When You’re Strange
A Patrick Hockstetter / Reader Fic
Warnings: Underage smoking, Richie Tozier’s Trashmouth. She/Her Reader.
Description: As a military brat, you've learned to pick up everything and run at a moments notice. Ending up back in Derry for your senior year and moving in with your aunt and uncle, you've come to realize that with Patrick Hockstetter's sights on you there is no room for running.
Word Count: +4,400
Other Chapters: Part 2, Part 3
Part 1: Send Me an Angel
Derry, Maine was an awfully smaller town than you remembered it being. The winding back roads met trees and short clipped fields of grass, little rickety houses dotted here and there that used to make the town feel larger- more rural. The main strip was still barely a handful of blocks, the malt shop still in full swing of business, the movie theater down the street aging terribly in your opinion and sporting posters of new movies you knew you wouldn't bother to see.
Fitted between old buildings that had somehow withstand floods and the few hurricanes that had whipped up in Maine, were shiney new shops spruced up to meet the eager gaze of the new generation.
Fedex, a small Pizza Hut chain store, a Subway, a Super Cuts and, further down the street to your great surprise, a new arcade. All these stores that sucked the small town charm right out of Derry stared back at you while you drove down the strip, so beaten and tired that part of you could care less if you ran a red light at that point.
Slowing down as traffic ahead of you stopped for a crosswalk signal, you sighed, leaning your head against the headrest and watching as the blue tarp covering your truck’s trunk whipped in the brisk fall time breeze. Your cassettes had kept you plenty company from your long drive from Galveston to Derry, the casual passion that Cyndi Lauper invigorated you with her number ones hits or the mellow but soulful lyrics of The Cure had made your trip pleasant enough. Talk Talk, U2, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, New Order, Tears For Fears, Til Tuesday? Man, did you have a crap load of music to toss at your cousin Richie when you finally arrived home.
Home. A wistful word, really. Your parents were your home, you thought bitterly as you drove forward, the cars ahead of you leading you down Main street, where you knew you’d have a few more streets to turn on until you arrived at the Toizer household.
You had lived in Derry once, before memories could really form, but with your father being in the military, you were tossed around the states like a limp hacky sack every few years. The only real constant had been when you visited Derry for a few weeks out of the summer in your younger years. All that fun had ended when your father had relocated to a base in Galveston Texas, and for the first time in a while, you had the chance to stay in one place for longer than a handful of months. Still, nothing could last forever, and your father had been called over seas where your mother was happy to follow, but keep you at bay.
“You’ll get to live with Uncle Wentworth and Aunt Maggie for a bit, sweetie. You have one more year of school anyhow, it's not fair to move you to a different country just to send you back home so you could attend college. It’s just for a year.” She had said, letting your father pack up your life- which could fit in two suitcases and a couple boxes - into the trunk of your car and send you on your way with a debit card and a hug.
You know she meant well. The fights, the tears, all the shitty grades and fucked up transcripts from moving so much had affected you as you grew up. Your mom, despite doing it in an unorthodox way, had really wanted you to have a stable life. As did your dad, and with his military lifestyle, it was hard to give that to you.
So off to Derry you drove, the debit card in your wallet and a heavy heart in your chest. You were going to miss your parents, but at least they had promised to call every once in a while.
You began to turn off Main and onto Costello Ave, but a thundering rumble down the street caught your attention and you slammed on the breaks just in time. Your truck lurched forward from the force, and you smacked a hand on your horn, letting it rip as a wicked blue Trans-Am shot past, the boys occupying it roaring with laughter and flipping the bird as they past.
“Learn to fucking drive!” You shouted after them and past your open windows, jerking your wheel to complete your turn and head down the other street. “Fuckin’ dicks.”
The cloudy day and lack of sleep made your short trip from the main street to Kansas a right pain in the ass, but you felt the irritation of almost being T-boned slip away as you pulled into the drive way of a decently well kept home.
It’s size was modest, with plank sliding painted a dreary grey color, its wrap around porch sheltered by an awning and the long limbs of an oak tree. You smiled to yourself, vivid memories of pushing a bespectacled nerdy little trashmouth on a tire swing and helping his dorky friends climb the monstrous and gnarled trunk giving you a nostalgic feel. From the second story of the home you saw curtains sway, a mop of dark curls all you could see before they disappeared.
