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Endurance

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Isabelle Amelia Tate was seated next to Archie Andrews at Riverdale General Hospital staring at her blood stained clothes and hands wondering how they got here exactly. The day kept on replaying in her mind in a series of flashes and snapshots not that there was much to remember it was barley nine o’clock in the morning the day had hardly began and yet and still Fred Andrews got shot in front of her, his son and her grandad .

Izzy had braved the twenty minutes walked into work and had arrived just as the sun rays were hitting the top of the Chock’litt Shoppe sign.

Noting that lack of customers meaning the normally Herculean task of convincing Pops to leave the restaurant in her more than capable hands might be downgraded to a half hour argument contains various pleas, bribes, and/or blackmail before he finally gives in and goes home for a few hours before he came running right back.

It had only taken her five minutes to get changed out of her casual clothes into the classic wear of the yesteryears that was her uniform; at this time she had the act of changing clothes down to a fifty second performance if she put her mind to it.

Unfortunately, Izzy already knew that the beautiful Saturday morning was about to take a turn as she spotted Fred and Archie Andrews seated in a booth knowing that her grand father was most likely not leave his restaurant without some type of monumental effort from her part in convincing him.

“Izzy your shift doesn’t start to eleven, you are about five hours too early” her grandad stated getting ready to take the Andrew’s breakfast order knowing exactly why his granddaughter was here so early in the morning.

“I heard you leave the house at four, what happened to resting? What happened to Joseph doing the morning shifts?” Izzy stated arms crossed staring at her grandad.

“I let him go early to spend some time at home you know Olivia is only six months old, he needs to spend some time with her” Pop countered trying to walk past her only to be stopped when she moved to block his path.

“No, what Joseph needs is a job to support his family, he needs the money and if you keep cutting his shifts short just because you can’t spend more than a few hours away from here he can never earn enough to support that little girl you are concerned about” Izzy retorted, this time going so far as glowering at the man in front of her to get her point across. “Plus you need time away from this place… you can’t keep working like this, you are barely home I only see you when I have a shift here. You can’t keep doing fourteen hour days, you don’t have time to rest let alone try to bring your blood pressure down. You promised to take weekends off, you promised”

 

Noah Tate felt a twinge of guilt as he knew what she was saying was right, he had barely seen his granddaughter at home in the last few weeks knowing how lonely she would have gotten being at home all by herself “Izzy…”

Sensing she needed only a few more well placed point she pressed on “Please… at least take the morning off, is usually quite plus Anne and Jorge will come in about and hour to start their shift so I won’t even be by myself for long and if any more people come I will ask them to come in early plus everyone will understands, they won’t care about waiting.

 


 

Fred Andrews sat quietly in his booth waiting for his son to return from the restroom well aware of the reason why Isabelle Tate was awake so early in the morning arguing with her grandfather in the corner; every couple of weeks the young girl will walk in and cajole, bribe or out right demand her grandfather take time away from the shoppe.

The sight of the little tete-a-tete happening behind the counter brought a small smile to Fred’s face as he could tell by the grin gracing her face that Izzy was already managed to convince Pop to go home within the space of ten minutes.

It was something of a regular occurrence in the restaurant; something which started a couple of years ago when little Izzy had turned fourteen and her grandfather -her only living relative as far as anyone knew- had suffered a mild heart attack while working.
As the story goes the first time Izzy had thought Pop Tate had been working too much after his ordeal she had stormed into the little Chock’litt shoppe with the fury of a pint-sized hurricane and had apparently screamed the place down demanding that he return home immediately even going so far as pushing a couple of customers out of the restaurant and locking the door so no more could enter, Izzy had managed to cause such a commotion that Alice Cooper had written a front page editorial titled “The love (and fear) of a Granddaughter” detailing a granddaughter’s fear of losing her grandfather due to over-working and stress even going so far as “Isabelle Amelia Tate was a shining example of what a child should grow up to be despite what could initially be seen as disrespect her actions detailed the highest form of love there is; Love of Family.”

After the initially incident Isabelle would randomly show up at Pop’s to drag her grandfather away whenever she felt like he was working too much, over the years her tactics had evolved from outright closing down the restaurant to convincing Old man Tate to hire more people to ease his burdens, taking shift work herself in order to keep an eye on her grandfather and on days like today she would argue until the old man decided to go home and rest.

 

The sound of bell above the door jingling dragged Fred Andrews out of his daydreams to come face to face with a man wearing a type of balaclava pointing the gun directly him. His sole focus was on the gun, his partial focus was on his son who he could see has just sauntered out of the bathroom unaware of the danger.

 


 

Isabelle could not and would not remember a SINGLE thing that was said after hearing the bell above the door ring that Saturday morning.

It was as if she had suddenly become deaf, as if someone had turned all her senses off leaving her only with her sight; she could not her the man talking to Fred, she could not hear her Grandad’s frantic whispers, she could not feel his incessant tugging of her arms trying to move her to safety, trying to push her behind him.

The only thing that captured Isabelle’s attention was the gun; the gun that was being pointed at her friends dad. The gun that was primed and ready to cause injury and death. The gun that was in her safe place, her second home.

Time stood still and sped up all at the same time; one second a man was in restaurant with a deadly weapon ready to be used the next he had vanished out the door and Fred was on the ground on the other hand it felt like hours had passed it was as if the man had not yet decided what to do, as if he was nervous and unsure of his finale cause of action. Izzy could see his mouth moving, repeating a mantra but she was too far away to hear it even if her ears had decided to work for her to actually hear anything apart from the her own heart beat.

 

BANG!

 

BANG!

 

.... and just like that Isabelle regained her hearing.


 

Fred Andrews watched as the man moved closer to him, moved close enough to hear what the man had been repeating since walking in “All Sinners must pay; All sinners must die” with those final words he felt a sharp jolting pain pass through him before his brain could process the fact that he had been shot.

Fred watched as the man turned and run, he watched as his son and Isabelle knelt at his side trying to stem the bleeding, he watched as true innocence faded from their eyes as his blood stained their hand.

Chapter Text

Two people are able to experience the same event and manage to  process it in a completely different way; case in point on the cold November morning when Fred Andrews was shot; his life hanging in the balance, two teenagers Isabelle Amelia Tate and Archibald Oscar Andrew having been tasked with getting him to the hospital proceeded to handle the aftermath in two separate fashion


 

Despite doing all she could to help Fred like applying pressure to the wound, pushing him into the recovery position when she heard his struggle to breathe, shouting at Pop’s to call an ambulance and dragging Archie’s attention away from the maniac who had just shot his dad in order to get him to help her move him.

 

    Hindsight is always twenty-twenty as they say, but Izzy sat in an uncomfortable hospital chair berating herself for all the mistakes she had made that morning that could result in the death of her friends dad.

 

Firstly Izzy Tate the teen who had recently passed her driving test had dove into the backseat of an Andrews construction truck instead letting Archie drive through town, side swapping and and every parked car in his vicinity as the untrained and unlicensed teen rushed to save his dad life.

 

Secondly, she forgot to apply any pressure to any of the exit wounds, both entry wounds had been covered by her ill equipped hands, however the exit wounds had been forgotten about and was left to bleed out all over her and the backseat of the truck.

 

Finally, Izzy had scrambled out of the truck to get a doctor leaving Archie to struggle with the weight of a nearly unconscious man, sure it made sense for her to run ahead to call for a doctor but she had left Archie and Mr. Andrews to stagger into the hospital each movement no doubt pulling and pushing the bullet around his body making an all ready unpleasant situation worse.

 

x.x.x.x


 

 

Jughead Jones had just finished breakfast and was been getting ready to make his way to Pop’s; hoping that Izzy was working sometime in the afternoon as the girl usually gave him a free meal while sitting with him during her break. 

 

He could use the company of someone who hadn’t been in the thick of it investigating the murder of Jason Blossom, an ‘unaffected’ third party who hadn’t been there to discover the video of father killing son or had spent half the night saving a teenager from committing suicide.

 

His thoughts about finishing and editing his manuscript on the Blossom Murder now that the mystery had been solved was interrupted with ring of his cellphone as the news of Fred Andrews shooting was delivered.

 

Jughead’s, Betty’s and Veronica’s arrival had gone completely unnoticed by the caramel skinned girl seated under the window in the waiting room, in fact the latter arrival of half the town would eventually go unnoticed by her as well, although her presence would not be unnoticed by them.

 

  “Oh My God!” Betty exclaimed, startled by sight of Izzy sitting in the corner of the hospital waiting room looking identical to Archie yet somehow the sight of Izzy covered in blood seemed to be much worse than Archie; maybe it was the fact the girl was wearing her white work uniform making the bright blood red stain stand to attention or it might just have been the haunted looked within her eyes.

 

Izzy had also managed to be the picture opposite of Archie in a way, where Archie was animated with movement not able to keep still pacing the corridors of the hospital waiting for vital news, Izzy sat as dormant and immovable as a statue hardly moving, hardly blinking as if her next movement was capable of shattering her already fragile existence. 

 

“Should someone-” Betty began asking before getting interrupted by her boyfriend.

 

“I can take care of her” Jughead announced leaving one friend in need of help for another. Up close Jughead could tell Izzy may actually be more shaken by the events of that morning than he initially guessed; there seemed to be minute quake and shivers running through a body.

 

In all the years knowing her Jughead had never known for Izzy ‘The Hurricane” Tate to be so still and quite, even when she was sleeping she managed to give off a restless energy as if the act of rest was too bothersome for her to partake in fully and she was just about ready to quit.

 

He hadn’t thought that she was ready to talk let alone move to get cleaned up but as time passed by she slowly started to relax and had even gone as far as reaching out and entwining their fingers together.

 

 He watched as Josie and the rest of the ‘Pussycats’ arrived immediately spotting one of their own sitting with him and making their way toward them.

 

“Iz-” Josie whispered trying and failing to reach out to her best friend.

 

“I think she is in shock” Jughead replied as he saw Izzy ignoring Josie only moving her eyes to stare back at her friend.


 

 

     As more people arrived to keep Archie company and create more distraction Jughead quietly led Izzy away to the mens bathroom and switched on the faucet and gently placed her hands underneath it trying to get rid on some of the blood staining her hands.

 

“Do- do you want to change your shirt” he questioned her softly, trying to rid her of her bloodstain shirt without making her aware just how smothered in another person’s blood she currently was. Seeing the slow nod of her consent Jug quickly removed the plaid shirt he normally carried around his waist and passed it over before turning around to give her some privacy.

 

Jughead briefly wondered what he and Izzy looked like as silence had once again fallen over the waiting room when they returned; on any other day the sight of a pussycat wearing what might kindly be described as ‘mismatched’ clothes’ while clutching a bloody shirt would have made front page news but today was all about the attempted murder of Fred Andrews.


x.x.x.x

 

Izzy watched as half the town stood up and moved closer to Archie Andrews  as the doctor marched towards the ginger haired boy to deliver the outcome of this morning shooting.

 

Unlike the other she couldn’t bring herself to get closer to hear the news, she couldn’t even bring herself to let go of Jughead’s hands… she hadn’t realised that she had still been holding onto him after walking out of the bathroom even with half the school staring at her, she felt like if she let go she might break.

 

Jughead was here, he was solid, he felt warm, he….. she was safe…. as long as she held on she was safe.

 

He was her anchor to the present, without him she would unravel, the images would keep coming back, the gun… the noise…. The blood seeping and seeping into her skin… going everywhere, touching everything.

 

x.x.x.x


 

Archie Andrews watched across the crowded waiting room as Jughead pulled Isabelle into his chest wrapping his arms around her in a hug, either trying to protect her from the horror of the world or from the horror of her own mind.

 

The actions of the Tate family that morning had made Archie feel an immense amount of gratitude.

 

He had been sitting here for the last two hours listening to Betty and Veronica attempts to make him feel better; calling him a hero as the rage and anger built inside him.

 

The mounting pressure had started that very morning as he walked out of the mens’ washroom to see a man pointing a gun at his dad, the hours after that had only lead to the rage increasing.

 

Archie Andrews knew without a shadow of a doubt that the man had come into Pop’s with the intention of killing his dad, of taking Fred Andrews’ life and leaving him dead on the cold wooden floor of the restaurant.

 

Archie already knew that without Isabelle Tate assistance that morning that one Fredrick Henry Andrews would be dead right now, a knowledge which Doctor Masters had just confirmed.

“Applying pressure to the wound help stop some of the internal bleeding and getting your dad to stay up right may have just save his life, he still has a little trouble breathing on his own right now but it could have been a whole lot worse if you hadn’t helped him. We will continue to monitor his condition but your father is in a better position thanks to you” the doctor explained.

 

“That- it wasn’t me, I just drove the car… Izzy, Izzy is the one who did all that, she saved him” Archie stated watching from afar as the youngest Tate broke down in Jughead’s arm. 

 


 

x.x.x.x

 

Jughead felt the change in Izzy happening with each step the doctor took towards the waiting room; he felt as her muscles stiffened, he saw as struggled to keep calm, heard how her breathing climbed back up to a fast breathy unstable pace as if she had just run a marathon.

 

“Is okay Hurricane, is okay” he whispered loudly enough for her to hear it but not so loud that it sent her into a full blown panic attack. “He’s alive, Fred’s alive you saved him.” 

Chapter Text

 

It’s funny what people get attached to in life; a child with blanket, a teen with their status, an adult to their money. Some attachments are permanent while others are merely temporary, they can form over time or in an instant.

 

Personal attachment causes people to act in all sorts of ways; a child may spend the night crying unable to sleep because a piece of fabric wasn’t next to them, the teenager might act out of character in order to keep or improve their status and adults….. well adults can say and do all types of things when they feel that what is theirs: what should be theirs is being taken away. 

 


 

x.x.x.x

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey. You’ll never know dear how much I love you so please don’t take my sunshine away.

 

Pop Tate knew exactly what to fear; what it felt like to lose a family member; he had experienced it all before; when his dad died and again when his wife and his own daughter had died.

 

However, today was the single worse day in his life which was saying something seeing as he was a black man who lived in a predominantly white neighbour hood in 1950’s USA; he had gone through it all and had come out the other side.

 

The death of his wife had broken a part of him, but they knew it was coming she had cancer, he had time to prepare to let her go with the comfort modern medicine could manage at the time.

 

Losing his wife was nothing compared to losing his daughter who had died in a hit and run, it had been violent but instant the doctor assured him, she wouldn’t have felt any pain. 

 

The only thing preventing the man who was known as Pop Tate from shattering completely when his Sharon had died was his granddaughter Isabelle Amelia Tate; she had become his sole reason for existence.
  Without that five year old girl Pop knew he would have found a way to follow his daughter off this earth. 

 

The loss of his child had been the cruelest thing Noah Steven Tate had experienced; until that very morning when a gunman had walked in pointing a gun at his grandchild. It had only been for a few seconds as the man screamed that they stayed still that no one moved but in those seconds Pop Tate knew he would never be the same.

 

Pop knew that there was nothing he could do about his wife and daughter’s death; one was taken away from him due to an illness whereas the other died due to an accident, but Pop vowed that no matter what may come Isabelle Amelia Tate would not die before him, he would not have to lose another loved one.

 

Pop would not lose that one ray of sunshine he still had left in his Life.

 

x.x.x.x


 

 

Izzy hadn’t thought she would manage to sleep since she spent most of the night staring at the ceiling replaying the events of that day. 

She must have fallen asleep sometime during the early morning as the sun was now in the middle of the sky although it didn’t provide any actual heat as it was in the middle of winter.

 

She could hear her Pop’s downstairs probably cooking and cleaning around the house, he had spent half the night coming into her bedroom making sure she was ‘okay’. 

 

Logically Izzy knew that she would eventually ‘move on’ from what happen yesterday morning but she wasn’t exactly sure how to do that, what was the first step she needed to take.

 

Her all but catatonic reaction mostly came from the shock and violence of seeing Mr. Andrews being shot; the shock of what happened wasn’t the issue, with time it would abate, she already felt calmer compare to yesterday. It was the violence of what occurred that she struggled to understand and move on from.

 

She spent the next twenty minutes laying in her queen size bed looking at the collection of random posters she had managed to gather over the years on her bedroom wall. Her eyes kept on being drawn back to a black and white Churchill quote “If you are going through hell, just keep going” a simple statement, a plan of action for Izzy to follow, in that moment the words by the war time British Prime Minister gave her the first glimmer of hope.

 

Pop walked into her room to tell her that Sheriff Keller had arrived to ask them some questions and get their statements for what happened yesterday.

 

After slowly dragging her self out of bed and into her en-suite bathroom to shower and get ready Izzy Tate arrived downstairs twenty minutes later to see the Sheriff taking down some notes on whatever her grandad had been talking about.

 

“Morning,” Sheriff Keller greeted from the armchair next to the window overlooking the street. “As your grandad may have explained I am just here to get your statement of the events yesterday, anything you saw might help us find this guy”

 

Izzy went and sat down next to her grandad on the four person recliner sofa opposite the Sheriff wanting the comfort Pop’s presence always provided her.

“I went in to convince Pop to take the day off a guy came in with a gun… he was wearing a black balaclava hood thing that covered his face , I know he was saying something but I couldn’t hear, he didn’t make an attempt to get any money, he just went straight for Mr. Andrews and just shot him and run straight back out.”

 

“Did you see him stop, take anything, do anything else before or after” the Sheriff enquired.

 

“No, he came in, pointed the gun at me and Pop to begin with before turning around to shoot Mr. Andrews and then he just left, I’m sure Pop’s gave you the CCTV recordings from the diner.” 

 

“Yeah those were extremely helpful but eye witnesses often spot something the camera may have missed. So this man, did he have any tattoos, any insignia on the jacket, anything that can help identify him?”

 

“Not that I know of, he had a black jacket, grey shirt and jeans, he was an average white guy -with a gun- about your height just a few inches shorter and he was a bit bulkier. I.. I”  Izzy stopped herself from continuing her thought

 

“Any thing can help Izzy” Sheriff Keller gently encouraged, he had seen this many a times, witnesses would often leave out part of the event disregarding it as unimportant

 

“His knuckles… they were bloody like he punched something and I am not sure if this helps or anything but, I think the guy was rich”

 

“What do you mean” Sheriff gently prodded

 

“There was something about him that made me think he was well off… I know is silly… maybe it’s the jacket or shirt but there was something about him that said he had money” Izzy couldn’t really articulate what she meant but she had a gut feeling that the shooter wasn’t poor.

 

Sheriff made a note in his little book before standing up thanking and informing both her and Pop that they were more than welcome to visit the station if they remembered anything else as he started making his way out of the living room towards the front door.

 

“Sheriff” Izzy called out halting the man’s progress. “The shooter, he erm, he was surprised to see me.”

 

x.x.x.x


 

 

The town of Riverdale had always been attached to their local diner which explained why so many residents had turned up on a Sunday morning all ready to clean the diner, trying to heal part their fracturing town; trying to erase the horror of what happen the previous day. 

 

“We need to help her” Josie had said watching her friend leave the hospital in her arms of her Grandfather. “All those in favour of going to Pop’s and helping to clean up?” She asked the gathered residents of Riverdale knowing that there will be at least some students eager to help out.

 

“-Josie” Mayor McCoy began, not wanting her daughter anywhere near a scene of a crime, wishing to protect and keep her as safe as possible.

 

“Mum, we can’t let her go back there not like that, you saw her-” Josie struggle to describe the helplessness her best friend must have been feeling “If it was you today… Izzy would be the first one of us out there helping” she finished.

 

“Yeah Mrs McCoy,-” Reggie added liking the new plan of action “-we can wait till tomorrow so the cops can finish with the evidence and stuff but it isn’t right to let Izzy or Pop Tate be the one to clean up” Reggie stated concerned about his ex clearly showing.

 

“Plus with the Bull Dogs and half the school there I am sure we will be safe” he added volunteering his boys to help out whether the wanted to or not and they will want to or Reggie would make their lives a living hell both on and off the pitch.

 

When Reggie Mantel  had woken up to the news of a shooting at Pop’s Chock’litt Shoppe yesterday morning his stomach felt like it had taken a free fall out of his body; images of the once idyllic restaurant and the violence of the crime described were flashing though his head.

 

Weren’t crimes meant to happen in the cover of darkness; to allow time for the innocent to get to safety, to huddle under their blankets. But the crime committed that day happened in the light of day as if to give extra time and light to the horror of the event.

 

He couldn’t help Mr. Andrews fight for his life, he couldn’t help Archie beyond being in a hospital and he hadn’t even seem to help Izzy by being there as she didn’t even seem to be aware of anything except for the fact that Mr. Andrews had been shot in front of her and that her safe place, her family restaurant had been violated and tarnished never to hold that idyllic innocent image again.

 

So if Reggie wasn’t able to help or fix people he could sure as hell help and fix things starting with Pop’s Chock’litt shoppe by erasing all traces of the crime that occurred.

 

The image of Izzy Tate covered in blood breaking down in Jones’ arm was seared into his brain as he saw a girl he grew up with- someone who had seem so indestructible- be destroyed. 

 

x.x.x.x


 

Chapter Text


The next morning Izzy decided to brave the known horror that was high school hoping that she won’t be the hot topic being discussed today; over the weekend Thistle house had burned down, Mr. Andrew got shot and there was Archie who was saw his dad being shot. With so many things going on in town hopefully her  actions would pass under the radar of student gossip. 

How wrong she was; since stepping foot into Riverdale High Izzy had been accosted by many people thanking and praising her for what she did on Saturday, even the teachers and janitor weren’t immune to going out of their way in thanking the teenage girl and given her extra allowance during the day.

Her math teacher had gone so far as to give her a free pass on that morning’s pop quiz; and now Betty Cooper had decided to approach her after she specifically chose to sit and spread herself across a two person couch indicating she didn’t want any company. She listened with half an ear as the girl talked about introducing Izzy to her friends and saying that Archie would be glad to see her.

Ironically, all day long the one person Izzy had actually wanted to see -Archie- since he was experiencing something similar to what she was had managed to actively avoid her. If little boy blue wants to see Izzy he would have done so by now, he clearly wasn’t up to bonding or reminiscing over the shooting not that she could blame him. 


x.x.x.x

“Move it.” Cheryl barked at Betty even shooing the girl away with her hands. “You have all the grace and subtlety as Attila the Hun so I suggest you scurry back to no man’s land as you are clearly unwanted here.” she finished

 

“Cheryl-“ Izzy began to defend Betty as she knew the main reason the girl had approached her was because of their shared involvement with Jughead. There was no way that self proclaimed loner would let one of his best friend go back to school without a support system.

 

“No need to explain, I can guess that the Hobo sent his wife to stay next to you- all day long- like some type of soul sucking barnacle but since her presence isn’t exactly wanted her I don’t see why I have to suffer it” and just like that Cheryl had managed to send Betty Cooper scurrying away back to the safety of her friends.


 

There were times when Izzy thought her own barbs and tongue were too sharp for the fragile developing ego of her general peers but then came Cheryl to remind her that no matter how bad she was with her insults Cheryl would always be the undisputed Queen at tearing people down.

 

“Was that really necessary?” She questioned glancing at the red head as she took the seat Betty has left, try as she might Izzy still felt a smile creep onto her face at the Attila the hun comment.

 

“Of course it was, I am trying to save your friendship with the Hobo”

 

“Okay stop calling Jughead that and how is insulting his girlfriend helping me exactly.”

 

“You wanted to send away that blonde Barbie but you couldn’t without upsetting him so I sorted it out. Plus you’ve got to admit her whole wholesome girl next door facade irritates you”

 

“Still the Blossom Bitch” Izzy jokingly snarled

 

“And you are still the Tate Trump we all have our weakness” Cheryl replied with a smile shrugging her shoulder in a what can you do about it type of way. 

“So how many people have come to say they are so amazing now that you saved Mr. Andrews’ life?” Cheryl asked.

 

“Enough for me to consider taking the rest of the week off; if it wasn’t for Josie running interference I would have already slapped someone during third period. I didn’t even know there were that many student at this school”

 

“You are Riverdale's own answer to Joan of Arc so I would enjoy it while it last because we all know how fickle these plebs are; their opinion changes as quickly as waves crashing to shore”

 

“Let’s talk about something else like the rumour going around that your mum performed her own heroics over the weekend and run into a burning building to save your life” Izzy said raising her eyebrow showing just how much she believe those story

 

“Mummy was overcome with maternal love for me as I am her only living relative- apart from Nana Rose that is”

 

“Uh huh, don’t tell me -the truth- then” Izzy shrugged she wasn’t really upset with Cheryl. The girl’s relationship with Penelope was so complicated and dysfunctional that it was a textbook example of emotionally abusive parents who should never have been allowed to procreate.  

 

“Iz” Cheryl began

 

“It’s okay Poppy, really I understand” Izzy replied feeling drained she wasn’t sure what the real story was but the fact that Cheryl was lying to everyone about what happened couldn’t be good. 
“It might be safer if I don’t know exactly what went on, but if you need to stay with me for a few days let me know.”

 

“It’s been a long time since anyone’s called me that” Cheryl whispered feeling touched about the nickname Izzy had created for her when they were children. 

In the mind of the six year old Tate only flowers blossomed and the fact that Cheryl had red hair meant that her name should be Poppy Blossom instead of Cheryl; hence the nickname, the simplicity of a child’s mind at work. 

 

“Thanks but Nana rose and I have just moved into Thistle house and mumssies need my careful touch in order to nurture her back to strength, however I will take you up on that offer when everything has settled down.


 

Chapter Text

 

x.x.x.x 


 

 

After a week of investigation and with no actual lead on who could have possibly shot Fred Andrews, Keller was at his wits end; he had dragged every low life drug dealer, thief and even jay walkers with green eyes through his station yet neither Archie, Izzy or Pop had made a single positive identification for any of the line ups conducted, he hadn’t really expected them to be able to identify the man considering all they had to go on was an eye colour.

 

This case was shaping up to be a disaster it was literally a public defenders wet dream, it had so many holes that without a confession from the shooter Tom might as well walk the man out of jail himself.

 

The security footage of Pop’s diner had helped but the exterior cameras hadn’t provided much in the way of any useful information as the only showed the entrance of the diner apart from the fact that the Black Hood was possibly right handed due to the way he opened the door.

 

Luckily the single interior camera was able to provide some help as it confirmed Izzy Tate theory of the shooter being surprised by her presence in the diner; the man had clearly paused when raising the gun upon seeing the girl stood behind the counter before resuming his previous actions.

 

The Hooded shooter had expected to see Fred and maybe Pop but not Izzy or maybe he had been thrown off with the presence of a teenager.

 

The thing that frightened Keller the most was Fred informing him that whoever his shooter had been was going on about sinners paying for their various crimes. So Riverdale either had a vigilante on their hand or the had a shooter with a twisted sense of moral code neither option spelt good news for the town as it meant the shooter was just getting started. 

 

Plus with Grundy being murdered as well just a few days ago Tom was now running two separate investigations and failing to find any leads on either investigation, although with mounting evidence of Grundy having relations with her male students Keller’s suspect pool had widened to include all male figures in any boys that Grundy had taught in the last year and a half - except maybe Fred Andrews as he was laid in a hospital bed when Geraldine had been killed.

 x.x.x.x


 

 

That Saturday morning a week after the diner shooting found Jughead feeling extremely out of the loop on what was going on in the Northside, not only had he gotten jumped by the Ghoulies  earlier that week, he was now spending more time with the Serpents both at school and at the Quarry.

So far Toni and Fangs were the ones he got along with the most and the rest of the Serpents seemed decent and vaguely welcome all apart from Sweet Pea who seems to enjoy arguing with him just for the sake of arguing.

 

By Wednesday when Betty texted to say that neither Izzy or Archie seemed to be coping with the aftermath of the shooting Jug reached out to Tallboy to ask around and see if anyone from the Southside could have been the one who shot Mr. Andrew since the Sheriff’s current theory was that the shooter was from the Southside as Mr. A had laid off a bunch of Serpents and South- siders days before the shooting

 

With starting a new school and adjusting to being Serpent adjacent and getting the Red and Black up and running again, Jughead hadn’t had time to do more than a quick ten minute phone call to Betty, especially with his dad’s sentencing about to come up in the next couple of weeks Jughead needed a way to help him; the court appointed lawyer was talking about how a twenty years prison sentence was apparently meant to be a good deal.

 

He had a busy day ahead of him; starting with going to the re-opening off Pop’s diner since it had been closed down for a week due to the what had happened, that would be followed by an afternoon visit to the Tate house before going to see Archie and Mr. Andrews now that he had been released from the hospital. 

 

x.x.x.x


 

 

Izzy opened her door to the surprising sight of a beaten up Jughead Jones on her doorsteps paying her a visit; clearly she had forgotten that he had  texted her letting her know that he would drop by at her place so they could catchup on his first week at Southside High and she could tell him about how she had been coping.

 

“Just came from the diner” Jug explained. “The re-opening seem to be going well, I am pretty sure Reggie dragged the entire football team there and those guys eat more than I do so tonight’s takings should be good.” He stated walking into the house and making his way into the living room and grabbing a seat on the sofa.

 

“What? Why?” Izzy questioned, trailing behind the beanie wearing teen after closing her front door deciding to retake her original seat in the armchair. She had noticed Reggie trying to be extra polite during the week but she had chalked it up to him being mildly concerned after the shooting. “Maybe he just wanted to show his support. Everyone wants to show their support.”

 

“More like Reggie still wants to get with you and he thinks this will get him a better chance of you taking him back” Jughead said snidely, he had always hated Reggie and Izzy’s relationship. 

 

Reggie hadn’t been the best boyfriend when he was dating Izzy, he would forget to call her back, or turn up late to dinner, but he had taken too far a few months ago by spending ‘seven minutes in heaven’ with a random chick and trying to justify it as it only being a game.

 

If Reggie had stopped there Jughead would have given Reggie the opportunity to confess himself but the idiot had to push it and sleep with a random no body.

 

“No need for that” Izzy soothed noticing the look on contempt on Jugs face, she knew how much Jug had hated the way Reggie had treated her and their relationship when they had been dating.
“I learnt my lesson once, I am not looking to get together with Reggie anytime soon. We really do need to catch up on what’s going on if you started riding a motorbike without me knowing.” From the way her armchair was positioned she could see the black motorbike parked in the drive way.

 

“I only started using the bike this week, I needed a way to get to the hospital plus it help me to feel closer to dad now that I may be about to loose him for the next twenty years” Jughead confessed,  opening up to one of the few people he knew wouldn’t judge him or treat him any differently now that he was on the South side. “Plus you got to admit I look totally bad ass riding the bike everywhere and it is faster than walking around town”

 

“Twenty years? Isn’t that a bit too much. How are you holding up?” Izzy asked her concern for one of her  best friend clearly showing.

 

“I am going to try to talk to Mayor McCoy tomorrow about it; it feels like they are punishing my dad because they can’t punish Clifford Blossom seeing as he took the cowards way out instead of facing any actual justice” Jughead ranted feeling frustrated with the way the town seem to write off the Blossom murder by pinning it all on his dad. 

 

Before anything else could be said Pop walked in through his front door having quickly nipped out of the busy diner to check up on Izzy semi surprised to see Jughead sitting in his living room, he knew that they hadn’t scheduled one of their usual movie marathon since he hadn’t bought any of the usual snack and sweets in the weekly visit to the grocery store.

“I am just came home to grab some lunch if anyone wants some” Pop offered staring at the room 

 

“I am not hungry” Izzy said rolling her eyes at her grandad’s paper thin excuse while Jughead declared his intention of having some food, she evidently knew what he was up to, since the shooting Pop had developed a slight fixation on making sure she was safe. 

 

“I know for a fact you haven’t eaten since yesterday” Pop said gently chastising his granddaughter with the statement, Pop was well aware that she had skipped dinner last night and breakfast that very morning. “So that will be two pasta bolognese with a side salad coming right up” 

 

“Shouldn’t that be three bowls of pasta or have you suddenly forgotten the reason you left a diner with a truck load of food to come home?” Izzy directed towards her grandfather as he made his way out of the living room.

 

“What was that about” Jughead asked staring into the hallway where Pop Tate had disappeared off to.

 

“Nothing much, he just came home to check up on me” Izzy groaned. This whole week had been exhausting from the moment Fred had been shot to now Izzy felt like someone had drained her of all energy. 

 

 “Well I also came to see how you were doing.” Jug explained. “Mr. Andrews got released from hospital last night so I am going to go visit him and Archie later on. I am sure they would love to see you if you want to come with me” Jug said grabbing the remote of the coffee table starting to flip through channels until he landed on a docu-series about water shortage around the world.

 

“I am getting better” Izzy stated blandly, responding to the former half of Jughead statement and ignoring the subtle invite to go to the Andrews house. 

 

“If you want to talk about it I am here” Jug stated getting settled in the couch, if he wanted Izzy to open up he needed to spend some time with her until she was ready to talk about it; it could be that very afternoon or two weeks from now. 

 

“Are we going to talk about why your face looks like it fell down a flight of stairs or we could just pretend that you don’t have bruises everywhere” Izzy finally asked unable to keep her curiosity at bay any any longer. 

 

“Just a part of being the new kid in school and being FP son” Jug casually replied ignoring the raised eyebrow Izzy was giving him.

 

“So who exactly jumped you. Cause if the Serpents are giving you a hard time I can ask Pop if he would be willing to foster you and see if we can try to get you back to Riverdale high instead”

 

“Don’t worry about that; it was the other gang in the south side ‘The Ghoulies’, it’s been dealt with now I am sitting with the serpents now- for protection” Jug added quickly.

 

Izzy shrugged her shoulders, she really never cared who Jug hanged out with as long as they weren’t putting her friend in any danger; they each had their own friendships with other people which the other wasn’t apart of; Izzy had the Pussycat and sometimes Cheryl and Jug had Archie and now Veronica and Kevin Keller, he even had a girlfriend now. 

 

All these people none of whom Izzy actually knew beyond the basic info and gossip attached to their name but yet and still Izzy could proudly say Jughead Jones was one of her best friends in this world and she was his. 

 

“Just don’t go abandoning me now that you are the Serpent prince or whatever” Izzy joked knowing how her friend always worried about being judged for the Southside part of him. “I still expect you to spend the Saturday midnight shift with me every week, you can even bring along one of your subjects if you want” she stated draining the last remnant of tension from his shoulder by casually accepting the serpents.

 

“Don’t worry Saturday nights will just be me and you to the end of time,” Jug quietly promised. “ And I am less Serpent Prince more like Serpent pauper or even Serpent adjacent. I need their protection and they turned out not to be bad people” 

 

With nothing else left to say they fell into a silence until Pop walked back in with lunch. 

x.x.x.x


 

 

After extracting a promise from his granddaughter to stay safe Pop Tate began to leave the house to go fulfil the promise he had made to the girl in the late hours of her room that night of the shooting a week ago.

 

Pop would keep her safe at all cost; which was why for the first time in all his years Pop Tate was going into town to buy a gun; it had been a week and he had passed the basic background check the State required. 

 

He may have been robbed, beaten, abused and been discriminated against his entire life but Pop would be damn if the next time a man walks into his diner pointing a gun at Izzy that they left without being in a body bag.


“Keep an eye on her for me will you Juggie, and make sure she doesn’t go eating all the ice-cream” Pop added before walking out the house in the direction of his diner.

 

“Oh no I have learnt my lesson, the last time I was here she literally elbowed me in the stomach because I touched her ice cream” Jug call out after the departing man.

Chapter Text


x.x.x.x

 

Izzy felt comfortable seated in her armchair wearing her sweats watching a bunch of crap tv shows, she could almost convince herself that this was just another Sunday afternoon spent hanging out with Jughead watching tv and making a mess of her living room. 

 

If she could only ignore the random flashes of blood and guns flashing through her mind it would be a perfect Saturday afternoon.

 

“So when are the Andrews’ expecting you?” Izzy asked as the post credit scene started playing on the tv.

 

“I said I would come around late afternoon, early evening but I can go later, we could spend the rest of the day watching classic Tarantino movies… or you could come with me now that Mr. Andrews is out of the hospital I am sure he would want to see you.” Jughead said repeating his earlier words from a few hours ago. 

