset, talking over each other, and shit.

They let Mike talk, and he recounts what they already know, about the oath, about It coming back, and Richie's not wrong when he points out that this is some dark shit.

"My fortune cookie just says, 'could'."

What does that have to do with anything?

Chapter Text

Zach's POV

Apparently all of their fortune cookies only have a single word on each of them, and while once upon a time Zach would have written this off, he knows that as they argue over how to put the words together, this will be used against them, because of course It just can't let them argue without doing something to try and kill the only son he has left and his friends.

The sound of them arguing, getting more frantic by the second does little to calm him down, but he manages. Zach's still afraid that somewhere along the line he won't be able to hold back anymore and he'll just snap. It took everything to not scream at Bill when he shot that monster parading as Georgie, and Bill was right to do that. 

The fighting stops all at once as Bev finally adds her fortune to the mix, and they all hold a breath when they see what it is. They finally have the full sentence, and it's sickening.

Guess Stanley Could Not Cut It

Andrea lets out a choked sob, as Donald looks close to fainting. Zach glares at the screen as anger rises back in him. It's not enough they had to watch their son die, and now they have to watch It smear his memory to torture the people who care about him?

All those times he wondered why it was his family that had to go through this, to see that thing and then be pitied, and now it's someone else's family.

They couldn't just leave it at one horrible fucking movie?

The cookies start moving, and Zach wraps an arm around Sharon, knowing that isn't going to go well.

"The fuck is that man?"

"Wow, you're just over it, aren't you?" Bev asks in response to Richie's annoyed tone. 

He just shrugs. "We've been through worse." Yes, yes they have. These kids should be fucking upset at seeing what this monster throws at them.

And what that is is.... "What the fuck is that?" It's head is a baby, and it has wings, and legs, and Zach can't tell what it's body is made out of. Other fortune cookies start hatching. One is just an eye out of its socket,  one has a bat wing, and then everyone is screaming, scared for their lives.

Chaos reigns as they're all panicked, the fortune cookies let out more monsters and then it's consumed by a black goo. A single baby bird crawls on the table, reminding Zach that the kids are left out in the world to fend for themselves. He can't stand this. 

Richie is screaming for Eddie, who is especially terrified as always. The restaurant music turns up as Mike has a look of realization on his face. It better get them out of this.

He picks up a chair and smashes it on the table screaming, "It's not real! It's not real! It's not real!"

Everyone turns to Mike in surprise, and he looks embarrassed by his own actions. "If it's not real, why-?" Richie asks, apparently not knowing how to end the sentence.

Mike shrugs. 

"We probably should've just left." Bill states, and they all have that look that says, 'oh yeah.'

The waitress walks in and Richie asks for the check. She doesn't even bat an eye at the scene before leaving. Probably the curse, but also Zach has to imagine what would go through her head when she found three celebrities, a member of the town, and two other men trashing a dining area.

"Wow, Chinese restaurants are lenient." Maggie crosses her arms. "I want to go to one."

They all leave, but not before Richie is stopped by a creepy child. Everyone holds their breath as they listen in on the child's words, believing it to be important. Richie refuses to take it though, cursing the monster out.

It's an actual kid though.

"Shit." Richie says as Zach and everyone else breathes a sigh of relief.

"I don't write my own material." "I fucking knew it! I fucking knew it!"

"You watched his show when you didn't remember him?" Ben asks innocently.

"I don't know!" Eddie shrugs, sounding annoyed. "I probably bought a tape of his show or something when I remembered him. Richie yelled at a kid, let's go back to that."

"You think Ben knows?" Sharon whispers to Went. Zach looks at the kids, who don't notice a thing.

"Oh, most definitely." Went replies without missing a beat.

"Know what?" Zach asks. They both jump slightly, looking a little surprised that he joined in their conversation, and probably didn't think he overheard them at all.

Sharon smiles reassuringly and in a low voice says. "Oh, just how deep their friendship is."

"What are we talking about?" Maggie asks, joining in on their whispering.

"The power of friendship." Went says, and Maggie pumps a fist inwardly as she lets out a tiny, 'yes.'

Zach doesn't have time to dwell over how weird they're being, because then Bev is calling Stan's wife. He sees Andrea start to tear up again before they even say anything, as Donald looks like he's preparing himself to get hurt.

This goddamn movie.

XXX

Bill's POV

He braces himself when Bev calls Stan's wife, but it cuts to Richie and Eddie ganging up on Mike. Normally Bill would tell them to leave him alone, but they aren't wrong when they say Mike really should have told them they were coming back to fight It. He knows he made mistakes in the first movie, but at least Bill never lied to get them to come with him.

Ben brings back their attention to Bev, who learns from Mrs. Uris II that he passed. "Bathtub." She and Bev say at the same time, and the image of Stan in that bathroom forces him to look away, but not before seeing that he spelled out 'It' in his blood on the wall.

Fuck. Fuck. Why did he make Stan make that promise? He lost Georgie and now Stan too. After what happened why did he drag the other people he loved into this mess?

The wife asks to go, too distressed to stay, and damnit, she must have really loved him, didn't she? Patty is grieving, everyone is grieving because of that oath. 

"It's okay." Georgie murmurs, cuddling in to him impossibly closer. Bill feels a tear run down his face and onto his head. "I love you. Stanny loves you."

"I know." He mumbles. "I know."

Richie and Eddie insist on leaving, despite Mike's pleas. Ben rightfully points out that It will keep killing people, and Richie says, "Other people die every day, man. We don't owe this town shit."

"I'm sorry." Richie says with wide eyes, surprised by his own words. 

"No, it makes sense." Went says softly. "You don't owe Derry anything, especially after what you've been through. You should look after yourself."

"Elie Wiesel said, 'Indifference is more dangerous than anger and hatred.'" Andrea says in a monotone voice. "I hate to say it, but doing nothing will only make things worse. It will go on like this. Forever, and ever, and ever,"

Bill shudders. He doesn't want anymore Georgies. He couldn't live with himself if there were anymore Georgies. Maybe his future self couldn't save his little brother, but he can save someone's little brother.

Richie and Eddie leave anyway, not listening to Mike's pleas. Ben and Bev go shortly after. Bill hopes they'll change their minds, because he can't imagine just him and Mike going at It alone, even if he does trust Mike. It can't just be the two of them. They're a team, and they're already down one member, they need to stick together best they can if they want any chance of fighting It.

"You should have told us, Mikey."

"Yeah, you should have." Eddie agrees. 

"What if n-none of us c-came back?" Bill asks, because he has to admit that he gets why Mike didn't tell them. 

"Then he should have respected that decision." Mom says, in that teacher voice of hers. He wants to remind her they're not running with scissors right now, but doesn't. Some things are just necessary evils.

Mike begs Bill to let him show him something, and then he can leave if he still wants to, but Bill knows himself and knows he won't leave even if Mike doesn't give him a single reason other than, 'It's back.' As soon as he's calmed down from that Chinese scene, he'll be on Pennywise's case.

The scene cuts to a baseball game, there's a boy way more into the game than Bill could ever be, and then to a bored little girl. He can tell from the thing on her face that it's the girl from the carnival scene.

"Mommy, how much longer?"

"She could be one of us." Richie mutters as her mother dismisses her boredom. 

That aside, yeah, they aren't baseball kids. Well, Bill thinks Eddie might be more interested in sports than he lets on, just from the way he looks at the kids who do play sports, but his 'asthma' probably kept him from doing anything about it. He guesses that means Eddie actually can do that stuff now. Bill holds back a smile, thinking about what his mom's reaction would be.

A firefly lands on the girl's toy, and then flies away before she can catch it. She follows it, her mom not even noticing. Shit. Shit. She follows it to behind the bleachers. Oh shit. She keeps failing to catch the bug, but then it flies into darkness and it captured by a pair of gloved hands.

A grossly familiar face lights up in the darkness. "Hello, Vicky."

Georgie buries his face in Bill's neck, whimpering. He runs a hand over his back, hoping he's helping somehow. The whole thing reminds him so much of what It did to Georgie. The insistence that they're 'friends', the manipulation of a little kid, Bill closes his eyes. 

This is why he has to stay. There are kids like Georgie, kids with big hearts who can be manipulated, even by scary monsters, into believing someone is their friend when they aren't. 

She tries to leave, but then It is crying. Fuck, Bill knows she's doomed like his brother when she looks back, when she listens to It's sad story, when she tells It about why people make fun of her. It offers to get rid of the mark, and Bill holds the back of Georgie's head to make sure doesn't see. 

He takes a breath, closing his eyes just as she begins to walk closer at Pennywise's prompting.

"One... Two..." Nothing. No screams, no crying his na- no cries, just a strange squishing noise. It takes so long that Bill peaks open his eyes. "You're supposed to say three-" Pennywise rushes forward with his full teeth.

Chapter Text

Mike's POV

His heart jumps when he sees Pennywise attack the girl. This is why. This is why he stayed in Derry all that time. To save innocent people like her, like Georgie, like everyone else. Okay then. He can stay in this town if it means innocents can stay safe. 

"The fuck is that?" Richie asks when it shows a guy looking at some screens.

"It's a-it's a dog on one of those.... Things." Eddie answers unsurely.

The guy notices someone walking on his surveillance equipment, and tries approach him. He's covered in blood though, drawling a sharp inhale from the crowd. He collapses, and behind him is-

"Boo!"

Fuck. As glad as he is that he didn't commit a murder, he doesn't want to deal with Bowers again. Mike was at least hoping that Bowers would be anywhere away from him as an adult, even before all this. Henry escapes to his old car, driven by Hockstetter's corpse to sirens and heavy music. Mike has a feeling this is more entertaining for him than them.

The others arrive at the Derry Inn, moving to get their stuff. Except for Ben. He notices Bev went immediately for the bar, something that makes Richie go in for a high five that was left hanging.

"Tell me." "Tell you what?" "Whatever it is you're afraid to tell me right now."

"I'm hiding something." Bev whispers. What? They've had amnesia for years. Have been dealing with It for even less time. Anything she knows would have to come from when they were kids, but why wouldn't she tell them then?

Ben starts to say something, stops her from leaving, then points out how she knew about Stan's... method. 

"What is he s-saying?" Bill asks with a frown. He looks suspicious. Not at their Bev, but just at the screen. Like he isn't sure he likes where this is going. Richie tries to tell them to hurry up, screaming for Eddie, but Ben is undeterred.

"You knew how Stanley died, you knew."

"What!?" Richie says as his future self does the same.

"What do you mean you knew!?" Eddie demands as her movie self tries to walk. "Like you heard about it somewhere? And you didn't say anything? And you just hung out, not telling us!?"

"Hey, calm down." Ben tells him.

"I don't know! I don't know what he means!" Bev says, looking flustered. "I don't know why I would- I know I would have told you if that was true!"

Richie and Ben follow her, asking questions that Mike and everyone else is hoping to get the answers to.

"Because I saw it. I've seen all of us die."

"The fuck!?" Eddie shouts at her. Someone pauses the movie after his future self comes down.

"I don't-" Bev says, looking at a loss for words.

"It's okay." Ben whispers. "I'm sure there's an-"

"Does that mean like... the set in stone way they'll die in that timeline?" Mrs. Hanscom asks in concern. "So if they die at old ages, maybe she saw that too?"

"Wait, so if you saw all of that, that means this was when they were all alive." Mr. Uris pieces together. "So you saw what he did and didn't say anything about it?!"

"It's possible she didn't know what she was seeing." Mrs. Uris says to call him down, a protective glint in her eyes. "That would traumatize her more than she already was. Of course she'd go into denial." 

"I think this is why we saw her explanation of what she saw in those orbs twice." Stan says. "She said she saw us fighting It in the future. Maybe that was when she saw it."

"B-but why w-wouldn't-"

"Wouldn't she tell us?" Richie finishes for him, causing Bill to huff. Mike glares at Richie and pats Bill on the shoulder.

"I don't know!" Bev yells, looking ready to pull at her hair. "I don't know anything! The only way your questions are gonna get answers are if we keep watching, so can we just... continue? Please?"

There's a deep sigh, but Maggie presses play anyways. It cuts to him and Bill arriving at the town library. Bill observes the new display, but Mike wastes no time walking ahead of him. Despite it all he smiles as Bill follows him to the staircase. It's in a restricted area, but Mike sneaks in there anyways. It's become something of a safe haven, because even in a library, there will be people who clearly don't want him there.

"Mike, you l-live here?"

He lives in the library? Why wouldn't he just inherit the farm? Then again, he doesn't really care for the work, probably figured he couldn't maintain anything. But everyone else seems so rich, and like their lives have improved so much since leaving. Richie is famous, Eddie has that cool future car, Bill has his wife. But it's just the price he paid to remember and protect Derry.

Mike tries to explain something about keys, but Bill suggests just leaving would be the smartest thing they can do.

"Smartest? Yes. But you know, indifference and all that jazz." Richie rolls his eyes.

Mike rambles on about killing It. God, he sounds crazy. No wonder no one will listen to him, besides the obvious thing. Bad enough he's already from the only black families in town, he must also be the town lunatic in the future. He shows Bill some artifact thing, and he genuinely seems interested in it.

Wait, does Bill have a separate interest in this stuff? He knows so much about historical artifacts. "You stole from Native Americans?" Oh god.

"Michael!" Grandpa admonishes, making him feel worse then he already does.

"That's not good." Bill grimaces at him.

"Haven't they been stolen from enough?" Richie shakes his head, causing a few eye rolls. Not from Mike though.

"As shitty as that is..." Mrs. Hanscom interrupts them all. "Why is that symbol moving?" 

When Mike looks back at the screen, the shot has already cut back to Bill... who's looking a little too stressed and out of it. 

"You okay, bud?" Mr. Denbrough asks as he claims to be 'funky'. The word can actually describe the screen, as it starts to look shaky and less... together?

"Is something going on with the tv?" Mrs. Denbrough asks as Mike talks, but it it becomes echoed.

His silhouette is shaking, and then his background goes from the library to the outdoors during the day.

"The fuuuuuuuuuuck?" Bev whispers, or says in a whispery voice. Mike is shown meeting with those Native Americans. Is this supposed to be a flashback? This isn't like the other flashback with Bowers. Or is it like this because he's actively telling the story or-

"All living things must abide by the laws of the shape they inhabit."

There's some thing that's going up and down, and he's sweating so much, and he's screaming but it sounds watered down by the sounds of beating, or growling. He's watching a comet, as he claims to have seen It arrive.

"What is happening!?" Richie yells, clearly as freaked out as anyone else.

Bill listens with wide eyes, as the screen is still looking blurry. He turns around- What is happening? No seriously, what is happening?

"Mike? D-did you put something in my drink?"

"What?" Mike asks flatly, suddenly feeling less freaked out and more focused on... No. No!

His future self does not deny it. Holy shit. He drugged Bill Denbrough. He drugged Bill Denbrough. 

"You drugged my son?!" Mr. Denbrough shouts as Bill stutters out something similar.

Future Mike tries to defend himself, that apparently he's been through this, except Mike would have to guess that he actively asked the tribe to give it to him. Bill's rightful more focused on the fact that Mike drugged him. 

"This is not an acceptable activity to do with your friends!" Mrs Denbrough scolds, but then blinks. "Not that any of this is..."

"New rule!" Mrs. Uris announces. "No drugging each other!"

"You realize that will only make them want to drug each other more." Maggie rolls her eyes.

"None of us want to drug each other!" Eddie says in their defense.

"Except for Mike." Richie adds.

"No, not-" He can't finish because he's distracted by Bill looking at the artifact again, his face straightening as he sees the symbols glow.

There's this glowing orb that crashes into the ground, making Bill fall back. He blinks and the wing symbol is flying off the artifact and becomes like a real bird, there's this clay child, and-and-he can't keep with this!

"This is ama-zing!!" Maggie shouts, clutching at her face as the light flickers and becomes different things.

"Shut up, Maggie!"

There are three orbs, like the things Bev was caught in. There's a chanting, and Bill is screaming, the fuck is happening? 

Finally it stops, and Bill is just a mess on the ground with Mike crouching over him like a loon. Jesus Christ. He claims it's over, thank god, and attempts to comfort him. It's the least he can do, but he shouldn't have done that to Bill in the first place. 

"Pause-a-doodle-doo!" Maggie shouts, but it's strangled and unsure, as the movie freezes at the 51 mark. Right on Bill's incredibly distressed face. Shit, his lip is bleeding. Just from biting it? Why did he do that? Why did he- shit.

For a second, nobody says anything, completely unsure what to say after everything they just witnessed. Finally though, someone speaks up;

"I wanna be drugged!" Georgie announces.

"WHAT?!" 

"That was so cool!" He beams, looking excited. Georgie turns to Mike. "Will you drugged me too, Mikey?"

His widen as he scrambles for words. "I-I- No!" He looks Bill straight in the eye. "No."

"But you did it for Billy!" Georgie pouts. He gives Mike puppy dog eyes, but all Mike can feel is panic. Some of his less mature friends start laughing uncontrollably.

"That's true." Richie chokes out between his snickers. "That's very true."

"You're not he-helping!" Bill snaps at him, glaring at as many laughing parties as he can.

"Who said we were helpful?" Bev asks, smiling way too hard for Mike's liking.

"Georgie, do not say that!" Mrs. Denbrough exclaims, looking like she has no idea what to say. "You do not want... No! No, you will not get drugged young man!"

"But it looks like fun!"

"He looked like he was about shit himself!" Eddie exclaims. And yeah, Mike has to admit that that's fair.

"We all also thought clowns were fun... besides Richie." Went says to the kid in a wise tone. "They are not." 

"But-" Georgie starts to whine.

"NO!" Several people yell in protest.

"I'm turning the movie back on." Maggie sighs, reaching for her remote. "I am Remote Queen, here me roar!"

Future Bill takes Future Mike by the collar. In the present, Mike shifts his eyes towards Bill. "I'm really sorry." 

Bill just shrugs. He definitely does not look fine with this, but like he's trying to remind himself of something. Probably their mission. "Sometimes you.... gotta drug someone."

"I won't in this timeline." He offers. 

Bill nods, not looking him in the eye. "... I believe you."

In the movie, Bill and Mike consider their options as everyone is already hellbent on leaving. Yeah ... Mike sees why they'd be more inclined to believe Bill.

Chapter Text

Bev's POV

After ... THAT, Bev almost forgets about the fact that she apparently saw all her friends die. Almost. So when it cuts back to the Derry Inn, with the others interrogating her, her mood drops significantly.

She wipes a tear and tells them about how she's been having these nightmares. 

"Nightmares?" Mrs. Uris frowns. Eddie says that everyone has them, but she shakes her head. "Well they must be special, if she... she knew. And saw." 

Bill and Mike walk in and she tells them that she's seen them all "the place where Stanley wound up."

Everyone winces. Bad phrasing. No, terrible phrasing.

Richie finally asks how she knows all this shit, and Mike and Bill are the ones to answer, just saying. "Deadlights."

Bev is confused for a second before there are brief glimpses to her hanging in the first movie, and those three orbs It used to hypnotize her. Deadlights. Shit. 

"So, those things made her see the future and shit?" Richie asks, looking at her in concern.

"She did say she saw us all as adults." Ben recalls.

"The nightmares of you guys dying must have come after I moved in with my Aunt." Bev says. She hopes she didn't she them die then, and didn't say anything about how to avoid it. Christ, all she said about Stan was that he 'got taller.' 

She shudders, thinking about what it would be like to see all her friends in that position. Stan was bad enough, she can't stand the thought of seeing anyone else like that. But apparently her future self saw them all dead. Christ, this just gets worse and worse.

Mike claims that when they fought It, they were changed. He compares it to a virus, which she knows Eddie doesn't appreciate, and Bev thinks that he means at their core. That he means something even worse than the basic trauma.

"It cursed them." Mr. Hanlon murmurs, they all glance at him. "They'll all die if they don't fulfill their mission in Derry."

Mrs. Uris starts whimpering.

"It just got to Stan first because-" "He was the weakest." 

They all give Richie 'What the fuck' looks. He holds his hands up in defense. "Sorry." He says even as he defends himself in the movie.

Mike claims they need to kill It in order to make sure they don't also die, and starts telling them about the Ritual of Chud. It sounds insane, but... Okay, it's just insane, but still. In a weird way, Bev is glad she saw that shit if she prevents them from leaving and ending up like Stanley.

"Wh- You're not gonna drug them!?"

"Bill!" His mom admonishes. 

