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Understand me (I'll Understand you)

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Beyond The Word Fear
Written by Betty Cooper

What does the word fear mean? It’s different for every person, there's fear of bugs, animals, the monsters under the bed, but then there are fears like suffocation, murder, anything that involves death. We live in a society where fear is everything, we use it to manipulate people into doing things, getting things, seeing things. What if there was a way to stop fearing things? A way to feel protected? Can we find that in a thing? A human being? The answer is yes. But with fear always in the back of our minds, we always assume the worst. I had that protection, that person. And they took him away from me.

What he did was not a desire, not a compulsion. He always thought of what he did as art. A special hobby just for him. No one understood because no one took the time to understand. No one wanted to look at the blood against a white marble wall, no one thought it was beautiful. He did. Many let the darkness slip through, many used it to their own advantage. It was selfish, as he did it for others, for his mother. No one knew it though, they all thought of him as an insane sociopath, but no. They were wrong. Every time he killed someone, he felt the demon inside him, the one that enjoyed this, grow stronger. He felt himself slowly become one with the darkness, his tell-tale heart aching to beat again, for it didn’t bother him anymore. He had lost his inspiration for art, but he still did it. He needed to save this city from the liars, the posers. He needed to save this city from the ones who deemed themselves as good people, the ones who under that perfect facade hurt innocent people, committed crimes worse than him, waiting to watch their victims become broken, more so than anyone.

So no, he didn't necessarily see himself as a “bad” guy. Just one with passion, one who wanted to help, despite how much he enjoyed seeing them struggle. So he made art again.
And again.
And again.

 

----------------------------

 

It was three in the morning, way too late for Betty to be up, or rather early, but she didn’t care. The deadline for this next article was 8 am, and she had to get it done. Her small studio apartment in Hamilton Heights was dark except for her computer screen lighting up the small coffee table. Begrudgingly she waited by the coffee machine as it began its whirring, tapping her fingernails against the marble table absentmindedly.
The article was on “the shadow killer”, the most wanted murderer, and arsonist in pretty much all the United States, let alone New York. She was in a serious block. There were no pictures of him except for one that was taken by a bystander after a murder. It was blurry, but only one thing was clear. He was looking into the camera, a mysterious pair of dark blue eyes that seemed to be the color of the ocean glaring back. They were beautiful, she allowed herself to think for a second. The rest of his body was covered in black, stray for a leather jacket with the letter “J” written in red on the back. That was his signature, along with the black bandana tied around his neck and mouth, whenever he killed, he drew a “J” in his victim's blood on the wall. People knew his name, they didn’t know his face. Betty was frustrated. And for some reason, she couldn't stop staring at his eyes. They were so blue and held so much pain in them it hurt to look. The coffee maker stopped its pouring, and she picked up her green mug and walked out onto the fire escape. She sat down, the cold metal almost burning her legs. She wrapped her jacket tighter around her, even though it did very little to protect her from the biting cold. She rather enjoyed it, the cold. The way it made her shiver, the way after a while she felt simply numb. The numb feeling felt like her. She never really felt anything anymore.

The furious knocking woke her up. She had fallen asleep outside or fainted, she wasn't sure. And she was so, so cold. The knocking became louder, more urgent as she moved her stiff body back inside her apartment. Looking through the peephole, she inwardly groaned. She loved her best friend, she did, but at 6 in the morning on a Monday, after she fell asleep outside, she was just not in the mood.

“Veronica. How nice of you to show up unannounced.”

“Please, I always show up unannounced. It's one of my gifts. I know you probably didn't finish the article last night so I thought I would come over, help you organize things, you go down to my coffee shop-”

“Ronnie, that place is way too expensive for me.”

“Nonsense. I’m paying for it. It's a great change of scenery and maybe you'll get inspired or something.”

“Inspired when I'm writing an article about a murderer?” Betty asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Precisely. And here, use my credit card. Change out of those hideous pants you've probably been wearing three days straight and bring your computer.” Veronica said, starting to pile clothes that lay around the small studio into a bag.

“Hideous? They're my cat pants!” Betty replied in mock offense, doing a little dance.

“Whatever you want to believe. I'll do your laundry and clean your apartment while you're gone”

Betty groaned, rolling her eyes. “You know I love you and I love that I can get free apartment cleaning in New York, but you need to stop being so obsessed with cleaning.”

 

“Shhh, Betts go change,” Veronica answered putting the bag by the stairs to bring to the laundry room later. Betty opened her drawer and pulled out her only clean pair of jeans and a semi-clean black T-shirt.

“And please shower too!” Veronica called from the kitchen. Betty rolled her eyes making her way into the bathroom and turning the water on as hot as it could go. She was still a bit cold from sitting outside all night but now as she stood in the hot shower she felt as though she was being thawed out. She still felt empty, like something, or everything was missing.

 

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When he wasn’t… becoming a living nightmare, he worked at the coffee shop. It was called Sugar Hill Cafe, a very expensive place, but it was a good cover. When he wasn’t "The Shadow Killer", He was Jughead Jones.

Ironically, Psycho Killer by the talking heads was playing on the speakers. He didn’t mind, he liked them, despite how he connected to the words more than most. He was bobbing his head to the music, doing subtle footwork as he cleaned the coffee machine. He didn't hear the all-too-loud bell chime at the top of the ancient door, didn't even hear someone come in until he heard her voice.

“Nice dancing.”

He spun around, eyes widening as he was met with the face of a beautiful girl, around his age. She wasn’t smiling but her forest green eyes were alive swimming with amusement, her blonde hair tied into a loose low ponytail and wow.

“Why thank you. I’m trying to get on America's Got Talent.”

She snorted at that, a small smile breaking through.

“Ah yes, you would definitely make it.”

He smiled a little.

He never smiles.

“What can I get you?” He asked, almost forgetting that he was working.

“Latte, please. Oh! And a cinnamon roll.”

He chuckled. This girl was getting more out of him than anyone had in a while. He honestly didn’t mind it. He set the cinnamon roll in the oven and began brewing a fresh cup of coffee.

“To be honest, I never come here. My friend forced me to.” The girl said, leaning on her elbows against the counter. Jughead turned towards her, resting his hands behind him and raising an eyebrow.

“Should I be feeling rejected?”

The girl laughed, tilting her head down as if she was embarrassed to be laughing.

“No, no. I'm going through a really bad case of writer's block. She thought a change of scenery would help.”

The oven with the cinnamon roll in it dinged. Jughead reluctantly turned and opened it before placing the pastry onto a plate and checking on the coffee.

“Writer's block, huh? You an author?” he asked, grabbing a ceramic mug from a shelf and putting it under the coffee maker.

“Journalist. I have to write an article on "The Shadow Killer". You know, the murderer.”

Jughead froze. Oh, he knew.

“Yeah, uh- I think I remember hearing a few news stories about him. What, uh, what are you putting in the article?”

Stay calm, Jughead. It's not like she knows it's you. You've dealt with situations like this before, why should talking to the most beautiful girl you've ever seen change that? Just take a breath, give her the coffee, and we’ll part ways as unlikely friends. God, why do you always ramble in your head when you're nervous? Why are you even nervous? FOCUS Jughead, FOCUS

“Yeah, that's the thing,” She began, “I don’t really know what to write about him. His kill count? His childhood? Why he kills? I only know one of those answers. Besides how apparently his father was an underground criminal who murdered his wife.”

Jughead looked away, forcing the bile and the images conjuring up in his head from that night back down his throat.

“Well, maybe you could write about the pattern he’s killed it.” Why on earth are you helping her? She's writing an article about you!

“What do you mean pattern?” She replied, lightly cocking her head to the side, her eyebrows furrowed.

“Well every good serial killer has a pattern, you know? Like maybe something connected to a thing in their past. I don’t know, maybe the range of age the people he’s killed in are, what majority of gender he's killed, if they're important people who may be hiding something or if they're just random if he’s ever changed his name?” He answered, not knowing why he was even giving her this advice. If she kept talking to him, he may tell her he's Jesse Jones.

“Well, first of all, every good serial killer has a pattern? How many horror things do you watch?” She asked, trying to mask a smile.

“Not watch. Read. There are still people that do that ya know.” her smile broke through, and god he needed to make her smile more.

“Oh haha. I read too, I'm not a hooligan-” Jughead cut her off with a loud laugh. When has he ever laughed so much in the span of 10 minutes?

“What- what is a hooligan?”

“You know, like a weird person,” she responded matter of factly. “Anyway, you did give me a lot of ideas, and my paper is due in an hour so I should-”

“Oh right yeah, here's uh, your coffee.” He quickly turned, grabbed the mug, and handed it to her.

“Thanks, how much?” She said, wrapping her hands around the cup.

“It's on the house.” Jughead. WHAT ARE YOU DOING.

“Well, you're only really helping my friend, but thanks...” She said, prompting him to tell her his name.

“Jughead. Jughead Jones.” He lifted his hand to hers, which she shook firmly.

“Betty Cooper. It was nice to meet you, Jughead.” and then she turned around and left to sit outside, the annoying too loud bell chiming for all New York to hear as if she was never there before as if she wasn't special.

But oh, she was. And now Jughead had a feeling inside him.