 

He didn’t want her to feel like he was pressuring her into seeing Fred but he thought it might help if she saw that he was doing better than the last time she saw him being wheeled into a surgery room.

 

 

“Okay let me go get changed into something that doesn’t screamed lazy Saturday afternoon while you do the dishes and grab me a bottle of water” Izzy said before leaving the room as Jughead stood up grabbing their plates and walking into the modest size kitchen.

 

Jughead quickly started to wash and dry the dirty lunch plates before placing it on the dish rack, washing the dishes was something he started doing around the age of ten as neither Tate no longer saw him as a guest in their house, as they put it he had been there enough times for them to keep catering to him.

 

By the time Izzy had returned Jug was already waiting for her by the front door with a cold bottle of water he had grabbed from the fridge ready to make his way over to the Andrews.

 

x.x.x.x


 

 

Visiting the Andrews was not anywhere near the list of things Izzy wanted to do that month let alone that particular Saturday afternoon but she figured she needed to try to ‘move on’ from the shooting. 

 

She hadn’t been the one that got shot, it wasn’t her dad that had been bleeding out in front of her so it felt like after a week she should be coping a lot better with the whole incident than just getting an average of two hours of sleep per night. 

 

Each night -laying in bed- her brain just kept going back to the morning of the shooting, from hearing the jingle of the door bell, to that look of shock on the shooters face when he saw her and that strange voice he had put on; it all lead to one conclusion whoever shot Mr. Andrews knew her or more specifically she knew them.

 

It was something that she had figured out last Sunday afternoon after the Sheriff had left. 

 

She knew the rumours flying around the school saying that the shooter had to be one of the South sider that Mr. Andrews had fired but that made no sense to her, especially the stupid accent the shooter but on. 

 

Izzy didn’t know that many South siders and wouldn’t be able to recognise them on sight or by their voice unless it was one of the regulars who made the journey across town on a Friday night to treat themselves to one of Pop’s milkshake and burger combo deal the diner organised.

 

Why the hell would someone fake the way the spoke unless their voice was as distinctive and as recognisable as their face.

 

Or maybe Izzy was thinking about this too much, it wasn’t her job to find the shooter nor was it up to her to understand why someone would go around shooting people. 

 

 

There was something about the whole thing that struck Izzy as wrong. 

 

 

Was the shooter a Southsider or not?

 

 

Did it even matter?

 

 

 Either way someone came inside the diner and shot Fred.

 

 

Her thoughts were literally a jumbled mess and it wasn’t helping her because she was still sitting in her car outside the Andrews for the last ten minutes afraid to get out of her car - even though Jughead had crawled into the passenger seat of her car about five - nope eighteen- minutes ago when he realised that she wasn’t going to get out. 

 

She had spent the better part of half an hour sitting in the car, paralysed with fear. 

 

She was actually trying to procrastinate by convincing herself that if she solved the crime she wouldn’t have to knock on the door and could some how turn around go to Sheriff Keller and everything would be done with.

 

 The shooter would be in jail, her nightmares would stop and Izzy could put all this behind her in the rear view mirror where it didn’t require her to go knock on the door and see Fred Andrews again.

 

 

She knew he wasn’t dead; Jughead had told her that on Saturday in the hospital, her grandad told her how proud he was of her for saving Fred’s life that evening, the whole town was singing her praises and talking about how Fred is alive thanks to her so she knew- Izzy knew- that Fred was really and truly alive but the problem with all that was the last time she saw him Fred was half dead being wheeled into surgery his blood was every where, the blood just couldn’t seem to stay in his body no matter how hard she had tried.

 

 

For the past seven days all Izzy saw in her nightmares was Fred lying dead in her arms, sometimes they were back in the diner, sometimes she dreamt that he died in the back of his construction truck or maybe on the theatre table.

 

Each and every night Fred died in her dream she would be covered in his blood sometimes she wouldn’t even know that he was there until she found her hands smeared with his blood trying to covering the bullet wounds.

 

 The most chilling scenario was when Fred walked into the school having already been shot -the blood spreading through his shirt- and for some unknown reason he would come to find Izzy and would hug her until all the blood transferred onto her before he went limp and died.

 

 

“I am not sure if I have PTSD but I don’t think I am coping Jug” Izzy quietly started confessing in the safety of her car, sitting in the Andrews’ driveway staring at their door.

 

“I- I am scared all the time and sometimes I feel normal like someone else saw the shooting. It’s something that happened to someone else and it doesn’t affect me, like on Wednesday I told Josie that we needed to rehearse  the new song she wrote and I sent all that time in the music room being irritate by the she dragon of music then I walked out of there and it hit me; Fred was shot in the diner and he was lying there bleeding nearly dying. 

 

He got shot in front of me and so I literally take off running down the corridor and out the doors and run the mile and a half it takes to get home and I just leave my car at school and on Thursday I get out of bed and just walk to school like is normal, like I didn’t spend the night wide awake terrified out of my mind having a panic attack in my room.

 

 I can’t even tell you why I am terrified. Is it cause Fred got shot in front of me or is it cause he could have died? Like every time someone goes on about how I saved his life all I can think about is that... I could have also killed him. 

 

Am I scared cause I witness someone being shot or was it cause the guy could have shot me as well?

 

And I don’t know what I want but I know I don’t want to be here but I also don’t want to leave either.

 

I know I am not fooling anyone; Pop’s is worried about me all the time, so is Josie and Melody and like the entire student body at school and all I can think about is the fact that I shouldn’t be scared, Fred lived everything turned out okay; except me- I turned out to be .… He wasn’t there for me…. I didn’t….” Izzy wasn’t sure she could actually put into words everything that was going on in her mind.

 

Dragging her gaze from the door Izzy finally looked at Jughead, she noticed the frown lines on his face, she knew how worried he was; his concern for her over shadowed almost everything else apart from the steely look of determination he was giving her. 

 

“No matter what, I need you to get me across that threshold, I need to knock and the door and see that Fred is okay with my own eyes and he isn’t dead or dying. I have to replace that image in my head Jug - I need you to help me okay cause this, this is scarier than watching…. It is a real life Horror show and I need you to be next to me like you always are when we watch scary movies.” Izzy pleaded knowing he won’t let her down. She knew that she just had to ask for help and she would get it.

 

So here was step one; Ask for help to get inside the Andrews house and see Fred again.

 

 

x.x.x.x


 

 

In all the years they had been friends Jughead had learnt that the longer Izzy took to actually articulate what she is feeling and how she was coping the more worried Jughead needed to be.

 

 He had been so wrapped up in the Blossom murder until recently that he had been ignoring his other best friend for months now; sure he saw her at Pops all the time and she sat with him during her breaks but Jug hadn’t taken the time to come over to the Tate house for a couple of months now and he really had no excuse for that. 

 

Izzy had been there for him through every major event in his life since they were six everything from him learning to ride a bike to when his mum took Jellybean. 

 

Without the mixed race girl being in his life Jughead would have probably starved a long time ago as Izzy had also been the one to give him free meals from the diner and had instructed the other staff never to charge Jughead for a meal since she knew he didn’t have enough money what with his dad being fired and with Jug only earning minimum wage from his work at the bijou.

 

Jughead even knew that if Izzy had found out about him leaving home to sleep at work or in the janitors’ closet at school that she would have convinced Pop to let him stay in their house but as she already did so much for him Jug couldn’t ask her for another favour on top of all the various one she had done and continued to do for him over the years. 

 

 

By the time they were seven Jughead Jones had realised that Isabelle Amelia Tate was a once in a lifetime friend and had vowed to always have the girl in his life, to protect her as best as he could and offer any and all protection; which was why when he asked Tallboy to ask around about the shooting he had also automatically asked for the serpents to protect Izzy -and Archie- if they ever in trouble and needed help.

 

Listening to Izzy made Jug realise that he needed to do better by her and if she needed his help Jug would be there every step of the way.

 

Reaching over the console Jug grabbed onto her right hand interlocking their fingers and waited hopefully giving her some comfort. 

 

“I am here, whenever you are ready. I am here” Jughead promised aloud.

Chapter Text

Just as promised Jughead got Izzy over that threshold that same day, to be fair he should have known that she would do it by herself. He had sat patiently for another half an hour just holding her hands- offering his support- before she quickly dashed out of the car to the Andrews’ front door hastily knocking out a quick and rapid melody. 

 

In that moment Jug didn’t think he had been prouder of anyone in his life than he was watching Izzy face her fears while still being terrified out of her mind.

 

 Funnily enough the whole experience reminded Jughead of the first time the went to local swimming pool for lessons when they were younger; Izzy had spent five minutes simply glaring at the water before deciding to go ahead and jump in feet first whereas Jug had slowly dipped his toes into the water letting his body take the time to get used to the temperature. 

 

Luckily for everyone involved Archie opened the door before Izzy changed her mind and run back into her car. 

 

“Hey Jug, Izzy” Archie greeted obviously surprised to see the youngest Tate at his door. 

 

“Izzy wanted to come visit and see how your dad was” Jug said as a way of explaining his hand automatically reaching for hers giving it a quick squeeze before they stepped into house. 

 

It didn’t take long to settle Izzy’s fears as both Fred and Mary Andrews could clearly be seen seated on their living room couch reading different newspapers. 

 

“Hey dad you have some visitors” Archie said after getting his parents attention. “Ronnie and Betty are in the kitchen if you want to join us” Archie offered to Jug unaware that he wasn’t planning on leaving Izzy alone for a moment if he could help it. 

 

“I will come through later. I want to see how your dad is doing for myself as well” Jug quietly explained not wanting to draw attention to the vice like grip Izzy had on his hands.

 


x.x.x.x

 

Archie returned to the kitchen announcing that Jughead and Izzy had been the ones to visit and were currently in the living room talking to his dad. 

 

Betty nodded taking it in stride. She knew Jug had especially been concerned about Izzy all week as their text had mostly been about how she and Archie were coping in the aftermath of the shooting. 

 

Amazingly apart from the little snippets Jughead had let slip Betty didn’t really know Izzy Tate beyond the fact that she was Pop Tate granddaughter, a member of the Pussy Cats and the other one of Jughead’s close and long time friend apart from Archie Andrews.

 

She guess it was a bit like how she hadn’t known Jughead before they started investigating the Blossom Murder; before that incident Jughead was just a friend of Archie that she herself never knew anything about except for the fact that he went to Pops nearly everyday and was the other one of Archie’s best friend. 

 

Betty’s thoughts were pulled from the past as Veronica started speaking. “How does Jug know Izzy exactly cause I don’t think her serving him burgers is enough for them to be actual friends- although he does go there enough times; so who knows. And how didn’t I know this I have been here for a year and I even sang with the Pussycats.” 

 

Veronica couldn’t see a way in which the self proclaimed loner and one of the most socially out going person in school could possible be friends. 

 

Archie looked across the kitchen table at his confused girlfriend. “I am not sure how you missed all the times Jug spent with her during lunch but those two have been friends since she moved to here when she was like five or six. He see her more than he sees me some weeks... Wait did you think that all those times Jug went to Pop’s it was for the burgers?” Archie asked chuckling at his girlfriend. 

 

“Well he’s there a lot and every time I see him he’s eating” Veronica said slightly defensive. 

 

“Yeah but that’s cause Izzy has a rule about feeding Jug anytime he is there. Plus no matter how amazing those burgers and milkshakes are, no one can go there that often just to eat them.” Archie explained. “Half the reason he likes that place so much is because you can usually find a Tate working behind the counter”

 


x.x.x.x

 

Twenty minutes after their visitors had arrived Mary Andrews walked into the kitchen stating that the living room was no longer needed by the adults as Fred had to go and take his afternoon nap having easily tired. 

 

Veronica watched as Jughead and Izzy had a silent conversation through a series of looks passing between them as she walked into the Andrews’ living room. Sure she had just been told that the two of them were best friends but she didn’t think they were so close as to communicate using facial expressions; she wasn’t even sure that Archie and Jughead could do this. 

 

Jughead stood up from the couch positioning himself between Betty and Izzy. “ I am not sure if you two have officially been introduced but Isabelle Tate this is Betty Cooper my girlfriend” he said pointing at his girlfriend. “Betty cooper meet Isabelle Tate aka my other best friend. I am assuming you already know Veronica from her adventure into singing with the ‘Cats.”

 

“Nice to officially meet you” Betty replied reaching out for a hand shake. 

 

“Nice to officially meet you too” Izzy responded getting up to shake the blonde girls hands. 

Chapter Text

 


Izzy didn’t know a lot about Betty Cooper, just the fact that her parents owed the town newspaper and that Cheryl couldn’t stand her on most days; as Cheryl described her as ‘practically a Stepford wife in the making’. The last known fact about Betty was that she had been dating her best friend for a couple of months now- three months to be exact. 

 

She really didn’t have any preconceived notion about the girl as she took everything both Jughead and Cheryl said about Betty with a grain of salt; with Jughead being in love with her and the relationship being so new she was assuming that they were still in the ‘honeymoon’ stage of the relationship and with Cheryl being the queen of snark and shade she knew whatever description she had gotten from her would be at least eighty percent wrong. 

 

While Izzy was more than happy to keep a separate group of friends from Jughead’s but she knew that Betty meant a lot to her friend and he would most likely want the two of them to at the very least be friendly with each other.

 

While everyone got situated in the living room Archie went upstair to help make sure that his dad was as comfortable as possible; he had taken to making sure that Mr. Andrews was as well looked after as he had been in the hospital. It was as if the spirit of St. Camillus de Lellis himself had possessed Archie, nothing was too big or too small a task when it came to Fred’s comfort and safety.

 

“So how did the self proclaimed loner and the school’s social butterfly become friends?” Veronica asked taking apart of the two seater couch in the living room, leaving the other half for Archie to claim whenever he got back down.

 

“Many, many moons ago-“ Jughead began dramatically throwing his hands over Betty’s shoulder pulling her into his side while relaxing into the other couch.

 

“-About ten years to be exact” Izzy interrupted getting comfortable in the one man armchair she had move to claim after Mr and Mrs Andrews had gone upstairs. 

 

“As I was saying” Jughead continued throwing Izzy a fond look at her interruption. “Crazy Pants and I both wanted the-”

 

“I’m sorry Crazy Pants? Should I be worried?” Veronica interrupted wondering what brought about the nickname.

 

“No, no. She just put itching powder in a couple of guys pants when we were kids, I thought it was a crazy thing to do and the name sort of stuck around.” Veronica’s question caused him to reminisce about the day he truly knew  that he would forever be friends with Izzy Tate. 

 

Izzy had overheard some of the boys at school starting a rumour making fun of Jughead for living in a trailer claiming that he must be riddled with all types of bugs and so she had used her pocket money to buy itching powder and waited for the earliest opportunity she had to use it, which turned out to only be a few days later while everyone was enjoying P.E class Izzy had asked to be excused to use the bathroom and had sneaked into the boys changing room to dump said itching powder on all their regular clothes. 

 

Seven year old Izzy had bought enough itching powder to keep going for months but since she wasn’t sure which clothes belonged to which boy she ended up using her entire supply in the locker room that same afternoon leaving Jughead as the only unaffected boy in their grade.

 

It was that single but extreme action taken on his behalf that made Jughead vow to always be a friend to Izzy Tate; sure it was a crazy thing to do but Jughead couldn’t help but feel happy that he had someone who would go to such extreme lengths for him.

 

 The “Afternoon of the itching boys” was what made Izzy become a best friend, it also made Jughead vow to himself to always be there for Izzy, which was why he hadn’t said anything when he saw the ungodly amount of itching powder wrappings stuffed in her school bag after realising she had just punished every boy in their grade in order to get a select few on his behalf.

 

“Don’t worry Vee, nicknames are strange, my mum gave her the nickname of Hurricane Tate a couple of years ago.” Betty added sharing one of the few facts she had learnt about Izzy. 

 

“Cause she leave devastation of broken hearted men behind or...” Veronica trailed off. She could quietly admit to herself that if she was a less secure person she would have been jealous of the brown haired beauty in front of her; Izzy was what you would call a classic beauty, tall, amazing skin, hair to die for (even when tied up in a bun like now) and a smile so sweet in nature when you saw it you couldn’t help smiling back, even looking as tired as she did Izzy still radiated beauty. 

 

Jughead decided to once again explain the meaning behind the nickname “It’s more like she is a force to be reckoned with and she doesn’t care who or what is in her way one she sets her mind on something she basically bulldoze everything and everyone until she runs out of steam. She is literally the most stubborn person you would ever meet in your life” Jughead proudly stated. 

 

“ And that’s how I got Fp to take us to our first midnight screening so you better start appreciating me and my stubbornness” Izzy ribbed sticking her tongue out. 

 

“Back to the story, Izzy and I both wanted the same dvd from the library but neither one was willing to give it up so after she kicked me and I pushed her my mom and Pops decided that it would be best for us to watch the movie together, so we went to the Tate house where mum put in the DVD, Pop made popcorn and by the time we had finished watching Mulan we had fallen in love with movies and badass heroines.” 

 

“But it kept happening, me and Jug would both try to reserve the same film or  when one of us wanted it the other would already have it so after weeks of having to watch movies together we became friends. The sacred movie tradition continues about once a month with him coming over or me going to his to watch a movie unless he becomes interested in investigating murders and abandons me” Izzy said wiping a non existent tear from her eyes. 

 


x.x.x.x

Archie slowly walked back into his living room after going upstair to check on his dad to the sound of an age old argument once again being debated between Jughead Jones and Izzy. He barely spent time with Jug when Izzy was there but he had been around both of them enough times to know what was going on even before his foot hit the bottom step.

 

“I already had the DVD in my hands” Izzy defended to both Betty and Veronica trying to make them understand her point of view.

 

“And like I said before I had already reserved the movie over the phone with the librarian” Jug countered looking at his girlfriend

 

“Well, old Miss Crow hadn’t set it aside for you, it was still on the shelf free for any and everyone to take so it’s not my fault. Mulan belonged to me.”

 

“No, it was mine; you can’t punish me for something someone else didn’t do when they were meant to” Jughead argued with a massive grin on his face. 

 

This was the first actual indication Jughead had gotten all week long that  

Izzy might just manage to come out of the shooting and be okay.

 

“Possession is nine-tenths of the law you heathen” Izzy laughed out. It felt good to go back to their routine. 

 

“Heathen? Has someone been spending too much time with the Ice Queen cause that was nearly an insult”

 

“Oh bite me Jones” Izzy snapped feeling the grin spreading across her face.         

 

“Enough arguing about that damn movie already; I heard it all when we were six I don’t need to hear it when we are sixteen or so help me god I am kicking you both out of here” Archie joked.

 

This was good. 

 

She felt good. 

 

Maybe she should have gone to see Fred days ago, she knew that coming here today wasn’t going to be a magical cure for her nightmares and fears but seeing and talking to Fred had really help her. 

 

When she thought of Fred he was no longer bleeding out while she frantically tried to stench the flow of blood now when she thought of Fred he was sitting in this living room next to his wife expressing his concern about how she was.  

 

 


x.x.x.x

 

By the time the street light came on outside Izzy was already making her way home, she had the rest of the ‘cats coming over to spend the night.

 

 Although she could admit to dreading going to the Andrews’ house in the afternoon by the time she left she felt a lot better, mostly because she had seen Fred looking alive and well but she did enjoy the company provided by the other teens.

 

For being a relative stranger to more than half the group they all managed to spend three hours laughing, joking and talking without any awkward pauses or silence. 

 

Jughead clearly had good taste in friends.

 

Izzy found it sweet the way Jughead and Betty came out to see her off, as far as first introductions goes Betty didn’t seem like such a bad person.

 


x.x.x.x 

 

Now was the time Betty had to talk to her boyfriend while they had some privacy watching as Izzy drove off back down the road. They had been playing phone tag all week and his attention was else where this afternoon. 

 

“We haven’t had a chance to talk all week and I know I shouldn’t even be thinking about this not with everything that’s going on but the other night Jug. You wearing the jacket, what does that mean?”

 

“Nothing Betty, it meant that there was a bunch of my dad’s friends outside my trailer wanting me to wear his jacket so I wore the jacket” automatically down playing the incident to his girlfriend, he had seen the mixture of fear and disapproval on her face when he had worn that jacket over a week ago.

 

“But it fit you like a glove Juggie, like you were made for it. It’s only been a week and I already feel like I am losing you to them. When was the last time we went so long without talking to each other.” Betty pushed worried that her boyfriend might be tempted into the snake life-style now that his link to the Northside has been cut to only the relationship he kept with her, Archie and apparently Izzy.

 

“It’s okay” Jug tried to reassure her. “It was a jacket that happened to be my size, with everything that has happen with the shooting, Archie any Izzy struggling to cope and my dad being in jail I am not planning on stressing over wearing a jacket especially if it gives me some protection in the Southside. I get that we need to find a way to stay in touch now that we can’t just see each other at school but that has nothing to do with being a Serpent; we just go to different schools now and we need to adjust to that. ”

 

“Protection? Is everything okay?” she questioned even more worried than she had been before.

 

“Everything is fine there is just a rival gang on the Southside who wants to haze the new kid, the jacket just makes them know I have the Serpents protection”

 

“Look can we pick this up later? I am too distracted right now to be having this conversation” he snapped. 

 

Betty stood feeling slightly hurt by the dismissive attitude Jughead was throwing at her. “What conversation? The one where your girlfriend is worried about you?”

 

Sighing and taking a moment to calm down Jughead pulled her in for a quick kiss as a way of apologising for being snappish with her. “I didn’t mean it like that. I just want today to be about Archie and Izzy, I have been feeling out of the loop all week being in the Southside and I just feel like I am playing catch up. I am going to see Mayor McCoy tomorrow if you want to come with me and we could go to Pops afterwards and talk about me, my dad and everything else.” He stated walking Betty over to her house.

 

The evening was all but wrapping up, he figured Archie would enjoy a few minutes alone with Veronica before he came back to begin their own version of male bonding during the night, it was a good thing that today was a Saturday as Jughead knew he and Archie had a lot to catch up on as well.


 

 

Chapter Text


 

While Izzy visit had helped her by placing the teen in a lighter mood, the visit had darken Archie’s mood, it reminded him of how useless he had been.

 

Archie couldn’t help but think about the events of the last few days, even though he had been closer to his dad, Izzy had been the one who had run from behind the counter to help his dad by applying pressure on the gunshot wounds while Archie had stood there frozen. 

 

What would have happened if Izzy wasn’t there? Would his dad have died? Would Archie have even tried to drive him to the hospital or would he have spent precious minutes waiting for the ambulance? Would- would he have felt so useless if it had just been him and Pop in the diner?

 

He always thought he was a man of action that when push came to shove he wouldn’t be one of those people that sat doing nothing and just watched the crime play out. 

 

All Archie heard from anyone the past week was how lucky he was that his dad survived, how grateful he should be that Izzy had been there, how Izzy was a hero, how without Hurricane Tate springing into action his dad might have been worse off.

 

By mid-week each sentence somehow managed to make him made Archie resent her a little more for being the one to save his dad while he stood useless. It wasn’t fair and it was more than idiotic to feel this way but there he was all afternoon sitting on a beige couch with Ronnie feeling disgust at himself for resenting someone else for actually saving his dad’s life.

 

He was more than grateful for having Izzy be there since she help save his dad’s life but a small part of Archie still resented her for being the one to save his dad.

 

All because she hadn’t been paralysed with fear and took action like he should have done. 

 

His father was shot and all Archie had managed to do was stand there with his eyes closed until he heard the bell go back off, he hadn’t even moved to help until he had Izzy screaming at him to be useful. 

 

The worst thing was the fact that Izzy was completely undeserving of the anger that Archie was feeling, she was another innocent person who just happen to be there because she was trying to get her grandad to rest when his dad was shot, Izzy was a sincere and kind person who was very obviously struggling with being there.

 

In all honesty, Archie could admit that was transferring the resentment he felt about himself onto Izzy Tate as it was easier to handle than hating the sight of himself.

 

Geraldine had been strangled with a bow he had gifted her himself. It was meant to be a gift a sweet innocent thing since she had done so much for him and someone had taken it and strangled her with it.

 

All he seem to do was put the people he cared about into danger; it sounded crazy but it felt as if someone was targeting the people he knew.

 

He needed to be the one to protect his dad the next time, he needed to prepare and not just wait for the next bad thing to strike. 

 

Archie was dragged away from his thought by the sound of Jughead’s phone  ringing.

 

“Hello” Jughead answered with a sleep riddled voice blinking away the last of his dreams. “Wait? What? …. Iz… Okay I will be right over”

 

Archie couldn’t hear the other part of the conversation but from what he gathered Izzy had just called Jug in the middle of the night and he was actually thinking of going.

 

“Wait Jug, it’s the middle of the night can’t you wait till the sun comes up at least” Archie asked watching as Jughead changed out of his sleep shorts back into his jeans.

 

“I just need to check on her, she was freaking out. Go back to sleep I will talk to you tomorrow.”

 

“Jughead hold on, wait” Jughead had already run out of the room before Archie could finish his sentence.

 

 “Isn’t she already in a house full of people” Archie uttered bitterly into the empty room as the sound of Jug racing his motorbike down the street filled his otherwise quiet and empty room.

 


x.x.x.x

 

A few street over from the Andrews’ house Izzy was pacing in her front room with her laptop primed and the video ready to play with the press of a button as soon as Jughead reached the house.

 

As the afternoon visit seem to have unlocked a fire in Archie it managed to unlock something else for Izzy; more specifically her memories.

 

Izzy had been in the middle of one of her nightmares where Fred kept on getting shot over and over again in slow motion which ironically helped her remember something about the day of the shooting.

 

She now knew the reason why she thought the shooter was rich it wasn’t his shoes or jacket or the stupid jeans; it was the God damn watch on his hands.

 

By the time Jughead had raced across town and arrived at Izzy’s in under ten minutes the girl was ready and waiting outside and had all but dragged him off the bike into the house. 

 

“Pay attention to the watch” Izzy instructed before playing the video. “There see that” Izzy said pointing at the screen, at the flash of light that came from the man’s wrist when he moved to aim the gun. “That’s it, that’s what I was talking about”

 

“So the gun man was wearing a watch?” Jughead asked 

 

“No the gunman was wearing a ten thousand dollars Jaeger-lecoultre classic time-piece on his hands, and I don’t know about you but no Southsider I have every met could afford that watch” Izzy pointed out staring at the screen.

 

“Okay first of all, from this angle the camera doesn’t exactly show the type or brand of watch he’s wearing, secondly assuming that you are right the police are focusing all their time looking at the wrong people and last but not least how the hell do you know what a watch like that cost?” Jug asked puzzled finally taking a seat.

 

“Pop has done so much for me and I wanted to return the favour, he told me that he bought one of those watches when they first came out, he got it the day mum was born for like two thousand dollars but lost it over the years.

 

I have spent months looking at watches and deciding on gifts to get the old man so trust me when I say that this watch that the shooter is wearing is expensive, as in stupid expensive like something the average Joe won’t even buy himself unless he was seriously splashing out. 

 

So I know for a fact that we might be looking at the wrong side of town. We already know it wasn’t a random shooting, he specifically went after Mr. Andrews because Fred apparently committed some sin that needed to be punished for so he must know Fred. What is the shooter is a North sider?” Izzy asked leaving the baited questions with all the complication such a question required in the air.

x.x.x.x

 

After re watching the video a few more times and finding nothing new Jughead decided to call it a night. “I am going to crash on the couch wake me up after the rest of you have finished with your morning routine so I can jump in the shower.” 

 

“There are two spare rooms upstairs, Val is with me in mine and then Josie and Mel decided to share a room”

 

“I would question why you four decided to share a bed in a five bed room house but I am too tired, will you be okay if I went up?” He asked not wanting to leave Izzy by herself if she was struggling.

 

“Yeah is nearly five Pop, should be coming home soon, I will get some breakfast on for him then go back to sleep after. The last two rooms on the left are free”

 

“Night Tate” Jug said heading upstair towards the linen cupboard.

 


x.x.x.x

 

The rest of the Pussycats woke up to the smell of baking wafting through the house. Everything from vanilla cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies to an assortment of muffins lined the kitchen counter and every surface in the kitchen and living room.

 

“Morning guys” Jughead stated in greeting as he walked through the kitchen doors.

“I thought you were going back to sleep” Jughead directed at Izzy while gapping at the  amount of confectionary Izzy had managed to bake in a few short hours. 

“Couldn’t sleep but Pop is down for the count so I have the morning to go exploring” Izzy partially joked knowing how worried he had become. 

 

She could barely leave the house unless she accounted for every minute outside and Izzy was sure that Pop would home school her if he thought she would agree to it. 

 

While Josie, Melody and Valarie were having an actual breakfast of  blueberry pancakes Izzy nibbled on one of the freshly baked doughnuts she made while explaining exactly why Jughead had turned up during the night while they were all asleep.

 

“Are you sure that you want to do this?” Josie questioned, surprised that Izzy would want to go looking for the shooter when the had a police force more than willing and capable of finding out who shot Mr. Andrews. 

 

“Yes. I want to find out who he is” Izzy stated plainly. Sure it wasn’t exactly healthy to go looking for the person giving you nightmare but maybe if she found out who was behind the mask her nightmares will finally go away. 

 

“So you realised something about this shooter and instead of waking any one of us up or calling the sheriff’s department you went and call Jones?” Melody asked looking around the kitchen making sure everyone else realised the stupidity of her action.

 

“I wanted to make sure it wasn’t some type of wild goose chase plus we are going to see Sheriff Keller today.” Izzy defended 

 

“Well I can’t be the only one that finds it interesting that he came over in the middle of the night just cause she called. ” Melody muttered just loud enough for Josie and Valerie to hear.

 

“Leave it” Josie hissed well aware with where Melody was going with that statement, it was none of their business the way Izzy and Jughead handled their ‘friendship’ with each other.

 

It was up to both of them to realise their behaviour normally went outside the perimeter of friendship and frequently crossed the lines into something more especially seeing as Jughead had a girlfriend.

 

Josie grabbed a container full of blueberry and chocolate chip muffins to take home, her mum would kill her if she knew that Izzy had baked a batch of muffins and she had come home empty handed; hopefully bringing these muffins home would buy her some goodwill for the rest of the week.

 


x.x.x.x

 

After watching Izzy wave off the rest of the girls Jughead went back into the living room where they had left the laptop a few hours ago to have one more look at the recording of the shooting.

 

“So we have a gunman who is terrorising the town with a super expensive watch on his hands” Jug stated.
 “It doesn’t necessarily disproves that he is from the South-side but it provide some doubt to the theory, if he walking around with a watch that even most North siders won’t be able to afford…. but to plays devil’s advocate what if the watch could be stolen”

 

“No, assuming it was stolen why wear it, why not pawn it off. The shooter may not know how expensive that watch it but you can tell it will get you a few hundred dollars, you don’t steal a Bentley and ride around in it, you find the nearest chop shop and make some money.”

 

 “The watch could have been payment for a hit out on Mr.A”

 

“First of all what hitman takes a watch as payment, and even if he did why wear it to go kill someone” Izzy questioned

 

“We’ve been going around in circles, let’s just go to the Sheriff’s with our theory then work from there, if nothing else it opens up a new line of enquire for the cops.”

 

“Give me a second to leave Pop a note and grab some containers. I can drop off some of these muffins at the retirement home when I visit great-nan.”

 


x.x.x.x

 

As Izzy and Jughead stepped out of the Tate house mid Sunday morning wrapped up on their scarves and jacket on their way to the sheriff’s station, a man freshly released from prison had his eyes on the pair, instead of going straight home as one would expect he had taken a detour to see the child who didn’t know he existed.

 

Having spent months in prison he had come out a new man, a man with a plan not just for Riverdale but for his family.

 

He had had months to think of what he would do once released from that hell hole prison but he had spent years planning out a way to meet his daughter to finally bring her into the fold.

 

Waiting a few more days while he settled back into town couldn’t hurt. 

 

“To the Pembrooke Smithers, I have seen what I needed to” Hiram stated turning away from the idyllic looking house, he would come by later to have words with Noah about the welfare and well being of Isabelle, the man was getting on in years soon enough he would be retiring.

 

It was a brand new day and the possibilities were endless, who knew what could happen maybe this year he could have his whole family at the Christmas table.

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Jughead and Izzy stood outside the Sheriff’s station after being practically pushed out of the place. 

 

Sheriff Keller had not only dismissed their theory as wild conjecture, he hadn’t bothered to spend more than five minutes listening to them; as he put it ‘there was no way of proving what type of watch was on the shooters hands’, plus there had been the blatant implication that he thought that Izzy was ‘being obsessed’ with the shooting and transfixing on it.

 

The sheriff made a point of the watch being a useless piece of evidence in the investigation as it did not preclude anyone group from investigation, it was a piece of jewellery which was more than likely a fake.

 

It was just a watch he stated causing Jughead to start arguing back. “Well by that same logic a shoe is just a shoe,Sheriff. If you get called to a crime scene with men’s size thirteen foot prints all over the place will you still investigate the people who have size ten feet or will you be look at women cause like you said a watch is just a watch it not evidence of anyone group of people” Jughead huffed feeling frustrated.
“What if those shoes were actually high heels will you be parading men into your station trying to find your culprit knowing they couldn’t have committed the crime” 

 

“Yes and the watch isn’t just a watch Sheriff, this is expensive, it doesn’t hurt to look into other people in town as being the shooter.” Izzy added hopping the man would listen to them.

 

They were onto something she was sure of it.

 

x.x.x.x


 

 

Sheriff Keller may have dismiss the teens out of his office as the mayor and town was using the shooting of Fred Andrews as the excuse they needed to clean up the Southside.

 But Tom had worked enough cases in his life to know that witness usually held the key to most crimes and if Izzy believed that the killer was wearing an expensive watch and was from the North side of town then he was going to  investigate it; starting with getting quietly getting subpoena from a judge to get the information about anyone who had bought an ten thousand watch from any near by jewellery shop in the last couple of months; it was probably a dead end especially if they bought the watch online but getting the subpoena was still a good place to start.

 

He couldn’t afford to piss of the mayor or the town by saying he had spent days pursuing the wrong suspect and wasting police time and money, he could feel which way the political wind was blowing and the town of Riverdale had already placed the responsibility of the shooting at the doors of the Southside and trying to go against the status quo would find Tom out of a job before days end.

 

If he was going to investigate this new theory it would have to be alone without the help of anyone from the department.

 

x.x.x.x


 

 

“I ran into Archie this morning he said you left his house in the middle of the night cause something happened with Izzy, is everything okay?”

 

“Yeah, kinda, last night she thought she had come across a clue to help figure out who the shooter was but according to Sheriff Keller the watch means nothing and we should leave it”

 

“She found a watch after a week the shooting?”

 

“No, Izzy remembered that whoever shot Mr. Andrews was wearing an expensive watch but that apparently means nothing. It’s like the whole town wants to ignore any evidence that  shows that the shooter might not even be from the South side. Keller basically called Izzy an unreliable witness even though he had no problem with her statement just a week ago.” Jug fumed. 

 

What was wrong with this town when they would ignore basic evidence just because it didn’t fit in with their little story of the Southside being the bad guys

 

“Jug, Don’t worry we will deal with this. Together” Betty stated reaching over the table to clasp Jughead’s hand. “What about your dad. What did Mayor McCoy say?”

 

“Basically there is nothing she can do and I got the feeling that even if there was she won’t be lifting a finger to help him. The entire town want to throw the book at him for what happened just so they can wash their hands of it and the only way I may be able to help him is if Cheryl decides to grow a heart and speak up on my dad’s behalf.”

 

“Not the entire town. Let me try talking to Cheryl again at school tomorrow maybe I can change her mind but if that doesn’t work we will start a petition or something, ask around town and change people’s mind. If they felt safe your dad could come home”

 

“No one felt safe before and now that there is an unknown shooter talking about sin and punishment there is no way that anyone would want someone who dispose of a body on the loose.”

 

“What can I do to help Jug?”