You took the keys out the ignition, hopping out the rust bucket you called an automobile and tossing the door shut behind you. You rounded the front just in time to see the front door fly open and the lanky form of someone who at least resembled Richie Tozier darted out.
“Oh my god!” He began in a booming voice, the sarcasm licking his words. “Houston! We have a problem and her name is [First Name]! I thought you’d show up lookin’ like some backwards hick, but I guess this is pretty close!”
Oh that was Richie alright. He was tall now, taller than you ever thought he could have achieved even with the magic of puberty, wearing heavy thick lensed glasses and a hideous printed hawaiian shirt you knew he just had to have digged out of a bargain bin from a thrift store. He still had a bit of baby fat to his cheeks, but otherwise he had toned and grown to be decently handsome, his freckles splattered like constellations across his pale skin. He looked so different, and you mentally cursed your aunt for not sending a christmas card the year before, because then you would have at least been prepared for the dork’s transformation.
“Can it, Trashmouth.” You threw your arms open, and he barreled into you, wrapping surprisingly strong arms around you as you shared a laugh.
He squeezed you tight, groaning. “Thank god you’re here, mom’s been yacking about you for days.”
“All good things?” You rubbed his back, patting his unruly curls as the two of you broke apart and he led you inside.
“Oh yeah,” He rolled those big brown eyes of his, grinning widely. “She and Daddio are out at the store grabbing stuff for dinner, I have been ordered to help you start bringing stuff inside once you got here. Mom said something about you also needing to get your papers together for school or whatever.”
You made a face at that, scents of pine sol, laundry soap and the ever present lingering smell of lavender that the Tozier home instilled bringing you back to your childhood. Everything was the same as you had left it, right down to the crude childhood drawings your aunt Maggie had framed lining the entry way and the class photos of Richie from kindergarten to what you assumed was the present year, his freshman photo hanging on the walls.
“I just did a 29 hour road trip, come on, let a girl rest up Maggie.” You yawned, stretching arms above your head. “I got all my papers together though, but I wish she would let me have a few days off from this moving BS before she threw me into class.”
“Apparently you’ve never met Maggie and Wentworth Tozier, [First Name], but, uh, newsflash,” Richie gestured widely, raising his eyebrows. “They’ve got sticks up their ass the size of Alaska.”
“Ain’t that the truth.” You smiled, nodding at the front door. “Lets do all that later, I’m pooped and MTV is on still right? Let’s chill and listen to some music.”
The curly haired boy gave a sigh of utter comical relief, leading you to the couch. “I was so worried Texas had changed you, dear cousin. Here i was, scared you would be into country and not the good shit.”
He flipped the tv on, twisting knobs to get a better picture on the fatback monstrosity before plopping down on the couch. You followed his stead, relief flooding you to be just somewhere familiar and safe as the two of you watched a music video for a new Cranberries song. Richie updated you on what mattered the most; The Losers Club.
You remembered the old names, Eddie Kaspbrak, Bill Denbrough and Stan Uris had been childhood friends of Richie’s and you were happy to hear they were doing fine. You had been the tag along to countless of their adventures when you were younger and visited during the summers, and you could still remember their little ticks and mannerisms if you tried hard enough. To your surprise, there were more names added to The Losers Club. A redhead girl named Beverly Marsh (you vaguely remembered the name), Mike Hanlon and Ben Hanscom. The four dorks had become seven, you mused, and you sat back and let your cousin yap eagerly about how cool and amazing his friends were. You had missed alot it seemed, apparently Richie and his friends had attempted to lash out at the local group of bullies and won a single battle, but were now constantly met with their vengeance. Apparently the bullies, The Bowers Gang, were a right bag of dicks.
You caught yourself trying to think back on the names he said belonged to the older teens, but really came up with nothing.
“Henry Bowers sounds familiar, but that's it.” You shrugged, letting Richie rant about mullet wearing fuckheads and his lackeys, your mind wandering until your aunt and uncle arrived.
Dinner was a nice fatty roast with glazed carrots and baked potatoes. Your aunt rambled on, much like her son, about the happenings in Derry and about how excited she was that you had finally come back home. Your uncle was a man of few words, but even he agreed that he was happy to have you in Derry.