He wanted to protect her, even though he had no doubt she could protect herself.

He wanted to end the lives of people who are dangerous, that could hurt her, that could hurt them.

He wanted to be with her, wanted to have a reason to see those beautiful, secretive, green eyes.

And just like that, he had his inspiration.

Chapter Text

She’s seen those eyes before, she knows she has.

 

The blue, the pain .

 

They were so familiar and yet she couldn't put her finger on it.

 

She's never met anybody like that, even in their 10-minute conversation he managed to buy all her curiosity in one place. No one, especially a man , has been able to do that.

 

He was very knowledgeable about Jesse and he reads . He knew how to carry on a conversation, which half the people she knows don’t even know any other adjectives besides the word cool , let alone read a book or talk to people without immediately going on about how being vegan is just so much better.

 

The ideas he gave her had been so helpful, and she was now actually trying to research without giving up at another dead end.

 

She began looking up his childhood, starting with how at age 14 he saw his mother get brutally murdered by his father, who was an underground criminal.

 

Wow. That could be a connection.

 

His first kill was at age 15, it was said to be a 17-year-old high schooler selling his father's drugs to other kids at the school. Shadow killer had killed the kid, then later that night his father. With a ballpoint pen.

 

So far he's killed 19 people in the span of 13 years, and set fire to 5 large business buildings (but all the people were out of the buildings, which is strange) No NYPD officer has been able to track him down, but one officer, Officer Allen has  been on the case for all 13 years. Maybe she could interview him for extra credit. About 45 minutes later, she finished the entire article and was about to head to work when Jughead caught her eye. He was cleaning an inside table, concentrating on one spot so hard he fell over. She laughed and he looked up, ocean blue met forest green and she smiled giving him a thumbs up. He laughed, a little embarrassed that she'd seen that, but he still winked at her, effectively making her blush as she rolled her eyes.  

 

She did a small wave as he playfully saluted her back before going back to scrub at the table.



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Number 20. Reggie Mantle. He didn't usually like to address the people he murdered by name. To him, it expressed vulnerability that he just didn’t need. It's been two weeks since his last kill, the news had sort of died down. He hated to news, reporters, oh he hated the fucking police department. This man was one of the worse ones. Rapist and abuser. Sports managers paying off the family to keep it quiet. He was doing this to help people. Everyone thought he was a psychopath, an insane person. If only they knew what these people had done. He was doing others a favor, no one knew it. He got up off his chair, going out to the fire escape and sitting outside, looking up at the sky. His mother loved the stars. Always telling him if you look up, she’ll be there watching over him, making sure he didn't get into trouble. She was wrong.

 

It was late. Jughead was 14 years old, sitting at his desk and editing the photos he had taken earlier that day. He used his mother's camera, editing on an old laptop they had hanging around. It was the only computer they had, along with the only camera. His father was coming home later and later each night, his mother yelling, asking him where he was. He would never tell. This morning, when he knew his mother wasn’t looking he watched her rifle through his father's desk in his office. He never let anybody in there, no matter what. She had found a key and a letter. He didn’t know what it had said, but he knew his mother was upset. She had locked herself in her room and had been crying all day. She was taking her clothes out of drawers, piling up. He wondered if she was going to leave him. It was now 3 am when his father had walked into the house. They didn’t know Jughead had crept quietly out if his room and watched the argument unfold.

 

“You’re a murderer.”


His mother had said through tears pointing the letter at him. He didn’t realize what had happened. One minute there was yelling, the next a gunshot.  Crimson blood staining the carpet. His mother on the floor. He walked out of his hiding place, staring at his mother on the ground. He looked up, making eye contact with his father.                                                    

 

“You didn’t see anything.” His father told him.

 

He said nothing.

 

He ran.

 

He later found out his father was a criminal under his facade. Ruining people's lives one by one, late night by late night.

 

Maybe it was the image of his mother that flashing through his mind, or maybe it was because he was related to his father,

 

But from then on, he made it his mission to ruin the lives of those who weren’t who they said they were.



His eyes darkened. Anger rising in his chest as the image of his mother filling his mind. He hugged his knees to his chest, resting his head on top of them. He needed to get out of here. get whoever this douche was. So he did the only thing he really knew how to do. He got up, grabbed his knife, motorcycle keys, black bandana, and ran.

and as he swooped the last bloody "J" on the wall, green eyes flashed in his head.

one less person that could hurt her.


---------------

"What do you mean Reggie's dead?" Betty asked into the phone. Archie Andrews, Veronica's boyfriend and her best friend for many years, called her in a frantic voice to explain what he just walked in on.

"He-he wouldn't answer the door, so I-I used the hideaway key, and it's that damn Shadow Killer!"

"what?" Betty's mouth dropped open. She was happy. She didn't want to feel happy. but the young innocent girl she was is screaming for joy that this man is now dead. that he can't do what he did to her to any other women. No one believed her. Reggie was just the"golden boy". so every time they went to hang out all together, the memories came rushing back. and now he was gone. and she was happy.

"His fucking signature is on the wall betty! The fucking "J J" printed in Reggie's blood!"  Archie screamed into the phone.

"Arch, calm down. call the police. What uh, what exactly did the shadow killer do to him?"

"It's bad, Betty. It's really bad."

----------------

 

"Betty Cooper. I'm writing a series of articles on The Shadow Killer, and I was wondering if you could tell me about this murder."

she was at Reggie's apartment. for work. The police had shown up, but she needed the details. The body bag on the center floor by the couch almost mocking her. 

"yeah, sure. This uh, this is one of the killers best work, I'd say. All of the kills are crimes of passion, but this... this is really terrifying." 

"what exactly did he do?" Betty asked, looking around the police-ridden room, eyes stopping at the "J J" on the wall.

"Well, I think at first it was torture. As you may know, numerous rape accusations were brushed under the rug about Mantle,"

Betty winced.

"It looks as though first the killer put a long sliced cut along his chest. then dragged it to his arms, pushed the blade deeper there. he uh," The detective cleared her throat. "He then cut off his dick."

Betty snorted. She tried to cover it. 

"and then stabbed him about 23 times in the chest and back. at this point, there was no chance for even a sliver of survival. this was definitely well thought out plan. but then again, everything this Shadow Killer does is well planned." The detective said. Betty nodded, thanked her, and went over to inspect the wall with the signature mark. A tap on her shoulder made her immediately turnaround and came face to face with nonother than Archie Andrews himself. 

"Hey, Betts." He offered a weak smile.

"Hey Arch. How are you doing?" She gave him a small smile.

"Okay. I just. I don't know. I wish that damn killer wasn't so good at what he does." he replied, running his hands through firey red hair.

Betty just put a hand on his shoulder. 

"Ronnie wasn't picking up. Do you wanna get a coffee or something?"

Her mind immediately went to the dark haired boy at the coffee shop.

"sure. I know just the place."

 

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He had just finished brewing a fresh pot of coffee when she walked in. With someone this time. He was large, in the muscley sense. Firey red hair and dark brown eyes. Jughead didn't like him. 

"Hey, Jughead!" Betty said lightly jogging up to the counter and smiling at him. His expression softened, looking at her. Bright green eyes, blonde hair tied back into a tight ponytail. 

"Hey, you. Back so soon?" He replied, leaning up against the other side of the counter. 

"Can't seem to stay away from you." she bit back, her smile growing. and though it was just teasing, he couldn't help but feel the want inside of him. 

"well, that's good. Seeing you is like bringing sunshine in my life." He winked and smirked, loving how he made her blush. The sound of a throat clearing behind her broke them out of the bubble they were in, and he looked behind her to see the redhead, brow furrowed, a confused look on his face.

He smirked at him, setting a glass down and turning his attention back to Betty. "What can I get you, Sunshine." She smiled and blushed again at the new nickname. 

"I'll just have a latte. Arch?" She turned the redhead who was looking from Betty to Jughead in confusion still. I could end you so easily. Jughead thought bitterly.

"Oh, uh yeah I'll have a mocha." 

He would get a mocha.

"sure. That'll be $7.46 for you and your boyfriend." It sounds bad, he knows, but he needed to know if they were really together. He's only known this woman for a day, yet the thought of someone like this, with her, in her bed, touching her, made his blood boil.

"Oh he's uh, he's not my boyfriend. no, we're just close friends, he's actually dating my best friend, but anyway, here." She rambled before handing him her credit card. Jughead chuckled, purposely grazing their fingers to feel the electricity that just shows up.  and it does. and she feels it too. 

"interesting," he responds, swiping the card and handing it back to her. "It'll be ready soon, gorgeous."  He's not usually like this, but he's different around her. And then he catches the redheads eye. He looks angry. frustrated. and oh, does Jughead love that.

and as he's transferring the latte into a paper cup, he writes his number on the side. It's cliché, he knows it is, and he would never do this. but with her, he wants to. 

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"so what was that all about?" Archie asks as they leave the coffee shop.  

"What do you mean?" Betty asks dumbly, kind of aroused by what just went down. She's never been like this before, easily aroused, caught off guard. but his smirk, and his black hair, the curl in front of his eyes, his gorgeous but pained stormy blue eyes, the way the black t-shirt clung to him, he was just so... sexy. and she loved the way he made her feel.