 

“Just be there. I just need you to tell me that everything is going to be okay. Mr Andrews got shot, Izzy is struggling, Archie spent yesterday looking so angry and I haven’t spent any time with you”

 

“Jug I promise you that everything will be fine, Fred survived the shooting and is recovering, Izzy looked a lot better by the time she left yesterday and she called you so she is opening up and we are spending time together now. You won’t lose me”

 

“What about Archie?”

 

“We keep an eye out. Archie will be okay as well. Everything will be okay.” Betty gave Jughead’s hand a gentle squeeze silently offering her support. 

 

At that moment she truly believed that nothing would go wrong as if the universe owed them a break, she forgot that things didn’t work out that way. 

 

x.x.x.x


 

 

That same night the man who shot Fred Andrews and had gone to strangle Geraldine Grundy over at Greendale had come back to his old stomping ground back in Riverdale and was prowling the street for the next sinner who would face his judgement. 

 

He has targeted two known sinners of Riverdale yet his message hadn’t been received, the town was full of sins and if no one stopped these miscreants Riverdale may just turn into the new Sodom and Gomorrah. 

 

His strategies wasn’t working. 

 

Going after adults seemed not to affect the town but maybe if he went after more innocent looking resident of Riverdale the town would finally hear his message; no sinner -old or young- would escape his judgment.

 

 He needed to cast a wider net and teenagers were the perfect way of delivering his message, they seemed innocent enough to the majority of people, yet within those mini adult bodies were a bunch of hormones and ill thought out impulses that run rampant causing all sort of destructive and sinful actions to occur on a daily basis. 

 

x.x.x.x


 

 

“What can I get you?” Izzy asked already placing the strawberry milkshake down in front of Cheryl while sliding into the booth, knowing her friend wanted to talk but she usually spent twenty minutes throwing up random conversations before getting to the heart of things. 

 

“Is about FP’s trail, Jughead just came over and he wants me to speak up for for that murderer and let him get a lighter sentence as if JJ isn’t dead. As if my life hasn’t been ruined.”

 

Well coloured her surprise. Cheryl had just come out and said what was bothering her without spending hours ignoring the issue. 

 

“I, I... I have no idea what to say.” Izzy stood flabbergasted “I didn’t even know about the trail 

 

“Probably cause he doesn’t want to put you in an awkward position”

 

“What FP did was messed up Cheryl but you’ve got to remember that he wasn’t the one that killed JJ, that was your dad and punishing FP because you can’t punish Clifford also isn’t fair. You know jughead-” That sentence caused Cheryl to glare over her milkshake at Izzy causing her to chuckle. “You may not like it but you know Jughead and you know that he doesn’t deserve to lose FP to the prison system.”

 

“JJ is dead and no one is getting punished for it”

 

“.... JJ is dead and the person who should be punished for killing him took the coward’s way out and let FP to take all the blame and maybe he should” Izzy declared looking at Cheryl trying to see if playing it the other way might get through to her.. 

 

“FP could have come forward at anytime, there was nothing stopping him. Your dad wasn’t some all powerful monster FP could have just gone to the station and told Keller that Clifford shot Jason and saved months of investigation that your dad forced this town to endure. He watched as your dad bought and harassed the sheriff’s department and pushed them to conduct a bogus town wide investigation.
He was being selfish because he knew the investigation will show that JJ was dealing drugs for him. Even if he couldn’t go to Keller he could have told you or your mum I mean you would have believe him right. 

 

You would have believed FP if he came and told you that Clifford killed his own son, that not only is he a murderer but he spent months lying to everyone, you won’t have assumed that he was the one that killed Jason, right Poppy”

 

Izzy sat quietly as her words sunk into Cheryl. 

 

“I knew I shouldn’t have come here, you want me to let that- that- murderer off the hook when he killed JJ”

 

“Cheryl your dad killed JJ, I want you to not punish FP because you can’t punish your dad but the decision is up to you. Your dad killed Jason and left the body for someone else to deal with, what FP did was messed up but he didn’t kill Jason. Just take a minute and play it out… FP wasn’t there when your dad killed Jason nor could he have stopped it, he was just a guy on the”

 

“You just want me to forgive him because of Jughead, you talk a good game about being my friend but when it comes down to it you care more about Jughead.”

 

“Cheryl I am not trying to get FP off the hook for what he did but I don’t want to see him punished for something your dad did. FP is an alcoholic and a crappy father most of the time, he shouldn’t have helped your dad cover up JJ’s murder but he shouldn’t be charged with a crime he didn’t commit”

 

“He need to pay”

 

“Yes he does but for the crimes he actually committed, you get that right. They can take him to trail for accessory after the fact or even abuse of a corpse but the town wants him to rot away in jail just because he is a Serpent.”

 

Izzy watched as Cheryl took a deep breathe while she sized Izzy up, she seen that look before, she knew what Cheryl was like when she wanted to attack someone, whatever she was about to say was designed to hurt Izzy one way or another

 

“I wonder if you will be saying that if the police found out who killed your mum”

 

“Cheryl” Izzy began warning her friend, there were some issues that the didn’t mention and Izzy’s mum or more specifically her mum’s death was on that list.

 

“No, no. You want to sit there talking about how FP doesn’t deserve to be in prison when he stayed quiet for months letting daddy get away with murder just so Jughead can keep his dad around. JJ is dead and FP stuffed his body into freezer and then threw him into the lake like a piece of trash. Now you may not care when someone kills your mum but I care about JJ and I want justice”

 

“You know the only reason I am not slapping the dog shit out of you right now is cause I know you are lashing out…. but that being said GET THE HELL OUT of my diner and don’t come back. The next time you need advice go ask all the other friends you have lined up willing to help you out.” Izzy stated sliding out of the booth leaving Cheryl behind. 

x.x.x.x


 

Chapter Text

Izzy had spent the last two days battling with her emotions and trying to get some sleep, but nightmares were nightmares, the watch was a watch and Cheryl was…. Well she was persona non grata who was to be ignored and avoided at all cost.

 

It had only been two days since her bust up with Cheryl and it was sending her into an emotional tail spin; on one hand she knew what Cheryl was doing, she was lashing out and causing someone else’s pain just like she was going through.

 

Izzy knew that but it didn’t help her let go of the anger and hurt she felt.

 

You may not care when someone kills your mumis that what Cheryl thought, is that what everyone thought, that she didn’t care that her mum was dead.

 

She didn’t have a mum to talk to about boys or even to complain about to her friends and while Mrs. McCoy had helped raise her and gave her the sex and period talk alongside Josie she still wasn’t her mum.

 

Izzy cared and it wasn’t just because she was missing out on mother-daughter experiences, it was because she remembered some things, little things like how soft her skin was and the way she sang under her breathe when cooking or the fact that Izzy would always find her mum reading a book on a lazy Saturday afternoon and how she never failed to tell her she loved Izzy, every single day she would say it, at random times even.

 

One of Izzy’s first memories was of her mum just saying she loved her, no reason just a simple “I love you” followed by a flurry of kisses over her face.

 

Of course she cared that her mum was dead.

 

She never knew who had killed her, heck she didn’t even know who her dad was and she cared about him, and even though she had Pop and loved him and he was in every way a dad to her she still cared about this imaginary picture of the perfect father that she had created in her head.

 

Izzy could feel the tears running down her cheek but made no move to stop them, she was feeling too raw and emotional and slight sleep deprived to make the effort.

 

 Even though she could go to either Pop, Jughead, Josie, Valerie, Mel even Mrs. McCoy or anyone working in the diner would more than likely be there for her; she obviously had enough people in her life to talk to but she didn’t want to, for one it was in the middle of the night and more importantly her mum wasn’t a topic conversation she ever talked about with anyone.

 

Maybe that’s why Cheryl thought she didn’t care because Izzy never talks about her mum.

 

Izzy was pulled from her thoughts by the sound of her phone ringing and flashing Reggie’s name across the screen, she wondered what he wanted, since they had broken up they only ever talked to each other at parties and such.

 


x.x.x.x

 

For the second time in under a month the residents of Riverdale were being woken up to news of a shooting; this time the target had been a son of Riverdale; a young boy full of promise and potential was now battling for his life.

 

Reggie had once again been dragged out of sleep to the news of a shooting one, in his sleep addled brain he had thought that the was being told about Mr. Andrews shooting again until he had heard his best friend’s name.

 

He wasn’t sure why his next step was to hang up and call Izzy Tate to deliver the news himself but he knew that as soon as she was told the girl would be making her way to the hospital just because he needed her. 

 

x.x.x.x


 

 

Ever since she had walked into the hospital it felt as if everyone was looking at her, watching what she did, coming to her for advice…… well all the students anyways, the adults were in a corner of their own consoling Mr. and Mrs. Mason and waiting for more news while their kids gathered around Izzy and Midge as if they were some type of de facto leaders of this sad vigil.

 

Izzy herself had gotten to the hospital just after two am having woken Pop up to drive her to the hospital.

 

She had been the one to console Midge as they waited for her parents a to arrive, from what she could gather the same person who shot Fred two weeks ago had shot Moose yesterday night.

 

Either that or there were two shooters in town talking about sinners paying for their crimes.

 

x.x.

 

As the day wore on more and more people made their way to the hospital, and at six in the morning the entire room was packed with people waiting for news on how Moose was doing.

 

Izzy absently wondered if there even should be this amount of students there. It was a Wednesday morning and most people should be asleep or getting ready for school. 

 

There was no way everyone here knew or even liked Moose to be here at this ungodly hour, maybe it was a way for them to skip school for the day or Moose was more popular than Izzy had thought.

 

But considering what was going on Izzy won’t have been surprised if school had ended up being cancelled for the day, mainly due to the shooting, partly due to the number of kids who won’t turn up that day.

 

Either way there was way too many people here and Izzy just wanted peace and quiet.

 She didn’t want to console another teenager or try to manage their fear or thoughts of death and a mad man with a gun roaming around their town.

 

She had her own problems and thoughts to deal let alone trying to offer comfort to others.

 

The questions just kept circling in her head, over and over again; 

 

Why Fred? 

 

Why Moose and Midge?

 

What sins had they committed?

 

Was it the same thing that cause the man to shoot at them or was it something different. 

 

Was this man using the ten commandments as a guideline or was he punishing people based on the seven deadly sins?

 

Where was Jughead when you need him -Izzy absently thought- she was sure he could help her out with this, who would go from shooting a man in a diner to targeting a some teenagers in the woods a couple of weeks later in the dead of the night; it didn’t make sense.

 

“Hey you” Reggie greeted finally making his way over to sit with her after hours of talking to a bunch of Bulldogs and cheer leaders; he appreciated her coming to show support even though she was clearly struggling to be here. 

 

Maybe calling her hadn’t been such a good idea considering what she had been going through the last time she was in the hospital.

 

“Hey Reggie” Izzy greeted with a tired smile in her lips, she felt awful thinking it but she didn’t want to be sat here waiting to see if Moose pulled through, she didn’t want to be the one consoling Midge because being witness to one shooting apparently made her an expert in all shooting.

 

“Thanks for coming, I know Moose will really appreciate it once he wakes up. Do you want to go get some coffee” Reggie asked wanting to give Izzy a break, hell he needed a break himself, it had been over four hours and there was no new information.

 

“Yeah, sure… but I don’t think the hospital cafeteria is opened just yet” it had  only gone past seven in the morning and she knew the cafeteria wouldn’t open till at least nine am as she had made a quick excuse of getting people something to eat only to find it closed, she did manage to drag out twenty minutes of alone time with that fruitless endeavour so she really couldn’t complain.

 

“How about Pop’s, you guys are opened twenty four hours, we can do a quick coffee and food round for everyone” Reggie offered getting up and handing Izzy her jacket.

 


x.x.x.x

 

The drive over to the diner had been in complete silence apart from the time Izzy had called to place their massive order so it could be started before the reached to the Chock’litt Shoppe.

 

She also drooped Jughead a quick text about the shooting asking him to either call her or come over seeing as she wasn’t planning on going to school that day.

 

Once they arrived Izzy simply walked over to the corner booth and slumped down enjoying the few minutes of peace she had while Reggie went to the counter to pay for the order using his dad’s credit card.

 

“What if he.. what if he doesn’t wake up” Reggie whispered as soon as he sat down reaching across the table to hold Izzy’s hands. “I’ve known him since we were kids, my actual first memory was of him pushing me over, we, we’ve done everything together, we can’t… he can’t die”

 

“He’s going to be fine, if Fred can survive so can Moose” Izzy stated somewhat dispassionately, it wasn’t that she didn’t want to be there for Reggie especially since he had called her for support but she was tired.

 

She had spent the last five hours saying the same thing, offering support to one person or another convincing them that Moose would be alright as if she had some sort of crystal ball into the future when all along she didn’t even believe it.

 

She wasn’t sure if Moose would survive.

 

In fact Moose could die but people still wanted assurance that everything would be okay and for some reason they had chosen her as the person to give that assurance.

 

Didn’t they see the way she was struggling herself?

 

 Maybe they didn’t know about the nightmares or the insomnia or the panic attack but they sure as hell saw that she was struggling, the could see the bags under her eyes and how she passed through the days like a half dead zombie so why did they come to her?

 

Did helping Fred get to the hospital some how make her superwoman or was it because of the series of articles Mrs. Cooper had wrote about how ‘her bravery’ during Fred’s shooting help save his life that made people think she was in anyway qualified to speak on things she had no business talking about that reassured them.

 

 Someone had gone and shot a teenage boy for some unknown reason and according to Midge there was a high probability of the shooter being the same one who had shot Fred two weeks earlier. 

 

“Thanks for talking to me, I know I’ve been a dick since we broke up but I really do appreciate you coming”  Reggie said breaking the silence after a while.

 

Izzy wasn’t sure what to say, she could remind Reggie about a lot of things but here and now didn’t seem like the time nor the place and to be honest she was over most of the things he had done “…. water under the bridge” she replied relaxing back into the booth silently debating whether she should pull her hands away from his or to just leave it be.

 

“I can get the food back to the hospital if you want to go home” he offered knowing Izzy might even be more exhausted than he was with the amount of Agony aunt-ing that she had been doing at the hospital.

 

She had only gone as a favour to him but ended up being an actual shoulder to cry on for a number of people on multiple occasions; sure she would have probably turned up to see how Moose and Midge were but it won’t have been at two in the morning and she wouldn’t have been there to take on such a active duty.

x.x.x.x

 

Reggie hadn’t cared that it had been a Tuesday night -technically Wednesday morning- when he had called but he wanted Izzy to be there, he didn’t know how or why but Izzy always had a way of making the scariest situation seem okay-ish: maybe Reggie thought that she was an actual force of nature trapped in a sixteen  year old body and she wouldn’t let anything stand in her way.

 

Sitting in ‘their' booth waiting for their order to be ready with the sun just raising up Reggie knew the real reason he had dragged Izzy out of bed wasn’t because he thought she should be there or that the news couldn’t wait till a more appropriate time in the morning, it was probably because he felt like he could face anything with her by his side.

 

The simple truth was Reggie wanted her back.

Chapter Text

For the second week in a row Veronica and her friends found themselves spending their Saturday afternoon at Archie’s house, as it was the best option for all involved.

 

For Veronica, the Pembrooke was out of the question ever since her dad had been released from prison, she herself had been spending more time dodging her dad only returning home just in time for her curfew.

 If she wan’t about to subject herself to her dad’s company there was no way she was going to subject Archie and her friends to Hiram Lodge.

 

Now, her life here in Riverdale may have been different compared to her old life in New York but there was no way Veronica  -and her Balenciaga- would have ever been caught dead walking back into that trailer park.

 

Not to sound like an absolute spoilt princess, but Veronica had hated every minute inside that trailer the last time she was there and it had nothing to do with the fact that she had been investigating whether or not Jughead’s father was a killer hired by her dad at the time.

 

Plus going to the South side of town just seem like asking for trouble especially now that there was a lone gun man out there on the hunt just waiting for people to kill.

 

Honestly it was best to just avoid Betty’s house since Alice would have spent all afternoon creating a hostile and unwelcoming environment for her, Archie and Jughead, and today was all about relaxation.

 

This week had been harrowing enough with Moose being hospitalised, so the idea of a weekend just relaxing sounded heavenly. After an afternoon at Archie’s, Veronica had planned on going shopping with Betty and had even booked herself into an all day spa session a few towns over for tomorrow, which would not only have the added benefit of placing her in the right mindset for the upcoming week but would allow her time away from her dad’s attempt at ‘getting to know her’.

 

Veronica knew that her plans for a quiet afternoon was once again in jeopardy as soon as she saw the frown on Betty’s face when she passed over Jughead phone to him, Veronica silently stood up and made her way to the kitchen to give the couple some privacy while grabbing some ice-cream.

x.x

When Betty passed over Jughead’s phone she saw the latest text Toni had just sent about how she had finished washing Jughead’s clothes for him, Betty would have swore she could feel her stomach actually drop as she imagine all the ways in which Toni could have gotten a hold of a full laundry load of Jughead’s clothes.

 

Betty knew all about Jughead’s new Southside friend;  ‘Toni Topaz’ the photographer who had been spending her evening helping Jughead bring the Red and Black up to newspaper standard, or that’s what he said but Betty couldn’t help but feel like Jughead was just being oblivious to the crush she had on him.

 

No-one spent time in a dusty office cleaning it up just to be a photographer and with the amount of text and memes Toni kept on sending, it was clear she had other things on her mind besides friendship.

 

“What was that about?” Betty asked  gently prodding Jughead once he finally put his phone back down.

 

“Oh, my shirt got kinda messy the other day cleaning out the Red and Black and seeing as I didn’t have a way of washing my clothes for this week Toni offered to throw the shirt in with her weekly laundry.” Jughead replied seeing no reason to lie. He still hadn’t quite gotten around to telling Betty the truth about his association with the Serpents and how he had been spending time with some of the junior members both in and out of school…. And it wasn’t only for protection, a few of them were actually decent people that Jughead enjoyed talking to. 

 

“She washed your shirt?” Betty asked looking confused and darting glances at Jughead’s phone.

 

“Yeah, my machine at home broke down this week and since I don’t have the money to fix it….” Jughead trailed off hoping that the information he had given was enough of an explanation.

 

“So she doing your laundry?” Betty asked more confused than before. “If you had let me know I could have done them”

 

“She’s not doing my laundry, it was just one shirt.” Jughead emphasised, he wasn’t sure why this was an issue. “I was already planning on asking Mr. A if I could use their machine until I get enough saved to buy another now for the trailer.” 

Jughead had no intention of going over to Betty’s house with a bag full of dirty laundry, he would rather hand wash everything than feel Alice’s disapproving stare and listen to all the snide comment she would make about him not having a working washing machine and free-loading off Betty.

 

“So what’s she like?” Veronica questioned coming back to drop the first two bowls of ice-cream off on the table for Betty and Jughead.

 

“She is really cool, without her help South side High wouldn’t have a news room let alone a newspaper, plus she did agree to be the photographer for me”

 

“Why don’t you invite her over, we can get to know her” Veronica stated while walking back into the kitchen for more ice-cream knowing Betty had been feeling slightly jealous of the mysterious girl that Jughead seemed to be spending his time with.

 

Veronica herself wasn’t worried about Jughead making new friends over at that school, as the recently new kid in school she knew how isolating it could have been if she hadn’t met Betty and Archie at Pop’s that first day.

 

More importantly Veronica had a much bigger issue to contend with such as her dad being at the Pembrooke living as freely as can be, pretending as if he hadn’t threaten to implicate her mother in his crimes just so she would speak on his behalf.

There was also the issue of Archie behaving erratically most of the time, he always seemed angry at the world in general after the shooting and try as she might to get to the bottom of that particular mystery Archie had remained tight-lipped as to what exactly was bothering him.

 

As a matter of fact Archie had been behaving like a brooding ghost since they had been there; just hanging out in the back ground not really joining in in any of the conversations or jokes.

 

Veronica was beginning to wonder whether it was a good idea having impose their company on Archie like this especially since he was now the sole carer for his dad now that Mrs. Andrews had gone back to Chicago when she heard Archie speak up.

 

Veronica wasn’t really sure what Archie had said but she could hear the change in Betty’s tone through the wall, and Jughead’s rebuttal then Archie pipping back in whenever the situation seemed to have died down leading to more back and forth.

 

Sighing Veronica just stood there staring into the bowls of ice-cream as they started to melt, she briefly thought about just leaving the other three in the living room and walking out as Archie said yet another thing, she had just wanted a stress free weekend and now it sounded like Betty and Jughead were arguing.

 

Veronica wasn’t really sure what was going on since she arrived after everyone one else but ‘Bughead’ seemed to be spending their afternoon arguing for no apparent reason; Jughead had only been going to Southside High for a little over two weeks now it really wasn’t enough time to cause these petty little arguments between them; about who was meant to call whom and at what time.

 

She honestly didn’t think Betty had anything to worry about, Jughead wasn’t doing anything wrong as far as she could tell, he hadn’t been pulling away moreover Jughead was even making the effort to spend his Saturdays -hanging out- with them when he could have easily tried to make plans with some of his new friends to get to know them outside of a school setting.

 

Sure Jughead wasn’t around like he used to be but that was a given seeing as he now lived and was educated at the other side of town. Veronica had just assumed that they wouldn’t be seeing him as often when he was a part of the Northside community working at the Blue and Gold with Betty on a daily basis, walking back into the living room Veronica could now hear what Archie was saying.

 

“Wait if you have a problem with this girl washing his clothes then what do you think about Izzy having a drawer full of Jughead clothes at her house” Archie asked jumping back into the conversation. 

He didn’t know who this Toni girl was exactly but he was knew that if this was Betty’s reaction to a shirt being washed then she won’t be too happy about Jughead having his actual stuff in a room at someone else’s house.

“You leave your clothes over at Izzy’s house?” Betty questioned feeling like she was just jumping from one topic to another that afternoon, and with each new topic Betty felt like she knew even less than before or said topic was just a prelude to yet another argument.

 

Something was off and for the life of her Betty couldn’t place it, she didn’t normally argue with Jughead like this especially over such silly things but it just seem like as soon as one thing was put to rest another thing just popped it’s head up.

 

Jughead chuckled “Yeah I spend time over there and over the years I have left and lost random pieces of clothing to the Tate house”

 

“Jug, Izzy has an actual drawer full of your clothes in her house” Betty repeated

 

“- Are you guys talking about Izzy” Veronica asked holding the now half melted bowls of ice-cream and placing it one front of Archie before retaking her seat next to him.

 

“Apparently Jug here has his own chest of clothes at Izzy house.” Betty explained knowing Veronica would find it as strange as she did.

 

“Yeah, I am pretty sure the women’s jeans and clothes we saw at the trailer belonged to Izzy.” Archie explained knowing it was something Veronica had puzzled about the night they had broken into FP’s trailer looking for evidence. The clothes obviously didn’t belong to Glady's or Jellybean's plus it looked modern compared to the other  female items laying around.

 

Jughead wasn’t above throwing Archie a glare, he had no idea what was going on but it didn’t feel like Archie was trying to help nor did Jughead even know why this was an issue with anyone.“Think of it as me leaving clothes behind when I stay over than me actually moving in”

 

“It’s kind of strange to leave your clothes in someone else’s house” Veronica added slightly seeing things from Betty’s point of view.

 

“But is something we’ve done since we were like eight when we started having sleep overs. I spent as much time at the Tate’s as I did my house or Archie’s. It just got practical to leave some clothes round there” Jug said feeling slightly defensive and judged.“I am sure if you go to Izzy’s spare rooms you see a bunch of crap from everyone, I know for a fact that Valerie keeps a spare set of pj’s and what she calls her ‘man hunting’ jeans over there. Plus Josie and Melody leave change of clothes over there as well in case they stay the night. Anyways I can guarantee that if I went upstairs now there will be one of my shirt or jeans up in Archie’s room.”

 

“Jughead calm down we are not judging you, although I for one have not left any clothes at a male friend’s house I have been known to leave the occasional LBD at other friends house just because I know my parent’s wouldn’t have approve of such a purchase.” Veronica explained watching as Jughead got worked up during his little speech. 

“Now enjoy your time here with the ice cream I am so willing to share” Veronica joked trying to defuse some on the tension lingering in the air although she noticed Betty and Archie exchanging glances.

x.x.

“What was that about” Jughead questioned Archie once Betty and Veronica had left. Christmas was just a few short weeks away and the girls wanted to get started on their shopping list before the shops began to over flow with last minute holiday shoppers.

 

“What was what?” Archie asked innocently 

 

“The comment about Toni, South side high, my clothes… Izzy” Jughead listed all the tiny topics Archie had gone on about causing one little snit or another.

 

“It was nothing Jug” Archie replied smiling back at his friend “I thought she knew, it seemed strange that she was freaking out about someone washing a shirt when it feels like you live with Izzy half the time”

 

“I don’t live with Izzy, I live at the trailer or I have lived with you and I have even lived in the janitor’s closet at school or did you forget about that?” 

 

Jughead couldn’t explain it but the whole afternoon had felt off, maybe it was the lingering tension he was left in before the girls left or maybe it was the whole pointlessness of the argument itself that had Jughead feeling a certain way.

 

“Look Jug I am sorry, really man. I didn’t mean to put my foot in it or cause any trouble. You wanna go play some video game upstairs” Archie offered.

 

“Sure, you can show me how you play and I’ll just do the exact opposite to win” Jughead joked following Archie up the stairs.


 

Chapter Text

As the saying goes ‘Patience was a virtue’ and Hiram had yet to come across another being who had his level of patience, although he was far from a virtuous man. 

His wasn’t the classic patience of a saint it was the patience of an assured man, someone who knew it was only a matter of time before his plans came to fruition. 

For sixteen years Hiram had waited, he had joined and built his family business to an even greater height and all he wanted, all he asked for was the chance to be a father to the child he abandoned.

While the town had been all so busy panicking and dealing with the shooting of one Moose Manson, Hiram had been more focused on the life of a particular teenage girl, he had briefly visited the boy parents in the hospital and had offered to pay for half of all medical cost as it was never too soon to introduce yourself to the members of a community and gather some good will along the way.

He had Andre staying in the motel gathering information on the town, the people, the infrastructure, on everything, now that he was back in Riverdale his plans were to be adapted and updated.

Andre had been ordered to find all that he could on his daughter through any means whether it be bribing, blackmailing or basic threats; everything was acceptable if it gave Hiram the information he wanted.

It had all paid off as he now had a copy of her birth certificate, the adoption papers Pop signed to gain custody of Isabelle, Sharon’s death certificate and even the medical examiners autopsy report.

 Everything from Isabelle’s birth to her current school report was contained in the manila folder that sat on the corner of his desk in easy reach for him to look over at anytime.

Looking at Sharon’s autopsy report had been… hard, knowing she had died because of a hit and run of all things had made Hiram want to scream, how could someone like her die in such a way.

So painfully and senselessly with Isabelle watching as she struggled to live, Hiram had even thought about hiring a private investigator to look into the case before dismissing it; too much time had passed and truthfully if by some miracle he ever uncovered who had killed Sharon Hiram knew he wouldn’t stop until that person died an equally slow and painful death.

Somethings just had to remain in the past for everyone’s own good, plus Hiram had too much planned for the future such as getting to know Isabelle Amelia Tate. 

He could feel the same smile on his face now as the one he worn the day he had found out Isabelle’s full name. He was glad that despite everything he had done to her that Sharon had still thought about him, when it came to naming their daughter; making Isabelle’s middle name Amelia was such a small gesture but it meant the world to Hiram.

 He knew that Sharon would never have given Isabelle his last name nor did she even acknowledge him as Isabelle’s father on the birth certificate; not after the way he had left but she had at least named her Amelia because of Hiram’s fascination with Amelia Earhart and his own aunt Amalia who had been there for him for most of his life.

What he felt for Sharon would never fully go away, not even with her death, she would always hold a place in his heart just like how the thought of their child had always held a special place in his heart.

Staring at the candid shots that Andre had gotten of Isabelle throughout the week Hiram couldn’t help but marvel over how perfect she looked; Isabelle had managed to look like a perfect blend of Sharon and himself, she had his eyes, but Sharon’s smile, Hiram would even swear that her hair looked just like his Aunt when she wore it down.

All report showed her to be a caring and thoughtful young lady, she clearly had a strong presence in the Riverdale community even volunteering her Friday evening visiting the local old people’s home, maybe as a way of seeing her own great grand-mother but either way Isabelle was very much loved and involved in the town of Riverdale.

From all the news article Andre had acquired Hiram could also see her achievements; there was even an interesting article about how she had won a beauty contest which surprised Hiram, he didn’t think someone with a four point five GPA would also be the type of person to partake in such a brainless scheme but he had to remind himself that he knew nothing about his daughter so he couldn’t really judge her choices; plus the important thing was that she won.

He had all the facts about her that could possibly be gathered but he still didn’t know who she was.

He would need to make a move soon in getting to know his daughter but as much as he wanted to just introduce himself to Isabelle he knew he couldn’t, not without some more information as to what her reaction might be.

Was she friendly, hot tempered, did she take after Sharon or after him?

Would it be better for her to have Sharon’s explosive temper or was it better for her to have his stead fast patience when dealing with things; one was volcanic and burnt almost everything in it’s path, the other was a slow burning that never quite let up no matter how much time had passed.

Would Isabelle even be willing to get to know him or would she just spit in his face?

None of these questions really mattered in the long run because Hiram was prepared to do whatever it took to get to know his first born child.

By this time next year he promised himself that he would have Isabelle living with him at the Pembrooke.

He had done his part in the family business, this was his reward, after so many years of keeping away he could finally get to know her. 

The most difficult task apart from the way Isabelle might handle the information was to get past Noah and his hatred for all things Hiram, and while he might have already told Isabelle all about who her dad was Hiram was fairly confident he wouldn’t have, if only to save himself from having to acknowledge that Hiram even existed let alone played some part in Sharon’s life and by extension was the reason Isabelle was born.

Therefore, before he approached Noah Tate about getting to know his own daughter Hiram would need a bargaining chip to help ease the tension; maybe he should look into acquiring the land next to the diner.

x.x.x.x

 

Betty had no idea what was going on. Something was off with between her and Jughead, what that thing was she couldn’t put her finger on it. 

This afternoon was the worse yet, no matter what the topic was it seemed to cause an argument between the two of them. Every thing was good between them last week; they had spent their Sunday afternoon talking and laughing with each other. 

At first she thought the problem was not spending too much time with Jughead and maybe it was, but she had spent most of last Sunday with him and they had a good time they had even gone to the bijou and watched three movies back to back.  

The problem was that Jughead had a whole new life that Betty wasn’t a part of. He now spent most of his week in the south side and only came around on the weekend. 

“What do you think about this” Veronica asked walking out of the changing room showing off deep red silk pyjama set which was just on this side of being decent maybe she could wear it for the next time she went around to Archie’s.

“Well I see Archie will love his Christmas gift” Betty said confidently, Veronica looked amazing in that. 

“So what are you getting for Jughead”

“I haven’t thought of it yet. It’s our first Christmas together and after everything else that’s happened this year with Polly leaving and FP being arrested I want this Christmas to be great for the both of us” Betty confessed eyeing the night wear section herself.

 Maybe she should be thinking along the lines of Veronica when it came to Jughead’s Christmas gift, they had been interrupted the last time and Jughead did have the trailer all to himself this year. 

“Maybe you can ask Izzy for advice she has know Jughead for a long time I’m sure she can help you figure out what to get him”

 “I could just ask Archie” Betty countered remembering the argument that she had just had an hour ago about Jughead keeping his clothes at Izzy’s house, she wasn’t in the mood to go asking her for favours.

 “I thought you two got on last week” Veronica spoke through the curtains as she walked back in to change into her normal clothes. “Plus no offence to Archie he will probably suggest getting Jughead a video game.”

 “Yeah we got on,” Betty admitted it had been a fun afternoon and she could see how Jughead and Izzy’s friendship had lasted so long. “It’s just that I had a go at Jughead about how strange it was that he kept clothes at her house so it would feel kinda hypocritical if I went and asked her for help” 

“Well you have a few weeks to think about it, maybe you can find a gift before then”.  

As they were leaving Veronica couldn’t help but ask the question that had been bothering her all afternoon.“Can I ask what brought about all this arguing this afternoon, things may not be so harmonious at home but I refuse for them to also be disharmonious between our friendship group.”

“I just feel like there is a whole side of him that I am not a part of anymore, he’s at the Southside most of the week, he has now running a newspaper and he investigating the shooting with Izzy- and he hasn’t even asked for my help with that. I just feel like since he’s gone to that school we haven’t been talking the way we used to. I brought this all up last Sunday and he promised to be better at staying in touch with me but there hasn’t been a single call or text all week. Plus it’s not like the Southside is miles away it’s literally on the other side of town.”

“Betty, you and Jughead have only been dating for a couple of months now, you are both still getting to know each other, so he’s being a little inattentive right now so why don’t you call him instead. I think you are putting too much pressure on yourself and him, going to a new school doesn’t change the fact that he loves you or that he wants to be with you.”

“You’re right” Betty admitted, she was probably blowing this whole thing out of proportion.

“I am always right, why don’t we go grab some food from Pop’s those ice cream may have been a good shout but they have no nutritional value and we’ve haven’t nearly done enough shopping for today”

Although Betty knew Veronica had just given her some good advice she wasn’t ready to just walk back into Pop’s  there was the slightest possibility that she would run into Jug as he had mentioned something about keeping Izzy company during her shift.“How about I treat us to the Italian restaurant instead, I am feeling like having some pasta.”

Chapter Text

“Isabelle…. I need to have a word before you leave” Pop called out just as Izzy left the house to start her shift at the diner. He was nervous and it already showed, he found himself calling her Isabelle before he could help it.

He could tell by the way Izzy slowly walked into the kitchen she thought she was in trouble.  

Izzy was already in her work uniform ready to leave when she heard that dreaded word ‘Isabelle’; her actual name was never used in the Tate house unless she was in trouble like when she helped Cheryl hide from Penelope for three days or when she, Val and Mel had decided to try some of Pops bottle of whiskey last year -that incident had warranted the full “Isabelle Amelia Tate”; the point was Pop never used her actual name unless she was in trouble. “Hey Pops” Izzy hesitated spoke walking slowly into the kitchen and taking a seat at the table across from him.

Ever since finding out that Hiram was back in town he had been planning on telling Izzy about the man, Pop knew that sooner or later than man would come crawling out of the woodwork -like the nasty little vermin he was- and demand to get to know Izzy, like Hiram wasn’t the man who left his pregnant girlfriend of five years to go marry someone else within four months.

More important than trying to get ahead of Hiram’s potential schemes, Noah needed to tell his grand-daughter the truth about who her dad was before she found out some other way; it wasn’t exactly a secret -well not a very well hidden one- by any stretch of the imagination, a lot of people in town knew Sharon and Hiram had been in a serious relationship for a number of years and although no one had ever acknowledged it it didn’t take a genius to figure out that Izzy was their daughter, not with her complexion and certainly not with the way Izzy looked like Hiram when she became angry.

Noah had planned on telling Izzy everything years ago especially once she got curious about who her dad could possibly be but just like before Pop found himself talking about something else that had nothing to do with the truth. 

“Don’t worry you aren’t in any trouble I, I just need to have a word, with Fred’s shooting, your old music teacher’s death and now the Mason boy and Klump girl being targeted, everyone in town is scared and I wanted to make sure you are okay” Pop found himself saying, this wasn’t what he wanted to talk about. 

Watching as Izzy relaxed into the chair Pop hoped he was doing the right thing by putting off telling her -for now, just for now. He would tell her the truth soon, maybe after Christmas. 

Yes he needed to tell her but first he needed to know that she was coping with everything, he couldn’t just tell her about Hiram if she was already struggling, it was okay to put it off for now.

 “Oh yeah I’m….” Izzy relaxed when she registered that she wasn’t in any trouble. “Wait, old music teacher? Is Mrs. Henderson dead?” Izzy asked, Mrs. Henderson must have been at least eighty years old when she taught Izzy how to play the piano when she was just a kid so it made sense that she died but Izzy wasn’t expecting it, she only saw her a month ago when she visited great-gran at the care home.