"I'm j-just saying!" Bill holds up his hands in defense. "So I h-have to be d-drugged but they get the e-explanation? Like normal p-people!"

"Lucky." Georgie crosses his arms.

"D-don't start!" 

"Probably too many people." Went shrugs. "Offering drinks to everyone right now would be way too weird." 

"Nah, I'm sure he'd find a way if he could. Bill probably just made him promise he wouldn't." Maggie says. Bev notices that Mike looks like he's about to die, and contemplates drawing attention to that but ultimately decides against it.

Richie wants to do this shit next twenty seven years later, but she insists that they'll be dead before then. She notices Bill comes next to her to comfort her and smiles. 

"So if we don't beat it this cycle-" "We die." "Horribly." "Yeah, I don't need the horribly part."

Wonderful. This is just wonderful. 

Okay, wait. They survived one battle with It when they're barely older than they are right now. They can survive another fight as adults. It's only not fighting that will get them killed. 

Fuck this shit.

Mike says they have to remember, but- "Remember what?" 

It cuts to them walking. Why are the streets so empty? Is it just because it's nighttime? Bev has to guess so, but the sheer lack of anyone else still makes her uneasy. 

They walk long enough for the sun to rise, and that's just by the time they make it to the Kissing Bridge. Wait. "Why aren't we taking our cars?" Bev whispers.

Richie shrugs. "Sleep deprivation? Looks like we've been walking all morning."

They even pass the Barrens, before finally walking all the way into the woods. "This is where we came; After the rock fight."

Bev recalls the last movie going from the fight with Bowers straight to the annual parade. There must've been so much time spent together between the two incidents. Fuck, Mike wasn't really even in the movie that much. Well she's glad this movie fixes that, she just hopes for his sake he doesn't try to drug her.

They mention a clubhouse, causing Richie to gasp. "Oh shit, you actually made us one?"

"We had a clubhouse and didn't mention it all first movie?" Eddie asks with narrow eyes. Bev has to admit he has a point. A clubhouse seems like something they'd actually talk about. 

Stan shrugs from the Uris' couch. "Probably had other things to worry about."

Bev trips and Bill catches her as Ben watches sadly. She feels her heart clench for him. God she hates that she's hurting him like this.

"Nothing it's just... You haven't changed."

She glances at him. He smiles awkwardly at her. Yeah, Bev can't argue with that. Then again, neither has Ben. Maybe it's for the best. Maybe she doesn't deserve Ben if she's gonna hurt him like that.

Ben distracts himself by looking for their mythical clubhouse. He stomps around an area and ends up falling. Without thinking she turns to him in concern in the present. Just making sure he's alright. She almost asks, before stopping it. She knows how it feels to be asked questions in place of her future self.

"Found it! I'm okay! Come down!"

Good, he's okay.

XXX

Stan's POV

Ben calls them all down, and to Stan's surprise it's not the adults who follow. He notices the parents start smiling when they see their kid selves. They start asking Ben questions, and he explains a bunch about architecture.

His mom's breath hitches when Stan is shown, barely older than he is now. He leans his head on his shoulder to comfort her. 

Ben puts a a hand on the pillar, causing the ceiling to fall behind Bev. Richie and Eddie are naturally themselves because of this, but Mom gasps. "Nope. This place is a safety hazard. You can just play at your houses." 

Some of them groan, but Stan smiles. Being the son of a cps worker can suck, but if Mom going into work-mode can offer some kind of consolidation for what he did, he'll take it.

Eddie getting worked up over the clubhouse's dangers does little to make her ease up though. He scoffs when Eddie immediately drops his concerns when he sees something cool. Stan aims a glare Eddie's way when he pisses him off with that paddle thing. He glares at Richie too, because right now he's smiling at Eddie like he put the moon in the sky. The toy breaks and then he fucking blames Stan.

"I'm sorry, Stan." Eddie says, looking horrified by his actions. Stan rolls his eyes. He's not fragile, even if he is the weakest like Richie said. He can take being pissed off by his best friends. 

"I'm not putting my fucking hand down there." The ball is picked up by an adult Eddie, causing Stan to smirk victoriously. That is how he can make up for annoying him, not apologizing like things are weird now. Even though they are.

Wait, did that ball stay there the entire rest of their time in Derry as friends, and nobody picked it up?

As adults they look around the clubhouse like seeing it for the first time. But it's cut short by the voice of Pennywise.  The others look panicked and get ready for a battle. And then a fucking idiot comes out of the shadows.

"Dude!" Eddie growls as Richie starts laughing. Onscreen he starts mocking It's dance, and Stan can only shake his head at the fact that he is friends with this idiot. 

Dad sighs heavily, before harshly whispering to Mom. "I told you Maggie would drop him." This draws a surprised snort from Stan, even though he's completely sure Dad is one hundred percent serious. And probably right.

Bill finds a can that has a note from Stan on it, and brings attention to it. He starts to open it despite the others seeming against it.

It cuts back to them as kids. Christ. If there are scenes with them as adults and them on summer vacation, then no wonder it's gonna be three hours. Hell, if Stan were the one making this movie, he'd completely cut out that walking montage shit entirely.

It turns it's just a hair net, for spiders. God Stan hates spiders. Richie is proven wrong (always great when that happens) when it's shown that everyone is wearing one. Eddie immediately takes his off though. He rolls his eyes. God knows why, but Eddie totally craves Trashmouth's approval, even if he'd never admit it. Eddie goes up to Richie and tells him to get out of the hammock. Naturally this becomes an argument.

Can the movie move on? The next two hours are gonna be long if this is what it's made up of. Eddie climbs in with him. He's right there with his future self when it comes to rolling his eyes.

Because it's the only thing they can do, they leave those two buffoons to their married bickering while moving on with their lives. Bev goes up to Ben, who's working on the ceiling. Stan feels his mother shake her head, but Bev looks impressed. He starts telling her about some program. Fuck, even the new kid hates this stupid town. Stan is glad to be learning more about his new fri-

Goddamnit, can Stan ignore Richie and Eddie in peace? Please?

Mike tells them about how he wants to go to Florida when he's older, and he does this they can all see the sadness in his eyes at the present. Everyone knows he isn't going through with that. Because of It. Fuck, Stanley couldn't even handle going back and Mike devoted his life to never leaving. Wow.

"Fl-Florida would be f-fun." Bill says quietly.

Richie makes a stupid joke involving Stan, but all he says in return is, "Do you guys think we'll all be friends? When we're older?"

They all brush off the idea of not being friends forever, even as Stan makes a good point for why they wouldn't be. They look up at their parents when he uses them as an example, and are met sheepish looks. So that's a no.

Stan knows that the others at least make it back to each other eventually. And hey, he's known Mike, Bev, and Ben for what? A few hours, not counting all that time at school they didn't spend together, and he already feels so attached to all of them. Maybe they can keep up their friendship until adulthood.

Optimism feels weird on Stanley.

It cuts back to the adults, all somber and in grief. They say he's an old soul even now, and he feels his dad pull back and stare at him as if for the first time, but he doesn't say anything.

They wonder what he was like as an adult. A coward. Who left his friends behind to deal with It, who left his wife behind to her own devastation. 

"Probably like he was as a kid. The best."

Warmth spreads in chest. He looks to Richie, who is avoiding everyone's sad smiles and turning. No, he won't let him. Stan rolls his eyes. "Aw. Richie. You do have a soul."

"Well... There's room in my heart for both you and Eddie's mom in the sex chamber that is my heart." Richie smiles at him. "In fact, there's room for all of you!"

"Ugh." Eddie fakes gags. "I think I'll pass."

These idiots are his idiots.

Chapter Text

Donald's POV

Even as Stanley jokes with his friends, Donald can only focus on that one line from earlier. Is Stanley already grown up? Well, that's what he wanted; What Donald always told him to be. But what if that's too much pressure on him? Maybe it's better for him to be a little less mature than Donald would like?

They finally decide to move on with their mission, and Mike brings up this ritual once again. And Richard must have realized he showed too much humanity for a Tozier. "I nominate Eddie."

"What the fuck man!" Edward asks in exasperation. Richard shrugs as he explains himself in the movie. "That's so- You're so messed up." Stanley rolls his eyes, a habit that he must have picked up from Donald. Why do they actively choose to surround themselves with these people?

Michael goes on a monologue about pasts and artifacts. He explains that due to Stanley's... absence, Donald trembles, that they were here to get his artifact together. Edward suggests they already found it, referring to Stanley's ridiculous hairnet that he decides to put on for good measure.

They return to outside of that death trap and bicker over needing artifacts. They insist they already remember everything, but when Michael asks them to remember what happened between trips to the well house they all come at a blank.

"So wait, he's talking about after their fight in the Neibolt house but before Bev is kidnapped?" Arlene asks in confirmation.

"Yeah." Sharon nods thoughtfully. "I remember there was a montage between that time."

"Okay then."

Michael tells them they need to split up, and somehow Donald finds himself agreeing with Richard and Edward over the historian. That is how idiotic separating would be.

"You're strongest together!" Sharon says with a fire in her eyes. "Never forget that."

"We c-can't change th-this movie M-Mom." William says in defense.

"I know. Just remember that."

William points out that they didn't have the entire summer together. There's a flashback to Richard and William fighting, Beverly insisting they need to stay together, and everyone leaving. Though this feels much shorter than the first time, but perhaps it's condensed. Donald sighs. They should have just listened to Beverly and they wouldn't need to be separating right now.

William and Beverly walk their bikes together, discussing the argument. "M-m-may-maybe Richie's right. Maybe we sh-shouldn't do anything about It or maybe we can't."

Well, finally the boy starts talking sensibly for once, even if Donald knows it's all for naught. Especially as Beverly tells him not to.

"Hey, when has anything ever good come after the phrase 'Richie's right'?" Edward says to him. "We can do it."

"He has a point." Richard nods in approval.

The two children part ways to avoid getting in trouble with that horrible man. And as they walk away, the adult Beverly watches on sadly before ringing the doorbell. An elderly woman answers and tells her that her father has passed.

He sees Beverly take a deep breath. Donald has little pity in the loss of a man like that, but he can't blame her for having mixed feelings about the death of a parent.

The old woman invites her in for a snack, and he can tell from just the smile she wears as she closes the door behind her that Beverly has made a mistake by accepting.

Richie winces. "Bev-"

"I know!" She snaps, before turning to the screen in shock. "That's my house?! It's so-" "Cleaner." "Bad grammar, but yeah. Cleaner."

The elderly woman leaves to treat Beverly, and is a little too harsh in her insistence. They all get tense wondering what this women plans to do to her. Beverly looks around, stopping at the bathroom. She stops when she sees that man sitting at a table. Donald glares at him. He can't help but think of that scene from earlier and think of his wife and the things that must have happened with her uncle that Donald can't even begin to comprehend.

"Is that a picture of you?" Ben asks softly as it shows a picture he's looking at.

"No." She shakes her head. "My mother."

"Today is her birthday. I can still smell her perfume. And she'd still be alive if wasn't for you."

Arlene gasps with blazing eyes. "Oh, fuck off." Sharon has to stretch her arm out to put a comforting hand on her shoulder.

Beverly tries to deny it. She refers to the death as her, "Why she did what she did," but he doesn't have time to ponder that because then that man is screaming obscenities at her. He doesn't deserve a child. How is it that he mistreats his so horribly and yet it's Donald that ends up with a dead...

"That's not true!" Ben insists. "You know that right?"

"I do." Beverly says softly, but like with Stanley he doesn't quite believe her and that nauseates him to the core.

"Sick?" Stanley asks softly with wrinkled eyebrows.

"In the head." Beverly whispers, just loud enough for Donald to hear.

He feels his stomach turn, as he looks to Andrea, "The girl's mother; she..."

"I know."

Donald finds he doesn't really want to think about that right now, so all he does is comb his fingers through Stanley's hair once again.

Alvin Marsh starts to spray her and then both of them with the perfume. Donald's eyes widen as his wife grips his wrist. He glances at her.

"She'll need a place to stay when this is all over." Andrea whispers, eyes shifting to the scared young girl. "And I don't think I should separate her from her friends. So..."

"Really?" Stanley asks, eyes looking hopeful in a way Donald would like to keep for as long as possible. But there are other factors that they need to consider.

Donald's not so sure. They already have to look after Stanley's wellbeing, should they really be taking the responsibility of two children?

But then Mr. Marsh claims he'd never hurt her, something that everyone is painfully aware is a lie. And all Beverly does in response is apologize and hug him. Andrea-

"If she'll have us."

XXX

Ben's POV 

Ben has seldom gotten as worked up as he has in the past few hours. He really hopes this is the last time he has to look at Bev's dad. He already has all he needs to know to know that he hates him almost as much as Pennywise. Throwing her mother's death in her face like that? Unbelievable. 

If Mom ever said that... She never would, obviously, but still just the thought of how much that would hurt stings. It makes him want to hug Bev and make sure she never ever has to even look at that psychopath again.

Bev breaks off the baseboard. Bugs to scatter away from behind it, causing Eddie to shriek. But then she grabs something from the hole behind it. A postcard. She looks at it, whispering aloud the words he once wrote. She's a kid again, smiling so softly at the words, so beautifully.

He'll write the poem. Even in this timeline, even if they never get together, he'll still do it. He'll write her a million poems if he has too, so long as she can feel some sort of happiness in her darkest place. 

But words don't fix everything, he thinks as the silhouette of the old women watches her but runs off before being noticed. She and Mrs. Kersh sit and talk about the weather over tea. The older woman uses this to unnecessarily bring up death.

"You know what they say about Derry.... No one who dies here ever really does."

"Is she waiting for a laugh track?"

"Richie!"

"What?"

Bev calls it strange to be back in Derry, and Mrs. Kersh asks how, fanning herself with her shirt, only to reveal some sort of scarring on her chest. Judging by the way her eyes widen she sees this. An oven dings and Mrs. Kersh leaves.

"This is your chance, you got the shit, go!" Maggie urges her. Ben feels slightly annoyed at how she refers to his poem, but for the most part has to agree with her. 

Bev stands to his relief... And then she looks at the photos, asking questions. 

"That's not going!" 

Mrs. Kersh goes on a tangent about her own dad, who apparently made money by joining a... Circus. His eyes widen when he sees the picture of Pennywise, and then her voice comes back, deeper than before.

"I was always Daddy's little girl. What about you? Are you still his little girl, Beverly? Are you?"

There's the sound of footsteps, and then Mrs. Kersh comes running out; disfigured, monstrous, and... naked. 

"Oh shit!" Richie shouts.

"I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't that!" Bev shrieks.

It chases Bev up against a wall and she falls over. Come on, get up. She needs to escape. Bev runs out to the hallway, the apartment becoming much more dark and dirty than before, and she can't get the door open. 

"You haven't changed anything yet."

"Fuck." Bev mutters as they see Pennywise, except not as a clown. As a person.

He talks about how they haven't actually done anything to stop him yet, all the while wiping off his human skin to become more like the clown they all fear so much. Bev just screams, "Fuck you!" And Ben shoots her a smile for her bravery.

The red on his face looks like blood seeping through his skin, as he begins to laugh- or whatever that noise is supposed to be. Bev finally gets the door open, and runs for it. Ben breathes a sigh of relief as she makes it.

A look back at the building shows it abandoned. Bev groans. "Good riddance."

Chapter Text

Wentworth's POV

Just as he calms himself down from Bev's scene, he sees his adult son walking towards that arcade he likes going to so much. Maggie moans next to him, and they both know he's gonna get attacked, even if he'll survive it.

"Shit." Richie mutters, eyes wide as he sees a place he visits every weekend abandoned. "What do you suppose kids of the future do in their free time?"

"Homework probably." Stan rolls his eyes.

"Glad I wasn't born then." Richie says. His future self stares at one of the games, his favorite if Went remembers correctly, and then puts in a coin to get a token.

"I doubt that game still works." Eddie tells him, also rolling his eyes.

But then the sound of adventure music kicks in and it cuts to Richie, his Richie, playing the game. He looks up and glances at the guy he's playing with and he knows that his son's enamored. Oh shit... Wait, he's clearly got it in for Eddie, and most people still buy his sex jokes. Including his mother. Went just has to hold his breath until the scene is over and it's all fine.

They high five, their fingers lingering, and Richie looks so fucking flustered when they pull away and his friend says he has to go.

"Aw." Bev coos as they watch Richie ask to play another game, hands over her heart mockingly.

"He's probably just trying to make new friends 'cause he thinks we all hate him." Eddie grumbles. And Went has to ask how they could be so blind. Something about how Richie looks at the other boy.... It's too innocent.

'He's jealous.' Sharon mouths at him, and Went holds back a scoff. Sharon thinks Richie's feelings for Eddie are requited, but Went thinks that that's just wishful thinking. To be fair, he thought his own feelings for Maggie was one sided until she stuck her tongue down his throat in the middle of the cafeteria. And even then he figured it was cause she wanted to piss someone off. Like Thomas Fucking Marley. Wait, why did none of the teachers stop them?

Oh god, Bowers is there! Why is Bowers there? Why is Bowers looking at his son?

"Dude, why are you being weird? I'm not your fucking boyfriend."

Oh shit. No, not now. 

Looking over at his son, he sees him speechless and staring stunned at the screen. Luckily, none of his friends besides the one Went's pretty sure knows notice. Eddie groans. "Fuck, Bowers is really gonna be pissed now."

Bowers asked what's going on and Went feels his heartbeat picking up. If he wasn't so nervous he'd glare at the boy for betraying Richie like that, but all he can do is shift his eyes to his kid and hope that whatever comes next isn't that incriminating.

"You trying to bone my little cousin? GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE F*GGOT!"

Went feels his back stiffen, and a gasp escapes from Richie. He sees his son back up dazedly, looking around before being yelled at again and running away.

"Are you okay?" Maggie whispers to him. "I know it's scary to see him all quiety and-"

"It's fine." Went snaps, because he's not gonna be the one to raise questions. After all, if it's not true, it shouldn't hurt him, right? Went won't give it away.

Maggie blinks in surprise, but Went just turns to Richie, who isn't saying a goddamn thing. It's alarming the others, who look like they wanna ask him what's wrong, but Ben is thankfully gesturing at them to back off.

In the movie, Richie's walking to a bench in front of that statue that always makes him blush. His head is in his hands.

"Are you crying?" Maggie asks with furrowed eyebrows. "Don't cry. What would Paul Bunyan say?" Humor is how they comfort, it's not her fault.

"Not the time!" Sharon hushes. Just then a voice interrupts. "Want a kiss, Richie?"

Oh, come on!

The statue disappears and reappears to scream at Richie, but Went already knows he makes it out okay. And all he can think about is the fact that that kid would do a lot worse if he actually knew.

As a child, he never had a real family. There were decent people, even people he got attached to before he learned not to, but he never had anyone who was his to count on for years until he met a confusing but beautiful girl and preceded to impregnate her.

Maggie's parents would have arranged for a nice, quiet adoption but he said no. He said no because he didn't trust other people. He didn't trust that they wouldn't do what it did to Went to his son. And maybe because when he first learned of his girlfriend's pregnancy, a pregnancy involving his child, a fire just lit inside him. The child was his. His family. 

And he vowed to protect that family because it was the only family Went would ever have, and he's raising him in a town where this happens. Where he has to be called that. Oh and he can get chased by a murderous statue, but Went is talking about people. Cruel people who'll do what they did to that couple in the beginning.

Richie says something about shitting and collapses on the ground. He looks so vulnerable. Laying down and as an adult. 

Went tries to get back into the movie, and ignore the looks Maggie is giving him. Somebody drops something in this hand, and when he turns around its revealed to be a talking corpse. "Hope to see you there handsome."

It's too obvious. Too- "Wasn't that the gay guy from the beginning?" Stan murmurs, looking like he's thinking. Went thinks he knows about what. 

Richie looks at the pamphlet and sees a funeral page for himself, like the kind that he saw in Neibolt. He still thinks about what Stan said with him being afraid. Afraid of going missing has grown into afraid for his life. Well, it's Went's fear too, which must be why he never said anything in the future.

"Did you miss me, Richie?"

Fuck! Pennywise! Can everyone just leave his son alone for five fucking minutes!? 

Pennywise starts talking about games, first the game he and that dumbass were playing earlier, and then truth or dare. Also known as Dare in the Tozier household because no one ever, ever chooses truth. He always thought it was just because that's what their family was like, but...