"Oh, I don't know, maybe the fact that that guy in there was practically undressing you with his eyes,'' Archie replied, the coldness evident in his voice.

Betty choked on her latte. "What the fuck Archie? he was not."  

"Oh, he was. and the fact that he wrote his number on your cup?" 

"he did?" Betty turned and looked at her cup, surprised to see a messy but readable sharpie scribble of a phone number. "oh. he did." She blushed, tracing the ink with her finger lightly.

"are you going to call him?" Archie asked, throwing the still full mocha away. he didn't trust it.

"Yeah," Betty chuckled lightly, looking back through the window to see Jughead re-writing something on a chalkboard. "I think I will."

 

Jughead could hear everything they were saying. and for the first time in a while, he smiles a little to himself.

 

-------------------

"Reggie I said stop!" Betty yelled, trying to push him off of her.

"Shhh, baby... I know you want this." He began unbuckling his belt holding a squirming betty down.

"Reggie I swear, get the fuck off of me!" She wriggled a bit out of his grasp, enough to kick him in the stomach. He doubled over in pain but stays on top of her.

"Oh, princess. You're going to pay for that"

 

"NO!" betty screams. her breathing is uneven, coming in pants, she's sobbing, crying, the scene playing on a loop as she sits up in bed, clutching the sheet closer to her body. She tries to calm down, digging her nails into her palms needing to feel that bit of relief. 

After a while, her breathing slows down, but she's still shaking. she turns and looks at the empty coffee cup laying on her bedside table. She picks it up,  turning it over and tracing her fingers along with the writing of numbers and the words "jughead jones" over and over. 

this time, when she gently closes her eyes, Blue stormy ones are left in its wake.

 

Chapter Text

The blaring of his alarm wakes him up the next day. 3 hours of sleep isn't too great for him. He needs to cut his shifts.

Jughead gets out of bed, picking up his phone and heading towards the bathroom. A notification catches his eye and opens it to see a text from an unknown number.

 

2:18 a.m: Unknown

Hey Jughead! it's betty. from the coffee shop. 

 

He smiles. She finally texted him. He wonders why she was up so late, or early rather. concern swells up in his chest.

 

6:32 a.m: Jughead

good morning beauty. Glad to finally see your text. Why are you up so late?

 

He doesn't know why he's so concerned, but he is. and for some reason he misses her. He gets into the bathroom, sets the phone on the counter, and takes off his boxers. Turning the water on and stepping into the spray of the hot liquid. The water rushes over his body, washing away the blood of his latest victim, the memories of the screams, the thoughts of the last time he closed his eyes. Another person is gone. A bad person. A person who could have hurt her. And thank god he got to him first.

he gets out of the shower, wrapping a fuzzy towel around his waist, and picks up his phone. She responded.

 

6:40 a.m: Betty

dreams woke me up. eh, more like nightmares. but who needs sleep anyway when you got a cute barista at a coffee shop giving you free drinks?

 

 

He laughs. but nightmares? 

 

6:41 a.m: Jughead

Cute barista hmm? lucky him. 

6:41 a.m: Jughead

but really, sleep is important. even coming from a guy who doesn't do it much.

 

He wants to know what her nightmares are about. he wants to help her. he wants to see her during them, waking up from them. 

 

6:42 a.m Betty

I know it is. I think that's the problem. are you working today? I have some good news for you :)

 

God, he wants her. he doesn't know what's coming over him, but her innocence is something he wants for himself.  needs for himself. he wishes he could have her as his own, he wants her smile, her laugh, he wants to protect her, he wants to ruin her, he wants to break her down and build her back up. yeah, it's been too long since he had sex.

6:43 a.m Jughead

yeah, I'll be in today. can't wait to see you. 

he closes his phone, heads into his room and gets dressed. Black t-shirt, dark wash blue jeans and messenger bag around his neck. He grabs his keys and makes his way out the door, earphones in, and thoughts of green eyes swimming in his mind.

 

----------------------------------------------

She missed him. She's met him twice, and she misses him. His concern for her was evident through the texts, and she felt her heart fill at it. No ones really been concerned for her in a while, and she likes it. Ever since he helped her with her article the good reviews have been skyrocketing, and her editor has loved it. She wants to thank him in person, not through texts, so she put a bit of extra effort in her look, choosing light blue jeans and a simple white and blue striped T-shirt, leaving her hair down in waves instead. after some quick makeup, she grabs her phone, Ipad, and keys and makes her way out the door, 

 

 

“Oh my god, you're a genius!” Betty says as she pushes her way into the overly expensive cafe, her iPad in her hand. She didn't want a coffee, she just wanted to talk to the cute barista who had gotten her so many good reviews of her latest article.

 

The genius in question looked up from his crouched position behind the counter, a stray black curl falling in front of his eye as he raised his eyebrow at her with a bemused expression.

 

“The article I wrote, you know about "The Shadow Killer"? Look at these reviews.” she strode through the cafe, ignoring the stares as she handed him the Ipad.

 

As he began reading through, his expression turned to one of pride, relief almost as he handed the tablet back to her.

 

“Look at you. Soon you'll be doing book tours and leaving this crappy cafe behind,” he said leaning on his elbows against the counter. She laughed, leaning against the counter herself.

 

“Oh no no no, us book readers gotta stick together.” He chuckled at her semi-serious tone, running a hand through his thick dark hair trying to get it out of his eyes.

 

“No but seriously, congratulations. And please, you're the genius, don't go stroking my ego.” she laughed again, the sweet sound playing on repeat in his mind.

 

“So, you want coffee?”

 

“No, I just came here to tell you. I live like, a block away.”

 

He nodded, still getting her a latte.

“For the long trek back,” he said, a smirk playing on his lips as he handed it to her.

 

“Why thank you, kind sir. I would have withered away without it I'm sure.” She did a little curtsy as he laughed and did a bow. Taking her coffee cup and Ipad, she began to head out the door before his voice stopped her.

“Hey, Betty? You look beautiful."

her heart skipped a beat, and she felt a smile creep onto her face.

"thank you." 

He smiles at her, a soft expression on his face, and it does something to Betty.

She feels heat coil in her stomach, spreading everywhere, and she strides back to the counter. 

"What would you do if I asked you out to a double feature of “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast club” tonight?” she asks, thinking going with him would be better than third wheeling with Archie and Veronica, they'd have to deal with it without her.

his expression changes, he tilts his head to the side and licks his upper lip, Betty's eyes following the action, making her squeeze her thighs together in response. 

"Why Betty," He responds, a smirk spreading across his handsome features.  "I'll pick you up at 7."

 

------------------------------

 

"You're ditching us for coffee boy?" Veronica practically screeches into the screen, Archie behind her looking confused. 

"Relax, V. You've ditched me before, and besides, I think I might really like him," Betty responds, lightly chewing on her fingernail. this was not the way she was expecting things to turn out.

Archies face changes as she says it, jealousy flashing over his features. 

"Betty, is this the guy I met? if it is, something seemed off about him. I don't trust him." 

"Arch, you've met him once,-"

"And what, you've met him three times?"

"Jesus, guys. I thought you'd actually be happy for you. But no matter if you like it or not, I'm going with him, because I feel good when I'm with him, I- he makes me feel good.  That hasn't happened in a while-"

Both Archie and Veronicas expressions darken.

"and if you can't accept that, if you won't even get to know him, I-"

"I'm sorry, Betty. you're right. go with him. have fun. We'll see you soon. send a pic of your outfit!"  Veronica says, before ending the facetime call.

"Oh okay yeah-" Betty tries to say, confusion filling her thoughts.

--------------------

Veronica ends the call suddenly. 

"Ronnie, this was not apart of our deal."

"I know archiekins, I know. Just wait. Soon you'll get betty, and I'll get hot barista. It's just a matter of time. I've met him before, he won't reject me when I meet him again. And for you, well Betty will run to your arms. trust me."

 

Archie smirks and looks over at the picture he took of Betty when she was asleep, naked, without her knowledge. Oh, the thrill he gets. 

"okay."

Chapter Text

Jughead was nervous.

 

Yes, he's been on dates, and yes he's had girlfriends, but they've never made his heartbeat the way it does when he kills.

 

Especially for a different reason.

 

He doesn't even know why she  asked him, he was perfectly content with eating Chinese and planning his next kill. But then again, he’s never wanted anyone the way he wants her. He's probably going to mess it up or she's going to run if she ever finds out, but he has to try.

 

He's spent the last 15 minutes trying to choose between a dark blue button-up shirt and a dark blue plaid button-up shirt.

 

Yeah. He was one of those guys now.

 

They're the same shirt except one was bluer and he can't decide for the life of him.

 

He has to pick up Betty in 20 minutes and he's going insane. He glances between the two shirts before slowly picking up the plain dark blue one and quickly putting it on as to not change his mind. He does up the buttons and walks into his bathroom to check his hair.

 

His hair.

 

This girl was finally going to be the death of him.