“No, Ms. Grundy, your school teacher, she died last week, someone strangled her. It was in the papers”

 “Oh… I guess I must have missed it” what else could she say. There must be something in the water; Fred gets shot, then M.s Grundy dies and now moose, was there something going on in town or was this was all just a massive coincident and unlike Jughead Izzy was not one for conspiracy theories; sure Fred and Moose were likely to have been shot by the same person but that didn’t mean anything… she hoped.

 “That’s what I wanted to talk to you about. I see that you are getting better, eating more, sleeping for longer but if this gets too much just let me know okay cause no matter how old you get you will always be my little bee” 

Izzy couldn’t find it in herself to roll her eyes at her old nickname; partially because Pop’s didn’t say it that much, partially cause it reminded her of all the times her mum would call her “Busy Bee” but mostly because she knew how worried Pop’s had been after the shooting and wanting to know everything Izzy did to requiring text messages when she left the house; and to be fair now that the gun man was targeting teenagers it wasn’t too bad of an idea to keep a close eye on people just to make sure they were safe.

 “I promise Pop.” Izzy swore getting up and planting a big wet kiss on his cheeks. “Now I am going to be late for my shift, oh and Jug might end up sleeping over tonight” Izzy added as an after thought, it was always best to give Pop a general heads up when Jug stayed over so extra food could be made.

 “Is he staying with you till the end of your shift”

 “That’s the plan and it will be easier for him to just sleep here than go all the way to the trailer.”

 “And it has nothing to do with the bags of junk food and popcorn you bought this afternoon” Pop quizzed knowing the classic signs of a movie night.

 “I have no idea what you are talking about” Izzy grinned.

 “Sure but before you go here have this” Pop stated putting the package he had picked up for Izzy a couple of weeks ago when he finally picked up his brand new gun.

 “Is…. Is that a GUN” Izzy gaped looking at the table.

 “No! No!” Pop hurried to reassured his panicking Grand-daughter “It’s a taser, I got it for you so you can keep yourself safe”

 “Wh… Ho… Why?… You can’t just” Izzy wasn’t sure what to say it might be a taser but it sure as hell looked like a gun. “We were just talking about junk food why would…. A taser?” Her voice came out several octaves higher in the end even squeaking.

 “Listen to me”

 “So you thought the best time to give me a taser is…. Pop…. That looks like a gun sure it has yellow stickers or markings but if I pull that out someone is going to…. I am not using it”

 “Izzy”

 “No, that… it looks like a gun…. I’m not… just no, Pop. I’ve had a gun in my face I am not going to be walking around town with a taser that looks like a gun”

 “It for your safety, its top of the range, if you need to use it it triggers a GPS so I know where you are.”

 “No, I’m going to forget this and go to work, if you want to get me something to use I heard pepper spray is just as useful as a gun shaped taser” words Izzy thought she would never have to say in her life especially to her grandad.

 

Seriously.

 

A Taser

 

A GUN shaped taser with GPS, what happened to the old fashioned ones that looked like a shaver.

x.x.x.x


 

The post shooting slum was affecting everything and everyone; from the slow crawling of the clock as it struggle to move on from one hour to the next, to Jughead’s inability to write a story for the Red and Black to the Chocklitt’ Shoppe being so quiet, even the usual Southside crowd that came on Friday nights had been no where to be seen yesterday night.

 The shooting was changing the town and it’s residents more than Izzy would have liked, people weren’t acting like themselves; it was more than just the Northside blaming the South or the Southside with their petty crimes and disdain of the North, this shooting had Pop buying her an actual taser and thinking that it was something Izzy would actually want or need…. but with three deaths in as many weeks maybe having a something in the way of self defence was the smart thing to do. 

 So the question was if these shooting had someone as calm and rationale like Pop going out buying taser what did it have other residents doing apart from hiding out in their home. 

There had been no customers for the last three hours, no lost tourist looking for direction, no late night workers stopping in for a cup of coffee before starting their shifts, even the girls soccer team hadn’t come to the diner after their weekly game like they normally did. 

Business had slowed down since Moose got shot late Tuesday night, as soon as the sun went down no one else would risk venturing outside, the few people who went about their daily life as normal did all their activities in the light of day, ready to rush home before the sun had even began setting.

 Izzy was bored out of her mind, she had even let Daisy and Jessica go home early seeing as there was nothing else to do here, plus this way they would both owe her a favour and she had a feeling that she would need as many people in her debt as she can get once her and Jughead stepped up their efforts in finding the shooter. 

 The diner’s only repeat customer of the week was this black haired hispanic looking guy that came around dinner time who ordered food and stared out into space, Izzy had only seen him in passing once when she came on Thursday to get food for Pussycats’ song rehearsals.

 She normally won’t have noticed him but he was the only customer in the dinner and his reaction itself had caused her to take a second look at him, it was as if she had just caught his slouching on the job with the way his face had ashen and how uptight he became.

There was something about the way the guy had straighten up in his seat when she walked in that made her think that he was in the military, it was one of those hands in the cookie jar moment that had her taking notice.

x.x

 Izzy dropped a milkshake and a plate of fries in front of Jug as she moved to sit down herself. 

 “You wanna talk about it?” Jughead asked noticing the pensive mood Izzy was in.

 “Not really, Cheryl came by earlier to apologise for something she said and I’m not sure if I should forgive her or not.”

 “Was what she did unforgivable?”

 “That’s… debatable, it’s not… I’m not sure she just said some crappy things which has me questioning the way I’ve dealt with certain things.”

 Jughead didn’t know what was going on and from the vagueness of her sentences Izzy wasn’t willing to share but he did know one thing. “Whatever is going on I am sure you dealt with it in the right way. I’m sure it’s okay”

 Izzy managed to smile back at Jughead before deciding to put the Cheryl situation to the side, she could decide what to do another day right now she had more important things to focus on. “Any more news or clues about what happened?”

 “No, as far as I can tell the shooter walked up to the car and shot Moose, even though he was aiming for both of Moose and Midge he wasn’t ready to wait around to see if he got them both. Sheriff Keller isn’t releasing anymore info not even to the press and Midge is kinda skittish so I didn’t want to push her too much.”

 Izzy sighed stealing some fries and covering it with mayo she pretty much expected that news. “I can try talking to Midge and see if she will open up to me again but this is going so slowly it’s been three weeks now and we are no closer to figuring out who shot Fred, the guy could literally walk back-”

 Jughead watched silently as Izzy ranted while stealing more fries off the plate, he really didn’t understand why Izzy liked her fries drenched in condiments. “What. What is it?” Jughead asked concerned looking around at the empty booth Izzy was now staring into.

 “I… what if the shooter… okay so I just had a crazy thought. Killers normally go back and visit the scene of the crimes right”

 “Yeah some do, why?” Jughead questioned gaining Izzy’s attention.

 “There was this guy who kept coming in all week apparently, not a regular customer and I don’t know but what if…”

 “What if he’s the shooter?” Jughead finished knowing where Izzy was now going with this, his, his concern growing.

 He should have thought of this, it was a classic cliche in horror movies and there are a number of account of serial killers doing just that; returning to the scene of their crime, especially the very first one.

 “Yeah” Izzy stated dropping the French fries back onto the plate, she had just lost her appetite. “Since Tuesday the takings have gone down, people are now getting scared but yet and still this guy has been coming in all week.”

 “It, it doesn’t mean that he is the shooter” Jughead reasoned.

 “No but it is strange, while everyone else in town is staying at home, walking in groups and generally being safe this guy is by himself, no one here knows who he is and he keeps coming here, the scene of the first shooting…. And the way he looked when he saw me. I’m telling you it was strange

 “Okay, before we go down this rabbit hole…”Jughead wasn’t even sure what to suggest next, it was plausible. The man who shot Fred and Moose could have been coming to the diner to relive his first attack. Jughead was sure that in that moment he looked worse than Izzy, he was physically nauseous at the thought of the shooter coming back to Pop.

“First things first you don’t go anywhere alone, even if it’s just going to the shops you get someone to go with you. If you have to you can wait for me to come from the South side so you don’t go by yourself.” Jughead insisted.

 “Okay, okay” Izzy easily promised, she had no issue with that, if fact she had already been driving Mel to and from school just so her friend didn’t have to do that ten minute walk with the shooter on the loose.

 “I’m serious, it means no more late night running. If this guy is the shooter coming back I don’t want you to go anywhere by yourself” Jughead explained his unsaid concern obviously being that the shooter might potentially have an interest in Izzy; this was the second time Izzy had stated that the shooter had reacted oddly to her presence. “Now we just have to find out where this guy lives, he’s new in town but he could be staying in the motel, a hotel, visiting someone or he might have even bought a house here for all we know”

 “How exactly are we going to do that, we can’t exactly ask him” Izzy pointed out. Once again Izzy found herself thinking about the benefits of owning a taser- it wasn’t such a bad idea- she would need something with a stronger stopping power than her screaming and running.

 “The next time he comes in we follow him” 

 “You want to follow someone who has no problem shooting people.” Izzy asked hoping she had heard wrong even with Jughead sitting just opposite her.

 “Yes, what do you want us to do?” Jughead quizzed.

 “Call the sheriff station.” Izzy answered honestly “It’s their job”

 “And what exactly are we going to say we think a man who has been coming into the diner is the shooter because he acted strangely when you looked at him. Keller didn’t believe us about the watch and actually implied that you were obsessed with this case, what do you think he’s going to say when we call him up suspecting one of your customers of being the shooter just because he’s been coming this week.”

Damn it, as much as Izzy didn’t want to admit it Jug had a point, a very good one at that. The Sheriff hadn’t believed her when there had been actual video surveillance if she went back without any proof he would never believe her. “So what should we do?” Izzy asked, deferring to the guy who had actually manage to find a killer.

 “Like I said we follow him from a distance and if we can at the very least find out who he is and why he seems to be the only person in town acting as if he’s untouchable”

 “Okay I know it was my idea to find this shooter and everything but I am not trying to get shot or arrested in the process because not only a we talking about stalking I am assuming there’s going to be some B and E involved somewhere in our near future.”

 Just as he was about to say something the bell above the door went off causing both teen to look over to see Tall Boy standing just on the inside of the diner his eyes sweeping over the empty establishment until they landed on them, without a word he nodded to Jughead and left once again.

 “I’ll be right back, we aren’t going to get shot or arrested” Jughead promised as he slid out of the booth, he really hope this mystery wasn’t going to end in tragedy or with either of them behind bars.

Chapter Text

Joseph popped his head through the kitchen door ready to plate up a meal for the first customer that had entered since his shift began an hour ago, he was even planning on giving the person an extra portion of whatever they ordered, looking around he saw Izzy staring out the window and couldn’t help but be disappointed, the bell was Jughead stepping outside.. 

Business had slowed down during the last couple of days but today was the worse one yet, maybe it was because it was the weekend and people had the option to just stay at home. According to the manager at the Bijou and the matron’d at the fancy Italian restaurant their taking had also gone down since Wednesday morning with residents cancelling their reservations and not going out to watch movies after news of a second shooting made it’s way around town. 

“Still no customers?” He asked staring at the empty diner, for the first time in his five years of employment the wasn’t a single customer, it was kinda disconcerting to experience.

“Nope not yet. I’m thinking of calling Pop’s to see if we could close up in the next hour or two, I know he wants this place to be open all the time but there is literally no one to serve. I know you just got here but I can get Jughead to help me close if you wanna go home early.” Izzy offered. 

“First of all, I ain’t going no where and secondly, we both know Pop and Marie would kill me if I left you or Jug here with a shooter on the loose” Joe chuckled wryly knowing his wife would probably gut him before Pop even had the opportunity to do anything. “But if you like you can text Daisy to take the night off, I can handle this place by myself till the morning, it will save her having to do another double shift.”

Joe and Marie were Izzy’s idea of a perfect relationship he was a six-six tattooed former gang member and she was barely a five-three ex beauty pageant winner and somehow they managed to be a gold standard couple; they managed to evolve into a ‘them’ without changing who they were. 

Joe could still bench pressed a truck and Marie was always judging one beauty show or another these day, she even used her expertise to coach other people and was always around trying to convince Izzy to sign up for a show.... well another one.

Marie had managed to convince Izzy to try out in the local contest and Izzy had somehow won the thing but the whole pageant scene wasn’t for her, the make-up, early morning exercise, the dance routine there was a lot of work that went into just a single round of audition and Izzy hadn’t wanted to do it again, although she was glad about the prize money which was sitting in a savings account for her. 

Izzy decided to distract herself from what was going on outside between Jughead and Tallboy and focused back on Joe “Fine you can spend all evening telling me how baby Olivia is. Is she as cute as before or has she managed to get even cuter in the last two weeks?”

“She’s gotten even cuter. God knows she didn’t get her looks from me, that is all Marie’s doing” he replied leaning on the counter. 

“You’re not so bad yourself” Izzy declared “Marie just smoothed out your rough edges”

“Gee thanks” Joe deadpan not actually taking any offence, Izzy was like a little sister to him despite the twenty years age difference “so are you and Jones going to stay here all night or are you actually going to do something with your Saturday night like go on a date” Joe suggested. 

“Well Jug is helping me out tonight but I’m sure he will do something with his girlfriend soon plus no one is asking me out on a date so I get to spend my Saturdays working and making money.”

“I am sure that’s not true” Joe knew that Izzy was one of the most beautiful girl in town and he was aware that whenever she had shifts at the diner a bunch of teen boys all suddenly got a craving to come by and eat greasy food for hours on end while shamelessly flirting with her. 

Even if Joe hadn’t know Izzy himself, the way in which Marie described the teen would have been enough to convince him that Izzy was a beauty; his wife wasn’t one to give out needless compliments and she had been in the business long enough to know what beauty was so if Marie said Izzy was a beauty then she was, there was no two ways about it. 

“Yeah it is. No one has asked me out since Reggie.” Izzy said her nose scrunching up out of habit after saying her ex’s name “And even if they did I am not sure I would want to, plus Jug is the only guy I can stand at the moment.” She replied honestly, once bitten, twice shy and all that. 

“Well there’s no need to rush back into dating..... I never did like that Mantle boy.”

Joe had been against Izzy dating Reggie in the first place, he knew his type. Someone who couldn’t see the value in a good thing just because he wanted to have the shiny one. His dad was the exact same the man would trade in a classic beauty just to be seen riding the latest BMW like the idiot he was, so when Joe had heard that Reggie had cheated he wasn’t exactly surprised although he was sad for what Izzy ad to go through to learn the character of the boy. 

“You have nothing to worry about on that front”

“Why don’t you and Jughead leave early tonight, I am sure you can get one of your movie marathons going” Joe countered Izzy’s earlier offer having being feeling guilty for the last three weeks. If he hadn’t taken Pop up on his offer to go home early -that day- Izzy won’t have been there trying to convince Pop to go home. She won’t have had to witness a shooting, no one remained unchanged after witnessing something like that, he hadn’t and no one he knew had remained the same after their first shooting. 

Izzy broke Joe out of his melancholic thoughts once she started speaking again. “We can stay for another hour in case it picks up…. so if you are struggling for a Christmas gift for me and Pop I have a wonderful idea.” Izzy began as a prelude to asking for a slight favour ignoring the fond exasperation on his face. “So I booked Pop into a four day fishing trip in a cabin out of town where he can be one with nature and all that and I even got Mr. Hassel and the other poker guys to go with him…. but  we both know that Pop won’t go anywhere if he thinks I have the house to myself so I can you please tell him that you will be checking in on me”

“Iz-zy” Joe began his voice battling between the fondness he felt for her and the exasperation he felt at being a part of her scheme. “You do know I remember what it’s like to be sixteen with a house all to myself, I managed to get into a whole heap of trouble in just one afternoon let alone spending four days alone, and I don’t feel comfortable lying to Pop”

“I am not saying lie to him just don’t come around all the time.” she begged “How many chances will I get to have the house to myself for a whole weekend plus this is me, you know I am not going to go crazy, just one party with a hand full of people and it will be peace and quiet the other three nights AND I will make sure Pop never finds out.” Izzy promised; mostly by putting the fear of God into anyone that came so they didn’t go blabbing and partially because she was going to only invite people who weren’t stupid enough to blab.

“I’m not sure.”

“Please, come on I need this, the entire school needs this, just a teeny tiny small act of rebellion where we can all relax and have fun and be kids for a night and whenever you say the word I will shut it down, Scouts honour”

“So when is this fishing trip” Joe sighed knowing Izzy had already convinced him to get onboard with her plans.

“The nineteenth till the twenty-second” Izzy squealed jumping to give Joe a hug. 

 

x.x

Just then Alice Cooper walked in, to the displeasure of both Joe and Izzy, Joe knew Alice to be a turncoat from back in the day and while Izzy didn’t mind her too much, Alice’s ‘brand’ of journalism left a bad taste in Izzy’s mouth half the time. Alice was the type of person who obviously judged someone by what side of the tracks they lived in, so someone like Jug wasn’t good enough for her daughter. It was this type of prejudiced that Izzy hated the most, the pointlessness of it all. 

“Mrs Cooper what can we get you?” Izzy asked plastering a smile on her face if nothing else the woman was their first customer since it had gotten dark.

“I was wondering if I could talk to you for just a moment” Alice tried making nice.

“What about?” Izzy questioned staring back at Alice.

“The Register is planning on doing a series in-depth articles about the recent shooting in town and we were wondering if we could interview you”

“Why me?” Izzy wondered aloud genuinely confused.

“Well you were here at the sight of Fred shooting and according to my sources you were also one of the first people at the hospital when the Mason boy was shot, what you saw, how you felt can really be helpful.”

Izzy stopped listening to the spiel Alice had obviously prepared for her, she had already spent the last three weeks being stared at by kids in school and people around town so the idea of doing an interview for the town newspaper and gaining even more attention wasn’t something she planned to do not to mention the fact that she was worried about the mystery man who may or may not be the shooter coming to the diner so it was a bad idea overall to have herself plastered in the papers. “No thank you” Izzy interrupted half way through Alice telling her that she would be paid for the interviews.

“Now if it’s the amount we are willing to negotiate on it."

“It’s not the amount, I just don’t think I should be doing interviews right now, I don’t want the public attention.”

“No, yours will be one of many stories to be released over the next few weeks, Archie Andrews has just agreed to be the first to be interviewed” Alice offered up now trying to down play the situation. “His will be about what it was like as a son to witness such a horrific act and how he and his family have moved on from the act.”

“So what will her’s be about?” Joe asked, there was always a catch when it came to Alice, even Jughead had to learn his lesson regarding this woman as a simple dinner invitation was only made under the guise to get him out of the trailer and get Archie and Veronica to break in. 

“It can be about how a modern woman can do it all from being in the spot light saving -Fred’s- life one week to taking the back seat and providing a comforting shoulder for a friend to cry on”

“Is this article even about the shooting or are you just trying to strong arm Izzy into something she doesn’t want to do. You have other people and she said no so move on” Joe glared towering over the pushy ‘journalist’.

“This town is facing a crisis and people are scared, look at this place” Alice stated pointing to the empty diner “It’s a Saturday night and not a single person is in here, everyone is too scared to leave their house but if they read about how a father got shot in front of his own son or the bravery of one of our own who shows no fear in living her day to day life and going back to work in the very same place she witness this horror it might just give people the courage to leave their house and not cower in fear. This is only the second shooting and if we don’t counter act this fear mongering now very soon people will start selling their houses and business and move out of Riverdale.

Ignoring all the dramatisation and hand waving going on Mrs. Cooper did have a point, if peopled already stopped coming to Pop and once the got stuck in the pattern of just staying home all the time they might not be a diner for Izzy to inherit.

“But why is it up to her to give you an interview?” Joseph questioned.

“It’s not just Izzy, like I have already said it will be a series of interviews, she will be one of many people that I talk to.” Alice replied not even flinching at the look Joe was giving her, maybe if he was still living the gang life she might have been worried but right now she was dealing with ‘Joe the cook’ and the worse he could do was give her an undercooked burger. “And to be completely honest with the original story published after Fred’s shooting about Izzy’s heroics-”

“Yeah the story you wrote” Joe muttered under his breath not letting Alice distance herself from the hassle she caused.

“- with that story already being out I feel like people will respond more to Isabelle’s interview than anyone else I have lined up, that first article generated a lot of buzz both online and in the street. Plus we can shine a light back on Pop and remind everyone the significance of this place, get people back in here. We will even give Pop a week of free advertising in the papers and I will thrown in the next ten ads after at half price.”

Damn it.

That was a really good bribe and judging by the look on Alice’s face she knew Izzy was now tempted to agree to do the interview.

“Take your time, read my article with Archie first before committing to a decision but I honestly think the interview would be just the thing Riverdale needs to bounce back and get our fighting spirit instead of cowering at home.” Alice stated before leaving the restaurant as Jughead entered.

Chapter Text

“Was that Mrs. Cooper” Jughead asked even though he had clearly seen her as she walked past- without even bothering to acknowledge he was there.

“You know it was. She wanted to ask if I was willing to do an interview about the shooting” Izzy stated dismissively waving her hands at the current topic at hand. 

“Are you sure it’s such a good idea?” Jug asked. “She isn’t exactly known to be impartial when it comes to… anyone” he warned, although Alice did seem to write about Izzy in a positive light most of the time he still wouldn’t trust her.

“I’m thinking about it, I’ll wait until I read the interview she does with Archie before deciding. Now what did he want?” Izzy asked sneering at the fact that Tallboy had actually come to the diner.

“Nothing” Jug replied only to be stared at by Izzy until he finally gave in, “Nothing much” he clarified. “He wanted me to, he set up an appointment with someone who can help my dad with his court case.”

“Uh huh” Izzy replied looking skeptical as the motorbike drove off the parking lot back across town to the Southside, she could hear Joe already going back into the kitchen no doubt uninterested in anything to do with the Serpents.

“Izzy it’s nothing, I promise. I’m just going to meet someone who can get my dad out of jail”

“I’m not saying anything” Izzy denied side stepping to grab some lukewarm fries and avoid Jughead’s gaze. “… What, I didn’t say anything.”

“But you’re thinking something” Jughead stated, he knew that look, it was that same look she had when he was eleven and Pop had wanted to take the two of them to a theme park to celebrate his birthday, it was a looked that said ‘I have something to tell you but I don’t know how you’re going to take it’. 

“Well…. it’s just odd that he would come all this way to tell you about this mysterious person that can save you dad when he could have told you anytime, at the trailer, at the ‘wyrm’, he could have even gone to your school and told you this, or he could have told you weeks ago when FP was arrested”

“Iz”

“What, you asked.” she replied shrugging still unbothered by the looks Jughead was giving her, of course he thinks she was being over protective “You said that you were cool with the serpents now, I just find it kinda hinky that he only told you this now after your dad has been in prison for how many weeks  now and only when you were by yourself”

“Hinky? Now there’s a word you don’t hear very often” Jughead joked dismissing Izzy’s concerns. Tallboy knew a lot of shady people maybe he hadn’t told Jughead about the Snake Charmer before now because the benefit won’t have outweighed the cost but now that it was looking more likely that his dad might actually go to prison for twenty years or more Tall Boy was willing to take the risk and introduce them even if he did warn Jughead about going.

“Jughead I am serious” she replied back. “With a serial killer on the loose I am suspecting anyone who goes out of their way and roam about town by themselves, we put Shady guy on the list because he comes and eats here by himself so Tall Boy can be on that same list cause decided to track you down and drove right across town for a five minutes conversation when he could have just waited for you at the trailer. I am serious that is just straight up hinky”

“I trust Tall Boy, my dad trust him and maybe him telling me about the Snake charmer now might be ‘hinky’ but it’s a solution. My dad is facing twenty years in prison Iz.” Jughead stated. “I’ll be thirty-six by the time he gets out and that’s if he takes the deal instead of going to trail… I”

“You want FP home.” Izzy sighed getting to the heart of the issue, if it was her she would probably do the same thing, so what if she never liked Tallboy Jug was right he was offering a potential solution to FP being in jail and if she was in his shoes and Pop was the one facing twenty years in jail Izzy would do everything she could to get him out of there. “Just be careful Jug, with a name like Snake Charmer I don’t want you selling the shirt off your back to bail Fp out of this”

“Don’t worry I’ll be careful plus I am going to have to sell the shirt for money anyways, I am down to my last ten dollars so if it helps get my dad out of jail then I’m all for it”

Izzy was stuck with her mouth hanging open for several seconds as she stared back at Jughead  as her brain tried to understand what she had just heard. “What?!”

“Izzy” Jughead tried to calm her down before she got all worked up or worried about him.

“How? Jug why the hell don’t you-” Izzy stopped herself from continuing and thought about it, the drive-in had closed down about two months ago so Jug obviously didn’t have a job and he wasn’t living with his foster family -like he was meant to- and he had to still buy the essentials himself any money he had made will have been running out by now.

“Don’t make a big deal out of it” Jughead pleaded feeling embarrassed talking about his money problems even with someone like Izzy who didn’t pity or judge him. He had managed to stretch out the last of his pay check from the drive in quite far, mostly because he came and ate at Pop’s for free thanks to both Izzy and Pop -and not having to pay any rent on the trailer also helped- but after months of unemployment the money had to run out sooner or later.  “It’s fine, I can ask around town and see if anyone is hiring plus I can always do some odd jobs for the serpents” Jughead reasoned although he wasn’t a massive fun of the shady side of the Serpents he understood that it pay the bills for a lot of the serpents who couldn’t get legitimate jobs.

Izzy wasn’t stupid, she was in the run to be valedictorian -when they graduated- she knew there were things Jughead kept from her either cause he was embarrassed or he didn’t want her swooping in unwanted help but she couldn’t help it, it wasn’t in her nature to let her friends suffer not when there was something she could do about it, now her ‘enemies’ on the other hand, Izzy had no qualm about watching those who crossed her suffer; she had a mean streak a mile long and she would gladly walk every inch of that mile just for revenge.

“Jug… it is a big deal, how the hell are you living with only ten dollars. You are sixteen and having to do shady jobs just for money isn’t okay, you might as well work here if you are looking for a job” Izzy stated and quickly continued as she knew Jughead would probably turn down her offer out of embarrassment. “And before you say no or think I am just doing this for your benefit, we actually need people. Pop was going to place an ad in the papers because a couple of guys quit after Fred got shot, not enough for us to worry but enough that Pop and Daisy have been doing double shifts to try and make up the missing personnel while they try to find someone to hire so if you work here you give them a break”

“I…”

“Just say yes, you need the money and Pop actually needs the help so it’s a win-win, it’s either this or I convince Pop to let you move in with us.” Izzy threatened she had no idea what the foster system was like or what Pop would have to do to take official be Jughead’s guardian but if push came to shove she was sure they could just have Jug living with them with no one being the wiser, it’s not as if Jughead’s social worker was competent when she isn’t know that Jughead was living by himself.

“The job is fine, I’ll pay you back.” Jug reassured her, not at all surprised by her offer to move Jug into her house, he was sure she would do it too.

“I think you’re forgetting the part where I said you will actually be working for the money but you are welcome. I can get the paperwork done for you before we leave tonight and if you do a full eight hour shift tomorrow and  you can spare three hours each night during the week, with payday being this Friday that will be twenty-three hours working and with Pop paying just a bit over minimum wage, minus taxes, I would say maybe a hundred and seventy-five dollars this Friday” Izzy said doing a rough calculation in her head, she may be wrong about how much Jughead will be taxed but it seems about right. 

Jughead stood in awe at Izzy’s mathematical skills even after all the years he had known her she always found a new way to leave him staring at her in amazement. “Isn’t this moving a bit too fast, I mean Pop does have a say in this right?” Jughead asked reminding Izzy of her tendencies to put the cart before the horse, when Izzy had a ‘gut feeling’ she just tended to run with it regardless of other people’s opinion.

“This is Pop he won’t say no, you need a job, he needs to hire someone.” Izzy pointed out.

“Thank you” Jug whispered confusing Izzy, there were the only two people in the diner right now and there were stood less than three feet apart but more confusing was the way Jug was looking at her that it caused her brows to furrow trying to work it out, it wasn’t gratitude or happiness- she’s seen those expression enough times-… maybe fondness?  Izzy wasn’t sure what that look was about but the moment felt charged, clearing her throat Izzy moved back and stopped the staring contest she had going on. “I’ll go get the forms now.”

x.x.x.x


 

It was barely seven in the morning on a Sunday when Pop walked downstairs to see his granddaughter and Jughead on the sofa still in the depth of their movie marathon, his front room was a mess, there were various drink cans and at least half a dozen empty bags of snacks scattered everywhere while the two teens huddled on one side of the couch under a shared blanket eyes glued to the tv screen, from the looks of things it seemed like they hadn’t slept after getting back home.

“Jughead Jones you best get off to bed now if you want to make a good impression on your first day of work” Pop warned, since Izzy had informed Pop that she had ‘hired’ Jughead to work at the diner.

 Noah didn’t really have an issue with Jug working there especial as he knew that Jug has a good work ethic but he would have liked some advance warning when it came to staffing issues especially since Izzy had also informed him that she had let Daisy and Jessica go home early.

Maybe Noah needed to remind his granddaughter that he was in fact the sole owner and property of the diner (and had been for over thirty years) and while one day the diner would be hers she didn’t have the authority to just hire people or change his staff rota around willy-nilly, it had been a couple of years since his heart attack when she had bullied his staff into working more hours so Pop could spend more time resting at home but Pop didn’t want a repeat of the days where his staff responded more to her than to him.

“Of course Pop” Jug said tearing his eyes away from the screen “This is the last movie, I will be going up after this” 

“And what about you Izzy? I am sure Pastor Charles would love to have you in church today” Pop stated in the vague hope of getting Izzy to come to church, he knew she wasn’t planning to but he did always extend the offer to her every Sunday.

“Maybe next week” came the expected phrase from his grand-daughter. “Say hi to GG for me and tell her I will see her this Friday.” Izzy was only half paying attention to what Pop was saying but she heard the word ‘church’ so it was easy to guess he was inviting her alone once again, it was Sunday so that meant Pop would ask her to come, she would say maybe next week and go pick up GG from the retirement home to take her to church and they would both come home around three to eat the Sunday dinner that Izzy had prepared for them.

Izzy loved her Great-Gran the woman was amazing there was no two ways about it, she born in the 1930’s when Jim Crow and segregation laws were a part of everyday life and had raised a family in the south before moving up North and finally settling in Riverdale but Carol Tate was one of those judgemental church ladies that turned Izzy off going to church on Sundays.

GG loved to gossip about everything and everyone and more than anything she loved to brag, brag about Pop, the diner, Izzy, the house, the fact that she had one of the better rooms in the retirement home or even that Pop brought her home ever Sunday and Izzy choose to volunteer at the retirement home.

Each and every Sunday GG would start of the evening by telling stories about the past and she would eventually make some comment about how Pop was raising her great-granddaughter to be Godless or whatever, Pop would then argue with GG about how you couldn’t force someone to go to church and seeing as Izzy still believed in God and read her bible (occasionally) he wasn’t going to force her to come to church if she didn’t want to then GG would say how she never raised Pop like that and the whole thing would spiral down into how Izzy should be more God-fearing or how Pop should be more strict with her and once Izzy tries to leave GG would apologise just to start the same old argument the following Sunday.

Izzy always did wander if GG would have preferred her to be ‘fully black’ she never ever said it out loud and Pop would probably disown her but Izzy always felt that part of the weekly argument and criticism about Izzy being ‘Godless’ came from the fact that she was mixed race; either because Izzy was born out of wedlock and therefore wasn’t born under the ‘sanity of marriage’ or as she suspected GG’s main problem was more to do with Izzy’s dad or as she called him that ‘he-devil’, anytime the topic of Izzy’s parentage had come up over the years GG would always refer to Izzy’s dad as a ‘he-devil’ mutter some bible reference about how the man belongs in hell next to his father and move on.

 

x.x


 

After the movie ended and had gotten the front room looking half way decent  Jug and Izzy could finally head up to get some much needed rest

Izzy pulled on Jug’s other arm stopping him before he entered the guest room he normally stayed in, she couldn’t help it, she had to say something, she thought of another way for Jughead to not worry about money or rent or buying food, she just wasn’t sure how he would take it, Izzy needed to say something soon because at this point she was just holding onto his arm in the middle of the hall way while biting her lips.

“What, what is it?” Jughead asked, she had that look again ‘the bearer of unwanted news’ look.

“I… forget it, just remember to set an alarm for Pop’s you have the afternoon shift.” Izzy said having changed her mind, it was a stupid idea to even think.

“Izzy” Jughead wasn’t sure what was going on in her head but she looked nervous and unsure like really unsure about something, maybe she didn’t want to be alone right now.

It was just last week that she was breaking down in her car about her nightmares and no matter how much better she seemed she might want someone sleeping next to her. “Do you want to sleep next to me” Jughead offered, they hadn’t shared the same bed since they were twelve but Jug was feeling nostalgic and slightly worried, it was just like old times sake binge watching a movie till the got too tired to keep their eyes open for another second and just falling asleep wherever they were, Izzy had once fallen asleep at the kitchen table in the trailer only to be started awake once FP came home from his shift.

“Err… yeah” Izzy found herself responding “I’ll go shower in my room first.”

x.x


 

Just as they drifted off to sleep Izzy hoped she could let go of the crazy idea of contacting Gladys and asking her to come back to town.

 FP had been in jail for over a month now and if she wanted to she would have come back to Riverdale as soon as she heard and not risk her son going into foster care and even if Gladys thought Fred or Pop would step up and take care of Jughead while FP is in jail she should at least have come back for a day to make sure her son was okay living in the town where he would be judged just because of FP’s action.

Chapter Text

Jughead woke up after what felt like only minutes of sleep to find Izzy lying on top of him, they had obviously gotten entangled trying to seek the others heat while sleeping, it took a second longer than was strictly necessary to decide to move her. 

“Don’t…” came the quiet whisper from the mass of feminine flesh cuddle into of him. Izzy had awoken about ten minutes before to find herself laying on Jughead after she felt his arms tighten around her in her sleep, she didn’t want to move, she didn’t want them to move her mind was going in a thousand different direction and she just wanted to stay here where it was quite. 

“I’ve got work remember.” Jughead found himself whispering back trying to match her tone so as not to fully wake her up. 

“Don’t disappear on me, like you did when Jason died.” she clarified. “This whole tracking the Shady man or trying to find out who the shooter is..... I just.... Just don’t go disappearing on me again.” remembering the weeks he spent unintentionally ignoring her to track down one lead or another or how their conversations went from a full blown discussions about super heroes or world politics to a three minutes conversation over the phone with promises to meet during the week only to have them broken when the time came.

“Izzy I am not going to, I am doing this with you. We are going to do this together.” Jug promised reaching for her hand and giving it a firm squeeze. 

Izzy decided to lie there for a few more seconds staring at the wall in what she had dubbed ‘Jug’s room’, he had a spare set of clothes and pyjamas in the drawer in the corner and this was always the room he slept in whenever he stayed over, it was just across the hall from hers so it was perfect.

Tilting her head to look at Jug Izzy nearly chuckled watching him struggled to keep her bouncy brunette curls out of his mouth. “Do you ever think that things will go back to normal?” she mused. “Mr. Blossom shot Jason, there was that shooting in the motel then someone shot Fred and now Moose and Midge gets targeted and then there was that rumour about Ms. Grundy being  paedophilic and sleeping with a student and yesterday Pop told me she got strangled.... this town is changing Jug and I think we are going to have to change too if we want to survive.” Izzy confessed watching closely for any type of reaction as she spoke. 

“Darwin’s theory of evolution states that it will not be the smartest or the strongest that will survive but the most adaptable. Having to change because the town’s changed isn’t a bad thing, it might actually be really good. Look at me and the serpents, before I started going to Southside High I hated everything to do with them but now to survive I joined them and I don’t regret it Iz.” Jug confessed his own little secret.

 “I don’t know what the future holds but even if finding out who the shooter is changes us it will be okay.” he stated before pressing a kiss on her forehead making sure to avoid her hair at all cost, he would be coughing up hairballs for a month if he wasn’t careful. 

“What conditioner did you use this time?” He asked changing to a more inconsequential subject, he was always interested in the variety of shampoos and conditioner Izzy had for her hair. He had been trying to place the scent since she had gotten into bed with him earlier.