"You wouldn't want anyone to pick truth though, would you, Richie? You wouldn't want anyone to know what you're hiding!"

"What are you hiding?" Maggie asks, concerned look darting from Went to Richie.

"Uh... He wouldn't know! It's in the future." Sharon tells her. Good, Maggie really looks up to her, that should help her ignore the fact that Richie looks crushed, staring at the screen in shock, hyperventilating. Close to tears.

"No, he knows what It's talking about!" She insists.

"Stop staring at him!" Ben tries to demand but no one fucking listens. Everyone is looking at Richie, and he looks so tiny under everyone's gazes.

"I know your secret! Your dirty little secret!"

There's a gasp, he doesn't know from who. Went looks around and sees several looks of revelation. Richie tries to convince himself it's not real but just ends up running away anyway. Maggie pauses the movie.

This is okay. This is okay. These are his friends, these are people who would never hurt anyone for being gay, let alone a child, let alone Went's child. 

XXX

Eddie's POV

"Oh this makes so much sense!" Stan exclaims, causing everyone to momentarily blink at him, but then they all go back to staring at Richie.

Eddie's head is spinning. How could any of this make sense? He doesn't understand. What is Richie hiding even now? Why does he look so scared? Eddie wants to comfort him somehow, but he doesn't get what's so wrong. It hasn't done anything It hasn't done before. Why is everyone staring at Richie like this?

"Wait, how long have you known about this?" Maggie asks, looking deadly serious, and a little scared. 

"Why d-didn't you t-tell me?" Bill asks with wide eyes. Ben stands up, looking like he's desperately trying to look for the words to tell them to back off but no one does.

"Jesus, I never would have guessed!" Bev says in surprise.

"Oh! That's why he was always so touchy with the other boys."

"Don't talk, Zach."

Richie's eyes glance to behind him before he stands up abruptly and starts running away. Bill tries to go after him but Ben holds him back just long enough for him to open a door and close it behind him. "Ben!" They rush to the door, but when they try to open it it's locked.

"Richie? Richie, open the door!" Maggie knocks frantically. "We just need to talk about this, okay? Richie? Please?"

"Was this here when I said, 'Any idea where a door might be?'" Mrs. Denbrough asks.

"Nope." Stan says before knocking himself. "Richie, you need to come ou- Oh. Sneaky turtle." Which only confuses Eddie even more.

"Everyone back off!" Ben yells, clearly fed up with everyone ignoring him. "He will come out of the- ... Closet?"

"Closet." Richie's muffled voice confirms through the door. 

"- closet when he wants to."

"That's right, Ben." Mrs. Hanscom nods in approval. She smiles proudly at him. Okay, so Richie's hiding something, Maggie is scared, and Mrs. Hanscom is happy with Ben, and none of these puzzle pieces make sense to Eddie.

"Wait, so R-Richie likes b-boys now?" Bill asks like he's still trying to wrap his around- WHAT?!

"What?!" Eddie shrieks. No. No, that can't be. Boys who like other boys are sick. And yeah, Richie's a total globmonster but he's not like that! "He can't be! He's my best friend! He wouldn't-"

"You saw how he looked at that jerk at the arcade!" Stan points out. Eddie did, and he's still annoyed, but that doesn't make Richie like that!

"He's just a good friend!" Eddie insists. A good friend who deserves better than that jerk, and deserves to not be accused like this. "Half the shit that comes out of his mouth is about some girl!"

"A good cover." Mr. Uris says thoughtfully.

"Smart boy." Mr. Hanlon agrees.

"Eddie." Bev says softly. "He cried."

"He got bullied!"

"W-when has b-b-bullying ever m-made R-Richie act l-like that?" Bill asks, clearly distressed.

"He was alone!" And yeah, maybe the thought that he wouldn't be honest with Eddie about feeling upset about their bullies stings, but if it's just that then-

Oh fuck. 

"Look!" Ben interrupts them. They all look to him. "Listen, Richie is still Richie... except that he didn't mean those jokes, but I'm pretty sure you don't like those jokes so it's fine. It's just a matter of who he loves."

"Well then why can't he love a girl?" Eddie blurts out.

"Why can't you love a boy?" Mrs. Hanscom says like it's that simple, which it's not. It's just not.

"Wait a sec!" Stan say suddenly. He and Bill make eye contact, as though having a secret conversation that Eddie'd normally be able to decipher but clearly not today. They both glance at Eddie than back at each other before they in sinc go. "Ohhhhhh."

"Care to share with the class?" Eddie demands. He sees Bev whisper something in Mike's ear, and him nod. "What?!"

"Eddie, he can hear you!" Ben snaps, sitting protectively against the door. 

Bev gasps. "You were talking before the movie! Did he know you knew?"

"Wha- You knew!?" Eddie splutters. "How!? Five hours ago we did not know you!"

Ben shrugs. "I don't know, I just did."

"Wha..." Eddie's jaw drops. "Okay. Raise your hand if at any point before Richie smiled at Henry Bowers' cousin, the thoughts 'Richie Tozier is gay' crossed your mind!" Three hands raise in the air.

"Went!" Maggie says incredulously. "Sharon!"

"Was it really that hard?"

"Yes!"

Eddie was honestly at a loss for what to do. Richie likes boys? The same Richie who jokes day and night about women's bodies. The thought all of that was out of fear is awful. Somehow it turns one of the most annoying aspects of his best friend into something sad and horrifying.

All he's ever heard are about how gays are 'disgusting' and 'unnatural', and like all things he's scared of, he passed that information on to his friends. Except, Richie is gay now, and it's his own damn fault that he didn't tell him because of all the shit Eddie believed and spewed out.

The way Richie looked at that other boy.... It made his blood boil, but it was innocent. It was so innocent. He was practically blushing. It was on the same level as the way Ben would look at Bev. And that really grates on Eddie's nerves. But it was innocent.

So what? Richie can talk dirty about women, but a tiny crush is unacceptable? Of course it is. Boys like girl, and girls like boys, and as much as Richie's sex jokes made him bristle, they fit into that set in stone law.

Eddie can't understand it. The thought of kissing another boy makes him sick to his stomach. 

"Hey." Bev whispers harshly in his ear. He jumps. "Richie's your best friend, isn't he?"

"Yeah, but..." But that was before Richie was gay. But boys who touch boys are sick, and Eddie can't get sick. But mommy says they're cruel people who'll prey on innocent boys. But his mommy will get so mad if she knows he's been playing with one of them. But-

"But nothing!" Bev insists. "Ben is right, he's still Richie! You don't want to lose Richie, do you?"

Eddie shakes his head, because the thought of never seeing him again also scares him so much, but-

"Good." Bev seems satisfied. "So pull your head out of your ass, and be there for your best friend!"

But Eddie can't get sick.

Chapter Text

Richie's POV

Okay. Okay, okay. Just chill out. Just chill the fuck out. He just has to go to his happy place, like... Well he's already in a fucking closet, what could be more happy than that?

His breath is choppy as he struggles to keep calm. Okay, so everyone on the other side of that door knows the one fucking thing he wanted to keep under wraps. The thing he was apparently willing to hide for decades.

"Can I talk to him?" Richie snaps out of his stupor as he hears Stan from the other side. 

"Is that really a good idea?" Ben asks.

"I think he could use someone to talk to." Stan says. His heartbeat picks up as he anticipates that conversation. "Plus, I don't think those two will miss me."

He briefly wonders which two he's referring to but all too soon he hears the gentle knock on the door.

"Richie?" Richie takes the fifth, Stan. Not that he can tell him that, cause- "Marco!"

"Polo!" He hates himself.

"You okay, Rich?" Stan asks. No, he's not okay. He feels like the entire world is collapsing in on itself, and he just needs everything to freeze, but even in this fucking closet nothing is slowing down. 

"Sure."

"... Let me rephrase that." Stan's voice says. "How are you holding up?" He isn't! He feels like he's going crazy, and the world is upending, and-

"Fine."

"Really?" Stan says disbelievingly. He sighs. "You know we love you right?"

"I know." Richie weakly replies. He does, and he loves them too, but what if this is just too much? What if all of this and everything is too much, and things will never be the same? 

Maybe his life starting from this morning wasn't perfect, but he isn't ready for it change so drastically. Okay, well, it changed when they were kidnapped for the movie, but he wasn't ready for them to look at him differently. For them to know how different he is.

"Good." Stan says. Richie can almost imagine a small smile on his face. "Because you need to know that we'll always be here for you. Even if most of us don't know what the fuck we're doing, and we make mistakes- horrible, awful mistakes -we love you. Including Eddie."

Richie flinches. Of everything that's happened in the past five minutes, that hurt the most. No, it wasn't malicious, he knows that, but it fucking hurt.

"I mean don't get me wrong, there should be a picture of you next to the word annoying in the dictionary, but... You're not anything that anyone should be ashamed of. Be proud of who you are, because we all love that person. That annoying, admittedly kind person."

Tears run down his cheeks as he sniffles, desperately trying to wipe them away. Goddamn it. God fucking damn it.

Jesus fuck, Stan is the best. Stan is the fucking best. And he's fucking dead in the future. Why. Is. Stan. Dead?

Finally, Richie opens the door.

And immediately swats Stan on the head.

"This-" Richie hits at his stomach, and then his torso and shoulders. "-is-for-fucking-dying-on-me-Uris!"

"Stop it! Stop it!" Stan says, and Richie cedes, but then immediately tries to retreat back into his closet. "Wait, stop! What the fuck?"

He pulls the door, but it stops in its tracks. He pulls again but his stupid dad is stronger. "Can we talk?" 

Richie glares at him but begrudgingly says. "In the closet."

He meant for him to stay in the closet and Dad to talk to him through the door, but Dad nods and steps in the closet himself. God fucking damnit.

"Can we keep our voices low?" He asks lowly, not wanting anyone else to hear. Not even wanting to talk to him in the first place. He wonders if they'd still hear if anyone presses their ear against the door, but tries to shake the thought.

"Of course." Dad whispers back, moving to sit next to him.

Richie remembers hearing Eddie ask about who else knew, remembers hearing Mom's exclamation, "You knew?" 

"Of course I knew." Dad says softly. "I know we aren't the most stern of parents, but if you think I don't pay attention-"

"Mom didn't know." He points out.

"That doesn't-" Dad seems to realize his mistake. "Look, I'm willing to bet most of these guys haven't met an openly gay person in their life."

"And you have?" Richie asks, partly curious and partly... he's not sure.

"I've met a lot of people." Dad answers, looking solemn. "A lot. By the time I was your age I gave up on knowing them for very long. But then I met your mother, then there was you, we met other parents, and somehow I got it anyway."

Richie bites his lip. He's never put that much thought into his dad's childhood. He's old enough to know that the fact that he only one set of grandparents has implications, but they never talked about those implications. Now that he thinks about it he never talks about any shit with his parents that seems too heavy to joke about, and they joke about a lot.

"Yeah, I have." Dad says in response to his question. "And ... And I've met shitty people too. And I know what shitty people are capable of. Maybe that's why I looked out for certain things." He looks like crying, why does his dad look like crying?

"Dad?" He whispers.

"I'm sorry." Dad gulps.

"For what?" 

"This town isn't good for you." He admits with red eyes. "I mean the murderous clown is one thing, but-" He cracks a smile, a pathetic little thing Richie does his best to meet. "But you deserve so much better than here. And I know, you and your mom joke about how shitty this town is, but... This is the longest I've ever stayed in one place. And... This is the longest I've ever known, well anyone, let alone you and her and all our friends. And sometimes I try to pretend I don't know how people can be. How fragile happiness can be. So I didn't rock the boat. And maybe without thinking I taught you to do the same, but I should have thought about you, I should have found anywhere better than here, and trust me there a lot of places-"

"Dad! Stop, I hate this town but my friends are here." Richie says. He finally thinks he understands what Bev meant when she said she didn't feel like a loser. "Life sucks. Maybe it'll always suck. But how bad can things be when there are people you love there to suffer with you." He smiles, taking his father's hand. "I'm glad you found that. And I'm sorry you didn't always have it."

Sudden courage takes him by the heart as he moves to stand up. "Where are you going?" Dad asks. 

"C'mon." Richie holds out his hand to help him up, even though he's basically a behemoth compared to Richie. And he looks forward to growing into his dad's good looks. "Time to face the crowd."

"I love you very much." Dad says as he walks to the door.

"I love you too."

He takes a moment. A small moment to just catch his breath before opening the door. Immediately he is met by his mother's embrace. "Oh, it's okay baby. Mama's here. I love you. No matter what, please know that."

"I know. I know, mama. I love you too." He says into her neck. She doesn't let go, squeezing tighter and tighter. "Mom- mom, let go. Mom, I need you to- I can't breathe. Mom-" 

She finally eases up, but only because Dad wraps his arms around her and coerces her away from him but he's only met with another pair of arms.

"I-I-I pr-pr-promise we w-won't l-let anyone h-hurt y-you." Bill says, and Richie believes him wholeheartedly. 

Then he feels a slap on his head. "Seconded." Stan joins the hug.

Bev comes up as well. "Thank god I won't be alone when these idiots get stupid over girls." She chokes a laugh. Stan and Mike join as well. The only person missing is-

"I love you, Richie." He hears Eddie whisper quietly. "I really do."

Chapter Text

Mike's POV

Immediately after Richie's dad closes the closet with him and Richie in it, everyone just stares at the door for a moment. Then Stan's parents rush to make sure he's okay, Mrs. Denbrough wraps an arm around Maggie and leads her to a couch, and Mike decides it's okay to resume his conversation.

When he's sure everyone else is preoccupied, Mike makes the move to tap Bill on the shoulder. "Hey."

Bill's smile is blinding. "Oh, hey Mike." He says even though they were literally just talking before Richie... attacked, he decides is an appropriate word, Stan. But Mike doesn't question it.

"Uh." Mike sits down at the couch and Bill does the same without thinking. "So.... You're really cool with Richie?"

"He's my friend." Bill says immediately and fiercely. "And he always will be."

Mike smiles, noticing his lack of stutter. "That's.... Amazing. You're amazing. Most people in this town wouldn't stand to have a black friend, you have a black friend, and a gay friend, and it doesn't even seem to affect you."

It's a compliment, especially after all Grandpa's warnings about the kids in this town, and yet Mike feels a chill come over him when Bill frowns. "I don't want to see you like that."

"What do you mean?"

"I-I don't w-want to see you g-guys as 'black' or 'gay'. You're my friends because of wh-who you are." He explains, and Mike's eyes widen. He never thought of it like that.

"I-it is a l-little weird." Bill admits, looking guilty. "I never thought... I-I always thought boys w-were with girls. I-it's w-weird to think it's d-different for him. But I c-care about Richie. I don't want him to th-think I'm g-gonna h-hate him, or call him n-names."

"You would never." Mike says instantly, knowing it to surely be true. "He knows that."

"W-when we're adults, g-gay people f-feel safer." Bill says, and he's probably thinking back to that horrible first scene. "Th-they might not be, but... H-he still doesn't s-say anything."

"Well, it's clearly not safe." Mike feels awful saying it, but it's true, isn't it? It wasn't safe from those men in the beginning at least. Then again, this is Derry they're talking about. Hate is strongest in this town. "He's just scared. Not of us. Just... of the world in general."

Bill still looks troubled, and Mike wants to make sure he knows that he's been a good friend, but just then they hear the sound of a door opening and Richie is being embraced by his mother. And then suffocated by his mother.

As soon as she is helped to let go of him, Bill goes in for his own hug. "I-I-I pr-pr-promise we w-won't l-let anyone h-hurt y-you." Mike smiles softly, wondering how someone could be so kindhearted. They all join the hug as well, everyone whispering their own words of support, including Eddie.

"Are you ready to start watching again?" Mrs. Denbrough asks him gently. 

Richie seems to hesitate for a moment before smiling nonchalantly. "Uh... Yeah. We might as well."

"Um." She picks up the remote. The screen is still frozen on It mocking Richie, and she fast forwards it past the clown chasing him away. 

They all walk back to their designated couch, even Stan who had been sitting with his parents before. They don't look happy about it but a pointed look from Stan keeps them from talking. They aren't in their old seating arrangement. Richie is in the middle of the couch, maybe so everyone knows he's alright. Eddie is not next to him.

It's then on Bill, who crosses the street right in front of a car. No one says anything because they're all still coming down from the previous revelation, but Mike doubts he's the only one giving Bill a confused look. This is stuff you learn at Georgie's age.

He walks down the street before stopping at a window. A bike is shown on display.

"Silver!" Georgie smiles widely, but Bill frowns.

He runs in the store, really excited, and talks to the clerk. He stutters over his words and the clerk starts interrupting him so many times that it starts to get on Mike's nerves.

"There is a bike in the front window, which he just looked at." Richie deadpans, and who can deny that he has a point.

Bill finally finishes with a curse and he threatens to kick him out, so they start over.

"Aren't you William Denbrough, the writer?"

Mike can actually see Bill blink in surprise, even though at this point they all knew that he was famous in the future. In fact, everyone besides... Mike is incredibly successful in the future. 

Bill offers to pay for his bike back, and the cashier sets the price at; "Three hundred."

"What?" Bill exclaims unhappily. "That's bullshit!"

"It doesn't matter the price." Mrs. Denbrough reminds him.

Mike agrees with Bill, but the clerk points out that he's rich. Which Mike doesn't see as fair seeing as it doesn't change the fact that a thirty year old bike is never gonna be worth that much, but Bill takes out his wallet anyways. He notices one of his books and offers to sign it.

"Nah, I didn't like the ending."

"How many times has that come up?" Bev asks, looking bored. 

"A lot." Eddie answers, the first thing he's said since their group hug.

"That's such a missed opportunity, if you don't like the book, get it signed and sell it. You're supposed to be a business man!" Stan rants, looking frustrated. 

The clerk keeps talking about how slow and old Silver must be, and even though Mike isn't nearly as invested in this bike as much as Bill clearly is, he really just wants this dick to shut up.

"You know what, mister? She's fast enough to beat the devil." They all watch in shared bemusement as Bill tries and fails to ride his bike.

"Uh..." Mr. Denbrough clears his throat awkwardly. "I don't think you need to-" Bill gets the hang of it. "Oh, nevermind."

He starts going faster and faster, getting more joyful as he does this. Mike watches on, happy to see him happy. Then it flashes back to Bill at their age, and pans to Bev riding on the back with a smile on her face.

Mike doesn't know why but the scene suddenly isn't as charming anymore.

XXX

Georgie's POV

Billy rides Silver down a street, but then he sees their house and sees Georgie running outside in the rain and waving goodbye, but his voice is weird. The noise gets weird sometimes, but it doesn't happen a lot so no one gets whiny about it.

A boy is playing on Georgie's lawn. He frowns. "What is he doing there?" Georgie asks.

"We probably moved, honey." Mommy says. "I mean, Billy's an adult in the future, and... It's a family house." She gets quieter.

"But you and Daddy are a family." Georgie says. He doesn't understand why they would ever leave their house. Even when he grows up and becomes an adventurer, Georgie still wants to go back to his home.

"Sometimes some places have memories that hurt." Bev tells him. Georgie wants to tell her that their memories are all happy, but then he sees Billy smile at her.

Are they gonna start dating when the movie's done? 

Mommy made him promise not to tell anyone that Richie likes boys and not girls because a lot of people would be mean and try to kill him like those nice people at the beginning, and Georgie would be so sad if Richie died. And Georgie knows that none of his friends at school would do that, but Mommy says that they're probably snitches, which he knows they're not, but Mommy made him promise anyway so he can't tell anybody.

He wishes that Billy liked boys. He really really really likes Bev, but them being all lovey is boring, but if Billy was with a boy, then it would be the same. Like bike rides and video games all the time, and they'd let Georgie play with them if he really, really wants to. It would be just like it always is.

Georgie smiles when he sees Billy back to normal, because him being a grown up is still weird. Oh no, he's next to the sewers, like Georgie was.

"Don't you d-" Mommy says, her eyes are dangerous like they get when they get in trouble, and Georgie knows why this time.

"All-all of the kids in this town, why'd you pick Geor-Georgie?" 

"Bill..." Daddy says. Georgie snuggles in closer to Billy. He starts yelling at it when it doesn't say anything back, and bangs his hand on the ground. He gets up and walks towards Silver.

"Why? Because you weren't there, Billy?"

Billy makes a crying noise without actually crying. Mommy looks at him. "You know it's not true, right?"