 

Finally satisfied he spritzes on a bit of cologne and grabs his keys on the way out. He's not bringing his motorcycle, she wrote an article about him, she could recognize it, and he's not taking that risk. He does have a truck too, it was his mom’s. It's old sure, but it still runs smooth and if he doesn't leave soon he's going to be late and so he gets in the car, starts the engine, and heads off to the address shed texted him earlier that day. 

 

He turns on the radio, and Fleetwood Mac filters through the old speakers. He drums his fingers against the steering wheel to the beat as he turns onto her street, stopping in front of her building, he takes a deep breath and gets out of the truck, going up the stairs and rings apartment 5b. After a few rings, she answers and her sweet voice filters through the crackling speaker.

 

“Hey, Jughead! I'll be down in a second!” He smiles and walks down to lean against his truck. It's a nice neighborhood, quiet, safe. He likes it. Likes that she's safe.

 

He's not prepared at all for when she walks outside.

 

It's a bit chilly for New York and she's wearing a light blue long-sleeved flowy dress and her hair is down and flowing and her green eyes are lit up with excitement and he's the luckiest guy in the world.

 

“Hey,” she says as she approaches him.

 

“You look-” He clears his throat as it sounds hoarse.  “You look beautiful.” she blushes and it's his favorite thing.

 

“Yeah yeah, you already got me to go on a date with you what more do you want,”

She says with a playful sigh before sliding in the open door he's been holding for her.

 

“A second date,” he says with a smirk as he shuts the door and gets to the driver side in time to hear her laugh.

                                                                                                                                          

“We’ll have to see, but so far I think you're winning,” she says as she points to the Fleetwood Mac album that's currently playing. He smirks at her before putting the car in drive and heading towards the theatre.

 

When he pays for parking his nerves get the best of him and he drops the little parking ticket between the seats and curses at himself. She laughs at him before easily reaching down to pick it up and hand it to him, to which he smiles his thanks and shoves it into his wallet. He quickly gets out and makes his way around to her side and helping her out of the truck. She laughs and calls him a gentleman to which he falls for her a bit more.

 

They make their way into the theatre, he pays for the popcorn and she pays for an absurd amount of candy which she just has to have and he's not complaining. It’s rather refreshing, most girls now would rather just have water than enjoy three different kinds of Sour Patch with him.

 

They grab the best seats, up about 10 rows and in the middle. There are only a few other people there, An old man with white hair who is already asleep and a group of teenagers who are probably here just to make fun of these two cinematic masterpieces. He couldn't have asked for a better date. He sets the large popcorn between them before handing her a blue slushie (apparently her favorite) and glancing at her one more time before looking towards the screen.

 

Everything was going well during The Breakfast Club until Bender began telling the story about his abusive father. Jughead closed his eyes and clenched his fists. He hated this part, the memories of his own father flashing through his head. His lip was twitching, his hand shaking, he was going to have a break down in front of this girl but the memories kept coming and coming and-

 

And then they stopped.

 

He glanced down to the hand that had suddenly appeared on his clenched one. He had stopped shaking, his lip had stopped twitching and though the  memories lingered, her hand on his seemed to calm him. He looked up to her and he was surprised at the concerned look on her face and again he fell for her just a little more. She whispered, asking him if he was okay to which he nodded, giving her a small smile. She didn't seem to like that answer, as she shook her head but turned her hand so that their fingers laced together easily. He wasn't thinking about the movie or his father or his scars he had to cover up as a 10-year-old. He was thinking about her, and how her hand just felt right in hers and how badly he wanted to save her from all the bad things that adorned this earth.

 

After the movie, their hands are still interlocked as they make their way back to the truck.

 

“Can we get ice cream?” she asks before they get in. He swears he's never met anyone more perfect. He tells her as much, to which she shakes her head with a small laugh and tells her she's definitely not perfect. He realizes there's something deeper there, but he still thinks she is.

 

On their way to the ice cream place, (they decided to walk, it was a beautiful night and their hands are still locked together so he's fine with it) they talk about everything and nothing. They ask dumb questions like favorite color and favorite food, but as they get their ice cream, (him dark chocolate and her some strange special flavor) they start talking about deeper things. She tells him about how her father was her best friend when she was little, how he was her hero and how he always stood up for her when her mother was being too harsh or demanding. She talks about her sister, Polly, and how they were inseparable and how amazing and kind she was to everyone.

 

She tells him that one day her father, sister, and mother got in a car crash and died instantly.

 

She tells him how she grew up in the foster care system, jumping from house to house until she was 18 and finally got to explore the world. He tells her that she deserves only good things and that he wishes she never  had to go through that. She tells him it's okay, that in some sick way she did deserve it. He stops, turns to her and tells her she's never been more wrong. She chuckles, but there's still sadness in her eyes which he hates.   So, he turns to her, places his hand on her cheek, (to which she immediately leans in too which makes his heart beat faster, which only happens when he has a knife in his hand) and he gently presses his lips to hers.

Fireworks erupt, time stops, and for a moment, everything's okay. 

There's no asshole fathers, overbearing mothers, skeletons in the closet, broken hearts, claw marks, nightmares, and daymares.

It's just them. 

Her hands find their way to his face, trailing against his chest and curling around his neck as his move to her hips and gently push her against him. he deepens the kiss, swiping her bottom lip with his tongue as she opens it allowing him access. 

she pulls back, her hands still entangled in his hair, his still gripping her hips. 

"Goodnight, Juggie." she whispers against his mouth. He smiles, his eyes still closed, trapped in the aftermath of the kiss.

"Juggie. I like it. Goodnight, sunshine." 

she smiles against his lips, before kissing him gently again, pulling away and practically prancing to her door.

and Jughead stays still, watching with a smile as she opens the door and walks into the lobby of the building.

And just like that, another movie plays in his head.

A movie of just her.

-------------------------

Archie clutches his hand into a fist as he watches Jughead stare longingly at the door 10 minutes after Betty had left. thats too long he thought to himself, taking his phone out of his pocket and dialing a number he knew all too well.

"Ronnie. We need to move up our plans. She's getting in too deep."

"Oh, Archikins. Just you wait."

-------------------------

She doesn't know why she told him about her family. No one really wants to know. But she oddly felt safe with him, and she hasn't felt safe in a while. She saw him tense during The Breakfast Club , during the story about Bender's father and she felt the need to relax him. She was willing to wait for him to tell her about his family, she knows how hard it is, but she felt like she needed, wanted, to tell him about hers. She wanted to get closer to him, wanted him to trust her and his hand had felt so warm in hers and he was so passionate about what he talked about and then he kissed her. And she hated cliche people and things but it felt like the world shifted just a little and everything was okay for those few seconds.

or minutes. 

and yeah, she can still taste his dark chocolate ice cream on her tongue.

 

He had walked her home, talked about how he loved photography and she fell for him a little more.

 

It's weird. She's not used to the feeling of falling so fast.

 

 

She unlocks her door and sets her bag on the marble counter before flopping down on the couch and smiling. She's so smiley lately and she’s kind of mad at it.

 

But then she calls Veronica to tell her everything and okay , she can be smiley for a little while longer.








Chapter Text

4 months ago

 

Veronica walks into the new Coffee shop, now the closest one to her apartment. Being a busy woman, she doesn’t get much for a break, so these moments are the ones she enjoys most. As she walks into the expensive shop, her eyes are greeted with probably one of the most attractive males she has ever seen. Dark hair, blue eyes, he looked like sex on legs.

 

Veronica’s deprived, you can only have Archie Andrews for so long. They made a deal, their relationship is better for business than it is for pleasure, so they’re together merely for the image. 

 

No stranger has ever turned her down, this one should be easy.

 

Oh, how wrong she was.

 

She calls him handsome, he looks disgusted. She tries to get his number, he calls it inappropriate. 

 

Veronica gets frustrated, tells him he should be so lucky as to get with her, that she’ll have him sooner or later.

 

His response is a scoff, “You aren't my type” a pointing finger to the door. 

 

That night, she makes a deal with Archie.

 

Veronica Lodge always gets what she wants.



---------------------------------------



Black jeans. Check. Black t-shirt. Check. Leather jacket. Check. Mask. check. 

 

Knife. Check. 

 

Number 21, Frederick Lodge. CEO of Lodge Publishing Company. The basement of the company, a drug factory. 

 

No one else knew that, only Jughead. 

 

It was 3 am, the perfect time to go out without being noticed. 

 

Also the time of his mother's' death. 

 

Keys. check.

 

He made his way out of the apartment making sure no one was there to see his jacket, knowing he would be recognized immediately. Exiting the building into the blinding cold, he slipped on his gloves, fingerprints would get him incarcerated. He went into the ally way two blocks from his building, pulling off the green tarp of a Harley Davidson Street 500, all black. He set his helmet atop his thick black hair, the one stray curl falling in front of his eye. Revving up his motorcycle, whizzing past the city lights to the suburban part of New York. He entered quietly, not through the front door, never through the front door. Instead, the bathroom window, creeping past the kitchen and silently up the stairs. He gently pushed the bedroom door open, watching the chest of the sleeping figure rise up and down. 

 

Jughead smiled. It was a sickly sweet smile. 

 

He dragged the knife across the wall, the sound almost like nails on a chalkboard. 

                                                                                                                                    

He sat in a chair next to the bed, continuing to drag the knife.