“Coconut and olive oil, it makes my hair shinier but next week’s one will probably just be organ oil by itself or maybe I will just co-wash it.”

“Why don’t you go back to sleep” Jughead offered, he was struggling to stay awake so he could only imagine what Izzy felt like having had to actually work last night. “I’ll let you know how the shift goes later on.”

“Please if you think I am not going to be your first customer then you really don’t know me.” Izzy scoffed half offended. “I even asked the girls to stop by and order something.”

Really?” Jughead asked mystified while he knew Izzy was on of his biggest supporters it surprised him that she would ask Mel and the girls to come to Pop just because it was his first shift.

“No, but I wanted to.” Honestly, the only reason she hadn’t was because she knew most of the girls would be at church or spending time with their families today and there was the whole killer thing on the loose, so as much as she wanted everyone to turn up and support Jug she wasn’t about to risk their lives. “You wanna check and see if Betty can come keep you company.” Izzy suggested only to regret speaking because an awkwardness had now settled over them causing the teens to move apart and start getting ready.

“We really should start getting ready now, can’t be late on my first day.” Jughead grumbled getting out of bed.

For a split second both Izzy and Jug just stood across from each other with the bed acting as a physical barrier between them; neither one speaking just staring at the other waiting for someone or something else to happen.

It felt like both a beginning and the end of a moment between them as the stood in silence.

 Before either of them could say anything Jughead’s alarm went off starting them into action which was probably for the best, there was a reason why Pop had given Jug his own room for sleep overs once they hit puberty, it was inappropriate to be sharing a bed with Jug like this even if nothing was happening between them.

If she was woman enough Izzy would admit to herself exactly why that she felt disappointed, she would admit to herself the reason why she hadn’t moved when she woke up to find herself lying on top of Jughead.

Not only did Jug have a girlfriend and not only did Izzy not feel emotionally stable enough but she knew that as soon as she admitted it to herself it would require some sort of action to be taken either she went full on denial and avoided (another) one of her best friend (which wasn’t going to happen) or she would confess her feelings and worse case scenario Jug avoids her or there was that slight possibility that he felt the same way but then what?

 Izzy wasn’t ready for a relationship right now so what good would it do in figuring out if she liked Jug in more than a platonic best friend type of way  especially when she could just be blissful in her ignorance and spend the afternoon with him being there for him like he was for her.

 

x.x.x.x


 

Betty was helping her mum interview Archie when she received a text from Jug asking her to meet him at Pop’s for a surprise.

Unfortunately she had to text back to ask if he could rearrange it as she was busy even with the interview was going well it easy to see that Archie was struggling when talking about anything shooting related. 

A part of her wonder what the surprise could be before getting swept up in taking notes and asking a fellow up question, with Betty having one hand on the wheel for Archie’s interview she at least knew that her mum would take it easy and wouldn’t be inclined to do her usual hatchet job.

Betty could guess they only had half an hour left of this interview, she knew her mum wanted it in tomorrow’s paper so she would have to get to The Registrar soon which worked out perfectly because Betty needed both parents out of the house for her own surprise.

Polly had called her yesterday night saying she was heading back to Riverdale so Betty needed the time alone to get her room ready she may be able to convince Archie to help, just to get him out of the house doing something else apart from worrying about his dad and afterwards they could just hang out and Betty could find out how Archie had been coping with Fred and everything.

x.x.x.x


 

Alice was already planning on writing a nice article about Archie and Fred mostly because she had spied some red letters contains the words ‘notice’ on a couple of letters Fred hadn’t hidden too well.

The Andrews could catch a break and if nothing else writing a nice piece about them would not only help out the construction site with future booking but would also make Izzy Tate more inclined to say yes to an interview.

Alice Cooper had suspected that Riverdale would not remain the idyllic town it once was ever since Jason Blossom had been shot earlier that summer it felt as if the whole town was just waiting to implode and it had already began in the few short months they’ve had a three shooting and a murder by strangulation not to mention inappropriate pedophlic teacher-student relationships.

She had know Sharon Tate and Hiram Lodge since she was her own daughter’s age and it didn’t take a genius to figure out who exactly Izzy’s father was not with the girl’s complexion, there was a lot of things Alice would do for a story but revealing that secret wasn’t going to be one of them.  

Plus Alice knew that it was only a matter of time before that particular truth about ‘Izzy Tate’ came out especially when Hermione and Veronica moved back to Riverdale and now Hiram has followed suit after his short stay in prison.

She already had a draft article ready to be released demonising Hiram once the truth came out; it wasn’t just that the man was a pig who used people and avoided justice at every turn - well it wasn’t only that- it was the fact way the Lodge’s just skated on by as if their money made them immune to any form of consequences even getting something as simple as a parking ticket.

So Alice was ready to write an article of a life-time, she may never win a Pulitzer but she sure as hell was going to be remembered and writing about the down fall of Hiram Lodge would be the thing that immortalised her.

Alice didn’t have proof that Hiram was making any illegal deals but as the saying goes ‘once a crook always a crook’.

Chapter Text

Veronica’s all day spa session had been changed to an early morning to mid afternoon ‘soak-and-go’ because Hiram Lodge just couldn’t handle the fact that he wasn’t in control of everything and was forcing Veronica to spend the evening at home ‘as a family’ even going so far as threatening to cancel all her cards if she didn’t acquiesce to his demands.

Even though Veronica enjoyed her time away from home she knew she couldn’t keep it up for much longer, sooner or later she would be forced to interact with her dad….. but until then she would delayed the inevitable by having Smithers stop off at Pop for a chocolate milkshake before they made their way out of back to the Pembrooke.

“These burgers have tomatoes in them I am allergic can you please take it back and make me a new one, actually can I have some la-sag-na” Izzy stated snobbishly pushing the plate away.

“You are not allergic to tomatoes Izzy” Jug huffed. “Now eat the damn burger.”

Izzy gasped with such unnecessary exaggeration that Jug wonder how she wasn’t passing out from being light headed. “You don’t know what I am allergic to and is that how you speak to a customer, how dare you, I demand to speak to your manager such an atrocious service”

“I swear, you are going to be wearing your meal if you don’t stop this” Jughead growled, this was the third time she had called him over complaining of a non-existent problem; the first time she complained that her water was too ‘bubbly’ to be still water, then the milkshake tasted like it had too much milk and not enough ‘shake’ and now her burger had tomatoes in them.

“I say, I say, such a repulsive attitude, well I never” Izzy gasped in horror.

“Okay I am going to walk away now” Jughead rolled his eyes and making a valiant effort to ignore the way Izzy was cackling behind him.

“Hey Veronica” Izzy greeted cheerily having turned around when the bell above the door went off. “You wanna join in on the fun, it’s Juggy’s first day.”

“This is not fun, ignore her” Jughead called out before turning back to finish serving a mother and daughter duo.

“But it really really is” Izzy replied grinning like the cat who not only got the cream but was bathing in it. 

“You work here?” Veronica asked directing the question to the boy behind the counter proudly wearing the all white uniform of the male staff including the tiny red bowtie.

“Yep as of this afternoon he does” Izzy grinned getting the stink eye from Jug as he walked back over.

“Yeah I wanted to show Betty the new job but she replied saying she was busy with Archie, so what can I get you?” Jug asked ready to ignore Izzy if he had to.

“Just came in for a chocolate milkshake” Veronica sighed. “Milkshake to go and can I please have a pasta alfredo to eat in with just a bottle of water” she quickly added having come to to the conclusion that while she may have to go home this evening it didn’t mean she had to have dinner with.

“It’s ‘What can I get you Ma’am’ and what happened to service with a smile?” Izzy asked watching as Jug left eye started to twitch in annoyance.

“I swear to God Isabelle I am going to-”

“Okay, okay sheesh, no more harassing the staff” Izzy promised “…. But I would like that lasagna.” she finished quickly ducking as Jug threw a dish towel at her head.

“Izzy stop harassing the boy. Jughead there are customers waiting to be served.” Joe scolded having come out of the kitchen to deliver three burgers and a chicken salad to the table in the corner. “And stop letting her get to you and go place the order.”

“You wanna sit while you wait?” Izzy asked offering the stool next to her at the counter.

“Yeah thanks” Veronica replied taking the seat watching Jughead head to the little window between the diner and the kitchen to place her order and coming back over. “So how are you finding working here” Veronica asked Jughead after sending of a quick text to both Betty and Archie about his new job and wondering if either of them knew anything about it.

“Okay, I just have this one really annoying customer that I would like to strangle but he’s the boss’s grand-daughter so I can’t do anything about it”

“Oh please you think I’m being annoying, wait till you have to do a late shift on Fridays after the bars are closed and you have twenty alcoholics in here demanding more beer, more food or harassing you then you’ll see what annoying is.” Izzy stated finish grabbing a bite out of the burger. “Oh and now that you are wearing the uniform people are going to behave like you are their own personal servant when you are working.”

“Seriously?”

“Yeah, still glad I got you this job?” Izzy questioned.

“Yeah I’m still glad” Jughead grinned back, sure Izzy was being super annoying but she was thoughtful and considerate as well.

“Good now let’s get make sure you have a tougher skin cause there is no way you can handle the Christmas mayhem if you can’t deal with a few incidents of heckling from me”

“I’ve never seen anyone harassing you.” Veronica pointed out, well apart from the time Cheryl harassed her mum Veronica had never seen anyone being rude to the people that worked at Pop’s.

“To be fair it rarely happens, this is Pop’s not Hooters so those types of customers are usually few and fair between and in all honesty it’s usually the dicks on the school’s sport team that try their luck but I am sure the word has spread not to mess with the girls working here by now.” Izzy stated, the raise of Veronica’s left eyebrow clearly indicated that she wanted more details so Izzy went on to explain how she had locked a senior on the basketball team in the diner’s female changing room last month as she got tired of him harassing her and the other girls. 

“That’s… that was amazing, but how didn’t you get in trouble?” Veronica wondered, she was pretty sure the rumour mill hadn’t even mentioned this incident.

“Joe covered for me, said he had his eyes on me the entire shift plus there was the whole issue of him being in the female changing room in the first place all I had to do was point out the fact that he had a history of harassing me and the other girls and seeing as I am considered to be a minor at sixteen and he is technically an adult having just turned eighteen if he wanted to keep talking about false imprisonment and kidnapping I could start mentioning all the things he’s been saying and texting to me also there’s very real fact that where as I could prove he was in the girls changing room, he couldn’t exactly prove that I locked him in there so in exchange of him never coming back here again, Pop agree to ‘fix’ the changing room door and I got grounded for a week cause Pop didn’t buy my bullshit and wanted to teach about not getting revenge or something.” Izzy finished shrugging her shoulder.

“Remind me to never get on your bad side.” Veronica stated softly only for Jughead’s chastising to drown what she had just said.

“My God, you can’t just do that.” Jug chastised, while he loved and appreciated everything about her he still worried about the lengths she would go to once she felt someone had crossed a line.

What Jughead, it’s not like I went through with it, he not a registered sex offender just an arsehole who had to spend like three hours -max- stuck in a room and Pop grounded me for that any ways. It was worth it now I don’t have to see his face plus it was self defence” Izzy shrugged, what she did was classified as self defence.

“Locking someone in a room isn’t self defence; anything could have happened, what if he got hurt?” 

“First of all it is the female changing room so unless the tampon machine was going to attack him he was going to be fine for a few hours, he wasn’t locked in an underground bunker in the middle of nowhere. 

Secondly, I don’t understand why you are defending him, he’s the one that needed learn no means no and not try harder to get the girl and lastly you get the point where he harassed us so much that everyone here turned a blind eye to having him locked in the changing room for a few hours.”

This wasn’t some sort of the ends justifies the means process, this was more your actions have consequences. Izzy didn’t care that Daryl had stopped coming to Pop, it was an added bonus but she was more interested in the fact that the dickhead knew not to come near her again.

x.x


 

Veronica and Izzy had moved from the counter once Jughead brought over her food into a booth and got to talking, spending time with Izzy outside of h singing with the Pussycats was really an eyeopening event.

 From the stories she and Jug shared Veronica was learning a lot; all in all Veronica got the sense that the girl had a mean streak -which explained how she was friends with Cheryl- but her actions were more subtle than Veronica’s own when it came to revenge. 

Where Veronica had no problem in letting the world know it was her getting her revenge -like with chuck and printing out his exploits in the Blue and Gold- Izzy took a more subtle approach to her revenge or at least an approach where there was no evidence left behind to prove that she had been the one behind the attack.

Another thing that Veronica learnt was that Izzy was one of the most active and caring member of the community; the Pussycats had recently organised a bake sales to raise awareness about domestic abuse and to top it off she volunteered at the local homeless shelter on the Southside or was in the old people’s home volunteering and not just in the ‘once a month I have to do something nice for someone’ it was a weekly thing for her.

 Izzy actively cared about Riverdale and Veronica could see why people were so enamoured with her.

 It had been strange to notice people worrying about her after Fred and going to her after Moose but Veronica got it, as much as she complained or roll her eyes at people she still stayed and listened to everyone, with all the nice things Izzy did around town people couldn’t help but have a positive image about her and they may have unjustly assume that she could fix all their problems.

While watching yet another little argument erupt between Jug and Izzy, Veronica wondered if she should interrupt since they had obviously forgotten about her in favour of glaring at each other, they had obviously reached an impasse but neither one of them were willing to concede to the others point of view.

“Well thanks for the food and the milkshake, I’ll see you guys later” Veronica called out while sliding out of the booth pretty confident she was talking to thin air as neither teen even turned to acknowledge the fact that she had spoken and was actually surprised when Izzy made a move to leave as well.

“Okay I got to get going now, need to start dinner and probably catch up on some sleep.” Izzy stated she had spent the last three hours generally hanging out and pointing out a few things to Jug but it had gotten boring since she was just sitting there while he worked, no wonder Jug always brought his laptop with him on Saturdays, there was no way she could have survived the eight hours shift with him without something else to do.

“I’m pretty sure we decided that you shouldn’t go anywhere alone” Jughead called out reminding Izzy of the whole ‘Shady guy might be the killer who may or may not be stalking the diner’ so take care rule, not that she really forgot about it sitting there in the diner.

“I’ll be walking straight home Jug, less than twenty minutes.” Izzy replied brushing off his concerns and wearing her coat. “I’ll call you and stay on the line till I reach home.”

“Or you could wait till my break I can take you home and come back.”

“Jug it’s fine, he hasn’t come in today.” Izzy pointed out.

“Just be careful.” Jughead relented, he wasn’t comfortable with the idea of Izzy going anywhere by herself and to be honest the fear of ‘Shady man’ someone being the shooter or stalking Izzy was damn near paralysing.

Jughead was seconds away from ignoring all common sense and following Izzy home. 

“See you Tuesday night, hopefully Shady man comes in and we can follow him” Izzy whispered softly before following Veronica out. “Tell Joe to text me if he wants me to babysit tomorrow”

x.x.x.x


 

Ever since the shooting Izzy still felt like she had been holding there were times where everything seemed alright when she felt like she could finally breathe but other times- most of the time- she felt like she was still waiting for something else to happen and the truth was that she was unless they found the shooter Izzy felt like she would always be waiting for another shooting.

 She was waiting to hear news of another tragedy.

She was waiting to hear the sound of a gun going off.

She was waiting and holding her breathe day in and day out while the shooter roamed around town.

 Admittedly she knew it was crazy to go looking for a man who might be the shooter with only Jughead as back up and sure they had no plans on what to do if Shady man was the shooter and yeah they were putting themselves in danger by roaming the street with a shooter on the loose but Izzy was determined to find the shooter because she needed to know who did it.

She was tired of waiting for something to happen, she was tired of being scared.

If she knew who to confront she would feel better, it was always better knowing who your enemy was than standing in a room full of friends afraid and untrusting of their motives. 

Izzy needed to know who the shooter was so at the very least she would stop being scared that every man above the age of twenty could be after her. 

She just knew that once she found out who it was she could breathe, she could stop holding her breathe, stop waiting for the other shoe to drop.

She just needed to know who did it, get rid of her fears.

Hearing Veronica speak pulled Izzy out of her thoughts. “That was nice of you, keeping Jug company.” Veronica explained smiling.

Izzy wasn’t sure if Veronica was fishing for something or just being friendly like she had been for the past hour or so but she didn’t care, she was more focused on how dark it had gotten since they were inside, sure it was winter and the nights came around much quicker but Izzy couldn’t remember it being this dark, and the snow wasn’t helping it was coming down really quickly, getting in her eyes obscuring her view. 

She wouldn’t be able to see anything if someone was following her and what would calling Jug really going to do, if Shady man or someone was to shoot her she might be dead before anyone got to her.

Maybe she should call Pop to pick her up instead or maybe she should go back inside just until the snow stopped and get Jughead to give her a ride back home.

If only she had taken Pop’s taser yesterday but then what good was that against a stalker.

Was there a stalker? 

They hadn’t proven that Shady man was a stalker Izzy thought trying to rationalise her fear away just for the other part of her brain to betray by pointing out that they hadn’t actually disproven anything, they knew nothing about the man who frequented the diner.

In her panic and her limited vision Izzy wasn’t sure if she was imagining seeing things but just over Veronica’s shoulder she saw someone huddled up approaching the diner before stopping, they were just stood there in the parking lot obviously staring at her and Veronica, it could just be someone who stopped to answer their phone or respond to a text message or he could be trying to find his cigarette to smoke.

Or it could just be a figment of her panicked mind; once you think someone is out to get you then every thing they did just proved your point. 

Izzy tried taking a deep breath to calm down and only just about stopped herself from flinching back at Veronica’s out stretched hands

“Izzy are you okay?” Veronica asked in such a way that Izzy was a hundred percent certain that the girl had been trying to get her attention for the last few seconds while she got herself worked up.

“Yeah, yeah…” she said swallowing down the panic. She was outside the diner in Palin view of everyone inside, Veronica was here, she wasn’t by herself the maybe man was all the way across the parking lot, they could run back inside if anything was to happen. “Just thinking about having to walk in this snow my hands already feel frozen” Izzy joked.

Veronica had stood watching as Izzy went from fumbling to put on her gloves to freezing mid-action and glancing around. 

Veronica hadn’t spent enough time with Izzy to really judge her but the girl who had no problem in locking people up for harassment wasn't  the type of girl to be so terrified, she looked panicked and the way her hands were trembling had nothing to do with the sub-zero weather.  “Yeah, I was asking if you wanted Smithers and I to drop you off at home instead of walking, it only take five minutes” she murmured lamely maybe she should go get Jughead instead of offering Izzy a lift home.

“Er .. yes, thanks” Izzy mumbled quickly getting into the back of the car before Veronica could speak.

x.x


  

Izzy wouldn’t be able to tell anyone anything about the ride back home or even if she remembered to thank Veronica before she stumbled out of the car.

She did remember the feeling of relief once she got home and triple locked all the doors, she was still shaking but the panic was slowly fading away so that was good.

Maybe she should talk to Pop about keeping the taser, something less gun shaped but a taser would help… and a pepper spray… and maybe a rape whistle or was that taking it too far.

Was there really such a thing as too far when it came to personal safety?

What a difference twenty-four hours made because right now she understood where Pop was coming from, having something to protect herself won’t be so bad. 

Or was that a really bad idea, maybe she should tell Pop about the panic attacks instead, there weren’t that bad but there weren’t going anywhere, they just kept happening.

She never had them before Fred got shot and there were people who could help and there were ways to manage it.

She should say something. She would say something… if it happens again, if she had another panic attack she would tell Pop Izzy silently promised before going through every room downstairs drawing the curtains closed and switching on all the lights.

Chapter Text

Noah wasn’t a coward at least he didn’t think he was, he wasn’t scared of much, except when it came to telling Izzy the truth or more specifically what the truth about Hiram would do to their relationship.

He had to find a way to deal with Hiram Lodge, word had already spread around town that the man was back, all the way to the gossiping ladies at church who had been all too happy to inform his mum about Hiram’s return under the guise of concern about Izzy and their family.

After sixteen years of keeping the identity of Izzy’s dad a secret (from her at least) it was easy for Pop to think about staying quiet for just one more day, just a single day but at it wasn’t meant to be, time was running out, each day any number of people could tell Izzy the truth or Hiram himself could tell Izzy and according to his mum Hiram was already making his move since someone had been in touch about purchasing Mrs. Jetson plot of land next to the diner so if Noah Tate wanted the land he had to act soon.

Noah had no way to prove that the lawyers who approached Mrs. Jetson worked for Hiram but he was willing to bet the diner on it, this was what he was planning, the leverage he wanted before approaching Noah about Izzy

They had argued about it all day Sunday on what to do; uncharacteristically  his mum was advocating that he ignore Hiram and was all for ignoring the he-devil and not letting him any where near her great grandchild but it wasn’t that easy, he couldn’t just tell Izzy to avoid Hiram without her asking why and there was no way Hiram would be avoiding Izzy even though the man had gone sixteen years without being a part of her life.

x.x.x


 

Mrs. Patricia Jetson hadn’t wanted to entertain the idea of selling her land as her and the Tate family go way back to when Carol Tate nee Shaw had moved into Riverdale, as one of the few other minority families in town they just looked out for each other, the Tate’s were the only family in town who came to her daughter’s Quinceañera while everyone else made their excuses not to be around ‘those Mexican-Spanish people’ so she felt like she owe her old friend and the Tate family due consideration when selling her plot of land. 

Less important than giving Noah first crack at buying the land was the fact that this new buyer was anonymous and wanted to remain so, on the other hand they had offered a lot of money. 

Now Patricia was old so she didn’t need the money as she would be dead in the next couple of years but the money would set up her kids and grandkids, it was even enough to send all three grandkids to a decent size college without any worries, and so while she didn’t want to sell to this anonymous buyer she was considering it.

 However as a curtsey to the years of friendship she and her family had shared with the Tate family she had pre-warned her friend about the current situation and was willing to give Noah three months to come up with an counter offer for her land, it didn’t have to match the anonymous buyer it just had to be decent.

x.x.x.x


 

Hearing Kevin’s voice Veronica looked up from the music sheet Izzy had brought over in time to see the look of surprise on Betty’s, Archie’s and Kevin’s faces as they approached their usual lunch table to find Izzy sitting there as well. “Afternoon all” she causal greeted hoping they would just sit down and not make an issue of Izzy sitting with them she silently watched as everyone else exchanged pleasantries and got seated while she placed the music sheet into her bag for a later time.

“So what brings you over?” Kevin asked as he took a seat across the table from Veronica and Izzy. 

He didn’t even think Izzy knew who anyone else was apart from Veronica and even then the girls never spoke outside of any Pussycats rehearsal’s or performance so this was an unusual situation to be in.

“I’m catching Veronica up on some of the song changes before tomorrow’s rehearsals” Izzy replied back she was starting to feel slightly awkward having them staring at her like that waiting for an explanation as to why she was suddenly there. “Plus everyone else is trying to cram in some last minute studying for maths before next period so I’m by myself at lunch.”

“Why aren’t you helping them, aren’t you in like AP Maths?” Archie wondered, sure Izzy wasn’t in the same maths class as Melody, Val and the rest of them but she could help out her friends, she was meant to be really good at maths but here she was blowing off her friends instead of helping them understand something that came easily to her.

“Cause they can do it by themselves.” Izzy replied shrugging her shoulders, she wasn’t going to admit what a disaster she was at teaching people, the couple of times she tired had nearly lead to Melody not talking to Izzy ever again, she just didn’t have the patience for it, to her maths was obvious she didn’t know how to explain it and she got frustrated when no one understood it. “Plus Mr. Hardyson is such a pain in the ass he’s just going to keep giving test and quizzes until winter break. 

“Yeah tell me about it” Kevin complained, Mr. Hardyson always seemed to ramp up the number of test and pop quizzes he gave just before any type of break. “Before the summer break he gave us three Pop quizzes in one class, I swear I thought my hands would fall off.”

Izzy chuckled at the look of disgust on Kevin’s face, the Pop quizzes sounded like an actual paradise compared to what he gave the AP classes during hell week.

“Don’t complain I’m pretty sure he get some sort of perverse pleasure when we do. You should see some of the test he gives the A.P class, half the questions on last week’s test were college level. So how’s your dad doing?” Izzy directed at Archie making small talk taking a bite of the chicken salad Pop made her this morning.  

“Good.”

“I read your interview this morning.” Kevin began filling in the silence as it became clear that Archie wasn’t willing to say anymore about the subject. “Very moving, Mrs. Cooper was really nice”

“I didn’t think she will get started so soon with the interviews let alone print one out already but I have to admit she said some really nice things about you and your dad.” Izzy added. 

Mrs Cooper used some over-exaggeration in her article but she had managed to remind people that Archie was just a teen whose world was turned upside down due to a maniac shooting what was technically his only parent -in town. 

The article had a lot of nice things to say about Fred and Archie plus Mrs Cooper had managed to talk about Andrews Construction and how it had been ‘a part of the fabric of fair Riverdale’ for years but sadly as a result of the shooting the company had obviously not been taking any booking; it was obvious she included that part so Izzy would agreed to her own interview that sentence might as well have been about the diner. 

Izzy wouldn’t have been surprised if Fred’s calendar was now fully booked for the next couple of week because whether she liked it or not Alice had a way with words and an ability to make people feel sympathetic. 

“That is true, the article has shown everyone what an amazing person you are Archie and now I have to spend my time fighting off girls from trying o steal you away.” Veronica joked reaching across the table and squeezing his hands. 

“Wait, Mrs Cooper talked to you about an interview?” Archie asked staring back at Izzy, ignoring the other comments that had been made, just for Izzy to nod back, her hair gently swinging by her shoulders. 

“Yeah Arch, my mum is planning on doing this whole series of article and interviews about the last three weeks. She going all out, talking to business owners, the Mayor, you, Izzy, Midge, Moose, anyone really.” Betty said answering for Izzy since she probably had more information than she would about the interviews. 

“So are you going to be doing these interviews as well?” Kevin asked leaning over his food as he did so. 

He was interested in getting to know Izzy a bit more than being aware that she was Jughead’s friend and a Pussycat, plus if Archie’s interview managed to talk about his life as a Bulldog and being a singer-song writer then Kevin had no doubt that Mrs. Cooper would find a way to mention Izzy’s interest as well, Alice always managed to be kind in her articles whenever she talked about Izzy.

“I still haven’t decided yet.”Izzy replied honestly, she still wasn’t sure if she should say yes but she couldn’t help thinking about how empty the diner had been during the weekend and if nothing changed soon they might start operating at a loss, Pop might actually have to fire someone if this kept going on. 

  “Mrs Cooper told me that I could wait until I read her article about Archie before deciding - and although she said some really nice things- I am still not sure I want to. I mean look at all the attention Archie is getting today.” Izzy pointed to the table behind them where a couple of freshmen kept on turning their heads to look over at Archie and going back to whispering again. 

If anyone had been paying close attention to Archie -instead of looking to where Izzy was pointing to- they would have seen the flash of hurt that quickly morphed into anger before being smoothed back into a blank nonchalant expression showing no signs of emotional distress.

“I’m sure you can handle it.” Veronica reassured. “I mean being a Pussycat and singing on stage all the time must get you loads of attention as well.”

“Yeah it does, but there's a different between ‘oh wow, nice singing voice’ and what Mrs Cooper wants to do which will be more like ‘oh wow look at the poster child for Riverdale and how brave she is for even leaving her house in the morning.’” Izzy had no doubt that if she agreed to the interview that that will be the exact path Mrs. Cooper would be taking, she even said so herself on Saturday about how people responded to Izzy and her ‘bravery’ after the diner shooting and she would be the magical cure for people to get out of their houses and stop making Riverdale look like a ghost town any time the sun wasn’t out.

“Well I’m sure we can find you some empty broom closet to lock people in if they start getting on your nerves” Veronica joked causing Izzy to laugh.

x.x

The rest of the lunch had gone well or so Izzy thought apart from Archie not being in the mood to talk to her, he had no problem in responding back to everyone else but would give Izzy a one word response whenever she tried asking him something or he would reply in little barbs and insults. 

It was starting to get awkward so Izzy just stopped trying to engage with him. 

“I love that book.” Izzy stated pointing to Betty’s now discarded reading material “Have you read the series?”

“No, Jug just recommended it to me” Betty replied, honestly Betty couldn’t get into it, she was planning on giving it one more chapter before quitting.

“That’s good, I hope you aren’t reading it in order” Izzy grinned. “We started in with like the eighth book in the series, then I think Pop found the first one for us then Jug found the tenth book or something… just trust me it’s more fun to read everything out of order” Izzy said grinning like a Cheshire cat everyone else refuse to read the book out of order like her and Jug did.

“Wait what?” Veronica asked confused trying and failing to understand what was said.

“I found the eight book first so now we basically read it out of order but it still makes sense, they are kinda like stand alone books so you don’t actually have to read them in order.” Izzy knew she was rambling but she was just so glad that she now had something to talk with Betty about that wasn’t going to revolve around Jughead. “Trust me read the book out of order, which one is that?”

“Book one.” Betty murmured looking down at the well worn copy Jughead had given her that morning while they shared breakfast at Pop’s before he jumped on his bike to go back to the Southside.

“Wait, why don’t you just go online and order the series?” Kevin interrupted.

“That can be your Christmas gift to him.” Veronica suggested happy that Betty could stop worrying about finding the perfect present for Jughead. 

“No, It’s part of the fun, it’s kinda like a treasure hunt I guess; car boot sales, the old peoples home, someone even left one in the diner we want the complete series but we aren’t going to buy it.”

“So… you and Jughead read books out of order and spend your weekends watching movies and arguing in the diner.” Veronica stated summarising their friendship from her point of view.

“Yeah basically” Izzy shrugged her eyes quickly darting around watching as Cheryl was tearing into some Freshman about FP, Izzy was determined to ignore the commotion she had no idea why Cheryl seemed to be defending FP and she didn’t want to know.

“What if it takes you twenty years to find all the books in the series” Kevin pointed out dragging Izzy’s attention back to the table and to the topic at hand, that was a major flaw in their plan ‘the wait and see’ approach could last for years. 

“Then I guess in twenty years we will finally have the entire collection, if you are open to suggestion about Christmas present for Jug think along the lines of books or puzzles.” Izzy replied stabbing into her salad, Pop never added enough dressing to any of the salad he made her, it was too healthy for her taste.

“It does go along with the whole literary thing Jughead has going on.” Veronica mused, it looked like Izzy had just solved the present crisis for Betty.

“Isn't that a bit pointless?” Archie asked snidely jumping back into the conversation. “I mean you got him a Rubik’s cube last year”

“Yeah, an unsolved one, it took him three months to fix it again and he got me a ten dollar baking set for my cakes”

“Well I think Betty is looking for something more special than books to give to Jug, it might be okay to get that from you but I am sure he wants something a bit more special from his girlfriend.” Archie bit out failing to hide his irritation and shoving the last of sandwich into his mouth before he said anything else. 

“Archie” Veronica admonished subtly kicking him under the table hoping he would get that he had crossed a line and needed to apologise. 

“What Izzy knows it was a joke, I just meant that Jug will be expecting something more from his girlfriend than his friend.” Archie amended feeling everyone eyes on him as the conversation stopped.

“Like I said it’s just a suggestion if she wanted.” Izzy returned not willing to play along with his pretence of not meaning to offend her. 

For whatever reason his mood seemed to have soured against her and that little comment was something Cheryl would say when she wanted to mess with people’s head and make them feel insecure.

“…. so what are you guys thinking of getting parents for Christmas present” Kevin hesitated to ask trying to defuse the situation. “Cause I have no idea what to get my dad, I was thinking maybe some thing he can use at work as well but all I came up with was a thermos… for his coffee I mean” Kevin rumbled on luckily for him it seemed as if Izzy was willing to let that dig against her go as she stopped glaring at Archie and responded.

“Well I booked a cabin for Pop to go fishing, four days away from town, secluded community, lake side view and I have already made sure his friends are meeting him there maybe if your dad likes fishing he could go with them.”

“I don’t think he can relax away from Riverdale he’ll get too wound up that something has happened when he’s out of town, he’s barley taken any time off since Fred got shot.”

“How about a nice bottle of whiskey?” Veronica asked. “Every man needs one” 

“No more whiskey he’s already a part of a whiskey of the month club, any suggestion, Betty?”

Betty looked around the table, seemed like no one else could see Archie was struggling not even Veronica, it wasn’t like him to snap at people there was something more going on. “Well, I - I’m framing my dad’s very first article and giving it to him as a Christmas present maybe we can try to find an article of your dad’s first arrest or something you can get that framed.”

“That’s a good idea, would you mind if we start looking today, I know Christmas is a few weeks away but the sooner the better.”

“What about you Veronica, are you going to get your dad anything?” Izzy asked willing to ignore Archie until he got over what every crawled up his ass, she didn’t care about him enough to get angry, it was one lunch she barely saw him to care about anything he did.

“I wasn’t planning on getting him anything, I mean what can you give a man who just got out of prison for embezzling millions of other people’s hard earned money.” Veronica sneered

Izzy had heard rumours about the Lodges and while she knew that Mr. Lodge had gone to prison even though she knew nothing of the family dynamic she was surprised to hear Veronica being disgusted by her dad, about a third of the stories Veronica had shared in the diner was all about her childhood or how both her parents had been amazing parents. 

“But your idea of a present seems rather ingenious, having Pop go out of town means you have the house to yourself.” Veronica stated making Izzy grin it was the exact same thing Cheryl had said when had come up with the idea.

“One step ahead of you already, party plans are already in the works for the first night of the no parent weekend” Izzy stated thankfully Joe had already agreed to ‘keep an eye out’ so Pop shouldn’t have any objection to leaving her at home for the weekend.

“Who have you invited to this party?” Kevin asked shamelessly angling for an invitation surprising Izzy and everyone else at the table but to be fair a party was a party you didn’t technically have to know the person or even like them to want to go have fun Jason had been the one to teach her that particular lesson.

“You guys are more than welcome to come, feel free to turn up with Jughead.” She stated extending the invite; with what’s been going on everyone needed a way to let down their hair before they started doing something stupid like turning to Reggie and his ‘party flavours’, how and why Reggie started selling drugs was no longer her problem.

“But be warned a couple of the football players will be stopping by and some cheerleaders and …. What?!” Izzy finally asked getting irritated at the look Archie was giving her. 

“I just always wondered how you and Jug even became friends let alone managed to stay friends. I mean a party you know how much Jughead hates those right?” Archie questioned, everyone in town knew how much Jug hated having to socialise with others especially after his birthday party.

“Yeah I know I heard all about the surprise party you decided to throw him for his birthday that’s why I told him about this one in advance. He knows and he’s only coming for an hour; says it’s my Christmas present this year.” Izzy replied back daring Archie to say something else, the only reason she had sat here instead of joining the others in the library to finish off her English essay was because Veronica had asked her to stay. 

She was just making nice with everyone because they were Jug’s friend as well, it was like Val and Jug they didn’t have a lot in common but both were able to spend the day together if they had to because they were her friends.

Across the table Archie couldn’t help but scoff at Izzy’s statement, Jughead’s willingness to go to this party had absolutely nothing to do with being prepared and forewarned. 

Of course Jughead was ready to go and have fun at a frivolous and meaningless house party Izzy threw but when Archie planned a birthday party for Jug using his own house it all blew up in his face causing all types of arguments.

“It still doesn’t explain how you are friends with him. I don’t want to sound harsh but you are friends with Cheryl, in the Pussycats, you dated Reggie, hang out with the cheerleaders, you have your own car and you talk about getting Pop a ten thousand dollar watch like it’s normal, you have nothing in common with Jug.” Archie stated marking each point on his hands that led him to his assumption not caring about the looks Veronica or anyone else were giving him.

Izzy stared back at Archie thinking off all the ways she could just rip into Archie but honestly, she had done so well in ignoring all his little barbs during lunch and not throwing her drink in his face and if she ruined it now she would be pissed off at herself. 