“You deserve the stability, hon.” He said with a smile, flashing pearly whites only a dentist could achieve. “Oh, and if you need a job, you can always come to me for a weekend job. We could use another receptionist or a filer, you know?”
“Thanks,” You said with a mouthful of roast, swallowing before continuing. “But mom and dad are funneling me money every so often. I’ll be fine, I’m going to focus on studying and whatever. SAT’s and college is just around the corner.”
“[First Name] gets a debit card and I can even get my lawn mowing money dad? Where the fairness in that?” Richie complained, tilting his head back and shoveling baked potatoes smothered in gravy and cheese in his mouth like it was going out of style.
“[First Name] doesn't spend her money on arcade games and tooth rotting candy, Richard.” Wentworth reminded sternly, raising a brow when his son rolled his eyes.
In truth, you money went to little more than clothes, a snack here an there and records. One of the boxes tucked into your trunk was nothing but your prized vinyl and an array of mix tapes you had carefully and painstakingly put together from radio rips. There were cigarettes too, but you barely smoked unless your nerves were shot, and even then, you weren't about to confess that to Wentworth and Maggie Tozier.
Your evening went smoothly and by the time Richie was dressed in his pajamas - a ratty Smiths t shirt and pajama pants that were too big on his hips - you had gotten everything in your room. Your uncle had supplied your room with proper furniture and, to your joy, a full sized bed. All your furniture, from the nightstand to your vanity situated across the room from your bed, was a nice shade of blue jean grey, stained the color from Maggie’s knack of flipping furniture. You supposed it fit, and once you unfurled your shaggy green rug and set it to the side of your bed that wasn’t pressed against the wall, it felt like it could be home.
Later in the week you would hang posters on the walls, maybe nab a quark board from the store and hang one by your door for assignments. Eventually you would have so much of your personality littering the spare bedroom that you wouldn't feel so out of place. It would take awhile before it all set in, but for now, the cool furniture and your shag rug was enough to make the cut.
“Wow, shag? Are you gonna pull out gogo boots too?” Richie quipped, kicking his legs from the edge of your bed where he sat, pushing his glasses up with a tired grin.
You hummed, stuffing a binder and empty folders into your backpack that your aunt had gotten you for school. “Nah, but I’m sure your mom still has hers.”
“Oh, gross, [First Name]” The boy gagged. “G. R. O. S. S.”
“Yeah, keep that mental picture for later tonight when you tickle your pickle.” You mused, snorting a laugh when Richie groaned in embarrassment. “Anyhow, I’m taking you to school tomorrow. We’re going early so i can get all my shit together for classes and not be late, so be up by six.”
“Six? Who are you. What have you done with my cousin?” Richie asked accusingly, pushing himself up form the bed and clapping a hand on your shoulder in farewell. “I’m out. See you in the morning.”
“Good night.” You called over your shoulder as he left, closing the door after he yawned in acknowledgement.
Surveying the contents of your backpack you decided it was good enough, slipping in your signed forms for school and your folder of copied transcripts. It was going to be a major pain to deal with all the BS of moving, but at least you’d be in one school for an entire year- even if you were already a month late.
You flipped your lights off, padding over to your bed and settling in. The blankets were warm and luxuriously thick so slowly, with the aid of your ceiling fans white noise, you drifted to sleep.
The buzzing of a alarm clock you had set jolted you awake and you rolled, facing the red blinking numbers as the machine continued it’s shrill alarm. 6:00am read the time as you heaved an angry moan, slapping a hand down on the snooze.
“Richie!” You yelled thickly, pausing to wait for a response. When you received none you threw yourself from the bed, sluggishly making your way down the hall to Richie’s room.
You stepped inside, knocking as you did so and smacked your lips, tasting sleep in your mouth and making a face. The teen boy still slept, curled under his sheets with insane looking bedhead and drool hanging out his mouth.
“Richie.” You called, and when he snorted and began to flip over, you flicked on the lights- efficiently blinding yourself but at least rousing your cousin.
“Holy shit, no, let me fuckin’ sleep.” He grumbled, voice thick with sleep.
“Kid, I’m out of here in thirty. If you wanna walk to school, that's all on you.”
You waited a moment, giving him time to debate his choices, and smirked when he rose with a glare.