"But-"

"It's not true." Mommy says in her 'don't argue' voice. Billy nods. Good, Georgie doesn't like it when Billy's sad.

Adult Billy starts to leave, but then Georgie's voice tells him not to and he drops Silver. 

"Billy, I'm still here."

Fake Georgie? Fake Georgie? No, no, Billy shot him and it was awesome even though everyone cried. Billy looks down the sewer and Fake Georgie with his Fake Hands hold him his boat.

Stupid Fake Georgie can't even get his hands right, he would never put them up like that. He holds out his hands the way Fake Georgie did just to see how it would look.

"Don't do that." Billy tells him and he stops.

Adult Billy begs Fake Georgie to take his hand and Fake Georgie is too stupid to do it. "He's coming!" Then do what Billy says! Billy looks desperate, and Georgie hates seeing him like this, but then a white hand grabs his and then there are a bunch of tiny, white hands are crawling on his arm and pulling him in like It did with Georgie.

"Billy, no!" Georgie says as a hand he's pretty sure is Pennywise's starts to grab his face but Billy gets away because he's strong, Georgie guesses. And his boat is okay.

"The fu- How is that still in tact?" Stan asks, even though his breath is funny because he was scared.

"Wait, I thought Silver was his token?" 

Georgie figures he has two tokens because he's special, but doesn't say anything because Billy screams that he hates It, and Georgie does too, but then the boy in Georgie's house shows up. Billy drags him away from the sewer.

"You hear voices from that sewer you stay away from it!"

Oh, so now Billy is the new kid's protector? 

He starts to leave, something would never ever do to Georgie but this boy tells him about voices coming from the bathtub. He mentions kids, like the voices Bev heard, and then Pennywise. Billy goes back to him.

"Bill, don't touch kids that aren't your own!" Mommy says.

"Yeah, Billy!" Georgie agrees. He should stay away from that boy. Billy tells him to make his Mommy and Daddy move away.

"Bill, grown ups don't just move because some writer who used to live in their house screamed at their child to." Bev rolls her eyes.

Well if he's a good brother, that shouldn't matter.

"TELL ME YOU UNDERSTAND!!!"

"Don't scream at kids that aren't yours!" Mommy yells. 

"Sorry!" Billy says. "Geez..."

That stupid boy doesn't even listen to Billy, going on about some stupid festival when Billy just told him to leave town! He doesn’t deserve Billy. Billy shouldn't waste his love on this boy. He leaves. Idiot.

Chapter Text

Ben's POV

He does his best not to judge, but Ben doesn't know what Bill was trying to accomplish with screaming at that kid. He reminds himself that Bill's probably just too emotional as he sees himself walking towards the school. Thinking back to his friends' scenes, Ben can only imagine them watching the parts of his life that hurt the most being put front and-

Turtle.

A stiffness overcomes the group as the animal blurs out of focus and his future self inspects the empty classroom. He passes a projector, but it's turned on, so wouldn't be in an empty room, meaning flashback.

Kids are leaving for the day, and some boys hit him over the head as they leave, calling him names. Ben's used to it, he really is, but after all of this he guesses he also got used to not being treated like shit. Being brought back to earth sucks.

"Oh, fuck off." Bev spits at the screen.

"Is that Tony Blanchett? I can almost guarantee he does not grow up half as cool Ben does." Richie glares at it.

"Fucking dumbass." Eddie agrees.

Ben smiles at them. He really underestimated how great having friends would be. He always thought friends were just for fun and getting sad for when he inevitably leaves, but it's obviously so much more than that.

He puts on a song on his Walkman, and then sees Pennywise's silhouette. "Shit!" Before anything, it's revealed to be Bev, to his relief. 

"We're already friends. Summer school?" Bev asks.

"I don't need it, it's just fun." Ben shrugs. He never did shit like the stuff they did that summer before, and he had no reason to believe he'd have that now. "I didn't know I was gonna get... Adventurous." He was gonna say friends.

"Dweeb." Richie scoffs with no bite to it. Ben's just glad he's feeling like himself again.

They talk. About their band, about smoking. But Ben looks sad and she can see that. Ben sighs as his future self lies. He doesn't want their friendship to weird because of her relationship with Bill, but he can see how it would hurt, especially when he still has to hear shitty comments chipping away at his self esteem. 

"As long as we can still hang out, who cares?"

Ben blinks. As cool as it is to have friends, he's already accepted that he's not gonna be anyone's favorite friend. With Bill and Bev having their romance and the other boys having stronger ties among each other, it kinda feels like he's just there to smile at Bev sometimes, especially since he's not even the smartest member anymore.

But Bev smiles and acts like he's silly for even questioning it, and takes his hand. It's a tender moment, and for a second he lets himself wonder if he might have a chance with her after all.

And apparently his movie self agrees as he goes in for a kiss only to get her to laugh in his face. 

"You actually thought I could like someone who's fat and gross and disgusting like you."

Oh. Right. He knows he could never be the hero like Bill, but that doesn't mean it doesn't burn the way he wishes he could just burn off all his 

"It's Pennywise." Richie says as though it's a factual statement.

"We didn't already know that?" Stan asks. "I thought the shadow made it obvious."

"It better be." Mom frowns, crossing her arms. "Wait! Not that- I mean-" He looks back at  Bev, and her hair is now on fire. "Run!" Movie Ben does just that, knocking over some desks along the way. 

"Oh my god." Bev shudders. He sees her staring at herself, or not herself, with wide eyes. It really is a horrific sight. He thinks he sees her skull. It flips his stomach.

It chases him down the hallway, recounting lines from his stupid, stupid poem in a distorted voice. He tries to escape out the front entrance, but it's locked. 

"Who locks a school from the inside out?" Mom says in frustration. Everyone knows Ben makes it to adulthood, but it's still heart racing to see himself in this situation.

He runs to his locker, unlocks it, gets in it, and closes the carved up door behind him.

That's a terrible idea.

He breathes heavily as he sees nothing through the crack in the door, before taking out the yearbook page, the same page he carried around for decades without even knowing why. He leans back and Ben notices how everyone seems more on edge, but that's just because... Okay, Danny's eyes aren't supposed to be like that.

"That's not the real Beverly. Beverly would never say anything like that. She'd never say that."

He feels his face turn red and averts his gaze, not wanting to see his friends' reactions to this. He's being too vulnerable, too lovesick, when he's trying to get over her.

"You're right, I would never." Bev says just then, standing up from between Richie and Bill and walking to right in front of him before wrapping her arms around him in a hug. They haven't really spoken ever since her big kiss scene with Bill, but now he lets himself melt into her arms.

"I know." Ben nods into her shoulder. "I know."

She pulls back and smiles at him. On both sides of him, both Stan and Eddie scoot over and Ben takes it as his cue to do the same so Bev sits next to him. That's when Pennywise pops up behind him in the movie.

"Kiss me, Fat Boy."

"Fuck!"

He falls out of the locker and crawls back as the clown taunts him with his own loneliness. But his future self is stubborn, naming all his friends to prove a point. He can sense them all smile at him.

"You know we love you, right?" Bev whispers to him, something only he can hear. 

It comes at him, mouth open and toothy as though about to eat him. Even though they should know better, his mother screams and Ben feels his heart spike. Movie Ben finally gets up and runs for it, bumping in to a janitor. Pennywise is gone and and the flashback ends.

XXX

Bev's POV

She lets out a sigh of relief. Her future self sits by a staircase as Ben comes back to the town inn. 

"So what did you see out there?" "Something I wish I hadn't."

And by that she means a naked old lady. 

Ben comes to sit next to her, wondering if they'll get amnesia again. And she... She hopes so? Fuck, she gets forgetting when it comes to It, when it comes to their deepest, darkest emotions being used against them. Who wouldn't want to forget that, but-

"I guess I wanna hold on to the good stuff, you know?"

Right. The good stuff. Bev smiles at him and then let's her gaze pass over all her friends. No one here ever called her a slut or a whore, something she only recently realized. In the past few hours she's been a part of more hugs than she has been in the past few years. 

Fuck, this morning her dad said that anyone who wouldn't want her would have to be... A certain word Bowers called Richie earlier. She figures she shouldn't repeat it, even mentally, if she wants to be a good friend. Thinking about it now make her want to... She doesn't know, kick him or something. She doesn't know if it's for Richie's sake or hers, but either way the thought fills her with an odd shame that she figures probably isn't good. Feeling shame for want to hurt a man who wouldn't hesitate to hurt her.

Shaking her head, Bev tries to focus on her future self talking about Ben's poem. And suddenly that sinking feeling in her chest alleviates just a bit. Like she can breathe again, as she hears herself talk about the love she feels when it comes to not just the poem, but for Ben. Bev finally allows herself to smile with her future self when she mentions their kiss, even if she was unconscious for it.

Wait, was that why afterwards she kissed- "Bill."

Moment over.

She can physically feel disappointment radiate off of Ben, and even if she couldn't she'd still be able to see it on his face. "I'm sorry."

"It's fine." Ben smiles at her weakly.

Ben knows how much she cares right? Maybe he doesn't feel it deep down, but they all know how fucking frustrating emotions can be. At least if you know it in your head, it's good enough in Bev's book.

Maybe she should rethink some shit.

She wishes she had words to describe how much she really does like him, but right now she's so unsure of pretty much everything, and unlike the boys she ends up falling for, she's never been that good with words.

Chapter Text

Maggie's POV

This is so awkward.

Ben looks ready to confess his undying love already, but Richie interrupts them. She perks up. He doesn't stop to talk, but says he's leaving.

"What?" Eddie frowns. His eyes shift to Richie like he wants to say something. Probably a scolding considering who's talking but he doesn't say anything else.

They call after him, reminding him of Bev's visions but he doesn't care. He's just lived through the park scene, hasn't he?

Shit, Maggie is not used to being this worried for him. Maybe she thought she had more time. Before Richie learned that the world wasn't so fun, and then he'd get all teenaged and moody. Jesus, what is this, is twelve the new fifteen?

Ben goes after him, which is probably good since he apparently has both her husband's and her best friend's penchants for knowing about this sort of thing, but he also has to leave Bev, which... Okay, Ben's too good for this world.

The town parade is being shown, and Eddid walks down the street.

"You just called a kid holding balloons an asshole." Richie snorts, but then looks like he immediately regrets it. It makes Maggie's heart ache for him. For starters, Toziers do not regret saying shit unless it's like... Okay, they'd have to cross a certain line in order for them to regret anything.

Eddie crosses the street to that pharmacy, and asks for his prescription. 

"You're still-?" Richie starts then stops. Maggie also figured that since he stopped with the amnesia, it be all No-More Mr. Risk Analyst. Or maybe it's just a token.

Oh hey, it's that weird guy from earlier! He recognizes Eddie, obviously since they clearly spend so much time together now, and oh boy, if looks can kill Andrea'd be in so much trouble with the law. Maggie'd help her cover it up though.

"Oh uh well, she died a few years ago, it's very sad. It's from liver cancer-."

"What?" Eddie squeaks, looking upset. And as much as Maggie hates his mother, especially for making him believe all those things about a group that now includes her son, she feels for him. He's not as strong as Bev, this would hurt him more.

She tries not to wonder if the parents who aren't on her hit list are... parenting with the angels. At least Went will probably be alive. If Richie's forty, they'd be in their mid-fifties, so probably not dead.

Wait when they're eighty, Richie will be sixty six. Her dad died at sixty six. Holy shit, what if Richie dies before them? And from natural fucking causes? 

"What is wrong with you?" Andrea snaps at the screen, taking Maggie out of her thoughts to see the old guy touching his customer's face and talking about cancer, which he just said his mother died from.

Okay, if that weirdo can live to when his daughter is forty, so can her friends. Meaning Don and Andrea would still be alive when... Okay, she needs to stop thinking about this.

Adult Eddie behinds to fade out as his child self walks up, and stands still just long enough for the transition to complete. Like, okay, they get it, Eddie's a cutie patootie as an adult and a kid. Can they move on?

That really aggressive girl from earlier teases him, and Eddie seems to want to believe their friends but still gets nervous. Both things make her want to coo at him, even if he still owes Richie an apology, which she's not gonna force out of him cause she's not that mom. 

On that note; Fuck Sonia Kaspbrak, even though Maggie just learned she dies in the future, and it feels kinda messed up. At least Maggie can say she wasn't her own son's symbol of childhood trauma. Honestly just thinking about that woman assures Maggie in her own motherly nature. If Sonia was in Maggie's position she'd probably have a heart attack. Not that she isn't already that far off from.... one....

Did Richie have feelings for Eddie?

It wouldn't be the weirdest revelation of the night. Besides they argued like a married couple, and though Maggie prides herself on not having a miserable tv marriage, there was something about how they'd look each other that just screamed their affections towards one another. She wonders if Eddie reciprocates, and if he doesn't she hopes it doesn't hurt her boy too much. His initial reaction probably hurt him enough. And she especially hopes it wouldn't ruin their friendship.

"Eddie?" Maggie murmurs to Went

"Oh most definitely." He replies softly. "I don't think Eddie feels the same."

Maggie rolls her eyes. "Fuck you." She whispers back. "You told me not to settle for you on our wedding day." She gives him a soft smile. "Maybe you can tell who's gay and who isn't, but I for one, at least know true love when I see it. Besides, marrying your first love is a Tozier policy."

Went thinks she doesn't see the way his eyes light up whenever she declares a common trait between the three of them to be something distinctly 'Tozier'. She figures that since his last name's kinda the only thing his parents gave him, having that name; that family be dignified like that must feel so good.

He beams at her. "So you never loved Thomas Marley." Went whispers.

She holds down a giant laugh, and then hits his shoulder, whispering in his ear. "My god, you think about him more than I ever could. Have you ever loved Thomas Marley?"

They finally start giggling to each other, and they get shushed, but for the first time since that park scene, Maggie can feel like she isn't the crappiest mother on earth without having to think of Sonia.

She just knows her mother's gonna be a bitch about Richie and blame this on her parenting, as always. Ever since Maggie decided to keep him it's always been either prove to her mother that she can raise her son to reach his potential, or let him be happy. 

And while Maggie's downright totalitarian way of bringing him up has kept him completely and utterly in line so far... She really just wants him to be okay right now. Whether or not okay means winning Eddie Kaspbrak over... 

"Thank you... For the inhaler, not the... penis thing."

Why is he so cute, though? If Eddie just apologizes, she'd be completely on board with this. Whatever this is.

XXX

Eddie's POV

"Eddie-Bear!"

His stomach drops when he hears his mother call. He's not over that line about her dying, but it's not just that. If she came with him to the pharmacy, she'd go with him to the front desk. That's not his mother behind that door he's ominously walking towards. But she's calling for him.

He walks into a stack of carriers and screams, making him wince. He knows he's not brave like the others but can he at least keep his freak outs to actual deadly shit? 

He follows the cries and gags, pulling out his inhaler, his stupid fake inhaler and breathes before getting freaked out by some stuff in some jars. He keeps following his mother's cries for help, and though Eddie in the present knows it's a trick, he still finds himself drawn to her pleas. Still wants to be a good son.

What did he do to make her lie about so much?

It's not him, it's dad. Still the same reason why he let her though.

He walks towards her voice, but gets nervous and trips over some of the storage. He's screaming his heart out and It's not even doing anything. "What is taking you so long?" Even It thinks he's being a fucking pussy.

He pulls back the curtain to reveal his mother tied up. He tries to free her but gets distracted by something in the shadows. Even now, even when he knows It won't kill him as a kid, Eddie feels scared shitless and he hates himself for it.

It starts shaking and coming forward, concealed by sheet, like the ghosts he and Richie went as for Halloween once. It gets closer and closer, and Eddie tries to free her but It's growling and getting closer and the sheet rips off to reveal the leper and then he gets closer. Eddie knows he can't take it and he runs.

"I knew you would leave me, Eddie!"

She did?

What if that's what giving up the medication means? Leaving her like his father did when he died. He glances over at Richie, clinging onto Stan and Bill's arms the way he'd normally cling to Eddie when the movie would get too intense. He knows exactly what she'd say if she knew, and Eddie doesn't want to leave her, but he doesn't want to leave Richie either.

Dammit, dammit. He can't grow a pair and save his mom, things are weird between him and his best friend and he's pretty sure it's his fault, and he can't get the little voice in his head telling him it's Richie to fuck off. The least he can do is admit that that that voice sounds too much like the mother he just abandoned, but he doubts that's enough.

The leper wraps his tongue around mom as Eddie runs away. Right past his future self, whispering stuff about why this movie doesn't have fucking logic. This time when he tears away the curtain there's nothing of interest behind it.

And then the leper attacks him behind. "Fuck!"

He barely holds It back as he pins against the wall and tries to tongue him. But then it seems he gets more and more of the advantage against that thing.

"Are you- are you choking It?" Bev blinks at the screen. "I- It can be choked? Why is that so weird?" Then she turns to Eddie. "No offense."

"Because demons should not lose in hand to hand combat." Stan answers, also looking perplexed.

It's now Eddie holding It against the wall. "Fuck you!"

"The fuck?" He breathes. He's holding his own against It. He can fight It, he can be strong, he can-

Children of Angels plays as the Leper vomits all over him. "Ugh!"

"Woah." Everyone watches in shock. This is so weird.

Uh, so It escapes, and Eddie runs for his life like he didn't just beat up It on his own. Eddie gets it, he does. He still feels the lingerings do fear lurking under all this shock. But if he also digs past that, there's also a sense of... pride. He could do that. Was capable of that. And if he's capable of that... He glances at Richie.

"Push not pull, you moron." "Oh thanks."

"Oh Jesus." Richie pants. "God... Well, someone peaked in middle school and someone else didn't. Up top." He and Bev both reach over to high five behind Stan and Ben's heads. He smiles softly at the action.

The movie pauses.

Mr. Uris looks over to Maggie questioningly. "Do you want to take a moment?"

Maggie shrugs. "I don't have it anymore. Sharon?"

"Um..." Mrs. Denbrough says unsurely. "Guess it was an accident." She picks up the remote and clicks it but nothing happens. "Uh..."

"Why does the closet have a bathroom sign on it?" Stan asks, pointing to the door, now with a sign bearing a men and women symbol.

"Yeah..." Bev nods almost patronizingly. "And where did that table full of food come from?" She points her thumb behind her. 

"Cool, a lunch break!"

Chapter Text

Stan's POV

The table has chairs next to it, but his friends instead prompt to sit at their couch. Looking through the food options, Stan can tell that the Turtle or whoever is responsible for this really fucking knows them just by the entire table corner dedicated to kosher. 

"Are you going to sit with them?" Dad asks quietly.

Stan feels like he should give some sort of reasoning other than just, 'they're my friends,' but he is unable to think of one, and so he just says. "Yeah."

"Alright." Dad murmurs, and goes to sit at a chair at the table.

Stan frowns. Clearly Dad wants him to sit with them again, but he doesn't say so. Normally, he'd make his feelings known at the least, but not this time. It gives a chill down his spine. He feels like he should say something to assure him somehow, but he can't think of words, and so he just moves on. After all of this, Stan still doesn't know how to talk to him. Just in a different way than he couldn't before.

Walking past the adults, he catches wind of their conversation. "So how did you know?" Mr. Denbrough asks Bill's mom.

"She read my diary." Went says, throwing Sharon a nasty look. Stan doesn't want to know, and keeps going. He sits next to Richie, and a glance at the group shows him that they've coupled up. 

Georgie isn't present because he still needs his mom to help him eat, which he might be a little too old for, but Stan's come to accept that Georgie might need a little more help than other kids. Bev and Ben are sitting together, as are Mike and Bill. Meanwhile, Richie and Eddie are apart but so clearly pining after one another. It's sickening. 

Everyone could tell from the beginning that Ben was into Beverly, and everyone could also see feelings blossoming between her and Bill, but that doesn't mean Stan wasn't surprised at the realization that he and his friends have gotten to the age where they like girls. Or boys, but that realization didn't come to later. Oh boy, did that realization come.

Holy shit, he's gonna be the single guy in a group of couples. Ugh.

Unlike his friends, Stan actually likes what he's seen of his future spouse, but he doesn't know of any Patty's that go to their school, so apparently having friends is gonna get a lot more frustrating in the next few years. Because of course he ends up the go-to relationship mediator of the group.

He doesn't even want to think about the jokes Richie's gonna make once everyone gets their shit together.

Speaking of which.... "Do you seriously still play with your food?" He snaps. Richie freezes with the string of twizzler hovering over his tongue.