Taking a very deep breathe “Okay so here’s the thing Jughead is my best friend because he’s my best friend. I don’t have to explain our friendship to you just like you don’t have to explain your friendship to me. Now I am not sure what going on with you but the problem is you Archie. You self absorbed judgemental prick.” Izzy snapped loosing her composure. “You date Veronica who is a cheerleader, have no problem being friends with Betty another cheerleader but yet you still judge me for being friends with Cheryl”

“Izzy why don’t we-” Kevin began only to be glared into silence by Izzy, she hadn’t even done anything just took her focus off Archie onto him and Kevin found himself loosing his voice.

“Now I may be many things but being a passive aggressive coward who can’t just come out and say what’s bothering them isn’t one of them. So do you have anything you wanna say Carrot Top or are you going to try for another passive aggressive barb?” Izzy mocked standing up and leaning across the table to glare right back at Andrews.

“Guys why don’t we just-” Kevin began only to be cut off by Izzy.

“No, I’m good. I just wanted to know if Carrot Top here had anything else he wanted to say.” She replied in a steady voice, laying in bed last night Izzy remembered who she was, she wasn’t the type of girl who run scared, switching on lights and locking doors. 

She was Isabelle Ameila Tate, Pop’s raised her to be brave and independent and to change the world, she had no problem in standing up for herself and she wasn’t going to let this strawberry shortcake jock with anger issues from here to the moon and back take pot shots at her just because Jug like him.

How Jug could be friends with someone like him was beyond her, the arrogance of that moronic Carrot top and the fact that she let him get away with it to begin with. 

Reaching into her pocket as she stormed out she sent a quick text to Jug stating how he needed to keep his friends away from her since they were all trash, in all fairness she wasn’t really including Betty, Veronica or Kevin in that statement but she didn’t have time to differentiate between them.

 

x.x.x.x


 Veronica had been worrying about Izzy since Sunday night, seeing her on the verge of a panic attack was unnerving. It’s why she invited Izzy to stay for lunch under the pretence of going over the new music sheet just so she could keep an eye on her. 

Veronica still hadn’t said told anyone about what had happened since it wasn’t really her place but maybe she should tell Jughead or at least hint that he should keep an eye on her. 

Veronica pulled Archie into a spare classroom as the Betty and Kevin made their way into their respective classes; no one had time to say anything after Izzy had stormed off as the bell had rung for their next lesson but it was obvious they were all taken aback but Archies behaviour; Kevin had began saying something only to stop and grab his rucksack.

 As much as Veronica didn’t want to admit it Izzy had been right today, all lunch Archie had acted like the textbook definition of passive aggression when it came to Izzy from straight up ignoring to making subtle digs about her.

 Some of the comments hadn’t even registered with Izzy when she had gotten busy talking to Kevin but most of it was cloaked by the sharp brown eyed girl. “Okay what was that about?” Veronica asked blocking the door so he didn’t try to escape, it had been on her to do list to sit down and talk to Archie later this week but his behaviour today was forcing her hands. 

Where she couldn’t get involved and talk to Izzy about her personal issues she was going to get involved with Archie and find out what was going on with him.

“What was what about?” Archie questioned innocently.

“You, Izzy, that remark about books. Attacking her and Jughead’s friendship, this entire lunch. Pick one.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about, she was the one insulting me, calling me Carrot Top, now I really have to get to gym before I end up doing extra laps for being late.”

“No you aren’t going anywhere till we sort this out. I have been patient with you but you have been moody, sulky and snarky all weekend long and now you just attack an innocent girl for a simple suggestion.”

“I didn’t attack anyone Ronnie. It was a conversation she said something I said something and she took offence to it and then attacked and mocked me.”

“You made a dig at her, I’m not condoning her behaviour but you have been pushing her button since the moment you sat down.” Veronica responded.

What happened wasn’t Izzy getting the wrong end of the stick Archie was being intentionally offensive and the fact that he was trying to pass it off as an overreaction on Izzy’s part was more worrying than his passive aggressive stance. 

“Really? I said while Jug may like books from Izzy he probably expect something more from his girlfriend. She took offence to that because she wanted to. It’s a normal statement there was nothing to be offended about.”

Veronica wasn’t sure what to say. Archie was literally revising what had just happened, it was what he said but it definitely wasn’t how he said it. 

“..... Archie it’s more than that and you know it” Veronica responded choosing her words carefully. “You just seem to be getting angrier by the day…. And if you don’t find out the reason why you are getting so angry you will eventually snap at me or Betty or someone you really care about.”

“I am not angry Ronnie but I am sorry I haven’t been the happy go lucky person that you want but my dad got shot, we have medical bills piling up at home and the same guy is out there shooting teenagers so excuse me for not being extra polite to someone I barely know.” Archie snapped. “Someone you don’t even know either, one bad lunch doesn’t mean I have a problem with her and one afternoon at Pops doesn’t make her your friend.”

“I have no problem with Izzy but I am starting to have one with my boyfriend and the way he has been acting.”

“Look I will admit that I was a bit short with her but I just...”  Archie sighed clutching onto Veronica’s hands trying to calm the situation down he was already loosing people to Izzy he wasn’t about to fight with Veronica because of her as well.

 “I just wanted to spend lunch with you our friends relaxing I didn’t expect her to be there and I... I guess I felt like she ruined my plans to talk to you guys but yeah she didn’t deserve that. I didn’t know how to ask her to leave without sounding like a jerk so I thought if I made her want to leave…. Look it’s stupid I know, I’ll find her and apologise”

Veronica wasn’t sure if she should ask but if she didn’t it will eat her up. “Are you sure that’s all it is?”

“Yeah Ronnie I just wanted to talk with you guys and I went about it the wrong way.” he replied pulling her in for a quick kiss 

“Okay. How about we skip class go to Pops for some shakes and you can tell me whatever you like” Veronica offered, if inviting Izzy to lunch had ruined Archie’s plan of talking and unburdening himself the least she could do was offer him the opportunity to do so now.

 Archie had a better proposal than going to Pop’s and talking about his issues “Or we could go to the Pembrooke. I’m sure your parents will be exploring town.”

“Okay sure. I’ll text Smithers to come pick us up so we can play hooky in style” Veronica agreed letting Archie pull her in for kiss “But…. I am going to have to come back later for rehearsals with the Pussycats until then why don’t we see how many rooms in the Pembrooke we can have fun in before my parents get home”  Veronica proposed pulling down the blinds for the door and turning the lock so no one would see her and Archie making out, Smithers will call when he got to the school. 

 

 

Chapter Text

“Do you know what was going on with Archie this afternoon?” Kevin asked after dropping his backpack on the floor of the Register as he made his way to Betty who was already busy looking through articles and bylines to find her father’s very first one.

“What?” Betty asked half distracted, she knew her dad started working here during the summer of ’83 but that didn’t mean they let him write any articles.

“Archie, this afternoon the way he was insulting Izzy during lunch. Is there something going on that I missed, I thought you guys said you had a good time hanging out with her the other weekend.” Kevin clarified pulling up an empty from the other desk and sitting down to get a better look at the screen.

“We did, I don’t know what that was about. I am not sure why they are even fighting”

“It was more like Archie wanting to pick a fight and Izzy finally losing her cool. Do you think we can still go to the party if you know Archie and Izzy are-”

Betty finally stopped looking through the articles  to give Kevin her full attention “I don’t know, I don’t know why Archie or Izzy have a problem with each other but I guess you can try going to the party with Jug and if she doesn’t turn you away then you have your answer or you could try talking to her instead of asking me about something I don’t know or have any control over. Kevin you were there at lunch with me, we have the exact same information” Betty huffed.

“Okay then point made.” Kevin admitted backing off the line of questioning. 

It wasn’t Kevin’s fault that Betty was so snappish, she had just spent ten minutes arguing with her mum because of Izzy’s reaction to today’s article; after Betty admitted that still, Izzy didn’t seem interested in doing an interview because of all the attention that it would result in Alice Cooper had taken to grilling her about anything and everything Izzy even going as so far as to ask if Betty could have Jughead convince his friend to do the interview.

“Sorry Kev, I just, I don’t know Izzy well enough to predict her behaviour. If you want to go to the party I don’t think she’s going to stop you, she invited all of us and she isn’t going to uninvited us because she had an argument with Archie” Betty sighed apologising 

“Ok, sure. Is everything alright?” Kevin asked Betty did look stressed out.

“Yeah, everything is fine. How about I treat us to a milkshake at Pop’s once we find what we are looking for.”

“Yeah that would be great, I really want to see Jughead in that uniform” Kevin happily declared, Jughead wasn’t typically the type of guys he was attracted to but he was in a uniform.

 

x.x.x.x 

 

Laying in Veronica’s queen size bed at the Pembroke Archie wondered just how many more minutes he had before with his girlfriend before she left for Pussycats rehearsals and before he himself had to get home.

Archie hated being in school with everyone, all they wanted to do was talk and fuss, teacher were coming up to him giving him concessions on his grades, allowing him extra time on test or making up really easy extra credits acting like he was some type of traumatised victim because he began falling behind in a couple of classes. 

The school was meant an escape but Archie felt more trapped in that building than standing in his kitchen throwing away bandages or having to hand out the correct pills at a certain time of the day or even with medical bills and letter of notices piling up at the front door because his dad wasn’t working. 

Everywhere he turned there was something to bring it all rushing back; the looks of pity, the badly concealed gossip behind hands and through it all; there was Izzy Tate, every corner he turned there she was; people were either talking about her or the pussycats or going to Pop’s or talking about  the winter formal which she was going to be performing. 

Half of the article Mrs Cooper had written after his dad’s shooting was all about how Izzy was some kind of girl wonder for saving his dad’s life, there was barely a mention of Archie himself apart from the fact that he was there and was Fred’ son.

Even the Bulldogs showed they preferred Izzy, instead of calling him when one of their players had been hurt Reggie had decided to call his ex-girlfriend to be there for the team instead of him.

A small part of Archie knew that Izzy was just being a nice person when she came over last Saturday but then she stayed; the whole day became about her, about getting to know Izzy and laughing with Izzy and how did she do this and that.

These were the thoughts running through his head that afternoon when Archie came to lunch to find Izzy huddled over a piece of sheet music with his girlfriend sitting there again, making the day about her.

Archie had tried to look on the bright side of everything, he really had, he thought about the fact that his dad was alive, how his mum had come over to stay and help, he thought about the money he earned doing the interview and even about the fact that he was asked to do the interview, he had a girlfriend, friends, he had his health.

Now that Archie was in the press the good publicity will hopefully generate future work for Andrews’ Construction, they must be someone in town who needed a kitchen re-done or their driveway repaved willing to put a down payment for when everything was up and running.

These were all good things in his life…. Except for the fact that Izzy could be added to almost every part of it.

His dad was alive because of Izzy, everyone in town knew that.

His mum might have come to town but she left just as quickly leaving Archie alone to deal with everything else.

The money he got paid didn’t even put a dent in the bills and all he could do was use it to buy that week’s grocery and the masochistic part of him revelled in the fact that Izzy had still managed to keep the diner running at fourteen when Pop was laid up in hospital after his heart attack while he all he could do, a stupid interview in the hopes that it might garner some good will their neighbours who needed some construction work done.

The interview in question that was meant to be about him and his dad was apparently all an elaborate scheme to get Izzy interested in doing an interview of her own, he was just the guinea pig.

The only part of his weekend that had gone fairly well was the surprise he helped Betty plan for the Coopers and avoided talking like everyone wanted to. 

 Izzy probably had better grades, more friends, the town had all but turned her into a poster child of excellence even when she was caught smashing Reggie’s car with a bat everyone just forgave her since Reggie had cheated even Mr Mantle hadn’t wanted to press charges and even apologised for his son’s behaviour. 

How was that even possible Izzy had damaged his car and somehow Reggie had been the one who ended up apologising. 

Archie annoyance about Izzy wasn’t new, it had started a long time ago way back when they were all kids and most of the time Archie managed to keep his displeasure under control. 

He didn’t care about Izzy beyond the fact that she sometimes kept Jughead busy, he didn’t care -he really didn’t- or rather he hadn’t cared until Jug left in the middle of the night just because she called.

One phone call from her was all it took for Jughead to abandon him because in Jughead’s list of priorities Archie was never going to be first; it was always Izzy and it would always be Izzy.

Archie had managed to put up with a lot over the years; Jug’s tendencies to put Izzy’s plans and ideas ahead of Archie’s; if Archie had wanted to go swimming but Izzy wanted to spend the afternoon exploring the woods then eight out of ten times they had gone exploring.

Jughead, Ronnie, Betty were all meant to be there for him that weekend to spend time with him and see how he was coping yet Jughead had brought Izzy instead on focusing on him the entire afternoon had turned into getting to know Isabelle Tate. 

It happened over and over again because all Jughead saw when he looked at Izzy was a damsel in distress, poor orphan Annie who didn’t have a mum or dad and needed him and she used it to her advantage, hogging him over the weekend, demanding his time watching movies and basically catering to her. 

When they all used to hang out Archie would always remember how Jughead didn’t even dare take a scoop of ice cream all because Izzy had never learnt to share, she was worse than Cheryl when it came to being a spoilt brat but everyone had laughed it off as her being ‘Hurricane Tate’ that it was seen as normal.

Archie resented Izzy plain and simple and now Ronnie wanted to get to know her.  “Why don’t you blow off rehearsals today” Archie questioned hoping that Ronnie would take him up on his offer. “We could go to the arcade or you could introduce me to your dad”

“As much I would love that Archie-kins, I am not in the mood to see my dad let alone introduce you to him but we could meet afterwards in Pop’s” Veronica said brushing him off re-applying her lipstick and getting ready to kick him out.

Chapter Text

Sunday had gone exactly the way Izzy had predicted although dinner had been slightly later that normal neither Pop nor GG had mentioned it. Everything else had gone according to schedule until GG had started talking about ‘he-devil’s’ walking among them but unlike every other time where Pop had let his mother’s comment pass he actually got into an argument with GG after sending Izzy out of the room.

 

Then yesterday over breakfast Pop had spent all morning watching Izzy and acting nervous before telling her that he wanted to sit down and have a talk with her later on in the week, but if that wasn’t vague enough he also refused to play along with her usual antics where she tried to cajole some type of clue out of him. What if Pop knew she was still struggling to cope after the shooting; even GG had found it odd that Izzy had switched on all the lights and had locked all the doors. 

 

In other news ‘Shady man’ came to the diner after Izzy left work on Sunday which allowed Jughead to somehow take a picture of him for his murder board at the trailer and if all went well tonight Izzy and Jug would be able to follow ‘Shady man’ after their shift, and he texted to tell Izzy that he had invited someone from his new school to help them find out who ‘Shady man’ was.

 

Izzy’s plan of having a normal school week was derailed when Cheryl ‘revenge is my middle name’ Blossom made things weird by defending FP in the middle of lunch and now instead of heading to the gym for extra cheer practice ‘for idiots who can’t tell their left from their right’ like she was meant to she was in the music room with Izzy.

 

“We need to talk” Cheryl stated plainly walking in, she was glad that the rest of the Pussycats weren’t there to witness her act of contrition, there were only three people she would ever give a meaningful apology to JJ, Nana and Izzy so it was best for people not to see her having to do this.

 

“I don’t have time for this right now.” Izzy stated despite being the only person in the music room, she only had an hour of rehearsals before she had to drive to Pop’s to go follow ‘Shady man’ with Jug now wasn’t the time to be distracted by Cheryl. 

 

“Please Iz, I realised that you were right…” Cheryl admitted reluctantly, after being ignored by Izzy because of the FP situation Cheryl had thought long and hard about the entire situation, she thought about what Izzy had said and came to the conclusion that there were some valid points made about FP being given a raw deal, the town had even made Jughead transfer school because of something her dad did. Since Izzy ignored her first apology it was obvious she wanted Cheryl to do more and she had done she’d gone out of her way to show Izzy she was sorry.

 

“I’m sure you heard about how I defended F.P at lunch and I even wrote a letter to the judge asking for leniency for him and as of this morning, I hired F.P an actual lawyer instead of that overworked and underpaid lawyer the town provided for him. A lawyer who can actually help FP with his case and he said he might be able to get FP out in time for Christmas so can you just forgive me already.” Cheryl whined listing all the things that showed she was trying to earn Izzy’s forgiveness; action spoke louder than words and Cheryl had done a lot of actions so she deserved to be forgiven.

 

“Are you fucking kidding me Cheryl?” Izzy asked feeling more hurt and more anger as the seconds went past.  The more Cheryl talked the more pissed off Izzy got, Cheryl knew how to apologise and what was happening here wasn’t her apologising it was her trying to…. to bribe or blackmail Izzy into forgiveness. “I don’t have to forgive you and I don’t want to forgive you and while I am sure Jughead will appreciate what you’ve done, trying to get me to forgive through some type of bribery won’t work. You know how to apologise I may have forgiven you if you had just come in here and said sorry if you had done something to show you are sorry instead you think arranging for FP lawyer is… just get out.”

 

“But I am. I did.” Cheryl began earnestly seeing where she went wrong. “I apologised on Saturday and you still told me to leave the diner.”

 

“I’m sorry you got hurt isn’t an apology Cheryl.” Izzy huffed out repeating back the bullshit apology Cheryl had tried to give on Saturday. “It’s I’m sorry I hurt you. Or I am sorry I threw your mum’s death in your face or even an I am SORRY. All you had to do was come and say sorry and mean it. Not go on about getting FP a lawyer or writing a letter because I don’t care. 

The problem isn’t the fact that FP in jail is ..... Just go before you make this worse.” Izzy sighed it wasn’t up to her to explain to Cheryl where she was going wrong.

 

“I am sorry I am. I had no right to say those things about you or your mum, I was hurt and lashing out and it’s not an excuse but I miss you, I miss my friend and I will do whatever you want. Please Izzy, If this year has taught me anything is that everyone can be easily taken away Daddy killed JJ, Fred Andrews got shot and Moose is still in the hospital recovering. The town is changing and I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how to… please, you are my best friend.” Cheryl confessed to no effect, in fact Izzy had back away from Cheryl to sit on a stool and was re-adjusting the mic stand. “I’ll… I’ll volunteer, you always say I should come to the old people home with you so I will.”

 

Izzy simple watched as Cheryl got flustered, it was obvious she was grasping at straws and her efforts would have been funny if Izzy wasn’t equally as annoyed as she was hurt.  

“Cheryl this isn’t about how sorry you are or what you are willing to do to make it up to me, it’s about what you did. My mum shouldn’t have been something you used to hurt me no matter what, just like how I never use your relationship with Penelope to hurt you because some things are just off limits and you know that.” 

 

In over a decade of friendship, she had with Cheryl they had fallen out a number of times but they always made up and in all the time Cheryl had never used her mum as a weapon to hurt Izzy so the question she had was why now?  Why choose this argument to bring up Sharon Tate, it hadn’t even been personal, they were talking about FP being in jail it had nothing to do with Izzy so why did Cheryl bring up her mum.

 

“I promise I will never ever do it again” Cheryl quickly reassured even placing her hands on her chest as if she was taking some type of pledge, it almost made Izzy want to smile at how overdramatic Cheryl could be.

 

“You should never have done it in the first place.” Izzy’s tone sounding more hurt than angry. “Your actions have consequences and this is one of them so…. just deal with it”

 

Cheryl was losing her best friend and no matter what she did it or said Izzy wasn’t forgiving her and she may never forgive her. Izzy managed to cut Cheryl out of her life and she hadn’t even blinked because they were other people, she had Josie, Valerie, Melody and even Jughead not to mention the people from the diner or her volunteering group but Cheryl had no one else, no real friends who weren’t either scared of her or trying to use her and the Blossom name, there was no one else who would be there for her, no one who called her to see how she was, no one else willing to hide her in their house when Penelope Blossom became too much of a monster to deal with, now that JJ was gone there was no one else who was willing to put up with her.

 

Yes, Cheryl was difficult she knew it, everyone knew it but Izzy didn’t care, she didn’t care that Cheryl could be cruel to people or that she had a near pathological disregard towards everyone else unless they benefited her.

 

 Izzy had ignored all that and had chosen to be her friend. Cheryl couldn’t lose her friend, the only real friend she had left just because of one thoughtless comment.

 

“I need you in my life because you make me a better person.” Cheryl pleaded she knew she was crying but if Izzy didn’t forgive her Cheryl didn’t know what to do, she would truly be alone in this world. “I want you to forgive me because I made a mistake and I am really sorry for what I did, what I said and I didn’t go about it the right way but you have to know that I never truly meant to hurt you, I was angry and lashing out and I promise to never do it again, just let me try to earn your forgiveness….. Tell Jughead that the lawyer has already been paid a month in advance so he shouldn’t have to worry about the bills.”

 

“I’ll think about it” Izzy replied referring to giving Cheryl the chance to earn back her forgiveness.  It had only been a week of her giving Cheryl the cold shoulders and she already missed her friend, she had no one to call while they both binge-watched shows on Netflix, and as much as Jughead let her twisted sense of revenge do what it wants Cheryl was the one that actually got it, she even helped Izzy on a few occasions. 

 

Cheryl walked out squeezing past Melody, Josie, Valerie and Veronica who were all standing in the doorway watching what was going on. 

 

x.x

Izzy stayed silent watching as the others came in, it was obvious by the look on her face that she didn’t want to talk about Cheryl’s apology. What Cheryl had done for FP was really nice but now it just felt like Cheryl was throwing out money and words and doing anything she could just so Izzy would forgive her, some part of Izzy knew Cheryl well enough to admit that she wasn’t actually trying to bribe her -not really- since action always spoke louder than words Cheryl never learnt how to use her words to apologise properly.  

 

A not so small part of Izzy was ashamed to admit that she was struggling to forgive Cheryl because JJ wasn’t here to smooth things over, Jason was dead and Cheryl now how to figure out how to apologise properly without him in her ears guiding her. 

 

It wasn’t just hard listening to Cheryl apologising without hearing Jason’s influence, it was soul crashing there was no reference to Poppies or baking or any number of things that were so obviously the Jason part of Cheryl’s apology, come to think of it, this was their first fight since Jason died.

 

It hit her once again; there was no more Jason, her best friend’s brother and her own semi-friend was gone, someone who had been a part of her life was gone.

 

 He was dead, he wasn’t going to be there anymore, he wasn’t going to listen to Izzy sing or roll his eyes at her cheesy jokes or say he wasn’t interested in her day just to sit at the diner and listen to her bitch about life before running of to some party or football game. 

 

Mr. Blossom had killed him and now she didn’t have a friend, Cheryl didn’t have her twin. In that moment Izzy wanted to let it go and forgive Cheryl for everything, they lost Jason and being angry with Cheryl was tiring, she didn’t want to lose her as well.

 

 

“Go fix it with her” Josie demanded pulling the plug to Izzy’s mic calling and end to the day, it had been obvious from the beginning she was and had spent half the time sighing into the mic instead of actually singing. Josie snapped her fingers in Izzy’s face since she was still daydreaming, "Go fix it with Cheryl.”

 

“I-”

“No” Valerie interrupted. “You didn’t want to tell us what’s was going on with the two of you because if you did then we would probably have to take your side and hate Cheryl with you but she’s apologised so go forgive her” Valerie ordered packing up her things, if there weren’t signing she needed to get home there was a shooter on the loose and a history paper due first thing in the morning.

 

“She-” Izzy tried again before Mel walked over and actually slapped her hand over her mouth.

 

“Let me guess she said something bitchy and really mean and you want to forgive her but you can’t since you need an apology” Mel questioned knowing she was right. “She has apologised, it was a good apology she said sorry and everything and this is Cheryl we are talking about.”

 Izzy tried saying something else but it was muffled by Mel’s hands. “I don’t care, now go accept her apology because it’s been over a week since I heard her insult someone’s clothes and I am missing it. Now put on your big girl pants and go makeup with her cause you are really mopey when you have no one else to be bitchy with.” Mel declared finally letting go seeing as Val and Josie were nodding along they also agreed.

 

 Did any of it matter, Cheryl was right, they lost too much after rehearsals she was going to go following a maybe shooter around town with Jug and who knows what could happen. 

 

Did it really matter whether she forgave Cheryl today or tomorrow, Fred nearly got killed in front of her so while it might be nice to find out why Cheryl brought up her mum in an argument it wasn’t important, she promised never to do it again and Izzy believed her. 

 

Cheryl was doing her best, they all were, Cheryl had screwed up and she apologised, sure she sucked at it to begin with but she found herself in the end- even without Jason- Cheryl had come up with her own way to apologise and it was obvious she was sorry, anyone could tell she regretted her action.

 

“Fine, but I want you to know I already decided to forgive her” Izzy huffed at the trio and the smug, judgemental look thinking they knew her so well.

 

“Yeah but without us you would have spent days dragging your feet before letting her know.” Val countered walking out the door. “How the two most prideful people in school become friends” Val muttered shaking her head.

 

What was with people making comments about her friends today? She wasn’t really offended by Val and the girls making fun of her but was it really that odd to be friends with Cheryl or Jug?

 

“You know it’s because of us right, and Jason” Mel began as they left, they were too far away for Izzy to hear the rest but she didn’t have to be there to know that the rest of the conversation would be about how stubborn Izzy and Cheryl were.

 

Izzy found herself smiling, hearing the bickering between everyone else while they left her to go sort out her mess with Cheryl, she really had the most amazing friends in the world.

Chapter Text

Veronica hanged back watching as Josie grew impatience before she finally calling an end to rehearsals she had been hoping to catch Izzy for a few minutes to talk about what happened at lunch and mostly to apologise for Archie and reassure her that his behaviour wasn’t personal.

“Do you want a ride?” Izzy preemptively asked seeing as Veronica was still standing around instead of being the first to leave like usually; it would be going out of her way to drop her off at home but Veronica did give Izzy a ride home on Saturday.

“No, thanks Smithers will be here soon. Actually, I wanted to talk to you about this afternoon with Archie.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Izzy replied back pre-emptively dismissing Veronica’s words if she was going to get an apology she would rather hear it out of the horse’s mouth.

“I just want you to know it wasn’t personal, Archie is working through a lot of things and I won’t normally apologise on his behalf but I’m trying to have a drama free zone so I don’t want what happened between you and him to affect the pussycats and-”

“The Pussycats?” Izzy asked looking confused, did Veronica actually think Izzy was planning on kicking her out of the group just because she got into a pissing contest with Archie.

 “Veronica, you’re fine, we are fine,” she emphasised. “I don’t want you to apologise for your boyfriend if he has something to say he should tell me himself. Plus there’s no way Josie is letting you leave the group before we sing at the winter formal.” Izzy joked only half succeeding in removing the tension. “We can still be friends.”

Izzy never got to hear what Veronica had to say next because Archie had walked into the room. “I thought I should come to meet you here instead of meeting you at Pop,” Archie explained startling both Izzy and Veronica.

There were a few seconds of awkward silence where the girl wonder just how long Archie had been there, it wasn’t like they were talking shit about him but it was awkward since they were talking about how he owed Izzy an apology. 

Izzy wasn’t about to stand in this awkward silence when she could go find Cheryl and make up with her. “See you tomorrow.” Izzy threw over her shoulder as she walked past Archie, she had probably made it halfway to the gym before she heard footsteps running after her.

x.x.x.x


“Archie,” Izzy muttered irritated that her day had to end with talking to the guy who had spent most of his time insulting her instead of having a few minutes to spend with Cheryl before she had to make her way to Pops and start stalking Shady man.

“Izzy,” he replied with the same dead tone she had given him.

“Can I help you?” Let it be known that Izzy was very polite in this interaction, she sounded sincere and curious about how she could be of help to the Bulldog co-captain instead of sounding spitting mad like she still was.

“I came to apologise for today.”

“Okay”

“Right see you around,” Archie responded turning around and walking away.

Izzy stood blinking watching as that ginger haired bastard actually moved away. “Are you kidding me, where is the apology?”

Archie stopped and turned around, he may not be close to Izzy but a furious girl was a furious girl. “What?”

“What do you mean what, you haven’t apologised and now you want to walk away after you decided to stop me from getting on with my day.”

“I’ve already apologised what more do you want.”

“That was not an apology, saying you’ve come to apologise isn’t the apology.”

“I don’t even know why the hell I have to, you were the one who spent the whole lunch making everything about you then storming off after insulting me.”

Izzy studied Archie for a few seconds seriously considering if he was concussed or just plain deluded. “See when Veronica said you were going through something and didn’t mean what you said at lunch I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt because maybe she was right and you weren’t a  dick but then you actually stop me, offer me a non apology then come up with your own version of history that makes me out to be the bitch while you are some victim.”

“I am not making you out to be anything, if you think that you are acting like a bitch maybe it’s because you-”

“Finish that sentence and I will knee you in the dick,” Izzy promised glaring back at Archie, she wasn’t even sure why she was wasting her time with him, the guy obviously had some sort of issue with her and she didn’t care about him enough to find out what, turning around Izzy started making her way to the changing room, by now practices will be over and the cheerleaders will be getting changed.

“So when I walk away it’s a problem but when you do it I should be okay with it?”

Was it worth it to waste more time talking to Archie or was it not? Izzy briefly weighed up the pro and cons before sighing either way if she didn’t deal with whatever was going on it will become an issue later on.

“What the hell is your problem like seriously,” Izzy asked turning around to face him, forget her anger and his insult or all the baggage that was building up. “I actually want to know. What is your problem with me, what did I ever do to you? Before last week we barely even talk to each other and now you are insulting me at lunch, trying to pick fights with me in school corridors implying that I am a bitch, what have I done?”

“You don’t even get it do you”

“Get what, what is there to get?” Izzy wondered, she couldn’t think of anything that she had ever done for Archie to hate her. “Or are you just acting like a dick to act like a dick.” Because that was the only possibility left, Archie wanted to act like an arsehole but had no one to do that to and there was Izzy a relative unknown in his life, she didn’t really care about him or him her so he could act like a dick and it won’t affect his relationship.

“So make this my fault right. You are so fucking entitled you don’t realise it, It is sickening the way you have people wrapped around your finger with that woe is me poor princess act. Do you use it on everyone or is it just Jughead you have thinking that. You act like you are this amazing person, being friends with everyone, getting Jughead a job out of nowhere, trying to be friends with Ronnie and talking shit about me behind my back.

Newsflash you aren’t special, you call Cheryl your best friend and you practically abandon her when her brother died, you made her deal with all that by herself. 

You click your fingers and expect everyone to drop what they are doing to come to do your bidding but no one can count on you can they. Your friendship is a fucking one-way street, no wonder Cheryl would rather text Veronica for help when she tried to kill herself than reach out to you -”

 

…..

 

Izzy was still busy trying to understand half of what Archie had just spewed out during his rant when she registered what he had just said. “What?” Izzy blinked in confusion.

“I didn’t. I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean that.” Archie found himself reach forward trying to comfort Izzy only for her to stumble back away from him.

It was one of those moments where Izzy felt like she was having an out of body experience, like back at the diner during the shooting, she knew what Archie had said, -what he was still saying- she understood it but it didn’t seem real.

It didn’t make sense.

One minute Izzy found herself standing in the middle of the hallway with Archie just staring at her and the next she was apparently slapping Cheryl across the face inside the changing room, (luckily Cheryl was the only one left) everyone else had rushed off as soon as practices had finished most hadn’t even bothered to change out of their uniform in order to get to the safety of their house that much quicker.

This really wasn’t how Izzy thought her day was going to go or how she thought she would handle the news… of attempted suicide.

 A part of her did realise that he could just be saying anything to try and hurt her considering all the vitriol he had unleashed during his rant but she knew that wasn’t it, the way he looked after he said it … he wasn’t lying.

Cheryl had tried to kill herself, like die die.

So there wasn’t an obvious right or wrong way to handle the news that your friend had contemplated ending their life and Izzy knew logically that slapping Cheryl was the wrong way to deal with it but she was just so God damn angry, the shock had all but dissipated leaving behind a roaring hot unabashed rage.

“So I guess you still don’t forgive me,” Cheryl stated clutching her cheek.

“You tried to kill yourself?” Izzy’s voice wavered coming out making the sentence sound both like a statement and a question, her whole body was coursing with anger that she couldn’t feel the sting from slapping Cheryl. 

“What the hell is wrong with you. You don’t just, you don’t. WHY the hell would you do that”

“Who told you?” Cheryl asked dispassionately.

The smallest part of Izzy that had been holding out hope that this was a cruel trick died, Cheryl hadn’t denied it, she really did try to kill herself.

“You’ve have done a lot of stupid unforgivable things in your life but suicide. WHAT the hell is wrong with you? Why would you do that? 

You …you you have me. If something is going on you talk to me, tell me. Don’t kill yourself. After everything, everyone has been through this year wasn’t burying Jason enough for you.” Izzy couldn’t finish what she was saying because she couldn’t breathe she wasn’t getting enough oxygen into her lungs, her sentences were coming out in wheezing whispers by the end. 

It wasn’t even a panic attack it was just pure rage struggling to be contained, it was taking everything in her not to lash out again and start shaking Cheryl like a rag doll and she would.

She wanted to…

Her hands were already clenched into fists and Cheryl was just standing there, hands on her cheek just staring at her saying nothing, doing nothing… Izzy needed to get out of there.

She couldn’t…. 

This wasn’t….

She had a job to do, she needed to get to Pop and go to work and serve burgers with fries and milkshake and talk to Jug and laugh with Joe and go serve irritating customers and be as far away from this as possible.

x.x.x.x


 Archie walked back into the music room where Ronnie had said she would wait for him while he goes to apologise for that afternoon. He could see the smile on her face, the look of joy in thinking he had done as she asked and go apologies.

“I messed up Ronnie,” Archie confessed slumping down in one of the stools. “I really fucked up”.

He hadn’t meant to, he really hadn’t meant to bring up Cheryl or the suicide. 

Honestly and truly his words just ran away from him, he hadn’t even realised what he was saying until Izzy had flinched back, she had fucking flinched and the look on her face…. It was the same look she had waiting for news of whether his dad would survive.

Just Blank.

She had shut down and then she had run away and it was all his fault.

“Archie is okay” Ronnie tried reassuring him and he couldn’t have it, he couldn’t sit there while she reached over and rubbed his back trying to soothe him, thinking he was this upset because of a ruined apology attempt. “We can go to Pop’s now, you can try again.”

“Ron, she, I told her about Cheryl and Sweet water.” He felt the moment she understood what had happened, the hand stopped it’s circular pattern on his back, the brows furrowed in confusion then in anger then back to confusion because she was trying to figure out how.

How was it that he left to apologise and came back having told Izzy Cheryl’s biggest secret. What had happened? 

He didn’t want this. He didn’t mean to do this. He wasn’t a bad guy.

Was he?

He didn’t see himself as one, but when he saw that shattered look on Izzy’s face, so fleeting, only to be covered up quickly behind a blank look.

He never meant to take it so far.

His fear for his father, his hurt and anger at Izzy and Jug, and his rage at the shooter, everything was fuelling the fire within him. 

And it spilt over. 

Izzy was questioning him acting all innocent and confused like she didn’t have a clue what was going on because she was unburdened, she didn’t feel what he was feeling, none of the anger and hopelessness. 

He just wanted it to stop, wanted her to know what it felt like to be so angry at someone and having no control over it, he wanted her to know he was the better friend, that she wasn’t as great of a friend as she thought she was but not like this, not using Cheryl’s action as ….

What was he thinking?

How could Archie do that? How could he?

Was he so bitter about everything that he ended up doing this?

 Was he so petty?

Jughead had once compared him to Izzy way back when the two boys were in the middle of an argument, so was this his retaliation? Was this his way of condemning Jug for his choices as Jug has condemned him for his skills, personality, just him in general?

It hurt to know that Jug thought of Izzy as the better person and didn’t Archie just prove that, what ‘good guy’ took advantage of a suicide attempt to destroy someone else.

Chapter Text

On the drive over Izzy decided to focus her attention on the few people loitering around the street instead of the reason why her right hand was stinging, she refused to acknowledge the fact that Cheryl had tried to kill herself and while she was at it she wasn’t about to acknowledge the voice telling her that she should turn around and go talk to best friend.

Instead, she was refusing to acknowledge Archie or anything he had ever said, in fact nothing else mattered; part of her knew she was compartmentalising, another part called it being in denial, either way, the only thing she was concerned about for the next four hours will be serving burgers and milkshake.

