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settle down with me

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When Fred Andrews gets home it’s already dark out and he’s exhausted. After being away from the construction site for so long because of his injury, he forgot how tiring a day of manual labor could be. He is, by all means, grateful to be back at work, to be alive in the first place. At the same time, his side is tender where the bullet went through him, and he’s had a growing headache for hours. He’s so relieved that it’s Friday- he can’t wait to sleep in tomorrow.

He shuffles up the front steps and in the door, sighing and leaning against the door as all the familiar smells that come with his house reach his nostrils. Fred scratches Vegas behind his ears as the dog greets him, looking down as he whines.

“Hey there. You hungry, big guy?” He asks. “Alright- let’s get you some food.”

As he gets done with Vegas’ bowl of food and water, Fred realizes that there’s a certain redhead nowhere to be seen. He takes to the stairs, ready to investigate. He gets halfway to the top when he hears the sound of a movie coming from Archie’s room. He shakes his head, laughs to himself a little.

I swear, that kid is gonna lose his hearing by the time he’s forty at this rate if he keeps the volume up that loud.

Fred pushes the door open to Archie’s room.

“Hey, Arch, do you-.”

The words die in his mouth after seeing what’s in front of him.

The room is dark but it’s obvious that Archie and Jughead are both asleep. Jughead is nestled up at Archie’s side, wearing a shirt that very obviously belongs to Archie. He has his head on Archie’s shoulder, a hand on his chest, and one jean covered leg thrown over one of Archie’s. Archie has an arm curled around Jughead’s back, his cheek smudged against Jughead’s beanie.

Fred isn’t as surprised as he thought that he would be. He’d noticed that he’d been seeing Jughead around the house more in the last few weeks. On some level, he kind of expected that this would happen at some point, but he’d never voiced his opinion to anyone, not even his ex-wife. He knows how people in this town can be- old habits always die hard in a place like Riverdale. This town would eat these boys alive in a second if someone like Alice Cooper found out.

Quietly, he moves into the room. First, he shuts off the movie. Then, he moves towards the two boys, grabbing a blanket that had been kicked to the edge of the bed. As he drapes it over them, Jughead stirs, just barely lifts his head as he looks up at Fred.

“It’s okay, Jughead,” He whispers. “Go back to sleep, kiddo.”

Jughead nods half-heartedly, returning his head to Archie’s chest, dead to the world in a matter of seconds.    

In the morning, Fred is going to make the boys pancakes; because that’s what he’s always done after a sleep over. Later, after Jughead goes home, Fred is going hug his son, then maybe- just maybe- tell him about what he saw, and how it’s okay. He’s going to remind Archie that there’s nothing he could do that would change the love that Fred has for him. He’s going to make sure that Archie knows that he’ll always have a place here in this house, right where he belongs.

For now, Fred is going to go downstairs, order a pizza, maybe have a cold beer as he finally watches the movie that he hasn’t gotten around to watching. Fred’s going to have a moment of peace all to himself; after everything that he’s had to deal with in the past few weeks, he’s earned it.