The tall man that stood before you wrapped his arms around your frame, pulling you into a tight embrace. For a moment, you couldn’t move, taken aback by the affectionate action of the human… until your arms instinctively started to hug him back, inhaling deeply into his chest as the familiar smell of him washed over you.
In an instant, your entire past flooded your mind like a tidal wave. All of your memories as a human had been buried in your brain, scattered in a way that made them nearly impossible to find until now. You remembered everything leading up to your long rest as if it were yesterday. To say that it was jarring to see Richie now almost three decades older was an understatement.
“Holy shit, Y/N,” Richie mumbled into your hair, releasing a choked sob. “I never thought… I mean… I figured you were dead.”
He released you then, keeping a firm grip on your shoulders as if he were afraid that he would lose you again if he let go. “Richie,” you uttered, your voice hoarse with the urge to cry. “I can’t believe it. You look…”
“Handsome as fuck?” he interjected playfully with a wide grin.
“I was just going to say that you grew into your looks,” you teased, reassuringly rubbing your thumb over his cheek, still not quite sure that this wasn’t all just a dream.
“What the fuck does that mean?” he asked, eyeing you suspiciously before chuckling and brushing it off. His eyes searched yours for a moment before his grin faded into a grim expression. “You haven’t aged a day.” Typically when people say that, it’s meant as a compliment, but you felt the devastation in his voice as he said it, knowing that it could only mean one thing. You were no longer human.
Releasing his grip, he stepped back from you, his brow furrowing in distress and resentment. The others slowly came forward, wanting to inspect you for themselves. It was then that you realized you knew them, too.
Eyes welling up, you placed your hand over your mouth in shock as you realized that the majority of the Losers Club was standing before you. They were now much older than you, their features still so similar, and yet so simultaneously different. “Oh my god,” you lamented, trying to contain yourself from having a mental breakdown.
It’s not that you didn’t know this would happen when you agreed to be Pennywise’s mate, but to expect something and then to actually live it were two very different things. To witness those kids change from adolescents to full-on adults overnight was jarring to say the least.
Swallowing thickly, you cleared your throat before speaking again. “You… you never left?” you asked, disappointment flooding through you. “You were supposed to leave and live your life away from this place. Why did you stay?”
“We did leave,” an attractive man remarked from the back of the group. Examining him closely, it took you a moment to finally realize who it was.
“Jesus Christ… Ben? Are you shitting me?”
His lips curved into a shy, humble grin as he replied, “Yeah, it’s me.”
“You look so great!” You approached him in an attempt to embrace him, but he immediately flinched, detering you from coming any closer. “I… I’m sorry,” you stammered, stepping back and avoiding his gaze.
“N-no,” he stumbled over his words, obviously feeling guilty of hurting you. “It’s fine. It’s just… you’re…”
“A monster,” you finished for him, the taste of the word bitter on your tongue.
He grimaced at your use of the blunt phrase. “I didn’t mean it like that. I’m sorry.”
You smiled sadly at him, wanting to give him a reassuring hug, but knowing that it would only make him, and probably everyone else, uncomfortable. It was a relief to see that though Ben had physically changed so dramatically, he was still the same sweet boy you knew.
Brushing off the rejection, you remembered what Ben had said before you were distracted by his appearance. “Wait, so if you left Derry, why are you back?”
The tension in the air was thick as Mike addressed you. “I was the only one that never left. I’ve been here researching and waiting to see if It would return. After the incident at the bridge, I knew that my suspicions were correct. We made an oath that if It ever came back, we’d find a way to get rid of him for good.”
Everyone’s eyes were on you as they gauged your reaction, their anxiety heightened as they waited to see how you would respond. After a long pause, you finally replied with a candid, “I see.” Of course they wouldn’t have just let it go. There was no way that you could have expected them to, despite hoping otherwise. “So… you’re here to kill me, too?”
“No,” Richie stated bluntly, too fast for anyone to interject.
“Richie, come on,” Bill protested, speaking up for the first time while giving you a sympathetic, and yet equally cold expression.
“No,” Richie repeated, turning to glare at Bill. “That’s not happening. She’s the only family I have left.”