Absentmindedly she noticed the people waiting outside the arcade; it seemed that Alice’s article was doing the trick it was nice to see people walking about made the place look less like a ghost town.

x.x.x.x


 

“Toni Topaz, newspaper photographer meet Izzy Tate a PussyCat and my best friend.” Jughead stated by way of introducing the two girls once Izzy came back out of the changing room in her mustard yellow dress.

“Hey.” Toni greeted, she had heard all about Jughead’s new job thanks to his best friend and her family’s diner, she was glad that he had the opportunity at more legitimate employment than doing some of the shit jobs the Serpents did.

Jughead was taking to be Serpent-adjacent like a duck to water but Toni still wasn’t sure he was ready to be a full-time Serpent, he obviously had a lot of ties to the Northside like the fact that his girlfriend and two best friends all lived and worked here not to mention nothing of the fact that he spent every weekend going over to the North side rather than having his friends visit him.

“Izzy Tate” the girl replied shaking her hands. “Nice hair.” she complimented nodding to the purple dye job, ignoring the serpent jacket Toni was proudly wearing, Izzy correctly assumed that Toni was tired of being judged by her jacket or maybe she might just not care that Toni was a Southside Serpent. 

It was nice to finally put a face to one of the names of person now that the Jones boy wanted protecting. If Toni knew what Archie Andrews looked like then it would be easy to look out for him too but apparently he was the only ginger-haired boy in town so she wasn’t about to look too hard to put a face to the name as long as she didn’t go curb stomping on a ginger-haired teen she wasn’t breaking any rules.

“I had to promise her a free burger and milkshake if she helps us track Shady man.” Jughead preemptively confessed explaining why Toni was there.

“I accept my payments up front for jobs like this. Now, what do you need me to do exactly?” Toni asked leaning over the counter.

“Depends on how involved you want to be, but the goal is to find out who the shooter was and since we have no clue other than the fact that he was wearing a very expensive watch. We are looking into anyone suspicious and ‘Shady man’ seems to be the only one in town not scared to be out and being shady” Izzy explained while Jughead stepped away to deal with a family of four take out order.

“That’s fine with me, don’t really care who this guy is but I am tired of waking up to the police banging on our doors every morning for more bullshit questions” Toni replied making sure to start into the brunette's eyes as she responded. “Just tell me where and how you would like me and I’ll be in position.”

x.x

Just as expected Shady man came back to the diner sitting in his booth at the corner, Izzy quietly noted that it gave him a clear view of both the counter and the door and he was able to see almost every part of the diner without straining his neck, it was the same booth she usually sat in. 

Just by walking in Izzy knew Shady man wasn’t the shooter, he was too slight and the shooter had been broader and a lot heavier.

She was ready to call the whole thing off but then Joe had called out ‘Shady man’s’ order and she had delivered it, gone was the dismissive attitude he gave Jughead when he took the order in its place was a…. Izzy wasn’t sure what but it sure as hell wasn’t dismissive. 

She had his entire focus. “Can I get you anything else with that salt, pepper, a drink?” She questioned if she had his focus she might as well use it.

“No thank you, ma’am.” Shady man replied sitting up straighter and running his hands down the front of his shirt as if he wanted to make sure he was presentable in front of her..

“Really, is no problem” she prodded, studying him some more, tall, black hair, olive looking skin, looks like he works out.

“I’ll take a glass of water please”

“Sure, still or sparkling?” Izzy continued, it didn’t matter she just needed more time to finish studying him.

“Still please, thank you”

“Ice or lemon?”

“Just some ice please”

“Are you sure you don’t want any mustard with that? Vegan burgers always taste better with mustard” Izzy continued still testing him.

“No thank you, ma’am, I’m okay.”

“I’ll bring you one anyway, you might change your mind.” 

“I…. Sure thank you.”

It was that politeness that made Izzy do a double take, sure she wanted to fill the time asking pointless questions but he should have already told her off by now, asked her to leave. 

So why wasn’t he, why was he still being polite.

She wasn’t exactly sure what was happening but there was something here

“Do you want any dessert today, we have some muffins?” Izzy questioned wanting to see what he would do now.

“No thank you” Shady man replied.

“Are you sure I baked them myself this morning”

“Oh, sure I’ll take one.”

“Great” Izzy grinned back. “Which one?”

“Anyone.”

“We have blueberry and bran, banana and chocolate chip, oh and we have bran by itself” Izzy stated. “I was thinking of making a plain one but didn’t think that would sell out maybe I should try them out on the weekend like a buy one get one free thing. Or I should probably bake something else on the weekend cupcakes, I’m really good at those, I can even make a red velvet one although those take time” Izzy mused waffling on, still Shady man was silently listening to her.

“Chocolate chip” Shady man responded with no sign of him being annoyed or losing his temper once she stopped talking.

“I think we’ve run out of that,” Izzy lied “Why don’t you pick another one?” 

There was clearly chocolate chip muffins left, they were in the display counter with a giant label in front of them, if he didn’t say anything now she might actually have to call the police and report him.

“You decide ma’am”

“No problem, would you like any tea or coffee with that sir?” Izzy questioned pulling the note pad out as if waiting on some signal.

“Tea, Lemon tea if you have it.”

“Lemon tea, is that just lemon with hot water or would you like the actual tea bag?” Izzy asked.

“Either one will do ma’am”

“Of course, if there’s anything else we can get for you don’t hesitate to tell us” Izzy waited for his response but when Shady man didn’t say anything else she left, going to the kitchen and less than a second later Jughead joined her like she knew he would.

“What was that?” He questioned.

“There is something definitely going on when you took his order what was he like?” 

“Iz-”

“What was he like?” Izzy questioned again.

“Told me he wanted a vegan burger with fries and that he didn’t want to be disturbed”

“Yeah that wasn’t the attitude I got, he was creepily tolerant and even when he should have told me to fuck off, it was all yes ma’am and no ma’am”

“Maybe he…” Jughead didn’t have anything, he knew how Izzy could get when she wanted to annoy someone, so the question was why didn’t Shady man complain.

“Yeah, exactly

“Okay maybe is a female thing.”

“Get Daisy to give him a glass of water with ice and see how he is with her. I’ll finish up the rest of his order.”

 

x.x

“I know you said you wanted lemon tea but we have a really good pot of black coffee why don’t you try that instead,” Izzy asked placing the cup down along with a small plate of with a bran muffin.

“I..-” Shady man paused for a second but instead of saying something he just paused and stared at her.

“Is something wrong?” Izzy even went as far as to tilt her head to the side as if she had no clue as to what could possibly be wrong with what she had given him, this level of trolling would be something Cheryl would appreciate, at the thought of Cheryl the fake smile fell off her face.

“Er…no. Thank you, ma’am”

“No problem, enjoy. Let me know if you need anything else.” If Izzy had been playing a game called ‘what can I do to annoy you’ Shady man was playing ‘there’s nothing you can do to annoy me

 

x.x.x.x


 

“Thanks for coming to Pop’s the total will be sixty dollars please” Izzy stated staring straight at Shady man refusing to bat an eyelash at the price she named.

“He just had the burger and coffee,” Daisy said interrupting the transaction.

“And a muffin, plus there is tips” Izzy continued staring down Shady man wanting to see what he would do now.

“It doesn’t even come up to twenty dollars why-” Daisy began once more.

“I’m sure he doesn’t mind after all we gave him such an astounding service, sixty dollars please”

“Please ignore her, I’ll”-.

“I served him all night, sixty dollars.” Izzy insisted staring at Shady man, Pop will probably be having words about this daylight robbery but that was a problem for another day.

“What the hell is going on with you” Daisy questioned trying to figure out what was going on.

“Is alright I don’t mind paying” Shady man replied cutting into the bickering and pulling out his wallet.

“You don’t have to, don’t let Izzy force you to pay extra,  just twenty will do” Daisy replied.

“Oh it’s no problem, after all, it was a really amazing service.” Shady man continued, at this point, he and Izzy were playing a game of chicken and neither of them was going to back down first. “Here, why don’t we call it an even hundred it’s been a great service all week long”

“No, no. we couldn’t possibly” Daisy shook her head trying to decline the additional money.

“Why not? If the man wants to give us a hundred dollars I say we let him.” 

“Well good night ladies”

“Come back again” Izzy smiled grabbing the money, she didn’t even need to look down to know he had given them the full hundred. 

“See you soon Isabelle.” Shady man waved before leaving.

“What a fucking creep” Izzy muttered as soon as Shady man was out the door.

“Izzy” Daisy rebuked. Daisy was this sixty-two-year-old grandmother who had been working at Pop’s as far back as Izzy could remember, the only one with more authority and experience was Pop himself. 

“Tell me that wasn’t weird” Izzy stated trying to keep an eye on Shady man as he walked away.

“Yeah okay there is something up with that guy” Toni admitted having come back to the counter as soon as he saw Shady man getting up to pay for his bill as well.

“You shouldn’t have taken his money,” Daisy said worrying.

“He was the one who decided to give it to me even after you told him the price, he knew I was fuck- messing with him and he still went through with it.” 

“Pop won’t be happy about this.” Daisy reminded Izzy.

Well, Izzy wasn’t happy about what just went down either so there was enough of that to go around. “Hey Daisy, I think the table in the corner needs help” Izzy quickly threw out, she needed Daisy gone to plan how to stalk Shady man with Jug and Toni.

 

x.x


 

“Did you see how he just gave me the money?” Izzy asked placing the hundred dollars back onto the counter for Toni and Jug to see.

“If he wasn’t onto you before, he is now.” Toni pointed out.

“Onto me for what? I haven’t seen him before, the only reason we thought he was ‘shady’ was the fact that he came in every day last week while everyone stayed at home like a normal person.”

“Well he knows you are onto him” Jughead stated grabbing one of the twenty dollar bills and running his fingers across, he didn’t think it was a fake but you never know, what guy allowed a teenager to bill him for sixty dollars for a twenty dollar meal then end up giving another forty on top?

“Again onto him for what? We need to follow him”

“That might have been easier if you hadn’t basically played chicken with him, he knows you are onto him.”

“I repeat about what? That did not look like a man caught in the act, he was fucking enjoying this” Izzy mused glaring outside, with the stupid weather and snow she couldn’t see anything but Shady man couldn’t have gone that far, there had been no engine sound so he wasn’t driving a car and he hadn’t gotten on a motorbike so that meant he was on foot, it had been maybe a minute or two since he left she could totally catch up to him.

“Don’t even think about it?” Jughead warned he didn’t even need to be psychic to know what Izzy was thinking.

“Think about what?”

“You aren’t following the guy, it was one thing when we didn’t know who he was and what he wanted but we know he’s interested in you” Jughead moving to block Izzy.

“We don’t know that for certain,” Izzy stated.

“Sure we don’t, that guy just gave you a hundred dollars for no reason, you aren’t following him”

“How are we meant to find out who he is or why he is interested in me because I don’t think Sheriff Keller will be particularly interested in this someone coming to the diner and giving a eighty dollar tip isn’t on the top of their priorities right now”

You. You are the one he’s interested in, there is no way you are following him” Jughead warned, Izzy could be stubborn and reckless but he wasn’t about to allow her to endanger her life like this.

“How did he know your name?” Toni asked breaking up whatever tension and staring contest Izzy and Jughead were planning to have, she didn’t have time for relationship drama tonight.

“What?” Izzy asked confused.

Isabelle that’s your name right, so how did he know? That other lady called you Izzy, Jug called you Izzy, everyone has been calling you Izzy all night, your name badge says Izzy, I thought you were an Elizabeth like someone shortened Lizzy into an Izzy but he called you Isabelle so how did he know?” 

Toni let the question sit for a few seconds watching as the statement hit both of them while Izzy just keeps on blinking in surprise Jughead had become furious.

 “We need to follow him”

“No!” Jughead did the thing where his jaw got all tense meaning there was nothing Izzy could do to change his mind short of knocking him out and running for the door.

“Yes Jughead, you two need to follow him like now” Izzy responded giving up.… for tonight at least. “I’ll stay here, I won’t leave but we’ve got to figure out what the hell this is all about.”

“I-”

“Tell me after you come back, see if you can catch up to him” Izzy ordered. “Please. He has to be interested in me for a reason and if we can figure it out tonight there will be no reason for me to go looking tomorrow.”

 

x.x.x.x


 

Andre pulled out his phone and made his call as he walked across Pop’s parking lot, there were more cars here today than all of last week’s combined but the lot was still held empty.

“Boss she’s onto me”

“How Andre?” Hiram asked, now wasn’t the time for Izzy to find things out, he needed a week maybe less but not today, her room wasn’t ready.

“I don’t know but after she delivered my food she just knew, I-”

“Get to the Pembroke, I’ll be there in a few minutes, wait for me in the study. I hope for your sake that you haven’t ruined this for me Andre” Hiram warned before hanging up.

 

x.x.x.x


 

Toni and Jughead were following the footprints leading out of Pop’s, they weren’t exactly sure which one belonged to Shady man but most of the footprints out of the diner were all heading in one direction so they just had to follow it for a while. “Jug-”

“What do I have to do to get her more protection,” Jughead asked, thinking of all the things the serpents might ask him to do in return.

“Jughead she’s already protected, the serpent won’t harm her”

“I’m talking about actual security” Jughead spun around to face Toni. “What just happened wasn’t normal”

“Look we don’t know what’s going on, it could be just a guy who thinks she’s pretty, he’s thinks throwing his money around will make her interested.”

“That wasn’t it, he knew her name, he’s been coming to the diner for over a week now, who knows what else he knows.”

“Don’t think like that, he doesn’t. If he knew anything else he won’t still be coming to the diner. You saw the way he was, polite and respectful he doesn’t want to hurt her, maybe someone told him about her, they could have been talking about Pop and mentioned his granddaughter, told him her actual name.”

“Is that supposed to make me feel better?” Jughead fumed. “She’s been my best friend since I was six years old Toni, six. When Pop had his heart attack I couldn’t do anything to help her, when she was dating that loser Reggie and he cheated I couldn’t do anything to help her, then Fred got shot and now she has a stalker.”

“We don’t know that. Look I say we go back now, tell her we couldn’t find him, spend the rest of the shift keeping an eye on her and I’ll see if I can get some of the guys to help out, we will keep her safe. She’s your family and we protect our own. ” Toni found herself promising.

She didn’t know what it was like to be Jughead or Izzy or what their relationship was really like and it didn’t matter, Jughead was on his way to being a serpent, FP was their king even in prison and Izzy… Izzy was definitely Jughead’s family.

Chapter Text

Izzy found herself being walked to her car by both Toni and Jughead after her shift, they weren’t even trying to hide the fact that they were playing bodyguard.

“I’ve been thinking, we need more people, we need to do everything in pairs, no one can go off on their own. If we want to figure out who Shady man is and what he wants and who the shooter was, this needs more than the three of us” Izzy found herself saying, she hadn’t been thinking that but it was a good idea.

“You know who else would be a good person to add?” Jughead asked rhetorically as he pulled on his own jacket to try and ward off the cold. “Betty, she was the driving force in figuring out who killed Jason and I am sure if we include her we can find everything we need to know about Shady man and the shooter”

“Fine, you can ask her but we have to be prepared that Toni and I may end up having to follow Shady man by ourselves,” Izzy warned. “I will see if I can think of anyone else crazy enough to want to do this with us.” 

The person Izzy could think of was Cheryl, but she was a no go for obvious reasons.

“Well if that’s all for tonight I’m going to go back to the Southside to see what the Serpents are up to tonight with Tall Boy,” Toni said ready to leave. “Nice meeting you Izzy, see you both tomorrow.”

Izzy was just going to blame the fact that she was focused on Shady man and Cheryl’s… that to remember the other thing Cheryl had said that afternoon, she probably would have still forgotten if it wasn’t for Toni mentioning the serpents. 

“By the way, Cheryl has gotten your dad a new lawyer and she talked to the judge so hopefully FP can come home before Christmas,” Izzy said breaking the news grinning by the end at the look of shock on Jug and Toni’s faces

“What really?!” Jughead and Toni both exclaimed in amazement.

“Yeah, it’s her way….” Izzy trailed off she didn’t know how to finish that sentence. “She just wanted to see if she could get him home for Christmas.”

“That’s amazing, thank her for me” Jughead smiled pulling Izzy into a hug.

“See, you wear a jacket like that looking all badass and I can actually see why Betty is going out with you.” Izzy teased smiling at the fact that Jug was blushing.

 

x.x.x.x 


 

Jug found himself standing in the trailer looking at the developed picture of ‘Shady man’ stuck on the wall of his kitchen while eating the Caesar salad he grabbed from Pops.

Who was this man? Why was he interested in Izzy? What was he doing here in Riverdale apart from coming to the diner on a near-daily basis? 

Where did he come from and how did Jughead find out the answers to all these questions.

This guy was definitely more dangerous than the shooter, he had a single goal… Izzy. 

Izzy held his attention and none of them knew why, the shooter was just targeting people at random, he wasn’t after her specifically just after ‘sinner’.

His first thought for getting Betty involved was so he could sideline Izzy, except if he tried doing that not only would Izzy kill him she would probably go looking for Shady man by herself and that couldn’t happen. 

With people being shot and strangled on a weekly basis…. It just wasn’t going to happen….. he needed Betty to get involved but more importantly he needed Izzy to be safe.

The problem was Izzy could be reckless and wouldn’t think twice about following Shady man herself and they couldn’t go to Sheriff Keller, not yet Shady man hasn’t technically anything wrong but that didn’t mean he didn’t pose a threat.

x.x.x.x


 

Betty was disturbed from helping Polly settle back into her old room because Jughead was calling her, she was just so happy that Polly came home to have the twins, her belly had grown several sizes since in just a few weeks so the Cooper clan were planning on going shopping this week for cots, changing table, strollers not to mention changing the home office into the twins room.

“Hi” Betty whispered walking past her mother and back into her room. “How was your day?”

“Good, I don’t want to keep you long but I was wondering if you wanted to help find this shooter and there is a new guy as well we need to find first. ” Jug asked. “I mean we found who shot Jason and Izzy and I are trying to figure out who shot Fred and seeing how good we were at solving mysteries before I thought you might be interested in helping.”

“I would love to help but Polly just came home today,” Betty stated as a way of gently letting him down. “Why don’t you and Izzy investigate yourself for a few weeks, I can help later on if you need me to it’s just-”

“You want to spend time with Polly and the twins not running around trying to find a shooter.” Jughead finished completely understanding, Betty had spent the past few months trying to find who shot Jason to clear Polly’s name just to have Polly to leave town and now that she was back Betty obviously wanted to spend some time with her sister. 

“It’s okay, I just thought I should ask, so we could spend some time together. I’ll see how far we can solve this case but don’t be surprised if I use you as a sounding board if we get stuck. Say hi to Polly for me”

“Yeah of course. How about we meet up for breakfast tomorrow.” Betty suggested if Jug had to spend the day at school and nights working at Pops it left only his morning free for them to see each other.

“Sure breakfast at Pops. Night Betty” Jughead muttered out before ending the call, hopefully, he didn’t sound too disappointed, he didn’t want Betty to feel guilty about being there for Polly, if Betty was saying no how was he going to pair up with Izzy and keep her safe?

Sighing Jug looked around the trailer feeling slightly displaced, probably because he was standing in the trailer with no one else to talk to, and no other ideas on finding out who Shady man could be apart from having Izzy being involved.

Maybe he should go to the Wyrm and see what the other serpents were up to, if nothing else there he could ask Tall Boy for his help, plus everyone was bound to be a celebrating once news spread of his dad’s new lawyer and the possibility of an early release, sending a quick text to Izzy that Betty was out Jughead hopped on his bike.

x.x.x.x


 

“Take a seat Andre and tell me everything that happened to night” Hiram ordered.

“To start off with… Isabelle is, …. I followed her from school like normal, she made her way to the diner for her shift today instead so I drove back here, left the car downstairs and walked back, ordered my burger and fries from this new kid but she was the one that brought it over, I don’t know how Boss but she started asking me question like if I wanted salt and pepper and the next thing I know she is telling me to have some muffin and bringing me coffee instead of tea.”

“How, what did you do?” Hiram growled he had waited sixteen years to get to know his child, he had planned for it, he had thought about her every day, everything was coming together, if Andre had ruined this for him there will be nowhere on earth this man could hide.

“Nothing boss, I swear… she, she just knew.” Andre stammered out, he’s seen that look on the Boss’s face more time than he could count and each time the person didn’t exactly survive.“I… I was thinking about it on the way over and before she even left the first time she had me pegged, I just wanted the burger and she brought over mustard and coffee and muffins, it was … I did nothing boss, she just knew, I swear as your Capo… I”

“Anything else? What happened Andre?” Hiram was ‘this’ close to strangling the man himself.

“I went to pay the bill like normal you see… and… and she was there, said the total came up to sixty dollars”

Hiram sat still trying to understand, “The total of what?” He wanted Andre to say it, he wanted to hear the entire stupidity of the situation from Andre’s own mouth.

“The food, it was only twenty, the other lady… Daisy said so but like I said Izzy, Isabelle she knew. Boss she already knew she was asking for sixty instead, she was testing me you see, see if I was good enough so I gave her a hundred”

“You gave her a hundred dollars?” Hiram asked, Andre didn’t know this but he should be very grateful that the gun was in a locked safe instead of his desk drawer.

“Boss I am telling you, it’s what she wanted, it was a test”

“So you decided to give her a hundred dollars for something you know isn’t even worth more than twenty.”

“I… I, you see she… she wanted to, see what I would do, I thought…”

If she was testing you and you failed Andre” Hiram fumed. “The plan was to be invisible, report back, not to stand out.”

“But boss…Boss, she had the other kid and someone else try to follow me, I cannot be certain but it wasn’t their usual break time. They didn’t see me but she’s definitely curious” Andre reluctantly admitted, Hiram would find out the truth one way or the other so it was best if it came from him here and now.

“Stay away from her, if I am lucky she will chalk the whole thing down to an idiotic man who can get easily swindled. You are to follow her from a distance from now on, she is not to see a single piece of you, do I make myself clear?”

 

x.x

“How are you, Andre?” Hermione intercepted as he made his way out of the Hiram office, she was only in the living room to wait for Veronica to come home, she knew Veronica liked testing the limits but Hermione may need to have a word with her soon.

“Good thank you, Mrs. Lodge.”

“How is your assignment going?” Hiram wouldn’t tell her anything about his plans with Izzy, all his other plans were fair game, he shared as much as he wanted to, but when it came to Izzy she knew nothing, there were the obvious signs like the contractors and decorators coming in and out during the day while Veronica was at school but after that Hermione was in the dark.

“So far so good Ma’am” Andre replied offering her a small smile.

“Anything else, I should know about?” Hermione tried fishing for any information.

“You should ask the boss about that.”

“Wait for Andre a minute just want to know if-”

“You should really talk to the boss,” Andre repeated before quickly leaving. There was no way he was going to mess up twice in one night,( Andre enjoyed being alive) if the boss wanted his wife to know anything he would tell her himself.

Hermione may be the boss’s wife but even he could see that Boss cared more about Isabelle and Veronica than he did her, guess it was only natural to love your children more.

x.x

 

Hermione walked into the study to see her husband re-reading the portfolio of Izzy once again, he was a man obsessed with his plans and none of the subtle hints she had given had been acknowledging, so it was time to try the more direct approach. “You are playing a dangerous game Hiram”

“Evening Hermione, I am unsure what you are talking about but if it is my plans regarding Isabelle I can assure you that I know it is not game, there is too much at stake,” Hiram replied, his eyes still drawn to the newspaper clipping Alice Cooper had written a couple of years ago about Isabelle 

“The love (and fear) of a Granddaughter” as much as Hiram disliked Alice he would admit that she was a semi-good journalist when she put her mind to it.

“Oh I know it isn’t a game” Hermione replied sombrely while crossing her arms “but what do you call the way you are behaving. How would you think Izzy will take it when she finds out.”

“How exactly am I behaving?” Hiram questioned his wife finally looking up. “The way I see it I am looking out for her, I have the decorators preparing her room, I haven’t done anything but prepare to get to know my daughter so what is it exactly that you think I am doing?”

“You know what you are doing.” Hermione accused without having to say the actual words

“Let’s be clear here, you knew my plans since the beginning, you knew I always planned on getting to know Isabelle. I warned you before but let me repeat myself mi amor” Hiram stated standing up moving to stand in front of Hermione making sure his wife got the message. “I plan on getting to know my daughter. Now take a seat, we need to talk about the daughter you should actually have to worry about.” Hiram ordered going back to his chair.

“Veronica is-”

“Veronica needs to get in line my love, the staying out late coming back just in time to sleep, the disrespect, it all needs to stop. I admit, the letter I wrote her was shocking but this issue should have been sorted out by now.”

“Are you really concerned about Veronica or is this all about Izzy.” Hermione wasn’t foolish enough to think that this wasn’t in some way to do with Izzy, one way or the other all of Hiram’s action and thought leads to Izzy.

“I am talking about Veronica and her behaviour, (I can separate the two girls) I will not have one daughter here just to lose control of the other,” Hiram warned levelling a glare at Hermione because he was trying, he went out of his way to ask Veronica about her day, he tried to have breakfast with her every morning, he'd also taken to offering to help her with any school work she had but each and every single time Veronica rebuffed him and walked away and the few times she said something Hermione was quick to defend Veronica or brush the incident under the rug, it was getting tiring.

“Then I beg you to reconsider if you think Veronica is acting out now what do you think will happen when you tell her about Izzy, not to mention the fact that you have the decorators coming in setting up a room for her. Just wait Hiram, sort out your relationship with Veronica first then think about what you want to do when it comes to Izzy” Hermione advised hoping to get through to him if the blatant statements weren’t enough maybe reminding him that he could lose Veronica would make the man re-think his approach. 

“Unfortunately for us, time is not on our side, Andre messed up tonight. Izzy is aware of him, she will find out soon and it’s better for her to find out from me.” Hiram confessed. “And as such, Veronica’s little tantrum and disrespect have to be cut short, normally I love her little display of rebellion but now isn’t the time for it.”

“I thought you said this was about Veronica and not Izzy”

“It’s about both. It’s about my family and having all of us under the same roof, living together and being happy. Now please have a word with Veronica about her behaviour before I am forced to.”

“You are willing to ruin your relationship with Veronica on the off chance that Izzy will be willing to get to know you. You are a stranger to her, worse you are the man who’s abandoned her for sixteen years, what makes you think she will want to get to know you?”

Unfortunately, Hermione was right he was a stranger to her but that’s why he was doing this, he didn’t want to be a stranger to his own daughter, he walked away to protect her and Sharon, knowing he would one day get a chance to make it up to them, to explain, this was that chance. He’d been back for over three weeks now, he just needed another week or two for the rest of his plans to fall into place he could-

“Hiram, Hiram?” Hermione called out pulling him out of his thoughts.

“Don’t worry about Isabelle and concentrate on Veronica as I’ve asked, I want both my girls to be happy and for Veronica that starts with her having to accept what happened and getting over it, feel free to buy something off Tiffany’s website as a way to mend the bridges.” Hiram finished effectively dismissing Hermione. 

“One more thing my love” Hiram waited to call out just as Hermione opened the study door “The next time you feel insecure about my plans find a way to get through it without disturbing me.” 

 Isabelle Amelia Tate wasn’t a stranger she was his daughter, she was the proof that he was once a good man, that he was capable of unconditionally love.

 

 

Chapter Text

Penelope Blossom opened the door to find the gold digging grandchild of Noah standing on her doorstep, she’d had hoped Cheryl’s latest argument with the demon child would have put an end to the disturbing ‘friendship’ they shared but alas here the trollop was ready to patch things up with the Nightmare child. “Shouldn’t you be at your own house instead of disturbing mine?” Penelope sneered down her nose at the girl. 

“Shouldn’t you be in the hospital getting surgery to fix all that?” Izzy shot back instantly pointing at the mummified gauze that covered up half of Penelope’s body. 

There was a beat of silence where Penelope was obviously startled by what was said but she couldn’t think of a decent come back so instead settled for more glaring and posturing while asking why she should allow Izzy to enter.

“Because I didn't come all this way to stare at you, let me see her and I’ll be gone within the hour,” Izzy promised.

“Cheryl your ‘friend’ is here” Penelope called back over her shoulders still refusing to let Izzy enter the house. “It’s good to see that nothing changes when it comes to you, Jason may have died, my husband commits suicide, Thornhill burnt to the ground and yet you still come around trying to hang onto my daughter coat tails” Penelope hissed staring Izzy up and down like she was some type of street urchin.

“Who needs a face, people who love them or even worldly possessions when the fire kept that amazing wit of yours intact,” Izzy replied grinning back, she may have spent the drive over thinking about how tired she was but there was no way Cruella was going to get the last word.

 Izzy wasn’t even prone to lying (maybe not telling the full story at times) so why did no one believe her when she talked about Penelope, they still treated her like a six-year-old telling tall tales like there might be a hint of truth to what she said but there was ‘no way’ Penelope was an evil cruel monster, adults, in general, were stupid and most refused to believe the word of a ‘child’ when there was an adult in the room contradicting their statement.

Izzy had stopped biting her tongue when it came to Penelope Blossom and had started given back as good as she got when it came to that woman, she was the absolute worst parent a child could ever have and that was saying something seeing as how Clifford shot Jason in the head to hide his drug empire.

“I can’t wait for the day my daughter realise that you are nothing but a gold digging trollop.”

“And I can’t wait for you to drop dead so I guess we both have something to look forward to.” Izzy shrugged still standing in the cold, the snow was progressively getting worse but Izzy would be damn if she asked Penelope to move and let her in.

“Noah really didn’t teach you any manners did he, allowing you to talk to any which way to people. You do know I could just shut the door and go about my evening.” 

Izzy was saved from having to respond as Nana Blossom as she currently rolled through the foyer un her wheelchair.“Spending your day arguing with a teenager, really Penelope?” Nana Blossom tutted. “Do you have nothing better to do?”

“Nana Blossom.” Izzy greeted with a genuine smile, N.B was the only person in that entire household who didn’t have a problem in taking Penelope down a peg or six when her dementia wasn’t acting up.

“Come in dearie, tell me did you win that beauty contest of yours? Is all Cheryl’s talked about for weeks now, mark my words you will surely be in the finals.” It was always a bitter-sweet feeling seeing Nana Blossom especially when her mind was stuck in the past before Izzy could even reply Nana Blossom’s mind had already moved onto something else. “Do close the door Penelope you disrespectful child always sneaking out, leaving my doors open like you can afford the heating bill.”

Izzy took the opportunity to walk in, not even attempting to hide the fact that she was laughing at Penelope expense despite the fierce glare coming her way.

“Have you come for round two?” Cheryl asked standing halfway up the stairs making her presence known, she looked quite amazing in the silk red pyjamas she had on.

“No, I thought we should talk.”

“Fine come on up, you have five minutes” Cheryl granted turning around and heading to her room.

“Leave the door open.” Penelope snapped before either girl could take a step. Izzy hated letting Penelope get in the last word but she had bigger things ahead of her to deal with.

x.x.x.x


 

This wasn’t Izzy’s first time in Thistle house but it definitely felt like it, despite the numerous argument her and Cheryl had gotten to over the years it had never turned physical, beyond the occasional shoulder bump as the barged past each other when one of them was feeling extremely petty. 

“I won’t have been able to sleep tonight without finding out what happened,” Izzy stated walking into the massive king size room Cheryl had nabbed for herself. “So what happened,” Izzy asked throwing her jacket onto the bed before walking to the window seat and sitting down.

“You slapped me” Cheryl pointed out from her position across the room, arms crossed over her chest, a defiant glare in her eyes as if she was judging Izzy and she probably was.

“I did” Izzy admitted nodding.

“You called me selfish.” Cheryl pouted as if that was her main concern.

“It was selfish but I’m not here to pass judgment, I just... I am here to listen. I’m here to hear your side of this.”

“Are you?” Cheryl questioned raising her brow slightly daring Izzy in some way.

“Go ahead,” Izzy stated confidently giving the floor to Cheryl to speak, she meant it, she was there to listen and understand.

“Why should I tell you anything”

“Cheryl” That one word was both a plea and an order for her to start talking, Izzy hadn’t been kidding when she said she won’t have slept without knowing what went on.

“I…. It was…. I’m not… I, I was in a really bad place, I just found out Dad killed JJ and then he killed himself, I just…” 

Cheryl was struggling to find the words to continue so Izzy jumped in with her own apology filling in the silence. “I shouldn’t have slapped you, I am sorry about that.” Izzy sighed, she promised herself that she would apologise, no matter how she felt (still feels) about the situation she should never have slapped Cheryl. “I did mean what I said though, suicide isn’t the answer Poppy.” she continued patting the space next to her inviting Cheryl over. “If you want to. I will always be here, for whatever, whenever just talk to me. Explain this to me, what happened, why did you try to kill yourself?

“What happened isn’t something we talk about.” Cheryl pointed out.

“Well we should talk about it, I should… Cheryl your dad hanged himself.” Izzy let the sentence hang for a few minutes neither one of them saying anything else because what else could they say, Clifford Blossom had killed himself rather than living with what he did. “So what happened what made you try to kill yourself?”

“Nothing happened, I just had enough” Cheryl shrugged looking away.

It was on the tip of her tongue to say something equally as flippant but she won’t.  

This was a serious conversation and she won’t let it devolve into anything less than what it was. “You just had enough...  Enough of what exactly? Because you are still alive”

“I know you don’t understand what happened but don‘t you dare mock me. You have no idea what it was like for me. I was ready to give up but Archie saved me, he pulled me out of the river and made sure I lived and that’s what I am doing living”

“The river, you tried to drown yourself...” Once again the sat in silent as Izzy’s words resonated within their mind. “Guess that’s one questioned answered, you chose to drown…. I wasn’t mocking you.” Izzy sighed “But that doesn’t mean I’m going to accept some bullshit excuse. You tried to kill yourself and it wasn’t because you just got tired of living. You didn’t wake up one morning bored with being alive. I am trying to find out what is going on… just talk to me.” Izzy pleaded, she was trying not to get frustrated but Cheryl needed to explain since none of this made any sense.

The idea that Cheryl would kill herself, that anyone she knew would try to kill themselves, it didn’t make any sense. 

Was it the grief because Cheryl had lost both JJ and her dad. 

Was Cheryl depressed or was she just suicidal or was it something else, something Izzy could watch out for try and prevent. How hadn’t she realise what was going on, how had no-one?

 What was going on in any of their lives that they didn’t see what was going on with Cheryl. Mel, Valerie, Josie, any of the vixens, it was such a small school, everyone practically knew everyone (kinda) even if they didn’t how did the rumour mill not pick it up, not one word about Cheryl looking sad or anything.

What else was going on in Riverdale if Cheryl could spend weeks walking around the school after trying to commit suicide without a single person knowing? 

That wasn’t exactly true was it, a tiny voice spoke up remembering the fact that Archie knew, Archie and Veronica knew and yet they did nothing. 

How?

How did they save Cheryl from drowning and then do nothing, say nothing, Izzy had already had a panic attack on the way over and she’d only known for a few hours.

“I changed my mind, I don’t want to talk about it. You don’t get to interrogate me.” Cheryl stated defensively moving away while Izzy stayed where she was, her back nestled against the cold glass as she watched Cheryl pace around the room, moving from the desk to her bed back to the desk and then taking the time to walk the width of the room from one wall to the other and back again.

“You tried to commit suicide and that isn’t something that just goes away, you don’t get a choice so start talking.” Izzy continued more forcefully, Cheryl could try walking around the room as many times as she wanted it still wasn’t going to stop them from having this conversation.

“I am fine now Archie saved me,” Cheryl replied non chalantly like it answered everything.

“That doesn’t change the fact that you tried to kill yourself you do get that right, you get him saving you don’t change anything.” Izzy was baffled at Cheryl dismissive attitude, there were talking about suicide as in an actual attempt to end a life (failed or otherwise).