“I can’t see you. But wipe that smirk off your face, you dick.” He muttered, feeling around for his glasses as you swept from his doorway down to the bathroom, locking yourself inside.
By the time half an hour rolled around you and Richie were stomping down the front stairs, a cordless phone hooked under the lankier Tozier's ear as he babbled to his friend Eddie.
“Yeah man, me n’ [First Name] will be by to grab you in like five.” He paused as Eddie said something undoubtedly snarky, to which he replied. “Easy Ed’s, I’ll make it eight, Princess. Don’t make us wait.”
He dropped the phone on its station by the front door as you laced up your maroon colored docs, eyeing him.
“I’m not going to become a taxi service, Richie Tozier.” You warned lightly, fully aware that yes, yes you were going to be.
“If i have to go to school like forty-five minutes before class starts I at least deserve the company of Eddie, jeez.” He said back in his token sarcastic manner, tugging on ripped up vans and plucking a jacket out the entryway closet.
It was god awful, with rainbow stripes and a checkered black and white pattern down its sleeves. Looking at it practically gave you a brain aneurysm and you blinked furiously, trying not to focus on it. “Rich, what the fuck is that?”
“My bad ass windbreaker of course.” He slipped it on, his lips quirking into a smirk as he shoved his glasses further up his nose. “Like it?”
“I’m burning it as soon as I can.” you promised, opening the front door and ushering your younger cousin out. The chilly morning air was a wake up call and once the two of you piled inside the truck and you revved the engine while letting the inside cab warm up, and you began to sift through the box of cassette tapes buckled up in the front between you and Richie.
He followed suit, digging through them all and reading the labels. “The fuck is A Flock Of Seagulls?” He shook a particular tape and you gaped, snatching it and shoving it into the cassette player.
“Boy, you are about to LEARN.” You dipped the volume to nearly the max, knowing that if you blew your speakers it would be a goddamn tragedy, and began to roll down your window.
From your jacket pocket you procured a smashed pack of cigarettes, tapping the pack against your palm as one of your favorite songs began to play.
“Since when do you smoke?” Richie accused lightly, rolling his window down as well, but making sure the vents kept a warm breeze on him all the same.
You stuck a slightly crumpled cigarette between your lips, knowing that the agitation that buzzed through you was just nerves from entering yet another school and nothing else. “Since like, last year. Don’t tell your parents, or I’ll kill you.”
You began to back out, nodding your head along to the song, I Ran, and once you got on the road you slowed a bit to light the cigarette.
Richie watched carefully as you took a drag, mesmerized by the sweet smelling smoke that curled out your mouth while you drove.
“Can… Can I try?” He asked meekly, looking hopeful.
You inclined your head to him, shaking it. “Absolutely not. It’s bad to smoke, Rich.”
“Come on!” he nagged, wiggling in his seat. “Just once?”
“Nah.” You flicked ash out the window, driving down familiar streets, still remembering exactly where the Kaspback house resided.
“Please?” He asked again, much to your annoyance. You rolled your eyes, and blew smoke at his face. He coughed, retreating far from you with a less than thrilled look. “Ew! Dont!”
“No smoking, Richie.” You said sternly, eyeing him out the corner of your eye as you made your way through Derry’s morning traffic. “And I will personally kick your ass if i catch you smoking, dont think I wont-”
A familiar roar of thunder and you stomped on your breaks yet again, this time tossing an arm out and effectively chopping your brat of a cousin across the chest as the same Trans-Am from the day before barreled past you.
You stuck your head out this time, screaming after them with uncapped rage. “FUCK YOU, LEARN TO DRIVE YOU CUNTS.”
Inside, you saw the flutter of a sandy blond mullet, beetle like eyes, and shit eating grins. The boys, close to your age you’d assume from the brief faces you caught, hooted and hollered as they shot downhill through main street, swerving in and out of commuters.
You pressed the horn, letting it match your fury before rolling the wheel around and turning down your chosen street, close to Eddie’s home.
“Oh my fuck,” Richie swiveled in his seat, the seat belt catching him as he attempted to look behind them at the Trans-Am that grew smaller in the distance. “HOLY SHIT, YOU JUST CUSSED OUT THE BOWERS GANG.”
With a tight frown you drifted through the suburbian roads, pulling up behind a tired and worn looking station wagon. “Those dicks are the Bowers Gang?”