That struck you as an odd statement. “What are you talking about? Where’s Sara and Aunt Alyssa?”
Richie turned away, refusing to meet your gaze as you picked up on the apprehensive aura emitting from the others. “Richie…” you said his name with warning, resisting the urge to growl with impatience. “Where are they?”
He finally locked eyes with you, his expression sorrowful as he took a deep, shaky breath and replied. “Car accident. About 5 years after you… disappeared.” You could tell that he was struggling to find words for what happened to you during your hibernation, but that was the least of your concerns.
Your family was gone. Two of the people you loved most in the world were dead, and you weren’t there to say goodbye. You couldn’t even remember the last thing that you said to your aunt, but one thing that would forever remain etched in your memory is the grief-stricken expression that Sara gave you as you left with your mate after she had begged you with everything she had to stay. That was the last moment that you will ever have with her. You broke her heart.
That’s when a thought occurred to you. Pennywise had the capability to control things outside of his slumber. You had remembered this from when he still maintained control over your life even after he had gone into hibernation and you had left for California. Could it be possible that he caused this as a form of his own revenge?
You could feel the heat rising from your chest, up past your throat and into your face. Fury and a deep feeling of betrayal were radiating throughout your body. All reason had been eradicated from your mind as your vision was blinded by rage. You opened your mouth slowly, absentmindedly releasing a shriek that was thunderous, piercing, and downright horrifying.
Talons ripped through your fingertips as you continued to screech loudly, causing some of the others to cover their ears while the remaining few distanced themselves even further, their eyes wide with astonishment, too frightened to react.
The moment your scream had ceased, you teleported, leaving the others behind without another word. You concentrated on feeling your way through the airspace, searching for your mate. The moment you caught scent of him, you chased after him, immediately finding yourself deep in the woods on the outskirts of Derry.
Breathing heavily, the heat from your breath emerged like smoke in front of you, making your appearance even more sinister as you skulked through the trees. “Pennywise!” you shouted, the sound of your own voice sending a chill down your spine. “Show yourself! Right now!”
“I’m here.” You whipped around to see Pennywise casually leaning against a tree, his arms and legs crossed in a relaxed position while he glared at you in the dark. “You disobeyed me.”
“Cut the bullshit, Penn,” you demanded. As you approached him, you could feel your fangs drop from your gums in what appeared to be an involuntary reaction. You had briefly recalled this happening to Pennywise whenever he was enraged or lustful.
“My, my,” he cooed, grinning widely to show off his own sharp teeth gleaming in the moonlight. “We’re in a mood, aren’t we?”
Placing your hands on his shoulders, you pushed him back from his stance against the tree, causing him to stumble back. You snarled furiously at him, which was met with a deep warning growl from him in return.
“Did you kill Sara and Aunt Alyssa?!”
His expression changed from angry to neutral immediately as he sat up straight, his eyes flickering over your seething form. “No,” he finally answered. “I didn’t.”
“I don’t believe you.” Bitterness was evident in your tone as you started to circle around him like a wild animal cornering their prey. What infuriated you even more was the fact that you could sense what he was feeling, and there was not even a hint of concern. Instead, he seemed amused by your outrage.
“It’s unfortunate that they’re no longer with us,” he drawled in a bored tone. “Your aunt’s company was tolerable, and Sara… well, she was certainly entertaining.” The malice in his eyes as he spoke of them made something snap inside of you that you couldn’t reign in.
In an instant you were on him, talons and teeth at the ready as you wrestled him to the ground. Not even a moment later, he had you pinned underneath him, your arms held together above your head by his strong grip while his other hand traced a long nail down the length of your cheek. “Was it something I said?” A malicious cackle followed his taunt, which gave you the opportunity to strike again.
Lifting your legs, you wrapped them around his chest and twisted yourself upwards while pulling him down with your calves, causing him to fall back while you sprung to your feet, baring your teeth at him. He giggled menacingly, apparently wildly entertained by your attempt to bring him down.
“Apparently, you’ve regained your memory,” he commented facetiously.
You narrowed your eyes at him, trying to read his thoughts, but he was blocking you from doing so. “You sound disappointed,” you replied flippantly, matching his uncaring demeanor like it was a game of wits.