 

The man woke with a start, gasping from a simple nightmare. 

 

But oh, has the nightmare just begun Jughead thought to himself. 

 

The man slowly turned around, eyes widening in fear and disbelief. 

 

“You- you- you’re-”

 

Jughead responded in a mocking tone, twirling the weapon in his hand.

 

“That I am, my friend.”

 

“I- I don't understand, I- I mean I didn’t do anything!”

 

Jughead chuckled darkly. 

 

“Oh but Mr. Lodge. You did.”

 

And now it was his favorite part. But the strangest thing happened. A pair of forest green eyes flashed in his head, egging on the action to kill this man. He felt the urge again to protect her, Betty, to rid these dark and dangerous souls for her- The knife soon dripped with crimson red blood, the shadow of a bad man no longer existing, nothing thrilled him more than the last ounce of fear draining from the eyes of the victim. 

 

The sirens rang from far away, courtesy of a neighbor who had called, hearing the screaming pleas. 

 

Quickly, Jughead dipped his gloved finger into the puddle of blood by the man's head. 

 

Drawing a perfect cursive “J” on the white marble wall.  

 

As he is about to exit, he notices a picture on the wall of a young girl, about in her 20’s. She looks strangely familiar, with a strand of pearls on her neck and a short length dress. 

 

Then it hits him.

 

That girl, from 4 months ago, the one who tried to get him to sleep with her. He scoffs to himself at the memory, he wouldn’t touch her over a zombie. Besides, now he has Betty. He smiles at the thought of her. He misses her. He should see her. 

 

The sirens are getting closer as he sneaks out the window, jumping on his motorcycle and speeding out.

 

As he’s riding, it dawns on him. 

 

The man he just murdered, was the girl's father. 

 

He laughs as he veers left and on to the highway.

 

---------------

 

“Can I see you soon?” Betty asks. She's sitting on the couch, re-runs of Friends playing, as she and Jughead speak over the phone.

 

“I get off in about an hour. Wanna do dinner?”  Jughead suggests, and Betty smiles into the phone, an idea popping in her head. 

 

“I’d love that. I’m a pretty good cook, do you want to come over?” She hopes she doesn’t sound too desperate. 

 

His deep chuckle makes her bite her lip. 

 

“Mmm, why Miss Cooper, food made by you? That sounds like my kind of night” 

 

His voice sounds raspier, and Betty likes it. 

 

“Well Mr. Jones, if you’re up for drinking, I do make a mean sex on the beach.”

Betty replies, hoping to gain some sort of reaction from him. 

 

And she does.

 

He coughs on something so hard he's almost choking, and she almost misses the quietly muttered fuck.  

“Something wrong, Mr. Jones?” she asks in an innocent voice putting her head back against the couch cushions. 

 

“You’re playing with fire, Betty.” He practically growls into the phone.

 

Betty licks her lips before whispering back, “so watch me burn.”

 

 

“I’ll be there at 7.”

 

-----------------------------

 

Archie undoes his tie in the mirror to seem as though it was messed up, as Veronica comes up behind him, using brown paint to look like mud against his shirt. 

"Are you ready for this?" Veronica asks. 

"I've wanted Betty for too long. I've been ready."

Veronica smirks, checking out the bruise-like eye makeup shes patted onto Archies face.

"You know what to say, right?" 

"yes, Ronnie. knock on the door, look frantic, explain that when Hiram was killed I was held against my will by The Shadow Killer. I escaped and came straight to her." Archie replied, messing up his hair a bit more. 

"Make it believable. Betty's smart."

"I know," Archie says. 

He punches himself hard in the face to help with the image, and laughs. 

Chapter Text

Jughead’s nervous.

 

He’s never nervous.

 

He is a murderer and he’s nervous to have dinner with a girl.

 

But she's not just any girl, shes betty, and he feels like a normal person around her. 

 

So he put on a nice maroon shirt and a pair of black jeans. He tried to comb his hair, but it fluffed back up again, and he got flowers. 

 

She reminds him of sunflowers, so that’s what he got her. 

 

He’s in front of her apartment door, shifting from foot to foot, debating on whether to just knock or run. 

 

He breathes out, and decides the former.

 

She opens the door, beautiful as ever. She’s wearing a knee-length yellow sundress, no shoes, and her hair is down. Jughead forgets to breathe. 

 

“Hi.” She giggles, his mouth still agape. 

 

“You’re beautiful.” She smiles and blushes. “You don’t look too bad yourself, Mr. Jones.” 

 

She bites her lip and Jughead can’t help himself, he leans forward to kiss her, and she smiles and wraps her hands around his neck pulling him to her as his incircle her waist, careful not to squash the flowers.

 

“Mmm, it’s been too long without you.” Jughead murmurs. Betty giggles and pulls his hand to bring him into her apartment.

 

“These are for you,” Jughead says as he presents the sunflowers. The look on her face says it all, adoration and something else he can’t quite place. 

 

“Thank you Juggie. They’re beautiful.” She kisses his cheek and he smiles, proud of himself. She finds a vase as he meanders into the small kitchen. 

 

“So what’d you make?” Jughead asks, sniffing the air appreciatively. 

 

Betty smiles before responding. “We are having homemade spaghetti carbonara, garlic bread, and a mixed greens salad.” She goes over to stir the sauce in with the noodles as Jughead comes up behind her wrapping his arms around her waist and kissing her neck.

It shocks him then. How domestic this all seems. He’s always thought he would be alone the rest of his life, functioning off caffeine and adrenaline, but then here he is. 

 

He’s only known betty for a few weeks, but it feels longer; like they knew each other before and now they're picking up where they left off. 

 

“Well it smells amazing,” he whispers into the shell of her ear. She shivers and bites her lip, turning around and capturing his lips in a kiss. 

 

She serves the pasta on two large plates, each with the same amount of salad and pasta, before bringing out the garlic bread and offering it to Jughead.

 

She laughs as he takes 5 pieces. 

 

“I’m a growing boy, Betts!” He says over a mouthful. 

 

She laughs and leads him over to the table. 

 

“I don’t drink, but I have some beer in the fridge for Archie if you want some?” she offers, but Jughead goes rigid at the sound of the redhead's name before responding. 

 

“Nah, I’m okay. I actually don’t drink myself.” 

 

Betty gives him a soft smile before a light giggle escapes her lips. 

 

“What?” Jughead asks, his eyebrows furrowing. She just keeps smiling as she lifts her napkin to the corner of his lip to wipe away some crumbs. Again he’s struck with the domesticity of it all and is caught up in the moment, distracted by how beautiful and amazing and perfect she is.

 

They eat dinner, every time Jughead takes a bite he tells Betty how amazing it is. They talk for hours, about what they like to do, what they don’t, favorite movies, foods, music, and in all of the categories, they’re the same. 

 

They have so much in common it scares both of them, but it’s also refreshing, to have someone feel the same. 

 

They both do the dishes, clean up the kitchen, and retire to Betty’s living room to watch a movie. They decide on Fight Club, one of both of their personal favorites, and sit down on the couch a few inches apart. 

 

About 15 minutes into the movie, Betty lays her head on Jugheads chest, and he wraps an arm around her pulling her closer. They watch the movie in silence, but Jugheads mind wanders from the scenes. 

He thinks about their texts, calls. How they’ve facetimed so many times in these last few weeks, how she makes him feel. 

 

He thinks about when she calls him Mr. Jones, the thrill that entires his chest, the arousal that flares. He begins breathing harder next to her and she notices.

 

“Everything okay Juggie?” She’s concerned. He turns to her and just looks at her. Really looks at her. The dots of freckles on the tip of her nose, the gentle crease of her eyebrow, the slight pink hue to her cheeks. 

 

“Yes. Everything is… perfect.” 

 

He kisses her then with such ferocity it surprises them both, and she kisses him back with the same. He’s lost, lost in the way her lips feel, her skin, lost in the way she slides her tongue against his, how her hands move across his shoulders to grip his back, how good she tastes.

 

She’s much of the same as his hands pull her so she’s underneath him on the couch and roughly grips her neck pulling it to the side to make room for his mouth. He trails kisses down, nipping and sucking to create little red marks on her skin.

 

There was something about Jughead marking her that Betty wanted. She wanted to be his, she wanted people to know that she was taken. A breathy ‘yes’ escapes her mouth and Jughead chuckles against her neck. “You like it, don’t you. You want me to mark you.”

 

She pulls his head up from her neck so that their eyes lock. “Yes Jughead, I want you to have me. I want to be yours. Make me yours.”

 

Jugheads eyes are now wide and blown black. He’s breathing hard before picking Betty up and carrying her to the bedroom, all while whispering “I’ll make you mine so many times you won’t even know who you are.” 

 

She moans and rocks against him as he slams her up against the bedroom door, not in the mood to make it all the way in there. He keeps kissing her, grinding up into her heated core and sucking bruises across her neck. He rips off her dress as she unbuttons his shirt, sliding it off his shoulders before trailing her hands up and down his stomach and chest. He’s lean and fit and beautiful. He has many tattoos, but what grabs her attention are the majority of scars that litter just his torso. She traces them with her finger, before finding one that's fresh. She lightly dances her hand across the bruised skin and looks up at him. 

