Jughead Jones – Safety
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the characters. I’m not trying to promote any of the issues explored in these chapters – I want my readers who have experienced these troubles (and those who haven’t are welcome to read) to have a safe place to read relatable stories and maybe feel a little bit better. I know I love reading stories where the reader is chubby and has body issues because they make me feel better.
Trigger warning: Self-harm.
Warning: Violence, blood.
Everyone has different triggers. Please do not read if thinking about self-harm is a trigger in any way.
Blood dripped down the smooth skin of your freshly shaved thighs, seeping from the inch-long incisions that adorned your limbs. As you bit your lip to fight the tears streaming down your cheeks, your eyes wandered across your upper thighs, taking in all of the different marks. Some as short as half an inch; others up to two inches across. Some had healed into soft, pink scars; others were more recent, still red and angry and scabbing over. And just below them were the freshest lines, the ones still bleeding and staining your otherwise flawless skin, the cause of the now bloody razor blade you clutched tightly in your dominant hand.
A shaky sigh fell from your lips, choking on a sob, as you all but dropped the blade onto your bedside table. Shaking hands and nimble fingers fumbled with the drawer, opening it to reveal your private stash of anti-biotic ointment and a roll of recently cut gauze. Smearing the medicine on the gauze, you cut a new piece off and wrapped it around your thigh, securing it with medical tape. Copying the action on the other leg, you put your supplies away and fished around the drawer for the alcohol wipes you stored inside. Finding one, you ripped the package open and produced the cloth, wiping the blood from your razor blade so that it was clean for the next time you would need it.
Hot, salty tears poured out of your eyes as you turned, swinging your legs up atop your bed and lying back against the pillows. You cried soundlessly into the quiet air that permeated your bedroom, closing your eyes before placing your hands over them. Hard as you tried not to, your thoughts kept wandering back to the recent events that had led to your current position.
Your mother blamed you for your father cheating on her. Shortly before his affair had been discovered, your grades had slipped, and rather than face the reality of her failed marriage, your mother concluded that your lack of work ethic had driven your father away. Since their divorce, she behaved particularly cruelly towards you, only addressing you as “Failure” and “Inconvenience” and, her favorite, “Mistake.” So far, she hadn’t been violent, but a couple of glass bottles had been carelessly tossed in your direction, nearly whacking your head.
You had also fallen victim to Reggie’s false charms. He had approached you on a bad day, lingering by your locker under the pretense of wanting to inform you of how pretty you looked that day. You had tried to thank him and walk away, but the way he grasped your hand so delicately had you craving affection, and you let him weasel his way into your mind. He’d asked you out on a date, and you’d agreed. You had gone driving, parked at Sweet Water River and had a picnic on the shore. Reggie had kissed you, more than once, sweet and gently, and then he took you home.
And the next day, he told the entire football team that he had slept with you, that you caved without a single protest, and that you would be willing to do it again. The rest of the team believed him and proceeded to treat you like a toy they could fondle whenever the need arose. Some jealous girlfriends of football players had spread the word that you were a slut, hoping to shame you away from Reggie and his goons. Their taunting had reached the point that you couldn’t even glance at your male friends without feeling like a piece of meat on a hook, and you stopped hanging out with boys altogether, much to Archie, Kevin, and Jughead’s dismay.
He was your saving grace. He was the only person who knew what happened to your skin when you got too deep into depression. He was the only person who could talk you down when thoughts bubbled in your mind about wanting to take yourself permanently out of the picture.
A few months previous, you had cut too deep and had to go to the hospital. Jughead had borrowed Fred’s truck and driven you there himself. He stayed with you until you were released, and he promised not to let anyone know what had happened so long as you promised to never intentionally cut your skin again.
He would be so ashamed if he knew, so disappointed… As much as you needed his attention, there was no way you could call him. He knew your depression voice, and he could hear your tears through the phone. He would put two and two together and you couldn’t bear to face his reaction.
The chorus of “21st Century Digital Boy” sounding from your phone signaled that Jughead had decided to call anyway. With a sigh, you plucked up your phone and tapped “answer.” It would be more suspicious to ignore the call.
“What makes you think something’s wrong?”
“I know your voice, (nickname). What is it? Your mom?”
All you could manage in response was a sob.
A sigh. “I’m on my way. Unlock your window.”
With that, he hung up. There was no changing his mind. Scrubbing your hand across your eyes, you reluctantly rose from the bed and shuffled over to the window, unlocking the latch at the top so that the beanie-clad tree-climber would be able to sneak inside.
Within moments, he appeared, pushing up the wood and glass to give himself an opening. Once inside, he closed it behind him before crossing the room to your bed. He found you curled up on your side, face hidden in your hands, body shaking with sobs. His heart broke when his ocean blue eyes wandered down to the bandages wrapped around your thighs.
“Talk to me, (y/n),” he murmured, kicking off his boots and crawling into bed beside you. With some adjusting, he maneuvered you into his arms, cradling your head and rubbing a hand up and down your back. You sobbed into his chest as he rocked you back and forth, whispering sweet nothings into your ear.
As you calmed down, you began to recount the events. You told him how your mother had been behaving and ended the tale with Reggie’s lies and the football team’s behaviors. You didn’t notice Jughead’s hands fisting around you, clenching so hard that his knuckles turned white. What he wouldn’t give to land a fist on Reggie’s chiseled jaw…
“That’s why you’ve been so distant,” he concluded softly. “We’ve been wondering why you pulled away. I’m so sorry they’ve been treating you that way.”
All you could do was nod as you buried your face in his neck. Soft lips pressed to your forehead, and a wave of calm rushed through you. Jughead always had that effect on you.
“I love you, (y/n),” he murmured. “I always have. Please, take better care of yourself. Whenever you want to… hurt yourself… just call me. Text me. I’ll drop whatever I’m doing to take care of you. I’ll beat up the entire football team if I have to. I won’t let anyone else hurt you.”
“Get me out of here,” you whispered, glancing up at him with red, tired, teary eyes.
“What?” he asked, furrowing his brow.
“Get me out of here,” you repeated, chewing your lip. “I don’t care where we go, I just… I need to get away from my mom. I need to be with you.”
He leaned in, kissing you sweetly, softly. “You can stay with me. My dad won’t mind. I just want to keep you safe.”
You nodded, kissing him again. “Thank you.”
“Anything for you,” he murmured, clutching you to his chest as though he were afraid to let go. You fell asleep wrapped up in his arms, feeling safe for the first time in a long time.