“Oh?” he asked in mock curiosity. “Why would I be?”
“You tell me,” you urged, still circling in an attempt to keep him distracted, meeting him step-for-step as you maintained focus while strategizing your next attack. “Did you purposely try to make me forget? Or were you trying to keep me away from my cousin to make sure that I wouldn’t ever remember where I came from?”
He hummed in response, pursing his lips as he tilted his head in thought and maybe even pity. “I can think of far better ways to spend my time than to plot against my mate.”
He was an enigma, and he baffled you to the brink of insanity. A part of him was genuinely sincere, but then there was another side to him that was so malevolent, you could never tell if he was capable of anything else. The most frightening aspect was that you could literally see and feel what was in his head, and still he continued to puzzle you.
“Pennywise,” you snarled, losing what little patience you had left. “If you did anything to harm them after our agreement, I swear on my life that I will slaughter you.”
“Tsk, tsk, tsk,” he scolded, wagging his finger at you in disapproval. “Is that any way to speak to your eternal lover?” He then crouched low to the ground, his eyes glowing a fierce yellow while his own talons emerged from his gloves. His fangs were dripping saliva as he hissed at you, ready to pounce. “Give it your best shot.”
Following his lead, you also readied yourself for the attack, glowering at him and chomping your teeth in warning as you planted your feet, deciding which was the best angle to go for.
Just as you were about to make your move, your head felt like it was splitting open. Dropping to your knees, you wrapped your hands around your head as you curled in on yourself, the pain unbearable as the images of numerous fears from the humans echoed through your mind.
The ringing in your ears prevented you from hearing Pennywise calling your name and rushing towards you, laying his hands on your back to gently soothe you with his touch. “It’s okay. I’ve got you,” he urged, trying to mask the trepidation in his voice. “Tune it out. You’ve got to focus on one at a time. Do you understand?” You could barely register what he was saying between the shouts and cries in your mind, some of which were from the humans, and the rest was from your own internal agony.
It was only a few moments later that you felt yourself being lifted from the ground and transported back to your cave where the pain ceased immediately. Still shaking, you locked your arms around Pennywise’s neck and sobbed into his chest as he sank to the ground, cradling you in between his long limbs. He carded his fingers through your hair, whispering sweet nothings into your ear to calm you as you continued to cry into his chest, shaken by the assault on your mind.
He remained there, unmoving as you continued to dampen his silky attire with your tears. A few minutes later, you pushed back on his chest softly, distancing yourself from him a bit. You avoided his gaze as he wiped his gloved thumb across your cheek, collecting the fallen tears and drying your face. You felt his lips press against your temple and he remained there for a moment before pulling away with a soft noise. Finally breaking the silence, he spoke. “You will learn how to filter human thoughts. It only seems overwhelming now because they’re all entering your subconscious at once. With time and practice, you’ll do just fine. It will no longer be painful for you.”
Sighing heavily, you didn’t respond, still caught up in the uncertainty of it all. In a matter of minutes, you went from devastated, to infuriated, to terrified, to relieved. It was all so much. You were worried that when you changed you would be inept without your human emotions, but it seemed as though they were stronger than ever, almost crippling you.
Sensing your distress, Pennywise spoke again, keeping his tone gentle. “I did not harm your family. I promise you that.”
Finally looking up at him, you saw the sincerity in his eyes as he looked back at you longingly. “I’m sorry,” you choked out. “I was just so…”
“Hurt,” he finished for you. “You still feel human emotion deeply.”
Even if you couldn’t read his thoughts, you could tell by the way he said it that he was disappointed. He was probably hoping that you would become more like him when he appeared cold and indifferent, but you knew better. There was still so much more to him, even if he didn’t want to admit it. You had assumed that was why he acted out in the woods when he saw how upset you were over the loss of your remaining human family. He wanted to be your only family.
Stirring beneath you, he lifted his legs a bit, silently requesting for you to stand as he followed suit. Towering over you, he leaned down to give you a soft kiss before pulling back and nuzzling you with his red nose. “Come,” he urged, taking your hand in his. “We’re going to practice.”