“Uh, duh.” Richie shot you an incredulous look of awe, pushing open the creaky door of the passenger side and unbuckling himself when you came to a stop. “I’ll be back.”
You watched, attempting to finish your cigarette, as Richie ran across the finely manicured lawn to the front steps. He took them two at a time, knocking at the front door until a lithe little form of a boy appeared, his hair primped properly and wearing shorts despite the chilly weather. Eddie, who you would recognize from anywhere, called something over his shoulder before following Richie down the steps.
You waved from the wheel, smiling as the younger boy perked up. Quickly you stamped out the remainder of your death stick, tossing it out the window and shifting the cassette box onto the floorboards so Eddie could squeeze in with you and Richie.
“It’s nice to see you [First Name].” Eddie returned the smile, climbing into the truck and settling in the middle, buckling himself in as Richie threw himself inside and slammed the door closed. “It’s cool of you to drive us, thanks.”
“No prob.” you shrugged, Richie interrupting with a clearing of his throat.
“Onward, driver! To the ball!” He sang in a vaguely british accent, but you laughed all the same.
Eddie added a few more details about what had happened since your absence as you drove, happy to make small talk while Richie dug through your tapes and read off the bands. There were a few both boys were interested, so you allotted them to snag a few for later use. Both boys were in their freshman year, along with the rest of their little gaggle of friends. They assured you that you had a place with them at lunch later that day, but you already knew you’d be spending the break wandering around school and checking out places you could hide away and smoke during P.E. or in between classes.
By the time you parked in the student parking lot, Richie had stuffed a handful of tapes into his backpack for him to listen to with his walkman during class and Eddie had insisted you at least visit them during lunch.
“It’s Derry High. There isn’t much to see, and I know Bill and Stan would like to see you.” He stated simply, his smile genuine.
“I’ll see, but don’t wait up. I’ll take you guys home, if you want.”
“We’re going to Bill’s,” Richie opened his door, hopping out. “My bike is in the trunk under the tarp, right?”
“Yeah, your dad threw it in last night.” You mirrored his actions as Eddie hurried to slip out in time with you both.
Together the three of you walked across the asphalt, others arriving in a slow trickle. Somewhere through the growing crowds you heard a heavy bass and guitar rips. From the corner of you eyes you spotted that damn blue Trans-Am and cocked your head to the side as you watched four boys slip out the sleek vehicle.
They looked mismatched for each other, but in one way or another you guessed they complimented each other. One had a sandy blond mullet and despite the coat he wore, you noticed the bulk to his form. His eyes raked the parking lot, never resting on you thankfully, but searching for something in the very least.
A much taller boy, he easily over shot six feet, with a heavy set body had a tenseness to his shoulders as he whipped car keys on the hook of his finger, saying something to a much smaller boy. The smaller one had bleached blond hair and donned a torn band t shirt, but wore a much kinder face than his other counterparts. Lastly, stalking behind the one with the mullet, was a lanky boy. With dark hair and dark eyes, he swept the parking lot the same as his friend, but those beetle black eyes found you in a second. He was handsome, you decided quickly, but the shudder that his predatory gaze shot through you made warning bells go off through your mind.
With a sudden dry mouth, you swung back, walking backwards and examining the Bowers Gang further. After a step or two, and now with the attention of not one, but two members on you, you twisted back to walk up beside Richie and Eddie.
“The guy with the mullet,” Richie instantly flinched at your prompt, instinctively looking over his shoulder. “Do I know that guy?”
“Uh, thats Henry Bowers.” Eddie clarified, eyeing the boys with distaste as the three of you ascended the stairs to the back entrance of Derry High. “Why is he and Patrick Hockstetter staring at us? God, please don't tell me they’re going to torment us today. I have a science test and I’m not about to deal with Bower’s bullshit.”
“Don't worry, Eddie.” You smiled, opening the door for the freshmen. “They can't get you now. I’ll run them over with my truck.”
The boys filed in, sharing a distinct look of fear as they walked side by side. You glanced back outside once more, narrowing your eyes at the apparently infamous Bowers Gang.
All four watched you now, leaning against the Trans-Am and even from the distance, you noticed how they shared a smirk.
Fuck. Guess you’ll have to run them all over with your truck.
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