 

His eyes hold something else in them, and he’s watching her carefully as she begins to press into the bruised scar, making Jughead shiver. She can’t stop herself, she presses harder, and he hisses out in pain. Betty immediately pulls back and looks horrified at herself. “I'm sorry Jughead, oh god what did I do, I'm so-” He cuts her off with a kiss. 

“Don’t apologize to me.” He growls against her lips. He pulls back just a little more, enough that they can make eye contact without it going blurry. “Do it again.” He whispers.

 

Betty’s mouth opens, but she obeys. She presses her fingers against the skin and he groans, a mix of pain and pleasure. She doesn't understand, How can he be enjoying this? But his reaction is doing things to her. She pushes harder and he moans, rocking against her harder. He curses as she throws her head back, pushing her fingers harder. He begins to kiss the top of her breasts, soaking the blue lace while he traces her nipples with his tongue, enjoying the inaudible language spilling from her mouth. 

 

“Juggie.” he looks up, mouth not leaving her bra. 

 

“Juggie I need you to fuck me.” She bites her lip as he leans upwards towards her ear, nipping at the skin.

 

“As you wish.” 

 

He throws her lace-clad body onto the mattress, crawling up and kissing her again. She wraps her legs around his waist and grinds against him, moaning as he bites her lip so hard she can almost taste copper. He kisses lower still, unsnaps her bra, and trails kisses down her stomach.

 

“You have no idea what you do to me, Betty Cooper.” He murmurs against her navel, licking a strip down to where lace is covering the most delicious thing and then-

 

Knock knock knock

 

“Jug, did you hear that?” 

 

“No.”

 

Knock knock knock

 

“Okay, Jug I definitely heard that.” Betty giggles. 

 

“No, it's probably nothing.” Jughead insisted.

 

Knockknockknockknockknock

 

“Whatever it is, It sounds important.” she wiggles out from under him, giggling at the pout he gives her, and pecking his lips before picking up his shirt in the doorway and buttoning it up. 

 

She looks almost too good in his clothes. 

 

He sighs, adjusts his jeans, and follows her to the door. 

 

He’s surprised to see nonother than Archie behind the door, looking frantic and messed up, but as soon as he sees Betty in Jugheads shirt, and Jughead behind her, he turns to stone. 

 

“Arch, what's going on? Are you okay?” Betty asks in concern, at the same time as Jughead mutters “God fucking damnit.” 

 

“Betty. Oh god, Betty. You have no idea what I’ve been through. Last night, Hiram Lodge was murdered. I was going over there to pick up something for Ronnie, and- and” 

 

“Woah Hiram was murdered? Is Veronica okay?” Betty asks, concern etched into her features. 

 

“Yeah, yeah she’s fine but Betty.” 

 

“Last night, the shadow killer, he saw me, he took me, he held me in this… torture chamber for hours until I found a way to escape. You have to help me, Betty.”

 

Oh, Mr. Andrews. If I did hold you, there's absolutely no way a twat like you would find a way to escape. Choose your next moves wisely. This isn’t a game you're good at.

Chapter Text

“Woah Woah Woah, wait. The Shadow Killer , the notorious serial killer, Kidnapped you?” 

 

Jughead smirks at Betty’s response, the disbelief clear in her voice. 

 

“Yeah, and-”

 

“And you got loose?”  Betty questions, eyebrows knitting together in confusion.

 

“Betty, it-it was insane! He has like this evil layer-” 

 

Jughead snorts at that causing Archie to look at him in anger.

 

“What? Are you laughing because I got fucking kidnapped? God, I always knew there was something off about you, it’s like you’re a-” 

 

“No, no Archie. I’m laughing because this entire situation doesn’t sound very plausible. A serial killer brings you to his evil layer and chooses not to kill you? I mean, forgive me if I’m wrong but that sounds sort of, fraudulent, wouldn’t you agree?” Jughead responds, leaning against the table near the door, a smirk on his face as he studies Archies wounds. 

 

“And also, Archibald, those wounds, they don’t look very… how should I put this… real. I mean, I am just some woozy who works at a coffee shop, so what would I know?”

 

Archie looks livid , and it makes Jughead smile. 

 

“But that blood… looks very,” He quickly swipes his finger against the “cut” on Archies cheek, moving so fast even Betty can’t commute what he did. 

 

He slides his finger into his mouth, much to Archie’s horror, but as he glances over at betty, he notices her eyes have glazed over.

 

Like she’s turned on by the sight of him eating blood. 

 

“What the fuck man? You don’t just fucking-” 

 

“Corn syrup,” Jughead responds, licking his lips. He notices Betty almost mewl at the sight. 

 

“I-” Is all Archie had to say, before turning back to Betty. 

 

“Betts, you have to believe me, you really think I would do something like that? Lie?” 

 

Betty breaks her gaze from Jughead’s lips, the little spot of red at the corner of his mouth doing… things to her, before focusing back on Archie. 

“I… I don't know, Arch. Your wounds don’t look real… And after all the articles I’ve written and all the research I’ve done about The shadow killer, you think I would believe he kidnaps you and just… lets you go?”

 

“Betty-” 

 

“I’m sorry Arch, but Juggie and I were in the middle of something.”

 

The last thing Archie sees as betty slams the door is the smug look on Jughead’s face.

 

It infuriates him. 

 

------------------------

 

“What the fuck?” is all Betty says as the door closes. Jughead chuckles and goes over to her, pulling her to him and kissing her forehead. 

 

“Your friends are weird.” 

 

Betty laughs and looks up at him through her messy hair, running her fingers up and down his bare back. She bites her lip and Jughead’s eyes darken, taking a thumb and releasing her lip from her teeth. 

 

“Do you know what that does to me?” He whispers huskily, stroking his thumb across her lip. 

 

She slips her hands underneath his pants, and snaps the elastic band of his boxers against his skin, dragging a moan from him. 

 

“Why don’t you show me?” She whispers against his ear, licking at it, giggling at Jugheads growl as he lifts her up, her legs going around his waist. 

 

“It would be my pleasure.” 

 

He takes her into the bedroom, gently setting her down onto the plush mattress, trailing light kisses down her neck to her chest. It’s less fast as it was before, this more slow, drawn-out, but just as arousing. She threads her fingers through his hair, scratching his scalp, causing him to groan against her. 

 

He moved lower, unbuttoning her (his) shirt before kissing the top of her breasts and it felt so good as she moaned and pulled him to her, kissing, kissing and then-

 

She was taken.

 

Taken to a place only in her deepest nightmares.



She was suddenly back at the party, thumping music and voices loud downstairs, close, but not close enough. 

 

The weight on top of her was too much. 

 

“No” she whispered as the lips kissed lower, lower. 

 

“Stop.” She was trying to speak louder but the hand covering her mouth prevented it. 

 

“Reggie get off me!”

 

“Shhhh pretty girl…”

 

“GET THE FUCK OFF ME REGGIE!” betty screamed, using all her power to throw the man off of her scrambling up to the edge of the bed her mind still clouded with visuals of deep brown eyes. 

 

Her breathing became heavier, heavier and hard. Sobs racked her body.

 

She tried talking. 

 

Tried so hard. 

 

But perfect golden boy Reggie Mantle would never do such a thing. 

 

She was crazy.

 

An attention seeker. 

 

Whore. 

 

Slut.

 

Disgusting.

 

“Disgrace to this family and everyone around her.”

 

“BETTY!” there was someone calling her name, she didn’t know who, but it was someone and maybe they could help. 

 

“Betty, Betty look at me, please baby girl, I need you to look at me.”

 

She opened her eyes, breathing erratically. 

 

It was a shocking sight to her, the color blue that was painted in front of her. 

 

Concern etched into every corner, the color a deep-sea blue, waves crashing against the white. 

 

They were eyes. Beautiful blue eyes that made her smile, cry, but breathe. 

 

She was breathing. 

 

“That’s it, baby, in and out, just like that.”

 

The voice was soft, gruff, but soft, and so beautiful. 

 

She lifted her shaky hand to the side of the face in front of her, not recognizing it but recognizing it all the same. 

 

“Juggie?” She breathed, confused. 

 

Realization dawned and she fell pale. “Oh god, oh god no, Juggie I am so sorry, I didn’t mean to- there were these- these thoughts that just-” 

 

“Hey, hey baby girl, hey shh… it’s okay.” He’s not sure whether she’ll mind if he touches her, but then she throws herself into his arms, sobs racking her body as she holds him tight against her. 

 

“It’s okay, it’s going to be okay, I’m here betty, I’m here.”

 

After a while, her sobs subside to meer sniffles as she looks at him.

 

“I’m so sorry Jughead, I just-”

 

“You don’t have to explain anything to me, Betty.” 

 

“I do.” She takes in a deep breath before looking at Jughead. 

 

“It was about a year before my family got into the car accident. My sister, Polly, and I decided to go to this stupid party that a popular girl in our grade, Cheryl Blossom, was hosting. I hated parties, but my sister was in love with Cheryl’s brother so I decided to go with her so I could be a wing-woman of sorts.” She let out a small laugh, rubbing her hand against her nose as Jughead gently brushed his up and down her arm, listening intently. 