"Do you still play your-"

"I don't want to know how that question ends!"

Richie sighs, looking down. He glances back at Stan. "-pickle."

"Goddamn you." Stan glares at him, but then let's his expression soften just a bit. "You're still on those?" He leaves no room for bullshit in his voice.

"I don't know..." Richie frowns. "I don't know what I'm gonna do."

Stan does not have a soft spot for Richie Tozier. Stan does not have a soft spot for Richie Tozier.

"If you absolutely have to keep it up with talking about sex and shit in public, you can if it makes you feel better." Stan begrudgingly assures him. "And... if you need to talk about that shit when it's just with the Losers, I'll make sure we won't bring up... you know."

He's caught between wanting Richie to shut it with the jokes, and wanting Richie to fucking cheer up, but also his main target for jokes are a defense mechanism (he reads his mom's pamphlets) so... How the fuck did his life come to this?

Eddie is standing up, taking a deep breath. Oh holy fuck. He seems to force himself to start walking. The fu- Stan and Richie share a look, Richie's eyes filled with panic, but what is Stan gonna do?

Eddie walks to in front of them and stops. If it's possible, and there is a lot that is possible, Stan can actually feel Richie's heartbeat speed up. Eddie glances at them. 

Not sure what else to do, Stan mouths, 'You hurt him, I kill you.' Eddie's eyes widen.

He swears he doesn't have a soft spot.

"Uh... I- Can I talk to you?" Eddie asks quietly. Richie stiffens next to Stan.

Richie nods weakly, before glancing at the rest of them and forcing a smile. "As long as you don't hate crime me or anything." 

Eddie's eyes widen in panic. "No! Never! I- um-"

"Dude." Richie rolls his eyes. He stands up and they slowly walk to a corner together.

Oh god, they're so gay for each other.

XXX

Richie's POV 

This fine, he'll be fi- .... No, it isn't and he won't.

He sits against the wall and drums his hands on the floor on both sides of him out of nerves. Normally Eddie would snap at him to stop, and he can tell that Eds really wants to but he doesn't. Eddie just sighs and sits against the other wall.

"So..." Richie starts. It's funny how he can usually talk about the walls until his throat starts to kill him, but now words fail. 

If he had known... But the thing is he did know. He wants to go back to how things were before, but they can't, nothing can. Now he'll probably never just be Richie again, he'll always be the gay friend. They'll probably stop inviting him to sleepovers, because it's not like girls come to sleepovers, and that's probably because of attractions, so he guesses he'll have to have sleepovers with Bev- Oh wait, that will be really fun! Oh, and they go over to the straight boys' party and pull pranks and shit, and then-

"Richie!" Eddie snaps his fingers in front of his face. 

"Oh shit, sorry." Richie snaps out of it. "I was thinking of something else. Were you talking?"

Eddie looks at him in amazement before scoffing and rolling his eyes, but it seems affectionate. The way it was before all this.

"Look..." Eddie clears his throat, like a stuffy business man or something. "Uh... I'm really sorry if I made you feel like I don't... Shit, I don't- I don't know a lot about this, but I just... shit Richie, I don't want things to be... the way it's been since I found out."

"Me neither." Richie says immediately, to quick to react when the option of going back to the way things were comes up.

"Great." Eddie gives him a small smile, cute as alwa- he needs to fucking stop before things blow up. Then he repeats. "Great." 

But then the joy falters. He and Richie laps into an awkward silence again, and at different moments both boys open their mouths as though to say something but for Richie at least, he doesn't know what to say.

"I promise I won't get AIDS or anything." Richie whispers quietly, crossing his arms in a vain attempt to hold himself together. "... If you're worried about that."

"Oh..." Eddie responds. "Well... Good." 

"Right." Richie nods. Right.

"It's like I said." Eddie says with a tight voice, looking away. "I love you. Not... Not like..."

"I know!" Richie says quickly, pushing down any hurt at the confirmation at what he already fucking knew. "That's not how I love you, either." He lies the way he lied about liking girls.

"Oh!" Eddie says with eyes wide. Richie imagines a flash of hurt in his eyes, but knows better. "Right... Yeah, um, so... So we're good? Everything's... You're not-"

"We're good." Richie says, and even though a part of him still feels like bleeding or dying, it feels relieving. He and Eddie are in a better place, and Richie doesn't have to feel weird about joking around with Eddie anymore, it's good. "Almost as good as your mom took it when I let her down easily." He offers, not even smiling at his own joke.

"Richie." Eddie says frowning, but not in the pissed off way he normally would. They both know Eddie's mom would not take it good (or well if you want to nitpicky) at all.

"Yeah?" Richie whispers.

"Nothing." Eddie says after a moment. "Just... Um... I hate that things have been awkward." 

"This is awkward." Richie says before he can stop himself. 

It's good though, because Eddie actually laughs, which he hasn't done in awhile. "Yeah. This is. Which is why I want things back the way it was."

"Me too, Eds." He says, hoping that-

Eddie sighs in resignation. "Don't call me Eds, dickwad." 

"You know you love it." Richie says insistently.

"You know you're delusional." Eddie snaps back. Then leans back against the wall, almost thoughtfully. "Yeah... We can do this."

"We can." Richie smiles, a genuine smile because he has genuine hope. He knows things with Eddie will never be how he wants, but if they can just be best friends the way they've always been...

"Yeah, and besides... It's not like we have to talk about you liking... you know." He does. "We can just pretend you’re still normal."

"Yeah..." Something’s still not right, and he’s not sure it’s going to be fine at all, but he still doesn’t know what’s so wrong either.

When they sit back down to resume watching the movie, Richie doesn't sit next to Eddie. He tries to ignore Eddie's look of saddened disappointment at this.

Chapter Text

Bill's POV

The movie unpauses on his future self riding silver with ease. He's so glad because he sure as hell isn't abandoning her in this timeline. Eddie ignores Bev's concern, and just looking at him reminds Bill of how he gets with crap like that. This is the second time It has puked on him. 

Bill shows up and Bev explains Richie. The leaving, not the- Not that she knows that.... She might, her and Richie seem like fast friends, and if he was in Richie's shoes he'd probably go to the only girl first. He kinda doubts Richie did though.

Anyways, they hug over how scared they are, and it really sucks seeing Bev, who he knows can be really tough when push comes to shove, so freaked out, but he's glad to see himself comfort her.

And then- Oh god, they're gonna kiss aren't they? It's just shots of their faces, they're gonna kiss. There's a flashback... To them kissing. He feels his face heat up as he has to look away in embarrassment. Sentimental music plays as he forces himself to peak at the screen. Their adult selves are kissing as well.

His face is too hot as he feels the others looking at him. Maybe it's fucking puberty, but he doesn't really much of anything besides embarrassment at the sight him kissing a girl. Bill guesses he likes her. Shit- he definitely likes her, but the way he likes all his friends. But... In the special way?

Bev is pretty. And strong, and fierce, and she deserves a lot better than the men she ends up with. If they were together (together together) Bill would never hurt her, and always make sure she gets exactly what she deserves. Yeah... If this movie ends with Bill and Bev together he'll be happy. 

A skateboard rolls down the stairs.

"Should we be running?"

"Love that you had to ask." Stan says sarcastically.

They don't run. The skateboard reaches the bottom and they just stand there staring at it. Some black thing is floating off it, and Bill takes a coatrack to turn it over...

He's starting to see why someone might think that Bill has a death wish.

WON'T BE THERE FOR HIM EITHER?

Bill feels himself shudder as he thinks about that kid from earlier, talking about voices and shit like Georgie. He tightens his arms around his brother.

He tries to explain the kid to Bev through his stutter and then goes off to go save him. Bev wants the others to help. "There's no time."

"Yes, there is." Mom says bluntly. 

Bill just shrugs, knowing even the smallest inconvenience is too much for him. He'll do what he can to save that kid, he knows it because of what happened.

"What happened before wasn't your fault, none of it was." "I wish that were true, Bev."

"Bill..." Mom starts.

"I know." Bill's quick to say. 

He flashes her a smile to make them think he's okay, and tries to ignore the lingering thought of how all this could have been avoided if Bill just felt like playing like a good older brother. Instead he lied, and now everything's gone to shit.

Ben runs downstairs, questioning Bev.

"It's alright. It's Bill, he'll be back." Bill wishes he could let himself smile, but he knows their belief in him is bull because the one time he was needed most of all, he failed. "At least- at least I got Richie to stay." That's good- Oh wait, no, Richie's still leaving.

"Not that easy, Benny Boo." Richie shrugs. Bill tries not to think about the other time he wanted to chicken out of fighting It, and Bill punched his friend in the face-

"His car does not need to be that shiny." Stan tuts in disapproval as he walks to it and drives away, the shot moving so they can see a blue car....

"Goddamit!" Bev curses loudly.

Shit, Bill should have made them go with him to the festival. That way, Richie wouldn't have had an out to leave, and the others wouldn't be stuck to deal with Bowers without him. 

Eddie is in the Inn bathroom, rambling to himself the way he normally does to them. He closes the mirror to see Bowers behind him, who throws out a one liner and stab his face.

"Oh my god!" Eddie shouts.

"What the fuck?" Richie yells.

"Did the mean guy wait until Eddie saw to hurt him?" Georgie asks.

"Get out of there!" Ben urges.

Eddie, more than disoriented, asks why. "Because he says it's your time."

Eddie starts laughing with him, but then Bowers gets all menacing. Eddie steps in the bathtub, which only makes Bill more scared for his life, because closed in spaces are never a good thing. And then they start laughing again.

"Why are you laughing?" Richie asks in horror.

"I don't know man! It's clearly been a stressful day for me. It's probably getting to my head." Eddie sighs in frustration. "Fuck, I kinda doubt this is the worst thing that happens to me before the next day. Why am I always the injured one?"

Bowers starts screaming, but before he can pull back the shower curtain, Eddie stabs him through it. "Holy fuck." He breathes out.

Yeah... Eddie really isn't as fragile as they thought, is he?

So Eddie leaves. Slowly. Wow. Bill still should have been there for him, but... God.

"You should cut that fucking mullet. It's been like thirty years, man."

Maggie takes a deep breath, and then nods. "I always knew that style would never age well."

Eddie calls, and Bev and Ben come to his aid, screaming as she sees him. Eddie looks really bad, grimy from the vomit, bleeding out the mouth. Ben goes after him while Bev stays to look after him.

"Be careful with my face!" Eddie snaps, despite seeming distracted.

"Well, what am I gonna do about it?" She asks as Ben finds the bathroom empty.

He looks out the window to see Bowers pull the knife out of himself, and Ben has remembers his scene with the gang on the kissing bridge. Bill has to look away. It might be stupid to feel guilty over a friend he didn't have yet getting hurt, but Bill can't help it.

Bowers leaves and it cuts back to Bill, arriving at the town fair, reminding him of simpler times that seem so far removed from his life right now. Running around the rides and attractions, Bill finally sees that kid from earlier.

"Hey! Hey, kid! Kid!"

"Okay, Bill you're going to scare that kid away." Mom frets as he walks into the funhouse and Bill runs after him.

"Well, what am I supposed to do?" Bill asks. He just wants to keep that kid safe in a way he couldn't keep Georgie. He sighs and looks down at his little brother.

Who's glaring at him.

"What?" Bill asks his brother.

"Nothing." Georgie replies. How the fuck does a six year old know how to say what he means by saying the opposite?

Bill makes it through a pack of swinging clowns, and seems a little too hurt when getting hit by one for it to be a kid ride. He gets to the mirrors, lights flickering. Bill is almost at the edge of his seat in anticipation for what's coming up. 

Maybe.... Nothing -nothing- could make up for not being there for Georgie, but maybe some sort of way to make it better. To be there for someone the way he should have been for Georgie.

Bill sees the kid, but has to feel around the mirrors before finding him. Something lurks in the maze with them, but It's too fast to see. But they know It's there. The mirrors seem to get tighter around him as he tries to follow the boy, and he sees a flash of Pennywise after bumping into a mirror.

He bumps into another mirror separating him from the kid. It makes Bill uneasy, if he can't get to the boy, how will he protect him when It attacks? He's not crafty or a quick thinker like some of the others, it makes him scared he can't protect the kid. Bill should have asked for their help, and now he's reaping the consequences.

His face seems to hurt way more than it does when Bill, Richie, Eddie, and Stan bump into mirrors in the summer. The kid is understandably freaked at his appearance, and Bill smiles and laughs like a creep.

"I'm here to h-help." "Stop following me!" "I'm gonna-I'm gonna get you out of h-here."

Bill shakes his head, hoping this isn't how he talks to all children in the future. But for now he just needs to get that kid out of there- Even if that kid would technically be smarter... not to.

But the lights flicker and Pennywise appears behind the child with his tongue out, which Bill takes to assume means It's hungry.

"Fuck."

"I'm here this time, just take me."

"Bill..." Mom says sadly.

He feels Mike's hand slip into his own, and Richie's in his other, and Georgie curl deeper into his chest, as Pennywise bangs his head against the glass.

The kid is noticeably scared, and Bill tries to beat through the glass himself, but it's hopeless as Pennywise makes cracks, and he knows he isn't gonna save him either. His future self doesn't stop trying, can't stop, not when there might be any chance to save an innocent child.

Fuck, the kid actually starts banging against Bill's wall. 

Pennywise stops for a moment, just to let his terrifying grin widen before breaking through the glass. Bill can barely see what It does before the wall is covered in a dark shade of blood and he screams.

The movie pauses on Richie's stupid car before his mother is coming up to him, gathering both him and Georgie in her arms, and pressing a kiss to his temple.

"It's okay." Mom says.

No, it's not. "I-I-"

"You put too much on your shoulders." Mom whispers in his ear. "I... I think I know what that's like."

Bill buries his face in her shoulder. But he doesn't like the thought of everyone staring at him with worry and concern when all he's done is fail people. So he pulls back before he's ready, giving his mother another reassuring smile, and then leaning back with Georgie in his arms.

Mom goes back to her couch, and picks up the remote. Before anything, Bill hears a tiny sniffle that makes his heart break.

"I know you're scared, it's okay." Bill whispers to Georgie, rubbing his back comfortingly.

"I just was so mean to him." Georgie says with a quivering lip.

The fu- "Georgie, he hasn't been born yet."

He shakes his tiny head and wraps his arms around him. "I love you, Billy."

Bill swallows. "Love you too, Georgie."

But then why isn't that enough to protect him?

Chapter Text

Donald's POV

The movie unpauses on Richard talking to himself. He seems like he's considering going back, while simultaneously talking himself out of doing that, and sounding as idiotic as his mother the entire time.

K"You don't even stop talking when you're alone?" Stanley asks dryly.

Richard shrugs. "I make for good conversation."

He drives up to their synagogue, and he sees the sign for Stanley's bar mitzvah on the window. Donald remembers Richard being the only one in attendance in the first movie, he's sure Stanley must have been upset about in that timeline.

Richard breathes heavily in his car as it flashes back. Is he about to find faith? Donald... guesses he'd appreciate that. It would be strange though. And not something he thinks Richard would do. But he'd probably approve.

Stanley is giving his traditional speech, quoting the Torah. "Today, I'm supposed to be becoming a man."

Beverly hides her poem in that hiding place from earlier. He and Andrea share a look, both hoping they'll be enough to change things for the girl in the future. A hope that only grows when they see her put a blanket over that deadbeat, even pressing kiss to her hand then the hand to his head. "Everyone has memories they're prouder of then others, right?" She deserves so much better.

Edward is grabbing his fallen medical treatment from outside of Neibolt. "Maybe that's why change is so scary." He walks away, likely back to his mother. He deserves better too.

"The whispers we wish we could silence." Michael is at the butchers shop, a man whispering to his son about the fire that must have been so painful for his family as if it was any of his business. God knows he deserves better.

"The nightmares we most want to wake up from." William is waking up at his desk. Donald sees him pull his brother closer to him in really. That whole family deserves better.

Ben is walking away from Bill and Beverly before their kiss looking ready to burst into tears. "The memories we wish we could change." He does too.

Richard at that bridge Donald always thought was childish even as a teenager, carving the first initial of his name into the wood like any other kid with a crush would. "Secrets we feel like we have to keep." Why is the world so cruel for these kids who've done nothing wrong?

And finally a moment of them all together, running to a picture booth. They all look so young and so innocent, yet so happy. Maybe he's supposed to feel warm at their happiness when together but all this does is remind that they will all grow up and the parts of their lives that hurt now will outweigh every good moment they're granted. All too quickly, they grew, and grew covered in scars they did nothing to earn. It almost makes him feel sick.

Stanley realizes this isn't what he wants, and Donald knows it isn't what he wants for him either. So it's almost horrifying to see himself try and take the microphone away from him. But thankfully Stan doesn't listen to him, continuing his speech and Donald looks almost frustrated as he follows him off stage.

He turns to Donald as he finishes it off with an edge he doesn't think he's ever seen in Stanley at any other time.

"I know I'm a loser. And I always fucking will be."

He almost remembers a time when the word loser was meant to be an insult.

In the end Richie is the only one who knows just how important this moment is for Stanley that's there to clap, and even he's quickly cut off by Rosemary. 

"Oh fuck off, Mom." Maggie glares at the screen. Donald decides not to scold her as he usually would. He has other priorities right now.

"Damn." Bev says as Stanley runs out on his own celebration. 

"Pause the movie!" Richie demands. He turns to Stanley smiling wildly, and begins clapping in real life. This time everyone takes part in it; their other friends, the other parents, Andrea. The clapping is so loud, and yet Donald only snaps out of his shock after a moment and claps as well.  

He wonders what that alternate version of himself must have thought after that scene. That speech. No doubt he would have been furious, probably grounded him, must have berated him, but that version of himself hasn't seen the things he's seen. 

Stanley is almost red, and doesn't seem to know what to say. Donald can relate to that. He should say something, find some way to show his pride. But he doesn't know how. 

"How did I not realize I only know how to talk to our son about what he does wrong?" Donald whispers to Andrea, too ashamed to let anyone else hear.

Andrea looks at him sadly, taking his hand in hers. "We've both made mistakes in bringing him up without thinking. The only thing left to do is try to be better. Just try."

"Okay." Donald nods to himself. He looks to Stanley, who's still looking nervous. "Stanley... Did you really need to swear towards the end? It almost ruined an otherwise great speech."

Stanley blinks at him, but then he smiles at him. Donald smiles back.

XXX

Leroy's POV

Bill's mom unpauses the movie just in time for it to pan to adult Richie, looking almost reserved but Mike can see the sadness in his eyes. "Thanks for showing up, Stanley."

Leroy tries not to get too upset. The irony of his speech is that at the end of the day Stan did grow and he did remember the bad. In a way, they all remembered the bad even when they forgot.

Apparently some time passes, and now it's night time outside the town library. His future self is looking out the window in distress. A book falls as he walks past it. Leroy hasn't seen a lot of horror movies, but he knows that isn't good.

"Well don't walk towards it!" Bev snaps, looking at Mike like he's an idiot, but Leroy smiles at the reminder of how much they care for his grandson.

"Don't pick it up! Don't you dare fucking- Mike, you're supposed to be smart!" Richie cries.

Turning over the book, he sees that it landed on the article of his son's death, the one the town cruelly headlined labeling his boy and his wife as crackheads without remorse. 

And then the images start. 

Mike looks so scared as a child outside that door. He wants to hold his grandson the way he did the first time the movie showed them images of that day, but Mike is surrounded by his friends now. And he gets comfort from them. He sees the Denbrough boy wrap his arm around Mike without a second thought, and knows Mike is in good hands.

And then Oscar Bowers' horrible son runs at him with a knife. They fight, again, and once again they both eye the same weapon, but Bowers plays dirty and knocks Mike down before grabbing the knife. "You shoulda burned, Mike."

Leroy wishes he did die in the well house. One less man with hate in his heart, and though that wouldn't get rid of every person like Henry and his father, it'd be better off him than Mike, who sacrificed so much to save the only innocent beings in a town that wouldn't accept him.

He holds back the knife, but Bowers mocks him with Will and Jessica, and Leroy fears that he's about to lose a third child when there's a slashing noise and Henry freezes. He falls over with an axe to his head to reveal Richie standing behind him.

"Oh my god!" Richie says in alarm. His future self tells a bad joke and then vomits.

"Pause!" Eddie calls out. "Wow... As terrible as that was... Who else feels like clapping again?" Everyone nods in agreement, and applauds Richie as well, including Leroy.