“What do you know. About anything?” Cheryl sneered. “The most devastating thing to happen to you was the fact that your mum died when you were a kid but apart from that, there is nothing in your life that isn’t amazing. Pop and GG go out of their way to have family dinners with you.” Cheryl scoffed as if that was an entirely new and foreign concept to her. “Everyone, everyone in town looks at you like you are the poster child for excellence and why won’t they? You go around saving peoples lives like you are trying out for sainthood. You are the one people call when they want someone to be there, you’re good and nice and dependable and who do I have? The only person I had was Jason and now he’s dead and now I am left with my mum who is just looking for a reason to ship me away. Honestly, you are pathetic sitting here whining about something that doesn’t involve you.”

Izzy was trying not to take any of this to heart, she really was but this was the second time in as many weeks that Cheryl had decided to mention her mum and it was obviously a deflection tactic, a very good one but there wasn’t enough left in her to be angry about this as well not when she was still trying to work out what happened with Cheryl. 

“Why didn’t you call me?” Izzy asked “If I’m the person people call when they need someone there then why didn’t you call? I’m good, nice, dependable your best friend i would have been there so why didn’t you call?” Izzy questioned choosing to ignore everything else.

“Because I didn't want your help”

‘So you wanted help?” Izzy clarified that was good Cheryl had wanted help, she didn’t want to die not really.

“What does it matter? I tried and failed, I’m fine you just-”

“You are not stupid enough to believe that so stop saying it.” Izzy hissed getting off the window seat. “Stop pretending that everything’s okay, that you trying to kill yourself is fine. I won’t be here if it was fine Cheryl, I won’t be worried about you if you were fine. I won’t have had a god damn panic attack over this if it was fine. You don’t get to be in denial about this so accept the fact that’s this is fucked up and that you need help.”

Izzy thought she was getting through to Cheryl, for a single glorious moment Cheryl seem to understand why Izzy was so worried but apparently not. “Is this because I asked Veronica for help instead of you?” Cheryl quizzed squinting her eyes in suspicion.

“You think, did I... How hard did I slap you?” Izzy wondered she was close to starting a full-blown argument when she noticed the way Cheryl’s hands were running over her pyjamas, then she noticed her eyes, her full-blown ‘I-am-on-drugs-eyes’ “Are you shitting me, you’re high.” 

First suicide now she'd taken drugs, what the hell was happening here? “Okay Cheryl we are going to sit back down and you are going to tell me everything that happened.” 

“Why would we do that?” Cheryl asked obviously confused, what Izzy had previously thought of as non-chance was obviously the drugs working and making her spacey. At this point, Izzy didn’t even care whatever party drug Cheryl had taken would be out of her system by tomorrow morning it wasn’t as permeant as the other issue.

“Because you will be dead, do you understand that you’ll be dead, everyone would be attending your funeral by now, we would be lowering you cold, blotted corpse into the ground. You would have made us bury you, Pop would have been left wondering how it happened, we all would have. I would have been visiting your grave an actual grave with your body in there so I am not leaving until I get some answers starting with why you would do this make me understand why you want to end your life.”

“Why do you even want to know?” Cheryl questioned

“Call it morbid curiosity” Izzy snapped out “Either way I’m not going anywhere until I found out what’s going on,” Izzy promised. “You’ve already said you tried to drown yourself so is there anything else, how did Archie get involved”

“If I tell you will you leave?” Cheryl huffed out

“Start talking.” Izzy had no plans to just leave Cheryl even with the full story and a part of Cheryl must have already known that seeing as Izzy hadn’t agreed to the deal.

“I was tired of living and I just wanted to be with Jason” Cheryl admitted shrugging her shoulders as if what she was talking about wasn’t that big of a deal. “He’s all I had and I started spiralling after he died but instead of drowning Archie saved me and gave me a second chance at life.” from then on Cheryl confessed everything, how she helped Jason plan his escape, how she convinced him not to get Izzy involved as well, everything, she confessed everything including somethings Izzy was better off not knowing like how Cheryl had burnt down Thornhill because her life needed purification. 

The more Cheryl said the more worried Izzy got especially the way she talked about Archie saving her like it was a fix-it to her problems or that the drowning was a twisted form of baptism, the old Cheryl had drowned in the river and Archie had saved and bought a new Cheryl to live.

Izzy couldn’t even blame this on the drugs, Cheryl was building herself back upon the basis that she didn’t die so she now had a reason to live, she was completely ignoring the fact that she’d wanted to die in the first place and all this fake higher purpose bullshit will crumble. 

Cheryl’s denial clarified a few things for Izzy firstly Izzy herself was in denial about her panic attacks and she needed to tell Pop about them, tonight. Secondly Cheryl needed help, more help than Izzy could provide, third and most importantly Cheryl would try again, maybe not today or even sometime this year but she would definitely try again if she didn’t get help, she was grieving and depressed and a bunch of other things and if she didn’t deal with it then it would cause another suicide attempt.

 “I’m in no way qualified to handle all of this,” Izzy admitted, she wasn’t enough for something like this. “Pack your things we need to talk to Pop.” She may not be able to handle this barrage of information but Pop would.

“Wh-”

“Listen Pop will know what to do” Izzy rushed to reassure Cheryl as she literally backed away. “We just tell Pop you need help and he’ll figure it out for -”

“No!” Cheryl refused moving away from Izzy as if distance will make a difference to what had just been said.

“He’s going to help we can just tell him”

“I said no!”

“Cheryl we need to get you help, you are obviously struggling, you tried to kill yourself”

“Stop saying that!”

“Then just stay over for a few days, take a break from being here, we don’t even have to tell him tonight, we can try talking to him on Friday gives you a few days to-.”

“I said no, you can’t force me to tell anyone when I’m not ready”

“Do you even hear yourself? I’m not asking you to come out I’m asking for you to get help. A functioning well-meaning adult needs to be involved, suicide is a literal cry for help, Penelope doesn’t know and even if she did I… Let’s just ask Pop for his advice” 

This entire day was off the rails from Archie’s barbs at lunch to him telling her about Cheryl, the fact that she slapped Cheryl then there was Shady man and now Cheryl was on some party flavours with Izzy trying to convince her to get help, how was all this happening in a space of a day and not to mention the massive panic attack she had whilst driving.

“I’m not telling anyone anything, you wanted to know the truth now you do so go home.”

“Enough Cheryl.” Izzy snapped, she wasn’t going to molly-coddle Cheryl and let this thing get worse by not getting her help, the one person she could always count on no matter what was Pop, so whether Cheryl liked it or not she was going to see him and they were going to tell him everything. 

Izzy was already moving away from Cheryl towards her bedroom closet, if she knew Cheryl there will be a suitcase somewhere inside the walk-in. “I know it seems like I am giving you an option but I’m not. PACK. YOUR. THINGS. You are coming home with me and once we sober you up we are telling Pop.”

“You wanted to know what happened and I told you. I’m not finding Pop to-” Cheryl refused backing away from Izzy and the suitcase.

“And you don’t get to die, you need help. If I have to, if you make me I WILL tell Penelope about this. Pop or Penelope those are your options.” Izzy threatened she wasn’t sure if she could or not.

 Penelope didn’t need any more ammunition to use against Cheryl but this situation was bigger than her hatred of Cruella, Cheryl’s life was literally on the line.

“Get out”

“Cheryl-”

“I believe you heard my daughter is time to leave.” Penelope piped up startling Izzy, how long had she been standing there?

Izzy ignored Penelope and kept her eyes on Cheryl, “I am not kidding Cheryl you need to tell-”

“Or what, are you are going to slap me again.”

“You slapped her?” Penelope asked surprised she knew Izzy had a temper but she managed to keep it under wraps (most of the time) more importantly Izzy had never gotten physical with anyone, destruction of property sure but assault, never.

“I’m trying to help you-” Izzy continued not bothering to address the fact that Penelope was there or that she had spoken.

“I don’t want your help, how many times do I have to say it. I just want you gone.”

“Cheryl think-”

“I believed she asked you to leave” Penelope stated walking into the room.

“Last chance Cheryl, I will tell her,” Izzy promised, she was debating the consequences of telling Penelope versus letting Cheryl keep this secret but that would just be disastrous. Izzy hated Penelope but even Cruella would try to get Cheryl help, she had lost one child she would want to make sure Cheryl lived.

“Do what you want” Cheryl stated rolling her eyes before walking out of her room leaving Penelope and Izzy staring after her.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“Veronica, have a seat,” Hermione instructed her errant daughter as she walked in well after the agreed nine-thirty curfew, as much as she hated it she had to agree with Hiram. Veronica’s behaviour as of late was slowly getting out of control she wasn’t overtly disrespectful but she was being bratty and if Hermione didn’t nip this in the bud Hiram might actually step in and do something more drastic especially as he was striving to present a perfect family image to entice  Izzy. 

 

“I’ve had a long day whatever dad wants you to tell me can wait until tomorrow,” Veronica demanded taking off her heels, she spent the rest of the afternoon comforting Archie and assuring him that everything would be okay, even if he let such a huge secret slip, it wasn’t like Izzy was about to say something to embarrass Cheryl. 

 

The whole afternoon had been an endless exercise in trying to get answers from Archie which wasn’t easy, ever since Fred got shot Archie was moody and she understood why. 

 

Someone had shot Archie's dad and if Izzy hadn’t applied pressure to the wound, if they decided to wait for the ambulance or if Dr Masters hadn’t been as quick as he was in getting Fred into surgery then Fred would be dead, Archie would have lost his father and that was a lot to deal with so Veronica understood, for the most part.

 

It was one thing to be moody because he was scared but there was something else going on and the only clue she had was Archie's beourging disdain for Izzy, Veronica didn’t want to admit it but the way Archie was acting reminded her of a lot of guys back in New York, even with his explanation she still didn’t know how an apology could turn into telling Izzy about Cheryl’s suicide attempt.

 

“I said sit down Veronica” Hermione began again but much more sternly than before refusing to talk again until Veronica was seated, “Now I know you have a problem with what your father did but the truth is I was the one who told him to write that letter to you.”

 

“Wha-”

 

“Your behaviour needs to improve.”

 

My behaviour the two of you-”

 

“We are your parents and we do what’s best for you.” Hermione cut in again not allowing Veronica to build up steam and start ranting and raving especially seeing as how Hiram wasn’t yet aware of their daughter’s late entrance to the apartment.

 

“What’s best for me,” Veronica stated baffled did she really believe that. “You had dad threaten to send you to jail so I did what you wanted. You asked me to sleep with Archie so he would manipulate his dad into selling their business and don’t think I haven’t noticed what’s going on here, the secret meeting dad is having with Andre, the way he keeps the study locked all the time and the way this house smells like paint-”

 

“That is beside the point.” Hermione interrupted, she didn’t need Veronica going down that path, they will be plenty of time for these feeling once she knew about Izzy. “I am here talking about your behaviour and not your dad, it has gone on too long”

 

“So he can’t be bothered to talk to me and sends you” Veronica scoffed, she wasn’t sure who was worse her dad using her mum like this or her mum for going along with this and allowing herself to be used knowing what he was doing.

 

“Enough Veronica” Hiram interrupted walking into the living room “I asked your mum to try and have a quiet word with you in order t get you to act like the daughter we raised thinking you would respond more to a gentler approach but let me be clear; You will behave or I will ensure that you do, we are your parents we do a lot of things that you do not like or appreciate but it is for the family. Riverdale is a fresh start for me, for all of us” Hiram quickly amended noticing the look Hermione was giving him, he really didn’t need the headache of dealing with an errant child and an insecure wife. “I won’t have you ruining this opportunity with your antics and your little temper tantrum. You have the rest of the night to feel whatever you want to feel but I expect you to wake up with a better attitude in the morning, now apologise to your mother for this rudeness and go to bed you have school in the morning” Hiram said dismissing Veronica.

 

“What?” Hiram questioned feeling Hermione’s eyes boring into the side of his head after Veronica had walked off.

 

“I was handling it.”

 

“She is acting out because she thinks I am using you to do my dirty work now she has to deal with me, you’ve got your wish I will handle Veronica from now on” Hiram informed her, if it wasn’t so late in the night a glass of scotch would be really nice but he needed a clear head he was going to see Noah tomorrow and ask to be introduced to Isabelle with Andre ruining a simple surveillance order and Hermione acting so irrational he had no choice but to try and inform Isabelle of who he was before Christmas.

 

“You are going to lose her Hiram,” Hermione warned referring to Veronica.

 

Hiram didn’t bother answering before walking away as well, they both knew Veronica wouldn’t hold on to her anger for long especially not when it came to Hiram, she was a daddy’s girl through and through a few months in prison or a threatening letter wasn’t going to change that.  

 

x.x.x.x


 

 

Izzy laid in the Cheryl’s Queen size bed waiting for her friend to wake up so she could break the news to her, it would be better if she did it than to have Pop tell her that way  all the espected anger would be directed at  her instead of Pop.

 

“What are you doing here?” Cheryl yawned finding herself next to Izzy, she was sure Izzy had left last night but the fact that she was still wearing the same clothes meant she hadn’t even gone home.

 

“Waiting for you to wake up.” Izzy shrugged staring up at the ceiling “Pop is waiting to take you home.” Izzy stated with all the subtlety of a hammer, no one could accuse her of beating around the bush.  Izzy pretended she not to feel Cheryl scrambling out of the bed to stare at her and continued talking, “He’s been downstair for nearly six hours now arguing with Penelope but the gist of it is he isn’t leaving here without you and the last time I went down there he was threatening to call CPS.” Izzy continued pretending not to feel Cheryl’s anger.

 

“How dare you” Cheryl seethed, not that she was looking but Izzy was sure that Cheryl was vibrating with anger.

 

“I gave you two options and you walked away.” Izzy reminded her, she was tired, she really should have gone to sleep instead of worrying about Shady man, the shooter, Cheryl.

 

“This wasn’t your decision to make!” Cheryl shouted. “I know you want to help but how I get help isn’t up to you, you can’t just decide to tell your grandad something personal you-”

 

“I gave you the chance to do this the right way,” Izzy repeated sitting up finally turning to look over at Cheryl, there was no sign of sleep anywhere on her face the news had obviously wiped away any trace of tiredness from her. “You want to be pissed off at me for getting you help then go ahead” Izzy sneered, “I don’t actually care. You don’t get to bury your head in the sand in denial about a suicide attempt and it may not be my place but I am the only one doing something to fucking help you. Now pack your things Pop is taking you home and I have to get home and shower for school.” Izzy demanded getting off the bed.  

 

A part of her knew she was being a tad bit cruel but like she said she didn’t really care, she tried the soft approach in getting Cheryl to realise that she needed help and all she got was denial and she wasn’t about to spend however many days or weeks it would take to get Cheryl to agree to get help herself, who knew what she would do if left to her own devices.

 

“I’m not going anywhere!” Cheryl screamed out.

 

Izzy turned around with letting loose a sharp bark of laughter; she genuinely found it amusing that Cheryl thought she had a choice right now but instead of saying all the things that would let Cheryl know just how little control she actually had over the whole situation Izzy just shook her head and began walking away.

 

x.x.

 

“She’s awake and she’s pissed off,” Izzy said as a way of letting her presence be known once she entered the dining room where Pop and Cruella were still at it, still talking, well glaring at each other. “I’m going home to shower and go to school, oh and you might want to make some French toast for her and if you have time some jam won’t go amiss she loves those… actually, I’ll go to the store after school.” Izzy amended she didn’t think Pop would actually have time to do anything else today apart from helping get Cheryl settled in plus buying all of Cheryl’s favourite food might help ease the teeny-tiny bit of guilt she was feeling; it wasn’t enough for her to regret calling Pop but it was enough for her to use a part of her paycheck to go crazy in the grocery store.

 

“Isabelle” Penelope hissed.

 

“Do you want me home after school because I kinda promised Jug to go over to his today” Izzy asked ignoring Penelope, it wasn’t an exact lie she hadn’t promised Jug anything but she did intend on talking to him about his role in Cheryl’s suicide attempt and how he’d help her or rather how he didn’t.

 

“I expect you home after school, either call Jughead or go to the diner if you want yo see him or get him to come over and I expect-”

 

“Calls and texts to let you know where I am, yeah I know.” Izzy huffed finishing off his sentences, it was becoming mildly irritating having to text Pop every time she left one place but she got it, there was a shooter on the loose who just killed yet another person earlier that morning while Izzy was lying next to Cheryl, unfortunately the pensioner who had been walking his dog did not make it but there had been a witness who had seen a man wearing a black hood running away from the scene of the crime.

 

x.x.x.x


 

 

Izzy held her head up high as she walked into the music room after school, she gone through the day without so much as side-eyeing Veronica or her friends just so she didn’t lose her shit, instead she did the very mature thing and texted her to meet in the music room after school along with her boyfriend, what Veronica probably hadn’t known until she walked in was Izzy had sent the exact same text to Betty and Jughead, she wanted all four of them to be in one place because they were the four people who knew about Cheryl and sat back and did nothing so they now had the pleasure of explaining their actions to her.

 

“Hey” Veronica stated nervously, she didn't know exactly why Izzy texted all of them but three guesses said it had to do with what Archie said yesterday.

 

“Sit,” Izzy instructed, she wasn’t about to fake pleasantries for these people.

 

“What’s wrong?” Jughead asked approaching Izzy, she was clearly mad about something.

 

“Sit down barbie, you too Chucky” Izzy instructed walking past Jughead as if he hadn’t spoken

 

“Can you guys give us a minute?” Jughead questioned from behind Izzy, the fact that she was name-calling right from the get-go meant she was way too pissed to even watch what she would say next.

 

“Cheryl nearly killed herself so explain why none of you thought to get her any type of help. You didn’t go to Penelope, the school councillor, hell you didn’t even bother to start a rumour so people knew she needed help so what exactly did you do once you got her out of the river”

 

“What going on?” Betty looked confused at the hostility being directed at everyone, she thought Izzy had asked her to come because she had an idea for a present that Betty can give to Jughead or maybe she wanted to ask her for advice about what happened yesterday at lunch with Archie.

 

“That’s what I want to know. What was going on in that head of yours.” Izzy hissed irritated at the dumbfounded look on their face “I guess I assumed that you had a functioning brain but I could be wrong.”

 

“I get you are in shock but-” Veronica was the first to begin speaking, she suspected to be confronted at some point what she hadn’t expected were the glares and the name-calling.

 

“I was in shock yesterday when Chucky over there told me about Cheryl’s suicide attempt.” Izzy stated pointing at Archie, “now, now I’m pissed off  because I realised that instead of actually helping Cheryl or telling someone what went on you four morons did nothing and now you are going to help me fix this”

 

“Look we are sorry but-“

 

“You do realise you played with her life, you get her out of the river and then you go home and do what exactly? Ignore the fact that she tried to kill herself for the last three weeks”

 

“Iz-”

 

“What JUG!” Izzy snapped cutting Jug off clearly surprising them. She wasn’t sure why everyone was looking at Jughead as if he was some sort of Izzy whisperer like her anger would go away just because it was him talking. “What the hell can you possibly say to defend your actions. Let me know because whilst you kept silent you she could have tried again. She could have hanged herself like Clifford did or taken a gun and blown her brains out or even gone into the kitchen and decided to cut herself. She tried killing herself and instead of telling me or anyone for that matter you did nothing. What would you have done if she had tried again and succeeded.” Izzy questioned putting it out there, desperately wanting to know their answers.

 

“Izzy listen-”

 

“No. Seriously Jug, she tries to drown herself and you say nothing. Did nothing. What wrong with you?” Izzy questioned staring at Jughead

 

“Look it wasn’t our place to say, she was really embarrassed after it happened and she didn’t want anyone to know” Betty spoke up watching the way Jughead was floundering trying to come up with an answer that would satisfy Izzy. 

 

“Oh that solves everything, she was embarrassed. I don’t know, why was I so upset.” Izzy said flippantly. “Here I thought it was a cry for help, I thought you might have been smart enough to say something when you come across a suicide attempt but if she was embarrassed that makes everything okay.”

 

“That’s not what I meant.” Betty backtracked gaining such an unimpressed look from Izzy that managed to cut her down to size without Izzy having to say a single word.

 

“She isn’t suicidal and it wasn’t up to us to tell.” Jughead cut in before Izzy retaliated, he may not know what she was about to say but he knew she was about to insult Betty.

 

“YES, IT WAS. Even if you didn’t tell me you should have told someone, her trying to killing herself that is the literal definition of suicidal.

 

“Look I get your angry and yes we messed up in not telling anyone what happened but we weren’t the ones who went there trying to commit suicide.” Jughead snapped feeling defensive. “And can I just mention how obvious it is that you only came here to pick a fight, first you spend two weeks fighting with Cheryl then you get into a fight with Archie yesterday and today you’ve gathered all of us here just to start another one fight.”

 

Okay Betty or Veronica or even Archie himself had a big mouth. “Nice try Jug but this is on you. Am I being unfair when it wasn’t just you there. I am, it is unfair” Izzy acknowledged “But you are the only one I know. I am not friends with those three” She replied pointing her hands towards the others “so I expect you to be the one to tell me not fucking Andrews as a way of gloating and throwing it in my face that I didn’t know what she tried to do.”

 

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about Cheryl, I just knew you wouldn’t handle it well but that was no excuse in not telling anyone about what happened,” Jughead admitted, hell he was sure they could all admit to having done the wrong thing. 

 

“I’m sorry you didn’t tell me too.” Izzy was still furious but slightly less so with the apology and acknowledgement from Jug.

 

“Seriously?” Archie asked shaking his head at her behaviour pulling Izzy’s entire focus off Jughead straight onto him.

 

“What?” Izzy growled she still hadn’t forgotten the way he broke the news, she may have bigger fish to fry with Shady man, the shooter investigation and making sure Cheryl lives but she wasn’t going to let Andrews off the hook, fuck him being Jug’s best friend as well she was going to get her own back one way or another.

 

“Don’t you think are being a tiny bit hypocritical?” Archie asked. “Once you found out about what happened did you take your own advice and tell anyone else. Does Mrs Blossom know about Cheryl?”

 

Jughead frowned at Archie's words and so did Betty and Veronica, Betty had told him what happen yesterday between Izzy and Archie this morning at breakfast but he thought she was over-exaggerating the situation.

 

“Listen here you overgrown Chuckie doll, unlike you when I find out someone tried to commit suicide I do the right thing and get them help cause I actually use my brain.” Jughead tried reaching out to hold Izzy back from moving any closer to Archie, it had been a while since he had seen this level of animosity from her and while she had never physically attacked someone it didn’t mean she never would.

 

“Let me be crystal clear here; the only person I care about in this room is Jughead; the rest of you mean nothing to me, worse than that you are the people who gambled with Cheryl’s life and so the three of you are going to help me keep an eye on her or so help me God I will go out of my way to torment you and make the rest of your high school life a living hell,” Izzy promised before walking out of the room, she didn’t need their response they either did what she said or she would keep her promise.

 

This was the first time Betty and Veronica themselves understood why Izzy was nicknamed ‘Hurricane Tate’, the condemnation dripping from every syllable uttered, the ice-cold glares coming out of her eyes, the tension in the air that had still to disappear they were all still reeling from the threat she’d given.

x.x

 

It now made sense how Cheryl and Izzy could be friends; it was fair to say both girls could turn nasty when they wanted to.

 

“Talk about melodramatic.” Archie scoffed quietly enought that no one heard, the whole thing from the ambush text to Ronnie and the dramatic demands that they explain themselves to the threat was just ridiculous, he’d felt bad yesterday for telling Izzy about Cheryl but the way she just reacted making this all about her, forcing Jughead to apologise for something he didn’t even do. 

“I’m sure she’ll come around. It wasn't intentional and Cheryl didn’t want anyone else to know.” Betty reached out comforting Jughead to no effect.

 

“Izzy is right though, we should have said something,” Jughead admitted. If it was anyone else he would have at least gone to the guidance counsellor and tell them what he saw.

 

“Maybe you should go after her” Betty advised.

 

“No, it’s best if I let her cool down.”

 

“You’re her friend-”

 

“And so is Cheryl” Jug countered. “Anyway this isn’t about that.”

 

“Then what was that about?” Betty wondered.

 

Death. 

 

It’s about death and the fact that Izzy doesn’t know how to deal with it after seeing her mum die.

 

Izzy hated death in all it’s form and became erratic if she thought someone close to her would die.

 

Jughead knew this, he had known if Izzy found out about Cheryl she wouldn’t take it well, she barely managed to keep her behaviour under control when Jason died even taking to avoiding most of the funeral preparation until the actual burial.

 

Instead of saying all that Jug just shrugged his shoulders and reminded everyone he was late for his shift at Pop; Wednesday nights were meant to be slow but with the shooting that morning it was more likely to be glacial in pace which worked in his favour, he didn’t need any distractions tonight so he and Toni could hopefully follow Shady man.

 

 

Chapter Text

It was safe to say that everyone in Riverdale day ended worse than it had begun, whether they had been shot, found out their partner was having an affair, even those who had begun the day with those pesky final notice letter would wish for the horror of their morning  in comparison to what the evening brought

 

x.x.x.x


  

Tom Keller’s day began with interviewing the sole witness to the shooting of Mr. Kromer between the panic and hysterics Tom was able to determine that the masked shooter was wearing a watch just like Izzy and Jughead had reported a few weeks ago although he couldn’t be sure that it was the exact same watch as Izzy had claimed, the witness had said ‘it looked expensive.’

 

None of the local jewellers had a ten thousand dollar watch in their inventory let alone the opportunity to sell it, so Tom either had to look further afield and track down every store in their neighbouring town to see if any of their jewellers sold such an expensive item in stock or he had to start getting warrants for every man in town; both options was ridiculous and wasn’t even worth the phone call to a judge to try and get a warrant.

 

This shooter had now killed his first-person and while the pressure was there to catch the man after Fred and Moose now that he actually managed to kill someone Tom might as well move into his office until the investigation was over.

x.x.x.x


 

Sweet Pea day started in the Southside like normal, what wasn’t normal was Toni harassing him about a favour even after he’d said no multiple times.

 

“So why should I be helping Jones protect his girl?” Sweet Pea questioned walking through the school’s metal detector, it was barely nine am and Toni had been trying to convince him to ‘help out’ on her new mission with Jones since last night, instead of celebrating the fact that FP actually had a decent lawyer Sweet Pea was getting his ears chewed off about some Northside Princess getting way too much money because a random pervert happened to like her.

 

“Rule one; no serpent stands alone” Toni replied back for the millionth time

 

“Jones isn’t a serpent.” Sweet Pea pointed out picking up his keys from the little tray after it’d gone through the machine.

 

“FP is still our King and we both know it’s only a matter of days before Jughead asks to do the initiation.”

 

“Until he asks I ain’t helping him and even if he passes initiation -big if by the way- why would I go across town to stalk his girlfriend.”

 

“Sweets, I get that you don’t like him but this is serious. Izzy (the girl) has a stalker plus she’s the one under Serpent protection her and that Andrews boy and she’s in danger.”

 

“That doesn’t mean I want to go out of my way to play security to some north side bitch just because someone's taken a shine to her.”

 

“Forget Jones, I’m the one asking for your help, we are trying to figure out who this shooter is, the cops all think is one of us so the quicker we can prove it isn’t the quicker they leave us alone and everything can go back to normal.”

 

“Still doesn’t mean-”

 

“Rule two; a serpent’s family is taken care of Izzy is Jughead family, she needs our help”

 

“Talk to Tall Boy, he can get someone else to play baby sitter” Sweet Pea huffed, he hated when Toni got a bee in her bonnet about ‘protecting the weak’ and ‘doing the right thing’ they were in a gang for God sake, not the salvation army.

 

“We are trying to keep the whole thing quiet, just follow her for a few days -a week tops- and I’ll lend a hand in the next job you do.” Toni bargained, the more she thought about it the more worried she got, she knew she down-played it for Jones yesterday but that man knowing Izzy’s name, him coming to the diner on a daily basis for over a week the way he was with her…. There was already a shooter in town she didn’t want there to be a kidnapping or God knows what else.

 

“Why do you care so much? You have a crush on this chick or are you just trying to get on Jones’s good side?”

 

“Shut up and follow the girl.” Toni scoffed walking into the English class where he found Jughead still looking worried, she could probably guess what that was about.

 

x.x.x.x


  

Midge begun her day in the hard uncomfortable chairs at the hospital sat next to Moose’s side as he recovered, he’d been lucky, she’d been lucky to survive as well.

 

The good news of that morning was the doctors wanting to realise Moose from the hospital sometime over the weekend and the bad or slightly irritating news was Moose insisting on swinging by Izzy’s house party next Friday ‘just for a few hours’ he said, ‘just to support Reggie he wants to win Izzy back’.

 

Midge wondered what it was about teenage boys that made them think that they were so invisible, Moose had just gotten shot and he was planning on going to a party, he didn’t even seem after by the shooting meanwhile Midge rarely slept any more she was so lost in thought that she walked straight into Izzy as she opened her car door.

 

x.x

 

“I’m going food shopping get in” Izzy ordered opening the door to the car and waiting for Midge to decided what to do, after a minute or so she decided to follow Izzy not so subtle suggestion and got into the car.

 

Midge found herself going grocery shopping with Izzy, the girl didn’t really say anything going from aisle to aisle grabbing random stuff it wasn’t until they reached the Tate house that she had even said a word to Midge which was basically another order telling Midge to let her mum know where she was.

 

“Living room is through there get settled in, I’ll put the shopping away and let Pop know you’re here” Izzy directed before leaving Midge by herself, it took a while but Midge could hear some petty bickering coming from the kitchen she didn’t need to wait long before Cheryl and Izzy walked out.

 

“Don’t think I’ve forgiven you just because you got-”

 

“You’re still here?” Izzy asked surprised to see Midge still standing in the hallway, “Follow me then,” Izzy shrugged making her way to the living room and dropping the tray of ice cream, chips and snack onto the table. “Do you want to start on the English assignment or the history one? Oh and Cheryl is here if you want to talk to her” Izzy added as an afterthought.

 

“Why is she here”

 

“She’s doing her homework Poppy and eating ice cream, join us”

 

“You’re fucking unbelievable join you. You-”

 

“I’m going to stop you right there” Izzy sighed cutting off Cheryl’s tirade before it got underway. “I helped you and I’m not going to apologise for telling Pop, now I’m helping Midge and I’m trying to get all my homework done today so I can spend the weekend doing something I actually want to do.”

 

“You’re a fucking bitch.” Cheryl fumed studying the casual way Izzy sat there being unconcerned. 

 

“Great now that that’s out of the way Midge sit down, get your books out, you’re meant to be good at history right, cause I suck at it.”

 

x.x

 

True to her word Izzy spent the next three hours jumping from one assignment to the next, she was on a mission to finish everything that day even the new assignment they just got today.

 

“Why am I here?” Midge spoke grabbing a hand full of crisps out of the bowl.

 

“You looked like you need someone to be there” although it was a non-answer it was the only one Izzy was going to give, saying ‘you look like you are struggling and I think you might try to kill yourself because I just found out Cheryl tried to kill herself’ wasn’t really a good conversation starter.

 

“But-”

 

“You saw someone get shot and so did I so if you want to talk or not talk I’m here to go shopping and do homework with.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Why not” Izzy shrugged. “We can be a part of the ‘we saw people shot group” the joke fell flat giving the mood. “Look it gets better you know the whole jumpiness and constant vigilant thing so how’s he doing”

 

“Good… erm, the Lodges paid for half the hospital bill so you know” Midge shrug.

 

“That’s nice of them if you want I can look over your maths see if you’ve made any mistake.”

 

“Why are you doing this.”

 

“I told you”

 

“But why I get distracted and bump into you so you take me grocery shopping I-”

 

“Think of it as my good deed of the day if it makes you feel better, or maybe I am sick and tired of living in a town where people are getting shot on a weekly basis or maybe it’s the fact that you are obviously struggling and the only thing people are doing is gossiping about the fact that you saw your boyfriend get shot instead of actually doing something to help you cope and whilst we are on the subject tell your mum you need therapy.” Izzy ranted. 

 

“In fact we all need therapy; this entire town is basically one traumatic event after the other first Jason is assassinated by his own dad then his body gets stuffed into a fucking freezer then Cheryl then Fred get shot in the middle of the diner oh and let’s not forget Mrs Grundy gets strangled to death then Moose gets shot and this morning a sixty-year-old pensioner gets killed walking his fucking dog. A DOG!”

 

“Izzy?”

 

“WHAT?!” Izzy snapped her head turning towards the doorway to find Mrs Klump, Cheryl and Pop all standing there listening to her rant and rave. “Mrs Klump get your daughter into therapy” Izzy ordered ignoring the looks she was receiving “and I’m guessing I probably need one as well.”

 

x.x.x.x


  

Izzy wanted to make it very clear that she wasn’t running away from her problem because she wasn’t five, she was just leaving the house and going to sleep at Josie’s so she could get a good night sleep, the fact that she was doing it while Pop went up to check on Cheryl was beside the point, the fact that she was doing it even after he ordered her to ‘stay’ so they could talk about her outburst was beside the point.

 

She was running away she was making sure that Cheryl had Pop’s undivided attention, she’d just been to therapy that afternoon, she was dealing with a lot, Izzy herself needed sleep, she hadn’t slept last night. 

 

She wasn’t running away she was being thoughtful and considerate and she would be back tomorrow once she’s gotten a good night sleep, she left a post-it on the table, Pop knew where she would be.

 

Izzy jumped back after opening the door to find Jughead standing there about to knock. “Jesus Jug what are you doing here, shouldn’t you be going home or something,” Izzy asked gently closing the door all this tiptoeing and gentle movement would be for nothing as soon as she started the car but so what, she was out of the house now. 

 

“I wanted to talk to you-”

 

“What, did Shady man come looking for me tonight?”

 

“He didn’t come, that’s not what I want to talk to you about I-”

 

“You want to talk to me about what I said today, right, let me save you the hassle I stand by everything I said. You and those guys are fucking morons for keeping quiet oh and another thing I’m not sure if your blubber mouth girlfriend told you or not but Andrews has something up his ass when it comes to me and he used Cheryl’s suicide to score points so I’m going after him I suggest you stay out of this.”

 

“You, you haven’t read the paper have you?” Jughead questioned knowing Izzy won’t be talking about anything else if she had read it.

 

“Why…. What's in there?”

 

“Here” Jughead reached down and grabbed the newspaper of the front stoop and handed it over to Izzy watching as she used the porch light to read and re-read the paper.

 

“OH my God… it’s this… the Black Hood?”

 

x.x.x.x.x


  

On the front page of that evening, Register was a letter written by the Black Hood for the citizen of Riverdale, all across town people were experiencing a different kind of nightmare tonight.

 

The town was discovering the presence of their very own serial killer, a serial killer who was proclaiming to have been behind the shooting and murders that had plagued the town for the past month and worse than him writing an editorial the man- the Black Hood was promising more death and destruction.

 

Many of you may be wondering about what happened to the once idyllic town of Riverdale, the town that you and I grew up in when men were men and women were women, when children were respectful and obedient and our elders were upstanding members of the community.

 

I myself blame the destruction of our values and morality on you, the very same citizens that reside in this town.

 

These shooting of innocents as you call it are not some random act of violence but a well thought out plan and justifiable punishment against the sinners of this town in order to restore balance and help return this town into the oasis it once was.

 

Riverdale was a vibrant town full of hope and dreams but now we are descending into hedonism and ungodliness; fathers killing sons, drugs running through our street being consumed by the hand full by our citizens, adultery having no shame covering their neighbour’s wife.

 

Jezebel’s corrupting our youths using the sins of their flesh to lead them down the road of damnation.

 

However, there is hope yet citizen of Riverdale; those that repent shall be saved those that do not shall meet their end by my hands unless Riverdale’s Angel is kind to show them mercy yet again. 

 

Those who have survived was due to the mercy of the angel looking out for them, praying for them to escaped death, she wore your blood and save you. 

 

For all those saved I urge them to use their second chance and repent; do not disappoint me for I will be watching.

 

Riverdale has been warned any and all sinners, any and all corruptors of our innocent will be dealt with….. 

 

For the wages of sin is death .

 

 

-The Black Hood.