 

“We went, I didn’t drink anything cause I was supposed to drive us home. There was this guy there, Reggie Mantle, he was the stereotypical douchebag jock that everyone somehow loved.”

 

Jugheads breath caught at the name but kept listening.

 

“He started talking to me, I didn’t want to talk to him, but he wouldn't let up, following me through the party, randomly touching me, saying crude comments like how he didn't realize how hot Mini Cooper was. I was always in my sister's shadow, they always compared her to me. I hated it. I could never be my own person. I was looking for Polly, it was late and I wanted to go home. I was opening the door to a room when someone pushed me in and locked the door.”

 

She gripped Jugheads hands in her own. 

 

“That night, Reggie… he raped me. He raped me and no one believed me. I doubt you’ll believe me but- but”

 

Betty. ” 

 

She looked up, tears streaming down her face that was soon wiped away by calloused fingers. 

 

“Of course I believe you. And I don’t care how long it takes until you’re ready, I don’t give a fuck about that. You need time to heal, you were never given the chance. And… and I’m here. I’ll always be here for you, no matter what. I’m happy to just be able to hold your hand. Thank you. For letting me. You are beautiful. You’re so, so beautiful. You may be a little broken, but that doesn’t seem to change how amazing you are. I’m broken too. We’ll be breaking together. ” 

 

Betty grabbed his face in her hands and pulled him to her, gently kissing his lips.  

 

“Thank you, Juggie. But there's another part.” 

 

“Reggie was murdered a few weeks ago. And… I feel… happy about it. There's… this thing in me, a darkness, I don’t know. But it makes me do these things, like… this.” She opened her palms, revealing crescent-shaped scars.  

 

He took them both in his hands, studying them intently before nudging them with his nose, kissing each small scar with focus. 

 

“I have a darkness too, Betty. Far worse than you could imagine. But that’s for another day. I will tell you, but I want to be here for you, first.” 

 

They gently kissed once more, before laying down on the bed, Betty’s head on Jughead’s chest.

 

She whispered a quiet “Thank you” into the night, while jughead nuzzled his head against her hair in response. 

 

-----------------

 

Archie ducked down by his spot on the fire escape by Betty’s window, knowing that the window from a certain angle could show her sleeping form on the bed. 

 

He was present for most of the conversation, until they had both laid down on the bed when Jughead made eye contact with him the glass pane. 

 

The words “you’re dead” were mouthed.

 

It wasn’t an empty threat. 

 

I like that you're broken

Broken like me

Maybe that makes me a fool

I like that you're lonely

Lonely like me

I could be lonely with you

Chapter Text

 

Light filters through the open window, a cool breeze making its way through the quiet room, mere soft breaths the only sound. The distant sounds of car horns make its way through the air, filtering into the ear of a blonde girl, tangled up in the sheets with a raven-haired man, every limb touching, no space between. 

 

She wakes to the sound, gently opening her eyes to see the man in front of her, softly snoring, the weight of the world still on his shoulders. A curl has fallen in front of his eye, shifting with each of his exhales. 

 

She brushes her hand across it, tucking it behind his ear to have it only fall back into place, enticing a quiet giggle from her. 

 

He’s handsome, she thinks. Beautiful. She trails her fingers along his cheeks, up to his nose, and down to trace his lips. 

 

“Are you really that obsessed with me?” His gravelly voice, thick with sleep startles her, and she giggles before pulling away as he tries to kiss her. The confusion etched in his face makes her smile. 

 

“Morning breath.” She whispers, not wanting to break the quiet. He rolls his eyes at her stating he doesn't give a fuck, and leans in, capturing her lips in a soft, slow kiss. 

 

He pulls her on top of him as they lazily make out for a few minutes, soon interrupted by his gurgling stomach. She breaks the kiss with a laugh. “Maybe we should fill that never-ending belly of yours.”  He grins, before picking her up and carrying her to the kitchen, setting her on the counter and giving her a quick peck. 

 

She instructs him to take out the bacon, eggs, and bread before she hops down to start cooking breakfast. 

 

---------------------------------

 

He’s late. 

 

Dear God, he’s late. He’s never late. He is either always on time or always early, but he’s never late. He was distracted, distracted by Betty, his spirit, his angel, his. 

 

He’s not sure how she would like being called someones, but… she’s his. 

Last night had been… Interesting, to say the least. He never thought Betty would trust him so quickly and so completely. 

 

He was so glad he murdered Reggie.

 

He was so angry he didn’t kill him earlier. 

 

He serves coffee with an extra purpose that day, hoping to see Betty again.

 

It’s an hour later when he gives in and texts her.

 

Jughead 1:27 pm

Hey, beautiful. I really miss you. Think you could come hang out with me at work for a bit?

 

He puts down his phone to serve a few other customers when he hears the chime of his phone again. 

 

Betty 1:38 pm

I’d love to. I'll be there at 2:00.

 

He smiles and goes back to work. 

 

------------

 

At precisely 2 pm, the door chimes and a vison walks through.

 

Simple jeans and a blouse, hair in a ponytail, she looks like a normal girl. 

 

But she’s anything but normal. 

 

Jugheads eyes travel up from the coffee he had just served, and he almost can’t.  

 

His eyes soften, almost like he’s about to cry, as he looks at her.

 

She’s so beautiful, so strong, so powerful, so perfect.

 

“If everyone looked at me like that as I walked in a room id have a huge ego boost.” She jokes as she leans up against the counter, resting on her elbow and looking at jughead with big green doe eyes. He smiles and leans in to kiss her, loving how she just melts into it, letting him take her. 

“Come back here,” Jughead says opening up the slab of marble upwards so she can slip behind the counter. 

 

They talk about random things for a while, Jughead serving customers as Betty babbles about work.

 

She drinks coffee, he teaches her simple latte art. (Hers end up looking like smudged cows rather than flowers, but Jughead tells her it’s amazing and kisses her anyway.) 

 

“Juggie?” she asks as he wipes down tables for closing. 

 

“Yeah Betts?”

 

The silence that follows makes him look up to find her biting her lip and looking nervous. He softens and walks up to her, tilting her face up with his finger so she looks at him in the eyes. He releases her lip with his thumb and she sighs into his touch. 

 

“What's going on-”

 

“Be my boyfriend.” Betty cuts him off, making him smile. 

 

Fuck yes.” they laugh and kiss and hug. 

 

“Juggie, there's one more thing.” She tells him sighing and pulls her hands through his hair while he kisses her neck. 

 

“Hmm?”

 

“I want you to meet my best friend.  Veronica Lodge.” 

 

Jughead freezes. 

 

He lifts his head up, before looking at her.

 

“Veronica Lodge?”

 

“Yeah, I was wondering if you’d be up for meeting her tomorrow? I know you have a photoshoot, but you’re not working here so I thought maybe-” She rambles, her arms still around his neck. 

 

“Betty. Of course I’ll meet her.” He says. 

 

“Really?” She asks. Her eyes light up and Jughead loves it. He’d do anything for her. 

 

“I’ll do anything for you.”

 

--------------------------

 

“What the fuck are you doing, man?!” He screeches, gag loose around his neck, fighting against the tape holding him to a plastic chair. 

 

The man in question chuckles, black bandana shifting slightly with the movement as he turns around, putting out a cigarette. knife in his hand shining with the glint of light filtering through a small window. It’s dirty, musky, and plain disgusting down here. 

 

He’s bleeding, aching, hurting. He just wants to get out of here, go home, maybe look at the pictures of the girl he’s taken from her fire escape. 

 

But no. he's here with this - this psychopath in this abandoned warehouse in the middle of fucking nowhere. 

 

“Look, whatever you want, I’ll- I’ll give it to you. You- you want money? It’s yours, It’s all fucking yours just LET ME GO.”

 

The black bandana man shakes his head, running the knife across his arm, drawing a sketch of blood with the smallest press. He shudders, lip twitching as the maroon creeps down his arms, soaking into the fabric of fingerless gloves. 

 

He stalks forward, eyes dark, blood racing with adrenaline, excitement.

 

He crouches down, only then does he pull the bandana down to rest against his neck. 

 

The audible gasp that fills the tension-filled room makes Jughead smile. 

 

“You really think someone like me, would let you get away that easy, huh red?”

 

Archie spits on his face. 

 

It takes a grimace and a swipe of his hand before he’s gripped by his flaming red hair and pulled back so far it hurts his throat. 

 

Jughead hovers above him. 

 

“Liars don’t deserve to live.”

 

 

 

Your voice like an angel


Been chain-smoking all month long


Like you're someone I believe in


You held me but I'm volatile


And never got my head screwed on


Now I'm melting through the floor


Am I only a lab rat?


Someone you can test 
things on?


Are you training for a new love?

All in white, like you're an angel


With the sun glimmering off your glass mask


This isn't what I signed up for

Chapter Text

It’s magic, really. 

 

Watching the fear drain in the eyes of a man who has hurt others far, far worse. 

 

It’s also funny, someone as careful as him losing a dimwit like Archie. 

 

It almost angers him, thinking this man could have so easily tarnished his image, in front of Betty no less, but she had surprised him.