"Wait! Wait!" Richie shouts, and the clapping stops. They wait for him to follow up, but he just rests his hands over his stomach and takes deep breaths. He gags a couple times but then smiles at them. "Sorry, we were about to see my lunch again. You can continue." They do, albeit softer this time to make sure the noise isn't too much for him.

A black man was just saved from a homophobic racist by a gay man. For the first time in a long time, Leroy has hope for the future of humanity.

Chapter Text

Mike's POV

The others minus Bill run into the library, screaming at the corpse. Ben and Richie... banter? And Mike immediately notices that Bill isn't there.

Bill is leaving the fun house looking like he's crying. It makes Mike's heart ache for him. At this point, his future self must know enough about Bill Denbrough to know that what he just witnessed would lead him to do something drastic, and tries to talk him out of it before Bill even says anything else.

Mike tells the others about Bill, rambling about the ritual and the group. Richie looks at that thing he stole from the Native Americans, only for Mike to snatch it back almost protectively. Mike doesn't think to much of this, after all he must be panicking with Bill being Bill.

"If he really wanted to kill Pennywise, there's only one place he'll go." "The same place the ritual needs to be performed."

"Oh, no." Richie sighs and leans back as Eddie shakes his head.

"Fucking Neibolt."

Bill rides his bike down that desolate street to the house that awaits with endless terrors for them to overcome. Dry lightning cracks in the background, no rain in sight. A phenomenon not a lot of people no about, but Mike's always wanted to see firsthand. But for now he finds he doesn't care so long as they can stop Bill from doing anything stupid.

He walks to the house alone, but the rest of them are running after him, screaming his name.

Of course, Bill isn't happy that they're all there, and makes a speech about how all of this was his fault, starting from that scene in the barrens. Mike wishes he could find some way to get it through to Bill that not everything is his fault. That it's okay to make mistakes sometimes, or not be strong enough to defeat the monster on his own, and that that doesn't mean that he has to become a martyr just to make up for it.

Bev picks up a heart shaped spear off the ground, and he's reminded of her saving Bill and Richie all those years ago. Or well- hours ago, technically. And Mike knows they aren't letting Bill face It alone.

They all voice their loyalty to Bill and each other, and Mike just hopes it gets through his thick skull that they're better off together.

"Richie said it b-b-b-best when we were here last."

Richie's face lights up. "That's actually the sweetest thing ever! Finally someone understands the gold that I literally vomit out on a daily basis, Bill-"

"Oh my g-god, shut up." Bill interrupts him.

In the move, Richie offers several quotes that he said in the first movie, all of which clearly aren't what Bill means, and he says as much. Mike is just very impressed that he's managed to remember saying that much.

"Let's kill this fucking clown!"

"Hopefully for good this time." Richie nods at his future self.

"We better." Stan mutters. "Otherwise we just wasted three hours on nothing.... Oh god, what if there's a third movie?"

"And it's four hours long." Bev adds as they walk into the house together.

"Ugh." Richie groans. "Just kill me now." Eddie snorts.

"Don't talk like that." Mrs. Uris says pointedly.

The well house is as gross as it was in the first movie, black goo dripping down the stairs, and all.  They walk down the stairs.

"Well, I love what he's done with the place." "Beep beep, Richie."

"Yeah, beep beep Richie." Eddie says as Mike rolls his eyes.

They all look around the area with their flashlights. Bill, Rich, and Eddie, the three who went into the house in the first movie, go to the kitchen.

They check out the door to the basement when Ben gasps painfully and curls in on himself.

"Ben?" Bev perks up worriedly.

Everything happens all too quickly. A door closes by itself, trapping half of them away from the others as they go to help Ben.

They pound on the door, screaming for their friend as the others get to Ben, who seems like he's bleeding from the shirt. But they hear a noise that distracts them and-

"That's not good." Eddie says nervously. "Whatever way you spin it, that's not good."

The refrigerator is rattling, the way it did in the first movie before Pennywise popped out and broke Eddie's arm. Mike looks at the trio in worry.

"That can't be good, right?"

"Yeah, no shit." Eddie rolls his eyes. "That's what I just said!"

XXX

Eddie's POV

It cuts back to Ben, an H being carved into his stomach.

Oh, motherfucking-, Eddie can barely handle the sight or the reminder of his encounter with Bowers as he screams in agony.

Back in the kitchen, the door finally opens. But it doesn't look like Pennywise. It lifts its head to reveal; "It's Stan."

"Oh! That's so wrong!" God fucking damn it. Mrs. Uris is gonna start crying again, isn't she?

The word 'Home' is being carved on Ben's stomach, and the blood is almost too much to handle.

Stan's head starts screaming and so does Richie, and then it falls off and rolls on the floor.

"I'd still be alive if it wasn't for you, Bill."

"Fuck you." Stan says to his own head.

More words are being carved into Ben's stomach, and Eddie seriously hopes that his future self will be capable of helping him as soon as they're safe, even if they have to rob another pharmacy.

They look in a mirror and see Pennywise doing the carving, and then bringing the knife to his neck and cutting.

"No!" Both Bev and Mrs. Hanscom shout as Bev clings to Ben in the present in fear.

But future Bev picks up her spear and shatters the mirror, and all the cuts disappear from his body. Everyone sighs in relief.

Stan's head.

Oh god, it looks like it's gonna explode or something, and yeah, Mrs. Uris is crying. Then it turns to Richie for help.

Eddie remembers their first trip to Neibolt, that awful missing poster that was just- just-, and Stan pointing out that It uses fear. If Richie is scared of liking boys, and It is using Stan to mess with him then-

He tries not to think about that R+ stuff from earlier.

(R+S. Fuck.)

"Oh my god! Oh my god!" Richie shouts in horror, which is what you do when someone you have strong feelings for- Holy fuck, when did that head grow legs?!

"God, I hate spiders!" Stan yells as the head starts running.

They manage to avoid it until they get it out of sight. Except It's out of sight.

They look around and find nothing, which really graded of Eddie asthma- or.... whatever that thing Mrs. Uris was telling him about earlier is.

Richie tried asking if he's alright, but- "Oh, there he is."

Oh god! Oh god no! It attacks Richie, and hard. Bill tries to rip it off, but that thing is too strong. Richie is terrified, screaming so loud the others hear and follow the noise, calling his name.

Meanwhile, Bill is still trying to get it off of him while Eddie is still in that fucking corner. "I wanna go home."

He can relate.

Bill is screaming at him to help, and normally Eddie tries to follow his orders, but it's like his future self is frozen, or in shock.

Why is he just staring at them? Richie could be about to die, or worse, and oh great, now Maggie is crying too.

Is he gonna die? Is Richie gonna die while Eddie's just watching in a corner?

But then a knife stabs Stan. Did Eddie-? No, it was Ben, who continues to stab it several more times for good measure until it stops moving and Bill tosses it. It still crawls away though.

Bev looks after Richie as Bill takes him by the shoulder and yells at him. "He coulda f-fucking died, man!"

Eddie holds back tears as Bill names everyone who's died so far.

"You want Richie too?!"

No, no that's the last thing he wants.

"Dude!" Richie yells at Bill, but he's right though.

When Ben was in trouble, Bev did what she had to do to save him. When Richie was going to give up, it was Stan's memory that inspired him to keep fighting. And all Eddie ever does is get hurt and let other people get hurt.

"I'm sorry!" Bill cries, eyes wet. "I'm sorry, I just- everyone's getting hurt, and it's like I can't do anything, or-"

"Hey, it's okay." Mike assures taking his hand.

Richie sighs, but doesn't argue. But then he stands to go hug his trembling mother, and Stan takes that as a cue to do the same. He misses their presences already.

"Please don't be mad, Bill. I was just scared."

He takes a deep breath and forces himself to look at his friend with his parents. If it's ever just them and Richie's in danger, what if worst comes to worst and all because Eddie is too fucking scared to save him?

Maybe Richie's better off with someone else...

Wait, why doesn't that sound platonic?

No. No.

No.

Chapter Text

Bev's POV

She's not really sure what to think about this fight when he kind of gets both their points. Or perspectives really, Eddie's not exactly fighting back. But it's just a sucky situation.

They get back in the fucking greywater trying to get to... Huh, Bev doesn't really know. The place where they have to do ritual obviously, but she's not sure where that is. Oh shit, it's the place she got stuck in those Deadlights. This is gonna fucking suck.

They walk waist deep in the water, and Bev knows that there are more important matters to attend to, but god that must be gross.

"Bevvy."

She doesn't care anymore. Especially because soon enough that fucking creepy old lady from early pops out and pulls her under. Shit. Ben's hand, which she grabbed when It was carving into him, tightens around hers. They all jump in after her... except for Eddie.

The scene lingers on Eddie.

And lingers.

In real life, Eddie buries his head in his hands. "Oh my god, oh my god, oh my-"

"Your face was just stabbed." Bev offers him, feeling really bad for him. "Diving into sewage water can't be healthy."

"Yeah, it can't." Eddie admits, still sounding ashamed of himself, even though he just agreed with her. 

Oh good, they pull her out. Everyone sighs with relief. Again. Lot of near deaths in the past few minutes, it worries her a lot. First Ben, then Richie, now her. She can't help but fear that the next near death, or the one after that will actually do it. 

Stan's death was hard enough, but Bev finds herself almost hoping that that was like Georgie's. An early, cruel warning that things would get fucked up, but still the only deaths of people in their group. 

And that's the fucking hopeful scenario.

They all surround some circle with markings on it, and Mike chants out some ritual sounding words. They question his sanity, naturally, but Bev's been doing that since they learned he stayed in Derry, and it's only been downhill from there, so... Mike fucking opens and jumps in something he was just being super weird and cryptic about.

And if Bev thought they were gonna stop following the lead of someone who doesn't seem all that put together now, she was wrong.

Eddie refuses to go given how he's been acting, and Bev feels so bad for him it's hard to watch. 

"Eddie." Richie murmurs, leaving his parents and going back to their couch to pull Eddie into a hug. Stan also takes the moment to return to them, but those two are left completely to their own world.

His movie self takes a breath from his inhaler, and Richie wrestles for it. Bev remembers how Richie calmed him down after that first leper scene with one, even if she didn't think much of it at all. 

Then Richie... Then Richie- God, they're so cute, then Richie fucking lists all the reasons why Eddie is a fucking baddass in a purely 'Richie' way.

"Wow." Eddie whispers. "I-I really, really... really uh I- I l-."

"Love ya too, spaghetti." Richie doesn't smile, but Eddie can't see that from where his head is fucking nuzzling into Eddie's fucking hair. 

Okay... Bev would die for those two. And she's not joking. She's kind of scared Eddie is straight, and she's not gonna fucking blame him if he is, his business, but fuck... This is cute. This is really fucking cute.

"Here, take it, it kills monsters." "Does it?" "Yeah... If you believe it does."

"Thanks Bev." Eddie smiles at her as he and Richie finally, and reluctantly, pull apart. 

"No problem." She grins back, hoping that whatever strength he thinks he doesn't have, he'll find.

They all climb down, squeezing through narrow openings until they finally reach the place they were looking for. It's too dark for her to really make out, but Eddie is in awe that this was under there, though Bev kind of got over weird things happening in their boring town a few hours ago.

Bev sees something like blood or black goo floating, which makes her afraid that It's already there. But she tells herself that this is just because this place is already packed with magic. They still have time.

They climb onto a weird looking things and Mike pulls out one of his native american things and puts it in the middle. "It can only be attacked in It's true form."

True form. Now that is something Bev does not want to fucking see. But first- "Ten bucks says that there will be no puppies will be involved moving forward. Not counting any epilogues or shit. It has to be It related."

"Oh no." Eddie groans.

"Deal, and twenty bucks says it will be pomeranian." Richie says, looking oddly confident. Bev doesn't even have a ten to give, let alone twenty. She looks forward to her first dollar earned from not stealing for her dad.

"Is that twenty over all, or ten plus twenty?" Bev says, because she wants money.

"Oh my god, shut up." Eddie buries his head in his hands.

"Thirty it is then!" Richie grins, looking stupidly excited.

Mike starts a fire and they all take out their items, giving brief descriptions about what they mean to them. "Something that I wish I had held on to."

Yeah, Bev can see how she could have used that as an adult, looking for love. She especially knows it as Ben's token is revealed- the yearbook page she signed. She listens to him talk about how he remembered it's value to him even when they couldn't remember anything, and sighs.

Richie gives his token, not explaining its purpose, and of course Eddie and Richie are themselves. 

"Sorry." Eddie winces. "I know it has bad memories for you." He looks down at his lap, looking deep in thought.

Richie shrugs. "Kind of disconnected when you think about it." He says as his movie self complains about how hard his inhaler will take to burn. Bev wrinkles her eyebrows.

Stan must see her confusion because then he whispers. "Richie has an A in science... And most of our classes. He's surprisingly book smart, it's every other way that he's an idiot... And a bad science partner." He throws Richie a dirty look. Bev can only imagine why.

Mike's token is the rock she threw at the rock fight, and as Bev feels a deep warmth touch her heart, Richie turns to him. "Dude, you know they don't burn right?" Eddie mentions the same, she just wants to point that out.

They also make sure to throw in Stan's token, a reminder that he'll always be one of them even in death, and then they're grabbing hands. Mike speaks as Bev is reminded of the shot of them as kids taking the oath. It makes her feel sad, almost. And she thinks it's at the reminder that these versions of them are grown and damaged, and will never be quite the same as they are in this moment. 

Bev knows she can't stay with her dad, but she doesn't want to go to Portland and lose time with her friends. So- the flame goes out. Looking up, they see something coming out from above them, something that reminds her of- fuck, the deadlights. It's those deadlights!

Mike tells them to close their eyes and chant with him. "Turn light into dark! Turn light into dark!"

"I sound crazy." Mike mutters, but Bev thinks that since he spent the past twenty seven years dedicated to this, he has the right to be a little crazy about it working.

He starts saying some other lines Bev doesn't understand, and the deadlights come down towards them, the same lights from Bill's drug trip, the same lights she got stuck in.

They keep chanting desperately, even in their confusion, until finally the lights go into the antique and Mike quickly closes them under the lid.

Two thoughts come to Bev's mind; The lights were It's truest form? And it can't be that easy. A red ballon begins escape from the lid. Fuck. They ask questions and Mike  just says to keep repeating the chant again, and so they do.

She doesn't think it's gonna work. It doesn't feel like it's been three hours.

Oh yeah, it can't be that easy.

The balloon gets bigger and bigger until Mike can't hold it back anymore and it's still not done growing. They all have to run away from being crushed. It's giant. And then it pops.

The sound must have been loud enough to ring their ears, but as they find each other it slowly gets back on track.

"Did we do it? Did we do it?" "We put the tokens in the thing! That's good right!" "We did it right?!"

"That doesn't feel like a movie ending." Richie murmurs, and Bev agrees.

Especially when she shines her light on Pennywise.

Chapter Text

Mike's POV

Everyone jumps when Pennywise appears and starts mocking him for his failure.

"Tell them why your silly little ritual didn't work. Tell them it's all just a... What's the word, Eds? Gazebo."

"What?" Eddie lets out.

Pennywise teases him with something, as Mike feels his stomach start to flip. He doesn't like where this is going. Visuals of him looking at the artifact, the people inscribed on them, their screams as they get ripped apart. Oh god. He let- he made them all believe- he-

Mike is throwing out excuses as the others yell at him when the movie pauses. Mrs. Denbrough rests her head in her hands. "I'm gonna need a minute."

Fuck, he lied to his friends and forced them to do something thinking they might not die. Twice. How is he ever gonna be trusted again? How could he do this?

"Okay, don't look at the child version of him, he hasn't done this yet, do not judge the child." Mrs. Denbrough whispers to herself, but it's loud enough for everyone to hear. He's pretty sure she's not doing it on purpose. "Don't. Blame. The. Child." She glances up and finds them all staring at her. "It's for Zach."

"Sharon!"

"You know how it is." She grimaces. Mr. Denbrough shakes his head.

A beat passes.

"I'm so angry right now." Bev shakes her head, more bewildered than pissed off. "I'm angry at you. Future you. But I'm really angry right now." Another beat passes.

"You're so weird as an adult." Richie breathes.

"Dude!" Bill glares at him.

"What? It's true!" 

"And you're n-not!?" Mike appreciates his support.

"I'm weird now. Mike seems almost normal present time." Was that a compliment?

"Th-that d-doesn't m-mean y-you c-"

"I say we blame the town." Maggie interrupts, shrugging. "He does spend his entire life here."

Another beat. They all blink at her before Mr. Uris sighs. "What?" 

"No, hear me out!" Maggie holds up a hand. "Yes, facing It as kids definitely traumatized them. And yes, it wouldn't be crazy to think It magically makes the town a worst place. But also... Bev and Eddie didn't marry clowns in the future, the married their parents."

Eddie looks away, crossing his arms. "What's your point?"

"Now why would a perfectly normal child grow up to... have more than a few red flags about him?" Maggie asks, and Mike at least appreciates that she's doing... whatever she's doing. "Because he lives in Derry, and Derry kinda ruins you."

"You're saying we shouldn't judge-" Stan's dad glances at Mike. "-his future self for lying about the usefulness of the past hour of all of our lives because of the town? Not even the demonic entity, just his residence?"

"Hey... We both grew up here, and we both still live here." Maggie points out. Everyone squints at her. "Can you say you're a completely well-adjusted adult?"

Mr. Uris crosses his arms. "... Shut up." Her eyes widen.

Maggie takes in a sharp, overdramatic gasp. "That... That is the first time you've ever agreed with me about your many faults. Donnie!"

She stands and approaches him, holds out her arms and makes grabbing motions. He frowns deeply, standing to grab both her wrists, and keeps her at an arm's length, shaking his head with a scowl.

"Uh..." Mrs. Denbrough interrupts whatever that is, though still stares on. "Well... Okay then... I suppose we can go with that. Anyway, I guess we should keep watching?"

One last beat before everyone is nodding reluctantly, and Maggie sits back down. Movie Mike is still shouting out excuses for himself when blue orbs shoot out. "The deadlights! Don't look at them!"

What has he done? Mike finally makes friends, and he lies and drugs them, and puts them in so much danger. Maybe he deserves to be an outsider,

Pennywise steps nearer, monologuing about how much he wants to kill them, revealing his body to be spider-like. Like Stan's body in the fridge. They all feared getting bugs in their hair as kids and now that's gonna get them killed.

Wait, no- Mike is gonna get them killed.

They all start backing away, but only Mike stays stunned in front of Pennywise, giving weak apologies as they yell for him to move. 

"What are you doing!? Move!" Eddie says fretfully. But Eddie always worries, that doesn't mean-

Those hands, those hands he's been tormenting Mike with, those hands that remind him so much of that fire. They turn into a claw, and move to attack him.

"NO!" Several people yell as Future Bill tackles him out of the way. They share a collective sigh of relief as Mike marvels at how they truly seem to take Maggie's bullshit excuse for him to heart. 

"Mike." Bill throws both his arms around him, at a quite awkward angle since Georgie is still in his lap, but Mike is still next to him.

"In the face of death, you run, boy." Grandpa says, fear in his eyes. "You run..." He looks down, probably thinking about Mom and Dad before turning to Bill. "Thank you for saving him."

Bill breathes deeply. "Of course." Mike glances at both at them. But he just fucked up big time. Twice. Didn't grandpa always say that one wrong move is all it takes for things to be over? 

Apparently not.

XXX

Zach's POV

The kids are all running for their lives, as Pennywise chases after them. Jumping into caves and stuff. Somehow Bill ends up underwater. He swims up but can't bring his head above it. Fuck, is It gonna drown him? Zach holds Sharon's hand in comfort. 

"Oh shit, they're all split up." Maggie whispers. "Again."

Went shrugs. "At least this time it wasn't voluntary-"

Sharon shushes them. 

Bev and Ben are running but find a dead end, while Bill swims for a light opening and thankfully finds air. In their basement.

Eddie and Richie are-are they just standing there? "Can he see us?"

"Run, you idiots!" Stanley shouts even before he gets his answer. And so they run with Pennywise chasing after them, extending a hand to reach out for them until they're stopped at those doors Bill and Richie saw as children.

The tentacle thing seems to get stuck as the gay couple looks at each of the doors. Back with Ben and Bev, they're panicking, but before long they're thrown away from each other. Bev into the bathroom, the door locking in front of her. And Ben into that clubhouse he built. 