 

She had seen through his bullshit before he could even talk. 

 

And that made Jughead realize that he didn't deserve her. 

 

He was fucked up, dark, damaged and she was kind, beautiful, the person that would help people. 

 

But then he thinks of that night, the night when she showed she had a darkness too, when she trusted him with her darkest secrets, when she put pressure on his cut on purpose and how it felt so damn good because it was her. 

 

So even if he didn’t deserve her, he would damn well try. 

 

He’ll rid the demons, the devils, the sinners, these miscreants for her. 

 

Only for her. 

 

Now, there's this one. This red-haired devil that was currently ready to exchange his freedom for money. 

 

Paper for freedom of the devil. Makes sense. 

 

So instead, Jughead utters a saying he saves for the beggers. 

 

“Liars don't deserve to live.” 

 

He knocks the shocked man out, deciding to take a more public approach with this ol’ fellow. He usually only kills in private, publically displaying can cause harm. But, this is a special occasion. 

 

So he ties his bandana back on, shifts his J. J jacket and messes up his hair more, taping the bottom of his combat boots and switching fingerless gloves for normal ones. He carefully rids Archie of his jacket and wipes his arms and pant legs with a sanitary towel to delete traces of fingerprints. He’s only done this publically a handful of times, so he goes with the “drawn on the body” approach. 

 

He cuts a bit of Archies arm and gathers up the blood on his finger, concentrating as he paints it onto his passed out face, ending the last J with a swoop. Smirking, he lifts Archie onto his back, and shoves him into the back seat of his mom's truck, making sure the license plate is covered. He retires to the driver's seat, speeding through cars until he gets to the backdoor of a mall entrance. He quickly gathers Archie and a bag,  tosses him over his shoulder again and makes his way to the roof of the mall, winking at the security cameras and smirking under the bandana as he places plain black sunglasses over his eyes. 

 

He struts his way up the stairs, oozing confidence only a serial killer would have. Once there he barricades the exit and unceremoniously drops over 200 pounds of muscle on the roof floor. 

 

I really need to work out more he grimaces, shaking out his shoulders. He walks over to the edge, watching people bustle around, shopping bags in hand, hugging, talking, and ew making out. 

 

He wouldn't mind if it was him and Betty, but still. 

 

Out of the bag, he takes a voice modifier and attaches it near his mouth. It not only makes it a megaphone, but also turns the sound of his voice to a different, untraceable frequency. 

 

He then takes out smelling salts, and lifts Archies head up roughly, dragging the bottle across his nose. He wakes up with a start, nose scrunching in disgust. 

 

“Where am I? Why’d you bring me here, man?” He looks panicked.

 

Good. 

 

Jughead only puts a finger to his bandana in a hush hush motion before standing up and making his way to the ledge. 

 

Archie doesn't listen. 

 

He begins screaming, he looks a bit like a fish cause he’s flopping around while both his legs and arms are tied. Jughead merely rolls his eyes and turns back. People are starting to look around as Archies cries for help seem to get louder. He takes it as his cue.

 

He turns the voice modifier on and sits on the side, feet dangling. Some have spotted him and are pointing, to which he smirks at. He clears his throat and begins. 

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen! Boys and Girls, welcome, welcome.” all eyes are on him now, people are gasping, some have whipped their phones out to take videos, but all the attention is on him now. 

 

Good. 

 

“Many of you may know me as “The shadow Killer.” Pretty sweet name, but kind of pretentious, wouldn't you agree?” He chuckles as more people begin gathering around. 

 

“You may also be wondering why I do what I do. Well then, my friends, that’s a good question. I rid this place of demons, make it safer for you, your children. I can see some of you scoffing right now, but that’ll soon change. You hear those screams? Those are the screams of a very bad man. A stalker, a stealer, a liar.

 

Jughead disappears before reappearing with Archie back on his shoulder, looking down about 90 feet to the ground below him, eyes black with danger. 

 

“Listen man! Please, please don’t do this, you want Betty? This is about betty?  It’s fine! She’s yours! She’s not worth it, man! I’ll leave you alone, never contact you or her again just please don't-”

 

Jughead slaps a piece of duct tape over his mouth to shut him up. 

 

He’s angry now, very very angry. He insulted Betty. In front of him.  

 

“You’re not ready to pay. Don’t you dare say that about her, she’s done more for anyone in the past week than you have your entire life. She is most definitely worth it , you dimwit, she’s worth fucking everything.” Jughead quickly hisses into his ear, lip twitching, eyes even darker under the glasses. 

 

“Now, I hope you’re all ready. I was gonna just drop this man to his doom, but lets… humiliate him, for the things he had just said.” Jughead speaks to the crowd, pulling a handheld megaphone out of his bag. 

 

“Mr. Andrews, if you could so kindly say what you have done to your close friend, Betty, was it? I’m sure we’re all dying to know.” Jughead chuckles at his own joke before ripping off the tape and putting the megaphone next to his mouth. 

 

“Go on, Arch, tell us what you gotta say.”



He’s crying, Jughead realizes, and shaking his head. He leans a bit more forward, causing panic in all of the area and in Archie’s eyes.

 

“GO ON ANDREWS. TELL THEM WHAT YOU DID TO HER” Jughead yells, breathing heavily and pushing him closer to his doom.

 

“I uh- I broke into my friend's apartment, and took pictures of her, and- and took her underwear and- and,”

 

“And what, Red? Spit. it. out.”

 

“ I touched her! I touched her while she was asleep. I- I knew years ago that she was gonna be r- raped. I kept watch at the door for-for my friend! C’ mon man please just let me go!” Archie sobbed.

 

“Let you go? Oh well, if you insist.” 

 

He can hear the sirens faintly in the distance as he drops Archie down, people try to help, try to catch him, but realize they’re also bound to get hurt.

 

Stupid humanity, Jughead thinks. Always so selfish.

 

He sneaks down a ladder he had placed by an open window a floor below the roof, crawling through and pulling the ladder with him, just in time for the police to break the roof entrance open.

 

The screams of everyone there could be heard for a mile. 

 

He’s still angry. He deserved a worse punishment. 

 

------------------

 

“The killer then made a smooth exit on what we think was planned, no one in the building has been able to figure it out. There was a short clip just before all the security cameras went dead of the man winking at a camera near the entrance, clearly what looks to be the body of Archibald Andrews, famous football star, slung over his back. Sources say this may-” 

 

She turns the TV off. 

 

She’s seen videos. 

 

She knows what was said.

 

She knows what was done.

 

She hasn’t cried, hasn’t spoken, hasn't moved. 

 

All those years being best friends with him.

 

Movies watched. 

 

Dances. 

 

Singing until 3 am. 

 

All that time, he was lying. Lying when he said he didn't and would never feel the same. 

 

Shes cried over him too much in highschool, she is not going to start again. 

 

She was so blind, so, so blind. And now everything has blown up all around her. 

 

She couldn't see him anymore, couldn't hug him anymore, couldn't see his flames of red hair but the worst thing is,

 

She isn't sad. 

 

He was there. 

 

He could have stopped Reggie but he didn't. That's what turned her the most, turned her to do what she was about to do.    

 

She found an untraceable email dedicated to the Shadow Killer, he actually had fans. She had spoken to a few of them, and was promised that the email would get to the masked man, and so she wrote. 

 

To the Shadow Killer, the Masked Man,

I want to meet you. I don’t know who you are, or why exactly you do what you do, but I need to discuss some things with you. 

 

No, I am not scared. 

- Elizabeth

 

She hit send. 

 

She tilted her head back against the chair, resting her eyes and leaning against it. 

 

Her phone dinged and she jumped, not expecting a response so soon. But her heart both sank and lept when she saw it was Jughead.

 

Jughead 9:14 pm

Hey, Betty. I saw everything that happened today on the news.  Do you want me to come over?

 

Betty 9:14 pm

I’m okay, juggie. Do you think you could come over tomorrow? I kind of need a night along tonight. 

 

Jughead 9:15 pm

Of course, Betty.  I’ll be there at 10.

 

Not even five minutes later, her phone dinged with a different response. 

 

--------------------

 

As soon as he was out of the shower, he collapsed on his bed. That one took a lot out of him. He was tired from the heat beating down on his black denim and leather, tired from all the screaming and crying. He pulled out his phone, noticing an email from the account he had set up, Shadowmaskedman124@gmail.com,  an untraceable email he plays off as a fan who knows him personally for anyone who needs contact with him.  He’s only gotten a few emails, mostly people who are angry with him, some thinking he’s some sort of assassin, but he tells himself he’ll look at it after he texts betty. 

 

He makes sure she’s okay, and makes plans to see her tomorrow at her place. He needs to check in on her. 

 

His surprise when he opens the email is apparent, but right away he knows it’s Betty. He should be angry, but he isn't. He smiles at her email and responds.

 

To Elizabeth, the not scared.

Not many brave souls would do something as intriguing as what you have done, nor would they have been as brave. 

 

I would like to fulfill your wish, whatever it may be. 

 

Meet me at Liberty Street and Maiden Lane, just west of Nassau Street at precisely 12:45 am tomorrow. 

 

Come alone. 

 

-J.J