At least one of the scenes where Bill was almost hurt comes in handy, because Richie remembers not to trust the doors. So they open the Very Scary door. 

"Betty Ripsom!" 

"That poor girl." Andrea says softly.

They try the Not Scary door.

"Fuck!" Bev shouts as Richie gaps and starts laughing. "Fuck! Now I'm really, really angry. Anybody have thirty dollars?"

The couple agrees that the dog is evil and proceed to shit talk the animal. But then they notice It's absence and start doting on it. So of course it turns into a monster.

"You're so stupid." Stan rests his hands in his head. "You're both so stupid."

Bill is back in their basement, but then someone comes down the steps. Oh.

"Fake Billy!" Georgie cries, curling into his brother's embrace. And then there's another familiar voice. "Fake Georgie!"

So now Pennywise is using the images of both his sons to try to kill his first boy. Fuck. Dammit, what gave him the right- no one, It is too strong and too cruel for them. He has to remind himself of that. 

Zach thinks that this is supposed to be a recreation of the scene from the first movie, when Georgie says something he doesn't remember. "You weren't really that sick that morning, were you?"

"What?" Georgie whispers as Bill confirms that he just didn't feel like playing.

Oh.

He feels anger rise up in his chest, but then Bill glances at everyone's surprised faces and whimpers. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry." And he has to deflate.

"Why?" Georgie asks, eyes wide. 

"You lied and I died! You lied and I died!"

Sharon pauses the movie and races over to the boys. "It's okay. It's okay. Billy is still your big brother. This doesn't mean-"

Zach tunes them out, left alone to his own thoughts. He's not an idiot. He knows kids pull shit like that. He knows Bill didn't know what would would happen. He knows he regrets that decision more than Zach screaming at him ever could, and so Zach bites his lip and keeps from looking at him.

He's angry though. No, it's not Bill's job to... to fight It, or protect as many people as possible, or whatever he's gotten into his head that it is. But it's still irritating to think that if Bill just felt like playing his brother, none of this would've happened. Surely It wouldn't attack to random kids together, and even if It did, Bill would get them out of there. Bill's always done whatever it takes to help his brother, even if he puts a vein in his old man's head.

"Are you okay?" Maggie asks as he sinks his nails into his lap. He ignores her, and tries to keep his rising heartbeat under control.

He will not blame the child. 

Wait, was Sharon literally talking to him when the ritual was revealed to be bullshit? 

Sharon comes back to sit next to him again and puts her hand over his from where it's clinging to his knees, and rests her head on his shoulder.

"Did you know?" Zach whispers harshly.

"I know said he was sick for something that was supposed to happen today, and he hasn't been for the past few hours." Sharon replies, sounding tired. "I also know he's a twelve year old with a little brother."

Zach doesn't reply, just exhales once more. She unpauses the movie just in time for the adult version of his son to find himself in the exact same position Pennywise was in the first version of this scene. The puppet-master. The killer. The one who deserves the blame. The Fake Georgie turns into a disfigured beast. 

He throws It into the water and holds it down until it drowns the way Zach was scared Bill would earlier. He lets go of the creature only for it to be Georgie's face floating in the water.

Oh, Bill.

Chapter Text

Ben's POV

He feels undeniably bad for Bill as his mother walks back to her couch, especially knowing Georgie is just too young to understand why his big brother wouldn't want to play with him once in awhile. If Ben's being honest, he kinda forgot Bill was supposed to be sick in the first place, but sees how Bill can use that to make himself feel even worse.

But then the movie unpauses on Bev in the stall, trying to get out when the door begins knocking. He glances at her to remind himself she's okay as the clubhouse interior begins to shake. But then Bev's still door shoves open to all the worst people in Bev's life, taunting her. Greta and her creep dad, Henry Bowers spewing some Shining quote for some reason, until she curls in on herself in the corner.

For a brief moment everything seems to stop, but Ben can only think of it as a rollercoaster right before the big fall, only at least in that case the riders probably won't die after it hits. As his dread grows in key with the growing sounds, Ben finds he just hopes that Bev makes it out okay, even if he doesn't. 

And then it explodes.

Blood come into the stoll like a flood as the clubhouse is overrun with soil. Ben knew he was afraid of that clubhouse being unstable before, but now he just wants to find a way to help Bev, as she stands on the toilet seat, but soon it won't be enough. Ben tries to get to the opening, but then Pennywise rears his head.

"Could It always be everywhere at once?" Mrs. Uris asks worriedly, but Ben doesn't have time to think about that as It begins to mock him.

"All that success! All those sit-ups! But deep down still just a little fat, fat, fatty loser! Always knew he would die alone!"

Ben turns red just at the acknowledgment of his insecurities in front of everyone. He doesn't understand, he grew up to be everything he ever dreamed of, everything his tormentors said he wasn't. And even then he still feels like crap about himself? Like he doesn't deserve-

"Hey." Bev whispers to him, low enough so no one can hear even as he feels their eyes on him. "That's bullshit, you know that right? You are an amazing person, no matter what. Grow up to be fat, or grow up to be a Ken doll, it doesn't matter because you are the best in any body, and anyone with half a brain can see that."

Ben stares at her stunned as the screaming intensifies, until finally his future self is screaming her name. Just before the worst face of them all creeps the stoll door open. 

He desperately calls out for her, saying anything to help her as her father taunts her more and more. They're both drowning, they'll both die buried in either blood or dirt and this will be the end of them. Mom is screaming, Ben doesn't know at who, maybe him, maybe the movie. And they'll both die without ever being anything more. They grip each other tightly as he mentally prays for a miracle. 

"Beverly, I love you!"

Ben gasps. He actually said it. But her father doesn't quit until Bev kicks the door closed. Only then does his future self recite his poem aloud. His stupid, stupid poem that Beverly loves so much and therefore it's all worth it. 

He doesn't stop even as they're both neck deep, and then all that's left of Ben is an outreached arm, and all Bev can do is kick at the door until it opens. It thankfully opens, and it spill out right above him. She reaches out, and though it's a strain their hands meet together and she pulls him up.

"Oh thank god!" Someone sighs in relief. A collective cheer lets out as their future selves collapse on the ground; filthy, covered in their own traumas, and gloriously alive. 

They recite the poem one last time staring deep into each other's eyes. They make eye contact in real life, and for the first time Ben notices that a blush also paints her face as well. Without saying anything, Bev reaches over and wraps him in a hug. 

He finally realizes that she probably isn't doing it because she feels sorry or something equally depressing. Maybe she just likes him as a person. And maybe Ben's person is worth it.

The only thing that can and does pull them out of it is the horrible sound of Pennywise's laughter, reminding him, and maybe- no, probably her that just because they survived that doesn't mean it's all over. And so they get up and run.

XXX

Bill's POV

He figures he should be more sad about the girl he kissed twice totally being in love with someone else, but Bill doesn't seem to feel anything more than happy for them, along with an a cute fondness. Sure, he likes Bev, probably even the way Ben likes her. But he can just tell that their connection is far greater, at least in real life.

Besides, Bill has other things to deal with, he thinks as Fake Bill walks down the stairs and into the water, pulling out the gun and pressing it to his head. "You deserve to die."

"Do you really think that, Billy?" Georgie asks quietly as his future self spews bullshit about being a good brother. Bill doesn't answer, and just shushes him.

"No! We killed our little brother!"

Bill swallows, but listens to himself talk about what he did, and it sounds a hell of a lot like what Mom was saying. He meets her eyes and she gives him a small smile. Slowly he forces himself to accept these words. Really, if any of his friends were in his shoes, he'd tell them that not wanting to play one time doesn't make it their fault. So why doesn't that apply to him? 

Maybe it should.

Maybe it does. And maybe that's why nothing happens when Fake Bill pulls the trigger, or when he tries a second, and only works when he takes it himself and shoots It himself.

Still, It doesn't die, and comes back wearing his face except looking like a monster. Bill hates seeing his little brother made to look distorted and fucked up, but seeing himself like that is just plain weird. 

"I love you, Georgie." Bill says as a sort of apology for him having to see him like that.

"I know."

His future self swims back under and emerges back in the cave, crawling his way out of the water and getting the attention of Mike. He comes out from his hiding space only to be confronted.

"Fuck!" Bill exclaims. Why did Mike do that? Now It's attention is on him!

At least Mike says he isn't afraid, but Bill certainly is when Pennywise wraps one his tentacles around him and brings a claw to his face.

"I know what you are... A mad man!"

Normally, Bill would stutter out a reassurance that Mike's anything but, and Bill certainly wants to, but then he shows his teeth the way he did for Georgie, and he just can't-

But then It flinches away as if hit. And he was.

Oh thank god for Richie! And his admittedly good aim when it comes to rocks. And only Richie can look at a part clown part spider and call it a-

"Sloppy bitch!" Bev laughs in delight as tension wavers for just a moment.

Richie shrugs. "I do love truth or dare."

"Yippee ki yah, mother-"

"No!" Maggie screams in horror.

Richie is stuck in the deadlights, the same deadlights It puts its victims and Bev saw them all die. They all stare in stunned horror, in both real life and in the movie.

They watch the strange magic behind the deadlights work asBill tries to think of some way his future self can save him from this.

But then Eddie looks at Bev's spear. His spear. And recites her words from earlier again and again, and Bill can actually see the courage build up within him.

"Beep beep, motherfucker!"

The spear pierces through It's mouth as Richie drops to the ground.

Bill smiles widely in both awe and pride. He's never been prouder of his friend. It looks like Pennywise is actually hurt by this pear faltering. Eddie looks so happy with himself, and Bill is glad. He deserves as much.

Of course, his first action is to run towards Richie, help him come to and everything. He's leaning over him like a romantic scene in an action movie. Bill doesn't exactly want to see his friends kiss, but more than anything he wants them to be happy.

Eddie rambles about how he thinks he killed It, like he wants Richie to be proud too. Bill's sure he will be no matter what, but first he has to think. Was that really It's death? Eddie certainly hurt him, but it doesn't feel like that's...

...

And it isn't, he thinks as he hears Bev's bloodcurdling screams.

Chapter Text

Richie's POV

He gasps at the sight of It's claw going through Eddie. Holy- No! No. No, he thinks as he sees blood drip from his mouth. No, he thinks as Eddie say his name in a broken voice. No, he thinks as It drags him away through the air and all their friends cry, except for him. He's just staring at him. Even as Pennywise flings him around like a toy he just stole from a younger kid before tossing him far and hard, until he's tumbling over and over and over. 

That must crack a rib. He hopes he's okay. He hopes... He hopes he makes it better. He has to.

"Richie, I-" Eddie says, seeming dazed. Richie just shakes his head, pulling him impossibly closer. 

No. No, that's not... No.

He must zone out at some point because then they're all in some cave, surrounding Eds. They flip him over, he's bleeding out his mouth and Richie's not stupid, he knows that means it's real bad. And it scrolls down on his wound, his bleeding, it's too dark to see properly but he thinks he's seeing inside of him. 

Fucking Pennywise is being annoying, and Richie really can't bring himself to care all that much, other than a passing mental, 'Fuck you.' 

Despite everything, Richie does listen when Eddie gets all medical. He knows that what just happened isn't good by any means, and he knows that it's gonna take a miracle, a rushed miracle, to... to save him.

His future self better fucking deliver, because Richie can't deal with this. He can't-

Other arms are joining their embrace, and it doesn't matter to Richie so long as he's still closest, Eddie is still right there next to him, alive and okay and where Richie can hold him, forever and ever and ever and- oh god, no. Please, please not him. Please.

Still, he listens to Eddie, because he always hangs onto Eddie's words, even if it's just to piss him off, even when it's hard to focus on anything, and it gets fucking hard to focus on anything, but he listens to Eddie. He listens to him describe choking out the leper. He even remembers how proud he felt in that scene, even if it feels like forever ago, and forces himself to feel that pride again.

Really, Eddie has done a lot to be proud of. And Richie couldn't even fucking push him out of the way.

Hey, what the fuck did he see in those deadlights? If Bev saw them all die, surely Richie could've seen something that was coming five fucking seconds later. He should have known, he should have pushed him, he should have been able to do something.

Mike's talking, and Ben's talking, and Bev's talking, and Richie doesn't care. Vaguely, he thinks they're making some sort of revelation but Richie can't think about anything right now. He just needs to focus on the living, breathing boy in his arms until he can be alright again.

But he can't help but notice them talking. They talk a lot don't they? Eddie and Richie. Richie and Eddie. Always fucking talking about something. Just like always. Just like normal.

"I fucked your mom."

Yeah. Normal. Perfectly normal, like always. Even if things are flipped, and weird and nothing is really making sense right now. They're joking. So normal.

"Touché, motherfucker." Richie whispers in his ear, his voice wet and scared, but alright. Completely and utterly alright.

The others are running from It, for their lives but Eddie's not there because can't run, not in his condition. Fuck, he sounds like his shitty mom, spewing out words like, 'condition', when Eddie's probably just fine. He's fine. He'll be- OH FUCK OFF, PENNYWISE!!!!

It is taunting his friends, making them back up... mentioning dying. Mike and Bev have an epiphany together, so fucking good for them. Pennywise laughs at them, and something about that just gets under his skin. How dare that spider-freak of a circus whore be so fucking happy after what he just did to Eddie.  

Is... Are they- they aren't. 

They're fucking insulting Pennywise, and it's hurting him. And in turn, they're insulting Richie as well, because after everything they've been through, apparently all of it could have been avoided by just making fun of his stupid, stupid clown dance.

They couldn't have done this before Eddie was stabbed? They should have! They fucking should have! Eddie should've told them about the leper earlier, they should have talked about what they went through on their little side quests and gotten the answer before anything bad happened, but they didn't. They didn't.

"Richie?"

"I'm sorry." He whispers into Eddie's hair. "I'm so sorry."

"Please don't be." Eddie murmurs. "Please."

He doesn't think that's possible, but when has Richie ever been able to say no to Eddie? So instead he says with pounds of reluctance weighing heavily on his shoulders, "Okay."

It's fucking dying. All that build up, hours of being put through a mental ringer, watching people he cares about did in front of his very eyes. And It is finally fucking dying. The monster that killed Georgie, killed Stan, and- and almost killed Eddie, along with all of them at one point or another is finally fucking dying.

It looks scared. Terrorized even. Well, that's all well and good after how fucking scared that thing made all of them. And who knows how many more? This isn't enough. This creature deserves so much more than what's coming to him.

It's the one backing up now, getting smaller and smaller and more pathetic. And Richie knows pathetic. And Richie has felt pathetic his entire goddamn life, and everything that monster put him through, put them all through, has only made it worse. 

Good, It can know what it's like. Even if that's not enough. Even if it's just for a fleeting second before a quick and straight up merciful death considering how much pain It's put them through. Richie doesn't- 

Why is he leaving Eddie's side?

No, no, never leave Eddie's side. He swears from here on out he'll never leave him again. 

Okay wait, he's just overreacting. Eddie will be fine. He has to be. There- there is no world without Eddie. No future without him in it. So with that logic it's fine that he left his side to rip off Pennywise's stupid fucking leg, and with that logic it's okay to laugh at Bev's expression when he does that, because there is still stuff to laugh about in this world.

So he forces himself to laugh at the lame, baby version of their big, bad, scary monster. It comes out messy and weak, but he's trying. They're all lined up. All of them except for Eddie and Stan. Mike tries to get closer as It sobs, or maybe hyperventilates, and then tries to attack but it doesn't work.

Mike puts his hand inside of that thing. It's tiny hands are grabbing at Mike's large one, grading on Richie's nerves. He doesn't get the benefit of pity. And Mike pulls out the fucking heart. They all join together to hold onto it.

"Look at you! You're all grown up."

Richie doesn't know if it's a last ditch effort at getting on their good sides, some sort of sick way of teasing them one last time, or maybe even an honest to god declaration of pride. 

But it doesn't matter because they crush It's heart together and it gasps in pain, the deadlights flickering, and Pennywise the Motherfucking Dancing a Clown floats out of existence with a whimper, not a bang. The heart goes with It, and they all watch as the last deadlight falls.

Around him people gasp, or sigh in relief. Future Mike and Bill lean their foreheads on one another. Richie remembers the first time It was defeated he felt so victorious as it happened, and that wasn't even for real, but the first time they didn't...

He runs to Eddie. Richie holds his breath. He won't let it go until he sees Eddie breathing, and they get him to a hospital, and everything can be okay. Richie goes to him, mumbles something while looking hopeful. 

But Eddie doesn't respond.

"Oh." The Eddie in his arms whispers.

"What?" Richie asks him. What? Bill is crying. And so is Stan. And Bev. And Mom. And Dad. And so is he. Why is he crying?! Why are they crying?!

The guys in the movie are making noises about Eddie being- being dead, but that's not possible. That just isn't. And his future self is trying to tell them that but they won't fucking listen, and some shit's happening with the cave, and they're trying to get him to fucking leave. He pulls Eddie in for a hug. 

Those eyes look so lifeless.

And then they're dragging him away, and everything is falling around them as they run. Why? They should just leave him to fucking die. 

But they still get out, forcing him along the way. Why are they putting so much effort in getting him out when they left Eddie in? The house collapses with-with him still in it. And a part of Richie too. He tries to get back in, but they won't let, they won't-

He just left the love of his life to rot under an abandoned house. He just left Eddie. 

Nononononono-

Richie screams.

Chapter Text

Eddie's POV

Oh god. Oh god. Ohgod, Ohgod, Ohgod, Ohgod- He can't breathe. He can't breathe.

"Give him space!" A voice calls out. He's not really sure what's happening, but then arms are ripped off of him. Dazedly, he's gently led away from the couch, and a firm pair of hands have a hold on his shoulders. "Okay just take a deep breath for me, sweetie."

He tries to obey, heart racing hard. His eyes are screwed shut, but he hears Mrs. Uris say. "Take this." Eddie forces himself to do as she says and grabs it, squinting his eyes open to grab it. "Okay, can you tell me what it is you're holding?"

He doesn't see how that's relevant and he finds it even harder to care, but still he feels the texture of the object beneath his fingers and makes himself answer. "Um, a- a pillow."

"That's good." Mrs. Uris praises. "Can you describe how it feels for me?"

"Squishy." Eddie says the first thing that comes to mind as he squeezes it harder. 

"Okay, can you tell me what color it is?" He forces his eyes open just enough to squint at it. 

"Purple." His breath becomes more full, and his heartbeat calms down. 

"And the picture on it?" She asks gently.

He blinks his eyes more open. "A flower."

"You're doing great, Eddie." Mrs. Uris smiles brightly at him. "I'm proud of you... God." She diverts her gaze away from him, but he thinks he hears her sniffle. 

Because she's grieving.

Fuck. Fuck. Oh fuck-

"Here." Stan comes up next him, holding out the backup inhaler that Richie always keeps hold of for him. Eddie snatches it from him and immediately takes a few puffs from it. Stan wraps an arm around his mother's waist. His eyes are red, and he looks at Eddie like he's trying not to cry.

"It's a comfort object, isn't it?" Mrs. Uris murmurs.

He's never heard it be referred to as that, but he nods. "Yeah." It fits. Feeling much better, Eddie can focus more on his surroundings. 

Richie's doing a strangled mixture of sobbing and screaming that breaks his heart. Fuck, he's upset. Eddie hates when Richie's upset, always has. So he breaks away from them and stumbles towards him. It's just Richie and his mom on their couch, his head resting on her shoulder and her arm wrapped around him. 

He doesn't stop crying even as he notices Eddie coming closer, but he does speak and hold up his arms as though inviting him in for another hug. Eddie doesn't even think before falling into it. He buries his head in black curls and just inhales. The weight next to them leaves, and Eddie thinks Maggie's left them to find comfort in one another.

"It's okay, Richie. It's okay." He murmurs tiny little reassurances to the other boy even though he knows it's a lie.

"No, it's not!" Richie says, unconvinced.

He wants to offer his backup inhaler, thinking back on all the times it helped the both of them in their times of need,  but he knows how Richie gets about letting other people know. He's always been so self conscious about letting other people see him vulnerable, and yet it was Eddie let in on his secret need for help when he gets upset. It makes him feel special in a way, but that's not what matters. Not right now at least. 

"Richie..." He breathes. 

"I'm sorry, I just-" Richie takes off his glasses to wipe at his eyes. "I just left you there!"

Eddie bites his lip. It scares him almost, but if Eddie was brave enough to plunge a spear into a demonic clown spider for the beautiful boy in front of him he can surely say this. "I was already dead, Rich. I would literally have been deadweight. And- and you needed to get out of there."

"I should have stayed." Richie shakes his head. 

"You'd of died!" Eddie reminds him.

"And you... you." Richie finishes as though it were a complete and coherent sentence.

"Look at me." Eddie demands. Richie meets his eyes with brown orbs filled with sadness. "It is not your fault. You needed to get out of there. I needed you to get out of there."

"You died saving me." Richie whispers miserably.

He did, and now that he thinks about. Really, really thinks about it, he realizes that of all the ways Eddie is very aware that he could die, he died the best way. Saving Richie's. He always thought of himself as someone who'd have to be saved and protected, and he died saving the person who matters most to him. 

"Good." He whispers.

"Eddie!" Richie gasps, looking personally hurt by that. 

"No, you listen." Eddie says insistently. "I have spent my entire life being afraid, and I realize that the only thing I am sick of is just that. Being afraid. If I had to die in this movie, I died being brave, and saving you."

It's scary. Of course it is. His mother always told him to be careful or else something horrible would happen to him, some terrifying illness he never thought to dwell on the details of. And when he finally was brave, he died before his time. 

But it was saving Richie. He thinks of seeing himself frightened in that corner when Richie needed him, thinks of alienating himself from Richie just because of his own fears, thinks of a hundred things his mother told him not to do that he did anyway because his friends were there to encourage him.

He's scared, but he's proud of himself. And he thinks he likes the feeling of pride more than fear. Eddie glances at the room and sees everyone consoling each other, but leaving him and Richie to themselves. Like they know they'd be the best comfort to each other. 

If his mom were here she'd hold him tight and never let him go, let alone willingly leave him to the sole comfort of his gay best friend. Strange how a group of friends and friends' parents could know him more than his mother ever could. And Eddie thinks he'd be willing to die for any of them too if it was needed of him.

"You shouldn't have died though." Richie whimpers wetly after a long minute of just being in each other's presence while lost in their own thoughts.

"So I won't." Eddie says soothingly. "We're supposed to change things, Rich. We can change this."

"But what if we can't? What if It attacks and we end up in this exact position?"

"Then I'll grab your hand and we'll run for it." Eddie assures him. Then he adds. "Together."

"I don't want to lose you." Richie says meekly. 

It occurs to Eddie that he's never seen Richie cry before today. Eddie's been told his entire life that he was weak, so he never thought to be strong. But Richie has been strong. He was strong and he always looked after Eddie, showering him with love and protection in a way he never let himself be.

Eddie wants to be strong. He wants to be strong for Richie.

"You won't lose me." He promises.

"I really hope you're right, Eds." Richie breathes, staring deep into his eyes.

"Don't call me 'Eds', Richie." Eddie says, lifting his hands to stroke his cheek. And then without really thinking about it he looks deep into his eyes and finishes the age old line. "You know how much I love you."

Richie's eyes widen slightly. Eddie doesn't say anything and rests his forehead on Richie's, closing his eyes. They don't kiss, they don't speak, they don't say anything that would imply something more. Something Eddie is pretty certain he wants. And maybe he's just delusional, but regardless, it doesn't feel like they need it.

They stay like that for a moment before he inhales and turns his body so that he's pressing into Richie's side.

He looks back to his other friends, some of whom are looking at him. He smiles sadly and lifts the arm not holding onto Richie. "Come here." One by one, he accepts hugs from every one of his friends. And a few moms.

"How much time is left?" Eddie asks and Mrs. Denbrough picks up the remote and presses something so that the time card appears on the screen.

"About ten minutes."

Holy fuck, it's almost over. "I wanna finish it."

"You're sure?" Bill asks unsurely.

"Yeah." He nods, holding onto Richie's hand the entire time, more sure of himself than he's been in years. Since his dad died and his mother lost her mind, and the world became a big scary place filled with diseases that would tear a weakling like him to bits. "Let's get this shitshow over with already."

Chapter Text

Stan's POV

His first thought when the movie unpauses is that the quarry looks so beautiful. It always has now that he thinks about it. It reminds him of the ending scene of the last movie, the first time they defeated It and came out with all seven in tact. It reminds him of the cliff scene, how innocent and happy the six of them were. It reminds him of last summer, a much better experience even if it was only the four of them.

He sees the sign that they all must have ignored, sees them hangin around the railing, and knows what's coming. But after so much of them being forced to relive the bad, maybe reliving the good is something they earned. No, deserve. They shouldn't have had to earn this, he thinks as they all shed their shoes and jump.

Richie cleans the blood off of his glasses. Stan realizes that's the only piece of Eddie that made it out of that place and shudders. They begin to reminisce on how Eddie would react to cleaning off in the quarry.

What the fuck are they doing? Richie is right there.

They look like they're struggling to smile, but trying nonetheless, even as they can't anymore and the sadness overcomes them all. Looking around he sees tiny smiles on everyone's faces, including Eddie's but excluding Richie's.

If Stan was there, in the future, he'd have told them to stop, and that Richie doesn't need that right now.  But they see the obvious too late, because Richie is already sobbing. But maybe that's what he needs right now. To let it out.

"Richie." Eddie murmurs. Richie refuses to look at him so Eddie grabs him by the face and pulls him down so they can lean their faces together.

Stan really hopes this means they're getting their shit together, because he doesn't think he can deal with them pining all the time.

The others actually do something emotionally mature for once and hug him as he mourns, holding hands together until he stops crying and just basks in their comfort.

"Damn. Oh my god." Richie whispers. "I see it."

"See what?" Stan asks quietly.

Richie just shakes his head, staring at his future self as he makes a stupid but in character joke that makes everyone laugh sadly. "I am attractive in the future."

"Duh." Eddie rolls his eyes, voice still soft enough to not draw much attention.

"I should save for contacts." Richie murmurs.

"Don't need 'em." Eddie shakes his head.

Richie sends them off to look for his glasses for real, and so they break off to look. Bev claims to find them only to dunk Ben under the water before following after him. Bill sees, but doesn't look too upset. If anything he looks almost happy for them. Stan has a guess as to why.

They get the stupid glasses and then fuck around underwater. "Oh my god, just do it already." He whispers in frustration.

They make out underwater.

They both turn bright red in the future, but most people grin at them. At least two of the idiots Stan chooses to surround himself with manage to fucking get with each other.

Richie just rolls his eyes, murmuring to Eddie just loud enough so Stan can hear. "Goddamn straight people, am I right?" Stan senses he just wants some sort of confirmation.

"Yeah." Eddie mumbles back. "Right."

Why the fuck does Richie still look confused? Stan wants to shake him. Shake them both actually, but he restrains himself.

They walk back to town when they realize that the scars on their hands, the ones they cut themselves as an oath, are gone.

"Nothing lasts forever."

They look up and notice something off screen, and when the camera turns to it they see the group, all seven of them, in the reflection as kids. Just after the first movie judging from their clothes. Just after they took their oath.

Of course, Richie and Eddie are being themselves. And it's likely they'd always be themselves. Forever and ever. Stan would absolutely have it any other way.

Yeah, nothing lasts forever. Not childhood, not innocence, not even life. Stan wonders how much he's already lost. He knows now that monsters exist, anyone can die, and he is capable of being his own end. He also knows that some parents don't do what's best for their kids, even the bravest person in the world can be scared, and there must be some reason his mom knew how to calm Eddie down from that panic attack.

The world is a scary fucking place, and Stan and the people he loves are more than likely to get hurt at one point or another. But for now he watches the seven of them walk away while bickering, Stan would rather live his life enjoying the good he has while it lasts.

"Wait, pause the movie!" Eddie exclaims. Bill's mom does so, right on a block of text in the sky. Stan reads it, along with Eddie and likely everyone else.

"Wow." Eddie shudders, eyes suspiciously wet. "Damn, uh, I see why you ended up famous. You're a good writer, Denbrough. Okay, we can keep watching now."

Movie Bill gets a call from Mike. Is Bill wearing a wedding ring? He is not.

They look really happy to be talking to one another. This is nice. Oh, and apparently they aren't forgetting this time.

"Maybe because It's dead... or maybe because we have more we want to remember than we want to forget."

"Maybe a mix of both." Mr. Hanlon suggests.

"Maybe." Mike nods slightly. His grandfather gives him a slight smile that's probably easy for most people to miss.

Mike's finally gonna leave the worst town anyone could ever live in, glancing at the article of his parents as he tells Bill this, but not before mentioning a letter.

"Patricia Uris?"

His future wife sent out letters? To people she probably wouldn't even know about? Damn, that's so fucking nice. He marries a good person. Stan wonders when or how they'll meet, and if she'd ever move to Derry. Because like, God knows Stan won't be able to deal with all this couple bullshit he'll be getting from his friends.

"Bill.... I love you, man. "Love you too.

Speaking of which, Stan looks around the room and is pleasantly surprised to find that no one seems to shoot Mike and Bill any knowing or questioning looks, meaning Stan is so far the only person to see anything there.

He bets Patricia would though. She'd be smart about this sort of thing. Like him. And they could talk about how stupid all their friends are. Patricia would get on great with the others. She'd be her own member of the group in no time. She would totally be one of them.

Maybe she will one day.

But for now, they watch as Mike closes the history book, and leaves the library with a trash bin filled with old missing posters. And because of Stan's friends, there's probably gonna be a whole lot less of those hanging around.

"Dear Losers, I know what this must seem like, but this isn't a suicide note."

Stan wrote them all fucking suicide notes?

He explains his reasoning for killing himself, a flashback to him writing at a desk.

At least he sees that one of the envelopes is addressed to a Patty, but there is no way he was one hundred percent honest with her, or else she probably thinks he's crazy, and either way she'll never truly know why.

"So you mean to tell me... You died.... Because you didn't want to die!?" Richie demands, glaring at Stan. Stan sighs, holds out his hand, is thrown a throw pillow, and promptly uses it to shield Richie's attacks best he can.

"Richie? Richie, stop! Richie, stop!" Eddie pulls him back, giving him a warning look. Richie deflates, and does as he says, albeit begrudgingly.

Good timing though, because that's just when Stan speaks on being afraid as Richie stops by the Kissing Bridge.

R+E "Be who you want to be. Be proud."

Eddie gasps. "I fucking win!" Everyone looks at him wildly in surprise. "Fuck Bowers' cousin, holy fuck."

But Richie's smiling for the first time since Eddie was hurt, a small little thing that has Stan rolling his eyes. "Ugh. Finally."

"Fuck you too, Stan!"

"What did I do?!" Stan asks.

"You don't need to know." Eddie glares at him, Richie in between them, though the tips of his ears do turn red.

Still he turns to give Richie a quick kiss on the cheek that has the other boy blushing even harder then Bev and Ben when they see their future selves together, happy as can be.

"I had a beautiful dream." "And if you find someone worth holding onto, never ever let them go."

"Solid advice, Uris." Bev smiles. Richie nods. Stan wonders if he's talking about his wife. But Bev's content smile is enough to distract him from that.

Mike's finally leaving, opening a book to show his bookmark is a picture of all of them as kids from the photo booth.

And then it's them again, on bikes. All with their own piece of voiceover, but in their kid voices, handing out advice, and he takes it to heart but Stan has to focus on is how happy they all look. Together, as it should be.

Chapter Text

Bill's POV

For a moment no one said anything, staring at the screen as it turned black. 

"Is it over?" Maggie whispers. Nothing happens. "... It's over!"

"Don't jinx anything!" Mom hisses at her. 

"IT! IS! FINISHED!!!"  A commanding voice booms out, causing them all to jump. 

"Oh, holy fuck." Richie blurts out as they all turn to behind the couches to where that goddamn Turtle sits on that table from earlier and looks at them without expression... Though that's probably just be because it's a turtle, and it's face won't express the same way a human wou-

"Where did you come from!?" Stan shouts in frustration. 

"YOU'VE DONE VERY WELL." The Turle praises them, ignoring Stan's exclamation.

"Well, I mean, all we did was watch a couple movies." Bev shrugs. "Can't think of many ways to fuck that up." 

He and Stan look at each other and nod. Fair enough.

"LOSERS! PARENTS! GEORGIE! I AM VERY PLEASED BY THE RESULTS OF THIS WATCHING. HOW YOU'VE GROWN AND ALL OF THAT." The Turtle says. "BUT MORE THAN THAT, CAPABLE PEOPLE I BELIEVE WILL DO WELL KNOWING THE COMPLETE STORY."

Bill beams at the praise.

"I'm a Loser too!" Georgie protests, looking angry.

"Georgie." Bill hisses at him, suddenly feeling like a weight has been lifted off his chest. God, his baby brother is a brat. And he wouldn't trade him for the whole fucking world.

"THAT YOU ARE." The Turtle agrees. Bill thinks he might be smiling, but it's kinda hard to tell. 

"Thank you." Mom steps forward. "For showing this to us. As hard as it was, you didn't need to. If you had let the events in this play out, It would still have been defeated but you showed this to us, and saved three of these kids' lives. Not to mention saving the one's who survived a lifetime of trauma. So thank you."

Bill blinks at his mother. He'd never thought about it that way. He supposes that that's true though. As horrible as that movie was, it ended in It getting what's coming. 

"THERE'S MORE WE NEED TO DISCUSS." The Turtle says. "BUT FIRST I'D LIKE TO INTRODUCE MYSELF. I AM MATURIN, CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE. AND I WOULD LIKE TO PERSONALLY THANK EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU FOR AIDING IN THE DEATH OF MY LITTLE BROTHER."

"It is your brother!?" Bill shouts in shock.

"Well Thanksgiving must be a bitch to get through." Maggie says with wide eyes.

As much as Bill loves Georgie, if he got off on eating children Bill supposes he'd want a group of dumbasses and a six year old to watch a movie so they'd know how to tease him to death.

Maybe, he doesn't know.

"SINCE THE DAWN OF MY CREATION, I HAVE WAITED FOR MY BROTHER TO BE DEFEATED. AND IT WAS ONLY THIS GROUP THAT HAS MANAGED TO SUCCEED, BUT ONLY THROUGH MUCH PAIN. THE CHANCE TO PREVENT SOME OF THE TERROR THEY'VE FACED IS ONLY THE SMALLEST OF THANKS I CAN GIVE TO YOU. BUT IT IS WITH A HEAVY HEART THAT I HAVE TO ASK EVEN MORE FROM YOU." 

"Bully the bitch to death." Richie rolls his eyes. "We saw what happened. We watched the movie. You made us watch two entire movies to tell us that! It was one of the worst experiences of my life!"

"One of?" Eddie's eyebrows shoot up his forehead. "What experiences was this day better than?"

Richie clicks his tongue. "You know what, you don't need to know."

"Well, that's not very healthy." Eddie points out quietly. "If we're gonna be... you know, you really should tell me about stuff. You know."

"I know." Richie looks down. "This was the worst experience of my life. I just- I don't know why I said 'one of', I just did and then I thought it'd be weird if I took it back. This was definitely the worst thing I could ever have to tell anyone about. Well, I mean not all of it, obviously-" Eddie nods.

"NEVERMIND THIS!!!" Maturin interrupts them. Bill sends him a silent thanks. "THERE IS MORE TO THIS STORY. MORE THAT WAS NOT SHOWN IN THE FILMS!"

A moment passes.

"Why not!?" Stan asks, looking like he might lose his goddamn mind. The Turtle doesn't answer.

"YOU SEE, THE RITUAL OF CHUD DID WORK. FOR THE RITUAL COULD ONLY WORK IF THE PARTICIPANTS TRULY FACED THE FEARS THAT PLAGUED THEM. YOU SEE, IT WAS ONLY AFTER THE RITUAL THAT THEY OVERCAME THE FEARS ASSOCIATED WITH THE TOKEN!"

Bill takes a moment to digest this information.

"You couldn't have just told us that?!" Maggie shouts at the talking turtle. "I cried, you bitch! Three times!"

"Four times." Went corrects. "Once at Neibolt, once when our son's deepest secret was mercilessly exposed for a subplot that ended in him heartbroken, once when Stan's head grew legs and-"

"Okay, I get it!" Maggie snaps.

"Anyways!" Mr. Uris interrupts them, glaring at the couple before glancing back to Maturin nervously. "We will do our best. And my personal thanks. For giving us a chance to prevent... some things. Though I would have preferred less graphics in the process." He says the last part with a bit of an edge in his voice. 

Stan sighs, leaning in towards Bill to murmur. "Only my dad could look at the Creator of the Universe and criticize his methods for saving my life." He shakes his head, and then a beat passes, and he snorts.

"Wait!" Dad yells out. They all turn to him expectantly. Bill's sure he's not the only one who remembers the last time Dad addressed the magic Turtle. But he doesn't shout this time, instead asking in a normal tone. "Will we have to split up this time for the tokens?"

"NO, I DO NOT KNOW WHY THEY CHOSE TO DO THAT." Maturin answers in earnest.

"Hey, how come you can't kill him yourself? I'm not being sassy or anything, I'm just curious." Stan asks, and it occurs to Bill that only Stan could risk offending the Creator of the Universe just to ease his curiousity.

"DO NOT WORRY ABOUT IT."

"Huh?" 

The lights flicker, and the table Maturin is resting on begins to move backwards, into the darkness.

"The fuck?" Bev breathes, squinting after him. "Dude, what the fuck! You're just gonna leave!?" Only Bev... Debatably.

"You realize we're forced to think you're just lazy, right?" Maggie says as he goes. And only Maggie -and Richie- would ever accuse the creator of being lazy and act like it's just the sensible conclusion.

But he doesn't respond, and only responds when Richie yells out once again. "Bye!"

"BYE!" 

And then he is gone, once more

A moment passes.

"This has been a strange day." Mr. Uris says.

Everyone nods in agreement. Richie and Stan both stand to meet their parents with hugs. Bill takes that as a cue to go to his parents. He lifts Georgie off of his lap and the kid runs to Mom and Dad. Bill smiles slightly and runs after him. Dad lifts Georgie off the floor, while Mom wraps an arm around his shoulders.

"I'm proud of you." Mom whispers in his ear. "So so proud. I knew you were growing up, and I knew you tried to look out for others, but I never thought... Look at me, as... odd as you grew up to be, you looked after the people you love. And when that wasn't enough, you need to know that isn't on you. You can't save everyone, Bill.

And he didn't save everyone.

"I'm sorry I lied." Bill whispers.

Mom shakes her head. "There was no way for you to know. It could've happened to anyone. To someone who loves his little brother a lot less than you. You're heart's always been in the right place." She kisses his temple. "Besides, I have two kids. I know what it's like to need a break once in awhile. Just send him to me next time you need a day off big brother duties."

"Oh, after this, that won't be for a long-"

"YES!" They turn their heads towards Bev, who is happily hugging Mrs. Uris. Both looking so happy. As does Stan, who's right next to her, waving off the questioning looks with a smile.

Bev looks back the rest of them and her grin widens. She gestures for Stan to follow and the other members of the Losers Club, including Georgie but he doesn't have to clarify that, gather back at their couch. He sits next to Mike. 

"I am going to be a Uris." Bev tells them happily. They all look at her oddly.

Stan rolls his eyes. "My parents are offering to house her after we all murder her dad."

"Good." Ben says, eyes happy. Both because Bev will get to stay and get away from her crazy dad at the same time. Bev takes Ben's hand, both blushing like crazy. Bill smiles at them, so happy. The others look at him like he should be sad, but he just isn't. So long as they're happy.

"You good?" Mike asks quietly.

Bill beams. "Never better."

Bev stretches out her arms as though tired. "Okay, scale from one to ten... What are the chances we don't end up half as fucked up as we are in the alternate timeline?"

"Oh, slim to none." Eddie bets. "Even knowing what we do know, I'm pretty sure fuckupery is just engrained in our bodies somehow. I'm sure we'll manage to find someway to get horrifically scarred so bad our future selves are stupidly inept."

Richie shrugs. "Nothing could be worse than that movie's ending so..." He says it lazily, but his eyes don't hide that Eddie dying, along with Stan and Georgie, is most definitely the worst timeline.

"Don't be so down, guys." Bill leans back. "We know what to do now, we got the lazy Creator of the Universe on our side and he doesn't care if we insult him, and we're gonna be together. Best timeline."

He closes his eyes, relaxing for a moment. When no one responds he opens them again only to find himself in a place he most certainly was not before. His bedroom.